In the lead up to the Kentucky Senate Primary, Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican.com had this to say:
We’ll know more about the strength of the Campaign for Liberty Tuesday night when the election results for Rand Paul start coming in. Rand Paul is expected to win the nomination, but if his supporters can come through with a sizable victory despite some serious attacks against his conservative credentials, the Campaign for Liberty will have proven it is a force to be reckoned with.
We have all heard what happened, Rand Paul, son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, defeated the establishment candidate Trey Grayson by nearly 25%. Although many factors are at play in a senate race like this, the libertarian leaning wing of the Republican party is considered to have played a significant roll in the results.
In light of this, I decided to assess the opinions of the libertarian leaning wing of the GOP in regards to Iowa’s 2nd Congressional primary, to see if we should expect a similar result next Tuesday. I invited about 20 liberty activists from around the district to provide feedback in the form of a poll and a comment section. Also factored into the assessment is a report by Steve Hoodjer of Iowa Freedom Report, on the Young Americans for Liberty debate which included 3 of the 4 candidates (I wasn’t able to attend). As well as the Campaign for Liberty’s candidate survey results. To give you an idea of the general (but not universal) beliefs of the liberty activists polled, the Campaign for Liberty’s 4 pillars are Constitutional Government, Free Markets, Personal Liberty, and Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy. This a very unscientific, snapshot of some opinions, it is not meant to speak for everyone who considers themselves a liberty activist in the district.
Steve Rathje 42%: Rathje was generally seen as one of the most pro-war candidates, which certainly lost him some points from many people, but without anyone with a much more reasonable foreign policy to choose from, this really didn’t play as big of a factor as it could have. Rathje came out strongest in support of a audit of the federal reserve, which scored huge. The general opinion of Rathje is he said everything we wanted to hear (aside from war), some thought that was a great thing, others got the feeling they were getting worked over. Many thought he had the characteristics of a career politician without the career in politics. I too got this feeling, when literally days after the 2008 election, Rathje had his Rathje for Congress website up. Having just lost the senate primary, he seamed to quickly have his next race already staked out. To quote one response in particular “Rathje: Career politician; about as sincere as a used car salesman”
Dr. Marionette Miller-Meeks 33%: Several people thought that she would be a candidate that the liberty movement could at least work with. She often speaks of the constitution and freedom. Although not opposed to the wars, she did say that it is wrong of us to be building a huge embassy in Iraq like it is our new home. She also came out strongly for an audit of the federal reserve. Some believed she had her chance to unseat Loebsack in 08 and it was someone else’s turn, but considering 08 was considered a heavy democratic year and this year is expected to be a good year for republicans, she may have a better shot. She was seen by many to be an establishment favorite, and judging by all the white coats worn at the district convention by party insiders this is probably a pretty fair assessment. Needless to say, being seen as a establishment favorite is not a benefit in most people’s eyes. She also gave several people that “politician” feeling, like they were being told what they want to hear, not necessarily what she believed. On a personal note, I have personally been told untruths to my face by MMM, so she has been ruled out of my equation for some time.
Rob Gettemy 17%: What can I say about Mr. Gettemy, he is just a nice guy, call him the Rod Roberts of the 2nd District. No one accused him of being a politician, they seemed to see him as a businessman who felt like the country needed some good citizen representation like the founders intend and stepped up to the plate. He was believable in what he said, no one thought he was pandering. If you had an issue you disagreed with him on, he would discuss it rationally and give you respect. You walked away from the conversation thinking, ‘I don’t agree with his stance, but man, what a nice guy’. Some commented that his website was very informative on his stances, so they never had to wonder where he stood on an issue. He also has a concealed weapons permit, walking the walk on the 2nd amendment. Why didn’t he get more support? I think many saw him as a weak campaigner, not really having a chance in the race. But considering he is not a politician, and was late getting into the race, many thought he had good potential in the future.
Christopher Reed 8%: Reed often refers to the constitution which was a positive, unfortunately that is where the positive comments ended. His website was seen as thin on substance and very vague on the issues. Several felt he could not run a solid campaign. He left several blanks on the C4L survey. At the last moment he dropped out of the YAL debate, citing unpatriotic statements by group members. He was not willing to discuss his foreign policy. Any questioning of our involvement overseas resulted in Reed insulting whatever individual was posing the question. I experienced this personally as well as similar reports by others. Reed comes across as unprofessional and unstable, not someone you would want to say represents you.
So will we see an impact on the race from the liberty movement, not likely. But it is not out of a lack of willingness or lack of power, just a lack of a candidate that really motivates action. Perhaps we will need to field our one candidate next time around. My pesonal prediction is that the race will be heading to convention. The liberty wing has a fair number of delegates who may help decide the race, but without a solid liberty candidate to unify around, the votes will probably be scattered.
Personally, I will be voting for Gettemy. I have had personal conversations with each of the candidates, and he is the only one who left me walking away feeling like I wasn’t just lied to. Out of a bunch of mediocre candidates(from a libertarian standpoint), my vote is going to the honest nice guy.
In a side note, on some state races in the 2nd District:
In State Senate District 45, Sandy Greiner, Rick Marlar, and Randy Besick are competing in the GOP primary. Doesn’t look like there is much competition here. Sandy Greiner has raised nearly $25k, compared to $300 and $600 for the other two candidates respectively. I guess being part of the establishment certainly has its perks. Greiner is also president of Romney’s American Future Fund, which spent tons in an unsuccessful effort to attack anti-establishment Rand Paul in Kentucky’s senate race.
Also, House District 89 contains, Chris Canny running to represent his district. I don’t live in HD89, have not been following the race and have not spoken to Jarad Klein. But I can tell you that I have met Mr Canny and he is certainly someone who seems like he would do his best to shrink the size of government.