On June 10th, 2009, the developing race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat attracted another contender: James Russell Williams III. Primary stories from the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.
Williams, 36, of South Jordan, is married to Jennifer and owns a small business called Creative Customz based in Midvale, which provides electronics work for car dealerships. He said he has never run for political office. He announced his candidacy in a telephone conference call instead of a rally. Only reporters from three news media outlets — two newspapers and a radio station — joined it. His official campaign website is VoteForJamesWilliams.com
Williams wants to focus on five main issues: fiscal discipline, accountability, national security, limited government and immigration reform. In particular, immigration reform is preeminent. He states, "There needs to be a change in the immigration laws. It is beneficial for immigrants to be here illegally. They receive free health care, free government money, free food, and free shelter. Yet they do not contribute to the community in which they live." Williams also wants to reverse Roe v. Wade, cut superfluous government programs like No Child Left Behind, allow businesses to rise or fall on their own merits, and wants to strengthen gun rights.
In principle, Williams vows not to vote for or promote any bill contrary to the Constitution, which he said would return power to the people. And what's wrong with Bennett? According to Williams, while no one may be more qualified as a senator than Bennett, Williams said he is "extremely motivated" and would bring a "new outlook and strong opinion on how government should be run." So his emphasis will be much more what's right with Williams rather than what's wrong with Bennett.
This high-minded approach might work if he was Bennett's only competitor. However, he's in a fast-track field including Mark Shurtleff and Tim Bridgewater. And Cherilyn Eagar, who formally announced on June 11th, is rapidly gaining traction. Many believe Eagar reminds them of either Sarah Palin or Jason Chaffetz.
If Williams wants to really set himself apart from the rest and gain immediate traction, here's what he can do. Pledge to end affirmative action and all racial quotas and setasides in the United States. Very few candidates pledge to do this because they're scared of being called racist. But most people are sick and tired of hearing about diversity and multiculturalism, and loathe affirmative action. They don't speak out because they don't want to risk employability or loss of social standing, although many of them speak out quite eloquently on moving day. They're looking for a public champion to show leadership, and Williams could help his campaign by taking the risk and tapping into this sentiment.
Otherwise, I'm not optimistic about the future of Williams' candidacy. He's simply too overmatched. Even Tim Bridgewater may end up dropping out. Here are the Republican candidates, in order of perceived strength:
(1). Bob Bennett: The incumbent, actually in stronger position now than Chris Cannon was in 2008.
(2). Mark Shurtleff: The Attorney General and a consummately-skilled political operative. Handicapped by prior support of John McCain and lukewarm support for controversial immigration bill SB81. One would think the state's chief law enforcement officer would want to be perceived as ENFORCING the law.
(3). Cherilyn Eagar: Zoomed into third place by her principled stand as the most explicit conservative in the race. Combines the best aspects of Jason Chaffetz and Sarah Palin.
(4). James Williams III: A promising newcomer who needs to take a potentially-risky position to set him apart from the other candidates and become competitive.
(5). Tim Bridgewater: First, he was running for Utah GOP Chairman, then switched to the U.S. Senate race. Makes him look indecisive and opportunistic. Also supported McCain. Campaign going nowhere - absolutely no traction. Nothing personal buddy, but you might as well piss on the fire and call in the dogs, because you're just wasting time and money continuing your campaign.