Recently disclosed financial forms from the campaign of unsuccessful GOP Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell reveal some of the Delaware Republican’s last-minute staffing changes, including the addition to her campaign of the executive director of a conservative group that crusades against same-sex marriage.
Andresen Blom, the executive director of the anti-gay marriage group American Principles Project, was paid $13,000 dollars during the period running from Oct. 14 through Nov. 22, according to a recently disclosed campaign finance report reviewed by TPM.The American Principles Project, headed by conservative scholar Robert P. George,
describes Blom as “a veteran of numerous political and grassroots efforts, from the creation of a national coalition to stop human trafficking to advising on several election campaigns. Instrumental in defeating same-sex marriage in Hawaii, Mr. Blom has worked tirelessly for a wide spectrum of conservative issues, from pro-life initiatives to the defeat of racially separatist legislation.”
In an interview with TPM, Blom said he was brought into the campaign in the final month of the election. He said he was involved with grassroots outreach but didn’t have a hand in policy issues.
Blom told TPM he thought same sex marriage was “an absolutely critical issue,” that was an important issue to O’Donnell — and that the media maligned her for her views.
“I think the media treatment was ridiculous, frankly,” Blom said. He said O’Donnell’s remark about dabbling in witchcraft should have been treated the same way as the media treated the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s participation in the KKK or Barack Obama’s past indiscretions.
“If you remember Barack Obama in his autobiography said that he mostly spent his time in high school staying in his room and doing dope,” Blom said. That’s not significant enough to raise questions in a presidential campaign, however Christine is vilified for having dated a guy who expressed interest in witchcraft.”
“No, I don’t think that the media treatment was fair. Throughout the breath of media it was dismissive and I think it deprived the people of Delaware the chance to hear perhaps what should have been a more serious discussion,” Blom said.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) put out a critical report on the Blom’s American Principles Project (APP) and its so-called sister organization, American Principles in Action (APIA). As TPM told you back in October, APIA ran a bus trip aimed at encouraging Latino voters to support Carly Fiorina’s campaign for governor in California. But a review of APIA, said CREW, “shows the money and the muscle behind the Latino push seemed to involve few Latinos.”
O’Donnell, a Catholic who has been an advocate for abstinence and did marketing consulting for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” tried (futilely) to put the focus on fiscal issues during the campaign.
But the media mostly stayed focused on O’Donnell’s past gaffes — including many of her stances on social conservative issues back from the 1990s. Back in September, for example, TPM unearthed at 1997 interview with O’Donnell in which she claimed that the government was giving too much money to AIDS research and suggested gays were bringing the disease upon themselves.
Opponents also accused her of gay baiting when she blasted her opponent Mike Castle’s tactics as “un-manly,” but she distanced herself from a video put out by a former campaign organization aide that questioned Castle’s sexuality.
Campaign records show some of O’Donnell’s other last-minute staffing choices, including the employment of her Christian musician roommate and her sister. David Hust, a campaign staffer slash Christian rock musician who shared a three-bedroom, two-bath town home with O’Donnell, raked in $27,700 for political strategy consulting during the same period. O’Donnell’s sister Jennie O’Donnell, a lesbian who supported her sibling despite her views on same-sex marriage, earned $21,000 in that period. O’Donnell’s campaign manager, Matt Moran, told (TPM alum) Christina Bellantoni in an interview for Roll Call “that Jennie O’Donnell had worked on her sister’s previous campaigns and that she has executive experience.”
[Ed note: This article was edited after publication.]