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CD11 candidate McNerney wins on-line contest

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, June 29th, 2006 at 10:42 am in congressional district 11.

Congressional District 11 Democratic candidate Jerry McNerney has prevailed in an on-line voting contest to determine which candidate would win a national fundraising campaign from Democracy for America.

Democracy for America is a grassroots liberal organization inspired by the presidential candidacy of Howard Dean and now run by his brother, Jim.

According to DFA’s web site, “here’s what your contributions to McNerney will mean:
$25 brings Jerry’s message to 50 voters via mail.
$50 buys 25 lawn signs for grassroots supporters.
$100 gets Jerry valuable time on a local radio station.
$250 helps Jerry compete with (incumbent Rep. Richard) Pombo (R-Tracy) on a local TV station.”

McNerney won the June primary on the strength of his grassroots campaigning but many folks remain skeptical about whether or not the technique will work in a conservative district against the seven-term incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

As one observer astutely noted, “Let’s not forget that Howard Dean lost.”

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  • Matt

    What the heck does Howard Dean’s Presidential race have to do with the McNerney race?

    Howard Dean was able to raise a ton of money online through small donors. He also inspired a whole cadre of new Democratic Party activists who have since his campaign become very effective at grassroots organizing. But this ain’t the Dean campaign.

    Of course, grassroots will not be enough by itself to take on Pombo. But the DFA All-Star competition is more about fundraising than anything else. The letter you quoted from was a FUNDRAISING APPEAL. It might be worth as much as 10-20 thousand dollars. Furthermore, it helped McNerney get the “netroots endorsement” that has already brough in thousands of dollars.

    Collectively, these two sources of money have helped McNerney pass the $200,000 threshold he needed to raise by the end of the fundraising quarter. Now that he’s raised that much money, his race will be more attractive to the DCCC.

    So let’s look at the real political issues.

    McNerney is going to be able to run an awesome field campaign. He has the support of old Dean supporters, but also a bunch of Clarkies, a ton of people from the old East Bay for Kerry, and people who supported Kuccinich. In other words, he has the support of the activist base of the Democratic Party, whereas Dean only had a portion of that base. Furthermore, the activist base of the Dem Party has expanded significantly since 2004. There is a reason that McNerney was able to collect more in-leiu of petitions than any other person running for Congress in CA, including John Doolittle. And added to that are the unions, the environmental groups, women’s groups, etc. So yeah, McNerney’s field campaign isn’t going to want for volunteers.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Pombo also hopes to run a good field campaign. It’s standard operating procedure in politics. But Pombo is clearly going to have the money to run radio and television ads and send out an ungodly number of mailers. That’s a given.

    McNerney needs to raise the money to get his own message out. And DCCC support will help him to do this.

    It’s weird, you’re looking at this through some weird frame that made more sense in the primary. This will no longer be a grassroots campaign. This will be a typical Congressional campaign that has a crapload of volunteers and a ton of energetic helpers.

    The big issue right now for McNerney is money. But he’s proving that he can kick his fundraising up a notch. And that will convince the folks in the establishment (who either stayed out of the primary or who backed Filson) to get behind McNerney.

    That’s not saying that McNerney will win this race. But your “astute observer” doesn’t sound so astute to me.