Ganley US Senate Campaign Misinterprets NY-23

It looks like US Senate Candidate Rob Portman will be forced to waste money fighting an ad war with primary opponent Tom Ganley.  The Cleveland car dealer seems intent on spending millions of his own money despite little likelihood of winning.  He has made his first ad buy as part of that strategy:

Republican Senate candidate Tom Ganley, the car dealer from Cleveland who has said he will put up millions of dollars in his own money on the race, is on the air statewide with an ad that aims to highlight his ability to create jobs, according to his campaign.

Ganley is trying to buy his way into a competitive primary.  Unlike Portman who is well on his way to visiting all 88 counties in Ohio, and has been tirelessly campaigning, Ganley is simply vowing to spend millions on advertising.  The only winners in this battle are going to be TV stations and ad consultants.

Ganley has a mistaken view of the recent race in NY-23 and is going to waste a lot of time, effort and money as a result. For why, see below.

Campaign manager Jeff Longstreth is confused:

Longstreth said that he views the primary as similar to the special election earlier this month in New York’s 23rd congressional district, where a moderate Republican dropped from the race under pressure from conservatives. Since Portman has the “backing of the machine” and Ganley doesn’t, “we have to get our message out in other ways,” Longstreth said.

This is so flimsy that the Columbus Dispatch immediately corrects his misunderstanding:

However, unlike the failed GOP candidate in New York, Dede Scozzafava, Portman is firmly conservative on issues such as abortion, so it presumably wouldn’t be as easy for Ganley to drive a wedge between Portman and Ohio GOP conservatives. In any case, the Conservative Party candidate in New York’s 23rd, Doug Hoffman, wound up losing the election to Democrat Bill Owens.

So let’s see.  Portman is solidly pro-life, solid on second amendment issues, opposes Cap and Trade and the Democrats Health Care plans; has been campaign across the state on out of control spending and job killing policies; and has a record in Congress to prove it.

Yep, just like Dede Scozzafava.  Gimme a break.  This isn’t the case where the party establishment rigged a special election to select a leftist RINO.  This is a case where a conservative Republican with great experience and proven fundraising skills rallied the party because everyone knows how important keeping this seat is and how hard winning will be.

Ganley seems to think that just because Portman has experience in elected office and government management that voters should toss aside common sense and vote for a complete unknown who has never been involved in politics until a chance to buy a Senate seat came along.

Ganley wants to take a legitimate concern – that some GOP officials and candidates are too connected to the failures of the past or too liberal for their districts – and use it as a reason to reject a longtime conservative and one of the strongest candidates in the country.  And risk losing a critical senate seat in the process.

Ganley’s whole campaign is smoke and mirrors.  Consider the following:

  • Where has the Ganely campaign ever laid out a plausible scenario where – assuming they won the primary – they can defeat a Democrat opponent who is well funded; has high name ID and currently serving in statewide office; and who has a great deal of campaign experience.
  • Ganley keeps threatening to spend $7 million to win.  I am not an accountant but I don’t see where he has that kind of cash flow.
  • And if Ganley is really able to leverage the populist revolt then why can’t he raise any money and why is he not campaign across the state building his statewide supporters?

If ideology and principals matter to you, Rob Portman is a proven conservative with not only a congressional record but also months worth of campaigning to prove it.

It electability is important, again Portman has the experience, the fundraising and the hard work to prove he is ready.

I happen to think we need a mix of both factors and Portman is best suited to win this critical race.

It is also worth noting that simply being a successful business person is not proof you are ready for the US Senate.  Selling cars may create jobs but policy making in the Senate is a lot different than selling cars.  Senators don’t really make payroll, etc. The fact that you can create jobs in your business is not an indicator that you can impact policy in the Senate.  They are different skill sets.  I know this may run against populist “citizen legislator” type sentiment but I think it is simply reality.

Think about the health care battle starting in the Senate.  Who would you rather have fighting the parliamentary battles, working wobbly colleagues and making the case for defeating the bill?  A complete novice unfamiliar with the process or the people involved?  Or a proven conservative who knows the process and has successfully maneuvered through it?

As I have said before, beware those trying to use populism – whether Tea Parties or any other issues – as a fig leaf for their ambition.