Update: Exclusive: How The NRCC Bungled NY – 23
Update: I received an email from NRCC eCampaign Director John Randall with a response. The NRCC denies the report and maintains that Scozzafava was selected by the local GOP, stating that Dede Scozzafava was not hand-picked and they did not have a hand in picking her to run for the open seat.
A special report on NY – 23 — Questions of bogus polls, large sums of wasted campaign money to cash in on GOP coffers, insider influence and politics as usual originating out of Washington, DC came my way via sources I trust within the NY GOP who wish to not be named. Independent research has verified many, if not all of their claims.
A known, well-placed NY Republican source with no dog in this fight reached out to provide the full story behind the nomination of Dede Scozzafava in NY – 23. Unfortunately, I'm forced to contradict a previous post where I blamed it on the local GOP, while encouraging conservatives to become more involved – as I would still do. Also, to be clear, they were well aware of Michael Patrick Leahy's account at TCOTReport. They did not dispute it, but insisted it only contained half the story as the rest likely wasn't known by Leahy or his Conservative Party contacts.
Unfortunately, the fingers that matter appear to point back to Washington and the NRCC. No wonder we are now reading reports of the NRCC going all in for Dede in NY – 23. Someone needs to cover their behind in something that is said to have not won many friends even including within the RNC itself. That's likely the reason why they were so slow to give to Scozzafava in NY – 23 until well after the NRCC. In short, they were ticked-off as it appears the NRCC rigged it and blew it from start to finish. But GOP first and uber alles in DC at the end of the day.
As I've been able to independently confirm corresponding facts, I am opting to publish the report, not to damage the GOP, or the NRCC – but because Republicans must come to terms with the power of new media in this day and age. Politics as usual will simply not cut it any more.
For her part, the woman who engineered this epic Republican political fiasco, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, remains unbowed and unrepentant in her conservative apostasy. Nor does she make any excuses for the blatant cronyism she exercised in supporting her friend and ideological compatriot in the New York State Assembly in her bid to win a seat in Congress.
While true and Duprey certainly deserves plenty of blame according to my sources, the more important claim is not that the NRCC delegated the decision to local Republicans like Duprey, as Newt would insist, instead they deferred to an old line power broker, former NRCC Chair and former NY Representative Tom Reynolds. They insist NRCC Executive Director, Guy Harrison, or his aides, were on the ground to sheppard Scozzafava through the allegedly open process from selection to finish, regardless of polls, or how local Republicans felt. The NRCC in the person of Reynolds thought they knew better than that and them. Here is Harrison on record on NY- 23 as far back in June.
Were you surprised by President Obama’s appointment of New York Republican Rep. John McHugh, and what would you say are the prospects of keeping that seat Republican?
I think everyone was initially surprised at the choice but given Congressman McHugh’s long involvement in military issues, it was understandable as to why the White House selected him. However, it was also a calculated political move by the impromptu DCCC Chairman who is the White House Chief of Staff to attempt to add another Pelosi puppet into the House of Representatives. We are optimistic that the New York Republican State Committee will nominate a strong and credible candidate, someone who shares the interests and values of such a diverse district and we will make a solid effort to gain the seat. As we have said before the Republicans are committed to assemble an aggressive and winning campaign especially in this area.
There’s been a lot of talk of Republican troubles in the Northeast, particularly New England. In those six states plus New York you’re down to three seats, perhaps two depending on what happens in McHugh’s district.
How does the GOP turn things around in what once was a generally competitive region for Republicans?
What were(sic) are really going to focus on in New England and really all over the country is going after candidates who fit each district and candidates who can really win each district. Some of those prospects include Tom Reid, the Mayor of Corning, NY to run in NY-29 and John McKinney, the Connecticut State Senate Minority Leader in CT-04 and of course Frank Guinta, the Mayor of Manchester, NH, who is running against Carol Shea-Porter in NH-01. We are going to focus on strong candidate recruitment so that we can make a comeback with great recruits who can win for the GOP.
Certain connections make the selection seem even more troubling, as there is money involved. From the NY Daily News on October 5th. NRCC ups the ante in NY – 23.
The NRCC ad marks an increased presence in the NY-23 race by the Washington Republicans, who, according to a New York GOP operative, have "taken the lead" on media and field for Scozzafava.
"This is the only special election going on right now, and the national guys want their vendors to make money," the operative said. "If there were hundreds of races going on like there will be next year, it would be different. But it's the only one, and so they're dying to get in on it."
So who actually did these NY – 23 ads for Scozzafava? Was it a local firm by any chance? No, unfortunately, it was not. Question: Who later, and eventually took Dede by the hand down to DC to hook her up with a powerful GOP firm interested in cashing in on NY – 23, a firm that promptly went out and squandered possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars against a non-candidate basically on Dede's behalf so they could cash in as quickly as possible, leaving her cash strapped today, though even Dede wasn't anointed at that point?
As has been previously reported, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava is indeed suffering from a serious cash crunch. She spent nearly as much as she raised – $204,879 compared to $233,583 – loaned her campaign $12,000 and has just $40,703 on hand. Her biggest expense? Media, specifically Strategic Media Services in Washington, D.C.
Other SMS clients include the RNCC, the RGA, the RNC and the same Tom Reynolds mentioned above. What a coincidence. See those all listed on their political clients page. And the wise old Washington firm promptly set about spending what some say was hundreds of thousands of dollars against a would be Scozzafava opponent who never even materialized. Just how smart are they, or is anxious to cash in on donated money the better phrase? Actually, it appears as though they spent money to keep a conservative out of the race because he was a Democrat, not that perhaps there weren't also better GOP nominees than Dede right now.
The NRCC had already spent a significant sum on a major media blitz against Aubertine, airing television ads across the district attacking him for supporting a budget that raised taxes and spending — all before he made his decision known.
Aubertine factored in the effect his departure would have had on the currently evenly split state Senate — it could have handed control of the chamber to the GOP. Several other Democrats are looking at the race, including attorney Brian McGrath and former U.S. Attorney Daniel French. All interested candidates were required to file paperwork by Thursday.
Aubertine presented a special challenge for the GOP, since he is in some ways more conservative than Scozzafava — though populist on economic issues, he opposes abortion and gay marriage.
“If he ran against Dede, he’d be more of a Republican on social issues, and she’d be more like a Democrat on social issues,” said Aubertine spokesman Drew Mangione. “It would be an interesting race.”
Aubertine never jumped in, there went that money she could certainly use now. Make you feel like donating to the NRCC? Sadly, perhaps not so much. Also in the same article, up pops old DC insider Tom Reynolds, again. Imagine that.
“At the end of the day, Republicans picked the candidate they knew best in the district who had a proven record of electability,” said former Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), who headed the NRCC for two election cycles. “Dede Scozzafava is a ‘what you see is what you get’ candidate.”
Meanwhile, a Sienna College poll indicates the high fallutin' DC firm is running ads for Scozzafava that are actually turning off voters, just as was done previously when Jim Tedisco ran – a race said to have implications in the Scozzafava anointment. Can you say clusterfarked-up with a dollar sign by the GOP, most specifically the NRCC and the usual old hands??
However, by a margin of 28-12 percent, those who’ve seen Scozzafava’s commercials say those commercials make them less likely to support her.
Worse still, if you look at page 7 of this Sienna poll, it shows how weak Scozzafava always was. In September she was already trailing the Democrat in a predominately Republican district. Huh? So why was she even there and what has kept her in?
According to sources, if you don't like the polls, you can always hire your own firm and write and construct your own to make Scozzafava look like a winner when she's not, so goes one allegation hard to prove, or disprove, at least for now. And witness this rationalization by the NRCC. Believe me. I'm not thrilled about making GOP enemies by running with all this. But what can I do?
"She wasn't going to be a loose cannon and the money was happy with her," says one NRCC source, saying that "money" referred to a pool of high-dollar donors with ties to former New York Governor George Pataki. "Ideally, we wanted someone who could self-finance, but we didn't have anyone like that," says the NRCC source. "Then we went with someone who would have a natural pool of donors; [Scozzafava] met that criteria."
Self-finance? I was directed to research at least one candidate who was not only out fund raising Scozzafava, it looks as if he put a half million dollars of his own skin in the game. Check Dede and then Doheny according to the FEC. What? Was he not a GOP toadie, or wouldn't he use the preferred DC agency as someone may have been told to do? I don't get it, but I don't know enough of the details around Doheny to know if he could have been the guy, or not. I've heard he fit the bill well except for being softly pro-choice, which isn't even a legal issue in NY no matter what the Fed does. But, here's where the Tedisco race is said to enter in. You might recall that disaster. The GOP looks to have decided they didn't want a guy for this race.
The very same old GOP old hands opted for insider Jim Tedisco over Betty Little in that race and Tedisco got beaten, hindsight suggested Little would have won hands down. And, interesting enough, up pops Tom Reynolds to comment, again. It's argued that instead of any genuine insight into politics on the ground these days, they didn't want to repeat the Tedisco mistake, judged it based upon purely out-dated male/female lines and were going to go with a female no matter what.
And if my information is correct, given that much of what I was given checks out, we can thank the DC GOP and the same old insider Republican hands and firms for giving us the unnecessary split and fiasco that has now become NY – 23, where the NRCC is fervently working against conservatives to save it's behind by trying to avoid a disaster akin to Tedisco, the very thing they sought to avoid in their perhaps misguided wisdom in the first place. It doesn't seem unreasonable to suggest it's all about simply not doing their job by deferring to the real people on the real ground in NY, not some old Republican hand who they assume knows better than the process and them.
How special is that? Welcome to the need for new thinking and a need to embrace the openness driven by a new media age, GOP – you can become a part of it, or continue to be its victim for as long as you want. We'll wait. But I can't guarantee for how long. Patience among the grassroots seems to be running out and they are speaking up, too loudly for you to ever shut down, as they have a vehicle to do it you've, unfortunately, not yet effectively learned to use at its best.