It seems that Lee Bright and the Ron Paul “Liberty” crowd never seem to outdo themselves when it comes to dirty campaign tactics. Nor does Lindsey Graham and his GOP establishment.
It also seems that The State is proving to have the journalistic integrity of the National Enquirer or its cousin, FITSnews.
Yesterday The State released a poll which showed Lee Bright at 17.4% in the GOP Senate primary race against Lindsey Graham and well ahead of any of his other three challengers, Bill Connor, Richard Cash, and Nancy Mace. Of course the Lee Bright campaign wasted no time in plastering it all over the internet as would any campaign just obtaining an article with a favorable poll. But what The State did not disclose until it posted an update to the article a few hours later, is that the poll was bought and paid for by the Lee Bright campaign. The poll was conducted by Wenzel Strategies, but was commissioned and paid for by Bright.
This might not be such a big story if not for several other factors involved:
Perhaps the most damning fact is that the poll was timed to be released the day after Lee Bright’s campaign had received a virtual death blow by the news that according the FEC filings for the last quarter, Bright had spent more money than he had taken in during the quarter, raising a mere $52 thousand, but spending $76 thousand and leaving him only $49 thousand on hand. Bright also raised one fifth of the amount that each of the other three candidates raised, and had less than one fourth of the amount of cash on hand of any of them at the end of the quarter – news that meant that he was strategically dead in the water with only four months to the primary. All the other candidates both raised and had well over $200 thousand on hand (numbers can be seen in detail here.) Additionally, it was revealed in December that Bright also has personal debt totaling between $1.4 and $3.1 million dollars owed to 29 creditors due to a failed trucking company.
Also telling of the illegitimacy of the poll as can be seen in the facebook screen capture, is that Bright’s key people were hinting at a new poll that was soon to come out, well before it was published, adding to the evidence that the poll was a fix for Bright.
But the poll was not just disingenuously favorable for Bright, it also placed Graham at 45.9%, well ahead of what all the recent independent scientific polls taken indicate, just as it placed Bright about 11 points ahead of those polls. This indicates that the Bright camp was savvy in skewing the numbers to also help bolster Graham, so that the Graham camp would not take them to task over it. And to thicken the plot even further, The State also released a poll paid for by Graham late yesterday evening which showed even higher numbers for Graham – 53%, and still placing Bright well in the lead of contenders, though only at 11% instead of 17% as per his poll. It’s also important to note that though Bright and Graham’s polls certainly favor each other by placing each as the top contenders and well above what independent polls indicate, there’s an 11 point variance gap between the two of them when comparing the two polls (45 – 17 and 50 – 11.) There’s also a large discrepancy among the numbers for the other three contenders in the two polls. That’s very telling because two legitimate independent polls taken at or near the same timeframe would show much less variation, and a much more consistent trend among all candidates.
With these two polls having been released on the same day, one paid for by Bright and the other by Graham, both favoring each other while putting all other contenders in the distance, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to think that there may have been some cooperation between the two campaigns to stage a polling quid pro quo….but that of course is speculation.
But perhaps the most dishonest tactic of the day is that the Bright campaign put out an email (pasted below) touting the poll and asking for money without any mention that his campaign paid for the poll. The memo written by Bright’s Campaign Manager, Michael Stevens which misspelled Connor’s name and cited incorrect numbers for Richard Cash, asked supporters for a “massive and immediate influx of funds” based on the poll results showing Bright as the only viable contender. Ironically it’s very much akin to Graham having voted in favor of cloture for Obamacare funding which required 60 votes and at least 5 republican votes, then voting “against” the actual bill which only required 51 votes, then running a fundraising email touting that he had boldly voted against Obamacare funding. There’s nothing wrong with fundraising emails, but when they are based misleading information they become very wrong. Apparently Bright and Graham didn’t get that memo…
It’s pretty clear that Bright’s camp has learned when and how to launch weapons of mass distraction when they need to take the attention away from being effectively financially broke with the inability to raise serious money and having massive personal debt. Not to mention the fact that in two months, according to the trend of the three most resent polls, Bright had dropped 10 points.
It also seems evident that instead of spending his “grassroots” campaign money frugally and keeping the focus on defeating Graham, that Bright instead may be conspiring with Graham to help bolster each other’s poll numbers by purchasing the results they desire. It is very true that in life, especially politics, you get what you pay for….
Below is the fundraising email sent out by the Bright campaign touting the bogus email as reason to send him money:
You could almost hear Senator Lindsey Graham groaning when my campaign released the new poll numbers this morning!
My campaign manager, Michael Stevens, explains it all in his memo below.
But I believe some pictures say 1,000 words!
The undeniable fact is, my campaign is staunchly in second place, the endorsements are beginning to roll in, my poll numbers are increasing and Senator Lindsey Graham is in the fight of his life!
Just see for yourself!
My campaign is poised to skyrocket to the top as Michael explains. But I must be able to count on your generous financial support.
Won’t you please agree to a generous contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $25 or even $10 right away to help my campaign capitalize on this shot of momentum?
Even if all you can do is chip in $5, please do so at once!
Lee Bright (R-SC) Republican for U.S. Senate
DATE: FEBRUARY 4, 2014
TO: LEE BRIGHT
FROM: MICHAEL STEVENS, CAMPAIGN MANAGER
RE: NEW POLL NUMBERS
The new poll numbers from Wenzel Strategies are in.
In short, Senator Lindsey Graham is in trouble. BIG trouble.
Only 38% of likely Republican Primary voters believe Senator Graham deserves reelection. That number virtually guarantees he’s headed for a run off.
Not only that, but the Bright for U.S. Senate campaign is actually better positioned to meet Senator Graham in the run off than we’d previously thought. Here are the poll results:
If the election were held today, who would you vote for?
Bright – 17.4%
Mace – 5.1%
Conner – 4.2%
Cash – 4.1%
Of course, some of these folks are fine people. But no one else is double-digits. In fact, they’re not even close.
Your poll numbers are higher than all the rest of the challengers combined.
Not only that, but in the coming months, as your record and Senator Graham’s record on the issues become clearer in South Carolinian’s minds, your path to the top of the polls is clear.
After exposing Senator Graham’s record on ObamaCare, gun control, amnesty, and supporting President Obama’s agenda 50% of the time, the Wenzel poll shows you would defeat Senator Graham 69.3%-32.5%!
Our challenge is getting your message out.
That will take money. The good news is, with so many Tea Party, Christian conservatives and Liberty Movement grassroots activists working around the clock for you, we don’t have to match Senator Lindsey Graham dollar-for-dollar.
But we do have to compete.
I suggest strongly asking your supporters to contribute as generously as they can right away to be able to capitalize on our newfound momentum.
Your endorsement by U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman – the first endorsement of a challenger by a Congressman in this race – and this new poll is flat-out exciting news.
With a massive and immediate influx of funds, I believe we can turn this campaign into an unstoppable force.
But it won’t be easy.
Your AR-15 giveaway has infuriated the left-wing media. They’re going all-out to attack you for introducing more pro-life legislation than anyone else in America.
You’ve been called one of the five “Most Dangerous” candidates seeking federal office in 2014 by Salon.
And the establishment of BOTH parties will go all-out to defeat you.
From the beginning of this campaign, our plan has been to do everything possible to reach 25% in the polls.
Once we reach 25%, as we’ve discussed, big money from pro-liberty outside groups from all over the country will almost assuredly start to pour in.
As we’ve discussed, the longer these pro-liberty organizations stay out, the more entrenched Senator Graham becomes.
The good news is, South Carolina’s Republicans are coalescing around you faster than we thought.
25% in the polls is now within range!
If we can raise the resources quickly to pay for the mail, emails, hard-hitting TV ads combined with an all-out, every county blitz, I’m confident we can reach 25% in a matter of weeks!
That needs to be crystal clear to our supporters who have backed us so generously.
We need to explain to them the situation and urge them – literally plead with them – for their most generous support.
I believe every dollar they can contribute now will have double the impact.
So please ask them to be as generous as they can. 500, $250, $100, $50, $25 or even $5 will help tremendously.
We have the momentum. There’s no denying that. Let’s capitalize!