What Does Steve Israel Have Against West Virginia?
This afternoon we took a look at DCCC math and the committee's patently false claims about targeting. I promised we'd take a look at one of the races they spent heavily on in 2010 and see what they're doing there this cycle. Come with me to beautiful northern West Virginia, WV-01, a traditionally Democratic district that covers a third of the state, including Wheeling, Parkersburg and Morgantown.
But first a couple words about the state of the state's political culture. The West Virginia Democratic Party Establishment, home of arch-conservatives Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Senator Joe Manchin, has strayed very far from its good ole populist days-- when it was, far and away, the top dog in the state. When I was a kid, West Virginia was one of the most dependably Democratic states in America. Starting in 1932, West Virginia gave its electoral college votes (now 5 but back then 8) to every Democrat until Eisenhower's landslide reelection in 1956. (West Virginia had been one of only 9 states that voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1952.) After that they were back in the Democratic fold until 1972 when Nixon beat McGovern in every state except Massachusetts (and DC). The state was with the Democrats when Carter ran against Ford in 1976 and when Carter ran against Reagan in 1980... and even backed Dukakis against Bush I in 1988 (one of only 9 states to do so). They went for Clinton both times and... that was it. They backed Bush II twice and then McCain and this time they're solidly behind Romney. The last poll available showed him beating Obama 52-38%.
In 2010 an especially rabid reactionary, state Senator Mike Oliverio of Morgantown, decided to challenge 14-term Democratic incumbent Alan Mollohan. Oliverio has a long record of shilling for Big Business and Wall Street banksters and prides himself on being virulently anti-Choice and hysterically antigay. He was co-chair of the West Virginia chapter of ALEC and, for some reason Bush publicly thanked him for helping get Sammy Alito confirmed to the Supreme Court. And if you still don't get the point, in 2010 2010, the state GOP chair, Doug McKinney, referred to Oliverio's over-the-edge conservatism by saying, "Sen. Oliverio has always been a conservative guy. He votes with the Republicans on committees. We've joked for years he needs to come over to the party who thinks like he does." Does that turn your stomach? It gave swinish DC Dems like Chris Van Hollen, Joe Crowley, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel woodies... just the kind of "Democrat" they're eager to fill the House with. Once he dispatched Mollohan, using right-wing Republican talking points, the DCCC embraced him like a favorite child. In all, they spent $1,294,055 on Oliverio's failed race, $1,264,732 of it on negative advertising against McKinley who narrowly beat him. The West Virginia Democratic Party spent another $57,700 on Oliverio and Oliverio was able to raise $1,449,376 (to McKinley's $1,783,039, of which 45% was a check McKinley wrote to his own campaign). Ironically, pro-business pacs spent more helping Oliverio than McKinely and labor unions gave to both almost equally. Mining interests gave Oliverio $86,450 and gave McKinley $89,551. Going into November, Cook, Rothenberg, CQPolitics and Real Clear Politics all called the race a tossup and Larry Sabato said the race was leaning Republican. In the end 2010 was a bad year for Democrats and McKinley edged him 90,660 (50.40%) to 89,220 (49.60).
DCCC Chair and "ex"-Blue Dog (and New Dem) Steve Israel wasn't ready to give up on Oliverio and he tried recruiting him again this year. Oliverio at first said he would run but then backed out because he didn't want to be on the same ticket as Obama, even though the district has a 191,258-127,114 Democratic registration advantage. Instead, a grassroots populist, Sue Thorn, jumped into the race. She pulled 49,203 votes in the primary to McKinley's 36,107. But Steve Israel, upset that his treacherous Blue Dog wouldn't run, declared the district unwinnable and has consistently refused to allow the DCCC to get involved with the race. So that $1,294,055 they spent on Oliverio in 2010... so far this year they spent a grand total of ZERO dollars on Sue. Think about it and think about why. I'd like to point out now that Sue has been enthusiastically endorsed by Blue America and, if you can, please consider helping her campaign.
Interestingly, although Israel won't authorize a dime of spending on Sue's campaign-- hoping to get a Blue Dog to run in 2014-- DCCC staffers have attacked McKinley in press releases, some of them very effectively. This one went out last Friday:
Congressman McKinley Leaves for Two-Month Taxpayer Funded Vacation
Congressman David McKinley (WV-01) and House Republicans called it quits and hightailed out of Washington today to take a nearly two-month taxpayer-funded vacation without creating jobs for the middle class and veterans, without stopping an upcoming tax hike on middle class families and small businesses, and without reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act or the Farm Bill. Earlier today, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel and about a dozen top-tier Red to Blue candidates gave a Pink Slip Notice of Termination to this Tea Party Republican Majority-- for failing to get the job done.
While Congressman David McKinley failed to get the job done on these items, for the next two months he will still get paid nearly $30,000 of his $174,000 annual salary.
“Congressman David McKinley called it quits and bolted Washington for an almost two-month taxpayer-funded vacation,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman McKinley fled Washington without creating jobs for the middle class and veterans, without stopping an upcoming tax hike on middle class families and small businesses, and without reauthorizing the Farm Bill or the extending the Violence Against Women Act. “This is just the latest proof that the only job that Congressman McKinley cares about is keeping his own, even if it means turning his back on the middle class, seniors, veterans, farmers and women.”
It’s no wonder, approval of this the McKinley-Republican Congress has hit an all-time low-- 13% percent-- which is the lowest ever this late in an election year, according to Gallup.
I asked their press release lady why they didn't mention Sue. No response. But it was similar to a press rlease they sent out on August 16, which cuts down McKinley and fails to mention Sue:
With Congressman McKinley on Defense Over Ryan Budget, Republicans Worried about Losing Seats Like McKinley’s
Now that House Republicans including Congressman David McKinley (WV-01) are forced to run with Paul Ryan’s Medicare-ending budget on the ticket, Republicans are increasingly worried it could cost House Republicans seats like Congressman McKinley’s this November.
From Senator McCain's 2008 top political advisor Steve Schmidt saying Republicans are “worried” to former NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds saying the damage of Ryan’s plan to end Medicare is comparable to when Republicans lost the Majority in 2006 over President George W. Bush’s failed Social Security privatization efforts, countless Republicans are saying that the Ryan budget could cost Republicans seats this November.
“Congressman David McKinley is in trouble, on defense and in danger of being defeated this November, now that he must run with an unwelcome new running mate-- the Ryan budget that ends Medicare,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman McKinley is in jeopardy because his party voted to end Medicare and raise health care costs for seniors by $6,400 in order to give $265,000 in tax breaks for people making over $1 million. Even Republicans say that the Ryan budget, which puts millionaires over Medicare, could cost House Republicans seats and put Ryan Republicans like Congressman McKinley in jeopardy.”
But neither Ryan nor McKinley will ever really be in jeopardy as long as Steve Israel-- reptilian or not-- is head of the DCCC. Sure can win this thing. It would be easier if the DCCC would help, but she can do it with our help instead. Here's the place, whether you can spare $5 or $50 or $500.