Republicans in Maryland's Second Congressional District are lucky to have the problem we currently face - having multiple solid candidates to take on a flawed incumbent. Dutch Ruppersberger is a man who refers to himself as "fiscally conservative," but in 2009 voted with the Club for Growth 8% of the time. That's 8% higher than the previous year. This is a year where anything can happen - and the Republicans need the best possible candidate to tackle that challenge. It took me interviews of each of the candidates and witnessing them debate to finally decide who I feel that candidate is.
First, let me say that each of the candidates bring something great to the table. Josh Dowlut is an incredibly energetic candidate who brings new ideas into the big tent that is the Republican Party. We need more candidates who think outside the box. Jimmy Mathis brings with him experience competing against Ruppersberger in the past and his television experience make him great in front of a crowd. He has a solid command of the issues. Francis Treadwell is a serious candidate who can calmly and concisely explain his platform to potential voters. Dr. Marcelo Cardarelli has a great story to tell, a great presence in a debate setting, and is quick witted which would work well in a debate setting against such a forceful incumbent. That said, I feel that Troy Stouffer is the best candidate for the job.
Stouffer is a Navy veteran who wants to be a citizen legislator. He's not in this for a career and when asked about what he'd do if he lost, he said that he'd put back on his steel toe boots and get back to work. He felt compelled to run because of what he's seen in Washington and especially the responses he received when he asked our incumbent about the issues. His story is one of a citizen who finally got fed up and decided to act.
On the issues conservatives care about? He is unabashedly pro-life. He supports repeal of Obamacare. He supports Second Amendment rights and was endorsed by a combination of pro-Second Amendment groups in Maryland. In March, I interviewed him and asked him what the most important issues were of the day and he said
The economy is in shambles due mainly to the meddling of the government in the free market. We were going into a recession, but the government just throwing money around hoping for a good outcome has intensified it. We need to reform the tax code to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses and individuals. We also need to not only control spending, but also spending cuts are needed. The federal government’s penchant for spending has led us into trillion-dollar deficit spending and a $13 trillion debt. These policies are economically unsustainable.
Health Care Reform is a very hot topic these days, but Congress does not seem to care about actually reforming health care. We need to open up competition across the country by allowing people to buy insurance from any company regardless of which state they are located. Also expanding Health Savings Accounts will enable consumers to track and control their health care spending. Medical malpractice reform is a necessary component that needs to be included in the reform to cut the cost of health care. Frivolous lawsuits have caused health care costs to skyrocket.
Homeland Security is always an important issue. The world in which we live has become a very dangerous place. Enemies of our great nation are endlessly working and planning our destruction. They would like nothing more than to see death and destruction on our streets. We need to realize that there are evil people in the world and they are committed to destroying our country and our freedom. Homeland Security starts at home. We need to protect our borders from those who are bent on our destruction and also those who refuse to follow our immigration laws. Pretending that the terrorists and enemies of freedom will suddenly love us as a country if we apologize enough will not make us safe.
Watching him speak a few times, you can see that Stouffer has a solid command of the issues. His style and substance impress me more each time I hear him speak. I feel that in a debate, Stouffer would be the best candidate to directly face Dutch Ruppersberger. In today's 24-hour news cycle, we need a candidate who is quotable in easily digestible sound bytes. Stouffer is a great candidate in that regard. Listen to some of the debate audio - Stouffer's one-liners would be great for radio ads and to get his thoughts across through the filter of our modern media.
That said, I also feel that Stouffer could become a great, conservative voice in Congress. His stances put him right in line with the current Conservative leadership (Pence, Ryan, Flake) in Congress and more members of Congress in line with the Pence wing of the party will only help make for more conservative leadership if the GOP retakes Congress.
I know that Stouffer would be a great new voice in Congress to help represent conservative principles. If you are interested in learning more about Stouffer's campaign, check out his official website. As with all the candidates I've headlined / voted for - I ask that you consider a donation to his campaign.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant