Progressives are blasting the DNC and party leadership for not doing more in Montana, just like they did after Democrats lost in Kansas.
Would've helped if the Democratic Party got behind Rob Quist.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 26, 2017
Quist supporters at campaign HQ are furious that the DNC/DCCC didn't devote more resources to the race. They felt it was eminently winnable.— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 26, 2017
Huffington Post: The Democrats virtually ignored Quist until late April. “It seems clear that Gianforte’s massive edge in early funding allowed him to attack Quist’s character viciously before there were sufficient funds for Quist to respond to the vitriol,” Jeff Hauser, a longtime Democratic operative and director of the Revolving Door Project, told HuffPost. “If Quist should lose, the national Democrats who provided financial assistance after mail-in voting had already begun will have to question anew their initial reluctance to engage in the race in March and early April.” (Huffington Post, 5/26/17)
- Quist’s loss comes on the heels of similar disappointments for the party. Earlier this month, Democrat Heath Mello failed to unseat Republican Mayor Jean Stothert in Omaha, Nebraska. In April, progressive Democrat James Thompson lost an unexpectedly close race for an open House seat in deep-red Kansas. (Huffington Post, 5/26/17)
The DCCC’s national mobilization chair in 2016, Rep. Jim Clyburn, was completely unaware of the special election in Montana. Last week, Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's national mobilization chair in 2016, was asked if the DCCC planned to get more involved in the upcoming Montana special congressional election to replace new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Clyburn gave a nine-word response: "Montana special election? Oh, I didn't know about that." (The Week, 4/12/17)
Hours before the polls closed, Chuck Todd told DNC Chair Tom Perez he was “shocked at the lack of interest” from the national party in Montana.
TODD: The reason I asked my question the way I asked it, which is, you caught a break here at the end. A candidate gets exposed to character test, he gets exposed in the last minute. But the question is whether the Democrats were there in time to take advantage. I know it’s late here, but you look at the spending advantage. The NRCC has outspent the Democrats 3-to-1. The Republican PACs, including one led by Speaker Ryan, has outspent the Democratic PACs in this race 16-to-1. Your own organization would not tell us how much money you’ve spent, but the RNC has spent almost $1 million. The fact of the matter is: Why didn’t you guys take this race seriously earlier?
PEREZ: No, we –
TODD: You didn’t. You have lately, but the money – you didn’t put your money where your mouth is.
PEREZ: Well, Chuck, you’ve run campaigns so you understand in the world of post-Citizens United, we’re never going to match the Republicans dollar-for-dollar. That’s why we need to overturn Citizens United. All of the dark money that goes there and elsewhere. But I’m proud of what we’ve done. You know, we’ve had a digital team out there for some time. We’ve made significant investments, not only in the digital operation but wherever they needed –
TODD: So you don't acknowledge that you should have jumped in sooner? That if you guys come up 2 or 3 points short, you’re going to sit there and say, “Boy, imagine if you actually took this race as seriously as you took Georgia two months ago.”
PEREZ: First of all, the polls aren't closed yet.
TODD: No you still may win, there’s no doubt.
PEREZ: I feel very good about this. And Chuck, the reality is, he should be up by 20 points. Because that's how things have happened in the past the in Montana.
TODD: Well, well wait a minute. The state has elected a Democratic senator. Not that long ago, the state had two Democratic senators. Jon Tester has been re-elected twice. It is not a shock that a Democrat is competitive. I was shocked, frankly, Mr. Chairman – and this is more maybe a question directed to the DCCC – I was shocked at the lack of interest in the national party in trying to engage in this race sooner.