Monday, July 09, 2007
Meet Jan Larimer, VP for NRP in Western USA
Involved in GOP politics in Wyoming and the Western Region as vice-chairman of RNC for over 30 years, conservative Republican party leader Jan Larimer has some opinions about how the presidential race is shaping up in her part of the country.
What are our most pressing issues and who does she think the West will go for in 2008?
These are a few of the subjects we talked about recently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The following is an abbreviated Q&A of our recent visit:
Q: Jan, what are your current thoughts on the 2008 presidential election? Is there a candidate out there on your radar screen you particularly like?
A: My radar screen has been overwhelmed the past couple of weeks with getting a new U.S. Senator from Wyoming chosen and sworn in to replace Senator Craig Thomas who died June 15.
We Republicans had exactly 10 days after Thomas' death to get a shortlist of three candidates for the Wyoming governor to make the final selection. On Friday before last, Dr. John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon from Cheyenne, was appointed to fill Thomas's term. On Saturday he flew to D. C., and on Monday he was sworn by Vice-President Dick Cheney.
The next day, Tuesday, Senator Barrasso voted against the controversial immigration bill.
I was with Barrasso at his swearing in and after I got back to Jackson, I was a bit exhausted from all the whirlwind of activity. So to answer your question, I haven't had time to really look the Republican candidates over very well.
Q: Sounds hectic. So tell me , over what geographic area do you preside for the RNC?
A: There are fifteen states which include the Rocky Mountain states, the Pacific coast and the territories of Somoa and Guam.
Q: From this geographical standpoint, how do you see the West shaping up?
A: The Rocky Mountain states are more conservative than the West Coast, like California, Oregon and Washington. You could say that many Rocky Mountain conservatives have more affinity for Southern conservatives than West conservatives.
States like Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Arizona are traditionally much more conservative. How Colorado, New Mexico and Montana go next year will depend in large part on who the candidates are.
New Mexico may go to the Dems if Bill Richardson is on their ticket with, say, Hillary.
Q: What are the most important principles Rocky Mountain conservatives stand for?
A: In a nutshell, we're pro-life and for low taxes, less government, and more individual freedoms.
Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important issues facing us in the next election?
A: The war in Iraq, the war on terror and immigration. And we are most concerned with making sure Congress continues to support our troops in Iraq. The new democratic leadership in Congress, with Pelosi, Leahy and Reid are a disgrace. I call them "The Obstructionists."
Q: I agree, and yet, when Republicans controlled both Houses, including our own former Senator Bill Frist, we failed to get a lot done and this is the result.
Do you really think a Republican presidential candidate has a chance to win the presidency in 2008?
A. I do. I think it's tough but doable. And that's going to be my primary focus in the West: to get a conservative elected president
Q: OK, so let's get back to presidential politics.
What do you think of our Southern candidate Fred Thompson?
A: What little I know of him, I like him. He's certainly creating a lot of interest. I'll be learning a lot more about Fred over the next few months. I just hope he doesn't take the Rockies for granted and not make an effort to come here and get to know us a little.
I have the sense that the Republican party is really looking and hasn't yet found its candidate. Fred may be the one.
Q: What about Giuliani?
A: Think he's gotten a free pass because of 9/11. Look, he's not really a champion of the pro-lifers or the low tax/less government crowd. He's been for limited gun control in New York City, and that doesn't sit well with the constituency here.
Q: Sounds like Giuliani is not one of your favorites.
A: It speaks for itself.
Q: Any other candidate you have insight on?
A: It's still too soon to tell. I want to see how they sort themselves out.
Q: Final question. Let's say the Democrats run Hillary and Obama or Hillary and Richardson. Who would be a snazzy Republican to run as Vice-President?
A: Well, again I don't yet know. But if it were up to me, I'd nominate Lynne Cheney for VP. I can't say enough about how smart and tough and professional she would be.
However, I know that it's probably not going to happen this time around. But I can tell you, she'd be dynamite as a VP candidate.
Q: Well, I agree, it's probably not going to happen for Lynne this next go round. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.
A: My pleasure. Please tell Fred to get out here to the Rockies and Wyoming and let us get to know him!
Got that Fred? If you're really in this race, then you need to get out here and meet and get to know these true blue, er, true red conservatives.