Now that the dust has settled from June 10 primaries, a variety of comments in posts on NLS and RK make it look like many supporters of Leslie Byrne are casting about for a new candidate to give their heart to…and that someone may be Judy Feder in Va-10. Of course, this is likely to be an out of district no feet on ground kind of support…but that makes it on a par with much of the support she currently sees.
Ms. Feder has developed a devoted following who simply could not understand why she lost in 2006 and just know she will win in 2008. The Federistas, whether on staff or volunteers, are so convinced of her certain success that they are offering up spin that often defies credulity on any number of issues .
For instance, Leesburg Tomorrow claimed that Ms. Feder warchest had “exceeded $1 million”. Maybe I am reading the campaign finance reports wrong, but as I read it at last report Ms. Feder had just under $700K in her treasury-not small potatoes, but far less than LT claims. It is true that to date on that report Ms. Feder had raised over a million dollars, but she also has spent almost 500K. To suggest that she currently has $1 mil in her warchest is about the same as calling a middle aged factory worker a millionaire because over his entire life in the factory he has received $ 1 mil in salary, health benefits, part time jobs, etc.
Of course, Ms. Feder’s fundraising is another point of interest. As noted at TC, Ms. Feder’s first major fundraiser after winning the 2008 nomination was held in…Maryland. The term tone deaf comes to mind, but one cannot be surprised because it is typical. I don’t diminish the effectiveness of her fundraising. A greenback, one dollar american, is of the same buying value whether it comes from Health Care academic in California, Democratic lobby/pressure groups, special interest groups who don’t like her opponent, or corporation who have faced class action suits from the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a resident of Virginia. This is a good thing, because when you go through the records and look at where Ms. Feder’s money comes from, she is getting money-and sometimes a lot of it-from all the groups above…except Virginia residents in general or Va-10 residents in particular.
The Federistas are fired up that she has been “recognized” as an “emerging” candidate by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That can hardly be a bad thing, but this is exactly where she was in October 2006. Is it unreasonable to think that with all her fundraising, alleged increased name ID and such, that she should be moving up on the DCCC ladder? What is perhaps more telling is that while trumpeting the trumpeting the reports from partisan groups like the DCCC, the Federistas ignore non-partisan sources like Congressional Quarterly, which has a slightly different assessment of the race.
The recent primary, which objectively raises some questions, is treated like a watershed event. Ms. Feder defeated Mike Turner with almost 62% of the vote. First, move beyond the fact that the Democratic primary turnout was less than half that of the GOP event, or that Congressman’s Wolf’s total vote was almost double the entire Democratic turnout…which raises a whole ‘nother set of questions.
What should be raising eyebrows is that 62%. In a discussion at RK on Va-8 it was agreed that if an incumbent congressman was opposed by anyone, even a protest candidate, the mark that needed to be achieved was 80%. While it may be higher, the logic was that at any given time an elected official is going to have some number of folks upset with them, but as long as it was not more then 20% they were OK. This level has been the measuring stick going back generations.
Ms. Feder, the 2006 candidate, possessor of a large warchest, effectively the incumbent Democractic candidate, who has been in the field campaigning for two years, barely cleared 60% against someone not well known and not well funded. Some suggest her victory was a strong one. I think the 80% standard applies to her, and I think the fact that she did not clear it indicates problems…as well as the fact that she was unable to win Loudoun County. If she cannot take Loudoun County from a little known opponent, is it reasonable to think she is going to take it from an opponent who defeated her there in 2006?
Ms. Feder faces another disadvantage in 2008 she did not shoulder in 2006, and one there has been little mention of…this time around the Democrats control both houses of Congress. She will not be able to blame Mr. Wolf this year for the inadequacies of Congress as she attempted to do in 2006. If she wants to complain about Congress failing to get something done, it can all be dismissed as the failure of the majority party to act.
Is this race over? Not hardly. The folks at TC who are talking 65% are off base. 2008 will be a rough year for the GOP, and the bookies are undecided if the Obama enthusiasm of the spring will engender huge turnout from previously disinterested voters in the fall, and how they will vote. Add in the Gilmore drag…well, you get the picture. This thing is hard from over.
But if the Byrniacs are looking for another candidate to emotionally support, the Federistas will welcome them with open arms and wildly spinning explanations that show how everything that happens is a good thing for their candidate. We will just have to wait and see how that spinning works out for them.