Quick thoughts of the NC-10 Race- Johnson vs McHenry

Well, after a long bout of excessive work and little fun (a time period I call "too damn long"), I'm back, and it's time to take a good hard look at what's been going on in my district, North Carolina 10, as of the last few months. The gist of it all? Johnson needs to buck up and work harder, and McHenry's more screwed than he's ever been in his life.

First off, let's backpedal. After the primary, all the NC-10 politics died down- everyone literally shut up and went home. Of course, then came the inevitable lull- no-one really cared anymore about the race, and everyone basically sat around and waited for something to happen. And, unfortunately, our Congressional candidates did nothing- they quite literally sat around twiddling their thumbs and, in the words of a good friend, "did a whole lotta nothin'".

This was precisely what DIDN'T need to happen: everyone going quiet. What was once the most violent race in the state has now had it's naptime. We, as Democrats, can't play this way: McHenry has too many connections for us to sit around.

So, with no further adieu, I bring you two lists: Why McHenry is going to have a hard time this November, and subsequently, what Daniel Johnson needs to do to make his life harder. You know, because life isn't supposed to be easy when you are a corrupt politician.

Why Patrick McHenry is going to have a difficult time:
1. He's split his party. By threatening a bunch of Republicans when he ran against Lance Sigmon (including refusing to come to Catawba County for a debate, insulting various members, etc), he has essentially pissed off 50% of Republicans- who will probably be hesitant to vote for him (if they vote at all).
2. There really aren't that many Republicans anyway. According to Drama Queen, "With only 60 percent of Democrats choosing him, Johnson received 41,076 votes. With more than 67 percent of 10th District Republicans backing McHenry, he still only got 34,457 votes.". Translation? There aren't that many Republicans in the district. And no matter how many people will try to say that they "switched to Democrat to vote against Hillary", 10,000 10th district Republicans didn't switch over.
3. He's got more controversy than a naughty Catholic Priest. Just see Pat go Bye Bye or Republicans Against Patrick McHenry
4. He's been insulated so far. Many people have mentioned this before- McHenry NEVER responds to questions, his press people do. When the rubber has to hit the road and he has to start meeting and greeting people outside of bland protective Republican meetings (that is, when he actually has to try to get Democrats or Independents to vote for him), he will stumble.

All that above being said, McHenry still has some major strengths. So...

What Daniel Johnson needs to do:
1. Be more agressive. Seriously. Johnson seems to take McHenry on occasionally, but never in a hard-hitting way. McHenry seems to do his worst when he's being attacked (he gets nervous, I guess)- don't back down on his waffling on Energy and blaming it on the Democrats.
2. Focus on Republicans. Okay, you've already begun this (with the whole Fundamentalist Christian letter that came out), but do this harder, even with Independents. Ethics trump voting record- and McHenry hasn't really done much for the district voting-wise in the first place other than just voting Republican. Remember, McHenry spoke out against McCain for President- they won't like to hear that.
3. Demand a debate. Sigmon screwed this up- don't you do it. Debate McHenry- and not on "the issues", he'll just read from his NRCC handbook. Demand to know why he's the laughingstock of Congress. Start with the controversies on Pat go Bye Bye and Republicans Against Patrick McHenry
4. Don't rely on the party for support. Don't be such an adherent to the official Democratic party- be more independent (and I don't mean politically). Act on your own, think on your own, run out and try new things. Try doing things on the cheap and do them often. Hell, spend a day at a big Grocery store shaking hands- you have the advantage of being closer to home than McHenry will ever be.
5. Hold town hall discussions. McHenry's doing this- do this yourself. HOLD ONE EVERY MONTH in every county- it's not THAT hard. Do it at a public place, and invite people from both parties to ask questions. Yes, this can be time consuming and awkward, but like I said above, that's something McHenry would never be able to do.

In any case, remember, Daniel, we're all rooting for you- keep working. Some of us can't help that much (I can barely afford the gas in my truck let alone free time to go somewhere), but we'll all try to help as much as possible. Knock that sleezeball McHenry out of the park.


I personally have refrained

I personally have refrained from getting involved directly with Johnson- I can't take the time to now for a variety of reasons, though I'd love to. I have to stay anonymous as it is because it's clear that people like Patrick McHenry and Tommy Luckadoo aren't pleased with me.

One would hope Johnson's team would pay attention to the Internet. I'm one who staunchly believes that the Internet is the best way to gauge voter opinion (It's mostly anonymous, easy to access, and used by people who pay attention (generally)), so I think he SHOULD- if he does is a different story.

Still, if he's reading this, I may contact him anonymously with some more in-depth ideas, if he'd be willing to take them. I may not sound like it, but I know what I'm doing, in a very loose sense.

buck up and work harder????

You make some good points, but I think Daniel's actually been doing a very good job. He has been working hard, for example raising enough funds to compete down the stretch -- so effectively that McHenry loaned himself $175,000 on June 30 just to stay ahead of Daniel on his most recent financial report! Johnson is the strongest challenger money-wise in North Carolina after Larry Kissell.

He's also been hitting McHenry on his votes against the people of the 10th District, and has been canvassing and meeting & greeting at community events all over the district.

Johnson has turned a district that wouldn't normally be on anyone's radar into a real winnable contest.


Really - why have I not heard of this??

I've been back in the district full time for three months - and have not heard about any community events that Johnson has held. I have seen very little in the newspapers about him "hitting McHenry on his votes" or anything else. The ONLY news I have heard is about his fundraising. THAT IS NOT WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO TO WIN! The people here want to have him accessible and available - and to ANSWER QUESTIONS since McHenry never does. I am not impressed with someone who can raise money, although I know that is important. I am more impressed with someone who cares enough about my district to be here and talk to people - go to BBQ's, church potlucks, etc.

I am desperately disappointed with Johnson so far. He's got to step out of the "box" and do some things on his ow. I hope there is enough time left for him to do this - or we will be stuck with McHenry for another two years.

Sounds like good advice

but as for "not that many republicans," this has traditionally been one of the reddest districts in the state. Still, Daniel has a good shot.

I agree with you. My main

I agree with you. My main issue is, simply put, that while there are more Dem.s in the district, it's the activity of said Republicans that's got the power- that is, Democrats simply aren't motivated to vote.

I really think it chalks up to the Presidential stuff- people don't give a flying crap if there isn't a Presidential race going on that they care about. This election may bring a lot of Democrats out of the woodwork if only because they want to make sure that walking pile of cobwebs the Republicans call McCain doesn't get elected.

Very excited about this race...

Not AS excited as I am about Larry Kissell in my district, but still!

As a fellow vet, I know Daniel has what it takes to let Rep. McHenry know that a responsible congressman doesn't call soldiers "two-bit." A professional member of the House of Representatives doesn't make a YouTube video from Baghdad, inadvertently giving the enemy intelligence on battle damage and then blame it on someone else w/o apologizing. And a real public servant and elected official who truly represents a district does not serve as a puppet to this political party. I'm as big of a Democrat as anyone, but the people come first over party.

Rep. McHenry has done a poor service to his district, (frankly) to his party, and to the House of Representatives as a whole.

Good luck to Daniel, and I hope he stops by here once in awhile so he can let us know how we can support him! I know "Democrats Work" sent out an e-mail about a great service project he is doing...keep up the good work!

Phillip Hunter Gilfus,
DNC Member-Elect (NC),
Democratic National Committee

Long time listener, first time caller...

i have been following this race on and off since it is my home district (i've been working for a company overseas this year), and one thing that i've noticed between this district and NC08 is that Kissell gets his traction not from being "Not-Hayes" (D-08), but by taking the kitchen table issues head on and owning them.

he's aggressively taking back the traditional D issues that FDR dems like my granddaddy got off the tractor to go vote for. DC theater stunts, playing the national R vs. D parties, none of that is going to fly in this district. we've got to get the focus on jobs, healthcare, and energy. keep it simple, stupid. beat mchenry over the head with this, message discipline and all that, and absolutely REFUSE to get into the guns, god, gays territory. any time PM tries to go there, ask him how any of those issues are helping people refill the gas tank, buy groceries, etc. THESE ARE WINNING ISSUES, we just have to stick to them.

If all politics is local, this one is going to be super-localized. It's a red-as-hell district, and the only way to get people off that straight R lever is to talk to them about the stuff that keeps them up at night.

if DJ's ppl (and given the popularity of that OTHER DJ from hickory, number 88, might i suggest he start using it??) read this, you MUST MUST MUST reclaim the issues of vital importance to nc10. somebody fire up the xerox and copy kissell's playbook. raising money is great, but remember, Patty coasted into office on $200,000 against a couple of millionaires sinking fortunes into the race. he won because his ideas (lordy, misguided though they are), were effectively communicated to the electorate, while at the same time, completely bypassing the traditional media. Pat's underage army is disbanded now, and he's relying on the old method he successfully upended in 04. he's shown us how to do it, so let's find a way to communicate our ideas without relying on consultants in dc/raleigh siphoning off their cut of ineffective ads broadcast on charlotte media.

If Sigmon's uphill battle showed us anything, it's 1) there's a virtual media blackout that will ABSOLUTELY depend on us putting together a "word of mouth" issues campaign (perhaps using some technology, but this ain't exactly an emailin' district...see others' comments re: potlucks, townhalls, etc), and 2)that there is a vocal, albeit smaller, disaffected sect within the 10th GOP who can get published. the media just loves circular firing squads. Just reading through the HDR's letters to the editor shows how much invective there is out there for their own guy. put together a GOP for Johnson brigade, ASAP, and take advantage of this current. put them out front, and ride them all the way to the finish line.

i'm writing this off the cuff, but visiting this site, reading all of the Mchenry archives, just got my dander up. let's go get this guy, and use everything at our disposal, inside or especially outside the box, to take this seat.

Thanks for jumping in

Always good to get a new perspective. I hope someone from Daniel's campaign is paying attention to your very good ideas.

Jesus Swept, this December