* The reporter and the subject know each other, so I’ll believe this Bloomberg piece when I see it…
This week began like most of Mike Flynn’s recent weeks. The conservative strategist was in a slow, tedious war with Comcast, trying to get NBC affiliates in some key political states to run a two-minute commercial from his Conservative War Chest PAC. The providers had been uninterested in taking money for a video jeremiad against their news divisions, so they’d been resisting. Cleta Mitchell, the ultra-connected conservative attorney and American Conservative Union board member, was making legal arguments. By Friday, if there was no progress, she’d prepare an FCC complaint, and the well-covered crusade against media bias would escalate.
And then Aaron Schock happened. The Illinois congressman’s somewhat surprising resignation (he’d been tumbling from scandal to scandal, but had not told leaders that he’d be leaving) opened up a congressional seat in the stretch of rural Illinois where Flynn was raised. In 2010, he’d consulted for Bobby Schilling, a Republican candidate who unseated a Democrat in a district that overlapped with the new 18th. (A Democratic gerrymander, in 2011, merged parts of the districts and helped shore up Schock while taking out Schilling.) Conservatives in the district called Flynn and told him to consider running.
“This is a longstanding conservative district, and I think the people who live there are annoyed by their representation,” said Flynn. “It’s the same story all over Illinois. I don’t know what these elected officials are doing. We have these professional politicians who are totally failing us.” […]
Flynn… estimated that he’d need $500,000 to $700,000 to mount his own bid. He’d spent more than 20 years in politics, much of it in Illinois, much of the recent work in the high-dollar world of issue PACs. If he was convinced that the money was there, he imagined an anti-establishment campaign that could capitalize on conservative disappointment with the new Congress. He hadn’t lived in the district in 20 years (at 47, he’s 14 years older than the disgraced Schock), but he had roots there, and an existing family business. He had a message.
“I can’t believe this Republican Congress is funding something that the courts already found to be illegal,” he said, referring to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. If he won, and he got a 2017 vote on the speaker of the House, he’d be inclined to back “a conservative” instead of John Boehner.
These seats don’t come up a lot, so there’s always a scramble when they do. But he hasn’t lived in the district in 20 years and is likely a totally unknown quantity there.
* He is probably best known for being the former editor-in-chief of Breitbart’s Big Government site. But he has done quite a bit of political work. From a year ago January…
The Tea Party Patriots announced today the addition of Michael Flynn to serve as Political Director of a newly formed Super PAC – Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. With years of campaign and political experience, Flynn will lead the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund’s efforts to grow the Tea Party’s presence in Congress as it continues its fight against the Washington establishment.
“Michael Flynn brings more than 20 years of experience in policy development, legislative affairs, media relations, political campaigns, and crisis communications to the team and we are thrilled to have him,” said Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. “His immeasurable expertise will help us achieve our goal of electing candidates who are fighting to secure the economic future of our country.”
Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon said, “Mike Flynn was a trusted adviser to Andrew Breitbart and understands the nature of the fight ahead. With his detailed knowledge of the Tea Party and political campaigns he is the perfect choice for the Tea Party Patriots. Breitbart News looks forward to having Mike continue as a contributor on our pages.”
More background on Flynn is here. For Statehouse types, he’s Libby Brunsvold’s brother. He’s also a former Illinois House GOP staffer.
Keep in mind that the 18th CD is pretty darned conservative, and that special GOP primary will likely be loaded with hard-right voters.