Poor Sean Eldridge! Well, not really… he's very rich. He married Chris Hughes, the former Harvard roommate of Mark Zuckerberg and the ultimate example of being in the right place at the right time. When he left Facebook he became started MyBarackObama.com and was lauded as The Kid Who Made Obama President; How Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Unleashed Barack's Base-- and Changed Politics and Marketing Forever. How do you top that? He married Sean and they started hunting for some congressional seat Sean could run in (skipping last cycle and picking NY-19 this time; bad timing)-- and he bought the New Republic, once an esteemed progressive magazine. He gives a fortune to the DCCC and other Democratic Party committees and his net worth is estimated to be between $800 million and a billion.
Sean was political director of Freedom to Marry. And somehow he turned himself into a DCCC "mystery meat" candidate. Friends have told me he has a progressive heart (or a progressive soul; I can't remember). But he adheres strictly to Steve Israel's diktat that his candidates keep their opinions to themselves. Other than gay marriage, no one knows what Sean stands for and no one has any solid reason to bother voting for him other than he's better than Chris Gibson, the Republican incumbent (who happens to be the least right-wing Republican in Congress). Gibson, in fact, regularly votes more progressively than around 10-12 Democrats, half of them being financed by the DCCC. Here are tProgressivePunch crucial vote scores for the current session of Democrats the DCCC has on financial life-support and who all vote more conservatively than Gibson:
• Chris Gibson (R-NY) 39.69
• Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY) 39.18
• Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) 36.6
• Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ) 33.87
• Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX) 32.46
• Ron Barber (Blue Dog-AZ) 29.03
• John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA) 26.29
Sean Patrick Maloney… he's the Wall Street-oriented schnook who does his call time from a hedge fund office and who grabbed poor Sean's first choice for a district, the one right next door to NY-19-- and closer to where Sean and Hughes live in Soho. Gibson actually votes better than Maloney. Is there any reason to think Sean would be any better? Any worse? Who knows? That's what buying mystery meat entails.
So why "poor Sean?" Things aren't unfolding that well for him. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, eager to keep Hughes' money flowing, has played him for a fool, not even giving him a coveted Red-to-Blue slot until Sean went bonkers on him. "Israel doesn't help at all," one heartbroken staffer told me. "All he does for this campaign is ship us bagels and cream cheese every week. We'd all rather have local donuts. He can shove his crappy bagels up his ass with the cream cheese." Apparently he isn't the only staffer who doesn't see things going well. Despite reporting $2,448,887 (of which $965,000 was self-funded) to Gibson's $1,799,331, the pundits still see this as a race Sean has little chance to win. Obama took the D+1 district in 2008 with 53% and in 2012 with 52% but Cook rates it a "Lean GOP" with a Gibson +4 and Rothenberg called it "Tilt GOP" with a Gibson +2. So, last Friday Sean fired Michael Reid, his campaign manager.
I haven't even been able to get Sean to return a phone call to tell me where he stands on Chained CPI or the Keystone XL pipeline so I'm not going to even try to find out why he fired Reid, who was successful last cycle winning a tough race for Lois Frankel against Adam Hasner in Florida. What I do know is that poor Sean is interviewing candidates who have just lost other races around the country. One of the campaign managers was so dreadful that everyone else involved with the campaign blamed him for the loss and when I asked the candidate if there was any chance he had been a plant from the opponent, the replay was that he was a plant from the DCCC, even worse. If Sean calls me back to talk issues, if he asks nicely I'll tell him which candidate he's interviewing is that one and which candidate is a drunken incompetent.