Eric Bauman is going to raise $1 million dollars for 2008. The best part is how he’s going to spend it.
Last night, members of the Los Angeles County Central Committee raised their hands to take an oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, and took to electing Party officers. Among them was Chairman Eric Bauman, unanimously re-elected to a fifth term.
I’m told that’s a record. From his words last night, it’s easy to see why.
Bauman has been singled out here as someone who speaks his mind and knows the mechanics of electioneering, even when his opinions and techniques run against the grain of some Democratic leaders.
He showed what he’s made of in thanking the Central Committee and looking ahead to 2008 – and perhaps beyond:
Now is the time to rebuild, refresh and reassemble the mosaic that comprises our Democratic Party for it is only through unity, strength and shared purpose that we can be successful this fall.
As we work to build unity however, we must take seriously our responsibility to remind those we have elected or put in positions of power of their obligation to do the right thing by our Party and our people.
Whether it is protecting those most at-risk from harsh budget cuts or standing up for our Constitution or avoiding situations and actions that have the appearance of impropriety, as leaders of our Party, we must not fear holding feet to the fire and speaking truth to power.
If we truly are leaders, we must act like it: respectfully, responsibly, but fearlessly.
Who else senses a little tough love in there?
What I find interesting about Bauman’s leadership of the LACDP is not just his (sadly uncommon) willingness to speak truth to power, but how he marshalls forces and resources on the ground to help candidates up and down the ballot, even in those districts often written off as unwinnable.
After the jump I’ll share what I heard last night (and from Bauman separately), and what I’ve seen him do to build and strengthen the Democratic Party in Los Angeles County.
In nominating remarks, presumptive Assemblyman John A. Pèrez noted that in Bauman’s time as LACDP Chair, the organization had grown from an annual budget of $50,000 to over $1 million this year.
The amount raised is important. However, what really matters is how it’s being spent – a wider topic of some discussion here at Calitics (and across the party) in recent weeks.
Continuing his speech, Bauman reminded Party members how they chose to spend their war-chest when they adopted a budget earlier this year:
That’s why LACDP’s leaders have spent months setting goals and formulating an aggressive plan to educate, motivate and mobilize LA County’s 2,070,210 Democrats.
Our plans for 2008 are extensive and include everything from direct voter contact programs to voter registration to providing comprehensive training for Democratic activists.
Of course we will assist clubs and groups who open campaign headquarters; work with the California Democratic Party; and maximize the quality, effectiveness and impact of our Red Zone program. We will also work with our colleagues in rural, red and purple areas around the state to help them best take advantage of this incredible Big Blue Wave year.
As Chair of this Party, I staked out an aggressive goal in January to raise a minimum of one million dollars this year to fund our various programs – and more than half of it has already been raised. That is a testament to a talented staff and committed members who have worked hard to ensure we have the resources we need to accomplish our goals.
Most importantly, these funds are being used to support candidates for local, state and federal office and to fund the critical activities that will grow our Party and support our grassroots activists and volunteers.
Bauman’s details of how the funds would be used – for grassroots activities and Party building – fired up the membership. Whether it’s in candidate campaigns, PACs, or Party Organizations the fastest way to stifle grassroots fundraising is to have that cash disappear into a vacuum or worse, to have it used for purposes unfathomable to the rank and file.
I’ve had some personal experience with Bauman’s grassroots programs. A close friend of mine was a Red Zone candidate two years ago and benefitted from guidance and resources from Bauman and the LACDP staff.
I myself had the privilege of leading two training sessions for the Red Zone candidates and their staffers last weekend. These are citizens from across the county (or whose districts reach into the county) who are answering the call of civic duty by running in tough Republican Districts. They are doctors, teachers, and parents taking up the mantle of our Party and LACDP has their back.
Bauman has had his eyes on California’s rural, red and purple regions for a long time. In recent months, he has worked to export this Red Zone program beyond his home county – a good model as CDP moves toward implementing their 58 County plan.
Full disclosure: I am proud to have previously worked for John A. Perez and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party – both mentioned above. I tapped these relationships to copy/paste from printed remarks, instead of transcribing my recording.