I was going to stay mostly away from the Democratic nomination race in the 3rd District. As I've mentioned before, my best friend Steve Coon is Steve Pestka's communications guy, and they're also doing a sponsorship here shortly. And, because the content on this site really isn't up for sale, I try when possible to avoid situations where people might start raising questions that it is. However, after seeing this awful hulk of a story show up in my Inbox this morning with the towering subject line, "BREAKING: Could Trevor Thomas have 'a substantial lead' over Steve Pestka?" (the embedded link goes to a story in the Grand Rapids Press, not a Thomas campaign press release), I feel the need to, well, share some observations.
The first is that the news story is really a repackaged press release built around a push poll. If you've ever covered a political race, you've seen these sorts of press releases before. They are always intended to put the campaign's strongest foot forward, so when the Thomas campaign releases a "memo" from a paid consultant saying that if he raises enough campaign cash he can move into the lead, what it's really saying is that he's behind in the polls and needs money. If he was actually ahead in the polls, you'd see headlines like the one that Hansen Clarke's campaign released a couple of weeks ago that had him ahead of Gary Peters. What you have is "Trevor Thomas could move into the lead if more people give him money." No shit, Sherlock.
The second is one I first noted the other day, that based on endorsements this is swiftly becoming a race between the up-and-comers and the has-beens. In this case, the has-beens are behind the younger candidate. Go figure. To sum up, Steve Pestka's campaign this week rolled out an endorsement by Jocelyn Benson the day after a campaign event with Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer endorsed early on. Yesterday, Thomas rolled out its endorsement by John Cherry, who it ought to be remembered couldn't seal the deal on a gubernatorial nomination waiting for him to do nothing more than redeem his ticket stub. He's also got the endorsement of Jennifer Granholm, who after leaving office also left the state and is now more or less just a media figure.
In fact, let's just take this a step further. To me, it appears that the Thomas campaign has all the substance to it of a marshmallow. Their message, to me, appears to be, "I'm fabulous, have cool friends, and my opponent is a boring, old fart. Give me money and I'll make music." That's great, except that it's not a real political campaign. It's an episode of Glee. Better yet, it's a Democratic, Congressional, less sexually harassing version of Herman Cain's campaign for president. New technology and media are great and all, but substituting them for an actual organization and shoe leather campaigning is a proven loser. Further evidence? The Madonna Vogue award giveaway (yet another has-been to add to the collection). To put it another way, I've now received two solicitations for donations this morning based on the same piece of free media, and I think another two in the last week.
Finally, I know Mark Brewer is supposed to play nice and all with all of the party's factions, and that some of the factions are still loyal to the people who won the governor's race a decade ago (quick note here on the efficacy of relying on has-beens ... Democrats tried this in Minnesota after Paul Wellstone's death by trotting out dinosaur Walter Mondale and were rewarded for it when Al Franken took the seat back from Mark Dayton six years later). I realize that Justin Amash is a terrible, unpopular representative, but it's still West Michigan. Jennifer Granholm, Madonna, and John Cherry aren't going to win you a seat in Congress from it. And, if it comes down to a matter of money, Dick DeVos and Lil' Fella's parents bought this seat for him once, and they've got deeper pockets than Trevor Thomas' e-mail list.