election results~ National report.
- RLC candidates did very well. Nearly 80% of our
candidates for Congress were elected or re-elected,
because they focused their campaigns on critical
issues of individual rights, limited government and
private enterprise. Reps. Jeff Flake, Ron Paul,
John Shadegg, Steve Chabot, and Jack Kingston
had very successful campaigns and will be among
the new leaders in the next Congress.
Others, like J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, focused
on conservative issues where we disagree and lost
their contests. We had some uphill battles that
were promising, like Paul Ard in Kentucky 6 and
Joe Negron in Florida 16 ["Punch Foley to elect
Joe"] that fell short. We also saw some strong
efforts from new faces, running against entrenched
incumbents, such as Tim Walberg's victory in
Michigan 7. There were three RLC victories in
open seats: Peter Roskam in Illinois 6, Adrian
Smith in Nebraska 3 and Jim Jordan in Ohio 4.
These are all going to be strong advocates for
libertarian ideas in the next Congress.
In the Senate, our top-rated legislator, John
Ensign of Nevada, won handily and will be among
the new leadership in that chamber. John Kyl in
Arizona and Craig Thomas in Wyoming did very
well running on RLC positions. Those who "ran
to the right" on social issues, even though we
consider them great advocates of economic
liberty, were defeated. Among the losses were
George Allen in Virginia, Jim Talent in Missouri,
and Conrad Burns in Montana ... who suffered
from connections to the Abramoff scandal.
They were all very close contests, beaten by
the tide of a national referendum on Bush.
Long-time RLC friends, like Mark Sanford in
South Carolina and Butch Otter in Idaho, had
strong gubernatorial victories. We were very
disappointed at Ken Blackwell's loss in Ohio
and Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas. They both
ran very good campaigns, but were victims of
Across the country, we had scores of
state executive and legislative victories, even
a near victory by RLC favorite Tom McClintock
in the California Lieutenant Governor's race.
Over 70% of our candidates won, but we had
a few RLC members lose their seats in Maine
and Washington. They'll be back as activists
and organizers for the next election cycle.
The RLC made a blanket endorsement of
two different state initiative issues. Almost all
of the anti-Kelo propositions were adopted by
large margins, restricting government takings
of private property. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights
[TABOR] initiatives all failed as a result of strong
opposition from government unions and nearly
every Democratic legislator. Efforts to enhance
private property rights and limit taxes will always
be on our agenda.
The loss of trust in the Bush Administration
had a decidedly bad effect on every Republican
campaign across the country. RLC candidates
who won had to demonstrate their independence
and thoughtful consideration of new strategies
to overcome the voter's distaste for a prolonged
and failing effort. Although the RLC has not taken
an official position on the Iraq War, we are not
apologists for the President or failed policies.
We favor a defensive military posture and oppose
all national building (positions that Bush shared
until after the Afghan victory).
The RLC has always been a strong advocate
of open borders and fair treatment of immigrants.
Nearly all of our federal candidates supported
a comprehensive reform of immigration policy.
Republicans who focused on "building a wall"
and cultural protectionism were badly beaten
across the country. We favor the administration
proposals for guest workers and an easy path
to legality. We expect that the results of
this election will prompt Congress to agree to
a reasonable immigration policy.
Although making some advances in cutting
taxes, Republican legislators suffered the just
wrath of libertarians for profligate spending and
pork-barrel favoritism. The sad culture of buying
voter support with special favors, subsidies,
and foolish projects was the basis for most of
the corruption scandals that engulfed several
GOP leaders. We expect RLC victors to join
Rep. Jeff Flake's heroic efforts to eliminate
spending earmarks and corporate giveaways.
Republicans ought to be the first defenders
of individual rights and constitutional principles.
Party loyalty and deference to the President's
judgement have clouded their devotion to first
principles. We hope that RLC legislators will
join Congressman Ron Paul in speaking out
against every violation of the Constitution. The
top issue for the RLC is limiting government,
not expanding it. Our candidates will not be
supporting entitlement expansions or new
federal bureaucracies. We hope they can find
a way to privatize social security and scrap
federal intervention in education, as critical
steps toward expanding individual choice.