The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is coming under fire for refusing to provide financial aid in the recount battle between North Carolina conservative congressional candidate Renee Ellmers and her opponent, Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge.
The recount scenario came about when Ellmers’s election night lead of 2,100 votes unexpectedly dropped by 500 votes. As a result, her campaign had to hire nearly a dozen lawyers to monitor the process. With its campaign coffers exhausted from a tough race, the camp sought help from an assumed friendly source — the NRCC. The response, however, while not entirely unexpected, was disappointing.
In a letter to her supporters, Ellmers explained that, “Yesterday, we appealed to the National Republican Congressional Committee for support, asking if they could contribute to help pay the costs of this recount. Their answer, unfortunately, was, No — that we would have to raise the money to pay for the recount ourselves.”
Blogger Dan Riehl blasted the NRCC’s actions thus far towards Ellmers.
“They didn’t spend a dime to get her elected, blowing it on losing causes in NC,” he writes. “How many balls does the NRCC have to drop before we realize they aren’t bad jugglers, they’re a bunch of clowns?”
Clowns indeed. In a Politico report just three days earlier, the NRCC is cited as a ‘partisan army’ gearing up for multiple recounts.
“With dozens of potential squeaker races across the country, Republicans and Democrats have been quietly preparing for weeks to assemble and quickly dispatch squadrons of staffers in the event of a nightmare scenario of multiple recounts,” the report reads.
Those preparations included lists of lawyers, political operatives, and press people working in tandem. An NRCC source is quoted as saying, “We’re just ready to go anywhere and everywhere.”
A spokesman for the group, Tory Mazzola, proclaimed, “To ensure that every eligible vote is counted, we’ve prepared staff who can help if there is a recount in any region of the country.”
Unless it costs money. Apparently, “ensuring every vote is counted” is a priority only if there is no cost attached.
The question is: Why would a tab of $50,000 be too steep for the NRCC to cover? In late October, the group secured a $20 million line of credit in an attempt to seize the majority. Eight million dollars of that was to be kept in reserve. Would this not be a situation in which reserves should be employed?
The news isn’t all bad for Ellmers. Riehl is reporting that the RNC is backing Ellmers’s recount effort with a $10,000 contribution. And Ellmers herself is appealing to her supporters for donations to help in the fight.
UPDATE: The NRCC responds to the Ellmers controversy.