Following in the footsteps of other TWS contributors who've run for Congress (e.g., Jim Webb in 2006 and Tom Cotton in 2012), Quin Hillyer has thrown his hat in the ring for the GOP nomination in the First Congressional District of Alabama, where incumbent Jo Bonner announced yesterday he'll be resigning as of August 15.

There will undoubtedly be other candidates for the GOP nomination in this strongly Republican district, and some of them will surely be well qualified. But I feel confident in saying now that none is likely to be able to contribute more to the conservative future as a member of Congress than Quin Hillyer.

I first met Quin over two decades ago when we were part of a small Republican and conservative conspiracy to help defeat the (unfortunately nominally Republican) anti-Semitic and racist David Duke in the Louisiana governor's race. Since then we've stayed in touch, as Quin worked as a congressional staffer in the 1990s, and then as a fine journalist at the national and local levels. Quin is a strong and thoughtful conservative who made Tea Party-like arguments before Tea Party was cool. He also understands that conservatism has to be about governing not just protesting, that conservatives should insist on a strong defense as well as spending limits, and that Republicans have to spend more time standing with Main Street and perhaps less time worrying about Wall Street. Not yet 50 years old, Quin, if elected, would immediately be a forceful exponent of a forward-looking, idea-driven and reform-minded conservatism not just within the House but in the national debate.

I recently had dinner with a bright young GOP congressman, and asked what could be done that would most help him and others like him. He said, elect more like us in 2014. The good people of South Alabama will have a chance to get a start on this task in 2013. I trust they'll give Quin Hillyer a good look, and I'm confident they'll like what they see.

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