Published in
The Empire

Losing the Peter Feld Vote

Pollster Peter Feld, whose brain I often pick, writes about what he says has gone wrong with Reshma Saujani's campaign as she tries ousting incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney:

I don’t really get Reshma’s rationale. I was a respondent in her message-testing poll last spring, and would have leaked it if I were less lazy, but the messages she tested were a hodge-podge. She wanted to run an Obama-style new-generation campaign (boy did this turn out to be the wrong year for that!), although she herself worked for Hillary (nothing wrong with that). Her tested messages were youth and change (uh, yay), her bio as an immigrant (though no one ever listens to me, bio is simply never an effective message in a local election), a pro-immigration message (which is great, but Maloney is not deficient on this issue), and supporting New York’s financial industry, which fits with Reshma’s Wall Street ties but which she has downplayed, since I’m sure it didn’t test well.

If that were all there were to it, we could write Reshma off as a harmless young would-be politician about to get a painful but useful lesson in political reality, because her challenge is doomed. But the above flyer puts Reshma in a different class: the cheerfully dishonest politician who offers no good “change” from what you hate about politics.

To boil down: this flyer accuses Maloney of taking money from “Special Interests She Is Supposed To Regulate,” with a WSJ pull-quote indicating Maloney has held fundraisers while financial reform was being debated in Congress. (The other side of the flyer reproduces an invitation to a Maloney fundraiser in DC on June 23, with a PAC contribution of $2500, headlined by Carole King and James Taylor.)

What it doesn’t say is that Maloney stood firm against Wall Street on the financial reform bill that passed. So while Maloney may have held fundraisers, she did not vote in line with the special interests, she voted against them, and they have criticized her.