Having accepted an invitation, today I met with Wil Armstrong – Republican candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. Nationally-known Congressman Tom Tancredo has stepped down after five terms in office, and four candidates are vying to replace him for the safe Republican seat.
Unlike the other three, Wil Armstrong has never held elected office. But in a time when many Republican voters are frustrated with the fiscal irresponsibility of their own elected officials and are clamoring for change, he considers the lack of experience a strength. Instead, Armstrong has been a successful entrepreneur and a dedicated foot soldier on many conservative Colorado campaigns.
I have written very little about this race for two primary reasons: first, because I don’t live in the 6th, and second, because all four candidates can reasonably be expected to have a strong, consistent conservative voting record, so why focus limited blogging resources to an apparent win-win situation?
But as Wil Armstrong observed to me this morning, “We think there’s more to the job than just voting the right way.”
Armstrong’s campaign clearly is about something bigger than himself. In the hour we shared, he spoke less about Wil Armstrong than he did about re-building the Republican Party in Colorado and its conservative wing. He is working to re-energize and to expand the base. And his campaign’s action plan backs up his talk.
As of this morning, the Armstrong for Congress team has recruited 231 grassroots activists to carry petitions to put Armstrong on the primary ballot. If it were merely about ensuring he made the ballot (all he needs are 1,000 signatures), this strategy would be overkill. But he is busy charging up an army of conservative citizens who are much more likely to work not only for Armstrong but also for U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer and other Republicans in the fall election season.
And he actively is looking to groom future conservative leaders in Colorado who will make contributions for years to come.
Furthermore, Armstrong is one of only two candidates in the race (Mike Coffman is the other) who has proved legitimate fundraising prowess, which is all the more remarkable because he doesn’t have an established base from previous runs for office.
Finally, Armstrong never spoke a disparaging word about any of his rivals. All in all, I walked away from the meeting with a highly favorably impression.
I have no hard-and-fast policy about endorsing Republican candidates in a competitive primary. The decision in this race isn’t easy. I have met all the candidates, some on multiple occasions, and am comfortable in saying that any of the four would represent the district well and would overwhelmingly “vote the right way.”
So my public endorsement of Wil Armstrong for Congress is not in any way an attack or disparagement of his competitors, but an expression of my belief that Armstrong brings the most to the table for the conservative cause. Here’s hoping that the remaining four months of the primary campaign bring out the best in everyone on the Republican side and that the energy it generates leads to the greatest possible conservative success in November.