[I stopped working for the Brunner campaign, so this is just my unpaid position. I only mention it before a bunch of idiots thought this was paid for by the Brunner campaign.]
Premise 1: Lee Fisher has been hounding ODP Chairman Chris Redfern and the members of the ODP Executive Committee individually for over a year to get them to endorse him over Jennifer Brunner.
Premise 2: These folks have surely gotten tired of hearing about this.
Premise 3: Lee surely wouldn’t ask for an ODP endorsement unless he believed he obtained the necessary commitments that he’d likely get the endorsement.
Premise 4: In past ODP Chair races, ODP Committee Members are legendary for privately committing to more than one candidate.
Premise 5: The predominant assumption has been that ODP’s Executive Committee would only endorse if it’s perceived that Brunner’s candidacy is a lost cause but causing Fisher lasting damage that would complicate his chances in the general election.
There’s so many thoughts I don’t even know where to begin…
Let’s start with the last premise. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that if the status quo had been maintained and Fisher defeated Brunner, things were shaping up that there’d likely be very little bad blood caused by the race.
I can’t imagine how Jennifer Brunner could do anything to cause more lasting damage among the Democratic base in the next six weeks to Lee Fisher than Lee Fisher did by provoking this endorsement issue now.
From an objective rational standpoint, I simply fail to see the political calculus for the Fisher campaign’s move. Where in the cost-benefit analysis of this decision result in a net upside for Fisher?
By provoking this endorsement process, Fisher now has creating a rally point for Brunner supporters who have been desperately looking for … a rally point.
With less than two weeks to early voting and less than six weeks to the primary, I question whether the Executive Committee is really going to be able to: 1) appoint a screening committee, 2) have that committee evaluate the candidates, and 3) have a second Executive Committee meeting to approve the screening committee’s recommendation before votes start being cast. What’s the point of getting an ODP endorsement after the voting has started?
And that’s if they’re motivated to lift heaven and earth to make this happen. The Executive Committee next week could agree to consider an endorsement, but not appoint a screening committee to meet until… well, how’s June look for you, Lee?
Beyond a cheaper stamp, what would an ODP endorsement at this point give Fisher’s campaign that outweighs the obvious and palpable resentment such a heavy-handed approach engenders?
And why would the Executive Committee go along with it? After all, after blissfully sitting on the sidelines and actively seeking to keep the county parties out of the game, too, why would ODP want to weigh in in the fourth quarter? What has happened since December that would suddenly give Fisher the votes to make this endorsement happen?
It’s not like Jennifer Brunner’s lighting up the airways with savage attack ads on Lee Fisher that’s going to cause lasting damage (or ever will be able to).
Ordinarily, these endorsements were used PRE-FILING deadline to discourage an opponent out of a race. I cannot remember ODP issuing an endorsement in a contested primary this late in the game. And given the timing, I question what positive impact an ODP endorsement would give the Fisher campaign.
Which leads me to the third and fourth premise, what if Fisher is wrong and he doesn’t get the endorsement? What’s the potential downside there?
And this all occurs under this backdrop: it’s widely believed that the recently touted DSCC poll in the race also polled the head-to-head primary matchup… but the results of those numbers are not being released by either the DSCC, which has thrown its weight solidly behind Fisher, or the Fisher campaign. (Brunner’s campaign does not have access to the full and raw DSCC poll data.)
And what great pro-Fisher data did the DSCC release? That Lee polls below 40% with an insignificant one-point lead against Rob Portman in the general election. That’s the data they did choose to make public. The Titanic looked more unsinkable.
So, this all leaves me with two questions:
- After all this time, why would the ODP Executive Committee now decide to go with an endorsement?
- And, conversely, why would Lee suddenly be forcing the issue after all this time?