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Monday, June 14, 2004

Why Downticket Races Matter

Posted by DavidNYC

I stressed one point tonight in my little talk at the Kerry fundraiser mentioned below: It's not enough for us just to win the White House. If we want to be able to accomplish anything at all - whether we're talking legislation or appointing federal judges - we need to take back Congress as well. Clinton spent six years fighting off a hostile GOP House and Senate every day. To undo the damage Bush has done, we're going to need the Presidency and one if not both branches of Congress.

So what does this have to do with the Swing State Project? Well, in certain cases, we get to kill two birds with one well-aimed stone. By supporting House and Senate candidates in swing states, we increase our chances of winning the state for Kerry and recapturing Congress. On the Senate side, we've got several great candidates: Joe Hoeffel running in PA, Nancy Farmer in MO and Eric Fingerhut in OH. And once Florida, Louisiana, and Colorado sort out their primaries, we should have strong opportunities there as well.

The House side is a little more complicated, with so many more races to keep track of. But to give one example of what I mean, check out Markos' post about Ohio. Though OH is a very large state, political observers thought until recently that every member, D and R, of Ohio's House delegation was safe. Turns out now that three insurgent Democrats - Ben Konop, Jane Mitakides, and Jeff Seemann - have all made things a lot more interesting, simply by putting up a fight.

Now, I'm not saying we'll win all these races - far from it. But each of these candidates - whether a big name like Farmer or a smaller player like Seemann - is making Republicans sweat. As I've written previously, every time we fight for a seat, regardless of our odds of winning, we prevent incumbent GOPers from fundraising for their buddies and force them to defend their home turf.

And when we combine this attitude - that we'll make every election a serious battle - with a focus on swing states, we can really hit one out of the park: taking back the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill.

UPDATE: I'm very pleased to see that Markos has selected Jeff Seemann as one of the "DKos 8" - Congressional candidates to whom the Kos community is pledging their full support. Read the post, though: Jeff's district (Ohio's 16th) is home to one of the most important "swing counties" in Ohio. If we really show up in force for Jeff, we can make things a lot harder for Dubya in the Buckeye State.

Posted at 09:38 PM in General, Ohio | Technorati