The pundits have all been calling for the organization to move away from social conservative policies and towards what they think is the centre, but which is really the hard left.
No sooner had his name emerged as a potential successor that the media began screeching about his radical right-wing agenda and his cold and autocratic personality.
Even many of those within the organization joined in the attacks, hoping to scare the voters into choosing a dithering, pliable liberal leader.
But this time, the voters would not be intimidated.
They wanted to hear someone enunciate orthodox, conservative principles without apology or reservation.
They compared him with the alternative.
And they chose to reward competence and principle.