Stan Evans will be remembered for many things. But two often overlooked actions by Stan — which seemed small at the time — in fact changed the world.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan was reeling after losing the first five primaries to Gerald Ford. He staggered into North Carolina $2 million in debt and everybody was calling on him to get out.
Except Evans. As Chairman of the American Conservative Union, Evans convinced his board to spend $75,000 in an independent expenditure campaign in the Tar Heel state supporting Reagan and eviscerating Ford.
Reagan, overcoming all doubts, won in a huge upset, which kept him in the race until finally losing by the narrowest of margins in Kansas City in August.
That seemingly desperate independent campaign in fact was the greatest investment ever made by a conservative group.
Had Reagan not won North Carolina, he would have dropped out and thus never would have run in 1980, winning, and changing the world.
Stan Evans — nearly alone — changed the world, by coming to Reagan’s rescue in 1976.
The second action by Stan was one of the inspirations for what became known as the Conservative Political Action Conference. He conceived of the idea when conservatives were down and out in 1973. In the 43 intervening years everybody from Ronald Reagan to Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed CPAC.
CPAC stands alone as the most important annual conservative gathering in America and indeed the world.
Stan will deservedly be remembered for many things he accomplished, but these two stand out as his greatest accomplishments.
RIP, Stan Evans.
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