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Thursday, September 22, 2005

IL-06: Evolution

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Props to Christine Cegelis.

As we speak, Democracy for America is conducting a poll among the grassroots: Which of the first 50 candidates nominated by its members is worthy of the initial "Dean Dozen" endorsement. This is pretty serious because most of the campaigns vying for the endorsement could really use the national fundraising appeal from Jim Dean probably netting around $80,000 - $100,000, the volunteer support, and netroots-wide noteriety that will eventually come from the honor of finishing first.

It's been amazing to watch the campaigns jockey for position online. Once upon a time, diaries by candidates/campaigns on Daily Kos would rocket up to the top of the "recommended" list and visitors would heap praise upon the campaign for their interaction with the netroots--even if it was a only a nonsense appeal for funds. The last week has showed me that times they are a changing.

Since the first round of voting began, I have seen diaries from the Patrick Murphy campaign, Francine Busby, Richard Morrisson, Bryan Kennedy, and a few others drop like rocks when posted on Daily Kos, with little commentary and even fewer recommendations. Unless I am mistaken, only one has risen to the coveted recommended list, and that was a diary by Christine Cegelis. I believe all campaigns can take a lesson from this.

Chrstine was online in 2004, and when she lost, she never stopped communicating with the netroots. This was not some bogus one way appeal for funds, but she would talk about important issues without asking for anything in return...but discussion. And she would stick around in the comments and interact with the people that responded to her entries. She was actually having a DIALOGUE. Novel idea, eh? Christine's district is about five minutes outside of my hometown in Illinois, and I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with her several times. Her online outreach doesn't shock me at all, because it is an extension of the kind of traditional campaign work that brought her so close to the biggest upset of 2004 against Henry Hyde. Every vote the campaign receieved was earned through a message of progress and organization on the ground. She didn't have Republican money, but she had Democratic heart and determination. At the end of the day, she received 44+ percent of the vote, and Henry Hyde retired, not wanting another dog fight.

It's now an open seat.

Even still, national organizations have threatened the campaign by attempting to recruit the same old tired, self-financing, candidates in the district that will blur the distinction between themselves and the Republican opposition--in this case ex-DeLay staffer, Peter Roskam. Christine's campaign is met with constant demands about meeting this or than fundraising total or face the prospect of receiving no aid in a very winnable race, or worse, face establishment recruitment of the kind of candidate described above.

Chrstine has already raised more money than she had in all of the 2004 cycle, and winning this vote would end the discussion of further recruitment. A few weeks ago I was on a conference call with the DCCC and Rahm Emanuel, and they talked about polling all sorts of prospective candidates in the district rather than using those resources to help the candidate that has been running for two year already...and never stopped. Every step of the way, her campaign has met the establishment challenges with an uprising from her own network of grassroots supporters inside IL-6 and from within the netroots. Winning this vote would be the final nail in the coffin and ensure us a great candidate with a message of progress in a very winnable district.

I cast my ballot for Christine Cegelis today, and I guess this is my appeal to ask you to do the same.

UPDATE: (Bob) I cast my ballot for Christine Cegelis. Join us!

Posted at 12:40 PM in Netroots | Technorati


Hey Tim, I got that email from DFA but didn't cast a ballot because I hadn't heard of any of the candidates. But I'm trusting your endorsement so I cast my vote for Cegelis. Now get Hackett to announce he's running against DeWine and you're my hero.

Posted by: Samson [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 02:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Get ready to throw rose pedals at my feet then. You'll get your wish, but the decision obviously has little to do with me.


Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2005 02:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I was at the Cegelis office today sending out fundraisnig letters. Guess whose name I ran accross Tim?

Posted by: Delver_rootnose [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2005 03:16 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment