Progressive Kick: Win Big By Thinking Small

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I hope by now all C&L readers are aware that we participate in the Blue America PAC to help encourage a more progressive -- and more fearlessly progressive -- Congress. Most of our candidates are running for the House (although we have a separate page for Senate challengers as well). What we don't do -- or at least haven't so far -- is endorse people running for President. I don't think we've endorsed any gubernatorial candidates either and we haven't been endorsing legislative candidates. That isn't because we don't think that's important work. In fact, it's crucially important work. And I'm excited to tell you about an organization that is doing just that, Progressive Kick. As you can see they have already endorsed progressive state legislative candidates in Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Right now they've set up a matching fund to be able to deliver a quarter million dollars across several down-ballot races around the country. A quarter million dollars doesn't do all that much anymore in U.S. Senate races and certainly doesn't win a House seat anymore-- but it is really powerful in local races and can make all the difference in the world-- a difference that impacts redrawing of districts as well as the all-important existence of a deep and well prepared "bench." Aside from the Oregon and Pennsylvania candidates, by next week they'll have candidates up from Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

So basically, what Progressive Kick is committing to is a minimum of $125,000 that they've already received from major donors as a dollar-for-dollar matching-fund for whichever candidates generate some money on the ActBlue page. In other words, if you want to see progressive Frank Bovalino take out right-wing lemming Jim Christiana in Pennsylvania's 15th House district, by donating $20, you guarantee that Bovalino's campaign gets $40. These are all carefully vetted candidates in close but winnable races. Progressive Kick is concentrating exclusively on races that will lead to control of Congressional redistricting in the respective states.

All their candidates are progressive leaders with real backbones, unlike some Democratic members of Congress who we’ll have to hold our noses to vote for in order to keep a majority. Many of the candidates in this effort will be the progressive congressional candidates of the future. Does this sort of thing work, you ask? Let me share a couple of success stories with you, direct from candidates who have benefited. Patsy Keever is currently the progressive Democratic nominee for North Carolina House District 115. After winning her primary last month she wrote Progressive Kick that “I originally decided to run for the NC Legislature when I read in the local newspaper that my current legislator was ranked at the very bottom of all NC legislators by the nonpartisan organization, Environment NC…. I was up against all the 'powers that be' in the state, and it was a real shot in the arm to get the surprise support from Progressive Kick at a time when we were unable to get support from the groups I had expected to have… we won our primary by a 60 - 40 margin against an entrenched incumbent who outspent me five to one…”

Rep. Rick Glazier is one of the most progressive members of the North Carolina House and he represents that 45th District. This is, in part, a letter he wrote to Progressive Kick:

“…we have been able to create a strong progressive-center coalition that has enacted a series of social and economically progressive legislation that has made an enormous difference in the lives of families and children:

minimum wage legislation well before Congress acted several years ago, a substantial earned income tax credit, public funding of elections of judicial and some executive branch offices, comprehensive sex education in middle schools, the nation’s first actual innocence commission modeled on the only one in the world in the UK, a series of mortgage protection bills now viewed as a national consumer model, elimination of predatory pay day lending practices, a comprehensive homeowner anti-scam protection law, an anti-bullying bill which protects all children, including those on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which is the first in the south and one of the most comprehensive in the country, the first bill that removes the cap on damages for any oil spill damage off the east coast in light of Deepwater Horizon, and a series of laws aimed at reforming the criminal justice system, including videotaping of all homicide interrogations, a detailed witness identification procedures bill, a model DNA and biological evidence preservation bill, and the nation’s second state to pass a Racial Justice Act…

All of this progressive legislation passed in North Carolina in the last 2 sessions and much of it by the slimmest of margins, including four of these bills passing by one vote with the Speaker in each case breaking the tie and after bitter and extended ideological attack from the opposition…

… the work and funds of Progressive Kick are critical if we are to maintain control. Democrats, particularly progressives, win here because we have better candidates, are far better organized with strong ground games, and have significantly greater resources than our opponents. When any of these three factors do not exist we lose, so resources at the state level make an incredible difference. For example in my House district, which is a swing district with a 47% Democratic performance margin and which went hard for George Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008, I still won by 123 votes in 2004 and 700 votes in 2006 because of work and time and resources in my district, but my seat now costs over $275,000 to hold…

… redistricting will occur in 2011 and how that proceeds in our state will decide control of the General Assembly and our congressional delegation for a decade…”

So, yes... it works. Again, please consider helping out our colleagues at Progressive Kick-- and remember, whatever you donate will be doubled by the matching fund.

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