By JD Davis of Tualatin, Oregon. JD describes herself as "a longtime state and national political watcher that supports a progressive approach to government, and loves a good political fight as much as the next person. That is, as long as the good guys win in the end."
Gordon Smith just hired a new Deputy Chief of Staff - Brooks Kochvar - ditching his whopping two-month Chief of Staff stint for the on-her-way-to-being-certifiably-insane Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). His excuse is that his old gravy train ran out when Rep. Chris “The Count” Chocola (R-Indiana-2) was soundly defeated in November. See article here.
Kochvar served as Chocola's campaign manager and Chief of Staff since 2003. The similarities between Smith and Chocola are worth noting: both are independently wealthy businessmen, both lost their initial bid for office the first time out, Big Party GOPers made a string of fundraising visits to Indiana during Chocola’s races, and they both hauled in over 40% of their campaign dollars from PACs.
Kochvar ran typical dirty GOP-style races for Chocola. He pushed for the Iraq War, full rubber-stamp support of the Bush Administration, and wanted to make the tax cuts for the rich permanent.
In the three weeks leading up to the 2002 election, there were over 12 different robocall programs conducted, all without Kochvar owning up to any of them, except for one featuring President Bush, which ran in the two days prior to the election. Chocola was endorsed by all the usual GOP suspects- Club for Growth, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Telecom, etc. Yet despite all that cash, and Kochvar’s statements that "We have the most sophisticated grass roots effort that's ever happened in the state of Indiana," the 2006 campaign was not well executed.
Oh, and it gets worse- Kochvar worked for Randy "Duke" Cunningham as a staffer during the time Duke was up to his eyeballs in unethical activity. There are questions about at least three junkets sponsored by GOP lobbyist groups Kochvar took as a congressional staffer as well. Kochvar is an outsider to Oregon - raised in Tuscon, Arizona (Santa Rita HS, 1995), graduated from U of San Diego in 1999 (there's that Duke connection- north SD county), and he's getting married on November 24, 2007 in the Dominican Republic. Maybe Rush Limbaugh will attend.
Looks like we can expect Smith to not fare well, if this is his choice. All the better for our man DeFazio... perhaps they could talk to the Mike Donnelly campaign to see what to expect of a Smith campaign run by the likes of Kochvar. Draft DeFazio!