Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Catch-Up

  • Just $78 until Rick Noriega crosses the $1,000 mark on the Expand the Map! ActBlue page. Please please please please please please chip in?

  • New Jersey: The latest Monmouth University poll (in PDF format) sees Senator Frank Lautenberg with an approve-disapprove of 43-28, which is actually very strong for Democratic Senate incumbents in New Jersey. The poll also sees Lautenberg with at least a 14-point lead over all polled Republican opponents. (HT: Blue Jersey)

  • Oregon: Yesterday, the Guru highlighted the hubbub over a staffer for Steve Novick's Senate campaign also coordinating the endorsement process for a statewide organization, despite the obvious conflict of interest and without regard for procedure as dictated by the national office of which the state organization is a chapter. Subsequently, this recap of the organization's first meeting since the story broke (the meeting at which the possibly-illegitimate endorsement was originally supposed to be pushed through) offers every indication: that the Novick staffer will continue to push forward for the endorsement; that the Novick campaign will take no action against the staffer's ethically questionable conduct; and, that the purpose of the meeting and possibly the very formation of the local chapter was not to organize progressive Democrats in the state but rather to generate a sham endorsement for Novick. Stay tuned.

  • Michigan: Although Michigan's filing deadline isn't until May 13, it continues to look like Senator Carl Levin will face only token Republican opposition in the person of either failed '02 challenger Rocky Raczkowski or state rep. Jack Hoogendyk.

  • 17 Comments:

    Blogger Anthony_Distler said...

    How can that many people be unsure of their opinion on one of the most senior senator of the state? That baffles me.

    12:52 AM, January 21, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    Hello Guru,

    I thought you would like to know that in Oregon, the pseudo scandal you've cited in your Sunday round-up (the one that's being pushed by Merkley campaign internet consultant Kari Chisholm on his BlueOregon blog) is gaining little attention from the un-entangled professional journalists who've looked at it.

    I'm also not sure if you're aware that at least one of the bloggers at Witogenen, the other partisan Merkley blog that's hyping this story in tandem with BlueOregon, also has ties to the Merkley campaign via work with Mandate Media, Chisholm's consulting company that counts Merkley as a client and publishes BlueOregon. As you can see, it's a pretty intricate web of partisan bloggers trying to create a scandal.

    But you'll notice that the reporting by Register-Guard reporter David Steves, who Chisholm cites as having "broke" the story-- is quite a bit less hysterical, and he actually talked with non-campaign-linked people involved in the process who said they didn't think there was any scandal.

    Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes referred to the incident in passing as part of a post about other issues. He said it sounded like "quite the lively night, if you're into that sort of low-stakes drama."

    1:38 AM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Torrid said...

    This release from the national field coordinator (essentially Kimmerly's "boss" in the organization) pretty clearly indicates that the national sees no conflict of interest. In fact, they praise Kimmerly as a good operative that started organizing Oregon months ago. They also discuss the role of Moses Ross, who they are clear would handle any endorsement process.

    So too on that tip, the comments make no indication of misconduct or an emphasis on following procedure. To the contrary, the idea of an endorsement (which would just be for the chapter, since the national typically endorses just in the House) was debated openly and delayed. Doesn't sound very secret.

    The point is that if there was such a conflict of interest, it would behoove PDA to take steps to resolve it. They're doing the opposite, standing behind Kimmerly as coordinator. And if there was some strange business involving a local endorsement, it would behoove them to correct it. They didn't.

    That says more to me than the conclusions jumped to by a paid consultant to the Merkley campaign.

    4:04 AM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    pat and torrid - I know you like playing "attack the messenger" but nothing you've pointed out changes the facts of the situation that there is very clearly a conflict of interest between Kimmerly being a paid staffer on the Novick campaign AND the coordinator for a group making an endorsement in the Senate primary. And the silence from the Novick camp is deafening. If this was a Republican campaign, we'd be calling for resignations aplenty.

    As for PDA's write-up of the meeting, which torrid linked to, I'm of the understanding that the text was written by PDA's field coordinator Diane Shamis. Is that correct? If so, was she AT the meeting or is she dispensing the account second-hand? And, if so, where is she getting her info? From Kimmerly, perhaps?

    I know you're both desperate to write this off, but nothing you've presented changes the facts of the situation.

    1:06 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    hello Guru,

    I thought you might be interested in this comment from Tim carpenter, the Executive Director of the Progressives of America. You'll remember the as the group whose endorsement Kimmerly is accused of trying to finagle. The scandal is based on a phone conversation Chisholm had with Carpenter.

    In the comment below, Carpenter asks Chisholm to stop using him and his organization in a "swift boat campaign" against Novick.

    --------
    "Kari,
    It was my hope that after you began your effort to misrepresent my conversation with you on the phone you would allow the work of PDA to move forward.

    I was wrong!
    When you called me I had just completed my chometherpy session and just had a shot in my eye...you never said you were blogging... simply calling to ask a few questions..I never said anyting about 48 hours...never.. Liz was active in PDA in California before she moved to OR to begin a Portland Chapter. she had been on a number of calls with national PDA...her work with PDA predates her move to OR... if you are really about building the progressive movement which I think you are...it's time to stop the swift boat campaign and allow the PDA chapter to move forward and the Senate race to get back to talking about single payer heatlh care, the end of the occuaption of Iraq and building the movement.

    It was never my intent to jump into this...it's time to get back to organizing...finally I invite folks to visit the PDA site at PDAmerica.org and read about the great OR PDA work that is moving foward ...onward! Posted by: tim carpenter | Jan 22, 2008 7:27:34 AM @ BlueOregon"
    ------------

    This is the on Steve Novick's character that you've recently participated in.

    I think it's safe to say that you're no longer an objective resource of information in Oregon's Democratic senate primary.

    3:06 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    whoops, had a little snafu at the end.

    I meant to say that this is the third fraudulent attack against Steve Novick's integrity that you've recently participated in.

    I think it's fair to say that you're no longer an objective source of information for the Oregon Democratic senate primary.

    3:09 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    Pat, once again, nothing you've presented changes the facts that Kimmerly is both a paid staffer on the Novick campaign and the coordinator of a group endorsing in the Senate primary.

    This is the point of the whole thing. This is a conflict of interest.

    It doesn't matter that Kimmerly's involvement with PDA pre-dates her move to Oregon. If she's going to be a paid staffer on a campaign, she shouldn't be in charge of a group endorsing in the election. That is a clear conflict of interest and nothing you have presented refutes these facts.

    3:17 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Johnny C said...

    Pat,

    I really have not been following this but I think the blog you linked to makes Kimmerly look really bad. It states that even after the story broke she took charge of the meeting and try to push through the endorsement until Moses Ross took over and slowed the process down.

    If nothing else Kimmerly has bad judgement and a political tin ear and the Novick non-response is troubling. Will he play rag doll and just not respond when Smith comes after him in the General and what does it say about his judgement that his staff have such incredibly poor judgement?

    Just for the record you trying to make this about Kari doesn't do anything to elevate the discourse.

    3:35 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    Howdy Guru,

    Regarding the "scandal" in Oregon you keep mentioning:

    I thought you might like to know that , the Mandate Media website that Jeff Merkley consultant Kari Chisholm is using to "swift boat" his client's primary opponent Steve Novick, is topped by three front-page posts from BlueOregon contributors who have questioned the veracity of some of Chisholm's claims and asked him to stop the mudslinging.

    ....
    What constitutes navel gazing: a test case....

    ...Eyes On The Prize....

    ....Stop the mudlsinging, it's getting on my clothes....

    Thanks for your time :)

    8:46 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    Whoops, another coding snafu:

    I'll try again.
    -------
    Howdy Guru,

    Regarding the "scandal" in Oregon you keep mentioning:

    I thought you might like to know that BlueOregon, the Mandate Media website that Jeff Merkley consultant Kari Chisholm is using to "swift boat" his client's primary opponent, Steve Novick, is topped by three front-page posts from BlueOregon contributors who have questioned the veracity of some of Chisholm's claims and asked him to stop the mudslinging.

    ...What constitutes navel gazing: a test case....

    ...Eyes On The Prize....

    ...Stop the mudlsinging, it's getting on my clothes...

    Thanks AGAIN for your time.

    8:51 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    pat - I don't enjoy repeating myself, but I guess I will.

    Nothing you've pointed out changes the facts of the situation that there is very clearly a conflict of interest between Kimmerly being a paid staffer on the Novick campaign AND the coordinator for a group making an endorsement in the Senate primary. And the silence from the Novick camp is deafening. If this was a Republican campaign, we'd be calling for resignations aplenty.

    I know you're desperate to write this off, but nothing you've presented changes the facts of the situation.

    And linking to other people saying "P'shaw, not a big deal" doesn't change the fact that this is a conflict of interest that makes Kimmerly look awfully deceitful and reflects poorly on the Novick campaign.

    10:11 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    Well, like I said, the only people pimping this 'scandal" are Merkley's internet partisans.

    Nothing you've said here disputes that fact.

    The only non-Merkley partisan interest in this is the original Blog post from Register-Guard David Steves. His blog post did not contain the "scandal" tone that Chisholm, and now you, are trying to drum up on Merkley's behalf.

    Willamette Week has no interest. Not even on its blog. TheMercury has no interest, Not even on its blog. The Oregonian had no interest, except for one reporter's blog, where he dismissed it in passing as "low-stakes" drama.

    The leader of the organization involved in this endorsement process says Chisholm lied about the nature their telephone call during Chisholm's "investigation" on behalf of Merkley, and accused Chsholm of launching a "swfit boat campaign."

    He was Chisholm's strongest source in the original BlueOregon attempt to create this scandal!

    YOU can ignore these facts all YOU want, but it's obvious that at this point, any legitimate and credible news outfit would start to question if it hand't been sold a mickey when it bought into this pumped up scandal.

    But you keep pimping it because you're not an objective source of information for the Oregon senate primary.

    It's pretty simple, really.

    By the way, Chisholm has said that he's not going to blog about this anymore. Hmmm!

    he's famously stubborn like you, but even he knows when to bail from a sinking ship before it drags you down with it.

    10:48 PM, January 22, 2008  
    Blogger Kari Chisholm said...

    I thought you might like to know that BlueOregon, the Mandate Media website that Jeff Merkley consultant Kari Chisholm is using to "swift boat" his client's primary opponent Steve Novick, is topped by three front-page posts from BlueOregon contributors who have questioned the veracity of some of Chisholm's claims and asked him to stop the mudslinging.

    Gee, funny.

    If there's three posts on BlueOregon lamenting my whistle-blowing on the Novick campaign... how exactly is it that I'm the Dark Overlord of BlueOregon that controls all?

    I don't get it. BlueOregon can't simultaneously be a refreshing place that criticizes me -- and be the center of some dark conspiracy nefariously controlled by me for my evil purposes.

    Sometimes, playing "attack the messenger" doesn't work out so well.

    5:02 AM, January 23, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    well that's just silly, kari.

    Because some of your most rarely seen contributors finally had enough of your using BlueOregon in this over reach that they felt it necessary to go to the front page and call you on it, does not not make your case.

    If that's the best you've got. I'll rest right here.

    11:25 AM, January 23, 2008  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    pat - You're still just playing "attack the messenger."

    Whether or not Willamette Week or CNN run a five-part expose on the whole matter, it's still a conflict of interest in a Senate Democratic primary. For all your hollering, you and your partisans have never disputed this fundamental fact. That's what I care about, and that's what I'm waiting for Kimmerly to Novick to actually address rather than dismiss or sweep under the rug.

    1:15 PM, January 23, 2008  
    Blogger Pat Malach said...

    How's this address:

    The sky-is-falling posts at BlueOregon on this drummed up attempt to smear Novick are at least as tainted by conflict of interest as were Liz Kimmerly's alleged efforts to put herself in charge of a somewhat obscure group's relatively "meaningless" (Chisholm's word ) endorsement for the Senate nomination.

    1:52 PM, January 23, 2008  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    That "address" doesn't change anything. It doesn't matter if Santa Claus or the boogeyman presented the facts. I'll repeat myself again. That there is a conflict of interest (that remains unaddressed) caused by Kimmerly being both a paid staffer of the Novick campaign and the coordinator of a group endorsing in the primary is unchanged. You can smokescreen all you want, but those are the facts. That hasn't changed. You can keep spinning it or attacking others, but it doesn't change the facts. No, WWeek isn't covering it; no, the individual endorsement in and of itself isn't of particular note. That doesn't matter. It's the conflict of interest and possibly intentional duplicity that matters, and those issues still remain unaddressed.

    2:08 PM, January 23, 2008  

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