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Dems Bitter over GOP Primary Tactic that THEY Backed in 2018

‘We were stunned, because from our understanding this has never been done before…’

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Senate Democrats bitterly decried foul play amid accusations that a GOP-funded political-action committee in North Carolina was helping bolster a weak, left-wing opponent to take on Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, in the November election.

However, their own Senate Majority PAC attempted a similar tactic in several 2018 races, and they likely have engaged systematically in similar efforts to weaken the opposition for much longer.

According to Politico, the Faith and Power PAC, a Republican-linked organization, ran a $2 million ad campaign on behalf of progressive Democratic candidate Erica Smith, a state senator seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate in what left-wing political watchers have termed one of November’s major tossup elections.

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“Who’s the Democrat for U.S. Senate endorsed by progressives and unions?” it begins.

Fake Outrage

The ad seemed to be directed at Smith’s primary opponent, Cal Cunningham, who has sought to run as a “moderate” Democrat and political outsider in the quest to unseat the incumbent Tillis.

Despite the accuracy of the ad, Smith quickly denounced it after its source was disclosed as a likely Republican-backed effort.

“We were stunned, because from our understanding this has never been done before,” Smith told Raleigh’s CBS 17.

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Although liberals like disgraced former Sen. John Edwards have previously succeeded in North Carolina, Democrats nationally are taking no chances on running a politically risky radical, who also happens to be an African–American female.

Democrats hope population shifts in the once solid-red Tar Heel State will help it trend blue, giving them one of four seat flips needed to reclaim the Senate majority (or three if they win the presidential election).

But other Democratic women and candidates of color have likewise fared poorly in the primary season as voters on the Left seem to be split between the socialist-supporting “Bernie Bro” contingent, establishment-friendly Joe Biden and billionaire “outsider” Michael Bloomberg, all white males.

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Tim Kaine/IMAGE: Face the Nation via Youtube

Democratic senators claimed that running an ad touting Smith’s positions was nothing short of outrageous.

“It’s so brazen and obvious. … They recognize that Cunningham is a strong candidate, and they’re worried about holding onto that seat,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., told Politico. “When Republicans are weighing in for somebody, they’ve made the judgment that they’re worried about Cal, and they’re not worried about her.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., claimed that Republicans were “known for voter suppression and playing games with voters, and they are taking it to new heights here.”

Playing Games

The statement conveniently ignores Democrats’ long record of doing precisely that at both the state and national level.

Politico, for instance, noted two races—in West Virginia and Missouri—in which Democrat-backed PACs sought to interfere with the Republican races.

Although the article didn’t elaborate, one of these, no doubt, was the left-wing efforts during the 2018 election to advance controversial coal-mining CEO Don Blankenship to oppose incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin in West Virginia.

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Joe Manchin / IMAGE: MSNBC via Youtube

Blankenship, the former head of Massey Energy Company, had been found guilty in 2015 of conspiring to willfully violate mine safety and health standards in the wake of a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. He served a year in prison for the scandal.

But the Duty and Country PAC, which shared the same address as the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, had spent millions targeting his two viable opponents in an effort to elevate the embattled Blankenship.

Among the few donors publicly identified in the mysterious PAC supporting Blankenship’s run was Booth Goodwin, the partisan former U.S. attorney who had prosecuted Blankenship, according to the Daily Beast.

As noted by the Center for Responsive Politics, even President Donald Trump was compelled to weigh in opposing Blankenship.

Of course, Trump himself is widely considered to have been the beneficiary of similar efforts during his 2016 primary race, when members of the media, quick to dismiss him as the weakest candidate in the field to take on Democrat Hillary Clinton, ensured through disproportionate coverage that he ride the wave of momentum to the nomination, only to rue their decision in the general election.

It was not immediately clear which Missouri race Politico made reference to, although the contentious 2018 fight to unseat Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill led to considerable GOP infighting, as well as waves of dark money from all sides.

One likely culprit for Democrat backing may have been former libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen, a conspiracy theorist who went from routinely attacking Trump during the 2016 race to wholeheartedly embracing him in 2018.

While Missouri is widely regarded as being more “moderate” than the national electorate, Petersen ran to the extreme right, garnering controversy—and a Facebook ban—for a promotional giveaway of an AR-15 rifle.

Missouri’s then-state Attorney General Josh Hawley ultimately prevailed in both the primary and general election, becoming one of Trump’s closest Senate allies during the recent impeachment debacle.

State-Level Shenanigans

At the state level, North Carolina Democrats also feigned indignation.

“My gut tells me North Carolinians have a really strong BS meter. And this is triggering it,” said Cal Cunningham, the Democratic senate candidate running against Erica Smith from a more conservative vantage point.

While the pro-Smith ad positively espoused her connection with labor unions, MaryBe McMillan, president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, objected to it as well.

“It’s certainly made it more challenging to have over $2 million dumped into an ad buy against Cal Cunningham and what looks to be an attempt by Republicans to sway the primary,” McMillan complained, according to Politico. “It’s just unfortunate that it’s going to mean spending more resources.”

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But Democrats notoriously held themselves to a different standard in a 2018 election for the state Supreme Court. Just before the filing deadline, a longtime Democrat attorney, Chris Anglin, switched parties and ran as a Republican in an effort to sow confusion, banking on misinformed voters who might trust the white, male candidate at the top of the ticket to be the more conservative jurist.

Incumbent conservative Justice Barbara Jackson ultimately lost her re-election due to the split ticket, which gave radical left-wing activist Anita Earls the edge to defeat Jackson with a plurality.

Republicans—including Tillis and fellow incumbent GOP Sen. Richard Burr, rolled their eyes at the left’s ploy to throw a pity-party for the inexperienced Cunningham and cast him as the victim of nefarious strategizing.

Some noted that Cunningham, likewise, has benefited from a mysterious dark-money PAC, known as “Carolina Blue.”

Despite his inexperience in politics, Cunningham ultimately gained the favor of national Democrats—including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-NY—by pledging his willingness to sit in a windowless basement and make fundraising calls rather than hitting the road to outline his own personal vision.

“Schumer has funded 100 percent of the Cunningham campaign,” Burr said. “Why would they complain if somebody else funded the opponent?”

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