The Perpetual Candidate Syndrome: Mark Leyva

Posted by courage On April - 29 - 2010

Political operatives are always on the look-out for methods to increase their exposure.  The perpetual is a candidate disconnected with voters. They present themselves as the one thing they are not… electable.  Since one particular candidate has chosen to “go public” with his self-appointed leadership position of the Lake County Tea Party, the time has come to examine and shake out what is the driving factor behind the missteps, inconsistencies and character behind Mark Leyva.  After turning Mark Leyva upside-down, it is interesting to see what shakes out.

In 1998 Leyva began his attempt to win the Republican ballot slot against seated Indiana 1st District Congressman Pete Visclosky.  His first primary election was against one candidate, Leyva  lost the primary with 28.92% of the vote

The next primary election in 2000, Leyva ran again for the 1st District Congressional seat against one opponent.  In this election he received 34.45% of the vote and lost to the challenger.

Finally in the 2002 primary Leyva won the Republican nomination, only to lose in the general when Visclosky took 66.9% of the vote.

Again winning the Republican nomination in 2004, Leyva lost to Visclosky when the seated Congressman pulled 68.3% of the vote.

In 2006, Leyva again was Visclosky’s challenger in the general election and again lost to Visclosky.  In this election Visclosky won 69.7% of the vote.

In 2008, the last Congressional election for the US 1st Congressional District, Leyva lost when Visclosky achieved a decade high 70.9% of the vote.

This is why I call Mark Leyva a perpetual candidate, he continually runs for the United States 1st Congressional seat and each election he has lost by greater margins. Starting with 2002, Visclosky beat Leyva by a difference of 35.9% of the vote (Visclosky’s 66.9% minus Leyva’s 31% = 35.9%); by 2008, that difference grew in Visclosky’s favor to 43.7%. As the numbers demonstrate, Mark Leyva is unable to maintain a base and win victory over Pete.

Unseating an entrenched incumbent such as Visclosky requires the ability to raise funds; Leyva has relied on two primary donors to fund his campaigns, himself and his father.  How can a candidate run for over a decade and not build substantial financial backing?  Mark Leyva speaks to his name identification as a strong point in his current attempt for Congress, yet the numbers which are available online, demonstrate a candidate who has never connected with voters and has failed to gain any advantage from previous elections.  Regardless of all Leyva’s previous runs for Congress, his name recognition has not shown any ability to gain the momentum needed to beat Visclosky.

In a recent forum held in St. John, the candidates were asked how they would compete financially against the entrenched Visclosky in the general election. Leyva’s answer was interesting to say the least and may offer insight into this perpetual candidate’s rational behind his association with the Tea Party movement.  In answering this question, Mark Leyva stated he would draw funding for his campaign by taking his candidacy “national with the Tea Party people.”  Adding… “like Scott Brown.”  Mark Leyva is no Scott Brown and least I remind you that Senator Brown was chosen by the patriots of Massachusetts and never publically stated he would be using them to finance his campaign.

Part 1 of a series…

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