Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Jim Keffer Retires: The Open Seat Conundrum
"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
[Author's note: The list of House Seniority can be found here, the speaker's vote roll call can be found here.]
Jim Keffer retired this morning. We're happy to see him go. Keffer's departure, however, does highlight a conundrum.
Grassroots conservatives tend to do better running against incumbents than in open seats.
While it isn't a perfect correlation, among freshmen Republicans this session, those who defeated incumbents mostly supported Scott Turner; those who won open seat races OVERWHELMINGLY supported Joe Straus.
For example: Matt Rinaldi and Tony Tinderholt both defeated incumbents and voted for Turner; Mike Schofield and John Wray won open seats vacated by Straus lieutenants and voted for Straus.
It's hard to run against a lobby candidate who claims to be conservative and doesn't (yet) have a record that proves otherwise.
That being said, we also don't think the level of churn the leadership team has seen the past couple cycles is sustainable.
Bottom Line: Grassroots conservatives have to do a MUCH better job defining lobby candidates running for open seats.