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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Democratic help not arriving for Brown

An article this morning in the Sacramento Bee reports that the John Doolittle Campaign is receiving money from the Republicans to help shore up his re-election bid. Help however will not be arriving for Democratic challenger Charlie Brown who is poised to upset the long-term representative.
But last week, in a stopover in Sacramento, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, suggested that any investment by the Democrats' political committee in the Brown campaign will be limited. "This is a homegrown race for Charlie Brown," Pelosi said. "It's about him, his relationship to the district, and, if anything, he will be contributing to his success more than any of us will be contributing to him."
Democrats have a chance to unseat both Doolittle and Pombo. Charlie Cook and Chuck Todd of the National Journal rate Pombo as the 34th most vulnerable seat up from 37th last week and Doolittle as the 41st most vulnerable seat up from 46th last week.

These are seats that Democrats have a chance to literally steal from the Republicans, but where is the help. Local Democratic Congresspeople have failed to endorse Brown or McNerney who is running against Pombo, or Durston who is running against Dan Lungren. Where is the local Democratic support from local state legislators like Lois Wolk and Mike Machado?

Unfortunately this is not limited merely to the Sacramento area. Democratic Bloggers across the country have had to literally shame safe incumbent Democrats into giving money.

As reported in this morning's Hotline put out by the National Journal:
In yet another sign of their growing influence, Dem bloggers are shaming unopposed House Dems into donating a combined $26M to Dem candidates. (Bloggers have also nudged cash-heavy WH'08 Dems like Bayh, who has $11.3M in the bank).

With Dems "increasingly convinced that House control is within their grasp," party activists are "publicly excoriating politicians in safe districts who have hefty campaign balances" (Zeleny, New York Times, 10/24).

In a posting last week, managing ed Chris Bowers identified 69 Dem incumbents "without serious opposition," whose combined campaign treasuries total "roughly" $50M. In his post, Bowers "suggested that these lawmakers donate as much as 30% of their cash" to the DCCC, or "directly to challengers" in races that "had not been considered vulnerable until recently."

According to Bowers, the transfer of campaign funds from safe incumbents to newly-viable challengers "could be the difference between a landslide election that changes politics in America for more than a decade to come, and an election where control of the House is determined on a knife's edge."

Bowers also posted a list of the Dem incumbents, and "asked his readers to contact them." The list includes Reps. Edward Markey (MA), who has $2.3M; Robert "Bud" Cramer (AL), who has $1.6M; Adam Schiff (CA), who has $1.4M; and Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL), who has $1.3M, according to MyDD calculations. Rep. Martin Meehan (MA) "easily topped the list" with $4.9M CoH.

On 10/20, Bowers' effort "received a boost" when's PAC also "asked its members to contact the safe incumbents." PAC Exec. Dir. Eli Pariser: "We just don't want to see anyone hoarding at a time when there is a need for the greater good" (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/24).
If Democratic activists wish to retake the House and Senate, they need to put pressure on Democrats with money and safe seats to give it to people like Brown, Durston, and McNerney. People should call up the campaign offices of Dianne Feinstein who is unchallenged largely and sitting on 16 million dollars, Mike Thompson, Mike Machado, Dorris Matsui, Lois Wolk and others to give money to Democrats so that Democrats can re-take the House.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting