It isn’t too often that residents of conservative York County, Pennsylvania look to California for ideas and examples to follow but in the 94th State Representative district's May 20 GOP primary, supporters of conservative Republican candidate Kelly Henshaw remember that a Democrat Governor in a highly liberal Democrat state was removed from office and replaced by voters with a Republican in November of 2003 because of the gas tax increase there.
More ominously, they point to Virginia where the GOP controlled legislature also enacted a gas tax (and a sales tax increase for good measure) and were also punished with the same treatment that voters gave California’s Governor Gray Davis: loss of the Governor’s mansion last year to the Democrats and for good measure the loss of the State Senate too.
The Republican controlled Pennsylvania Governor and both chambers of the state legislature, under Republican State Representative and “Majority Whip” (the number two position in the House) Stan Saylor, increased gas taxes last year. I have so far not found any Commonwealth conservative who is anything less than super angry about it.
Conservative Kelly Henshaw is campaigning to defeat Stay Saylor and replace him to send a message to every member of the Pennsylvania legislature that they better find other ways to balance the budget – like cutting spending – next time.
Henshaw will be on a Philadelphia radio talk show hosted by conservative talk show host Jon Moseley later today (Wed. 4/16) at 4:30 PM (you can listen live via internet HERE).
Henshaw’s message is very simple: if Republicans want legislators who oppose tax increases and prefer spending cuts then they must vote against Stan Saylor and for him in the May 20 primary in York County, PA. If Henshaw’s message is heeded by voters the number two House Republican won’t be returning to Harrisburg next year and it will indeed send shockwaves through the state.
As in California and Virginia, incumbent Stan Saylor has told audiences who question his gas tax voting record as he now campaigns to retain the GOP nomination for reelection, that the government needed the money. He never admits to voting for a gas tax increase but as was done in Virginia last year, he refers to the “transportation legislation” he helped enact as GOP Majority Whip last year.
Primary challenger Kelly Henshaw, who nearly defeated him two years ago, gives no quarter on this issue, telling supporters he prefers cutting government spending instead of raising people’s taxes.
Supporters of Henshaw are encouraged that in last year’s GOP primaries several conservatives supported by Tea Party and social conservatives won their nomination contest against Republican State House of Representatives incumbents who had voted for that Virginia gas tax increase.
Those anti-tax candidates went on to win their election and with their help the GOP retained control of the State House of Representatives in Virginia – the only stronghold they have left in Virginia after losing the Governor’s race, all statewide offices and loss of the State Senate.
In Pennsylvania, GOP control of the House has done many good things, prevented many worse things from happening if the Democrats had controlled the legislature but as one of my sources in York County put it, “we desperately need an upgrade from the tax and spend mentality of Representative Stan Saylor and we have the perfect candidate in Kelly Henshaw to replace him.”
My sources in York County emphasize that it is not enough to have a candidate who is a stronger conservative – we also need candidates who are “campaign capable” and who are able to articulate the conservative message well, they tell me.
With eyes on Virginia and the victories of several conservative Tea Party backed candidates in GOP primaries, Kelly Henshaw has attracted the support of key conservatives including Tea Party leaders from as far away as Virginia, who have offered campaign advice and support.
One of those leaders recently spoke at a Kelly Henshaw campaign event, telling the audience that Kelly Henshaw best represents the coalition of conservatives which wins elections and governs most effectively.
Kelly Henshaw is also appealing for support to the York County chapter of Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (York County ACTION). The group emphasizes the social issues including the right to life and opposition to gay marriage in favor of normal marriage between a man and woman. Henshaw supporters believe that their candidate best appeals to all segments of the conservative coalition.
The ACTION group has not announced its endorsements yet and has a rally planned on May 9. The conservative challenger and Stan Saylor both spoke at a York County ACTION breakfast meeting last month.
To add to conservative complaints against Stan Saylor, the Kelly Henshaw campaign also points to his helping enact another increase to the pension to be paid to government workers – including himself – in the future.
State Senator Scott Wagner made national headlines when he won the special election this past month based on these same two tax issues, even though he ran as a write in candidate against the GOP and Democrat nominees. The GOP nominee, State Representative Miller, made no apologies for having voted for the same gax tax and pension increase bills as his GOP colleague, Representative Saylor.
Kelly Henshaw and his supporters strongly backed Scott Wagner, who most likely will run for renomination unopposed in the May 20 primary. Henshaw’s supporters look for his victory to complete a clean sweep for GOP anti-tax, coalition conservative forces in York County, Pennsylvania on May 20.
Another of our sources today at Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (Action of PA), pointed to the financial reports of that race against GOP establishment candidate Miller – showing that virtually all of his support came from several large donations. Although Rep. Miller spoke at an ACTION breakfast and Scott Wagner did not (most conservatives in the county are not aware he has told several of our sources he is agnostic), the Republicans supporting Miller never addressed the issues of concern to conservatives.
It is arguable that Wagner did not win as much as the establishment GOP candidate threw the election by the combination of a lousy voting record and an even more awful campaign. In any event the Wagner victory - with a flawlessly run campaign that appeared to make no mistakes or stumbles - can be a harbinger of another victory for conservatives – Kelly Henshaw in York County.
Like Scott Wagner, conservative Kelly Henshaw is running a classic grassroots campaign against a classic establishment Republican incumbent, and can overcome his opponent’s advantages with some financial support.
And like Scott Wagner, any lack of experience on the part of Kelly Henshaw can be more than made up by the fact that he is running a professional campaign, is making an issue of the incumbent's record of supporting tax increases, is focusing on the gas tax increase and the pension hike issues, and articulates the concerns of conservatives.
But you don't have to believe the enthusiastic sources I am relying on for this article. You can tune in to Jon Moseley's Philadelphia area radio talk show with a growing national internet following.
We strongly urge our fellow REDSTATE friends to consider posting a “like” on his Facebook page at minimum (HERE), tune in to his radio talk show appearance via internet today (HERE), and perhaps even make a small donation directly to his campaign HERE.
(If you miss Kelly Henshaw live on Jon Moseley’s “Conservative Commando’s Radio Talk Show out of Philadelphia today – Wed. 4/16 - at 4:30 PM – don’t be late – you can tune in for a rerun via internet tomorrow, Thurs. 4/17 at 3 PM HERE, or at 5 PM HERE. You can also listen live to the show with a telephone call to 822/999-1199 - be sure to call by or before 4:30 PM today).
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