Summary: Although the trend was not good for Republicans on Nov. 4, there were some positives. I believe the RLC’s big victories included the addition of Tom McClintock to Congress and the additions of Justin Amash to the Michigan legislature and Jenn Coffey, Carol McGuire, and Calvin Pratt to the New Hampshire legislature, as well as electing several new Montana legislators. The RLC also won two races in Bonner County, Idaho. These principled legislators are close RLC allies and will cast principled votes that will increase liberty and prosperity in Idaho, Michigan, Montana, and New Hampshire.
The RLC’s setbacks include the losses of Tom Feeney from Congress, Lois Snowe Mello from the Maine State Senate, Gregory Sorg and Jason Bedrick from the New Hampshire Assembly, Bob Beers from the Nevada State Senate, and Frank Lasee from the Wisconsin Assembly. Additionally, North Carolina State Auditor and RLC ally Leslie Merritt lost his bid for re-election. Unfortunately, RLC Texas Chair Melissa Goodwin lost her bid for re-election in Travis County’s 427th Judicial district.
Ron Paul has a new ally in Congress in longtime
RLC ally Sen. Tom McClintock.
U.S. Congress: The RLC endorsed only a few candidates for U.S. Congress. Of those, only one non-incumbent, California State Senator Tom McClintock, was victorious. Sydney Hay did not win in Arizona’s District 1. Incumbent members of Congress Tom Feeney (Florida) and Steve Chabot (Ohio) suffered defeats, but all other endorsed incumbent members of Congress retained their seats.
State Legislature: In Arizona, all of the RLC’s endorsed incumbents won re-election. Andre Campos came close to upsetting a Democrat in Senate District 23.
In Arkansas, Amendment 2, which requires the legislature to meet annually, overwhelmingly passed. State Rep. Dan Greenberg, RLC ally, was the chief spokesman to defeat the measure.
In Colorado, voters narrowly rejected an initiative to prohibit discrimination or preferential treatment by the state in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Additionally, voters rejected an initiative to ban forced unionism. The RLC’s ally in the legislature, State Senator Shawn Mitchell, was re-elected.
In Delaware, State Senator Colin Bonini retained his seat. Rumor has it that Senator Bonini may run for Joe Biden’s Senate seat. Stay tuned to this blog for future updates.
In Florida, RLC Adviser and Congressman Tom Feeney suffered a defeat in his bid for re-election. However, RLC allies Lake Ray and Ritch Workman won seats in the state House of Representatives.
In Georgia, all RLC endorsed incumbents were re-elected.
In Maine, State Senator Lois Snowe Mello was narrowly defeated in her bid for re-election. In the House, Mike Vaughan lost his race. All other RLC endorsed incumbents retained their seats.
Massachusetts RLC allies State Senator Bob Hedlund and State Representative Jeff Perry were both re-elected. Additionally, Massachusetts voters passed a statewide referendum to decriminalize marijuana.
In Michigan, the RLC scored a big victory with the election of our own Justin Amash to the legislature in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, District 72. Justin is a young rising star in the Michigan GOP. Additionally, the RLC’s endorsed candidate in House District 88, Bob Genetski, was elected to an open seat. RLC member Brad Benzing was elected to the Hillsdale County Board of Commissioners, District 4. Finally, Michigan voters passed the RLC-endorsed initiative to legalize medical marijuana.
Justin Amash, the new ‘Leon Drolet’
of the Michigan legislature.
In Minnesota, RLC endorsed incumbents Steve Gottwalt, Ron Shimanski, Bruce Anderson, Tom Emmer, Steve Drazkowski, Joyce Peppin, and Tom Hackbarth were re-elected. RLC endorsed incumbent Sondra Erickson lost her bid for re-election. RLC endorsed challengers Peggy Scott and Mary Kiffmeyer were elected to the State House. Kathy Lohmer and Judy Lindsay nearly knocked off the incumbent Democrats in their races.
Missouri State Representative Jim Guest was re-elected in District 5.
In Montana, Greg Hinkle won his bid for an open state Senate seat. Dr. Krayton Kerns won a second term in the House. He will join RLC ally Joe Balyeat in the State Senate. In the House, RLC endorsed candidate Craig Witte was narrowly defeated in his bid for a second term. However, newcomers Gerald Bennett, Wendy Warburton, Lee Randall, Bob Wagner, Mike More, and Mike Miller were elected to the State House. Randall, More, and Miller were active in the Ron Paul effort in Big Sky Country.
In Nevada, incumbent RLC State Senators Bob Beers and Joe Heck were each defeated for re-election. However, Kris Pickering won her bid to become State Supreme Court justice.
In New Hampshire, despite losing John Sununu from the Senate, there was some good news. All RLC incumbent legislators other than Jason Bedrick (defeated in primary) and Gregory Sorg (defeated Nov. 4) won re-election. Additionally, former RLC National Board member Carol McGuire was elected in Merrimack, District 8 and Jenn Coffey was elected in Merrimack, District 6. Hillsborough districts 4, 6, and 7 resulted in RLC endorsed candidates Bob Mead, William O’Brien, Cal Pratt, and Gary Hopper winning their races. Finally, Jim Twombly and Warren Groen won seats in Strafford, District 1.
In North Carolina news, all three RLC endorsed candidates lost their races, including the incumbent State Auditor, Les Merritt. The state RLC is working to ensure future successes.
Pennsylvania RLC legislators Daryl Metcalfe and Sam Rohrer were both re-elected.
In Oklahoma, State Representatives Charles Key and Jason Murphey each won their re-election bids.
In Tennessee, both RLC endorsed State Representatives, Susan Lynn and Donna Rowland, were re-elected. Additionally, RLC endorsed candidate Gregg Juster lost his race for Hamilton County School Board by just ten votes.
In Texas, there was no good news. Melissa Goodwin, Don Zimmerman, and Raymond Frank each lost their races.
In West Virginia, kudos to State Representative candidate Tomas Engle, who narrowly lost a State Representative seat to represent the West Virginia University area.
Rep. Frank Lasee has been fighting for individual liberty
and limited government in the Wisconsin Assembly
for more than a decade. He was defeated on Nov. 4.
In Wisconsin, the RLC’s closest ally, Representative Frank Lasee, was defeated. In better news, State Representative Jeff Wood, an ally of the RLC, was able to retain his seat after quitting the Republican Party earlier this summer. Wood left the GOP to become an independent because he felt the Republican Party had abandoned its limited government principles. He defeated Republican Don Moga of Chippewa Falls, becoming the first independent elected to the Wisconsin legislature in 62 years.
In response to the elections, Republican direct mail guru Richard Viguerie said, “Republican congressional leaders have failed their party, they have failed the conservatives who make up their party’s base, and they have failed the American people. They should resign immediately!”
A hearty note of THANKS to all of the RLC candidates who had the courage to run (and stay true to principle!) in 2008.
(Note: I have not been able to find comprehensive results for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont. An updated listing of the RLC’s elected officials is available.)
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.