The NRSC's California gamble a bust
Monday, I wrote about the gamble the National Republic Senatorial Committee was taking in pouring $3 million into California during the final week of the election -- a spending surge that brought the committee's final investment in Carly Fiorina's campaign to almost $8 million, far more than any other Senate race in the country. Public polls had Boxer leading by 5 to 9 points, but the NRSC said its internal polls showed the California race to be a dead heat. By spending $8 million to help one of its star recruits, the committee took on added risk in places such as Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Alaska and other states in order to swing for the fences and go for the Senate majority.
Well, the results are in, and the NRSC's California bet was a bust. Turns out the public polls were right -- Fiorina got trounced by 9.8 percent. Meanwhile, Harry Reid pulled off a come-from-behind victory over Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck appears to be losing by the narrowest of margins in Colorado, and Washington State is still too close to call. In Alaska, the final results may not be known for some time, but the NRSC's final ads actually ended up helping Lisa Murkowski in her write-in campaign against GOP nominee Joe Miller. Instead of attacking Murkowski -- the candidate who most threatened the party's nominee -- the NRSC instead took aim at Democrat Scott McAdams, who had no chance of winning. Any support they drove from McAdams was far more likely to go to Murkowski than to Miller -- meaning the NRSC effort probably did more harm than good for Miller's campaign.
The NRSC's supporters respond that the committee spent plenty in those states, and it would not have had to do so had it not been saddled with so many Tea Party candidates. Put aside the fact that Tea Party-supported candidates such as Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee won last night despite the NRSC trying to defeat them in their primaries, the idea that the Tea Party was a dead weight the NRSC had to carry on election day is absurd. The fact is none of the GOP candidates who won last night -- whether establishment or insurgents -- could have made it across the finish line without the popular wave of enthusiasm created by the Tea Party.
Now the test for the NRSC is what it does for Joe Miller in Alaska. Like the hanging chad fights that followed the 2000 presidential election in Florida, there will now be a major battle over the validity and intent of every one of Alaska's write-in ballots. Is the NRSC sending teams of lawyers to Alaska to challenge these write-in ballots? Is it sending out urgent fundraising appeals today asking its supporters to help Miller in his fight with Murkowski? How strongly will it stand with Joe Miller in the weeks ahead?
Tea Party activists are watching.
Posted by: HughBriss | November 3, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ATKeys | November 3, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ATKeys | November 4, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 4, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mercedesmans2000 | November 4, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ATKeys | November 4, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dldbug | November 5, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse