Last night, Mark and I drove out to Henrietta, a suburb of Rochester, to see Eric Massa
speak to a group of local Democrats. Massa had just come from the final debate with Randy Kuhl, and he was clearly pumped up. The first thing he said when he shook my hand was that "we just won another debate." The excitement I saw for Massa during my time in Rochester was unlike anything I had ever seen for any candidate when I lived in the region, except perhaps for Marty Mack when he ran against James Walsh back in 1996. There is a growing sense among Democrats in the area that not only does Massa just look and feel like a winner, but that Kuhl has been acting lately as though he has already lost. Several times in the past week, Kuhl has referred to his time in Washington entirely in the past tense, as though it was a cherished memory that he won't be adding to from now on.
Massa did not have a long time to talk, but he did talk about something that connect to what I wrote on the Philadelphia suburbs below. He said that after these elections, Rochester would have enough Democratic congress people to form its own caucus. He mentioned how it was strange for a city with only 1.1 million in its metro area to have four congressional seats, but that together they could form a powerful combination: Louise Slaughter's leadership, the business knowledge of Jack Davis
, Eric Massa's
national security expertise and Dan Maffei's
encyclopedic knowledge of seemingly everything. Rochester is a small city, only one-sixth the size of Philadelphia, but a regional realignment in the Flower City (there is some trivia for you) would have nearly as much impact on these and future elections as would a realignment in my adopted home. And damn, it was just so good to see a candidate so pumped and excited. It reminded me of seeing Howard Dean on the campaign trail.
Some of Massa's biggest supporters are the guys who write at the best area blog, Rochester Turning
. The night before, Mark and I spent some time hanging out with them at Monty's Korner, which is also where the Rochester Drinking Liberally is held every Thursday at 8:30. These are smart guys. They have already managed to change local TV coverage
, founded a popular Drinking Liberally, make excellent use of online video
, and make strong connections to local Democratic campaigns and progressive organizations. It is all very impressive stuff for a blog that is only a few months old. It has all the makings of becoming a powerhouse regional blog, and serving as a hub for local netroots activity. And so the progressive movement continues to grow in another region of the country.
In the end, Mark and I did not have the time to make it up to the Utica area to visit Michael Arcuri's campaign in the NY-24. Still, it was fantastic to be back home for a couple of days, and see progressives on the rise in my home region. In addition to activism, traveling, and getting to see my family, we also got to drink some fine local beers. I will need a couple of days to recover, and I also have to attend to matters in my home precinct, but this weekend I will be back out on the campaign trail in the Philadelphia suburbs. Coupling an all-blue Rochester caucus with an all-blue Philadelphia caucus would be a powerful combination. I know that you are probably exhausted by fundraisers at this point, but I would love to see us reach twenty donors for every candidate on the Backyard Act Blue page
. We only have three more weeks to make this happen. This is you last chance to make a difference in our biggest electoral opportunity in a generation. Get out there and do whatever you can: knock on doors, make phone calls
from home, and chip in that spare $5 you might have sitting around
. Find some way near you to get as involved as you possibly can. This is our big chance.