With the race for the 33rd Congressional District by all accounts a two-man race that is growing pettier by the day, it's easy to forget that nine other Democrats are jostling for third place in the May 29 primary. Unless, of course, you happen to glance up from the bumper in front of you to see David Alameel's disconcertingly large face smirking -- or is that a leer? -- down upon you from a billboard.
Turns out, it's not cheap to plaster your face at a few thousand times magnification all over Dallas, which, along with some radio ad buys, slickly produced YouTube spots, and a head-scratching number of mariachi performances, is why Alameel has dropped a cool $2 mil on the campaign so far, outstripping the second most spendthrift candidate in the race, Domingo Garcia, by a factor of more than five. Alameel has spent more than twice as much as any House candidate, Democrat or Republican, in the entire state of Texas.
The spending binge has dwarfed Alameel's fundraising efforts, which have yielded a laughable $6,000 so, unsurprisingly, his campaign is $2.6 million in debt -- more than Rick Santorum after his failed presidential bid. Luckily for Alameel's campaign, it owes the money to David Alameel, who I'm thinking will be flexible on the repayment.
OK, so Alameel apparently can afford to dump money into his campaign (the chain of dental clinics he founded are apparently quite lucrative), but a larger question remains: Why?
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said it's quite common for wealthy people to pour in millions to get themselves elected. They just usually have a shot at winning.
Not the case with Alameel, who lacks political experience, has avoided the media and just isn't a very good politician, Jillson said.
"It's like Craig James in the Senate race," Jillson said. "You have to ask yourself, 'What are you guys doing?'"
And as we know, it's bad when people start mentioning you with Craig James.
I suppose it's heartening to see that no, money doesn't mean everything in politics, but that's a lot of dough to shell out for someone with no chance on May 29.
At least Alameel has other things going for him, according to his campaign bio. He's met the Pope. He's able to practice no-look dentistry. He's had an "impressive career" that has included "electrical installation, IBM equipment repairs, gas station attendance, migrant farm work, oil rigs drilling, retail sales, military service, pharmacy specialist, dentistry, proprietary financial trading, and building his various family businesses."
None of which I would know if Alameel hadn't poured $2 million into his campaign. So in that very limited sense, I suppose you could call his campaign a success.