If you spend any amount of time reading Greg Diamond’s take on SD-37 and the DPOC, he laments the abject failure of the Party not to find a candidate to run against Don Wagner and John Moorlach and then credits himself and Nick Anas, the former executive director of the party who left for the private sector, as being the only ones who would make certain the party offered a candidate.
That’s a lot of back slapping for a former party vice chair who was booted for lending so much editorial support to conservative Republicans while generally being a roadblock to moving the party forward. But I’ve had a number of party leaders contact me over the past few days to tell me what I already know — Greg is wrong about the party’s efforts to recruit a candidate (because he’s wrong about quite a bit).
Leaders of the DPOC spoke with several people — including Louise Stewardson — prior to the filing. One unnamed potential candidates was told by a union leader that they were supporting Wagner in the race and not to bother running. There are some in the party who were irritated with Louse for deciding to run after she declined to run when first approached, leaving no Democrat on the ballot. She could have been trashed, but the party instead made lemonade and there’s an expectation we’ll see Louise on the ballot again. Complicating matters, we understand Democratic senate leaders told the DPOC they wouldn’t help cover a filing fee for a Democrat in this special election — and in honesty, I don’t blame them.
Democrats in this part of the county have almost impossible odds to run for assembly or state senate with an expectation of winning. With labor unions throwing support to Wagner because they can’t stand Moorlach, there goes a rich source of funds and feet on the street.
As Diamond can speak from experience, being a political martyr isn’t cheap. And Democrats in this county have a hard enough time voting in mid-term elections and primaries let along special elections. It also takes a lot of money to run an effective campaign; money that wasn’t going to match Wagner’s war chest. And then consider the very large disparity of Democrats to Republicans when it comes to voter registration; frankly it would make more sense for candidates even considering the race to pray for a Wagner win so they could run for his old assembly seat — a much more winnable race.
There’s a time to fish and a time to cut bait. There will be a time when this seat is competitive, but that time isn’t now. To call out the DPOC for not fielding a candidate doesn’t tell the full story of the recruitment efforts they made to field a candidate. Because the Party did recruit. Don’t let Diamond tell you otherwise.