Nice Blog Post on Dan
From TNR's The Plank:
Sometime in 2004 or early 2005 I had lunch with a source: Dan Maffei, a thirtysomething who was then Charlie Rangel's spokesman on the House Ways and Means Committee. A former aide to Pat Moynihan and Bill Bradley, Dan was among the most honest and fair-minded Hill aides I've known--a conscientious guy who respected the institution, didn't take cheap shots, and spoke in real thoughts rather than index-card talking points. Over Mexican food Dan lamented that Democrats weren't fighting all-out to win back the House. By that he didn't mean they don't play dirty enough. He meant that Democrats should run more candidates, especially in winnable districts where GOP incumbents often faced token opposition or none at all. One hears this sort of armchair strategizing all the time from people on the Hill, however, and while I took Dan's point, I didn't think much would come of it.
But a few months later, Dan stopped talking and did something: He left his Hill job and headed to his home district around Syracuse, New York to run for Congress. I confess my first reaction was again cynical: I figured Dan was doing something admirable but totally hopeless. After all, his opponent, Jim Walsh is a nine-term incumbent whose last challenger, in 2002, drew just 27 percent of the vote. Dan's mission seemed a Quixotic one.
Well, lo and behold, Dan--who, characteristically, has run a clean campaign free of personal attacks--is now in a dead heat with Walsh. The DCCC recently poured something like $400,000 into the district (a sum the Republicans have roughly matched) and I'm told labor is going to the mat for him.
Partisan preferences aside, should Dan win, an unusually good and intelligent person will be joining a Congress that desperately needs more of them. And a guy who talked about making a difference will have gone out and done it. I'll be watching this race closely and will keep you updated.