Let's hope Shannon Royer has found 30 Republican voters in the last two years.
Royer narrowly lost the 2006 race for the 156th state House District seat in a race that eventually tipped the balance of power in Harrisburg to the Democrats.
A former Legislative aide, Royer wants to atone for his lackluster showing by challenging Democratic state Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith in 2008.
Royer, who lost to McIlvaine Smith by a razor-thin margin of 28 votes in 2006, announced his candidacy this week at Chester County Republican headquarters.
McIlvaine Smith, a major disappointment since her arrival in Harrisburg, hasn't announced her plans, but why would anyone walk away from a $76,000-a-year job that requires you to do nothing? McIlvaine Smith doesn't even have to decide how to vote. She does exactly what the party leadership tells her.
It's hard to say of Royer would have made any difference, but voters in the 156th District know he can't be any worse than McIlvaine Smith. And with all the corruption allegations and scandals facing the Democratic House leadership, odds are that the Republican Party will regain control of the state House in 2008. So why not have a state representative that is a member of the majority?
Royer told the West Chester Daily Local News that he intends to run on a "common sense" platform of lowering state spending, shrinking the size of the state legislature, and making sure education, not welfare, is Pennsylvania's biggest expense.
He criticized the Democrat-controlled state legislature for "increasing borrowing to $1 billion in debt service" and promoting a 2008 budget that called for spending at "two times the rate of inflation," the newspaper reported.
He compared watching the Democrats' performance in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this year to watching "a slow moving train wreck."
He grouped McIlvaine Smith with those train wreck Democrats, although he did not offer any criticism of her individual voting record, according to reporter Dan Kristie.
Perhaps Mr. Royer should review some of my earlier blog entries about how ineffective McIlvaine Smith has been.
After criticizing the state Legislature's 2007 performance, Royer outlined initiatives he would promote if elected to the House, Kristie reports.
Here's more from Kristie's story:
Royer said he would decrease the size of state government; implement term limits for legislators; work to cap spending so that it matches the rate of inflation; and make sure educational spending outpaced welfare spending.
He also said he would try to get the state to convene a constitutional convention in which "regular citizens" and not politically well-connected types would participate.
He talked about working on property tax reform that would give "relief to our most vulnerable residents: senior citizens," and income tax reform that would let "families keep more of their hard earned money."
He concluded, "I want to help restore people's faith in our house of representatives." (Hallelujah, don't we all!)
Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele and West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder spoke at Royer's campaign announcement, and during each of their remarks they dwelt on the very narrow margin by which the candidate lost in 2006.
"I owe Shannon an apology," Yoder said. "I truly do, because I didn't work hard enough the last time. I could have gotten those votes."
The 156th District, which includes West Chester, the townships of East Goshen and West Goshen, and the southern portion of East Bradford, has been in Republican hands for decades, but a smug Chester County Republican Party let it slip through its fingers.
It appears Republicans won't make that mistake again.