We have learned a few lessons from the NY-23 Congressional race about which candidate to support and why. The establishment candidate turned out to be a female Benedict Arnold. There are several Congressional races out across our fine land that have the potential to turn into another NY-23, but for the sake of time and expediency, I'd like to highlight just one - the US Senate race in Illinois.
Currently, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10th IL CD) is the "front runner" on the Republican side. He's had his endorsements by John McCain and others like Dede Scozzafava did. He most likely has access to John McCain's donor list as well which has enabled Kirk has raised a considerable war chest in his bid to be the next US Senator from Illinois. Kirk is the media's darling so he also has the name recognition.
Shortly after the November 2nd filing period, a conservative Republican candidate for US Senate named Dr. Eric Wallace dropped out of the race. The reasoning behind this move is not only because of a lack of funds to adequately fight a well funded establishment candidate, but also it was not to split the conservative vote. Dr. Wallace fell on his sword because he knew that conservatives needed to be united around one candidate to defeat Mark Kirk. Dr. Wallace has also put the Illinois Republican Party and Rep. Mark Kirk on notice that he is entertaining an Independent run should the pro-choice, anti-2nd amendment, pro-Cap and Trade voting Mark Kirk win the Republican nomination for US Senate.
So what conservative candidate is left that can take on Kirk? The only one left that has some of the funding and backing to do so is Patrick Hughes. Hughes seems to be the only person that stands between 1) Mark Kirk winning, and 2) a strong Independent run by Dr. Wallace. The latter point is a problem because any splitting of the Republican vote in Illinois would essentially hand the Democrats their seat.
So how do you know Patrick Hughes is the right candidate and that the Illinois GOP will be split if Kirk wins?
The answer is by talking to people. I'm a GOP precinct committeeman in Central Illinois and I am also a Tea Party leader. I travel to various GOP events across the state and I talk with Tea Partiers across the state almost on an every day basis.
First, the GOP. Republicans in downstate Illinois are tired of their conservative values being thrown aside by Sens. Durbin and Burris and they are tired of Republicans like Judy Baar Topinka and Mark Kirk representing their party but not their conservative values. They're tired of the establishment within the Illinois Republican Party, especially former Chairman Andy McKenna, pushing candidates that don't win, don't represent their values, and care more about furthering their careers than helping Illinois. I have personally talked to several, several voting Republicans that stated they WILL NOT vote for Mark Kirk in the primary OR the general election. When I asked them who they liked, the answer was Dr. Eric Wallace. Some of these answer are coming from people that have been active in the GOP almost since time was born. A State Representative in Springfield said recently that if a moderate or liberal is on the GOP ticket, that you can expect about 7% of Republicans to stay home on election day. I would wager that could be a killer in a non-Presidential election year and that spells trouble for Illinois and the Illinois GOP in November 2010 if Kirk wins the nomination.
Second, the Tea Partiers. I talk with the Tea Partiers all over Illinois and despite what the mainstream media says, they are fiercely independent - and conservative. I posed the same question to some Tea Party attendees and they give me the same answer. "I WILL NOT vote for Mark Kirk in the primary or general election". Their first choice was also Dr. Eric Wallace. In fact, I know that there are several Tea Party groups that will most likely be endorsing a Senate candidate soon - and it won't be Mark Kirk. They are VERY concerned about Kirk's voting record and the answers given to be also spell trouble in November 2010 if Kirk wins the nomination.
A third party bid in Illinois would be disastrous. It would split the Republican vote and hand the Senate seat to Alexi Giannoulias - Obama's protege. This is why Rep. Mark Kirk should drop out now. The future of Illinois, the Illinois Republican party, and the US Senate filibuster proof composition is at stake. If Kirk stays in, he will fracture the Illinois GOP, and risk having his own Dede Scozzafava moment as conservatives flock to Dr. Eric Wallace as an Independent. There is a battle going for the heart and soul of the Republican party. It'll either be re-made in John McCain's image, or it will go back to the Reaganism - as it should.