FIGHT 4 PUBLIC OPTION: 400,00 Carrots for Progressive Reps?

Firedoglake led a whipcount to find which members of Congress would support the Public Option.

It worked: 60 members of the House made it clear they won't vote for a bill without a public option.

In three days, FDL and partners raised nearly $400,000 for progressive members of Congress who agree to draw a line in the sand over a public plan.

You, too, can offer carrots to these progressive politicians at ACT Blue:

Kicking Off the Expand the Map! ActBlue Page for the 2010 Cycle

Last cycle, I started an ActBlue page specifically for Democratic Senate candidates working to pick up seats held by Republicans.  I named it the Expand the Map! ActBlue page because the goal was to expand the map of competitive Senate seats.  The effort was a big success, achieving over 300 contributions and $40,000 for the Democratic Senate candidates included on the page.

Today, I kicked off the 2010 edition of the Expand the Map! ActBlue page with three Democratic candidates for Senate: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes, and Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak.

Click here to visit the Expand the Map! ActBlue page!

In New Hampshire and Missouri, we have the strongest candidates available, candidates who will also make terrific Democratic Senators.  In both races, however, fundraising will always be a top priority.  Missouri Republican Roy Blunt will be able to tap his lobbyist buddies and corrupt cronies for cash ad nauseum.  No doubt the NRSC will also make holding New Hampshire a top priority; and the D.C. GOP establishment has already begun fawning over Palin-esque quitter Kelly Ayotte.  Carnahan and Hodes need our support!  A few years back, all four of New Hampshire's and Missouri's combined Senate seats were held by Republicans.  Wouldn't it feel great to have flipped all four?

In Pennsylvania, y'all know the deal.  Arlen Specter was a Republican Senator for decades.  Even though he changed his Party affiliation, he's still not a Democrat as far as I'm concerned.  Joe Sestak is a real Democrat, and he - not Specter - should win the Democratic primary.  But Specter has a significant edge when it comes to campaign cash; and, Ed Rendell will do all he can to shut off Sestak's fundraising.  Let Specter, Rendell, etc. know that they can't shut down the netroots by supporting Sestak!

Please, please, please help kick off the 2010 cycle's Expand the Map! effort by sending these highly deserving Democrats a few bucks.  $100 makes a huge difference, $20 makes a huge difference, $10 makes a huge difference!  Hop over to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page and make your voice heard.

This is not just a contribution to these Democrats' campaigns.  This is a contribution toward slowing and eventually stopping Republican obstruction in the U.S. Senate.  Thank you SO much!

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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Roundup of news on U.S. House races

Congratulations to Judy Chu, the newly elected member of Congress from California's 32nd district. On Tuesday Chu easily defeated Republican Betty Chu by 61.7 percent to 33.1 percent in this strongly Democratic district. She will replace Hilda Solis, who left Congress to become Barack Obama's secretary of labor.

Over at Swing State Project, James L. posted a big chart containing second quarter fundraising and cash-on-hand numbers for most U.S. House incumbents and major challengers. Click over to read about some names and numbers that jumped out for him. Among the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 41 Frontline incumbents, Jim Hines (CT-04) raised the most money last quarter, and Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) raised the least.

James L.'s overall conclusion:

I'm struck by the lackluster sums from many highly-touted candidates on both sides of the aisle. For the Dems, Michael Bond (IL-10), Charlie Justice (FL-10), Paula Flowers (TN-03), and Bill Hedrick (CA-44) in particular will need to step up their game. But many GOP candidates had pretty underwhelming quarters, too: Charles Djou (HI-01), Sid Leiken (OR-04), Jon Barela (NM-01) and Frank Guinta (NH-01) were all well south of $100K this quarter. (If you can't out-raise Carol Shea-Porter, something is wrong with you.) No doubt the crappy economy is tightening the cash flow for many candidates right now, but these candidates will have to start finding the money sooner rather than later.

In other House fundraising news, fans of Congressman Tom Perriello (VA-05) will be pleased to know that Republican Virgil Goode, whom Perriello defeated last November, raised just $154 during the second quarter. That's one hundred and fifty-four dollars. Sounds to me like Goode isn't eager for a rematch, although he does still have around $139,000 cash on hand from last year's campaign. Perriello raised about $213,000 during the second quarter and has about $381,000 on hand.

In other bad news for Republicans hoping to make gains in the House next year, incumbent Jim Gerlach (PA-06) announced plans to run for governor of Pennsylvania, forcing the GOP to defend his seat in the Philadelphia suburbs. Also, Congressman Mark Kirk (IL-10) appears likely to run for Barack Obama's old Senate seat in 2010 instead of for re-election to his House seat. Taniel noted at Campaign Diaries,

IL-10 and PA-06 are two of only six districts that voted for John Kerry in 2004 but that are still represented by Republicans. Both men somehow survived the blue waves of the past two cycles but their situation was simply not tenable and it is not surprising seeing either of them flee their district.

If Mike Castle decides to run for Joe Biden's old Senate seat in Delaware, Republicans will also have to defend the at-large House seat Castle has held for a long time. That seat has the second-highest Democratic voting performance of all Republican-held House districts (after LA-02). Incidentally, why do journalists let Republicans like Castle take credit for stimulus spending they voted against?

With the economy likely to get worse before it gets better, Democrats could still be in for a rough election cycle next year. However, every tough district Republicans have to defend will siphon money away from districts the GOP is trying to pick up.

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DNC Outraises RNC in May

The Hotline's Jennifer Skalka has the details:

The DNC, which has lagged its Republican counterpart in fundraising so far this year, outraised the RNC in May by almost $3M.

The DNC took in $8.37M, compared with the RNC's $5.7M. The RNC has significantly more cash in the bank, however, $21.5M to the DNC's $12.1M.

With the Democrats already having consistently atched or even outraised the Republicans for the past four years despite not controlling the White House, there appears to be little reason why a Democratic National Committee, aided by a popular Democratic President, wouldn't be able to bring in more campaign cash than the Republican National Committee. So here's to hoping this is the beginning of a trend rather than an aberration.

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PA-Sen: Arlen Specter's Desperate Fundraising Tactics

Arlen Specter appears even more desperate as his fundraising pleas are getting ever more shameless.  You of course recall about a month ago when it came out that the cancer awareness website that Specter supported was really a fundraising gimmick for Specter's re-election campaign.  Now it's being reported that, when Specter attends conferences to speak on policy, completely unrelated to his campaign efforts, he's still making fundraising pleas to the unwitting attendees:

It's no secret that cash rules political campaigns and that candidates spend a lot of their time trying to pry checks out of voters, businesses and interest groups and just about whoever. It's usually done discreetly at fundraisers held in places like the back room of a restaurant or the home of a prominent supporter.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) isn't so shy, apparently.

In an unusual move, Specter pleaded with a roomful of conference attendees Wednesday: Please write me a check. Members of Congress give talks at industry meetings all the time but they rarely - if ever - straight up ask for dough in public, especially when reporters are lurking about.

Specter was finishing up brief speech about healthcare reform to an audience of medical equipment suppliers when he closed his remarks with a fundraising pitch.

"My last [campaign] cost $23 mil. So I'd like you to consider giving me a hand with it. Campaign contributions are limited in the federal system so I have to get 50,000 contributors and the people in your industry have a reason to know my work and analysis of the situation. If you can see your way to help out, I'd be very much appreciative," Specter said.

Again, that pitch wasn't at a campaign fundraiser among supporters.  It was at health care policy conference in a roomful of medical equipment suppliers who came to hear a legislator speak on policy, not a candidate pitch his re-election campaign.  Pretty shameless, and it reeks of desperation.

Sure, Specter enjoys a large fundraising edge over Congressman Joe Sestak.  As of the end of March, Specter had a 2-to-1 edge over Sestak in campaign bankroll, $6.7 million to $3.3 million.  But a 2-to-1 fundraising edge - even with Ed Rendell, the DNC, and others working for him - might not be enough for Specter to maintain the edge on Sestak.

Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania Democrats want Specter to receive a primary challenge.  Specters knows this - and that may be why he's desperately pleading with policy conference attendees to cut checks for him in a most unseemly fashion.

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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