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Halvorson Courts National Conservatives at RedState Event

Halvorson RedState
Art Halvorson

Art Halvorson took his pitch from Bedford County to New Orleans this weekend, as the candidate addressed conservatives at the fifth annual RedState Gathering.

Hosted by popular right-wing blog, the conference lineup boasted conservative heavyweights like Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Rick Perry.

Halvorson is challenging 7-term congressman Rep. Bill Shuster in Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District.

Erick Erickson, a popular conservative blogger who served as the event’s emcee, said Halvorson was already on the public attendee list when he was asked to speak.

“We can do better than Bill Shuster,” Erickson said. “We gotta go to the mats for (Halvorson).”

Halvorson said his invitation to speak was one of the “greatest honors” of his life.

“I was outraged and enraged by the lack of leadership in the establishment wing of my own party. If I could use a stronger word I would. But I was in sin I was so angry at what was happening,” Halvorson said of a January vote to raise the debt ceiling. A first-time candidate, Halvorson spoke for about 15 minutes – eyes mostly staying to his notes.

“I began to look for somebody within in my own district to step up and run. I talked to several people, none which were willing to take on this dynasty. Not finding anyone, it became increasingly obvious that it was time for me to take action. For 30 days I prayed and sought the counsel of friends across the country. And that journey led to me standing before you today.”

Shuster is popular in his district and has routinely won re-election by comfortable margins.

For Halvorson’s uphill climb to be successful, at least one of two things will need to happen. He must either heavily fund his own bid (he gave his campaign $100K in Q2), or attract attention from national conservative groups. The RedState appearance is about the latter. The brand is a conduit for the national movement of anti-establishment conservatives.

Shuster campaign manager Sean Joyce said Halvorson’s travel showed he’s out of touch with their southwestern Pa. district. Shuster was on the road over the weekend, too, Joyce said.

“While Halvorson was off talking talking about himself and his attempt to buy a congressional district by moving to Pennsylvania, Congressman Shuster was talking to the National Governors Association about infrastructure and how the federal government and the states can be partners with reforms that prioritize taxpayer’s dollars and rebuilds America’s infrastructure,” Joyce said of the NGA conference in Milwaukee. “That is the difference between talking about being a conservative and having a proven track record to lead with conservative reforms on the national stage.”

In New Orleans, Halvorson introduced the three main issues of his campaign — reducing the national debt, restricting abortions, and repealing Obamacare — while also whacking away at Shuster’s record.

“Our values of fiscal responsibility, limited government and individual opportunity are not currently represented in congress. I’m asking for your help to unseat a RINO…Rather than promoting his district’s values, [Shuster] has tripled our national debt. His reign must end now. Authentic conservatives are on the move to take back our country.”

The message seemed to resonate with the like-minded audience.

“I just met you Art, but you’re the answer to my prayers,” said a man in the crowd during the Q&A session, voice cracking.

Franklin County businessman Travis Schooley has also announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination in PA-9.

You can watch Halvorson’s complete remarks here.

4 Responses

  1. Bill Shuster’s Endless Debt double talker claims to be “fiscal conservative” and debt ceiling has tripled since Bill Shuster took office January 2002 and Bill Shuster voted for 8 increases in the debt ceiling. What will he do on September 30th with the Continuing Resolution? and then with the Debt Ceiling Vote?

  2. After four decades of waste and corruption, I’m FINALLY going to have a Congressman I can be proud of. Go get ’em, Art! I’m telling everyone I know about you!

  3. I was at the RedState Gathering at Westin Hotel New Orleans and it was an energizing event and made me think all is not lost.

    I had a chance to get to know Art and Paula better and were more impressed, the better I get to know them.

    Art Halvorson fits the district. Art reminds me a lot of John Eichelberger. Soft spoken, truly decent, connected to the community in an intangible way that a career politician can only pretend to be.

    This is a winnable race for the Tea Party. I expect that Art will start to see small dollar contributions from lots of people in and out of the district.

    The record of the Shuster Dynasty tells us why we are in the mess we are in. They enabled and voted for the debt and deficits and the pork that is bankrupting The Forgotten Taxpayer.

  4. That he was chosen to receive national attention in this venue reflects both strong rejection of the incumbent and even greater comfort with this challenger.

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