Jeanine Martin in the Bull Elephant (www.thebullelephant.com) admitted that Shak is a real contender to win the convention in Roanoke. Unfortunately, that’s the last truthful thing she says in her article. Allow me to cut through the emotional cacophony of factless assertions to reveal the real state of play.
1. Shak CAN beat Mark Warner
Jeanine asserts that Shak Hill can’t beat Mark Warner. Of course it would make sense that Shak couldn’t raise what Ed Gillespie did for the nomination; Ed is a seasoned fundraiser for decades and has relationships with big Republican donors. That is why Shak decided to self-fund his nomination fight; he has poured about $200,000 of his own money in, which is part of the reason why it is competitive. Sen. Ron Johnson did the same thing, faced with similar circumstances, in Wisconsin in 2010.
But that doesn’t mean that, once Shak is the nominee, that money can’t be raised. Most Republican donors are happy to max out to any reasonable nominee. Some will go further because Shak actually stands for what they believe in. Some will not. And I am in a position to make that claim, being that I sat in on hundreds of such phone calls with Shak, which Jeanine has not.
But there is a reason why outside groups such as Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights, National Defense PAC, Special Operations Speaks PAC, and several others have backed Shak; additional conservative organizations (whose endorsed candidates have taken a beating this year) have already been contacted and will jump on board with Shak as the nominee. They would never have backed Gillespie.
Bottom line, neither Ed nor Shak would out-raise Warner, but Shak will have the resources to get his message out– and he won’t be playing defense with his money like Ed would with his. Which brings me to point #2…
2. Ed has been vetted but Shak has not?
You have got to be kidding me.
The arguments Shak has been making about Ed have to do with policy, and there are some differences there. TARP bailouts, HB3202 (unconstitutional tax hike), amnesty, compulsory mandatory insurance, and other policy items give conservatives and the liberty-minded cause enough to doubt that Ed is one of them.
What Shak has NOT hit Ed on is what Warner HAS- and it is potentially much more damning in a general election. Lobbying for Enron? Lobbying to exempt Tysons Foods from immigration requirements? Running the campaign of former Governor McDonnell, now on trial for corruption? Being besties with Karl Rove (also detailed in Gillespie’s book)? Expect to see this and much, much worse if Ed wins. Ed will need to spend $10 million just to play defense on his background- and that is a target-rich environment.
With all of Ed’s money, do you honestly think Shak has not been vetted? If he had ANYTHING even remotely untoward, you’d see Jeanine or Justin Higgins spreading around the muck as fast as they could get it. Fact is, he’s a hero- a military hero, a hero for Life, a family hero, and presents a MUCH more compelling story than Gillespie OR Warner. Oh, AND he’s a bona fide, unquestioned, conservative.
3. The death of conventions?
You know who else was nominated at a convention? George Allen, 1993. He won.
Jim Gilmore, 2008. He lost.
Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli, 2009. All won.
Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson, Mark Obenshain, 2013. All lost.
See a pattern? Me neither. Sure, people with an agenda will try to draw patterns, but those patterns simply don’t exist. That’s why electability is a tough aspect to rank with conventions.
Everyone knows Warner is a tough mark (no pun intended) anyway, especially in a race where Libertarian Robert Sarvis is also on the ballot. With Sarvis on the ballot, it makes it all the more imperative to nominate a candidate libertarians can rally behind. Shak Hill is the only person running that fits that bill. With Gillespie as our standard bearer, Sarvis might reach 10% of the vote- meaning Warner could be re-elected with as little as 45%.
Shak Hill will aggressively hold Warner to account on his record, setting Republicans up well for a comeback in the Old Dominion. And a comeback based on principle- instead of selling out our principles- is worth it. So stop believing what the Washington Post says about Republicans Jeanine, because it doesn’t stand up to the light of day.
YES, WE CAN. And yes, we will!