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*** UPDATED x1 - Davis responds *** DCCC uses George Ryan, government jobs to whack Rodney Davis

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012

* The DCCC has begun a $230,000 television buy in the Champaign market. The ad blasts Republican Rodney Davis for working for George Ryan and being on the disgraced former governor’s “clout list of political favors.” According to the ad, Davis is a “career insider” who has “taken nearly one million dollars in taxpayer-funded salaries.”

* From Roll Call

Illinois remains a target-rich environment for Democrats, who tried to put more House seats in play in their redraw of the Congressional map last year. The DCCC has reserved millions in TV ad time in markets across the state.

That’s why it’s notable Democrats started their Illinois ad campaign in the 13th district. The party’s preferred candidate lost the primary to emergency room doctor David Gill, who just joined the ranks of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program earlier this month.

As I told you earlier today, Davis is running a positive intro spot at the moment.

* Rate the DCCC’s ad

*** UPDATE *** The Davis campaign responds…

Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a false, negative, misleading attack ad on Rodney Davis. Here are some of the misleading claims:

Misleading Claim #1: “Rodney Davis, he was right in the middle of it (George Ryan’s corruption.)”

Fact: Rodney Davis began working for the Secretary of State’s office as a fellow right out of college. He was a low-level employee who was only there for a short time and never had a connection to any wrongdoing.

Unlike David Gill, who appeared with Governor Rod Blagojevich in a thinly-disguised campaign rally, paid for by Illinois taxpayers, as a candidate for Congress in 2004. (Kurt Erickson, “Governor stumps for drug plan,Pantagraph, 10/26/04)

Misleading Claim #2: “named on the infamous George Ryan Clout List of political favors.”

Fact: Rodney Davis was added to Scott Fawell’s “master list” without his approval, consent, or knowledge. He never asked for a favor, job, or political help. The list included numerous people, both Republicans and Democrats, who had nothing to do with corruption.

Governor Rod Blagojevich also kept a clout list that included President Obama and Gill supporter Senator Dick Durbin, neither of whom have been accused of any wrongdoing.

Misleading Claim #3: “given a job in Governor George Ryan’s office.”

Fact: Rodney Davis never worked for Governor George Ryan. He was an employee in the Secretary of State’s office until 1997, two full years before Ryan became Governor.

Misleading Claim #4: “taken nearly $1 million in taxpayer funded salaries.”

Fact: Rodney Davis has been serving his community and has a strong understanding of the issues facing our communities. He lives here and works here and understands the challenges residents of the district face.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    The DCCC obviously does better TV ads than it does press releases. A very brutal hit.


  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    Except that the George Ryan lead-in was too long, its a solid punch right square in the face.

    Davis is a “career political insider,” who is not well-known in the district, and the DCCC is defining him well.


  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    Yep, Rich. Wait until they come full circle and use the Griffins to tie him to Rod Blagojevich as well.


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    But it doesn’t work well with the sound off at all.


  5. - so.... - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    It’s also not exactly honest since lots of people who didn’t do anything wrong ended up on Ryan’s clout list including, as I recall, Rich.


  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    I didn’t know Ryan was running for Congress.

    Perhaps the Dems should have mentioned he kept some folks from being executed for crimes they didn’t commit. That’s a good thing, in some circles.

    The spot is garbage, just awful. In an era of Tea Party lunacy, if the Dems can’t put out a positive message on real bread-and-butter issues, then they have no game and deserve to lose.


  7. - Champaign Libertarian - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    If Rodney Davis loses his race, you can trace the blame to the completely ineffectual Champaign County Republican organization who is still more interested in intraparty knife-fights than winning elections. Good job, Habeeb!


  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===including, as I recall, Rich. ===

    Actually, I was on the “expedited” clout list, which was supposedly for bigtime players. It was ridiculous. I got nothing at all. Zero.


  9. - Shore - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    Strong ad, but you wonder how many regular voters, especially the younger and newer voters democrats do better with remember or know about that or even care.


  10. - Shore - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    Their walsh stuff should be fascinating.


  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:05 pm:

    @wordslinger -

    Complaints about fairness and running on the issues fall a little flat coming from the Birther Party.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:07 pm:

    @Shore -

    I think that what voters will remember is that Davis is an insider who pocketed over a million bucks of the taxpayer’s money.

    That’s alot of dough for a young guy most voters never heard of six months ago.


  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    –Complaints about fairness and running on the issues fall a little flat coming from the Birther Party.–

    I’m not coming from any Birther Party, cousin.


  14. - dznuts - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:24 pm:

    Remind us again how much taxpayer money Pelosi et.al has “pocketed”. That’s really an insult to any government employee. Factually correct but morally questionable.


  15. - Knome Sane - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    ==Fact: Rodney Davis has been serving his community and has a strong understanding of the issues facing our communities. He lives here and works here and understands the challenges residents of the district face.==

    I am baffled by this response. What does this reply have to do with the “misleading claim”?

    I harken back to the old political adage: “If you’re explaining, your losing.”

    And I’ll add a corollary: “If you’re explaining badly, you’re toast.”


  16. - CU Voter - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    Gill ad is risky in a district with about the largest percentage of government employees in America. That’s probably not an exaggeration if you include public universities.

    At the same time, Gill is setting up the insider/outsider debate pretty well.

    I wonder if the $230K is real, or spread out over the cycle and withdrawable by the DCCC.


  17. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:43 pm:

    Ryan? Ancient history. The ad is more focused on an old loser governor, than issues I am concerned about today. Sloppy hit piece about irrelevant crap from the 20th Century.


  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    === Gill ad is risky in a district with about the largest percentage of government employees in America ===

    Nearly all of whom believe they earned their job while they are suffering fools who got their’s through political connections.


  19. - CU Voter - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:01 pm:

    YDD. Your point is good. Still a little dicey they way they put it.


  20. - too obvious - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:01 pm:

    And the DCCC hasn’t even hit yet on Davis’ activities with Shimkus and the state GOP. Talk about target rich environments.


  21. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:19 pm:

    Oily, oily, oily.


  22. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:31 pm:

    I like how they had to pile on Ryan for 1/3 of the spot to remind everyone why exactly they should be mad at someone who left office a decade ago.


  23. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    VM, that’s about all the dems have to run on right now, the past. They don’t want us to look behind the curtain and see the mess in the closet.


  24. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    A couple of points.

    First, George Ryan is still relevant. He’s been in a news a lot in the last year and he’s now out of prison. Governors who have served time in prison and are social pariahs carry a very negative connotation. And yes, I would argue that George Ryan is a social pariah. As a Republican campaign staffer who has been burned by the Ryan stigma, I certainly consider Ryan a pariah.

    Second, YDD, I have known Rodney since I was in college and he knows every county chairman, elected official and party insider in the 13th CD. Guess what?! That’s what you need to get walkers, phone bank volunteers, parade marchers and people willing to host events and fundraisers. And he’s got Congressman Shimkus helping him, which is a huge bonus in an area where Shimkus’s political tentacles stretch way into every facet of the GOP.

    Third, the public salary definitely doesn’t look great, but there are many public employees who eventually run for office and win.

    Rich, I do think the video is quite good.


  25. - cover - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    VM is right… can’t the DCCC try talking about the 21st century? I don’t live in the 13th (at least I don’t think I do, but I’d better check the new map), but I know I wouldn’t be swayed by allegations about something that, in political terms anyway, is ancient history.

    Dr. Gill has run for Congress twice before, why not talk about what he wants to accomplish?


  26. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:53 pm:

    @Team Sleep -

    Yeah, because county chairmen just have volunteers coming out of their ears.

    @Caskey -

    Agreed. The ad would have worked a bit better the other way around.

    “Who is Rodney Davis? A political insider, Rodney Davis….yada, yada, yada.”

    I’m not sure its that they needed to remind folks who George Ryan is. I think they were looking for a way to fill 30 seconds.


  27. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    The Davis response:

    Point #1: That’s b.s.
    Point #2: That’s more b.s.
    Point #3: Seriously, is there a b.s. store having a clearance sale?
    Point #4: Yeah, OK. I know how to make it rain.


  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 4:15 pm:

    The YDD Response to the Davis Response:

    1. I don’t know what you mean by “low level employee” or “short time,” but I also know from news reports that a lot of “low level employees” were involved in low-level corruption. So what I really want to know is, did you raise money for George Ryan, did you engage in any political activities while you worked for Ryan, and how did you get your job in the first place?

    2. I lost my copy of the George Ryan Clout List, but thought it included notes along with names. What were the notes next to yours.

    3. Your defense is you didn’t work for George Ryan when he was governor, only in his rampantly corrupt SoS Office? Really? Well, in case you didn’t know, former elected officials are commonly referred to by the highest office they attained, regardless of the period of their career you’re referring to. So let’s move on.

    4. $1 million is a lot of money, but if you earned it saving lives, preventing child abuse, protecting the public from dangerous criminals, or teaching our kids, I’ll happily give you a pass. So. What did we get for that $1 million?


  29. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 5:58 pm:

    The Davis folks should be thankful that the commercial is so poorly done. The idea and subject matter were right, but the production and focus arew terrible. Still damaging, but it could have been a lot worse.

    Conversely, the Davis campaign response was terrible.


  30. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 6:18 pm:

    “taken nearly $1 million in taxpayer funded salaries.”

    Really? Coming from Democrats? I can’t wait for the DCCC ad asking people to vote for Mitt Romney because President Obama has “taken over $2 million in taxpayer funded salaries.”, or their ad asking voters to vote against Dick Durbin because the Senator has “taken over $4 million in taxpayer funded salaries.”

    Further, aren’t they blasting Jason Plummer in the neighboring district because-among other reasons-of his lack of experience-presumably in government?

    Shameful. It’s the kind of ad that turns voters off causes voters of all stripes to stay home.


  31. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 7:53 pm:

    @Michael Westen -

    The only mention Rodney Davis makes in his biography of any government work is serving as Projects Director for Congressman Shimkus. I’ve got a fair idea what President Obama and Senator Durbin do, but I’m not sure what a “Projects Director” does to earn $1 million.

    If you or Rodney Davis want to enlighten the voters, that’s great.

    According to sources online, Davis “managed” to get a job working for George Ryan in 1992. Coincidentally, that year he became a Republican Precinct Committeeman and active part of the Christian County Republicans.

    By his own account, he left the Secretary of State’s Office in 1997. 1992-1997…sound like a “short time” working for George Ryan to you?


  32. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 10:22 pm:

    So William Enyart is a Blagojevich worker, right?


  33. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Aug 29, 12 @ 11:52 pm:

    YDD - if central and southern Illinois county chairmen (for either party) take a shine to a candidate or cause, they will work OT to ensure the candidates and party with whom they are affiliated have the workers they need. In 2010, Bobby Schilling and his staff were able to tap many of the 23 county chairmen in the current 17th CD to help with precinct walking and phone banking. Trust me - I was in the middle of it and the county chairmen were energized and ready to help. Rodney and his team have worked well with chairmen and the response has been good.

    Let’s not kid ourselves about Congressional and Senatorial salaries. People in high-ranking public positions make a relative killing in terms of salary (especially when compared to lower-level staffers and rank-and-file union members). Go to Legistorm and check out what some of Durbin’s and Kirk’s staffers earn and I guarantee you that Rodney’s salary with Shimkus’s office doesn’t look so awful.


  34. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 6:49 am:

    @Team Sleep -

    Maybe you and I have different standards. I haven’t seen a decent field operation from the Illinois GOP since they lost the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office in 1998, and all of those patronage workers.

    The 17th, which John Kerry barely won in 2004, was lost by Democrats due to national voting trends and a haphazard candidate who it seemed to me didn’t take his re-election seriously.

    And if Rodney Davis wants to offer the defense that all Congressional staffers are overpaid, and he was just gettin’ his while the gettin’ was good….well, good luck with that.

    To me, it seems like he is part of the problem, not the solution.

    Frankly, the Republicans created this problem for themselves by trying to engineer their way around a legitimate primary. Davis could have been vetted by the voters.

    All I know is, Erika Harold is looking pretty good right now.

    You guys could have had HER speaking at the convention.


  35. - champaigndweller - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 8:20 am:

    I think George Ryan is old news. What’s also old news is Gill running again. I understand that Davis might not be an ideal candidate, who is, but what does Gill have to offer that the voters here haven’t already rejected at least twice?


  36. - old time Dem - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 8:33 am:

    I was on the fence about voting for Rodney Davis, but after hearing the tv ad I am absoutely voting for him. It is just another example of bow low and how desperate the DCCC is.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 9:44 am:

    Weak. Topics might work, but ad was a stretch to begin with and only resonates with insiders. Regular voters that decide close elections moved on from George Ryan a LONG time ago - unless it’s about some clearly high-level hack. Ad fails totally in that regard. There’s so much thrown at the wall here that it’s going to strike average voters as over-the-top campaign crap they hate. Seriously doubt it affects the race much. The anti-Gill ad is much better.


  38. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 30, 12 @ 12:11 pm:

    Wasn’t Cardinal Bernardin on the “Clout List”?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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