Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Next Month Don't Bet On Conor Lamb Doing As Well As Jon Ossoff Did


Which one's the Democrat and which one's the Republican?

As you've probably noticed, I think Conor Lamb's campaign is a train wreck. From the very first time we looked at that PA-18 special election race, we realized that the only path to victory would be to get union members and union retirees to turn out for him, the way African Americans turned out-- massively-- for Doug Jones in Alabama. But Lamb's taking union voters for granted and whatever enthusiasm anyone once expected is virtually non-existent. Over the weekend a top, top DCCC staffer, on condition of anonymity, referred to the race as "a lost cause." A gaggle of media hacks desperate for a lively story are the only ones pretending there's still a pulse left in the race. Like Josh Krasushaar, who doesn't seem to understand the nuances between a good Democrat who people like those struggling in PA-18 want to vote for, and an empty suit like Lamb. Lamb is about as bad a Democratic candidate as you'll find and the only thing he has going for him is the hope that enough people want to send Trump and Ryan a message. PA-18 is the wrong district for that strategy. GOP-related groups have spent $5 million there. The DCCC pulled the plug at around the $250,000 mark. And they're not on the air for an election 3 weeks from today! One longtime labor leader in the district wrote his perspective on the race and asked me not to use his name, primarily because he's still hoping for some kind of a miraculous transformation.
Most of us labor leaders in the district are extremely frustrated by the Lamb Campaign. It's unprofessional, top-down, and appears to be run by his family members, particularly his punk kid younger brother, Coleman Lamb, whose day job is as communication director for Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. I don't know a labor leader in the district who is happy with them. Nobody can get their phone calls returned and instead we get this huge asks without having a real seat at the table. It didn't need to be this way.

At first, many of us in labor were enthusiastic about the Lamb Campaign. We've always had a good relationship with his uncle Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb. There are more than 80,000 union members and retirees in the district and we were hoping that Rick Saccone's anti-union track record would be red meat to turn out our folks. Trump won these folks by campaigning as an anti-free trade, kinda pro-union kind of guy. You go to this kind of folks and say Rick Saccone is against unions, its like saying he roots for the Cleveland Browns. Lamb should be nailing Saccone on this issue night and day but so far not a single one of his ads mention unions or even Rick Saccone's role in promoting the Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Instead, the optics are the opposite, Rick Saccone comes off as a working-class guy from the post-industrial Mon Valley while Conor Lamb comes off as a rich kid from Mt. Lebanon, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the district. Saccone is from the bombed out Mon Valley town of Elizabeth and has a thick Pittsburgh accent, which folks around here can recognize easily. When he is on TV, its always in a sweater that looks like he bought from a department store. Sure, some of his views may be extreme, but he's a former diplomat and TV anchor and the guy is a smooth operator who knows how to bullshit infront of the camera.

In contrast, Lamb has no what we call a "yinzer accent." He is always wearing suits and talks about Public service as if he is doing these guys some sort of favor by running.  When he does talk about labor, it's very very stiff. Recently, he came out and addressed 500 members of the Carpenters Union. After he left, the members mocked him for being so uptight and elitist. These are the guys he should be firing up to knock on doors and go all out and instead he just seems like another politician to them.

Instead of hammering home on free trade, prevailing wage, and coal mine pension issues, which affect thousands of members in our district, Lamb barely talks to the press and when he does it’s all this vague crap about public service.

Still many of us in the district want to help him, but we can’t if his campaign is being run by a close knit group of his family members. They want labor to provide an army of ground troops for them, but we can’t do it unless he listens to us and appeals to our members in ways that appeal to them instead of talking down to them about public service.

They need to shake up that campaign and start by bringing in someone other than that punk little brother of his, Coleman Lamb, to run the show. Multiple reporters in the district have called me and said that he has gotten confrontational with them in ways that aren’t helpful while denying these folks interviews.

While Saccone is out in the media calling Lamb a sheep that refuses to talk on issues, Lamb is ducking reporters. Multiple reporters even good sympathetic folks to labor have complained that they can’t get Lamb to talk to them at all. It’s just a very entitled privileged clique that is running the campaign and running it into the ground.

A loss like this will be brutal for labor in Western Pa. It’s not too late to turn the ship around, but it starts with the campaign opening up the table and listening to folks in labor instead of behaving like a bunch of rich kids from Mt Lebanon. 
Want to hear how clueless the Lamb campaign is? Randy Bryce (@IronStache) offered to come to the district and talk with union workers with him-- something every Democratic candidate in the country is hoping Bryce will do for them-- but Lamb, who applied for and got an endorsement from the Blue Dogs, turned him down and instead decided to have Steny Hoyer come to the district! Just contemplate that for a moment or two! God forbid Lamb should do anything that makes him appear vaguely authentic instead of like some preppie frat boy.

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At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

question: PA CDs aren't even drawn yet. How can anyone run when they may not even live in a certain CD?

Lamb does not need to worry about labor bitching about his AFU campaign. Labor is like Pavlov's dog. The bell rings and they endorse whatever pos corrupt democrap is running even though that democrap could never care less about labor (Obama, Clinton to name 2).

At 6:10 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

The PA Supreme Court made an exception for the Special Election. The old boundaries stand and then whoever wins will have to run in an essentially different district in November. People are betting Lamb will want to run against Rothfus

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While there are plenty of examples proving 6:05's contention of organized labor being Pavlov's dog for worthless corporatist DINO-Whigs, not all of them are. My own local, for instance, passed an amendment to our constitution and by-laws which prohibits any political activity without a supermajority of the membership approving. We thus don't hop on the band wagon just because our International tells us to do so. They backed HER! in 2016. Most of us were Bernie Bros.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:27, then who did your members vote for in November, 2016? Wanna bet it was HER?

At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to bet, 2:58. You are correct about your implication. We have always had more GOP voters than not.


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