Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 15, 2012
Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the American Conservative Union (ACU) highlighted six of the movement’s rising stars in a panel. Raising the profiles of leading conservatives is a legendary feature of CPAC; after all, former President Ronald Reagan delivered his “City Upon a Hill” speech at the first conference in 1974. In 2010, (now) Senators Mike Lee and Marco Rubio both spoke, helping to cement their statuses as darlings of the conservative movement.
The six candidates the ACU chose to highlight this year were Senate candidates Ted Cruz (TX) and Richard Mourdock (IN), and House candidates Paul Babeau (AZ), Steven Sandstrom (UT), Jackie Walorski (IN), and Martha Zoller (GA).
Ted Cruz is the former Solicitor General of Texas and a darling of the Tea Party movement this cycle. Cruz faces an uphill battle against establishment favorite and current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the Republican primary this spring.
As Cruz noted in his CPAC speech, “We have a choice now between a career politician and a strong conservative fighter.”
Richard Mourdock, the incumbent State Treasurer of Indiana, is running in the Republican primary against incumbent US Senator Dick Lugar. Mourdock has received numerous endorsements from conservative organizations over the past few months, including an endorsement Tuesday by the Club for Growth.
“We don’t need bipartisanship, we need principle,” Mourdock told CPAC attendees.
Running in Arizona’s fourth congressional district, Babeu is the incumbent Sheriff of Pinal County, a suburb of Phoenix. Babeu is a staunch supporter of Senate Bill 1070, the controversial law passed last year that gives the state’s law enforcement officials additional powers to fight illegal immigration in Arizona.
“There is a crisis in our country right now and I’m a trained first responder,” Babeu said about himself at CPAC.
Sandstrom is a small business owner, former commerical airline pilot, and former Marine running in Utah’s newly-created fourth district. He told CPAC attendees last week that he is running for Congress because he “refuses to tell his children that they cannot dream and live the way he did.”
Walorski is a former Representative in the Indiana State House and the 2010 candidate for Indiana’s second congressional district. In her speech at CPAC Walorski called on conservatives to “stand together in 2012 and drop the labels and come back together under the title of concerned conservatives” to return the United States to its previous era of prosperity.
Martha Zoller is a Georgia-based talk radio host and small business owner. The mother of four children, she believes that she “has seen nothing in DC that she can’t handle after raising kids” and often describes herself as “tea party before it was the Tea Party.”
Disclaimer: The PR company Katie works for has Richard Mourdock as a client.