MoveOn Shows Its Hand: Casey EndorsedOne of longshot Senate candidate Chuck Pennacchio's best bets was to get a group like MoveOn to jump on board with his candidacy. In 2003, MoveOn held an online primary, that while not garnering any candidates an official endorsement, helped continue the momentum Howard Dean was riding.
MoveOn held another online primary this week, and basically, it was rigged for Bob Casey. They sent out an email to their members, giving a description of the Senate candidates. However, when they made no issue of choice in their description, they made clear that what they were after was a quick endorsement of Casey. And, according to an email I received yesterday, they got their endorsement.
First candidate is Bob Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania's state treasurer who is currently leading Rick Santorum in polls of the race for the Senate. Casey has fought for improved long-term health care, made child care more affordable, and supported women- and minority-owned businesses. Howard Dean calls Casey "a tremendous friend of working people," 2 and Pennsylvania MoveOn members overwhelmingly supported Casey in our online primary. With President Bush's help, Santorum has raised millions of dollars so far. But even so, this race is our best chance to replace a key player in the far-right Republican leadership with a strong Democrat. Early support from MoveOn members will be a big boost to Casey's campaign.Chuck may be known among bloggers, but I would guess that amongst MoveOn members that his name recognition is very, very low. Couple that with Casey's name recognition, and this was a done deal.
I feel for Pennacchio, but I don't see where he goes from here. I know he has caught the fancy of many in the Philly blog community, but, I have not been particularly impressed. With this move, his odds just got a little longer.
When MoveOn held that early primary, Dean came out swinging, getting something like 50 percent of the vote out of a ton of candidates. When Paul Wellstone started his longshot campaign, he immediately had the support of party activists, labor unions, etc, that helped him pull off a win at the Minnesota DFL party convention. I guess I am wondering where the same reaction is for Chuck? I guess we will never know whether Chuck could have done better if this were simply held later, because MoveOn quickly moved to cut him off at the knees.
I am all for longshot candidates. But, I just have not been impressed by Chuck. He seems like a great guy, but, I am not feeling it. I remember when I first saw Wellstone speak, and I was blown away. I have not felt the same way after seeing Chuck. (Maybe it is unfavorable to compare Chuck to Wellstone, but, it is a comparison his supporters keep bringing up.) Either way, this is a clear sign that Chuck will be fighting on without the support of any of the big liberal groups such as MoveOn.
See Chris' take on the endorsement here.