I'm in Puerto Rico for the Vote

So ... you might have heard there's a vote in Puerto Rico this weekend.

In fact, there was a pretty important vote for working families that happened earlier today.  The result was overwhelming.

The Strategic Unity plan outlines SEIU's goal to organize 350,000 new health care workers over the next four years.  But that's just one piece of what's happening in Puerto Rico and  election day is only a point on the path to our larger goals:

Economic Justice
Health Care for Everyone
Ending the War in Iraq

These are all pieces SEIU is fighting for as part of their Accountability Project

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A Presidential Truman Show?

Not in Iowa or New Hampshire?

Tired of not really being able to follow the Presidential Primary close enough from your state short of some text on a screen or a twenty-second clip on MSNBC or YouTube?

If you had the opportunity, would you spend an entire day with a Presidential candidate on the trail?  What if the you could have the campaign make a stop right in your living room?

Well, let me introduce you to D-TV.

http://www.chrisdodd.com/dtv

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Why Is Chris Dodd Even in This Race?

He doesn't have as much money as other challengers.  His Google News alerts won't overwhelm your RSS readers. Even here, his progressive credentials and bold leadership are often overlooked.

But, those of us in campaign headquarters would have you believe a whole heck of a lot can happen between now and January.  We'd also attempt to explain Senator Dodd is right on the issues you care about:  Restoring Habeas Corpus, a Corporate Carbon Tax, and more.  In short, we'd tell you he is the best man for the job.

But whether you know it or not, his impact continues to be felt in the Democratic Presidential Primary and on the issue all of us care so deeply about: Iraq.

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Live Video Chat at 10 AM With Dodd Staff on Meaning of Today's Vote

Thanks to everyone who showed up. Here are the first ten minutes from the q&a live-streamed earlier today -- Tim

Later this morning the Senate will hold a cloture vote as to whether or not the Feingold-Reid-Dodd amendment can be considered as an addition to the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization. The Feingold-Reid-Dodd amendment requires that we begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 120 days of enactment and mandates that all combat forces be redeployed by March 31, 2008.

To discuss the importance of the amendment and what it means for American security, as well as why Senator Dodd has taken a firm position on ending the war through Feingold-Reid-Dodd, we're holding a live web chat via UStream.tv. Chris Dodd for President Policy Director Amos Hochstein and Deputy Communications Director Hari Sevugan will answer your questions about where Dodd stands and what is happening today in the Senate.

You can ask your questions here in the comment thread. We'll do our best to respond in real time on UStream.

The web chat will start at 10 AM EST and is scheduled for thirty minutes.

Disclaims: Cross posted in several locations by Matt Browner-Hamlin. Both of us are proud to work for Senator Dodd

Edwards To Announce From Lower Ninth Ward in NOLA

Of all the candidates potentially running for the Democratic nomination, John Edwards is uniquely positioned to work storm and flood recovery into his central message.  

Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, has decided he can and is planning to announce his campaign in New Orleans between Christmas and New Year's, two Democrats said.

Edwards' novel choice of sites shows how he wants to distinguish his candidacy: emphasizing policies he believes can unite a country divided by economic inequality, a situation no more evident than in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

It's quite obvious that leadership on the issue of recovery was more than one representative has the ability to handle -- especially if that person is William Jefferson.  Only a real committment from the incoming majority can deliver the resources needed to "re-cover, re-build, and re-New Orleans." Getting post-k to re-emerge as part of national consciousness is an essential first step, and there are few outside of the presidential arena positioned well enough to do just that.

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LA-2: Pelosi Moves To Re-Block Jefferson From Ways and Means

I don't know how to tag this post other than LA-2, so there it is.  One of the big questions surrounding the re-election of Congressman Jefferson was would he, and the CBC, be able to claim some type of mandate to re-sit him on the poweful Ways and Means Committee?  Apparently, the answer is "no".

Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham has won a coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced Tuesday. [...]

Davis, who is entering his third term, benefited from a decision by party leaders not to return Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson to the committee. Jefferson, who won a runoff election in his New Orleans district last week, is the subject of an FBI investigation in which agents say they found $90,000 in bribe money in a freezer at his Washington home.

I hadn't heard the decision not to return Jefferson to his previous post was official, but I guess this move all but makes it so.  While in NOLA, I heard some scuttlebut about a compromise that would have sat another Louisiana Congressman, Charles Melancon, in Jefferson's place.  Obviously that did not happen today.  This was one of the big problems with re-electing Jefferson, and one that may have been a bit too in the weeds for the average NOLA voter last Saturday.  A quick search of Davis's website for post-k leadership yielded little evidence of leadership on the issue, so I hope there is an understanding that the circumstances of his appointment bring with it new and unique responsibilities.  But again, post-k leadership has always been bigger than any individual representative -- it's going to have to be a priority set by the incoming Speaker, Majority Leader and presidential candidates pressing the issue.

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LA-2: Inside the War Room

Let's assume for a second that supporting Karen Carter was the right thing to do, and I think it was, there are a number of heroes who stepped up and did the right thing along the way.  Most notably, EMILY's List got involved in the race before they could have possibly suspected Karen's position on choice was going to be the focus of Jefferson and his allies' attacks.  They provided fundraising help that ultimately catapulted Karen to a cash advantage over Jefferson, top-quality researchers with presidential campaign experience, and communications assistance that helped control the message until the final days.  In my eyes, it seemed they essentially ran the campaign, not because they were outsiders who thought they knew better, but because they had the ability to take the "meta" to another level.  There was always a good balance between local knowledge and national expertise, one that just happened to come up short ... way shorter than anyone expected.

I saw polling data that showed Karen up 20 points with 3 weeks to go in the race.  I later found out that tracking polls showed her up several points heading into election day.  Both of those were obviously way off-the-mark.  So far off, in fact, that I sat in a hotel room with the press secretary on election night helping with talking points for a concession speech that was never even thought about before that moment.  There was a victory speech, for sure, but I think the loss (and its brutality) shocked pretty much everyone from the candidate to random supporters at the Double Tree Hotel on Saturday.

The "demographer" laid out a list of key precincts the campaign needed if they were to carry the day.  As the video shows, they were tracked throughout and seemed to hit their marks as the phone calls came in.  There was no panic, only enthusiasm in the "war room" as the final hour drew near.  But much like the pollster's results, the marks weren't even close to representative.

The video above hopefully ties together the paragraphs in this entry, one of my last on LA-2.  It's a view inside the campaign war room most folks (even those who work on campaigns) never get to see.  Many of the staffers in the room were part of the EMILY's List team; the posters on the wall were the key precincts as outlined by the campaign demographer; and as you can see, there is no panic.  Such little panic that they stopped recording precinct counts at 6 P.M., two hours before the polls closed.  To be sure, there were still folks out in the field delivering votes in key areas, but little did anyone know the race was long over by that point.  

Two more posts left from me on my experience in LA-2.  The first will be a campaign post-mortem: more looks from the inside, what we, the netroots, accomplished, and what we can learn moving forward the next time MyDD sends someone into the field.  The second will deal more with post-k reconstruction, making it a priority in the new Congress, and '08 leadership on the crisis.  Ultimately, helping the region is going to take more than any one representative can bring to the table -- be it Karen Carter or William Jefferson.  The unfortunate bi-product of this election is that the representation they do have is totally neutered because of his legal issues.  If the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are going to get the help they need, it's going to take presidential candidates adopting the issue -- and a Speaker/Majority Leader willing to make recovery a priority.

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LA-2: Election Results Open Thread

So ... it all comes down to this.  Use this thread for election comments, questions and updates.  I'll be in touch with Stoller from the victory party with the latest information -- hopefully I'll even be able to post some stuff myself.  Looking at the numbers on the "big board" in campaign hq, folks feel pretty confident about hitting their numbers in bellwether precincts, but we were pretty much saying the same thing during the Hackett returns and Lamont (primary and general).  However, it's especially a big deal when you consider they were hitting marks on a day with light turnout -- maybe 50,000 people will vote.

ELECTION RESULTS

Update [2006-12-9 21:38:34 by Tim Tagaris]: The best results are unquestionably on TV. The only problem is we have no idea where they are coming from. So ... here's what I see, and they're moving fast.

Jefferson: 12,492
Carter: 10,700
Precincts: 42%

Update [2006-12-9 21:51:14 by Tim Tagaris]: I'm trying to piece stuff together on the fly here. TV shows Jefferson opening up a 2k vote lead with 45% of the precincts reporting. Well, forget that... I just heard 2 seconds ago that channel 8 (fox) has called the race for William Jefferson. And that's that. I'm going to leave the in-hotel hotel room and head up to the "party."

Update [2006-12-9 22:3:46 by Tim Tagaris]: Jefferson's lead just keeps getting bigger. 4k votes with 52% reporting. FOX is still the only network to call it for Jefferson, but it's not looking good. WWL is reporting from Jefferson HQ that the mood is jubilant, a big change from the resignation reported from there only an hour ago. Let me add, the internal numbers I saw weeks ago showed Carter up 20%. Now this has got to be an IMPOSSIBLE district to poll, but we might be looking somewhere around 30% + off if the numbers continue to roll in the way they are.

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LA-2: "Cautiously Optimistic"

Yes, it's what nearly every campaign says going into the fateful hour returns begin to come in.  There's almost 1 hour and 45 minutes until the polls close and the Carter campaign HQ is full of life and energy.  To be honest, most of my coverage from today is embargoed until after the polls close, but I have a good amount of turnout information I can share soon along with photos/video from the "War Room" that should give a very interesting peak into a side of campaigns most people never get to see.  

Back to it for me.  Oh! You all win; I'll be heading to the party instead of monitoring returns from my hotel room.  I hope there is internet access in the ballroom ... fingers crossed.

Update (Chris): In the event that Tim is unable to be online, I will be here to monitor returns. The polls close at 9 eastern, 8 central. Right now, it is 8:30 eastern. You can follow returns here, and see the results from November here. Based on those numbers, Orleans parish is clearly Carter's stronghold. Perhpas approrpiately, Jefferson parish is Jefferson's stronghold.

Update 2 (Chris): The Secretary of State website is here.

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LA-2: Election Day

It seems like only yesterday we were throwing the corrupt bums out of office.  Today the people of LA-2 have a chance to add another name to the litter while letting the FBI sort 'em out.  Whatever your feelings are about Karen Carter (and despite some local blogger protestations, I like her), the people of this district deserve better than Congressman Jefferson.  But honestly, whatever happens today, the Saints play the Cowboys tomorrow night on national television and I get the sense a whole hell of a lot more people down here care more about that result than the one this evening.  

Frankly, recovering from the storm and the flood is going to take a lot more leadership than one representative can bring to the table.  If we are to choose a path different than outright neglect it's going to have to come from someone with a bit more cache: presidential candidates maybe -- an incoming Speaker of the House.  That said, I emailed all of the presidential candidate staffs about their bosses plans/committment to recovery in the region and only a few have responded (Dodd, Vilsack, Bayh, Kerry, and Richardson).  The incoming Speaker's office was also prompt with information.  It's one of the follow-up pieces I'll have early next week in order to give time to the rest of the field to respond.

Here are some notes to keep on eye on this evening: 1.) There are rumors that some members of the CBC have sent staffers down to help Jefferson.  I'll try and see what I can dig up on that.  2.) East Bank turnout vs. West Bank turnout and how many votes Carter is able to syphon away from the other side of the river.  3.) The racial divide.  4.) Are we going to see busses bringing people in to vote from outside the district.  If we do in large numbers, advantage Jefferson.  5.) How many people stay both stay at home/vote for Jefferson in the hopes at getting another crack at him in two years, or sooner if he's no longer able to serve.

Finally, a question to you about how to cover the returns.  I don't think the Carter campaign party is going to have internet access so there are two choices: Stay in my hotel room with immediate access to numbers and ability to update (or) go to the party, leave you to your own devices, and get photos and video up from the rally late night or tomorrow after my flight lands.  Thoughts?

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Diaries

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