Rohrer to Run Regardless of Endorsement

Member Group : News Releases

The Republican State Committee Endorsement
Posted by admin on February 4, 2010
TO: Sam Rohrer Supporters & Allies
FR: Jeff Coleman, Senior Strategist
DA: 4 February 2001
RE: The Republican State Committee Endorsement

In recent days the campaign has received a flood of inquiries regarding our position on the February 13 Republican State Committee endorsement. We thought it might be helpful to answer the main, categorical questions to help you better understand Representative Rohrer’s view of the process, and the implications if he were to not receive the state GOP’s official recommendation next week.

The following is a summation of the most frequently asked questions about the Republican State Committee endorsement:

Will Representative Rohrer stay in the race for governor if he does not receive the RSC endorsement on February 13?
Yes. The premise of Sam’s entrance in the race for governor is rooted in a deep concern over the direction of state government. Because a comprehensive, policy-driven conservative did not emerge, even late into 2009, he views his participation in the race as critical to the future of a pro-growth, pro-family agenda. If Sam did not run, there simply would be no champion for a free-market, limited government approach to governing.

If Representative Rohrer is running with or without the endorsement, why is he participating in the process?
It has been Sam’s conviction that the traditional Republican organization needs to be exposed to the same political and policy arguments he is making in his statewide "Townhall Truth Tour." Because 2010 is a defining political moment for conservatives similar to 1964, 1976, 1980 and 1994, he believes many elected committee people will understand the importance of the GOP’s return to policy-driven candidacies – not those justified by early polls or fundraising. Furthermore, Sam believes this year’s marquee races will be decided by candidacies viewed as authentically motivated by solving problems. This is not a year for focus-grouped, artificial candidates.

If Representative Rohrer’s opponent identifies himself as "pro-life," doesn’t that negate the need for a Primary challenge? Shouldn’t Representative Rohrer accept that his opponent’s pro-life position is the most important of the issues he holds – even if he is not as consistent in most other policy areas?
In many ways, the pro-life issue is the defining, civil rights and constitutional issue of our time. For seventeen years, Sam has been making the argument for new, legal protection for innocent, human life. In speeches and in his voting record, he has the most consistent pro-life record of any candidate for governor. But adopting an official "pro-life" stance does not in and of itself qualify a candidate across the wide platform of constitutional, conservative issues. The question is what does a pro-life position mean in practical, policy terms for the next governor? Will he maintain the status quo, or will he adopt a proactive, Gov. Bob Casey Sr. approach to defending unborn life?

Secondly, holding a pro-life issue position in no way qualifies a candidate as a political "conservative." Pro-life presidents, governors, senators and state legislators are many times among the worst offenders on tax, spending, labor, education and a host of other issues.

To date, here a few of the unique, conservative policy positions that Sam holds in the 2010 Republican primary for governor:
Sam is the only candidate to have signed the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," a commitment to oppose all increases in taxes. Specifically, Sam is alone in opposing any tax hike to balance the state budget.
Sam is the only candidate to propose a specific plan to eliminate school property taxes.
Sam is the only candidate to publicly endorse comprehensive legal reform – including caps on non-economic damages.
Sam is the only candidate to endorse the Taxpayer Protection Amendment – limiting taxes and spending to an index of inflation and population growth.
Sam is the only candidate to endorse a law ending compulsory unionism in Pennsylvania.
Sam is the only candidate to support a major expansion of school choice laws in Pennsylvania.
Sam is the only candidate who has pledged to invoke 10th Amendment authority in opposing federal healthcare mandates and other programs that undermine state authority. Furthermore, he has opposed new federal stimulus money that further restricts state authority on budget and spending decisions.
Doesn’t the lack of endorsement of the state party make it practically impossible to run a statewide campaign?
2010 represents a major shift in grassroots attitudes toward Republican State Committee. Through the mid-1980’s, the endorsement would have effectively ended the hopes of a primary election victory by an un-endorsed candidate. But beginning with Peg Luksik’s narrow loss to the endorsed gubernatorial nominee, Barbara Hafer in 1990, the credibility of the state GOP’s ability to pick winners and losers has been significantly diminished.

Secondly, the state party’s judgment in endorsing Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in 2004, and this year working hard to publicly recruit an alternative to Toomey for the 2010 primary – even after Specter’s infamous party switch – has raised serious doubts over its legitimacy as the voice for grassroots Republican voters. While rank-and-file committee members are becoming increasingly conservative, the leaders have done little to earn credibility with the party’s base. Their strategies for victory still center on the idea that the more "conservative" the candidate, the harder it becomes to message to the Philadelphia suburbs. Hence, substance is avoided at all costs, especially in a primary.

The endorsement does however provide access to millions of dollars in official Republican money, infrastructure and paid manpower. The endorsed candidate will have access to the following:

Pennsylvania Republican State Committee state office staff and field operatives.
Pennsylvania Republican State Committee non-profit mail permit – which saves hundreds of thousands of dollars for candidate bulk-mailings.
Pennsylvania Republican State Committee lists, data, phones and computer technology.
Republican National Committee’s Victory 2010 voter identification, tracking and get-out-the-vote operation.
Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) money and manpower – potentially worth millions.
Will the GOP endorsement hurt or help the candidate for governor?
There is widespread evidence that a growing majority of Republican voters are opposed to any appearance of a "coronation" or "anointing" of candidates for public office. In Florida, the popular attorney general turned governor, Charlie Crist is running as the endorsed, hand-picked choice of the Florida Republican Party. Initially ahead in money, manpower and polls, Crist’s lead evaporated over several months and has this week fallen 12-points behind the "Tea Party Candidate," conservative state representative, Marco Rubio.

Will Pennsylvania voters follow the national trend of embracing the underfunded, ideologically consistent candidate or revert to a process that allows leaders to pick their ballot choices? Time will tell.