Saturday, April 18, 2015

Somebody needs to ask --- "Can't anybody here run this campaign ?" --- Is the Dan Donovan Campaign actually trying to turn the "Inevitable" into the "Merely Likely"

"What Donovan is doing is odd."   ---   The Donovan poster/signs screw-up is just a little too typical of this GOP Special Election Campaign

Bad debate prep --  Bad Federal Election Compliance  --  Clueless Staff work

And now, is playing both ends in the Brooklyn GOP split going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back for Donovan ?

According to former Brooklyn beat reporter, Ross Barkan, writing in his politics column for the NY Observer, it really looks like Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, a Republican candidate for Congress, is breaking Federal Election Commission law with his campaign posters and yard signs  (See "Prosecutor’s Campaign Signs May Violate Federal Rules" by Ross Barkan,  4/17/15, NY Observer  []).

Barkan's article goes on to say that Mr. Donovan, who is running for the open congressional  seat in Staten Island and southern Brooklyn,   "...  has plastered signage throughout the 11th Congressional District that neglects to include a required disclaimer that says they were paid for by his campaign...." And that the Federal Election Commission  "...   mandates candidates for national office place [such] a disclaimer on most campaign materials and will fine campaigns not in compliance...."

The article in the New York Observer says that  "...  [i]n the case of Mr. Donovan, his large blue signs reading, 'It’s time…Dan Donovan for Congress' are disclaimer-free...."   What's more, Barkan points out, in New York's controlled state elections,  a similar type disclaimer is not required, whereas in federal elections under the FEC regime, it is required.  However, a legal source cited by Barkan explained that in practice, everyone in New York puts disclaimers on; Barkan then quoted that expert as saying, "What Donovan’s doing is odd.”


Violateing FEC rules is the kind of thing that small, underfinanced, amateur campaigns do almost as a matter of course. Usually, that is attributable to the inexperience of those rookies  and other amateurs running such ersatz campaigns.   Why, then, does the well-financed and completely professionally managed and controlled operation of Dan Donovan look like it's  being  run by a bunch of rookies ?
All campaigns reflect the candidates themselves , at least to some extent.   In this special election race, Dan Donovan has shown himself to be both generally un-prepared and repeatedly gaffe prone.   One wonders why this was never noticed during his other recent races; and if it's something new, what is wrong with him now ?  Perhaps it has something to do with his recently scrambled personal life overflowing into his public performance.


Compounding Donovan's  personal problems is the selection of his campaign spokesperson, Jessica Proud.  Her job for Donovan has been spotty at best.  Why she is there is a mystery because her record is anything but stellar.
How she responded to this particular bungle about the signs and posters is typical of the job that she's done for Donovan.  Just take a look at what she did about the current Donovan campaign flap:   First off,  the Barkan-NY Observer report said,  "A spokeswoman for Mr. Donovan did not return repeated requests for comment...."  ---  now, we all can agree,  that's not getting off to a good start.  However, things might not have mproved once she did have a response   ---   as  reported in the SI Advance   ---   "Donovan spokeswoman Jessica Proud said, 'For anyone who wasn't certain, we will be putting stickers on our "Donovan for Congress" signs indicating they were indeed paid for by Donovan for Congress.'..."  (See "Donovan campaign signs may violate election laws" by Rachel Shapiro, 4/17/15, SI Advance/  []).

Is Jessica Proud serious ?   ---   "... FOR ANYONE WHO WASN'T CERTAIN..."  Is that the reason for the "stickers" ?  Really ?  Couldn't it be to get into compliance with FEC regulations; and to avoid possible fines and penalties for additional willful repeat violations  ?  Who taught this one that nippy and snarky lines work with the press when it's your side that has obviously screwed up ?


Ron Carara,  the Donovan Campaign manager bears a lot of the blame for the stumbles of the Donovan for Congress Campaign.  For example, he was directly reponsible for the questionable E-mail fund raising solicitation that caused the initial charges of racisim and race-baiting to fly.

Then instead of owning it and taking the heat for his client, the candidate, Carara and the campaign had Donovan stand up to defend the incendiary E-mail, causing additional flack for the candidate.   Carara's style as a campaign manager seems to be to throw gasoline on every fire that he sees and to make sure that Donovan is close enough to get burned..

Obviously, taking a long-time assistant out of the Staten Island DA's Office was not the right place to have recruited for a campaign manager in a special congressional campaign;  running a DA's Office's secretaries, paralegals, process servers, victim advocates and social workers is not the same as running a campaign.

While there is still a little time, Donovan needs to remedy this mistake, let Ron Caraara go back to his DA's Office gig, and get a pro to run the campaign fast  ---   even if it's not formally done with press releases from Ms. Proud.


Donovan might have stepped on a landmine in Brooklyn  this week without being there or doing very much at all.

It seems that Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton thought that he had a personal  understanding with Dan Donovan that the Brooklyn GOP Organization would have the lead in the Donovan Campaign in the Brooklyn part of the congressional district.

That was all put into question on Wednesday evening, when a rump group of non-Eaton-aligned district leaders, mostly from outside the congressional district, and a few others showed up at the Bay Ridge Manor, a venue long associated with the Marty Golden faction of the Brooklyn GOP. The meeting had been called by Marty Golden supposedly for the benefit  of the Donovan Campaign and with its blessing.  However, its abbreviated invitation list, the small attendance and down-beat atmosphere bespoke a conspiracy rather than a political rally for somebody running for congress and likely to win.
My sources outside saw only seventeen people enter in the rather long time before the meeting that they were watching the door.  In the hall, there appeared to be quite a few more than that; nonetheless, the "crowd" was still described as "small" by somebody working on the inside.

The problem was not with the numbers, but with what was talked about and how it was talked about, formally by the speakers and by the participants.   It was largely about what needed to be done for Donovan in Brooklyn by those in that room, so that proper credit would be given to the Brooklyn Republicans not participating in the formal Brooklyn GOP effort on behalf of Donovan.  For his part, Marty Golden spoke briefly for him and urged everybody to do their part and get the credit they deserved going forward.  According to my source inside, in the diminished mood of the evening,  Golden left before the meeting he'd called together had finished.

It remains to be seem whether this dispirited gathering of Republican insurgents, with or without  Marty Golden, will have any impact whatsoever on the Donovan campaign in Brooklyn or overall.


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Gale. Excellent analysis.

Isn't Proud the woman who threw gasoline on the subway tracks after Joe Lhota set some cats on fire down there?

Anonymous said...

Gale, you are absolutely wrong in your assessment of Jessica proud. She is top notch and in spite of having to deal with low level unqualified assistants, Jessica Proud has done her job phenomenally on the Donovan campaign. Read today's profile in the SI Advance by Rachel Shapiro. Jessica Proud has successfully painted a portrait of Donovan that is endearing to the voters. He will win by a large margin based in large part on Jessica Proud's excellent work.

Galewyn Massey said...



Jessica Proud's name doesn't appear.... and both you and the byline say that it's by Rachel Shapiro.... But, maybe, just maybe, you are onto something....
This piece of puff needed a "puffer" and somebody needed to get Shapiro and the Advance to willingly go into the tank with this kind of thing when they should be reporting on the campaign.

Of course, there is a difference between "puffing" and "puffery." I'll use both words in sentences to show the difference. First - I'm sure some kind of "puffing" was done to get this article in the Advance. Then next - Only on Staten Island would mention of an address on Staten Island be considered puffery in the classic advertising sense.

Of course, anybody else could have done it better .... Whatever the word-count of the article is, just repeat: "Donovan is from Staten Island and Gentile is not..." until you you reach the last seven words -- then add "Staten Islanders, you know what to do."

btw, sorry I got nothin' 'bout puffins.... I just like to mention them whenever I get the chance.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Proud has done a phenomenal job having to work with DONOVAN being the Republican version of RECCHIA. The fact that she convinced Rachel Shapiro to put out that piece of free advertising trying to rationalize Donovan's disastrous debate performance alone is worth everything she'll get paid for the whole campaign.

Anonymous said...

In response to your 8:07 comment...
Yea Donovan Campaign has pretty much made it clear that for Republican Democrats independent liberal whatever once Donovan wins Brooklyn side of district is going to be FUBAR.

Anonymous said...

That's no news; or, should I say, Grimm news.

Anonymous said...

Least Grimm showed his face couple of times a year, this guy Donovan acts like he's breaking a sacred promise of something anytime he mentions Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Proud had nothing to do with Rachel Shaprio's puff piece. Brian Laline signed off on the Donovan piece, because Laline has had a 20 year plus relationship with Donovan, the Advance policy is only to endorse incumbents, and Dan Donovan is perceived to be the incumbent. On the other hand Jessica Proud and Ron Carara are probably the most inept people to run a congressional campaign in recent memory. Gale, you are absolutely right about Ron Carara he should stay in the DA's office far away from any campaign.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if you think Dan is a genius or an idiot. He is the Staten Island candidate and for them that is like having the support of every single party line. Dan is gonna win huge no matter what happens in Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Donovan is the Republican Recchia. You can't blame his campaign for him not remembering basic information about the minimum wage and TPP. He had to withdraw from the rest of the debates that shows what they have to work with.

Anonymous said...

Where was Donovan when Hurricane Sandy happened?

His campaign workers must be straight out of college and don't realize what a mess they have made. Plus having a candidate that doesn't really know basic information about NY doesn't make for a good show. I guess Donovan will redeem himself in the next debate.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I think some people are getting too worked up about this. Yes Donovan will win no matter what, yes Donovan does not have a clue about much policy wise and his positions are whatever he is told they are by the talking points he receives.I don't understand why people are blaming his campaign staff, he is a terrible debater and he seems as if he'd rather be doing anything else than campaigning. That has nothing to do with his staff.

Anonymous said...

And his campaign did a pretty good job of covering up that he was awful in the first debate they had in Brooklyn where he thought China was a central part of TPP. That debate wasn't broadcast live to thousands of people. How is it Jessica Proud's or Ron Carara's fault that Dan couldn't remember when he sought opening Grand Jury documents, what the minimum wage is, or that he wants to name a ferry after Bloomberg?
One thing though he should find a new story besides the Tip O'Neil neigbor maybe that is Jessica Proud's fault.

Anonymous said...

And if Gentile's muckraking staff were so good they would have raised the issue of Donovan's ties with Carmine Ragucci and Sal Calgano - two nefarious fellows that I recall Kathleen Rice's campaign for AG was set to pummel him on had she not lost to Schneiderman in the AG primary back in 2010.

And then there is that issue of Donovan taking over those Hynes' special prosecutions . . . I mean in a climate of transparency and anti-corruption, this was an issue to hold Dan's feet to the fire to . . .

Bay Ridge Loves Hillzzz 2016

Anonymous said...

Hey, is Danny boy showing up for today's debate? Or is he skipping town?

2:00 pm 86th street - will Dan be a no show????

Anonymous said...

The smartest thing Dan can do right now is skip any and all debates, let the campaign mailings and commercials help him cruise to victory. His campaign would be crazy to let him anywhere near a debate. This race is over unless Dan does something horrendous.

Anonymous said...

It's over for Brooklyn part of district if Donovan wins. Grimm will seem like a pleasant memory in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen Dan Donovan? He's late for the debate. Empty chair awaits him.

Anonymous said...

Fresh of his divisive desperate for attention anti-Obama attack, hate mongering former mayor Giuliani to hold fund raiser for Dan Donovan.

Anonymous said...

Giuliani was probably the best Mayor this City ever had. His policies saved thousands of minority lives and made this the safest best city in the world. FACTS.

Anonymous said...

Dan Donovan where are you? Misses debate again in Brooklyn to packed room of concerned citizens.

Car 54 where are you?

Dan Donovan call your office.

Dan Donovan you're late for the debate.