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Selecting Major Party Candidates-- Dysfunctionally... In Michigan, California And New Jersey

Crypto-Crooks PAC Is Spending Millions To Smear Katie Porter

California progressives Maebe Pudlo & Barbara Lee

People are already voting in the California primary. [For those interested, I mailed my ballot in Barbara Lee for the Senate seat and for Maebe A Girl for the House seat in my district.] There’s all kinds of drama going on with candidate selection across the country and I have a feeling this is going to be a long post. I’ll circle back to California but I want to talk about Michigan Republicans and New Jersey Democrats first. AP has the hilarious GOP-is-doomed Michigan scenario: dueling conventions, the mainstream conservatives vs the fascists. Both nominating conventions are on March 2, the conservatives, led by former congressman Pete Hoekstra, in Grand Rapids, and the fascists, led crackpot MAGAt Kristina Karamo by in Detroit. Karamo was removed from office as party chair but refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of that action, although the RNC does. Who the actual chairman is is pending in a state court, which could decide within the week.

The situation is already a mess. The Republican Party, wrote Joey Cappelletti, “will allocate 16 of the state’s 55 delegates based on the results of the Feb. 27 primary. Republican precinct delegates will allocate the remaining number at the March 2 state convention.” The rest (39) will be selected at a convention… although which convention? Not that it reaally matters, since everyone is a Trumpist anyway.

Split loyalties within the state party have set the stage for Hoekstra and Karamo to each send their own set of delegates to the RNC. Some local party leaders have vowed to attend Karamo’s convention in Detroit, no matter what the RNC has said.
David Chandler, chairman of the Iosco County GOP, still recognizes Karamo as the party’s chair and told The Associated Press that his county GOP will be attending her March 2 event.
“It’s Karamo who is going to be there, and we’re going to run this,” Chandler said. ”We’re going to send the results of that convention to the RNC. If they don’t accept it, if they decide we’re not going to be able to send our delegates to the national convention, that’s too bad. That’s too bad, so sad for the RNC.”
The matter could potentially be resolved in court before the March 2 convention. A judge in Kent County on Tuesday allowed for a lawsuit seeking to oust Karamo from the chair post to move forward. Hearings on whether an injunction against Karamo should be issued are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

How cool is that? Yesterday, the latest must read edition of Primary School came out yesterday. A couple of weeks ago, we saw how Andy Kim shocked New Jersey by beating Tammy Murphy, the Governor’s wife and the Machine candidate, in Monmouth, her own county’s convention. Nick Tagliaferro filled in some blanks yesterday, where the Murphys were completely confident it was in the bag (the bag being the essential county line). Her husband “had called in every favor, and was even at the convention just to remind local Democrats who their governor was backing. Aided by [Rep. Frank] Pallone, the couple had marshaled dozens of Monmouth County endorsements, and they even had an internal whip count showing the first lady comfortably ahead of Kim. The Murphy campaign was so confident that it repeatedly rejected entreaties from Monmouth County Democrats to work out a deal to share the organizational endorsement and the coveted ballot line that comes with it. Kim’s campaign had been receptive to the deal, according to the New Jersey Globe; like most New Jersey politicos, they had expected a close vote. When the results were tallied, they showed that convention-goers, protected by the anonymity of secret balloting, had preferred Kim by a wide 57%-39% margin. It was a stunning defeat that the Murphys couldn’t spin or sugarcoat.”

We’ve been told by our source inside the Murphy campaign that if the same thing happens on March 4th in Machine-controlled Bergen County, she’ll be dropping out of the race, especially because “Next up on the convention calendar are a series of Kim-friendly counties that hold open conventions: Kim’s home of Burlington on February 24, then the affluent, light-red county of Hunterdon (where former Rep. Tom Malinowski’s support for Kim will go far) on February 25, and independent-minded Sussex and Warren on March 2 and 3, respectively.”

The loss was such a gut punch for Team Murphy that the First Lady tried to convene a Super Bowl Sunday emergency meeting of party bosses, only to get turned down via text by Hudson County Democratic chair Anthony Vainieri, who was not missing his Super Bowl plans for anyone. A rescheduled Monday meeting at the Murphys’ palatial riverside estate was attended by the First Lady, the governor, campaign aide Mike Delamater, Vainieri, Essex (and statewide) chair LeRoy Jones, Bergen chair Paul Juliano, Somerset chair Peg Schaffer, and Hunterdon chair Arlene Quiñones Perez— the latter two being of particular interest with their counties’ open or semi-open conventions. Quiñones Perez is no stranger to getting overruled by her committee, most memorably in a humiliating convention loss for Quiñones Perez’s preferred candidate, banker Linda Weber, at 2018’s congressional nominating convention. Schaffer, however, is a stronger chair with more latitude to tip the convention’s playing field in favor of her candidates, and her county is both more populous and more Democratic. If she senses a potential loss for Tammy Murphy, Schaffer can change the rules— perhaps by removing the secret ballot, or by changing who can vote.
Team Murphy seems to understand they need to ratchet up the pressure after the Monmouth disaster, even if they haven’t quite come around to the whole “campaigning directly to the voters” or even “making a positive case to county committeepeople” approach that’s serving Kim well so far. She rolled out a bunch more locally-focused endorsements this week— Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen (a 100% subsidiary of Norcross Inc.), the state council of the sheet metal workers’ union, and 2020 NJ-02 candidate Amy Kennedy, because the politically ambitious spouses of Massachusetts-born politicians gotta stick together, we guess. (Kennedy is married to former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the youngest child of Ted Kennedy. She is also an advisor to the Murphys.) Kennedy’s support may carry some weight in Atlantic County, a South Jersey machine-aligned county that holds truly open conventions. Murphy also landed her first big national endorsement: EMILY’s List, the behemoth PAC which supports pro-choice Democratic women and also has an increasingly transparent bias towards whoever gives them money, which usually means centrist and establishment Democrats. Honestly, this would be a perfectly unobjectionable endorsement under most circumstances; if she wins, Murphy will be New Jersey’s first female senator. However, Murphy’s forceful defense of the line makes this endorsement gross as hell, given the line’s contribution to New Jersey’s severe underrepresentation of women in government. (Since she’s already had the line awarded or promised to her in eight of the state’s 21 counties accounting for about 60% of Democratic voters, she has all the reason in the world to defend the only-in-New Jersey ballot-rigging system known variously as the county line, the party line, the organization(al) line, or simply the line.)
Finally, Murphy got a glimmer of [fake] hope, seemingly from an unusual source: Burlington County state Sen. Troy Singleton, a Kim supporter who’s trying to negotiate a peace in the race for Kim’s open House seat. Someone floated to the New Jersey Globe that the proposed deal to have Assembs. Carol Murphy and Herb Conaway share the coveted party organization line for Congress may extend to Tammy Murphy and Andy Kim. (This struck most observers as highly unlikely, because it would function as a snub of Kim, who Burlington Democrats love. And shortly after this rumor first surfaced, Kim released an impressive list of Burlington County endorsements including the entire county commission, nine mayors, and several municipal Democratic committees.) The proposed Burlington peace deal was shot down by Kim himself in a Zoom press conference after the first debate, hosted by the New Jersey Globe. Kim revealed that the source of the rumored Burlington shared-line deal was the governor— who the congressman claimed had been personally pressuring Burlington County Democratic Committee members with phone calls urging them to adopt a shared-line deal. The Burlington County convention, scheduled for Saturday, is likely to be a blowout for Kim that sets the stage for independent-minded Hunterdon County on Sunday.

And that brings us to California, where many people have already made up their minds and have started sending in their ballots. We’ll come back to the Senate race to replace Dianne Feinstein in a moment. First, though, there are some congressional races I want to mention. In my own district, CA-30, the entire establishment, including “liberal groups,” has decided to ghost Maebe A Girl. Even groups that have endorsed her in the past are just ignoring or de-legitimizing her. Why? In this crowded open-seat primary (15 candidates), if she gets a good portion of the 60,968 votes she got in 2022, she’ll definitely make the November ballot.

8 of the candidates have raised over $100,000 and, four anti-progressive candidates, state Senator Anthony Portantino, Mike Feuer, Nick Melvoin and washed up child-actor Ben Savage (a self-funder) have raised over a million. Savage has put $1,327,000 of his own into the race so far. Everyday my mailbox is stuffed with campaign mailers— which I never even glance at before throwing in the garbage can. The Blue America-endorsed candidate, Maebe, has the most individual donors, but her platform is strictly working class and her contributions are in very small amounts, none of those maxed out donations Portantino, Feuer, Friedman and the other careerist pols are getting. Her cash-on-hand for her Get-Out-The-Vote effort is around $15,000 and needs replenishing. Please consider helping out here.

Now we have outside SuperPACs— many formed specifically for this race— jumping in to spend money for their chosen candidates. The CA Progressive PAC, for example, isn’t progressive at all; it’s just anti-progressive Nick Melvoin’s rich brother Charlie spending his money through a front he started. Career-long sleaze Laura Friedman, whose career has been financed by the charter school billionaires has one of her longtime cronies, Danny Curtain, starting a new SuperPAC, Fighting for Californians, and funnelling it into her efforts. And Greenpeace— one of the shameful liberal groups ghosting Maebe— has mailers going out warning voters about the 3 worst candidates, the GOP-lite characters— Portantino, Melvoin and Savage.

Primary School also reported that Greenpeace is doing the same thing in CA-31, another open seat, where they’re recommending Greg Hafif and Mary Ann Lutz, two mediocre candidates, against three villains— Susan Rubio, rapist Bob Archuleta and gross New Dem self funder Gil Cisneros, who has already spent $2,356,600 of his own (lottery winnings) to buy another seat after losing a swing district to Young Kim.

Outside spending has gone through the roof in the California Senate race, of course. The worst instance are the crypto criminals we mentioned last week using over $3.6 million in TV ads to smear Katie Porter. Meanwhile, the grossest of the pro-genocide SuperPACs, DMFI (Democratic Majority for Israel), is spending for Adam Schiff. Here’s the Blue America page for the 3 California Senate candidates if you know which one you prefer. Now the report from Primary School on that race:

Though Adam Schiff likely won’t be winning a majority of Democratic voters, he’s clearly running ahead of both Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, which presents him the opportunity to use a now fairly common maneuver for candidates in top 2 elections— promoting a Republican to box out other Democrats from the runoff. Specifically, Schiff is running ads “attacking” Steve Garvey, a former Padres player who doesn’t have the money to promote himself to the front of the Republican pack, but will now that Schiff is giving him ads functionally promoting him as “too conservative” and would advance Trump’s agenda if he wins, and, in a particular bit of auspiciousness, is “rising in the polls.” That last quote actually comes from an ad run by Schiff’s technically unofficial SuperPAC, which is airing on Fox News.
Porter has responded in kind, launching a new digital ad that identifies Eric Early, another Republican Senate candidate, as MAGA, and highlights that Steve Garvey said he might support Joe Biden. The intent is obviously to muddy the waters for Republican voters to keep them from coalescing too far behind Garvey. As mentioned in the outside spending tracker, cryptocurrency money is now flooding the race in the form of the Fairshake PAC, which has already dumped millions (and may be planning on upping that to the tens of millions) into the race to attack Katie Porter, a supporter of regulations on crypto.
Schiff’s tactic appears to be working. Of the six polls taken in the last three months, Garvey is in second place in four, and tied for second in a fifth. The most recent poll, and the only one released in February so far, comes from Emerson, and was released yesterday. Schiff leads with 28% of the vote, and Garvey comes in a clear second, at 22%. Katie Porter is substantially behind, at 16% of the vote, and Barbara Lee at 9%.

Please visit the Blue America’s California page... and do what you can.


Feb 22

What about polls of CA-30 voters? Who is most likely to win that House seat?

Replying to

There are 15 candidates in a first-round jungle primary. Polls can't tell you anything definitive. There seem to be 5 top contenders: Anthony Portantino, Mike Feuer, Maebe Pudlo, Laura Friedman, Sepi Shyne...

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