Rick Dancer's $98,000 day (and his dog-whistle politics)

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In the Secretary of State race, Republican Rick Dancer is the first candidate on the air. On Tuesday, he raked in $98,000 in a single day - from just six donors, all of them in the timber industry:

On Wednesday, he put that money to work on television. As a long-time TV talking head from Eugene, Dancer is comfortable in front of the camera. Check out his spot:

Did ya see it? If you're like most voters, you missed it.

Rick Dancer's ad includes at least two instances of what the Aussies call "dog-whistle politics". In short, it's about using political code words that are understood by your base but ignored by everyone else.

While Rick Dancer is claiming to be nonpartisan and above the political fray, he's really sending coded messages to right-wing conservatives that he's on their side.

Let's review two elements of the "Dancer Plan":

The bottom line: Rick Dancer wants voters to believe he's just a nice guy, who will "get the facts", and be pro-democracy. The truth is the opposite -- he's a right-wing crypto-conservative. I don't know why the timber industry is pumping so much money into his campaign, but I know it isn't good.

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Comments

  • (Show?)

    [Full disclosure: My firm built Kate Brown's website, but I speak only for myself.]

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    Kari, here I think is the answer to your question about timber interests generosity to Dancer (from Wikipedia, "Oregon Secretary of State"): The duties of office are: auditor of public accounts, chief elections officer, and administrator of public records. Additionally, the Secretary of State serves on the Oregon State Land Board and chairs the Oregon Sustainability Board.

    So I can't imagine why large timber (and timber-extraction copter) companies would pour nearly $100 Grand into Dancer's campaign. I wonder what Candidate Kate Brown thinks of this? Hey, I'll ask her 10AM tomorrow at the State of Change Rally at the Washco Dems office in Beaverton www.washcodems.org. Inquiring minds will want to know.

  • Lyndon Slewidge (unverified)
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    Kari,

    Any recent polling on this race? What about the Alley /Westlund race?

    How about some of the ballot measures?

    Anybody know?

  • Rick Hickey (unverified)
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    I really like that part about making sure that ONLY U.S. Citizens are Voting.

    Do ya think DMV giving out over 200,000 Licenses in one month and per law handing same a Voter registration card to people that don't speak English (A Legal requirement to become a Citizen)equals Illegal Aliens Voting.

    Or do you think people that have broken many laws to come here, stay here, get a job here, ID forgery/theft, Perjury on that I-9, etc. are afraid somehow of voting and breaking that law for once. It's very likely they are not concerned of any law enforcement. Of course you Democrats are hoping for that, aren't you.

    Full disclosure; I am VP of OFIR & Vice-Chair of MCRCC.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Mr. Hickey. The answer is no. I can't think of any Democrat/Progressive who is in favor of anyone voting who is not legally qualified to do so. It's just part of the republican attempt to portray this election, where they are going to lose badly, as somehow illegitimate by alleging voter fraud where there is no evidence of such.

    It's fear the brown people, fear the black people, fear the non white people, fear the gays fear the people not like us, fear, fear, fear all the time.

    Full disclosure: I am an American Citizen

  • (Show?)

    Kari you are too much! Only "right wing radicals" think that union elections should be conducted via secret ballot?

    You are lumping a whole lotta people into that category, including folks such as my co-host, Marc Abrams.

    You don't do your credibility any favors when you shill for your clients in such an over-the-top way, even if you do disclose the relationship.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Rick, I see you're going to debate at City Club next Friday. I hope you bring your, um, unique take on reality to the debate. It should be entertaining.

    I like the fact that the only people left who are willing to publicly support conservatism are obviously insane.

  • JEL (unverified)
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    Kari, In your initial analysis of Dancer's commercial you didn't mention the obvious pandering (your "dog whistle politics") to the anti-immigrationists in his "only legal citizens vote." It is quite obviously more of his subliminal messaging to the rightwingers who see illegals trying to vote under every rock--even though such occurances are almost undheard of.

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    I like the fact that the only people left who are willing to publicly support conservatism are obviously insane.

    Now that's the kind of mature discourse we've come to expect from the blogosphere. Only I think you got lost, Bert. You should be over on Jack Bogdanski's blog.

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    I find it amusing that he can't pronounce "secretary."

    Someone get him to try to say "nuclear."

  • David (unverified)
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    Sorry, but Kate Brown is no better when it comes to being backed by big-money special interests. Too bad Vicki Walker didn't get the nod from Democrats in the primary, someone who is more independent and less partisan; exactly what is needed for the Secretary of State's office.

  • DaveMuckey (unverified)
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    The way I heard the ad, Dancer said "Legal American Citizens." Dancer, clearly, has sold his soul to the extremist wing of the Republican Party.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Jack, have you seen Rick's posts? Here's an example:

    Republicans will take back Oregon next year, I will make sure of it.

    Oregon will not become a Communist State no matter how hard the Dem's keep trying to do so, as people wake up to their cradle to grave-Gov't (Unions-Mafia)knows best agenda, people will flee that backwards Damn the people, Party of far left wacko's.

    Now I'm not a doctor or a psychologist, but Rick clearly lost touch with reality. Jack, you're sane. I'd even describe you as conservative (though I bet Rick would describe you as a Socialist/Mafia/Mulslim/Atheist). I don't see you advocating for a longer war in Iraq, anti-gay bias in the constitution, laws against teaching non-English-speakers, or any of the current conservative agenda.

    I suspect it's because you know it's a ridiculous agenda. Anyone who is sane knows it's ridiculous. Rick thinks it's a great (and winning) agenda.

  • Josh (unverified)
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    Bert, what's your source? Because I have a feeling you pulled that out of your a*s.

  • Josh (unverified)
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    Bert... nevermind... the way you wrote your comment I read it as you were implying Rick Dancer said such a statement. Never-mind, I found the Rick you were referring too.

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    Rob Kremer ---

    A simple question: What does the Secretary of State have to do with union elections?

  • voiceinthewind (unverified)
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    I have to disagree a bit. This ad is outrageous; it isn't subtle at all. He said his job as a journalist was being 'objective and fair,' close to 'fair and balanced'? If I were Fox, I'd be hopping mad and get ready to file a trademark infringement suit, except he's balanced the right way, way right. I wonder why he'd want to make the office non-partisan, over-ride county authority about registration, & contradict the Help America Vote Act? Is it because he has a better idea about which citizens are legal and which citizens are not? Would converting the office to non-partisan have anything to do with being fair and balanced when redistricting occurs? To be clear, I fully understand that labels aren't helpful in a 'discourse.' There is no dialogue here, Mr. Dancer's views are beyond conservative. I think most Oregonians, regardless of political affiliation, abhor the idea of a concentration of power in one individual, particularly over our right to vote, and would be completely demoralized if our reputation of integrity and successfully increasing participation in the electoral process were replaced with being a Florida look alike. thanks for pointing it out

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    I need to clarify (thanks, Josh, for pointing out how easy it would be to mistake my meaning). I'm responding to Rick Hickey, not commenting on Rick Dancer.

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    Rob Kremer ---

    A simple question: What does the Secretary of State have to do with union elections?

    Kari: A simple answer: nothing.

    But it is also completely beside the very point you made. If you had criticised Dancer for making an issue of something that is not the purview of the SOS, that would be completely legitimate.

    But you said: "It's an anti-union message understood by right-wing radicals." A clear implication is that supporting a secret ballot in union elections is a right wing radical position. It's not.

    But I can see why you would try to change the subject, having been called out for such a ridiculous, credibility shattering statement on your own blog.

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    A clear implication is that supporting a secret ballot in union elections is a right wing radical position. It's not.

    Rob, can you tell us where the money is coming from to fund the advertising and to put measures like this on the ballot around the country?

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    Sal: Another red herring. Regardless of where the funding for the campaigns has come from, the position that union elections should be conducted by secret ballot is an overwhelmingly mainstream position. It is a 70%/30% issue.

    So, unless Kari thinks 70% of the country is right wing radicals, his comment is just silly.

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    Rob makes my point for me.

    The Secretary of State has absolutely NOTHING to do with union elections.

    So why the hell is Rick Dancer talking about union elections in his ads for Secretary of State.

    It's nothing but dog-whistle politics.

    Now, Rob, we can agree to disagree about the state of the electorate's opinion on the issue (it all depends on how you ask the question), but I think we should be able to agree about this: it's anti-union conservatives who care most passionately about opposing card-check for unions.

    And if that's true, then it's clear what Rick Dancer is doing here -- because he ain't talking about the issues.

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    Rob, can you point me to the poll data you reference?

    Also, I'll restate the previous question: Would you characterize the funders of the union vote campaign as primarily right wing, centrist, or left wing in terms of their ideology?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Rob Kremer wrote:

    Only "right wing radicals" think that union elections should be conducted via secret ballot?

    Comparing union representation elections with political elections is farcical. Workers are herded into mandatory meetings with slimeball union busters, er, I mean, employer consultants. Workers are threatened with loss of their jobs. Workers are victimized by employer spying. Legal or not, employers use any tactic they can get away with, and they get away with a lot.

    Card-check recognition allows workers to unionize without undergoing hellacious intimidation, which is why employers, union busters, and Republicans oppose it.

  • Jason (unverified)
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    There's a reason why most mainstream people don't care about and avoid blogs like this. Those of you who contribute here only spew false, hatred, and misleading information. (This goes for right-wing blogs as well.)

    You act as if you know Rick so well, and then come up with laughable conspiracy theories about "coded messages" in Rick's campaign commercial. Please! Reading this blog is like watching the infamous episode of "Dallas" where the question was asked, "Who shot J.R.?"

    Gee, and I love Kate's empty-headed commercial in the primary about making sure "every vote counts." She tried to correlate Oregon's election system to the 2004 election using President Bush and the supposed fraud in Ohio. That is a slap in the face to the pretty damn good process we have going here in Oregon, which is being modeled throughout the country. (The SOS doesn't count the votes. Our county elections clerk's do that job very well!)

    Kate's basically being supported by the teachers unions and other powerful lobbyist groups, and she touts her support of NARAL and other extremely liberal groups, which has absolutely nothing to do with the SOS job description. So don't try to argue somehow that Kate is taking the high-road with campaign donations, while Dancer bows to the evil timber companies.

    One of the things that irritates me to no end about bloggers and those who write op-ed pieces about people or issues, is how void of factual information they are. How hard would it have been to pick up the phone, call Dancer himself (I know he would have talked with you) and asked him about his positions and the issues before writing? Oh, yeah, that would be too easy - and you wouldn't be able to fill your ignorant diatribes with hateful and vitriolic doublespeak.

    Progressive? I think not. Partisan? You betcha!

    (By the way, I'm one of those moderate voters who's sick and tired of the stuff I see here and on conservative websites. Blue Oregon is to left-wing hacks, as Lars Larson is to right-wing neocons.)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Well, Jason, words have meaning, and all political communication has pretext and context. What else could motivate Rick Dancer's words about the secret ballot, if not the conservative battle against union card-check? The only alternative I can come up with is the argument of a former Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Lyn Snodgrass against vote by mail. Could Dancer be that far out of the mainstream?

  • Dale Fortner (unverified)
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    I'm not a fan of Mr. Dancer but his website seems to clearly explain his positions without the use of any code. Claiming the use of codewords in that cheesy commercial seems a bit over-the-top, hurting the credibility of the writer. It would be better to be accurate, especially given it's highly likely Mr. Dancer will start a new career next month - perhaps selling real estate.

  • Jared (unverified)
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    This morning at the City Club of Eugene Debate, Rick Dancer was asked about the Illegal Aliens Voting line, and he did admit that there is no proof that any illegal aliens are voting. It is just a line to scare people. One with racist undertones. A staffer of his brought up Acorn with me in an attempt to bring up some false spectre.

    During the Clinton years, Republicans used to oft say, Character Counts or Character matters or something. And in a Climate where Freedom's Watch is just so far beyond despicable, and Rovian tactics are being used all over the country to diswade liberals from voting, the question becomes, does Rick Dancer's character lead us to believe that he can be trusted with the oversight of our election process?

    With his use of these buzz words to excite the Republican Base, I truly feel Rick Dancer can not be trusted.

  • Rw (unverified)
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    Jared - what was your response to the red herring about ACORN? And what was the tenor of the people around you? Was there ANY engagement, or did people, in their stolidly orthodox middle class PCness hope there would be no scuffle to upset the salmon dish on the way?

    Was there any substantive back and forth you can report?

  • Zachary Vishanoff (unverified)
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    <h2>Impressive spin job friend. Did you fail to mention Kate has spent over a million and Rick has spent about 300 thousand dollars. You people are pretty desperate. For your information Rick Dancer is indeed quite a friendly person. You obviously have never met him and have not even the slightest idea of what he stands for.</h2>

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