Rothenberg Report changes rating from Leans Republican to Republican Favored
The campaign of Martha Robertson, the Democratic challenger in my home district of NY-23, really should have been on the list of the Worst Campaigns of 2014.
While Robertson started out with strong support from Emily’s List and was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “Red-to-Blue” designee, literally nothing has gone right with the campaign, and a lot has gone wrong including:
- A campaign fundraising scandal over a false solicitation claiming GOP operatives were caught trying to take down Robertson’s website during a crucial fundraising period.
- Old video surfacing in which Robertson not only argued for single payer, but said Obamacare was the first step to get there.
- A bizarre fixation on incumbent Tom Reed’s former heavy weight, leading to local and national coverage of Robertson’s “fat shaming” tactics.
- Using the AARP name and logo in an advertisement, leading AARP to issue a press release criticizing Robertson. The day after the AARP admonition, Robertson uploaded the ad to YouTube anyway.
- Staking out a policy position on the Veterans Administration scandal that exhibited a complete lack of understanding of the systemic problems.
- An at-best murky record on the wildly unpopular SAFE Act gun control law.
- Caught cut-and-pasting DCCC talking points.
- Takes a hardcore anti-fracking position in a District which watches Pennsylvania thrive just across the border.
- A policy position that climate change is the most important issue, something that is unlikely to play well outside Ithaca.
- Repeated fact-checks of her advertisements which revealed serious inaccuracies.
- An inexplicable hesitation to interact with local media.
- A limited public appearance schedule in which media access was restricted, and favoritism played.
Simply put, what once was a promising Democratic possibility of turning a seat from red to blue has turned into a paradigm of how not to run a campaign.
Tom Reed, by contrast, hit the airwaves early defining Robertson as an out-of-touch extreme Ithaca liberal. Robertson and her supporters have taken umbrage at that portrayal, as if it were an attack on all Ithaca voters, but the more they protest the more they highlight the image.
Every national non-partisan political analyst following the race gives Robertson close to a zero chance of winning. There hasn’t been any public polling released, but all these analysts must be working off of information fed to them by campaigns. If Robertson had positive internal polling, you can bet she would release it to counter the analysts’ narrative.
Add The Rothenberg Report to the list, as it just changed its rating on the race from Leans Republican to Republican Favored.
The DCCC has reserved substantial air time for the last two weeks of the race.
Will DCCC bother throwing good money after bad? Hey, miracles can happen, but in a House which might see Republican gains, will the DCCC place its bet on a long-shot?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Update: Just after this post went live, the Rothenberg Report issued its assessment of the House races, Shift in Landscape Makes Bigger GOP House Gains Possible, including this:
Martha Robertson, an allegedly strong Democratic challenger against underperforming Republican Rep. Tom Reed, seems to have flopped in what should be a competitive, polarized district in upstate New York.
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