In 2010 Doug Tudor Will Finish The Job He Started This Year-- Despite Debbie Wasserman Schultz
A few days ago we were stunned to hear that Democrats were seriously considering putting one of the most disloyal and treacherous among them, Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- who bears a great deal of responsibility for the failure of two outstanding progressives, Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo, to oust far right rubber stamps Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen-- in charge of the DCCC. As head of the DCCC's red to blue program it was her job to help Democratic challengers win GOP seats. Instead she sabotaged the seats adjoining her own in South Florida, announcing publicly that she supports Diaz-Balart, his despicable brother and Ros-Lehtinen. In any case, I was relieved today to find out that Chris Van Hollen will be heading up the DCCC again and that the DWS rumor was just something she put out there herself.
Another progressive victim of Wasserman Schultz' elitist attitude and personal corruption was Naval veteran Doug Tudor, who ran in Polk County against Adam Putnam, another race Wasserman Schultz refused to help out in. In 2002 Democrats didn't even run an opponent against the newly elected Putnam, and in 2004 he was reelected with 65%, and then two years later with 69%. Even with Wasserman Schultz working against him, Doug managed to hold Putnam under 60% and forced him to spend time, resources and energy fighting for his own seat in Florida rather than coming to the assistance of Ric Keller and Tom Feeney, each of whom was defeated. When the rumors about DWS were getting off the ground, we asked Doug to share with us his experience as a first-time Democratic candidate. His report:
Looking back on my recent defeat in FL-12’s U.S. House race, I want to offer a single warning to our progressive friends who might be considering offering themselves as candidates.
Do not count on national party support!
No matter how attractive a candidate you might be, and no matter how well you understand the strategic importance of your race, the party elders are only looking at dollars and cents. Down With Tyranny has well-documented my run-in with Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Denver. She epitomizes much of what is wrong with our party’s thought process about electing progressives. I say this fully knowing that she may very well be the DCCC chairwoman in 2010, which means I will probably once again not receive any support.
Despite Adam Putnam’s national standing in the Republican Party, and thus national disdain from progressives; despite my military service on a national level with three Commanders, U.S. Central Command, and thus my ability to make Adam’s pro-war, anti-veteran votes a pertinent campaign issue; and despite a 52-48% Democratic registration rate in FL-12, our supposed leaders like DWS only saw that I wasn’t a multi-millionaire who could make myself “viable” by dropping a quarter-million out of my own pocket. We, the Progressive Community, have to ensure that the national party listens to us.
Now be very clear on this. I do not begrudge any of the other Democratic candidates in Florida any support they received. For instance, Alan Grayson and Suzanne Kosmas both won, and I believe they will serve their constituents very well.
Here are some quick numbers, though. I took 42.5% of the vote in my race against Adam Putnam. With the exception of Joe Garcia, I took the largest percentage of votes for a Democratic challenger who didn't win a seat in Florida. There were at least four other DCCC-backed challengers who did not win their seats.
We did that with only seven months on the trail, as I was precluded from participating in partisan politics prior to my retirement from the U.S. Navy in February. We did that on my first run, with my brother as my campaign manager. And we did that with only $100,000, which we raised without party support.
I don’t say that to brag. I simply am trying to point out that the DCCC model is flawed. If the DCCC had contributed one-quarter of 1% of their $40 million war chest-- $100K-- Adam Putnam would be packing up his office right now. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change it by ensuring that you continue to put progressive pressure on the DCCC.
I'm not certain how much the DCCC will pay attention to our pressure, but I never stop trying to apply it. Meanwhile I would like to suggest something else. Doug is probably going to run again in 2010, and we should be supporting that bid from today. Right now he has a $30,000 campaign debt, and his ActBlue page is still active and taking contributions to pay off the debut and build up a war chest to retire Howdy Doody in 2010.
This year DWS, while rudely and high-handedly rejecting Doug's plea for assistance from the DCCC, led the charge for clueless and reactionary ex-banker Christine Jennings. According to Open Secrets, Jennings spent $2,094,766 as of October 15, not counting any independent expenditures on her behalf. She scored 38% (136,233 votes). Doug's $100,000 helped him score 42% of the vote in a far more difficult race. Like Rahm Emanuel, who she seeks to emulate, DWS put the DCCC support behind the wrong candidate-- a non-progressive loser. Similarly in FL-21, DWS eventually allowed the DCCC to get behind Raul Martinez, an extremely questionable character who was bragging that he planned to vote with the Republicans if he was elected. Fortunately he wasn't-- drawing far fewer votes than Doug while spending $1,073,000 as of October 15 (not counting the more than $1,000,000 the DCCC pumped into his race). These atrocious decisions are the qualifications that DWS thinks would make her a great DCCC chair.