The lead political story around the Commonwealth for the past 24 hours has been the announcement by George Allen that he plans to run to retake his old Senate seat that, in spite of an all-out witch hunt sponsored by the Washington Post, he narrowly lost in 2006. You can see Allen’s video announcement here.
That brings to two the number of candidates who have, sort of, announced their intentions to run for the GOP nomination. Just after Christmas, Tea Party Chair Jamie Radtke announced that she also plans to run. Other possible candidates include Delegate Bob Marshall, Prince William Supervisor Chair Corey Stewart and retired Brigadier General Bert Mizusawa who in 2010 lost the 2nd District nomination to now Congressman Scott Rigell.
But up until today, Radtke has been the one getting the most press. She’s actively Tweeting and Facebooking as well as strategizing and raising money. Today, following Allen’s announcement Radtke gained the endorsement of RedState’s Erick Erickson who wrote “… former Senator Allen is going to have to address some serious problems…put succinctly, his voting record, which is out of step with most of the grassroots activists engaged in Republican primaries today.” [George’s Allen’s Problems]
Erickson said that he wished both candidates well, but that he would be supporting Ms. Radtke. That’s all fine and good, and Ms. Radtke lost no time broadcasting that endorsement, as well she should…maybe.
See the potential problem for Ms. Radtke is that Erickson also has a record. In his case it’s a record of supporting Tea Party Candidates for the Senate. Let’s review:
In Nevada last year, Erickson started out supporting the candidacy of Danny Tarkanian who was running for the nomination against Sue Lowden, whom Erickson described as establishment. On May 11th, Erickson said “I’m with Danny Tarkanian and I hope you will be too.” But on May 19th he said, “If I’m going to be consistent in trying to get the viable conservative elected, the rule must apply in Nevada too and that means you should not be surprised if very soon I’m urging everyone to get onboard Sharon Angle’s campaign bus.” Which he did, and promptly backed over Danny Tarkanian.
In California, Erickson was an early on supporter of Chuck DeVore, saying as late as May 5th “I’m staying with Chuck Devore.” But just six days later he said “Look, if Chuck DeVore hasn’t gone up in the polls within two weeks significantly, I’ll be with Carly Fiorina.”
Move on to Delaware where in June, Erickson gave a lukewarm endorsement of Christine O’Donnell, “But this is one of those unique election years where anything can happen. ‘Anything’, in this case, is Christine O’Donnell getting elected. It could happen. I want to help make it happen. But at the end of the day, as long as Mike Castle loses I’m good.’ To Erickson’s credit, he admitted it was an uphill battle, which was a good thing because in September he said “I want Christine O’Donnell to win. Tea Party Express’s polling notwithstanding, I don’t think she will. And I cannot bring myself to spend an ounce of energy more to help when there are other candidates out there with better chances who need our help…I’m done and pulling the plug.” O’Donnell went on to win the primary, and was congratulated at RedState. But she lost the election.
In fact, all of these candidates once endorsed by Erickson lost. Most had strong Tea Party support. And this is where Ms. Radtke should proceed with caution.
No doubt, Mr. Erickson had some electoral successes in 2010. He’s well-spoken and has a large following at RedState and elsewhere. But in an election year when Republicans were making historic gains two high-profile Tea Party and Erick Erickson backed women, lost. And they lost soundly.
No, Ms. Radtke is not Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell. And Virginia is not Nevada, or Delaware (even if Tim Kaine does think it’s a border state).
But there’s no guarantee that the same surge of conservative enthusiasm will be there again in 2012. It’s highly likely that President Obama will rebound. In fact in the days following the lame duck session and the Tucson shooting, the media is already spinning that story. And if the House of Representatives fails to live up to their promises, we might be facing another throw the bums out year, this time the bums being in the right side of the aisle.
So, the message here is that, while one shouldn’t snark at any endorsement, one also should not inflate the value of said endorsement.
Cross posted to The Write Side of My Brain.