Politics

Democratic Candidates Won’t Talk About Ferguson Fracas

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Not even one of the Democrats who are running for Congress in 25 competitive districts wants to talk about the Ferguson shooting and subsequent riots.

The candidates’ websites don’t mention the Aug. 9 shooting. They don’t talk about the demonstrations on their Twitter feeds. They don’t spotlight the riots in their emails. They don’t want their flacks to even mention the F-word on Facebook.

In Illinois’ southern 12th District, roughly 17 percent of Rep. William Enyart‘s constituents are African-American. Many live in crime-plagued East. St. Louis, which borders Ferguson. But there’s no mention of the Ferguson riots in his news releases or on his Twitter feed.

The Daily Caller emailed and phoned numerous press aides for the Democratic candidates, seeking comments about the Ferguson fracas. Nearly all declined to respond, even though they’re almost guaranteed free publicity because the issue is dominating the media.

Enyart’s campaign office replied with a comment saying “Thanks for submitting your request.”

“The most activity I’ve seen has been either in Missouri elected officials or directly in St. Louis,” said David, a press aide for Ann Callis, who is challenging Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th District. He declined to give his full name.

“Looking at who released public statements is a good indicator of the public impact,” he said.

“We have have not released a statement on it at this time,” he said.

The caution, however, is justified.

The multiple investigations are not completed, and accumulating evidence suggests that the policeman might have shot Michael Brown after Brown had robbed a store and tried to assault the policeman during an otherwise routine stop.

Also, any candidate who expresses sympathy for Brown risks being tarred by his or her GOP opponent as a supporter of whatever happens afterward, such as rioting.

The president, however, dove in, telling his national audience Aug. 19 that he would send Attorney General Eric Holder into the city Aug. 21.

“I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown,” he told the nation Aug. 18.

Democrats running for House seats, however, are running away from the media-magnified images of African-American riots and police barricades.

On Aug. 13, Patrick Murphy in Florida announced he would undergo the ‘ice-bucket challenge” for the ALS foundation.

Rick Nolan in Minnesota ignored the Ferguson furor as he announced Aug. 12 that he “Chatted w/ 2 folks from Merrifield & Staples while grabbing a sandwich at my favorite spot down the street.”

In Colorado’s 6th District, Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff demanded more civility in politics from incumbent Mike Coffman. “Do we need more civility in #COpolitics? Sign our petition & ask Rep Coffman to refrain from personal attacks,” read an Aug. 17 tweet.

Even in districts where there’s a substantial African-American electorate, the Democratic flacks stood mute.

Most of these competitive districts, however, have few African-Americans.

In Rep. Scott Peters’ 52nd District in California, for example, Africans-Americans comprise roughly 3 percent of the population. Asians and Latinos, however, are almost a third of the district’s population.

Peters has steadily ignored the Ferguson clash.

On Aug. 12, he tweeted out a message — complete with a typo — shortly after the death of comedian Robin Williams. “’There’s some sad things known to man, but ain’t too much sadder than the years of a clown, when there’s no one around.’ RIP Robin Williams.”

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