NRSC Comms Shop Continues Its Time in the Spotlight

It is, ultimately, regrettable that this situation must continue to drag on. However, a few things remain to be said concerning NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh’s non-responsive response to me from yesterday. First, Walsh seized upon the statement that the DeVore campaign “didn’t formally request a meeting until last week.” I have obtained a series of communications from the DeVore campaign (detailed below the fold) which show a series of efforts to reach out to cooperate and work with the NRSC dating back to May of this year.  I suppose it is technically true that none of them uses the words “formal request for a meeting” and therefore to that extent Walsh has a point.  Well played, Mr. Walsh.  However, to the extent that Mr. Walsh’s post intends to imply that DeVore’s attempts to seek aid from the NRSC are in fact a recent phenomenon… well, the evidence below the fold speaks for itself.

However, the larger point of this post is to illustrate further that Mr. Walsh continues to miss the point of my criticism entirely.  Walsh seized upon a parenthetical comment in my post that made a technically inaccurate assertion and wrote his entire response to it, somehow apparently missing the fact that the entire point of my post was Walsh’s tone towards the DeVore campaign, his own public injection into this story, and the NRSC’s willingness to badmouth a legitimate GOP Senate candidate on the record to the media.  I agree wholly with Quin Hillyer’s excellent analysis of the problem presented by Walsh’s continued public jihad against the DeVore campaign:

Again, another attack, as if the DeVore campaign is the political enemy, rather than a potential nominee.

This is an outrage. No campaign committee staffer should be publicly disparaging a campaign that may end up being that of his party’s nominee for a key Senate seat.

This is the time that a staffer should A) shut up; and B) arrange for another NRSC committee spokesman to say something along thse lines: “We are sorry that there appears to have been a misunderstanding with the DeVore campaign. It matters not how the misunderstanding occurred. We want to make sure the misunderstanding is solved. We welcome any inquiries from Mr. DeVore’s campaign, and will gladly set up a meeting between him and chairman John Cornyn if he wants one.”

Indeed.  If you work on opposite sides, there is a certain value in some situations to continue to drag out a controversy as long as possible.  However, as the NRSC is theoretically in the business of being on the same side as GOP Senate candidates, the time has come Walsh and those who work for him to be less concerned about putting DeVore campaign staffers in their place, and more concerned about figuring out how to give Chuck DeVore what he needs to defeat Barbara Boxer.

A detail of the DeVore campaign’s efforts to reach out to the NRSC is below the fold.

  • On May 17th, 2009, DeVore sent a letter to Sen. Cornyn updating him on the progress of his Senate campaign and asking for Cornyn’s formal endorsement. Obviously, that has not happened.
  • On August 19, 2009, the NRSC sent out notice for a bloggers’ conference call with Pat Toomey.  DeVore Communications Director Josh Trevino responded, requesting that the NRSC hold a similar call with Chuck DeVore.  The NRSC’s Vincent Harris demurred in response; to date no such call has been scheduled.
  • On October 21st, 2009, Carly Fiorina was quoted in a San Diego boasting that Sen. Cornyn had asked her to enter the race, “reaffirming [her] belief that Chuck DeVore cannot beat Barbara Boxer.”  Trevino emailed Walsh asking whether Fiorina was telling the truth that she had received the NRSC’s implicit endorsement; Walsh responded by calling this a mischaracterization and threatening DeVore with a withdrawal of NRSC’s help in the general if the DeVore campaign spread this eminently reasonable interpretation of Fiorina’s remarks.
  • On October 31, 2009, DeVore again personally sent a letter to John Cornyn updating him on the campaign’s progress, pointing out his polling strength against Boxer, and asking for Cornyn’s formal endorsement.
  • On Nov. 5th, the DeVore campaign learned that the NRSC was publicizing fundraising events for Carly Fiorina. DeVore campaign staff asked Lauren Griffin of the NRSC via email whether the NRSC could also publicize their fundraising events. 
  • On Dec. 8th, 2009, DeVore sent a fax to Sen. Cornyn (per his instructions) notifying Cornyn of an impending visit to DC and requesting a meeting with Sen. Cornyn.  As previously discussed, an NRSC staffere replied via email on Dec. 15th that DeVore would have to meet instead with an NRSC staffer.

I will allow you all to draw your own conclusions from the evidence thus presented.