Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jon Tester Couldn't Be A Worse DSCC Chairman


Yesterday, writing for Roll Call, Nathan Gonzales asserted that Jon Tester, the new chairman of the DSCC, is pursing the very same toxic strategy this year that would have kept him out of the Senate in 2006.
If the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had its way a decade ago, its current chairman probably wouldn’t be in the Senate today.

In the 2006 cycle, Democratic strategists in Washington preferred state Auditor John Morrison in the Montana Senate race, hoping to avoid a primary and keep the party focused on defeating Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. But state Sen. Jon Tester was undeterred by national Democratic efforts to get him out of the race and even bragged about being opposed by the party establishment.

Tester went on to win the primary and general elections, plus a close re-election six years later. He’s now in charge of Democratic efforts to retake the Senate majority in 2016.

With that goal in mind, Tester’s committee is pursuing a strategy that had worked against him.

The DSCC already endorsed 73-year-old former Gov. Ted Strickland to challenge Republican Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio, even though 30-year-old Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld beat him into the race. It also officially backed former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s open seat, even though Rep. Dina Titus had not yet announced her plans.

The committee has also been complimentary of Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy in Florida and Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, which are two crucial pickup opportunities, as well as California Attorney General Kamala Harris for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s open seat. But it stopped short of an endorsement in each state.

The DSCC didn’t officially endorse Morrison in 2006, but its commitment to avoiding a primary was not a secret. Then-Chairman Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., had early conversations with Tester about dropping out. At the time, Morrison was a statewide elected official while Tester was a state Senate president who planned to raise big money from a Pearl Jam concert in Big Sky Country. (Tester’s barber is the father of the band’s bassist.)

In the end, Tester’s determination was critical to Democrats winning the seat in Montana and recapturing the Senate. Morrison’s campaign cratered after revelations of an extramarital affair and alleged conflicts of interest became a focus in the race. Tester won the primary 61 percent to 35 percent and went on to defeat Burns 49 percent to 48 percent in a great Democratic year.

If Tester had dropped his bid, Democrats would likely have been stuck with Morrison as their nominee, and it’s not difficult to see 1 percent of voters being swayed to Burns. And if Burns had won re-election, Democrats would likely have fallen one seat short of recapturing the Senate.
Gonzales neglected to emphasize Chuck Schumer's key role both in 2006-- when he was on an anti-Tester jihad on behalf of his hand-picked Wall Street shill John Morrison-- or this year, when he is using every bit of pressure he can bring to bear to force Alan Grayson out of the race for the open Senate seat in Florida. Schumer and Reid-- and therefore the embarrassing Tester-- are firmly behind the candidate Wall Street is demanding, Patrick Murphy (who has played ball with them from his position on the House Financial Services Committee and who they say can help balance Elizabeth Warren's and Sherrod Brown's anti-bankster sentiments).

But just as Schumer was wrong when he recruited Morrison in 2006, he's even more wrong for having recruited Murphy today. Murphy is an entirely unaccomplished lightweight who was a Republican for his entire life and gave maximum contributions to Charlie Crist (when he was still a Republican) and to Mitt Romney. Worse, Murphy has publicly talked about compromising away the benefits of seniors who depend on Social Security and Medicare. Schumer doesn't want to be Minority Leader; he wants to be Majority Leader. Recruiting someone who goes on CNN and talks about cutting Social Security-- in Florida-- isn't likely to advance that goal. Schumer has been running around like a chicken without a head trying to get prominent Democrats to get Grayson to back off. He's even claimed he can get Elizabeth Warren to call Grayson and urge him to not run, despite the fact that Murphy has opposed every one of her initiatives to rein in Wall Street. We'll let you know if that happens... meanwhile, you can signal Grayson you're not in the Schumer camp-- right here.

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At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What made Patty Murray so good when she headed the DSCC?

Heidtkamp, McCaskill, & Donnelly are hardly progressive champions.

Bennett just seems like he was incompetent, not just that he ran vile Blue Dogs.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the Democrats being paid by Wall St to throw their elections? Are other groups backing efforts to maintain GOP dominance? One of these assertions has to be close to the truth, for there is no other logical explanation for the loser behaviors of the Democratic Party.


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