HUGE THANKS for the tips, and some DC folks you should know
by brahn, Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 09:01:51 AM EDT
A HUGE thank-you to the 1159 of you who left ActBlue tips as part of the netroots push, totalling $7300 over the past ten days. That's two out of every three donors who, in addition to supporting these kick-ass candidates, are helping to build strategic infrastructure for the Democratic movement. Two developments we wanted to share with everyone:
- Help extend the netroots reach by becoming a top-notch fundraiser yourself! Please join ActBlue on Thursday, Sept. 14, 7pm Pacific Time (10pm Eastern) for our next rapid-fire Fundraising 101 conference call -- e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for call-in information.
- In the past year, we've started to meet some people in DC who really get what we're trying to do -- the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). The DLCC is focused on precisely the things we've all been talking about for so long: creating lasting infrastructure, building Democratic strength at the most local levels, and identifying points of leverage in the strategic landscape. These are folks the blogosphere should get to know -- read below the fold to learn more.
When we first met with Raghu Devaguptapu (political director at the DLCC) about activating ActBlue for state candidateshe didn't say "I'm not sure this is the right ask for our donors" (translation: we only want to raise money for ourselves). And he didn't say "I think our lawyers will have some serious concerns" (translation: this is too complicated for me). And he didn't say "We'll need to take this up with the board" (translation: our old strategy won't get me fired).
Instead, looking at the whiteboard behind us detailing the balance of power in 99 legislative chambers, he said "this could make a huge difference in the landscape. Let's make this happen."
Mike Davies (the DLCC's Executive Director), Raghu, Alex Dery Snider (communications director) and the other good folks at the DLCC are charged with supporting over 7000 state legislative races, which are often run entirely on the kind of money that goes into a modest ad buy at the federal level. Not exactly the most glamorous jobs DC has to offer.
And yet these are exactly the campaigns where so many Democratic rising stars begin their ascent.
And these are exactly the campaigns that determine who controls redistricting:
Currently, of the 36 state legislatures that control Congressional redistricting, 20 have at least one chamber within 4 seats of changing hands. These 20 states control 195 Congressional districts. A flip of about 50 state legislative seats in key chambers...could mean a gain -- or a loss -- of up to 15 Democratic Congressional seats in the next round of redistricting.
The DLCC is coming at the challenge of supporting so many campaigns with a spirit very similar to that which motivates our work at ActBlue. On their own, few of these campaigns could affordable the money (or the time!) for quality data, professional literature, or other essentials required to win elections and spread the Democratic message.
So when we approached the DLCC about making ActBlue available to state legislative candidates, Mike and Raghu got it immediately. Top-notch online fundraising tools requiring zero set-up time? Connecting local candidates to the surging national energy around the November elections? This is their bread and butter.
At ActBlue we had already identified about 20 states where the campaign finance laws made it practical for us to start supporting state legislative candidates this year. The DLCC matched that list with the states where control of a legislative chamber was in play, and with their commitment of financial support we got to work.
The DLCC's support made it possible for us to start navigating the minutia of each state's campaign finance laws and implementing the technical work required. But just as importantly, it also broke a glass ceiling of sorts -- and we are delighted to now have additional support from some other groups who get it as well:
- Focus South Dakota, a 527 that helped get us up and running in SD -- now we support candidates and groups fighting the
abortion ban there.
- The Utah Democratic Party, who joined the fantastic efforts of local bloggers to help us mount a real challenge to GOP control in one of the reddest states in the nation.
- The AFL-CIO, who's chipped in to support work in California, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.
- The Ted Strickland campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party -- watch for our launch in Ohio in the coming weeks.
Going into the fall, the DLCC has been helping ActBlue connect with the caucuses in the states where we're active. And we've been doing conference calls with state legislative candidates and campaign staff to help them get up and running.
So, when you're wondering who gets it -- who's willing to put down some actual money to support the kind of lasting strategic infrastructure that we all want to see -- keep the DLCC in mind. They're taking the lead, and with a little luck others will follow.
Now here's what we need from you: Get out there and use ActBlue to start supporting state and federal candidates. Make a fundraising page, call your friends on the phone, and ask for their support. E-mail email@example.com and ask to join our next "Fundraising 101" conference call.
We all know that there's a tidal wave about to hit this November. The GOP is on the run up and down the ticket, and we need to make sure that our candidates can take advantage of it, so we can hold Republicans accountable for their failed leadership at all levels of government.
We have just three election cycles before the next census, and the redistricting that follows. We're playing for keeps, and that means preparing for the long haul. Let's get it done.