Five alive: Republicans with bright futures amid the doldrums

Election 2022 Senate Alabama
Katie Britt greets young people in the audience at her election-night watch party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Montgomery, Ala. Britt won the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, becoming the first woman elected to the body from the state.(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt) Vasha Hunt/AP

Five alive: Republicans with bright futures amid the doldrums

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Republicans wanting some hope amid the mediocre election results should look at some high-quality people elected or reelected Tuesday who can be major political stars.

In no particular order, party strategists should push the following officials (identified by the offices they will hold once they are sworn in) to the forefront:

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin: I’ve watched him since the first weekend he arrived in Washington, D.C., as a recent graduate of Tulane Law School in the mid-1990s, looking for a job. By the early 2000s, he wowed me in his Republican campaign committee office by simultaneously giving apparently full attention to four things at once: a phone call, an email, a fax machine, and his conversation with me across his desk. He’s brilliant, friendly, disarmingly candid, and an undefeated candidate with two wins for the House, two wins as the lieutenant governor of Arkansas, and now, term-limited from that spot, a landslide winner for his new post, where he will immediately become perhaps the best state attorney general in the nation. He will surely give President Joe Biden fits in federal court.

Katie Britt, senator from Alabama: Watching her for the past 18 years in Alabama (even though she’s only 40) has provided an object lesson in the virtues of smart, upbeat, focused energy. And her political “people skills” are extraordinary. Other than finishing second in the national Junior Miss competition, Britt has won everything else big she has ever tried: class president at every level of school and student government president at the University of Alabama (a famously fractious student political system), governor at Alabama Girls’ State, chief of staff for Sen. Richard Shelby when he led the Appropriations Committee, and president of the Business Council of Alabama, all before she overcame a 58-percentage-point polling deficit (!!!) to win the Republican nomination for Senate and then coasting to a general election victory. She’s thoughtful and grounded too — and if you want to see how to deliver an attractive conservative message, watch this clip from Fox News, linked here.

Tim Scott, senator from South Carolina: As a newly nominated House candidate making the rounds in Washington in 2010, Scott wowed me in a 45-minute interview like few other candidates ever have. In the subsequent 12 years, he has continued to wow almost everyone he deals with, and newly reelected to the Senate, he might be the single most widely attractive conservative candidate Republicans could nominate for president in 2024. He certainly has hinted that he is open to a run, and his national profile is almost uniformly positive.

Kim Reynolds, Iowa governor: Reynolds showed she could thrive in a national spotlight with her superb performance this year in a notoriously difficult one-off job, namely giving the opposing party’s response to the president’s State of the Union address. The task has eaten other rising stars alive, but Reynolds handled it with aplomb. But that’s nothing compared to the job her constituents think she did as governor. With a landslide reelection win with more than 58% of the vote, she managed to do the near-impossible: out-poll Iowa legend Sen. Chuck Grassley, the 48-year fixture representing the Hawkeye State in Washington. (He again won big in his reelection race, but his 56% was 2 points worse than Reynolds.)

John James, representative from Michigan: After two impressive but failed runs for the Senate in a state stacked against Republicans, James eked out a win in the state’s newly drawn 10th Congressional District. A West Point graduate and a businessman, as well as an upbeat campaigner, James may make a mark in the 435-member House much faster than most freshman congressmen do.

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If Republicans push these five officeholders front and center, along with last year’s star, Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, they will give voters a substantive and attractive, can-do image. Smiles, principles, and competence are a powerful combination.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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