Renee Ellmers-Clay Aiken election campaign: Take one down, pass it around | Citizen

Renee Ellmers-Clay Aiken election campaign: Take one down, pass it around

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100, 99 … countdown to Election Day

It's July — still — and no time to be thinking about elections, which aren't until —

Bzzzt. My mailbox is overflowing with reminders that just 100 days remain … no, now it's 99 days … until Nov. 4, Election Day. Y'ouch.

So, let's begin our election season with Renee Ellmers, Republican incumbent, versus Clay Aiken, Democratic challenger, for the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District of N.C.

Remember the House? Hasn't done anything in years except try to repeal Obamacare and, now, get ready to sue President Obama. Is this where the term "clown car" came from?

In recent days, Congresswoman Ellmers made some news when she told a Republican audience that her mostly male political colleagues, when discussing policy questions, should "bring it down to a woman's level" if they want to be understood.

Somewhere in there was a point, I think. Although Ellmers delivered it with what I'm afraid is her all-too-common incoherence. More on this below.

Wednesday, 6-8 pm, Southland Ballroom
  • Wednesday, 6-8 pm, Southland Ballroom
Meanwhile, Clay Aiken, for whom I would undoubtedly vote, pollsters, "if the election were held today," is holding his own against Ellmers in terms of fundraising. He may — may — give her a run for her money in November, so to speak, notwithstanding the fact that the 2nd District is heavily gerrymandered in favor of the Republican candidate.

Aiken is putting together three of my favorite things in Raleigh Wednesday night at a fundraiser. One, it's at Southland Ballroom, which has replaced the Berkeley Cafe on my list of best music halls in Raleigh following the latter's decimation. Two, it features the Red Clay Ramblers, who will perform. I definitely :) them. Three, it's Clay Aiken, and as I've already explained, I lost all objectivity re: Clay when he was on "American Idol."

I also think he's acquitted himself well as a candidate thus far.

***

On the fundraising front, Ellmers has raised more than $1.3 million since her last election campaign and, as of the latest report on June 30, retained $412,000 in cash on hand. She spent some money fending off a primary challenge this year.

Aiken, who entered the campaign just six months ago, has raised $686,000 and, as of June 30, had $209,000 cash on hand. The Aiken campaign has made much of the fact that he outraised Ellmers in the April-June period and that most of his money has come from individual contributors as opposed to her reliance on money from special interest and political committees. As The News & Observer reported it:

Aiken, who lives in Cary, has received almost $687,000 since he jumped into the race near the beginning of the year. Ellmers, of Dunn, has another year of fundraising to her advantage and reports receiving $1.3 million between January 2013 and June 2014.

Almost $1 million of Ellmers’ money comes from political committees and $300,000 from individuals during that year-and-a-half span. Aiken has brought in almost $590,000 from individuals — many from other states — this year, and just $21,000 from committees.

As for Ellmers' ill-chosen remarks about women voters, I think what she was trying to say is that politicians too often talk about issues only in terms of numbers in a budget or bars on a graph, and they fail to relate what they're saying to the impact of a political decision on actual people. I think, further, Ellmers was trying to say that male politicians are more guilty of this than female politicians, and that women voters — because they're more likely to be "on the ground" running family budgets and raising children — are especially interested in whether what the politicians intend will address their needs.

I'd say that's not only true, it's an important message for Republicans, who are fixated on the size of the federal debt as if "ooh, $17 trillion" has some intrinsic (scary) importance — instead of being, as it is, a figure that may or may not be too large, or is perhaps not large enough, given the size of the national economy (also about $17 trillion) and our collective need for investments in education, health, infrastructure, etc.

Also true is that campaign advertising is a cesspool of lies and half-truths. If candidates — now I'm talking about Democrats — used their ads to explain issues and the need for such investments, and made the case to voters that money spent on public programs will boost the economy, create jobs and improve lives …

In a mid-term election, half or more of eligible adults will not vote. Given what they hear from candidates, why should they?

If that's what Ellmers meant to say, I'm with her.

But actually, it sounds more like what Aiken is saying.

Here's a thought: Aiken is challenging Ellmers to debate him.

That's an excellent idea — if they debate, she can explain for herself what she means, and so can he.

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