Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rendell Should Keep His Philly Nose Out of Pa 15th Congressional District

In his homily to the party faithful in late March, bossman Joe Long told local Dems why they need to get behind Sam Bennett.

Money.

Bennett, unlike other local Dems, can attract funds from the big money people and DCCC. Other candidates will just confuse the folks in DC.


Well, Sam Bennett's first campaign finance report is in, and it appears that all those promises from political forecaster Long were just pipe dreams. Bennett has less cash on hand than any other candidate seeking a congressional seat in Pennsylvania, except for Congressman Todd Platts, an incumbent with no announced opponent.

Quelle surprise!

Of the $63,022.56 total that Sam pulled in with her trusty garden rakes, there's no DCCC money at all! Most of her $24,000 in PAC money comes from unions. Any Democrat who announced as early as Bennett could easily match that.

So if it's not money, why are party bosses so quick to gather round Rendell? Bennett told Bill Cahir in May that she's already locked up the support of Rick Daugherty, chairman of the Lehigh County Democratic Committee, and T.J. Rooney, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Why has no one contradicted or qualified this?

Ed Rendell.

According to the Properties of Merit webpage, Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania DCED are credited with grants in excess of $100,000. A Morning Call editorial tells us "Mr. Rendell has helped Ms. Bennett by appearing at the annual POM recognition events. In the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary here, he annoyed other Allentown Democrats by singling out Ms. Bennett for campaign support in the primary."

Now, thanks to the FEC, we know that Rendell has given $1,000, from his own pocket, to fuel Bennett's misguided congressional aspirations. This is highly unusual, especially from a governor who refused to endorse a mayoral candidate in Philly, his own city.

I like Rendell. He's a likable guy. But he should keep his Philly nose out of Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district. Ed, let us make our own mistakes!
Update: The Bennett campaign has told Josh Drobnyk they expect to raise $2 million. Really! They must mean monopoly money.
Oopsie! TJ Rooney is a former state rep, but is still the state chair.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is already clear that Charlie Dent is running scared this time, because he faces a formidable opponent who will be well-funded and articulate. His political people are trying hard already to get Sam Bennett out of the race, so he can get a free pass. These efforts will include using the press to plant embarassing and misleading stories, such as the one last week. (And whatever the reporter's motivations in writing the story, the quick involvement of Sen. Pat Browne shows there was a political component.)

It is important for us to remember, and to remind others, that this is politics-as-usual for Republicans in general and Charlie Dent in particular, a so-called "nice guy" who nevertheless doesn't vote "nice" and is surrounded by some pretty nasty political advisors. We only have to go back to the last election to recall that Dent and Shawn Millen spent over a million dollars bludgeoning Charles Dertinger.

A.J. Cordi said...

Bernie: Do you know when Rendell gave Bennett the $1,000 from his pocket?

Anon: What was misleading about last weeks article? And which article are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

She will be well-funded. If by formidable and articulate you mean, finally winning something and not speaking in an inebreated rant. we will see.

Anonymous said...

She will be well-funded. If by formidable and articulate you mean, finally winning something and not speaking in an inebreated rant. we will see.

Bernie O'Hare said...

AJ, Rendell's donation was made on 6/28/07, and out of his own pocket. he made his donation before Bennett's nonprofit salary blew up in her face.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:50, or should I say Walt?

Scared?

Are you out of your frickin' mind? Bennett is an early Christmas present for Dent. All you need to do now is out a bow on her. The last thing he wants is for her to step down.

Dude, I saw your email. It's posted at BethDem's blog. Folks, this is the work of Walter Ludwig, a principal at TeamBlue Politics, Inc., a Washington-based political consultant. Bennett paid his outfit $6,895 over the last reporting period for this kind of crap. This post is Ludwig's email, nearly word for word.

This firm is so good it managed to blow Mfume's senatorial race in Maryland after he was ahead in the polls. And now it'll soak up the dough like a sponge here and be long gone when Bennett loses, or more likely, pulls out.

Anonymous said...

What does this Walter Ludwig know about how to win in the 15th CD? If he is running the campaign for Bennett then it is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Anonymous said...

It is already clear that Charlie Dent is running scared this time, because he faces a formidable opponent who will be well-funded and articulate.

Do you NOT understand why some Democrats are upset over Bennett? She doesn't have a chance against Dent and some of us would like to see a better candidate instead.

There was nothing misleading about the POM story. Nothing in the editorials sent by Bennett's team did anything to refute the MCall's story as to how her compensation was determined. Nothing in those letters help justify why Sam deserves 1/3 of POM's budget. Nothing in those letters did anything to help her.

Project 90 is a good idea in theory, but for the love of God, PLEASE take care to put all of that money behind a qualified candidate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This dude is running no Project 90 this time. It's more like project $90k. At Ludwig's current rate, he'll be well beyond that. And just think, this is only one of the candidates he's soaking!

Anonymous said...

I don't get it.

You think the support of a well-liked Democratic governor is a BAD thing? Or do you just dislike Bennett so much that you want another option? Judging by the last several elections, there doesn't seem to be many options.

Anonymous said...

Bennett doesn't have a chance?

Please. Dent barely beat an unknown Dertinger last election. I've lived here my whole life and never once seen Dertinger's face. Dent spent over 1 million dollars to beat a nobody who spend $80K.

Dent is running scared, I agree. Why else would he make the perp walk to the White House to beg W to change course in Iraq?

He knows his constituency is ready to give him the ouster - and all it will take is someone who can speak clearly against the war. Its not about our district. Its the war, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Sam Bennett. She hired a (gasp!) political consultant!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:02

1) The support of a well-liked Democratic Governor is a good thing, in a general election, after the people have already decided the Democratic nominee.

2) Rendall's financial support, from his own pocket and in the form of that ridiculous grant, is an intrustion into local politics. He's running a play here and I don't like machine politics in primaries. Too often, it enables a chosen few to triumph over the majority within a party.

3) And yes, I dislike Bennett that much as a candidate. Everything she has done has been touched by idiocy, from filing her first statement to the nonprofit to the goofy claim about all those pledges to hiring a nonlocal consultant who just doesn't get it. She is also an opportunist out for herself. Between Dent and Bennett, it isn't even close. If you think things are bad now, wait until Dent gets ahold of her. He'll tear her apart in the general election. And she should be torn apart. She's a terrible candidate. I would not support her for any office, let alone congress.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:08,

It's not that she hired a political consultant. It's that she hired a nonlocal political consultant who doesn't have a clue about the LV. And why on earth is she paying this dude $3k per month when she has no primary? And he did a terrific job keeping a lid on thaty story about her nonprofit salary.

His talking points email convinces me of just one thing - he'll milk this for wehat it's worth and then he'll bail.

Think he's good? Ask Mfume in maryland.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:06,

OK. Well, you and Sam can skip through the Allentown Rose Garden and sing to the birds and kiss the butterflies. At night you can get together by a campfire, have a few sing-a-longs, toast marshmellows and tell each other scary stories about Charlie Dent. And after November, that's where Sam will remain.

Yes, I'm stupid, but not that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I read her finance report and she is also paying a local guy from Coopersburg. Is he a political consultant, too? And does that meet your criteria for having a local consultant?

LVDem said...

oh man, why'd you have to drag the Rose Garden into politics. That's just low man.

For the record, Rendell dumped millions into state house/senate races in 2006. I don't have a problem with him putting money into primaries, but I would have a significant problem if he's clearing the field. Money is one thing. It's his money. He is free to express his support the way anybody else with money can (besides, 1k doesn't even hit the contribution limit). However, telling an opponent to get out, to me that's entirely different. I never did like what happened with Joe Hoeffel when he was running for Lt Gov. I don't see anything to suggest that Rendell is chasing other people out of this race right now. If I'm wrong on that, please correct me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:48,

Yes, I saw that she actually has two consultants. In addition to the $6k she's squandered on TeamBlue Politics Inc, she is also paying Jeff Cook another $6k in a primary race with no opponents.

Funny thing about Cook. I googled him last night, and don't think he has much experience as a political consultant. His claim to fame has been as a union rep.

So basically, Bennett has poured $12k down the drain. That's Ok, because it's not my money.

Anonymous said...

I know about Cook. He has been fired from a couple of unions and political campaigns over the last few years and yet he still puts himself out as a political consultant. Another scammer just like Sam Bennett. They are made for each other.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem,

This is not about Rendell's first amendment rights, This is about a sitting Demiocratic governor pouring his own money into one candidates coffers in a primary election. What kind of message do you think that sends?

Dude, ask Pawlowski how he felt during the A-town mayoral primary when Rendell was supporting Bennett.

The governor should not be deciding our candidates for congress. That's our job.

BethlehemDem said...

First, No way is Dent scared of Bennett. Dent is thrilled to be facing her instead of Boscola, Callahan or Wallitsch. I like Sam Bennett as a political chairman. She works hard for candidates and is great at GOTV efforts, however she is a lousy candidate.

Second, Rendell giving money to Bennett is fine, like LVDem said. The problem I have is the appearence that the sitting Governor's contribution makes to other candidates. A candidate may be reluctant to enter the race, if they feel that the top party officials have supported Bennett.

Third, hiring a political consultant is fine. However, a Congressional race is essentially a local race. A national consultant, who knows little about Lehigh Valley voters, is not the way to go.

Bernie O'Hare said...

BethDem,

Whew!

You have established, beyond all doubt that I am completely full of shit twice in the span of one week. LVDem is more gentle. When I saw your comment, I dreaded opening it.

Now that I have, I see we pretty much agree. I don't have a problem w/ Rendell contributing to Bennnett's campaign once she is anointed by the party faithful. But we decide on our candidate, not him.

LVDem said...

"What kind of message do you think that sends?"

The message it sends is that Rendell support Bennett. And I'm fine with that. What I would not be fine with is if another candidate emerges and then receives a call from Rendell asking him/her to step out of the race. That's exactly what happened with Hoeffel. That I don't think is right.

Rendell giving a contribution does not restrict my right to select a candidate in the primary. However, putting presure on a candidate to get out or stay out does put a restriction on my right.

LVDem said...

As far as national consultants go, they typically serve a very valuable function in fundraising in national networks. Most congressional campaigns use multiple consultants any way. The best function for a national consultant is in shaking down the DC money trees. At this point, my guess is that this is the function of any consultant (local or national) that has been hired.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem,

Rendell: When the Democratic governer supports a primary candidate in a race outside his own district, with his own money, that act alone has a chilling effect on putative candidates. In effect, it is clearing the field. That's why I wish he'd keep his nose out of this race.

consultant: A national consultant is used to shake down national money trees? Well that explains why Ludwig is giving talking points to local Dems.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernie - where on the FEC report can you examine her expenditures? I couldn't find it on the report. Can you post a link?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:32,

On my post I refer to Bennett's campaign finmance report, and the link is theree. If you scroll up you'll see other links to itemized receipts and expenditures. The summary is here. Itemized receipts are here. Expenditures are here.

Anonymous said...

" Charles Dent has voted with a majority of his Republican colleagues 83.5% of the time during the current Congress." washingtonpost.com.
One reason Bennett is electable.

Anonymous said...

7/12/07 Vote 624: H R 2956: This bill would require the president to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq 120 days after its enactment and would require most troops to be withdrawn by April 1, 2008. The bill also states that the 2002 congressional authorization for the Iraq war only authorized the president use force to confront an Iraqi government that threatened the United States. The measure says that the new Iraqi government is not a threat and that it "now be responsible for Iraq's future course." Language in the bill requires the president to submit a "comprehensive strategy" for Iraq to certain congressional committees by January 1, 2008 and requires him to update that strategy again in July, 2008 and every 90 days thereafter. The bill passed the House on July 12 by a vote of 223 to 201. President Bush has promised to veto any bill that sets a deadline for troop withdrawal. Dent voted No on this bill.

Anonymous said...

Check who gave to Dent.
http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_give/2007_H4PA15087

Anonymous said...

Individuals Who Gave To: DENT, CHARLES W
http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/2007_H4PA15087

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Gentlemen and ladies,

Everyone is missing several very important, very valuable points in this thing, all of which make this a more interesting story anyway:

1.) Sitting Governors with Rendell's clout and wealth usually contribute to any candidate from their party who has filed. Right now, Sam is the only option. IF, for example, Jennifer Mann entered tomorrow, then I would be interested in seeing how he acts. Let's wait and see.

2.) Poll numbers that show the public as unhappy with the war, George W. Bush, and the GOP in general, have been extremely high for nearly two years now. With that said, only 30 house seats switched last year. *Yawn* I don't think we can sit here and say Dent's done for that. You need a viable opponent to get there.

3.)Sam Bennett is not a legitimate candidate. Sam has lost two primaries for MAYOR of Allentown. That's not two general election losses for congress, or a statewide loss, or even a state senate loss, but two municipal primaries. In one race, she turned her primary concession into a drunkin' rant. In the other, she lost as the front-runner. In addition, she has little money on hand. Finally, don't forget her ties to Joey Long, which did not help any of the last three congressional nominees too much. She's weak.

4.) There was nothing misleading about that article, she just has an ethics problem.

5.) Yes, most of us do want another candidate, not the one Joey Long and the Boys chose. Candidates like Callahan, Mann, Boscola, Wallitsch, or even darkhorses like Freeman, Grucela, Samuellson, or Brennan would make fine nominees. Sam's a loser, they all have track records of winning.

6.)If a DC consultant is wasting time commenting on blogs instead of raising cash and perfecting a message, they should get lost.

7.) National themes do not win congressional races for people who are weak candidates. Did national themes help Sestak and Pat Murphy? Sure did. They didn't do squat for Lois Murphy though. Good recruitment is key one to building big majorities.

Don't come on here right now and defend Sam with baseless national talking points. She's just gotten hammered on ethics and flopped fundraising. Call a spade a spade. I want to see Charles W. Dent run out of town like the vermin he is, but Sam's not going to get it done. In fact, she may be worse.

Greendogdem said...

I am not impressed by this fund raising. Especially since it looks like they shook the money tree and got pitance donations.

Demothug said...

If Steve samuelson announced, I'd work fulltime for free for his campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare:

Who are you calling gentlemen?? Them's fightin' words.

Regarding Point 1, I looked thru the FEC reports, and saw no contributions by Rendell to any of the candidates in the next congressional race, excepting Bennett. Don't forget, this is money out of Rendell's own pocket. I pretty much agree with all your remaining points.

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Bernie,

I'm kind of surprised he didn't financially aid anyone else. I'm still interested to see how he'd behave if a better candidate stepped forward. Sam's got about no chance at this point of ever seeing the floor on Capitol Hill. They might as well run Boss Long.

Anonymous said...

OK. Well, you and Sam can skip through the Allentown Rose Garden and sing to the birds and kiss the butterflies. At night you can get together by a campfire, have a few sing-a-longs, toast marshmellows and tell each other scary stories about Charlie Dent. And after November, that's where Sam will remain.

Yes, I'm stupid, but not that stupid.


What was this comment implying?

I hate to say it, but the bit about "Waaah, we pick our own candidates" sounds a bit "hayshakerish."

Anonymous said...

Um, maybe Rendell simply likes Sam Bennett?

I don't know her. I know of her losses in the primaries. Would she have been worse than Roy Afflerbach?

Holding Allentown voters up as some beacon of political adroitness is comical unto itself.

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

I love how some people defend Sam by attacking everyone who attacks her (Bernie, Mcall, other bloggers). Do you not get this? Joe Long also promised us that Joe Driscoll could hang. That worked really, really well, didn't it? I know that machines in places like Philly and Chicago pick candidates, but they are usually successful. Joe gives us a pile of pony loaf everytime. Dertinger was the best pick he ever made, and that was because Charles knew a little about politics. He's won one more public race than Sam has at least. With that said, he was even a write-in, meaning they had failed the recruitment stage. There's no sense in having an all-powerful machine that always gets smacked every two years.

Anon 9:06 Who Bernie Arrogantly Insulted said...

Perhaps thats because there are no potential candidates worth a hill of beans? Why isn't anyone stepping up to the plate? Perhaps Ed Rendell's "Philly Nose" is backing the only horse in the race?

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Anon 9:06,

Of course no one decent is stepping up: They've been let know that the "activist" core of the party won't be backing them. That's a great way to start a campaign against a well-funded incumbent. Joey Long and his boys are a curse on this party.

Unfortunately until someone with a ton of time to recruit their own slate of committee people runs against him, and has a fair chance, Boss Long is the boss 'round these here parts.

Anon 9:06 said...

Activist shmactivist. This election is about the War in Iraq and not about LV hayshaker politics.

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Anon 9:06,

in your dreams. If that's the case, where is Congressman Dertinger? I wish you were right, however, you are full of donkey loaf. You can push the wishful liberal line that whoever we put up, in any district, anywhere in 2008, will win because of Bush, however that is just not going to cut it.

Good candidates win challenge seats. Bad candidates do not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:06,

Actually, the election is about LV haymaker politics. If it were about Iraq, I wouldn't trust a damn word Bennett says. I think she tries to be all things to all people, an easy thing to do when you have no track record.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, people did not elect Toomey and Dent for local politics. They vote for federal tax cuts.

As for last year, its all about the money. Give Bernie O'Hare a million dollars and he'd have beaten Dent. ;)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Give me a million and you'll never see me again!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Since when was TJ a former PA State chair?
Isn't he still wearing the crown?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Oh shit. He's a former state rep, but still wears the crown.

Will correct.

Anonymous said...

You never declared to be perfect, perhaps you should make a run at Chuckie???

Bernie O'Hare said...

The only thing I run for is the fridge.

Anonymous said...

County Executive Stoffa, Governor Angle and Congressman O'Hare.

'It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine'

Anonymous said...

Bernie 9:17 am:
I know that Bennett used Karen Ritter and her husband (Bob something, I think) who are local consultants both times she ran for mayor.

I volunteered on both campaigns and I think they did a good job although she was a really bad candidate. I don't think she listened to them or followed their advice very much.

It doesn't look like she is using them to run for Congress. Why? Does that mean she can't find a local consultant to run her campaign?

Are they backing her or supporting her for Congress? Anybody know?

Brian said...

I thought Eddie was a cheese steak guy but that wall behind him in that pic looks like the wall at the Primanti's in the Strip in Pittsburgh and that does look the right kind of bread.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:52,

Angle will be disppointed to learn he's been demoted from the rank of Emperor. And I'll tell 'ya something. My grandfather was very nearly elected to the US Senate many years ago. He went to bed thinking he had won, and awoke to learn the people had re-evaluated. "A bar on every corner" just didn't go over that well as a campaign slogan for some reason.

Anonymous said...

God it is tough being a Democrat. I'm for world view foreign relations, decent health care for all, going aftrer poverty and ignorance - the root causes of crime, and not confusing democracy and free capitalism as synonyms. When 100 people control 5 trillion dollars of our wealth we are talking a much less then free marketplace.
Does any of this matter? No, because my party is a cult that spews silly candidates and holds blind hero worship over pragmatic winning politics. Golly Gee, if Bill Clinton moved to the 15th and ran I bet he would win. Grucella, Samuelson, etc., nice guys but outside of their areas, who are they. You need a Lehigh County Dem with a good Lehigh Valley name. If from Northampton Co. they better have proven vote getting ability in other than Allentown. Maybe I would look in the phonebook at the names of current and past Dem. officals and see how many times the name is repeated. Sounds silly but no more silly then this Poly Sci 101 crap spewed by some in our party.
Sam will get the nomination, the field has been cleared, Sam will lose. Leaders are already starting to try to clear the field for other Dems in other local races coming up. We deserve to lose.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:17, 9:52, I don't know whether Ritter is involved but know she is not listed as a contributor or as the recipient of any consulting fees.

Anonymous said...

Bernard, I have your slogn:

"Put BO in Congress"

or,

"O'Hare; O'Shit"

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:11,

We need new party leaders. That's at the core of this nightmare. I have no problem with R Daugherty, who genuinely seems interested in promoting all Dems. But I have a serious issue w/ NC Dems. And I'm hoping we can change that committee with some motivated people who are a little more democratic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:14,

Gee, you should be a consultant or something. Contact TeamBlue right away!

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Severson?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:21, Severson is more important than just about anything else I've posted. I'm being real careful with that, and it requires trips to county voter offices in addition to the state website. I made that dude a promise, and I intend to keep it.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I know Karen Ritter. And I know for a fact that Karen Ritter and her husband, Bob Wolper, are not involved in Bennett's campaign.

In fact, I heard that Bob told Sam Bennett that he didn't think she should run.

I think he posted something on your site a while back about McHale. Did he say anything about Bennett's campaign then?

He was the consultant who ran McHale's campaign in 1992 and 1994, remember? That was like the last time the Dems won the seat.

Maybe you or someone from the regular media should check and see who these local consultants would run for the 15th. That is if they are still in the business.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:15,

If Bob Wolper posted here, I'm pretty sure he did so anonymously. I can't remember him saying anything. But it appears you have the inside knowledge, and thanks for sharing it. But I'll take your suggestion and contact Bob.

It's a good question. he'd have to find a candidate willing to run.

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Anon 8:30,
If you think Toomey and Dent were elected for tax cuts, you are a very wrong man. They were elected for one reason:

Afflerbach, O'Brien, O'Brien, Driscoll, and Charles Dertinger (started out as a write in). That's your last five nominations on the Dems side.

Candidates, not issues, win elections. Most people vote the package. We haven't exactly had many strong nominees with good, solid backing from the party.

End of story.

Chris Casey said...

This last comment shows a decade of futility. Something to be proud of! Afflerbach? My God, imagine that, the world's most incompetent Congressman!

Anonymous said...

Hey, McHale was no great shakes as a Congressman but at least he won as a Democrat, although he didn't really act like one in the end.

How come he won and this other string of losers lost and are soon to be joined by Bennett?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:08, That's actually what I was gettiong at in my post oon 7/18. We seem to like the "decent" or "nice" guys, whether it's McHale, Dent, Toomey, Ritter or Fred Rooney. They all have that reputation.

Anonymous said...

Then McHale turns on Clinton. He got his 15 minutes of National fame and a sweet gig with the Repub. administration. There are nice guys and then there is the rest of the story.
Hey Bernardo, I hear Rendell is ready to endorse you if you take care of the 'Angle problem'. Wonder what that means.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Shhhh! That's family biz.