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Monday, May 09, 2005

Evan Bayh Presidential Ambitions

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading the new Fort Wayne Journal Gazette article on Senator Evan Bayh's potential presidential bid, when I was struck by the fact that the Democratic Leadership Council ended up in the story. While using the DLC to raise a campaign profile was a smart move 15 years ago, does it really benefit a candidate in 2008 to be seen as the DLC candidate?

The fundraising potential of the DLC is waning and far less critical than a successful online strategy. But it is the liability of being seen as the DLC candidate that interests me.

In the 2004, the DLC ruthlessly cut down Governor Howard Dean in the primaries. In our recent DNC Chair election, bloggers had their first taste of payback by quickly destroying any potential the DLC's Tim Roemer might have enjoyed.

But DNC Chair isn't nearly as important to Party direction as choosing the 2008 Presidential nominee and I have to think that being seen as the DLC choice would be the kiss of death for a candidate. In 2004, everyone but the DLC took the high road and next time I think many forces will quickly go negative on anyone seen as the DLC candidate. Much like Al From was too radioactive to even make an endorsement for DLC Chair, how long will it be until Presidential candidates distance themselves from the DLC for the sake of their campaign?

Anyway, back to the article:

Bayh is offering all the clues of someone who wants to ensure he has those resources if he wants to call upon them. He’s making prudent, campaign-building steps:

•Since entering the Senate, Bayh has been raising money with far more aggression than his Indiana races warrant and now has $6.8 million in his campaign account.

•He has worked on raising his national profile, using his role in the Democratic Leadership Council to travel all over the country. Of the $206,000 he’s raised in checks of $200 or more from individuals since the beginning of the year, just $1,000 is from Indiana.

•He created a campaign fund that allows him to make donations to other candidates, always a friend-making gesture. In the 2004 election, he made $209,000 in donations to other candidates from this political action committee.

•He’s been making speeches to Democratic audiences outside Indiana. This gives him practice with non-Hoosier crowds, introduces him to Democratic audiences around the country, and puts his name in local newspapers. In March, he was the keynoter at Colorado’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Last week he addressed a Butler County, Ohio, Truman Kennedy Holcomb Dinner. (This was the county Karl Rove made a speech in, the county that gave President Bush a 53,000-vote plurality, his largest in the state.)

•He has been courting the national media for years, and he has hired staff members with skills a presidential contender needs.

Posted at 08:54 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Technorati


Bayh has been making some smart moves and going to a more populist tack.

As long as Evan Bayh merely uses his role in the DLC and doesn't operate like Al From, I'm fine with it. He may be worth a second glance, although I'll be hard-pressed to forgive him for the tax cut votes.

Posted by: Left in the West [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2005 12:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment