Less than 24 hours ago we launched a two-week drive to send a clear message that Democrats want to grow our party everywhere -- and we're already close to reaching the goal.
If we hit the goal we'll keep going, because we're not going to let up on this. During these two weeks we're going to make the clearest case possible for the 50-state strategy and back it up with a potent force. That's you.
Earlier this week I asked our Executive Director Tom McMahon to put together some facts and figures for you -- his message is below. There's a lot of information there, but questions have been raised about the 50-state strategy and I want you to have as many facts as possible in order to make your own decision and spread the word to others to make theirs.
Results like these are just the beginning of what we will achieve with a simple new principle governing our party: People count.
Stand up and be counted now:
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
TO: Paramendra Bhagat
FROM: Tom McMahon, Executive Director, DNC
RE: 50-State Strategy Results
Per Governor Dean's request, I have put together a few facts and figures for you on the successes of the 50-state strategy. I have made one last-minute addition to this memo -- at the end you will find excerpts from a USA Today profile of our 50-state strategy in action in my home state of Nebraska. It ran on Wednesday as we were preparing this message for you.
Critics say that our 50-state strategy focuses on the long-term at the expense of winning this year. As you will see, that simply is not true. Here are a few important results that our 50-state strategy has produced already:
MISSISSIPPI: Republican Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Democrats representing competitive districts in the state legislature to various boards and commissions, triggering four special elections at a time when he believed that his personal popularity would translate into new Republican legislators. Just a few months prior, the 50-state strategy had taken the number of Democratic Party staff in Mississippi from one full-time person to five. By organizing on the ground the way Democrats in Mississippi haven't had the resources to do in a generation, we swept all four special elections. Now Gov. Barbour has four more Democrats holding appointments in his administration and the same number of Democrats sitting in the legislature.
OHIO: The 50-state strategy means new staff in Ohio who have been reviving the field organizing efforts across the state. In a place where it had been typical to build and tear down an entire campaign infrastructure every election cycle, new staff are creating permanent organizing teams in every single county. These teams will be responsible for various functions during the course of the very competitive campaigns there in 2006 -- and won't disappear after Election Day.
SOUTH DAKOTA: With the added boost from new staff and resources, Democrats fielded a record number of legislative candidates this year, recruiting challengers in nearly 40% more races than in 2002.
INDIANA: With fresh resources and energy, Indiana Democrats have been making waves. The Indianapolis Star reported recently that, "Gov. Mitch Daniels and other state Republicans have taken a beating in recent months from the Indiana Democratic Party" thanks to the 50-state strategy, which provided the opportunity to hire a full-time spokesperson. Indiana is also the first state in the country to hold elections under new laws that requires voters to use photo identification that includes an expiration date. Predictably, rightful voters have been disenfranchised by this law. New staff and resources have helped collect data from the May 2nd primary election that will be needed to appeal to the federal court.
OKLAHOMA: The 50-state strategy has been credited with re-energizing grassroots throughout the state. In April, the new staff paid off when the Democratic candidate scored an upset victory, unseating a Republican incumbent as mayor of Tulsa.
NEW YORK: In rural upstate New York, which Republicans rely on for their base voters, unprecedented ground organizing is showing that the 50-state strategy means leaving no county behind. Already, new staff on the ground have identified 12,000 new Democratic voters -- voters who we will get to the polls this November and in elections to come, helping Democrats up and down the ballot.
UTAH: Already, 2006 marks the best candidate recruitment for the Utah Democratic Party in over 15 years. Democrats have recruited candidates for every single State Senate race, and Democrats have challengers running in ten State House races that went unopposed in 2004. The recruitment efforts, led by new staff deployed as part of the 50-state strategy, include not only life-long Democrats but also six Republicans who have switched parties.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Regional field organizers deployed as part of our 50-state strategy have already racked up important wins. They have already worked hands-on to elect three new Democratic members to the State House -- in seats that had been held by Republicans since 1912.
These are just a few of the amazing things happening across the country as a result of a 50-state strategy. Remember, we cannot win in every state until we organize and mobilize Democrats in every state.
As Governor Dean says, we can wait around for the pendulum to swing back in some of these states -- or we can get out there and give it a push. To step up and give it a push yourself, donate here:
Here are excerpts from the article that appeared this week in USA Today:
Democrats rebuild on the prairie
By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY
[...] When Howard Dean ran for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he promised state parties he would spread money and professionals around the country in a long-term quest for viability in "red" Republican states. He's followed through with a 50-state plan to revive moribund state and local organizations.
Dean says Democrats have dug themselves "a deep hole" by focusing on one election at a time, usually in the "blue" states where Democrats are strong. "That's a cycle that has to be broken. We want a long-term business plan," he says. [...]
The state was a low priority for the DNC. Of the $731 million the party raised for the 2004 elections, Nebraska got $12,000. "The national Democrats were sucking money and volunteers" out of Nebraska, state party chairman Steve Achelpol says. Adds executive director Barry Rubin, "They called us an 'export state.'"
Times have changed. The DNC is now spending $120,000 a year to pay the salaries of three organizers and a spokesman here. Nationwide, the party has hired and trained about 190 people in 50 states in its $10-million-a-year program. The goal is to create voter lists and activist networks that don't vanish when campaigns are over or powerful Democrats retire [...]
Success stories cited by the DNC include West Virginia, where the party created a precinct program to bolster organizing and turnout and has recruited leaders for almost half the state's nearly 2,000 precincts; and South Dakota, where the state party fielded candidates for 94 of the 105 legislative seats -- 26 more than in 2002. [...]
Two years ago, 11 Democrats were on the November ballot for the state Legislature; this fall there will be 15. Four years ago, Democrats had a candidate in one of three races for Congress.
This year they have candidates for all three seats: cattle rancher Scott Kleeb, attorney Jim Esch and former lieutenant governor Maxine Moul. All three are "a cut or two above" the usual in quality, says state politics expert Robert Sittig, a retired University of Nebraska professor. [...]
Click here to read the rest.
Don't forget to stand up and be counted:
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