It is no secret that I have felt that Senator Bennett should be called home and “released with a vote of thanks”. I believe that he did what he felt was best, but the longer he was in DC, the less he voted in a way I would agree with. I have been closely following the Senate race for some time now. Having gone on the county convention circuit a year ago, the delegate disappointment – and outright anger – with Senator Bob Bennett was palpable. Delegate after delegate after delegate wanted to know what “could be done about Bennett”. I was ready for a change and it was clear to me then that Bennett was going to have a very difficult run this time around.
I have carefully watched the entrants into this race – Mark Shurtleff with his inadvertent Tweeting, subsequent announcement, then withdrawal, Cherilyn Eagar who got in the race last June, businessman Tim Bridgewater who got in the race last fall, attorney Mike Lee who surprised no one with his January announcement, then a slew of others who jumped in in March, the week of filing.
I have listened to what they have to say, read their literature, heard countless stump speeches, visited websites and have talked to the major contenders personally for considerable amounts of time.
I like that Mark is great at giving patriotic speeches. He is strong on second amendment rights and family values. I like that Cherilyn has been a tireless conservative activist for many years and has not hesitated to speak her mind. Even some of the lesser-knowns are fun to listen to. When Mike Lee jumped in the race in January, I considered myself a strong supporter. He knows his stuff when it comes to Constitutional law and original intent. He speaks fervently about Article I, Section 8 – the famous (or infamous) commerce clause and the federal government’s vast over-reach into state government and the private sector and he is very popular with delegates.
As time went on, though, it became clear to me that I needed to start paying more attention to Tim Bridgewater. Solid conservative friends of mine were backing him. He really shone at several debates I attended – comfortable in his own skin, gracious, humorous – he stood out as one of the top two contenders.
Although very important, there is more than just how a candidate does in a debate or a cottage meeting or at a county convention. Congressman Jason Chaffetz repeated during his 2008 race “How you run your campaign is a good indicator of how you’ll be in office.” I kept that in mind as I looked at candidates. Who do they surround themselves with? How do the staff act towards others (paid or not)? How do the volunteer supporters treat others, including other campaigns? How are staff and volunteers treated by the candidate? Is there a lot of turnover and if so, why? How are delegates treated? Are they treated differently if they have chosen to support another candidate? What about their presence at events? Are they professional? Are they nice? Do they walk the walk of what they claim are their core principles or do they only talk the talk? How do they interact with people of all backgrounds and levels of experience? How do they respond under pressure? I believe all of those questions are pertinent to asking how they will do in DC.
A third area that seems critically important to me is their stand on the issues. I have a couple of caveats right up front. Number one, I do not feel that I need to agree with a candidate (or anyone else) 100% of the time on all the issues. Number two, let’s just be honest – ALL the Senate candidates love the Constitution. All of them. There is not a single one who wants to toss it out, ignore it or have a re-do (although some want to amend it). At least this campaign cycle, all of them are for the talking points of states’ rights, limited government, fiscal discipline and accountability. So, I felt I needed to move past the campaign rhetoric and to some solid suggestions on what can be DONE back in DC, not just talked about.
A fourth area that is not as critical but still an important piece of the puzzle for me is their level of experience in the real world. Do they have political experience? What kind? Management experience? What kind? What kind of life experiences are they bringing to the table? I am generally skeptical of folks without real world experience, be they the “career politician”, the political neophyte or others without a broad base.
Looking at all of those factors, I have chosen to endorse, support and campaign for Tim Bridgewater. In fact, I feel so strongly about Tim being the right man for the right job at the right time that I am focusing all my efforts on his campaign and only his campaign (sorry, Governor Herbert)! To me, Tim has SHOWN that he is principled. He walks the walk of fiscal conservatism. He walks the walk of a 2nd Amendment rights supporter (and user, LOL). He understands trade issues – because he has dealt with them in several venues over the course of his career. He understands economic issues in a feet-on-the-ground way. He knows what it is to make a payroll. He knows how to work hard – he’s done it all his life. He does not act “entitled” – he knuckles down and works for everything he has gotten – even my vote. He understands how to manage and how to lead. He has REAL solutions for the problems we face and talks about how to really go about making change, not just continue to tell us we have a problem. Without fanfare, he just goes to work if he sees a need. He did not just complain about lack of educational choice to best meet his son’s needs – he put in the work to help start a charter school. He is a doer, not a talker – and does not look for public accolades for the service he provides. He has not been content to sit on the political sidelines, only showing up every few years to run for office – or to vote. He has been active and involved for many years, on many levels. He is also just a very nice, down-to-earth guy, who is not only patient and persistent, but he is kind and not at all arrogant. He “plays well with others” AND stands firm on principle – a combination of traits sorely needed in DC today. I invite you to join me in supporting Tim Bridgewater as THE best person for the job of US Senator.