Nobody can say for sure why the Allyson Schwartz for Governor campaign is booting Aubrey Montgomery as their Finance Director, but the Democratic operatives Keegan Gibson talked to all think it’s because their fundraising numbers aren’t where they should be.
If so, that’s a pretty stupid reason to depose Aubrey, who by all accounts is a very good FD. The trouble lies with the candidate herself.
For whatever reason, she hasn’t closed the deal with Democratic donors, and they are still hanging back waiting to see who the strongest general election candidate is. There’s not a whole lot Aubrey can do if Allyson Schwartz can’t make the sale.
That’s not to say it won’t happen, but I’m hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence from talking to folks that while many activists are inclined to support Schwartz, policy warts and all, they still aren’t sure that she has the best shot of beating Corbett of the bunch, and they’re open to backing other candidates. She has a lot of work to do to convince activists and donors that she can win the general.
Here’s a Bill Clinton story from The Party Decides (a book I can’t recommend enough) excerpting Balz and Dionne on Clinton’s own troubles clinching the nomination during the 1991 primary season. The lesson is that once the party gets around to deciding to support a certain candidate (and by party they mean the loose coalition of intense policy demanders, donors, ideological activists, partisan media, and formal party actors like committee people and elected officials) the money will flow:
Late on the morning of Nov. 23, after Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton finished an address to the Association of State Democratic Chairs in Chicago, Karen Marchioro rose to ask about criticism that Clinton was little more than a warmed-over Republican.
The seemingly hostile question caused no anxiety among Clinton’s staff. They had done everything they could to prepare the Democratic presidential candidate. They had caucused with Clinton on the speech, established their goals, salted the hotel ballroom with boisterous friends – and even encouraged hostile questions from the audience.
Marchioro, the Democratic chairman from Washington State, gave Clinton an opportunity to confront publicly his doubters among party liberals. She said she had spoken with her friend and Clinton adviser Stephanie Solien earlier that day.
“They wanted the question answered,” Marchioro said…
Clinton’s response, which evoked his grandfather’s near-religious devotion to Franklin D. Roosevelt, drew strong applause. Clinton had cleared a major hurdle in his path to the Democratic nomination….
Until Chicago, fund-raising had been slack. But when the reviews came in, the fax machines at Clinton headquarters worked overtime to distribute the clips to potential contributors. Between mid-November and the end of 1991, Clinton raised roughly $2.5 million, according to the campaign. The effort was led by finance director Rahm Emanuel, who put together 27 events in 20 days, and Robert Farmer, who was Dukakis’s chief fundraiser in 1988.
Is that all Schwartz needs to do? Confront the Blackwell Center question head on, or address other issues with her Congressional record that are making some folks queasy? Who knows!
But I think it’s clear that she, not Aubrey Montgomery, needs to figure out what’s holding her back from converting her presumed front runner status in the media into a foreboding tower of cash.