Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mike Machado to Endorse Steve Filson

According to an article by Nick Juliano in the Tracy Press, state Senator Mike Machado is going to endorse Steve Filson in the CA-11 race against Richard Pombo.  So I guess that means that Machado has finally, unequivocally, lain to rest the rumor that he might be running himself.  

I think this is undeniably a bit of good news for Filson.  But I wonder what this endorsement really means.  Filson has made it clear that he thinks the Democratic Party consists of the various Democratic elected officials.  Thus he has pretty self-consciously pursued a strategy of gaining their endorsements.  I’m not saying McNerney hasn’t been also trying to get endorsements, but he’s clearly more focused on getting the endorsements of local groups than big name politicians.  The thing is, endorsements don’t win congressional races. And not all endorsements mean the same thing.  

On one extreme, Machado could enthusiastically support Filson by stumping for him and actively helping Filson raise money.  On the other extreme, Machado could do little more than allow Filson the use of his name.  It’s hard to know exactly how to read this.  I mean, Machado refused to endorse McNerney last time around when McNerney was the only horse in the race.  So if Machado was going to endorse anyone, it stands to reason he would endorse Filson.  But unlike the endorsements of people like Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and state Senator (and Senate Pro Tem) Don Perata, Machado actually has a campaign apparatus in the district that has the potential to make a difference for Filson.  

In any event, I was able to put this up so early because I can’t seem to fall asleep tonight.  So if it sounds screwy, forgive my sleep-deprived brain.  But I figured it was better to put something up before I fell asleep than after I wake up, whenever that will be.      

21 Comments:

Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

It's really no surprise that Machado would endorse Filson, given Machado's moderate credentials and ties to establishment pols.

But the real news here is that Filson announced this one day after posting anemic Q4 fundraising numbers vs. Q3.

Why? This effectively changes the subject and provides a boost the campaign sorely needed. But the only way it matters is if Machado is actually able to shovel some serious cash into Filson's coffers in the next few months.

Without that cash (real support, not just an endorsement), Filson is merely acting as "filler" for Machado -- taking up necessary space in 2006 and neutralizing McNerney's grassroots campaign... so Machado can take on Pombo in 2008.

I guess we'll find out on May 1 -- when Q1 totals are announced.

Meanwhile, this campaign is about to kick into high gear...

5:52 AM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

good news for filson. filson hasnt had much luck turning his "supposed" dccc endorsement into gold..hopefully he will have better luck using machado's name.

7:23 AM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machado agreed to endorse Filson on Monday, so the timing with the fundraising was simply fortuitous.

7:44 AM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

yeah..this was to be expected. no way was machado going to go against the dccc.

but like i've said, filson has yet to prove he is capable of maximizing these endorsements. so unless filson has improved his campaign plan this is a case of "same as it ever was...same as it ever was..".

and anon..if your part of the filson campaing (which im assuming you are since you know insider info) i would suggest you introduce yourself and use a consistent name if your going to continue participating in these discussions..

net etiquette.....

8:11 AM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

This will definitely help Filson, as Machado has credibility in the Central
Valley and also can raise money there. In his last election (in 2004,
against Stockton Mayor Gary Podesto for the 5th District State Senate seat),
he raised $5 million, in what turned out to be the most expensive California
legislative race ever.

This could be a turning point for Filson, as his 2005 4Q numbers were pretty
awful ($51,000 compared to Pombo's $370,000), but maybe he can make it up
with a strong 2006 1Q. Machado's endorsement will most likely open some
pocketbooks in the Central Valley for him.

Also, this further marginalizes McNerney from the centrist Dem party
machinery. McNerney has two endorsements from elected officials --
Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and California State Senator Liz
Figueroa, but none from any in Congress or anyone else "in the Beltway".
Most of McNerney's support is from grassroots and labor, not elected
officials.

It is also a good play for Machado, as he helps the DCCC and Wash, DC, crowd
(Reps. Tauscher, Lofgren, Rahm Emmanuel) by giving a boost to their
candidate just when he seemed to be lagging and fizzling out. This will help
Machado in the future, if by chance Filson wins the primary but loses the
general election, and Machado runs against Pombo in 2008. Machado is termed
out of the State Senate seat in 2008, and the word is he wants to stay in
politics, whether in Sacramento or in Congress. This endorsement sets him up
nicely with the party regulars for any 2008 run he is contemplating.

I am not being cynical, but every pol looks out for his/her own best interests, and in this case, the Filson endorsement, especially right after the bad numbers, gives Machado some "payback owed" with the DCCC crowd.

(And to Anon above, certainly Filson could have talked privately with Machado about the numbers, or done this through a proxy, like Tauscher -- "hey, Ellen, 4Q numbers aren't looking so good." Then Tauscher calls Machado. I am not saying this went on, but certainly the fact the figures came out publicly Tuesday means little. Obviously, they were known internally and some actions could have been taken to mitigate the bad news, such as the Machado endorsement. In fact, you could argue the other way -- why is this being announced only one day after the bad numbers?)

8:14 AM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

The more I think about it (and maybe I am being cynical today) is that this is a really good move for Machado. The rumor I had heard is that Machado wants the seat in 2008, so they just need a filler candidate for this time around. Machado sets himself up nicely for 2008 with this move by doing the party's bidding.

I doubt anyone in the party leadership seriously thinks Filson can win. I mean, these are experienced pols, and they can see the numbers. Am I wrong on that? If so:

I would like to ask anyone on this blog if they really, seriously think either Filson or McNerney can beat Pombo. I know that is hard-nosed and blunt, but I want to see what the thinking is on that and how they would see that playing out.

I have tossed around numerous scenarios in my head, but can't find one where either Filson or McNerney comes out winning, except if Pombo utterly implodes, maybe with an indictment or other intense disgrace or other embarrassment.

But let's assume Pombo goes about his "normal" scandalous behavior and nothing extraordinary happens. How then could Filson win? With an enormous war chest? With a massive media campaign? With a groundswell of grassroots support? With tremendous groundwork by local clubs and organizers?

I don't know and am certainly no expert. If anyone else has comments, I would like to hear and consider them.

In any case, we have to try, of course, as you never know what will happen, but the odds seem long at this point. Machado's endorsement helps Filson, but it also helps Machado, which may be the point of it. I can't believe that Machado was so impressed by Filson that he just had to endorse him. It is a political game.

Let's face it -- if Machado thought Pombo was that vulnerable, he would take him on himself.

9:34 AM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous#2 said...

VPO cynical? No way! I refuse to believe it. Well, IMHO maybe just a little, at times?

2:17 PM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr 2% of a buck again --

Sorry to burst assumptions, but here they go:

1) Assuming that Machado did this to get some "payback chits" -- if anything, Machado did it to get out of the hole he dug himself when he refused a DIRECT request from the highest ranking Democratic member of the US House to run last June, by (somewhat belatedly) supporting the DCCC-seal-of-approval candidate, after he got a call saying "Filson's really hurting, and we'll -- DCCC, Tauscher, etc. -- really look bad if this continues, so ENDORSE him NOW!"

2) Assuming that Machado wants to leave California where he was born and raised and has lots of personal and political connections, and a home less than a hour's drive from Sacramento, instead of taking a breather after two crueling campaigns for Assembly and two more for State Senate and running for some statewide office in 2010 where, as a Democrat, he will stand a much better chance of NOT LOSING than he would if he took on Pombo, given the beating he took just barely getting re-elected in 2004

3) Assuming that Machado thinks beating Pombo in 2008 is a better bet than beating him in 2006, given that he is a lame duck anyway, so running early (in 2006) doesn't hurt him, and off-year elections (like 2006) are always better odds for the out-party (the Democrats) than on-year elections (like 2008, where the GOP could run someone like McCain and really mess up the political calculus), and given the messes of DeLay, Cunningham, Ney and Frist, if there is a better time to strike when the pig is on its back, I don't know when it is

Net, net: Machado was asked by the national leaders of his party to enhance his "beyond-California" political career by becoming the spearchucker against Pombo in 2006 and said NOOOOOOOOO -- and that is not forgotten, especially if Pelosi misses becoming Speaker by just one vote come January of 2007.

$.02 out.

5:47 PM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Anon $.02 -- thanks for your comments. We are not that far apart, both agreeing that Machado needed to get in the good graces of the Dem regulars. I also was thinking what you were, that Machado is better off running for statewide election in 2008 or 2010 than for Congress. Like you say, the Dems generally do better in state offices over in his area, plus he is close to Sacramento, so his life would be less disrupted versus a DC move. Also, he is familiar with the state politics.

I wonder what statewide office he would run for, if he is going that route??

Also, if he is out of the running in 2008, then who will there be to challenge Pombo then (assuming Pombo wins)? I don't see other strong Dems in the farm leagues.

Well, maybe by that time, the moderate Repubs will be sick of Pombo and run Mark Connelly, the Measure A guy from Tracy, who is an attorney and also married to a Garimendi, which is a political family in California.

9:31 PM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger Delta said...

Well, VPO, you just gave a good rationale for supporting Pistol Pete.

9:52 PM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again -- I wanted to get back to you, VPO (aka Scott Restivo) on your comments, since they contain one more assumption that could limit the possible hope you have for the future:

1) Assuming that only established political types can successfully go after Pombo (though I agree that the "blue bench" in this area is getting rather cold to sit on...;) -- remember that Tauscher booted Baker out of his chair with no prior pedigree in politics back in 1996 (granted, Baker helped start his own funeral pyre with the apt comment about "breeders", and we can expect no such luck from Pombo) and Pombo himself came to the chair from a mere two year stint on the Tracy City Council, so the RIGHT person with all the right bells and whistles in his/her package, regardless of whether they have public or private sector experience, can get it done -- what matters is that they have the package, have a clue and have a gathering swell of support behind them.

That said, it looks not good for an ouster of Pombo in 2006, and we can only control what we can control, so my advice (again) is to work on the things you can, and if nothing else, make the 11th CD more attractive for a moderate Democrat to think about entering him/herself and family into the meatgrinder that is modern American electoral politics, like:

1) Strengthen the local party clubs through membership recruitment and dues
2) Work with those clubs to analyze precincts within their territory for signs of high-probability "blue" based on demographics (lower-income, newly arrived, etc.) that are lower-than-average registration for the district as a whole, getting more folks in those key areas registered, and getting them set up from the start as "permanent absentee voters" -- aka vote-by-mail
3) Work with those clubs to get as many already registered Democrats coverted over to "vote-by-mail" as humanly possible ASAP (and that includes yourselves, amigos!)
4) Work with those clubs the moment the "vote-by-mail" ballots are sent out to contact all registered Democrats and hound the $#!+ out of them (politely, of course...;) until you get confirmation from their county clerk that their ballot has been received through the daily updates (yes, Virginia, they DO do that) all the way up to election day
5) Work with the clubs to get the "stubborns" (those who refuse to vote by mail) to the polls early (but not often -- we're not Chicago...;)

Remember that less than half the people in this country bother to vote, and the ones who don't generally don't vote for the GOP, since high turnout precincts are generally the purview of the GOP, so doing the grunt work to close that gap is what you CAN control right now.

Keep hope alive...

$.02 out.

1:29 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

What about Bush's endorsement of McNerney's campaign commitment to end our nations dependency on foreign oil during the State of The Union? Imagine McNerney ads using Bush's State of The Union Speech:

"We have a serious problem. America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world,"

Imagine Bush helping McNerney speak to moderate and republican voters that will be needed win this election. Go Bush!! Go Bush!!
McNerney's life has led him to being the perfect candidate with the perfect life/work experience to lead this fight in Congress.

;-D

1:38 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous#2 said...

Nicholas, did McNerney authorize you to make that last comment of yours?

2:11 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

no..just a personal observation...

interesting note on the same subject. if any of you get Pombo's newsletter you would have read the following:

Congress must promote the use of American alternative energy sources such as renewable fuels, cellulosic biomass and turning waste products into energy. Further, we must pass legislation that makes it easier to tap alternative and renewable energy sources, while increasing efficiencies and conservation.

But, it would be irresponsible to pretend we won't need traditional fossil fuels in the near future as we transition to alternative sources. We must access the resources available in ANWR and throughout the United States.
-----

no mention that ANWR isnt a shortterm solution either....who best to counter stuff like this then an energy expert? i cant wait to see that debate.

energy is the center of our economic woos..our foreign policy woos...boy i would love to see a pombo vs. mcnerney debate on this issue...

;-)

5:28 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicholas, if you think energy is the key to this debate, then you should go ahead and get out of politics.

Actually, if I were a Pombo supporter, I would tell you to please run around talking only about NcNerney's energy plan, keep talking about the "issue." He'll get slaughtered again.

Have fun!

10:48 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

ummm..did i say that energy is the only issue?

i simply stated that having bush run around talking about "america's addiction to oil" will only help mcnerney's campaign.

why are you so hostile? who are you? im intrigued....can you share with us your initials at least?

and who said i was ever "in politics"..im just one of them " we are poor" people from stockton. third generation...one of them folks that comes from families that most of the old school town knows.

nothing more..nothing less..but what i do know is that the President of the United States of America just alligned his views with the congressional candidate I support.

hey, call me crazy but im jumping rope.

11:44 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

ughh..totally posted that in the wrong thread...errr..

11:58 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:58 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Nicholas,

1) I think you need to realize that a) hardly anyone watched the SOTU, b) Bush didn't mean what he said, and c) unlike other Bush untruths, his office pretty openly came out and basically said "oops...nevermind" the next day. So the upshot is that Bush really isn't providing much rhetorical or political cover for Jerry.

2) I think you also need to realize that there is some perception that Jerry McNerney's energy plan consists in building a bunch of windmills. It's stupid because that's not what he's said and that's not what his plan is about. But he needs to find a way to communicate what he's talking about, and communicating it without sounding like a tree-hugging hippy or an egghead. It's not impossible, but it's a challenge he should confront with open eyes.

This is not to say that your enthusiasm is misplaced per se. You just need to realize that you cannot lose the critical distance you need in order to understand how the majority of voters in the district will view the situation.

Now I know you have your own experiences with your friends and family who are not liberal but who like McNerney. What you need to realize is that the fact that you are such a support has an effect on them and how they view McNerney. Most voters are not going to have close friends and relatives come off the mountain about McNerney. So they're going to be harder to reach and they'll view McNerney with a lot more prejudices, and a lot more skepticism, than your relatives.

12:30 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

Hey Matt,

Of course folks didnt watch the SOTU address. However, look at the newspaper headlines. Its all that's currently being reported about within the political rhelm outside SNTP. And being able to use a Republican President's SOFT address to support your own campaign will help show how mainstream McNerney's positions are.

Now, I know I cant use my personal experiences with recruiting McNerney supporters as evidence that McNerney is going to win. However, it should be looked at as a model for how McNerney inspires and motives folks to get involved and be part of the process. If the campaign replicates my experience and recruits new people into the system it gives us the edge.

And lets not forget that McNerney isnt just relying on his community based efforts. He is raising money (and hey..now its almost at the same rate as that dccc guy who built his campaign on raising money) and he is building relationships with Labor so that we have the money and the people on the streets to shut down Pombo's Congressional career once and for all.

6:38 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

btw matt,

i was just thinking about item #2 yesterday. thanks for the observation.

6:44 AM, February 04, 2006  

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