Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Is Rahm Emanuel playing hardball in CA-50?

Somebody's trying to peel off Republican votes from Brian Bilbray, the former GOP Congressman running to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the CA-50 special election.

And the betting here is that it's the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins is on to something -- yesterday he published a piece on the special election in CA-50 that ought to set tongues to wagging at the headquarters of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

According to Jenkins' column, automated phone calls are pouring into the district -- on behalf of a third-party candidate on the right named William Griffith.
Out on the extreme far right of the political spectrum, the main draw should be William Griffith, the independent “republican” (note lower case) whose rock-ribbed conservatism has earned him the recent endorsements of the local Minutemen and the super-conservative American Independent Party, which has about 7,000 registered voters in the 50th Congressional District.

In the special primary in April, Griffith was eclipsed – he received only 1,100 votes – but in the runoff, he has the gun/gay/abortion axis to himself, free and clear ...

Like Libertarian Paul King, the fourth name on the runoff ballot, Griffith has less than zero chance of winning a ride to Washington. Still, Griffith could be the Ralph Nader or Ross Perot of this race. He could draw Bilbray blood in the zero-sum game of the runoff.

The political math is simple: True-blue conservatives don't much like Bilbray. It's the gay/gun/abortion thing. He's just too liberal, too GOP establishment, some conservatives believe. In the GOP primary, renegade candidate Bill Hauf is trumpeting that very message.

If Busby steals the safe Republican seat next week and finds herself on the front page of The New York Times as the Democratic It Girl, she could owe Mr. G. a case of champagne. (Then again, he doesn't drink. Maybe a case of Martinelli.)

On the other hand, if Griffith (and King) fade to a percent or two apiece, Bilbray's chances of winning the traditionally safe Republican seat – and then repeat in November – are much improved.

A mystery person(s) evidently has done the math and started dialing for political dividends.

Households in the 50th are receiving phone calls pumping up Griffith, but the candidate has no clue who has commissioned the automated messages.

“I don't know if they're doing it for me or as a tactic against Bilbray,” he admits.

On his Web site (www.williamgriffith.us), Griffith writes: “I do not know who's conducting the phone campaign on my behalf. I am grateful for the enthusiasm of those who know what I stand for, and want to promote my candidacy.”

Nice thought, but the mathematical probability is that a Busby supporter is pushing buttons on behalf of Griffith. It so adds up.
"A Busby supporter?" That would be the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Nice work, Mr. Emanuel.


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