DC chest thumpers tangle over credit for Tester’s Senate victory

by Jay Stevens

Jon Tester won a Senate seat way back in November. The battle for credit continues to rage, this time between Howard Dean’s DNC and Chuck Schumer’s DSCC.

The core of the argument? Who spent how much when!

Schumer told the DNC that his committee put $500,000 into building a voter file in Montana, about 10 times what the national committee had invested in voter registration and identification.

“He said, ‘What are you talking about? We put in half a million into voter registration and you put in 50,000 [dollars],’” one source said.


The DNC spent between $7 million and $9 million on Senate races and between $2 million and $3 million on House races, according to congressional Democratic estimates. Senate leaders were satisfied with the amount given by the DNC, but House leaders were not.

Most of the DNC’s spending went toward building party infrastructure in traditionally Republican states and helping Democrats to win state and local offices.

By touting its activities in Montana, the DNC stepped on Schumer’s pride.

Here’s what I know. I wouldn’t have joined the Missoula Democrats, volunteered for Tester, or started blogging without Dean’s infrastructure.

The voter lists were nice…but about a gazillion organizations had similar lists. How many of you Democratic-leaning Montana voters received phone calls this election, raise your hands! And how many of you received like a gajillion phone calls? That is to say, the lists didn’t carry the day. In fact, if I recall correctly, not only did the Beltway gang back the wrong pony at the start of the race, they dumped some pretty horrible ads on the state.

Stop with all the DC chest-thumping. It was dumb luck. Great political timing. An honest, decent man with the right issues running against a corrupt Missouri auctioneer from a corrupt, incompetent political party. A lousy war. A desire for change, and a lot of naive joes and janes just optimistic enough, just dumb enough to do the gruntwork.

Jon won that race. Montanans won that race. Thanks for all the money, though.

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Everyone give themselves a gawdamned medal and be DONE with it! Hell, I’ve seen the same damn thing in the enviro community for years. They give each other medals and awards, and think that they’ve done something. WHILE THE FRIGGIN’ FIGHT GOES ON! Day after day. The grunts on the ground are still out there, day after day after day. They don’t worry bout no medals. The real awards are the preservation of the land, or the changes made by a guy like Tester. Enough of the bullshit. p.s. schumer is a wanker! He has done MORE harm with his anti-gun nonsense to Montana Dems than can be imagined. He’s a moron.

  2. Turner

    I worked a phone list before the election and I’m not sure it did a lot of good. A lot of the numbers were for people who weren’t Democrats or even the least bit leaning that way. I got a lot of rude hang-ups. Knocking doors using a similar list met with the same results.

    I think voters were annoyed at the number of calls (from Moveon and other out-of-staters as well as local zealots like me) and personal visits they received. I’m not sure I want to pester them again in 2008.

    I’d rather sponsor events to attract voters

  3. noodly appendage

    I give “credit” to all the republicans who voted for Rehberg and not for Burns.

    You can compare the votes county by county and see for yourself. In Gallatin, the discrepancy was significant.

    Can any amount of move on.org and dnc nastiness and fine drawing unreported spending maintain that, or will the next candidate capture the entire republican vote?

    Speaking of annoying contacts, I got spammed by the Edwards campaign this week. did you give him my email? (only kidding–I gotta watch what I sign up for, though.)

  4. Turner

    The phenomenon of people, some of them Democrats, voting for Rehberg but not Burns was really disappointing. Because this meant they voted against Lindeen, who was a fine candidate deserving better treatment.

  5. Fine…if everyone is going to fight over it, I’ll just step forward. It was me.

    Can we all be friends now? :)

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