Gamed Endorsement of Ming Diminishes Lincoln Club
Posted by Matt Cunningham on September 23, 2013
I have long been an admirer of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, but I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed in one of the Club’s actions than with its endorsement of Robert Ming in the 5th Supervisor District race. My disappointment is not a criticism of Robert Ming but of how this endorsement was engineered, which brings the Club down to College Republican level of shenanigans. It reflects poorly on the Lincoln Club of Orange County and its treatment of a candidate who has been bloodied during long service to the conservative cause.
I am a strong supporter of Mission Viejo City Councilman Frank Ury. I have been a friend and supporter of Frank’s for more than 20 years. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the superior choice to be the Supervisor from the 5th District.
The Lincoln Club has a process for endorsing candidates — a process that was short-circuited in the case of Robert Ming when it was sprung on the Lincoln Club board last week. All well and good – the Club is a private organization and can run its internal affairs as its leadership sees fit.
But it is worth pointing out what this endorsement is not. It is not the result of both candidates having the opportunity to come before the Lincoln Club and make their respective cases as to why they deserve the Club’s endorsement. Only Robert Ming was given the opportunity. Frank Ury didn’t learn of it until after the initial vote last week, which fell two votes shy of the two-thirds necessary to given Ming the endorsement. Even after Frank learned of the vote and reached out to the Club, there was no reciprocation and the endorsement was given to Ming after the missing two votes were added.
In my opinion, this sort of maneuvering is a disservice to Lincoln Club members, who are not given the opportunity to hear for themselves from both candidates — both of whom are solid conservatives.
It is especially shameful given that Frank Ury has fought harder and longer for the conservative cause than most, and been bloodied in the process more than most. A little more than 20 years ago, myself and some other conservative activists asked Frank to run for the Saddleback Valley Unified School Board. We believed more conservative voice were need on school boards that had been (and still are) dominated by teachers unions. Frank agreed and waged a successful grassroots campaign. He brought a common sense, business perspective to the school board, and a strong conservative voice that championed parents and students. He was one of a tiny handful of school board members courageous enough to campaign around the state in favor of the 1993 school voucher initiative. He was a key part of Education Alliance, an organization that helped recruit, train and support conservative candidates for school boards. He proved such an effective voice that the unions spent nearly $150,000 to defeat Frank when he stood for re-election — an unheard of sum in a school board race at the time. Frank could have taken the easy path and kept his school board seat simply by keeping silent on the issue of school choice, and it is a reflection of his integrity that he didn’t compromise his principles simply to hold onto office.
A lot of activists would have left the field after such an experience. Frank stayed in the trenches and in 1998 he and Mark Bucher and Jim Righeimer authored the first paycheck protection initiative, Prop. 226. They approached the Lincoln Club and as the Club notes on its website, “Provided significant seed money for “paycheck protection” initiatives, Proposition 226 and 75, to prohibit unions from withholding dues for political purposes.”
These are just a couple of snapshots from Frank Ury’s long years of service in the trenches for the conservative cause. Frank has run and won, run and lost, and then run and won three more times. It has never been handed to him, and he has become an ever more effective conservative leader over the years.
Frank Ury been in the trenches fighting the same fight for the same things for which the Lincoln Club is supposed, and the Club ought to have afforded Frank the opportunity to make his case. The Club often points to Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech as exemplifying the philosophy of its approach to politics. Frank Ury has been one of those men in the arena for 20 years, and the Lincoln Club just shined him on. By engaging in a 5th Supervisor District endorsement maneuver reminiscent of college political club antics and blowing off a conservative candidate of accomplishment who deserved at least a hearing, the Lincoln Club has diminished itself. And that is disappointing to those of us who have admired the Club for, among other things, a grown-up and sober approach to politics and campaigns.