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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

American Crossroads and "All Politics is Local"

Steve Inskeep of NPR interviews Steven Law of American Crossroads:
INSKEEP: What issues are you trying to focus the race on in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire?
LAW: Well, we've said repeatedly as have others that the best thing that anyone running for office this election can do is to focus on what they're doing for the state, the issues they're working on that people in their state care about. And one thing that we have going for us in this cycle is that most of our candidates have not only been good candidates, they've been good senators.
They've been doing a lot of things, solving problems for their state. It also helps them to continue to swim underneath the froth and the waves that may impact the presidential race and chart their own course and define their own candidacies.
INSKEEP: So if you're paying for ads in Pennsylvania, what you're going to be saying is Pat Toomey helped some people in Pittsburgh. He got a post office opened in Harrisburg or he got money for Pennsylvania and some things like that.
LAW: Yeah, and probably not quite as granular as fixing potholes. But certainly one of the things we've been talking about is things that they've been doing to solve problems that people are concerned about in their state. So with Pat Toomey, among other things, he's fighting to keep sexual predators out of schools. It's an area of concern in some of these swing and collar counties around Philadelphia.
So that's something we've been talking about there. In New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte has been one of the Senate leaders on fighting the Opioid crisis. She was one of the leaders in getting bipartisan legislation passed. That's the number-one issue in New Hampshire, and she's been a leader on that. And we've been talking about that issue as well.
Inskeep also asked about Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who lost his primary to a moderate.
LAW: It's interesting, the Huelskamp primary we watched pretty closely. We even thought about getting involved there. I think that election result is somewhat unique to the circumstances. Huelskamp was not liked. He had taken a number of votes that were contrary to his district's interest. I think he spent a lot more time being worried about what people in Washington said about him from the very conservative perspective than what his own district cared about.

I think what it does point to, though, is that there is a cost for simply going down a hard-core ideological line and then losing sight of what your district's constituents care about.