FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Rumors From California: NRSC Persuades Larry Elder Not to Run. Says Fiorina Won’t Win But Will Tie Up Resources.
I’m writing you from the floor of the Califorina Republican Party’s (CRP) convention in Indian Wells, CA. For you non-Californians, the CRP holds two conventions every year — usually in February and September. The September convention before an election year is the de facto kickoff for the various campaigns. That’s why we’ve got here the various contenders for the CA GOP nomination out in force here: most notably Poizner, Whitman, and Campbell for Governor, and DeVore and Fiorina for U.S. Senate.
Carly Fiorina is the only major candidate who isn’t attending this convention. Her reason, as explained to Jon Fleischman in the Flash Report and Karen Tumulty at Time (yeah, I know), is that her cancer treatments preclude her from coming. Well, okay — but as RedState noted, she was certainly able to videoconference in with Elizabeth Edwards a few weeks back, and she’s planning on keynoting the Web 2.0 Summit in a couple of weeks. Oh, and she’s also jetting off to conferences in Milan and Sao Paolo shortly after that.
The Fiorina campaign is not pleased that a Rasmussen poll released on the convention’s first day shows Chuck DeVore as the stronger candidate against Barbara Boxer. Pretty tough when all that cash and name recognition buys you a solid second place.
But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m not even writing to tell you that they’ve plastered the convention hotel with “CARLYFORNIA DREAMIN’!!!” placards, complete with the three exclamation points. I’m not even writing to tell you that Carly’s staff are walking around blaming high-priced Hollywood-flack McCain-’08-veteran Fred Davis for their disastrous website. No.
I’m writing to tell you about the loose talk here about Carly and the NRSC, emanating from the friends of Larry Elder.
You know Larry Elder: the African-American, Californian, libertarian, popular radio host and firebrand. He’s been around for a while, and he’s a solid presence on the California media-and-politics scene. Elder is a serious name and presence among California Republicans. He just wrapped up his radio show. “Why,” you might ask, “doesn’t Larry Elder run for the Senate?”
There is an answer accorinding to many of Elder’s friends at the Republican Convention — Senator Cornyn and the NRSC told him not to.
Here’s the story that is circulating at the convention: Back in the spring, Elder went to Washington to sit down with John Cornyn and the NRSC, and ask for their support for a bid for U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer. Cornyn and the NRSC told him the following:
- If Elder chose to run, they would not support him.
- The NRSC was already committed to supporting Carly Fiorina
- The NRSC expected Fiorina to lose against Boxer, but expected her to tie up Democrat resources in the meantime.
So Larry Elder came back to California and did not run. You know the rest: he’s watched the Fiorina campaign move from crisis to crisis (failure to vote, Iran sales, revelation of no self-funding, no CRP attendance, this Rasmussen poll, that website, etc.), and feeling increasingly frustrated. It’s probably too late for him to enter and Larry is hot under the collar that Cornyn gave him such terrible advice. So he’s talking to his friends — and his friends are talking to us — and I’m talking to you.
How incompetent is this? The NRSC actually told a popular African-American with statewide name recognition to NOT run? Last I checked, our party isn’t overflowing with those.
Oh, and the NRSC expects Carly Fiorina to lose to Barbara Boxer — and they told a talk radio host this?
California Republicans are used to a parade of incompetence and self-defeating stupidity at the highest levels of our beloved party. But this goes beyond what we’re used to. The NRSC nixed a perfectly viable and unique candidacy in favor of a candidate whose own website ponders if she is “coming soon?” I’d be mad if I were Larry Elder. In fact, I’m not Larry Elder, and I’m mad anyway.