Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Union Group Endorses Jerry McNerney

There’s a huge announcement out of the McNerney camp today.  Jerry McNerney was endorsed by the San Joaquin County Central Labor Council (no website, sorry).  For those who don’t know, the Central Labor Councils are the local AFL-CIO umbrella groups.  There’s a good chance that this endorsement will prompt a lot of other, similar endorsements by Labor, especially within San Joaquin County.

This comes at a very opportune time for McNerney.  Margee Ensign is from Stockton, and so San Joaquin County is something of her home turf.  Part of her allure has come from the idea that we won’t be able to win unless our candidate is credible in San Joaquin County, which is where more than half of the voters in CA-11 live.  By getting this endorsement, McNerney is showing that he can campaign successfully even in Ensign’s hometown.  Furthermore, Steve Filson has gotten some important endorsements himself, and from what I hear, he’s even having a big fundraiser in D.C. hosted by some Democratic Party bigwigs.  Filson’s biggest asset is his connection to some powerful members of the Democratic Party establishment.  McNerney’s biggest asset is his strong grassroots support.  Thus, both are playing to their own strengths.  We’ll have to see how this plans out, but today is certainly an important day for McNerney and his team.          

I’ll update the post when I receive a press release about it.  But I wanted to get the info out as soon as I could.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connections aren't Filson's biggest asset, his biggest assets are that he can win over undecideds and moderates and he can raise enough money to beat Pombo. Grassroots support and DCCC connections are completely irrelevant as arguments in favor of either candidate -- whoever wins the primary will have the advantage of both.

2:58 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger VPO said...

Anonymous says whoever wins the primary will have the backing of both the grassroots and DCCC, but I think Anon is missing the point that there is resentment about having a DCCC-backed candidate shoved on us. It is the local boy trying hard to succeed (McNerney) versus someone coming on (Filson) as if he deserves the nomination.

Also, what makes Anon think that undecideds and moderates would be won over by Filson, or that he can raise enough money (implying that others can't)?

I met Filson and was not particularly impressed. I don't see him having any unusual appeal.

4:15 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

To be clear, I meant that these were their strengths in terms of the primary.

Additionally, Filson's ability to raise money is directly tied to his connections with the DCCC and Ellen Tauscher. Granted, Filson is almost certainly a better fundraiser than McNerney in any event. But there's no way Filson would have raised half the money he did if it weren't for his connections to the Democratic Party establishment in Washington.

Lastly, I've seen no evidence that Filson can win over undecideds and moderates. This idea is bandied about without any evidence. Going to Washington and throwing big-dollar fundraisers is not a way of showing that he can persuade undecided and moderates. On this point I really need to ask, Where's the beef?

4:29 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...

Note, I didn't see VPO's comment before I posted mine. It looks like we're in agreement though.

Furthermore, his point about resentment is a good one. It's not just Democrats either. I'm going to post this quote later in another post, but here's the same thing from a member of the San Joaquin Central Labor Council:

Gene Davenport of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 54 says his union and the San Joaquin-Calaveras Central Labor Council have endorsed McNerney instead of Filson.

"We were with McNerney in the last election," Davenport said. "We know what he stands for."

Davenport said he was upset the DCCC would arbitrarily anoint a candidate without discussing it with local labor groups first.

"They more or less said this is how it's going to be," he said. "I don't particularly like the way they think they can do business."

4:33 PM, December 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spend a lot of time talking about what Filson hasn't proved since the campaign began, but what has McNerney proved? He couldn't raise money in the last election and he claims it's because he didn't have enough time. well, now he's had plenty of time, he says he has name recognition and all this grassroots support, and...he still can't raise money. you may think the DCCC will support whoever wins the primary, but they're only going to support EITHER candidate in a significant way if the candidate proves he can raise the money on his own. you think filson has only raised money from his washington connections, but it looks to me from the filings that most of his money came from pilots, neighbors, lawyers and labor PACs.

10:23 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Matt said...


I'm not sure if you're going to read this, but I'm going to put it here for the sake of completeness.

First, you're right that McNerney's fundraising isn't very good. But he has 700 different contributors to his campaign, and I bet the lion's share of them actually live in the district.

Also, I stand by what I said about how Filson got his money. I never claimed his money came solely from his Washington connections. What I said was that they played a big role in his fundraising so far.

He came into this race from Day 1 with all of Ellen Tauscher's consultants. Don't tell me they would've all decided to take Filson on as a client without Tauscher's patronage. Certainly, it's hard to argue that the DCCC would be backing him if it weren't for Tauscher.

Furthermore, there's no way Filson would have got PAC money from Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren, and other elements of the Dem establishment if it weren't for Tauscher and the DCCC. To put things in perspective, Filson's got $11,000 from candidate and leadership PACs plus $2,100 from Tauscher as a personal donation (as well as $250 from a lawyer in the office of their mutual campaign treasurer Russell H. Miller). That total ($13,350), which I submit is unambiguously due to Filson's patronage by Tauscher, all but equals the amount Filson raised from fellow pilots ($13,400). The amount Filson received from politicians and the PACs they control also exceeds the amount he received from his neighbors ($12,400) which represents over 2/3 of the money he raised within the district.

None of this takes away from Filson's fundraising advantage. None of this denies the real problem facing McNerney when it comes to raising money. But McNerney really does have a loyal cadre of grassroots supporters and Filson really hasn't demonstrated that he does.

And unless people are going to say that this race is ONLY about money, then we need to examine the claims about the personal qualities of the candidates. Filson claims that he can win over moderates. I see no evidence for that claim. Furthermore, after witnessing some, shall we say creative analysis by Filson regarding the possibility of McNerney entering the race, I think Filson has a lot less credibility than he might otherwise have. This, combined with my gut instinct that he'll not have a easy time winning over the moderates in the district despite what he says, makes me want something more than words and speculation. McNerney won the San Joaquin-Calaveras Central Labor Council's endorsement because the members on it knew him and some respected him for standing up to Pombo in 2004.

Seen in this light, McNerney is living up to what he says about himself, Filson is not. That does not mean that Filson will not or cannot. But it makes me want more proof.

9:37 PM, December 02, 2005  

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