Orange County Republican and California State Assemblyman Chuck Devore has been spreading his message of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” across the Golden State for eleven months now, all with the aim of “bouncing Boxer” from the United States Senate in 2010. And he’s so anxious to see her leave that august body that his website bears a clock to track the number of days, hours, and, yes, even minutes “’till Boxer’s gone.”
But while DeVore is surely among the most tenacious and unswerving candidates vying for public office in the 2010 midterm elections, his campaign has seen only moderate success in translating his attributes as a indefatigable campaigner into support – namely, contributions, with his last FEC filing in July showing only $75,600 in cash on hand in his uphill campaign against Democratic incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer.
In an hour-long interview with REDSTATE, DeVore likened his insurgent, techno-centric campaign to that of then-Senator Barack Obama, and said he anticipates a surge in donations as his campaign further develops its online fundraising infrastructure.
The DeVore campaign is “trying to use new media in a synergistic way to tie together volunteers in a way that had not previously possible prior to the time that Al Gore invented the internet,” he told me, tongue-in-cheek.
In the hopes of affecting the debate on the Democratic-sponsored cap-and-trade legislation, the DeVore campaign launched TaxFax.us, a micro site designed to capture contact information from supporters and subsequently provide a simple, online vehicle to contact their elected officials.
“You’d be surprised how effective faxes into the Capitol Hill can be,” says the website, quoting a Hill staffer. And you may also be surprised how effective DeVore's fax campaign was.
“We generated over 50,000 faxes into the U.S. Senate over tax-and-trade. Every U.S. Senator got a fax that I wrote,” DeVore said. “I’m unaware of any other person who has run for U.S. Senate who has tried to affect a national issue by generating such a massive amount of correspondence into Capitol Hill on an issue of currency.”
DeVore remains hopeful his unconventional but aggressive campaign will prove catch Boxer by surprise, and said that July was their best month yet in terms of fundraising where he raised over $100,000.
While his campaign’s online strategy would no doubt be music to online evangelists’ ears, I was more concerned with the campaign’s recent missives highlighting former HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s position on abortion – one they claim to be muddled. I wrote last week that DeVore’s abortion critique of Fiorina was wholly without merit, for which a DeVore consultant responded thusly: “unfortunately, it is all too easy to question the depth of Fiorina’s commitment to the pro-life cause.”
Indeed, unanswered questions remained – specifically whether DeVore is of the opinion that Fiorina is pro-choice when the only evidence to that effect are scant blind quotes by “Republican insiders” and not an admission herself.
He was quick to note that whenever Fiorina’s position on abortion was questioned, it was done so in the context of other less than appealing positions she has supported in the past. “You don’t know where she stands on the issues of the day,” he said, adding, “she has no record in anything because she’s never run for office.”
I should have anticipated some obfuscation; DeVore is a politician, after all.
Prior to assuming her position as RNC Victory Chairmwoman in 2008, Fiorina was a Silicon Valley business executive, so I was not satisfied with the tired “lack of a record” response. But upon further questioning DeVore revealed a rather bold assertion.
“I’ve heard from McCain campaign advisors that worked with her that unequivocally she was [pro-choice].”
Such personal reassurances from Fiorina’s fellow McCain advisors have likely emboldened DeVore in his convictions on the matter, but Republican primary voters should not anticipate abortion to overwhelm other salient issues, particularly California’s “bone crushing economic crisis.”
And perhaps providing his opponent with an avenue to escape further criticism if an examination of Fiorina’s past proves she was pro-choice, DeVore said: “What’s going to be on everyone’s minds here is jobs, jobs, jobs, economic development, modern, nuclear power, and oil and gas.”
UPDATE: DeVore has been quite the busy candidate. Ace of Spades' Gabriel Malor also interviewed DeVore -- posting the lengthy exchange in three parts, the second of which was focused on California's busted budget and Proposition 8.