For everyone except hopeless political junkies, last night’s primaries in Missouri and Michigan were not magnanimous events. Nonetheless, it was an important night for Team Madison.
We were involved in 4 races last night; two Senate primaries and two House primaries. We scored two victories, and the two losses were in races that were always the longest of longshots. Here are the main takeaways.
In a stunning upset, Congressman Todd Akin, who we endorsed very early in the process, won the GOP primary to take on vulnerable Claire McCaskill in the general election. This was a close 3-person race between Akin, Steelman and Brunner. Brunner had all the momentum going into the election and Steelman had the buzz from the Palin endorsement; Akin was widely considered to be in third place.
Although we recognize that Akin’s record is not perfect, and he will not be the same as Ted Cruz, we felt that he was the most consistently conservative candidate in the race who had a record to back up his rhetoric. He has always been the most conservative member of the Missouri delegation and has voted against leadership on a number of occasions. Akin will clearly be more conservative that Roy Blunt. We look forward to him knocking off McCaskill.
Kerry Bentivolio crushed RINO Nancy Cassis in her write-in bid reminiscent of Lisa Murkowski. There was a real contrast here, and we were proud to be one of the only major organizations to back Kerry and help put another Rand Paul disciple in Congress.
The sad news is that light-bulb fascist, Fred Upton, handily beat our candidate, Jack Hoogendyk. It was always the longest of longshots to go up against the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. We felt that if there would even be a 5% chance of unseating Upton, it would be worth the effort. Ultimately, Upton outspent Hoogendyk by a larger factor than any other incumbent over a challenger during this election cycle. We had no chance. However, we made it clear that this is just the beginning, and we will not let the RINOs off without a challenge. More importantly, as noted before, we actually did win this race. Fred Upton moved so far to the right that he actually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars painting Hoogendyk as a liberal. Fred Upton defeated Fred Upton.
This one is a real shame. Flaccid bailout-supporting moderate, Pete Hoekstra, cruised to a 20-point victory over Clark Durant. While Durant put together a promising campaign, he had to overcome a massive deficit in name ID. He was polling in the low teens until the last few weeks. The late surge of support from conservatives was too little and too late. Durant garnered 33% of the vote, roughly what he’d been polling during the last week.
The lesson for success is simple. We must begin earlier. Conservatives cannot wait until the last few weeks to coalesce and unite behind a candidate. I’ve seen it fail too many times. There is simply no way to make up such a deficit in just a few weeks. It is clear that had the movement gotten behind Durant two months earlier, he would have had a fair shot at the nomination.
It is our commitment to begin the 2014 congressional election cycle as early as possible in an effort to bolster our conservative candidates early on in the process. We can’t expect to come out ahead if we’re always playing catch-up.
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