* 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.