Tomorrow is primary day in California. By that evening, we’ll know whether Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell, or Chuck DeVore is the choice of California Republicans to face off against Barbara Boxer in November. This election year is our last, best chance to dethrone the malign queen of the California left, with her black heart and bad ideas — and I hope we make the right choice. I hope we choose Chuck DeVore.
In fact, I think we will. The peculiar dynamics of 2010 aren’t captured by any poll, and we’re taking this effort down to the wire.
But I’m not writing this as a last-minute push for Chuck DeVore. I’m writing this to thank you. RedState mattered in this primary, for all the right reasons.
Let’s rewind back to September 2009. Carly Fiorina had formed her exploratory committee, and was boasting to private audiences about her recruitment by the NRSC. Chuck DeVore’s campaign was wholly staffed by volunteers, and widely expected to be a non-factor. He would neither affect nor influence Fiorina’s smooth path to the nomination. His years of conservative activism would mean nothing next to the celebrity newcomer and her millions.
Then RedState happened.
On October 1st, 2009, a group of RedState editors got together and endorsed Chuck DeVore. I want to thank them by name: Aaron Gardner. BS. Haystack. Caleb Howe. Mark Impomeni. Dan McLaughlin. Dan Spencer. Neil Stevens. Leon Wolf. These men resisted the blandishments of celebrity and cash — and rest assured, there were strenuous efforts by the Fiorina campaign on both counts — and stood up for the tested conservative.
That got some important attention. And when Carly Fiorina bragged again — this time on the record — about her NRSC backing, well, that got some more attention. RedState’s steadfastness for conservatism, and Carly’s arrogance, brought the DeVore campaign its first big coup.
Senator Jim DeMint and the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed Chuck DeVore on November 3rd, 2009. That alarmed the Fiorina campaign, which never expected meaningful support for an ordinary guy over the celebrity dilettante: it promptly moved its planned formal candidacy announcement from November 6th to November 4th, in an attempt to step on the DeMint news.
Then, just a few weeks later, Erick Erickson personally endorsed Chuck DeVore. He’s stuck with Chuck since, and I want to publicly and explicitly thank him for that as well.
And that’s when everything changed about Carly Fiorina.
It’s important to recall where Carly Fiorina stood in the first few weeks of her campaign last fall. A brief refresher on just the highlights:
She supported the Wall Street bailouts. She was on record conditionally supporting the Obama stimulus. She declared herself agnostic on Obamacare. She refused to say where she stood on amnesty for illegals. She supported cap-and-tax. She refused to say whether she’d overturn Roe v. Wade. She was on record supporting taxation of Internet sales. She declared her support for Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to SCOTUS.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg: if you want the full indictment with copious sourcing, head here.
The point here is not to expose Fiorina’s liberal record yet again, but to point out that by the New Year, she was vigorously denying all of this. Carly Fiorina didn’t just change her mind: she changed her mind, and then denied there was any change.
To be explicit, RedState successfully pressured, directly and indirectly, a major national figure into changing her tune on just about everything.
Now, I don’t endorse lying per se. I certainly prefer a candidate like Chuck DeVore, who doesn’t have to lie about a thing, and certainly not about his conservative principles. But if candidates in a Republican primary feel they have to lie about their liberal records, and pretend to be a conservative — this is a good thing.
Carly Fiorina’s self-reinvention as a conservative proved two things: that this party, even in California, is hostile to liberals; and that you, the conservative grassroots, have the power you ought to have. I only know one thing for sure about Tuesday night: Tom Campbell is going to lose. Isn’t it great to know that whether it’s Chuck or Carly, the winner will be on the record having proclaimed conservatism?
That is excellent. When Ben Domenech, Mike Krempasky, and I founded RedState six years ago, this is precisely what we hoped to accomplish. We wanted a place where conservatives could exert influence on behalf of conservatives: and we wanted to press liberals to act conservative.
RedState, you raised up Chuck DeVore, and made a new conservative (at least for the primary) of Carly Fiorina. You should be proud. Whatever happens tomorrow — you have my thanks. Well done, RedState. Thank you, my friends.
Okay, one last parting item. Here’s Chuck DeVore speaking at the Israel Solidarity Rally today, in front of Israel’s consulate in Los Angeles. This is who he is — and this is who you supported, RedState. I hope you’re proud.