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Common sense rule portrayed as somehow racist

Monday, Oct 21, 2013

* A recent hyperventilating race-baiting column in The Guardian about Erika Harold’s primary challenge of freshman Republican Rodney Davis has set off something of a political firestorm in Illinois

When it’s convenient to their diversity “story-telling”, the Republican National Committee loves black Republicans. After Mitt Romney got whacked in the 2012 presidential election because he ignored minority voters, the RNC pledge it would engage with minority voters and support more candidates of color.

To keep up appearances, the RNC hired a handful of blacks this year and featured the black Republican house speaker from Oklahoma, TW Shannon, as a speaker in its Rising Stars Program at the RNC’s summer meeting in Boston. But when it’s time to support actual black candidates in primaries against white candidates, the RNC treats black Republicans like the plague. […]

The former Miss America 2003 and Harvard Law School graduate, Harold had the audacity to challenge white, male, first-term Representative Rodney Davis in a GOP primary for Illinois’ 13th congressional seat – and is witnessing the party machine’s discrimination up-close and personal.

The Illinois Republican party refused to give Harold access to the GOP data center. Formerly called the “voter vault”, the data center is where the RNC stores voting information for all voters in the country, which it makes available to the 50 state parties for free. Candidates are given access to the database to target donors and voters.

In response to Harold’s request, the state central committee, which governs the Illinois GOP, issued a new policy at its 5 October meeting. The new policy stated that challengers to any Republican incumbent would not be given access to the voter database. However, the policy did permit county chairs to give access to county voter data at their own discretion.

How convenient for the white incumbent, Davis.

* Oh, please. This is not new. Yeah, it was recently formalized as policy by the Republican State Central Committee, but it’s a long-standing practice and it makes a lot of sense. The Champaign News-Gazette’s Tom Kacich explains it well. Emphasis added

He said the vote formalized what had been a “longstanding policy. No challenger has ever had access,” said [15th Congressional District’s GOP committeeman].

Part of the reason, he said, is that some of the data was generated by the Davis campaign.

The information not only includes primary and general election voting records, but data on issues important to individual voters.

“Let’s say that you contact a voter and that voter is really concerned about gun control. You put a code next to that voter’s name about gun control and when you talk about gun control you target that voter,” Clarke explained.

Davis’ campaign would have input some of that information last year, said Clarke, who was among the candidates in the spring of 2012, along with Davis and Harold, for the nomination to become the Republican candidate for Congress in the 13th District. The county chairmen eventually chose Davis.

“We can’t give Davis’ opponent the information that he collected,” Clark said. “That’s why if it’s an open seat, they will give all Republicans access to the information. But if it’s a challenger running against an incumbent, they will not get access.

“If we did it the other way and gave Erika Harold access, she would be the first person to ever get access to somebody else’s data. And what would happen is that nobody would use the voter vault anymore.

Clarke is right on all points.

* Unfortunately, members of the News-Gazette’s editorial board appear not to read their own paper...

It’s not personal, it’s business. The GOP already has an incumbent U.S. House member from the 13th District, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, and it’s not happy she’s rocking the boat by challenging him in the March 2014 primary election. They fear it might cost the party a congressional seat.

Party leaders most recently made their unhappiness known when the GOP’s state central committee voted unanimously to deny her access to the GOP’s “voter vault” database. That’s the inside information the party gathers on voters in the district and their political preferences.

They denied Harold the information because she’s running against Davis and told her she would have to seek the information she’s requesting from individual county party chairmen. One chairman, John Parrot of McLean County, requested his county’s voter information that is stored at party headquarters so he could pass it on to Harold. As of late last week, he said he has yet to receive a response.

Well, maybe Harold can’t get the information from individual county chairmen even though the state central committee representatives said she can. It wouldn’t be the first time people in politics haven’t told the truth.

Democracy is a beautiful concept, but politics can be an ugly business. Davis already has all the advantages — incumbency, a ton of campaign cash and the backing of most of the party people who matter. Party leaders didn’t send for Harold, and for now that’s why she’s not welcome.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Awesome. Spot-On, Jerry Clarke!

    The utter ignorance of the paper to see that Erika Harold is taking on an incumbent, with no “orders”, or “approval” from the National House Republican Campaign Committee, or from the Locals, and then for the newspaper to think that Ms. Harold, and her Ex-Johnson Staffers are … entitleld to information gathered from Congressman Davis’ successful campaign, and that information is to be used against Rodney?

    Are you serious?

    Politics ain’t beanbag, how about Ms. Harold and her Johnson Ex-Staffers either get their own data files, or don’t.

    The mere fact that race is being dragged into this shows how futile this folly of a run at Rodney Davis is, and how little is known about how campaigns are run.

    Y’all keep telling yourselves it’s everything but… Hubris and revenge at work here in the Harold Campaign…

  2. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:26 am:

    Fortuantely for Champaign County, most N-G readers don’t read the editorials either.

  3. - Adam Smith - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    I would like to challenge one of Mike Madigan’s sock puppet incumbents.

    I demand access to the State Democratic Party’s database.

    How’s that gonna work out?

    Erika has made a rookie mistake and listened to hacks who are out for revenge/relevance/money and who are going to, sadly, deal a serious blow to an up and coming Republican.

  4. - A guy... - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    There are in fact other ways to get data besides Voter Vault. It can be as much a curse as a help in some cases. One would assume that Johnson did something with the data collected from his dozens of cell phones he used all day.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Yeah, the Guardian jumped across the pond and hit their Leap to Conclusions mat.

    I suspect that Harold was only on the Guardian’s radar due to the rant from the old Montgomery County GOP chairman in which he called her, among other things, a “streetwalker.”

  6. - Soccermom - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    I didn’t know that Davis collected the info in those files. I withdraw my criticism — although i think the GOP would have been smarter to make that point when the decision was first announced.

  7. - champaign knife-fight - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    What I find interesting here is that one former Tim Johnson Chief of Staff (Jerry Clarke) is telling another former Tim Johnson Chief of Staff (Mark Shelden) to go pound sand.

    After 4 months on the campaign trail and a ton of national media, Erika is 11 points WORSE off than she started. Must be bad when even the Tim Johnson crew (or at least part of it) has already reached the lifeboats.

  8. - Henry Clay - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    I have always been told that the Democrat Party precinct people also have their own counterpart to what was once called Voter Vault by Illinois Republican precinct people. I can’t recall what the name is that the Illinois Democrat Party calls their own political tool?

  9. - walkinfool - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    There are two widely-used state-level counterparts to the Voter Vault tool, for Dems in Illinois, and one national one driven by OFA the Obama campaigns.

    You think the Dems would get together on anything?

  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    –I can’t recall what the name is that the Illinois Democrat Party calls their own political tool?–

    Jack Franks?

  11. - shore - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    I’m not a davis fan at all, but she’s run a horrible campaign thus far and this is alan keyes awful stuff. As they say in pickup hoops with incumbent advantages it’s make it take it. You win the office, you get the political advantages. There’s enough $$ and technology out there for her to beat him without this stuff.

    I would compare the Illinois Republican party unfavorably to the awfulness of the Cubs the last 5 years but that would be an insult to those awful cubs teams.

  12. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    ==I suspect that Harold was only on the Guardian’s radar due to the rant from the old Montgomery County GOP chairman in which he called her, among other things, a “streetwalker.”==

    The Guardian online actually has a number of American writers who cover American politics. The article in question was written by Crystal Wright, the “Conservative Black Chick.”

  13. - Soccermom - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Funny, Word.

  14. - OurMagician - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:46 pm:

    Erika needs to gracefully bow out now, find a safe R County Board seat and start there.

  15. - MrJM - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    I would like to challenge one of Mike Madigan’s sock puppet incumbents. I demand access to the State Democratic Party’s database. How’s that gonna work out?

    Here’s the link to put-up or shut-up:

    – MrJM

  16. - Pat C - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    The Q is, why run against him? Yes, it’s her hometown, but there are plenty of suburban area D seat she could have run for. Its not like he’s the worst R, either.

  17. - jim - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    Hey, Oswego Willie, You need to defog your glasses. Nowhere in the editorial does it say she’s entitled to anything. It says individual county chairman supposedly have the option to give their county’s information to her and that the McLean count chairman is getting the slow-walk from state GOP when he requested his.
    You need to go back and re-read the comments you denounced with such vehemence.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    - jim -,

    The article on 10/17/13 in the News-Gazette;

    Erika Harold quote…

    “As someone who has served as a delegate to the Republican convention and spoken at the convention and participated in many outreach efforts for the (Republican National Committee), I would think that I’d at least be able to be afforded access to the voter data so that I can communicate our message to Republican voters in the district.”

    At least be able to? The least …

    Sounds like someone (Ms. Harold) feels that she is entitled to the file, from her own quote.

    It is taken from the article above the editorial.

    Please, try to keep up.


  19. - Nonplussed - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Playing the race card in a GOP primary? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…

  20. - OurMagician - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    =”I can communicate our message to Republican voters in the district.”=

    I also thought part of her message was to expand the party not rely on the same old party of yesterday.

  21. - TooManyJens - Monday, Oct 21, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==The article in question was written by Crystal Wright, the “Conservative Black Chick.” ==

    Oh, jeez. I’ve caught her act on Twitter. She’s a right wing talking-point machine.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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