For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m sharing a picture of the very first GOP County Convention that I attended after announcing my run for U.S. Senate last spring. This was the first time I was asked to explain why I am the best U.S. Senate Candidate for North Carolina. As I was thinking about how I could effectively and efficiently answer this question, something alarming quickly occurred to me – I’m NOT the best candidate. You see, we’ve developed a great disconnect between how we determine the best candidate and who actually makes the best SENATOR.
As Republicans, we tout fiscal responsibility. Keep taxes low, minimize bloated federal programs, pass a budget on time – something our Congress has not managed to do in more than 15 years. And balance the budget – which has not been accomplished since 1998. So, isn’t it ironic that the number one metric used to rank candidates is how much money they can raise and how much money they can spend? It need not even be grass roots money or North Carolina money – financing can come from anywhere in support of any cause. For the 2022 election, $300 million is projected to be spent in a single state on a single Senate seat. This is the OPPOSITE of fiscal responsibility. I’ve had a successful career in the Department of Defense, dutifully living by its unofficial creed – “do more with less”. I intend to proudly take this motto with me to the Senate, and my campaign is proof of this – I’m not accepting any donations. I want you to vote for me FOR FREE.
We need our Senator to be knowledgeable across diverse issues critical to North Carolinians, and to Americans. This level of expertise requires time and passion to cultivate, and is absolutely critical to Senatorial success. We hold up, as our historical, political heroes the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin. These were true patriots, all experienced and often self-educated across multiple disciplines. And yet, what is the first piece of advice that political advisors are giving to your candidates? Pick three issues that poll well… and stick with them. This is the OPPOSITE of depth and breadth of knowledge. Candidate forums need to incorporate more debate and encourage open questions.
We must expect candidates to demonstrate prowess, expertise, and the ability to adequately address constituent concerns. I earned a Master of Letters from University of St Andrews in Scotland – a top school in the world for counterterrorism and international security studies. I brought dimension to that learning as a practitioner on Capitol Hill and for the Department of Defense. In total, I’ve spent 27 years studying, guiding, and writing domestic and global policy. If you want to see the difference experience makes, I encourage you to go on my website or social media – in articles and thoughts dating back to March and April timeframe, I was making accurate predictions about the economy, the war in Afghanistan, and many other topics that are now a priority. This is the type of analysis that could be used to regain competitive advantage and steer strategic planning to greater success.
We need a Senator who embodies the courage to run toward the danger. Although for Senators, this is usually more figurative than literal, we want people who will lean in when there is conflict and division. Someone who will stand up to defend our country instead of running, hiding, cowering, and complaining. We need a steadfast patriot. As an analyst and leader with the Department of Defense, I directly supported those who literally run to the danger on behalf of America, and when given the opportunity, I’ve run with them.
We need a Senator who recognizes that America is more than a country – it’s an idea. A belief that diversity is strength, that when united, can transform into the greatest nation on Earth. This was the vision of our Forefathers. Yet, candidacy today is about sound bites that create controversy, and flashy videos that sow division. If we elect sensationalism today, we will lose our country tomorrow. We need a Senator who realizes that America is, always has been, and always will be great. I’ve celebrated the 4th of July in one of the most tyrannical countries in the world. As Lee Greenwood blared and the fireworks flew on base, I watched people on the other side of the fence look on in awe, longing with every fiber of their being to experience the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We need someone who truly cherishes what it means to be American. I do.
In closing, I offer the words of American poet Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Next year, when you go to the polls for the Primary, you have a difficult choice to make. Will you choose to go back and repeat the past? Will you choose the familiar because, though ineffective, it’s comfortable and wears a friendly face? Or will you bravely forge a new path the way a truly great American does? Expect more from your candidates, and above all, choose the best SENATOR. It’s possible.