The plans of radical philanthropist George Soros and his billionaire allies to make it easier for state officials to affect the outcomes of elections through chicanery were dealt a temporary setback last week.
That’s because five out of seven candidates backed by the Soros-supported “Secretary of State (SoS) Project” went down in flames November 2. Of the SoS candidates endorsed by the “527” political committee, only incumbents Mark Ritchie of Minnesota and Debra Bowen of California failed to drown in the GOP tidal wave. Using 527 groups, which may accept unlimited contributions, is a Soros trademark. Soros gave close to $24 million to 527 groups in 2004 in a failed attempt to defeat President Bush.
Even with last week’s results, the SoS Project still takes credit for electing “11 of 18 election reform candidates in key states like Minnesota” since it began funding candidates in 2006. “Winning in these states has made a difference already, and now we’re gearing up for more wins in 2012,” the group’s website declares.
The reason Soros and his allies want to influence the elections for a state office few people understand or care about is because in most states the secretary of state is the chief elections officer. Political observers know that a relatively small amount of money can help swing a little-watched contest. As Joseph Stalin is said to have once remarked, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” The lesson has not been lost on Soros.
Soros and company know that once elected, a leftist secretary of state can help deliver a close election to Democrats as critics accuse Minnesota’s Ritchie of doing in the protracted slug fest of a recount that followed the 2008 U.S. Senate contest between Al Franken and then-incumbent Norm Coleman. (Soros also funded an effort to take away democratic elections for state supreme courts, as John Gizzi noted in a recent paper for my employer, Capital Research Center.)
The SoS Project holds up former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris as a reason why liberals should send the group money. Claiming to support “election protection,” the group recites well-worn liberal talking points about how Harris was part of an alleged conspiracy that helped deliver the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush.