When Pennsylvania Republican Jim Greenwood decided to drop his re-election effort, it had to be one of the happiest days of Democratic candidate Ginny Schrader
's life. She instantly moved from 'sacrificial lamb' to 'contender' in the eyes of many, not the least of those being the folks out there in the blogosphere who started kicking in dollars to a campaign that had generated little previous interest. She pulled in about 20 grand in an afternoon, basically doubling her take to date. It's not much in the grand scale of things, really (estimates of the price of a winning campaign in PA-8 run about $750,000), but it's a start.
I'm sure the news caught her by surprise, and she wasn't the only one. For any number of reasons, not the least of which was her status as a challenger against a popular incumbent, Schader wasn't on anyone's target list. There are hundreds of Democratic Congressional candidates, and even the Press Secretary of the DCCC is bound to come up a bit short on the details of each and every one of those. That's no doubt why Greg Speed was pretty generic in his comments to The Hill
when they called for comment.
This is a very good opportunity for a Democratic pickup. This a district that is every day becoming Democratic," said Greg Speed, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"Bucks County was carried by [Gov.] Ed Rendell [D-Pa.] by over 50,000 votes. We're watching developments closely and are optimistic should the seat open up," Speed said.
Speed declined to comment on whether Schrader could -- or even would -- be replaced with another candidate
Because Speed wouldn't respond to an unsourced rumor the Hill reporter was flogging that Democrats might be looking for a more formidable candidate now that the seat is open, Kos went off
. And when Kos goes off, the Kossacks go wild. Of course, Speed also declined to comment on whether Schrader should be replaced, and on an incalculable number of other topics. Apparently Speed has somehow failed to maintain a knowledge of Pennsylvania election law, primary schedules, candidate profiles, and who knows what else at his fingertips. Based on the verb tenses he used, "...should the seat open up...", he doesn't even seem to be on Jim Greenwood's speed dial! There was stuff he actually didn't know
! And he actually didn't talk about what he didn't know! Unlike, of course, those of us in the armchair punditocracy of the internet, who know all, and say more.
Not only did the DKos comments start to flow, but the overflow vitriol hit the DCCC blog, The Stakeholder
, prompting Jesse Lee, the erstwhile blogger-in-chief there, to post a late night note that he didn't have any comment on Speed's non-comment. That only made matters worse, of course. How could anyone fail to instantly recognize the magnificance of Ginny Schrader! Hasn't every Democratic primary winner from time immemorial been the ideal candidate? And don't those DCCC staffers make the big bucks to maintain a close personal relationship with each and every one of them?
Now, maybe Kos was already intimately familiar with the race, but I, at least, didn't know a damn thing about Ginny Schrader, and having spent a couple hours reading her website and googling all the press coverage I could find of her race to date, I still don't know a whole lot. Seems like she's a very nice person, with a wonderful family, who has made her living as a staff attorney for an insurance company until she got excited about politics a couple years ago. She's got some fine boilerplate platititudes on a variety of issues, a handful of endorsements from her county Party, some elected officials and what I suppose are some prominent locals. Her endorsement list doesn't, curiously, include a single labor union, environmental group, women's organization, teacher's organization, civil rights organization or any other meaningful Democratic constituency (given her profession, I wouldn't expect to find the trial lawyers on the list, but not a single union? Not even a local? Whassup, Ginny?)
She also hasn't, to this point, got enough money to compete. Maybe the Kossacks will change all that. I hope so, but there's a long, long way to go. Maybe the union PACs will jump aboard now. I hope she merits and recieves their support. Maybe the DCCC will target the seat now that it's open. That would be good.
But trashing the DCCC because they weren't ready with a blogger-approved response to a blind question from a Capitol Hill reporter (and we still don't know what the question that Speed offered the 'no comment' response to was) is just silly, folks. There was no suggestion, from Greg Speed, Jesse Lee or any named source at all, that Ginny Schrader could, would or should be replaced. There is word from Schrader herself
that "No one has asked me to step aside and I would not step aside."
I know that there's substantial suspicion of the Party heirarchy out there. Some of it is doubtless justified, but not over this. If Ginny Schrader is going to get elected, it will probably involve some degree of cooperation with the DCCC. If she's elected and hopes to be effective, it's going to take some degree of cooperation with the Caucus. Let's not poison the well, for her or anyone else.
If you want to drop some dollars on Schrader, you can do it right here
But she's one of hundreds. While you're doing that, how about spreading a little of the wealth. You can help a bunch of folks at once by sharing a little with the Campaign for a New Majority right here
Meanwhile, maybe some of y'all know what Ms. Schrader's position on plaintiff's rights might be. And why the unions have been so shy with their support.
And take a deep breath. There's an enemy out there, but they don't work for the DCCC. Really.