Guest Column: Justin Pierce Should Accept Reality And Drop Out Of The Secretary of State's Race

The following was submitted as a Guest Column:
When State Representative Justin Pierce first entered the Secretary of State’s race last year, many political observers thought he would be a viable candidate who had at least a shot of beating both Wil Cardon and Michele Reagan in a divided Republican primary. It was assumed that Gary Pierce’s connections, the support of the House GOP leadership, and a ton of “dark money” from people looking to curry favor with Gary Pierce on the Corporation Commission would give his campaign the resources needed to compete against two well-funded GOP primary opponents.
However, since the middle of October, all of these assumptions have proven false. After a very lackluster initial fundraiser, Pierce abruptly decided to run as a clean elections candidate, which immediately limited the amount of resources that he would have at his disposal in both the primary and general elections. Additionally, after APS received intense criticism from the press for their use of “dark money” in the net metering debate and the exposure of their links to Justin Pierce’s campaign consultant Alan Heywood (who also employed Pierce’s father) it now appears highly unlikely that there will be an independent expenditure effort to support Pierce’s Secretary of State campaign.
Justin Pierce also has had a hard time collecting the required $5 contributions that he needs to collect to receive his clean elections money. As of December 31st, he has only collected 109 of the required 2800 $5 contributions. At the current rate, Pierce will not even come close to qualifying by the time of the primary in August. Additionally, unlike the end of last year, Pierce now has less time to collect these contributions since the legislature is in session. Finally, worst of all for Justin, polling in the race show him trailing front runner Wil Cardon by double digits and is even behind liberal Republican Michele Reagan. With all these factors taken together, Justin Pierce does not even have a remote chance of becoming Secretary of State.
Justin Pierce is a very smart young legislator with a bright political future ahead of him. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future for Justin if he makes the right choices now. However, staying in the Secretary of State’s race and losing massively in the primary will only diminish Justin’s future political opportunities.