Subject: Are GOP Congressional
Primaries Constructive in 2008?
BThree incumbent GOP members of Congress face
primaries this August. Primaries can be a positive influence in guiding
partisan politics, but during an election year when the dynamics are not
conducive to an overall successful general election, people should question
the motives of those who are running against Republican incumbents when
they will not have the resources to win in November even if they were able
to win the August primary.
As a conservative GOP consultant, I want to see
as many Republicans as possible elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In this election atmosphere, a GOP challenge to an incumbent will not be
successful in the general election, especially when we inspect the quality
of the challengers involved in these three key races in the I-4 corridor.
If these challengers have no chance of victory, their goals can only be:
1. Weaken GOP incumbents to increase
the possibility of a Democrat pick up,
2. Require GOP incumbents to spend
during the primary increasing the possibility of a Democrat pick up,
3. Possibly gain name recognition
to increase their potential business interests.
It is not lost that all three of these challengers
come in the important I-4 corridor. The I-4 corridor is the voter-rich
area of Florida that includes Tampa and Orlando media markets and is considered
the swing area in statewide elections. All three of these GOP incumbents'
districts fall within the Tampa and/or the Orlando media markets.
I will not go as far to say that these GOP challengers are Democrat pawns
running in an effort to diminish GOP chances during the Fall by requiring
that they spend their campaign coffers during an unwarranted primary, but
when you look at the quality of these challengers, at the very least, they
are misguided candidates who do not have the best interests of the Republican
Party nor their own candidacies at heart.
Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite has represented
Central Florida with distinction. Her primary opponent Jim King has
not gained the financial support of the community, and he has recently
even attacked Congresswoman Brown-Waite for supporting her terminally ill
husband. In a recent Associated Press article, Mr. King said, ""I
think she needs to be by his side," King said."You can't serve two masters.
Either you accept family values, and support morally and physically your
spouse, or you don't."
Interestingly, the Congresswoman's Democrat opponent
said in the same article that "he wouldn't think of raising Mr. Waite's
health during the campaign." It is clear that Mr. King's judgment
does not reflect what Floridians want to see in their Representatives to
the U.S. House. I have met Mr. Waite on several occasions and the
one thing that always seemed clear is that he supported his wife's political
success and would never want to come between her and her service.
It is incomprehensible that a primary opponent would use a spouse's health
for political gain. Mr. King should truly be ashamed of himself.
Congressman Feeney's primary opponent can only
be described as a character. He opened his campaign account in April
2008 and qualified for office by borrowing the nearly $10,000 qualifying
fee. John Paul Davis has a distinguished military career, but at
46, is unemployed and is a full-time student at a local community college.
While looking at his web site, his press section lists a Democratic-supported
web site that bashes the Congressman. He seems to be void of both
money and ideas. A simple public record search shows an arrest report
from April 2001 for a John Paul Davis with the same date of birth and the
same last four digits of the new candidate's social security number.
The arrest is for fraud over $20,000. Voters can only speculate at
his motivation for running for Congress.
The third incumbent facing primary opposition
is Congressman Ric Keller. Congressman Keller continues to represent
Central Florida with distinction. Democrats constantly have him listed
as a vulnerable member of Congress, but voters in his district continue
to support him overwhelmingly. He has not faced a serious challenge
since his first election for the open seat during the 2000 Election.
Congressman Keller has won every race since 2000 by significant margins.
Congressman Keller's primary opponent, Todd Long, would seem to be the
strongest primary opponent of the three listed because it appears he has
raised or loaned his campaign a significant amount of money.
Looking at his federal campaign finance reports,
however, is like trying to find an apple in a 55-gallon barrel of mud.
The Federal Elections Commission must be as perplexed, because they've
asked him to respond by June 6 to correct numerous areas where his report
shows "incorrect" figures. It appears that he has spent $25,000 more
than he has collected which would violate election law. His report
shows that he has nearly $17,000 on hand.
Mr. Long's campaign report is likely the least
of his problems. His biggest problem is not likely a DUI he received
in 1997, a trespass warning at a local Orlando mall in March 2005 at 1:20
a.m. for "disorderly/drunk", nor the fact that he has financially supported
at least eight democrats in the past for elected office. The most
bizarre behavior that can only be described as behavior that is unbecoming
a member of Congress are events listed in a Tallahassee incident report
on March 29, 2007.
The report shows that Mr. Long started the evening
passing out campaign literature for his campaign for Congress in the bar
at the Holiday Inn in Tallahassee and finished with him passed out on a
sidewalk near Leon High School near downtown Tallahassee. An officer
responded when a concerned citizen called concerned about Mr. Long's health.
The officer found Mr. Long passed out but breathing normally. Mr.
Long woke up disoriented and did not know at what hotel he was staying.
Mr. Long said he was in town with the Orlando Chamber of Commerce for the
annual legislative session. The officer assisted Mr. Long to the
Holiday Inn where Mr. Long thought he was staying in a room that was occupied
by someone else. No member of the hotel staff recognized the type
of key that Mr. Long was carrying for his hotel. Finally, the embarrassment
ended when Mr. Long was picked up by a colleague who took him to his hotel.
Mr. Long was an announced candidate for Congress
during these events. Mr. Long is clearly not qualified to represent
Central Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. Quite frankly,
he should remove his name from the primary ballot.
All of the above public records concerning Mr.
Long show the same driver's license number for the accused and also include
the same address. Interestingly enough, the address mirrors his campaign
address listed on his campaign web site.
The 2008 Election Cycle is likely to be difficult
on all Republican candidates. These primary opponents should reflect
on their likelihood for success when they have few resources for direct
voter contact or have "sketchy" pasts that will not be embraced by primary
nor general election voters. The motivation of all three of these
sub-par candidates should be questioned by Republican voters in their respective
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