Next cycle, donate strategically--not emotionally

Last October, Representative Michele "Crazy as Steve King" Bachmann (MN-06) disgraced herself on "Hardball" and sparked a ridiculously successful fundraising drive for her Democratic opponent, El Tinklenberg. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and kicked in a few bucks for Tinklenberg myself, but I was dismayed to see bloggers continue to help him raise money even after he'd raised more than $750,000 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had promised to spend an additional $1 million in his district. Within a few days of Bachmann's notorious comments, Tinklenberg had more money than he needed to run a solid media and GOTV campaign during the final two weeks before the election.

Since most Congressional races against incumbents are longshots, I wanted to see the netroots expand the field by raising $50,000 or more for a large number of unheralded challengers.

A fellow Iowa blogger sent me this piece from CQ Politics about how Tinklenberg's campaign committee was the largest donor to the DCCC in March, giving a total of $250,000:

You may recall that his Republican opponent was Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose mid-October comment that Obama "may have anti-American views" angered Democrats nationwide and spawned an avalanche of contributions to Tinklenberg in the waning days of a campaign that Bachmann won by 46 percent to 43 percent, with a third-party candidate taking 10 percent.

Apparently the money was coming in too fast for Tinklenberg to spend completely: he raised $3 million for his campaign, of which $1.9 million came in after October 15, and had $453,000 in leftover campaign funds at the end of 2008 and $184,000 at the end of March.

I'm not saying it wasn't worth getting behind Tinklenberg. Bachmann is among the worst Republicans in Congress, and this district rightly seemed winnable. However, the netroots clearly funneled way more money to Tinklenberg than he could spend effectively.

What if a million of the dollars we sent to the MN-06 race had been spread around 15 or 20 other districts? A bunch of the candidates I wanted to support as part of an expanded field got blown out by large margins, but an extra $50,000 could have made the difference for Josh Segall in AL-03, or for several candidates who weren't on my radar, such as Bill Hedrick in CA-44.

The netroots rally for Tinklenberg started out as a good cause but took on a momentum of its own. It didn't help that Tinklenberg sent out fundraising e-mails to his new donors every day or two during the home stretch, even after he had more than enough money to close out the campaign.

Maybe the majority of blog readers who gave $10 or $20 or $50 to Tinklenberg wouldn't have given to some other longshot Congressional challenger. Maybe people need an emotional trigger before they are willing to open their wallets. But in future election cycles, we need to be smarter about how we focus our energy and our fundraising efforts during the final weeks of a campaign. There's no shortage of wingnuts worth targeting. Also, a fair number of good incumbent Democrats will probably need our help in 2010, depending on how the economy looks 18 months from now.

Any ideas or suggestions on how to raise money effectively during the next cycle would be welcome in this thread.

There's more...

MN-06: More Fallout For Michele Bachmann

As you know, in the wake of Michele Bachmann's disgusting display on Hardball on Friday, Bachmann's Democratic challenger Elwyn Tinklenberg raised more than $488k in 24 hours, which is more than he raised in the entire third quarter and certainly more than enough to make Michele Bachmann regret she ever went on Hardball.

Now, Bachmann has yet another headache: her Republican primary opponent has registered as a write-in candidate (h/t Minnesota Independent.)

Aubrey Immelman, who mounted an unsuccessful Republican primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, said today he will file to run as a write-in candidate for the 6th Congressional District in the Nov. 4 election.

As for his reason for doing so:

He said he intends to offer himself as an "alternative for disillusioned Republicans" who cannot bring themselves to vote for DFL- and Independence Party-endorsed candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg or for Bob Anderson, the titular Independence Party candidate.

"The Republican Party needs to rebuild its image, and this cannot be done when its elected representatives say these kinds of things," he said.

Immelman elaborated in a scathing post on his website:

Thank you for your support in helping me lead the charge in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District against the destructive neocon ideology that has mired the United States in an unnecessary war in Iraq at a cost of thousands of American lives, hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, and untold damage to the international stature of the United States of America (see Statement on Iraq War).

And, as if incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann's enthusiastic support for these policies is not damaging enough, she now appears to be calling for a witch hunt to "find out [which members of Congress] are pro-America or anti-America." We cannot tolerate this festering brand of neo-McCarthyism in our midst.

Prior to Bachmann's fateful Hardball appearance, she was only up 4 points over Tinklenberg. Things just got a little harder for Bachmann to hold onto this seat in what has now become a nationalized congressional election.

Update [2008-10-20 0:7:11 by Todd Beeton]:The updated amount that Tinklenberg has raised since Friday is $640,000.

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Colin Powell slams Michelle Bachmann

Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama quite eloquently on Meet the Press.

But why did the lifelong Republican endorse Barack Obama, a Democrat? In part beacuse of our very own agent of hate, Michelle Bachmann.

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A Minnesotans thoughts on Michelle Bachmann

Michelle Bachmann has turned into quite a hot topic here in the netroots after her disgraceful performance on Hardball that that you can watch for yourself here.

It's hard to even begin on how horrifying that McCarthyesque, hateful interview was. But a lot of us Minnesotans have known about Michelle Bachmann and her hateful, extreme ways for years. Thankfully we've got a real shot at beating her this year, and you can help send her and her hateful brand of politics packing. Keep reading to find out how!

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Help Kick Michelle Bachmann out of Congress. NOW.

Update [2008-10-17 23:20:32 by Jonathan Singer]:This just in --

Those of you watching Hardball tonight on the East Coast just had a chance to see one of the most disgusting interviews you will ever see on a 24-hour news network.  Michelle Bachmann has been a longtime McCain surrogate on the cable shows, spewing her special brand of hate and lies for a Party that thrives on them.

But tonight, Bachmann outdid herself.  When Matthews played for her clips of McCain's Ayers robocalls and Palin's statement about "pro-America" locations, Congresswoman Bachmann agreed wholeheartedly with every assertion.  She claimed that she was very concerned that Obama had anti-American views.  She called Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi extreme far leftists and extreme liberals, and equated them with William Ayers as an extreme leftist who hates America.  Finally, she demanded that the media investigate every member of Congress to see which ones are "anti-America" and which ones are "pro-America."

For the YouTube impaired, this was the final quote:

"What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look.  I wish they would.  I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or Anti-America?  I think the American people would love to see an expose like that."

But really, the full interview has to be watched.  It was indescribably outrageous in its McCarthyesque evil, and the more she talked, the more rope Matthews gave her to hang herself with.

Fortunately, we don't have to fume and scream impotently about this.  El Tinklenberg is running against Bachmann, and was just added to the Red-to-Blue list three days ago.  We can channel our anger and outrage, and make sure that such a despicable human being never graces the halls of Congress again.

Tinklenberg has the money and the capacity to win:

Blaine, MN - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced today that El Tinklenberg has been added to their top-tier Red to Blue program as a candidate for change. The announcement follows Tinklenberg's financial report which shows $469,000 raised in the third quarter and $1,000,065 raised this cycle. Tinklenberg filed with $356,631 cash on hand.

"The candidates for change being named to the DCCC Red to Blue program are running solid campaigns and are committed to making things easier for middle class families in their districts," said Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "El Tinklenberg has worked hard to make his race competitive, and he's moving into position to win. With a solid campaign organization and strong momentum in the district, El Tinklenberg has proven that he has what it takes to defeat Rep. Michele Bachmann."

The polling shows that we can win, as Bachmann is at only 42% with 15% undecided and an overwhelming majority feeling the country is on the wrong track:

DCCC Poll Shows Bachmann Kissed up to Bush Too Many Times

Tinklenberg Holds Bachmann to 4 point lead; Her Approval Ratings Plummet

Last Friday, Minnesota Public Radio reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee planned to pull its television ads in Minnesota's third congressional district to defend Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's sixth congressional district. They did so with good reason if their polling at all matches a poll the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released today showing Bachmann with only 42 percent of the vote to Elwyn Tinklenberg's 38 percent, and 15 percent are undecided. Elwyn Tinklenberg has won the endorsements of both the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the powerful Independence Party of Minnesota. The poll was conducted by Grove Insight, from October 10 thru 12, of 400 people with 4.9 margin of error.

The four point spread in the race comes after the Alliance for a Better Minnesota television began running a television ad highlighting Michele Bachmann's close ties to President Bush including her infamous kiss at last year's State of the Union address.   According to the DCCC's poll, President Bush's approval rating in the district is at an abysmal 18 percent and Bachmann herself isn't fairing much better with only 34 percent. Additionally, 82 percent of respondents said that the country is "off on the wrong track."

Unfortunately, Tinklenberg hasn't gotten the Netroots love he deserves: he's only raised $2,500 on ActBlue so far.  We can do better.  Show him some love today. And kick the anti-American, McCarthyist Bachmann out of the Congress she defiles with her bigoted presence.  Show her that there's a price to be paid from freedom-loving Americans for using that kind of language on the airwaves.

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