Conservatives must realize it’s Pat Hughes or Mark Kirk

I am very pro-primary election. We believe that Republican primary voters should have a choice on election day. But we also know from experience the vast resources and cash that liberal establishment “Republicans” like Mark Kirk have available to them. We’ve seen many good challengers over the years lose to RINO (Republican in Name Only) incumbents.

In a case where the contrast between candidates is so stark – as it is in this U.S. Senate race – conservatives need to wise up. If that sounds too harsh – too bad. Those of us who are veterans of the political trenches have to tell it like it is.

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Don Lowery and John Arrington might be fine men, but they can’t win a statewide race when too few Illinois primary voters know who they are. They’re largely unknown because they’ve failed to raise the kind of money that’s needed to compete statewide.

So you met John or Don on the campaign trail and you’re impressed. Wonderful. That makes no difference when it comes to the viability of their campaigns. You also met Pat Hughes or you’ve heard that he can be a bit rough around the edges. In my first column mentioning Pat I wrote this:

“One friend of mine described Hughes as a good, tough S.O.B. My friend added – that’s just what conservatives in Illinois need in a candidate.”

I’ve personally spoken with both Don and John – Don on the phone back in September and John several times in person. I was honest with both about what their campaigns lacked – which is manpower and money. You can’t win statewide without an organization or the financial resources to go on radio and/or television. Illinois’ population is almost 13 million people. No matter how much we might like them – they can’t win.

Which brings us to the bottom line, dear conservatives. Mark Kirk represents almost everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party in this state and nationally. His voting record is abysmal. His connection to the rot that was the Hastert years disqualifies him for leadership. He pretends to be a fiscal conservative but anyone who lived through the Republican controlled Congress just a few years ago realize that’s a lie.

To repeat:

We all know fine, talented people who set out to run for office but weren’t able to put together the kind of organization or raise the amount of money needed to win.

This failure isn’t a character fault. Campaigns can be rough and tumble and fundraising is one of the worst parts of politics to be sure. But depending on the geographic and population size of a campaign – mustering the adequate resources isn’t an option.

If you’re one of a number of conservative candidates in a race and you aren’t raising money or building a real (not pretend) organization, the clock is ticking. If there is another good platform supporting candidate in the race, it might be the time to consider throwing your support to him.

There are circumstances when one liberal candidate – like a Mark Kirk – benefits from having more than one conservative in the race. In cases like that, un-viable campaigns being run by conservatives wind up helping the RINO candidate win by splitting the conservative primary vote.

It’s time for bold action: Don Lowery and John Arrington should exit the race and tell their supporters to vote for Pat Hughes if they want to avoid playing the role of spoiler. This is supposed to be about advancing the principles and not about personal agendas.

If you’re among those who say that Don or John should be the candidate and Pat and one of the others should drop out – as a veteran of the arena let me say that I’ve met you before – and voters like you are the reason conservatives in Illinois rarely win the big races.