ActBlue expanding to state races -- help decide where

From the diaries. Absolutely fantastic. I imagine a massive, multi-blog, secure IRV poll will be in order soon--Chris

A quick update on our work at ActBlue, and a request for your strategic insights --

Background brief: ActBlue helps you fundraise online for the Democrats of your choice. We helped hundreds of bloggers and grassroots activists including Daily Kos, Atrios, Swing State Project bring in over $850,000 for Dems last year, and already just shy of $1 million this year, including $500,000 for Paul Hackett. See http://actblue.com for more about us and how to ActBlue.

Up until now we've only been legally set up to fundraise for candidates for U.S. House and Senate— but that's about to change in a big way. One of our biggest 2005-06 projects is to expand our fundraising capacity to candidates for state offices across the country. When we've activated ActBlue in a state:

  • Every Democratic candidate for every state legislative and executive office can immediately accept contributions online.
  • Every supporter can immediately fundraise online for the Democratic candidates and party committees of their choice.

We're shooting for all 50 states by the end of the 2005-06 cycle, and we've just taken our first step by launching in Virginia; now you can fundraise for (and contribute to) Tim Kaine, Leslie Byrne, and Creigh Deeds (Democratic candidates for Gov, Lt. Gov, and AG respectively), and any of the Democratic candidates for the Virginia State House.

The question now: where next? To be clear, we want to do all of the states, but navigating fifty states' worth of campaign finance laws is a big job — so this question is about priorities.

Please comment on this thread to let us know where we should focus first. What's strategically important? Where are the races that matter most? And see below the fold for more about how we're going to do it...

The Plan

We're starting to navigate the campaign finance landscape in each state, and we've got a fantastic group of volunteers helping us gather information on candidates across the country. (We could always use more, by the way — check out our directory of state candidates and let us know who we're missing.)

The most challenging part is the legal side of getting our fundraising operations going -- the staff time and lawyers, Lawyers, LAWYERS, LAWYERS required to do this right are going to cost on average $10,000 per state, at least for the first set of states we take on.

So we're asking: can you help make it happen?

We're going to take an approach just like Howard Dean's 50-state strategy: with the help of this discussion we'll choose a small set of states to start with. If the fundraising there goes well, we'll add more!

Please chime in below with your thoughts on priority states, and thanks for all you do to make the Democratic difference.

I'd be remiss not to mention this: just like we have a directory of candidates, we also have a directory of our fundraising drives for all the states. So if you're hankering to support a state RIGHT NOW, you can do so here.

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Comments

43 Comments

Florida?
If I recall correctly, their State Senate and Assembly are ridiculously Republican, much more so than should be in a 50-50 state.  Anything that can be done to help change that would surely be a good thing.  Also, of course, Florida is a critical "swing state" in Presidential elections, so the more time and effort that can be spent talking about how great Democrats are and getting them elected at the local level, the better.
by Fran for Dean 2005-09-22 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Florida?
http://www.committeeforfairelections.com

Let's get this prop on the ballot, which would reform Florida's unfairly gerrymandered and GOP-dominated maps.

by raginillinoian 2005-09-22 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Florida?
Good stuff -- at least in some states we should be able to support ballot initiative committees as well. (More legal research!)
by brahn 2005-09-22 09:11PM | 0 recs
OH.... How about 'HIO?
It would be great if we had a mechanism that allowed us to fundraise for Reform Ohio Now in the short-term.  But Lord know there are a number of very important races in the Buckeye State with national implications.

OH-GOV
OH-SoS
ETC...

With all the scandal and corruption, we even have a decent shot of gaining a bunch of seats in the state house and senate as well.

And there is an online organization in place within the state to help facilitate the growth.

My two cents.

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-09-22 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: OH.... How about 'HIO?
I was having a difficult time choosing between Ohio and Florida because Ohio is also in desperate need of reform.  Now that I think about it, the state of the Ohio GOP is in such bad shape that it would be good to focus our efforts there first in order to take advantage of that opportunity.  I'll change my vote to Ohio.
by Fran for Dean 2005-09-22 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: OH.... How about 'HIO?
Rock on
Ohio gets my vote too !

And i just want to say - ACT BLUE ROCKS, i cant say enough great things about them.

they were kind enough to handle our PAC, Licking County Pro-Active Citizens

And we are fundraising right now too LOL - so a perfect chance to try out actblue and help a good cause at the same time - we need $2,000 to pay for a county wide reform ohio now lit drop, and every penny helps.

by Pounder 2005-09-22 03:09PM | 0 recs
Thanks! We're eager to help
Glad to hear things are working smoothly for you, and thanks for the endorsement! Any other federally-registered PACs in need of online fundraising, just give us a shout and we'll hook you up. Note that when we get going in a state, we can help out with state-registered PACs as well (unless the campaign finance laws are _really_ wacky).
by brahn 2005-09-22 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks! We're eager to help
Anytime. I am glad we got in early - i have a feeling you guys are gonna be REAL busy
by Pounder 2005-09-22 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks! We're eager to help
Though i have to tell a funny story.

when you guys first sent us some checks, i got a call from our pac treasurer who picked them up at our PO Box.

He called asking, who the hell is this actblue guy ? He is sending us a couple of hundred bucks ! Has he been to any of our meetings ? LOL

I think he understands now - he sure likes the ease of the reporting that actblue delivers.

by Pounder 2005-09-22 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks! We're eager to help

LOL -- we had a number of experiences like that last year, when no one knew who we were!

Of the 150 or so campaigns we sent funds to in 2004, for a good 95% the first contact we had with them was a check in the mail.

This year the DSCC and DCCC have been very helpful in getting the word out to campaign finance directors, so we don't get nearly as many "Thanks, but, um, what the...?" phone calls any more.

by brahn 2005-09-22 09:19PM | 0 recs
Washington State needs Act Blue
The netroots is sprouting up in Washington quickly, and could really use the support of having act blue for the state legislative races next year.

This is great news!

by westsyde 2005-09-22 12:30PM | 0 recs
Where will money make a difference?
It might be best to focus on states where districts have not been gerrymandered to elect a particular political party, where the money would make the most difference in the most districts.
by Drew 2005-09-22 12:39PM | 0 recs
Montana
Montana has some of the cheapest races with the tightest campaign finance laws. Montana Democrats won the Senate last year and tied in the House as part of the Montana Miracle.

Any additional help we could provide could help them hang onto their razor-thin majority, giving Gov. Schweitzer the votes necessary to keep up the good work.

by blogswarm 2005-09-22 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Montana
Another reason it makes sense in Montana: campaigns are small enough that they can't afford their own merchant accounts, which are required for good online donor systems.

Also, maximum contribution is $130. Montana is all about the small cons.

I already pitched in 25 to bring ActBlue to Montana.

by Left in the West 2005-09-22 02:50PM | 0 recs
I'm not American, but..
This project seems extremly worthwhile, and will help mobilise the netroots in a way never seen before.
by Illustrious 2005-09-22 02:25PM | 0 recs
Act Blue in the Show Me State: Missouri
Missouri may not be as sexy as Florida or Ohio, but the state is equally as important. In every 20th century presidential election save that of 1956, the candidate who won Missouri won the election.

More importantly, the Republicans in 2002 took control of Missouri's legislature for the first time in more than 50 years.

The Show Me State is trending red. To turn the tide, we must Act Blue.

Beginning with Jeff Smith for State Senate in 2006.

by Democratic Wing 2005-09-22 02:31PM | 0 recs
Nevada
It's beginning to look like we have a shot at the State Executive and a pickup of Two Congressional seats.  Nothing in stone yet but this is an area where a few dollars go a long way.  
by NvDem 2005-09-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Colorado needs money
We could pick up 2 CDs with the right amount of help.
by pacified 2005-09-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Colorado needs money
Great opportunity on CDistricts, an open Governors chair in 06 and hopefully keep the statehouse.  Good opportunity.

   That said -- Ohio should get first dibs.
Max
www.neoleft.com

by MaxTyler 2005-09-22 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Colorado needs money
Agreed. In addition to the 2 CDs (CD4 and CD7), the State Senate is Democrat by a margin of 1 (18-17), and the State House is held by 5 seats (35-30). That's not counting the statewide seats, and this in a state that is slowly trending Blue.

I'd love for Ohio to be there as well, but beyond the statewide seats, short of a truly tidal wave of rejection, both of the legislative chambers have GOP majorities that are rather one-sided--and that in a state that's going the other way.

by Arkhangel 2005-10-11 01:15PM | 0 recs
Wisconsin
We've got what's shaping up to be the tightest gov race in the country right now, not to mention among the most important (the GOP frontrunner has said that if elected, the first bill he'll sign will be voter id, basiclly handing our 10 EVs over to the GOP in 2008 and beyond).  We've also got a chance to retake the state senate and a tough AG race to fight.  Help!
by LaX WI 2005-09-22 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Wisconsin
Yes, Wisconsin please.  Gov. Doyle keeps vetoing extremist measures coming out of the Republican-dominated Congress, and it's going to be razor-close, it appears, in the Gov. race.

Voter ID is a huge issue here, and I agree that if it passes, Wisconsin will turn Red in 2008 - we nearly did in 2000 and 2004.

by Transmission 2005-09-22 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Wisconsin
Besides the Gov race there are going to be some good races in the assembly and senate that could use all the assistance possible. The Wis legislature is way too red and we need help to turn more of those seats blue.

The state is also going to have a very important state supreme court race that could shift the  balance of the court from conservative to progressive. Given the tilt of federal courts to the right, this makes the state courts even more important.

by dicta 2005-09-23 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Wisconsin
Yes!  I agree!  There are some great chances for assembly pick-ups.  

By the way - I noticed that Jamie Wall , a Democratic candidate for the open 8th CD in Green Bay is asking supporters to set up individual ActBlue fundraising pages for him.  Great idea and strategy.  Go netroots!  

by fox river 2005-09-24 09:10AM | 0 recs
Top 3 - FL, OH, NV
I believe FL, OH & NV would be the TOP THREE!
Here are a couple of Major reasons why.

First, all 3 are RICH in Electoral Votes which are critical every 4 years. And if the Census is any indication, THEY PREDICT that FL & NV's population growth will result in added Congressional seat representation & Electoral V's in the future.

And since party building starts in the LOCAL level, this would be right direction to go.

Two, these 3 are currently RED STATES that have GREAT POTENTIAL of turning BLUE with the right Grassroots support & the Right Issues. In fact, as Senators Nelson of FL & Reid of NV have shown, victories in STATEWIDE office is very possible.
And as Paul Hackett & the upcoming promising Governor's & Senate races in OH is an indication, That THESE THREE ARE PRIME states for a Democratic Party resurgence.

ALL 3 States have very similar Democratic potentials as VA.

by labanman 2005-09-22 03:04PM | 0 recs
Few things
One- I am biased, so I say, Pennsylvania.  In fact, PA and OH would defintely be my top two.  Both places that have way too many Republicans in office.

I don't know campaign law.  If you have legally qualified for state law donation stuff, are you automatically qualified for locals within that state, as well?

by DanielUA 2005-09-22 03:41PM | 0 recs
NEVADA!!
NEVADA!!

Republicans hold ALL 6 Statewide offices right now (Gov, Lt. Gov, Sec. of State, etc), yet Nevada's voter registration is just about 50/50.

Democratic Leader of the State Senate, Dina Titus [D], is a great progressive candidate and she's running against Congressman Gibbons [R], who is by all accounts, a conservative-as-hell jerk.  She'll probably be running against Gibson [D] in the Primary.  He's definitely more of a conservative Democrat.  Titus will probably win the Primary.

Jill Derby [D] is running for Congress in a heavily Republican district (CD02) and she could really use some help too.

by roller 2005-09-22 03:50PM | 0 recs
Answer is very simple.
Attack where your enemy least expects you to be.
Help build a bench in Texas, North Carolina, and Utah.  
by strrbr 2005-09-22 05:11PM | 0 recs
Colorado
I suggest purple states that are just starting to build their infrastructure. Colorado is one that is not yet able to provide credit card processing to small counties or non-targeted state races.
by pdt 2005-09-22 05:15PM | 0 recs
Pennsylvania
PA will be fundraising for a lot of state candidates. 2006 will be OperationCleanSweep to throw out incumbent state legislators especially because the PA legislature is mostly Republican. they voted themselves a too fat raise in secret in the dead of night and PA residents are fed up! ActBlue please come to PA!!
by pablue 2005-09-22 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania
Definately.

I think if we could only get some candidates to run we could definately take the house. Especially if some reform Democrats run hard in central PA. There's a lot of built-up resentment over the pay raise here. This really touched a nerve. Especially with the unemployment levels and drug problems around here.

Perfect issue for every Democrat running for the state leg:

Your Republican rep. could vote a 50% pay raise for himself but he couldn't vote to raise the minimum wage by one lousy dollar? (Rendell is proposing to raise the minimum wage this year, guess how far that will get in the house and senate.)

by adamterando 2005-09-23 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania
I live in SouthCentral pa, and I ran a campaign here last year for a state senate candidate. More or less we were treated like was a side show, by the state party. It was impossible to get money since the additude here is a democrat can't win so why bother giving money. I've been looking around to find candidates for the 7 house and 1 state senate seats that are coming up in York county and the response i've gotten is I would like to run but what is the point. There are 18 house seats in southcentral pa assuming you just count Adams, York and Lancaster and cumberland

 At this point we have 4 candidates 1 in Adams 1 in York and 2 in Lancaster 2 of which are the candidates that are in districts that were craved out for them in deals with the republicans during redistricting. The people that ran last year were left with very bad tastes in their mouth and probally won't run again. Several of them were left in debt when the state party didn't fullfill it's promises when they ran.

So unless either there is a possibilty of more money or a better chance of winning there are going to be 14 unchallenged state house republicans 3 unchallenged state senate republicans  

by orin76 2005-09-24 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania
in sc pa
by orin76 2005-09-24 09:32AM | 0 recs
It may seem redundant
But NY State, with 5 to 3 Dem/Rep registration, has a lot of grid lock because of a split legislature.  The state Senate has a Republican majority that has gerrymandered itself preferential districts.  The split between a Republican Senate and a Democratic Assembly where both bodies have mostly agreed to protect each others majorities.  

It's been terrible for the state because almost nothing gets passed. It's one of the worst stat legislatures in terms of work accomplished.  Even legislation that would be pretty popular is hard to get through. Gay rights legislation was stalled for a decade, drug law reform has been a tortured proceedure.

A few newer Democratic State Senators started fighting for a Dem majority in the Senate, led by Liz Krueger.  They had less to lose as some of them won in districts that had Republican reps in the past.  Each cycle now, we've picked up a couple more Dems in the State Senate and are eating away their majority.

We need more investment to get this done, we only have I think 4 or 5 more seats to gain.  And in the Assembly where we have a majority, we continue to pick up seats.

The website for the NY DSCC (NY Democratic Senate Campaign Committe), is a little out of date, still has stuff from '04 up in places.  But I link it here

by Greenfuzz 2005-09-22 06:53PM | 0 recs
5 New York State Senate Seats
5 State Senate seats (see below)
by Andrew C White 2005-09-23 08:56AM | 0 recs
these are the closest statewide leg bodies
from Ruy Texiera a few months back, these are the state level legislative bodies with the narrowest margins. I think the states wherein these bodies function are the states we should target:

Indiana House: 48 Dems, 52 Repubs
Iowa House: 49 Dems, 51 Repubs
Iowa Senate: 25 each
Michigan House: 52 Dems, 58 Repubs
Michigan Senate: 16 Dems, 22 Repubs
Minnesota House: 66 Dems, 68 Repubs
Nevada Senate: 9 Dems, 12 Repubs
Oregon House: 27 Dems, 33 Repubs
Tennessee Senate: 16 Dems, 17 Repubs

by KevStar 2005-09-22 07:17PM | 0 recs
narrowest
Montana House: 50-50
by blogswarm 2005-09-22 09:04PM | 0 recs
New York State Senate
5 seats move the Senate from Republican to Democrat.

5 seats.

The state assembly is more than 2 to 1 Democrat and the Governor's mansion baring a hurricane like upset will be occupied by a Democrat in 2006.

The U.S. House delegation is 20 - 9 Dem over Rep with some seriously gerymandered districts.

5 seats in the State Senate allow us complete control over the state government and the opportunity to correct the districting problems that lead to more Republican in the House then there ought to be.

5 state senate seats.

This is a very reasonable and obtainable goal.

5 state senate seats.

by Andrew C White 2005-09-23 08:52AM | 0 recs
Minnesota
Minnesota has a very closely split State House (GOP 68, DFL 66) after a tidal wave of Democratic wins in 2004. The Senate is held by Democrats, but a damaging government shutdown this year may work against Democrats more than Republicans as senators are up for reelection next year. Minnesota's got a lot of shifting dynamics, as Twin Cities exurbs grow and shift the balance towards GOPers, while traditional GOP strongholds like Rochester in SE MN begin to move left. Minnesota has a lot of very strong candidates running for 2006, including our U.S. Senate candidates, all of our U.S. House candidates, and several state offices (SecState, AG). Minnesota Dems could definitely be greatly helped by ActBlue. MN should be one of the first activations.
by NorthStarPolitics 2005-09-23 10:08AM | 0 recs
Partner with LeftyBlogs
LeftyBlogs.com is getting some new state-by-state tools going for organizing. That may be a good way to further this.

We all really need to get better about our state level organizing.

by Left in the West 2005-09-23 01:46PM | 0 recs
I already...
I already donated to start up Ohio and Missouri because of the corruption in the Repub parties in those states. I also plan on donating to some others as time goes by. I have been thinking of publicizing these efforts as well, but I am glad to see someone else doing it.

This effort really kicks ass and I hope it takes off sooner rather than later.

by mole333 2005-09-24 08:08AM | 0 recs
What are they doing for VA-GOV
by jasmine 2005-09-24 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: What are they doing for VA-GOV
We're up and running in Virginia -- see our directory of candidates here. You can contribute to and fundraise for Kaine, Byrne, Deeds, and all the legislative candidates just like you can for Federal candidates.
by brahn 2005-09-25 05:25PM | 0 recs

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