Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

WA-03: Money isn't everything

Full Disclosure: I am a supporter and volunteer for Senator Craig Pridemore's campaign to succeed Brian Baird as U.S. Representative. My opinions (as expressed here) do not necessarily reflect those of Pridemore for Congress.

If money is the best measure of who is viable in political campaigns, then why aren't we following the lead of the Republicans and turning over the keys to government to corporate leaders and investment bank moguls?

After all, they've got plenty of money.

Apparently, Daddy Warbucks Richie Rich Denny Heck feels the need to continue to remind us all that he's a rich guy from Vancouver Olympia who is running for Congress. It isn't even the end of the quarter when fundraising reports are typically due for campaigns, but a few days ago Heck decided to jump the shark and tell us all how much money he's raised, after only one week in the race. His total includes $100,000 that he loaned to his campaign.

Federal contribution limits are $2400 per election, meaning donors can contribute up to $4800 for the race ($2400 each for the primary and general election). Divide Denny Heck's $115,000 raised by $2400 (assuming everything donated so far was for the primary), and that means Denny Heck's 48 rich friends (probably not all living in the 3rd Congressional District) have donated to his campaign. Sorry Denny, but it's going to take more than 48 people outside the 3rd District to win the race.

The press release on the fundraising totals follows Heck proclaiming himself the only "practicing capitalist" in the race (whatever that means), and a campaign announcement that screams "look at how much money I have."
Heck was an original investor in Real Networks, the digital entertainment company that pioneered streaming media on the Internet. He co-founded Intrepid Learning Solutions, a Washington State-based worker-training and learning business-services company with offices in several states. Today, Denny serves on the company’s board of directors.

Heck is also the co-owner of Bruin Development and is the lead investor and chairs the Board of Directors of Digital Efficiency, a company that provides electronic medical records solutions to health care providers.
No doubt, Denny Heck has been responsible for creating jobs in our state. But just because he has the ability to buy his way into a race, based on his corporate endeavors, doesn't mean he should be anointed the next congressman of the third district, as some in the Democratic party seem willing to do.

And local party leaders, PCOs,and politicos would do well to remember that money might bring you to the table, but ideas, hard work, and most importantly, the support of voters will get you across the finish line.


Blogger methowchauve said...

To call Denny Heck names, to imply early money (like EMILY’s list) or his willingness to put personal funds up front somehow makes him the evil candidate is divisive and pitiful. Early money will be key to this marathon.

The top two will spend millions combined on this race. Disgusting? Of course! Would a $1 million + spending spree by Pridemore or Wallace or Heck make them the wrong person to represent this district? Hardly, though we need campaign finance reform. But misleading and silly comments, plus using fear or distortion at this stage will only come back to haunt the likes of Mr. Camp and most certainly Mr. Pridemore. My political bucket list might align with Craig; the pragmatic activist in me might not.

In 2008, we decided not to quit or throw a tantrum because our first choice did not advance to the general. For once, we progressives did not take our marbles and go home. We delivered for the greater good. I have not decided who I will support in the 3rd, but it makes me wonder if Pridemore condones this Rovian mentality. We are better than this. Your faux deduction is something we do not need. Example: “(probably not all living in the 3rd Congressional District) have donated to his campaign. Sorry Denny, but it's going to take more than 48 people outside the 3rd District to win the race”. This is a classic Limbaugh/Rove diversion; stating a fictitious number of 48 who “probably” don’t live in the 3rd, then instantly proclaim those 48 are from outside our district. So, are there only 48 contributors? Is this honest information or faux news? What if Craig makes it beyond March and those big bucks roll his way, especially from out of district? Will he become “Cash King Craig”?

Baird could nearly proclaim victory when he hit the million dollar fund raising threshold. In turn, the RNC (as would the DNC) focused precious funds elsewhere. The RNC, in a year of discontent and misguided though very vocal populism, will make the 3rd top priority. The 3rd will be top national priority for both sides. If Pridemore thinks he is running in the 7th, like Jim McDermott, that he can rest on his liberal (perhaps a dated, “limousine liberal” mentality?) laurels in a swing/moderate district and furthermore will say “no” to big money needed to win this seat, we might as well write this seat off right now and add to the Dem loss column, which will either follow history with a 25+ seat loss or a bloodletting due to voter distrust and disappointment. If we here in the 3rd start off with name calling and misstating facts, we’ll turn off even more people. After all, popularity of members of Congress is somewhere around pond scum. Scrappy progressive Dems and many voters, those who are not activists or constantly blog, are tired of this old, dated approach.

In 2010, the Democrat who can address the issues faced by many of us who are struggling will prevail. Struggling does not mean having to forgo wine with dinner one night a week or the purchase of a new Prius or the vacation in Italy is postponed. No, this time around many people are struggling. We need candidates who first and foremost promote jobs (and walk the walk) with dignity in an era with unemployment of epic proportions (no doubt unemployment reaches 20+% in some areas in the 3rd beyond the limousine liberal enclaves. Add to this misery index, the under-employed and un/under-insured). We need to speak to many people who just a couple decades ago used to vote for Democrats.

The politics of personal destruction is so 2004! The times, they are a changin’. Either help the cause of keeping our eye on the prize or get out of the way – or step back from the keyboard! This time, things are different. Any of these top 3 candidates would be far better than the outgoing Baird.

Let the Republicans pull their BS. But don’t kick those who represent many views of many people. After all, the voters, especially progressive Dems who are tired of the old guard Dem mentality, will decide who best represents the greater good.

January 18, 2010 2:52 PM  

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