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Case study: Electoral crushing of star Democratic challenger (#NY23)

Case study: Electoral crushing of star Democratic challenger (#NY23)

I think we helped.

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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So Robertson was dishonest about her own statement history, was unprepared to discuss important issues and showed contempt for her opponent, revealing an unlovely mean streak.

She sounds very similar to a lot of democrat picks this time around. They seem to have been chosen for ideological purity rather than for political knowledge or ability.

My guess is that the democrats will not learn any lessons from that. When things go wrong for purists, their answer is more purity.

Congratulations Prof. Jacobson for showing the world the emptiness of democrat purity.

    healthguyfsu in reply to irv. | November 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I think that’s a bit naive and wishful thinking.

    Dems will treat this as an ideological experiment of sorts and try to weasel their paws into whatever they can whore out to the people who want stuff in exchange for freedom.

    Paul in reply to irv. | November 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    “this time around?”

    You don’t spend much time following politics in the news, I take it? The Dim party is chock full of nasty liars.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to irv. | November 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Most Leftists are like reflecting ponds: a hundred yards long, fifty yards wide and three-inches deep!

    Professor Jacobson and others outside the Fabulous, Fawning Fourth-Estate-Fifth-Column Media® have the temerity to test the water and post big, prominent “Shallow Water! No Diving!” signs!

Puuuuuurrr Robertson. Crushed. Like a bug.

SUCH a bully, Jacobson… Look ashamed…!!! Stop that Snoopy dance. Right this second… And stop that maniacal laughter!

The people made martha “squeal” !

TrooperJohnSmith | November 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Yes, P’fessor… The pen is mightier than the sword! (as long as we have The Second Amendment to protect us from ‘swordsmen’).

One good man (or woman) with a vision, drive and determination CAN make a difference!

Says a lot about Ithaca.

Fantastic work as always, Prof! Now we just have to figure out how to clone you (alas, Graham beat Southerland in #FL02).

Well, Robertson said she wanted more time. Now she has plenty of time!

Thank you for contributing to the demise of a single payer nutjob.

Henry Hawkins | November 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Like any heavyweight, Professor Jacobson needs a nickname. I’ll toss a couple out, knowing/hoping better ones will follow:

Professor William ‘The Kingbreaker’ Jacobson

Profnado (Billnado? Blognado?)

The LI In The Ointment (see whut I done there? Fly? LI?)

Custer’s Revenge (re: Liawatha)


C’mon, folks. Nick him up.

Good work, Professor!

Another Voice | November 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

I originally posted this 11/6 in Prof. J.’s column on the Congressional seat results. It merits saying again:

A huge SHOUT OUT for Prof. J. who posted the high lights on the 23rd District NY Congressional Seat race. Rep. Congressman Tom Reed and his challenger far left liberal and democrat Martha Robertson were originally listed as one of top 10 congressional battles, picking up endorsements from both Emily’s List and the DCCC. Prof. J. brought Robertson game plan to the forefront and these postings were being picked by the national media. She finished with the DCCC pulling their funding and failure to answer the questions of finance fraud provided by Emily’s list. The voting results: Tom Reed won with 62.6%, Martha Robertson with a message vote of 37.4%. I owe it to the “Sunshine” Prof. J. provided herein. YEAH L-I !!!!

The real takeaway here isn’t Professor Jacobsen, or Robertson, or Reed.

The big shock is that the DCCC & DNC thought Robertson was a good enough candidate to flip the seat. They sent a good bit of money and resources her way before giving up.

That speaks volumes about Democratic recruitment and the quality of people who want to be part of their cabal.

Robertson’s defeat was virtually total. She lost 10 of the 11 counties. The best she do outside Tompkins was about 43% in her second best county. In some counties she only got about a quarter of the vote. In the 23rd district, excluding Tompkins, she lost by a 2-1 margin. Put this in the context of her predecessor Democrat candidate who lost by the party registration edge, about 4 points,despite starting late. Robertson’s early start was actually her first mistake. The more people got to know her and her voting record, the more name recognition she had, the less people liked her liberal Ithaca positions. Professor Jacobsen pointed out the flaws in her campaign beautifully, but she was the one doing them, often playing fast and loose with the truth. Robertson should be a spent force politically outside Tompkins County, never again considered for higher office outside the Ithaca area niche. Having been such an embarrassment to her party, having opposed her own governor on fracking, it seems unlikely that the Democrats would be foolish enough to consider her outside Tompkins.