The other day, my friend and moderate alt-media gadfly Marty Owings left a note in the comment section of my original post on Steve Smith to dispute my notion that Rep. Steve Smith is a “RINO”. (Similarly, I got a few emails from Republcans – and yes, conservatives – saying that I was unfair to Connie Doepke – or at least about her political record. I’ve found few defenders of her apparent potemkin endorsement from Erik Paulsen).
As a former boss of mine used to say, “From Salt Lake City, “Way out East” is Denver”. People bring different perspectives to the table; it’s a fair point that Smith had a Taxpayers League rating similar to Kurt Zellers’ (and it’s ‘fair to point out that an awful lot of fiscal conservatives’ TPL ratings were lower than you’d think they’d be).
Still, I do go with Buckley’s commandment – vote for the most conservative candidate who can win (or do so if you live in SD33 or HD33B, which I do not).
Is there any question that Cindy Pugh is more conservative than Smith? There was no doubt before – and there’s less doubt after reading the GOP’s release yesterday about Smith:
St. Paul – Earlier this week, the Republican Party of Minnesota asked what Steve Smith was hiding by not submitting his 15th day pre-primary report to the Campaign Finance Board. Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Pat Shortridge issued the following statement regarding campaign contributions received by Steve Smith:
“There is serious concern about Steve Smith’s priorities and voting record in St. Paul. Instead of fighting for our conservative principles, Smith’s voting record has gained the backing of union bosses. That’s not surprising given that, according to a new non-partisan study, Smith voted in the interest of taxpayers barely half the time.
“While Smith has ignored the law and refused to file his Campaign Finance Report, which costs him $50 per day in late filing fees and could trigger future civil penalties, GOP voters can gain some understanding of who is funding his campaign by looking at his 24-hour notices.
“He has received $500 from SEIU, $500 from Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota, and $500 from Minneapolis Municipal Retirement Association, a clear sign that union bosses in St. Paul are trying to buy the Republican primary for their handpicked candidate.
“Smith failed to fight for conservative legislation in St. Paul and thus, failed to secure the Republican endorsement. Now, he is deceiving voters by not releasing his fundraising numbers and allowing the voting public a clear picture of his priorities. He should follow the law, file his report, and let voters evaluate who’s funding his campaign.”
If the GOP’s charges are true – and I do in fact solicit any response from Smith’s campaign or defenders if it’s not – then that answers that “is Pugh more conservative” bit.
And it’s clear if Pugh wins the primary, she’ll win the election.