The Conduit for Action
network backed challengers this year against six Republican incumbents who support the private option, as well as another state rep who was vying for an open seat. Last night's results were rough for Conduit: Six out of those seven lost. (Conduit also backed incumbent Rep. Josh Miller
, a PO opponent, who won.)
Conduit and its affiliated groups — a set of anti-Obamacare PACs and other entities co-founded and funded by Fayetteville businessman Joe Maynard
— have poured money into legislative races in recent years, focusing on primary challenges to Republicans who have supported the private option.
I asked Brenda Vassaur Taylor
, a co-founder and spokesperson for the Conduit groups, for her thoughts on yesterday's results. She said that Conduit will continue to "back candidates who support our principles" and said that yesterday's results have little impact on the future of the private option. Her response in full, which she sent by email:
While we congratulate the winners, we are very proud of the candidates we supported. Unlike their opponents, our candidates took solid conservative positions backed by facts. The future of the Private Option/Arkansas Works is likely just as solid as it was before yesterday. The vulnerability of this welfare program lies more our economy and Washington DC than in the number of votes Governor Hutchinson may secure from the Arkansas legislature. We are disappointed that Governor Hutchinson apparently plans to anchor our entire state budget on growing a welfare program.
Support for special health care reporting made possible by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.
As an organization, we plan to continue to back candidates who support our principles of smaller government, less dependency on government, and a refusal to spend money we do not have.