Amit Singh: Ballad of a Ron Paul Republican


We knew pretty early in the night at Amit Singh's victory party that the candidate would lose. The first hint was nebulous: It was that Singh's opponent Mark Ellmore, a social conservative who'd been running for two years, had blanketed the district with signs, and that there were areas (especially in Fairfax County, which contained almost half the precincts) with no Singh presence whatsoever. "They needed more visibility," said Aaron Biterman, who'd voted for Singh then volunteered for Vern McKinley. "We needed more damn signs!" said Singh, tongue planted in cheek.

The second sign was unmissable: Singh was doing worse in his base of Arlington County than Ellmore was doing in Fairfax, and by 8:30 p.m., only Fairfax was out. "I did one canvass in Fairfax County," said Singh web guru Kevin Chand. "Our volunteers were in their 20s, living on the Orange Line. They didn't have cars! We did one trip to Reston and that was it."

So, Singh was blunt early in the night when I asked how he felt about the vote. "That mailer with the fake quote killed us," he said. The mailer in question was an 11th hour hit job that quoted scattered sources, including the blog of Mark Blacknell, to paint Singh as an anti-troop false Republican who refused to vote for John McCain. Singh referred to the current mission in Iraq as "operation baby-sit," so Ellmore claimed he "insults our military professionals." Singh was about as disappointed as half the GOP when McCain lucked into the nomination, so he was, obviously, a libertarian who would destroy the party. A picture of Singh and Ron Paul completed the attack.

Singh battled back quickly, getting the Washington Post to force Ellmore into retracting his claim that Singh had told the paper about the McCain issue. Press secretary Navdeep Singh (no relation) thought their quick reaction saved the campaign from a 75-25 blowout. But the smear itself cost them the election. "We were on track to win this election," Singh said. "We lost, but we stuck to our principles."

Former Republican activist Bill Lockhart, who'd worked for the district's 2006 candidate (who'd endorsed Singh), was gloomy about the effect of the Ellmore mailer. "Stuff like that can hurt the whole ticket," Lockhart said. Amit Singh had actually seen Ellmore at the polls and chastised him for the smear; Ellmore put the onus on his 17-year old campaign manager and said he'd apologize after the election.

At the end of the night, given how long he'd known the result, Singh was resigned but gloomy. "There were nights I woke up in a sweat, worrying that I'd let you down," he told a room of very young supporters and volunteers. (I don't think anyone was over 33.) He begged them to stay involved then settled in to party. He would stay involved with the GOP, but he wasn't sure yet if he'd run in two years. (The nomination would probably be his for the taking if he did.)
"I sensed something was wrong with America at its core and culminated in a campaign for Congress," Singh told supporters in an e-mail today, "but it won't end there. No, I'm not seeking the VP nomination."

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  1. Our volunteers were in their 20s, living on the Orange Line. They didn’t have cars!

    Here we go.

    Getcha popcorn.

  2. Dang it joe, you beat me to it.

    That line did make me laugh.

  3. But solutions can still be found in the political system, right guys?

  4. All these youthful libertarians make me hopeful. The christian kooks were all young idealists in the late 70s/early 80s, right?

  5. All of this sweat and swagger in order to fight for the right to get knocked in the head by Jim Moran, who is a disgrace.

    Amit Singh, if you’re reading, please listen to me:

    You’re a talented guy. Forget elective office. If you want to make a difference, redouble your efforts in either the private sector or the non-profit world or even “social capitalism.”

    Just say no to electoral politics. (Or at least delay it to the day when you can buy some clout, a la Bloomberg or Corzine.)

  6. We’re seeing a lot of hopeful stuff this election cycle. But I haven’t yet seen anything that’s going to effect the next election.

  7. Alas, when I moved a few streets over in the course of going from renter to owner, I passed through the magical dividing line between district 8 and district 11. Would have liked to vote for Singh.

  8. See, his volunteers, who were drawn from Ron Paul supporters, were also Orange Line Mafia, who were the ones who sunk Ron Paul!


  9. You fuckers at reason are evil

  10. Ellmore put the onus on his 17-year old campaign manager and said he’d apologize after the election.

    Whaaa? He actually said that?

  11. Our volunteers were in their 20s, living on the Orange Line. They didn’t have cars!

    Saboteurs! They probably sip lattes and use shampoo as well!

  12. LoL @ “use shampoo.”

  13. Saboteurs! They probably sip lattes and use shampoo as well!

    I’ve met some pretty damn dirty Ron Paul supporter. Of course, I’ve also met very clean-cut conservately dressed Ron Paul supporters. The intersection of humanity in his campaign was fascinating.

  14. To those who see this as proof of the failure of electoral politics, whaaaaa?

    Do you expect to have everyone you like win the first time they run? These candidates and their staffs are honing their skills, and a few years down the road it will lead to a lot of wins.

  15. Amit,

    I’m very proud of your efforts you presented real issues and having heard you speak several months ago I support your effortrs two years from now…. I would suggest you begin now and lay the foundation to win the next time.

    We need GOP members who support the law of the land. Your passion is real and you desire to do good things for our nation. So, please consider that you are needed in congress and you will win the next time. You needed more money and more of the grass roots needed to support you.

    So take the next two years to speak at ever thing you can find not to sell your next run but to share your message and it’s the same message that has brought so many new people to the party.

    If you announce your run for the next term you will obtain lots of exposure… I’ll check with my lawyer to see if we can sue Ellmore for his false information.

    I will be happy to donate 2300 for your next run for office…..

    Amit, one thing is for sure…. You can help maintain the postive hopes for those who voted for you if you simply try again.

    Chin up…. It’s time to storm the gates once more but this time you will win and I predict you will win again and again and again.

    The only thing that will save our nation is the message Ron Paul Rep offer.

  16. People probably don’t want idealism and just want someone to bring home the Federally-funded bacon. Just a thought.

  17. To those who see this as proof of the failure of electoral politics, whaaaaa?

    This is as much of an isolated incident as Balko’s latest drug war tragedy.

  18. Amit – you’re down but not out. Run again in the future, knowing what you know now. You’ll win. Persistence pays and all that.

    I wish him good luck. I would vote for him if I lived in his district.

  19. joe,

    All I can say is that I was glad that most of my Ron Paul meetups were held outdoors.

  20. “We lost, but we stuck to our principles.”

    If it isn’t already, that should be the Libertarian party motto.

  21. Mr. Ellmore will apologize after the election? Sheesh. How’s he going to make restitution to anyone who voted for him on the basis of his fabrications?

  22. “We abandoned our principles, and we lost” could be the Republican motto.

  23. “We abandoned our principles, and we lost” could be the Republican motto.

    The Barr-supporting LP already took that one.

  24. The Democratic party motto, on the other hand, is a 2500 word monologue by John Kerry.

  25. “anti-troop false Republican”

    David, I hope you were quoting the campaign ad and didn’t come up with this grammatical trash yourself.

  26. amit fought the good fight… it was his first run… and. despite it all, his principles remained your principles. in modern poltics, that’s a triumph, IMHO, of far greater ultimate import then the mere assumption of office itself.

    let ellmore have his day, for the deceit and deviance by which it was attained makes his “victory” ring hollow.

    as for myself, this was the last straw: after 15 yrs of toeing the line w/ the “republican” party, i’m done. social conservatism’s going to be the death of us all — it’s the worst of all worlds: manifesting inequity in all its facets, and giving off an omnidirectional appearance of staggering injustice the likes of which have been unseen since napoleanic times. there’s only so long a scam like this can be pulled-off before one gets wise to it. that is, before the nation gets wise to it. libertarian tho i am, i’ll be a neocon patsy no more:

    OBAMA ’08.

  27. Good morning,

    I figured you would be interested in viewing this video.


  28. I don’t know much about Palin, but even so know she’s better than Huckabee or Guiliani. Almost by default.

  29. “Our volunteers were in their 20s, living on the Orange Line. They didn’t have cars!

    Here we go.

    Getcha popcorn.”

    Heh, when I read that line I had images of Rockwellite heads exploding. 😉

  30. My dad is a poll worker in Arlington, and said the turnout was around 80 people (compared to over 700 for the presidential primary)

    Which is a small demonstration that tunrout, which is produced by good organization, matters.

    And I know the orange line comment is a joke, but it does illustrate a slight elitism (really!). To wit, there is not a spot in the 8th district that you cannot reach by Metrobus and a five minute walk.

  31. As if Amit hasn’t smeared Mark for his personal life/early days. Half of his speeches that I have heard trash Mark. I’ll never forget when he entered the race. I was undecided and watched his speech on YouTube.

    (Holding up a glove) “THIS IS A GLOVE!”
    (Holding up his hand) “AND THIS… IS A MIT!!!”

    Wow. Suffice to say that I am now an intern for Mark Ellmore.

  32. Amit attacks ellmore in every speech?? Come on J-lew, every speech of Amit’s is available on youtube.

    You’re too naive to grasp the difference between highlighting political differences based on the issues among candidates and taking it personal. J-Lew, if you really want to learn something, find someone else to intern for. . .it will be better for you in the long run. You will only learn dirty politics working for Ellmore. You know it, I know it, and now the World knows it.

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