Take Back Congress - New York

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Funding our races, part II

Two entries down I wrote part I about how we can start to fund the races in New York that will help us win back the House. The moral of the story is that in the majority of our congressional districts in New York we have very safe Democratic seats, with incumbents collectively with millions of dollars in the bank and yet they are not contributing to the races we need to win to take back congress.

As noted in part I, only 8 of 20 Democratic members of Congress donated to Frank Barbaro's campaign, the nominee for NY-13, so I took a little spin around some FEC filings and see where PACs associated with New York members of congress sent their contributions in 2004. I have listed contributions to other Democrats running for Congress in New York state.

via Opensecrets.org; Leadership PACs
Carolyn Malloney NY-14 (Carolyn's PAC) - $1,000
Swett, Katrina (D-NH),

Swett ran for NH-02 on 2002 however does not appear to have run for office in 2004. Her donation is listed in parenthesis, which is not explained, so this may not be a donation. By the way do not look up Katrina at work, as her old campaign site appears to have since become a porn site.

Nita Lowey NY-18 (Cmte for Leadership and Progress) - $102,000 given
Barend, Samara (D-NY) $1,000
Bishop, Timothy (D-NY, incb) $7,000
Higgins, Brian (D-NY) $5,000

Joseph Crowley NY-07 (Jobs, Opportunity and Education PAC) - $39,000 given
Bishop, Timothy (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Higgins, Brian (D-NY) $2,000
Owens, Major (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Serrano, Jose (D-NY, incb) $1,000
Clinton, Hillary (D-NY, incb) $4,000

Charlie Rangel NY-15 (New Leadership PAC) - $364,000
Owens, Major R (D-NY, incb) $6,000

Hillary clinton (HillPAC) - $312,500
Schumer, Charles (D-NY, incb) $10,000

I have placed text in bold where these candidates contributed money to incumbents who did not even have competitive elections and direct need for financial contributions. Rep. Major Owens who garnered contributions won his election with 94% of the vote. Statistically I believe that is called a "safe" seat. Owens had a hard fought primary receiving 45% of the vote in a four way race. Regardless of the outcome this seat would not have flipped parties leading one to wonder if that financial contribution would not have better served it's purpose in a contested general election race.

Rep. Crowley donated to Rep. Serrano's re-election (NY-16) which he barely squeaked out with 95%, managing to do even better than Rep. Owens. Even more astounding he made his largest contribution to Sen. Clinton, who at the time was two years away from her 2006 re-election race. Finally, continuing on this thought of reckless and irrational contributions, Sen. Clinton gave $10,000 to Sen. Schumer's re-election. Meanwhile Clinton only managed to make half the legal maximum contribution to Higgins (51%), Barend (41%) and Barbaro (41%).

As we fight to take back the House and Senate I propose that;

• Sen. Clinton and Schumer shall release any Democrats from the assumed pressure that they pay their dues and line their coffers and in return that their past donors give instead to a contested Senate or House race. Since both Senate seats in New York are safe, that leaves many viable House races.

• Any elected Democrats from New York shall not make any financial contributions to incumbents that are not up for re-election in the upcoming year

• Any elected Democrats from New York shall not make any financial contributions to incumbents in a race where there will not be a competitive general election; meaning a safe Dem seat, until they have made contributions to Democratic challengers to Republican held seats. This essentially would means Higgins and Bishop should be the only incumbent recipients. Higgins currently does not have a Republican opponent and Bishop does not have a financed opponent (as of yet).

• All donations should be prioritized to top tier and second tier House races in New York

• Each Democratic Representative from New York shall be expected to make financial contributions to both top tier and second tier races. Should this not be possible for what ever reason they should be expected to use their donor network to raise an equivalent amount for those candidates.

updates:

2006 useless PAC contributions; Sen. Clinton (HILLPAC)

Carper, Tom (D-DE) $5,000
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) $5,000
Kennedy, Edward M (D-MA) $5,000
Lieberman, Joe (D-CT) $5,000

Having thrown around a bunch of numbers, let me address my basic take away from this information. Majority control of the House is within our grips, and as Chris Bowers shows flipping seats in the Northeast is key to our victory. (Yeah I just name dropped a big time blogger, sorry). While individual small contribution donors is the best way to juxtapose the Democratic strategy versus the Republican, our elected Democrats need to acknowledge these races with their support. Futhermore our elected Dems need to be involved in financing races with Democratic challengers. Rep. Rangel can no longer be the only member of congress from New York that knows how to use his PAC and support our bench of candidates.

Originially posted at NY13

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