MASSACHUSETTS’ 10TH U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Perry vs. Keating
Issues, issues, and more issues. That’s all State Rep. Jeff Perry really wants to discuss. Whether it is his support for the right to keep and bear arms, his pro-life stance or his desire to repeal the Democrats’ healthcare measure enacted by Congress earlier this year, the Republican nominee for Congress has an opinion and detailed facts to back it up. And Perry believes, with all his heart, that the terms “conservative” and “Republican” should be basically the same.
So what makes him so special among scores of Republicans running for the House of Representatives this year? That’s an easy question to answer: Jeff Perry is from Massachusetts.
In a state where liberal Republicans such as Sen. (1966-78) Ed Brooke and former Gov. (1990-96) William Weld are the norm and conservative GOPers rare, attorney and former policeman Perry is proof that times are changing. It has been said that Republican Sen. Scott Brown, whose capture of Ted Kennedy’s seat made international headlines in January, has taken positions that Brooke, Weld et al. would never have thought of adopting.
If Brown is the first step in a sea change in Bay State politics, then Perry is the next step. Backed by Brown’s on line and field strategists State Rep. Perry handily won the Republican nomination for Congress in the 10th District (Cape Cod) over a well-known moderate.
Perry ran for Congress with the intent of opposing seven-term Democratic Rep. William Delahunt.
Then Delahunt announced his retirement and the betting was that the Democrats would try to nominate local assistant prosecutor Joseph P. Kennedy, III. But the heir apparent to Camelot could see the handwriting on the wall. In a district that Republican Brown had carried by 20 percentage points in the Senate race, young Kennedy opted not to run.
So the Democratic nominee is Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating. As Perry observed, “He is the opposite of me on issues from gun control to healthcare, and, most important of all, he will vote to make Nancy Pelosi speaker again. I won’t.”
There is one other significant difference between the contenders in the 10th District. As a state legislator and now as a candidate for Congress, Perry has been a champion of term limits. In his words, “I said I would serve no more than four or five terms as a legislator and kept my promise. I will do the same in Congress. That’s what members did for many years—went back to their homes and worked in the private sector. That’s how it should be.”
Jeff Perry for Congress, P.O. Box 1435, Sandwich, Mass. 02563.
MISSOURI’S 4TH U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Hartzler vs. Skelton
When Ike Skelton was Democratic chairman of Lafayette County Missouri in the 1960s and state legislator in the early’70s, he talked and voted pretty much like his political hero, Harry Truman.
As a first-time candidate for Congress in 1976 in a district that included Truman’s home town of Independence, Skelton stumped as a fiscal conservative, a friend of the military and a supporter of farmers.
But what a difference 34 years in Congress and a lot of political power make. Now 78 and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Skelton has followed the path of many other onetime Truman Democrats who are now Pelosi Democrats. Rated 56% by the American Conservative Union in his first year in the House, Skelton’s most recent (2009) ACU rating had plummeted to 21%.
“And these days, he’s standing firm with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and that’s the sad reality of why we need change in Washington,” says Skelton’s conservative Republican opponent, former State Rep. Vicky Hartzler. “He defended a bill that authorized hate crimes legislation and voted for cap and trade. He has not been a leader to repeal the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the military.”
In striking contrast to her opponent, Hartzler is what observers on the right are starting to call “the complete package”—someone who can mobilize cultural conservatives as well as the “Tea Partiers,” whose major concern is spending and the Constitution.
Proclaiming herself “100% pro-life” and voting that way in the Show-Me State legislature, Hartzler was the spokeswoman for the group behind Missouri’s marriage amendment. They energized voters, and the amendment was enacted with 71% of the vote.
But is Hartzler exclusively a “cultural conservative?” Hardly. The GOP nominee was also in the trenches on behalf of Proposition C, which Missouri voters passed resoundingly earlier this year and which denies government the power to mandate that citizens buy health insurance. With similar measures on the November ballot in Oklahoma and Arizona, Missourians, in Hartzler’s words, “have started a fire from the heartland.”
As for her agenda in Congress, the Republican hopeful says without hesitation: “First, we have to repeal Obamacare and then we have to take a good hard look at runaway spending and a burdensome regulatory system. I don’t have a ‘to do’ list for when I’m elected. I have an ‘undo’ list.”
Just as the 21st Century is very different from the 1960s, Vicky Hartzler is very different from Ike Skelton. And while 4th District constituents may have liked Ike for generations, the changing times and issues seem likely to lead them to vote for Vicky.
Vicky Hartzler for Congress, P. O. Box 531, Harrisonville, Mo. 64701; vickyhartzler.com.
MARYLAND’S 5TH U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT
Lollar vs. Hoyer
In discussing the Tea Party movement, Llewellyn King, host of TV’s “White House Chronicles” and nationally syndicated columnist, likened it to “the end of a concert by an orchestra—there’s a crescendo, but no second movement, nothing more.”
“I just hope Mr. King and others keep thinking that,” says Charles Lollar, Republican nominee for Congress in Maryland’s 5th District. “Because the ‘second movement’ will come when Republicans retake Congress and then start a genuine renaissance: repealing Obamacare, stopping the Obama tax increases once and for all and taking a good hard look at non-defense discretionary spending.”
And, Lollar added without hesitation, “The second movement will start as soon as I defeat Steny Hoyer.”
Now, once you have caught your breath after that, please realize that the 43-year-old Lollar is the first heavyweight contender to take on the present House majority leader since 1996. And when Hoyer was contested back in ’92, ’94, ’96, hard-working GOP nominees drew 45%, 41%, and 43% of the vote, respectively. Given the political turmoil this year, there will be a large surge of votes cast simply because 15-termer Hoyer (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 7.48%) is the quarterback for the Obama-Pelosi agenda on the House floor.
And then there’s Charles Lollar, a black Republican (“You mean a Republican who happens to be black”) whose self-confidence is contagious among 5th District Republicans. A former U.S. Marine who served in Kosovo, Lollar, the father of three, worked for UPS and later became general manager of the Cintas Corp., the nation’s largest manufacturers of non-military uniforms. As Lollar likes to say, “If you dine out or check in a hotel, chances are you’ll see our products.”
Lollar also found time to be Charles County Republican chairman and serve on the state GOP’s tax commission.
“We answered the question of why we are Republicans in Maryland,” Lollar said of his work on the party panel, “and it’s because we want lower taxes and smaller government and more opportunities to make decisions with our money. In other words, we stand for all the things my opponent has been against in his 43 years in politics. Imagine that: He’s been in office as long as I’ve been alive. That’s reason enough to elect me.”
The issues, the year and the candidate are enough to make the race against Steny Hoyer competitive for the first time in 14 years. What is needed now is an all-out effort among conservative activists to make it a race of the year—and Charles Lollar congressman.
Charles Lollar For Congress, 8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 500, Landover, Md., 20785.