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Lunch with a targeted conservative Senator from Texas On very short notice I was invited to a luncheon with Senator John Cornyn of Texas. His is the second most populous state in the nation after California, and has the same number of Senators as Wyoming, which has only half a million people. Senators from states such as California, Texas and Florida are extremely busy because of the number of constituents they must deal with. Being invited to a small, intimate luncheon with Senator Cornyn of Texas is a rare event.
The luncheon was held in a private room at a restaurant at 400 North Capitol Street, which also happens to be the building in which Fox News is located here in Washington, DC. Fox shows such as Bret Baier’s Special Report are broadcast from that location, with a view of Union Station outside a studio plate glass window. As often as my schedule will permit, I commute to Capitol Hill on the train and arrive and depart from Union Station, which is just six blocks from the Capitol Building.
The invitation lists to small events with Senators are very limited. No one is going to be invited unless they have some influence. It takes many years for anyone to be on the short list for smaller events. Often the larger events have dozens of people and there is no time for one on one conversation with the Senator who is hosting. At these small luncheons, I am normally the only social conservative in the room, as was the case last week with Senator Cornyn. All of those present represented large companies or trade groups with interests in Texas.
I must point out that no one at the luncheon was there to “lobby” or ask Senator Cornyn to back any specific legislation. For the most part, those attending are interested in learning about proposed legislation that will affect their business. Most are present simply to be briefed on the current state of affairs in the Senate.
As Senator Cornyn spoke on the issues he surprised most in the room, but not me, by mentioning that he had spoken recently to Congressman Frank Wolf about his efforts to expose persecution of Christians in various places in the world, including the Middle East and Africa. Senator Cornyn noted that Congressman Wolf has decided not to run for reelection and the great loss his leaving Congress will be, as he is the champion of persecuted Christians in the House.
The Senator told the twelve of us at the luncheon that he had met with Congressman Wolf to offer to take the lead on some of the religious freedom projects he has been working on. Cornyn gave examples of the problems facing Christians in Iran, and the violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power.
After the luncheon I spoke with Senator Cornyn for some time about the situation of Christians in Syria and shared with him that I had been with Congressman Wolf at a meeting with Syrian clergy, including two Bishops, just three days prior to the luncheon.
Senator Cornyn has a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and a lifetime voting record with the American Conservative Union (ACU) of 82%. Only one other Senator has a higher rating from the ACU. It is virtually impossible to have served as long as Senator Cornyn and have a 100% rating because of having to vote on conflicting issues within the same bill or budget. There are budget amendments that come up that the National Right to Life opposes and the Americans for Tax Reform favor, as an example. Every conservative organization cannot be pleased every time.
Astonishingly, Senator Cornyn has seven opponents in the March 4th GOP primary, all of whom claim to be more conservative than he is. One is a pro-amnesty immigration attorney in Houston who claims to be more conservative in all areas except immigration, and on that issue he insists that the only way for the GOP to survive as a party is to allow illegals to become citizens. Six of the seven have never held any elected office, not even as a city councilman, and have no concept of the responsibilities of holding public office.
Some of the attacks on Senator Cornyn by fellow Republicans are just flat dishonest. Congressman Steve Stockman created a new Internet site titled Cornyn Loves ObamaCare. At that site he featured a photo of Barack Obama and Senator Cornyn smiling and joking at a podium. There was one big problem with this — the photo was a fake.
In the altered photo, Senator Cornyn’s head had been placed on the shoulders of former Florida governor Charlie Crist who became a Democrat and supported Barack Obama. I have seen many dirty tricks in political races during the decades I have worked on Capitol Hill, but never before have I seen a candidate actually alter a photograph to harm an opponent. This was a particularly sad moment for me, as I have known Steve Stockman for more than 20 years and supported him twice when he ran for Congress.
Making the Senate Conservative Over the next 60 days GING-PAC will officially endorse several more Senate candidates. One of those will be Ben Sasse in Nebraska who is running to replace my good friend Senator Mike Johanns who is retiring.
At his Internet site Ben Sasse declares: “Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is the fundamental building block of society and should be respected and strengthened, not redefined.” At a time when many Republican candidates are attempting to run from social issues such as marriage, a forthright statement from a Senate candidate is refreshing.
On the issue of the unborn, Ben Sasse makes himself very clear, saying: “Life begins at conception and ends at natural death. We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and defend the sanctity of life.” Ben Sasse believes that we have made tremendous progress in the pro-life movement, but that even one abortion is too many.
In the March issue of the GING-PAC Campaign Update, several additional Senate races will be covered. Currently we are awaiting some questionnaires and clarifications from candidates.
I need your help to be able to continue to support the kind of men and women who will truly represent our values on Capitol Hill. In order for social conservatives such as Ben Sasse to win key Senate and House elections, we must reach traditional values voters and tell them about our candidates. That costs money. Please help.
William J. Murray, Chairman