I started this blog to support conservative candidates and push for conservative principles. If I did not think Ric Killian was the hands down best choice in this race, I would not have written this piece.
If you step back and take an objective look at the maelstrom that has become the Republican primary for NC-9, it's hard to not think "what a mess!" The primary for this relatively safe Republican seat has been reduced to negative bickering and name calling between some candidates, while several others proceed with chances that are slim to none of even getting to a run-off. How this mess is resolved is important. I say this is a relatively safe seat because if the wrong candidate is chosen it could actually put this seat in play this November.
Throughout all of this, one candidate has remained poised and refused to get down in the muck. That candidate is Colonel Ric Killian - the State Legislator for District 105 in South Charlotte. When you compare him and his record to the other candidates as well as think about the campaign this fall, I find it hard to see how he is not the best name to represent the Republicans against Jennifer Roberts.
Ric Killian has the trifecta of foreign policy, legislative, and business experience that will allow him to hit the ground sprinting in Congress. None of the other candidates can match that. His military background will allow him to step into some of the same areas where Sue Myrick has been effective such as defense and intelligence. Having served on active duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows more than any other potential member of congress what war truly means and how the military should be used. His legislative background provides the lengthy history needed for conservative voters to feel comfortable with his approach to government. Killian received A ratings from the conservative group Civitas Action before it was "hip" to be conservative in the NC Legislature - meaning before the Republicans were in the majority. Killian received some of his highest ratings while in the minority when it took real political courage to cast those votes. His business background ensures he will minimize wasteful spending wherever possible. He regularly sites the national debt as the highest risk to this country, and he has shown how to reign in spending in his leading role in overhauling the State transportation budget using zero based budgeting to eliminate waste.
Show me another candidate who can match that. You can't - not in this race.
What you can find in the rest of the field are flaws, some bad enough to potentially tip the scales towards Jennifer Roberts in November.
Jim Pendergraph and Robert Pittenger - Take a look at the mud slinging between these two and one can see multiple pitfalls if either one of them is the candidate. For Pendergraph we just don't know what skeletons might be trotted out by the Democrats. I know it's not polite to say it, but he did in fact happen to be a Democrat through most of his career until relatively recently. If anyone knows of any dirt it would be his former party. On the flip side, Pittenger's relentlessly negative attacks followed up by mailers and commercials where he's all smiles just feels dirty. He has spent wheelbarrows of his own cash dishing out this stuff rather than building a positive campaign, and there is no reason to believe he will not continue this in the general. When he does, it will backfire terribly with the moderate voters that swing general elections.
When looking at the other candidates, they're all like three-legged stools that are missing a leg. Some are missing two.
Dan Barry - Does anyone think the Democrats will forget to remind people daily that he switched districts to run in the 9th becasue he thought he would have a better shot than in the 8th? Voters do not like opportunism in their politicians.
Richard Lynch and Mike Steinberg - Both are trying to carry the Tea Party banner answering most questions with some reference to the Constitution. While that's admirable and often correct, neither one has the name recognition, funding, or organization necessary. Ric Killian on the other hand has all those as well as the endorsement from iCaucus - the national federation of local Tea Party groups which includes the local CAUTION group in Charlotte. Ric Killian was a featured speaker at the first Tea Party in the Charlotte area back in 2009 giving him additional local credibility. My personal opinion is that Tea Party votes for Lynch or Steinberg amount to protest votes helping some other candidate be at the top of the list. Ric Killian should not be considdered the alternative for Tea Partiers. He should be their primary and most effective choice.
Andy Dulin, Edwin Peacock, John Gautier, and Ken Leonczyk - Each of these candidates has a believability problem. By believability, I do not mean truthfulness. They all seem very sincere when you hear them speak. However, they are all either not conservative enough, not known enough, or not fiery enough. They do not pass the believabilty test.
Hopefully, people remember this above anything else - candidates matter. They matter not just for the primary, but for the general election as well.
Integrity matters. Consistency matters. Experience matters. When you think about all of those things, I believe you'll come to the same conclusion I have. Ric Killian is the best choice in this race.