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Web letter by Glenna Jehl: National GOP needs to follow Allen County’s lead

Karl Rove’s new plan to wage war on grassroots conservatives will only further divide the GOP. Rove blames conservative Republican candidates for losses that led to Harry Reid and the Democrats retaining control of the U.S. Senate. However, he only has himself to blame.

Rove, through his super PAC, spent $300 million in the 2012 election cycle propping up moderate Republican candidates. Of the 31 races in which Rove placed TV ads, Republicans only won nine races (hardly a winning strategy). Now Rove is starting a new PAC called the Conservative Victory Project to spend big bucks in the 2014 Republican primaries to defeat those Republican candidates (social conservatives) not approved by the GOP Washington insiders. Rove apparently doesn’t realize that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Rove should instead take a lesson from our own GOP county chairman, Steve Shine. Instead of undermining or ostracizing conservative candidates, Shine has supported and worked with those candidates who have been elected by the Republican base in the primary. As a result, the Allen County GOP continues to elect good strong candidates, perennially dominating many races at all levels of government.

In the last two election cycles alone Republicans saw significant gains, picking off Democratic heavyweights such as Win Moses and Karen Goldner and replacing them with grassroots conservatives. Under Shine’s steady hand at the helm, the Allen County Republican Party has sailed safely through some turbulent times, only to emerge even stronger and more united.

As chairman, Shine not only respectfully listens to tea partyers and libertarian thinkers, who are passionately dedicated to preserving our freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, but he has invited them to get involved in local politics by joining the Allen County GOP. While that makes his job of holding differing factions of the party together a bit more difficult and at times messier, Shine recognizes that it is precisely this diversity of ideas and opinions that keeps the Allen County Republicans strong and relevant.

Rove should look at the Allen County Republicans’ winning record and dominance in area politics to learn that a winning strategy necessarily includes grassroots conservatives and not try to limit the field to bland candidates such as Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Rove and his big donors should embrace the diversity and vitality that a Marco Rubio or Rand Paul brings to the Republican Party if they wants to see real gains in the 2014 elections.

If Rove doesn’t begin to recognize the value of unity and building up the party, he will sink the Republican Party with bitter factionalism and see the same dismal results – unable to recapture the Senate or the White House.

GLENNA JEHL

Fort Wayne

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