Winning the general

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 11, 2010

Jillian Bandes, a columnist over at, has a piece up likening the upcoming Senate race against California Democrat Barbara Boxer as a potential repeat of the Dede Scozzafava debacle in NY-23 last year in which RINO Scozzafava split the conservative vote allowing the Democrat to win the House seat.

With memories of NY-23 fresh in the minds of conservative activists, the fight over California’s GOP Senate nominee to potentially unseat Barbara Boxer has turned into a game of “who is conservative enough?”

Carly Fiorina is playing defense.

“I've been called all sorts of things, so I prefer to just tell you what I am,” said Fiorina, in a recent interview with Flash Report. “I am a fiscal conservative. I hold conservative values…I believe that life begins at conception.”

That would seem pretty straightforward – until you talk to Chuck DeVore.

“She is a big government Republican. Pure and simple. End of story,” he said.

Both candidates are extremely hopeful in a state where Democrats have a 13-point registration advantage. But Boxer has dove head-first into a number of highly-divisive issues in recent months, including support for a failed, state-wide gay marriage referendum, national health care, and taxes. Dissatisfaction with the current Congress is at an all-time high.

If you went issue by issue, I’d probably line up closer to DeVore than Fiorina. But I don’t think that DeVore can win the general election in a state that Bandes concedes is +13 for Democrats. Any Republican that can win statewide office in California – even during a year that’s looking as ugly for Democrats as 2010 is shaping up to be – is going to be of the Susan Collins/Olympia Snowe/Arnold Schwarzenegger variety.

This issue came up a couple months back when some conservatives floated what was characterized by some as an ideological purity test. That sort of checklist is great when we’re talking about candidates to represent deep red House districts or states, but it goes out the window when you’re looking at purple – or even blue.

We should be electing the most conservative candidates that any particular electorate will support in the general election.

So, for the same reason that the California GOP would likely be better off nominating Fiorina, a state like South Carolina can certainly do better than Sen. Lindsay Graham.

Chuck DeVore is certainly the man I would prefer – but California won’t elect him. Instead of another six years of Boxer, I’ll settle for Fiorina.

One comment on “Winning the general”

  1. I disagree, such a senator disheartens the rank and file Republican voters, as they are as likely as not, to back stab the party platform and jump on any issue at a moment of convenience, and we don't need another senator giving Democrats "bi-partisan" cover on a clearly leftist agenda.


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