Len Munsil for Senate?

No definitive word yet on whether Len Munsil, pro-family activist and 2006 nominee for governor will challenge Senator John McCain in a Republican primary.  I personally like and have always supported Len, his causes, and the organization he founded, the Center for Arizona Policy.

I know there is a real sense among some that McCain is vulnerable here.  If you attend district PC meetings, you would justifiably wonder how McCain has ever won a Republican primary.  The answer is simple: most Republican voters are not the same people you meet at those events.

A United States Senate race is a massive undertaking and should not be undertaken lightly.  I recently read about a state senator who primaried an incumbent congressman, and who polled the race only after his announcement (the poll didn’t show a realistic path to victory).  He continued for the rest of the race raising money he knew would be set on fire, going to awful events for no reason, and all of the myriad drudgery involved in campaigns for absolutely no reason.  Worse yet, the humiliating defeat that followed nearly derailed his entire career.  Lesson: get some good numbers before.

The closest hard numbers I can find are here.  Perhaps it’s encouraging to potential challengers that 45% of Republican voters think McCain is out of touch.  If you keep reading, however, 67% of Republicans nationwide think their GOP representatives are out of touch.  Here’s what you also need to look at: favorables of 65% for McCain, and 35% unfavorables statewide.  Unfortunately, that number is not broken down by GOP voters (the only kind that matter for this particular analysis).  However, it is fair to say that McCain’s favorables are not being helped by Democrats, given his year long contest with Barack Obama and most recent role as the leader of the Republican party.  I will fall over dead if McCain’s favorables or re-elect numbers are below 50% among the GOP.

Additionally, any deficiencies are certain to be made up by a long, expensive, and professionally run re-election campaign that none of his rivals can match.

Another “analysis” on the blogosphere points out that Munsil received over 50% in his last Republican primary.  It utterly fails to mention that he was the only candidate in that race approaching any level of seriousness.  His chief opponent had a famous name, but no professional or civic accomplishments to recommend him for the top office in the state (and some beliefs about illegal immigrant hard labor camps that made some of us cringe).  Len received all of the establishment support there was to get.  Who is going to get that this time?

Finally, this is not a mano a mano contest.  Chris Simcox and Jim Deakin are also running.  Being the angriest about illegal immigration will still yield a certain amount of votes in our primaries (sadly), and having your name on the ballot is always good for a percentage point or two.  Simcox, who reportedly has raised millions for the Minutemen, could actually put together the semblance of a campaign (though he has no shot at winning, at all).  Len would have to share the limited anti-McCain vote that is out there.  Am I the only one old enough to remember Stan Barnes and Bill Mundell running against Jay Rhodes for Congress?  It was actually McCain who sat the eager youngsters down and told them that, while Rhodes would lose to any one of them, he had enough support to beat both of them.  They didn’t listen.  Rhodes was so weak he lost to a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican district.  Stan made a ton of money, Bill was on the corporation commission and is now the Registrar of Contracts.  Not bad careers, but not the ones they wanted either.  My point here is not to say that McCain wouldn’t destroy any of these guys head to head (he would), but that challenging him in a four way race takes this from a suicide mission to something more futile.

With all that said, I think Len would make a fantastic US Senator.  I’m also extremely happy with the one I have.  John McCain is the biggest fiscal hawk in a time of runaway debt and a defense expert in a time of peril.

I would also like to observe the following: Len Munsil could win the attorney general’s race in a walk.  Tom Horne isn’t where the party is, and for schools superintendant that’s fine.  My schools superintendant needs to support educational choice, classroom discipline, merit pay, English immersion, and stand up to the unions.  My attorney general, however, needs to care deeply about protecting life and religious freedom, and understand how cultural degredation contributes to our crime problem.  Munsil could raise millions of dollars, and has an active and loyal network throughout the state.  After six years, Munsil could be a frontrunner for the seat he now covets, instead of walking into the buzzsaw I’m picturing.

What do you guys think?


  1. Friend of Len says

    Well said. I take that back. Extremely well said. Len has a very bright future as a conservative leader, not just in Arizona, but around the nation. However, he could ruin that by running for the wrong race at the wrong time.

    He would be well served to make it clear that he has no intention of challenging Senator McCain.

  2. It is no secret where I stand with John McCain. Having been burned repeatedly by McCain over the years, you could say I have a trust and credibility issue with him.

    We are in a new day. McCain represents the past. The GOP realizes this and there are millions of young conservatives who believe that as we move forward, the GOP needs to be re-energized with younger, newer, energetic talent. Just look at Florida and see what is taking place there. Marco Rubio is coming up through the ranks.

    Back here in Arizona, we need that same energy, that same revitalization, that same new day.

    When Len ran for Governor in 2006, I was 110% behind him. He represented my views and my vision for the future of State of Arizona.

    If he had been elected Governor, we would not be where we are today with a $3-4 BILLION deficit that caters to every taxpayer-dependent interest group. It’s tragic where we are today all because the voters made a horrible choice in November of 2006.

    If Len decides to run for Governor, he will have my unwavering support once again and I will do everything I can within my power to help him win and be successful.

  3. Pricinct Committeeman says

    I think your thought process on his chances for election were pretty good.

    But, I am disturbed by so-called conservatives who want to be as sharply critical of the illegal immigration issues in our state as you were in this commentary. It was unnecessary and demonstrated a disrespect for our laws that, frankly, amazed me. There are a great number of us who believe that the illegal immigration costs and dangers are still high on our list of concerns, even if the economy has moved into the top position.

  4. Auntiefed says

    If Munsil runs for AG, wouldn’t he be in danger of splitting the conservative votes with Thomas thereby handing the nomination to Horne?

  5. Go back and read my post from February 11th 2008:

    “This fall, Americans will choose between a party divider and a party uniter, old blood vs new blood, aged vs. energy, cynicism vs. inspiration. Republicans have all but made their choice official while Democrats close in on combining their ticket. Yes, I’ll be voting for the GOP nominee like many of you but I’m afraid our vote won’t be enough to overcome the momentum building among people who believe this is their time especially during times like these.”

  6. GOP Canon says

    PC, please don’t get me wrong.

    I am strongly in favor of employer sanctions and any measure that makes our border more secure. We can’t afford the crime and public services problems that come along with illegal immigration. It’s a huge issue that I take very seriously. My objection is stylistic. By communicating about our beliefs in the wrong ways, we have alienated the fastest growing and largest persuadable demographic in the United States in a way that I hope salvageable. Hispanics who have been here for generations and newly arrived legal immigrants are with us in large measure on those issues, but have flocked to the other side in droves because we wanted to talk about it in a way that made it seem like we were against them.

    Auntie, Thomas has to figure out where he’s getting a million dollars to win this race. Horne and Len can absolutely put up that kind of money. Thomas and Len, while not totally drawing from the same pond, would have a primary within a primary among conservatives and Evangelical/LDS/Conservative Catholic voters, which I believe Len would win.

  7. I also agree that Len is great but his running would be “futile.” McCain’s positive name recognition is huge in Arizona. I am on the streets a lot talking to people and they like McCain. I don’t, but he will win and win big.

  8. kralmajales says

    Man, Munsil would force an intra-party bloodbath that a Democrat like me would just love to watch. I don’t know if Munsil could win, but you could bloody McCain up something fierce with just the few examples you mention. Munsil is a credible candidate, although he lost to Napolitano and is not out of the public’s eye.

    Does he have a chance to win? Heck yeah he does. Remember this. GOP primary voters will be in short supply and those who do turn out are more like you. Period. There will be independents choosing to vote in the Dem primaries instead of yours because there will be attractive races on their side of the fence too.

    Munsil, with a well run and hard edged campaign, could easily take McCain to task as a Washington insider that does little for Arizona. …plus add the conservative issues he has voted against.

    Your welcome…smile!

  9. kralmajales says

    The other folks like Simcox wouldn’t even get McCain back in the state to campaign. It would make him look moderate and reasonable to general election voters. Munsil would almost certainly attract dough and would attract the full attention of McCain….I would argue that if Munsil ran, he could get McCain thinking the same way that Spector did in PA….not switching parties…but worrying very much about who he’d be facing.

    And yes, it would be a disaster for your party…in my opinion.

  10. Pricinct Committeeman says

    Let’s see: you support anti-illegal immigration measures, but consider “…votes in our primaries (for candidates that focus on illegal immigration)…” as something sad.

    You are talking out of both sides of your mouth. While I didn’t vote for the “illegal immigration” candidate, it was not because of his position on illegal immigration. For some reason, you seem to think people who believe illegal immigration has to be stopped lack the sense to vote for the best candidate.

    I reread your posting. I didn’t “…get (you) wrong.”

  11. I imagine that McCain’s people are trying to send Munsil a message with these sorts of posts. “Don’t run Len! We’ll support you for AG instead!” I voted for Munsil for Governor and I would vote for him for Senate. I’m just one person, but I bet there are a whole lot of folks just like me who are tired of the same old same old. I say run if you want to Len, and we’ll support you. Our state has seen a lot more of you than Senator McCain over the last four years and you probably have an organization still in place. You can win this race.

  12. GOP Canon says

    Sigh. This is what I said “Being the angriest about illegal immigration will still yield a certain amount of votes in our primaries (sadly).”

    This is what you attributed to me.

    ““…votes in our primaries (for candidates that focus on illegal immigration)…” as something sad.”

    According to you, “focus on” and “being the angriest” are the exact same thing, no difference, no daylight, synonyms.

    They are obviously quite different. The fact that you equate “being angry” with “focusing on” quite clearly speaks to the enormous problems our party is in. Try learning to talk about issues without being angry, people don’t like it.

  13. John McCain has been around for decades. Sadly that is not a compliment for someone who has engaged in more government do-more-ism which failed in many assorted ways (restricting free speech, spent the economy into the ground).
    If Munsil could expound on a plan to extricate the US from the messes it has brought on itself that would be great.
    All that being said I don’t have any evidence that Munsil has any idea why the US shouldn’t continue with more of the same failed policies that got us here.

    In other words, I’ve met Ron Paul and Len Munsil is no Ron Paul.

    Next candidate please.

  14. Munsil has been kissing up to the McCaniacs and Donna Reagan. I find it hard to believe he would run against his new buds. Unless it was just to split the vote so McLame wins. McCain must go. JD we need you!

  15. I’m going to comment on “The mole”.

    JD Hayworth is a nice guy but his policy history isn’t any different from many of his fellow Republican congressman. He supported the US empire whose cost has shipped US jobs to South Korea. I’ve never heard (and I do listen to him on the drive home) of him complain about the Federal Home Loan Bank Board or Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae. He was inured to government and wasn’t willing to take a stand to limit government.

    We the People of the united states need a champion of limited government, not a run of the mill Republican.

  16. Antifederalist says

    Munsil lost big against JaNo and he’ll lose big against McLame too. Why? Because the lemmings will vote in droves for McLame in the primary. If Munsil runs and loses against McLame he runs dangerously close to being viewed as a perennial candidate and an eternal loser.

    JD would lose too. He’s viewed as a buffoon.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want McLame gone too. I just don’t think either Munsil or JD are the men for the job.

  17. So, if according to the post “Munsil could raise millions of dollars” in a race for AG where the contribution is like $400, couldn’t he raise a truly fearsome amount of money for a U.S. Senate race where the limits are $2,300 and folks can give once for the primary and once for the general?

  18. GOP Canon says


    Exactly right. In the AG race, Len would almost certainly be the money leader. If he fell short of Horne, his name ID, support, and positions on the issues would carry the day. 1-3 million dollars goes a lot further in a race for Attorney General than for the US Senate, particularly against an incumbent who could raise in excess of 10 million dollars with ease.

  19. I understand he is carefully evaluating how he can best serve. Len will use wisdom in whatever he chooses to do. It will not be based on voices tickling his ears, urging, prompting, cajoling, and even begging; no matter how genuine those voices may be. Nor do I think he will listen to those who will do anything to upset McCain, even when they know it means losing and causing a greater tear than our party has presently, Len will see through such efforts.

    I truly hope one day I will have the honor of calling him Senator. For such a great thing to occur, it will be because he understood all it meant to run, saw the need, and answered the call of service. But most of all it will be because he believed he could win and not subject himself, his wife, and his children to the exercise in futility (for so many reasons) that was the gubernatorial race of 2006 and that no harm will be done.

    As to the getting cozy with certain folks; Len and Tracy have lived in the same LD for years and tell me, to whom are they not gracious? They desire for the party to be promoted and for our candidates to win in the general elections and, while this is rare in some areas, they actually work well with others who feel the same way.

    Attorney General, do not discount that possibility.

  20. GOP Canon:

    Glad you seem to agree with me, but I’m not sure you really do. Your argument seems to be that 1-3 Million dollars goes further in an AG race than a Senate race, but that assumes that Len raises the same amount for both races. My point was that if Len can raise “millions” (your word, not mine) for AG, with the significantly lower contributions limits, then he should be able to raise far more for the Senate race with its higher limits. That makes him significantly more viable in the Senate race than you were giving him credit for.

  21. GOP Canon says


    If you look at the average donations for political campaigns, they are typically well below $400. At one point, the most gifted political fundraiser of all time had an average donation of $86. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27262116/

    Increased limits would make some difference for Len, but not nearly enough to play at the senate level against a former presidential nominee.

    By the way, the personal limit for statewide offices in Arizona is $1,010 dollars per person, not $400.


  22. Pricinct Committeeman says

    Well, I fail to find how GOP Canon has been able to keep a straight face as he relates from one challenge to another. When he fails to convince, he resorts to name calling by referring to people as “angry” when they haven’t expressed any anger in their responses.

    He claims to see things the way most conservatives see them, but talks out of each corner of his mouth. You can’t have both ways, Canon.

    I assume by your name that you consider GOP standards as your standards. If so, quit trying to reject part of it or change your name to “Partial Canon.”

  23. The post was good, but some of these comments seem to be coming from an alternate universe. Len barely squeaked by Don Goldwater in a Republican primary and would have lost if McCain had not stepped in. He does not come within 22 points of McCain in a primary, under any set of assumptions.

    With regard to AG, Thomas would crush Len among conservatives. You may all know him, but 10% of the conservative men on the street remember him as “that guy who got blown away by Janet” and the other 90% don’t know who he is at all. They all know Thomas. The only thing Len would accomplish would be to make Horne more competitive.

    Furthermore, am I the only one who thinks it’s a good idea to actually practice law or spend a week in elective office before you become Attorney General? In the world of political operatives that you guys inhabit, Len is a player, but 99% of the population has no idea why they should even be taking him seriously for one of the highest positions in the state.

  24. Munsil’s main claim to fame is being the founder of the Center for Arizona Policy, an organization that espouses policy views that may appeal to many who read this blog, but not the vast majority of voters in either the GOP or the general electorate. He was the fall-back choice for governor in 2006 only after bigger GOP names chickened out on the race. Munsil got his ass thoroughly kicked in that race and his biggest accomplishment since then is forming a political action committee.

    I’ll admit that the guy is glib and he gets all of you on the right in a tizzy because of the good game he talks…but do you really think he is currently a viable statewide candidate for anything? Why not have him run for a safe legislative seat and garner some actual experience before you tout him as a potential US Senator or Attorney General? He would get creamed in a general election again and I don’t even think he would win a primary for either office.

  25. Ann,
    You ask, to whom are they not gracious? I can’t speak about Tracy. She may be the nicest person in the world. Len, on the other hand, is an arrogant a**.

  26. nightcrawler says

    This may come as a shock to some of you, but I would be happy to support Len Munsil for office. The question is what office would be the most suitable for his style and background. I personally believe the ACC would be a good fit. AG works as well.

    Other than this trial balloon, I am not convinced he is serious about challenging McCain. It doesn’t add up.

  27. Maricopa GOP says

    Munsil was co-opted and played for a fool by the McCain Clan in the Govenor’s race.

    McCain just wanted to make sure that the governor in office in 2008 was not strong on the illegal immigration issue, which is why his henchmen recruited Len to run. When he won the primary, the McCain forces achieved their goal.

    Len proceeded to lose the race by the largest margin for a Republican candidate in the history of the state.

    He was an effective spokesperson at CAP, but his pandering sell-out to the enemies of grass roots conservatives was sad. Simcox is not the answer, but neither is Len.

  28. CD3 Conservative says

    Maricopa GOP –

    I beg to differ. Munsil’s immigration plan during his campaign for governor differed greatly from McCain’s stances on immigration. To see for yourself, check out the following links:



    I will also point out that in the above article from the Arizona Republic, Len specifically stated that he does not support any form of amnesty.

    And, in terms of grassroots support, I would argue that no candidate in recent Arizona history has drawn more grassroots support and enthusiasm than Len Munsil.

  29. Wow Maricopa, you need to go back and re-read Munsil’s op-eds on border security and illegal immigration. They were pretty darn solid.

  30. Clear day fog says

    Len Munsil should enter the race & hire that fool, Nathan Sproul to help him.

  31. Maricopa GOP says

    Op-eds are one thing, however, he has NO track record of activity on the issue either before or after his Op-eds.

    Ask Russell Pearce or Don Goldwater or Chris Simcox if they ever saw Len on the border or at events other than for photo ops for those three months of his adult life.

    In fact the first conversation Len had with Simcox was a phone call asking for Simcox to endorse him. You have to give him credit for being brazen.

    Len was recruited by McCain and his campaign run by Sproul and Noble who both worked with Wake Up Arizona. That is how solid Len is on the subject.

  32. Well, where do I begin?
    I guess an apology is in order. I apologize for being busy running 2 companies (in this post election Obama/McCain recession) and a campaign to find this blog spot. It seems that this spot could have used my attention months ago.

    Len is a good enough person. Chris is more decent than the New Times presents. John McCain is an American Hero. All of that is fine if we are sitting in Denny’s. Not that I would really see any of them at Denny’s.

    I know the numbers. I know that my chances against the McCain juggernaut campaign are a “David vs Goliath”. I have faith that Arizona is smart.

    Arizona politicians do not have a great track record. We’ve had some good ones, thank you Barry Goldwater, we’ve had some bad ones, thank you Evan Mecham.

    It is time for Arizona and America to be represented by businesspersons. The Architects of our country were not career politicians and nobles. Elite East Coasters (elected or appointed) are not our future.

    For those of you that think John McCain has been a fiscal conservative voice in the US Senate: The US Debt in 1986 when he became Arizona’s Senator was $1.740 Trillion. Today it is $11.653 Trillion. The Federal Budget in 1996 was $1.46 Trillion. Today it is $3.998 Trillion. All of this information is available through the http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ website. These numbers do not scream “Fiscal Conservative” to me. Senator McCain is either an influence in Washington D.C. or his time has passed and he should pass the torch.

    I am available. jimdeakinforsenate@gmail.com.

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