Technically AIPAC and DMFI are not part of the Republican Party. Technically. But almost all the money they spend on political advertising comes from Republican mega-donors, about $32 million so far this cycle. And this year, all that money was spent in Democratic primaries, smearing progressives and bolstering Republican-lite conservative Democrats. Democrats playing in Republican primaries are doing the opposite— spending large sums to help extreme right-wings, often deranged sociopaths, win primaries so that they’ll be easier to defeat. AIPAC is looking for conservative Democrats who will make common cause with Republicans next January; Democrats are looking for extremists they view as easier for their own candidates to beat in November.
Yesterday, Washington Post reporter Annie Linskey took at look at the millions of dollars Democrats have spent in Republican primaries in support of fascist candidates and against mainstream Republicans. Democrats have been spending big in New Hampshire, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“The practice by some campaigns and outside groups this year,” wrote Linskey, “has divided Democrats, with some in the party complaining that such tactics are risky and could ultimately result in the election of candidates who pose serious threats to democracy… Critics complain these investments undercut the party’s vow to be guardians of democracy. Worse yet, they say, in a difficult political climate for Democrats, they fear it might lead to electing the very candidates they perceive to present the biggest threats to the country. ‘This is a deeply, deeply precarious and dangerous strategy to deploy,’ said former Indiana congressman Tim Roemer, who organized a letter of former Democratic lawmakers criticizing their own party for using the tactic. ‘It risks elevating these liars and giving them a platform for another three or four months— even if they end up getting beat— to drumbeat their message into the electorate and further erode trust.’”
Shady characters like Chuck Schumer and Sean Patrick Maloney, both of New York, are among the Democratic leaders using campaign cash to play with fire this way. Their tactic is to lure MAGA voters to vote for the extremist candidate by running ads that say he or she is too far right, thereby drawing attention to the candidate’s hard line views on Trump and issues that are popular in MAGA circles. “In other cases,” wrote Linskey, “Democrats have run ads attacking GOP candidates seen as tougher to defeat in general elections in ways that could erode support for them in Republican primaries. Most of the $53 million spent this way was spent by the Democratic Governors Association and the campaign of Gov. J.B. Pritzker ($34.5 million) successfully elevating crackpot extremist, Darren Bailey, over the candidate the Republican establishment wanted, mainstream conservative Richard Irvin, who they viewed as more electable than Bailey who has been compared to an escapee from a mental institution. Irvin didn’t win a single county.
Today we’ll see if Schumer’s SuperPAC is able to help win the New Hampshire GOP Senate nomination for neo-fascist Don Bolduc against mainstream conservative Chuck Morse, who’s viewed as more electable than the weakest Democratic incumbent of the cycle, conservative Democrat Maggie Hassan who many Democrats say they will not vote for because she worked with Republicans to kill an increase in the minimum wage. Schumer has spent $3.2 million pushing Bolduc because he’s so extreme that even Democrats who detest Hassan might be frightened enough to vote for her.
Another one in today’s New Hampshire primary— this one in the 2nd Congressional District— and probably coordinated by the DCCC, is trying to bolster another worthless conservative Democrat, Annie Kuster. An ad hoc Dark Money group, Democrats Serve, “is,” wrote Linskey, “directing about $100,000 into TV commercials accentuating the conservative credentials of Robert Burns, an otherwise poorly-funded Republican House candidate who acknowledges that President Biden won but has claimed that ‘a ton’ of other unspecified elections were ‘stolen’ in 2020.”
In primaries earlier this year, some Democrats spotlighted the conservative bona fides of a GOP candidate for U.S. House in Colorado who convened a state legislative hearing into allegations of 2020 voter fraud despite no evidence of it; a Senate candidate in the same state who was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and described the attack as a “peaceful rally”; and a Maryland gubernatorial candidate who tweeted “Mike Pence is a traitor” as the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob was happening. Their efforts magnified a GOP gubernatorial candidate in Nevada who said Trump “is still our president” months after Biden’s inauguration.
All told, Democrats directly interfered in at least 13 primaries— six gubernatorial races, two Senate contests, and five House campaigns. Their efforts have been successful four times, with the two outstanding contests to be decided [today] in New Hampshire.
In one instance where Democrats helped fund a Nevada organization promoting a right-wing gubernatorial candidate, the organization’s leader, a Republican, told The Post he spent “excess” funds on downballot races Democrats hadn’t intended to finance— including a secretary of state primary in which an election-denying candidate prevailed.
…Overall, the money used across the country has been spent largely on TV commercials, the Post analysis shows, at times making larger investments than the GOP candidates were able to scrape together. That happened in at least seven races, including a U.S. House race in California where Democrats spent more than twice the amount that the GOP candidate they were bolstering; in Maryland, where Democrats spent nine times the amount spent by the Republican they sought to help; and in Colorado where Democrats spent at least 30 times as much as the Republican whose message they amplified.
…“Given the serious damage Republicans would do with a majority in either chamber of Congress or with the power of a governorship, no one needs to apologize for doing what they think will give Democratic candidates their best chance of winning,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster whose firm conducted surveys in at least one race in which Democrats have meddled.
Some Democrats argue that their efforts merely serve to inform voters about extreme views held by GOP candidates in advance of the general election. In some cases, they are running similar ad campaigns after the primaries have ended.
“In our mind what we have done across the country is start general elections early,” said Marshall Cohen, the political director for the DGA.
…Other Democrats see a more dangerous gambit.
“We are playing with fire,” said [would-be] former House speaker Richard Gephardt, a Democrat who opposes using the tactic in the current political environment. “It is a red line. A candidate who is not for having elections anymore has got to be kept out of office. We have to protect the democracy. Democracy is a fragile thing.”
Some Democratic leaders critical of the tactic also say they believe that it will undercut a core message of the party— which Biden recently emphasized— that voters should put their party identity aside to preserve democracy.
…Beyond Illinois, Democrats ended up with the far-right Republican opponents they wanted to run against in two other gubernatorial races. In Pennsylvania, the GOP nominee is Doug Mastriano, who was a key part of the effort undo the 2020 election results in the state. The campaign of party nominee Josh Shapiro, amplified his message in the primary.
In Maryland, the GOP gubernatorial beneficiary of Democratic interference, Dan Cox, chartered buses to bring supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, and tweeted “Mike Pence is a traitor” as the insurrection was happening.
After spending about $1.7 million to draw attention to Cox’s message during the GOP primary, Democrats in the state are now campaigning against what they say is his extreme record. A recent fundraising appeal from Maryland Senate Democratic Caucus asks for funds to defeat Cox, saying: “We have our work cut out for us if we want to protect Marylanders from the right-wing extremism we see infiltrating neighboring states.”
But in other contests, the outcome was different. In Colorado’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate, a group called Democratic Colorado PAC spent about $4 million on TV ads during the Republican primary, with some attacking businessman Joe O’Dea for supporting Democratic priorities including Biden’s infrastructure agenda. O’Dea won the nomination.
“Will the Democrats’ failed smear of Joe O’Dea in the primary be part of our case to ticket-splitting independent voters who decide elections in Colorado? You bet it will,” said Kyle Kohli, a spokesman for O’Dea’s campaign.
The strategy attracted criticism over the summer when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee engaged in a GOP primary in Michigan to highlight John Gibbs, who has falsely said there were “anomalies” in the 2020 presidential tally that make the results “mathematically impossible.” By interfering in the race, Democrats contributed to efforts to topple Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican who had voted with Democrats to impeach Trump.
“There’s only one reason we spend money and that’s to elect a pro-choice majority,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N Y), the [sleazy and dishonest] chairman of the DCCC. “There are always debates about tactics but the bottom line is that race is more likely to be won by a Democrat,”
Among some of Maloney’s colleagues, the move did not sit well. In a text, Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), said he was “aghast about what the DCCC did.” He added, “It was morally wrong and tactically off-base at the very time our Select Committee on 1/6 is uncovering and sharing the story of Trump’s plot to overthrow our democracy.”
In California, where there is an all-party primary system, House Majority PAC, a Democratic group, ran ads informing GOP voters that Rep. David Valadao (R) voted to impeach Trump. Republican Chris Mathys, who made his loyalty to Trump a central plank of his campaign, came within about 1,300 votes of prevailing over Valadao. Mathys spent just $80,000 on his campaign, according to federal disclosures. The Democratic super PAC spent roughly $200,000.
Abby Curran Horrell, the executive director for the House Majority PAC, said in a statement that the group was founded to do “whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House Majority” and this year they are “taking the necessary steps to fulfill this vision.” The group also noted that they spent about $225,000 on positive ads for the Democratic candidate in the race.
In Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, the Democratic super PAC Patriot Majority spent about $300,000 amplifying Jarome Bell, a GOP candidate who downplayed the insurrectionists, saying they “basically went on a guided tour of the Capitol” and called for an audit of Virginia’s 2020 presidential election results. Bell, who would go on to lose, only spent about $255,000 on his own campaign. One ad called Bell an “America First conservative,” and frequently mentioned Trump, saying Bell “supports Trump’s election audit in all 50 states.”
The Democrat in the race is Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In Nevada, Democrats appeared to lose control of the strategy, providing funds to a group that used them more broadly than intended and put money into promoting an election-denying secretary of state candidate in the swing state.
There, a newly formed group called the Patriot Freedom Fund that was financed in part by an outside group called Home Means Nevada, which was started by former aides to Democratic Gov. Doug Sisolak, issued a mailer urging voters to back GOP secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, who opposed the certification of Biden’s win in the state.
Truman Fleming, listed as the treasurer for Patriot Freedom Fund, told The Post he’s a Republican, and said that he pitched Democrats in the state on teaming up to bolster GOP gubernatorial candidate Joey Gilbert, a former professional boxer who was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and has said that Trump is “still our president.”
In an email, Fleming offered some details about how his newly formed group received $685,000 from Home Means Nevada. “I mean it was pretty easy, I wanted Gilbert and they did too because they thought they had a better chance of beating him vs Lombardo,” Fleming said, referring to Joe Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff who prevailed in the GOP gubernatorial primary contest. “I used the excess of funds to help Marchant and others.”
An official with the Democratic group Home Means Nevada confirmed that the organization hadn’t intended for Fleming to use the money to boost Marchant. Instead it was meant “solely to support their effort to ensure Nevada voters learned more about Joe Lombardo and his position on issues, and that’s all,” said Tia White, who is listed as an officer with Home Means Nevada.
Marchant won the secretary of state primary. During an episode of a podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, Marchant said like-minded activists need just a handful of victories to have a major impact.
“If we get just a few of the candidates that we have in our coalition, we save our country,” said Marchant.
At least we know who to blame if Marchant, Mastriano, Bolduc, Bailey, Gibbs and some of the other fascist garbage gets elected in November. It wasn't part of Linskey's narrative, but Kevin McCarthy's SuperPAC is running this ad to help boost centrist Matt Mowers today over the Gym Jordan, Ted Cruz and Lauren Boebert-endorsed extremist crazy person Karoline Leavitt in the New Hampshire primary that will determine who will take on relatively weak Democratic incumbent Chris Pappas, a New Dem.