Goodness me, the Democratic primary race is getting interesting. Michael Arcuri clearly has the institutional Democratic edge over Roberts, with exclusive assistance from the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), but most Democratic county committees in the district are not rushing to endorse Michael Arcuri. The Les Roberts campaign has been able to match the the Arcuri campaign with donations that can be spent on the primary campaign, and all indications are that the Les Roberts campaign is using the second quarter to expand its outreach locally and nationally. Roberts is in the race until the end.
This dynamic is strongly similar to the one set up in Illinois earlier this year, when progressive, issues-oriented Christine Cegelis took on the DCCC's hand-picked candidate, Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth got the nomination, but just barely. The Cegelis for Congress campaign worked like hell mobilizing progressive grassroots support, and Cegelis came in only 3 percent behind Duckworth.
We're getting a good indication of what to expect from the Les Roberts campaign by their recent addition of Clint Raulsten as field director. Raulsten was the field director for the Cegelis campaign.
The Arcuri campaign and the Roberts campaign are both very strong at what they do, but what they do is very different. This campaign will be a test of strategies as much as of strength, and the outcome may well turn on the direction that the events of the next few months takes the public in general, favoring a play-it-safe institutional campaign or a high-energy campaign based on issues and ideals.
Either way this primary contest goes, the struggle for Democratic outreach in both camps will prepare the way for an active and successful Democratic electorate in the fall. The Republicans, it seems, don't have the luck to have two strong candidates. The 24th District GOP is putting all its resources into the Ray Meier campaign, and if that campaign fails, they will have no strong understudy to turn to.