Josh Marshall wonders about the DCCC not spending heavily to support Conor Lamb. Read the whole thing, but the basic question is whether the DCCC should be spending more than $300K in a race where the candidate has said he won’t vote for Pelosi for speaker.
PA-18 is an interesting race, because most of the spending for the Republican, Saccone, has been by third parties, while the Democratic spending has been mostly via the candidate’s campaign. In the first 7 weeks of the year, Lamb raised $3.3 million, while Saccone raised $700K. Most of Lamb’s support comes from small donors. Here’s the rundown of third party spending:
Helping Saccone: $1 million from the Republican National Committee; $2.9 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee; over $3 million from the Paul Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund; and just over $1 million from the America First Action super PAC, which was formed to promote the Trump administration agenda.
Meanwhile, Lamb has been buttressed by just over $300,000 from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. End Citizens United PAC and Patriot Majority PAC have each committed around $250,000 to the race.
I don’t know much about the PA-18 media market, but my guess is that the money spent by Lamb will be better spent, because it is under his direct control. From what I’ve seen in congressional campaigns in the past, a lot of third party spending pays for endless TV time and Facebook ads, which probably have a point of diminishing return. If Lamb spends his money wisely, he can target GOTV, local events, etc. that aren’t on the radar of big PACs. So, just looking at the numbers, I don’t think that the DCCC’s weak investment here is going to hurt Lamb. I’m not saying that Democrats shouldn’t spend more here (it seems like a relatively cheap way to drive a big win), but I don’t think the Lamb campaign has been crippled by lack of DCCC money. I also think it’s smart to give money to candidates directly, because in this environment a little money goes a long way for candidates who might not be the DCCC’s choice.
Here’s our Conor Lamb fund – I think DougJ stopped posting links for him because of his statements about gun control, so factor that into your decision.
I guess it’s a matter on how you look at it…
you can vote for the GOP nominee who you know will NOT vote for anything that we (as progressives/liberals/centrists/sane people) want or….
YOU CAN STAY HOME or….
or you can vote for this guy who will vote with us some of the time…
choice be thine to make… for those who live in this district…
DCCC is not involved because, if I recall, Lamb doesn’t want them to be. The idea is that in a very conservative US house district being supported by the national party is a liability. I don’t think its a bad strategy.
I feel like I have to support Dems wherever and whenever but i ‘m not inclined to support Dems who aren’t out and proud about being dems on gun control and supporting Nancy Pelosi–its such a stupid thing to make an issue of. Just say “I don’t take orders from Republicans about politics or policy! Look at what they support nationally and locally! Its crap!”
Please explain why I should send money to a candidate who even before winning the seat says he is not with Dems on major issues & wants to torpedo leadership?
Not to go all SteinBern here but gaddamnit there has to be some floor.
I have given a bit to him in the past, but after Parkland my rules have changed, and he seems to be doing very well with what he has.
Saccone is even worse on gun control, so consider that as well. Saccone’s campaign is also trying to tie him to Pelosi, saying he’ll be her “rubber stamp” so I think Lamb’s statements about not voting for her as the Dem’s house leader is more of a form of self-inoculation.
The PA-18 media market is Pittsburgh. I’ve seen vastly more ads for Saccone than for Lamb, so I’m assuming that Lamb’s campaign is spending its money in GOTV and the like.
I donated. I don’t regret it. At this point, we have to take a Democrat over anything else. I know Howard Dean was disparaged for his 50-state strategy, but without it, I don’t think we would have had the ACA.
Pennsylvania’s middle is a fucking weird place, and you have to deal with what you got. I have Keystone friends who voted for Hillary who are nevertheless vehemently anti-gun control legislation.
Besides, should the Dems take the House back, Pelosi will still win the Speakership and she’ll herd Lamb the way she herds the rest of them. And he’ll like it. Because NANCY SMASH.
To the surprise of no one, my answer is YES!
Trump and the GOP controlling the entire federal government is an existential threat to our Republic. Our best bet of ending this Trumpian hegemony is gaining a majority in the House. Given this, expediency must trump purity.
I also got mixed up about the date of the race. I thought it was tomorrow.
@oldgold: This is the crux of the matter. If there are more Democrats than Republicans in the House, then all committees and hearings will be run by Democrats. For the next two years, this is extremely important, for obvious reasons.
With redistricting he has to run again in November, right? It’s always great to win but I wouldn’t put too much $ into this under the circumstances.
@JR: Yep and that gets made into “Nancy Pelosi Sucks and is a Power Hungry Prima Donna when will that bitch resign already new faces” from the usual boobs. Whatever. I’ll give this time in the most unbooblike fashion possible.
I have given to Lamb’s campaign (and got a lovely thank you post card from him), but I have no problem with the DCCC only giving him a small amount of money.
First, with the new district lines that will be in place for Nov., Lamb is literally drawn out of PA-18. The new district he’ll be in will be more competitive for D’s and it is assumed he will transition into running for that seat.
Two, candidates are guaranteed a lower rate to run campaign ads, versus outside orgs that can have the rates jacked all to hell on them.
Third, Lamb has done an excellent job of keeping his campaign locally focused. If he wins it is because it stays that way. I really think that was one of the factors that worked against Ossoff in GA last year—the race became nationalized and that probably drove some of the R turnout.
Go Lamb! I don’t agree with all his positions but he’s been a fantastic candidate and run a great campaign.
@Marcopolo: Ossoff didn’t live in the district and that did play a small part.
@Schlemazel: Because it’s important.
Lamb won the contest to get the party’s nomination (500 party committee members). From last November:
The choice is an easy one, IMHO. Whether the money will help can be debated, but the necessity of doing what we can so that he takes the seat from the GOP, [isn’t].
The time to fight for a candidate in is the primary/etc. contest. After that – as long as the Republicans are insane and determined to destroy the country, we have to fight for the party.
If the DCCC’s not going to invest $$$, I wish they’d put that out there in a way that helps Lamb:
“Conor’s campaign has been about the citizens of Pennsylvania’s 18th determining their own future, not tied to a particular committee of either party. We think Conor would be a great representative, but he definitely bucks our party’s path on a few issues which contributes to the decision to keep our spending restrained as well.”
Something like that.
Gotta say, I’ll take a loose-cannon Democrat who will vote the party line only some of the time over a goddamn fascist Republican who will vote for pure evil all of the time. Purity comes later, after Democrats have retaken the House. Put Lamb in there this year, primary him with someone better in ’20 if he doesn’t measure up. Incremental improvement, people, or, as we say in the software biz, stepwise refinement.*
* “A way of developing a computer program by first describing general functions, then breaking each function down into details which are refined in successive steps until the whole program is fully defined.” – The Google
Major Major Major Major
@Another Scott: oh, he said being asked about his speaker vote was “presumptuous”? I assumed he’d said he wouldn’t support her, not that he hadn’t said he would.
Anyway go Lamb, better than a republican, I’d vote for him if I lived there because i understand the basic principles behind American politics.
Everyone demanded a return to the 50 state strategy – but the 50 state strategy brings in conserva-dems. I’m fine with Lamb winning. I donated earlier. He hasn’t earned more from me, but I’m not in PA. It’s up to PA dems & voters. Bless them, may he win and may they fix gerrymandering and if there’s a good full dem or progressive candidate, then you can vote for them.
@Another Scott: Saccone is a viper. I would much rather Lamb take him down now than contest him as the incumbent in November. And after the districts get re-drawn, I have zero issue with Lamb running again if he does lost next week.
@Major Major Major Major: Agreed. The “presumptuous” line gives him a lot more wiggle room there. Although I thought he did have a statement where he said he wouldn’t.
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The cool kids do iterative development, unless there’s a new buzzword this month.
There have to be certain districts where being associated with the national Democratic party probably hurts a candidate more than the extra money would help.
@Major Major Major Major:
It is ever the curse of cool kids to have to rename things to make them their own.
James E. Powell
They say this about every Democrat. And when a D says he doesn’t support Nancy Pelosi, the voters who are motivated by the argument that Pelosi is Satan will not believe the D. It’s like all the other dancing the Democrats do to avoid looking like they care about African Americans, to sound like a Republican on immigration, to praise tax cuts as always good, etc. The voters still believe every Democrat will raise their taxes and give free stuff to African Americans and immigrants. Just ask them, they will tell you.
How come nationalizing the election only hurts Democrats? Republicans nationalize every election.
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And all the Deaniacs-turned-Berners then decided that the guy who ran it was suddenly a fossilized sellout.
@James E. Powell: because republicans vote as a nationalized party, democrats still do not.
Everyone has their red line they can’t cross. If yours is gun control and that means you can’t support a Democrat who is not 100% pro-gun control, then fine.
I’d love to have a congress made up of 100 Liz Warrens and 435 Nancy Pelosis. However, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that what works in Manhattan and San Francisco may not work in rural Pennsylvania. Local concerns are different everywhere and personally, I think it better to have a Democrat who votes with us 65% of the time than a Republican who votes against us 100% of the time. (i.e., the reason it’s not smart to primary Joe Manchin in WV. He might be the only D that can win a senate seat in that state. It’s ok he’s not 100% pure, he’s better than whatever frothing loon the Rs will nominate.)
The media market is the Pittsburgh market, so it’s not overpriced but not cheap either. Throw in some Wheeling and, perhaps, Johnstown buys. Lamb is holding his own as far as number of commercials and the ones run by the Trump and Ryan pacs and the NRCC are full of ludicrous lies like Lamb will cut SS and will usher in a sanctuary city hellhole to suck us all in. Lamb’s ads are about him, what he wants to do and what he’s done. As far as guns go, he mirrors his district. In his favor, he’s firmly pro-choice despite being Catholic himself.
@Major Major Major Major: The new buzz word is “agile”.
@Major Major Major Major: He may have said something different more recently – that was from November.
Nancy knows how the game is played. If him saying he won’t support her helps him win the seat over a Republican, I’m sure she’ll be genuinely overjoyed.
The Moar You Know
Jesus, folks. You can have a moderate, blue-dog Democrat who will caucus with us, put Pelosi in the leadership chair, probably end up voting for everything you want regardless, but might not…or you can have a Trump supporter/enabler who keeps the House in Republican hands. This is a no-brainer.
@ruemara: Yep, and all it did was win us the House, Senate, and two years later the presidency. Sounds like a real shit idea.
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@NeenerNeener: agile hasn’t been the hot buzzword in ages. (I think I saw a job listing the other day that described “Daily Stand-up meetings around our Scrumban board” which I took to be a combination of agile, scrum, and kanban.)
It’s not in the middle. It is most definitely mostly in the southwestern of PA. That said, it’s a strange district (created by the GOP, of course). It has the middle to upper middle class suburbs just a few miles south of the city that tend to very blue and a larger, very rural area that is further south and another very rural area southeast of the city that are very red. Lamb is from the suburban area.
Ever been to that part of Pennsylvania? It’s on the West Virginia border. Very strong pro-gun culture. It’s not the northeast. A win is a win. We didn’t win the House yet.
@James E. Powell: Actually, I think there are a few congressional races in CA where nationalizing the race might benefit the D. I’m definitely thinking of areas with a high Hispanic population. FL, with the Puerto Rico/Haitian issue might also be that kind of place.
Anyways, I don’t think you can overly generalize about these things.
Ceci n est pas mon nym
@Doug!: PA race is next week.
There are TX primaries that are supposed to be important tomorrow, I guess as a measure of party enthusiasm?
And the WI special elections are scheduled… never.
In the current redistricting map, Lamb would be in the PA-19 district while Saccone would be in another (I forget which). But they wouldn’t be coming up against each other in any case.
Although PA is one of my very favorite states…..I don’t disagree with that statement ;)
He knows his district the same way that Doug Jones knew his state.
I just find it hard to believe they don’t want to win that seat because of some potential embarrassment to Nancy Pelosi.
I think they want to win and I’ve never seen the slightest (public) indication from Nancy Pelosi that she is anything other than ruthlessly pragmatic. This “Nancy Pelosi’s hurt feelings” theory just doesn’t seem credible to me.
This bears repeating.
edit: Plus, it’s PA! We’re never gonna get better than this. Perspective, people.
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@Kay: the simplest explanation is that they decided to stay out of it because it wouldn’t help.
Edited to remove incorrect assumption
@Major Major Major Major:
They all hate being in the minority. They said “let’s give on up to spare Pelosi’s feelings?” Hmmm.
@Kay: Yeah, honestly I like a lot of JMM’s reporting (particularly the muckraking stuff) but when it comes to electoral politics and analysis he seems to have a tin ear. Maybe that is why he provides a home for Judis who I think is likewise often just plain wrong.
Tectonic plates are shifting, folks. https://t.co/HDiQzC6Yti
— Beverlee Hughes (@BeverleeHughes3) March 5, 2018
Students are registering to vote in droves— and by doing so, are about to transform our state and our nation. They have the power. They will be heard. They will get weapons of war banned once and for all. #StudentsStandUp #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/A6T3rTTVhj
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) March 3, 2018
@JR: Do we have actual confirmation of that? It would be a nice talking point to rebut the “DCCC is evil!” bits I keep seeing.
That said, I have been surprised that Lamb isn’t getting more attention from the national orgs. He’s got a longshot, but it’s a decent enough chance that we should take it.
I love how Democrats have no Master Plan other than devious plans in all these theories. They’re only a well-oiled machine when thwarting wins by Democrats.
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@Kay: yeah, but it fits the narrative.
@rikyrah: Just watched that video of Andrew Gillum. Damn, I wish I could vote for him, but I checked, he’s in FL.
Remind me again of who you are voting for in IL for governor? JB just cancelled his participation in forum here tonight, but Kennedy is holding a meet and greet. What’s your thought on Kennedy? The Young Demorats here in Champaign like him but that’s really all I know. I need to get busy.
@Major Major Major Major:
If Nancy Pelosi got in the way of such a high profile win in order to salve her hurt fee fees then she’s a terrible, selfish leader who is denying her Party a possible majority and should be removed.
But I bet she didn’t.
@Major Major Major Major: Then my employer is even farther behind the times than I thought….
@rikyrah: Thanks, that is encouraging news.
As for DCCC and Lamb, I’ll send some money. I don’t care what the DCCC says, and I find their rationale overly delicate.
One of the things that has concerned me is that, from data I have seen, Democratic Party support has not risen much at all during the Trump era. Republican ID has fallen, and independent ID has risen. There is a section of population that doesn’t like either major political party.
Seems to me that DCCC is the part of Dem establishment most insistent that things be done exactly the way they have been done recently, no exceptions, even though that has not worked out very well. Who cares if Lamb won’t vote for Pelosi? She won”t have any trouble if the Dems regain majority. There are some incumbent Dem reps who haven’t voted for her either, I think from right wing side of party. Is the DCCC going after them (honest question, I don’t know)?
@Major Major Major Major: That’s what that means. We do the same thing, but they’re not ‘stand-up meetings’, they’re more like getting bogged down in arguments and discussions for an hour. :P
@Kay: Hard for me to believe that Pelosi gives a damn. My hunch is that this is coming from the DCCC campaign apparachiks.
@WaterGirl: I’m on the wrong side of the river, but the folks I know from IL say lots of nice things about Daniel Biss. Course, they just might be tired of having these really wealthy mooks with no government experience think they can waltz into the Governor’s office and do a good job.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
She’s been saying for a decade that she is unperturbed by Dems who trash her on the campaign trail, and I believe her. After the Jones election, it came out that the DNC (insert dramatic squirrel music) had been quietly putting indirect money into the race to avoid nationalizing it. I suspect something similar is going on here
@Nicole: This isn’t Pennsylvania’s “middle.” The 18th is gerrymandered to essentially dilute the votes of affluent, Democratic leaning suburbs in Pittsburgh’s South Hills by combining those areas with more rural locations to the west and southwest, and also to the east. It includes both Washington and Greensburg, PA. To me, it looks like a lopsided bow tie and appears to cross four separate counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland.
ETA: I should have added that I gave to Lamb already, and have decided to hold off from further direct donations. I was in Pittsburgh three weeks ago and the volume of advertisements was intense, for both candidates. It was at saturation point already. My sister groaned when she realized the election was more than a month away.
I gave some additional money to the DCCC, irrespective of their dumping on the candidate from Texas that progressives seem to love. ISTM that if you actually are on record saying something like you’d rather be dead than go back to living in the place you are trying to represent in Congress, voters should find that out sooner rather than later. I have friends who voted for Sanders who were surprised when I asked them about the fact that he used to write pornographic stories.
@James E. Powell: It hurts Dems by motivating Republicans, I think. Handel wasn’t that popular but it helped her to accurately claim that national Dems were supporting Ossoff.
@geg6: Really I just want a good rep like Lamb in the House. I really liked his pro-choice statement and something tells me he can be a cut loose on gun control although he might be open to the more reasonable measures being proposed. It’s weird but I like the guy.
@marcopolo: I like TPM but Christ on a cracker, Josh Marshal needs an editor. Today he links to his own piece from 2016 and calls it revelatory (with many extra out of place words in the article) Sheesh. And Judis is like opposite man. Always wrong, but never uncertain.
@jl: Here’s the thing about groups like the DCCC–they are run by folks who have agendas. In the past few weeks I have been really unhappy how the DCCC injected itself into the open D primary in TX-07:
On the other hand, they have restrained themselves from endorsing 7 term D incumbent Dan Lipinski in IL-03 which I applaud because that district should be repped by a more liberal Dem:
By the way, Pelosi has endorsed Lipinski.
Anyways, I don’t get my undies in a bunch, instead I just don’t give money to the DCCC. I give money to individual candidates, which with today’s campaign finance technology is easy as pie.
@marcopolo: I give some money to the DCCC and DSCC at the end of the month when they have their triple-match stuff. I don’t like leaving money on the table.
Otherwise, I don’t pay too much attention to them because they can only help at the margins. Ultimately, it comes down to the candidate and how well they can get voters to turn out for them.
@geg6: Redistricting could be a possible win/win for us. Saccone would have to go against Mike Doyle, my congressman and a popular leftie. That district would include the majority of the African American voters and Oakland, the location of Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and Chatham College, as well as the wealthier liberal city dwellers (Shadyside, Point Breeze and Squirrel Hill for those familiar).
Lamb would have to run against Keith Rothfus, who is basically just a seat warmer. That new district, as drawn, would favor a Dem. As was said above, there has been saturation of the Pittsburgh airwaves, so Lamb is now probably more well known than Rothfus.
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@marcopolo: the TX-07 thing is really weird, I suspect there’s something more going on than we know.
This drove me nuts last year with the DCCC’s minuscule contributions to the Dem special election candidates in Kansas and Montana. In November 2018, when there are 435 House races going on at once, resources are scarce, and money invested in one race is money that isn’t going somewhere else. You’re stuck with making tough choices.
But now, and even more so back in early 2017, when there were only going to be 4 House races all year, what was the point of holding back? If the DCCC fights those battles, it tells us that the DCCC is with us in these fights, and we open up our checkbooks and give to the DCCC. If they don’t, then we learn that the DCCC has no idea what’s happening in this country, it isn’t willing to fight many battles, and we give to individual candidates through ActBlue.
Josh is right that we really need a DCCC-type organization, that can raise lots of money and use it more effectively than we individual donors can. (For instance, we tossed way more money into the Ossoff race than could have possibly made sense.) But it’s got to be an organization that we grassroots donors can trust to do the right thing, to know when to fight more rather than fewer battles, and that we can trust to not try to overrule the wisdom of the grassroots by endorsing mediocre but rich candidates over candidates that have local backing.
So either the DCCC needs to do better, or we need to build a replacement for it. Maybe SwingLeft could fill that bill, I don’t know. But I know I’m not giving to the DNC, the DSCC, or the DCCC. I’ll give to the DLCC because it looks like they must be doing something right with 39 flips so far, and besides, I can’t possibly pick winners among the thousands of races for state legislatures this year. But that’s the only D-something that will get my money this year, and for the near-term future.
Speaking of Doug Jones..
Remember how, before the election, it was ‘ the national Dems aren’t really supporting Jones’…
and, then, after the election, we found out that they were doing it on the down low, following Jones’ lead?
why do we think this is any different?
@geg6: As a born-and-bred Pennsylvanian (South Central), I still tend to adhere to James Carville’s assertion that PA is basically Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in the middle. ;) I’d argue that Alabama oozes into the Pittsburgh part as well. That said, despite being buried in Trump-Pence signs, my stepmom’s county went for Clinton in 2016, probably due to the county including Harrisburg. Like I said, weird state. I love it dearly, but it’s weird.
@Barbara: Oh, I don’t disagree about the bullshit gerrymandering that’s been done in PA; I was born and raised in south central PA, and have followed the redistricting with intense interest. But I don’t think the Pittsburgh area is as left-leaning as those who live outside the state would like to think. Compared to where I grew up, sure. But compared to Philly, no.
Anyway, I think Lamb is a decent Democratic candidate for that part of the state.
Yeah, that is what would be my district on the new map (Lamb’s, not Saccone’s). And I am chomping at the bit to get rid of Rothfus. I despise him on every level. Lamb could definitely beat him. And Mike Doyle would crush Saccone completely.
Pittsburgh is as solid blue as Philadelphia is. It’s just much smaller. But the ‘burbs are more Dem than the Philly ‘burbs. So Pittsburgh is about as solid Dem as any very liberal city. Don’t know where anyone got the idea Pittsburgh isn’t. Now, if you want to discuss Greene, Washington, Westmoreland or Butler counties, you’re looking at pretty solid red country there. But they aren’t the city in any case.
@James E. Powell: I come from Pittsburgh and now live in the district that has that Republican boogeyman as a rep (Nancy Pelosi). I don’t think she cares what Democratic candidates say when they are running, she’s a big girl and can handle herself if/after they are elected.
My recollection of Pittsburgh is it is far more red than most cities (Philly), but from what I know of people who still live there, the core of the city is turning more blue while the greater Pittsburgh area (where Lamb is running) has been getting more red. Overall, maybe a slight blueish trend, but maybe a wash.
If Lamb thinks he needs to say what he says to win, well he knows the district far better than I do or anyone from outside the tri-state area (western PA, east OH, WV panhandle). From what I remember, I’m not sure he’s wrong—strong “pro-gun” people who don’t realize the NRA is not the NRA they remember, similar on “pro-life”, and a whole bunch of people who will NEVER admit they were wrong to vote for Trump. Maybe, someday they might say that Trump left THEM, but to admit that he was always who he was… no, never. If they were that sort of people to admit mistake, they would have left the area long ago (or moved to a nicer area closer to the city as that is certainly affordable). The disconnect is strong, they’ll all root for the Steelers and defend the Rooneys until the end while in the same breath saying the NFL stands for “N-word For Life.”
@geg6: Allegheny County is as blue as Montgomery County. The cities themselves are quite similar, but Pittsburgh does not have its own county as Philadelphia does. It gets counted as part of Allegheny. I think the eastern part of the state is more Democratic leaning overall. I reject the “Alabama in between” comparison because Alabama is not Catholic, not nearly as white, and not nearly as old as Central Pennsylvania. Above all, you need to understand that Pennsylvania is old.
@terry chay: Your recollection is or has become wrong. Pittsburgh is as Democratic leaning as Philadelphia. The surrounding counties are not as Democratic as Chester or Montgomery Counties, however.
Oh, I understand that perfectly. I’m young compared to most of my neighbors. And I’m 59 yo. But is the Catholic thing that strong in central PA? I live in Beaver, so it’s a big thing here. But we have a cabin in Titusville and it seems quite Baptist and evangelical there. As an atheist, I don’t really fit in either place. I swear that when I retire, I’m moving to the city again (I went to Pitt as an undergrad and loved living in Oakland).
The DCCC not getting in is a function of (1) Lamb doesn’t want their $, (2) this is a 9 month job, and (3) the current district goes away under the new map drawn by the PASC, which will be in place for the May primary & November election (provided serve is held in Federal Court). The new district will be much friendlier to a generic D, and will likely be a focus district in November.
David ??Merry Christmas?? Koch
You know who else is running and pledging to oust Pelosi — This guy (link)