I sense that, in general, Democrats perceive Republicans to be highly organized and well-funded. At a national level, I believe this perception to be accurate. An effective system of think tank/advocacy groups amplifies the conservative message beyond its natural volume throughout the United States, particularly in publications, on campuses and among lobbyists. There are more Olin/Bradley/Cato/Heritage fellowships/scholarships/awards/stipends fully funded and available and than there are conservative students, professors and wonks to take them.
At the local level, however, I believe Democrats' fear of Republican organization and cash is not only overblown but nearly unfounded.
Recent discussion of Republican involvement (or lack of involvement) with respect to the Kevin Acklin-orchestrated challenge of Dok Harris' nominating petition signatures generated a comment suggesting the local Republican heirarchy opposed Acklin's candidacy, an assertion that conflicted with my observations.
It is difficult to walk from the Carlton to the Common Plea without hearing someone mention the latest contribution to Acklin's campaign by the spouse-sibling-employee-parent of a prominent Republican Party figure. If county Republican chair Jim Roddey has been 'putting out the word' that Acklin is not to be helped, he must be doing so in a voice so quiet that it can't be heard one pillow over (by Acklin contributor Elin Roddey, left).
Recently, I have been told, some Republicans have objected to Acklin's support among committee members, pointing to the delicious irony that the Republican Party has (1) a rule requiring committee members to support endorsed Republicans and refrain from supporting the opponents of endorsed Republicans and (2) an endorsed candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh. . . named Luke Ravenstahl.
I also have been informed that the county Republican committee's leaders reacted to this problem -- which is a problem, of course, only if the party leaders wish to support Acklin -- by summoning their solicitor. (The solicitor identified by the county Republican website is a lawyer whose practice focuses on bankrupt entities, which makes her a natural fit for an assignment to promote Republican ideology.)
The Republicans' solicitor is said to be ready to grant (or to have already granted) written permission for county committee members to support Acklin (right) over Ravenstahl, on the basis that the rule was never intended to apply to support for a former Republican whose views on 'family values' and 'fiscal restraint' and other Republican buzz phrases are congruent with conservativism. (I haven't seen the written opinion, but I assume it also will contain a snotty, sarcastic and accurate swipe at Ravenstahl.)
This doesn't damn Kevin Acklin -- for all I know, his familiarity with local Republicans might cause him to prefer not to have their help, and you can't always pick your supporters -- but it suggests that those who claim the local Republican establishment isn't backing Acklin energetically either don't know what they are talking about or are being disingenuous.
J. Cole Slideshow from First Niagara Pavilion
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