primary blog drama

Brent Finnegan -- March 31st, 2008

Some may remember all the blog drama between Republicans in (and out of) the 24th state senate district during the Hanger-Sayre primary last year.

Now it appears some Democrats in the 6th congressional district may have fallen into the same hole.

In the wake of district chair David Layman’s death, I’ve been quietly watching drama ooze out onto blogs like Cobalt 6 (pro-Sam Rasoul) and Rick Howell Speaks (pro-Drew Richardson). Among these party insiders, the Rasoul-Richardson primary appears to be building the same vitriolic fervor of the Clinton-Obama race.

Full disclosure: hburgnews contributor JGFitzgerald is on the 6th district committee, I am in regular communication with Eddie (“kestrel9000”), and Richardson campaign manager Adam Sharp is a friend of mine. But I’m still about as close to an independent observer as one can be, and still care enough to keep up with campaign developments.

Here are a few choice words from both Rasoul and Richardson supporters, bickering amongst themselves:

“…You’ve drank the Kool-Aid…”

“…It’s people like you who almost lost the Senate for the Democratic Party…”

“…This is lower than whale dung…”

“…Sam is acting similar to a four year old…”

“…Mark Penn? Is that you?”

“…I would like an apology…”

There are also quite a few annonymous statements (as well as unsubstantiated accusations as to who one anonymous blogger is).

The snark volleys read like email correspondence that was never meant to be seen by anyone other than the sender and receiver. My question is: What (if anything) have the 6th congressional district Democrats learned from the 24th state senate district Republicans?

Rasoul and Richardson will debate each other in the Harrisonburg city council chambers this Tuesday. The debate will be televised.

6 Responses to “primary blog drama”

  1. Gxeremio says:

    Seems like the Democratic seal of approval for this race might not be worth much by the time these guys are done with their public in-fighting.

    Why don’t we just call a truce, and say one of the candidates is a closet Republican and the other one isn’t a loyal enough Democrat. Neither are particularly damaging accusations in the real world of 6th district voting. OK, settled? Now let’s move on and figure out who has the best proposals and judgment.

  2. This post way overstates the conflict between the “camps” and misses the point that while some of us at Cobalt6 are pro-Rasoul, Rick Howell and Adam Sharp are actually employed by Richardson, and all the recent negativity can be traced to their attacks; we’re just trying to keep them honest.

    In fact, the problem I have with the Richardson campaign is not with Drew himself, who joined local Democrats last night, along with a couple of Rasoul staffers, at a Staunton-Augusta fundraiser. Everything was fine and friendly. (Adam and Rick weren’t there.) In any event, in a couple of weeks the results of the caucuses will be known and it will all be put behind us.

  3. finnegan says:

    Good point, Cliff.

    However, to my knowledge, 81blue (and who knows how many anonymous commenters) are not employed by either campaign. Notice I didn’t single any individuals out in the original post.

    I’m not a Democrat, but I still find the ordeal embarrassing for the party, just as the Sayre bloggers embarrassed the GOP rank-and-file. It’s stuff that’s best suited for private correspondence. And even then, I fail to see what positive effect in-fighting has when either candidate will clearly be the underdog in November.

  4. JGFitzgerald says:

    The truly odd thing is that the vast majority of caucus voters — and certainly enough to decide the nomination — will not be influenced by the blogs. Policy wonks though many Dems may be, we still cannot keep up with the details of the cyber-vitriol.

    How seriously can you take, “What I meant should have been obvious by my comma, which you might have seen if the desperate sweat of your imminent loss had not blurred your already less than perfect eyesight such that all you could depend on was (elephant) ears deafened to the sound of a true vision.”

    Yeah, I made that up. But would you have been sure if I hadn’t told you?

    To paraphrase Buddy Holly, “Blog on – it’s a crazy feeling and
    I know it’s got me reeling.”

  5. finnegan says:

    …the vast majority of caucus voters — and certainly enough to decide the nomination — will not be influenced by the blogs…

    That’s perhaps the most embarrassing part.

    On a campaign-related note, the story in yesterday’s Roanoke Times is worth a read.

  6. Agreed that the blogs don’t matter as much as we think they do.

    And also agreed that the in-fighting is unpleasant and dangerous for Democrats. But given the attacks and insinuations by Howell and Sharp, paid Richardson staffers, what should pro-Rasoul activists do? It would have been better if the Richardson campaign hadn’t gone down that road, but they did. Lies and distortions have to be countered, in my opinion, or they become accepted as truth – especially in the hot-link era.

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