I'm Voting for Kay Hagan and this is Why

A couple of days before the BlueNC blogger bash I decided to vote for and volunteer for Kay Hagan. While I don’t see eye to eye with her on some issues, she has the experience, the passion and the integrity that I look for in a candidate. She also has the commitment to fundraising and the ability to appeal to a very diverse array of voters and that is what it will take to beat Elizabeth Dole.

Kay has put together an amazing and very professional campaign team. I’ve made it no secret that I appreciate a campaign that is well run whether it is full of professionals or full of volunteers. You can’t win a statewide race for the U.S. Senate constantly flying by the seat of your pants, never knowing what is coming out of your press office, or not knowing what is written on your campaign literature. Unfortunately, that pretty much describes the Neal campaign. It took a comment from James Protzman to open my eyes to the fact that Jim Neal will play like he practices and the result won’t be pretty.

As most of you know, I did not hesitate to back Jim Neal when he first announced he was running for Senate. For months we had waited for someone to announce. James and I had email conversations about the fact that it was getting late in the game. Will and I had the same conversations. I was thrilled to hear that someone was stepping forward and while I hadn’t met Jim in person, I trusted what I heard from others and what I learned in his visits here at BlueNC. I was fine with that until March and honestly I didn’t bother taking a closer look.

Unfortunately, Jim’s campaign team decided to go negative. I was already tired of the negative campaigning from the presidential race and the sniping between Moore and Perdue. I expected better than that from Jim Neal. I said as much back in March. If the negative campaigning had stopped I would probably still be a Neal backer. Unfortunately, it didn’t. That prompted me to take a closer look.

That closer look resulted in the post I put up on the Politics of Innuendo. As much as Neal’s campaign manager tried to explain it away, the explanation fell short. I wasn’t the only one to think so.

All along there have been few details on Jim’s business background. Others have commented here and there that Jim has a sketchy business history. I noticed that he doesn’t name the most recent companies he worked for, which is odd since he’s basically applying for a job and his work experience is all we have to go on. In his campaign literature, he is attributed with having experience in health care management, however his resume doesn’t list any health care related companies.

RxMarketplace, the only company listed that might be seen as health care management, was incorporated in November of 1999 and by January 2001 had laid off 31 of its 33 employees. One year and two months doesn’t give a wealth of health care management experience. Where else did Jim work to be able to make that claim?

On top of this, many of us had looked at Jim Neal’s fundraising experience and figured he would have no trouble raising money. The day the news broke that Jim was running, Robert left this comment:

Not just a businessman.
Submitted by Robert P. on Fri, 10/12/2007 - 5:02pm.
Note that he raised money full-time for John Kerry and Wes Clark. That brings Sen. Kerry's PAC into play (interesting, huh?) and also Vote Vets into the sprawl.
Add to that his connections with Erskine Bowles and what we have is probably a top tier FUNDRAISER if nothing else.
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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That appealed to folks, but quite frankly his fundraising has been paltry and with less than $18,000 to finish out the primary race, he obviously didn’t raise enough to run an effective campaign. Something just doesn’t seem right.

Then I noticed Jim was contradicting himself. He was going after special interest endorsements, which usually result in direct or indirect special interest money, while at the same time claiming that he wasn’t taking special interest conributions. It’s not a strong negative, but it added to my unease.

The campaign literature that was available at the Union County Democratic Convention and that was brought by the campaign to the BlueNC Blogger Bash gives this quote – and it is in quotations so I assume these are Jim’s words - about the war in Iraq.

”Our current policy in Iraq is placing an unacceptable strain on our military families and our budget. It is time to begin the sensible redeployment of troops away from Iraq and back towards Osama Bin Laden and his followers. Our troops have done everything we asked of them – and I don’t want to see any more of them die or suffer injury. Our military is too important to be used for one party’s political gain.”

Imagine my surprise when several days later I saw that Jim was saying something completely different. His answer to the same question from The Independent Weekly bore no resemblance to Jim Neal’s answer in his campaign literature. Same question. Two different answers. In the Indy Jim says:

b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan. What troop levels and funding should be allocated to fight that war? What is our goal there, in your view? What should our policy be? What legislation should be introduced to address those issues?

We missed our window in Afghanistan and should also withdraw from that theatre. Our original purpose, to punish those who attacked us on 9-11, was never realized, mostly because of the poor decision to invade Iraq. It is time to put these foreign policy blunders behind us, and move on and redirect the resources here at home. Our policy should be to withdraw from Afghanistan and leave the fate of the country with Afghans and their allies in the Middle East.

So, which answer is it? Why does Jim’s quote in campaign literature say one thing and Jim’s answer in the Indy questionnaire say another?

The thing is, none of this sent me completely to Kay Hagan’s camp. I was asked shortly after the Politics of Innuendo piece if I would be a county captain. I turned them down. I had planned to remain neutral. You can ask anyone with the campaign. I was called by three different people and I explained that I planned to remain neutral and wasn’t really sure which candidate would receive my vote.

Then James Protzman wrote a comment about Richard Moore. In it he made this statement:

People play like they practice. If a person is willing to run a sleazoid campaign, it's a pretty safe bet he or she will also run a sleazoid administration. Just look at George Bush.

That’s truly when I started to finalize my decision. I looked at how Jim Neal was practicing. Including:

  • Sketchy business background – no full disclosure here
  • embellished endorsements
  • Negative campaigning based on innuendo and word games
  • Saying one thing and doing another – seeking special interest endorsements that could bring in direct or indirect special interest money
  • Making contradicting statements on campaign literature and in an endorsement questionnaire
  • Very weak fundraising despite being a fundraising organizer for General Wesley Clark, John Kerry and Erskine Bowles.
  • Yes, I looked at how he was practicing and I tried to picture what a Jim Neal Senate office would look like and if he plays like he practices a Jim Neal Senate office would be one great big giant clusterfuck.

    I want a Senator who is competent and honest, who has integrity and passion. I want a Senator who can connect with the voters of North Carolina instead of talking over their heads. I want a Senator who knows more about North Carolina than she does about Wall Street. I want a Senator who takes this seriously enough to surround herself with competent professionals instead of children who get on the chat board running next to the live feed of a debate between Senatorial candidates and make fun of the way someone dresses, how another person talks, calls candidates names and ridicules the student moderators. Finally, I want a candidate who is running to win. I’m voting for Kay Hagan.

    Comments

    No interviews for this one

    so Robert can't call me Mademoiselle Journaliste.....at least I think that's how he spelled it. Of course, he can call me all sorts of other things if he likes. :D

    I'm out putting up signs for Dan Besse, Robin Anderson and Kay Hagan. I'm also organizing poll workers here in Union County. What are you doing?

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Oh.....and meant to add

    I made the same offer yesterday to Sam at the Neal campaign. I want to get a Democrat elected and will do whatever I can in Union County for Jim Neal if he prevails in the primary or in a run-off.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Apparently you're not tired of it,

    I was already tired of the negative campaigning from the presidential race and the sniping between Moore and Perdue.

    considering that most of this diary is dedicated to anti-Neal rhetoric.

    Yes, I looked at how he was practicing and I tried to picture what a Jim Neal Senate office would look like and if he plays like he practices a Jim Neal Senate office would be one great big giant clusterfuck.

    And a Kay hagan office would be neat and orderly, as she heads up to the Hill to vote for more tax breaks for the wealthy, telecom immunity, business as usual in Iraq, earmarks for her corporate buddies, "excused absence" whenever LGBT legislation hits the floor, etc., etc.

    But you're right when you point out that Jim is an enigma. We don't have the background to assess if his intent matches his claims. But we do have some background for Kay Hagan, and you can expect to be reading about that very soon.

    It's sad that the Neal campaign

    has provided me with so much fodder....but there you have it.

    Kay's background is open for the review. Unfortunately, Jim chose to hide his background. I wonder why?

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    It's getting thinner by the minute...

    Unfortunately, Jim chose to hide his background. I wonder why?

    Chose to hide his background? You're just making shit up out of thin air and posing hyperbolic questions, and yet this blog is (mostly) about the "unethical" behavior of Jim's campaign. Right.

    You better duck, because the irony stick is swinging right at you.

    So, you're saying he didn't choose to NOT disclose the names

    of the companies he worked for? I found one through OpenSecrets, but if the lack of a fully documented resume was an unavoidable unintentional act then I apologize and I'm sure Jim will be here pronto to let us all know his complete work history.

    Why are you threatening me, Steve?

    Plus, I'm not making anything up. I've documented everything. Every newspaper account, questionnaire, etc lists that he worked for "private companies". I'm not making that up. Please point out what I made up.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    You know damn well that wasn't a threat.

    I was talking about the irony of your own position. On one hand you lament Neal's negative campaign tactics, then turn around and question his integrity and background.

    Sorry about the double post

    I keep getting "internal servor error" when I try to post.

    I think it might be the live feed thing......

    I'm having slow load times myself

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Companies Neal has worked for

    Salomon Brothers
    E.F. Hutton
    Bear Stearns
    Piper Jaffray
    RxMarketplace
    451 Inc.
    Agema

    These are the ones he's mentioned in various interviews. He said he worked a series of part time jobs while in grad school. I'm guessing they're not included in this list but I don't know for sure.

    There are two on there I didn't know

    and I found another one on OpenSecrets. Found out that he has given to the RNCC at least once. Thanks for the two new ones. The real point is, we shouldn't have to hunt them down since they are all we have to go on.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    I don't think he's trying to hide anything

    Most people with extensive careers only list major and recent employers on resumes. I have no idea what the part time jobs were but he did mention them. Do we really need to know that he worked as a waiter (or whatever) while in grad school? He's also talked about being unemployed.

    Also, I remember him talking about the RNCC donation in October or November. If I remember correctly, he mentioned it while talking about his experience as a fundraiser but the interviewer didn't follow up on it.

    The problem is he didn't list

    most recent, Lee. All I saw was RxMarketplace. Well... Ajema, but how many employees does Ajema have? He started it in New York. When you're running for office you plan on full disclosure. If we don't vet Jim, the Republicans will and they will investigate every single thing he has ever done. They will know more about him than we do. If I noticed all this stuff, you darn well know they have and they're keeping track of it too.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    What do you think is missing?

    We know he worked as an investment banker for 20 years, 2 years at RXMarketplace, 1 year at 451 Inc. and he's run Agema since then. He's only 51 years old. How many more jobs could he have had?

    I don't know how many employees Agema had but he ran it from his home so I'm guessing no more than one or two.

    This is starting to sound like an episode of Yes, Minister that I saw years ago. The Minister was convinced that his staff was hiding something from him so he asked his chief of staff "What don't I know?" and the chief of staff replied "I don't know what you don't know, Minister. It could be almost anything."

    It took me less than ten minutes on Google to find all the information in my first post. I could have gotten the same information in two minutes by calling Jim and asking him. He's always answered every question I've ever asked him.

    Doug Clark jumps on Betty's Hagan Band Wagon?

    It's sad that the Neal campaign

    has provided me with so much fodder....but there you have it.*Betsy Muse

    May 2, 2008
    Political half-thoughts
    BlueNC blogger Betsy Muse is repelled from Jim Neal's Senate campaign toward support for Kay Hagan*Doug Clark N&R

    It's a sad day, Betsy, Seeing you go So Negative

    I don't like any of our choices for Senate, especially the incumbent.

    Hagan is a DINO, who responds stupidly to questions like Telco/Bush immunity.

    Neal is a cipher who the party establishment won't get behind. To me he seems like the best of the 3 choices.

    Dole is a Republican moron who has voted for everything Bush/Cheney wanted.

    I foresee Dole winning in November because Hagan, the likely nominee, will be a weak opponent with poor name recognition.

    I'm sure you'll get over it.



    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    I call 'em like I see 'em

    The money pot tells me Hagan will win the nomination. I would love to see her prove me wrong in November. Perhaps you can give her some coaching on communication skills. They're deficient.

    If she's nominated she will have to improve her game to win.

    So do I

    ...hence today's post.

    Actually, if nominated all of the candidates will need to improve their game in some way to win.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Your vote, Your voice.

    Your choice. I respect your decision even though I disagree with it. I believe that Kay Hagan is a good state senator. I don't think she has what it takes to stand up to Nasty Liddy Dole head to head. I thought her performance in the debate, when she finally agreed to one, was very poor. However, if she wins the primary, I will support her, and nag her every chance I get about LGBT, FISA, and Environmental issues. And that's just a start.

    She has a good record - but she has a poor education on what she's facing in Washington. That's very disappointing to me. Extremely disappointing. If she wins the primary, she's going to need a crash course from - well - Jim Neal and the rest of her opponents in what is going on outside of Raleigh, NC.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    May 7

    We hit the ground running for them all. I won't exclude one Dem. When I organize it will be so all Dems benefit. I've even made a decision in the presidential race and EGADS! it is one you will agree with. :D

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Thanks Betsy for your honesty

    I believe a number of people who read this will not be happy with your decision or your comments for Hagan and against Neal. Although I agree Hagan maybe a DINO, I believe she has the best chance to unseat Dole. Even a DINO replacing a Repub will help strengthen the make-up of committees, which are important to getting things accomplished. And let's not forget the make-up of voters in this state, how to put it nicely, oh well you know - rednecks. Rednecks are racist, homo-phobes and the NCGOP will make sure everyone knows Neal is gay. I don't like that any more than you but it is the reality of this state.

    F-One
    I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle...
    John Stuart Mill 1866

    Thank you

    I think if the vitriol against Hagan hadn't been so prominent on BlueNC, I wouldn't have bothered writing this. I wasn't going to go along just to get along.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    that's sometimes how i feel

    about how Hampton's been treated. And he is a genuinely exciting candidate--it's really hard to watch people dish on him so hard. Not as bad as the Hagan-hating, but still pretty tough. Most of us have not said such mean things about Dan and Pat. Only that we should rally behind Hampton to beat Dalton in Round One. That so bad to say?--so sue us. We've got lots of legal acumen... :)

    Hagan hating?

    Seems a bit of a stretch.

    From what I can see, most of the criticisms have been on her record in the NC Senate, the manner in which she entered the campaign, her actual positions (FISA, Duke Energy, for example) and her unwillingness to debate.

    Besides that, though, she's run a clean campaign, so I have to give her credit. Not enough to vote for her, but credit nonetheless.

    I also think Betsy overstates the "negativity" of the Neal campaign, but that's a more subjective judgment. But far be it from me to criticize anyone taking a stand against negative campaigning. I've have a lifetime's worth of that mess this cycle and will be beyond relief on Wednesday.

    There's been a lot of vitriol

    and Robert and Steve both have written negative pieces about Hagan, but I write something negative about Neal and Steve wets himself.

    You saw the crap the kiddies were writing on the chat board during the debate. You were there. The only reason it doesn't seem like the campaign was that negative to you was because Neal couldn't raise enough money to go on tv.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Easy on me

    I'm meeting you at least halfway here.

    And at the risk of starting another pansy war (heaven, please, no) I see a distinction between vitriol and hating. Maybe it's a distinction without a difference, but it's a distinction nonetheless. But I don't know anyone who hates Kay Hagan.

    maybe

    hating wasn't the right word. I don't think anyone hates anyone in any of the races. Maybe the Gov and Presidential border on the H word. (but even then, you're right hate is a very strong word). though i was really using it more in passing than anything else; kinda like "playa-hater" or something like that.

    Thanks.

    I gotcha.

    And I'm really glad we don't have to launch into pansy wars on this one!

    Happy weekend.

    Oh great

    I managed to get a "war" indirectly named after me.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    Liberalism as a badge of honor!
    No apologies, no excuses.

    You know....I've met you

    .....and I think you're a pretty great guy. Aren't you glad it isn't the Corpse Flower war?



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Ha!

    I needed that laugh.

    You're welcome.

    I kept it going - and can keep it going if you all keep talking about it :::eyes everyone suspiciously::::

    You have no idea how hard it was for me not to join the booing for Mike Easley tonight. I've been so disappointed in him, and I need to find a copy of his speech, because I think he claimed something that wasn't quite true.

    Anyhow - I'll let you get back to making Steve wet his pants or whatever it is you're doing.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Oh...you're right

    I use the term "Hillary Hate" to describe how the GOP has branded her and honestly I didn't have any flags go up b/c when I see that I don't think of actual hate. You're right and we shouldn't allow it to be misinterpreted, even if by accident.

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Hampton's a Strong Candidate

    I saw Hampton in person months back. He's good looking, articulate and acts like a solid Democrat. Dan Besse has a fantastic record on the environment so he's my first choice, but I will enthusiastically support Hampton if Dan doesn't make the finals.

    Hagan has been criticized because she is uninformed on national issues, isn't progressive, and doesn't present her ideas effectively.

    thanks,

    I'll take what i can get. :)

    Shocked!!!!!!!!!!

    I had no idea that Betty was for Hagan, never saw it coming? I bet you don't get on Neal's Xmas card list next year.

    I am sure I will never get over it.

    It will most certainly be my loss. ;-)

    Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

    Yup.

    Probably :) But I'll send you two to make up for it.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
    Pointing at Naked Emperors

    Awwww

    :D



    ***************************
    Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.