“Even in waves, candidates still matter.”
So does opposition research.
That’s why analysts at the Cook Political Report said they moved Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional seat from Toss Up to Lean Republican – despite a district and a national environment that are unfavorable to the GOP.
Cook’s David Wasserman credited incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (and his brother) with building a moderate reputation and earning endorsements from Gabby Giffords and the AFL-CIO.
But moreso, Wasserman said the rating change reflected setbacks to Democratic hopeful Scott Wallace. He thinks the “out of touch rich guy” message, a common attack in many campaigns, has the potential to offset the benefits of Wallace’s self-funding potential.
“There’s a wide path for Fitzpatrick and Republicans to disqualify Wallace as out of touch,” he wrote.
Most of all, Wasserman thinks the attack on Wallace’s nonprofit has legs. ie. the Wallace Global Fund’s contributions to organizations that support the BDS movement, which concerned some Jewish community leaders in greater Philly and spurred attack ads from the Republican Jewish Coalition. Free drinks at the Capitol Hill Club for that oppo researcher.
Wallace says he did not approve the grants, which came from a discretionary fund he did not control, and that he unequivocally disavows the BDS movement.
The full Cook analysis is here.