DCCC Recruits Against a Democrat. Again.
by michael in chicago, Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 06:26:26 PM EDT
So if you're Rahm Emanuel, head of the DCCC, and you've just triumphed over a local progressive Democrat in IL-06, what do you do now? You go to NY-24, rinse, and repeat. From the Hill:
The Democratic primary in the race to succeed Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) is shaping up as a contest between a political insider supported by the national party establishment and an unproven outsider who could have broad appeal to independent voters in the general election.
The really frightening aspect of this article for me is how eerily familiar this is. Just like in my district, the DCCC has gone out of their way to recruit against another Democrat while Republican seats go unopposed, and is neck deep in a contested primary trying to influence the outcome of a local race.
The comparisons are much too similar for my comfort. Les Roberts, a political outsider and anti-war candidate vs. DCCC recruit and political insider, Michael Arcuri. And just like in my district, it's all there laid out in this one article:
Step 1: Find a district with little Democratic party organization, a retiring Republican incumbent, and a Democratic challenger in place:
Les Roberts, a nationally renowned expert on public-health issues who has never held elected office, approached the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in November, hoping to convince it that Boehlert, who had not yet announced he would retire after 24 years in the House, could be defeated and that he is the candidate who could win in a GOP district. Republicans have held the district for four decades, and President Bush won 53 percent of the vote in 2004.
The absence of a Democratic Party organization in Illinois's 6th Congressional District has made Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) the kingmaker in what could become a bruising Democratic primary.
The district, which includes DuPage County and a sliver of Cook County, has been a long-running GOP bastion and a counterweight to the Democrats' rule in Chicago. In the 1988 presidential election, Vice President George Bush garnered 68 percent of the vote here.
Since then, the Republicans' grip has weakened, even though no Democrats have been elected locally...
Step 2: Recruit other candidates until one accepts:
But DCCC operatives were shopping for other candidates to run as it became more likely that Boehlert would retire. When Jeff Miller, the Democratic nominee in 2004, passed on the chance to run again, the party reached out to state Rep. RoAnn Destito (D).
Destito told The Hill that the DCCC approached her twice but that she passed on running because of personal and family commitments.
In mid-November, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri, another candidate considering a run, hired pollster John Zogby to gauge his chances in the district, according to campaign-expenditure reports. By year's end, Arcuri had filed to run.
With the announced retirement of Hyde, Rahm Emanuel began his quest for an alternative to Christine Cegelis. Sources report that the first attempt was with Illinois a Democratic State Senator who did not reside in the district but who's district included part of District 6...
Next came Peter O'Malley an attorney who works with the Illinois Mediation Service...
The next potential recruit was Brian McPartlin...
The fourth and what looked at the time to be the final challenge attempt on Cegelis was rumored to be a local businesswoman capable of self-financing her campaign...
Finally in November, with the help of Senator Durbin, Congressman Emanuel would unveil a candidate. Tammy Duckworth...
Step 3: Have your chosen candidate deny they were recruited:
"No one was recruiting me," said Arcuri, 46, who is serving his fourth term as prosecutor. "[The DCCC] was very helpful to me and gave me advice and answered general questions, but they made it clear they don't get involved."
UPDATE: Duckworth claims she and her husband made the decision to run back in August/September. "I know the speculation out there is that the DCCC reached out to me, and that's not the case."
UPDATE 2: On the speculation that she was asked to run: "Nobody's drafted me for anything I've done in my life."
Step 4: Have party heavyweights tout the chosen candidate in the local media:
In February, Emanuel spoke highly of Arcuri in the local media, and Democratic heavyweights Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer offered their financial support.
Last week, DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel told the Utica Observer-Dispatch, "This is a very strong priority for us. ... I don't know if Mike Arcuri will be the nominee, but he is a really strong candidate and we plan on spending the resources to pick this up."
"Every so often, you meet someone in public life who's truly extraordinary, someone you know will make a difference," Obama says in the 30-second spot. "A person of conscience and proven courage, Tammy Duckworth's a leader we can count on."
Step 5: The DCCC doesn't get involved in the contested primary:
Now the DCCC is heavily invested in Arcuri, albeit in subtle ways...
During the recess week, a DCCC press secretary traveled to New York to advise the Arcuri campaign and provide resumes of potential staffers.
John Lapp (DCCC executive director): I'm a huge Duckwroth fan...
"We have been actively working with veterans running for Congress. We couldn't be more proud and excited about people like Tammy Duckworth and Patrick Murphy to name a few. Helping them build good teams, providing strategic advice, and building the resources necessary to run a modern campaign."
So again the DCCC has chosen a candidate, and is going to throw resources at making sure their chosen candidate wins the primary. All the while Republican districts go unchallenged.