On Friday, conservative activist and serial primary candidate Karen Testerman ended her campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. She did to her campaign as one would do to a lame horse, and for good reason.
Citing the need for conservatives to rally around one candidate rather than have their primary vote split among several contenders, Testerman dropped out and endorsed former Sen. Bob Smith. Ego usually prevents even hopeless candidates from making that sacrifice, and Testerman deserves credit for putting the party over her own ambitions.
New Hampshire’s Republican Party would win more elections if every activist were as dedicated and engaged as Karen Testerman is. However, it would win fewer elections if every candidate espoused Testerman’s views. There is a huge difference between being an effective activist and being an effective candidate.
Winning elections requires appealing to average folks who do not spend their free time reading political blogs and talking with their friends about the 10th Amendment. That does not mean that movement conservatives have to become squishes to win elections. It does mean that speaking only to others who already agree with you is (still) a losing strategy.