The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent about $73,000 for an advance team from Arkansas, The Markham Group, to promote Merkley's campaign kickoff tour. It paid about $20,000 to a Washington, D.C., firm for 'research.'
I'm pretty steamed about that news. I'm not pleased to hear that a few people in Washington, D.C. are trying to dictate who we send against Gordon Smith in November. I think a lot of Oregon Democrats will share my indignation and more generally I bet there are a lot of grassroots Democrats across America who resent being told who they should support in their respective Senate races.
The purpose of the DSCC is to help Democrats beat Republicans in the general election. That's a legitimate function. Senate races are national races. Republicans from all over the country are pouring money into Gordon Smith's campaign, and after we win the nomination, we will need some help from Democrats around the country in order to balance that out. It might be nice if we could prohibit all out-of-state contributions - but since we can't, it makes no sense to unilaterally disarm.
But Oregon Democrats, not outsiders, are best qualified to decide who is the best candidate is to go up against Gordon Smith. The DSCC has no business putting its thumb on the scale, as if they don't trust Oregon Democrats to make the right choice. I'm a baseball fan, so forgive this analogy: It's as if the President of the American League (back in the good old days when each League had a President) were openly rooting for one American League team against another in the playoffs. They just weren't supposed to do that. And they didn't.
What the DSCC is doing isn't just unfair: It's politically stupid. If Speaker Merkley, or another one of their backed candidates, can't win a primary without outside help from their friends in Washington, how the heck do they think they're going to beat the Republicans? The DSCC isn't doing their cause any favors here. All they're doing is taking a huge risk that their intervention will hand the nomination to a weaker candidate, a candidate who can't win in November.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised to have to fight the Democratic Establishment as well as the Republicans. The day that I announced, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin kind of predicted this. He wrote:
Novick, 44, presents the voters with a startling contrast in stature, style, name recognition, experience in elective office and the deft footwork that allows a politician to take a position on both sides of an issue ... Over the next several months, it will be interesting to see which political party finds that more threatening.
But we're not going to back off. If Speaker Merkley's going to have Big Brother on his side, we're just going to have to beat Big Brother. We'll just have to make more phone calls, have more house parties, raise more money, and go on telling the truth - and telling it loudly.