No matter your feelings about Heath Shuler (Mixed Bag D - NC), no one misses The Lump. Disgraced former Congressman Charles Taylor ran the dirtiest campaign in memory, throwing nearly $4 million at those amateur television spots and mailers in an effort to make people forget just how much they loathed him. Almost $3 million of that came out of Taylor's own deep pockets, and Charles Taylor does not like spending his own money.
In this post-election year, using every other off-year as a basis, we can safely assume that Taylor is busy raising money to pay himself back for all those rubles he spent. Meanwhile, a squadron of Republican candidates wait in the wings, knowing that every day Charles Taylor doesn't withdraw his name from the race is a day lost.
Jeff Hunt, District Attorney for Transylvania, Polk, and Henderson counties, is a Taylor protege and most likely heir to the reins of the Taylor machine. In this interview with WNCNN, Hunt made clear his intention to run... should Taylor choose not to.
Another name waiting at the edge of the ring is NC State Senator Tom Apodaca. He's got conservative credentials and a dramatically backlit glamour shot to boot.
Then there's the dark horses - the one-man Army of Mumpower and Freeper, John Armor. Carl Mumpower has appointed himself avatar of all things wingnut. He has demonstrated an amazing knack for rallying people on immigration, drugs, vagrants, and partisan elections. I think Carl would love an invitation to dance on the big stage.
John Armor ran against Taylor last time and lost in an %82-%18 rout, but he's undeterred and is considering another run. Translated - he's running.
None of these men will enter the race, however, without Charles Taylor's announcement.
How long will they have to wait? I can't imagine Charles Taylor really running again. In his last campaign he behaved like a broken man. The endless trail of scandal he's left in his wake will not provide good footing for anything resembling a win.
We'll wait for enough people to kiss Taylor's ring, so he can declare his intention to retire from politics. Meanwhile, Hooligans imagine that Jeff Hunt is trying to line up support for the day The Lump stops holding his Party hostage. Every day that he waits to withdraw is another day that Heath Shuler gets to set the terms of the campaign debate. I'm not in any hurry for the Republican candidate to step out from behind Taylor's robes, but it's clear that Taylor's intransigence is leaving the Republicans rudderless.
Cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans