It’s widely recognized that in the marquee 2010 Senate race, Majority Leader Harry Reid ran a nearly flawless, textbook campaign, an operation so extraordinary that it enabled him to defy an almost certain political death.
It turns out he got some inadvertent inside help. Interviews with Nevada and Washington Republicans familiar with the campaign of Reid’s GOP opponent, Sharron Angle, describe a not-ready-for-prime-time effort that was equally astonishing — a model of dysfunction that was as bad as Reid’s campaign was good.
“In the 20 years that I’ve been involved politically, I’ve never had the misfortune of working with such sheer, utter incompetence. Too much is at stake in these political campaigns — people like [Angle manager Terry] Campbell don’t need to be anywhere near them,” said Chris LaCivita, who served as political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee this fall and worked directly with the Angle campaign. “If they were filming a sequel to the movie 'Dumb and Dumber,' Terry Campbell would have a feature role.”
Every Republican who worked with the campaign and was interviewed for this story recalled how both of Campbell’s voice mail boxes were consistently full and he would often not answer e-mails for days at a time — no matter if he was in his self-described “Command Center” in his Missouri home or on the road with Angle in Nevada.
In one instance of his haphazard engagement, Campbell called the National Republican Senatorial Committee to inquire if it had heard anything about the president coming to the state and attacking Angle — two days after President Barack Obama visited Nevada to campaign for Reid in July, according to the accounts of three GOP operatives familiar with the conversation.
I’ve often wondered how people with no credentials can promote themselves, whether in the business world or in the political sphere, but I’ve never seen such an absurd case as O’Donnell.
O’Donnell’s background was such that it’s hard to believe anything but the most fly-by-night business would hire her. And, in fact, she didn’t seem to have a job when she began her third run for Senate. Yet Delaware Republican primary voters handed her the nomination, ignoring questions about her character and judgment.
So, while O’Donnell’s candidacy was an example of sheer gall, it’s those Delaware voters who cared only about her positions on the issues and mindless outsider rhetoric who deserve the “absurd” label.