The Patrick Hughes for Senate Campaign is floundering a week out from the primary election and is looking for a lifeline. This week, the Hughes campaign put up a desperate appeal on the Internet for a "moneybomb," which is essentially a nationwide appeal for a lot of money. Hughes was looking for $50,000; it appears that he fell far short, the last word on his Facebook page being that he was able to raise something over $20,000. To put it bluntly, even Fifty Large wasn't gonna do anything, especially given that as of January 13th, Hughes has little over $22,000 in the bank. And that's just weeks before the election. Not good planning for a state-wide campaign.
Another lifeline that Hughes grasped for was some support from 'regular' Republicans, namely, the support of County or Township chairmen in the Republican organization, since the vast majority of Republican officials, not to mention every single major newspaper in Illinois, have endorsed Congressman Mark Kirk over Hughes and the rest of the Republican primary field.
Hughes has gotten so desperate, however, that his campaign has simply started making stuff up. There's no other way to put it.
Earlier this week, a group called the Will County Tea Party alliance had an event for Hughes, which it touted in an e-mail and a post over at Illinois Review that it was going to unveil anywhere from 11 to 18 Republican "county chairmen" who supported Hughes (depending on what you read, the term "endorsement" was also used). At this event, Hughes campaign representative Charlie Johnston addressed the room (I can't say it was a crowd as the event seemed pretty sparsely attended) and blatantly lied when he said that he had a list of people "that wanted me to mention their names in case they couldn't be there" (you can hear him if you click on the video link and go to the 6:20 minute mark). He repeats the statement that a bunch of the people he listed couldn't be at the event at the 7:20 mark when he introduces them. I watched the video and a few names from Lake County stuck out at me: Nancy Kubalanza from Grant Township (not county, as it stated on the Will. Co. e-mail announcing the event) and David Pfeifer from Waukegan Township (again, he's a township chair, not a county chair). Amusingly, both of their names were misspelled in the e-mail.
Being from Lake County, and having served on the Republican Central Committee for several years with both Nancy and Dave, who are both friends of mine, I called them right away to see if they had actually given permission for Johnston to publicize their names as Pat Hughes supporters in an advertised campaign event like this. Not only did they both tell me they had NOT, they were both pretty upset. Dave e-mailed me to tell me he was "infuriated."
Both Nancy and Dave told me: they had been given NO notification of the event; they had never asked for their names to be put on a list and read because they had told Johnston they could not attend the event; and most importantly, they had NOT given permission to use their names in this fashion.
To me, the whole thing reminded me of when Hughes also botched his so-called major endorsement by former Bears Coach Mike Ditka, when, if you will recall, his campaign announced an endorsement (and a claim that Ditka would be on Hughes' finance committee) without checking with Da Coach. This led the Coach to deny the endorsement, which then made a bit of a stir among the national political circles. After it blew up, Hughes and Ditka's camps circled the wagons and came out with a very terse statement that 'as of that day' Ditka was endorsing Hughes but would not be on the finance committee, and 'they would answer no more questions about it'. Heh. By the way, our review of Hughes' FEC disclosures revealed that Ditka NEVER gave Pat any money, so it seems that the Coach doesn't have a lot of love for Pat. So much for that endorsement.
In any event, we now have shades of the Dikta debacle plaguing Team Hughes, as they have simply misappropriated township chairmens' names without permission and really ticked them off. (Interestingly, the lesson that Hughes did not seem to learn from the Ditka kerfuffle was that when you throw peoples' names around, you can actually call them up and confirm endorsement claims. Thus, ya better get it right). Here is an e-mail from Dave Pfeifer, who only found out about the misappropriation because I called him to tell him:
This is in response to the e-mail titled "GOP Chairman Stand up for the Tea Parties" sent by the Homer-Lockport Tea Party Organization. My name and endorsement was used in this event and e-mail without my knowledge or explicit approval. Additionally, I did not attend this event nor am I a member of any Tea Party organization. I was only aware of this event via a second-hand forwarding of the event notice. (emphasis mine)
As an individual voter, it is irrelevant regarding my views/support for the Tea Party movement or the Patrick Hughes campaign. It is unfortunate that this group extrapolated what they believed to be my personal views, and in essence, applied it to the entire township organization. This infuriates me as we (Waukegan Township Republican Organization) agreed not to endorse any candidates. It was left up to each individual precinct committeeman to make "recommendations" within their own precinct if they chose to do so.
There are many who definitely know where I stand on the political spectrum. However, I consider myself to be a pragmatist and the tone of this e-mail seems to imply that I am an ideologue. I consider this to be very damaging as we (Republicans) can't waste any time after the February primary mending fences amongst ourselves when the November 2nd General Election will be here before you know it.
Waukegan Township Republican Organization
Dave is "infuriated" and should be. Nancy told me not only that she's not supporting Hughes, she specifically told me "I don't think he can win."
Hughes doesn't need a black eye like this days before the election. If he and his people can't tell the truth, they don't deserve your vote, friends.