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Dems Joined Attack On Bloom

Alexander Russo | November 9, 2012

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There were 28 state legislative contests pitting two Democrats against each other this year, according to this October 17 LA Times article.

But the still-unresolved contest between incumbent Betsy Butler and challenger Richard Bloom for California State Assembly District 50 may be one of the only situations in which the state Democratic Party not only endorsed the incumbent Democrat but also funded a negative campaign against a Democratic challenger.

“As far as I know, the negative attacks against non-endorsed Democrats didn’t happen beyond the Bloom-Butler race,” says FireDogLake writer David Dayen, who has been carefully following these races.

Depending on the outcome of the final tally, the negative attacks may have been for naught.  Dayen notes that “the distinguishing feature of these Dem-on-Dem races is that the endorsed candidate, for the most part, lost.”

As we reported yesterday, the Butler effort received $360,000 in late-breaking support from a groups associated with labor unions. (See Teachers Union Help Not Enough?). Part of this support came in the form of flyers criticizing Bloom:

Even more notable, however, is the presence of flyers criticizing Bloom published and distributed by the state Democratic Party:

The LA Weekly‘s Patrick Range McDonald noted the flyers from the state Democratic Party and observed that “such heavy investment in Butler in the last weeks of the campaign season suggests that the Democratic machine is extremely concerned that underdog Bloom may actually win.” (Campaign Mailers Slam and Tout Richard Bloom and Betsy Butler)

Bloom’s campaign also received outside support, including contributions from a physician’s group and an agriculture group, and was also the beneficiary of negative campaign flyers against Butler:

As of this morning, Neither candidate was prepared to declare victory, according to this Santa Monica Mirror article (Bloom Holds Narrow Lead In 50th Assembly Race). Butler dominated in West Hollywood, according to this LA Weekly story (Who Voted For Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom?), while Bloom did well in Santa Monica, Agoura Hills, and Beverly Hills.

The state Democratic party’s “biggest funder” is the teachers union, noted one reform-minded Democratic observer who did not want to be named — adding that the LA County Democratic party is housed inside UTLA headquarters.

The state Democratic Party was not available to respond to requests for information late on Friday afternoon.

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