DSCC sandbagged Jim Neal and Steve Novick?

In the North Carolina and Oregon Democratic US Senate primaries this year, two great progressive candidates ran for the nomination: Jim Neal (NC) and Steve Novick (OR). The DSCC, who is not supposed to pick sides in a primary, appears to have secretly funded their preferred candidates anyway (Kay Hagan (NC) and Jeff Merkley (OR)).

If the DSCC leaders personally had a preference, that’s fine. BUT IT IS NOT OK TO FUNNEL MONEY TO ONE CANDIDATE OVER ANOTHER IN A DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY!!!! That's unfairly taking sides and deliberately influencing an election, and that is not what the Democratic Party is about.

According to Greg Giroux at CQ politics...
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docid=news-000002904424

The DSCC reported $279,000 in “coordinated expenditures,” which are limited by law but can be made in concert with candidates’ campaigns. The largest share of these funds went to assist Merkley, whom the DSCC preferred in the May 20 primary election over Steve Novick, a lawyer and liberal activist who lost by 3 percentage points. The DSCC also used coordinated funds in May to boost the campaign of North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, a state senator who is her party’s nominee against Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole

According to Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian...
http://blog.oregonlive.com/mapesonpolitics/2008/06/merkley_had_big_dc_help_gettin.html

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sure gave House Speaker Jeff Merkley a nice push past Democratic primary opponent Steve Novick.

The June financial disclosure report shows that the committee forked over more than $250,000 in May paying most of Merkley's non-advertising expenses. The DSCC paid for consultants, transportation (such as an $840 bill from American VIP Limo in Vallejo, Calif.) rent, payroll, telephone, natural gas and even the garbage....

...But the level of direct support was remarkable. All told, the committee spent $386,000 in coordinated expenditures with Merkley, which doesn't count the advertising the DSCC produced and paid for on its own. It helped give him resources Novick couldn't match.

I called up Novick, wondering if he thought he could have won if the DSCC had stayed out of the state. He said he was now backing Merkley, but he couldn't resist saying:

"I'm very proud, and I think my supporters will be extremely proud, that it took that kind of humongous effort to beat us. They clearly gambled that Jeff Merkley had a better chance to beat Gordon Smith and they had better be right...If they're not, a lot of Oregon Democrats will justly be mad at them."

And doing a little research myself, I found a few interesting FEC financial disclosure forms. Check out pages 997-1009 (or 990-1002) of the report. Notice how the DSCC was pumping money into the campaigns of Jeff Merkley and Kay Hagan during the NC and OR senate primaries.

http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?_28020270065+0

So the DSCC was funneling money to their preferred Democratic primary candidates. NOT COOL! Why did they do this? Well, torridjoe over at the Daily Orygun has some ideas...

http://www.loadedorygun.net/showDiary.do?diaryId=1203

Kay Hagan was, aside from Merkley, the most-supported challenger in a competitive primary. Hagan was in a very similar situation, running as a a prominent member of the Legislature--she was in her fifth state Senate term, and ran a campaign rather to the right of that being run by investment banker Jim Neal, who had entered the race first (although by less than a month). Hagan makes Merkley look Socialist by comparison, however; Merkley like Neal calls for universal health care, but Hagan could not bring herself to address that area.

Oh, Jim Neal had one major electoral problem: he was gay. Was it decisive in Schumer's decision to back the much less progressive Hagan? Perhaps not. Did the question of whether gay would play in NC come up? You bet your loafers. But as with the question of whether Oregonians (or anyone) would go for a guy under five feet tall with a hook, it was irrelevant to the more salient question: why shouldn't the voters be given the chance to make the call?
So Hagan got a nice pile that Neal was unable to match. His funding was much more limited than Novick's, so it took less to do it, but make no mistake that Neal got Chuck'd just as badly as Novick did. But note that Hagan got the same kind of help that Lunsford and Landrieu did, the standard stuff--web hosting, "media" and polling. Oh, and while she got $140,000 overall, you know how much I see in May? About $25,000 (of course, her primary was in early May, making April the prime spending month)....

...[For the DSCC’s preferential funding of Jeff Merkley], it even goes beyond that. As Mapes notes, look what a lot of the money went for--not just the standard items, but everyday campaign expenses, clearly forwarded to DSCC for itemized payment: limo rides, cable and gas, Lexis-Nexis subscriptions, health insurance(!), rent, payroll, garbage, shredding, legal, and telephone charges. Also lots of polling, including presumably the polling that tested out their negative messaging from the TV ads--by mentioning the attacks again--seeing if it was dragging down Novick's number.

Which brings us to a solid point made in a comment at Mapes' blog: why would DSCC agree to pay for all this bullshit stuff? The answer is that it's what they legally could pay for. They couldn't actually pay for ads against Novick, nor would they want to have THAT in the disclosures. But those ads cost lots of money to run, money Merkley needed to--you guessed it--pay the gasman, and the cable man, and make rent.
So by paying for the daily campaign stuff, that freed Merkley up to pay for his ad run against Novick. That's no accident. What it means is, Chuck Schumer took money that he had collected from Democrats to help Democrats win elections, and he used it to help a Democrat win an election all right--by subsidizing a character attack on another Democrat.

Think about that next time you're asked for money by the DSCC: where is my money going? Is it going to pay for attacks on Democrats I've never even heard about, in elections I probably don't pay attention to if I'm not a relentless political junkie like torridjoe? Shit, what if I like the person they're paying to bring down, better than the person they're doing it for? Won't I feel a little guilty that by helping "Democrats" in giving to DSCC, I've helped Chuck's idea of what a good Democrat is instead of mine--or more importantly, the voters of that state?

....It's the opposite of the 50 State strategy, and it needs to stop...You should tell DSCC every chance you get: no money until you stop interfering in state primaries!

Ugh, these back-room politics makes me sick.

P.S. Here is a video of a Jim Neal speech in case you don’t know much about him. I am from North Carolina and was a big Jim Neal supporter.

Also, because of the unfair money funneling by the DSCC, Jim Neal put himself in a lot of debt to remain competitive. Considering helping him out at...

http://www.actblue.com/page/jimnealdebtretirement

Consider helping out Steve Novick as well.

I doubt that the DSCC has written either a check.

Comments

sent neal

$100

Thanks for cross-posting this

The Democratic Party from Schumer on down to Hunt and Easley pulled out the stops in order to do something, anything, besides support the gay guy. It's why I re-registered as unaffiliated. Not because Jim could or couldn't have won, but because of the extreme arrogance of the good old boy insiders who call the shots in North Carolina and DC.

That said, I'm supporting Hagan all the way.

Recommended

n/t

Yup

The whole thing made me sick to my stomach. It's not "just" that the party bosses didn't give Neal a chance, they actively opposed his candidacy. Unlike James, I'm not 100% behind Hagan (though *sigh* I guess I'll vote for her anyway despite my lack of enthusiasm). I feel like my voice has pretty much been squashed by people who don't even live here and who had already made up their minds about who the "preferred" candidate was.

they do it all the time

Just take a look at some of the congressional primaries over the last couple of cycles here in NC.

Wake Forest won't play us anymore
Michigan last year
LSU - you are next
Go ASU!

No way...

Parties taking sides in primaries? Unbelievable. ;-)

Is there anyone else who is ready to eliminate North Carolina's income tax "checkoff funds" that provide state funding for political parties? Perhaps the parties would be more responsive to the electorate if we get them off welfare, and they had to raise money from their members...

BJ

William (B.J.) Lawson
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

Senator Schumer causes a run on a Mega Bank?

The Democratic Party from Schumer on down to Hunt and Easley pulled out the stops in order to do something, anything, besides support the gay guy* James

Good ole Charlie! You can always depend on him for screwing up a primary

Parties taking sides in primaries? Unbelievable. ;-)*BJ

Nothing like a Party leader pissing off depostors

The whole thing made me sick to my stomach. It's not "just" that the party bosses didn't give Neal a chance,* angry girl

"IndyMac came under fire last month from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who said lax lending standards and deposits purchased from third parties left it on the brink of failure. In the 11 business days after Schumer explained his concerns in a June 26 letter, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion, the OTS said"

We had no idea that Senator Schumer was a doctor that cause more pain

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=atyF3ydPUlk8&refer=home

We all knew this was happening.

Sure, it may have only existed as a whisper at the time, but the fact of the matter is that it obviously was going on.

It's a lot of Schumer, a little Hunt, mix in a splash of Basnight, and then smother it ALL in homophobia. No such thing as a leveled playing ground, it seems. When the whispers were actually said out loud, it further divided supporters of the two frontrunning candidates. Unfortunately, it's a divide that still exists to this day for many. Luckily I'm used to true progressive voices getting brought down by the powers that be. The only part I'm genuinely sad about realizing that the DSCC decided primaries for all of us.

And to think of how passionate we were.

Whisper-ish

I think I was more so referring to the backlash against those who were speaking up, specifically around here. Thus limiting it to a whisper. Either way, it sucks.

Ahhh

Gotcha. Understood and agreed.

"Around here"?

Around here as in NC, or around here as in BlueNC?

--
recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

--
Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Aren't those interchangable?

Nah, I more specifically meant around BlueNC, but it's all relative. Browse back on the posts where those who called Schumer out on his shenanigans were burned at the cross. It's all there.

Not seeing it

I'm not seeing much human combustion on Schumer's behalf here, here, or here.

Can ya help me out?

--
recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

--
Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

We didn't whisper

We actually slammed old Chuck pretty hard, Christopher. Were you trying to criticize us for not protesting more vehemently?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Thank you dear.

I was referring to the actual links provided by Brandon

We all slammed Chuck Shumer pretty hard. I don't think Hagan critics were ever "slammed" on this site.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

The DSCC absolutely should not have been involved before the

primary in this case. It's a shame they had to muddy the waters. Kay Hagan's fundraising in the early days was like 80% to 90% in-state which had nothing to do with DSCC support. She had a huge NC buy-in. She had enough money to win this race without the DSCC jumping in. They knew this pretty early on and should have waited until after the primary.

On the other hand, I have no problem with the DCCC backing Larry Kissell. I don't think he had any direct money prior to the primary (or filing deadline) but they were clear he was their candidate. They would have been stupid to ignore him. He did more without them in this district than any other Democrat who has run against Hayes. Also, they jumped on his bandwagon immediately after November '06. There would have been bloodshed if they had failed to do so. :D I actually think someone might have burned Rahm in effigy. (Or in real life)

So, I guess for me it depends on the situation. In the Senate race, they should have stayed out of it. Their preferred candidate had enough money and resources and campaign experience to win the primary. Their involvement hurt more than it helped. In the congressional race, I have no problem with the DCCC supporting Larry openly.

I can think of other situations where it wouldn't bother me if the party stepped in, but they are a little more extreme. (Republican files as a Democrat, etc.)



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Larry had no primary opponent.

I think the situation is entirely different regarding Larry's race. Larry was already well on his way to the GE, and was already backed by them in 2006 (even if it was like, the day before election day.)

Any idea what the DSCC and DCCC's official policy is on pre-primary dealings?

good stuff spnj889

jack anderson lives..

didn't kissell have prim opponent in 06 who was the "preferred candidate"?

why did the dscc spend pour more in nc primary than any other if their preferred candidate was a shoe-in and why did the hagan committee dump its bank account to beat the "gay guy". a million bucks.....and they no shrinking violets in colluding with dscc see page 419 of fec filing

money never hurt any "preferred candidate"

Kissell did have a primary opponent in '06

who dropped out of the race weeks after filing and months after receiving tens of thousands in money from the DCCC.

The link you gave shows the DSCC giving Hagan $250 - not exactly "pouring" money into the campaign, is it? They did wind up spending between $100 and $200,000 before the primary on this race and as I've stated it was unnecessary.

Hagan didn't "dump" a million to beat the "gay guy". She took Neal seriously. She took his supposed fundraising prowess seriously. She raised and spent what it took to run a serious campaign against someone she thought was a serious candidate.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Actually the DSCC gave Hagan $43605.61 in May 2008.

If you scroll down on the forms that mention Kay Hagan, they give you the subtotals (which add up to $43605.61). Plus, this report is only for May expenditures. Considering that the NC primary was on May 6th, I'm sure the DSCC gave Hagan much more money in April. I don't know where you got only $250 from.

I got the $250 from the link that Blue Moon provided

I believe I said that. Read my comment again. I included the April numbers and gave a rough estimate.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

nope Betsy Muse....

fact check

the link shows "the preferred candidate's" disbursing money not taking......to reimburse the dscc for a conference room she rented at their dc hq for a jam session during the primary. understand? do u know if the "gay guy" ever got to the dscc?..(doubt it).

the hagan campaign was in cahoots with the dscc- it ain't like schumer & co just trotted into town and flew solo.

"Coordinated campaign expenditures" is what dscc calls the $150 thous spent in the primary for hagan & co-- as in it takes two to "coordinate" a tango.

sux..

Sorry....didn't read the link correctly...just scrolled

I thought you were linking to the DSCC's file.

I've already said the DSCC should have stayed out of it because Hagan had enough money to win without their help. So what if the Hagan campaign accepted help from the DSCC? It would have been absolute sheer stupidity to turn down help from the national party. Most candidates have to beg for attention. All you've proven is Hagan isn't stupid.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

oic....

"I've already said the DSCC should have stayed out of it because Hagan had enough money to win without their help."

so the dscc just tosses dollars away when their "preferred candidate" "has enough money to win without their help." got it. guess that's what hagan convinved them to do at that meeting at dscc's hq? smart lady. and wow what "sheer stupidity" by dscc.

and now blue dawg hagan and repub dole argue about outside money being spent in their race.....humm....

i got some swamp land in fla i want to sell ya and the dscc

Excellent post.

Thanks for the research. Any progressive who can help Jim retire that debt, I know it would be appreciated.

Can we, instead, start talking about "for the good of North Carolina?" --Leslie H.
Pointing at Naked Emperors

LOL....Dole

is more likely to help him than the blue dawg party