Having been frightened away by the scary “leftists” at the Eastern Carver County League of Women Voters (even failing to follow through on their tough talk about how they would stand up to the LWV’s “lies” at last week’s Chanhassen Voter ID forum), four Carver County GOP candidates for County Commissioner have regrouped with a plan that only the brain trust responsible for this and this could come up with.
A member of the Carver County GOP Executive Committee has posted on the Chanhassen Villager’s website that of course voters will have access to see these candidates in action — at events sponsored by the party itself (an open house next week and a to-be-scheduled forum)! We can see what Messrs Workman, Long, Beaudette, and Walter really meant by their letter — that in fact they only are willing to face questions from approving supporters.
In fact, it seems unlikely that we will see an all-hands-on-deck candidate forum like the LWV forums of previous cycles, where voters will get to see both candidates for the same office answer the same questions back-to-back. That’s a huge loss to Carver County voters.
None of the four candidates have yet to identify any problem with any of the six questions asked of the Commissioner candidates by the LWV in 2010. And they won’t either, because there wasn’t anything wrong with them.
What these four candidates are doing is demonstrating yet again that they’re not ready for the offices they seek. Apparently, the forces in power at the Carver County GOP are immune to the lessons of history. Just two years ago, they formally endorsed two challengers (and had a third refuse endorsement) to incumbent commissioners, saying that the Board wasn’t conservative enough. Those three challengers all lost, by an average of 10 points.
Just last month, the same group of folks that spawned these four Commissioner candidates backed one of 2010′s losers, Bruce Schwichtenberg, in a primary challenge against the Senate Deputy Majority Leader and Tax Committee Chair, Sen. Julianne Ortman. When the votes were tallied, Schwichtenberg lost by nearly 17 points.
The lesson to be learned here is that running further and further to the right — even in a conservative area like Carver County — is self-defeating. It’s hard to get elected and it’s even harder to govern if you’re only willing to preach to a smaller and smaller choir of true believers. (As an aside: the notion that someone like Ortman wasn’t conservative enough was laughable on its face, as shown by Schwichtenberg’s absurd nit-picking over the record of someone who had spent a decade in the Senate.)
Not to mention the fact that the increased partisanship in these local races is proving detrimental in other ways. Many of these candidates are running on issues that aren’t applicable to the County Board, like light rail or voter ID. Some local conservatives get it. If only the rest of them did, too.
And while local conservatives may think they’re immune from competitive electoral pressure, choosing to operate in an insular way does have risks, even in presumably safe seats. Backing bad candidates who feel no shame regardless of their shenanigans and have no interest in representing all of Carver County’s citizens will someday catch up with them.