Peter Schiff deserves his ardent national following and, all things considered, had a respectable showing in his race for the Republican senatorial nomination in Connecticut. But I think Ron Paul Republicans erred by making him their number two priority after Rand Paul.
Schiff was always a long shot to win the Republican primary. Once Chris Dodd decided not to seek reelection, the Republican nominee became a long shot to win the general election. By contrast, John Hostettler was in a winnable race in Indiana. What little polling was done of the Republican primary voters suggested he was competitive with frontrunner Dan Coats in a more fluid contest. All the public polling showed Hostettler beating the eventual Democratic nominee, with the early surveys showing him running better than Coats. In any event the winner of the GOP primary had to be considered a strong favorite in November.
Imagine if, say, half the resources that went into Schiff’s campaign had gone into Hostettler’s. Hostettler’s biggest problem was his poor fundraising. Had he raised a credible amount of money, the Beltway right would never have gone all in for Marlin Stutzman. So a split in the conservative vote would have been avoided. If Hostettler could have gotten his hard-hitting ad about Coats on television, it could have blown the race open.
Hostettler isn’t as pure on some issues of libertarian doctrine as Schiff nor was he as big a name in Ron Paul circles. But he had one of the best records as a constitutional conservative and he did get Paul’s endorsement in the primary. With the resources allocated as they were, both Hostettler and Schiff finished third with about 23 percent of the vote. Had the money been spent differently, it is possible that Rand Paul would have some company.