Saturday, October 21, 2006

Werewolf Strategy Update

I want to give a big thank you to everybody who's sent money to deserving Democrats through the Werewolf Political Strategy ActBlue page, or through other channels. First, I'll tell you the good news about the Congressional races we've been focusing on. Then I'll tell you about the crazy exciting race of the week.

Victoria Wulsin, the top recipient of our readers' largesse to date, just saw her race upgraded from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored" to "Leans Republican" by Congressional Quarterly in one week. She outraised Jean Schmidt in the third quarter to form a $263K to $224K cash advantage at the end of September -- and that's before the money from Emily's List started coming in! Further help from a werewolf volunteer will arrive on the last week of the campaign. Republican operatives are hereby warned: Sunday, November 5 is the night of the full moon. Any posting of deceptive flyers about the requirements for voting in minority neighborhoods on that date will result in your being eaten.

There's been exciting progress out West, too. In Idaho, Larry Grant won a big newspaper endorsement, and GOP maniac Bill Sali has proven sufficiently unelectable that national Republicans have had to blow $400K to defend the seat. Yeah. In Idaho. Grant is only down $113K to $73K in the money race. In Wyoming, Gary Trauner finished September with a slight financial lead over Barbara Cubin, with both candidates having a little over $300K on hand. Popular Governor Gary Freudenthal has agreed to come out and campaign for him, and we'll get to see Dean's 50 State Project in action with GOTV help. Whether it's burning Republican money (as with Grant) or pushing Democrats in cheap races to financial leads (as with Wulsin and Trauner) donations from good folks like you have been really helpful. Additionally, Washington's Darcy Burner has been hanging tough in a super-tight race, trailing by exactly the margin of error in the last three polls. The national party has started pumping big money into the race.

All of the above candidates are worthy of any extra cash you'd be willing to help them with, as are Virginia's Jim Webb and the three Secretary of State candidates I've listed who are going to keep the 2008 elections fair. But if you're interested in a hot new target for your money, I've got just the man for you.

His name is Larry Kissell, and he's running in North Carolina's 8th district against conservative Republican Robin Hayes, who let the GOP leadership arm-twist him into voting for CAFTA. Hayes won his last election 56-44, so it's not a district that's totally out of reach. Larry has run a brilliant campaign -- take a look at this news segment from August where he protested high gas prices by buying hundreds of people gas at $1.22 a gallon. That's the price of gas when his opponent was first elected in 1998. The voters are saying some wonderful things -- "He's getting a statement made, and we need something done, bad!" They feature the lifelong Republican who owns the gas station, and who plans to vote for Kissell -- "I vote for the man, I don't vote for the party".
As for his views on issues, it's really special to see something like this from a rural North Carolina candidate:
I am a pro-privacy candidate for Congress. The concept of "privacy" means that neither our government, nor any others, can make our most personal decisions for us. I therefore recognize all the prevailing laws of our land as derived from the Constitution, including the reproductive sovereignty of women, the right to bear arms and the fundamental right of religious freedom, including the traditional value of seperation of church and state. We must not legislate any ideology that intrudes on our individual freedoms as Americans.
It's hard to get a read on exactly what the dynamics of the race are. The lone independent poll had Kissell leading by 51-44, the only poll (including Kissell internals) to show him in the lead. Soon afterwards, Hayes released a very small internal poll (400 voters) showing a 49-33 GOP lead. Hayes may have conducted several simultaneous polls of that small size, and released the one that showed him leading by the most. Still, I'd be surprised if Kissell actually has a lead here, and my wild guess is that he's down by a little, maybe 5.

Now for the money situation. You guys know that cheap races and underfunded candidates are our specialty here at Werewolf Political Strategy, largely because of the diminishing returns of campaign cash. Taking candidates from $100K to $200K does a lot more for their competitiveness than taking them from $900K to a million. (Another part of our specialty is the astonishment that fundraising staff must feel when they see where the money came in from. "We got $500 from Werewolf Political Strategy? WTF? Did you make campaign promises to any werewolves?") Anyway, if you're addicted to underfunded candidates, let me just tell you that a little bit of Kissell will get you higher than anything you've tried before. Kissell has been outraised $1917K to $317K over the course of the campaign, and he finished the last quarter with $88 in the bank. No, I don't mean $88K. I mean eighty-eight dollars. He's sort of a long shot, but it's hard to imagine a place where your money will so powerfully affect a race. I'm making my first contribution to him (and dropping an additional $20 on the heroic Victoria Wulsin). As always, your support for Kissell, Wulsin, or any other candidate who strikes your fancy is greatly appreciated.

1 comment:

B. Muse said...

Thank you for supporting Larry. He is truly a wonderful man. I've been writing about him since February and he never ceases to amaze me. Hayes has gone very negative and Larry refuses to return the attacks. He does push back and he does set the record straight, but he does so in a classy way.

Dem turnout is beating Rep turnout 2:1 in early voting, so thanks for helping Larry keep the heat on.