The primary is one week from today.
Mark Walker was first elected nearly two years ago amid considerable hopes that he would represent a major improvement over Howard Coble. He sought and obtained backing from local conservatives; and led many to believe he would be a consistent voice for limited government.
There can be no dispute that Walker is a strong social conservative. That is a major plus, and essential in my opinion. But the national Republican Party will not allow major progress on social conservative issues. The party is conflicted, and won't expend the political capital on such matters-- unless, somehow, Trump were to come through on these issues. The Republicans have had numerous opportunities in the past that they have utterly squandered. We thus now have an absolute cultural mess on our hands.
The Daily Haymaker today highlighted three of Walker's worst votes: to retain John Boehner as speaker, to give Barack Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and to support the big government MACRA Medicare bill.
We need, however, a more balanced indication of his voting record. We need to look at the most discerning scorecards.
Heritage Action has him at 87%. Heritage Action is Beltway Right/ neoconservative.
His New American Freedom Index rating is 70%. This scorecard is constitutional conservative/ paleoconservative.
His Conservative Review rating is 77%. This scorecard focuses on the biggest votes.
When I supported Mark Walker two years ago, I was not hoping for a congressman who would deliver B's and C's on the most discerning scorecards. But that is unfortunately the situation we have right now. At this point, we need representatives and Senators who score A's to roll back all the mess that has been unleashed over the years.
Walker's opponent, Chris Hardin, is a former Democrat who appears to be a stronger constitutional conservative than Walker. He states that he is pro-life; and is apparently a Christian, given the fact that he has pursued higher education at both Gardner-Webb and Liberty University. It is significant that Hardin expresses opposition to trade agreements. This is to be contrasted with Walker's support of TPA. In addition, Hardin has a stronger stance on immigration.
Unfortunately, much of the national Republican Party has been tone deaf to the cries of blue collar white males-- those in the working class and lower middle class. Hardin appears to understand structurally the manner in which people are being hurt severely by all the political circumstances laid down by both major parties.
Walker has been trying to make a difference from within the system. He has perceived that he must be loyal to leadership in order to be effective. He appears to be laying the groundwork to provide leadership on the reform and downsizing of governmental charity programs. That would be a very worthy endeavor if he is able to have an impact. His most important function in Washington, however, is his vote on behalf of his constituents.
I attended a forum several months ago featuring Hardin and Walker. During a particularly heated exchange, Walker volunteered (and I am paraphrasing) that he did not regard it as most important to demonstrate who is the most conservative. Elected officials are hired by their constituents to do a job; and citizens ought to feel free to try something different when something is not working as well as had been hoped.
Walker has enormous advantages at this point. I no longer live in District 6 because of redistricting. But if I did, I would be casting my vote for Chris Hardin.