Despite Large Ad Buy Against GOP’s Summers, DSCC Still Refuses to Endorse Any ME Senate Candidate
Enjoy this picture, folks- if Secretary of State Summers has his way, there will be few opportunities for Maine to see the leading Senate candidates together before the election, let along listen to them, as he has already skipped multiple debates.
Normally, one would think that skipping public appearances and debates would be damaging to a candidate’s chances of winning. Additionally, one would think that huge ad buys by one’s party’s national opponents would hurt.
But then we have the strange case of Patty Murray, who by her tight-lipped failure to endorse either Democratic US Senate candidate Cynthia Dill or front runner Independent candidate Angus King, has bettered Charlie Summers’ chances of winning in November far more than Summers himself has.
Yesterday afternoon Murray, during a phone conference call regarding the previous night’s Massachusetts senate candidate televised debate, had very little to say about the Maine Senate race, despite the fact that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has made a $400k plus ad buy here, all attacking GOP candidate and current Secretary of State Charlie Summers. The ads started airing locally yesterday and will continue to air for ten days.
Her complete statement? “We have not endorsed in that race.”
And by not saying anything further, Murray and the DSCC may well be helping Charlie Summers.
Via The Daily Caller:
“King is the far stronger liberal candidate — Dill has yet to raise enough money to be able to run ads on television — but it would be difficult for the Democratic campaign arm to endorse another candidate over their own party’s nominee. So national Democrats — and the DSCC in particular — have mostly stayed silent in the race, declining to endorse Dill or throw any funding her way, in a tacit nod of support for King.”
This posture by Murray has been disappointingly consistent with what the DSCC was saying back before the Democratic primary was even decided. As a reminder, back in March Murray said that “Maine was a great opportunity” for Democrats.
While Murray and others outside of Maine have been scuffing their toes in the sand and being coy regarding which candidate the support in this increasingly important Senate race, various local voices have spoken up in recent days, as Portland Press Herald’s Greg Kesich (“An early exit by Dill would shake up U.S. Senate race”) and “Democrats for King” (a closed Facebook page created weeks before the June primary) organizer Alan Caron (“With a spoiler in U.S. Senate race, it’s all about the numbers”) called for Democratic nominee State Senator Cynthia Dill to step down.
Maine Democratic Party chairman Ben Grant took issue with that demand (“Asking Dill to step aside assumes King is lying about his true intentions”) and offered his own op-ed, as did 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Maine Senate president Libby Mitchell (“Urging Dill to drop out ignores values she represents”).
At some point, the DSCC should have either “fished or cut bait”. It is now so late in this race that any move they make will appear (accurately) to be not an endorsement at all and completely politically motivated.
Even with the $400k throw at Maine, they are being horribly outspent by the NRSC, whose ads are softening up the race for Summers. Frankly, the NRSC should be thanking Murray at this point.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other outside groups have spent $1.5 million boosting Summers, and recent polling in the race shows that it’s having an effect, as the well-known former governor’s once commanding lead has shrunk over Summers, who is running in second.
“It’s remarkable to see national Democrats now spending money in a state where they refuse to even endorse their own nominee,” NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer said in a statement.
The focus of the DSCC spot will say a lot about the posture Democrats intend to adopt in the coming weeks. The launch of the buy is also an implicit acknowledgement that Summers is gaining in the polls.
Maybe Murray should have flipped a coin. This post will be updated when the DSCC video is made public.