In 2012, Don’t Forget State and Local

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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There are, understandably, conservatives who are frustrated with the idea of Mitt “Mittens” Romney as the Republican nominee for President. They say they’ll vote for him because at the end of the day he is better than the person currently occupying the White House. But they also make it clear that they won’t work for Romney, or give him money. In the midst of that frustration, conservatives need to be reminded that there are no excuses for not working, and working hard, in 2012.

I give you my theory on 2012: it will not be a coattails election for Republicans. It will be a rising tide one. What do I mean? That I’m not entirely sure what, if any, coattails Romney will have this year. But I am convinced that there can be, and will be, a rising tide that can lift Romney to victory as a secondary result of conservatives going out and finding a U.S. Senate candidate, U.S. House candidate or maybe just as importantly, a state legislative candidate. In 2012, I think conservatives would do well to remember state and local elections, especially state legislative (you know the Left is focused there, and conservative should be too).

In 2012, 86 of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6th.  To break it down even more, there are 7,384 state legislative seats in toto and 5,979 of them (81%) are up for re-election this year.

The troubling part is that in 2010, only 1,133 state legislative incumbents even faced a primary challenger. That was only 22% of those who could have had a primary challenger.  Of the 6,125 state legislative districts in 2010 with elections, 4,125 (or just over 67%) had only one major party candidate on the November ballot.

Here’s the bad news: in 2012 state legislative elections, so far, based on official candidate lists in the states where the deadline to file has passed, the competitiveness of the elections is even lower than it was in 2010. That said, there are a number of states where the signature-filing deadline is still in the future.
If you need reasons for why state and local, think about the massive debt of unfunded public employee pensions, the amount of government spending that takes place at the state and local level, and the simple fact that it’s where political careers begin (about 70% of the 111th Congress started at the state and local levels).
So in 2012, if you can’t get fired up about the top of the ticket, look a little lower down on the ballot and get to work.