Chances are when you read this tomorrow will be Election Day, since I’m writing this shortly before midnight.
It’s been a tremendously long campaign since it really began about the time the TEA Parties began in the spring of 2009. Everyone involved believed the government had finally overstepped its bounds after a series of debacles which began under the Bush Administration and overlapped into President Obama’s tenure. In their eyes, more spending and government weren’t the answer for kickstarting a moribund economy.
Locally, I’ve seen the impact of this movement both on and off the ballot. All three local parties have at least one candidate who was inspired to take part in the political process thanks to the TEA Party movement. And although neither the Brewingtons (Julie and Mike) nor Chris Lewis was successful in their aspirations for legislative office, it can be argued that the TEA Party has affected the local Republican Party. We have a lot of new blood in the lower levels of the party thanks to the TEA Party, but the trick will be to keep them there and not make them disillusioned over what happens beginning November 3rd.
Normally I don’t discuss inside party baseball, but I’m sure most are aware that the local Republican Party will have a new Chair for the next term because current Chair John Bartkovich opted not to run again. But many of those who were on the Central Committee previously ran and won, and while I’m not going to name names in this space I will let you know that three people are interested in taking over the reins of the local party. (Let me say up front: I’m not one of the three! There are some who might be disappointed by that, but there are better qualified people among the group than I.) I think two of them would be acceptable to the local TEA Party to represent a non-establishment presence there while the other may smack too much of the ‘old guard’ establishment.
(A note to local Republican establishment types: this new group of activists doesn’t believe the best conservative candidates necessarily will have an ‘R’ after their name. This is the new political reality; get used to it.)
Some of the things I believe we will need to address will depend on that which happens in the next 48 hours – of course, the first thing we need to do is get as many Republican candidates as possible elected locally and that’s my main focus. Given the absolute worst-case (but possible) scenario of having Rick Pollitt as County Executive and four fairly leftist Democrats controlling County Council, we have plenty of work to do to protect our wallets. (I won’t go into just how damaging it would be to have Democrats control the federal or state levels.)
But if I have my say, the Republican Party of 2011-14 will be out in the community more and better tapping into the resources we’ve been presented by this new political resurgence. The idea, though, isn’t to elect people simply because they have an ‘R’ after their name but to elect good conservative stewards of our community and way of life. There are some positions locally which haven’t had a good pruning lately and need to be addressed in the next cycle; that’s another job to take care of.
As the next few months progress, I’m sure we will begin to pull back the curtain on a new era in the local GOP. I’m looking forward to being on the winning team for awhile and trying to cement local success while pushing back the frontiers of ignorance (as Walter E. Williams would say) on the state level.
On Tuesday, let’s win some for the Gipper.