Over the weekend, I received some very disappointing news. Republican Senate candidate Jamie Radtke has decided to withdraw from the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party’s October 20th Senate debate. Citing that former Governor George Allen will not be participating, the Radtke campaign announced that they too would be absent despite an earlier commitment to attend.
In my opinion, this decision could prove to be a key misstep for the Radtke campaign for at least three key reasons:
Everyone who will be attending the debate knew well in advance that George Allen would not be there. Therefore, it is likely that many of the attendees who will be showing up are doing so in the hopes of finding an alternative to Mr. Allen. With Jamie Radtke absent, she will lose a chance to convince these voters both of her merit and to prove herself as the worthy conservative front-runner for this title.
Every occasion a candidate has to speak is another prospect of raising funds. According to the Radtke Facebook page, after speaking at an event in Virginia Beach the other day, one gentleman volunteered to donate $1000 to her campaign. How many audience members in this debate will be similarly inspired by a no-show? I’ll give you a hint; it rhymes with zero.
Most importantly, this move will likely alienate a portion of Jamie Radtke’s base, namely the tea party. One of Jamie Radtke’s greatest claims to political fame centers on her involvement with the Richmond Tea Party and the statewide rally. If her campaign simply dismisses opportunities offered by tea party groups, how many passes can she take before those opportunities are no longer offered?
Furthermore, as an active participant of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots, I’ve witnessed firsthand the efforts put forth by a multitude of members to bring this debate to life. To be surprised with this brush-off, especially less than one week before the debate, will certainly generate some kind of blowback.
Readers of this blog will note that I’ve been particularly critical of George Allen for his refusal to attend the October 20th debate. After all, a debate serves as excellent tool for voters to learn about their choices for candidates. Unfortunately, it seems that the Radtke campaign disagrees. How can the Radtke campaign call for a debate featuring all of the Republican candidates while at the same time refusing an opportunity to debate with all but one of the Republican candidates? As I’m sure you can tell, I’m profoundly disheartened by their decision.
But the show must go on. Don’t pass up an opportunity to hear from Kevin Chisholm, Tim Donner, E. W. Jackson, and David McCormick at the debate this coming Thursday! Make sure to show up by 6:30 PM at the Augusta County Government in Verona.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your ideal choice for our next Senator at the event. Either way, I look forward to seeing you there.