For many years the Alabama Democratic Party had no interest in recruiting or helping a strong challenger to one-time Democrat turned Republican, Richard Shelby. In fact, it often appeared they actively discouraged Democrats from running against Shelby, as seemed to happen with Bill Barnes last year.
Here is the fruit of that wrong-headed policy:
“I was pleased to contribute to that victory because I viewed it as a critical battlefront for defending Republican principles.”
Democrats won 5 out of the 9 Wisconsin recall elections last summer, picking up 2 Republican seats. They were within a few thousand votes of gaining a third GOP seat and a majority in the Wisconsin Senate. Republican PACs like Richard Shelby's Defend America poured millions into Wisconsin to help Republicans hang on to a bare majority.
Of course, it isn't just Wisconsin where Shelby spends the money he's amassed through cycle after cycle of not having to deal with a strong challenger in his own races. He helps Republicans all across the nation, including right here in Alabama.
Last year, Defend America gave $100,000 to Robert Bentley's campaign for governor and $100,000 to the Alabama Republican Party.
The old ADP philosophy of “don't disturb Richard Shelby and make him open up his warchest and start spending on re-election” has allowed Shelby to amass an ever bigger warchest. A warchest he regularly opens up on behalf of his fellow Republicans at all levels of government. Letting guys like Shelby have a pass election after election is wrong-headed — it just makes them stronger and more powerful.
Challenge every one of them, every chance you get.
Make them spend their money, even if you don't beat them.