Monday, October 09, 2006

Blumenauer Hits the Road, Spreading Word and Coin

Rather than come straight home after the Congressional recess on September 29th, Portland's Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR3) took a detour to the Northeast, spending time doing the party work we all hoped he would undertake, given that he's running unopposed for re-election (and would have won even if the ghost of Ronald Reagan was on the ballot). Earl takes the time to tell people what he's been up to, courtesy of an email and coincident posting at Daily Kos, and if Earl is your Rep you have to feel pretty good about his report:
As I started a swing of four Congressional districts over four days in four different states in the Northeast, it was hard to imagine a worse set of circumstances for the Republicans. These four candidates I was traveling to support, all non-incumbents, exemplified why there is an excellent chance to change the control of Congress in the next session.

I was part of an environmental press conference that highlighted [New Jersey Assemblywoman Linda Stender's] outstanding grasp of the issues and commitment to the environment. In this difficult district, Linda has successfully mobilized public support, generated money and made it a very competitive race. It was with her that I first saw the swell of the public reaction to Foley and the dissembling on the part of the GOP leadership.

My next stop was with Chris Carney who is running against Don Sherwood in northeastern Pennsylvania. Chris is a university professor who is also a Commander in the Naval Reserve and an expert on terrorism. Chris and his wife of 19 years and five children could not be a better contrast to the district's 12 year incumbent, Don Sherwood. Sherwood gained national notoriety when his mistress called 911 after locking herself in a bathroom, claiming that Sherwood had been choking her. She subsequently sued him for $5.5 million, settling out of court with undisclosed terms. Sherwood was almost defeated in his Republican primary by an opponent who ran virtually no campaign other than she was not Don Sherwood, hypocritically running on family values and then failing to live up to them.

In this extraordinarily strong GOP district, Chris has been shown with a modest lead in the latest polls. I witnessed the enthusiasm and the energy as we worked with his dedicated staff and volunteers. The irony continued when House Majority Leader John Boehner visited the district for a cocktail party fundraiser at a local Country Club as Chris and I were discussing the problems of the GOP leadership. We pointed out that it would probably be a better use of the GOP leadership's time to get their stories straight and protect the young people in the page program than to engage in another political fundraiser.

The next day I was in New York with Mike Arcuri, an impressive three-term prosecutor running in a district represented by moderate Republican Sherry Boehlert, who is not seeking re-election. The Republicans have been throwing everything at Mike in a desperate attempt to hold on to the seat. Mike's proven credentials dealing with sex abuse investigations and sexual predators give him the skills to help deal with an appropriate resolution to the current problems in Washington.

Day Four was in Vermont where State Senate President Peter Welch is working hard to retain the seat being vacated by Bernie Sanders (an odds-on favorite to be elected to the US Senate). Peter and I had a series of events, including a fantastic forum on agriculture with Vermont farmers deeply disturbed by current policies and who are working hard on a vision of a sustainable farm future...we dined on a terrific lunch of Vermont farm products as we gained a deeper understanding of the challenge that small northeastern farmers face, it was fascinating how that information paralleled what I have been hearing from local Oregon farmers.
That last line is key, because it speaks to the appropriateness of having Earl go politicking in areas across the country from his home district--the message plays the same.

Unfortunately, of course, just talking a good game doesn't cut it anymore; you need cash, and lots of it. The happy problem Democrats have developed this cycle is that so many new seats seem to be coming up competitive over the last month or so, that trying to find funding help for all of them is nearly impossible. To that end, Kos has begun to urge people to let their well-banked Democratic incumbents know that they expect them to do their part to make the '06 wave as titanic as possible. As you can see from this meticulous report, Blumenauer's one of a very few House members to not only pay his full dues (and then some) directly to the DCCC, but to raise significant additional sums for D-Trip and Red to Blue--nearly $700,000 in all.

Portlanders, be sure not to take your man for granted! He's a gem, and as commenters to his diaries note, there are people who are quite jealous of the representation you're getting.