U.S. Senate candidate Wil Cardon has deep family ties to Rim Country and hopes he can transform his lack of political experience into an advantage that will bring him the Republican nomination to replace retiring Senator Jon Kyl.
“Look how far experienced politicians have gotten us: $16 trillion in debt. You can’t be a successful member of a failed organization,” said the Mesa businessman. “Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing over again and expect a different result. We need outsiders, not insiders.”
Cardon, whose grandfather started a chain of gas stations including one in Payson, recalls summers at the family cabin in Christopher Creek. He brought his fledgling campaign for the senate seat to Payson last week with an appearance before the Payson Tea Party at Tiny’s Restaurant.
Cardon’s platform calls for tax cuts, a balanced budget, no military cuts, fewer regulations, more federal projects in Arizona, the repeal of recent health care reforms, free trade, outlawing abortions, banning gay marriage and tough restrictions on immigration.
On the face of it, those positions remain hard to distinguish from those of the best-known Republican candidate — Congressman Jeff Flake — who made his reputation as a Libertarian critic of earmarks and other congressional perks.
But Cardon insists Flake neglected the bread and butter needs of his district and shifted back toward the Republican center on issues like immigration reform to run for senate.
“Jeff Flake is a nice guy — but no one knows where he is on immigration. He’s for open borders and amnesty and now he’s running for senate so he’s not for that after all. He’s for lower taxes, but proposes an energy tax. Some Republican candidates have lost their way,” said Cardon. “Your actions have to match your rhetoric.”
Cardon has headed the family business for the past 10 years, which includes buying and selling land for development, gas stations and other businesses. A Mormon and father of five, Cardon played football at Brigham Young University and Stanford University before going on to get his MBA from Harvard.
Cardon said the Senate desperately needs people with strong business backgrounds who haven’t been co-opted by the politics of special interests. Only 16 members of the 100-member Senate have any business experience at all — and only two have recent experience, said Cardon.
“I’m with Vince Lombardi: Get back to basics. We need people who are consistent and reliable and principled. We don’t need a U.S. Senator — we need an Arizona senator. We need people who will pay attention to the state and at the end of the day are willing to lead and fight for the state. Jeff Flake has been anything but someone who will fight for the state.”
Cardon said, “Obamacare is a huge problem. It kills jobs. It kills productivity. You have to pay the burden of other people — government is forcing you to buy something. I know plenty of people who say, ‘I’m not going to hire someone because I don’t know what it’s going to cost me.’”