Thursday, November 08, 2012

Steve Israel's Biggest Failures-- Michigan


Michigan Republican Fred Upon, saved by The Reptile

Tuesday, President Obama won the 16 Michigan electoral votes by wracking up an impressive 54-45% win in one of Mitt Romney's home states. His margin of victory was around 400,000 votes. At the same time, Senator Debbie Stabenow swamped right-wing Republican Pete Hoekstra 58.3- 38.5%. But because of the grotesque incompetence of the DCCC there, there were no coattails whatsoever. The only race the reptilian Chairman allowed the DCCC to get involved in was in the 1st CD, the Upper Peninsula, where Israel felt comfortable backing a fellow Blue Dog, Gary McDowell. With 100% of the precincts reporting, McDowell appears to have gone the way of all Israel's Blue Dogs: trash heap of history. He lost to lame teabagger Dan Benishek 166,833 (48.2%) to 164,536 (47.5%). His was the only Michigan district on which the DCCC and its affiliates spent any money-- $1,218,594. They missed an opportunity to pick up several seats in the southern and central parts of the state.

The DCCC, as they often do, moved to protect senior Republicans early on in the primary process, where they discouraged serious competition for key committee chairmen Fred Upton, Mike Rogers and Dave Camp. They also backed a virulently anti-Choice conservative, Steve Pestka, against a far better candidate, Trevor Thomas, against libertarian-Republican Justin Amash. Upton and Rogers had progressive opponents and the DCCC refused to back either of them. And Israel also refused to back Dr. Syed Taj in MI-11, also a progressive, running against a fringe Tea Party sociopath Kerry Bentivolio. Israel, who is unfriendly to Muslims to begin with, is known to have decided that Dr. Taj's accent made him unelectable. Maybe that would be true on Long Island, but Israel misread Michigan and needlessly threw away a seat because of his own sick prejudices.

Dr. Taj narrowly won in Wayne County, 56,710 (48%) to 55,823 (47%) and lost because the DCCC turned down his request for help in Oakland County, where Bentivolio won 117,758 (52%) to 95,353 (43%). There is no question that Dr. Syed Taj would be a congressman-elect today if Nancy Pelosi had chosen a less incompetent and less reptilian DCCC chair. Bentivolio was bolstered by over $800,000 in right-wing spending from outside groups, while Steve Israel forced the DCCC to sit on its hands and let Dr. Taj sink.

Mike O'Brien lost to Energy and Commerce Committee plutocrat Fred Upton 163,355 (55.5%)- 122,357 (41.6%) but tied him in the biggest county in the district, Kalamazoo. President Obama and Senator Stabenow both won Kalamazoo by big margins and both won Van Buren County. Had the DCCC helped O'Brien he is likely to have displaced Upton, which would have been a major coup-- except that he and Israel are old cronies.

Michigan has 14 congressional districts, 5 Democratic and 9 Republican. An even modestly competent DCCC chairman would have walked away with a 7-7 split and someone who really knew what he was doing would have overseen Democratic victories in the 11th (the old McCotter seat where Bentivolio won), the 8th (Mike Rogers' district), the 6th (Upton's seat), the 3rd (Amash's seat) and possibly the 7th (where Tim Walberg was reelected), which would have brought the state's congressional delegation more in line with how blue it has become.

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At 11:06 AM, Blogger Don P said...

The abandonment of Dr. Taj should be enough in and of itself to remove Israel. Easy pick up with just a minimum of effort against an unqualified candidate

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. We flipped Mark Ouimet and with a little support could have flipped Walberg.

At 1:07 AM, Anonymous Megaman_X said...

Another enormous failure: New York. Two seats that could have been captured with proper recruitment in the 19th and 11th, and of course Israel left Shinagawa for dead. He still came heartbreakingly close.


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