Use It Or Lose It 2008
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 11:02:30 AM EDT
Yesterday Sven at My Silver State posted a diary here on MyDD detailing the amount each member of the Senate Democratic caucus has given to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- the entity charged with seeking to grow the Democratic ranks in the upper chamber of Congress, with the goal this cycle or next of attaining a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority. This listing came on the heels of reports that Joe Lieberman, who has endorsed John McCain for President, has contributed $115,000 to the DSCC this year (on top of roughly that same amount contributed during the previous calendar year).
The listing isn't a perfect measure for gauging members' support for the DSCC -- it does not include the amount members have directly raised for the committee this cycle, for instance -- but it is a good start towards seeing the extent to which individual Senators are willing to be team players in creating a significantly larger majority that would greatly increase the likelihood of progressive legislation getting through Congress in the next two years. Looking through the list, there are a few names that stand out:
- Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who is not up for reelection until 2010, has contributed just $15,000 to the DSCC through his PAC (not listed in Sven's post, but I'm told this is the accurate figure) despite the fact that he has more than $10.6 million in the bank in his campaign account.
- Tom Harkin, who is up for reelection this cycle, has contributed $20,000 while his campaign cash-on-hand sits at $4.1 million. For reference, Harkin's GOP challenger has $293 in the bank, and the polling puts Harkin up at least 15 points.
- John Kerry, who is also up for reelection this year, has given $32,000 to the DSCC ($30,000 through his PAC, plus a $2,000 check from his wife). He is currently sitting on close to $8.9 million in the bank (compared with less than $35,000 for his GOP opponent), and consistently leads by more than 20 points in the polls. In 2006, Kerry contributed $250,000 to the committee following that year's Use It Or Lose It effort.
- Max Baucus faces the voters in Montana this year. Baucus has already contributed north of $600,000 to the DSCC, but still has $5.5 million in the bank at a time when his opponent has not yet filed campaign finance reports.
- Jay Rockefeller is up for reelection in West Virginia this fall. He has contributed $350,000 to the DSCC, and may still need some of the $3.3 million he has on hand for his efforts this fall (though he is not considered vulnerable whatsoever at this juncture).
There are other names on the list, which is worth going through, but these names stand out as members who could potentially afford to contribute more to the effort to reach 60 seats in the Senate by making transfers to the DSCC.
So I am with desmoinesdem, Sven, and the others who would like to see another Use It Or Lose It effort this fall. We here at MyDD are already doing our part to help out by contributing to candidates on the Road to 60 Act Blue page, but further effort could be used in politely -- politely -- asking members to dig a little deeper into their campaign accounts to help the DSCC expand the map and increase the likelihood of achieving a filibuster-proof margin in the chamber. Remember, this is money that they have raised, money that is under their control to use as they see fit (within the political context), so be respectful and do not make a demand. But if you ask nicely, it's just possible that they will see fit to transferring a bit more money to the DSCC, thus increasing the chances at a filibuster proof margin this fall.
Here are the email contacts for Evan Bayh (email@example.com), Tom Harkin (link to contact form), John Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org), Max Baucus (link to contact), and Jay Rockefeller (email@example.com). Be polite, be respectful, and we might just get something done.