Author Archive: Rosi Efthim

50-State Strategy kicks ass in Flemington, NJ.

Tonight, in my tiny town of Flemington, New Jersey, Mark Legato (D) beat out Julie Luster (R) for a contested Borough Council seat Legato won in November by just one vote and Luster has contested ever since. We won by 30 votes tonight.


Our secret weapons were two young women in sneakers and blue jeans who pounded out our GOTV program over a sleepless two days in the inadequately-heated Hunterdon County Dem HQ. It was more efficient, more productive and frankly, one hell of a lot more fun than anything we have ever done. The Republicans didn’t know what hit them. And it drove the win. 


One of the fundamentals of Gov. Howard Dean’s 50-State Strategy is Show up everywhere. And that doesn’t mean just mayor’s races in Salt Lake City, state contests in Alaska or gaining ground in the Show-Me State. For this to work it also has to mean that we concede no vote even in the most crimson portions of very blue states. Places like Hunterdon County. 50-State Strategy = 21-County Strategy.


So here’s the thing: Next time you hear some self-serving dinosaur like James Carville spin bullshit about replacing Howard Dean as DNC Chair, remember the paradigm shift Dean presides over. Money lifts from the hands of Beltway consultants, and pays for organizers like Mary Campbell and Colleen Montgomery who fan out and help generate victories powered by us. Boom. Out of those victories emerge better government and better direction.


We won in Flemington tonight. If James Carville or Rahm Emanuel or anybody else wants to take down Howard Dean, they have to knock me down first. And I’m in a feisty mood. Did I mention we won?

UPDATE & Postscript, later that same year: On the night of this victory, our next candidate stood on a chair and announced that she was running next: Linda Mastellone, the first-ever candidate to emerge directly out of Hunterdon DFA. We won that race too, in a blitz of DFA-intensive work. And with Linda’s win, the Democrats took control here, here in this town where Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one. Boom! – – Rosi

One Million

Congratulations to everybody in the Blue Jersey community: Our little bloggie …. right … this … second just turned one million!

That’s 1,000,000 page views. Woo hoo!

Shout outs, congrats, and best wishes gratefully accepted. But here’s the deal, this enterprise wouldn’t have soared the way it has without the lively, contentious, and vivid commentary from everybody in the Blue Jersey community. Thank you, you rock it like a rocket.

I have issues with MLK Day

The most-visited grave in Arlington National Cemetary is that of John F. Kennedy. I know where it is, but that’s not who I visit. At the base of one of two broad paths up to Kennedy’s eternal flame, is a much simpler plot, with a much simpler marker: Civil Rights Advocate.

You have to walk around to the back to see who that is: my hero Thurgood Marshall. The first African-American on the Supreme Court didn’t want that splashy title staring out at mourners. He wanted his life’s driving force known.

I’ve got a problem with the way Martin Luther King Day is observed in much of the country. Yeah, I hate seeing it commercialized. But more than that, I take issue with the way MLK is remembered in the minds of a lot of white people. The Reverend was a smart tactician, a tough-as-nails organizer who knew what worked, and particularly in his last years, a man came to see the Vietnam War as an enemy of the poor. It’s hard to teach that to kids in the age of conservatism, because MLK would have taken issue with many of their teachers, their parents, and the people who represent them in Congress. He’d have spoken in fury. So instead, we’ve dumbed-down the memory of a complicated genius. And in some places we don’t do much more than teach him as an expression of pure-love, a kind of inoffensive Black Jesus. He was so much more.

Hey – La Igualdad del Estado del Jardín te está buscando.

UPDATE: Okay, the translation site is imperfect. Translated back, that means: The equality of the state of the garden is looking for to you. No disrespect intended to the lovely language, but you get the idea…

My high school Spanish is rusty, so I used a translation website to hit you with this:

Hey – Garden State Equality is looking for you.


Continuing its well-orchestrated outreach to the fullest spectrum of Jersey communities, Garden State Equality is now looking for people willing to speak about LGBTI issues in Spanish,  Chinese (several dialects), Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, Italian, Russian, Greek, French, Flemish, Dutch, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Aramaic, Ethiopian, Hindi, Urdu, Farsi among others.

This is just so smart. The success of progressive movements here will depend on our working together, across lines that typically divide us. Garden State Equality’s first smart move was to reach out to straight folks and frame  marriage equality clearly as a civil rights issue that anybody who values freedom, commitment and family stability can understand.

War hero Max Cleland campaigns for Stender

There’s something about a man who pins his pants legs closed at the thigh and wheels himself up to the front of a room with his one remaining arm that makes you sit up straight and listen sharp to what he has to say about war.

And to a standing-room-only audience of veterans and military families, war hero Sen. Max Cleland unleashed a fury of words today against Republican Mike Ferguson, and in support of Linda Stender’s insurgent challenge in NJ-7.

Max Cleland on George Bush:

“Bush put in just enough soldiers to lose [the war], because he ignored the advice of Gen. Shinseki, and disregarded the advice of Gen. Colin Powell.”

Small wonder, considering the President’s own military profile:

“The administration’s led by an Alabama National Guard dropout. When you see somebody who can’t hack it at the Alabama National Guard, you know they’re really bad.”

Cleland on “right-wing nutcase” Mike Ferguson:

“Ferguson is part of the Republican effort to wrap themselves in the flag. When it comes to patriotic quotes, he’s right there. When it comes to votes, he is not ever there.”

Cleland plainly stated Ferguson’s rating from Disabled American Veterans (DAV): ZERO.

Linda Stender on RNN TV live – 8pm

UPDATE: As two readers already note here, Stender hit it out of the park. From calling for implementation of 9/11 Commission provisions, to saying how fed up Americans are with the direction of this administration, how they’ve “mismanaged and misled this country,” Stender was dead-on.

A few weeks ago, Mike Ferguson was a guest on Real Politics Live on RNN (Regional News Network). The host tried to nail him down on his support of Bush’s failed Iraq War. But Ferguson dodged and weaved, preferring to trot out his easily-memorized (and mind-numbingly stupid) mantra Linda Stender is a spender.

Well, tonight it’s Stender’s turn. She recorded her interview earlier today and she gets very specific on Iraq and on other matters. How to stream it LIVE after the jump…

Stender Fundraising Surges – Netroots Midnight Deadline!

UPDATE: With 5 minutes to go before the midnight deadline, can you help get Stender up over $16,000 total raised from Netroots? Toteboard’s at $15,964.54… right… this… second…

Midnight + 2 minutes: Banged that right out: $16,000.10! VERY pretty. Didn’t get in on the action in time? Blue Jersey’s $5 Friday is just 2 days away…

If you’re up late tonight, you can help Linda Stender pay for a few more radio spots to fight back against Mike Ferguson’s mind-numbingly stupid Stender is a Spender ads.

MyDD, Daily Kos and Swing State Project are clocking down the last few minutes of a wild pre-Labor Day fundraising drive for all their Netroots-endorsed candidates. And that includes Stender. She’s picked up an amazing $6,432.82 raised, 354 new donors. That was at the 9:10pm update. The number jumped $40 just since I started writing this.

Toteboard says $15,683.39 at 10:38pm with 82 minutes till midnight

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The Netroots fundraiser ends at midnight tonight.  There’s still time to get in it, my sleepless political junkies.

Things I Saw Last Night in Connecticut

1. Two black men and a black lady in a killer suit helped a rich white business dude from Greenwich win a Primary. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

The point was driven home all week that while Lieberman’s supporters did quickie drive-by visits with little one-on-one voter contact (example Hillary Clinton), Lamont’s cheerleaders came, stayed  for days and did retail politics on their feet for hours. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton talked to voters outside polling places all day. Maxine Waters went door-to-door with Lamont; the woman’s a rock star.

2. Reaction in the bloggers’ room to Lieberman’s concession was much bigger than in the press area. Go figure.

3. If the victory is big enough, somebody will jump into the pool with all their clothes on. And that will be awesome.

4. Alan Colmes got taunted on TV last night by a guy who walked behind him live, carrying a sign: Hannity is an assh**le

5. A packed room of Lamont supporters chanting Bring them home! Bring them home! when Ned Lamont began to talk about the war. I did not imagine I would see anything like that in 2006.

Report from the Ned Lamont Road Trip

I’m in the Bridgeport, CT HQ of Lamont for Senate. It’s a storefront print shop and we’ve been putting out canvass crews and phone banking for hours in a tight, wild space, dodging vast reams of paper, machinery with pointy things and styrofoam cups all over the floor. There are cookies and voter lists on every table surface. All the land lines are in use (it’s really loud in here). And at least two dozen people are standing outside where the cell reception is better.

Ned Lamont just walked in the door, to thank everybody:

Watch Stender call Ann Coulter out, and other good stuff in Stender’s new website

Linda Stender’s website has a nice redesign that’s just being rolled out now. If you missed it the first time around, you can see video on the front page there of Linda Stender on CNN’s Larry King, taking Ann Coulter out to the woodshed for her disgraceful recent slurs on New Jersey’s 9/11 widows. A slam-dunk.

Also there’s a nice video clip of Ellen Malcolm, the EMILY’s List President, about why Stender was a candidate worth endorsing.

Blue Jersey raised some solid on-line campaign contributions for Stender just before the March 31 FEC filing deadline. Thank you to all who helped that effort. We’ll be making that ask again this week as the 2nd Quarter FEC filing deadline approaches. And you can always help fuel the Stender campaign – she deserves it – by contributing to her campaign through Blue Jersey’s Act Blue page.