DCCC Plays in Primaries

This is instructive. The D-Trip is not afraid to play in primaries:

As the cycle wages on and Republicans appear more vulnerable this November, those extraordinary circumstances have become the norm.

The addition of Iraq veteran Jon Powers to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program last week made the New York House candidate the latest to gain the national party’s fundraising assistance.

Over the previous month, the committee used Red to Blue to back another New York candidate, as well as candidates in open primaries in Alaska, Arizona and Louisiana. It had previously added a candidate in Michigan in March.

Only six races with competitive Democratic primaries are currently listed as “toss-up” or “lean Democratic” by the Cook Political Report. The DCCC has now picked a side in all six of them.

One of the raps against the NRCC in the spring special slaughter is that they refused to support the more electable (or less unelectable) candidates in LA-6 and MS-1. Nobody likes to take a heavy handed approach when you have two or more competitive candidates running. As a former party committee operative, I can tell you that the decision to weigh in for a candidate, or not to weigh in at all, heavily shapes perceptions of the national GOP among grassroots activists, rarely for the better.

But people don't like to get beat either, especially when the defeat was preventable. And you've got to weigh that.

Over the long term, there's nothing that says that this targeting function in primaries can't happen outside the party committees, through outside groups that earmark small donations for candidates.

Sites like this one and RedState can serve the NRCC function in races where the incumbent or establishment candidate needs to lose in order for us to win the seat. The NRCC won't tell Don Young to take a hike, even though we lose the seat with Young and keep it with Sean Parnell. They'll need the millions left in his bank account (after he's done with the legal bills). But we can. And the NRSC won't tell Ted Stevens, the most senior GOP senator, to step down for the good of the party.

There are times when the NRCC/NRSC's targeting sense won't align with ours, or where they won't play where we will. And that's fine, so long as someone is policing against nominating deadbeat candidates for the fall.

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This is still a mess for the Dems

Hard to tell the millionaire you sent out twice to take on Reynolds to stand down now that it is an open seat.


What's the point? ..

plenty of us DFH's have long disliked the DCCC getting involved in primaries ... and we have spoken out about it .. look at Al Wynn ... Pelosi and the rest tried to rescue Wynn .. but he ended up getting his ass kicked anyway ... if it wasn't for the DSCC .. McCain wouldn't have his BFF to pal around with right now

Primaries with Multiple Candidates

Patrick, I think you are right on the money when it is a clear case of an incumbent needing to take a hike (Don Young is a perfect example), but when there is an open field and multiple candidates I think it might be wise for the NRCC or the NRSC to at least make their preference known.  Specifically, I think OH-18 would be in a whole lot better shape if they had let it be known who they actually supported in that primary; but I think that lesson could also apply to the special election that Jean Schmidt won in OH-02 back in the day as well.

Of course, the problem with this idea is that the NRCC and the NRSC lacks judgement.  They are incapable of making a determination of who the best candidate really is...and really, I'm not sure that they should.  In all seriousness, this is a responsibility of the county parties and in this duty, most county parties choose to abstain rather than "take a risk." 

Grassroots activists usually don't have access to the kinds of budgets or influence that the party structure can offer, but it is the rank-and-file that ought to be making these decisions.

But again, that gets awfully tough when there are multiple candidates who are good.  What usually happens is the mediocre fly-on-the-wall strategy wins the primary and then we're screwed.  Catch-22, really...

OH 2 was a mess

You had DeWine's son, who caught the flak for dad's sudden "gang of 14" milquetoast approach on judges, a former member from the wayback machine who never represented most of the district, a conservative from Cincinnatti, and Schmidt, who was from the distrist's second largest county. A lot of voting seemed to be against DeWine and Schmidt benefitted. 

Brinkman I think was the more definitive conservative but he failed to lock in that sort of support.

I think it looks bad

that virtually all the Iraq war veterans who are now running for office are doing so on the Democrat ticket.

How did that happen?  It creates an image of disillusionment among the military,. The obvious way to counter it is to run a strong slate of recent military veterans on the GOP ticket, but I don't see any attempt to make that happen.

Plenty of Iraq vet Republicans for Congress

Unfortunately, Iraq veteran Democrats get a disproportionate share of the media attention, but that doesn't mean that Iraq veteran Republicans aren't getting organized.

In Ohio's 15th district, State Senator Steve Stivers (say that five times fast) is an Iraq vet who won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce.

In Florida's 22nd district (Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Palm Beach), it is increasingly likely that the Republicans will turn to Lt. Col. Allen West, a veteran of both Iraq wars, to take on freshman incumbent Democrat Ron Klein.

In New York's 19th district, Iraq vet Kieran Michael Lalor is running for the right to face Democrat John Hall, the former frontman for the 70's soft rock group Orleans. While Hall is favored for reelection, he is a freshman incumbent in a district that is known to elect moderate Republicans. This race carries particular resonance for me because I am a New Yorker and I have a rather strong disdain for easy-listening muzak.

Some more information on Republican Iraq veteran candidates can be found here.

Another race to point out is that of Pennsylvania's 8th district, the seat of freshman Democrat and Iraq veteran Patrick Murphy. Murphy is being challeneged by Tom Manion, a 30-year veteran of the US Marines who lost his son in Iraq.