Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Keyes hometown paper examines his campaign

The Baltimore Sun, not the Star, reports on Alan Keyes' Illinois Senate race:
"If he loses, he just goes back home," said Eugene Zarwell, a one-time opponent of Keyes in Maryland. (Keyes owns a home on three acres near Gaithersburg, assessed at $715,000.) "If he wins, he already has a nice place to stay in the Washington area. He's a step ahead of the game."
"Alan Keyes is really full of himself, and that's going to hurt him. He gets a little reckless when he gets worked up and excited about things. I'm hoping he has a little more dignity in Illinois," said Zarwell, who was born in Chicago. "Out in the Midwest, he's going to be talking to farmers, Mennonites and Amish. I'm not sure those people are going to buy his pitch."
Mike Murphy, a GOP consultant who most recently worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger's California gubernatorial campaign, said the upcoming debates, while entertaining, probably won't sway any voters.
"Both of them will be smooth," he said.
Murphy is no stranger to Keyes. He was working for Lamar Alexander's presidential campaign in 1996 when Keyes chained himself to a door to protest being excluded from a candidates' debate.
He sees Keyes' selection by Illinois Republicans as a sign that the party is in "a sorry state. It's sad that the party is down to the stunt stuff. What's really happened here is that it's no longer a serious election."
"The Illinois Republican Party is so beat down," he added. "My theory is that Keyes has a small but very vocal following, made up mostly of people from the pro-life movement, and when all else failed, some of the grassroots activists started agitating for Keyes," Murphy said.
"Plus, they liked the card trick of 'we got a black candidate, too.'"
Murphy thinks any number of in-state Republicans, including the tainted [Jack] Ryan, would have been a wiser choice than Keyes.
"My view was they should have found some nice young state representative. He could have lost with honor. That would have been better than bringing in a man from another state who jumps from entertaining oratory to madness in about a nanosecond."
"A man from another state who jumps from entertaining oratory to madness in about a nanosecond."

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