Friday, June 08, 2007

GOP "Emerging Leaders" Suddenly Non-Emergent

Have you heard of "Emerging Leaders Day?" Here's a quick explanation:
Emerging Leaders Day is a biennial opportunity for aspiring Democratic legislators to spend the day "serving" with current House Democratic lawmakers. During Emerging Leaders Day, community leaders from around the state learn the nuts and bolts of the legislative process and get a firsthand view of democracy at work.

Please join us to learn how to serve Oregon by serving in the Oregon Legislature. Emerging leaders from all 60 Oregon legislative districts are welcome.

When: Thursday, June 7th, 8 am - 3 pm

Where: Oregon State Capitol, Salem
You'll note the date as yesterday, and I should also tell you that the state Republicans do the same thing as a recruitment tool for their own party, although they may not call it that; I couldn't find a matching reference from Majority 2006, the House Republican PAC (The Dems' FuturePAC runs their recruitment day festivities).

Now, let's pre-disclaim the story here: one should not under any circumstances confuse Emerging Leader Day with an accurate or proportional suggestion of who will run for the legislature the following year, and in in which districts. It is fairly widely considered to be a useful barometer of early interest, however--kind of like the kids who sign up for the campus tour at a prospective college the first week they're eligible. There's no guarantee all of them are going to end up at that school (or running for office), but if there's a big crowd you gotta figure there's decent interest, right?

Which is what makes the turnout for the respective events something to ponder. The Democrats hosted over 100 prospective candidates, meaning in absolute raw terms that there were nearly two potentials for each district in the state, regardless of party. Staffers I talked to were quietly thrilled--people are starting to come out of the woodwork and step up for their party.

The Republican crowd? Fourteen. That's the number I got from Democratic staffers who peeked inside the GOP's conference room and counted. I would absolutely love to confirm that number for you, and I definitely tried, but Carla and I couldn't get a callback from the Republicans if we told them it was Karl Rove and we'd just caught an illegal alien trying to register to vote while getting his driver's license. So if someone who knows would like to cite a more accurate tally, you know where to find us.

Your score once again:
Democrats--- 100
Republicans-- 14

Do you think the GOP is having a little trouble motivating the troops these days? :)