The Conservative Challenger and the Establishment Victor

A few short weeks ago, one day after New Hampshire's September 14 primary election was deemed too close to call, I found myself just 1,600 votes behind Kelly Ayotte in our race to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Despite being outspent by a nearly 6-1 margin, our campaign relied on a positive and consistent conservative message, along with the effort of thousands of dedicated activists, to nearly achieve an upset most pundits thought impossible. 

With such a small margin -- a one-percent margin out of over 140,000 ballots cast -- we were entitled to seek a recount. After a hard-fought campaign and a year spent listening to the voters express their frustration and desire for real conservative change in Washington, many understandably urged me to ask for one. However, I declined to do so and offered my support instead to Kelly Ayotte. I would like to explain why.

The coming voter statement in November reflects the fact that our nation is in a fiscal, national security, and moral crisis. Voters are demanding conservative leadership in Washington which is accountable to the people, and not the party bosses or the special interests. Americans seek authentic conservative leaders who understand first that the Constitution is a limiting document, not a living document, and second that if elected, they will work to devolve power from Washington back to the States and the people.

I became a candidate for U.S. Senate because of the urgent need for conservative leaders who are willing to advocate for a constitutional conservative agenda. I am a conservative first and a Republican second. Like many other Americans, I do not necessarily equate an "R" after a candidate's name with conservatism. The truth is, many Americans have been rightfully disaffected with the Republican Party because past leaders have broken faith with the core conservative principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and national security, including border security, that are at the heart of our Republican platform.  

I campaigned as an authentic conservative with a record of accomplishment to provide the voters a choice in our primary. With a limited budget and the support of experienced conservative and Republican activists, along with newer 9-12 and Tea Party activists, we built a grassroots organization that brought us to the brink of victory. Though we came up only a few votes short, our campaign showed that in New Hampshire, the establishment and money alone cannot win an election. Successful campaigns are powered by people and principles. Through our vigorous and open primary, we were able to drive a conservative agenda, ensuring that our eventual nominee would stand squarely on the core conservative principles of our party's platform.

When faced with the option of a recount, I ultimately declined. My foremost concern is defeating Paul Hodes and his liberal agenda, and I feared that the delay in unifying our party would negatively affect our ability to win in November. Accordingly, when Kelly Ayotte was declared the primary winner in a very close race, I waived our right to a recount and committed my support to her campaign, asking my supporters to do the same. I am not so presumptuous as to think that my word alone will transfer support from my supporters, but it was an important first step to enable her to earn their support with my help.

Despite the disappointment of a close primary loss, it is unacceptable for a truly conservative candidate to abandon the Republican Party's platform and its nominee in pursuit of a write-in candidacy or as an independent candidate. Such a strategy only enhances the likelihood of victory by the Democrats. This is a step I never considered. This is particularly true where the party nominee has demonstrated throughout the primary that she or he is willing to stand on conservative principles, an important test in gauging whether or not that candidate will serve as a conservative leader. 

It is for these reasons that I am so troubled by the decisions of Charlie Crist in Florida and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska to ignore the will of the voters and pursue paths to power for their personal self-interest, at the potential expense of conservative gains in November. At this critical time, we must subordinate our personal self-interest to that of the greater good, which is to restore the power of people over government, to break the stranglehold of the special interests and the entitlement class over Congress, and to devolve power from Washington back to the states and the people. The unprincipled, self-serving actions of Murkowski and Crist threaten these important goals, and they must be rejected by Republican leaders and activists everywhere.   

There is no doubt that waging a conservative campaign in a Republican primary can galvanize the positions of the ultimate nominee around authentic conservative principles. In our primary, I issued "Ovide's Oath" -- a fifteen-point pledge for New Hampshire voters to consider in differentiating my candidacy, as well as to make myself accountable to the voters as a United States senator if elected to serve. "Ovide's Oath" provided a specific delineation of the core principles and action items to which I pledged myself to the voters of New Hampshire. "Ovide's Oath," found on my website at www.ovide2010.com, provided a specific delineation of the core principles and action items with which I pledged myself to the voters of New Hampshire. The positive response to "Ovide's Oath" reinforced the value of standing behind a clear and authentic conservative message. It helped us recruit to the political process newcomers who provided the raw energy necessary to wage an insurgent campaign that came within a whisker of winning. In my decision to back Kelly Ayotte rather than seek a recount or wage an independent effort for office, my goal is to harness this raw energy and serve the greater good -- by delivering meaningful and needed conservative change to Washington.

It has been said that in a primary, Republicans should run to the right, and then, in the general, they should run to the middle. I disagree. To succeed, Republicans must stay true to core conservative principles both during the election and as they govern afterward. Americans are rightly fed up with the arrogant entitlement mentality of our elected officials, who say one thing and do another in complete disregard of the Constitution and the will of the people. These times call for conservative unity around Republican nominees pledged to campaign and serve on the core conservative principles of our party. 

For this reason, I have accepted the judgment of the voters in our recent primary election, as close as it was, and I am standing with Kelly Ayotte and will work to ensure that her agenda reflects our conservative values, as well as her votes will as our next senator from New Hampshire.

For this reason as well, "leaders" like Lisa Murkowski and Charlie Crist are absolutely wrong to thwart the will of the conservative movement as expressed by the voters in a Republican primary, and they must be opposed. Their egotistical behavior exposes their concern only with their personal political futures. The future of our Republic hangs in the balance. I stand with the millions of Americans fighting to preserve that future through implementing conservative change, and I serve the greater good, which is greater than the interest of self-absorbed elites desperately clinging to or seeking power.

Ovide Lamontagne is a respected conservative leader who ran as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. In the September 14, 2010 Republican primary, he fell short against Kelly Ayotte by a 38%-to-37% margin.
A few short weeks ago, one day after New Hampshire's September 14 primary election was deemed too close to call, I found myself just 1,600 votes behind Kelly Ayotte in our race to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. Despite being outspent by a nearly 6-1 margin, our campaign relied on a positive and consistent conservative message, along with the effort of thousands of dedicated activists, to nearly achieve an upset most pundits thought impossible. 

With such a small margin -- a one-percent margin out of over 140,000 ballots cast -- we were entitled to seek a recount. After a hard-fought campaign and a year spent listening to the voters express their frustration and desire for real conservative change in Washington, many understandably urged me to ask for one. However, I declined to do so and offered my support instead to Kelly Ayotte. I would like to explain why.

The coming voter statement in November reflects the fact that our nation is in a fiscal, national security, and moral crisis. Voters are demanding conservative leadership in Washington which is accountable to the people, and not the party bosses or the special interests. Americans seek authentic conservative leaders who understand first that the Constitution is a limiting document, not a living document, and second that if elected, they will work to devolve power from Washington back to the States and the people.

I became a candidate for U.S. Senate because of the urgent need for conservative leaders who are willing to advocate for a constitutional conservative agenda. I am a conservative first and a Republican second. Like many other Americans, I do not necessarily equate an "R" after a candidate's name with conservatism. The truth is, many Americans have been rightfully disaffected with the Republican Party because past leaders have broken faith with the core conservative principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and national security, including border security, that are at the heart of our Republican platform.  

I campaigned as an authentic conservative with a record of accomplishment to provide the voters a choice in our primary. With a limited budget and the support of experienced conservative and Republican activists, along with newer 9-12 and Tea Party activists, we built a grassroots organization that brought us to the brink of victory. Though we came up only a few votes short, our campaign showed that in New Hampshire, the establishment and money alone cannot win an election. Successful campaigns are powered by people and principles. Through our vigorous and open primary, we were able to drive a conservative agenda, ensuring that our eventual nominee would stand squarely on the core conservative principles of our party's platform.

When faced with the option of a recount, I ultimately declined. My foremost concern is defeating Paul Hodes and his liberal agenda, and I feared that the delay in unifying our party would negatively affect our ability to win in November. Accordingly, when Kelly Ayotte was declared the primary winner in a very close race, I waived our right to a recount and committed my support to her campaign, asking my supporters to do the same. I am not so presumptuous as to think that my word alone will transfer support from my supporters, but it was an important first step to enable her to earn their support with my help.

Despite the disappointment of a close primary loss, it is unacceptable for a truly conservative candidate to abandon the Republican Party's platform and its nominee in pursuit of a write-in candidacy or as an independent candidate. Such a strategy only enhances the likelihood of victory by the Democrats. This is a step I never considered. This is particularly true where the party nominee has demonstrated throughout the primary that she or he is willing to stand on conservative principles, an important test in gauging whether or not that candidate will serve as a conservative leader. 

It is for these reasons that I am so troubled by the decisions of Charlie Crist in Florida and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska to ignore the will of the voters and pursue paths to power for their personal self-interest, at the potential expense of conservative gains in November. At this critical time, we must subordinate our personal self-interest to that of the greater good, which is to restore the power of people over government, to break the stranglehold of the special interests and the entitlement class over Congress, and to devolve power from Washington back to the states and the people. The unprincipled, self-serving actions of Murkowski and Crist threaten these important goals, and they must be rejected by Republican leaders and activists everywhere.   

There is no doubt that waging a conservative campaign in a Republican primary can galvanize the positions of the ultimate nominee around authentic conservative principles. In our primary, I issued "Ovide's Oath" -- a fifteen-point pledge for New Hampshire voters to consider in differentiating my candidacy, as well as to make myself accountable to the voters as a United States senator if elected to serve. "Ovide's Oath" provided a specific delineation of the core principles and action items to which I pledged myself to the voters of New Hampshire. "Ovide's Oath," found on my website at www.ovide2010.com, provided a specific delineation of the core principles and action items with which I pledged myself to the voters of New Hampshire. The positive response to "Ovide's Oath" reinforced the value of standing behind a clear and authentic conservative message. It helped us recruit to the political process newcomers who provided the raw energy necessary to wage an insurgent campaign that came within a whisker of winning. In my decision to back Kelly Ayotte rather than seek a recount or wage an independent effort for office, my goal is to harness this raw energy and serve the greater good -- by delivering meaningful and needed conservative change to Washington.

It has been said that in a primary, Republicans should run to the right, and then, in the general, they should run to the middle. I disagree. To succeed, Republicans must stay true to core conservative principles both during the election and as they govern afterward. Americans are rightly fed up with the arrogant entitlement mentality of our elected officials, who say one thing and do another in complete disregard of the Constitution and the will of the people. These times call for conservative unity around Republican nominees pledged to campaign and serve on the core conservative principles of our party. 

For this reason, I have accepted the judgment of the voters in our recent primary election, as close as it was, and I am standing with Kelly Ayotte and will work to ensure that her agenda reflects our conservative values, as well as her votes will as our next senator from New Hampshire.

For this reason as well, "leaders" like Lisa Murkowski and Charlie Crist are absolutely wrong to thwart the will of the conservative movement as expressed by the voters in a Republican primary, and they must be opposed. Their egotistical behavior exposes their concern only with their personal political futures. The future of our Republic hangs in the balance. I stand with the millions of Americans fighting to preserve that future through implementing conservative change, and I serve the greater good, which is greater than the interest of self-absorbed elites desperately clinging to or seeking power.

Ovide Lamontagne is a respected conservative leader who ran as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. In the September 14, 2010 Republican primary, he fell short against Kelly Ayotte by a 38%-to-37% margin.

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