Schumer Told Aspiring Senate Candidate to Just Raise Money in a ‘Basement’

‘Then we’re going to spend 80 percent of it on negative ads about Tillis…’

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(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headline) A would-be Democratic challenger to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, recently revealed that a top congressional leader’s plan for regaining the Senate was to spurn grassroots campaigning in favor of heavy investment in negative ads.

North Carolina state Sen. Jeff Jackson said he met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-NY, while seeking support for his run, the National Review reported.

He outlined his plan to do “100 town halls in 100 days” and line up a groundswell of support in the historically red state that Democrats see as increasingly vulnerable.

However, Schumer told Jackson that his plan was the “wrong answer” for how to win the support—and crucial funding—from the national party leaders.

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“We want you to spend the next 16 months in a windowless basement raising money,” Schumer said, “and then we’re going to spend 80 percent of it on negative ads about Tillis.”

Jackson made the revelation during a talk at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, where he acknowledged that the “artistic differences” had led the Democrats’ top brass to throw their weight behind former legislator Cal Cunningham instead.

The National Review noted that Cunningham had given only three interviews in the four months since announcing his candidacy. He made 18 appearances at largely social functions from Aug. 10 to Sept. 29, many of which may have doubled as fundraisers.

Jackson said in contrast to these “smile-and-shake” events, he had envisioned a campaign that delved into the important issues constituents were facing.

However, “realizing that I probably wasn’t going to have the support of this group, which is important financially because I ain’t rich . . . I mean, they kind of tipped the scales in favor of not running,” Jackson said at the UNC-Charlotte talk.

After the National Review obtained the audio of the event, they sought comment from Jackson, who did not respond but announced his endorsement of Cunningham within hours of being contacted.

State Sen. Erica Smith, who plans to contest Cunningham in the Democratic primary, was happy to level her criticism both at Cunningham’s tepid campaigning and the involvement of the national party in trying to influence the primary race.

“The special interest groups and big, wealthy donors out of New York are trying to buy this Senate seat, and it’s just shameful and it is embarrassing,” she told RealClear Politics.

“I just worry about the people I serve in North Carolina,” Smith continued. “We don’t have the same demographics as New York, and this Senate seat is not for sale.”

The same strategy being deployed against Tillis appears to be in effect also for the races against Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

In both cases, Democrats have rushed to challenge the incumbent Republicans facing very different controversies.

Collins, a centrist, is under attack from the Left over her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

King has lost the support of moderates on the Right over comments that many considered racially insensitive and questionable in their judgment.

Regardless of the varying circumstances, a well-financed barrage of negative attacks seems to be the solution. And the party’s campaign arm seems to have little room for humoring candidates who may have ideas of their own.

After throwing its weight behind a first-time candidate to challenge King in Iowa, Schumer reportedly told another challenger, “We don’t need a primary.”