Albert L. Reeves, Jr. was the last Republican Congressman in Missouri’s 5th District.
He left office in 1949. For over 60 years, Democrats have had a stranglehold on the seat. It’s now held by the far left, Castro praising, Emmanuel Cleaver.
Jacob Turk hopes to change that in November.
Turk is a Marine currently not on active duty who has lived in Missouri’s 5th for 28 years. In that time, he’s spent 12 years running his own business and raised three children as a single dad.
His experiences have helped foster a pro-business, pro-family belief system that values a government that is less active and less intrusive.
That’s a serious change in perspective from his opponent, who has yet to find a government program he finds unattractive.
“I’m a conservative but I run as a Republican.”
When I talked with Jacob recently, I asked him about his politics and beliefs. He said something that I thought was very telling.
“I’m a conservative, but I run as a Republican.”
That says a lot to me. It says Turk understands how the Republican Party has strayed away from its roots, becoming a party of big government and fiscal irresponsibility. He says that is one of the main differences between him and his opponent.
“He is so fiscally progressive, willing to take our grandchildren’s money and spend it on anything that buys him political power.”
The Lee’s Summit Conservative agrees.
Reverend Cleaver’s voting record is very clear (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/c001061/) if there is tax-payer money to be spent, he likes the bill. If the bill promotes the entrepreneurial spirit or helps business grow; he opposes it. The key to Representative Cleaver’s entire political career is centered on the theme that business is bad, and government knows best.
Turk said, “I’m very frugal with my money, and with other people’s money I feel an obligation that, it’s not mine, it’s theirs. And so I need to really keep an eye on it.”
That message is echoed on his campaign website:
The problem of Federal deficits is not one of too little taxes; it is one of our elected representatives being poor stewards of OUR money! Tough decisions need to be made on where to put our Federal tax dollars.
Turk’s conservative bona fides are not limited to fiscal matters. He’s also pro-life, anti-illegal immigration, advocating “use of the National Guard to back up the Border Patrol,” and is against government run health care.
The differences between the two candidates could not be more stark, but Turk boiled it down to two sentences.
“In one camp, you have the current Congressman Cleaver, who believes government is the answer. On the other hand, you have Jacob Turk, who believes that a free people with the most liberty is actually how society gets better.”
Generally, you would expect a free people to choose liberty over tyranny, but in Missouri’s 5th, they’ve chosen tyranny time and again. Why expect anything different this time?
“It’s incredible this time around.”
This is the third time Turk has faced Cleaver in the general election. Polls would tell you that there is no contest here. This is a blue district. But Turk would disagree.
“It’s incredible this time around. In ’06 and ’08, they were tough. We were at a huge monetary disadvantage. In those two elections, Cleaver spent over $1.1 million running against us and we had a total of $90,000.”
Read that again before you read this next part, because it’s important.
Despite the fact that they were massively outspent, Turk actually gained more votes in 2008 than in 2006. In 2006, a big year for Democrats, Turk pulled down 68, 456 votes, or 32% of the total. Two years later, in another bad year for Republicans, Turk increased to 109,166 votes or 35.6% of the total.
This is not a bad year for Republicans.
Turk says despite the monetary disadvantage, he feels good about his chances of getting his message heard.
“It’s not about money. It’s about people, and the way we have been forced to run has been an advantage for us. I am forced, and it fits my personality, but I have to go out and I have to meet people constantly. I constantly have to expand my outreach to reach people that I haven’t talked to yet. Not just have a circle of people around me that agree with me, I have to go out and meet people who disagree with me, because I can’t reach them any other way.
And now we have a lot of people, hundreds of volunteers out there that are carrying the message forward for us and yeah, people are open to it because this economy is driving a lot of fear into people’s hearts. And when you have a government that is not responsive, one example would be on health care, my opponent admitted that over 80% of the calls coming into his office, people from his district, said, ‘No, please don’t vote for this.’ And he went ahead and voted for it. When it comes down to it, that’s not representation. That’s tyranny.”
The district is very urban, consisting mainly of the Kansas City-Jackson County metropolitan area. Turk says he can drive across it in about an hour, and if you look at his schedule, he’s doing a lot of driving.
This is without a doubt an uphill battle, but considering the condescending tone Congressman Cleaver takes with his constitutents, the anti-incumbent attitude across the nation and the expectation of low turnout from Democratic voters, it’s not impossible.
Jacob Turk could be another unexpected victory where none was thought possible. Especially considering the recent endorsement by Republican king maker, Sarah Palin:
Although Palin remains an influential force in 2010 races across the country, she steered clear of partisan politics Monday night, saying nothing about any political plans.
But there was one exception: She acknowledged Jacob Turk, the GOP nominee for the 5th Congressional District seat now held by Democrat Emanuel Cleaver.
Palin said Turk had given her a business card that said elected officials must “listen to all, lead with integrity … and champion opportunity. That’s leadership, not politics.”
“I love that motto,” Palin said.
Turk also has the support of local Tea Party organizations like Political Chips, who organized the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party. Maybe, just maybe, third times the charm.