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Logic is Lost on the RNC

The RNC's inability to support Steve Lonegan lost the U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey. What else has it cost conservatives?

Literature from the Democratic party ignored who the candidate in the special election was. In case you were wondering, it was former Newark Mayor, now Senator Cory Booker. Photo Credit:

Everyday there are dozens of news stories revealing how disastrous the ObamaCare rollout is. For those paying attention this was not surprising. Conservatives are understandably feeling smart given that they’ve been warning that ObamaCare would be a disaster for the past four years because that is simply how big government functions (or fails to function).

But those who hope to see the Senate in the hands of conservatives must admit that they have their own recent embarrassing failure.

In October 2013, there was only one U.S. Senate race in the entire nation. It was a special election in New Jersey to fill the seat vacated by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Media darling, but stunningly flawed Newark Mayor Cory Booker was the Democratic nominee. Another former New Jersey mayor and successful businessman, Steve Lonegan, was the Republican nominee.

Given the GOP’s stated interest in limiting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s power and given that it was the only senate election in the entire nation, one might have thought the Republican election committees might have had a strong interest in the outcome.

But if you came to that strikingly logical conclusion, you’d be wrong.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee seemed to be entirely unaware of the Senate election, not running ads or contributing to Lonegan’s campaign or doing anything else useful. The Republican National Committee (RNC) sent its chairman to campaign in a belated get-out-the-vote effort and more notably, it encouraged Republicans to vote on the wrong day.

[sharequote align="center"]But if you came to that strikingly logical conclusion, you’d be wrong.[/sharequote]

Yes, you read that right.

The RNC encouraged Republicans to go to the polls and vote when the polls were closed.

To put that into perspective, if they had sent that same message to Democrat voters, they would likely face criminal charges for interfering with elections. This sort of failed leadership explains, at least in part, why Republicans have underperformed in senate elections in the past two election cycles.

The good news is that at least one private organization stepped in and did what the Republican election committees should have done. American Commitment Action Fund prepared and ran a series of highly effective political advertisements that did two important things: (1) revealed Cory Booker’s failed record of leadership as the Mayor of Newark and his record of personal corruption; and (2) introduced voters to Steve Lonegan’s strong conservative record and his impressive personal story.

If you donated to one of the national Republican committees this year, your money was largely wasted. On the other hand, if you donated to the American Commitment Action Fund (ACAF), you made a real difference.

Both polling results and the Democrat’s own tactics show the impact ACAF had on the election. ACAF so effectively revealed Booker’s failed, and even corrupt, leadership as Mayor of Newark, that in the end the Democrat Party did not promote Booker by name, but instead realized his brand was negative and simply encouraged voters to show up and “Vote Democrat.” Booker’s name appeared nowhere on their get-out-the-vote literature - it was entirely generic.

In all my years of studying campaigns, I do not recall seeing campaign literature that completely ignores who the candidate is and encourages the reader to simply “Vote Democrat” without mentioning or listing or naming the candidate for the U.S. Senate. That is a testament to the effectiveness of ACAF.

Literature from the Democratic party ignored who the candidate in the special election was. In case you were wondering, it was former Newark Mayor, now Sen. Cory Booker. Photo Credit: 

ACAF also gave voters a number of good reasons to support Lonegan’s candidacy. The problem was that ACAF was only one player and they were outspent by millions of dollars. Nonetheless, ACAF’s impact on the election stands in sharp contrast to the ineptitude demonstrated once again by the national Republican election committees.

Polling data also suggests that the government shutdown did not help Lonegan’s cause. Additionally, Booker and his allies spent millions to push Booker, a profoundly flawed candidate, across the finish line. One has to wonder what Lonegan might have done had groups like American Commitment Action Fund had the resources to match Booker and his allies.

If you want to help conservatives get elected to the U.S. Senate, you have a choice to make.

You can give your money to the national party and have them spend your money encouraging their own voters to vote on a day that the polls are closed or you can find an effective, proven third-party group like American Commitment Action Fund that has a principled conservative orientation and knows how to properly use resources to provide maximum effect.

It’s your money, so you get to decide. But burning your money would be more effective than sending voters to the polls on the wrong day. Supporting principled and effective groups like ACAF would be smarter still.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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