While the political world watches conservative change agent Ted Cruz and establishment moderate David Dewhurst slug it out in the July 31st U.S. Senate run-off election in Texas, there is another run-off right around the corner where similar dynamics are at play.
The July 17th election in North Carolina's 8th congressional district pits a conservative anti-establishment candidate against a well-funded, longtime D.C. insider who is trying to come back to North Carolina to win a congressional seat with lots of establishment backing. The conservative R+12 district is currently represented by the Nancy Pelosi-backed Democrat Larry Kissell, who somehow avoided the 2010 tidal wave. With the Tar Heel State trending back to red, he won’t be as lucky this time.
Dr. Scott Keadle (pictured above), a dentist, small businessman, and conservative’s conservative, is the outsider in the race, ready to take on the failed status quo and special interests in Washington. His opponent is Richard Hudson, a longtime Capitol Hill chief of staff, who is shouldering the burden of having deep Washington roots. To be fair, Hudson is also conservative, but the calculation can’t end there. As we witnessed in 2011, there are many conservative politicians in D.C. who can’t seem to garner the courage to make the tough votes on entitlement reform and budget cuts. One reason why is that they have ties and support from the establishment and their party’s leadership.
Voters face heady decisions at the ballot box these days because of the tough fiscal reforms and debt reduction measures that will surely have to be dealt with in the next Congress. People must ask themselves, do longtime politicians and operatives who have become comfortable members of the club have the political guts to do what’s right for the sake of future generations?
A perfect example of this is the hundreds of thousands in support Hudson is receiving from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Young Guns PAC. Imagine this scenario: Hudson is elected and Cantor wants him to vote for a watered-down debt reduction bill instead of a meaningful alternate bill with real reforms. Sound familiar? My point is don’t count on Hudson to buck leadership’s wishes. On the other hand, Scott Keadle is running for the very opportunity to take that tough vote, again and again.
For reasons that are escaping many, Cantor and his Young Guns operation have gotten involved in primaries against other conservatives this election cycle. First they supported moderate Adam Kinzinger against Don Manzullo. Then they backed RINO Senator Dick Lugar over Richard Mourdock. Now they are trying to defeat Scott Keadle, the conservative outsider. Of all the things Leader Cantor should be doing, it’s hard to see how getting involved in primaries against great conservatives should be one of them. I would argue that Congressman Cantor should consider focusing on driving a conservative agenda in the House of Representatives, which is his job after all.