Alexander pollster: Exploiting aide’s arrest would be ‘contemptible’ (Carr won’t)

A longtime pollster for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander says the Tennessean’s campaign isn’t worried about two new surveys showing his job-approval rating has dipped below 50 percent among state voters, according to the Chattanooga TFP. And he doesn’t expect any political fallout from Alexander’s fired chief of staff being facing child pornography charges.

“It’s not a re-elect number; it’s a job-approval number,” pollster Whit Ayres said of the surveys. “In a general election electorate in an era where politicians, particularly politicians who serve in Washington, are not particularly popular, I would not make too much of that.”

The independent Vanderbilt University poll and the Public Policy Polling survey, which was commissioned by Senate Democratic hopeful Terry Adams, respectively put Alexander’s job approval rating at 49 percent and 37 percent.

Both were conducted before Alexander’s chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, was arrested last week on federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. Alexander fired the 35-year-old, saying that although Loskarn’s guilt or innocence will be determined in court, the charges are “repugnant and disturbing.”

The Vanderbilt poll’s co-director, political science professor John Geer, indicated it’s too early to gauge the impact of the arrest.

“It’s a serious, serious thing and the process has to work out,” Geer said.

…Ayres said the campaign’s own internal polling “is very close to what the Vanderbilt survey is showing.” But, Ayres said, the PPP survey is “in a completely different universe.”

“I have no idea how they got those numbers using standard polling methodologies,” he said.

The PPP polling memo does not list the wording of the questions or in what order they were asked.

Meanwhile, Ayres warned that attempts by candidates to exploit Loskarn’s arrest for political advantage will backfire.

“Anybody who tries to turn a personal tragedy into political fodder shows contemptible judgment — absolutely contemptible judgment,” Ayres said. “And it will blow up in their face.”

Asked about Loskarn’s arrest Friday, Carr called the situation “very tragic.”

“For me or anyone in my campaign to comment further than that would be inappropriate. That’s all we would have to say on that,” he said.

But a relatively unknown Democratic Senate candidate, Larry Crim, is trying to make it an issue. Last week Crim, who came in fourth in Democrats’ 2012 U.S. Senate primary and failed in a federal court lawsuit to force a new primary, issued a news release on Alexander and Loskarn.

He said Tennesseans are “distraught and disturbed that their U.S. Senate office has been managed by Alexander’s Chief of Staff whose [sic] been arrested on child pornography charges that their senator was not cognizant of the charter [sic] of his closest aide.”

UPDATE: A Larry Crim spokeswoman suggests via eamail that the quoted material does not accurately reflect the candidate’s views and sent two releases on the matter, not previously received by yours truly. Here they are:

News release from Larry Crim campaign:
(Headline) COUNSELING EXECUTIVE & U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE LARRY CRIM: “ALEXANDER SAYING HE’S ‘STUNNED’ PORTRAYS THE SENATOR AS VICTIM & DIMINISHES CHILD PORN VICTIMS”

U.S. Senate candidate and Christian Counseling Executive Larry Crim today objected to Senator Lamar Alexander using ‘victim words’ like he’s ‘stunned’ in referring to his Chief of Staff Ryan Loskarn’s child porn acts he’s alleged to have committed since Crim says that word implies Lamar, himself, is the victim whose been hurt” and words like ”surprised’ which implies innocence”. Crim says “it is the children Loskarn preyed upon with child pornography while on the senator’s staff who are stunned, who’ve been hurt in many ways unimaginable and who are the innocent victims with long term damages to their individual lives. ”

The counseling executive and senate candidate said the terms Alexander used are “especially insensitive, showing self-absorption on the potential affects to himself and a disconnection to the impact of child porn acts on the real victims, the children, about whom the senator said nothing at all.”

Larry Crim for U. S. Senate is the Democratic Candidate in Tennessee seeking the senate seat currently occupied by Republican incumbent senator Lamar Alexander. The Christian Counseling executive said Alexander’s using the word “surprised” is to “make a career politician of a half century in the closest of working relationships to Loskarn for about 11 years sound as innocent of knowing anything about his character as a new born babe in the woods.” Crim said by using the terms ‘surprised and stunned’ Alexander is seeking to portray and defend himself as an “innocent victim”. Yet the counseling executive said “the real victims are the innocent children Loskarn preyed upon while he worked under the Senator in a protected status privy to highly sensitive data as Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate office.”

Mr. Crim says the reason he is commenting now on this topic is because “someone has to speak for the children who are being overlooked as the current incumbent and Chief Executive over the senate office who personally supervised Loskarn engages in self-defensive maneuvers”. Larry Crim stated he “cares about the children who are victims of those who solicit and enable child pornography” and that “these kids and their families need counseling intervention.” The counseling leader and U.S. Senate candidate said “children are the innocent victims of child pornography who are devastated by the actions of child porn perpetrators, who need someone to speak about their plight and for them.” Crim says he is also “concerned about the mental state” of the senate staffer because he says “if the charges against him are true he is long overdue for counseling intervention, which I hope in conjunction with the legal remedies he now obtains.”

Larry Crim is the Democratic candidate seeking the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. Mr. Crim holds a B.A. in Arts and Sciences from The University of Tennessee: Major in Psychology; Minor in Political Science. Crim earned the Master of Public Administration from The University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University. He received the Master of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University – Major in Psychology. Mr. Crim performed his Psychological Practicum at Vanderbilt InterUniversity Psychological and Counseling Center. Larry Crim serves as Chief Executive Officer of Christian Counseling Centers of America, Inc. providing counseling through churches.

For more information on Larry Crim for United States Senate readers may visit this link at Crim’s website:
Http://www.LarryCrimUSSenate.com/

News release from Larry Crim campaign (issued before the above):
December 12, 2013
Last Wednesday Larry Crim Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate reacted to news of Republican Senator Lamar Alexander’s Chief of Staff Ryan Loskarn being arrested on child pornography charges and the senator’s “stunned and surprised” response by saying:

“Tennesseans are disturbed to learn that their U.S. Senate office has been managed by Alexander’s Chief of Staff while under investigation for three 3 years on child pornography charges and concerned that their senator professed he was not cognizant of the character of his closest aide working under him in numerous capacities for 11 years.”

Mr. Crim said it reminded him of the “Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky situation where people find it hard to believe that Joe did’nt know. Here we have Lamar and his trusted Chief of Staff whom he has personally supervised in key leadership roles for 11 years in that same situation. We will just leave it to public opinion to make the determination about what Lamar knew, when he knew it and what he should have known about his closest and highest paid Chief of Staff in this instance.”

According to congressional records published by Roll Call in Legistern Alexander’s Chief of Staff has been paid an annual salary of $170,000.00

Larry Crim is the Democratic candidate seeking the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. Mr. Crim holds a B.A. in Arts and Sciences from The University of Tennessee: Major in Psychology; Minor in Political Science. Crim earned the Master of Public Administration from The University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University. He received the Master of Arts from Middle Tennessee State University (Major: Psychology). Mr. Crim performed his Psychological Practicum at Vanderbilt InterUniversity Psychological and Counseling Center. Larry Crim serves as Chief Executive Officer of Christian Counseling Centers of America, Inc. providing counseling through churches.