Dick Morris gets another GOP candidate to run -- and touts him on Fox News (without disclosure)
Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
In December, Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris encouraged Washington state Republican Paul Akers to run for the U.S. Senate. Since then, Morris has repeatedly promoted Akers on Fox News -- without disclosing that he encouraged Akers to run.
Akers isn't the only GOP candidate running because of Dick Morris. As Media Matters previously noted, Wisconsin candidate Ron Johnson announced in May that he's running for the U.S. Senate because he saw Morris on Fox imploring "rich" people from Wisconsin to challenge Sen. Russ Feingold (D). After Johnson entered the race, Morris asked people to give Johnson money. Media Matters contacted Johnson's campaign to ask if they've had any discussions with Morris; the campaign has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
A July 12 article in The Columbian reports that Akers "decided to enter the race after seeking the opinion of political insider Dick Morris last December about whether a candidate with his background -- a political novice who started a business from scratch 13 years ago and grew it even during the recent recession -- could win a U.S. Senate seat. After hearing his story, Morris gave him the thumbs-up, he said -- and didn't even charge him for the advice."
In a May interview posted on the conservative website Red County, Akers said that Morris spoke with him for 2.5 hours and told him he "can win":
Paul Akers: I'm very, very grateful for Dick's support. We met in New York for 2 1/2 hours and discussed my candidacy. He saw my potential and told me "you can win." His support for me has been consistent since then. But it's up to me to make it happen. And Dick has never been paid or in any other way compensated for his support of me. It's been completely voluntary on his part.
All I did was ask Dick Morris about running for the Senate. I was not sought out by anyone. I am definitely an outsider. I'm an innovator, not a politican. It's that simple.
Morris has repeatedly touted Akers candidacy on Fox News. On the April 14 edition of America's Newsroom, Morris said that Akers has a "good shot" of winning. On February 8, Morris told Sean Hannity that "Akers has a good shot." And on the February 5 edition of On the Record, Morris told Greta Van Susteren that "there's a good candidate in Washington, a guy named Paul Akers." On all three programs, there was no mention that Morris encouraged Akers to run.
Morris wrote about Akers in his book, 2010: Take Back America: A Battle Plan. The Akers campaign issued a press release noting Morris' mention.
Morris also promoted Akers on the Dennis Miller radio program, and in his columns. Morris wrote in a February 15 column that "Senator Patty Murray may hear footsteps behind her with the entry into the race of wealthy businessman Paul Akers and the possible entry of former almost-Governor Dino Rossi." And on February 8, Morris wrote that "in Washington State, innovative businessman (and millionaire) Paul Akers is likely to run against Patty Murray. The Washington State senator only won with 55% of the vote last time, a poor performance for a three term incumbent. Akers' company takes new technologies, buys them, and then uses them to create jobs. He should give Murray a tough race which he could end up winning."
Despite Morris' promotions and advice, well-known Washington state politician Dino Rossi -- not Akers -- is the current front-runner for the GOP nomination. Morris, Akers may be chagrined to learn, has a notorious history of incorrectly predicting the political future, perhaps best seen with his 2005 book about the 2008 presidential election, Condi vs. Hillary.