Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Despite Beltway Pundits, Matt Miller Will Never WIn A Congressional Seat


Henry Waxman's district, CA-33, is solidly blue. The PVI is D+11 and, with only a tiny African-America population (3.3%) Obama beat McCain 64-34% and beat Romney 61-37% 4 years later. With Waxman retiring, there are, at last count-- James Graf having just pulled out-- 9 Democrats running. With Republican turnout always better than Democratic turnout to begin with and the 9 Democrats splitting the DEmocratic vote up among themselves, it looks like one of the slots in the June 3 primary may well go to one of the GOP crackpots running, Elan Carr. And that's without even factoring in independent progressive Marianne Williamson (as the Democrats all wish they could).

This week, the L.A. Times reported on a rare candidate forum showcasing just the Democratic Party candidates. In other words, the charismatic Williamson was not invited to participate. The forum was held Sunday by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club and included only 4 candidates who had managed to raise serious money: state Senator Ted Lieu, a progressive who is also the official California Democratic Party nominee; Wendy Greuel, a Big Business-friendly careerist and ex-Republican; Matt Miller, "center" on KCRW's Left, Right and Center, who would surely win if just Beltway types were allowed to vote; and some guy from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, David Kanuth, who raised $800,000 from wealthy friends and family but has less name recognition in the district than John Amato's cat "Sammy."
Not surprisingly, the four candidates displayed similar views on most issues: Protect the environment, improve public education, boost the minimum wage and take other steps to ease the income diversity between the rich and the poor.

All said they would like to see the Affordable Health Care Act improved upon by extending Medicare to all Americans and not remain limited to those over 65. Miller also called for finding ways to cut medical costs so healthcare dollars can be spent more efficiently. Savings also could be funneled to other needs, such as education, he said.
Coming from a radio background, Miller immediately went on the attack, calling other candidates names and eliciting boos from the audience-- he lives in the posh Pacific Palisades neighborhood so these were his neighbors-- when he started on his regular shtick of defending the Surveillance State-- this time the bulk collection of personal information by the NSA, something that immediately marks a major difference between Miller and Ted Lieu, who wrote SB 828, to protect Californians from the kind of warrantless searches and seizures Miller advocates-- and are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

When it came time for the club to vote, predictably, Lieu won handily, even though Pacific Palisades is one of the few areas in the congressional district not part of Lieu's senatorial district.

A deep dive into today's campaign finance reports for CD-33 yields some interesting themes. First, it shows Wendy Greuel does not appear to have learned from her failed mayor's race loss where she had a high burn rate and spent much of her money on a top-heavy, consultant-driven, high overhead operation. Although she raised $672k, under the direction of Robbie Mook wanna-be Michael Trujillo, she already spent nearly $175k in less than two months for a cash on hand of only $493k. Greuel paid him $20,000 in the last 2 months and what does she have to show for it? She lost the Democratic Party endorsement by a gargantuan landslide-- as well as losing SEIU, ILWU, CTA, Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, etc.

In contrast, Senator Ted Lieu, who has always run efficient campaigns, raised over $621k with nearly $580k cash on hand. Second, once a high burn rate starts, it is very hard to stop because staff and consultant salaries are already locked in. That means for the rest of this campaign, Greuel will have significantly less resources than Lieu to spend on the only thing that really matters in an election: effective voter contact.

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