Tea Party Candidate Comes from One of the Most Liberal Industries

There are no shortage of unique stories in this 2014 election season, and a California Congressional race is no exception. It involves a Republican freshman who made a controversial vote on the hottest of hot-button issues… and his challenger, who comes from the most unlikely industry and city.

Paul Cook, a former state assemblyman, was elected in 2012 in California’s 8th Congressional District with the endorsement of outgoing GOP Congressman Jerry Lewis. The 8th CD is east of Los Angeles, contains much of California’s Inland Empire, and has been a Republican stronghold in spite of the fact that the state is Democrat-controlled.

Congressman Cook has a fairly conservative voting record, with one major exception: He voted for the continuing House resolution that funded ObamaCare.

Cook also voted to cut military pensions, and opposed fellow California Congressman Tom McClintock’s bill to rein in NSA spying on American citizens. This opened himself up to unhappy conservative constituents and a challenge in the June primary.

HollywoodHis opponent is Rodney Lee Conover, who has a rare and unique background for a conservative political candidate. He’s a writer, talk-radio contributor and conservative activist in the entertainment community… and lives in the liberal bastion of Hollywood.

A native of rural Illinois, he graduated from the University of Texas in Austin. Then he followed the trail to Tinseltown blazed by fellow Midwesterners Ronald Reagan and Sonny Bono to pursue his dreams.

For more than 25 years, Conover has been a driving force behind conservative talk radio, and the small-but-determined number of conservatives in the entertainment community.

He wrote for Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and for other conservative talk show hosts. Conover has also edited and ghost-written books, had parts in various movies, and been an active speaker and organizer for the Tea Party throughout California.

This Congressional candidate also was the target of an IRS audit prior to the Obama Administration. He obtained his conservative “street cred” during the Presidency of Bill Clinton. When Conover and his accountant were going through his financial records during the grueling inquiry, his accountant pointed to the W-2 form which said “The Rush Limbaugh Show” and said “that’s why you’re being audited.”

Rodney was one of the early members of a group called the “Friends of Abe” (referring to Republican Abraham Lincoln). It’s known as a “center-right showbiz support group” whose members are conservative Republican entertainers – a true minority in this business.

Although the group has received national press exposure from outlets such as the New York Times (and the names of many “Friends of Abe” are publicly known), several members have made it known they still fear a future audit from the IRS.

He’ll run against Congressman Cook in California’s June primary, which has a unique electoral system. All candidates (regardless of party) will appear on the same ballot, and the top two vote-getters meet in a November runoff.

Conover’s incumbent opponent has the full support of the state and national GOP Establishment behind him, and he freely admits he has “my work cut out for me.” However, he believe he can count on grass-roots support from Tea Party and libertarian GOP groups throughout the sprawling 8th District.

Although he’s the underdog, Mr. Conover shares the optimism of Ronald Reagan in his campaign. “I have a vision that I feel strongly will resonate… I want this generation to pick up where the Greatest Generation left off.”

Let’s hope this Tea Party challenger can put some of that Reagan magic to work in this June’s primary.