McMurray to Challenge Carper?

Filed in Delaware by on July 6, 2012

Yesterday I got a tip from someone that Bill McMurray was going to try to challenge Tom Carper. I reached out to him to see what he has planned.

So far, he’s got a website, a treasurer and $500. He hopes to raise the remainder of the filing fee (another $10K) in the next few days.

He told me that his campaign was going to run to the left of Carper, as a progressive and ignite the progressives in Delaware in a way similar to the way Christine O’Donnell ignited the right-wing of the Republicans. He told me that he is a member of PDD (Progressive Democrats for Delaware) and has done a good deal of work for the American Diabetes Association in the past year.

He believes that he will be able to win over the city Democrats in Wilmington and the union votes as well.  No doubt that those two blocs and progressives would carry the day, but all three are tall orders.  It is especially difficult without name recognition or much of a campaign team (not to mention cash).

I don’t know a single progressive that doesn’t yearn for a replacement for Tom Carper, but none of his would-be opponents have really laid a glove on him in 20 years. Maybe he does have a glass jaw, but you gotta pay your 10,000 bucks to the state party to even get in the ring. So far McMurray has a long way to go in a very short time.

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  1. SussexWatcher says:

    Sorry, who is this guy?

  2. jason330 says:

    I like this part…

    We’ve had a Republican tax system in place (and exactly like all the similar tax plans in history before us), it eventually dropped the bottom out of the economy. On the other hand, The New Deal lasted for 70 years, and it was only when we tinkered and dismantled it, did we get a failure as big as this.

    Today business and corporate profits are doing just fine. The people aren’t. Government is the referee in the middle. Of course, corporations would like us to continue what has worked for them. As I’ve said, they are doing fine. But when you take one positive number, then add it to its same negative number, you get zero. And that is where we are.

    I have a little problem with this though because I tend to believe that candidate needs to be able to cover the filing fee through boot-strapping, or an early round of family and friends fundraising. It is a bar that allows potential donors to know if this is real or not.

    I’m probably in the minority on that point because the $10,000 mark is pretty damn high, but there it is.

  3. pbaumbach says:

    i understand the filing fee to have been set by the state Democratic Party at 1% of the sum of the salary for the post over the term in question–US Senator has a six year term, at $165,200 or more a year this comes to about $1 million–$10,000 is 1% of it.

  4. Dana Garrett says:

    Charging $10,000 to run for US Senate is obscene. It’s a deliberate barrier to discouraging middle and lower class persons from entering the race.

  5. liberalgeek says:

    I agree, $10K is quite a hurdle. It is probably even worse when you only allow yourself 5 days to raise it. I think the max contribution to federal elections is $2,500, so he just needs 4 sugar-daddies to step up. (cough)publishing mogul(cough).

  6. Jason330 says:

    Dana, part of me agrees. However, winning elections does cost money, the filing fee is a reflection of that fact.

  7. Jason330 says:


  8. Painesme says:

    Dana- correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that money usually come from campaign (not personal) accounts? Middle or low class has nothing to do with it. If your campaign can’t raise the 10k needed to file, what chance do you have of winning? Even a state rep seat needs more than that to be viable.

    Let’s pretend the Republican filing fee for US senate was $100. Can you imagine the crazies that would come out of the woodwork to run for office? Barriers like this make sure candidates are serious. If you struggle to come up with 10k, then how would you get the 3.8M that Coons has spent? I understand the populist sentiment, but this is less about disenfranchisement as it is about finding a winning candidate. No matter how much you try to invoke the monolithic “establishment”.

  9. cassandra_m says:

    Delaware has provisions to file without the fee. Not sure how long this petition takes though.

    Filing fees are a barrier, but they are also part of how parties raise funds to operate. Being able to raise 10K isn’t an indicator how of viable you are in a campaign where it is possible to spend a million or more.

  10. Sammy the Bull says:

    So who thinks its a good idea that this guy is going to be the democrat’s Christine O’donnell? Last I checked, Christine defeated a shoe-in Republican and a person from the complete opposite political spectrum won the seat in the General. Hmmmm…

    So is he saying that his goal is to defeat Carper and allow Kevin Wade to win the general? Anyone who proclaims that they’re going to be the progressive version of Christine O’Donnell does not have my vote.

    Good luck rolling into the city and those union meetings with that buddy.

  11. SussexWatcher says:

    I read the TMI all-about-me screed on his site and am just befuddled why this guy is scoring a post here. Sounds like an attention whore. And what was his union track record running chain restaurants?

    A joke.

  12. Dana Garrett says:

    I don’t know why anyone would support a filing fee system that enables a rich person to pay the fee from their own resources but requires a middle class or lower class person to raise the money from others. If that imbalance doesn’t strike one as unfair and transparently designed to keep political offices within the country club set, then I’d have to question that person’s sense of justice and depth of commitment to democracy. I’d rather have more candidates running than just a few confined mostly to the privileged for the same reason that I’d rather err on the side of episodic possible voter fraud than having large swaths of citizens being denied the right to vote.

  13. I am not making this up. We were doing a candidate training seminar at Del State probably something like 12 years ago now. This guy shows up in a raincoat, and kept the raincoat on through the entire 4-hour training session. Things like that you just don’t forget. That guy was this Bill McMurray. Nobody, not even his opponent, Dori Connor, could figure out exactly where he lived, or whether he lived in the district. Connor didn’t force the issue b/c he posed no threat.

    Sorry, guys, this is not who we’ve been looking for nor even a reasonable facsimile thereof.

  14. MJ says:

    Didn’t he have a television show in the ’60’s called “My Three Sons?”

  15. John Manifold says:

    You don’t have to pay $10K to run for Senate. [You can get a third party’s nomination if you demonstrate a pulse.] If you want to cop the Democratic nomination, you have to, like, support the party whose nomination you seek.

    Rich people don’t pay their own filing fees. That’s one of the reasons they’re rich.

  16. Sammy the Bull says:

    Come on people… Get off your high horses. The filing fee is for persons running under the banner of a party. Don’t make it seem like you can’t run for office if you don’t have $10k. You just can’t run with the party’s logo next to your name without putting $10K into your party of choice for their opperations.

    Having a party’s logo next to your name in the voting booth is not a constitutiuonal right nor is the only way to get on a ballot. If you think it is, then I have to question your knowledge of the democratic system.

    If you don’t have the money, you can always get 6,400 citizens to sign a petition to get you on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate.

  17. Sammy the Bull says:

    We didn’t get a democratic majority in this state after decades in the basement by letting every whack job with an idea run under the DelDems banner.

    The current party system got us civil unions, medical marijuana, strickter gun laws, relaxed voter registration laws, and countless other progressive initiatives. Now we’re on the path to gay marriage and for the first time in generations we have 3 members of the federal delegation… hate them or love them…. who vote with the D caucus way more than not.

    Call it exlusionary, call it country club politics, call it what you want…. But we are one of the more progressive states in the union. One of only 2 states to gain democratic seats in 2010. It may not be as progressive as you want it to be, and in time it will get better… but its working right now. Don’t mess it up trying to make a point.

  18. cassandra_m says:

    Delaware’s Congressional delegation can use an upgrade to more progressiveism. Someone who won’t put the kibosh on a health care public option, you know?

  19. Sammy the Bull says:

    No doubt Cass, but what do we gain by running a candidate who is 100% aligned with progressive causes but loses in a general election to a Republican who wouldn’t have even voted for the health care bill that was passed. The Christine O’Donnell effect is real. Nobody doubts that we need a progressive to beat Carper, but I think its more important to find a progressive who can win a general election.

  20. SussexWatcher says:

    Is someone who says all values are negotiable except the Apostles’ Creed and the second sentence of the Declaration a progressive? Sounds like a fundie to me.

    I’m sorry he lost his job, and even sorrier he’s embarrassing himself like this.

  21. Josh says:

    Your not going to find a credible candidate to primary TC. He is the senior senator and progressive’s are smarter than to sack the winningest democrat in Delaware, history. Ya he’s corporate but this is Delaware. For that matter the governor is corporate too and your not talking about primary for Jack.

    Focus on the primary for Mayor of Wilmington and IC where there is a real opportunity for change.

    This post is hot garbage he probably won’t even get enough to file.

  22. Professor Politic says:

    This interesting topic will need further discussion as we go into the next election cycle. A couple of takes. Absolutely, each party has the right to set its own rules. They are a party; they have the right to their own self preservation, just as voters have the right to throw them out, if they step too far. As mentioned by Sammy, there are good reasons to set standard filing fees. One, is to protect the incumbent and thereby preserve the party’s grasp of power. Another is to keep the candidate field from being infested by every special interest group who wants their message to get attention. A third, is to determine the fund raising capacity of each candidate before filing, thereby protecting all the monies given to that party by others, and insure their good use. All good ideas.

    However as Dana brings up, that pretty well guarantees that anyone below the 80% income level, can’t run. The poorest member of Congress is Joe Walsh with a net worth over $300,000. And he was a lucky one. Upon seeing this it is not hard to understand why Congress simply cannot appreciate what life is like for anyone earning below $50,000. Meaning 60% of the population for all practical purposes, is without representation. We used to have a House of Representatives; it appears we now have a House of Lords.

    Thanks to Cassandra, we now know about the indigent clause, that provides a good balance. If that clause applies also to a candidate of a major party, which the language in the link appears to support, than anyone of any income can thereby put themselves on the ballot if they be worthy of consideration, meaning they get 1% or all registered voters to sign a petition. It is possible that a charismatic neighborhood street organizer, could then get himself on the ballot.

    As Cassandra points out, there is a need to force progressivism on Carper. The best way to do that is run someone against him. In military terms it forces Carper to protect his flank. Without ever suffering a run from the left, he has no obligation to give us anything but lip service. If any of you have ever visited him in DC, that is exactly all you get, lip service. There is no desire to pursue any progressive agenda.

    Finally, will this candidate topple Carper if he makes it onto the ballot? Highly unlikely. If so, it will only be because his argument is real and resonates with a large number of Delaware’s democrats who disagree with Carper and feel the need to move this country away from doing everything multinational corporations want. And to do so, would require a very high turnout of excited voters on a primary, if that were to ever happen. And should the impossible occur, if it did, then it would be an upset in the party holding a majority of registered voters, not a minority one as was Christine O’Donnell’s.

    Ideally all this candidacy would do would be to force Carper, in public, on stage, to have to explain to the voters exactly why he did what he did, and then right there in his presence, have an alternative idea, a progressive one offered up contrary to his, that they could consider. Even if this candidate loses by a wide margin, just the fact that he ran, has told all Democrats, look, you really need to pay attention to these progressives; next time you might not be so lucky…

  23. Idealist says:

    If the argument is we need more Joe Walshes in Congress…. boo!

  24. Will M says:

    Sammy the Bull, when did we get medicinal marijuana, after SB17 was passed but before Markell decided not to implement it? That was a shining day in the sun, wasn’t it?