Remembering Chip Gerdes: Political Activist Who Broke All the Rules

I first met Chip Gerdes at CPAC in 2011, and the two of us struck up one hell of a relationship from there.

Chip was eager, like a bulldog, to get the truth out about the left and stop big government. We’d spend hours on the phone chatting about whatever was going on at any given moment in the news or in our lives.

Chip acted almost like a spiritual guide to the world of politics and journalism for me, and spent unbelievable amounts of time talking with me and giving me advice. Sometimes his wife would get mad at him for talking to me so late at night or so frequently, and he’d have to jump off the phone and call me back later.

The reason Chip was such a beloved political activist--believe me, the term “beloved” and “political activist” rarely go hand in hand and Chip is the only exception I can think of--is that he actually cared about the fights he got involved in. Chip didn’t do it for money, he didn’t do it for fame and he didn’t do it to be a part of the club of political elites. Chip fought on the front lines of politics because he was needed there.

He was an aggressive activist; nobody ever wanted to be in his crosshairs. Most who ended up there did not make it out without serious political damage. Chip was a one-man wrecking ball. But his impact on the conservative movement and on the national political sphere was immeasurable. Chip made a difference. He held politicians’ feet to the fire, and did so with a jubilant finesse that only he could master.

Chip’s style was different than most activists. Many political figures work through other staffers, or don’t pursue certain issues or stories that would be considered by the mainstream media controversial. Chip went straight for the flames. He would contact reporters, lawmakers, other activists and political figures himself, and he was smart and clever enough to know how to maneuver through each of these people. He never feared a controversial headline or a risky topic, either.

Chip’s style broke the unwritten rules of political activists. He spoke the truth, and did not back down from a fight. That’s why he was so effective, and so beloved.

More importantly, though, Chip was a friend who provided invaluable life lesson advice for me on so many occasions I don’t know if I ever would have been able to repay him. I have so many Chip stories I couldn’t begin to write them all down. He was funny, and a goofball. He was the life of the party at every party. He was always genuinely excited to be there.

Today, America lost a patriot, the conservative movement lost a heroic fighter and we all lost a friend. I’m going to miss you, Chip.


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