After more than a year of campaigning, New Hampshire Senate candidate Jim Rubens (R) has decided on his closing message: the “disconnect between voters in New Hampshire and politicians in Washington, D.C.” He was campaigning in Groveton, a small town of about 1,000 near the Canadian border, when he walked into a diner (as all candidates in New Hampshire inevitably do). “The entire room erupted,” the former state senator said. “People were ready to vent their frustrations. I’ve been involved with politics in this state for 20 years, and I’ve never felt the dissatisfaction more than I do now.” His anecdotal evidence is backed up by empirical data; when Gallup asked Americans what the top problem facing the nation was, many of the top answers have been variations on grumbling about the state of government today.
This discontent has led Rubens to make fighting corruption a centerpiece of his campaign. He says he’ll only serve two terms if elected and that he won’t take a lobbying gig after he leaves Congress. Rubens argues that campaign expenditures should be reported in real-time, and a better public financing system should be built.
On this last count, though, Rubens is on an island. Even as Americans profess an increasing amount of unhappiness with Congress and the political system, almost nobody is talking about campaign finance reform.
His quiet endorsement of such reform has won him support from Mayday PAC, a super PAC fighting the influence of money in politics that is run by Lawrence Lessig. The super PAC is currently running a satirical ad about Rubens’s campaign pledges on corruption.