Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma, 1st Congressional District
Jim Bridenstine is the gold standard for the conservative electoral blueprint. Everyone talks about primarying wayward Republicans, but Bridenstine actually did it. And he won without help from any major outside organization.
In a classic example of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jim Bridenstine, a naval aviator and political neophyte, challenged incumbent John Sullivan in his Tulsa-based district. Sullivan was the lead sponsor of the NatGas subsidy bill, and Oklahoma’s first district is the birthplace of T. Boone Pickens and the home of Chesapeake Energy Corp. Bridenstine deracinated the notion that one needs to pander to parochial interests in order to win an election. Despite boldly declaring that “we ought not let Washington, D.C., control free markets with tax subsidies,” Bridenstine upset a 10-year veteran by 7 points.
Jim is not the first person to come to Washington with a fresh “outsider” approach to commonsense conservative policy. However, he is one of the few to actually legislate in the same way he campaigned. And he did so from day one.
How many people would be willing to stand up in front of the entire Congress on the inaugurating day of the session and vote against the leader of the party for Speaker? Well, after serving for years in Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat pilot, Bridenstine was not scared of the career politicians. As they called the names of the members in alphabetical order, Bridenstine was the first Republican to vote against John Boehner as Speaker. He did so as his first act in Congress.
Ever since that fateful first day, Bridenstine has been a leader fighting for free markets, limited government, and against the GOP’s propensity to capitulate on major leverage points. He led the effort to defund Obamacare in the budget resolution. He was one of the most articulate voices against the internet sales tax while few House members were fighting against it. He was one of the only members in Congress to vote against the debt ceiling suspension and to oppose the so-called “Williamsburg Accord,” in which conservatives cut a deal with leadership to ease up on the debt ceiling.
Moreover, unlike some of the other insurgent members who tend to lean more libertarian, Bridenstine is a full three-legged stool conservative.
This is why we support Jim’s reelection as part of our effort to bolster the few brave incumbents in the House. We also hope he runs for Senate when Tom Coburn retires in 2016. We can’t think of a more effective citizen legislator to serve in the ‘house of lords’ than Jim Bridenstine.