Did Matthew Homola Cost Julie Olson the Election in LD 17?

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

As the vote counting in the 17th Legislative District wraps up , it looks like Julie Olson is headed to defeat by about 100 votes in her race against Monica Stonier for State Representative. The thin margin by which the Republican candidate is losing is causing a lot of second guessing among the Clark County G.O.P. One person that some are blaming for the loss is Matthew Homola , who dared to file and run against Olson in the primary on the Republican side. While Homola garnered only 12.12%, his 2506 vote total more than made up the difference between Stonier and Olson in the primary. Apparently, the fact that Stonier’s vote total in the primary exceeded Olson’s meant that her name was printed first on the general election ballot this fall, which some party higher-ups believe helped her get the extra 100 votes that put her over the top. They believe that in the future, anyone who is not viewed as a ‘serious candidate’ should be sought out and asked to exit the race to avoid the vote-splitting that leads to the Republican being printed second on the general election ballot.

The result of the “Matthew Homola cost Julie Olson the election” theory is that there will be even more pressure from the party to pick the favorite early and leave anti-establishment candidates out in the cold. Admittedly, Homola seems not to have been a serious candidate. He had few if any speaking engagements, and he failed to seek out party recognition or help. The 2500+ votes he received were at least partially due to tea-party and liberty voters who had no interest in the establishment’s latest pick for office. Recall that slightly over 30% of registered voters even participated in the primary. These were the motivated few who cared enough to choose a primary candidate, and over 22% of the Republicans voted against Olson.  Few outside of the Ridgefield School Board knew who Julie was, and she was conspicuously absent from candidate vetting sessions at the local We The People gatherings. I actually called her on the phone at one point and asked if there were selling points she could give me for PCOs who were out canvassing their precincts during the ‘Get Out the Vote’ drives. Her response was, “Don’t they want to be part of a winning team?” Although my wife and I voted for her, I admit that I found this, along with the rest of her campaign, somewhat less than compelling. There are a growing number of folks who refuse to vote for someone simply because they mark ‘Identifies with Republican Party’. The corpses of moderate Republican candidates are still lying all over the state and country, from Mitt Romney, to Reagan Dunn, Bill Finkbeiner, and Rob McKenna.

I think the 17th LD is a very winnable district for Republicans, but it requires a candidate who gives voters a reason to go to the trouble of finding his or her name on the ballot and filling in the box. My sincere hope is that a Liberty/Tea Party candidate will surface in the 17th in two years to provide that spark, and like we saw with David Madore, such a candidate will attract volunteers,  voters, and enthusiasm in greater abundance than Julie Olson was able to muster. Any candidate from the Liberty/Tea Party end of the G.O.P. can expect pressure from the WSRP to drop out in favor of the establishment’s anointed. Expect to hear the name ‘Matthew Homola’ invoked repeatedly in the next few years.

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