Spinning a little too hard

I always love post-campaign spinning. People say silly things almost as much as the time right before the election. Here's a recent case by Seth Davidson, campaign manager for Democratic Senate candidate Barbara Radnofsky, writing in the Amarillo Globe News:

Underfunded by millions, and depending on two paid staff for the entire statewide campaign, we did what people in the Panhandle do when they want to convince someone of something: We spoke with Texans face to face. And we did it thousands and thousands of times.

From an unknown, first-time, hard-to-pronounce name like "Radnofsky," we not only won the primary with a plurality of the vote; we crushed Gene-Kelly-not-the-dancer in the runoff with 60 percent of the vote. In the final tally on Nov. 7, we managed 1.5 million votes with no major media and relying on grass-roots organization and old-fashioned campaigning.

I understand that it's good to be proud of your work, and when your candidate loses, there's really nothing else to hold on to. Trust me, I've been there.

But you lost 62%-36%. That means that all Radnofsky did was hold the Democratic base -- in part, by calling Hutchison a liar. In 2000, no-name candidate Gene Kelly lost 65%-32% to Hutchison. That's a shift of 3%. Considering that 2006 was easily a much more Democratic year than 2000, that easily accounts for the 3% shift. Radnofsky essentially didn't do any better than Gene Kelly. All the hard work didn't show up in the vote totals.

Oh, and bragging about beating Gene Kelly 60%-40% in a runoff? That's not "crushing." And even if it were, you're talking about beating a non-campaigner in a race where only relatively informed voters turn out. Yikes.

I have sympathy; I really do. But please, don't spin so hard.

Posted by Evan @ 12/20/06 01:11 PM


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