Republican candidates strongly tied to the conservative-libertarian ideology of former presidential candidate Ron Paul won hotly-contested congressional races on Tuesday, pointing at a possible direction the party can go after losing to President Obama.
Thomas Massie won the race to replace retiring Kentucky Republican Rep. Geoff Davis, beating Democrat Bill Adkins by 20 percentage points. Massie, an ally of Paul’s son, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, raised nearly 10 times as much money as Adkins, according to the Lexington-Herald Leader.Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash, who was already vying to be the House’s next “Dr. No” in his first term, was re-elected with 58-percent of the vote. The 31-year-old Amash backed Congressman Paul for president and later refused to endorse Mitt Romney.
“There is no next Ron Paul. He is one of a kind,” Amash told a Ron Paul rally before the Republican National Convention last August.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones was another candidate who won Tuesday. Like Amash, he backed Congressman Paul and refused to endorse Mitt Romney. Congressman Jones once crusaded for “freedom fries” to protest France’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq before becoming a fierce critic of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In a neighboring Michigan district, Ron Paul Republican Kerry Bentivolio was elected to the House seat formerly held by GOP Rep. Thaddeus McCotter. McCotter, who had failed to gather enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot, resigned from the House amid a petition scandal. Bentivolio beat Democrat Syed Taj.
Bentivolio spent four decades in the U.S. Army, but was painted by opponents as an eccentric because he raised reindeer and played Santa Claus for local children. Despite the smears, he was elected to Congress by a 7-point margin.
Many other candidates endorsed by Ron and Rand Paul, as well as Paul-influenced organizations like Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty, were on the ballot Tuesday, including Texas Sen.-elect Ted Cruz. But these three Republicans most self-consciously identified with the Pauls’ calls for deep spending cuts, auditing the Federal Reserve, and a more restrained foreign policy.
They all raised money from Paul’s vast national network of donors, which helped them remain competitive in their primaries and the general election.