Losing Candidate for Boston Mayor Recuperates By Twitter-Battling
The race to replace Tom Menino as mayor of Boston didn't get a ton of national attention—certainly, the "Boston recovers from tragedy" narrative was owned by the Red Sox, not the candidates. And the race pitted Irish-American Democrat John Connolly, a city counciler, against Irish-American Democrat Marty Walsh, a state legislator, so there wasn't any fantastic hook for national media.
Anyway: Connolly lost. He then started checking his Twitter account and noticing people piling on his humiliation. He fought back.
Surprised, Connolly's targets asked why he was so angry.
@The_Sull here's #2. You're my sons hockey coach & you spend all your time beating me up on twitter. That makes you classless and pathetic.— John Connolly (@JohnRConnolly) November 6, 2013
A colloquy on who was whose hockey coach followed.
@The_Sull you're just making stuff up, don't care who u supported, running 4 mayor 24/7, can't make all games U r so angry & don't know why.— John Connolly (@JohnRConnolly) November 6, 2013
I suppose there are more dangerous ways to blow off steam from losing one's only chance at a life goal.
How the Nonwhite Vote Returned Yesterday (Instead of Collapsing Like It Always Does)
Smart people tell us that Election Day exit polls are not the best way to determine the real racial breakdowns of the electorate. "I am skeptical of the composition of the exit poll sample," said pollster Geoff Garin to reporters today. "We will know for sure once there is a precinct analysis and the voter file is updated, but I would be surprised if African-Americans were 20 percent of the turnout."
Well, I'm not all that smart, and I work with what's out there. What's out there suggests that nonwhite turnout increased in 2013 relative to 2009, something that Chris Christie dealt with well and other Republicans dealt with ... rather less well.
The story starts in Virginia. In 2009, the Democrats' worst year all decade, they lost all the turnout gains they'd won among nonwhite voters in the Obama year. The white vote rose from 70 to 78 percent of the electorate; the black and Hispanic vote share fell, respectively, from 20 to 16 and 5 to 3. Republicans let this go to their heads, and were shocked when Obama reunited his 2008 coalition to beat Mitt Romney. And hell, I expected some drop-off this year, widening Cuccinelli's narrow path to victory.
But the 2013 coalition—led by a white Democrat whom most of the electorate did not even like—was more remarkable. Relative to 2009, the white share of the vote fell from 78 to 72 percent. The black vote share rose, like Garin said/doubted, from 16 to 20 percent; the Hispanic vote inched up from 3 to 4 percent. McAuliffe, who lost white voters by 20 points, would not have won. Cuccinelli sarcastically thanked Barack Obama on the campaign trail, for coming to the state and raising the profile of Obamacare. Cute, but the president's job in Virginia was to rouse nonwhites—and he did so.
Over to New Jersey. Chris Christie was going to win anyway, but he turned a large win into a landslide by campaigning for nonwhite votes. In 2009, an election that featured heavy Democratic campaigning in black areas and a visit from the president, whites made up 73 percent of the electorate. This year, as Democrats readied to lose a statewide race by the biggest margin since the 1980s, the white vote share edged down to 72 percent. Christie won whites by an astounding 41 points, but he told the media to watch how people of all races would vote for him—and they did. Christie won 21 percent of the black vote and 51 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Now over to North Carolina. Patrick Cannon, a black Democrat, held the Charlotte mayor's office for Democrats in a city that's actually pretty competitive between the parties. (Current Republican Gov. Pat McCrory was previously Charlotte's mayor.) Cannon won the way that Barack Obama had won—a huge early vote cushion, 65 percent of the vote. And McAuliffe won with one of the tactics that have brought out nonwhite or irregular voters in other states: social pressure. The homes of people who don't normally vote in off-years but voted for president a few times were sent mail informing them of this pattern, and telling them how often their neighbors voted. It sounds creepy, but as my colleague Sasha Issenberg has reported, it works.
David Koch's Americans for Prosperity Loses an Election in Iowa
A fun, A1 pre-election New York Times story followed David Koch's Americans for Prosperity as it dispatched volunteers (and psyched up local organizers) to win small victories that the national media wasn't paying attention to. When the ballots were counted, AFP notched up at least one win. It helped defeat a tax hike (from 1.5 to 2.5 percent) in Gahanna, Ohio. But in Coralville, Iowa, the focus of the Times piece, Americans for Prosperity utterly failed to flip the municipal elections. Democrats held on to the mayor's office and swept the City Council races.
Here's what happens when the New York Times makes your election a case study in Koch power.
Shortly after ballots were counted Tuesday, Lundell said he received a surprise phone call from Vice President Joe Biden.
“He indicated that he was very proud of our city, that we took on the Koch brothers and successfully beat them buy such a huge margin,” Lundell said. “That was another aspect of this election that was unanticipated, that after the polls closed that I’d be speaking to the vice president of the United States."
AFP is probably the most business-friendly of the "Tea Party" groups, a sprawling organization with a state chapters structure that's good at beating ballot measures or electing deregulators. But last night, during a time of turmoil for "Obamacare" and horrible poll numbers for the president, did not go well for the few conservative hardliners who stuck their necks out.
- In Troy, Mich., a Tea Party mayor who'd been recalled earlier in 2013 ran for City Council and lost.
- A ballot measure in 11 Colorado counties, which would have started them on the (likely blocked) path to secession, was set to fail in six of them, ending the tantrum.
- Most famously (and it wasn't even that famous!), the Republican primary for Alabama's open 1st Congressional District was won by former state Sen. Bradley Byrne, a perfectly right-wing former Democrat, over the woefully unqualified but Mark Levin/Roy Moore-endorsed Dean Young.
Oh, there were conservative wins! Colorado voters just beat the paint off a school funding measure that was backed and advertised by the likes of Bill Gates. But the setbacks, in the sort of election year that's usually best for traditional Republican turnout, were real.
How Virginia's Election Will Teach Republicans to Swing Right
My piece from Richmond and the Republican Party's "ah, well" election celebration has a rather harsher title than it probably deserves. Republicans lost, but by the end, they expected to lose—the point of the piece is that they lost by only 50,000-odd votes, and this encouraged them to think that their closing message of attacking Obamacare was a winner.
"If the election were held next Tuesday, I think Cuccinelli wins," said Brian Baker, who works with the conservative super PAC Ending Spending, which spent big on Senate races in 2012. "The election was closing fast—our polls showed that. We took a poll, the same pollster we used in the Tea Party Senate races we won in 2012, and it showed Cuccinelli down by 1. No one in the media wanted it."
Well, guilty. But would Obamacare be as potent in November 2014 as it was during the week when everyone was talking about losing individual insurance plans and the crashing website? "It shouldn't take that long to fix the website," said Baker, "but the underlying problems about restrictions on doctors, on costs, or rising premiums—that will be potent in 2014. Obamacare is toxic."
Republicans at the party, veterans of the campaign, were reasonably proud of going the distance after some polling had shown them down by double digits. They were also a little bitter at the lack of support from outside. The RNC, one pointed out, had spent $9 million during 2009's gubernatorial race, a blowout that never got close. It spent $3 million this time, and all on "field," not TV. And where was RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tonight? Not in Virginia—at the sure-thing Christie party in New Jersey.
It's a 2013 Election Live Blog!
Happy Less-Popular Election Year Eve! Dave is reporting from Richmond tonight, but in the meantime this will act as a catchall post for updates about the Three Big Races (NJ/VA/NYC) as well as sundry local elections and ballot initiatives. And if you haven't already, read our guide to watching tonight's results like a smart person.
11:56 Sad news, everyone: Charlotte, North Carolina will not have a mayor named "Edwin Peacock." We'll have much more in-depth analysis like this tomorrow—on Minneapolis' Scylla-like mayoral race, New York's expanded gambling, and Colorado's new marijuana tax, for starters. Thanks for playing along! As a show of gratitude, here is yet another photo of a cake—this one a model of Chris Christie standing outside the New Jersey statehouse.
11:38 We're getting to the point in the night where we're scraping the barrel for results. (Stay tuned for results from Omaha's Lunchlady of the Year Award!) In all seriousness, one of the more important local races is coming out of Washington state, where a single race will tip the state legislature. It's looking like that balance will tip toward Republican Jan Angel, though she only holds a 769-vote lead for now.
11:26 As Jeremy Stahl points out, the most exciting race tonight has become the Virginia attorney general race. The race, which will fill Ken Cuccinelli's seat, is between Republican and "Cuccinelli clone" Mark Obenshain, and Democrat Mark Herring. (Full maps here.)
It does not get any closer than the Virginia Attorney General's race: pic.twitter.com/zmbCJTySVj-- Jeremy Stahl (@JeremyStahl) November 6, 2013
11:20 Detroit has elected its first white mayor in nearly 40 years—former hospital chief Mike Duggan. From the Detroit Free Press: "Duggan’s message of his turnaround skills, including rescuing the Detroit Medical Center from near-bankruptcy a decade ago, caught on in a city that’s facing a financial disaster of its own, fighting for survival in bankruptcy court, with residents exasperated by high taxes, poor public services, blight, unemployment and crime."
11:06 Terry McAuliffe's victory speech touted efforts to expand Medicaid to 400,000 low-income Virginia residents: "It was perhaps the clearest issue that voters had during this election," he said. Then, as Rascal Flatts' cover of "Life Is a Highway" played, McAuliffe flashed a thumbs-up reminiscent of a certain friend of his.
10:48 Alabama's 1st Congressional race has been called for Republican Bradley Byrne. His opponent, fellow Republican Dean Young, once told gay Alabamans to "go back to California or Vermont." Between Young's defeat and that of two virulently anti-gay Virginia politicians, Tuesday's races are most allegorical for gay marriage more than most other issues.
10:32 Ken Cuccinelli is giving a concession speech. His spin: that the failure of Obamacare's implementation gave Terry McAuliffe a closer race than he would've had otherwise. "Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare."
10:11 As the race in Virginia was called for Terry McAuliffe, I got in touch with Michael Mann. Slate readers might remember Mann as the former UVA professor whose climate science work was heavily investigated by Attorney General Cuccinelli. Mann, who's been at Penn State for the past few years, was pleased by tonight's vote.
"I congratulate Terry McAuliffe, a man truly worthy of being the next Governor of the great Commonwealth of Virginia. As for Ken Cuccinelli, I am pleased to see Virginia voters reject his destructive and dangerous brand of politics, and his contempt for science and rational thought."
Slate's own Dahlia Lithwick has her own delightful adieu to Cuccinelli.
10:02 McAuliffe has many friends to thank for his win, not the least of which is the liberalization of Virginia over the past ten years. Chris Cilizza has some helpful maps documenting the state's purpling: "The growth in the state has all favored Democrats," he writes, "turning a state that no Democrat since Lyndon Johnson had carried at the presidential level into one that Barack Obama has won twice."
9:54 Meanwhile, in Terryland as CNN calls the race:
9:42 NBC News is projecting Terry McAuliffe as the winner of Virginia's gubernatorial race. Dave is live at the scene of the Cuccinelli victory party:
At the Cuccinelli party the moment McAuliffe takes the lead pic.twitter.com/TzCqoagUT7-- daveweigel (@daveweigel) November 6, 2013
9:22 Bill De Blasio will be the next Sandinista mayor of NYC. (But you knew that already, right?) Michael Barbaro:
Exit polls conducted by Edison Research suggested that the sweep of his victory cut across all of New York’s traditional divides. He won support from voters regardless of race, gender, age, education, religion or income, according to the exit poll.
Mention of Dante De Blasio's "towering afro" doesn't appear until paragraph seven. Elsewhere in mayoral news, Marty Walsh defeated John Connolly to become Boston's next mayor. "I put my career on the line to protect Massachusetts’ groundbreaking equal marriage law," he wrote Monday. This in a metro area of almost 2 million Catholics!
9:13 New Jersey is a picture of what could have been for Democrats. Oh, not that they could have won—but the ballot measure to raise the state's minimum wage is winning by a bigger margin than Christie, at the moment. In other states, the minimum wage ballot measure has worked as sort of a pullcart for Democratic candidates, and it may be for Democrats in legislative races.
But never mind! Christie's polling held up—after exit polls were updated, he split the Hispanic vote with Barbara Buono. There's your story for tomorrow.
9:02 Barbara Buono gave a truly New Jersey concession speech, using it as an opportunity to chastise Chris Christie, if not by his name then by his actions. "Stand up to the name calling and the objections to not who you are, but what you are," she told the crowd of supporters. She also said she hoped her quixotic run would encourage more women to run for office, citing Shirley Chisholm as her inspiration. "Their attempts to marginalize and dismiss you is never an excuse to back down," she said. "They wouldn't let us into the old boys' club, so we decided we have to kick in the door." The fired-up crowd broke into chants of "Buono! Buono!"
8:38 Democrat Ralph Northam has been elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Perhaps E.W. Jackson's consolation cake will detract from the grim mood at his victory party. A sad loss for those values voters who think gay people are "full of darkness."
8:25 There was just another cheer for Cuccinelli, but it's more justified—the election exit poll has been adjusted and now gives Terry McAuliffe a 47-45 lead, down from 50-43. The reason—actual numbers! There are no counties flipping (the AP blew it in Culpeper, actually), there are counties where Cuccinelli is running ahead of Romney, and there are counties where he's running behind.
8:10 And we have our first victory of the night: Chris Christie has won re-election in a rout. The exit polls show that, interestingly, Christie made double-digits gains among black and Hispanic voters compared to 2009. As John Dickerson reports, his road to the White House begins tonight.
7:58 Shortly before 8 p.m., the headline on the Drudge Report blares that Cuccinelli is leading by 14 points. When the same number comes across a TV screen at the Republican Party, there's a small cheer from the crowd. This sort of election analysis is—to use the technical term—incredibly stupid. If you look at the counties in or partially counted so far, they're safe Republican country—and the Republicans are underperforming.
Cumberland County becomes the first county that's flipped from Romney in 2012—a 50-48 margin—to a 52-48 margin today. Actually, the only underperformance from McAuliffe in coming in areas where Libertarian Robert Sarvis is strong.
7:42 The War on Women voters could prove to be an albatross for Ken Cuccinelli, as Chris Cillizza points out: "20% of VA electorate said abortion was most important issue in their vote. McAuliffe winning 2-1 among that group." In the last week of the campaign, Cuccinelli actually made a point to be more adamant about his anti-abortion views:
Polling shows Cuccinelli slipping and his efforts to woo moderate and female voters has dropped as a priority in the final days.
Instead, Cuccinelli is working to win over social conservatives, whom he believes will fuel a come-from-behind victory, by talking about his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
7:33 Dave here, having returned from a quick trip to E.W. Jackson's victory party—mysteriously, a 12-minute walk across downtown Richmond from the main Republican Party bash. When I arrived, as polls closed, four volunteers milled around, two campaign staffers refreshed a screen of live results—none yet, no TV in the room—and the mood was grim. Fortunately, there was cake.
7:26 Less than 30 minutes after the polls closed, Twitter pundits were already scrutinizing quirky early results. In Buckingham County, Virginia, it at first appeared as though all 80 voters in one precinct had cast their ballots for Terry McAuliffe. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney quickly cried foul—could it be voter fraud?—but shortly after the poll numbers were updated: 80 for McAuliffe, 144 for Cuccinelli.
7:05 We have preliminary exit polls, those dastardly inconclusive numbers, from Virginia: McAuliffe 50%, Cuccinelli 43%, Sarvis 7%, according to CNN.
Earlier this evening, WaPo dissected the Virginia electorate by party ID:
Nearly four in 10 voters identify as Democrats in early exit poll results for the Virginia governor’s race. Just over three in 10 identify as Republicans or independents. If they hold, these early numbers would mark a big departure from the 2009 Virginia exit polls in which Republicans outnumbered Democrats by four percentage points, 37 to 33 percent. In the 2012 election, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in Virginia by seven points, 39 to 32 percent.
6:51 Polls close in Virginia in a few minutes! The Fix has a list of the five counties to be watching.
And for levity's sake, here's a fantastic photo of Anthony Weiner hanging out with his fellow failed NYC primary candidate, Republican John Catsimatidis:
Something look out-of-date? Tweet at me @emmaroller and I'll update as needed.
Election 2013: How to Watch the Results Like a Smart Person
Hey, you! Yes, you there, the one eating the empanada and looking confused! Are you tired of being That Guy at your annual election party? (I'm just going to assume everyone goes to election parties.) Tired of being the guy who breathlessly retweets the "vote totals" that show your guy winning with 1 percent of precincts in, when you don't even know what precincts?
You're in luck. With the help of my colleague Emma Roller, I've put together a short guide to tonight's elections, how to watch them, who may win, and the weird results that might matter. I've included some guesses about the margins, so I can look stupid on Wednesday. And please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more smart local reporters/pols to follow on Twitter.
(All times are Eastern Standard Time, because like most journalists I am an East Coast elitist.)
7 p.m. Polls close in Virginia. The best source for results (at the link) is the official elections site, one of the best in the country, up there with California's. (Why doesn't some other state copy California's great real-time map?)
What to watch: The race for governor pits Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democratic fixer Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Cuccinelli's campaign has gone so poorly that we're in week three or four of fellow Republicans eulogizing him on the record. He is not helped by his lieutenant governor nominee, E.W. Jackson, a fluke candidate who never would have survived a vetting but dazzled Republicans at the state convention. (Fun fact: E.W. Jackson is holding his own, separate election party tonight, near but not at Cuccinelli's.) Republicans are hoping to elect Mark Obenshain to replace Cuccinelli as AG. If they win that race, and lose only a handful of legislative seats, they'll cut their losses and spin away.
Where to look: Loudoun County.* Prince William County, by general agreement, is now the state's bellwether, a collection of sprawl and nature just a short (well, 30–45 minute) drive from D.C. But Loudoun County is better at mirroring election results statewide. Obama won it by 5 points in 2012; Gov. Bob McDonnell won it by 22 points in 2009. Cuccinelli represented part of the county for years, and grabbed 59 percent of its vote when he won the 2009 attorney general race. If he's rolling in the 40s there, he's going down like the polls say he is.
My guesses: McAuliffe 51, Cuccinelli 44, Sarvis 5; Herring narrowly defeats Obenshain.
7:30 p.m. Polls close in North Carolina, where Democrats would sure like to retain the mayor's office in Charlotte—left open so rising-star black mayor Anthony Foxx could become secretary of transporation.
What to watch: How high will Chris Christie make the rubble bounce, and will conservatives beat the Chamber of Commerce? Christie's run a perfect re-election race, defining opponent Barbara Buono in the spring (when she had no money), staging the special Senate race early so it wouldn't bring out more Democrats today, and campaigning like a natural. Democrats figured early on that they couldn't beat him, so they poured a historic amount of money—eight figures—into state legislative races.
Where to look: Christie narrowly lost Bergen County when he narrowly won the 2009 race, so you could watch that, but there's no real drama. Look instead at legislative Districts 3, 14, 18, and 38, where the governor made a late push for his candidates. If he has coattails, that's where they fall.
My guesses: Christie 62, Buono 37, others 1, with Democrats holding the legislature. Byrne 51, Young 49.
What to watch: Detroit might elect a white mayor. Colorado voters in 11 conservative counties may vote to secede. (They would need Congress to sign off, so good luck.) Houston voters will probably re-elect a lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.* But everyone will obsess, rightly, over New York, which will return to Democratic rule for the first time since 1993. The city's only competitive race: Brooklyn DA, a contest that pits the embittered incumbent, Joe Hynes, against his Democratic primary vanquisher, Kevin Thompson. (Hynes had the Republican line, too, just in case.)
Where to look? If you're really into this, watch the races outside New York City—the ones for county leadership jobs in the collar counties of Westchester and Nassau. Democrats took control there at the end of the Bush years, but were rolled back in 2009. Republicans want to hold the congressional seats they have in upstate New York and want to take some in Long Island.
My guesses: De Blasio 70, Lhota 26, others 4. I think this would actually represent a better Republican vote than what Mitt Romney got in New York City.
11 p.m. Bonus round, of sorts. If you still care, elections in Washington state wrap up, with Democrats attempting to win control of the state Senate—they lost it in a coup after approving gay marriage. Here I won't even pretend to have followed the details of the race, so I won't make a prediction—horrible punditry, I know.
Also, seriously: Don't just get excited when tiny portions of the vote come in. I've seen so many Republicans end up brokenhearted when they're "winning" Virginia before realizing that the Democratic suburbs come in late.
*Correction, Nov. 5, 2013: This post originally misspelled Loudoun County, Va. It also misspelled Houston Mayor Annise Parker's first name.
Take the Double Down Quiz: Who Said That Curse Word?
My review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 is up now; I twinned it with a review of The Gamble, a political science tome based on steady polling of the election that offers everything the buzzy book does not. The truth lies between them -- but come on, the buzzy book is more fun.
Here, I've assembled 10 of the trash-talking quotes reported out by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. You can guess -- multiple choice! -- the source and context. Tally your answers and, being honest, say in the comment section how many you got right.
1) "It's not that we don't like each other. I just think he's an idiot."
a) GOP strategist Mike Murphy describing Romney strategist Stu Stevens
b) Barack Obama describing Joe Biden
c) A Texas GOP strategist describing Rick Perry
2) "What you're saying is the Tenth Amendment guarantees that the federal government can't fuck up the country, but give us the right to fuck up Massachusetts."
a) Rick Perry to Mitt Romney after the Oakland, Michigan debate
b) Karl Rove advising Mitt Romney on messaging
c) Rick Santorum's campaign manager making fun of Romney's messaging
3) "He didn't just touch the third rail. He hugged the motherfucker."
a) Stu Stevens gloating about the Social Security chapter of Rick Perry's book
b) A Haley Barbour aide on his boss's old quotes about race
c) Chris Matthews being impressed by Paul Ryan's bold budgets
4) "This is a pretty shitty way to treat someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime."
a) Jim Messina browbeating Joe Biden after he blurted out his support of gay marriage
b) Newt Gingrich's chief of staff to the staffers who quit his campaign
c) Bill Daley to Jon Huntsman upon learning that Huntsman would run against the president
5) "You can't say George Washington was the first president unless we Google that shit first."
a) Lucas Bachmann telling his mom to stop making gaffes
b) Ron Klain telling Joe Biden not to make up numbers on the campaign trail
c) Jay Carney berating a reporter for getting a story wrong
6) "You can't take [Rick] Perry seriously. He's a chicken-shit guy."
a) Ted Cruz, then a Senate candidate, advising Romney
b) former president George W. Bush to a Romney donor
c) David Plouffe telling Obama not to worry about the Texas governor becoming the nominee
7) "What the fuck is this?"
a) David Axelrod reacting to Barack Obama's first debate performance
b) Romney strategist Stu Stevens on the night Rick Santorum swept the Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri contests
c) Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom as he listened to Clint Eastwood's RNC speech
8) "Are you out of your fucking mind? You think I had something to do with this?"
a) John Kerry refusing to be blamed for Obama's bad first debate
b) Robert Gibbs denying that he leaked a story about him cursing at Valerie Jarrett about Michelle Obama
c) Chris Christie denying, to Romney staffers, a story about him passing on the VP nod because he thought Romney would lose
9) "Ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck -- oh, fuck!"
a) David Plouffe reading tracking polls from Ohio and Florida after the first debate
b) Bill Kenyon, author of a Super PAC memo on a possible Jeremiah Wright ad, after the New York Times reported on it
c) Herman Cain after Politico broke the news of his sexual harrassment settlements
10) "What am I supposed to do when he starts spewing his bullshit?"
a) Ron Paul prepping for an interview where he expected to be asked about his old newsletters
b) Newt Gingrich grimacing about a joint appearance with Mitt Romney
c) President Obama whining about how Mitt Romney would debate him
Virginia's Libertarian Candidate for Governor Votes, Speaks
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—"Have you been following the smear campaign?" asks Robert Sarvis.
The Libertarian candidate for governor, whose high-single-digit/low-double-digit poll numbers have surprised worried Republicans all year, voted today in a Northern Virginia precinct with little evidence of Republican support. "My wife and I went together, so I've got at least two votes," says Sarvis.
He's amused at the late-game rumors that cast him as the willful tool of Democratic spoilers. "There are probably half a dozen to a dozen blog posts out there, and a new one today about the Libertarian booster's PAC, which helped us fund the petition drive—one of their donors was previously an Obama donor, so I'm supposed to be a stooge for Obama now," he says. About a rumor that Democrats collected petitions for him: "I was the one collecting my petitions from all the petitioners, so I would have seen that."
I ask Sarvis whether some polls that show him "taking" more votes from Democrats than Republicans had surprised him. "No, we knew we'd pull from both sides. There are different polls out there, about where the vote is coming from, but the voter dissastisfaction is real."
And how did he stay at 8–10 percent in the polls, when—months ago—Republicans assumed he'd collapse like third partiers always do?
"It's the voter dissastisfaction combined with how I ran a mainstream campaign that people considered a legitimate option. The advertising from the PAC helped, definitely. The fact that we kept running the campaign by getting in front of people helped, too—I have to thank all the people who actually got out there, campaigned for me, waved signs."
Rand Paul, Stop Trying to Publish So Much
For the last week, ever since Rachel Maddow pointed out that Rand Paul's references to Gattaca in a speech were ripped directly from Wikipedia, the senator's ouvre has been picked over by the obsessive Andrew Kaczynski. The latest revelation: That Paul's Washington Times column written to oppose mandatory minumum sentencing was word-for-word similiar to a column published a week earlier.
Paul's office, which has helped connect reporters with the people copied by Paul and not really bothered by it (that's still missing from this story), has finally weighed in with "he'll change" response.
"In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions," senior adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement. "Sen. Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes — some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly."
Stafford also pointed to failures to properly quote text from other sources that should have been clearly labeled as such.
"There have also been occasions where quotations or typesetting indentations have been left out through errors in our approval process," Stafford said. "From here forward, quoting, footnoting and citing will be more complete."
And so on—no staffer named, but a promise to do more citation. "Maybe he needs to re-hire Jack Hunter," joked one libertarian scholar to me as we talked about the recent breaks in the story. It was a reference to "The Southern Avenger," the radio host-cum-aide who left Paul's staff after reporter Alana Goodman dug into his rebel-flag-waving audio past. And hey, it's a good point. Hunter, the co-author of Paul's first book, is a fast and sharp writer who's (for now) blacklisted. (He has since reappeared at Paul-o-verse events like the Liberty PAC meeting back in September.) Paul lost a writer, but kept giving constant speeches, writing a regular column for the Washington Times, and running from issue to issue, trying to show as much expertise as he could in a short period.
It was unsustainable. Paul's responded to this story the way he always responds to attacks originating in partisan media: He has blown it off, called the reporters "hacks and haters," and moved only after the mainstream press indicated that he wouldn't be able to shake it. Almost all politicians use ghost-writers, but most of them stick to a couple of topics, on safe ground, citing the same material—usually quoting Ronald Reagan when there's a need to bridge the paragraphs.
Paul was unique. He got here because he tried, as one of the most famous men in the Senate, to keep an even busier publication schedule than his father did as a back-bench congressman. It was unsustainable.
Huntsman's Independent Dreams, Bachmann's Meds
I'm coming out very shortly with a review of Double Down: Game Change 2012, the irritatingly titled campaign tell-all. Though I dreaded reliving that race as much as anyone, I would never deny the deep reporting of John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, and bow before the bizarre scoopage they've shown off here.
Two stories that stand out but didn't make it into the review:
Bachmann's brain. The authors confirm not just that Rep. Michele Bachmann suffered from migraines, but that she had one the night before the Ames, Iowa, debate.
The candidate was lying in the dark in her hotel in the fetal position, trying to ward off an intracranial onslaught. A doctor was placed on standby. A hospital was notified. A hefty dose of drugs was obtained and administered -- and, glory be, the meds worked.
What's stranger about the story: Halperin and Heilemann precede it by reporting that Mitt Romney's "research minions slipped a file to Bachmann's people -- a dossier detailing [Tim] Pawlenty's deviations from conservative orthodoxy as governor ... on the debate stage, Bachmann deployed the Romney-supplied oppo to tear into Pawlenty."
And that's just strange, because Bachmann's attacks on the governor during that debate were about issues she should have known about, given that she served in the Minnesota state Senate when Pawlenty was governor. The only real Bachmann-Pawlenty contretemps—this the day before one of them was expected to win the straw poll (Ron Paul ended up coming second, anyway)—was over a cigarette tax deal.
"When the deal was put together, Governor Pawlenty cut a deal with the special interest groups and he put in the same bill, a vote to increase the cigarette tax as well as the vote that would take away protections from the unborn," claimed Bachmann.
"Congresswoman Bachmann didn't vote for that bill because of a stripping away of pro-life protection," huffed Pawlenty. "She voted for it and is now creating that as the excuse."
This required the incognito trading of an oppo file?
Jon Huntsman's independent dreams. The rumors that Jon Huntsman may have split from the GOP were true. After the Tampa CNN debate, the "Tea Party" debate put on by CNN, Huntsman's family was distraught at how right-wing the audience was. "I want to go independent," said the candidate to a strategist. "I think we should do it sooner than later."
What follows in the book is a hilarious short play about how gormless the "Americans Elect" process was. Huntsman is courted and flattered, with Mike Bloomberg telling him, "You're the embodiment of the perfect independent candidate." Huntsman tells his strategist John Weaver that he's ready to jump. "The trust speech is perfect for this. That's where I'm going to make the announcement," he says. It's up to Weaver to point out that this is insane, and while AE has ballot access it cannot raise money for him, and his whole team will quit. But, you know, maybe they can look again after the New Hampshire primary, as long as Huntsman runs second.
Huntsman got third in New Hampshire.