Lots of ink has been spilled about why then-sitting Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was likely on track to become Speaker of the House, lost his renomination bid. Clearly there were a lot of factors at play, as Jamie Radtke detailed in the best contemporaneous analysis of Cantor’s defeat. But at bottom, none of these factors should have been obstacles for Cantor, with his unsurpassed fundraising abilities and formerly sky-high popularity. The reason any of these things were able to touch Cantor, let alone derail him, was the consistently bad advice of his chief consultant, Ray Allen.
There is no sugar-coating possible here. Ray Allen is a disaster, and over the years has directly steered Cantor into mounting difficulty and acrimony within his district, consistently advising Cantor to attack, destroy, marginalize, threaten, ridicule, intimidate and run over anyone who even whispers about standing in his way.
Then he ran Cantor’s reelection campaign the same way, going negative early and often against a completely unknown, unfunded candidate. The results speak for themselves. Dave Brat’s name identification shot up dramatically, while Eric Cantor’s positive ratings dropped at an inverse proportion in reaction to the unhinged negativity of his ads. One absolutely telling factoid: of all the counties outside Richmond that comprise the 7th District, Cantor won only Spotsylvania, Culpeper, and Orange. These counties happen to be the only counties in the district outside the Richmond media market, thus beyond the reach of Ray Allen’s negative radio and TV ads. Put another way, the people most beyond the reach of Ray Allen were the ones most likely to vote for his candidate, meaning that Allen’s work likely directly harmed his client. But that didn’t matter to Ray Allen…he still got paid a percentage of the ad buys, and for all the direct mail.
So what does RPV have to do with it?
It is Allen’s “slash and burn” style of politics that has caused such rancor within the Virginia GOP this year, with Allen involvement in Republican intraparty controversies ranging from Campbell County to Virginia Beach, with Henrico, Richmond, and other areas in between. Ray Allen was the author of an orchestrated campaign of “slating” this year, a practice purposefully designed to shut out participation of minority voices in internal GOP processes in the most brutal, in-your-face way possible. Allen’s motive here was two-fold: first, he wished to regain control of the RPV Executive Committee by replacing as many District Chairmen as possible with his hand-picked lackeys. Second, in doing so he wanted there to be controversy and strife over the conduct of Republican mass meetings and Conventions, as a means of making such processes as distasteful as possible to the Republican electorate in the future.
You see, Ray Allen has his livelihood wrapped up in how the Republican Party of Virginia conducts its business. Sure, Cantor was his chief patron, but he made most of his money on Cantor’s coattails, attracting consulting and direct mail business from a variety of candidates and elected officials around the state. In that position Allen makes more money when the Party chooses state-run open primaries as the method for nominating candidates, as such elections provide him more opportunities to use his lucrative direct mail operation, Creative Direct LLC. Lots of people, myself included, have wondered why Cantor would back such divisive practices as slating. The real reason increasingly seems like Ray Allen again gave Cantor bad, self-serving advice; Allen’s goal seems less about helping Cantor extend the reach of his influence around the state than it was about lining Allen’s own pockets.
And, as if he hadn’t done enough damage so far this year, Allen further engineered the draining of the 7th District Committee’s bank accounts, sending $300,000 to DC-based national party organizations while intentionally stiffing the Republican Party of Virginia and other local efforts. (And no, Virginia, it was not to fund the Victory operation…that effort was already budgeted, and claims to the contrary are merely a fig leaf to cover Ray Allen’s giant single-finger salute to Chairman Mullins).
Chairman Pat Mullins’ Decisive Action.
We broke the story earlier this year about one way in which Ray Allen feeds off the Party he makes a living destroying. A huge part of Allen’s business is direct mail. For his clients, direct mail is much cheaper when it can be sent out using the Republican Party of Virginia’s bulk rate postage. Hence, a candidate using Ray Allen’s direct mail business would allow the Party to actually do the mailing for them, reimbursing RPV for the cost, which RPV would then pass through to Ray Allen. We exposed the whopping $1.13 million of such expenditures passed from RPV to Ray Allen in 2013 alone!! As we wrote then,
I don’t know about you, that doesn’t sit right with me. I think that if Ray Allen has access to Rep. Cantor’s money, then let him have at it. But, the Republican Party of Virginia must stop subsidizing the corruption of its own processes—immediately. Not a single dime of RPV money should find its way into the unclean hands of this political thug ever again.
It took a while, but Chairman Pat Mullins has heard the voice of the grassroots, and has taken the right steps. Earlier this week Mullins announced that the Party is henceforth severing all financial ties to the divisive Ray Allen, including by refusing to make any payments on behalf of candidates to Allen’s Creative Direct LLC. Mullins likely anticipated the reaction among Ray Allen’s well-connected allies in Virginia’s Congressional delegation and in the General Assembly, but he bravely did the right thing anyway.
Does this action mean the end of Ray Allen as a counterproductive, parasitic presence in the Virginia GOP? No, but it’s a big step in the right direction. It means that the party Allen sought to manipulate and control—the same Party he’s threatened to sue into bankruptcy over appeals of intraparty slating disputes—is not going to help fund the cynical, self-serving activities of the man who has given rise to so much strife and discord within the Party.
WELL DONE, Mr. Chairman!
The funniest part is that what RPV/Creative Direct was/is continuing to do with the bulk mail is completely illegal. It basically amounts to money laundering and illegal campaign coordination that the Post Office was supposed to be cracking down on but never has. To get that non-profit rate there is supposed to be no coordination between the campaigns and the RPV. Yet they make donations for almost the exact amount of the mailers and then RPV sends over proofs, in some cases, for approval.
I was visiting relatives in Mississippi during the Cochran-McDaniel runoff, and saw what could be the future of the RPV if we aren’t careful. I’ve sent Pat Mullins a personal thank you for his leadership vis a vis Ray Allen. Likewise, kudos to Steve Albertson and the Bull Elephant staff for your investigative journalism highlighting the serious problem posed to party unity by that man.
After I think about this, is this really a big deal? Ray Allen can go get his own bulk mail permit.
A non profit bulk permit has better rates than a regular mail permit that a regular for profit mailer can get. It is a big deal.
Well, the RPV is definitely non-profit. Bazinga.
I guess you understand the value of symbolism?
To condense this article, Ray Allen is a greasy rat.
Thank you Chairman Mullins! You’ve done the right thing for the people of Virginia!
Well written Steve and Well done Chairman Mullins.
Looks like Ray Allen ‘douche bag’ is a a self serving greedy asshole lining his own pockets at our expense (Is he blowing Rove), stop giving money to RNC. I suppose he and his are more worthy than us unwashed peons.
Well, that escalated quickly.
As one of the longest lasting employees of Ray Allen, I am saddened by this article. Over 10 years with Ray and Eric gave me a front row seat to their decline into greed, power and increasingly leftward leaning ideology. The arrogance and incompetence was breathtaking. I finally stopped taking their photographs when my conscience could take no more. We must be ever vigilent against the creeping cronyism that tempts all in power. Power corrupts. Majority Leader power corrupts all but the strongest. Ray has many allies and a few Va clients still. I for one wil oppose any Republican who aquires his unethical “services.”
You had me up until you said…
I have no idea what that means, I just started laughing at it.
I was his photographer, among many other duties.
We can not let go until we have removed all the County Commeette Chairman that are bought and paid for by the Cantor/Allen mafia.
Virginia Beach.. Our chairman Ken Longo showed who his loyalties are with by partnering with Cantor/Allen outfit YG Virginia’s Rob Catron. Longo is so tight with delegate Scott Taylor and Frank Wagner as well.
Longo aided and abetted Taylor and Wagner that night, and continued to be part of the Establishment GOP seeking to knock out the grassroots activists of the party.
I have to admit some ambivalence here, not on the loosening of Allen’s grip on the cash flow of the VRP, nor the implied rebuff to many of his recent electorical actions, but to the Ray Allen as Eric Cantor’s evil svengali tone implied throughout this communication. Did Ray Allen’s campaign advice and actions hurt the Cantor cause in the 7th House Primary, yes without a doubt, whether it was the major causal factor for Eric’s crushing defeat I think is open to question. Brat ran a focused, well organized campaign given its small cash investment that clearly took the wind out of Cantor sails even after he should have recoginized that this was going to be a different type of challenger. Cantor’s outreach to voters was nonexistent as usual and far too often his proponency for personal arrogance was on full display for all to see. His clear distain for his opponent was not injected by Ray Allen but part of the Cantor self delusion as the “Young Gun”. Anyone reading his book could reasonably surmise that this was a guy angling for a fall yet totally oblivious of the cliff. To me Ray Allen was and is the product of the Virginia political environment not in my opinion a peratrator of it. Eric’s biggest problem in the 7th district was simply Eric.
Good points. Cantor had been souring for years in his district and he himself was responsible for that. His name linkage with Allen isn’t a mistake either, he was all for the slating and knocking out the grassroots/activists of the party, the rank and file.
isnt Ray Allen working for Gillespie campaign now?
HELL NO HE IS NOT! Ray Allen does not work for Ed and will not in the future.
Is Gillespie still using the services of Creative Direct? If so, he is still indirectly supporting Ray Allen.
Is Comstock doing the same?
Are you absolutely sure about that Turbo, have you asked Ed’s campaign or checked his reports because I’ve heard Ed Gillespie is using Ray Allen and Creative Direct. We’ll see.
Gillespie is a Karl Rove Disciple and Establishment Republican. He is in the same boat as Cantor and all the leeches of the party. it would not surprise me if he had hired the snake Allen.
Ed was the first of anyone running in Va to congratulate and endorse Dave Brat. They are working to help each other get elected.. I shit on many establishment rinks and Ed is NOT one of them Kirby.
All I know is that Ed’s history is dirty. He has worked for and lobbied for establishment types. He worked for Karl Rove intimately. That is all I need to know.
Of course he was the first to congratulate Dave Brat and is working closely with him, because he wants the Brat grassroots to propel him to victory, so he can keep serving his establishment masters.
Hammer away.. Ed helped Ted Cruz beat a rino in Texas, supported Rand Paul by helping to raise $8M for Rand, Give Ed more conservative and pro liberty candidates who can win and you might find he is simply a good party man. While the likes of Cantor screwed us, Ed has NEVER been anti tea or liberty. Working with a broader coalition is something Rand Paul is mastering. Should he win the nomination, do you think we are better off with a dark blue Virginia or a more Rand friendly standard bearer? You decide.
I agree with coalition building, but all I have seen from Ed was his Karl Rove work and establishment connections. Ed will ahve to do a lot and show me a lot before i believe his shady stripes have changed.
Are you nuts? Gillespie can’t stand Rove!
No Jeanine, Gillespie must have changed his tune on Rove, because he used to work for him.
Not to mention Ed is an establishment party guy who not only worked for Rove, but has worked for tons of establishment candidates from George Allen to Mitt Romney to W Bush to Elizabeth Dole to Haley Barbour and the list goes on and on.
Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie Buddies: http://images.politico.com/global/news/100506_rove_gillespie_reuters_218.jpg
True. Ed’s trying to get away from Rove in that picture!
“Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, who helped co-found the American Crossroads super PAC with GOP strategist Karl Rove, won’t be relying on Rove’s group as his chief outside booster in his Virginia campaign.”
Gillespie can’t stand Rove huh?
That was impressive. There is more house cleaning to do, but this is a good start.
ok, RPV has let him go. now maybe those at this blog can let Ray Allen go, too. & start working to keep the 7CD as the Republican bastion (& fundraising arm) of the Va Republican delegation.