The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 09, 2006

The hard fight for CA 50

I've noted the intense talk on the blogosphere about why Francine Busby couldn't win the seat vacated by Randy Cunningham, which consisted of a glass half-empty vs. half-full take on every aspect of the campaigns.

Adam Nagourney (who often draws heavy criticism from progressive blogs) wrote a piece in the NY Times that tells a lot about the GOP's fight on the ground to keep the seat, which has been held by Republicans since its redrawing some 15 years ago.

"The fact that Busby got 15 points over Democratic registration, that should make Republicans nervous," said David McCuan, a professor of political science at Sonoma State University. "It's not that Bilbray won. This is a safe Republican seat. I was very surprised that $5 million doesn't allow you to break 50 percent."

The Republican Party backed Mr. Bilbray not just with money for advertising but also with automated phone calls from President Bush, Vice PresidentDick Cheney and Laura Bush and the highly sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation that has helped Republicans in the last two national elections. (. . .)

The [RNC's] chairman, Ken Mehlman, said Wednesday that Republicans had 160 people in this district helping to get out the vote.

"They made 164,000 phone calls," Mr. Mehlman said.

Democrats said the Democratic National Committee had no similar effort on the ground here.

Although Nagourney notes that "Republicans will be hard-pressed to duplicate that expensive and elaborate campaign they waged for Mr. Bilbray in every district where an incumbent is under assault," it's clear that they still trump the Democrats in terms of their organizational abilities. Big surprise there. But the seat was won by an extraordinary expenditure of effort of resources in the district. It's good that it was a costly effort, but hey-- they won. And that's what it comes down to.