If you haven’t heard about the purported Tea Party candidate/”plant” story that broke today in South Jersey, welcome back to the planet. It’s not especially pretty. Courier-Post:
Camellia sinensis. (It’s Latin for Tea Plant)
On a balmy evening last May, about three dozen members of the South Jersey Young Dems convened at the Camden County Democratic Committee HQ (where) Freeholder Jeff Nash warned the assembled crowd of party volunteers and legislative aides that the sour economy would make the coming election season difficult…. To give (incumbent Congressman John) Adler an edge, (CCDC) recruited a then-unidentified man to run as a third-party candidate. That candidate would act as a conservative spoiler… But first he had to get on the ballot. With the filing deadline just weeks away, CCDC needed volunteers to hit the streets and collect signatures — fast.
For what it’s worth, I happen to live in NJ-3 and cast my vote (by mail) for Adler which I don’t regret it. Also, I was a staffer on the historic 2008 campaign when Alder became the first Democrat to represent this district in over 125 years.
But I still have an uneasy feeling about how this story emerged. It’s not illegal or uncommon for candidates to enhance their chances at the polls by helping get 3rd party candidates on the ballot. Mother Jones:
Republicans have a long history of such shenanigans, typically propping up the Green Party in recent election cycles. In Arizona, a Republican operative was particularly brazen in recruiting three homeless people to run for state office. And in Texas, Republicans spent a half-million dollars in an effort to put the Texas Green Party on the ballot in the state race-backed by sketchy operatives who also tried to help Ralph Nader in the 2004 race.
t’s my personal philosophy that you win campaigns by whatever legal means you have at your disposal. If you don’t use every legal tool you’ve got, you should be fired for campaign malpractice. So I guess I am glad they hatched this plan because I think Adler’s opponent would be infinitely worse choice. You can bet your entire Franklin Mint red ceramic elephant collection the BurlCO GOP would do the same thing if they thought it’d give them an edge. Both play hard and play to win; Politics isn’t tiddlywinks.
I would however deduct a few style points for how this plan was executed. If you’re not gonna be totally discreet about your strategy you should at least own it right?
Consider this an open-thread. How does this look/smell from your perspective?