Yesterday, I wrote about how the RNC and NRSC owe Florida a great big "Mea Culpa" and need to make amends. This morning, my fellow Okaloosa county Blogger, Bob Sikes (No relation to THE Bob Sikes) who resides up in the "wilds" of Crestview brought note to the fact that one Republican, Diane Berryhill, has decided to go independent. This, along with candidacy of Paul McKain, threatens to pull away votes that normally would go to the center-right Republican and make it easier for Democrat Allen Boyd to hang on to his seat.
One Republican, Charlie Ranson, has dropped out as of Friday. That leaves just four Republicans, Steve Southerland, David Scholl, Barbara Olschner, and Eddie Hendry as active candidates for the GOP nomination in FL-CD2.
First, I would say I have respect for Mr. Ranson's decision. When you know you can't win, why waste your and other people's money on a doomed campaign, especially one that is so critical not only for Congressional District 2, but Florida and the United States itself. This is was a selfless (and realistic) political act.
Second, I am not surprised by Ms. Berryhill's decision to run as an independent. When I broached the subject that the RPOF needs to do more attack ads softening up Allen Boyd before the Primary, her response was we should not worry about Boyd because everyone she meets already hates him. (I will only note that mostly Republicans show up at Republicans campaign events.) She then suggested that my time and others like me would be better spent on supporting an individual candidate and with money and boots on the ground. I thought her response a) Counterproductive (the goal is to replace Boyd with a Republican and b) a wee bit selfish.
I am surprised, however, that Ms Berryhill, seeing the handwriting on the wall, instead of withdrawing, went independent in order to be on the November Ballot. Like Charlie Crist, I consider this a totally selfish and destructive move. Her campaign will only help ensure Allen Boyd's re-election. Your loyalty is first to the Nation's best interests and that means defeating Allen Boyd. Only a Republican will have the organization, access to funds (if the RPOF, RNC and NRCC do their Job) and "Brand name" loyalty that can take on and defeat Allen Boyd. Neither Ms. Berryhill or Mr. McKain have a prayer of knocking off Boyd. All they will do is siphon off votes and allow Boyd to win. If Ross Perot never ran in 1992, George Bush would have been re-elected. Instead we got Bill Clinton. Think about it.
I am, for now, a Republican Party man. I firmly believe that increased party discipline and less "go it alone cowboy" politics (can you say "Maverick" McCain and Lindsay Graham?) is the key for Republican success.
Also, I DO NOT live in CD2. I have read the websites of all the remaining candidates. I am, above all a fiscal conservative , a foreign policy hawk and a proponent of U.S. Energy independence. If you are with me on those three subjects, then I can vote for you. Social Issues such as abortion or gay unions take a back seat with me. They are back-burner issues that distract from the main problems our nations faces.
Therefore, I have a pretty "broad tent" as a Republican... but with just those three principles, I have managed to exclude ANY Democrat from my self-made "Republican" Tent..that's how far left the Dems have drifted. From what I can gather, any of the four remaining Republican CD2 candidates meet my standards. Now if one of them comes out and says, "I don't support Nuclear Power or reopening Yucca Mountain...", that's a deal breaker.
What's the gist in all this? When August 24 comes, I expect bygones be bygones and the Republicans in CD2 who lost to fully support the winner. In the mean time, the RPOF, the RNC and NRCC need to hammer away on Allen Boyd and or his opponent in the Democratic primary, Al Lawson (who I hereby christen "Loony" Lawson) until 24 August and then really come out strong for the winner of the Republican Nomination in CD2.
To Ms. Berryhill and Mr. McKain: the Country in 2010 has no time for vanity runs for Congress. Just like Charlie Crist, you wind up either looking either like a fool or spoiler, or worse, both. I urge both of you to drop your efforts and get on with your life. There are other offices and other elections you can make a POSITIVE difference in.