"Congressman McDermott is clearly feeling the heat," said 7th District Congressional challenger (and whippersnapper) Andrew Hughes in a statement yesterday. "My campaign's unprecedented success at reaching voters has put him on the defensive. He would obviously rather tell lies about me than have an honest debate on the issues."
This was bound to become an issue in this race because, as I noted here, Hughes is indeed self-funding, to the tune of $75,000 so far. And where did a 30 year old get $75,000 to put into a campaign? In part, from his family:
He has some family money from the cleaning business that his great-grandfather, a Russian Jew who immigrated from Moscow, founded after the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. That business went on to become the janitorial giant ABM Industries.
But is Hughes, as the McDermott letter says, "a candidate with a family corporation worth billions of dollars"?
"This is flatly untrue," says the Hughes campaign. Here are their facts:
- In 1909 Andrew Hughes' great grandfather, Morris Rosenberg, started American Building Maintenance (ABM) - the company to which McDermott is presumably referring - and grew it into one of the nation's largest suppliers of janitorial services.
- American Building Maintenance went public in 1945 and Andrew Hughes' family members have all subsequently left the company. Today, neither Hughes nor any of his family members are involved in ABM.
American Building Maintenance has not given any money to the Andrew Hughes campaign, nor have any of it's owners, officers or executives.
- Andrew Hughes has invested $75,000 of his own money into his campaign, a sum that represents a substantial personal sacrifice and highlights Hughes' commitment to changing Congress.
In an incredible stroke of irony, Congressman McDermott goes on to decry the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and the fact that our elections can be bought by special interests.
Some additional facts:
- More than 45% of Congressman McDermott's campaign money in the last three elections—in excess of $625,000—has come from PACs and major corporations, including Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, Anheuser-Busch, General Electric, Merck, American Express, GlaxoSmithKline, New York Life Insurance and Bellagio Casino.
- 100% of contributions to the Andrew Hughes campaign have come from more than 300 individual donors.