It’s not as hot as Virginia’s election action this fall, but New Jersey is also home to gubernatorial and state legislative elections next month. And while political rock star Barack Obama is rallying Virginia Democrats for Northam this week, actual rock star Jon Bon Jovi crooned for donors to New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy’s campaign.
Blaze of Glory: But let’s take a step back from Nov. 7 and check out YET ANOTHER special election Democrats won this week.
- On Tuesday, Democrat Paul Feeney won a swingy state Senate seat in Massachusetts, a victory he attributes to the fact that he stayed positive in this race, despite the negative and shady tactics deployed against him.
- Mail pieces compared Feeney to “rotten apples and a monkey eating money.”
- A robocall interrupting voters watching last Sunday’s Patriots game purported to be from Feeney, but it was actually from a Republican group.
Feeney, an “unabashed progressive” who supports Medicare for all, replaces the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.
Okay, back to Virginia!
Livin’ on a Prayer: The final pre-election finance reports have dropped in Virginia, and they’re chock full o’ good news for Democrats—and reasons for Republicans to appeal to higher powers for help.
- Democrat (and Daily Kos endorsee) Ralph Northam out-raised GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie yet again, $7.2 million to $4.4 million, in the month of September. But a closer look at those numbers reveals an even more unfortunate situation for Gillespie than the raw totals indicate.
- Even more troubling for Gillespie, however, is the respective number of small-dollar donors who gave less than $100 during September, a figure strongly indicative of grassroots enthusiasm.
- Gillespie pulled in these low-dollar donations from 2,739 donors, while Northam’s grassroots supporters numbered 6,860 for the same period—two-and-a-half times as many.
It’s My Cash: Virginia Democratic House of Delegates candidates had a great September, too. Of the top 10 fundraisers for the month, eight of them were Democrats. VPAP has the data:
|Jennifer Carroll Foy
- In total, 24 Democratic challengers out-raised their GOP opponents in this key fundraising period, improving on the number of challengers that achieved such a feat in the last reporting period (22).
- In terms of cash-on-hand generally, Republicans still lead that race overall, but four of the top 20 on this list are just sitting on massive war chests and aren’t even facing Democratic opponents this year. Whatever they’re saving that money for, they’re running out of time to direct it towards bailing out their beleaguered colleagues.
Bad Medicine: How beleaguered are some of these Republicans? Well, if their desperate and racist tactics are any indication, pretty darn beleaguered.
Take, for instance, this breathtakingly racist mail piece that dropped in a House of Delegates race against a Latina Democrat.
The mailer, paid for by the Republican Party of Virginia, equates felons and “thugs, violent criminals, gang members, and child predators” with the person of color pictured next to the text on the mailer, above.
- This incredibly white-supremacist piece of campaign literature further sets forth the systemically racist trope that those who have served their time don’t deserve to vote, sit on juries, or otherwise exercise their rights as citizens.
This mail piece is very much in the vein of top of the ticket’s messaging around communities of color in this election. Gillespie’s gubernatorial campaign has doubled—nay, quadrupled—down on his racist, anti-Latino rhetoric via TV and radio ads.
Always(?): But 2017 gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie should maybe take a lesson from 2006 GOP strategist Ed Gillespie.
- In 2005, then-Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore (if you’ve never heard of him, it’s probably because he lost to now-U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine) ran an ad full of anti-Latino smears and racist dog whistles in the waning days of the race.
- The spot at issue accused Kaine of favoring “taxpayer-funded job centers” and supporting “in-state tuition discounts for illegals.” Concluded the ad’s narrator: “Taxpayer benefits for illegal immigrants? What part of 'illegal' does Tim Kaine not understand?”
- The following spring, Gillespie wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal asserting that Kilgore’s “last-minute anti-immigration ads ... didn't move his numbers with swing voters and probably cost him important votes in the Hispanic enclaves of Northern Virginia."
- Gillespie’s conclusion: “Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren song, and Republicans must resist its lure by lashing ourselves to our party's twin masts of freedom and growth—or our majority will crash on the shoals.”
Kilgore’s racist Hail Mary failed, of course: Kaine’s narrow polling lead continued to increase, and he won the race with 52 percent of the vote.
Fun fact! Gillespie’s own use of racist anti-immigrant rhetoric in political ads has failed to cut into Northam’s lead in polls.
Runaway: Generally, Gillespie can’t seem to decide what kind of Republican he wants to be in this race.
I mean, on one hand, his super racist ads definitely cast a veneer of Trump-ish white supremacy over his candidacy.
- And after months of resisting the direct influence of Trump world, Gillespie caved to extremists at the end of August and hired Jack Morgan, a Trump campaign alum who’d most recently almost led Confederate apologist Corey Stewart to victory in the GOP gubernatorial primary (over Ed Gillespie).
- But just this past Saturday, Gillespie refused to let Morgan speak at a Vice President Mike Pence-headlined rally in Southwest Virginia—the heart of the commonwealth’s Trump country. (The rally itself was reportedly poorly attended.) Morgan then reportedly quit the Gillespie campaign.
And Gillespie is trying to talk out of both sides of his mouth on some social issues, including transgender rights and bathroom use.
- After “privately” (lol) promising a Northern Virginia business group that he would oppose any bills that would prevent transgender Virginians from using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, Gillespie struggled to smooth over relationships with religious conservatives.
- Gillespie’s promise to the business group, btw, conflicts with some of his public statements on the issue.
Wanted Dead or Alive: Okay, U.S. Marshals definitely want David Rivera alive, but still, he’s definitely wanted.
- The former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida is eluding attempts by feds to serve him with a civil lawsuit.
- Since July, marshals have attempted to notify him in person, by phone, by mail, and by email that the FEC is suing him for $486,000 in penalties for unreported campaign cash he funneled to a “ringer candidate” in 2012.
Also, David Rivera is running (ha!) for a state House seat in 2018.
Good luck with that … race!
Porn To Be My Baby: While lawmakers in Utah are moving to remove the state’s “obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman”—popularly known as the “porn czar“—from statute, one GOP lawmaker wants to not only revive and fill the long dormant and empty position, but also expand the office’s scope.
- The porn czar post was created by the legislature in 2000, and the state’s first and only person to hold the post served from 2001 to 2003.
- Funding for it was cut from the budget, and the position has been vacant ever since.
- But Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler wants to bring the porn czar back to combat a very specific smutty scourge on young minds: specifically, Cosmopolitan magazine.
Yes, Cosmo is the intended target of a new Utah porn czar.
More like Cosmo-not, amirite?
… even more sorry.
I really have to leave it there, mostly because I’ve clearly forfeited any right to write more words today.