Never perhaps have there been stranger political bedfellows. In Nevada, a pro-Harry Reid group — he’s the Senate’s lead Democrat — promotes a little-known Tea Party candidate running against Reid: Scott Ashjian.
Illinois Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is running for Senate, yet funding ads propping up his Libertarian opponent. […]
Democrat Giannoulias helps a long shot Libertarian to try to take votes from Republican opponent Mark Kirk.
Some Democrats openly disclose their efforts. But for others, the tie is harder to find. You’d think this one flyer was put out by conservatives: it calls Iowa’s Republican candidate for Governor Terry Branstad “liberal” like “Clinton, Obama and Pelosi.”
But IRS filings show it’s the Democratic Governors Association behind the ads. They’re hoping to split Republican votes.
Turns out, this may just be sloppy writing. The DGA copped to the Iowa mailer when I called them today, but their communications director emphatically denied that the group had anything to do with the Illinois mailings, saying they don’t involve themselves in Senate races.
I’ve left a message for Pete Giangreco, who was quoted in a Politico story about the mailers, to see what he says. He’s at a friend’s funeral, so I’ll let you know what he says later.
*** UPDATE 1 *** So, apparently, I missed this one from the Sun-Times…
After the debate, Giannoulias admitted his campaign, in coordination with the Democratic Party, funded a mailer to Downstate conservatives touting Libertarian Senate candidate Mike Labno as the “pro-life, pro-gun” alternative to Kirk, who supports abortion rights like Giannoulias and who at least previously favored restrictions on handguns.
The Democrats hoped to divert votes from Kirk to Labno. Is that deceptive?
“No,” Giannoulias said.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* Meanwhile, the Kirk campaign has been pushing this story for a while now without success until yesterday…
(T)he Kirk campaign suggested Mr. Giannoulias is overstating his claim that he saved Hartmarx and its jobs by leaning on its lender, a division of Wells Fargo, in his current post as Illinois treasurer.
In fact, it says, the California bank was paid only about $96,000 a year by Illinois at a time when Mr. Giannoulias says he threatened to yank $8 billion in bank business.
Team Kirk also points to a TV ad by Sen. Charles Schumer that focuses on the New York Democrat’s work to save a Hartmarx subsidiary in his state.
Team Giannoulias replies that the Kirk folks have been trying to peddle this story for a while; that Wells Fargo indeed was “custodian” of $8 billion in Illinois funds, investing that money at the treasurer’s direction, and that lots of people worked to save Hartmarx.
The Giannoulias campaign has said repeatedly that it worked closely with organized labor and others, but freely admits that the treasurer didn’t speak more than a few minutes with the company’s former president. The factory’s union rep is fully behind Giannoulias, which greatly undercuts the Kirk claims that Giannoulias wasn’t sufficiently involved. A Politico blogger posted a story on the topic today…
I spoke to a former Hartmarx official, who agreed to speak on background and suggested that Giannoulias was making more of his role in the crisis than may have been the case. The official said that Giannoulias had just one contact with the company and heavily credited other officials, including Schumer and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), with working to get the bank to agree to a plan to save the jobs. […]
“I can’t say he did nothing,” the source added of Giannoulias but insisted that much of the work came from elsewhere.
I reached out to a Giannoulias spokesman, who told me that the campaign had never claimed that Giannoulias was the only force involved in saving Hartmarx, and that it was an effort of labor groups, elected officials and others.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Joe Costigan of UNITE-HERE just called to insist that Giannoulias played an “essential” role in keep the Hartmarx plant open. Costigan said Giannoulias was instrumental in making sure that this just wasn’t another anonymous factory closing in Chicago and worked hard with his union and others to make sure it stayed open. He also sharply criticized the Kirk campaign for attempting to minimize Giannoulias’ role.
Rich, Candidates should always be kept on as short a leash as possible. A wise man once told me “All candidates are idiots.” There is wisdom in keeping that in mind whenever you let your candidate get in front of anyone, no matter the medium.
The bike rack stuff I think is an allusion to Alexi’s support of the stimulus package, in which one of the items is bike racks.
- ChrisChicago82-Independent - Friday, Oct 29, 10 @ 12:46 pm:
“I reached out to a Giannoulias spokesman, who told me that the campaign had never claimed that Giannoulias was the only force involved in saving Hartmarx.”
But they sure did give that impression, now didn’t they? If that wasn’t the case, this wouldn’t even be mentioned anywhere, let alone on Politico which actually proves Kirks point in providing the following quote:
“Giannoulias was making more of his role in the crisis than may have been the case.”
And that above quote was suggested by an actual Hartmarx official!
The story wont get traction, but it proves Kirks point nonetheless.
I just saw the “bike racks” ad on fox 32. Kind of funny actually.
- ChrisChicago82-Independent - Friday, Oct 29, 10 @ 1:00 pm:
“And if you want to use that standard, where does Kirk stand? This is why this hit is basically worthless to me.”
Firstly… I think you feel I am defending Kirk in my response. If that is how you feel, you are greatly mistaken. Kirk… plain and simple… exaggerated his military record. No and, if, or buts about it. Where Alexi’s exaggeration is merely implied, Kirks exaggeration is clearly stated and is an outright lie.
Secondly… “Look, implying something is not the same as lying.” Oh I understand that difference, but come election time, does everyone else? Are you going to tell me that when a politician implies something, and then does something differently, that they will not be judged harshly for it? Even if they didn’t ACTUALLY lie, you should know better then anybody (since you’re in the actual business of political science, whereas that business was merely a minor in college for me with journalism as a major) that the line between implying and outright lying gets blurred sometimes.
As for the story itself, I agree with you… it’s a non issue because it is both too late in the contest to make a difference, and, with no disrespect meant to Hartmarx, their story and the particulars behind it just are not hugely important.
Question: Isn’t it against campaign rules and laws to send out a mailer under the name and information of another organization? I got the Labno piece from the Lake County Dems, not AG…. If AG is taking responsibility, isn’t that illegal? (I admit, I might be missing a loophole here)
55. Illinois’ 14th district (D): The National Republican Congressional Committee made a decision not to spend much money in expensive media markets like Chicago, but cash-poor state Sen. Randy Hultgren (R) could have used some more help. (Previous ranking: 45)
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Oct 29, 10 @ 2:53 pm:
So, days before the polls open, Mark Kirk wants this election to be about how many jobs Alexi saved?
Kirk actually looks pretty good at this point in the campaign. Usually he’s in nervous breakdown mode and is hiding under the bed. He probably got his anxiety medication cocktail balanced. Good for him.
- The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Oct 29, 10 @ 4:42 pm:
I’m catching up and haven’t read everything yet–or watched the vids, but what’s wrong with this Country when we begin to attack others who are trying to save the jobs of US Citizens and others who are here legally? Just asking.
- The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Oct 29, 10 @ 4:50 pm:
I’m guessing Kirk has been bashed too many times for “one upmanship” and has therefore lost the skill. What’s wrong with acknowleding the efforts of others–and THEN presenting why YOU’RE better, stronger, more knowledgeable? In other words, the one to provide the solutions that this State and Country need?
Makes you look like you’ve lost your competitive edge, Congressman. You’re better than that. You just need to remember that.