Tag Archive: campaigns

Meet the 58 Democrats Too Conservative For Their Districts

Every election season activists have the same debates: to primary or not to primary? Risk-averse campaign professionals wince at the thought of primaries to any sitting Democratic members of Congress, while ideological activists and party interest groups are more enthusiastic about challenging errant Blue Dogs and conservative Democrats.

These debates unfortunately remain one of the last redoubts of hazy gut-based analysis and decision-making in politics, but that’s all about to change. Primary Colors will bring a Moneyball approach to this guessing game, and help progressive activists target their resources on the lowest-value members in the lowest-risk districts.

9/27 Middlesex Dems Social Media Seminar

Come out and see the blogbrothers. Promoted by Rosi

Fresh off last week’s Democratic National Convention, the Middlesex Democrats are ready for the final push to Election Day.

I know I don’t have to tell everyone at Blue Jersey how – now more than ever – social media is playing an important role in politics.  You’ve all been at the cutting-edge of things for several years now.

That’s why, for my first diary here, I wanted to let everyone know something the Middlesex Dems are putting together later this month to help our local candidates, activists and elected officials learn a bit more about Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.  And I hope some of you can take part, too.

Please join us Thursday, September 27th, as we bring in some of New Jersey’s leading experts to talk about how to best use social media on the campaign trail, in elected office and in your day-to-day life.

Thursday, September 27th

6 PM

IBEW Local 456

1295 Livingston Avenue

North Brunswick, NJ 08902

In fact, the panel’s participants will be some names very familiar to those here at Blue Jersey.

You can RSVP to Dana Korbman at dkorbman@mcdonj.org or (732) 906-3680.

In today’s fast-paced political world, it’s critically important for us all to learn how to best utilize these tools –  to communicate with voters and constituents. The very fact that you’re reading this diary means you know exactly what I’m talking about.  

2010 Essential Races – Who Would You Support?

[Cross-posted at www.DLCC.org]

Let's try something different:  Which legislative races do you care about?

Out of over 6,000 state legislative districts up for grabs this year, we've chosen 40 key races to highlight on our 2010 “Essential Races” list.  These are 40 critical races that we anticipate will show which way the political tide is turning this fall.

But we recognize our own limitations. There are plenty of other key races all across the country — so we're asking for your help in identifying them.

For the next few weeks, we'll be accepting nominations from the public for 10 additional state legislative races to be added to our 2010 “Essential Races” list.

New Jersey's regular state legislative elections aren't for another year.  But there are several special elections, and we certainly welcome nominations for a campaign you think deserves attention in another state.

Google and Youtube launch “2010 Campaign toolkit”

I love this idea as Google announced yesterday the launch of a 2010 Campaign Toolkit and an upgraded Google Campaign Toolkit

The toolkits aim to provide political candidates with the resources to successfully use both YouTube and other Google products to engage constituents and citizens. On YouTube, campaigns will have access to features like a Politician channel (which allows campaigns to brand their channel and upload longer videos), Google Moderator, and analytics tool YouTube Insight. The toolkit also includes paid advertising campaigns, such as in-stream ads and Promoted Video. The Google toolkit shows how products in the Google Apps family like Docs and Gmail, can keep staff and volunteers connected.

They’re calling it You Choose 2010 and have both free and paid services. Here’s what google has to say about it:

We hope campaigns in both national and local contests will use these toolkits to engage and inform voters on important issues in 2010. As access to information online is increasingly important in elections, we’re pleased to continue developing useful tools for voters and candidates.

Hopefully campaigns and candidates will take advantage of these tools. Video can convey a powerful message that print sometimes is unable to. The really smart campaigns will pick up a small video camera or find a volunteer to really take advantage of the tools Google is putting at their fingertips.

ELEC reports 25% drop in fundraising, 32% drop in spending by Assembly candidates

ELEC reports today that even less money is being raised and spent on Assembly races this cycle than they anticipated:

Candidates for the General Assembly have raised $14.6 million and spent $10.2 million, according to 11-day pre-election reports  filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for the 2009 General Election.

“These figures represent an even more dramatic decrease in financial activity from four years ago than was reported at the 29-day reporting period,” said Jeff Brindle, Executive Director of the Commission.

In 2005, the last time there were contests for Governor and Assembly, Assembly candidates had raised $19.4 million and spent $14.9 million by this time.

While they say that the Governor’s race and tough economy have helped contribute to the 25% drop in fundraising and 32% drop in spending, they credit pay to play laws as an additional factor:

“What we have witnessed since Pay-to-Play laws were enacted and executive orders issued is a slowdown in campaign financial activity, culminating in the dramatic decrease at all levels this year,” said Brindle.

“Potential donors are hesitant to give, fearing being in violation of the law, forfeiting a public contract, or being prohibited from negotiating and bidding on a contract.”

“It is safe to say that Pay-to-Play laws are working with regard to reducing the amount in contributions going directly to candidates,” he said.

Overall, the Assembly Democrats have more than their opponents:

Democratic candidates raised $10 million, spent $7.2 million and have $2.8 million cashon-hand. Republican candidates have raised $4.5 million, spent $2.9 million and have cash-onhand totaling $1.5 million. Independents have reported $118,081 raised and $60,971 in expenditures. Cash-on-hand for Independents amounts to $56,929.

They said that even in prior tough economic times, campaign spending would still increase and sometimes significantly, seeming to discount the economy’s influence. Do you agree with their assessment? What do you think has caused the drop in fundraising and spending?

Rob Andrews Blogstein for US Senate

Some of you’ve heard me affectionately refer to the Blue Jersey  community as “the Blogsteins.”  Dunno where it came from, but it’s a little easier to say than “the Blue Jersey community.”  You’re reading this, so chances are you’re a Blogstein.

This rule-of-thumb can apply to front pagers, alums ( JRBlogstein, anyone?) and diarists alike (Steven Goldstein-Blogstein, Dennis McBlogstein, et al.)  Congressman Rob Andrews is definitely a Blogstein.  I am biased of course.  But I wanted to take a minute to explain why.


I discoved the Jersey blogosphere about three years ago, a bit about our state’s smoking ban.

Since then there’ve been twists and turns + some real progressive victories (and demi-victories) along the way.  All the while the struggle for legitimacy — as bloggers in an increasingly blog friendly world –was made easier by politicians like Rob Andrews  giving a little boost.  

(Frankly we’re lucky  in New Jersey since many of our legislators have been generous with their time and access.  I dare say none more so than Rob Andrews, especially back in the beginning.)  

Some people write letters to their Congressman.   The Blogsteins do podcasts with ’em!

It’s satisfying when Governors and Congressmen grant access, but this is a little deeper than that: becoming a Blogstein meant amplifying my liberal voice and ensuing more agency to fight for ending the death penalty (check); family leave insurance (check) and gay marriage (stay tuned.)  It’s all because of blogging.  Who knew?  I was more than just a guy at a protest with a sign.

And whenever I reached out, Rob Andrews was around to talk about stuff like Iraq to GLBT rights.  Everything was on the table.  And in retrospect that access lent some legitimacy to what I was trying to get done over at Casa Blogstein.

New Jersey votes June 3

Fast forward to April 2oo8 when Rob Andrews announced his run for US Senate.  One of the first decisions the campaign made was to embrace New Media like blogging, vlogging and (to a lesser extent) facebook and Myspace.  Suddenly the Andrews for US Senate campaign became a perfect place for a Blogstein or two.

Politics 101: Contested Primaries are Good: Except for Every Example I Can Find

First, this is not aimed at any race in particular – but it might just apply to every race in particular.  Before anyone fires off a comment hatin’ me for anything; remember: It isn’t aimed at any race in particular.  I’m just talking general practices here.

I am personally in favor of having every single election of any type being contested. There is nothing that is more an affront to the principle of democracy than to have an election just handed to someone (anyone) because no one signed up to oppose them.  A challenged primary – in theory – can actually improve a candidate’s standing (without demolishing the competition).

Make the jump.  It’s time to discuss this and get it on the record.

Campaign Roundup for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NJ-Pres: Rasmussen poll

  • A Rasmussen poll released Monday found Republican John McCain leading both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama inside the margin of error in New Jersey.  McCain, who leads Obama 46-45 and Clinton 45-42, is boosted by his 61% favorability rating in the state.
  • NJ-Sen: The Republicans

  • An FDU poll finds that three in four Republicans don’t know who they will vote for in the upcoming US Senate primary.
  • NJ-Sen: The Democrats

  • Frank Lautenberg says he will pour $2 million of his own money into defending his seat from a Rob Andrews primary challenge.
  • Two two big New Jersey mayors, Newark’s Cory Booker and Jersey City’s Jerramiah Healy, who is also HCDO chair, are supporting Lautenberg.
  • All six New Jersey House Democrats who are running for re-election to the House this year have pledged to run on a line with Lautenberg in the primary. At least two of the six, Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and Steve Rothman (NJ-09), have senatorial ambitions of their own.
  • NJ-02: Van Drew staying out

  • Jeff Van Drew chickens out again and declines to challenge LoBiondo.
  • NJ-09: Wildes wants in

  • The power-hungry Michael Wildes wants to challenge Steve Rothman in the Democratic primary for his Congressional seat.
  • Atlantic City Mayor: Conflicts of interest?

  • Incumbent Mayor Scott Evans questioned Lorenzo Langford’s ability to serve the city that is trying to recover an $850,000 settlement from him. In return, Langford criticized the mayor for approving a $200,000 settlement for a former fire captain in the fire department where Evans served as battalion chief.
  • Correcting the Record: Obama Is Pro Choice

    I am writing this comment to correct some late-breaking  misinformation  about Barack Obama’s women’s rights  record.

    Obama is 100% pro-choice.  As the former President of NARAL, Karen Mulhauser has recently written, he “always has been and always will be. That’s why he made sure that FDA-approved contraceptives were covered by insurance plans for women in Illinois as a State Senator. That’s why Obama spoke out against South Dakota’s attempt to outlaw all abortions. And that’s why Obama has worked so hard to make sure that low-income and college women can access affordable birth [control]. (You can find Mulhauser’s complete statement on Huffington Post, and you can find detailed information about Obama’s record at “barackobama.com.”)

    Nevertheless,  emails and rumors now circulate in New Jersey which argue, falsely, that Obama is “weak” on choice and other women’s rights issues.  One of the emails, sent by New York NOW, was posted on February 1 on Blue Jersey by Xpatriated Texan as a comment under “Me or Your Lying Eyes”.  XT refuted the email with a long list of facts  about Obama’s consistent support for choice, but facts do not seem to matter to folks who want to distort Obama’s record.

    In Iowa and again in New Hampshire, untruths were told about Obama’s strong pro-choice record.  One Hillary Clinton supporter (Lorna Brett Howard) actually switched to Barack because she was familiar with work for women’s rights in Illinois  and was shocked that so many falsehoods were being circulated about his record.  See   youtube.com/watch?v=OVuMYKs8iJs (showing statement by Lorna B. Howard).

    Some readers may be asking:  So, if Obama is so strong on choice, how could he have been attacked on this issue?  The answer is simple.  Obama did something that is complicated to explain, and anything that is complicated to explain is vulnerable to attack in the context of sound bite politics.  

    When Obama served as a state Senator,  he voted “present”, instead of “no” on a few anti-abortion bills.  He did this at the request of Planned Parenthood which had developed a strategy of opposing such bills with “present” votes, rather than “no” votes, so that moderate senators in rural areas would be less vulnerable to attack for their votes at election time.  “Present” votes could prevent the the passage of a law that required a certain percentage of affirmative “yes” votes.  On politically volatile issues, however, these votes were harder to use than “no” votes as  attack points at election time.  

    Obama, by the way, did not need to worry about voting “no” on anti-choice legislation:  He was not representing a district in Chicago  that made him vulnerable on this issue.  In short,  his “present” votes did not reflect  political timidity or raw self-protection.    Rather, Planned Parenthood wanted him to vote  “present”  to provide political cover and make  it easier for more moderate, downstate, rural Senators to vote the same way.  It is not much of an exaggeration to say that Obama’s “present” votes were a form of political altruism. . .


    He should have disclosed it.

    This started out as a comment, but veers from the original topic so much, I diaried it.

    He was running for the governorship. She was the head of a state employees’ union. They had a personal relationship. There was no guarantee they would be working together, but there was a strong likelihood.

    He gave that money to her a week after he announced his candidacy. If he didn’t give some serious thought to disclosing the gift in his reports then, it shows a lack of acumen. It even implies he’s way out of touch with normal people (the majority of Americans  work years to make that kind of money).

    If he did think about it and didn’t file, it shows a lack of integrity, given their occupations. Being as it happened during the campaign, I find it incredibly hard to believe he didn’t give it some thought.

    It becomes more understandable if he didn’t disclose because he thought it would hurt his ex-wife or family. But it was his choice to run for the office that employs those she represents. And it was also his choice to make the gift.

    Either way, he doesn’t come out of it looking good. No one would be talking about this if he had just disclosed it from the start.