Gallegos and Van de Putte criticize DSCC

This will surely ruffle a few feathers.

Two prominent Hispanic Democratic officials from Texas harshly criticized an arm of their national party today for skipping over the state when it provided funding muscle for U.S. Senate candidates across the country.

State Sens. Mario Gallegos of Houston and Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio objected to the fact that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee collected contributions from Texans — $1.1 million at an event in San Antonio, for instance — without sending any to the campaign of outgoing state legislator Rick Noriega of Houston.

Noriega lost the Senate race in November to Republican incumbent John Cornyn, who raised $10 million during the campaign to $4 million for Noriega, according to federal records.

The Democratic committee’s decision to spend the money outside Texas “is shameful and disgraceful, and we will do everything we can to prevent this disrespect from happening again,” the two state senators wrote.

“For the face of the U.S. Senate to represent the true face of America, we must all work together to invest in quality candidates such as Rick Noriega, not take a walk when our candidate is not a member of the millionaires’ club,” they added.

Noriega, too, is Hispanic, and Gallegos and Van de Putte implied in their letter that ethnicity figured into the national Democratic strategy.

“Rick Noriega has an impeccable pedigree to run in Texas. He is an old-fashioned Democrat — a family man, a man of faith, a combat-decorated veteran, a legislator, with an Ivy-league education and time spent defending the border,” they wrote. “He has a heart for the people, impeccable Democratic credentials and is an awesome retail campaigner. To some who chose to sit on the sidelines in this election, those characteristics were apparently not enough — he is not wealthy or white. We have always believed Democrats are better than that.”

The pair also wrote, “The heat of election night had not cooled before the speculation began about DSCC support for several Anglo candidates in future races. This is not only disrespectful; it’s shameful.”

The full letter is here (PDF); it’s also being discussed at BOR. That $1.1 million fundraiser was organized by Mikal Watts at Sen. Schumer’s request on behalf of the DSCC.

There’s a lot to be said here, and I think you all know how frustrated I felt this year at the lack of support outside the netroots for Noriega. There’s plenty of blame to go around, not just to the DSCC. I think once the Obama campaign decided to focus its resources elsewhere and use the energy and dollars of its Texas supporters in other states, there was little chance that Noriega would get much attention from the state and national establishment. The DNC and its Fifty State Strategy have invested in Texas in recent years, but I think it’s safe to say that other states have received a larger dividend. As described in John Spong’s Texas Monthly article from awhile back, there were plenty of bigtime Democratic fundraisers in the state who did precious little to help Noriega, especially early on when better initial fundraising numbers would have given him some momentum. And yes, as also described in that article, Noriega himself could have done a lot better on this front. As with all unsuccessful campaigns, there’s never just one reason for it.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but every Democrat in Texas who has given to a campaign or campaign committee outside of Texas bears some of the blame, too. What do you think might happen if the next time the DSCC asks for support here they’re told “Not until we start getting a fair shake”? It’s clear from reading Glen Maxey’s account of that $1.1 million fundraiser that there was a belief this was a down payment on an investment in Texas by the national folks. Either that was a lie, or it was wishful thinking based on noncommittal statements. I understand that it’s the DSCC’s job to win Senate races, not to build state party infrastructure. They’ve done quite well at that job in recent years, too. It’s our job to win races in Texas, and where that comes in conflict with what the DSCC and its brethren want to do, it’s up to us to decide what we want to do about that. I hope that message is received as well as the one being delivered to Sens. Menendez, Salazar, et al. Stace has more.

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3 Responses to Gallegos and Van de Putte criticize DSCC

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    The reality is both the state and local parties took an attitude about Noriega. Eitehr they assumed no one could beat Cornyn, assumed a Hispanic couldn’t beat Cornyn, or just assumed because Hispanics would turn out in record numbers that he would win on that basis. Reality is the Hispanics have been ignored when it comes to funding. And blaming the national party is not the answer. How about blaming the “big boys who raise the big bucks” who think all minorities should just turn out their own at the polls. And that is the bottom line attitude and it has to change if Texas is going to be rid of the Rabid Republicans.

  2. cb says:

    Noriega had no chance to win. Without funding to get his message out Texans had no idea who he was or what he stood for. But it was hard to get excited about Noriega. Noriega did not come across well in the few television commercials I saw of him. He looked like a deer in the headlights.

  3. Baby Snooks says:

    Cornyn doesn’t exactly set things on fire either – the difference in their commercials was who put them together.

    Noriega’s were “amateurish” and I hope I don’t offend anyone with that since I don’t know who his media/ad person was. But I too caught the “deer in the headlights” look. Once should have been enough and someone should have caught it. Instead they kept running them. And it turned people off. It turned me off.

    Joan Huffman’s commercial is proof positive of what happens when a media/ad person doesn’t really know what they’re doing. Enough already. After awhile, the same commercial gets on your nerves. And you want to throw something at the television.
    If you don’t know anything about her except from the two commercials, she apparently is a bored housewife and mother whose only escape is indoor mountain climbing.

    Cornyn by the way had a good media/ad person who most likely hired someone “professional” to do the ads. They kept the same theme, avoided what became the “Big Bad John” joke but still presented him as the rough-and-tough-cowboy and John Connally type of politician. And there was not the same commercial run 24/7. There were different ones. And the black and white was very effective. Particularly with regard to the cowboy in the white hat image.

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