If you want to vote your principles, start thinking about 2014

There is a lot of work to be done this year, next year, and then both in 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless, it’s not too early to begin thinking about 2014 when it comes to one important future race.

Running for the U.S. Senate in a state the size of Illinois is a daunting task. Republicans here haven’t had a viable platform-supporting nominee since Peter Fitzgerald – who won the primary and the general elections in 1998. Since then, there has been a series of invisible, nutty, or you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me GOP candidates who have occupied the ‘R’ ballot slot leaving fiscal and social conservatives disappointed to say the least.

The next time we’ll have a shot at sending someone to the U.S. Senate who actually supports the Republican Party Platform is in 2014 when Dick Durbin will be up for reelection.

If conservatives don’t want the national and state party chairmen running interference again for the establishment candidate (as happened this time), they had better start planning ahead. We can’t afford to continue forfeiting the upper chamber in Washington, D.C. to people who don’t share our values.

If you wonder what I mean by “establishment” candidates – read this recent passage from the Washington Post:

Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), now a D.C. lobbyist, warned that a robust bloc of rabble-rousers spells further Senate dysfunction. ‘We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples,’ Lott said in an interview. ‘As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.’

It’s a safe bet that most Illinoisans who support limited government and traditional values realize that electing someone to the U.S. Senate already co-opted doesn’t do us any good. Conservative voters have learned from the mistakes of candidates like Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, who ran as a liberal Republican and after winning switched parties.

Trent Lott has it exactly wrong – Jim DeMint “disciples” are exactly what we need. If you think Illinois Republicans fielding a good candidate is not possible, I’d recommend looking north of the cheese curtain to Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race this year.

Rather than me giving you the details, what follows is a fundraising letter from U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint on behalf of the Republican that is challenging long time incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold. I’ve left DeMint’s bolded text in place.

Dear Fellow Conservative:

I’m proud to announce the endorsement of Ron Johnson for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin against 18-year incumbent Democrat Senator Russ Feingold.

Ron Johnson is a principled conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending, bailouts, and debt that are bankrupting our country. He understands the stimulus bill was a failure, he will fight to repeal the health care takeover, he opposes amnesty, and he will help us pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

Ron Johnson is also pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-second amendment. He opposes government bailouts and will fight to preserve individual liberty.

Ron owns a manufacturing company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and is not a career politician. He came to meet with me a few weeks ago on his first-ever trip to Washington. He told me he decided to run for the Senate after the President signed health care takeover. It was just too much for him to stay on the sidelines.

Ron explained that he is running to join the fight for our nation’s freedoms, not to join the Senate club. That’s exactly the kind of leader people in Wisconsin and all across America want in Washington.

Help Ron Johnson Defeat Russ Feingold
A July 15th Rasmussen Reports survey showed Ron Johnson in a statistical dead heat with his Democratic opponent, Senator Russ Feingold. With very limited name awareness, Johnson is already leading Feingold by 1 point.

Johnson has attracted substantial support from grass roots conservatives throughout Wisconsin. In May, he won the endorsement of the Republican Party of Wisconsin at their state convention with 63% of the vote.

Ron Johnson is a businessman running for office because he loves his country and wants to do his part to save it. In a recent column in the Washington Post, George Will said Ron Johnson “is what the Tea Party looks like.”

Ron Johnson is a common sense conservative who can win. He’s in an uphill fight against an entrenched incumbent but I believe he’s the right man with the right ideas at the right time.

Help Ron Johnson Defeat Russ Feingold
If we want to create an earthquake election this November and make 2010 the year of the conservative comeback, we must help Ron Johnson win this critical Senate race.

The Senate Conservatives Fund will do everything it can to push Ron on to victory. We’re going to work hard to make sure voters in Wisconsin hear his message and that freedom-loving Americans across the country support his campaign. If he’s elected, he will help us take our country back.

Please support Ron Johnson’s Senate campaign by making a secure, online contribution to the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Thank you for your continued support. We’ll keep fighting.