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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Conservatives Stand to Lose Big in 2012

After the historic gains made by conservatives — not just Republicans — in 2010, the conservative movement stands to slide back and lose in 2012.

I’m not talking about the race to the White House. I’m talking about the United States Senate. At a time when Senate Republicans refuse to lead and Mitch McConnell is doing his best to marginalize the solid conservatives, the right is distracted by the White House. The same GOP that tried to stick the right with Trey Greyson, Charlie Crist, Mike Castle, and more is going to try again. If conservatives are not vigilant, they’re going to be stuck with the likes of Heather Wilson, etc.

Let’s review the lay of the land and the states I’m interested in.

Arizona

I’m going with Jeff Flake here. He’s not a perfect candidate, but I believe he is the best candidate and the most likely candidate to be a thorn in the GOP leadership’s side in the Senate. That is no small matter. We need to keep up internal pressure on the GOP and Flake can do that.

Florida

Adam Hasner is the guy conservatives should rally to. LeCrist is the D.C. favorite, but he is tied too deeply to Charlie Crist. Haridopolous does not impress me and I expect the opposition to make great hay out of some of his more dubious issues, including that book.

Indiana

I’m not prepared to endorse here yet, but it is clear Dick Lugar needs to go, and more and more it looks like Richard Mourdock is the guy to do it. Mourdock would be a clear improvement over Dick Lugar. Conservatives have a real shot to toss Lugar and keep Indiana.

MIssissippi

I’d love to take out Roger Wicker. It’d be good for the conservative movement. The guy is terrible. But I don’t see any conservative stepping up right now in state where Wicker is eminently beatable in a primary according to some recent polling from PPP that shows Wicker is only one point ahead from a generic conservative alternative.

Missouri

Right now I’m looking at Sarah Steelman, but I’m undecided here. McCaskill is going to be hard to beat with Obama on the ballot in 2012.

Montana

The present Republican in the race, Denny Rehberg, is not the best the GOP can do. I don’t know who can step up in Montana, but Rehberg should be considered the bottom of the barrel, not the best available candidate to run.

Nebraska

Conservatives going with Jon Bruning are making a terrible mistake. I realize the Bible is a story of repentance and forgiveness, but you don’t put the new converts in the Senate where they have six years to go Chuck Hagel on us. Don Stenberg is my guy for this race.

“I would love to persuade you that trickle down economics was a farce or that Ronald Reagan was incapable of understanding complex policy arguments.”

“I believe in gun control.”

“I think a woman should have a right to choose.”

Those are just some of Jon Bruning’s greatest hits.

Yes, he has grown up. Yes, he has changed. Yes, he is center-right now. But I want to put a guy in the Senate who has a long term conservative track record. Conservatives have been burned once before by Nebraska with Chuck Hagel.

I’m going with Don Stenberg.

New Mexico

The number one goal of conservatives in 2012, other than defeating Barack Obama, has got to be defeating Heather Wilson in New Mexico. She’d be Mike Castle terrible in the United States Senate. Luckily, we have a strong, viable challenger to her in the primary named John Sanchez.

We should rally early for Sanchez to stop Wilson.

Ohio

Two words: Josh Mandel

Tennessee

Surely conservatives can find somebody decent to beat the heck out of Bob Corker in a primary in Tennessee. Corker is terrible. He pushes the Senate GOP left and toward capitulation. He is contemptuous of conservatives. He’s bad news.

Conservatives need to rally in Tennessee and take out Bob Corker. If keeping Heather Wilson out of the Senate is priority number one, number two is ridding the Senate of Bob Corker.

Texas

Too soon to decide yet between Williams and Cruz. But at all costs we need to stop Leppert. I think even DewCrist would be better than Leppert.

Wisconsin

No idea on this one, but Tommy Thompson needs to be beaten. We don’t need to fill John Ensign’s void with a guy like Thompson. That’s even above and beyond his Obamacare support, etc. Beloved or not in Wisconsin, conservatives can do much, much better.

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