A political tidal wave just hit in Pennsylvania. When’s the last time a write-in candidate won an election? It doesn’t happen very often.
But it happened in the Keystone State – for the first time. Will the establishment Republicans in other states take notice?
Tea Party candidate Scott Wagner won a seat in the Pennsylvania Senate with a write-in campaign against Republican Ron Miller and Democrat Linda Small.
The district encompasses York, a bustling city that’s famous for the York Barbell Company, which houses the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame, and a Harley-Davidson “motorcycle factory, which employs roughly half of Harley’s production workforce.”
Wagner’s win was impressive. Wagner got 48 percent of the vote, while Democrat Linda Small received 26 percent and the GOP-backed candidate Ron Miller got 27 percent.
“Wagner, who also owns a KBS Trucking in Thomasville, comes to the Senate planning to be a maverick by not accepting a taxpayer-funded pension or health insurance, limiting himself to two terms, limiting his contacts with special interests, and working to downsize state government.
“He supports eliminating school property taxes and replacing that lost revenue by imposing sales tax on food and clothing. He supports job training for welfare recipients. He also supports legalizing medical marijuana.
“Throughout his campaign, Wagner was critical of the Senate Republican leadership and state Republican Party for orchestrating the special election in such a way to hand the seat, vacated by Mike Waugh in January, to Miller, which GOP leaders denied.”
If the establishment had gotten behind Wagner, the Democrat would have been crushed. The landslide election would have sent a ripple of optimism through the conservative base.
Wagner ran a smart race. The Tea Party has a lot to learn from him.
The GOP-establishment tried to sabotage Wagner at every turn. But instead of whining and complaining, he dug in and beat them at their own game:
“We did this the same way as my businesses,” Wagner said. “Strategy, study, capitalizing it well, and executing. We studied the voting machine carefully, taking pictures of it and making sure it was user-friendly for people to write my name in. We hired four full-time staffers, five part-time staffers, and retained a respected election lawyer. And we mailed voters repeatedly, with education on how to write my name in.”
This is the way to win elections. The problem is, the GOP establishment doesn’t like winners like Scott Wagner. This new Tea Party breed of politicians mess with the establishment’s base of power and cronyism.
There’s a lesson here for conservatives and constitutionalists as well. Winning elections are not won with happy thoughts and right rhetoric. It takes hard work, time, and money.