Tara Dowdell: I Didn’t Pave the Way for Randall Pinkett’s Lt. Governor Run

NBC News political researcher Domenico Montanaro may want to start doing some, ah, political research.

Last week on MSNBC.com, Domenico cited a report about former Apprentice contestant Tara Dowdell having run for political office.

But as Tara tells BlogTalkRadio, nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only that, the erroneous report has since gone viral, causing Tara to have to field calls from scores of inquisitive friends and relatives.

CAPTION: "The only political office I have ever run for is student body president," Tara (above) tells us.

"The only political office I have ever run for is student body president," Tara (above) tells us.

“My aunt called my mom and said, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t tell us Tara ran for office!’” Tara tells us. “It’s pretty embarrassing.”

The trouble began on July 10, when PolitckerNJ.com, which covers New Jersey politics, reported that the Garden State’s governor, Jon Corzine, is “reportedly considering Apprentice Season 4 winner Randal Pinkett to run on his ticket for Lt. Governor. Also an Apprentice contestant that season: Tara Dowdell, who worked as an aide to Gov. James E. McGreevey.”

On that front, Tara tells us, “Though I’m flattered, I’m not sure where that rumor comes from, as I have never been approached by Governor Corzine or his staffers about a possible candidacy.”

Two days later, CQPolitics.com, the website of the Congressional Quarterly, wrote:

“Oddly enough, as PolitickerNJ.com’s Wally Edge points out, while Pinkett would be the first African-American to run statewide as the nominee of a major party in New Jersey, he would not be the first reality TV star to run for office in New Jersey – that distinction already is held by Tara Dowdell, who once worked for disgraced former Gov. Jim McGreevey.”

While it is true that Tara, who resides in N.J., did work for the former gov (as director of appointments, from 2002 to 2003), she has never sought political office in any state.

The source of Tara's woes.

The source of Tara's woes.

Still, a day after CQPolitics.com’s report, Domenico wrote on MSNBC’s FirstRead:

“CQ Politics calls Gov. Jon Corzine’s possible choice of reality TV star Randall Pinkett as candidate for lieutenant governor a ‘Hail Mary’ pass,” before going on to cite CQ’s reporting as follows:

“But ‘oddly enough, while Pinkett would be the first African-American to run statewide as the nominee of a major party in New Jersey, he would not be the first reality TV star to run for office in New Jersey. That distinction is already held by (another Apprentice alum) Tara Dowdell, who once worked for disgraced former Gov. Jim McGreevey.’”

On BlogTalkRadio’s Let’s Get Real this week, however, Tara finally sets the record straight.

“MSNBC said I had run for office. They said that Randall Pinkett is not going to be the first reality-TV contestant to run for statewide office because that distinction belongs to Tara Dowdell,” Tara, who now works as a political and marketing consultant, tells host Reuben Torres.

“There are some other distinctions, but that particular distinction does not belong to me,” she adds. “I have never run for public office.”

To hear Tara’s full interview, click here.

One thought on “Tara Dowdell: I Didn’t Pave the Way for Randall Pinkett’s Lt. Governor Run

  1. Domenico Montanaro

    I only recently came across your post here and thought I’d respond. While we, at First Read, always appreciate being linked to, I thought I’d clear up some misunderstandings that you, and Ms. Dowdell have about how we do things. The language in the referenced post above is not ours. We quoted verbatim (as you can tell by the quotes used) a CQ blog post with this language. We attribute it directly to CQ and link to it. http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/in_the_right/2009/07/could-corzines-long-ball-end-u.html

    At First Read, we compile clips for our morning e-mail that is chopped up and published in a variety of posts after 9 am ET. The “posted by” at the top of each post does not signify authorship. That comes in the “From NBC’s…” section. That is at the top of our First Thoughts analysis each morning and includes myself, NBC’s Deputy Political Director Mark Murray and NBC’s Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd.

    As always, feel free if you have any questions to ask first.

    -Domenico Montanaro

    Reply

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