If you spend much time in the blogosphere you learn to spot what we call echoes. But unlike echoes the longer they last the louder they get. Such is the case with the "vote buying" allegations made by former Republican Governor Dave Cargo against both Heather Wilson's Campaign and Darren White's Campaign.
Democrat and Liberal bloggers have been trumpeting Cargo's allegations with a glee that goes beyond reason and credulity. Of course that's their job and they understand that tarring Wilson and White also tars the Republican Party. Heath Haussamen does a great job of analyzing this story that isn't (read it here).
These types of silly rumors get started every election, national or local, primary or general. It's only natural as candidates and their campaigns have generally worked very hard and become emotionally invested in the outcome - that makes them a bit paranoid and sometimes drives them to cross the line.
Both of these campaigns are run by competent, experienced people who understand that there's no upside to buying votes at a county nominating convention and a heck of a lot of downside. You also have to remember that the only thing at stake even in the state convention is ballot position - particularly when there are only two candidates (Wilson and Pearce) running and they are both well known. There's little to no chance that either candidate would fail to get the 20% required to get on the ballot. The same thing holds true for the White/Carraro race. It would be hard (not impossible) for White to get over 80% of the votes with only two in the race - ergo nothing to gain.
These are things that former 770 KKOB reporter Laura McCallum failed to take into account about allegations that she could not corroborate. However, our problem isn't with Ms. McCallum or even blogger Denis Domrzalski who "broke" the story. Our problem is with an elected official and a former Governor that should know better.
Governor Cargo is like a kindly old uncle that once brought honor to the family through his position - sometimes he spouts off at the dinner table and embarrasses the family. Unfortunately when that uncle goes to the media with some crackpot assertion he's believed because of his former position. That's the trap that Laura McCallum fell into - one that her boss at 770 avoided.
State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones who apparently corroborated the Domrzalski story is currently back-pedaling telling Haussamen that she wasn't quoted accurately. Domrzalski should have been suspicious of Ms. Arnold-Jones simply because she's none too happy that her dreams of succeeding Representative Wilson were cut short by lack of funding and the unpleasant truth that she wasn't the best possible candidate to hold the seat for the Republicans. Can you say sour-grapes?
In any case, both of these people should have known better. Both have held or currently hold office. Both have been involved in numerous county and state conventions. Both have at least a passing familiarity with the media. And both are doing more damage to their party than any Democrat could think of doing. At the end of the day there's nothing but a smear and it's ever-increasing echo.
----- Update -----
We listened to Brad Friedman, Laura McCallum, and former Governor Dave Cargo try to explain their allegations of "vote-buying" at the Bernalillo County Republican Party Convention today on KRXA 540 AM in Monterey California. Frankly, it was an embarrassment. Friedman was dead set on illegal activities even though there were none. McCallum was quite sure that campaigns paid the entrance fee of at least five attendees; which also isn't illegal. And former Governor Cargo was quite sure that he polled well with Hispanics and was treated poorly by 770 KKOB's Pat Frisch on Thursday's Jim Villanucci Show.
Surprisingly, fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias decided to withdraw from the segment. It seems that even Iglesias thought better of being associated with The Smear Echo team.
Ultimately what made this fiasco possible is the decision of the party to charge admission - no money, no scholarships - no scholarships, no opportunity to smear. Charging admission to these affairs is something that Republicans should reconsider and now. The worst thing that can happen is that there's not enough space. On the other hand, the best thing that can happen is that there's not enough space.