Republican Diane Harkey, the Darrell Issa-endorsed candidate in the 49th Congressional District received the blessings of President Donald Trump via Twitter late yesterday.
Nobody should be happier about this news than her Democratic opponent, Mike Levin, although his campaign showed remarkable restraint in responding to the announcement.
Polling by the Public Policy Institute of California three months ago showed just 39% of voters in the two counties included in the district approve of the job Trump is doing as president. Hillary Clinton won the 49th by seven points over Trump, and Issa’s re-election margin was the closest of any House incumbent in 2016.
In the June primary, four Democratic candidates captured 51% of the vote in a crowded field of eight Republicans and four third-party candidates. The GOP’s vote share in the 2014 primary was 62%, which should tell you what’s motivating their desperation.
In 2014 the Union-Tribune, then-owned by mighty righty Doug Manchester, refused to endorse Harkey in her race for Board of Equalization, calling her “unsuitable for public service”:
…But it would take acres of newsprint to list what’s been disappointing about the other serious Board of Equalization candidate, Assemblywoman Diane Harkey of Dana Point.
It was in 2009 that fraud allegations first emerged against Point Center Financial, a real-estate firm led by her husband, Dan Harkey. Though she has been listed as both a public officer and an employee of the company, she says she had nothing to do with the actions that led to three fraud judgments against Dan Harkey and Point Central Financial awarding $12.5 million in damages to about 80 investors.
Other facts are crucial and damning. As The Orange County Register reported in 2009, Diane Harkey spent $135,000 to launch her political career in 2004 with a successful bid for the Dana Point City Council. She spent $2 million more on a failed state Senate bid in 2006, a successful Assembly run in 2008, and on other political campaigns. Given that her campaign disclosure forms showed limited personal assets at the time, it is obvious that people would wonder if her career in politics is based on a family fortune built at least partly through fraud.
Birds of a feather flock together, so it’s no surprise that former Vice President Dick Cheney hosted a fundraiser for Diane Harkey last week.
Here’s the response from Democrat Mike Levins and the announcement from Donnie Bone Spurs:
— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) August 21, 2018
Flip the 49th, the group responsible for a massive ongoing voter outreach effort, responded to the news with an appropriate meme:
— Flip the 49th (@flipthe49th) August 21, 2018
In other news, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom was also the beneficiary of a late night endorsement by the President:
And we now go live to the White House at 11:53pm… https://t.co/c8itC1BXmo
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 21, 2018
It’s not really election season until news stories start breaking about the Russians dicking around.
Having said all this snarky stuff about the GOP, I feel obliged to remind readers that voters–not Tweets or memes–decide elections. There are plenty of distractions, but only one thing to keep in mind every day: Get Out the Vote.
Conservative groups with a predilection for being associated with GOP opponents of the president’s Russia policies are targeted by hackers. From the New York Times:
Microsoft Corporation revealed Monday that it had detected and seized websites that were created in recent weeks by hackers linked to the Russian military intelligence unit formerly known as the G.R.U. The sites appeared meant to trick people into thinking they were clicking through links managed by the conservative Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute, but were secretly redirected to web pages created by the hackers to steal passwords and other credentials.
Both institutions have taken aim at Russian corruption. Microsoft also found websites imitating the United States Senate, but not specific Senate offices or political campaigns.
It should surprise nobody that a Democrat running against Vladimir Putin’s favorite Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher was also targeted.
From Rolling Stone:
The Microsoft report is the latest evidence that the election interference and cyberattacks seen in the 2016 presidential race continue to this day — and may be getting worse. Last week, Rolling Stone broke the news that the FBI had investigated a series of sophisticated hacking efforts over multiple months targeting a Democratic congressional candidate in California. (The origin of the attacks was unknown.) The Daily Beast reported in late July that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had faced an unsuccessful hacking attempt by Russian-affiliated hackers. This month, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said that Russian hackers “had penetrated” a county-level voting system in Florida.
But the new Microsoft report suggests that the potential targets of Russia’s hacking efforts have broadened beyond campaigns and candidates. “This apparent spear-phishing attempt against the International Republican Institute and other organizations is consistent with the campaign of meddling that the Kremlin has waged against organizations that support democracy and human rights,” IRI President Daniel Twining told the Washington Post. “It is clearly designed to sow confusion, conflict and fear among those who criticize Mr. Putin’s authoritarian regime.”
And, of course, they’re active on social media platforms.
From Vanity Fair
A few weeks ago, Facebook announced that it had discovered new, malicious accounts on Facebook and Instagram designed to influence elections by targeting divisive social issues, similar to the effort put forth by the Russia-linked Internet Research Agency in advance of the 2016 election. The operators behind the 17 profiles and 8 Pages, which were set up between March 2017 and May 2018, appeared to be more sophisticated, disguising their identities more effectively than the I.R.A.
It should go without saying that our own government has done its bit to covertly influence elections around the world, but I feel obliged to say it because Russian apologists always start off with this admonition. (No, Russia hasn’t been ‘Soviet’ for nearly three decades, so stop with the hammers and sickles, already.)
Two wrongs don’t make a right, as my mama always told me. And those who downplay the ideological and financial overlap between the modern-day GOP’s funders and the Russian oligarchy are just fools.
Don’t let all this Russia business discourage you. Just remember, the time for intra-party squabbles is pre-primary, the idea of revisiting the Bernie/Hillary split probably is unwise until after the election, and debating over Nancy Pelosi’s qualifications is, in fact, a Republican talking point.
I’m NOT saying any of the debates aren’t worth having. I am saying timing is everything. And if you see something on the internet that makes you angry, stop for a moment and wonder who might like that anger.
Don’t like what you see on the ballot? Fine. Find a cause worth your time, and don’t get used by the nihilist cynics with complaining as the sole item on their agenda.
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