What is his political life expectancy? When was the last time you read an article about him? He’s usually mentioned in passing in articles on the gubernatorial race. The only recent campaign news is that he has pledged to spend $1 million of his own money to try to beat Scott Walker.
I ran into a member of the Walker campaign last night who told me that Neumann would drop out of the race “when the party tells him to.” Looking back, I realize he might have simply meant that Neumann will leave the race when he loses the Republican primary, however, the sly grin on the man’s face seemed to imply something that would come out of a smoke-filled room. Did state Republicans hope that a competitive primary would energize the grassroots and draw attention to the party and its policies, or did they see Neumann as a nuisance who would threaten party unity?
Both parties have proponents of these two diverging philosophies, and they almost always clash during primary season. You might think the “unity” argument is less powerful in state elections because the primary is relatively cut and dry – one election, one guy or gal wins, and the party is forced to accept. Moreover, I would guess that political parties are open to any strategy that will increase awareness among voters, most of whom are less interested in state politics. However, the primary is also much closer to election day, and although the grass roots may be excited about a competitive primary, most voters just get confused. “I’m like, conservative, who am I supposed to vote for?”
I’m guessing the GOP will start to pressure Mark Neumann to leave the race pretty soon.