Gary Palmer, the founder of the conservative Alabama Policy Institute and a candidate for the House of Representatives, won his Republican primary runoff Tuesday against Paul DeMarco. Palmer is running to succeed retiring Republican Spencer Bachus for the GOP-friendly, Birmingham-area district. At National Review Online, Alabama resident Quin Hillyer has more:
Tonight, Gary Palmer won his primary runoff, in a district that Mitt Romney carried in 2012 with 74 percent of the vote. So, absent a cataclysm, Palmer will be the new congressman from the suburbs of Birmingham — and, as I wrote then, he might well be an absolute superstar for thoughtful, effective conservatism.
Palmer joins special-election freshman Bradley Byrne from the Mobile area as promising new members of the House Republican caucus.
Conservatives should celebrate — and then work extra hard in subsequent cycles to recruit candidates of this high quality.
Our own Fred Barnes profiled Palmer in May. Here's an excerpt:
Palmer, 59, is not the first think tank president to run for Congress. Jeff Flake was executive director of the Goldwater Institute in Arizona before being elected to the House in 2002 and the Senate in 2012. Mike Pence headed the Indiana Policy Review Foundation prior to winning a House seat in 2000. He was elected Indiana governor in 2012.
Palmer tops both of them. He is a think tank pioneer. He initially established a family policy council in Alabama as part of Focus on the Family’s network. It soon embraced a broader agenda. “We believe that all public policy is family policy,” Palmer says. “It affects everybody.”
In 1992, he helped create the State Policy Network, then served as its president. It started with fewer than 20 conservative state think tanks. Today there are 65 – at least one in every state – and together they’ve become influential nationally. “I’m the only guy running for Congress who has a 50-state network,” Palmer says.
In 1999, Alabama was on the brink of adopting a lottery, the equivalent of a highly regressive tax. The poor pay. “Everybody thought the lottery was a done deal,” Palmer says. “I didn’t.” He took a leave of absence from API to fight it. The lottery was defeated 54-46 percent in a referendum.
In 2003, he took on the hefty tax increase advocated by Gov. Riley. It was backed by much of the business community. It lost 67-33 percent. Instead of raising $1 billion in taxes, spending cuts have been substituted to deal with the state’s fiscal mess.
Read the whole thing here.
As Hillyer notes, Palmer's likely to win the general election in November, given the remarkably high Republican tilt of the district.