Well, this is at least an original argument.
The ability of the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee to raise national party money for the general election campaign in Texas may be hindered if Hillary Rodham Clinton is the party’s presidential nominee, one-time senatorial candidate Mikal Watts said Tuesday.
“If Hillary is the nominee, that will have an effect on whether the national Democrats will play in Texas,” Watts said.
“The prevailing thought is the Republicans don’t have anybody who will motivate their base to get out. There are some who think Hillary will do that,” he said.
Watts said he has seen Texas polling that shows “right-wing Republicans” react more negatively to Clinton than they do to Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama or John Edwards.
“I think whoever is the Democratic nominee will be the president, but it’s a different story cobbling together 270 electoral votes and doing well in Texas,” Watts said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
“I don’t see either McMurrey or Gene Kelly getting any traction,” Watts said of the current primary. “It’s pretty clear he (Noriega) will be the nominee, and he’s the person best equipped to take on John Cornyn.”
Watts said he does not think it will hurt Noriega in the eyes of national donors and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee if Noriega has to win the nomination in a runoff.
“It slows him down for a month. Obviously, he’d rather be the nominee earlier rather than later. But my advice to him would be to save his resources for Cornyn,” Watts said.
Watts said he donated $100,000 to the DSCC in late December. He said the committee chairman, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, will decide on whether to help fund Noriega’s campaign based on polling done in the summer.
“They are fiduciaries of money and they’re trying to pick up Senate seats. So they’ll spend the money where it will be most effective,” Watts said. “Rick will be in a good position to make his case for that money, but there are a lot of pick-up opportunities across the country.”
Much ground to cover here…
– It would be very nice if someone (anyone!) would cite some actual data to suggest that Hillary Clinton would be a drag on the ballot in Texas. Watts says he has seen polling data – would it kill him to see to it that the rest of us get to see this data as well? Because I for one am tired of taking people’s word for this. Especially now that there may possibly be a meaningful primary in Texas, I want to have full information before I make my choice. If there really is credible, meaningful data out there that says Hillary Clinton’s presence on the ballot will affect outcomes elsewhere, all of us who plan to vote in that primary should have access to that data so we can judge it for ourselves and possibly use it to help make our decision. I’m a big boy, I can handle the truth.
– Regardless of point one, I don’t see the top of the ticket having much effect on the DSCC’s decision to play or not play in Texas. Either Rick Noriega raises enough money and shows enough viability to make it worth their time, or he doesn’t. And not to beat a dead horse, but polling might help here, too. Put a couple of polls out in the field, one that tests Clinton versus one or more of the GOP wannabees, and another that tests Obama versus same, and include a Noriega/Cornyn question in each. Is there a difference in Noriega’s support between the two? Let’s find out.
– I still don’t get the fixation on “right-wing Republicans”, who presumably are unlikely to push the button for any Democrat against any Republican. Are we saying they’re more likely to sit it out if Hillary isn’t there to taunt them? I guess maybe that’s possible, but what about the converse – would Hillary entice more Democrats to get out and vote, out of tribalism if nothing else? What exactly is the metric here?
– To reiterate that last point, don’t underestimate the potential that the type of rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth hatred Clinton inspires from those ‘wingers has to backfire. Paul Waldman puts it thusly:
Throughout the Clinton presidency and her Senate campaigns, it was always the case that whenever Hillary Clinton got attacked, her approval numbers rose. Whether it was Ken Starr, Rick Lazio, or the legions of Clinton-haters, she has always thrived – particularly with women – whenever under assault, particularly by men who look like bullies. She and her people understand this very well.
I’m going to keep saying it until someone shows me objective data that proves otherwise: I think the Hillary-as-Republican-savior factor is way, way overstated. And I really wish Democrats would stop buying into the Republican spin on it.
One more thing:
As preparation for the general election, Watts said, Noriega should debate McMurrey. McMurrey has challenged Noriega to debates, but Noriega’s camp has declined so far.
“I don’t think debating hurts anybody. Rick and I were prepared to have a series of debates,” Watts said. “You’re going to want to have debates with Cornyn, and you’re going to want to be able to say you took on all comers in the primary and Cornyn ought to in the general.”
Noriega campaign manager Sue Schechter said the debate argument with McMurrey is a matter of “semantics.” She said Noriega and McMurrey have had repeated joint appearances at local Democratic forums, but that McMurrey has not shown up for all of them.
“Our challenge would be for him to start showing up at these events where we are both invited,” Schechter said.
So they’re having candidate forums instead of “debates”. What’s the difference between the two? Far as I can tell, it’s whether or not you have a Tim Russert there to ask you what kind of tree you’d be if you were a tree. This was sounds better to me, so I don’t know what the fuss is about. The point is to get both candidates before the voters at the same time, and it sounds like there’s plenty of opportunity for McMurrey to do that if he chooses to.