Staff today, gone tomorrow

By Stephen W. Stromberg
Published August 10, 2004 7:23PM (EDT)

The Hotline is reporting that Louisiana Rep. Rodney Alexander's staff resigned en-masse after he suddenly switched parties just hours before the Louisiana filing deadline. Alexander, once a conservative Democrat, filed as a Republican on Friday and will likely take on an unknown Democratic challenger, Zelma "Tisa" Blakes, who called herself a "domestic engineer" on her filing papers. Just a guess, but we doubt she'll go over well in Louisiana.

Alexander's party switch light up the blogosphere over the weekend and especially infuriated liberal bloggers who accused the Louisiana representative of keeping other viable Democratic candidates out of the race by changing loyalties so late. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is also unhappy. DCCC head Bob Matsui is demanding that Alexander return hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds. Here's what Rep. Matsui had to say:

"Rodney Alexander owes an apology and he owes a refund to the thousands of honest people who supported him based upon his fraudulent claim that he was going to run for Congress as a Democrat.

"Because of his calculated and cowardly act of personal advancement on Friday, I am demanding that Mr. Alexander reimburse the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for the $193,000 the committee used to help him win this seat in the 2002 general and run-off elections.

"Mr. Alexander carried the 5th District by less than one thousand votes. The support of the DCCC and the Louisiana Democratic Party was a determining factor to his win. The DCCC directed over $736,000 to the Louisiana State Party to help raise awareness on voter issues in the 2002 cycle.

"If Mr. Alexander has any conscience, he should also give back every penny he has raised this election cycle, including the $70,000 that Democratic Members of Congress have given him based upon his fraudulent claim that he was a Democrat running for Congress."

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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