Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker is frustrated by the lack of interest from the Louisville GOP to unseat Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth in the fall election.
The Louisville Young Republicans recently organized an event where Wicker criticized the “defeatist attitude” among fellow Republicans. He also decried the party’s executive committee for failing to support his bid and not having enough bumper stickers on their cars.
Wicker says those comments were taken out of context, but that local GOP activists and rank-and-file members are looking past the race.
“It’s a segment of the party that I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m not talking about the leadership of the executive committee and I’m not talking about anybody that’s in a leadership position at this point. I’m talking about the other people when I’m reaching out to activists and to past participants in the Republican process.”
The Wicker campaign has organized a town hall meeting for Tuesday at Ernesto’s restaurant on Dixie Highway to discuss unemployment, entitlement reform and President Obama's health care law. Yarmuth will not be in attendance, however.
“The congressman actually flew back to Washington today,” says Yarmuth campaign manager Elizabeth Sawyer. “Congress is in session, but he is looking forward to debating Mr. Wicker in the fall and we look forward to scheduling those debates when that time comes closer to the election.”
The Wicker campaign is trying to shake up the party and get GOP donors to pay attention to the race. Thus far, Wicker is being pummeled by Yarmuth's fundraising machine. In the first three months of the year, Yarmuth raised over $80,000 compared to Wicker’s mere $3,000.
Political observers argue the financial reports underscore that Wicker doesn’t present a challenge to Yarmuth in the general election.
“I’m not like my opponent, I can’t write a big check and try to buy a campaign. I have to rely on the Republican Party. I have to rely on the voters and the constituency to help me raise enough money to be able to present a viable campaign,” says Wicker.
Wicker wouldn’t share his current fundraising totals, but expected to raise more than the $3,000 garnered in the first quarter. The second quarter Federal Election Commissions report is due at the end of the month.