KS-04: Hartman Won’t Run

Major bummer:

Onetime Republican congressional candidate Wink Hartman has ended his flirtation with the Libertarian Party, announcing that he won’t take the small party’s nomination in the general election.

“After several days of prayerful reflection, I have decided not to seek the Libertarian Party’s congressional nomination,” Hartman said in a statement. “I am humbled by the Libertarian Party’s consideration and belief in me. Through this process, I have gained additional respect for their dedication to the fight for limited government.”

Hartman said he would support Republican candidates in the November election, but stopped short of endorsing his own former Republican rival, Mike Pompeo, who beat him in the GOP primary last month.

Democrat Raj Goyle, down by just three points in his latest internal poll, is still running a surprisingly strong race given the GOP slant of the district, but a Hartman Libertarian bid would have turned the dynamics upside-down. It sounds like someone convinced the seriously wealthy Hartman that his re-entry would have only helped Democrats steal the seat. Tough luck for us.

Pompeo, who has yet to earn the endorsement of any of his primary rivals, is still in the running for GOP Dickbag of the Year – but his chances of getting elected to the House just got better.

16 thoughts on “KS-04: Hartman Won’t Run”

  1. This is a very Republican area, and Goyle’s path to victory depends on the support of Republicans who don’t like Pompeo. Having Hartman in the race would give these Republicans a more attractive option than Goyle and probably strip him of whatever support he has from right-tilting Independents as well. In other words, Goyle’s support would be down to left-of-center voters, and it would be tough to win even a plurality with them alone.

    In a one on one, Goyle can run to the center unimpeded, as Pompeo appears well to the right. Without Hartman in the race, he can make his case to disaffected moderates and conservatives and build a coalition that can get him to 50%+1.

    I think this is the same scenario in Alaska: people disagree with me, but I think Scott McAdams has a better chance of winning if he has Joe Miller alone than if he has Murkowski running to the center as well.

  2. read the fix.  there isn’t any new information there, it’s just that cillizza has one hell of a man crush of goyle.

  3. Soft partisan voters and indy leaners are more loyal to their favored party when their party has their back to the wall.  Your side being decimated in the federal government, soft Republicans are much more reluctant to defect in a federal race, and much more willing to hold their noses for distasteful nominees of their party.  And Republican voters are far more ideologically extreme as a group in the first place than Democrats, so Pompeo isn’t so reviling among very many of them.

    In a neutral year, and certainly in an anti-Republican wave year like 2006 and 2008, Republicans who don’t like Pompeo would defect in significant numbers to Goyle.  But even then, I doubt Goyle would be better off in a 2-way than in a 3-way, as he would gain just as much from Pompeo bleeding to a Libertarian.

    But in year like this one, Republicans who don’t like Pompeo are still going to vote for Pompeo.  It’s easy to rationalize the vote.  After all, districts like this one have elected the likes of Michele Bachmann and Steve King and Tom Tancredo and countless lesser known equally extreme dingbats from the South, and Republican voters just figure it’s one person who can do little harm alone or in a small group, and plus if they get tired enough they can hope to deal with the character in the primary a couple years later.

    Goyle NEEDED the 3-way to pull this out, I’m pretty confident of that.

    As it is now, Goyle’s path to victory requires Pompeo to provide even more fresh material to use against him.  If Pompeo goes the Angle route and offers something new weekly, then Goyle still has a chance.  But that’s not likely to happen because the race isn’t high profile enough for reporters to beat down Pompeo’s door seeking interviews in which he can embarrass himself.  Absent that, Goyle better have multiple trackers with plenty of extra batteries for their video camaras.

  4. Looks like Zaun’s transgressions are hurting him.  I wasn’t sure the flap with his ex-girlfriend would stick, but maybe it has.  

    On the other hand, how is Dave Loebsack only winning by 8 over Meeks?  I thought that one was in the bag, but I guess not.  

    Back to Maine, Chellie Pingree’s numbers are a little better than I would have thought, though Michaud’s don’t look all that great.  ME-2 is going to be put on the board as of my next update, and IA-2 will be as well.

  5. I don’t think you know as much about this race as you think you do. Take it from someone who lives in Kansas and has been watching Raj Goyle for the last 3-4 years as he has made his name in politics here. None of Pompeo’s Republican primary challengers have endorsed Pompeo for this race. Pompeo has remarkably high disapproval ratings in the district. A lot of people, including Republicans, just don’t like the man.

    You are using generic examples to predict the outcome of a local race. All politics is local. Raj Goyle is running one of the best campaigns I have seen here in years. He is running as a Democrat but describes himself as an independent.

    What MassGOP said is correct. Goyle fares better in a one-on-one race with Pompeo. Hartman would have peeled off disaffected Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who don’t like Pompeo. Without Hartman in the race, Goyle can now make his case to those voters and get their vote.

  6. …to get elected to Congress for a long time.  There were 3 who tried and made serious runs in 1994, and of course that was a disastrous year.  I gave a lot of money to Madia in MN-06 in 2008, and he flamed out.  Now we have a bunch who again are apparently competitive, but I haven’t given a dime to any of them yet because I’m skeptical of their districts and the year.

    But I’m hoping the law of averages will get one of them over the hump, simply because there are so damn many.  I don’t care if it’s Goyle, or Trivedi, or Bera, or less likely Sangisetty, I’ll take any of them.  Saujani has been much more slimy and I’m no fan of her, but if she were to pull off the upset in the primary and win in November, I’d be supportive of her.

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