A total of $168 million and not one dime. That total –$170 million — was the record amount the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised in 2013 and 2014. At the end of August 2014 the DCCC had $56 million cash on hand. On Oct 26, the DCCC spent $242,421 on a media buy to assist conservative Democrat John Barrow get re-elected. Remember: $170 million and each cycle there are “maybe” 25 seats in play.
And how much of that money went to African American candidates: Zero … until two four days to election day when D-trip dropped money for Rep. Steve Horsford (D-NV) who was targeted by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.
That’s right: In a year featuring a record number of African Americans running for Congress and statewide, somehow not a dime was spent on a Black candidate for Congress until the 11th hour. [Chart: African Americans running statewide 2014 | Chart: Select group of African Americans running for Congress in 2014 ]
Though the current Chairman of the DCCC has stated that the strategy all along was protecting incumbents, there are several open seats this cycle the DCCC has spent big money on and two where they have challenged the Republican incumbent.
If you dare look at FEC.GOV at the independent expenditures on some of the races, do it sitting down — preferably with a stiff drink in your hand.
Here are five candidates who didn’t get a dime and should have:
1. (LA-5) Jamie Mayo — So remember that time Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught kissing a staffer on video and it blew up into a big scandal? Well, McAllister pulled a David Vitter and forgot to resign and is still in Congress. Mike Grimm to the South should have been an easy mark for the Democrats. With a district that is 34% African American and a Senate race in Louisiana that has DNC spending on Black voter turnout, who would likely benefit (other than Cedric Richmond)? Someone in a district like Lousiana’s 5th. Mayo is set to win the jungle primary and then everyone assumes he’ll lose. But once again: DCCC rolls the dice on other candidates who are running in red seats. Why not the Mayor of Monroe?
2. (GA-1) Brian Reese vs. Buddy Carter (R) — The unwritten DCCC rule appears to be: All DCCC independent expenditure money DCCC spends in Georgia must go to John Barrow. In a year where there is a Governor’s race, a Senate race, five Black women on the ballot and big fat spending by DSCC on Black turnout, one would think D-trip might catch a clue that 2014 may be a good year to fund a Black congressional candidate in Georgia. You know Georgia right? A state that’s 30% Black — a state with the third most Blacks in the U.S. That Georgia. Georgia’s 1st district is open for the first time in 22 years.
3. (MN-3) Sharon Sund vs. Erik Paulsen (R) — This is the case of a “lean Dem” seat that Democrats have’t bothered to compete in. This seat went 51-47 Obama in 2008 and 49-48 Obama in 2012. You understand there is always some reason not to try to win a seat with an incumbent R sitting there — unless there isn’t. Sund is a progressive candidate in a progressive leaning district. But watch carefully: DCCC went after incumbent Republican Lee Terry in what is a red seat. Perhaps the gamble we pay off but why not go hard after seats that lean blue?
4. (FL-16) Henry Lawrence vs. Vern Buchanan (R) — Arkansas-2 went 54-42 Romney in 2012. Florida-16 went 54-44 Romney in 2012. Which seat are the Democrats spending millions on? That would be the Arkansas seat and not the Florida one.
Henry Lawrence is a former NFL player who played for the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s. Lawrence played in Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII resulting in three Super Bowl rings. Come on DCCC you can’t market that? Soon to be former Republican Congressman Jon Runyun has no rings and he was in Congress four years. Lawrence’s opponent is perpetually on-the-corrupt-list do-nothing fatcat Vern Buchanan. While the DCCC knocks themselves out to elect Gwen Graham in Florida’s 2nd district — a district Mitt Romney and John McCain both won — there’s not a dime for Alpha Phi Alpha member Henry Lawrence. In 2012, the DCCC put Buchanan’s challenger on the red-to-blue list. Again, nothing for Lawrence.
5. (SC-7) Gloria Tinubu vs Tom Rice (R) — One of the mysteries of DCCC strategy is why they give up on seats with large Black populations in an era of mega-voter registration and GOTV efforts. South Carolina’s 7th district is 30% Black. Nick Rahall sits in a seat that went 65-32 Romney and next thing you know millions are spent to save him. Sure, Rahall is an incumbent (read: who never votes with the party), yeah we know. It’s just interesting that Tinubu is on her own against a relatively new Republican with not much to say for himself in a 30% Black seat and that doesn’t spur a challenge.
What happens tomorrow night will likely strengthen a few of the arguments above. The proof will be in tomorrow’s results.