GOP wants party unity, but Russel’s not budging; will write-in himself for special
After Republicans nominated businessman Tim Burns as their special election candidate in the 12th Congressional District, state party chairman said he hoped that military veteran Bill Russell would get behind the GOP’s candidate.
But Russell, ever the anti-establishment candidate, is sticking to his guns. He’s continued to criticize the process by which Burns was nominated. He’s preparing to go up against Burns in the May primary to be held the same day as the special election. And he says—only half-jokingly—that he won’t even vote for Burns over Democrat Mark Critz in the special election, opting instead to write himself in.
Despite his role as a favorite of the conservative base, his refusal to back Burns in the special election, voiced again during a Town Hall meeting last week in Indiana, brought him some heat on the blogosphere.
“Man up Mr. Russell!” wrote Brian O’Connor on the blog Red Dog Report. “If you have not noticed, the Democrats are attempting to strip our Constitution and spend our children’s future away. Every Republican needs to do his part.”
In an interview Friday, Russell told pa2010.com that his refusal to directly support Burns does not come from any personal animosity for the wealthy businessman. Rather, Russell said, he is protesting the selection process itself, and the behavior of the Republican State Committee.
“We can’t change Washington until we win back the whole of our party,” Russell said. “As long as we have back-room deals and a small cadre in the state party trying to force candidates on voters, whether it be in special elections or the general endorsement process, we will not be able to achieve anything. I won’t support a process that is not open and free.”
Russell was adamant is saying he won’t vote for Critz in the special election—as some had quietly speculated—insisting that he is loyal to the GOP and determined to get a Republican into the seat. But instead of voting for Burns, Russell said he would write himself in on the ballot.
“I still think I am the best candidate to take over in the 12th,” Russell said. “So I’m going to vote for myself as a write-in.”
March 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm