October 25, 2006

Use It Or Lose It: Updated

Chris Bowers noticed a short while ago that although individual voters were being encouraged to shake the piggy bank to help the DSCC and the DCCC, that while the DNC was being asked to take out multi-million dollar loans to help in newly competitive races, elected Democrats in safe seats are sitting on over $50 million in campaign funds. A mere 30 percent of this excess would represent a cool $15 million for last minute advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Some of them are squirreling away that cash for future runs for higher office, but as many other bloggers have noted, nothing says 'I love you' to future donors like making a serious effort to get their views represented in Congress. And timing counts.

Bowers started the Use It Or Lose It campaign, since taken up by MoveOn, to encourage these Democrats to be charitable to the party at this critical time. Wave after wave of scandal piled on top of dissatisfaction with the Iraq war has made more seats competitive than anyone expected. It's the best chance Democrats have had to make serious gains in Congress in years.

Here in Washington State, only one member of Congress made Bowers' list, Rep. Norm Dicks, of the 6th District (WA-06), whose Republican opponent has raised less than $10,000. His campaign fund contained $373,466 as of September 30th, 30 percent of which is $112,040. That could be $50 thousand each towards the campaigns in Washington's 5th and 8th Districts.

You can reach Rep. Dicks' Washington or DC offices at these numbers:

WA 253-272-5884
DC 202-225-5916

Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon writes at MyDD about his efforts to elect other Democrats, noting that he's paid all of his party dues and has directed over 60 percent of the money he's raised this cycle to other efforts, so Oregon is pretty well represented by it's sole appearant on the list. The rest of us left coast denizens still have some work to do, though. For example, if you're one of our many California readers, the Use It Or Lose It page lists 10 California Democrats could afford to give 30 percent of their cash on hand to help out during this critical election. Here are Bowers' tips for calling:

1. Be Polite
2. Be prepared for pushback
3. Tell them that this is an extraordinary situation because so many Republican seats are in play
4. Tell them that other Democrats have given more than 30%
5. Give them a way to contact you when they decide how much to pledge
6. Only call Democrats in your home state

What I particularly like about this campaign is that, even if your household finances are in a bit of disarray (if that isn't being overly charitable,) you can still help shake loose some money for your state's Democratic candidates and the national campaign efforts. It's the people power thing again. Even if the only thing you have to your (political) name is a vote, even if one phone call is all you can make time for, you can still make yourself heard. And if this effort is successful, if it shifts the behavior of congressional Democrats, if it makes what might be critical differences in races where we stand to win only by the skin of our teeth, imagine the difference it could make in how the Democratic Party operates going forward.

Happy election season, everyone :)

Update: John Kerry answers bloggers about his own efforts to raise money for other Democrats and his ongoing contributions to the national campaigns. And yes, he was indeed very generous to the Washington State Democratic Party when they needed money to pay the recount costs for the governor's race in 2004.

Norm Dicks of our own WA-05 is on board for over $100,000. That's some mighty fine goodwill he's laying in for the future. To corrupt an Eskimo saying, the best place for a candidate to store their extra cash may, in fact, be in someone else's campaign fund.

Posted by natasha at October 25, 2006 02:17 AM | WA Politics | Technorati links |
Comments

Ya, I did the google bomb on my own server space.

Posted by: paradox at October 25, 2006 06:29 PM

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