Dark horse Congressional candidate Tommy Moll got a big boost today in his race for the Fourth District Republican nomination when a national right-wing pundit endorsed his candidacy.
Erick Erickson, founder of the right-wing website Redstate.com, endorsed Moll over House Republican Majority Leader Bruce Westerman.
Erickson had this to say about Westerman:
[Bruce] Westerman is the Majority Leader in the Arkansas State House. He also led the fight to expand Obamacare in Arkansas. Only when he realized expanding Obamacare would be a political liability did he pull a sleight of hand and try to walk it back. But his stunt was well-documented.
Westerman”s initial support of the private option is a problem for his candidacy in a primary that depends on absolute purity in opposing any idea a Democrat may be involved in, even if it”s a good one.
Moll will likely make the argument that Westerman supported Obamacare in Arkansas before he opposed it and question the majority leader”s conservative bona fides.
Erickson said this about Moll:
Tommy Moll has spent his time in the conservative movement fighting for the right online casino things. Bruce Westerman has spent his time in the Arkansas State Legislature fighting for the politically convenient things.
Erickson is not widely-known among general election voters, but is likely recognized among Republican primary voters either through his website or countless appearances on national cable shows.
More importantly, while the endorsement is in many ways “inside baseball,” it provides Moll an opportunity to tap into national fundraising networks that Westerman doesn”t have access to. And you”ll recall, Moll crushed Westerman in the last fundraising quarter, raising $281,000 to Westerman”s $110,000.
Bruce Westerman has a fight on his hands with his better-funded and nationally connected opponent.
UPDATE: Establishment Republicans are apoplectic over the Erickson endorsement of Moll, showing their displeasure on Twitter and other forms of social media.
For instance, Tim Griffin”s former campaign manager Mitchell Lowe tweeted last night, “Moll’s “Big’ endorsement is from the same place he gets the rest of his support: outside of Arkansas”
In reference to Erickson”s post, State Rep. Bob Balinger tweeted, “@MollforCongress needs to denounce this article as false. @NateBell4AR: All #arleg know truth.”
They”ve spent a fair amount of time attacking the endorsement, claiming it”s no big deal thus leading me to be believe it”s a bigger deal than I previously thought.
I believe their fear is rooted in the belief that Tommy Moll is a type of far-right candidate we”ve seen across the country over the past few cycles who ends up beating the more established Republican. Senator Ted Cruz is a recent example, beating the Texas Lt. Governor in a Republican primary, even though Cruz had never held elected office. Moll can beat Bruce Westerman, and that terrifies establishment Republicans.
Finally, establishment Republicans are a bit schizophrenic over their attacks on Tommy Moll”s years living out of state, as if it”s an unforgivable sin to spend time out of Arkansas.
The schizophrenia comes into play when they forget to mention their front-runner for the Attorney General nomination, Leslie Rutledge, also spent a great number of years out of state.
Will Republicans also attack Rutledge for working in D.C. for many for various partisan organizations?