Monday, July 27, 2009

Political Reporting On The Bayh Senate Race

There were two examples today of the difficulty any challengers to Sen. Evan Bayh are facing--at least from the people who make a living covering politics. Brian Howey of Howey Politics reported this morning that former State Rep. Dan Dumezich (R) would not run for the U.S. Senate:

DUMEZICH WON’T RUN: Former state representative Dan Dumezich confirmed that he will not run for the U,S. Senate (Howey Politics Indiana). Asked if he was running today, Dumezich e-mailed a one-word answer: “Nope.” That leaves Don Bates Jr. and State Sen. Marlin Stutzman in the Republican field to take on the two-term senator with a $12 million warchest.

Within hours of making that post, Howey updated his report to say Dumezich had contacted him to say he is still mulling a bid to run for the U.S. Senate:

Dan Dumezich told Howey Politics Indiana early this afternoon that he is indeed considering a Senate challenge to U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and said the incumbent has a “fundamental misunderstanding ours a week to about 80 hours a month, visiting Republicans around the state. “I want to make sure we have people willing to invest $6 million to $7 million needed to get there,” he said. He added that he would make a final decision “in the next month.”

He initially told Howey Politics that he would make up his mind by last February. A one-word e-mail from Dumezich this morning was misinterpred by HPI that he would not run.

Howey didn't include the direct text of the question he posed to Dumezich so it's hard to ascertain whether his misinterpretation of his original answer was understandable.

Another Republican candidate, Richmond's Don Bates, Jr., announced his candidacy over the weekend in his hometown to a crowd of about 500 people at the Wayne County Fair. That brought this snarky response from WISH-TV political reporter Jim Shella in a post entitled, "Don Who?":

Somebody named Don Bates, Jr. announced a run for U.S. Senate this weekend. According to his hometown newspaper in Richmond, Bates is a banker, a Republican, and he didn’t get an endorsement from the local Wayne County GOP Chairwoman.

The Bates announcement at the Wayne County Fair is no surprise to political insiders. Bates campaigned recently at the state GOP Dinner.

But his approach is hardly conventional. A Saturday announcement with just one appearance on the border of another state and no statewide news release is not a recipe for success, especially for a guy with no name recognition to speak of outside Richmond.

By the way, Evan Bayh (the Democrat Bates hopes to unseat) gets the headline on the Richmond Palladium-Item website this morning.

While Shella jumps on a headline Bayh got in Bates' hometown newspaper today, his reporting completely ignored the damning front-page story in the state's largest newspaper discussing the serious conflicts of interest posed by Sen. Bayh's wife's presence on so many publicly-traded corporate boards, including four with an interest in the current health care debate. True to form, Shella mocks and berates ordinary citizens' exercise of their right to run for public office. Shella is such an insider's political reporter. Does he get joy in tearing down people on behalf of the well-heeled insiders? Does he see it as his job to winnow the field of candidates to only those who meet with the approbation of his insider friends? I don't know Don Bates, Jr, but I sure as heck don't think political reporters should come out attacking the guy on day one just for saying he's going to be a candidate.


Paul K. Ogden said...

You're right, Gary, Shella all but bragged about the front page story regarding the Bayhs, completely ignoring it was a highly negative story.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, The Richmond Pal-Item story Shella references is one telling about Bayh's support of Visteon workers in their effort to retain insurance benefits. He wasn't talking about the conflict story Dan Lee wrote about.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Thanks for the clarification, Gary. Still not a favorable story. There is a lot of negative out there for a well-funded canddiate to pursue.

Vox Populi said...

Shella may be a douchebag, he may be an "insider's" political reporter, but he's also very right.

Th "500" people you cite were more likely present for the fair, not likely for his announcement.

Patriot Paul said...

Another hit from Soundbite Shallow with opinionized reporting. One wonders if any hometown 'Smith goes to Washington' candidate would have a chance if left up to arrogant Statehouse trolls like Shallow who seem embedded with the status quo.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Jim "The Shill" Shella, mouthpiece for the Socialist Democrat Party.

Unknown said...

The 500 people were clearly there to see future Sen. Bates as the article should have read fairgrounds as the Wayne County fair was weeks age therefore long since over.

IntReviewer said...

Bates may not be a well-heeled political insider -- but the well-heeled political insiders haven't exactly led the Republican Party to victory lately.
Bates's strength is communicating conservative principles, and I think we'll see that more and more as he travels around Indiana and interacts with real people.
The 2010 election is no longer status quo; instead, with the tea party movement and health care debate, conservatives are ready to get the vote out for their candidates.
Meanwhile, John Cornyn and the Republican National Senatorial Committee are calling Bayh's seat safe. The national Republican Party may blow this race, but Bates won't.