Organize Virginia with Brian Moran

Organize Virginia is here. As most of you know, I am deep in the VA primary, with our consultant group working for Brian Moran, and we launched the netroots organizing platform for Moran's campaign last Friday. Via CNN's political ticker:

Moran's new site is called "Organize Virginia," a title that calls to mind "Organizing for America," the Obama perma-campaign apparatus that undertook a nationwide canvass over the weekend to rally support for the president's budget.

The site has a look and feel reminiscent of the Obama online platform, offering supporters tools to organize on their own by starting groups, raising money, blogging and planning events.

The Moran campaign isn't hiding from the obvious comparison.

"Our online organizing tool connects the grassroots and the netroots, just like the Obama campaign," said Moran spokesman Jesse Moran. "We can be the first to do this effectively because, from local leaders to big city mayors, we have the grassroots necessary to support it."

The site, which went live for supporters on Friday, was created by Jerome Armstrong, the pioneering blogger and strategist who once worked for former Virginia governor Mark Warner when the now-Senator was considering a presidential bid in 2007 [ed. Actually Luigi Montanez is the brains behind the platform].

Moran is running for his party's nomination against two other Democrats: former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and state Sen. Creigh Deeds. The winner of the June 9 primary will face off against Republican Bob McDonnell, the commonwealth's former Attorney General.

Speaking of Terry McAuliffe, he's out  fundraising at GOP lobbying shop tonight (at the prestigious BGR lobbying firm -- co-founded by Republican politicos Ed Rogers and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour).

In contrast, on Organize Virginia, over 30 people have already launched fundraising pages, which are integrated in partnership with ActBlue.  Here's mine, Bloggers for Brian Moran.

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Virginia Governor Democratic Primary Cattle Call

Last week's Virginia Governor Democratic Primary Cattle Call

With only 129 days until Virginia's June 9th Democratic gubernatorial primary, the race is in full swing. The good news for political junkies is that the race has been receiving a good deal of attention. For those looking for a fix, on Tuesday Public Policy Polling* will release head-to-head and favorability numbers for the Democratic Primary. Somepeople think that Tuesday's Sharon Bulova result will be important. But it is an all hands on deck for all the campaigns and the only candidate trying to up the ante is Terry McAuliffe in his attempt to smudge the fact he hasn't helped down ticket Commonwealth Democrats by glossing over with cash.

What's happened in the last week?

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2009 Virginia Governor Cattle Call

On June 9, Virginia Democrats will vote for the gubernatorial nominee to take on presumptive Republican candidate Bob McDonnell in the top statewide race of 2009. There will hopefully soon be some head-to-head numbers for the primary now that the inauguration has passed. While Terry McAuliffe is planning to spend 9 gazillion dollars, at the end of the year the cash-on-hand numbers were pretty even. So where do things stand now?

Brian Moran It was a big week online with a warm reception at the Netroots Nation party, Joe Trippi coming on board ("Moran embraces a politics powered by the people, empowering supporters, not relying on millions of high-dollar donations and the status-quo party establishment"), and Kos saying, "The Virginia Governor's race is definitely shaping up to be a Big-Money Establishment (McAuliffe) versus Grassroots (Moran) battle." But that wasn't the big news for Moran. The big news was today's stories in the Virginia Pilot, the Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch on another bold move to protect the environment.

Staking his claim as an environmental champion, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran said yesterday that he opposes the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Surry County.

Moran recently came out against drilling for oil off Virginia's coast.

Standing up to the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative is, shall we say, rarer than is to be desired. Moran is not just seizing the earned media for the move, but is list-building online. With the plant expected to harm the Richmond area, Hampton Roads, and the Chesapeake Bay, beyond philosophical environmentalists there are a ton of people who should be applauding this move out of self-interest.

Terry McAuliffe"The Macker" had a different kind of big week, "double-fisting champagne flutes while standing next to Martha Stewart" and raising huge Park Avenue money as part of his big money plan. While this black tie strategy will line his pockets, when it comes to a newbie candidate with carpetbagger issues, there is the expected backlash (read the whole piece, it was recommended at Daily Kos today):

I reject utterly that the mere idea that Terry McAuliffe is going to be such a financial rainmaker is the SOLE reason that he should just walk away with Virginia's Democratic Governor nomination.

The problem for McAuliffe is that the more he spends, the more bitter the taste in the mouths of meritocracy focused progressives. How this could influence electability will be a concern until McAuliffe can lead in head-to-head matchups. Till then, the enthusiasm gap and backlash problem will be a point of discussion.

Creigh Deeds Senator Deeds' potential advantage in that he is the only candidate who could legislate right now, but under Virginia law this is also a liability as he can't raise money during the session. So Deeds is stuck treading water while the race solidifies as a contest between Moran and McAuliffe. Banking on a split NoVa vote is only a smart strategy as long as Deeds is viewed as a viable candidate. If he becomes viewed as only having spoiler potential, smart voters will want to be part of deciding the nominee as Virginia Democrats don't want to turn back the clock on recent successes.

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Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia?

Terry McAuliffe (AKA "The Macker""T-Mac") has, for quite a while, been shopping around for a place to spend his substantial fortune trying for a gubernatorial seat. He's wanted to be a governor so much that he's appeared quite flexible as to the name of the state that would follow "Governor of" on his business cards. In fact, now he's up for the name of a commonwealth gracing his campaign letterhead.

Following the election, McAuliffe filed papers to run for Governor of Virginia (there is no mechanism for an exploratory committee so this was necessary for McAuliffe to start raising -- and spreading around -- the big, big bucks). His plan has been to officially announce on January 7th, the day the Commonwealth will be mourning the 400th Anniversary of the first structure fire in the new world, a conflagration that destroyed almost all of Jamestown.

But before getting into the nitty gritty of the marquee 2009 Virgiana Gubernatorial race, it is important to look at the McAuliffe Gubernatorial campaigns that weren't:

Potential opponents dismiss him as a cynical Daddy Warbucks who has long plotted to buy himself a governorship -- claiming he even mulled runs in his native New York and Florida, where his wife's family lives.

What went wrong with Terry McAuliffe running for Governor of his first two choices?

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Terry McAuliffe to help the Obama Campaign

Wow!  I was stressed out all day awaiting the Hillary speech tonight.  All day long I was setting up my middle school classroom (we start next week here in SoCal) and listening to MSNBC's coverage of the convention.  I worked myself into a mega-depressed state while listening to the pundits and interviews from Clinton supporters (Linda Sanchez and Terry McAuliffe, among others) who were dancing around the issue of whole-heartedly supporting Obama/Biden.  Then I listened to Warner.  Ugh.  He may be good in Virginia, but the speech was flat.  As the buildup to Senator Clinton's speech approached, I kept thinking about McAuliffe and remembering the energy he brought to the '92 and '96 campaigns, and how that was absent now.
Then Senator Clinton superseded all expectations and brought the house down with her speech.  I was feeling really good, but a little nervous still.  However, around 9:24 pm (PDT), McAuliffe was being interviewed by Tweety and Olbermann and he said this, "What I would do if I were Barack Obama, I would put Hillary Clinton, I'd put her in that state (Ohio) for the next 72 days.  She was the champion of Blue Collar, let her get out there and let her bring those voters home."

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