In 2004, entrenched incumbent Congressman Mike McNulty looked like a cinch for reelection. He had been in office since the early nineties and was great at playing both sides - consistently being endorsed by the liberal Working Families Party for his fiscal views and the Conservative Party of New York based on his pro-life stances. In 2004, little known libertarian leaning Republican attorney Warren Redlich challenged McNulty. He ran a spirited campaign, but eventually lost, albeit by a margin that McNulty had not seen in nearly a decade. In 2006, Redlich ran again - this time with a much less spirited campaign based primarily from his blog entitled Stop Wasting Money. It was in 2006, that I met Redlich.
At the time, I was a graduate student living in Troy, New York. I invited Congressional candidate Redlich to a College Republicans event and was interested to hear what he had to say. In a laid back atmosphere, he asked us what issues interested us and talked about them. It became very clear that Redlich was a man of principle, libertarian principles to be exact. His libertarian brand of conservatism did not work out well in 2006, in the Democratic landslide Redlich was defeated by the entrenched incumbent. But, he was undeterred in his quest to help his community. In 2007, Redlich ran and won a seat on his local Town Board and has been serving since.
Redlich has served many functions in his service to the community. As a voice of libertarian reason amongst a sea of the partisan Democratic voices in New York. As a pro-bono attorney for a Libertarian fighting to remain on the ballot in 2006 and 2008 (see Eric Sundwall in NY-20). As a Ron Paul activist and supporter of libertarian leaning Republican candidates, including 2008 NY-21 candidate Steven Vasquez.
Now, a group of online Libertarian and libertarian Republican activists are trying to draft Redlich to run for Governor of New York. In fact, one of the leaders of this draft movement is high ranking Libertarian Party official Eric Sundwall. This gives creedence to a Redlich bid and could help him gain a secondary ballot line if he were to run. It would also grant him a primary ballot line should he fail to garner the nomination in the Republican primary.
Redlich is an interesting candidate for the job. He's a small business owner. He's a political outsider and not a party man like Rick Lazio. His political experience is limited to his term in the Guilderland Town Board and two failed Congressional campaigns - but that has not stopped those with less experience from obtaining higher office. For example, Fred Thompson was a character actor and lawyer when he ran for US Senate in Tennessee and Chester Arthur was a lawyer / former Port Collector from NYC when he was selected to be the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.
The question is not whether Redlich is qualified. The question is does Warren Redlich have the fire in the belly necessary to travel across the State of New York challenging Rick Lazio and potentially Chris Collins in a Republican primary? Does he have the connections necessary to coordinate Tea Party activists across the state to help bolster his campaign? Both Lazio and Collins could have difficulty with that as well. Also, does Redlich present a plausible and different narrative than the current candidates available? I think he provides a contrasting viewpoint than most candidates available on certain issues - but on statewide issues that the Governor will face, his campaign would look similar to that of Rick Lazio. Lazio also has brought forward some interesting ideas for widespread government reform, ex. a unicameral legislature. I actually think a more compelling case could be made for Redlich for Attorney General and here's why.
Redlich is a lawyer who sees first hand a great deal of the problems inherent in our judicial system. He would offer a stark contrast to Andrew Cuomo as he runs for reelection - a party insider / political family dynasty candidate who's run for any office he could find. Redlich is a political outsider who's running to reform the Attorney General's office and focus on the issues that matter as opposed to those which will bankrupt our State and the people of New York. Cuomo is following in the footsteps of Eliot Spitzer and going after business tycoons and Wall Street to the point where the wealthy are running away from New York. We also need an Attorney General who is independent of the partisanship we constantly see. Cuomo is a Democratic lackey. Redlich may be a member of the GOP, but lackey he is not. Redlich fought in court against former Republican Congressman Sweeney to defend, pro-bono, Libertarian candidate Eric Sundwall.
Redlich is a small business owner, a lawyer, a libertarian, and a man who sees the broken areas of our judicial system on a regular basis. He stands tall in his beliefs and decisions, even when he knows they may not be popular. Contrast this with incumbent Attorney General Andrew Cuomo who is politically motivated in almost all that he does; opposes the death penalty; has wasted political capital attacking Facebook including spending taxpayer dollars to investigate the social networking site; he crudely tried to politicize September 11th when running for Governor in 2002; and his tenure as HUD Secretary was marked with problems which helped to create the housing crisis.
Redlich has the experiences, ideas, and the knowhow to formulate a solid platform to take on Andrew Cuomo. I would solidly support a Redlich candidacy for Attorney General. If he were to run for Governor, he would be a great candidate, but I feel he would be an amazing candidate for Attorney General.
Cross posted to Old Line Elephant