Utah State Representative Jim Ferrin lost the Republican nomination for his seat and in turn endorsed the candidacy of Constitution Party candidate Ed McGarr.
Rep. Ferrin answered these questions for The Conservative President 2008.
1. Why did you endorse Ed McGarr to replace you in the Utah House ofRepresentatives and not your party's candidate?
I have great regard for the integrity and importance of the Utah Legislature, as an institution. I understand very well that the legislature is no better than its members. I believe we should ALWAYSchoose the best person for the job, regrdless of party affiliation. And, as a Republican partisan, I almost always believe the Republican ISthe best person for the job. However, in this race I chose to supportMr. McGarr because, of the two candidates, his beliefs, positions,philosophy, and policies are closer to mine than are those of his Republican opponent. I know, from first-hand experience, of the heavy influence in the legislature wielded by the teachers' union, the UEA. I support public education and I believe we can and should rise to the challenge of providing a first-rate, world class education to our children. Yet, I strongly disagree with the union as to how that shouldbe achieved. For six years I fought for greater choice and competition in our public education system. I feel we have made great improvements there. The UEA has always opposed every effort to introduce principles of choice and competition, whether it be tuition tax credits, vouchers,charter schools, merit pay for quality teachers, starting bonuses, orany of the many other reforms that have been introduced in the legislature. Mr. Sandstrom has supported these UEA positions and has articulated them very well on their behalf. Mr. McGarr agrees with meon each of these important issues. Additionally, as a citizen I am verytroubled that a candidate with Steve Sandstrom's long history of tax liens (both federal and state), court ordered default judgements onloans, and other defaults on loans and unpaid bills would now seek tobecome our Representative and lawmaker. I am troubled with his cavalierdenial of responsibility for his federal tax liens, and his silence on his state tax liens. I think his history speaks to the character and integrity of the soul. On the other hand, I find Mr. McGarr enjoys a universal reputation of integrity and respect among those that know him. Finally, Steve Sandstrom told me that from childhood, he has "alwayswanted to be in the legislature." I suppose that is OK. But, my regard for the institution tells me that it is a place of trust and service,not merely an achievement to be sought of its own accord, not a steppingstone for higher elected office. My experience of Ed McGarr is that he seeks the office not to fulfill a personal ambition, but out of a genuine desire to serve and to stand for principles. Given all of this,notwithstanding my being a devout Republican partisan, I must still choose the better candidate for the job - Ed McGarr.
2. Do you think the Republican Party is becoming more liberal?
No, but I do believe that conservative Republicans became overly complacent during the primary election cycle last summer. I believe that a vast majority of Republicans in my district believe as I do (andas Ed McGarr does) on the vital issues before state government. However, I also believe that the vast majority of those Republicans,feeling very complacent, simply failed to turn out and vote. I lost the primary election by 124 votes in an election in which only about 15-20%of the registered voters voted. We saw organized efforts from the teachers' union, instructing members to change parties to the Republicanparty to vote, then switch back to whatever you want. After the election UEA chiefs bragged they had mobilized 1100 union members to vote against me. The result was to elect the UEA friendly Steve Sandstrom by 124 votes. But, again, I don't believe it was the heart and soul of the Republican party that elected Sandstrom. Rather, the conservative heart and soul of the Republican party simply stayed home,didn't vote, and got Steve Sandstrom as their nominee in the process.
3. In the 2008 election, who would you like to see become the Republican Presidential candidate and if that person does not become the candidate would you consider supporting a third party candidate?
I would like to see Mitt Romney become the Republican nominee for President. I will support the Republican nominee, no matter who it is. This is a VERY different scenario from the Ed McGarr/Steve Sandstromquestion in my legislative district. In this little race we have no Democrat in the race. So, a vote for McGarr does not inadvertantly elect an even more liberal candidate. Plus, Republicans enjoy such a majority in the Utah House that election of the non-Republican does not influence party control of the House (who serves as Speaker, committee chairs, etc...). But, the Presidential race is a very different affair. I think it fairly certain that the Republican Presidential nominee will not be entirely to my liking on all issues. But, it is also fairlycertain that he/she will be much better than any Democrat nominee. And,I don't believe any third party candidate has any chance whatsoever of being elected. So, a vote for the third party would be a defacto vote for the person I really don't want.
4. Do you think that third party's could become a formidable force in US politics?
No, requirements for majority votes on issues force people of similar(if not identical) political philosophies to gather together to form majorities - not just pluralities. This has lead to the two party system. Plus, a successful third party would have t o draw sufficently from both the major parties to produce any meaning affect - which means it would have to be more liberal than the Republican party but more conservative than the Democrat party. It could not be successful drawing from the philosophical extremes of either party. Most third parties have done just that.