Recently, my friend Erick Erickson wrote a blog post at RedState on the primary campaign in Kansas’ First Congressional District. It's a race that is close to me because of a large number of family members I have in Kanasas...and as Erick correctly noted, there are two conservatives in the race (interestingly, both are Catholic conservatives, as well). The difference I believe is that only Tim Huelskamp has a proven conservative record, and honestly, he has the most realistic chance of winning. Why? The following are 5 reasons why conservatives must line up behind Tim Huelskamp, or risk losing the seat:
1. Voting record - How often have we seen "conservatives" squish out once they are elected? Only one person in this race has a 13-year record of voting conservative in the legislature. Tim Huelskamp is one of the most conservative state legislators in the nation. In fact he is one of only 7 state senators in the nation to recently score a perfect 100 percent rating from Americans for Prosperity. AFP is an organization that I have worked with and admire greatly.
2. Money – Money isn’t the most important thing, but it does help. As of the last financial report, Huelskamp was in first place in terms of cash-on-hand, while Wasinger was in a distant fourth place.
3. Endorsements – Erick correctly noted that Huelskamp has The Club for Growth’s endorsement, while Wasinger has Fred Thompson’s. It’s also worth noting, however, that Rob Wasinger just received the endorsement of that great conservative luminary John McCain. Meanwhile, Huelskamp has received the endorsements of Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, Ken Blackwell, Kansans for Life, the Club for Growth, Evangelical Leader and national radio personality Jay Sekulow and numerous Kansas Legislators.
4. Huelskamp actually lives in Kansas. Tim Huelskamp is a family farmer in Fowler, Kansas and has been in the Kansas state senate for 13 years. Wasinger, who has been plagued by the "carpetbagger issue," went to prep school in New England, college at Harvard, and then worked in Washington, DC for years (where he still owns a million dollar home in McLean, VA). Wasinger actually told RollCall, "A lot of people serve the state of Kansas in a variety of ways … "I was serving the people of Kansas in Washington, D.C." Wasinger’s move back to Kansas was a clear case of opportunism (he moved back once the seat opened up). This move, mind you, might work in some areas, but The Big First district of Kansas is one of the most rural districts in the country. Folks there know the score.
5. Leading the conservative fight – Campaigning is one thing, and voting right is another -- but only Tim Huelskamp led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood in Kansas. And while Wasinger was silent, Tim Huelskamp publicly opposed the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary. We don’t just need "conservative" talkers in Congress -- we need LEADERS like Pence, DeMint and Coburn, and Tim Huelskamp is of that same mold. Whether it’s defending the Second Amendment, or cutting taxes, or protecting life, Huelskamp is the conservative leader in Kansas.
While this Kansas House race may not get as much national attention as Crist vs. Rubio or Toomey vs. Specter, this seat is important – so important that it is one of only two House seats The Club for Growth has (so far) gotten involved in this cycle.
In his RedState post, Erick writes, "Let’s see who proves viability. We may have to weigh in to ensure across the board conservatives get the nomination." Erick is correct to say that conservatives must eventually rally around one of these two conservative candidates, lest they make the mistake of splitting the conservative vote and allowing liberal Republican Jim Barnett to win. But with just eight months to go until the primary election, I think the choice is now clear regarding who has viability. Conservatives must rally around the obvious choice, Tim Huelskamp. Wasinger can’t win – but he can play spoiler.