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Why conservative Pat Hughes is staying in the Illinois GOP Senate primary...

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Illinois GOP Insurgent

Why conservative Pat Hughes is staying in the Illinois GOP Senate primary…

One of the questions posed most frequently to conservative U.S. Senate hopeful Pat Hughes of Illinois is, with four other conservatives vying in the Republican primary February 2, why don’t they hold a summit and join forces behind one right-of-center opponent to the moderate-liberal front-runner, Rep. Mark Kirk (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 67%).  

“We’ve held meetings just like what you’re talking about,”  Hughes told me last week, “and the others end up asking me, ‘why don’t you be the one to get out?’ And I say no, because I’m the only conservative in this race who is actively raising money, and has 18 regional coordinators and 10 paid staffers.”  

The case that the 40-year-old real estate developer made for himself as the “great right hope” did not persuade any of the other conservative hopefuls to defer to him. But with three weeks to go before the primary, Hughes is the lone GOP insurgent in the primary running TV commercials.  

Like the Senate primary bids of Rep. Pat Toomey against then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania in ’04 and that of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio against Gov. Charlie Crist this year, the candidacy of Hughes against Kirk is a showcase race of conservative insurgent against establishment moderate.  

In citing his differences with Kirk, Hughes ticked off the congressman’s votes for Wall Street bailouts in ’08 (an issue that gained new luster last week as banking houses prepared to dole out million-dollar bonuses for retired executives), federal hate crimes legislation (which Kirk also co-sponsored), opposition to oil drilling in Alaska and off the coasts, and his pro-abortion stand. Hughes takes opposite positions on all of these issues.

But what Hughes hits Kirk hardest on is Kirk’s vote for the Democrat-backed “cap and trade” energy-tax bill — which made the Chicago-area lawmaker one of only eight Republicans and the lone GOP House member from Illinois to support the controversial measure.

“We already have an $11 billion budget deficit here in Illinois,” Hughes noted. “If ‘cap and trade’ became law, it would finish off our manufacturing industry and, in the process, wipe our state out. How anyone could justify a vote like that except to please the environmental left in his district is beyond me!”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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