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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sam Bennett Interview: Nuts 'n Bolts Political Questions

The following are eight nuts 'n bolts questions concerning Bennett's congressional campaign.

Question: How does you explain the huge undervote by Democrats in the primary election? In Northampton County, nearly one out of every two Democrats refused to vote for you. Overall, the undervote is 36%. You received only 72% of the vote total drawn by state reps. Bob Freeman (Freeman-7385, Bennett-5323) and Rich Grucela (Grucela-8512, Bennett- 6086).

"A lot of people voted for President and then walked out. We actually did better statewide than other Dems. My numbers are actually high. In Northampton County, the new machines might have caused the bad turn out there. We're looking into that. In Allentown, Charlie got 93% of the Republican vote, and that's to be expected. But I actually got 87% of the Dem vote. That should not have happened."

Question: Why are most of your contributors outside the congressional district? Of $177,823 in itemized contributions, about 78% is from outside the Lehigh Valley. Nearly 30% comes from people who live in other states. Reformer Russ Shade has advocated that campaign money should come mostly from people who actually live here, not PACs located in Toodeloo. In his race against state rep. Julie Harhart, Shade noted all but 5% of Harhart's campaign was funded by special interests located outside the district. How can you justify the same practice?

"The national blogosphere has embraced my candidacy. I have raised money through some nationally known blogs like Slobber And Spittle, Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars. [Those blogs often raise money through Act Blue.] They choose to invest in me because they see how viable my race is. I expect to see more local money as the race continues. The average person does not even pay attention to these races until it is closer to election time."

Question: Why does a Bennett press release claim, as Pam Varkony notes, that the Democratic voter registration edge has increased from 13,000 to 53,000? There's no dispute that Dems have a huge registration edge over Rs, from 195,800 to 137,526 in Lehigh and Northampton Counties alone. But according to figures supplied from both counties, the total Democratic surge since last November is only about 13,500.

"All I can tell you is we computed numbers from four different offices, and I'll send their research to you."

Blogger's Note: Bennett did send her data late yesterday, and it shows that the Dem edge is somewhere around 45,000.

Question: Why does a Bennett press release also brag that you are the top fundraiser among all congressional challengers in the state? Pam Varkony disputes those assertions, and so do I. According to FEC records, congressional challengers Melissa Hart (R) ($529,081) and Tom Manion (R) ($422,519) both raised more than the $313,108 claimed by Bennett. Even Lou Barletta (R) ($184,664) raised more than Bennett raised ($117,830.64) over the first quarter.

Although Bennett's press release clearly states "Sam is still the top fundraiser among all Congressional challengers in the state," Bennett clarified that she was referring only to Democratic challengers.

Question: Why were you known as Siobhan Loizeaux-Bennett in your first race for Allentown Mayor and then as Sam Bennett after you lost and wanted to run again? Is it because Siobhan is so hard to pronounce? Should Barak Obama call himself Oscar Barry?

"(Laughter at Oscar Barry crack). When I first ran for Mayor, most people thought I was a Syrian guy. Sam has been my nickname since college. People couldn't even pronounce Siobhan at my first job, and I was Sam from then on."

Question: How are you qualified to represent us in the U.S. House of Reps., having never served as an elected official before? (Bennett has never won a primary in which she ran opposed by another Democrat.)

"This makes me uniquely qualified to represent us. The folks in Washington, including Charlie Dent, have shown a unique inability to collaborate and come up with curative solutions to solve our nation's problems. I have that ability through my status as a community leader. After an election is over, we need to lay down our partisan weapons."

Question: Does that mean you would support a Republican?

"I will never work to elect a Republican but will work with Republicans to create meaningful legislation. I subscribe to the Ronald Reagan philosophy that after 5 PM, there are no Democrats or Republicans."

Question: Who do you support in the presidential campaign - Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

"Because of my status in the local party, I am unable to endorse anyone. But I voted for Hillary. There is her position, which is Hillary's position. There is his position, which is Obama's position. Then there is a third position, the opposition, and that is McCain, or is it McBush?"

Tomorrow I will continue this series with Bennett's take on her controversial $110,000 salary at nonprofit Properties of Merit. Also, was a newspaper carrier really mugged outside her home? Did she call 911?

Stay tuned.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is did 45,000 (for which she has documentation) become 53,000? If she hadn't been called on it, the number could've reached six figures. Where did she come up with 53,000? Or was she making things up? Fast and loose with little things causes me concern with larger things. She's untrustworthy.

Anonymous said...

Bennett did send her data late yesterday, and it shows that the Dem edge is somewhere around 45,000.

What were her four other sources, and why would their numbers average out to be so much different than the county's tally? It seems strange that official county counts would be so different. A person is registered as a Dem voter, or isn't? Why the huge discrepancy?

Tom Foolery said...

All I know is after last night the fat lady is singing loudly. Better start working on those paragraphs you owe me...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom Foolery, Yes, I know. I was hoping you were in a mental hospital or something.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:10,

The 4 sources in question are 4 voter registration offices.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:53, The bnumbers are on a spreadsheet, which I will check later today. I am very certain of mine, but I only have two counties - Lehigh and Northampton.

Hannah Miller, Bennett 2008 said...

The original reregistration figures were the preliminary numbers published in the Morning Call article on April 9, 2008.

Regardless of how the dust eventually settled, to go from a registration difference of 13,000 to 45,000 is a quantum leap, to say the least.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

"A lot of people voted for President and then walked out. We actually did better statewide than other dems. My numbers are actually high. In Northampton County, the new machines might have caused the bad turn out there. We're looking into that. In Allentown, Charlie got 93% of the Republican vote, and that's to be expected. But I actually got 87% of the Dem vote. That should not have happened."

I don't understand her logic. You noted to her that she "received only 72% of the vote total drawn by state reps. Bob Freeman (Freeman-7385, Bennett-5323) and Rich Grucela (Grucela-8512, Bennett- 6086)." Both Freeman & Grucela are democrats who ran unopposed, like Bennett. Doesn't that mean that a lot of voters didn't just pick a presidential nominee and leave? Don't the results show they actually felt strongly enough to vote on the state level, but not on the U.S. congressional level.

What difference does it make how other democratic candidates did in different districts against different opponents (if they were not unopposed), since we in the 15th won't be represented by them? To try and extrapolate a strong primary success based on statewide results for individual U.S. reps seems like comparing apples to oranges to me.

This is not intended as a knock on the candidate, only a request for clarification on the point she is trying to make. Perhaps I've misinterpreted the primary results. Thanks.

Tom Foolery said...

How the heck did you find out where I was. This hospital is very nice by the way..

hayshaker said...

How is did 45,000 (for which she has documentation) become 53,000? If she hadn't been called on it, the number could've reached six figures. Where did she come up with 53,000? Or was she making things up? Fast and loose with little things causes me concern with larger things. She's untrustworthy.

Half of marketing is spinning statistics in your favor. I'm sure there is someone that would substantiate that number just as others are giving their OWN numbers.

not so casual observer said...

I am getting dizzy watching her spin

Bill Leiner Jr. said...

Bernie, Enough of the numbers nonsense. I and like minded folks want to know what Sam will do to correct the mess George W. Bush and his supporters like Charlie Dent have created for our country. The voters want change. Ms. Bennett represents change. Mr. Dent represents more of the same. Ask voters the question, do you want change this November .... most, except for the Clear Channel drones, will say "change". Mr. Dent is a nice man. Ms. Bennett is a nice woman. I know both of them. If you ask me what I want to see this November, my answer is "change". If I was Mr. Dent I would be very concerned. It will be an interesting election. Mr. Dent, a career politican, may be looking for a real job on November 5. Perhaps he can be the next Administrative Director of the PA "Properties of Merit Committee."

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill Leiner, Jr,

You want change and are going to vote for it no matter what? If Hitler were running, would you vote for him? Don't be silly. Since you're interested in change, will you vote against every incumbent Democrat? I don't thinks so. The only change you're interested is replacing Rs with Ds, no mattewr how good those Rs may be. It's just too partisan for me. I like people from both parties.

Lady Rep said...

Exactly, Bernie! Thank you for that thought. I would just like to remind people that, in the Primary following the pay raise debacle, the Republicans kicked their leadership to the curb, but the Dems kept the same old, same old around. The Senate now has two new shining stars in Folmer & Eichelberger. That's two for the good guys.

Joe Hilliard said...

Mr. Leiner,

What do you mean by "change"?

That is the most insipid and meaningless term in politics.

It is almost as empty as the term "hope".