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Radtke Withdraws from Debate and Other Thoughts on the Va US Senate Race

Well, here we go again with another debate controversy in the race for the US Senate seat to replace the retiring incumbent Democrat Jim Webb.

First, the Associated Press decided to hold a debate in December and set the minimum participation bar such that the only candidates able to qualify are former Virginia Governor and US Senator Republican George Allen and on the Democrat side, another former Governor and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.

At some level it makes sense not to invite a stage full of candidates to debates. It makes it hard to get anything from the candidates beyond their talking points, because in a two hour debate, there simply is not time. The Republican Presidential Primary debates are a case in point. Every debate has had such a crowded stage that each candidate has had only a few minutes to distinguish him or herself from the rest of the pack.

The saving grace has been the number of debates. Each has been, in some ways, a continuation of the last. While the field remains crowded with only former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty dropping out, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson being in and out, still we have many hours of debate on which to reflect.

And with unexpected and unpredictable results. Candidates like Herman Cain, who most of us liked, but had no expectation that they would draw much support, have turned things around and risen to the top. Even the former Speaker Newt Gingrich has managed to come up in the polls with steady performances.

So an argument for allowing a crowded stage can be made, as long as there are numerous debates slated.

But the Associated Press really jumped the gun on this December debate. And the wisdom and validity of holding an inter-Party debate before the primary is extremely questionable.

Still, you can’t ignore the facts. George Allen and Tim Kaine are so far out in front in their respective races that the rest of the field is almost irrelevant.

Almost!

But the fact remains that there are a number of Democrats who are not happy with President Obama. And Tim Kaine has cast himself in Obama’s image. And he makes no bones about it. (He probably will need to distance himself at some point if he wins the nomination as expected.)

And there are a number of people on the right who are not happy with George Allen’s record as a US Senator (though most admit he was a great Governor).

So there is a “market” for an alternative candidate in both the Republican and Democrat Primaries. Early on, the number of voters looking for an alternative candidate is relatively small. But we are still a long ways off from the primary and anything could happen.

And if you haven’t been awake lately, Virginia is in the midst of a big election for State candidates this November. So the US Senate election is still on the back burner.

But this is the time for the “alternative” candidates to make their case to voters as to why they would be a suitable alternative to Allen and Kaine.

So, it is really puzzling to hear that Candidate Jamie Radtke has decided to withdraw from the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party’s October 20th Senate Debate. Worse, she agreed to participate and drops out just a few days before the event.

For the Republican candidates not named Allen, the biggest challenge is in getting their message out. As the former head of the Richmond TEA Party, most of Central Virginia is familiar with Radtke. It’s the rest of the state where she needs exposure. Like the Shenandoah Valley.

Radtke’s campaign has focused on George Allen, and not the rest of the field. Clearly, Allen is the one to beat. But Conservative voters are less concerned with who can defeat George Allen and more concerned with who can defeat Tim Kaine, something Radtke seems to be ignoring.

Radtke needs to reconsider her focus. The end game is a net gain in the US Senate for Republicans. The grand prize is demoting Harry Reid to Minority Leader, not defeating George Allen, which seems to be the Radtke Campaign’s only goal.

Voters have no idea how Jamie Radtke would stack up against Tim Kaine because she has not been running against Kaine and the Democrats. Only against George Allen. We need a Republican Candidate who can win in November, 2012.

If the Radtke Campaign hopes to gain any traction, they need to give voters a reason to believe she can win the election, and not just the primary.

Placing their entire campaign’s focus and efforts only on defeating George Allen and focusing solely on his votes in the 1990’s  has made the Radtke Campaign one dimensional. Times are different now. “Compassionate” Conservatism has given way to true Conservatism, something Jamie Radtke played a large part in bring about with her leadership in the Richmond TEA Party.

What voters want to know is what will you do if we send to to Washington? They already know that the George W. Bush mantra of Compassionate Conservatism was a big mistake that cost Republicans the House, Senate and White House. There’s a fresh set of ideas in the Republican Party now.

George Allen has the new playbook.

Tim Donner has the new playbook.

Bishop E. W. Jackson and David McCormick have the new playbook.

We know where we went wrong. The Republican Party has made a course correction. Dwelling on the past is not going to move us forward and is not what voters want to hear.

Not a day goes by that the Allen Campaign does not issue a press release aimed squarely at Tim Kaine and the Obama Administration’s policies. There is no doubt where the Allen focus is. Every day, Allen answers the question ‘What will you do if we send you to Washington‘?

By withdrawing from the debate in the Vally, it looks like the Radtke’s Campaign advisers believe she would be unable to distinguish herself from any candidate not named Allen. And they may be right, given her focus. This is no way for Radtke to convince voters to vote for her. Her absence at a TEA Party sponsored debate is more likely to convince the TEA Party voters to vote for someone else.

I believe that Jamie Radtke is making a serious blunder here and that it is time for her to either refocus her team or jettison them entirely for better advice. And she could start by reconsidering her decision to withdraw from the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party’s October 20th Senate Debate.

For her not to participate in a TEA Party debate is unfathomable.

 

 

 

 

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.

Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

3 Responses to “Radtke Withdraws from Debate and Other Thoughts on the Va US Senate Race”

  1. USshrugged says:

    Radtke is NOT a favorite of many in the Tea Party. It seemed more a power grab from the beginning, hearing her speak long before a campaign started. I have not even seen a campaign. She cannot ride in on a tea party label. I would not vote for her. I would like to hear more from other R candidates than Allen.

  2. ThePaganTemple says:

    Allen is going to be the nominee, and its a damn good thing. Virginia is almost a purple state. If Allen was not consistently conservative, I could see supporting Radke, but that's not the case. This is not Mike Castle here and Radke is not Christine O'Donnell. Granted, there may be one similarity, that being the likely electoral results should she somehow gain the nomination.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Senate candidate Jamie Radtke, the self proclaimed tea party favorite,  has backed out of a tea party debate with opponents, because George Allen won’t be there: But there is no basis for us to debate […]


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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