The Democratic Governors Association is currently engaged in political triage, a routine political ritual in which parties set priorities for spending over a campaign season’s home stretch. Analysts create tiers of races based on the likelihood of victory, then proceed to distribute resources accordingly. The DGA is out with its revamped 2014 list, and some contests didn’t make the cut — a clear indicator of where the national party is anticipating defeat. Being left on the outside looking in can be a traumatic experience for spurned candidates, as the kiss-off can be lethal to fundraising and building momentum. Heartache:
The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association gave a less-than-rosy assessment of Sen. Wendy Davis’ chances Tuesday and got a slam in return from her campaign. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, association chairman, failed to cite the Texas Democrat’s race for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott as a top target in talking to reporters, The Wall Street Journal reported. Instead, Shumlin pointed to races in Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania and, secondarily, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. “We’re hopeful in Texas but we all understand that Democrats haven’t won Texas in a long time,” he said. “I wish that we could spend money for Democrats in all 50 states. My job is not to promote governors’ races in states where we can’t win.”
It seems as though the Democrats have concluded that a late-term abortion cheerleader has little chance in Texas, and Wendy Davis’ crew is hopping mad about it:
Davis’ camp has questioned [polls showing Davis trailing by double digits] and slapped back at Shumlin’s remarks in a statement by campaign manager Karin Johanson. “The uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who’s never stepped foot in Texas couldn’t be less relevant to what’s actually happening on the ground,” Johanson said…Asked how Shumlin could be characterized as a Washington desk jockey, Davis campaign communications director Zac Petkanas said Johanson was “referring to whoever at the DGA prepared the governor’s talking points.”
What’s “happening on the ground” is Wendy Davis is losing, and it doesn’t appear to be especially close. Also interesting about Shumlin’s assessment is the notable absence of two other Western states from the DGA’s radar: New Mexico and Nevada. Both blue states are governed by popular Hispanic Republican incumbents, and Democrats have all but given up on unseating either of them. (Mother Jones hardest hit). The original Wall Street Journal piece quoting Shumlin noted that Democrats are still intent on defeating Scott Walker in Wisconsin, but that project isn’t going especially well. As we noted a few weeks ago, Walker has held a stable lead in the race, with the state’s economic indicators looking solid. Challenger Mary Burke’s first television ad claimed that unemployment has risen on Walker’s watch, a statement that was immediately pilloried by fact-checkers and slapped down in a tough response ad. Burke can’t catch a break:
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dipped below 6.0% in March to a five-year low of 5.9%, down from 6.1% in February, reaching its lowest point since November 2008. Thursday’s report from state Department of Workforce Development, which is based on preliminary estimates, shows that Wisconsin gradually is approaching pre-recession employment levels. The March unemployment rate also lies well below a high point of 9.2% in 2009, although not yet back to levels around 5% prior to the 2008 financial crisis, which triggered the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Wisconsin’s jobless rate remains below the national unemployment rate, which was unchanged in March at 6.7%.
It was the most searing political fight in Wisconsin’s recent history. Yet, as Democrat Mary Burke campaigns for governor across the state, it is as if the battle that curbed union benefits, eroded labor’s clout and made Gov. Scott Walker a star within the Republican Party never happened…Ms. Burke largely steers clear of the 2011 law championed by Mr. Walker that drew tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol in Madison while coming to define the governor’s tenure. As Democrats see it, there is no realistic path to victory over Mr. Walker in November by building a campaign around restoring Wisconsin’s public-employee unions to their former status. That fight has been fought—and lost, many Democrats said. Mr. Walker won a recall election in 2012 that was largely a referendum on his tussles with the unions.
The reforms are working, union membership is cratering, and Democrats have resigned themselves to defeat on Walker’s signature accomplishment. Circling back to Texas, I’ll leave you with Republican Greg Abbott’s latest ad against Wendy Davis. Abortion extremism + tax-and-spend ideology + FBI investigation = Loss. No wonder the DGA is cutting and running: