Petition to the new DCCC Chair: Support our Candidates!

I recall reading that Newt Gingrich advised Republican candidates who lost House races by less than 10% to run again in the next election; some of the infamous Class of '94 freshmen who rode the Republican wave into the House had run close races in '92, and some of '94's losers won seats in '96.  I think this is one Gingrich idea we need to adopt -- and further, we need to push the DCCC to adopt it as well.

What I would ideally like to see is a petition with a huge number of signatures delivered to the new DCCC chair on his or her first day on the job.  I think would be the ideal forum for collecting signatures -- on-line petition drives are a large part of what they do, and their mailing list can generate literally millions of signatures in a matter of days.

If anyone on MyDD has contacts in the management of, I would greatly appreciate your help in bringing this to their attention; I intend to submit it via their feedback form after incorporating any comments or suggestions from the MyDD community which seem useful.  I'd especially appreciate any information on who the new DCCC chair is likely to be, what the selection process is, and when we'll know for certain.

(petition text below the fold)

The petition would read as follows:

In the interest of expanding the new Democratic majority in the house, we believe that any candidate who lost election to the House this year by less than 10% should be encouraged to run again in 2008 and strongly supported if they choose to do so and win their primaries.  (We do not believe that the DCCC should involve itself in the primary election process.) We, the undersigned, ask that the DCCC pledge its full support to the following thirty House candidates in the event that they choose to run again in 2008 and win the Democratic nomination in their districts:

AZ-01 Ellen Simon (44% to Rick Renzi's 51%)
CA-04 Charlie Brown (46% to John Doolittle's 49%)
CO-04 Angie Paccione (43% to Marilyn Musgrave's 46%)
CT-04 Diane Farrell (48% to Christopher Shays' 51%)
FL-08 Charles Stuart (46% to Ric Keller's 53%)
FL-13 Christine Jennings (118,729 votes to Vern Buchanan's 119,102, assuming current totals hold)†
ID-01 Larry Grant (45% to Bill Sali's 50%)††
IL-06 Tammie Duckworth (49% to Pete Roskam's 51%)
IL-10 Dan Seals (47% to Mark Kirk's 53%)
IN-03 Thomas Hayhurst (46% to Mark Souder's 54%)
KY-04 Ken Lucas (44% to Geoff Davis' 51%)
MI-07 Sharon Renier (46% to Tim Walberg's 51%)
MI-09 Nancy Skinner (46% to Joe Knollenberg's 52%)
MN-06 Patty Wetterling (42% to Michele Bachman's 50%)
NV-02 Jill Derby (45% to Dean Heller's 51%)
NV-03 Tessa Hafen (47% to Jon Porter's 48%)
NJ-07 Linda Stender (48% to Mike Ferguson's 49%)
NM-01 Patricia Madrid (103,376 to Heather Wilson's 104,863, assuming current totals hold)
NY-25 Dan Maffei (49% to Jim Walsh's 51%)
NY-26 Jack Davis (48% to Tom Reynolds' 52%)
NY-29 Eric Massa (48% to Randy Kuhl's 52%)
NC-08 Larry Kissell (60,056 votes to Robin Hayes' 60,505, assuming current totals hold)
OH-01 John Cranley (47% to Steve Chabot's 53%)
OH-02 Victoria Wulsin (49% to Jean Schmidt's 51%, with absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted)
OH-15 Mary Jo Kilroy (49% to Deborah Pryce's 51%, with absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted)
PA-06 Lois Murphy (49% to Jim Gerlach's 51%)†††
PA-15 Charles Dertinger (44% to Charlie Dent's 53%)
VA-02 Phil Kellam (49% to Thelma Drake's 51%)
WA-08 Darcy Burner (49% to Dave Reichert's 51%, assuming the current ratio holds in the last 25% of precincts)
WY-AL Gary Trauner (92,227 votes to Barbara Cubin's 93,197, assuming current totals hold)

[Please let me know if I've missed any districts where a Democrat lost by less than 10%.]

We ask that Congress[wo]man [new DCCC chair] immediately pledge [his or her] general election support for these candidates and contact each of them personally to encourage them to run again in 2008. In addition, given the apparent vulnerability of the Republican incumbents in these districts, we ask that the DCCC at the very least seriously consider supporting whatever Democrats are nominated in these districts in the event that the listed candidates choose not to run or lose their primaries.

† This election appears to have been stolen by voting machines which, whether by design or error, denied many voters in the district's most Democratic county the opportunity to cast votes for the Congressional seat.

†† Unless Grant runs for the Senate.

††† This was Murphy's second 51-49% loss to Gerlach, and she actually had strong DCCC support, so it might be time to try another candidate here.  Chris Bowers would know more than I would about the particulars of this district.

Tags: 2008, AZ-01, CA-04, CO-04, CT-04, dccc, FL-08, FL-13, House of Representatives, ID-01, IL-06, IL-10, IN-03, KY-04, MI-07, MI-09, MN-06,, NC-08, NJ-07, NM-01, NV-02, NV-03, NY-25, NY-26, NY-29, OH-01, OH-02, OH-15, pa-06, PA-15, petition, VA-02, WA-08, WY-AL (all tags)



Re: Petition to the new DCCC Chair: Support our

On your third addendum, I'd like to change that so the DCCC does not interfere in ANY primary, not just IL-06.  IL-06 was not the only race the DCCC fucked up on, primary-wise.  It's one thing for the DCCC to encourage all these candidates to run again.  But if there is a contested primary, the D-trip needs to stay out and let the people in the district figure it out for themselves.

by Fran for Dean 2006-11-12 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Petition to the new DCCC Chair: Support our

Agreed; will edit to reflect that.

by Alex 2006-11-12 02:00PM | 0 recs

Many of these people can be replaced with superior candidates.  I don't see why running in 2006 should entitle anyone to anything.

by Adam B 2006-11-12 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

Running shouldn't entitle anyone to anything.  Getting within 10% of one's opponent should earn credibility as a candidate and strong support if one wins the nomination in the next election cycle.

by Alex 2006-11-12 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

If one wins the nomination?  Um . . . okay, but that's a whole cart/horse issue.  Some of these candidates are in a good position to be renominated because of the name recognition and contacts they've developed, but that doesn't mean they're better for the general election -- and, indeed, some Likely Ought to be Issued Suggestions to pursue other life goals.

by Adam B 2006-11-12 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

By the way, are you using "superior" in the sense of "more ideologically pure" or "more likely to win?"

by Alex 2006-11-12 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

Sometimes both, but certainly the latter.

by Adam B 2006-11-12 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

In that case, I'd appreciate your help in editing the list, since that's my true criterion as well.  To have a strong majority, we're going to have to hold some seats in districts with conservative electorates that will elect either conservative Democrats or conservative Republicans but not progressives -- and conservative Democrats, even ignoring their leadership votes (the most important vote any rank-and-file House member casts), are virtually never as conservative as the Republican alternative in their districts.  The 10% thing is probably a good rule of thumb, but it doesn't have to be the entire basis of the final list.

by Alex 2006-11-12 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: No!

Let these things sort out -- find out who's interested in running again first.  And also, figure out who received DCCC support this time around.

by Adam B 2006-11-12 03:58PM | 0 recs

We could have won MI-07 with a strong candidate, for instance.

Calling for Renier to try again is uber-naive.

by HellofaSandwich 2006-11-12 02:51PM | 0 recs
NE-02 Jim Esch

Unofficial results (99% reporting)
Rep. Lee Terry (R) 96,945 54.9%
Jim Esch (D) 79,658 45.1%

But, since Jim isn't taking any PAC money, limiting himself to individual contributions, I'm not sure he'd take DCCC money either.

by Dave Sund 2006-11-12 02:48PM | 0 recs
Not sure about 10-point cutoff

Running a second time can be a definite advantage, though other advantages and disadvantages need to be factored in as well.

But I'm not sure about using the gap as a hard measure of how good a candidate is. For one thing, it depends on how much support they got. If someone had a well-funded campaign with lots of volunteers running in this very Democratic year and they still ended up 10 points down it could indicate a problem with the candidate or a district that is extremely hard for Democrats to win.

On the other hand, if a candidate wasn't well supported, then even a gap greater than 10 points might not indicate we should give up on them. Both Paul Hodes and Jerry McNerney were down more than 20 points when they ran in 2004, but they ran again in 2006 and won.

by KCinDC 2006-11-12 03:03PM | 0 recs
Recommend supporting only those candidates

who actually have some connection with the district and the voters of the district.  Duckworthing a candidate into a foreign district should not be an accepted practice for the DCCC.

by pascal1947 2006-11-12 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Recommend supporting only those candidates

Good point.  I'm going to spend some time this week researching each of the candidates on my initial list, and possibly a few more (say, those who didn't come within 10% of their opponents but got over 40% of the vote) and create a final list of those who ought to run again based on an expanded set of criteria: living in their districts for at least two years, haven't already lost two or three elections without notably increasing their vote share (a candidate whose share didn't increase from 2004 to 2006 probably isn't all that great a candidate -- sorry, Lois Murphy supporters), and didn't already have massive financial support and lose anyway.

In the mean time, if we have any way at all of influencing the selection of the next DCCC chair (is the chair elected by the caucus, selected by the Speaker, or chosen by some other process?), I think we need to push for a more progressive chairman.  One possibility who come to mind immediately is Representative Earl Blumenauer, the Portland, Oregon Congressman who posts occasional, incisive diaries here and also maintains his own blog at  I've contacted Rep. Blumenauer through his web site to inquire whether he would be interested in pursuing the position; if he does, I think it would behoove us in the netroots to support him by writing our congresspeople and/or Speaker Pelosi in support of his candidacy.

by Alex 2006-11-12 08:26PM | 0 recs


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