From The American Spectator comes the story of 27 year old Scranton native Chris Lilik.
In July of 2005, the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature, in a bipartisan move, passed an after-midnight pay raise grab. The pay grab incensed Lilik, the head of the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania. Raising your own pay on the taxpayer's dime didn't sound like conservative principle to him.
Plunging into action he didn't just become one of the state's most vocal opponents of the pay raise. He set his sights on two seemingly impossible objectives: getting the raise repealed, then defeating two of the most prominent legislative leaders of the pay raise -- both Republicans.
Setting up a website specifically devoted to repealing the pay raise, Lilik raised $10,000 -- in the very first week. Money poured in from infuriated taxpayers that Lilik promptly spent on billboards and radio ads lacerating legislators for greed and urging repeal. Between the various arms of his groups, eventually he pulled in almost $100,000 to fuel his fight. Joining a bi-partisan coalition of angry Pennsylvanians across the political spectrum, the pay raise repeal was accomplished by November of 2005 -- a mere five months later.
Quite an accomplishment. But Lilik was not finished with the State Legislature,
Lilik took direct aim at the long-serving State Senate President and the equally long-serving Senate Majority Leader. The two, Senator Robert C. Jubelirer of Altoona and David "Chip" Brightbill of Lebanon, were extremely powerful Republican moderates viewed as politically untouchable in their respective Republican districts. Raising tens of thousands of dollars, he directed $60,000 alone straight to radio buys in each man's district. To the utter astonishment of the state's political establishment Lilik helped send the two pillars of the state GOP -- each of whom had raised millions in campaign funds from Harrisburg lobbyists -- crashing down to defeat at the hands of a pair of upstart conservative challengers. Overnight Lilik gained the unlikely reputation as a conservative David who slew not one but two Goliaths.
And now Lilik has his sights set on Robert Casey, Jr.,
Learning the tangled rules of the federal election system, Lilik went out and formed that odd federal beast the "527." Meaning: Lilik was now empowered to involve himself in the issues education side of the increasingly close race for the U.S. Senate between conservative Republican incumbent Rick Santorum and his liberal Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Robert Casey, Jr. Lilik's purpose? To get conservative issues on the front-burner -- and educate voters.
Lilik has produced two radio ads which are starting today in major media markets in Pennsylvania. They will air during the morning drive time programs. He also has a web-site YCOP Voter Fund and is accepting donations. This might be a great place to send last minute donations. As Jeffrey Lord, writer of the American Spectator column said:
While his famous conservative elders squabble on the front page of the New York Times, Chris Lilik just keeps his eye on the ball.
Attention should be paid.