Opinion

Conservatives need to stand up for Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle

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Alyssa Bonk
Smart Girl Politics
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      Alyssa Bonk

      Alyssa Bonk is part of the policy research and communications team for Smart Girl Politics. She is also a political contributor for Philly2Philly.com. She is a graduate from the Elliott School for International Affairs of the George Washington University.

Republican Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle from New York’s 25th District has been ranked the most conservative woman in the House. She is wildly popular among pro-life groups, and her strong stance against government spending has earned her a Club for Growth rating of 92, a full 24 points higher than the next best rating in New York. Rep. Buerkle is a strong, independent, female conservative — the kind that the Republican Party sorely needs in Washington.

So naturally, the New York GOP is intentionally redistricting her out of her seat. Their own, self-drawn map places Rep. Buerkle in a nearly impossible electoral situation.

Anyone who is familiar with the New York Republican establishment shouldn’t be too surprised by this. In 2009, the state GOP forced the liberal, pro-union, pro-choice Dede Scozzafava onto the Republican ticket in the NY-09 special election, causing a third-party rebellion within the conservative movement that led to Scozzafava’s withdrawal from the race and endorsement of the Democrat over the conservative candidate. In 2010, the establishment tried to hoist candidate Rick Lazio onto the GOP gubernatorial ticket — only to result in yet another voter revolt that put Carl Paladino on the ballot, a candidate who went down in flames in November.

This time, instead of forcing a flawed candidate onto the ticket, the state GOP is trying to redistrict a good one — a great one, actually — out of contention, simply because she won’t play ball with the Albany old boys club.

Luckily, the conservative movement is identifying this for what it is — an attempt to get an independent-minded, strong female conservative out of the establishment’s way — straight out of the gate. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), head of the Republican Study Committee, has already said he will fully support Buerkle in her primary fight against any challenger, even if it means defeating a Republican incumbent in a different district. The GOP county chairman in Onondaga County, which is located in Buerkle’s district, has announced his support as well.

In fact, the conservative outcry has reached the ears of real conservative voices like Erick Erickson, who recently criticized the “tone deaf” state party and urged other conservatives to start paying attention to the unfolding fiasco.

The Republican Party should be applauding and encouraging strong conservative women to run for office and fight for fiscal sanity in Washington. Instead, the New York State GOP wants to redistrict them out of existence. Hopefully, conservatives — especially us conservative women — will recognize this shameful move for what it is, and put pressure on Albany to keep Rep. Buerkle in Congress. The GOP, and the country, needs her there.

Alyssa Bonk is part of the policy research and communications team for Smart Girl Politics. She is also a political contributor for Philly2Philly.com. She is a graduate from the Elliott School for International Affairs of the George Washington University.