Eric Brakey is a popular two-term state senator who served as the Maine director for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and also chaired Rand Paul’s 2016 White House bid in his state. He won re-election handily in November and among his legislative achievements was spearheading a bill in 2015 that repealed Maine’s concealed handgun permit requirement.
Sen. Brakey is also exactly the kind of new young liberty leader that Maine and America could use right now. Put simply: If you like Republicans like Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Thomas Massie, you’re going to love Eric Brakey.
Now, some say he’s looking to become the next U.S. Senator from Maine.
Maine’s Sun-Journal reported Wednesday that the “Libertarian-minded Republican” is “not ready to talk publicly’ about the race, but ‘we might have something to say in the new year.”
Please say ‘yes,’ Eric.
But is this a race he could win? Against an incumbent senator?
It wouldn’t be easy. But if money matters in politics, and it does, the Bangor Daily News reported Monday that Brakey “has proved to be a good fundraiser in his own right, raising $59,000 for his first Senate campaign and $56,000 as of Oct. 28 for last month’s re-election bid.”
“His past performance and national ties indicate that he could get a national fundraising apparatus up to challenge King, who had $169,000 on hand as of September’s end and raised less than any other U.S. senator elected in 2012.”
Some might recall Brakey if not by name, but his actions as a member of the Republican National Convention platform committee where he introduced a resolution to condemn the U.S. intervention in Libya and to remove a plank in the platform calling for the use of military force in Syria.
On Libya, Brakey said in a speech to the committee:
“This amendment is basically to clarify what some of the causes of the rise of ISIS are in the Middle East. We see time and time again that every time we take out a secular dictator in this area with no exit strategy, this kind of nation building approach to foreign policy is not something that has been successful and all we’ve done is played into the hands of radical groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, giving them the power and the opportunity to seize geography and seize land. As we are looking forward, this would discourage this policy so we can focus on the real enemy in the middle east, which is Radical Islam and ISIS.”
“This amendment assumes that we are going to depose the government of Syria. We really have seen, again and again, this strategy of deposing secular dictators has just led to chaos in the area. We did this with Mummar Gadaffi, who was a terrible evil person, but what has he been replaced with? ISIS. We did this in Iraq as well with Saddam Hussein, and what has that led to? ISIS. Even our presumptive nominee acknowledges that the decision to take out the secular dictator in Iraq Saddam Hussein was a mistake. This is a continuation of the same failed policy. We need to ask, how many millions of innocent civilians have died and what has the result been? Chaos and the rise of ISIS. We really need to decide, are we really the party that believes that war is a last resort? Or are we the party that enters into it so carelessly, and we say ‘collateral damage be damned’?”
“I highly recommend that we adopt this amendment, strike out this language, it will be a disaster,” Brakey concluded “It will empower ISIS if we continue on this path and we take out the Syrian regime.”
This statement on Syria is also the position of every liberty Republican in Congress mentioned above, among other GOP members like liberty-ally Sen. Mike Lee and conservative Ted Cruz. That Brakey had to argue so vehemently for this plank reminds us how much sway GOP hawks have held in defining Republican foreign policy, including the platform (the Syria language remained in the platform despite Brakey’s protest).
But perhaps most significantly, not seeking regime change in Syria is the stated position of President-elect Donald Trump.
The Republican Party is changing, for good or ill, something time will tell. New young leaders with the right principles certainly couldn’t hurt the party, particularly at the national level. Brakey holds solid libertarian and conservative positions on more issues besides the Second Amendment and foreign policy, but this column can only be so long.
In disclosure, I know Eric. The first time I met him was during a visit to the Ron Paul presidential campaign headquarters in New York City in 2011. I was instantly impressed by his savvy and continue to be—his success as a young Republican representative in his state, and perhaps most importantly, a sincere and dedicated champion of liberty who got into politics for all the right reasons. There are few like him.
I sincerely hope Eric Brakey decides to run. My old boss Rand Paul could certainly use his help.
Disclosure: I worked for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and served as New Media Director for Sen. Rand Paul.