September 14, 2015

More Fallout From Cortez Masto’s Fundraiser Flap

Catherine Cortez Masto’s campaign is not getting off to a good start. Harry Reid’s handpicked successor has been largely absent on the campaign trail, and her few forays into campaigning have resulted in gaffes and bad headlines.

Case in point: just six days ago, Politico reported that Cortez Masto was scheduled to hold a campaign fundraiser headlined by New York City Council speaker and prominent Hillary Clinton surrogate Melissa Mark-Viverito later this month. Things unraveled quickly from there.

Within 24 hours of the report, Cortez Masto’s campaign uninvited the guest of honor and publicly pledged to “cut all ties” with Mark-Viverito due to her well-known and widely reported history of supporting a convicted terrorist in Puerto Rico. Apparently no one on Cortez Masto’s staff – or the candidate herself – had bothered to do a basic Google search.

The fallout didn’t end with the campaign’s embarrassing 180; the messy story enters week two as several co-hosts of the fundraiser have pulled their support in retaliation for Cortez Masto’s slight of their ally. Politico New York reports:

The abrupt turnaround from the Cortez Masto campaign came a day after POLITICO New York reported Mark-Viverito would be the special guest at a Masto fundraiser, and a week after the speaker announced her endorsement of Hillary Clinton before a trip to the speaker’s native Puerto Rico, with national headlines calling the Mark-Viverito “one of the most prominent Puerto Rican politicians in the United States”…

…Locally, the Democratic establishment has largely rallied to the speaker’s side, as allies have asked to remove their own names from Cortez Masto’s host committee.

Former ambassador Julissa Reynoso and Luis Miranda  — a  Democratic political consultant who served as special advisor for Hispanic Affairs to former Mayor Ed Koch — have both requested to be removed from the fundraiser invitation, according to sources.

Cortez Masto’s fellow Democrats piled on, blasting the turnaround as amateurish and politically calculated:

“They found out something that everybody has known all along,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, who also supports the release of Lopez Rivera, along with the rest of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “They were uninformed, and I want to say uninformed, because if you are running for the Senate of the United States you should know about the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, and there are some issues that have shaped that relationship and this man’s incarceration is a result of that relationship”…

…Emma Lozano, president of the Illinois chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said she considers the decision to disinvite Mark-Viverito to be a “mistake” by the Cortez Masto campaign.

That didn’t go very well.