Tag Archives: DFA

DFA’s Howard Dean Personally Endorses Debra Bowen For Congress

Last week I reported that Democracy For America,  a progressive PAC with 7,000 members in CA36 and over a million nationwide, announced they were endorsing Debra Bowen for Congress.

Today we get an idea of what kind of support that endorsement translates into with this personal appeal from DFA’s founder, Governor Howard Dean. Hoping to help boost Bowen’s fundraising totals before the March 31st end-of-quarter reporting deadline, Dean asks his DFA membership to contribute to the campaign’s Act Blue page.

Here’s the letter in it’s entirety:

I rarely endorse candidates in Congressional primaries. But Secretary of State Debra Bowen is a rare kind of leader, so when I heard that Debra was running for Congress, I pledged to do everything I could to help her.

I’m proud to endorse Debra Bowen – an intelligent, humble, and passionate public servant who has the courage to stand up to the special interests, and the record to back it up. We simply can’t afford to let this opportunity to send a leader like Debra to Washington pass us by.

All of Debra’s campaigns have truly been “people-powered” – and this time she needs even more grassroots action.

That’s why I’m asking you, right now, to make a donation toward Debra’s goal of 136 grassroots donations between now and March 31 – the first end-of-quarter reporting deadline. These fundraising reports will be scoured by the press, pundits, and her opponents to see if Debra’s got the support she needs to win this election.

I know you’ve chipped in before, and I can’t thank you enough for that – but making another contribution today will go so far toward ensuring that Debra’s campaign has the momentum needed to win.

Click here to contribute $25 or more toward Debra’s end-of-quarter fundraising goal!

Debra is the grassroots candidate in this race, and is a hero for working families, the environment, and better government. She won the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for her commitment to government transparency. And she will fight for jobs in ways that are pragmatic yet progressive, working from the bottom up to re-invest in our education system, protect our social safety nets, and trim our deficit while investing in our future.

Look, I’ve been part of a grassroots political campaign or two. I know what it’s like to come from outside the political establishment, taking on the entrenched politicians and special interests with ideas and values that work for regular working folks. Debra’s got a tough fight on her hands, but it’s such an important one for us to win.

Grassroots activists like you and me are the ones who need to lift Debra up. Can you do that today, by making a donation toward Debra’s campaign before Thursday’s first critical deadline?

Make a contribution today – and help Debra reach her goal of 136 grassroots donations by March 31!

I am so proud to join the thousands of citizens and leaders who’ve endorsed Debra’s campaign in the 36th Congressional District. We are all so lucky that we have the opportunity to elect a leader of such character and intellect.

Let’s make sure we do everything we can to seize it.


Gov. Howard Dean

P.S. It’s hard to overstate the importance of the coming fundraising deadline. This is the first chance we have to make a major statement about Debra’s powerful grassroots support, so contribute now – and let’s make sure Debra’s March 31 fundraising report is a strong one

Join me in Minneapolis this June?

By now many of you have probably heard that DFA’s Netroots Nation Scholarship Competition is underway. In fact there have been a number of applicants from California, but there are still 10 days left in the first round so if you haven’t yet, now is the time to apply.

You can apply and vote here.

Because the netroots are such a crucial component of the progressive movement, Democracy for America is heavily invested in cultivating a strong online community – and since the first Yearly Kos, Netroots Nation has been a big part of that community. This year, Democracy for America has teamed up with America’s Voice and Netroots Nation to continue our successful NN scholarship competition and make it possible for 40 deserving bloggers and activists to attend the conference in Minneapolis this June.  

I want you to apply for a scholarship because the movement needs you.

Even though I live on the other side of the country, I know what’s going on in California because you have such a strong voice in the progressive movement, and we need that voice at NN11.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger, you should still apply – Netroots Nation is incredibly informative no matter what your background. And if you’re already planning on going or if you’re busy that weekend, please encourage others to apply.

The link to apply or vote is: http://www.democracyforamerica…

Finally, you can make your voice heard in the selection process by voting for the most deserving candidates right now.

I may be on the other coast, but I’m here to engage. Please comment with any questions or thoughts about the scholarship competition. Thanks!  

DFA Steps Up For True Grassroots Progress In California

I am both surprised and heartened to see DFA send their members in California information about the race for Controller of the California Democratic Party.  Simply put, this is not a front-burner issue for most progressives, especially those not at the activist level inside the Party.  But it’s no less important, and in fact reforming the party and making it more attentive to grassroots concerns is paramount if we want to get back to leading the nation instead of lagging behind it.  Let me reprint some of the email they sent to their supporters today:

Did you know DFA members first proposed a 58 County Plan to the California Democratic Party (CDP) four years ago? It’s true and DFA members have worked hard to help make that commitment a reality.

This month, you have the power to make sure the 58 County Strategy is supported at the top level of the California Democratic Party.

The CDP elects officers on April 25th. DFA members told us months ago about a great grassroots activist running for Party Controller. We’ve followed the campaign, met the candidate and it’s clear that one candidate has earned our unified support.

I’m excited to announce DFA’s endorsement of Hilary Crosby for Controller of the California Democratic Party. Only delegates to the CDP can vote, but any DFA member can help Hillary win by making a few calls to delegates or contributing to her campaign.


We’re talking about a grassroots movement to elect the Controller of the state party.  Crosby’s participation at the officer level of the CDP would be a sea change, a real difference-maker in terms of having a voice committed to the 58-county strategy at the table, and willing to follow up with action instead of words.  The proof of the past two cycles signals the need for a broader strategy inside the party to win contested seats.  And just the model for getting her elected – through a grassroots GOTV process – makes me hopeful that she gets it, and has the right allies to bring about change within the state.

Speaking for myself, I enthusiastically support this effort to help elect Hillary Crosby, in both form and function.

CA-44th Campaign Update

Our campaign manager, Ryan Sandoval, wanted to update folks on this blog as to where California’s 44th Congressional District race currently stands, what sort of support we have in the district, what our chances of winning are, what we’ve been doing to ensure victory,  and what our opponent has been up to.

We encourage you to watch the video and then make up your own mind as to whether you think our race  is winnable.  If you agree with us that this is a completely winnable race (given the right support), we ask that you help us out by donating to the campaign or signing up as a volunteer to help in spreading the word about Bill.

This  has always been a grassroots campaign so we’re doing what we’ve done all along – reaching out and asking that the grassroots activists out there step up and help the good guy win in November!

To learn more about our campaign, visit our website at www.hedrickforcongress.com


Lori Vandermeir

Communications Director

Hedrick for Congress

Watch the video at: www.HedrickforCongress.com/CampaignManager

Campaign Update

I simply have not had the time to do a full update of all the Congressional and legislative campaigns.  And sadly, it doesn’t look like that time will be forthcoming soon.  So I think I’ll do mini-updates where possible.

• CA-46: Debbie Cook has been endorsed by DFA (Democracy for America).  Jim Dean, the Chair of DFA, said in a statement, “Debbie Cook has been a grassroots champion for over 20 years and has a proven record of success in the private sector and as a public servant … Debbie Cook is running because she’s a committed advocate and activist who fights for her constituents and delivers results.”

In the past, DFA has been able to move some resources into districts, so we’ll see if they’re going that route in this race.  DFA has also recently endorsed Bill Hedrick (CA-44).

• CA-26: Russ Warner’s campaign is announcing via email that the DCCC named his race as “one to watch.”  That doesn’t mean they’ll get any money, but it puts them in the queue if the race tightens.  Unfortunately, the DCCC has kind of a deliberate style, where they hoard their money for the races they know are toss-ups, and then wait until the very last minute for these emerging races, sometimes beyond the point at which that money can be effective.  I understand the strategy but it wouldn’t be smart from Warner’s perspective to bank on any help from Washington in his race against David Dreier.  He needs his own resources as well as money from California lawmaker’s PACs.

Which reminds me, California Democrats, it’s time to use it or lose it.  We have a number of races where the challenger can win if they have enough resources, and in the seats where an incumbent has token or no opposition and a huge war chest, that money should not be sitting in an account somewhere.  Help our own candidates!  Expect more pressure on this very soon.

• CA-03: It’s kind of fun watching Dan Lungren try to humina-humina his way out of supporting Prop. 8.  He really has no idea what he’s talking about.  It would be bad enough if a citizen of the state had this atrocious an understanding of basic civics, but this guy is not only a US Representative but a former state Attorney General!

• AD-80: The GOP tried to get Manuel Perez’ occupational status as an “educator” thrown off the ballot, but they failed.  Now he has received the endorsement of the highest-ranking law enforcement official in Imperial County, D.A. Gilbert Otero.  Considering that his opponent, Gary Jeandron, is the former police chief of Palm Springs, I’d consider this endorsement to be significant… UPDATE re: CMR, seems that Gary Jeandron supports “traditional marriage.”  In Palm Springs.  Now, so did Bonnie Garcia, but she was able to win enough in Imperial County to offset it.  Jeandron needs the Palm Springs vote to be huge to win.

I think he just lost, if he hadn’t already.

Multiple Union and Democratic Club Endorsements for Pat Meagher for Congress in the 41st

Pat Meagher, Progressive Democratic Candidate for the 41st Congressional District, has received endorsements from multiple Union and Democratic Clubs.  A Forest Falls resident and Principle of Fontana Adult School he has gathered the support of the Mojave Desert Democratic Club, East Valley Democratic Club, Stonewall Democratic Club,

Greater Rialto Dual Endorsement, Desert Hot Springs Democratic Club and The Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley. His Union endorsements include IBEW Local 440, UAW Region 5 Western United States CAP Council, California Labor Federation’s Committee on Political Education (COPE), San Bernardino/Riverside Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, San Bernardino/Riverside Building and Trades Council, and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12.

This father of nine, seven of whom are adopted, has also gotten the attention of Progressive Democrats of America Dr. Bill Honigman, So CA State Organizer, who was the Keynote speaker at Pat Meagher’s fundraising event held at University of Redlands. Ahjamu Makalani evoked Meagher’s name and sloganas an inspiration to a standing room only crowd at the State Democratic Convention PDA Caucus.  Meagher embraces the entire PDA platform including their current campaign for Healthcare Not Warfare.

The war is real for the Meagher family.  Their newly married son will be returning to Iraq this summer for a second tour, as well as a daughter whose first tour was in Afghanistan.  To thunderous applause at Arlington West Santa Monica following Col. Ann Wright (Ret), Meagher declared “Don’t tell me I don’t support the troops.  Those are my kids. It is time to bring our glorious and victorious troops home!”

Col. Ann Wright, 29 year Army Veteran, 13 year United States Diplomat, was so impressed after meeting with Meagher that she adjusted her schedule in order to share the podium with him when he announced his candidacy to a crowd of community leaders and peace and justice activists from the Inland Empire at the Carriage House in Redlands.

Pat Meagher is proud that his campaign is funded through grassroots supporters who believe he is the best man to represent their concerns in Washington DC.  


Feinstein Gets The Message – But Looks to Compromise Her Way Out Of It

If you didn’t already know, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out a FISA bill yesterday that does not grant immunity to telecom companies for participating in the illegal spying on Americans in George Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.  It’s convoluted, but there were basically two bills, a Title I and a Title II.  Title I had no immunity; Title II did.  Russ Feingold tried to strip immunity from Title II, but he failed, and DiFi voted for immunity.  But at the end of the day, only Title I got reported out.

This is NOT a total victory.  First of all, Harry Reid could decide to bring the Intelligence Committee’s bill, which has immunity, to the full floor.  And there will almost certainly be an amendment calling for immunity on the floor, even if an immunity-free bill is called up for vote.  So the Judiciary Committee basically punted.

But this James Risen article untangling what happened yesterday has an interesting little nugget halfway down the page.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the panel, is pushing a plan that would substitute the federal government as the defendant in the lawsuits against the telecommunications companies. That would mean that the government, not the companies, would pay damages in successful lawsuits.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, said in an interview after the vote Thursday that he would support a compromise along the lines of the Specter proposal.

Mr. Whitehouse was one of two Democrats who voted against an amendment proposed by Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, that would have banned immunity for the companies. “I think there is a good solution somewhere in the middle,” Mr. Whitehouse said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who also opposed Mr. Feingold’s measure, pleaded with Mr. Leahy to defer the immunity issue because she wants more time to consider several compromise proposals.

(I was under the impression that Herb Kohl also voted against the Feingold Amendment -ed.)

Feinstein had no need for compromise earlier in the week.  She was gung-ho for telecom immunity.  Clearly the pushback in the Senate amped up the desire for compromise, even if Specter’s is a fig leaf that would still get the telecoms off the hook while effectively stopping lawsuits through an expected invocation of state secrets.  But I have to assume that the heat Feinstein is taking from the grassroots back in California is driving her thinking as well.  If Leahy passed out immunity she would be seen as the biggest cheerleader for it – AGAIN, after Southwick and Mukasey.  It would be the last straw.  So she’s trying to get out in front and take credit for some kind of compromise that will eventually come.

So the progressive movement can take a little credit for winning this battle, as DFA did in a hyperventilating email last night.  We have not yet won the war, and there will absolutely be a floor fight and a bullshit centrist compromise to work against. 

This isn’t over.

(Also the rest of the bill is pretty good, and has things that the Bush Administration has vowed to reject, always a good thing.  But will the Congress cave?  That’s the big question.)

UPDATE: This DKos post notes that Harry Reid is going to bring up the Intelligence Committee bill as the main bill, with the Judiciary Committee bill as a substitute.  That’s the exact opposite of what he said yesterday.  This is very fluid and there’s likely to be shenanigans.

Feinstein buckles – You did it!

Hey all,

Congratulations! Thanks to your 2399 calls to Sen. Reid's office in the past 36 hours to hold Senator Feinstein accountable, she just voted with the rest of the Democrats for a FISA bill WITHOUT telecom immunity. There'll be a floor fight in the Senate, but tonight we celebrate our victory.

Below is the email DFA's Political Director Charles Chamberlain just sent out.



Dear DFA Member,

I don't normally send out an email at the end of the day, but something incredible just happened.

This evening, the Senate Democrats finally stood up to President Bush. And it was all because of DFA members like you.

Senate Democrats are now refusing to let Bush get away with his latest egregious abuse of power. They voted unanimously for a bill WITHOUT retroactive immunity to the major telecom companies who broke the law.

Everyone expected Dianne Feinstein to vote with the Republicans, but because of your work Senator Feinstein did the right thing and voted for the bill without retroactive immunity.

DFA stepped in. We sent a call to action, and you stepped up. With over 175 calls per hour totaling 2,399 reported calls to Senate Majority Leader Reid, DFA members across the country put the pressure on Democrats to do the right thing. And we won!

DFA stands up to Democrats who align themselves with Bush. But we can't do it without you. Contribute $15 today so we can keep the pressure on.


Now, because of your action, Bush's allies in his illegal war against our civil liberties will be held accountable. Because of you, the law will apply to everyone — without special exceptions for Bush's corporate buddies.

And most importantly, together, we stood up to a Democrat who too often forgets which party she belongs to. And we won!

Whether it's defeating Republicans or holding Democrats accountable, your contribution of $15 gives DFA the tools to take our country back.


Thank you for taking action to hold the Bush Administration accountable. Tonight we celebrate; tomorrow we get back to work.


Charles Chamberlain
Political Director


More Progressive Orgs. Push For Accountability On Feinstein

(UPDATE: The ACLU and CREDO, formerly Act For Change, are also pushing Sen. Feinstein.)

In addition to the buzz in the blogosphere about activist efforts to censure Dianne Feinstein for her votes with Bush Republicans on key issues, some of the top progressive organizations have DiFi in their sights.  MoveOn is asking their California members to call Feinstein about tomorrow’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee over the revised FISA bill, and tell her not to grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies who violated the law by handing over information to the Bush Administration.

Senator Dianne Feinstein is facing tremendous pressure from the Bush administration. Tomorrow, she will likely vote on whether or not to let the phone companies off the hook for helping the president illegally spy on the phone calls and emails of innocent Americans.

President Bush wants immunity for these companies to cover-up his own illegal actions. The pending lawsuits against companies like AT&T may be the only way we ever find out how far the Bush administration went in breaking the law.

We have to make sure Sen. Feinstein hears from us right away. Can you call Sen. Feinstein and tell her to vote against immunity for big corporations who break the law? Tell her that voters want accountability and oversight-not immunity.

Here’s where to call:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Phone: 202-224-3841

DiFi has already signaled her intention to allow telecom immunity for lawbreakers, but clearly she needs to feel the pressure.  What is far more interesting is DFA’s effort to have Feinstein removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee altogether.  on the flip…

In California, we have a law — commonly called the three-strikes law. And, like all laws, I think it ought to apply to everybody — including my Senator, Diane Feinstein.

Too many times Senator Feinstein has failed to represent the people of California. Now she has announced that this Thursday she will support President Bush for the third time in two months. And it all comes down to Senator Feinstein’s role on the Judiciary Committee.

Strike One: A Bush nominee for the federal bench, Leslie Southwick has a long history of rulings in lower courts that violate equality laws. Feinstein cast a deciding vote to give him a lifetime seat.

Strike Two: Michael Mukasey, nominated for Attorney General, refused to say he would oppose torture. But Feinstein voted to send his confirmation to the Senate floor anyway.

Now she’s poised for her third bad vote in a row, on a rework of the FISA Act — the law that’s supposed to protect us all against illegal wiretapping […]

Please call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid right now and demand he remove Senator Feinstein from the committee and replace her with a Democrat who will stand up to President Bush’s abuse of power.

Senator Harry Reid

As I’ve said, progressives in California are looking for ways to get DiFi’s attention, and inform her that she works for the people of this state, not elites in DC.  These are two national organizations working at the local level to do just that.

Al Gore: What We Want to Know

(I’d like to know as well… – promoted by David Dayen)

Democracy for America has been buzzing all day about the statement released by our Executive Director Arshad Hasan. Here one of the reasons why:

Our challenge to Al Gore: Jump In or Drop Out!

And another:

Despite the fact that Al Gore has not announced that he will run and wasn’t even included in the endorsement poll, DFA members have seized the power and written him in. With over 65,000 votes cast so far, the time has come for Vice President Gore to make a decision.

The clock is ticking. We are deep into the 11th hour. There are fewer than 90 days until the first votes are cast. And filing deadlines to be on the ballot start closing in just days.

You deserve to know. Is Al Gore in or out?

Voting is still open until November 5 at midnight, and there is plenty of time for any candidate to win. All your candidate needs is your vote right now:


More after the jump…

Of course, this is not an ordinary endorsement poll. All voters are asked for their top three choices. And in the end, only an announced candidate can win the DFA endorsement. That means this will be the first poll in the nation that can accurately report both the remarkable support Al Gore has in the progressive grassroots AND which announced candidates earn that support if he never jumps in.

When DFA announces the results on November 6th, one year from Election Day, everyone will be watching.

Here’s why from Arshad’s statement:

We are the boots on the ground that knock on doors, make phone calls, and recruit new supporters whether advocating for the next president or electing Governor Howard Dean to Chair the Democratic National Committee. DFA members are working to take our country back and the DFA endorsement is worth more then just words to the candidate that wins.

DFA members are building a People Powered America. With 600,000 members nationwide, DFA members have contributed over 3 million dollars to federal campaigns and elected over 540 progressives to office since 2005. DFA has trained over 13,000 activists on the tools to win and is represented by organized volunteers in 98% of congressional districts.

Vote for your candidate now:

After you vote, get out the vote for your candidate.

Think of this as Election Day. It is your job to take your candidate over the top. As an example, yesterday, a DFA member posted a bulletin to vote for Obama on his MySpace group and it went viral. When we sent Dennis Kucinich’s ‘Vote for Me’ message to DFA members, his votes jumped up by almost 3,000. That’s not stuffing the ballot, that’s working to win.

As of this writing, Al Gore has 21,499 votes and is solidly in first place. First place as a write-in! Is it any wonder why DFA would make this request?

Don’t keep us waiting, Mr. Gore. It is time for an answer.

Vote for your candidate now: