Political strategies are becoming more convoluted and confusing. A liberal-leaning independent funder, Patriot Majority USA, rather than spending funds in the CD 03 House of Representatives race to support Democrat Aimee Belgard has in late May paid about $104,000 in direct mail and TV and on-line advertising to oppose her leading Republican opponent the wealthy Tom MacArthur. In earlier years such funding would have gone directly to Belgard’s campaign and she would have decided how to spend it. Today outside operators (some less independent than others) make key decisions.
It is an interesting gambit. Conceivably this opposition could so damage MacArthur that the other key candidate, the ubiquitous Steve Lonegan, would win the Republican primary, and because of his more extreme conservative views be easier for Aimee Belgard to beat in the General Election. With county Republican party machine support and a $2,000,000 loan from and to MacArthur his loss is difficult to accomplish. The more likely impact might be to weaken MacArthur in the eyes of voters so that Belgard’s chances of winning the General Election are better. (MacArthur, with his warchest and with outside funders, could also soon up an opposition ante.)
Aimee Belgard has amassed $474,502 in contributions through May 14, whereas her weaker Democratic opponent Howard Kleinhendler has raised $54,991. The need to damage a Republican opponent in this Primary takes precedence (according to the outside funder) as Belgard seems positioned to win her own Primay.
Opposition funding in the long run is no guarantor of election victory. Aimee Belgard will need to continue strengthening her campaign staff, hone her message, increase volunteers and raise more money for her candidacy. Her election could bring us another Democratic voice, one or probably two women representing us, and a majority Democrat delegation in Washington. Her election is achievable but not certain in this district which has swung both Republican and Democrat in recent elections.