Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Back in April, Democratic 7th congressional district candidate Joyce Healy-Abrams (running against Republican Bob Gibbs) was bursting with energy when the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that she had made its "Emerging Candidates" List."

For her to make it from the emerging list to the DCCC's "Red to Blue" list, she is going to have to raise a whole lot more money.

Undoubtedly, her minders at the DCCC are impressed with her energy but they know that campaign contributions are the "mother's milk of politics" and Healy-Abrams has not been able to generate much steam on that front.

On October 15th, the third quarter Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign finance reports are due.  And if Healy-Abrams is going to move lists she will have to show much better than her second quarter report:

Less than $300,000 is not going to cut it.

If tables were reversed and her opponent Bob Gibbs of Lakeville (Holmes County) were a Democrat he would have no trouble whatsoever making the Red to Blue list.

Gibbs has out raised Healy-Abrams by a better than $4 to $1 margin.

Of late, the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) has been making a big deal out of the massive campaign contributions that employees of coal producer Murray Energy Corporation has been making to Republican candidates.

If this story has legs, it is exactly the kind of thing that could catapult Healy-Abrams onto the Dems Red to Blue list.  And she needs the boost in the worst way.

ODP chairman Chris Redfern on Monday wrote a letter to Steven Dettelback (US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio) making this allegation:
On behalf of the Ohio Democratic Party, I write to formally request a criminal investigation concerning a recent report suggesting the Murray Energy Corporation, its subsidiaries, and management (“Murray Energy”) may have engaged in a pattern of illegal activity, extorting millions in financial contributions from employees and vendors for Republican candidates running for public office.
Well, who has been a major beneficiary of the Murray Energy Corporation?

You've got it!  None other than Healy-Abrams opponent Gibbs.

Yes, over $36,000 since he has been in Congress.

Redfern cites "The New Republic" article:  Coal Miner's Donor  as the basis for his request for an investigation

Other excerpts from the Redfern letter include:
  • The [New Republic] Report raises serious questions about whether Murray Energy’s solicitation of hundreds of thousands of dollars for Ohio state Republicans such as Governor Kasich, and millions more for federal candidates like Mitt Romney, Josh Mandel, Jim Renacci, Bill Johnson, and more, involved extortion, money laundering, racketeering, and other violations of Title 18 of the US criminal code.  
  • The [New Republic] Report states Murray Energy sources claimed some employees felt the safety of their employment may have been contingent on their willingness to make political contributions to Republican candidates,
  • The [New Republic] Report outlined specific methods in which Murray Energy’s management used central company resources to allegedly extort contributions from employees,
  • Additional documentation further elaborates other alleged pressure employees experienced to financially contribute to Republican candidates,
  • The [New Republic] Report claims employees are expected to give a percentage of their annual income to the company PAC, and some employees may have believed bonuses would make up for those payroll contributions, 
  • The [New Republic] Report continued to detail that Murray Energy mailed many of these fundraising requests, along with suggested donations, to employees’ homes, and
  • Finally, the [New Republic] Report noted that the fundraising activity may have extended to those doing business with Murray Energy.
A major hope for Healy-Abrams has been the coattails of President Obama running well in Ohio and in the 7th District.

Ever since Obama lost badly to Romney on last Wednesday, he may be lucky to carry Ohio, let alone carry anyone with him to victory.

So the only thing for Healy-Abrams to do (other than to hope that Murray Energy contribution issue takes hold) is to out "grassroots" Gibbs.

Today, the SCPR received an email from the Healy-Abrams campaign chirping about having gotten 86 college student (pictured above) volunteers to make 7,000 door-to-door house calls and some 35,000 telephone calls to voters.

Now this is big time political brawn.

And, it appears to the SCPR, that if Healy-Abrams is to have any chance of defeating Bob Gibbs it will have to be a case of "brawn over money," for she has precious little of it.

It is likely that a continuing disparity will be evidenced by the October 15th FEC reports.

So in the end, it is likely to be no money (relatively speaking), no coattails, no political scandal miracle swooping in to help her.

It appears that political "grassroots" brawn is her only hope, no?

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