Monday, July 02, 2007

Novick Threatens 200K for Quarter, and Threatens it Good

Well, they sure do count fast over at Novick Central:
Today Steve Novick for U.S. Senate announced that the campaign had raised over $190,000 in the second quarter and was adding two paid staff, Jake Weigler as campaign manager and Aviva Groner as its finance coordinator.

“It is great that so many people share our vision of how to help Gordon Smith to a well-deserved retirement,” said Novick. “The fact that over 600 of them have already contributed to our campaign is a clear signal that we are well on our way.”
Ah yes, the other news is the apparatus. Weigler did a fine job in his prior role as Deputy Communcations Director for GuvTed as the parade of bills made their way from the dome to Mahonia, and Groner is a veteran of successful campaigns.

Regardless of whether he plans to run an insurgency-style campaign or not, Novick is surrounding himself with known players in the Oregon Democratic sphere. As he attempts to transition from "friends and family money" to stranger money, the comfort level with those professionals--particularly Groner--will be important. According to Novick's release, Cliff Trow, former Corvallis State Senator and leader of the Senate Democrats from 1996 to 1999 said, “Steve's campaign is clearly gathering momentum around the state. Those of us who worked with Steve when he was chief of staff to the Democrats in the State Senate know how good he is at building a team and generating energy and excitement. That's what he did for us in 1997 and '98, and that's what he's doing now.”

There's a long way to go, and now that the 1st tier group has abdicated the race there appears to be no shortage of folks considering a run. Among speculated newcomers are Jeff Merkley and Paul Evans, adding to the four or five other potential candidates already said to be mulling and ruminating. Who actually enters will have an impact on how Steve positions himself and what kind of campaign he'll run.

Of anyone mentioned, Merkley changes the game the most by placing a traditional Democrat with the traditional resume' and strong Portland ties into the fray. As someone said elsewhere, the debates could approach Lincoln-Douglas stature. But it would also force Novick into the insurgent's role, the gadfly's gadfly. And that's not necessarily Novick's sweet spot. Steve's angle is that he arrests you with his story and the confidence in his vision and principles.

Presenting as a new kind of candidate is more difficult with Merkley in the race, because it looks like a reaction to a perceived fault--that Novick has no electoral experience and Jeff is filthy with it--and more importantly Merkely can spin it as a positive where Gordon Smith cannot. In a general against Smith Novick can use Smith's experience against him; in a primary against Merkley the job is much tougher and exposes the only serious hole in his own profile.

All that's down the road, though. Right now Steve has to feel pretty good about where he sits, still the only candidate every news story mentions because he's the only one in. He has the foundation of a solid team, has put together good base funding in 10 weeks this far out (including an impressive $100,000 in netroots contributions), and is watching Gordon Smith's pedestal shake ever so imperceptibly the last couple of weeks. It's going to be a wild year and a half, people.

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