Monday, November 26, 2007

A Tough Tightrope to Walk

It's never easy trying to maintain strong ties to critical political allies and financial supporters when they don't always agree with many in your constituent base. Some in the Arizona GOP congressional delegation found that out in last year's election when Bush administration and RNC officials interfered with last year's CD8 race. Even though they tried to maintain public neutrality, some of our delegation found themselves wiping their prints when leaving the gate open for the NRCC. Admittedly, it was a tough position to manage. What made it even more stressful was the fact that some were up for reelection and counted on campaign work and votes from the very conservative base they were selling to their D.C. allies. 

It didn't end there, however. After the election, the congressional delegation again found themselves pushed onto the tightrope in the battle for control of the state Republican party. Even though when it was over most Republicans felt relieved that everyone could then go back to the business of defeating Democrats, some elected officials couldn't let it end there. While staying out of the fray, publicly, they have found ways to continue the battle. Not that it makes sense for the local party to depend on financial support from elected officials, anyway. But it's difficult for local activists to reconcile their feelings about this behavior with what they know needs to be done to retain critical seats for Republicans.

I don't know, but I think if I were planning to run for re-election, I would be trying to communicate that I'm part of the constituency that elects me. I think I would want to be a force for unity ensuring that regardless of differences, I desire to alienate nobody, particularly those who walk the streets and get out the votes for me. Sometimes it pays to be a Republican first and a D.C. politician second. Some in the party apparently still need to get that message.


Sirocco said...

I don't know the full ins-and-outs of GOP events, but while it's true a politician wants to alienate as few people as possible (as you note, they need money, volunteers and, ultimately, votes), it's worth noting a candidate has two constituencies - the primary constituency and the general constituency.

Thanks to the joys of gerrymandering, in the majority congressional districts there is not necessarily a big difference between the two. However, in the more contested districts (AZ CD8 being an example) the rhetoric and positions necessary to win the primary can be extremely different from that which is put forth in the general. This can certainly lead to dissatisfaction, disillusion and even alienation among voters who opted for a given candidate only to see their choice swing tack in a different direction once the nomination has been earned.

This matter is certainly not limited to Republicans either.

Cactus Wren said...

I will NEVER forgive the RNC and RNCC for what they did to Randy Graf!! Every time they contact me for support I tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine.

Anonymous said...

Cactus Wren is right on... The National Party has NO role in choosing our primary winners. Jim Click and his National Cohorts do NOT have the right to choose our candidates. Shame on the NRCC!! This next time, we need to agree to unite behind whomever the republican candidate may be.

Sirocco said...

Not that I feel strongly about it, but for the sake of arguing the other side, why shouldn't they have a role if they feel strongly about it?

After all, the RNCC (and it counterpart the DCCC) want as many possible members of their party in Congress as they can get. If they feel one candidate in a primary is a considerably better bet for the general than a second candidate, isn't it consistent with their goals to promote the former at the expense of the latter?

Ultimately, Graf lost last year, so it can't be argued the RNCC was wrong in its analysis of the race (although, of course, et can never know if any other Republican candidate would have done better).