Matt Towery

Reed, who at the time was being hit with "guilt by association" with his former friend and now disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, chose not to follow my advice, feeling that to leave the race would appear to be an admission of having done something wrong when he had not. He remained in the race and endured what he acknowledges was near living hell. And he lost.

But in doing so, Reed probably bettered himself. He learned the realities of being the actual candidate, instead of just being the power behind the throne. And he learned, I would guess, a little bit more about the real world, as opposed to the D.C. Beltway view of America.

Lest anyone think my praise for this novel is out of bias, one need only reference my comments in the New York Times just days before his primary election two years back, when I bluntly said that Ralph Reed would need to pull out "a miracle" to win his race. I'm sure that thrilled him.

No, I recommend this book for two reasons. First, it's so well written and energetically paced.

Second, I know all that Reed has seen and done. When you have covered the ground he has, dealt with the power with which he has dealt, shot political bullets and dodged them as well, and have also had the courage to put your own name on a ballot, you are truly qualified to take readers into a world they may know little about.

Politics can indeed be a dark and harsh business. And "Dark Horse" exposes that side without destroying one's belief that there is some good in our system as well. More importantly, the reader can take solace that the author, while taking his storyline from years of being in that world, appears to be heading to a much lighter and happier place: the world of best-selling author and, at least for now, of being a just plain private citizen.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery