The Establishment’s Perfect Candidate

Written by Micah Clark, AFA of Indiana

There is a lot of talk about what Republicans need to do to win elections after the November 6th election losses.  Most of those offering advice are pointing fingers at Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, (who created their own unique challenges), and ignoring the many U.S. Senate GOP moderates who lost, like Tommy Thompson (WI), Linda Lingle (HI) and Linda McMahon (CT) or Scott Brown (MA) to make the case that the GOP needs to be more moderate.

People may want to look to one of Indiana’s congressional race as a test.  Listening to what most commentators recommend, one could logically conclude that Indianapolis Republican Carlos May was the perfect model that the establishment would recommend.   Carlos is young, talented, articulate, energetic, Hispanic and a moderate who avoids social issues. Carlos had more party support than many previous candidates, and he had some broad appeal issues regarding neighborhoods, jobs, and his willingness to be far more accessible to people than his opponent, Andre Carson, an ultra-liberal.  On November 6th, in a newly drawn district with more Republicans, after running a seemingly good campaign, Carlos received 37 percent of the vote.

Two years ago, Marvin Scott, an across the board conservative, won a heated primary over Carlos.  (May had even been slated by the Marion County GOP.)  Then, with the ire of the GOP establishment upon him, a series of campaign blunders and a hostile media undermining him at every turn, the under-funded, disparaged Dr. Scott, running in even a more Democrat leaning district, received 38 percent of the vote against Andre Carson.

The lesson? Candidates and parties should be wary of advice claiming that dropping conservative values in exchange for appearances or a new demographic model will lead to victory at the ballot box.