Meet Bart Stupak's Republican challenger

He’s got a donation page now, his Facebook site is humming with 16,000 fans and counting, and he’s suddenly getting calls from the RNC. And yet.

Benishek, who has never run for office, doesn’t have a campaign Web site (for now, a Facebook page that has increased from 700 to 14,000 followers will do) or staff for that matter (his wife is taking press calls while he searches for a campaign manager). But by late last night, the RNC had stepped in and set up a PayPal account for him so he could raise money online.

“I didn’t have an online way to get any money, so they were all upset with me. But I got something up finally late last night and I don’t know, it’s just been unbelievable, the support,” Benishek said. “I’m not sure if it’s support for me or just hatred for Bart Stupak. But a lot of people saw what I stood for on Facebook, at least, and seemed to connect with that, with my bio and position statement, so I was overwhelmed by the support.”…

Benishek concedes he has got his work cut out for him, as he’s just getting started introducing himself to the voters. “The people have to vote for me,” he explained. “Not the people who write me and say stuff about me on the blogs in Arizona … I certainly appreciate that and I certainly appreciate the financial help, but I have to still communicate with the constituents here.”

Benishek said it’s been “daunting” because he’s “been getting a lot of advice from people, contradictory advice.” “So that’s been a little bit of a problem. I don’t know exactly how to proceed. I just have to give it my best judgment and move forward,” he said.

I wish him all the luck in the world but … he sounds green, even by the standards of first-time candidates. Stupak may be a fraud and/or a chump but he’s a savvy enough pol to have had the media eating out of his hand during his months-long “will I or won’t I?” kabuki. The district does lean slightly Republican, according to the Cook Report, but Stupak’s won every general election there since 1992 by double digits and the last seven by no less than 19 points. Even with the new scrutiny and his pro-life betrayal, he’ll be tough to beat, and yet Benishek didn’t think to hire staff or lay the groundwork for a Stupak “sellout” narrative — or even open a PayPal account! — while all the abortion sturm and drang was going on. The Daily Caller piece makes it sound like he’s running on a lark, which is fine and fun (so is Mickey Kaus, for instance) but perhaps something to weigh when deciding whether to send him your money. Presumably the RNC’s weighing right now whether he’s got enough of a shot that it’s worth sending people up there to help him. Keep an eye on them to see how serious they are about him before getting your hopes up. Or don’t. It’s your money.

Exit question: Remember how, every two years, the righty blogosphere would get all excited about whoever was challenging Jack Murtha and then inevitably he or she would get crushed? Just asking.

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