Tag Archives: 50 State Strategy

DNC Chair Kaine Unlikely to Eliminate 50 State Strategy

Lately, I’ve been reading the criticisms of Obama’s decision to appoint Virginia Tim Kaine to chair the DNC.  

Concerns surround a fear that Dean’s 50 State Strategy will be terminated.

After meeting Chairman Kaine at the DNC Winter Meeting, hearing his acceptance speech and seeing his choices for DNC staff so far, I don’t feel it likely that the 50 State Strategy will be dismantled.

Kaine was elected chair almost unanimously, along with a combination of new faces such as a Vice Chair for Voter Participation (and former Gore campaign manager) Donna Brazile, and Vice Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schulz (D-FL), and experienced DNC leaders such as Vice Chair and California Congressman Mike Honda, California’s own Alice Germond as Secretary and Andrew Tobias as Treasurer.

Only Kaine made an acceptance speech, but what he said was noteworthy to those concerned about the 50 State Strategy.  He pointed out that he was its first beneficiary when he was elected Virginia Governor 4 years ago and praised its effectiveness in party building in corners of our country that had once been written off for dead.  

This indicates to me that he has every intention of continuing Chairman Dean’s highly successful program.

This is further evidenced by the appointment of Jennifer O’Malley-Dillon as DNC Chief of Staff.    

In the DNC, the Chief of Staff is the person who is responsible for taking the vision of the Chair and making it real, directing the DNC staff day to day as the Chair raises money, does media appearances and other publicity-related events.  

O’Malley Dillion is no back room functionary.

O’Malley Dillon served as Sen. John Edward’s Iowa Caucus Director and Obama’s Midwest Battleground States Coordinator (she also served as Iowa Governor Chet Culver’s Chief of Staff) and was recruited by Obama grassroots wizard and Deputy Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand for the position.

With her involvement with Obama and Edwards, O’Malley-Dillon has been involved in the building of two strong grassroots organizations laid atop the foundation of the 50 State Strategy and in my opinion is unlikely to see its dismantling.

I’ve also heard criticism of his policies as Governor, but the DNC chair does not make policy and Dean’s contributions, namely building the voter file and the 50 state strategy were not policy oriented either, although his early opposition to the Iraq War in 2004 added to his credibility among the Netroots.  

My feeling is that Kaine will likely be an effective organizer to build on Chairman Dean’s legacy and focus the organization on the party-building needed to protect and expand our majorities in 2010 and 2012.   Further, the rise of states that gave Obama his victory, including Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and Indiana, amongst others have led to widespread institutional support of this program, leading its early doubters to rethink their positions.  

California, which is solidly blue statewide, improved its legislative majorities thanks to investing in rural and exurban parties as well.  

Canceling the 50 State Strategy would likely lead to a wide outcry among state party leaders and the Netroots alike.

I think that the 50 State Strategy will continue, as Kaine’s personnel decisions and rhetoric clearly indicate such support of Governor Dean’s legacy programs. I certainly will do what I can to support its continued successes.

Andrew Lachman

DNC Member

California, The West, and Barack Obama’s VP Choice

In his latest look at California’s 2010 Democratic Gubernatorial primary, Steve Maviglio writes about Dianne Feinstein:

Why she’s not being touted as a possible Veep choice I don’t know; she’d be the perfect fit.

Don’t worry SacGuy, she’s touting herself, but if her husband’s sketchy financial dealings were enough to sink her as the VP nominee in 1984, all the war profiting from a war DiFi supported means this will never happen. Plus there’s the whole problem with all of her support for Bush, specifically on the Judiciary Committee. And with news that the losers in our Party are trying to cave to the President on retroactive immunity, DiFi should be worried about another push to censure the senator. And there is the whole problem with her not just being a liability, but bringing nothing to the ticket. In short, this would be a perfect fit just like the $4 million refund from the CDP to Fabian Nunez was a perfect move (Maviglio cites, “several million dollars in his campaign account” as why the “Speaker Emeritus” may be a contender for governor).

However, the Vice Presidential pick could usher in a new era for the Democratic Party geographically. In fact, look at the states Obama wants to put in play:

Plouffe also has been touting Obama’s appeal in once Republican-leaning states where Democrats have made gains in recent gubernatorial and congressional races, such as Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota.

The problem is, the public short lists of potential nominees don’t include anyone from a state western state with mountains other than Patty Murray.

When it comes to a true perfect fit, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer belongs at the top of the list. Hands down. The Schweitzer takeover of Montana in 2004 is known as the “Montana Miracle” and set the stage to take down Conrad Burns in 2006 — giving control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats. Some potential choices put a state in play, Schweitzer puts the entire Mountain Time Zone (and Alaska) in play. OK, maybe not Utah but he would give McCain a run for his money in Idaho and Wyoming. The same reasons Schweitzer is best choice for the Denver Convention keynote speech are the reasons why he would be a perfect fit. Of course, along with Al Gore he is the only person in the Democratic Party for who VP would be a step down.

Another good fit from the Mountain Time Zone (not right now, but again by election day) is Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Sure she won as a clean money candidate, has a long and distinguished history, and “gets it” when it comes to winning in the inter-mountain west. But the best thing about choosing her is the message it would send when it comes to the 50 State Strategy. Putting Napolitano on the ticket puts John McCain on notice that we’re going to go after him in his home state. By extension, this puts every Republican on notice that we are going to go after them, also.

Or, Obama could listen to Maviglio and put California’s least popular Senator on the ticket.

Where is the California Democratic Party Heading

At this weekend’s California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting, the most important thing will be to see whether the Party wants people to respect the party. As of late, the CDP hasn’t made much of an effort to earn respect and instead hasn’t seemed to even give much of a damn.

For instance, the scandal over the $4 million “refund” to Fabian Nunez was disgusting on so many levels, not the least of which was the fact it occurred on the same election day where we spent less money on GOTV while losing the gubernatorial race in a landslide year. So tactically, the CDP needs to choose a new direction and not just honor Howard Dean at a cocktail hour but embrace the successful 50 State Strategy in California.

When it comes to policy, there has been a push to out-do the strategic blunders. There was the Net Neutrality disaster at last year’s San Diego convention, in fact the whole process to subvert small ‘d’ democracy was a disgrace. And that was followed up by the Diane Feinstein censure fiasco at the last E-Board meeting, featuring CDP Staff embarrassing themselves.

In this era of reform, with delegate elections and a new chair coming up soon, how do you see this weekend playing out? Will the CDP be like the DNC under Terry McAuliffe or Howard Dean? Transactional or transformational? The way things have been done or cross that bridge to the 21st century?

Permanent 58 County Strategy for CDP

This email just hit my inbox, from Democracy for America:

If you’re like me, on November 8 you were left both overjoyed with the successes nationwide and wondering what happened in California.  Or I should say, what DIDN’T happen in California.

And then came the news of the CDP’s November 7 donation of $4,000,000 to Fabian Nunez.  Which left many wondering, why the CDP had that much of cash left over after such a hard fought election? And since they did, why the weren’t immediately plowing it into field organizing on the ground in preparation for 2008, which is decending on us with a vengence?

If you’re like me, you’re more than a bit annoyed with the CDP right now, you’re looking for ways to set a new agenda and map out a new direction for the CDP in time for the 2008 campaign season. Look no further!

DSCC delegates within the Democrats of Greater Riverside are advancing the resolutuon below, and we are seeking compatriots around California to join in co-sponsoring and endorsing this resolution.

The April CDP convention is going to have some major issues that will send a clear signal as to the direction the CDP wants to go. So far we have this reform and the common sense support for net neutrality. Reso after the jump for people to introduce in local Democratic Party clubs.


  WHEREAS, at a time when building a deep reserve of competitive Democratic candidates for high office requires broad investment from the local level up across all communities, the California Democratic Party's recent election decisions resulted in only modest advances relative to the stunning victories seen nationwide; and,

  WHEREAS the steady decline in percentages both of registered Democrats and Democratic turnout throughout California, shifting demographic trends, rapid population growth, and increasing Democratic malaise occurring in areas consistently passed over by the Party for support may soon reach a tipping point that jeopardizes California's Democratic majority and its electoral votes pivotal to the presidential election; and,

  WHEREAS the unprecedented election victories and historic Democratic Party advances that resulted in the recent Democratic takeover of Congress prove the effectiveness of the Democratic National Committee's 50 State Strategy to support a permanent Democratic campaign in every community in every state;

  NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, in order to expand and strengthen the California Democratic Party at all levels and protect its crucial electoral votes, the California Democratic State Central Committee hereby embraces the Democratic National Committee's approach and adopts the concept of a 58 County Strategy that treats every community throughout the state with equal respect; invests time and resources on the ground in every community across the state; provides training and logistical support to build and strengthen the Democratic infrastructure in every community; develops a permanent statewide campaign field organization coordinated in each region by trained, paid staff; develops and supports qualified candidates at all levels; and commits, unequivocally, to getting out the vote of every Democrat in every precinct in every election every time.