A promising, young conservative named Mark Harris who is running for Pennsylvania state legislature just got a taste of negative campaigning when the incumbent Ted Stevenson attacked him today for lack of political experience.
Of the mailers that show a baby-faced sent out today Harris said, “Tom’s right. I don’t have experience raising taxes, raising my own pay, raising my own pension at taxpayer’s expense, or spending taxpayer dollars recklessly.”
Harris may be young, but he certainly won’t be intimidated by Stevenson’s negative tactics. He showed his mettle this summer serving as the Executive Vice Chair of the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, who mounted an aggressive (and effective) campaign against their own Republican-led state legislature for granting themselves a 30% pay raise in a late-night vote without any debate.
President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer’s aide Mike Long even threatened Harris’ group with a lawsuit for billboards YCOP placed in the home districts of members supporting the hike.
The Jubelirer camp complained it was "stupid" for Harris' group to threaten the majority valuing power rather than principles. Long told Capitol Wire, “I think it is absurd that a conservative group would target Republican leaders who have helped maintain the Republican majority in the senate for almost 25 years and maintained Republican leadership. It is a stupid mission if one believes in conservative principals and conservatism because it is the Republican Party that preserves those ideas.”
Harris, although young, is the product of long-efforts to mold principled new leaders to the conservative movement. I met him over a year ago, while attending training sessions at the Leadership Institute where he was teaching students how to organize conservative groups on their own campuses.
I spoke with him this afternoon and he pledged if elected to office he would reform property taxes, seek implementation of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Right and support corporate net income tax reform and reductions.
Certainly such an ambitious man would be a positive alternative to Stevenson, who has broken his pledge to Grover Norquist’s American for Tax Reform and inducted into their hall of shame.