[cross-posted at http://keystoneconservative.com/]
At this point everyone has noticed Steve Welch’s site no longer says which congressional seat he seeks. As has been discussed, Mr. Welch was seeking to represent the seventh congressional district, the one recently vacated by Joe Sestak. For a number of reasons, though, he is now considering seeking the sixth congressional seat, the one vacated by Jim Gerlach. State Representative Curt Schroder has already announced for the sixth, and he is the candidate I support.
But the Delaware County Republican leadership is eager to clear the way for Pat Meehan, who mortally mismanaged his run for Governor. Meehan, we know, plans on announcing on Monday he is seeking the congressional seat in the seventh. I bear no ill-will for Meehan, but he does not have nearly the potential as a representative that both Welch and Schroder do.
Schroder is a nationally recognized state legislator with a track record of attracting bipartisan support for mainstream conservative reform. Nevertheless, he remains obviously conservative. Imagine that! A clear conservative with a handle on policy who enjoys broad bipartisan support! Importantly, his political career is such that while he enjoys a good working relationship with the Republican party, he does not owe his position to them. His circle is not overrun with rent-seekers and logrollers. He has, in fact, had confrontations with those people.
Steve Welch is a complete political outsider with a commanding personal biography, lots of money, excellent ideas on fiscal reform, and manifest charm. And, did I mention, lots of money? He, also, would not owe his success to anybody.
Meehan is a longtime prosecutor with no legislative experience. Also, importantly, the most pressing issues of our day surround financial matters and the promotion of regional economic growth, followed by healthcare. Rep. Schroder has a handle on these issues, and is the author of important legislation regarding them. Welch is a successful entrepreneur with an impressive track record of knowledge on these issues. Nobody would say these issues are in Pat Meehan’s wheelhouse. In fact, my conversations with Mr. Welch confirm he largely agrees on this analysis.
In my conversations with Mr. Welch, it is clear to me the two reasons he has for considering a run in the sixth rather than the seventh are A) He is terrified of the far-left carpetbagging sack of money named Pike who is, for now, the presumptive Democrat candidate in the sixth, and B) He needs to be convinced Schroder would be a better actual congresscritter than Meehan.
We have already made the case for B. But what about A?
I have heard the Republican party leadership in Pennsylvania and the House Republican Campaign Committee fear Schroder is too conservative to win in the sixth district, so they want Welch and his money– did I mention he has a lot of money?– to run there instead.
Over the last few days, Steve Welch will have gotten notices from real voters in the sixth concerning, in part, Schroder’s electability. Mr. Welch has heard from management consultants, and admittedly left-wing organic community gardeners. He has heard from leaders of the Republican Jewish Coaltition, and a hippie head of a majority Democrat borough’s Community Development Corporation. In short, he is hearing from a wide range of voters in the sixth district about how Curt Schroder can indeed win the seat.
Chester County represents the largest population within the sixth district, and Rep. Schroder has been winning elections in Chester County for years. Also, he not only lives in the district, but is a lifetime resident of it. This will be an important weapon against Pike, who will be seen as an outsider looking to buy a seat. Mr. Welch, while he does live really close to the district, doesn’t actually live in it. This will blunt this line of attack, which any voter can understand. In a battle between two rich outsiders, getting out the base becomes an important challenge for both. In that battle, Pike has the edge. The Democrat apparatus would be more squarely behind him, and the Dems have a slim registration advantage in the district. In the seventh, though, Welch lives in the district.
If Mr. Welch is wondering about electability, finally, I wonder how many regular voters in the seventh are begging him to run in the sixth because Meehan is so great? Not too many that aren’t part of the GOP apparatus, I bet. I’m sure he’s hearing from GOP Chairman Judge. Perhaps a bunch of comitteeman taking marching orders. And he might even be hearing from national figures that love the prospect of not having to raise money. But how have those seers been doing in general elections, lately? Not so well, in case you haven’t noticed. And what polling evidence do they have that Schroder is too conservative to win the sixth? Probably not much, since people don’t know who the heck Doug Pike is.
Working together, Mr. Welch and Rep. Schroder could make a commanding team. In different ways, they are outsiders. In different ways, they are highly competent. Working together, they can absolutely both win. Running against each other, though, is suicide for people who have as their primary interest the best possible mainstream conservative representation for an area that has been sorely lacking it for a while.
If you concur with this analysis, and want to encourage Mr. Welch to finish the job he started in the seventh, tell him yourself.