Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee

Cross posted at Dailykos

Here at MyDD, I have consistently pushed for both a full-fledged 50-state strategy (you know, that strategy that the DCCC and the DSCC apparently don't like) and for the grassroots and netroots to engage in what Jerome termed "the silent revolution," where progressive, reformist Democrats run for local party offices. It is in the spirit of those two philosophies that today I am announcing my run for Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.

The idea was first floated to me on Sunday night by my friend Kevin Scott, who serves with me on the committee for the Philadelphia Democratic Party in Ward 27. He informed me that the state party committee is composed of six members from each of the sixty state senatorial districts in Pennsylvania. However, in our district, district #8 (PDF map), only one person was on the ballot for state party committee. One out of six. This is in a state Senate district that is around 85%-90% Democratic. An active and vibrant party would have contested primaries for these six seats, not leave five of six vacant.

Even in this situation, I have to admit that I was reluctant to take Kevin up on his offer. In order to win one of the five vacant seats, someone would need 100 or more write-in votes on Election Day. I knew that would be a difficult task. This is not even to mention that I have a very full plate of political work already, and that I am not exactly the most popular person within the state Democratic Party (in fact, I sometimes wonder if I am the least popular Democrat within the state party). For these reasons, at first I resisted Kevin's offer completely. However, before the phone call ended, I agreed to at least think about it.

That was Sunday night. I spent the next day, Monday, observing the Lamont campaign in Connecticut. As I wrote yesterday, the experience brought back strong memories of the Dean campaign in 2003. While unsuccessful, Dean for America was the engine that propelled ideas like the silent revolution and the fifty-state strategy into mainstream status. Spending a day watching dozens of activists in Connecticut living out the silent revolution and the fifty-state strategy was a powerful reminder to me that in order to bring about the changes I desire, I had to do a lot more than just blog about it on MyDD. We cannot rely on other people to make these changes for us--we have to do it ourselves. On Tuesday morning, I called Kevin and told him I would accept his offer to run for state Democratic committee.

This is not going to be an easy campaign. One hundred write in votes is not an easy task, especially when you have only six days and five nights to pull it off. However, because of the ongoing success of the silent revolution in Philadelphia, I believe we can do it. We should be able to find more than enough votes simply through our friends, our ward committee (and their friends), a neighboring ward committee, Neighborhood Networks, the Penn Democrats, and local Democracy for America. In fact, the only reason we even have a chance to pull this off is because there is an ongoing, broadly based movement to transform and revitalize local Democratic politics. The Philadelphia silent revolution has made this opportunity possible

I believe that in the event I am elected to state Democratic committee, I can bring a lot to the table to help both the Pennsylvania State Party and the progressive reform movement. If I am on the Pennsylvania state committee, I believe that no other state party committee in the nation would possess greater knowledge about the nature of online political activity. I could bring valuable insight and skills on how to build a strong local blog scene to transform local media, and how to tap into the deep well of political activism that is the netroots. At the same time, I believe I can serve as a truly progressive voice within what strikes me as the generally conservative Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I could also push for important reforms such as greater intra-party democracy, challenging every Republican held office in the state, and fewer party endorsements in primaries. Overall, I think I would serve as a vital link between the established state party and the newly energized progressive reform movement. I believe that both groups can be changed, both groups can be strengthened, and that ultimately both groups are better off when they can work together in a sustainable progressive ecosystem.

If, on the off-chance that you happen to be a registered Democrat living in the eighth senatorial district of Pennsylvania, (PDF map) I am asking you right now to write in the following two names for state party committee on Tuesday, May 16th:

Christopher J. Bowers
Kevin W. Scott

Instructions on how to do so can be found in the extended entry.

Update: Write-in instructions clarified. Also, you can determine if you are in this district by using this nifty tool.
If you live in the district, here is how you write in these two votes:
  • 1) Find the box marked "Member of Democratic State Committee" (third from the bottom of the ballot).

  • 2) Press the "write-in" button for that section of the ballot. The square red button at the top of the machine will start blinking.

  • 3) Press the blinking red button. The black shutter next to it will automatically open, showing the paper.

  • 4) Write or stamp Christopher J. Bowers in that box.

  • 5) Pull down the black shutter, closing it.

  • 6) Repeat steps 1-5 with the name Kevin W. Scott.

  • NOTE: If you have any difficulties, poll workers will gladly assist you, even if you have already begun the voting process.
We may have stamps at some polling places, but I can't guarantee anything write now. Together we can make this happen, and bring about a brighter, more progressive future for Pennsylvania.

Tags: fifty state strategy, netroots, Primary Elections, Silent revolution (all tags)

Comments

24 Comments

Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania

arg, don't live anywhere near the 8th, but i think i know a few people who do.  will forward along the info.  good luck!

by Albert 2006-05-11 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania
Thanks man, I really appreciate it.
by Chris Bowers 2006-05-11 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania

That pdf map is hard to interpret. Here's another way to figure out if you or your friends are in the PA 8th:

Click here to get to the PA Gen. Ass'y site. In the top right corner, enter your ZIP+4 (there's a link to the USPS to figure out what the extra 4 digits are) to find out if you're in the 8th or not.

by FlyLeft 2006-05-11 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic

I'm up here in the Northeast, but good luck to both you and Kevin!

Also, even though you gave good instructions, if a voter still can't figure out how to write in your names, just step out of the booth and ask any of the poll workers for help. They should be happy to assist. The write-in box is at the top of the voting machine and if you can't easily reach it, ask to have the booth lowered - (easily done by pulling the
stabilizer bar in front out with one foot and tipping the machine carefully toward yourself).

by phillydem 2006-05-11 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: addendum

FTR, served as an election judge from 2001-2005 in NE Phila.

by phillydem 2006-05-12 01:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania

I wish you and Kevin the best of luck -- keep fighting the good fight!  I feel certain you'll get your votes.

by dumbledore 2006-05-11 10:30AM | 0 recs
Out of curiousity

Can you do stickers in PA or do write-ins actually have to be written in?

by sco 2006-05-11 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Out of curiousity
We are looking into it. We are pretty sure you can use stamps, but not stickers.
by Chris Bowers 2006-05-11 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic

need money? if so, how can people contibute??

by marksist 2006-05-11 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic
Good luck to you Chris, unforuntely I live out in the 19th and we have a special state senate election to replace the late Robert Thompson.  Anyway, would you be able to find out how many other open committee slots there are and how would we go about finding this information by ourselves?
Thanks and good luck
by steburke 2006-05-11 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For State Committee

If you win, does that affect your seat on the city committee?

by lutton 2006-05-11 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For State Committee
I don't think so. At least I hope not.
by Chris Bowers 2006-05-11 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic

The way you do this is to make a big sign that says "Democratic Voters Help Here" or something ... the goal is to get people when they go to the polls to vote to walk up to you before they cast their ballot.  You can then hand them a little slip of paper with your name, no other information - just the spelling etc on it and ask them to write you in (this of course depends on state law, in AZ this is how it works).

ODDS ARE the people voting have never met anyone running for state committee before and will do so just because you are a nice polite man who asked them.

I've helped do this three times before in az ... it works.

by Mister T in AZ 2006-05-11 12:35PM | 0 recs
Chris, I just wanted to say...

...how happy I am to see this. Ever since I started blogging in mid-2004, I've believed strongly that the blogosphere needs a few of its stars to step forward and run for, well, something. A congressional district, a State Democratic Committee, something.

I would love to see kos or one of the front-pagers over here do the same thing.

At some point in the next five years, I'm growing increasingly of the mind to try and run for the Ohio State Democratic Committee as well. I have much to learn first, but I'm of the mind to do it.

And my hope is that as MyDD, dailykos, and the rest continue to gain influence, there will be more and more progressive bloggers that make the same move.

by betterdonkeys 2006-05-11 01:27PM | 0 recs
(Cross-posted from dailykos n/t)

by betterdonkeys 2006-05-11 01:27PM | 0 recs
Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements to run for the state committee? Registered Democrat that is aged 18+?

by Matt42 2006-05-11 02:43PM | 0 recs
You go Chris!

You're an inspiration. Good luck. You've got to have 100 bloggers in your district who will write your name in!

by michael in chicago 2006-05-11 03:09PM | 0 recs
Chris Bowers T-Shirts

Get your T-Shirts

by Bob Brigham 2006-05-11 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For

Mark Cohen supports your campaign:

http://www.phillyblog.com/philly/showpos t.php?p=248540&postcount=2

Having a leading nationwide blogger--and Philly for Change member-- on the Democratic State Committee will be good for the Democratic Party. It will strengthen the belief of Rooney, Morabito, myself, and other active Democrats that the netroots are important, and will better lead to more netroots involvement in the Democratic Party organization.

So I join in urging all Democrats living in the Philadelphia portion of the 8th Senatorial District-- ably represented by Sen. Anthony Williams--to write in Chris Bowers for Democratic State Committee. (Delaware County residents of Senator Williams' district choose Democratic State Committee members in a Delaware county-wide election, and hence are not eligible to vote for Chris.)

by lutton 2006-05-11 04:33PM | 0 recs
run for Dem county committee in NYC

Hey anyone in NYC interested in running for Dem County Committee as part of a grassroots reform effort against a seriously corrupt (and sometimes in jail) Dem political machine email mole333 at-- gmail

Its Tamany Hall in this city and you can help us change that.

There are local reform candidates that need our support and running  as a netroots candidate for County Committee would make a huge difference.

by Our Gal in Brooklyn 2006-05-11 08:18PM | 0 recs
letter asking friends to help Chris win

I was feeling ambitious and just sent this to friends, including a number from or living in Philly. Posting here in case anyone else wants to do the same.

---

Hi friends,

I'm writing to ask your help in electing a guy named Chris Bowers to a position on the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.

Pretty obscure right, and how can you help? 

Well, he's entering late in the race as a write-in candidate, and the election is next Tuesday (May 16th), but all he needs is 100 votes.  I think we can help.

All we have to do to help is to find people who live the 8th senatorial district of Pennsylvania who will vote and who will listen when we say that this is a guy worth electing.  Many of you will just trust me on this, but I've included information below for people 2 or 3 degrees away who really want to know who they're voting for, and to help you decide who to forward this to.

Though this is a small down ticket race in a different state, I hope you'll join me in lending a hand to ensure the victory of a candidate I believe is well worth the effort.

Sincerely,
Jesse Kocher

Here's what I'm asking you to do:

  • If you don't live in the 8th senatorial district of Pennsylvania:
    Please send this to everyone you know who is from Philadelphia or who lives there now, and ask them to read this and pass it on to folks they know in the 8th district.
  • If you do live in the 8th district:
    1. Read on and see the write-in instructions at the bottom of this mail.
      To help you determine whether you live there, here's a map, (PDF)

Who is Chris Bowers?
Chris is a primary author at mydd.com, a popular political blog started in 2001.  Every day he writes articles covering political activity across the country, from big news topics that we hear about to things that aren't covered in the mainstream media.  Chris and others at MyDD have been core players in the rise of the Netroots, the new online-based grassroots movement that has been taking shape over the last few years and continues to get more organized and more effective.  Chris is a progressive with realistic approaches to improving the democratic party, building a new progressive movement, and supporting good candidates across the country to win more elections.  Chris is a sharp political thinker with a good heart and tremendous energy.  We've been lucky to have him online and Pennsylvania is now lucky to have him taking a greater plunge into PA politics.

Progressives would be hard pressed to find any better candidate anywhere in the country.  While short on experience for positions like president or senator, Chris is an ideal candidate for the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.

Here's a brief statement from Chris:
I believe that in the event I am elected to state Democratic committee, I can bring a lot to the table to help both the Pennsylvania State Party and the progressive reform movement. If I am on the Pennsylvania state committee, I believe that no other state party committee in the nation would possess greater knowledge about the nature of online political activity. I could bring valuable insight and skills on how to build a strong local blog scene to transform local media, and how to tap into the deep well of political activism that is the netroots. At the same time, I believe I can serve as a truly progressive voice within what strikes me as the generally conservative Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I could also push for important reforms such as greater intra-party democracy, challenging every Republican held office in the state, and fewer party endorsements in primaries. Overall, I think I would serve as a vital link between the established state party and the newly energized progressive reform movement. I believe that both groups can be changed, both groups can be strengthened, and that ultimately both groups are better off when they can work together in a sustainable progressive ecosystem.

If you need to learn more (or skip ahead to the "How To" section)
Here's a link to a 2005 post by Chris about Why No Progressives Are Running in 2008, that I think will help people get a sense of the sharp national political thinking that Chris engages in daily on MyDD.  He sees the big picture, the history, the behind the scene influencers, the current climate, and then, in other articles you'll see him drill down to pick battles and argue policy, party platforms, legislative strategy, campaign tactics, media practices, polling strategy, party in-fighting, and more. 

Chris recently took the plunge and got involved in local politics directly as a Committeeperson in Ward 27, believing that we need more good candidates everywhere and that he needs to walk the talk if he's asking others to step up and run for something.  Chris will bring to the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee all of his knowledge of local, state, and national politics, progressive movement building, online organizing, and party reform.  He is a tremendous individual, and comes with the benefit of his MyDD peers and network, who will help him do great things in the PA Democratic party.

In case you want more, here's a post covering Chris's First Ward Committee Endorsement Meeting.

How to vote for Chris
If, on the off-chance that you happen to be a registered Democrat living in the eighth senatorial district of Pennsylvania, (PDF map), please write in the following for state party committee on Tuesday, May 16th:

Christopher J. Bowers
Chris also recommends a second write-in candidate: Kevin W. Scott

Details on how to write in these two votes:

  • 1) Find the box marked "Member of Democratic State Committee" (third from the bottom of the ballot).
  • 2) Press the "write-in" button for that section of the ballot. The square red button at the top of the machine will start blinking.
  • 3) Press the blinking red button. The black shutter next to it will automatically open, showing the paper.
  • 4) Write or stamp Christopher J. Bowers in that box.
  • 5) Pull down the black shutter, closing it.
  • 6) Repeat steps 1-5 with the name Kevin W. Scott.
  • NOTE: If you have any difficulties, poll workers will gladly assist you, even if you have already begun the voting process.
by jeko 2006-05-12 02:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For PA State Dem Committee

Good for you, Chris. And best of luck, brother. You inspire us all by stepping up to the plate and working hard. If I could, I'd vote for you for sure. Repeatedly. 125 times. (Takes into account a margin of error and also potential challenge/recount if voters have to use Diebold machines. :)). Hope to see you in Vegas.

by Sun Tzu 2006-05-12 08:18AM | 0 recs
Craptacular Committee of 70 map

As some people have pointed out, the Committee of 70's map is confusing (and even wrong) for the border of the 8th district through the 46th and 60th ward. (I happen to live on a block that seems to be in the 8th district on the map, but I definitely live in the 7th.) The 8th contains all of the 60th ward EXCEPT divisions 1, 2, 8, 12, and 23; and all of the 46th ward EXCEPT divisions 18, 19, 22, and 23.

Also, several DelCo suburbs that used to be in the 26th are now in the 8th (no doubt to give Ted Erickson a more favorable district): Yeadon, Lansdowne, Darby, Collingdale, Colwyn, Sharon Hill, the part of Darby Twp. by Cobbs Creek, Folcroft, Norwood, Prospect Park, and Ridley Park.

This map and this map are accurate, but not terribly detailed. As someone else noted, this is the best way to find out your district. Also, if Anthony Williams sends you mail, you're in the 8th.

by bschak 2006-05-12 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris Bowers For Pennsylvania State Democratic

Oh, also, if you haven't already, you should contact the Penn Dems. I know they were trying to get students to send in absentee ballots. Most of the off-campus Penn students, two of the three highrise dorms, and all the dorms in the Quad are all in the 8th.

by bschak 2006-05-12 12:29PM | 0 recs

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