Libertarian-leaning Republican Congressman Ron Paul lost his bid for the Republican presidential nomination this year, but a number of his acolytes ran for Congress as Republicans and won November 6. Is Congress the real location of the growing “Ron Paul revolution”?
After a candidate loses an election, it's rare that the candidate's movement continues as a “revolution.” Nobody talks about a John McCain revolution, and even a day after the Mitt Romney defeat for president, nobody's talking about a Mitt Romney movement that will continue after his candidacy. But Representative Ron Paul, a 12-term Texas congressman who is retiring in January, always said his campaign was about ideas instead of personalities. In making endorsements for the U.S. House of Representatives, the former obstetrician played the role of king-maker, winning an astonishing eight of 11 House endorsements:
1. Justin Amash, a Michigan freshman congressman (3rd District), was reelected 58-39 percent over Democratic nominee Steve Pestka, who poured more than $1 million of his own into the campaign. Amash aligned most closely to Rep. Paul's ideas and ideals over the past two years, and the 32-year-old congressman may hold the mantle as the titular head of the Ron Paul movement in Congress.
2. MIT-trained scientist Thomas Massie easily won Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District race 62-35 percent, and had strong support from Kentucky's Senator Rand Paul after emerging from the GOP primary where he fought off several establishment favorites. Massie won the open seat primary with major support from the Liberty For All SuperPac.
3. Retired high-school teacher and reindeer farmer Kerry Bentivolio won 51-44 percent in Michigan 11th Congressional District race, after some major primary intervention from Ron Paul-backed SuperPacs, including Liberty For All SuperPac. Bentivolio had already won election to finish the term of Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, who resigned earlier this year, so Bentivolio will have an edge over incoming freshman toward placement in committees with his seniority.
4. Former Congressman Steve Stockman will return to Congress from the Texas 36th Congressional District, after easily besting Democratic nominee Max Martin by a 71-26 percent margin. Stockman was a Ron Paul ally during his two years in Congress 1995-1997, and is best known for being a strong advocate of the Second Amendment.
5. Businessman Randy Weber won the race to replace Ron Paul in Texas' 14th Congressional District, defeating Democratic nominee Nick Lampson 53-45 percent.
6. Veterinarian Ted Yoho will represent Florida's 3rd Congressional District after defeating the Democratic nominee Jacques Gaillot in the general election by 65-32 percent. Yoho defeated longtime incumbent Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns in the GOP primary this past summer.
7. Congressman David Schweikert of Arizona's 6th District won reelection 62-33 percent. Schweikert served on the House Money and Banking Subcommittee with Rep. Paul, where he became a key ally in seeking an audit of the Federal Reserve.
8. Congressman Walter Jones easily won reelection to North Carolina's 3rd District, 63-37 percent over his Democratic opponent. Rep. Jones had become a key ally with Paul in opposition to the Iraq War and in favor of defending civil liberties in the so-called “war on terror.”
Some Ron Paul-endorsed candidates did lose their U.S. House elections, however. Longtime incumbent Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland's 6th District lost 59-38 percent, a victim of redistricting. Freshman Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois' 8th District lost 55-45 percent to disabled veteran Tammy Duckworth, in a race that garnered some national attention. And scientist Dr. Art Robinson — publisher of the free-market Access to Energy newsletter — lost an expensive race in Oregon's 4th Congressional District, 59-39 percent, to replace longtime incumbent Peter DeFazio in a district that leans Democratic.
While the news was nearly all good for the “Ron Paul Revolution” in the House, few U.S. Senate candidates favored by Rep. Paul were able to replicate the Kentucky success that Ron Paul's son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, enjoyed in the Tea Party fervor of 2010. Of the candidates Ron Paul endorsed for the U.S. Senate, only Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz of Texas won his U.S. Senate race, 57-40 percent, over Democratic nominee Paul Sadler.
Minnesota: U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills lost 65-35 to incumbent liberal Amy Klobuchar. Representative Connie Mack lost an uphill race against incumbent moderate Democrat Bill Nelson by a 55-42 percent margin.
Missouri: Representative Todd Akin also lost an insurgent Missouri U.S. Senate race (55-39 percent) against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Rhode Island: Barry Hinkley lost 61-39 to incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.
Delaware: Kevin Wade fell 66-29 to longtime incumbent Thomas Carper.
(In the Montana Senate race against incumbent Jon Tester, Ron Paul-endorsed Denny Rehberg is behind in the vote count, 48-45 percent, even though CNN has yet to call the race.)
The Senate slaughterhouse of Ron Paul endorsed candidates was part of a tough night for the Republican Party Senate candidates overall, which lost several other U.S. Senate seats: Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown was defeated for reelection by Elizabeth Warren 54-46 percent. Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock lost the open race to replace Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar to Rep. Joe Donnelly, 50-44 percent. And the GOP lost the Maine senate seat being vacated by the retiring Olympia Snowe to independent former Governor Angus King, who is expected to caucus with Senate Democrats.