50 State Strategy: Leges Too!

I see that, for the US House,  Dems have so far failed to field a candidate in only two districts for which filing has closed, and folks here and elsewhere in the lefty 'sphere are monitoring states as they roll towards their final filing dates.

Of course, this is great, and hats off to all concerned.

But I wonder whether the same ought not to be being done by someone for races for the various state lege seats that are up this year.

The potential benefits are several:

First, the election of fresh blood, motivated and mindful of their responsibilities to their constituents, is an end in itself: obviously, state legislation touches the lives of people in a myriad ways (thank the SD lege for reminding us...), and entrusting it to a self-perpetuating modern-day courthouse gang is not likely to do ordinary citizens much good.

Second, any race develops the campaigning muscles of the organization doing the work. Races up and down the ticket are likely to benefit, if not in 06, then in later elections.

Third, many leges are responsible for redistricting. The representatives who will vote on 2010 Census redistricting will (almost all?) be elected in 2010. Senators might be elected in 2008.

In a lower house district where the GOP candidate usually runs uncontested, there are therefore just two elections to try out a Dem candidate to see how he performs.

In such a district, chances are that there only a few folks with prior experience in running for offices at or above lege level. And some of those will be glad not to repeat the experience! So the best thing may be for Dems to choose someone who has not previously run for anything, or has run only for a lower office, such as school board.

An initially enthusiastic and apparently competent candidate may not make the grade in 06. In which case, a new candidate will have to be found in 08.

If he doesn't work out, the 2010 candidate is a pig in a poke.

And equally important are the personnel and methods used in running such a campaign.

Practice prevents pisspoor performance is an adage never truer than in running for office, or in campaigning for someone so doing.

Has Chairman Dean, whose express priority is putting back life into the state parties, got this state lege thing gripped?

Because, if (as seems the way the wind is blowing) the Dems get no joy from SCOTUS in the LULAC case, they will be relying on some pretty fancy 2010 gerrymanders to turn the current knife-edge US House into one safe for Dems to pass colorably liberal legislation in. (I'm assuming a Dem Prez there, of course. Hope I'm not getting carried away...)

My gut feeling: Dems are far too close to their period of Congressional domination (1930-1994) to motivate Dem highups to do this sort of grinding, bean-counting, no-glamor work.

I could be wrong now. But I don't think so!

Update [2006-3-2 16:25:47 by skeptic06]:

My information (no links - caveat lector!) is that, of the lower houses, there are two year terms in all save AL, LA, MD, MS and ND which all have four year terms.

Upper houses all have four year terms, except AZ, CT, GA, ID, ME, MA, NH, NY, NC, RI, SD and VT, which have two year terms.

In NE, where they only have a senate, it's a four year term.

For those seats to which a four year term applies, I have no idea which come up in 06 and 10 and which in 08 and 12. For 06/10 seats, this year allows a tryout; 08/12 seats are sudden death.

As it were.

Tags: campaigns, County Parties, Redistricting, state legislatures, state parties (all tags)


1 Comment

It flexes peoples' minds too.

[...]any race develops the campaigning muscles of the organization doing the work. Races up and down the ticket are likely to benefit, if not in 06, then in later elections.
Not only does fielding a candidate in a local election flex the muscles of the party on a local level, but it flexes minds of voters too.  Where I'm from in east TN, our congressman get 90% or more of the vote every time.  He runs unopposed and so the people who vote for him "practice" voting Republican.  If Dems fielded a candidate, they might find people more willing to vote for a Democrat in another election as well.

by cather 2006-03-02 01:09PM | 0 recs


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