Roll Call (subscription required) reports that Democrats are giving up on a race in which they once had high hopes - the challenge of Colleen Rowley to John Kline:
Democrats Writing Off Rowley Race
July 26, 2006
By Dan Rasmussen,
Roll Call Staff
National and Minnesota Democrats seem about ready to walk away from Coleen Rowley’s ill-fated campaign to unseat Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) — just as her campaign manager recently did.
Many in the party had hoped that Rowley’s national fame — Time magazine named her Person of the Year in 2002 for being a whistle-blower at the FBI — would make her an exciting, appealing candidate in an otherwise Republican-leaning district. But now some state Democrats say Rowley’s first run for political office is going so badly that they’re turning their sights on damage control.
“She’s running the single worst campaign that could be run,” said one state Democratic insider. “I’m worried that if she’s running a weak race in the 2nd it’s going to hurt the statewide candidates. What’s going to get people to turn out and vote Democratic?”
Despite the criticism, Rowley’s new campaign manager, Terry Rogers, said voters are upset with the status quo and will want to unseat Kline in November.
“People will take pot shots, but so what?” he said. “Coleen is a solid candidate and she has indefatigable energy. Her opponent votes with George Bush and Tom DeLay 98 percent of the time.”
...Rowley has found herself on the defensive almost from the start. Her campaign has been damaged by a high-profile mistake and a recently published report criticizing her performance at the FBI prior to Sept. 11, 2001.
Earlier in the year, a doctored photo that showed Kline’s head on the body of Col. Wilhelm Klink, a Nazi character from the old TV show “Hogan’s Heroes,” appeared on Rowley’s Web site — an attack that attracted national donors to Kline’s campaign.
Rowley’s internal criticism of the FBI’s work on preventing terrorist attacks later earned her a front-page appearance on Time magazine. But late last month, the inspector general released a report criticizing Rowley’s handling of the Zacarias Moussaoui case.
The report dismissed Rowley’s allegations of sabotage and misconduct, and said Rowley herself made mistakes in the handling of the case.
“We believe it is important to state that we did not conclude that any FBI employee committed intentional misconduct, or that anyone attempted to deliberately ‘sabotage’ the Minneapolis FBI’s request for a ... warrant, as Rowley wrote in her letter to FBI Director Mueller,” the report stated. “Contrary to her assertions, we found no evidence, and we do not believe, that any FBI employee deliberately sabotaged the Moussaoui ... request or committed intentional misconduct.”
Rowley’s national security credentials also have to be compared to those of Kline, who spent 25 years in the Marine Corps and has a son serving in Iraq.
Rowley’s campaign hit another stumbling block recently when Kline released a blistering letter criticizing Rowley for misstating his position on the issue of border security and falsely attributing a quote.
But perhaps the biggest criticism lobbed Rowley’s way from national Democrats is that she has resisted attempts to get help from seasoned campaign professionals — particularly on the fundraising front.
Kline had more than five times as much cash on hand as of June 30, $667,000 to Rowley’s $120,000. He had raised more than $1 million this cycle to Rowley’s total of $389,000.
A national Democratic official had little hope for Rowley’s campaign.
“It’s evident the campaign hasn’t materialized as well as we’d hoped,” the official said. “But Kline is vulnerable and it’s a Democratic year and all those other platitudes...”
Every race that Republicans can eliminate from the Democratic target list helps hold the majority - the only thing that truly matters to the GOP on election day.
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