Saturday, August 26, 2006
NC-08: DCCC Changes Its Mind, Moves to Back Kissell!Posted by James L.
Phenomenal news, people. As you know, we began the August Netroots fundraising push with the goal of lifting up our netroots-endorsed candidates with a strong surge of online fundraising at a traditionally weak time of the summer for such activities. The goal was not so much to give campaigns the necessary funds to push them over the top, but to give them a fundraising "push" that would make larger donors and the DCCC take notice.
Well, guess what? The DCCC just noticed, and they're moving to back Netroots candidate Larry Kissell. (For more on Kissell's compelling story, see our earlier write-up about this race.) From the Charlotte Observer:
A Democratic Party official said Friday that the party's congressional campaign arm made a mistake in throwing its support to an 8th District candidate who later quit the race.
In directing more than $30,000 to Fayetteville lawyer Tim Dunn last year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bypassed Larry Kissell, a Montgomery County teacher. Dunn, an Iraq war veteran, was seen as a favorite before dropping out of the race in March.
Kissell went on to win the 8th District's May primary. He faces Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes in November.
"The DCCC made a mistake in assessing this race," U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., and a vice chair of the committee. "But the voters are smarter than we are."
Davis appeared with Kissell at an evening rally Friday at Charlotte's Veterans Park.
He said party interest in Kissell's race represented "a huge shift." He said he plans to ask the committee to make the race one of its national priorities. That could translate into money and other aid from the party as well as trade unions and other groups traditionally aligned with Democrats.
Amazing. This is exactly what we wanted to happen for our Netroots candidates. With minimal resources based on small dollar donations like yours, Kissell made waves in the district, earning headlines for his low-budget campaign tactics. Now, the "big boys" are promising to pile on in a meaningful way.
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Artur Davis speak last night, but the DCCC hasn't coughed up any money or paid for any air time. Don't start celebrating until they've inked a check.
Larry went head-to-head with Hayes today. It was awesome. If it is any indication of how Larry will handle the debate in October then we'll be chalking up a win.
That's a really good point, but I doubt that Davis would stick his neck out and publicly push for DCCC support for Kissell if he didn't think he'd be able to get the resources. He is, after all, the vice-chair.
AND, this will encourage more local donors and local labor organizations to invest more in the race given that the DCCC feels that it looks worthwhile.
PS--Can you give us more details on this head-to-head? I'm intrigued!
Ooops...I meant to say...It was wonderful to hear Artur Davis speak last night....
JamesL...I will have a full post up along with great pictures tomorrow at BlueNC, but basically it was a local candidate gathering. The press was there (print) and may have a different take, but I've heard Larry speak many times. I go to every event that I can, so I've had a chance to hear Larry's public speaking develop. He's really come a long way and has great inflection - not too hokey or too forceful. Sure, he can use a little more polish, but we don't want him sounding too much like a slick politician.
Today he went first - the first candidate of the entire day to speak. He was probably a bit nervous to start, but he drove home the point that people are tired of politicians spinning failed policies just to win the next election, the people of the 8th feel that the politicians in Washington are out of touch, they don't know if their children will be able to have a good life in the same towns they grew up in and he ended with telling the crowd that in the 8th district when a politician chooses party loyalty to vote for a program that will put them out of work, then he will be handed a pink slip in November. It was subtle and forceful at the same time.
Hayes stood to speak and seemed a bit flustered. He did come across as if he was defending himself. He was wearing his 82nd airborne hat and he said he wanted to continue helping veterans and education. I've heard him speak before and he sounded weak and a bit whiney almost. He was knocked off his game by a first-time candidate. My enthusiasm for Larry might be causing me to read a bit more into this than others would see. Maybe Hayes was hot. Maybe he'd had a rough night.
Or Maybe he wasn't expecting soft-spoken Larry Kissell to come out swinging in a way that came from the heart of the working people in the 8th district. It was clear which candidate was in touch with the voters.(I might have to add this to my piece for tomorrow ;))
Like I said...full report tomorrow. Thanks for giving Larry some attention. He'll be up at BlueNC pretty much constantly between now and November 7th.