Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Republicans Lose in Manassas Park

While Herndon was throwing out most of the Day Labor Center supporters, Manassas Park was replacing it's Republican Incumbents with tax-conscious .... Independents.

From Wednesday's Potomac News, Bunner wins, GOP incumbents tumble:

The Republican Party lost its grip on Manassas Park Tuesday when three independent candidates swept the city council elections.
But, for Judd the issue boiled down to taxes. Larson and Bunner vehemently opposed tax increases, which Judd believed helped secure more votes.

Two of the winners bear out that theory, citing taxes as their most important issue:

A 42-year-old police lieutenant, Bunner hopes the city builds its commercial tax base to reduce the dependency on residential taxes.

Larson, 38 and a communications engineer, promised he would work to lower the tax rate in Manassas Park.

"I feel great," he said. "I am looking forward to tackling our tax problem."

But the winners also cite another reason for the Republican loss:

Brendel, Slater and Judd sent a letter to Manassas Park voters challenging Kassinger's political track record, and questioning Larson's anti-tax position.

"I think it also shows the way the Republican party ran their campaign, that the citizens in Manassas Park don't want to see things like that," Bunner said. "I think they want people to stick to the points of what they stand for."

"I knew that, that turned a lot of people off, because it was just uncalled for," added Larson.

I think both of those are good lessons for republicans moving forward. First, voters don't like overtly negative campaigns (even if they might work) -- since republicans are right on the issues, we should be able to win without getting into personalities.

But more importantly, if republicans give up their smaller-government, tax-conscious philosophy, there are politicians ready to claim the mantle for themselves, whether they deserve it or not.

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