Electoral Hubris

May 15, 2012

I received the third copy of an email today from a former Presidential candidate, and it reminded me of the frustration I felt in 2009/2010 when I was Director of Communications for the Nevada Republican Party (and, also, the Clark County Republican Party), a frustration that stems from out-of-state candidates and campaigns “poaching” for money in our local turf.  This probably goes on all over the country, but it seems to be prevalent here in Nevada, and that’s what I’d like to address.

In 2009/2010, my frustration was with the national Republican Senatorial Election group, which was trying to raise funds in Nevada to support Senatorial election campaigns around the country.  This was frustrating because we had a shot in 2010 of defeating Harry Reid – which certainly seemed to be a national priority for Republicans and Conservatives, but one that was very much dependent on our ability to raise funds to go head-to-head with the man Rush Limbaugh calls “Dingy Harry.”  In fact, we never did raise enough money to defeat the well-funded and media-backed Majority Leader, and I have to wonder how much of that could be ascribed to the financial drain that came from out-of-state groups poaching on our fund-raising ability here in Nevada.

At the time, I wrote to the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting that they limit their fund-raising to the the states which didn’t have a contested senatorial campaign needing local support – not surprisingly, I never got even the courtesy of an answer. When it comes to fund-raising, there is no party loyalty, there is no “professional courtesy,” there is only “gimme, gimme, gimme …”

Which brings to mind what triggered this blog.  I am represented by a one-term Congressmen, Dr. Joe Heck (R-NV) who, as with all low-seniority Congressmen, is more vulnerable than others who might be running.  In addition, my Senator, Dean Heller (R-NV) was named to fill the remainder of the term of disgraced former Senator John Ensign (R-NV), who resigned “one step ahead of the sheriff” for – while married – having an affair with a staffer (who was also the wife of a staffer) then having his wealthy Casino-owning parents pay off the irate husband, in what is clearly an ethics violation as well as a betrayal of the voters (like me) who’d worked hard to put Ensign in office.

So I’ve got two short-tenure, highly-vulnerable Republicans representing me in the House and the Senate, and – logically – if I have any financial resources I’m willing to invest in electing people to Congress, you’d think I should focus on my own representatives. Right?

Well, apparently not according to one-time Presidential candidate and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R-MN).  It appears that Congresswoman Bachman is being Gerrymandered out of her Congressional seat – her district has been redrawn so that she no longer even lives in what’s left of the District she’s served – she now lives in a District represented by a six-term Democrat. So she’s ignited a flurry of fund-raising efforts to raise money to help her remain in Congress.

I’m sorry to hear that the Congresswoman got Gerrymandered, but I’m not surprised.  Redrawing districts every ten years is the reward for winning control of the state legislature in every election year which coincides with our every-ten-year national Census, as mandated by the Constitution.  In her email (below) she blames Liberal judged, and I suppose there could have been a legal challenge that went against her, but it’s the state legislatures that redraw districts, and I can only assume that Minnesota went Democrat in 2010, giving that party the Constitutional right to redraw the districts.

It appears that the Congresswoman is running in her old district, without (apparently) moving to live in that District.  That’s legal, but not optimal, and I’m not sure I’d even vote for a Congresswoman who didn’t live in my District, no matter how much I like her politics – it’s both traditional and important, in my opinion, for a Representative to live in the District she represents.  As someone who’s managed media and strategy for Congressional and Senatorial campaigns for many Republicans, I would have advised her to move her legal residence – but I’m not advising her, and she didn’t ask me for my opinion.

But she did ask me for money – a lot of money – and this is why I’m writing this blog, why I’m concerned about Electoral Hubris.  It has gotten more and more common for candidates for office to reach out – outside of their districts or states (or, as Obama did in 2008, outside of their country) – to raise money for their campaigns.  Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) did that very effectively when he ran to replace Ted Kennedy’s hand-picked successor in the US Senate – I even contributed to him (but it was an off-year election, and he didn’t siphon money I would have given to a local Republican, so I have less of a problem with that).  And Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has done so, in his own off-year battle over recall.  Those made a kind of sense, since they were, in effect, off-year “national” elections.

But there are many more, “in-season” elections in which local or state candidates who seem to be able to reach a national following reach out for money.  Rand Paul did this – not surprising, as he tapped into his father Ron Paul’s (R-TX) national base of passionate supporters.  But so did Marco Rubio (R-FL), who’s got no real claim (yet) to a national constituency), and now we see Congresswoman Michele Bachman doing it.  As you can see in the email below, which she’s sent me at least three times in the past week, she not only lays claim to being a “national candidate,” but she also asks me for $2,500 – three times.

As an aside, and speaking as a long-time political fund-raiser, I can tell you that this shoot-for-the-moon strategy ($2,500 is the most you can give to a candidate under Federal Election laws and regs – Super PACs are a different story) is not a sound one.  As Howard Dean demonstrated in 2004 (thanks to the genius of Joe Trippe), $25 is a good number to ask for.  Ten times that is going to scare off many more than it attracts, and that – along with poaching out of your district – is where my title, “Electoral Hubris,” comes from.

It takes big brass ones to ask strangers for that kind of money – no brains, but big brass ones.  Michele, it won’t work, and frankly, it shouldn’t work.  You ought to stick to your own district, or – if you’re going national, ask a lot of people for a small amount of money – a sum they can afford to ‘throw away” on a campaign that won’t really impact them, one way or another.

Take it from someone in Vegas – that’s a tip you can bet on!

PS – below is the email Michele Bachman sent me (four times!), and below that is the reply I sent to her.  If she replies, I’ll post that here, too.

Ned Barnett – Nevada Conservative

Ned Barnett has worked in campaigns, and as a speechwriter to candidates and elected officials, since he was the “mascot” to the local Young Republicans in 1964 (Goldwater) – he has managed media and strategy for three state-level Presidential campaigns, and worked hand-in-glove with the legendary Lee Atwater in South Carolina in the Ford Campaign.  In 2009-10, as an active Tea Party supporter, he served as both the Clark County/Las Vegas and Nevada Republican Party Communications Director.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications in Las Vegas, and provides a full range of PR, marketing, issues-management and fund-raising services for clients in Las Vegas, around the country, and in several other countries.  He can be reached at 702-561-1167 or ned@barnettmarcom.com …




Dear Fellow Conservative,I’m reaching out to you today because I need your support to continue fighting in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Obama’s big government agenda.

A major development has just occurred in my race for the U.S. House of Representatives and I’m asking for your immediate help… 

…You see, in retaliation for repeatedly standing up to President Obama on the national stage, liberal judges have redrawn the lines of my Minnesota Congressional District to try and wipe me off of the political map once and for all. 

Their bias was so obvious they even gerrymandered my home — where my wonderful husband Marcus and I live –- entirely out of my District and placed it into one held by a six-term Democrat incumbent!

My friend, I want you to know that I am taking every necessary step to fight back against this political attack on my re-election campaign.

So please help my Congressional re-election start off on the right foot by making a commitment to my campaign in the amount of $2,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $70, or $35 today.

After all, the outcome of this November’s elections will determine whether we imprison our children to a future of massive federal debt, crippling tax rates, unconstitutional mandates like Obamacare, and the building threat of nuclear attack from rogue nations like Iran…

– OR –

…We rise up to END President Obama’s spending spree and RESTORE honor to America’s name across the globe.

That’s why I decided to sidestep this blatant attack and announced that I will run in the district I’ve spent my life connected to.

Still, I know the road ahead will not be easy.

As the TEA Party Caucus Chairwoman in the U.S. House and one of President Obama’s sharpest critics,the Democrats are licking their chops over Minnesota’s new political map and will spend MILLIONS to defeat me. 

That’s why I need to raise more money than ever to combat their lies and negative attacks in this newly redrawn District.

That’s why your contribution in the amount of $2,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $70, or $35 today is so important.

I know some of these amounts may be more than you can contribute. But with thousands of new voters to reach and win over before Election Day, I truly need you to be as generous as possible.

Make no mistake, this November’s election is our very last legislative “exit ramp”before President Barack Obama’s radical healthcare takeover becomes a permanent scar on America’s landscape. 

And with New York liberals like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel already predicting a 25-seat gain for the Democrats in the House, retaking the majority and reinstalling Nancy Pelosi, you and I cannot afford to lose competitive races like mine!

My friend, if President Obama wins a second term and is armed with a Democrat Majority Congress, the results will be catastrophic:

  • Any chance of repealing Obamacare will be gone forever. It will be like other permanent big government entitlements, costing taxpayers upwards of $2 Trillion over the next 10 years;
  • Our children’s inheritance will continue to erode under a massive pile of federal debt. Given the Democrats’ current breakneck rate of spending, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the national debt will surpass $20 Trillion by 2020 if not sooner;
  • Iran will achieve a nuclear weapon unchecked and our ally Israel will be left to fend for herself;
  • Abortion-performing organizations like Planned Parenthood and other liberal causes will continue to receive Billions of your family’s hard-earned tax dollars;
  • And the U.S. Constitution will continue to be trampled under “international law”and other baseless liberal interpretations.

I know we both agree this is a future we must avoid at all costs!

My friend, this is what I staked my career and reputation on to run for President and why I’m running for re-election in Minnesota’s newly drawn 6th District.

With your prayers and support, I will continue to use my position on the House Finance Committee to lead the charge to repeal Dodd-Frank legislation from around the necks of small bankers and, by extension, job creators. 

I will sound the alarm on CNN, Fox News, the networks and other news outlets across the country about President Obama’s dangerous foreign policy actions.

And I will keep up the fight to defund and fully repeal the unconstitutional Obamacare mandate before it devastates America’s first-rate medical system!

But, in order to continue fighting for you, I first must win re-election in Minnesota’s new 6th District. That’s why I need your URGENT support today!

You and I must NOT allow the courts to defeat me by moving me out of my District at such a pivotal election.

In fact, to hand the Obama Democrats this victory now would be to destroy all we have built over these last six years.

So before you discard my email, please let me know I can depend on your support today by following this link and making a $35, $70, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 on up to the federal contribution limit of $2,500 ($5,000 for married couples) to Bachmann for Congress today.

Whether you contribute $2,500, $1,000, $500, $250 or can only make a gift of $100, $50, or $35 at this timeevery dollar you send today is absolutely critical as I reach out to thousands of new voters in my District with our constitutional conservative message.

So please contribute a gift of $2,500, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $70 or $35 without delay.

Thank you for standing with me at this transitional moment in our campaign.


Michele Bachmann

PS. My friend, the costs are just too great to let a few liberal judges keep us from speaking out for our constitutional conservative principles in Washington. I will fight President Obama and this injustice, but I need your support TODAY! 

Please help me run an effective campaign and reach out to my new constituents in Minnesota’s reconfigured 6th District with a generous gift of $35, $70, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or even $2,500 right away. Thank you!



Paid for by Bachmann for Congress
P.O. Box 25950 | Woodbury, MN 55125



Dear Congresswoman Bachman

This is the third time you’ve sent me this email, Ms. Bachman.  Is there some reason why you thought that I’d respond the third time when I didn’t the first two?

I’m sorry you have been gerrymandered out of your district – that’s what happens to some Congressmen after each Census, and it’s unfortunate in your case.  But thinking that I might care enough to send $2,500 to you is a bit much, and your repeated hammering of that price makes me feel that anything less won’t help.  Since $2,500 is a lot of money, and since I’m self-employed, I’m afraid I’m not in your price range.

Since what I might be willing to contribute is below even your minimum request amount of $35, I guess all I can do is ask that you quit begging me for money I don’t choose to spare for your quixotic campaign to represent a district you don’t even live in.  My contributions will go to helping to re-elect my own Republican Congressman and my own Republican Senator.

I wish you well, but I’m frankly far more concerned about electing someone to represent me in Congress – your supporters in Minnesota should do the same thing.

Good luck, but please quit begging me for far more money than I’m willing to contribute to another District’s Congresswoman.



Ned Barnett, APR

Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association

Barnett Marketing Communications

420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3-276 – Las Vegas NV 89110

702-561-1167 – cell/text

www.barnettmarcom.com – twitter @nedbarnett








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One Response to Electoral Hubris

  1. […] I never got even the courtesy of an answer. When it comes to fund-raising, there is no party loyalty, there is no “professional courtesy,” there is only “gimme, gimme, gimme […]

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