Primary Challenges

I first started paying attention to politics and elections when I was in fifth grade, around the time of the 1992 elections. That was an exciting time for national politics in our country. It was a presidential election year, and there were so many issues, personalities, and captivating occurences that were taking place.

Within both of the major parties, there were exciting primary contests. On the Democratic side, there was the “six-pack” of presidential hopefuls: Virginia Governor Doug Wilder (the first to withdraw), U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA), California Governor Jerry Brown, and Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. And on our party’s side, there was an exciting and energetic challenge from the Right to the President of the United States by conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan (who, being endorsed by the Granite State’s most influential newpaper and America’s oldest national conservative organization, stunned everyone by garnering 37% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary against an incumbent President). With all that was going on, it was a great time to be paying attention to current affairs and elections.

In January of 2000, shortly before the last presidential primary season was about to commence, I had the great opportunity to attend College Convention 2000, known as "the largest event of the New Hampshire primary." This was a great event, where over 1,000 college and high school students from across the country gathered, at the great Center of New Hampshire Holiday Inn (at the center of the world?) to hear presidential candidates, candidates for other offices, party representatives, interest group representatives, and other important people - from a variety of different parties and ideologies - as they attempted to get their message across to our generation.

It is great when, like in 1992 and 2000, there are exciting contests on both sides of the presidential primary partisan divide. Just as his father did, President George W. Bush has been facing (and continues to face) a great deal of criticism from his conservative base. Those who have been paying attention to current affairs and politics should be aware of the enormous frustration that fiscal conservatives have been experiencing at the policies of this administration, and of the Republican Congress. The leading conservative collegiate blogger, Josh Claybourn, has been covering this issue a great deal, and has had many great entries about this subject. Many people have pointed out that the fiscal policies of this administration are actually more liberal than those of the previous one, even if adjustments are made for the War on Terrorism. There was just recently a good article in the Wall Street Journal about this; it is one of many news and opinion pieces about this troubling topic.

It is not just the fiscal and economic conservatives who are mad, though... There are a variety of other issues for which conservatives are dissatisfied with the policies of this administration. Social conservatives have also been frustrated, and some were earlier considering bolting the GOP in the 2004 elections. And on international issues, some major conservative leaders have expressed concern at the increased influence on the White House of the "national greatness" political philosophy, a neoconservative ideology that advocates an excessively interventionist foreign policy.

I do not know who I will be supporting for President in November. One thing that I have, for awhile, been wishing for is a strong challenge to President Bush from the Right, in the Republican primaries. Unfortunately, no strong candidate seems to have emerged.

But that does not mean that President Bush will be going unchallenged in today's first-in-the-nation primary. A former Chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, David Gosselin, has been working to organize a Republican challenge to President Bush... Check out his website: www.gogosselin.com.

From the home page of Human Events a few weeks ago, I found this Fox News item about how Bush will be facing Republican challengers in his quest for re-nomination, and re-election. The following are some of the Republican candidates for President of the United States in 2004:


Blake Ashby (R-MO)
www.ashby2004.com

Mr. Ashby, who appears to be more of a libertarian-minded conservative, seems like an incredible individual. Just 39 years of age, Ashby had set himself a goal - to become a self-made multi-millionaire before turning 40. He did accomplish that goal, and has a personal fortune that could help him in this race. Mr. Ashby is on today's New Hampshire ballot, as well as on the ballot of his home state, Missouri, and possibly on other Republican primary ballots as well. Here is an article from The American Spectator about Mr. Ashby. He seems like an appealing candidate, and I wish him well this year.


Richard P. Bosa (R-NH)
www.justicedemanded.com

There seem to be several New Hampshire natives running in the GOP primaries. Unlike most of the other Republican presidential candidates, Mr. Bosa has been elected to office before (he has run in many, many elections) - he was elected to the Berlin, NH Charter Revision Board in 1993, and also was elected to one term as mayor of that city. The last time he ran for President was 1996, and he finished in 10th place in the New Hampshire Republican primary, with 216 votes. Due to a messy divorce in the 1980s and other civil litigation that he was involved in, Bosa is very much anti-lawyer (many Americans are), and he is the President of the National Congress for Legal Reform. He is also a U.S. Army veteran and a successful businessman, and a strong advocate for manufacturing. The Bosa campaign has a weblog - it looks kind of interesting. Also, there have been quite a few news articles on Mr. Bosa's candidacy, including this Washington Post piece and this article. Also check out Mr. Bosa's profile in the New Hampshire Almanac, in the section by Hugh Gregg, on some of the lesser-known presidential candidates.


John Buchanan (R-FL)
www.johnbuchanan.org

From what I have learned about Mr. Buchanan, he seems to be a controversial fellow. His campaign website is somewhat well-designed, but it could give people the impression that he is well outside the mainstream (which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the situation, and the individual). Find out more about Mr. Buchanan at Politics1.com, and here are some recent news articles about him. The Buchanan campaign does have its own weblog.

(I just saw that it even has a "road blog.")


Tom "Billy Jack" Laughlin (R-CA)
www.billyjack.com

Has anyone here ever watched a Billy Jack movie? I haven't. Actor Tom Laughlin was the star of that movie series, and has acted in, directed, and written other films as well - here is his IMDB page. "Billy Jack" had previously run in the 1992 New Hampshire primary, on the Democratic side, and had received about 2% of the vote. Running this time as a Republican, Billy Jack strongly opposes the Iraq war... Find out more here. I just go berserk...


John Donald Rigazio (R-NH)
www.rigazio4president.com

Mr. Rigazio is a New Hampshire businessman. Like Billy Jack above, Rigazio ran for President on the Democratic side in the 1992 New Hampshire primary; he finished in 16th place, with just 186 votes. He is a U.S. Army veteran, the divorced father of five adult children, and a life-long Rochester, New Hampshire resident. Last year, he was chosen as the Citizen of the Year by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. He seems rather liberal on fiscal issues; his campaign site, however, provides information about many of his positions. Rigazio switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party three weeks before the presidential candidate filing deadline, claiming that Democratic Party leaders were ignoring his candidacy. According to Politics1.com, Rigazio has an active campaign, and has already been promoting his candidacy in Iowa and New Hampshire.


Bill Wyatt (R-CA)
www.billwyatt.org

Mr. Wyatt is running on an anti-war platform. He will be on the New Hampshire primary ballot, and his campaign also has a weblog.


In addition to the above-listed candidates, other Republicans who are on today's New Hampshire primary presidential ballot (see the full listing of candidates who filed, with their photos), include Robert Edward Haines (R-NH), Millie Howard (R-OH), Mark "Dick" Harnes (R-NY), George Gostigian (R-NJ), Jim Taylor (R-MN), Michael Callis (R-NH), and Cornelius E. O'Connor (R-FL).


More information is available at this page, and at this helpful page at Politics1.com (thanks to the great Politics1.com site for much of the information for this blog entry).

Posted by Aakash at January 27, 2004 4:10 PM