What The DCCC Should-- But Won't-- Learn from Their Victory In Arizona Last Night
These are the images Kelly & Barber picked for themselves. Voters picked Barber (r)
Arizona is a red state and AZ-8 is a red district. But, after Gabby Giffords announced her injuries were just too great for her to run again and that she would be resigning, triggering a special election, the DCCC stepped up to the plate... and stepped up big. Ron Barber, like Giffords for whom he was a staffer, is a conservative Democrat with ties to both the odious Blue Dogs and the New Dems. The district has the kind of Republican registration advantage that usually sends the DCCC hiding under a bed-- 38.4% Republican, 31.4% Democratic. But, for a change, the DCCC didn't lose heart. Let's look at the money first:
On top of that, though, Republican outside groups spent a fortune against Barber. The NRCC spent almost $300,000 and the Arizona Republican Party spent another $125,000. Most Democratic groups gave Barber the money to spend himself. Except one-- the Democrat's House Majority PAC spent $692,811 tearing down Kelly, including a last minute TV flight on June 4 for $152.010. The House Majority super PAC is run by a bunch of revolving door DCCC staffers. If they're not coordinating... then neither is Mitt Romney. But they spent a lot and they spent fearlessly and they apparently spent wisely enough to win in a red district.
The final results were Barber- 101,559 (52%), Kelly- 88,569 (46%). The Green Party candidate, Charlie Manolakis won 4,482 votes (2%). Barber outperformed in every county, benefitting from a 5 point net move in favor of Democrats from 2010. Voters are starting to get the message that the Republicans in Congress are deliberately sabotaging the economy in the hopes of wrecking President Obama's reelection chances. They responded by defeating the GOP in a race they should have won.
Tuesday night a DCCC staffer, Jennifer Crider, tweeted that there are 84 districts held by Republican incumbents that are less red than AZ8. So they know! Do they have the heart to target them-- to really go after them. This morning we started the day talking about how the DCCC never goes after powerful senior Republicans. They're leaving Boehner and Cantor alone and they're not bothering with vulnerable House committee chairmen. And they should start with two of the most destructive villains in Washington-- each from a district Obama won, each from a district with a solid opponent: Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee and Buck McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
The lesson from Tuesday's special election is that Democrats can win-- if they fight. If Steve Israel can't do it-- or can only do it when it involves Blue Dogs-- he should be replaced... immediately.