Today's news that Chris Van Hollen [MD-8] has agreed to continue at the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee makes this as good a time as any to evaluate the presence of the DCCC in the 29th race.

Unlike last cycle, the DCCC poured real money into the 29th this year, spending almost $1 million on ads and mailers. This money was spent entirely on one message: Randy Kuhl voted for free trade legislation that hurt the district.

Whether that message resonated in the 29th is anyone's guess. Even though the TV ad contained one misleading claim (it tried to tie jobs lost because of NAFTA to Kuhl, who wasn't in Congress when NAFTA passed), that distortion didn't become a campaign issue. I assume part of the reason was that the NRCC released a distorted ad around the same time.

In that respect, Eric Massa was lucky. In neighboring NY-26, Howard Owens at the Batavian thinks the DCCC caused real damage:

Whatever chance Kryzan had, the DCCC killed it. First, the negative ads were over the top and in no way truthful. Second, they also crowded out Kryzan's message and didn't allow Alice to be Alice. In the end, they played right into the Lee/GOP strategy of muting Kryzan's plans and policy voice.

The DCCC spent almost $2 million on that race.

I used to think Massa was unlucky because the DCCC wouldn't recognize that the 29th was winnable and only committed money at the last minute. Now I think he's lucky that the DCCC didn't spend more in the 29th. Their cookie-cutter, misleading ads and one-size-fits-all message are often a hindrance, not a help, to the candidates they are trying to support.