DSCC Working Against Romanoff?

We’ve talked about the reaction among the Republican base to rumors that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) was meddling in that party’s primary process on behalf of recently-announced candidate Jane Norton. The angry response from the GOP rank-and-file was certainly unambiguous, but today’s Denver Post notes that despite assurances Dick Wadhams may have offered to the contrary, “Norton is expected to get the backing of the national senatorial committee and most of the state’s GOP power brokers.” Oh sorry, you thought Wadhams was serious, didn’t you?

We digress.

Most people would probably agree that the NRSC wasn’t really doing anything out of the ordinary–and though there’s no corollary “Rule 11” in the Democratic Party that we’re explicitly aware of, we would be remiss if we neglected to point out this assertion from Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos:

I’ve long held that primaries are generally useful things, testing candidates, helping build early organization, refining messaging, and so on. And it’s essentially (small “d”) democratic, requiring elected officials to have a regular “job review” from the voters, both from their party, and in the general with their entire constituency. Heck, in many states and districts, the primary might be the ONLY place incumbents can be held accountable. A small minority of general elections are actually competitive because of partisan polarization. (Same dynamic applies to GOP-held seats, obviously.)

But there is perhaps no place where this DSCC anti-democratic tendency is more egregious than in Colorado, where the DSCC is aggressively trying to keep former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff from challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

Bennet was appointed to his seat, not elected. He has never been elected to anything before. He is untested in a campaign setting, has never had to sell himself to the voters, has never had to craft a campaign message, has never had to build a field operation. But rather than test him in a primary before Democrats put all their eggs on the Bennet basket, the DSCC is doing what it can to clear the primary field for an incumbent nominated to the seat in an undemocratic process. Their director of communications, Eric Schultz, has spent the last few weeks sending out to their media list negative articles about Romanoff, like this one.

I’m agnostic in this potential Romanoff-Bennet primary, but the more the DSCC meddles, the more I want Romanoff to run…

That’s the rub, folks: the DSCC, like the NRSC, has a preference in primaries, and they do certainly make it known–but when you get caught with your thumb on the scale, it just plain looks bad, maybe bad enough to be more harmful to your favored candidate than the value of your “help.” We imagine that local reporters, fresh off the fireworks caused by the NRSC’s efforts on behalf of Norton, will find a good news story or two in the DSCC being accused of similar activity on behalf of Michael Bennet–and you know what? They probably should, if for no other reason than to verify (or refute, as the case may be) the rumor being spread by Daily Kos.

Bottom line: Ken Salazar didn’t need any help beating Mike Miles in 2004, but in some ways the Colorado Democratic Party is still wrestling with stupid resentments created by perceived “insider meddling” during their race. It’s our feeling that such heavy-handedness is almost always unnecessary and counterproductive–we said so when it looked like a potential primary challenger to Sen. Mark Udall was being pushed around by Pat Waak back in ’07. Hardened political types try everything to minimize uncertainties, but sometimes they do more harm than good–like when voters believe you’re short-circuiting their choices.

49 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:

    So if the DSCC allegedly leaked a story to the Post about Romanoff getting the shaft from Ritter for the Lieutenant Governor office, that’s “heavy handedness”.

    But if Markos Moulitsas spreads the misinformation that Bennet only started supporting public option, and other policy, only after Romanoff announced (blatantly ignoring both the sequential order of events and logic) then what is that? “Activism”?

    Whether people realize it or not, Markos does the exact same thing to candidates he perceives as “bad” Democrats that he’s accusing the DSCC of doing in this race.

    That said, I agree with Pols that the DSCC doesn’t need to get involved with this race before it even starts. If Andrew Romanoff wants to run a primary race, even if there are many Dem activists who don’t want him to at this point, he should be able to do what he wants to do. It’s his right as a Democrat, and a Coloradan. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea; it’s just a fact.

    • twas brillig says:

      is moving Denver Post articles about the race around, how is that nefariousness?  

      • bullshit! says:

        I wasn’t aware that Andrew had declared.

        Even if he had, I wasn’t aware that the DSCC’s job was to get involved in Democratic primaries, even if it’s just “concern trolling” behind the scenes.

        I don’t think you’re really this stupid, twas.

        I support Bennet, this is bullshit and will not help Bennet. The DSCC should be aware of the potential for blowback with everything they do.

        • twas brillig says:

          You’re right. There isn’t a race. I just find it hilarious that a DSCC flak emailing a Littwin column around morphs into: “there is perhaps no place where this DSCC anti-democratic tendency is more egregious than in Colorado, where the DSCC is aggressively trying to keep former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff from challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet.

          I’m not defending the DSCC. But the hyperbole is over the top.  

          • Libertad says:

            Isn’t that what you’re saying or claiming here twas?

            It’s well known that Schumer has consulted the yet (doubtful) to declare Romanoff against a challenge for this open seat.  

            That’s life in big politics and he doesn’t (too bad for him) have a Roy Romer whisperring in his ear that he should give the open seat a shot.

      • silverandblue says:

        How about Romanoff for the Green Jobs Czar?  Was a great ride for Van Jones.

        • BlueCat says:

          was more of a mid-level manager than a czar.  But Romanoff already has the right name for czardom. It would be great if he could be the czar of something.

          The wacko right would really have something to go nuts over: They could add czarist to the list of names to call Obama.  He could be communist, fascist, socialist and czarist.

          Andrew could be the last heir to the czarist throne, his family having lived secretly disguised as plain old Jews but neglecting to change the tell tale name.  

          The wacko fringe would have a new conspiracy theory (They need a new one since they still can’t get the details right on the birther thing, like what cities were in what African countries when Obama was born, for their fake birth certificates) that would have Obama setting up the last heir of the Romanoff dynasty as the figurehead ruler of the new American Empire with himself as the evil first minister for life, the real power behind the throne. Hi-jinks ensue!

          Of course we Dems could just go on being hysterical about the evil DSCC.  Fun for all!  News flash.  The big dogs make their presence felt and wishes known, officially and un. Rules are technicalities in party politics.  Why else do things like 527s exist?

  2. lanman2k says:

    First, ask them if it is true. And then tell them your opinion of a primary. In my opinion, it’s our state, it should be our choice. Whether it is Senator Bennet or Andrew Romanoff, it should be our choice.

    DSCC – (202) 224-2447

  3. Arvadonian says:

    like the RSCC, DCCC and RCCC are all in the “incumbent protection” business.

    It is only natural that they would have a preference for Bennett in any primary (or better yet, a preference to avoid a primary)…he’s the incumbent.  You should expect them to work for Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania over Joe Sestak even though Sestak is probably preferred by party activists.

    • redstateblues says:

      but the GOP counterparts are the NRSC and the NRCC.

    • The various congressional party campaign committees shouldn’t be in the incumbent protection business – they should be in the seat increase business.  For the most part, to me that means finding new territory.

      And as theoretical arms of the parties, at least on the Democratic Party side it means they should keep their bloody mitts off of primaries – the official party organs are supposed to be neutral in those matters.

      I’m lukewarm on Bennet; I like Romanoff.  I’d love to see a primary where I get to choose, and the DSCC can once again piss off and get the hell out of Colorado politics unless they’re going after the other team.

      • Arvadonian says:

        simply disagree as to this being a “problem”.  

        The DSCC (and their counter part in the house) should be in the the “incumbent protection” business as well as the “seat increase business”.  

        If you are gaining new seats while simultaneously losing your incumbents, what is the point?  

        Further, since the largest contributors to the DSCC (and the other congressional campaign committees) are incumbents, do you really expect them to support any challenger (or remain neutral)?  Of course not.  If they did that, then they could be next.  Hell, the Republican version (NRSC?) supported Arlen Specter in 2004 against a far more Republican minded opponent, Pat Toomey.

        These committees exist for incumbent protection.

  4. TaxCheatGeithner says:

    Can we start a countdown clock to see how long it takes for Romanoff to accept a high-level “czar like” position in DC?  This stunt is, indeed, entertaining but we all known it’s going to result in him bowing out of the Senate Race in order to accept a cush job.  


  5. One Queer Dude says:

       Right now while I would probably lean towards voting for Romanoff in a primary, I certainly have no strong feelings against Bennet and I would no problem voting for Bennet in the general election.  

      However, if the Powers-That-Be start to beat up on Andrew, I could find myself volunteering to work on his campaign.

    • dem83 says:

      without any evidence that this is actually happening?

      • RedGreen says:

        Eric Schultz has been e-mailing articles that raise questions about Romanoff to all the political reporters in Colorado. He includes the salient points in a note up top, like this:

        [Romanoff] knows he has money problems. Bennet has shown he can raise millions, and Romanoff has no clear path to the same kind of money. Can he win without it?

        Everyone understood the NRSC was throwing in for Norton based on far flimsier “evidence.”

        • bullshit! says:

          Because if this is real I am very very angry right now. And I say that as a Bennet supporter, this is horrible and Michael doesn’t need the help. Especially now that it’s backfiring, goddamnit!!

          Pols, did you get this email? I think they would have mentioned this verbiage if they had.

  6. H-Dog says:

    I’m shocked, shocked…that the democratic power people would just as soon avoid a primary.  Primaries suck-the winner emerges staggering under the weight of charges/countercharges/hurt feelings/diminished enthusiasm. This would be especially the case if the Gopsters have enough sense to nominate the eminently reasonable Jane (yes, as Lieutenant Governor I was a member of a delegation representing our nation at the inauguration of Salvadoran President whatshisname!)Norton. On the other hand, maybe Romanoff could benefit from newly-minted “outsider” cred, and he certainly wouldn’t be vulnerable to the native vs. newcomer card that Norton will play against Bennet.

    And on another subject: if it’s Penry or McInnis for Gov., and Norton for Senator, why does the GOP give us all Western Slopers? Don’t most of us live in the Front Range?  And don’t we have some Republicans down here in El Paso County?  Just wondering…

    • ReThinkRitter says:

      1.  Bob Beauprez

      2.  Bob Schaffer

      3.  Pete Coors

      That enough for you?  And BTW, Jane Norton is a west sloper like Ritter is a moderate.

    • RedGreen says:

      Norton isn’t a Western Sloper. Do you need a look at that geography textbook the lefties sent to McInnis?

    • RedGreen says:

      H-Dog, is there anything you write that is actually, you know, “factual”?

      Romanoff moved to Colorado in 1993, just five years before Bennet. They both arrived here with Ivy League diplomas and went to work in the private sector for a few years before taking government jobs — Romanoff for the state, Bennet for Denver’s mayor. There’s a reason Romanoff doesn’t list his Washington, D.C., birthplace on any of his web bios, and it isn’t because he’s a Colorado native.

  7. oldbenkenobi says:

    I hope Romanoff has the guts to run but if he does he better get moving.  There was a nice plug for Bennet in Obama’s post-speech email.  One can only imagine what kind of wheeling and dealing is going on behind the scenes.  Are the governor and the WH still stringing him along?

  8. ArdentAdmirer2 says:

    Without the DSCC’s early and strong support Ken Salazar would have still won the primary.

    Secretary Salazar would not have been able to raise as much money, Superintendent Miles would have been able to raise more money. Some unions would have gone with Miles. Instead of a 75% to 25% blowout it would have been much closer and Salazar would have gone into the general much weaker.

    The DSCC will not play nice against Speaker Romanoff.

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