What the Iowa Senate Race Can Teach the GA GOP

June 2, 2014 16:00 pm

by Eric The Younger · 4 comments

The following is a Guest post from Colin Martin:

Round 1 of the Georgia Republican Senate Primary is over and we are left with two candidates: Jack Kingston and David Perdue. The run-off election is July 22nd but both campaigns are doing behind-the-scenes work to be ready for the final media push.

Jack Kingston delivered the first big news by earning the endorsement of former rival Karen Handel. Jim Galloway, who is one of three co-writers for the Political Insider blog for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had an interesting take in a post last Wednesday. The short version is that Jack Kingston is trying to unite the two big factions of the Republican Party: the “establishment” and the “tea party.”

In Iowa, something similar is happening, even before their primary election to be held tomorrow. State Senator Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, has won the backing of both of these GOP coalitions. Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin have endorsed her.  She has also won the support of the US Chamber of Commerce and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which are usually on opposite sides in Republican primaries.

Make no mistake: Ernst has staked out conservative positions on the issues. However, according to an article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal (may require a paid subscription), the candidate also touts her ability to reach across party lines in the Democratically-controlled Iowa State Senate to get things done. And, her advertising shows her to be a real person with a sense of humor to whom voters can relate.

So, what can the Georgia Republicans learn from this? Coalitions win elections. While Joni Ernst hasn’t won yet, she holds a significant lead in the polls. By pulling together business interests, party regulars, and tea-party groups, she has left little room for her challenger to build his own alliances.

This might seem obvious to many people. However, in the last several years, the various conservative factions of the Georgia Republican Party seem intent on imposing purity tests on the party as a whole. Those who are not 100% in agreement with whichever group are deemed RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). This is not a recipe for success.

Forming coalitions does not mean compromising the basic philosophical tenets of the party for the sake of electoral success. Joni Ernst is certainly not doing that. However, winning elections is built on convincing the majority to vote for a candidate. That means candidates must attract people with competing interests and views but who share the basic values of low taxes, limited government, local control, and free markets.

Jack Kingston seems to have learned this lesson. Will other GOP candidates follow his leadership? – See more at: http://colinmartin.com/what-the-iowa-senate-race-can-teach-the-ga-gop/#sthash.LPKIRpfN.dpuf

Chris Huttman June 3, 2014 at 2:21 am

We shall see if having the endorsement of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party is good for general elections in Iowa. Methinks no.

notsplost June 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

This libertarian minded former GOP voter is voting for Michelle Nunn. #TentFail!

Salmo June 3, 2014 at 10:49 am

I hired a builder to build me a house. I asked for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. I got all of those, but he put on a really crappy-looking door and painted the house the wrong color, so I burned it down instead and went to live in a trailer.

Lawton Sack June 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm

And that is the best political analogy I have heard in a long time. I need to put that on business cards and hand them out when people say they are going to vote for someone who shares 5% of their values instead of someone that shares 80%.

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