Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Earl Ponies Up for Party; What About Wu?

If you're not a copious blogreader, you may not be familiar with the leftist site MyDD, one of the biggies along with DailyKos in terms of activist community sites. And even then you may have missed the news that founder Chris Bowers has suddenly become somewhat of a media entity over the last few days for pushing two grand electoral ideas upon the body politic. One is the GoogleBomb, attempting to get the most damaging but credible news story for each potentially vulnerable GOP candidate to the top of Google's ranking system--and thus putting the worst angle on display for the Googling voter. We've already been involuntarily drafted into the effort at LO; I'm not sure how big a fan of the effort I am, and let me say now that I don't want to see lists like the one in this comment thread, so please don't put them there.

Bowers' other idea, however, is positively smashing. He calls it "Use it or Lose It," and the premise is that in this Democratic wave year, there are quite a few safe Democratic seats with incumbents sitting on top of unused campaign banks. The total approached $50mil for Congresspeople running unopposed or with token opposition, and so Bowers figured that if each candidate gave up to 30% of their remaining bank, the party could capture a truly historic reversal in control of the Legislature--something only possible if as many races as possible were solidly contended.

I've been back in Oregon long enough to know that if there's a good idea coming from the progressive wing of the party, Earl Blumenauer is probably not only aware of it, he's involved in it. This is an idea that's had currency for less than a week, now, and yet here's Earl at MyDD yesterday, showing everyone else in the Rayburn Building how to ride the Democratic wave:
I've been in the top 15% of members of Congress in support of other campaigns, more than many people much more senior than I and with more powerful committee positions. Indeed, when you're from a small state like Oregon, are perceived as being in a "safe" seat, and not tied to wealthy special-interests, it's difficult to raise money. Nonetheless, I've understood my responsibilities since I was first elected to Congress.
Between my work through LivPAC, my dues to the DCCC (to whom I've paid more than required) and the contributions I have asked for from my supporters that they make to others rather than me, I raised or gave away almost $750,000 this cycle - over 60% of a total campaign effort of almost $1.2 million. And that doesn't include the hundreds of hours of my staff's time I dedicated to raising money for competitive Democrats.

My remaining campaign resources will be spent on a "Get Out the Vote" effort in Oregon, staff, and regular operational expenses. It will also allow us to stay operational in 2007, so that we can get a jumpstart on the 2008 fight for control of Congress and the White House. Turnout is critical in the next two weeks and we all need to dedicate ourselves to making sure that we get our supporters to vote!
I hope that "Use It or Lose It" will encourage others to make sure that they are doing everything they can in these remaining two weeks. If we all do our part, there's no doubt in my mind that we'll regain control of the House and Senate and have victories up and down the ballot in Oregon. The bottom line for me is that I am deeply committed to the team effort. I've done more than anyone in the Northwest and at more levels -- local, state, and national -- and I'm not finished yet!
Rahm Emanuel ought to be using Earl to shame the rest of the caucus into kicking the kitty with a little love from the war chest. I'm not afraid to say it: I have a little man-crush on the way Earl Blumenauer, especially in the way he does his job. If I've had a policy disagreement with Earl in 4 years, I have no idea what it is. This is just more fodder for my idol-worship. He simply gets it.

My actual Congresswoman is Darlene Hooley in the 5th, who most pundits don't even have on their 50-seat radar. She's also got a sizeable bank, but she's facing the self-funded Mike Erickson and needs her dollars. Walden obviously is out, and Peter DeFazio is being fairly closely matched in money if not the polls in the 4th District. Who does that leave?

Wu, that's who. Wu, whose gradually bluing district bolstered registrations by two thousand extra Democrats from May to September {both pdf} this year, is facing the lesser but active political talents of Derrick Kitts. Wu is thus opposed with somewhat more serious intent than Blumenauer, who squares off in two weeks against a guy disqualified by the state for running for two different offices at once, but written in as the GOP nominee. Kitts has scraped together about 80 thousand dollars, and had 27 thousand left of it to spend in October.

Wu, on the other hand, reported over $560,000 at the end of September, and continued to raise funds into October ($8600 in a filing here). If there's been any polling in the district I haven't heard about it, and Kitts has been all but invisible, worse even than Voisin in my opinion in terms of the ability to get their message into the media.

So Wu's being opposed, but not seriously. And he's got over half a million dollars he's just sitting case. Thirty percent of that is $168,000, but we'll make it easy. Congressman Wu, when can we get your pledge to donate $150,000 to competitive candidates, or to one of the party funds (DCCC, DNC, DSCC)? The people writing and reading this blog and others like it, have done their part to give you a comfy cushion from which to watch your own fortunes rise in a Democratic House. We are absolutely correct in demanding accountability for the sacrifices made in the past to assist you and the party, and it can be a victory for all of us if well-funded incumbents like you seize the moment and help contest seats everywhere possible.

If you live in Wu's district, PLEASE email or dial (503) 228-4598 ASAP and ask him to part with some of his war chest so that he may be urged to do the right thing and help his fellows. Even out of district, I urge Oregonians to call. This is about working together for a common cause.

Get on it!