There have been few electoral races in which Legal Insurrection played a more decisive role than in the congressional race in my home district NY-23 this cycle.

Martha Robertson was challenging incumbent Republican Tom Reed, who won the district in 2012 by about 4 points. Reed was considered vulnerable.

Robertson was the promising star in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee candidate roster slated to take Reed out.

Robertson earned the coveted “Red-to-Blue” designation, meaning that she was one of a small number of Democratic prospects to flip a Republican seat. Robertson was an Emily’s List favorite.

Money poured in to support Robertson.

But Robertson’s campaign never really got off the ground as she geared up in the fall of 2013. Our accurate and in depth reporting was a part of that failure.

We exposed a false campaign fundraising solicitation that claimed GOP operatives tried to take down Robertson’s website during a key fundraising period. That report, which Robertson struggled to deal with, haunted the Robertson campaign for the rest of the campaign.

We exposed Robertson’s history of supporting single-payer and plan to use Obamacare as the stepping stone. That is not a popular view in this district.

We exposed Robertson’s lack of understanding of the Veterans Administration scandal.

We exposed how Robertson’s key policy initiatives were just DCCC talking points.

We exposed how Robertson’s campaign used “fat shaming” photos of Reed in its attack ads. That fat shaming earned national attention.

We documented Robertson’s hide-and-seek approach to the media.

We were the first to post the viral video of Robertson being laughed at during a debate when she launched a “War Against Women” attack:

These issues drove the debate in the campaign.

Of course, all the research in the world makes no difference if the electorate — as in Massachusetts in the 2012 Elizabeth Warren campaign — is so liberal that it will vote for the liberal candidate no matter what. But that is not NY-23, a mostly rural, mostly center-right district.

Martha Robertson won Tompkins County (Ithaca) overwhelmingly, but lost the district by 25 points.

NY23 Election Results CNN 2014

25 points. Think about that.

A district that is about R+3 in party registration completely, totally, and thoroughly rejected the liberal Democratic candidate.

Tom Reed and his team ran a flawless campaign. Reed is a good, comfortable, likable candidate. Ithaca no longer reflects the district since the 2010 redistricting. It all came together.

But I’d like to think we played a role.

[Featured Image via Ithaca Voice]


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