Thursday, July 30, 2020

JD Scholten To Cheri Bustos: "Keep Out Of My Race"


One of the things that always attracted Blue America to J.D. Scholten has been his independent spirit. I don't see him in Congress as just another Democrat-- not even as just another progressive Democrat. I see him as a guy standing up for working families regardless of whatever some shifting party priorities happen to be at the moment. And he was always a lot more than just a way to replace racist Republican Steve King. In fact, King lost his primary to far right state legislator Randy Feenstra who actually attacked King from the right-- someone who couldn't deliver for Trump! Scholten is someone with solid values who will make a crucial member of Congress, the way Pramila, AOC, Ted Lieu and Jamie Raskin do.

Yesterday, writing at The Intercept, Aída Chávez broke the story about how JD told Cheri Bustos, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, that he's running his campaign his way, not her way, regardless of her threats to go back on her word and not spend any DCCC money to help him. She had promised to make the IA-04 contest a top 5 race, which generally means at least $3 million in advertising plus a field operation, media help and a big fundraising boost with institutional Democratic Party donors and fat cats. But she insisted he allow the DCCC to take over the campaign. He told her to take a hike.

Yesterday J.D. told me that "It's clear that the DCCC has written off this district... again. But that hasn't changed the stakes. Rural Iowa families are still struggling to stay in their communities, make ends meet, and have the fullest opportunities. Our campaign is fueled by the hunger for change and won't bend to the whims and interests of those in power. We're in this for the long haul to deliver real relief to the communities of Iowa’s 4th congressional district."

Chávez wrote that "Scholten is especially frustrated by the DCCC’s approach to supporting moderate candidates who focus on traditional fundraising from big-dollar donors. 'The DCCC-type of campaign where you sit at home and fundraise all day doesn’t win respect, trust, or elections in these parts and wouldn’t be a good start to addressing the serious challenges facing rural America,' Scholten wrote... 'We have an authentic campaign that reflects who I am and my vision for this district,' Scholten said in a statement announcing the decision. 'We won’t be beholden to special interests or the DCCC; instead, we’re reaching out to folks across the political spectrum to earn votes.'"
Last week, Scholten reached out to Bustos to check in and see where the DCCC was at, and what she meant by her promise to go “all in” on his bid. During their phone call, Scholten laid out everything they had accomplished last cycle and made his case for why the race, despite King’s loss, could present a huge opportunity. “And it just got to the point where they’re trying to dangle carrots in front of us and I was like, you know what, I’m not having it,” he said. “They wanna be in all our meetings, they want us to use their consultants and stuff like that. And I don’t feel comfortable doing that at this time.”

After discussing with his team, Scholten said, he decided, “We don’t need them and what we want is to run the campaign similar to last time and that’s what’s going to win this race.” Completely refusing the DCCC’s help also means the campaign will have to provide its own field program and do its own mailing, which Red to Blue candidates are provided for free. “That’s part of it: We didn’t feel that what they do provides enough value for what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“JD Scholten is a strong candidate working to earn voters’ trust in rural Iowa,” Cole Leiter, a DCCC spokesperson, said in a statement. “We have built a big battlefield and every candidate is going to make their own decisions about how to run their race. We wish him well.”
Goal ThermometerThat's how Rahm Emanuel, Bustos' mentor taught her to tell candidates to go to hell. Blue America and other progressives groups are working to help J.D. make up for some of the help he was expecting from the DCCC. Please consider clicking on the 2020 Blue America congressional thermometer on the right and contributing what you can to J.D.'s campaign. In 2018 the DCCC helped elect 2 utterly useless conservative Democrats in Iowa, Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer, each of whom quickly earned F ratings from ProgressivePunch-- very, very low F-ratings. Both can always be counted on to betray working families and to betray values like peace and join a dozen or two other Democrats from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party-- the Cheri Bustos wing. It's important for Congress that we replace truly terrible conservatives with truly great progressives, not with some in-between hybrids like Axne and Finkenauer, someone who working families can always count on to have their backs, not big donors' backs.
Though King’s defeat changed the dynamics of the race, Scholten’s campaign believes that the issues, namely Medicare for All and his vow to take on the corporate interests exploiting the second largest agricultural district in the country, will help flip the district come November. Scholten’s platform stands in stark contrast to the more moderate talking points and messaging the party establishment pushes on Democratic candidates running in red districts.

In 2018, for example, the DCCC commissioned a survey and analysis to help develop its messaging on health care. The messaging handouts, The Intercept reported at the time, “made clear where the party wants its candidates to stand when it comes to health care reform: preferably nowhere, but certainly not with single-payer advocates.” Party elites also end up influencing campaign strategy, Scholten noted. In a few weeks, his campaign will launch a tour that will go through all 375 towns in the district (while adhering to health and safety guidelines.)

“They would not agree that I should go to all 375 towns even though that’s how we earn votes,” he told The Intercept. “They want me to stay at home and just fundraise, be on the phone from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to bed.”

The Scholten campaign brought in a haul of nearly $620,000 in the second quarter of the fundraising year, making it the largest ever in a second quarter for any Democrat who has run for the seat. About 96 percent of the campaign’s contributions last quarter were under $200, thanks to its online small donor base.

“The way the DCCC’s system is, candidates like me, they don’t really care much about,” he said. “If I could self fund, they’d be all over me. I mean, the organizing and just the grassroots organization, we created something that’s so authentic and so organic that I don’t think they know how to deal with something like that. We need more working-class people in D.C., and their system is not made for that.”

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At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD, you are a democrap. if you win, you will let pelo$i rule the house. If you're running just to take a seat far outside of any power/influence, what do you care if cheri acts as pelo$i's proxy for your campaign?

JD, it is a logical contradiction to hold most of the positions you claim AND be a member of the democrap party, who is anathema to all of those positions

the problem isn't cheri. it's you.


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