Of course, the establishment, amnesty-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce has picked this very moment to endorse Darin LaHood. LaHood enthusiastically accepted the endorsement.
That’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, people, not just the local Peoria Chamber of Commerce.
I will add much more here in the coming days, but trust me now on this one: this is being considered an important national election by House GOP leadership. They badly want to retain this seat as a rubber stamp vote for Boehner.
They didn’t want Schock gone for his corruption, just for his instability.
Folks — I was the first columnist last year to recognize the Dave Brat campaign as the right tool at the right time with which to strike a blow against national GOP leadership that would actually affect some change. The GOP leadership/Chamber of Commerce/Obama push to enact amnesty was coming to a head within days. Then Brat won, and they’ve been stymied for over a year. And just this morning, I was sent this article from The Nation: Before Eric Cantor lost, he was ready to find a way to restore complete federal oversight — meaning the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch DOJ — over elections in some southern states. This section of the Voting Rights Act was recently struck down by the Supreme Court.
The truth, as Katie McHugh has begun to reveal, is that LaHood may be as corrupt as Schock. The GOP just decided to cut their losses with Schock and to install another foot soldier.
I’ll publish here what I can of what I’ve discovered. But trust that a Mike Flynn win is not a local win — it’s a national blow against Boehner approaching the importance of the Brat victory.
As Katie McHugh wrote Sunday evening, the July 7 GOP primary vote to replace corrupt pheasant-aficionado Aaron Schock in Illinois’ 18th District is not the populist, throw-the-bums-out celebration of constitutional republicanism that James Madison had in mind. Instead, the primary is yet another example of the great unraveling of Republican party leadership, which — under John Boehner and the GOP consultant class — has become the power-hungry, unbridled government force the GOP was intended to displace.
I was contacted by a politically active 18th District voter yesterday, a participant in this primary who is aware of the platforms and history of the top candidates: Darin LaHood, the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate for the seat and the son of Obama’s former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; and Mike Flynn, an editor at Breitbart.com, which can not plausibly be mistaken as a moderate or progressive outlet.
The voter received a call from number 309-265-0588.
This is a local Peoria number being used by Venture Data, a Utah-based survey research firm. (It’s common practice when conducting political phone surveys to “mask” the call’s origination point by using a local number.)
The voter’s story describes a textbook example of a push poll being used to aid the fortunes of Darin LaHood. (The call is described below.)
Not being associated with push polls is considered to be of primary importance to survey research firms’ reputations, not to mention the candidate’s campaign itself. Indeed, Venture Data’s website includes a prominent link on their site to a page detailing their push poll policy:
Clicking that link brings you this:
Venture Data L.L.C. is a survey research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company operates call centers located in Salt Lake City, UT, Eugene, OR, and Kent, OH. We, the ownership and staff of Venture Data, are committed to providing our clients with accurate consumer and voter opinion data. We use industry standard scientific methodologies and practices for telephone based survey research to collect opinion data.
We recognize that in the heat of highly charged election campaigns tempers will flare and accusations of impropriety are likely to fly.
In light of this, we want to make it clear that Venture Data L.L.C. has never conducted nor participated in what is commonly referred to as “push polling.” Our activities are strictly limited to conducting telephone survey research wherein we gather the opinions of a limited number of representative voters and deliver that data to our clients. We adhere to strict methodological standards.
You’ll find a quick, basic definition of “push poll” at Wikipedia, but it’s one which you can confirm with a polling professional, as I did yesterday. Essentially, testing the effectiveness of a negative political message — which is legitimate, if distasteful, research — is most easily distinguished from the activism of a push-poll by whether or not the firm is making an effort to gather actionable data.
If the caller doesn’t take the time to learn anything about you that could be used by the campaign — demographics, etc. — you’re probably being push-polled.
If the caller asks questions containing obvious negative misinformation about one candidate which the opposing candidate could never plausibly use on the campaign trail, you’re most definitely being push-polled. A candidate is paying a firm to misrepresent itself as being engaged in data collection, when they are actually trying to secure your vote with a privately told lie.
(Read this excellent Larry Sabato article from 1996, where he explains that the push poll was pioneered by Richard Nixon. An argument can be made that today’s Boehner/McConnell/”GOP Establishment” tactics in general were pioneered by Nixon, too.)
The 18th District citizen tells me that the caller from Venture Data did not attempt to gather any information that might be plausibly used by a campaign.
He says the caller asked him only one question before following up with several questions painting Mike Flynn in a negative light to conservative voters, questions with zero basis in Mike Flynn’s history or campaign. Again, the argument that these follow-up questions are legitimate attempts to test negative campaign messages is negated when the messages are complete fabrications which Darin LaHood could never plausibly use during his campaign against Mike Flynn.
That last part is easy to discern, since Mike Flynn has written a few hundred words of his political opinions each day for years at Breitbart.
This is the one initial question, with the wording to the best of the voter’s recollection:
For the July 7 primary GOP election, do you now support Darin LaHood or Mike Flynn?
That’s the extent of the actionable research conducted by Venture Data on this call. “Darin LaHood” was never mentioned again on the call. The voter answered:
I’m supporting Mike Flynn.
Then came the follow-up questions:
Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports gun control?
Knowing Flynn’s platform includes unwavering support for Second Amendment rights, the voter, flustered, says he replied:
Who do you work for?
He says he repeated this question several times over the next minute, never receiving the answer.
The caller then asked another question on an issue LaHood could never plausibly use against Flynn during the campaign:
Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports amnesty?
After this question, the caller says that he was fed up, understanding this was not a legitimate phone survey but an attempt to privately smear Flynn among otherwise uninformed voters. The caller asked a couple more questions about being “more or less likely to support Mike Flynn,” to which he simply answered “more likely” to convey the point that he would be voting for Mike Flynn no matter what.
I called Venture Data yesterday afternoon to ask questions about this poll violating their stated policy. I was directed to leave a voicemail, which as of now has not been returned.
Darin LaHood — despite accepting the endorsement from the amnesty-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce, despite traveling to D.C. to participate in a fundraiser for his campaign with John Boehner, despite not revealing his conflict of interest in supporting a bill as state senator that won millions in work for his law firm and aided one of his most prominent donors, despite attempts to clear the GOP primary slate of all challengers and to rush this primary immediately after the July 4 vacation, despite refusing to debate Flynn, despite Flynn being disallowed from speaking at a recent GOP event, despite his insistence that people vote early before they get the chance to know his positions or debate, he is attempting to firmly run as a conservative. See his campaign page here, with the conflicting “Vote Early” near a tab for “Conservative Priorities”:
If an obvious establishment candidate basing his campaign on portraying himself as the conservative when challenged from the right — when he could instead respect election integrity by honestly presenting his history as a moderate and arguing the merits of his actual leanings — sounds like the horrible advice that sunk Eric Cantor, that’s not a coincidence.
The first large donor to LaHood’s campaign came from the Republican Main Street Partnership. This is the organization that exists for no purpose other than advising establishment candidates how to fend off challenges from conservatives. Eric Cantor was heavily supported by and involved with them.
The advice they must give in private is pretty evident at this point: lie about yourself, lie about your opponent, disrespect the GOP voter’s intelligence, and jettison your integrity.
Even Politico saw through the ruse, later noting in a headline: “Cantor loss Kills Immigration Reform”.
It appears LaHood is getting the same supporters, the same advice, and is running the same campaign. It’s dishonest. It’s cowardly. They deserve another humiliation on July 7.