“Darcy Burner is exactly the kind of candidate in the past that the DCCC would have let die,” said Rep. Ellen Tausher, D-Calif., a leader of the moderate New Democrat Coalition.
That is the most important message to take away from Joel Connelly’s column in today’s Seattle P-I about the close contest for WA’s 8th Congressional District. The Democrats failed to recruit a high profile candidate, thus this was a seat that only a few short months ago the bigwigs in both parties assumed was safe for Reichert.
Worry-free last winter, Republicans are far from sanguine in the spring.
“This is where they think they can flip a seat,” KVI radio host John Carlson warned 1,200 people at Reichert’s re-election kickoff breakfast in Bellevue.
On that, there is bipartisan agreement.
Through sheer will, hard work, smarts and force of personality, Darcy Burner, an unknown “third tier candidate,” has turned WA-08 into one of the hottest races in the nation. This is a remarkable feat, and is in itself a huge blow to the GOP’s efforts to retain control of Congress, as Burner has forced them into sinking money into a seat they hadn’t budgeted on defending.
Reichert still has many of the advantages of incumbency, not the least of which being name ID and access to lobbyist and PAC money. (Thus far, Reichert has raised over 42 percent of his contributions from PACs, whereas PACs comprise only 7 percent of Burner’s funds.) But both these gaps are closing… and here is where the grassroots comes in.
Burner shocked the political establishment by out-raising Reichert $334,000 to $268,000 in the first quarter… but that still leaves Reichert with a $725,000 to $357,000 cash on hand advantage.
I expect Burner to spend her money more wisely than Reichert, but she needs to at least keep pace with his fundraising from here on out to keep this race close. And to do this, she’s going to need a lot more help from us.
If every one of my readers donated only $200 to Burner’s campaign, we’d wipe out the money gap overnight. Of course, I don’t expect it to be that easy (though you’re all welcome to prove me wrong,) but if only a hundred of you signed up to host a house party or fundraiser, it could easily put Burner over the top. We really can make a difference.
A lot of local Republicans were awfully damn smug about this race heading into 2006… wouldn’t you like to play a role in wiping that smile off their face?