Here are a few of questions for Dino Rossi to ponder as he continues to consider a run for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray: what exactly has NRSC chair John Cornyn promised you? Can Cornyn actually deliver? And if he can, will it actually help you?
Back in May of 2009, Cornyn prominently threw his weight behind Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the Sunshine State’s U.S. Senate contest, but after months of trailing Marco Rubio in the polls, and being outraised 3 to 1 in the recent quarter, Crist is widely expected to announce tomorrow that he’s leaving the GOP and launching an independent campaign. At the time of the endorsement Cornyn kvelled:
“Governor Crist is a dedicated public servant and a dynamic leader, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee will provide our full support to ensure that he is elected the next United States Senator from Florida.”
The “full support” of the NRSC, huh? Well how’s that working out for you, Charlie?
And then there’s Trey Grayson the Republican establishment pick to succeed Kentucky’s crazy Jim Bunning in the U.S. Senate. The NRSC hasn’t officially endorsed in the race, but according to Roll Call, last summer’s $500 per person fundraiser hosted by 23 GOP Senators at NRSC headquarters left little question as to Cornyn’s backing:
“The NRSC has not officially endorsed Grayson but the location of the event and the fact that NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) is one of the hosts of the fundraiser is a good indication of where the committee’s loyalties lie in the race.”
Since then, ophthalmologist Rand Paul has harnessed his father Ron’s celebrity (and grassroots fundraising infrastructure) to surge into the lead, trouncing Grayson 42% to 27% in recent public opinion polls.
Yeah sure, I suppose it’s unfair to judge Cornyn’s recruitment savvy simply on the basis of Crist’s and Grayson’s electoral travails, but NRSC recruited candidates in New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana and California are all struggling to win their primaries, while in Connecticut, hand-picked Cornyn candidate Rob Simmons isn’t doing too well either:
One of the clearest signs of Simmons’s intentions was his recent trip to Washington to see Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the aggressive leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee – which is charged with electing Republicans to the Senate. Simmons says that Cornyn approached him about the race, not the other way around.
“He expressed interest in me as a candidate, and I told him I would give it very serious consideration, which I am doing,” Simmons said. “He reached out to me.”
Sound familiar, Dino? Well, after succumbing to Cornyn’s flattery, Simmons now finds himself dramatically outspent, and trailing fellow Republican Linda McMahon by ten points.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that should he enter the race Rossi would have much of a problem getting through our state’s top-two primary, just that NRSC promises of money and support are only that. Meanwhile, Cornyn has displayed an eye for picking busts unmatched since the Seattle Seahawks wasted a first round draft pick and $11 million on The Boz.
So yeah, no doubt it’s flattering to be recruited by Cornyn, but don’t expect his endorsement or his fundraising to do much more for you than they’ve done for Crist and Grayson.