( – promoted by DocHoc)
Hi, I’m an Alabama blogger, faced with a dearth of exciting candidates this year. So I borrowed one of yours.
This is a great story: In a state that voted 65% for Bush/Cheney in 2004, a young Democratic state Senator is challenging a 2 term Republican incumbent for the U. S. Senate. The challenger jumped enthusiastically into the race 2 months ago and raised $311,000 from 1100 donors in the first 60 days. No, this is not Alabama, but it could be.
The challenger is Andrew Rice, age 34 and in his first term in the Oklahoma Senate. He's running against Senator Jim Inhofe, (R, Oil) one of the fringiest of the right wing fringe. Check out Rice's nice website. It includes:
- Press releases
- Contribute (he also has an ActBlue account so others can raise money for him)
- How to volunteer
- How to contact the campaign
- A blog, and a page for bloggers to sign up as volunteers
- Facebook and Myspace links
- Upcoming events (4 this week)
- Video and photo gallery
- Bio of the candidate
- A place to sign up for an email newsletter
- Oklahoma fallen soldiers
These are basic features for a a candidate website. Plus it looks nice and doesn't take 3 lifetimes to load because it’s full of high resolution photos.
What I really like about Rice is that he's out there working, talking to people, issuing press releases, speaking at barbecues, attending football games and showing the Democratic flag absolutely every chance he gets. He's helping himself and helping the party. He's also fundraising.
I know this because he sends me email letters/requests for contributions — regularly — like once a month or a little more. It all started when I made a $10 online contribution to his state Senate campaign last year — it was $5 Friday, pimp your candidate at DailyKos. Rice appeared to be a real progressive Democrat in a Republican leaning state so I splurged and sent him $10.
Ten minutes later I had a thank you email that mentioned my name, the amount and the fact that the donation was in response to a DailyKos request. Way to follow up! Three days later I received an actual paper thank you message. Even better! Both thank you notes mentioned that additional contributions would be welcome. Prompt response and courtesy toward supporters is a must for me. Judge Sue Bell Cobb's campaign did this very well last year and that attention to detail paid off for her.
At some point I may have sent him another $10, certainly not more, but he (or his IT person) kept my contact information. Since he declared for the U.S. Senate the emails have picked up again, each one with a link to donate, one to volunteer and a request to pass the message on to family and friends, even if you can't give now. Here's the latest one:
Thanks to help from people like you, my campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate is off to a good start. Support for my candidacy has come from near and far, from close friends and from people I’ve just met for the first time. I want to thank each of you for helping me with your contributions of money, time and ideas.
Especially at a time when so many people are losing faith in their federal government, it is inspiring to me that so many people have rallied to our campaign for change.
In the first 60 days since forming this campaign, more than 1,100 people have contributed $311,000 to my campaign. Even more important to me, 76 percent of my contributions have come from fellow Oklahomans. Hundreds more Oklahomans have enlisted as volunteers and we are already starting organizations in half of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
However, I know that as rewarding as this early show of support is, we still have a long road ahead to win the Democratic nomination and unseat a powerful incumbent who will have access to unlimited support from the special interest PACs in Washington.
As I listen to voters across our state, I hear their frustration with Washington and their anxiety about what’s ahead. They want a strong, independent voice on issues such as the war on terror, health care and immigration, not a Senator who votes strictly along party lines. I have already proven in an evenly-divided State Senate that I can work with both sides to get positive results for our state. As your United States Senator, I will always be faithful to your trust and respectful of your views.
To those of you who have already shown your support by contributing financially, volunteering or just displaying a bumper sticker, I am deeply grateful.
If you are able to contribute your dollars to my campaign, I hope you will do it today. My message for positive change can only reach every corner of Oklahoma if I have enough resources. My goal is to raise substantially more during the final quarter of this year than in my last report so we can be positioned to run an innovative and aggressive campaign going into 2008. Your contribution of $25, $50, $250 or whatever you can afford up to the legal limit of $2,300 per election, will be deeply appreciated.
Most importantly, I hope you will not hesitate to contact me with your ideas, feedback and questions. This race isn’t about me. It’s about the hopes and dreams of every Oklahoman and I want to hear about them. I need your involvement so we can remind the special interests in Washington that they don’t represent us.
P.S. – If you choose not to contribute at this time, there are other important ways you can help my campaign. Spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends and family, and let them know that you support me. Or, you could host a “Meet Andrew” event in your home for your neighbors and friends. Not a fund raiser, this is an informal way for you and the people in your community to meet me face-to-face and help shape my campaign. Or, you could send us a photo of you and your Rice for U.S. Senate bumper sticker along with your story and we’ll put it on our website: www.andrewforoklahoma.com
Bush and Cheney received 62.5% of the Alabama vote in 2004. He was slightly less popular here than in Oklahoma, so you can understand the environment Andrew Rice is working in, but that isn't holding him back at all. Whether he wins in November 2008 or not, he's making connections, talking about progressive issues and influencing public opinion. He's building an organization, recruiting volunteers and campaign workers, getting people involved and making it easier for him or another progressive candidate to win Oklahoma in the future. This is the heart of Dean's 50 State Strategy and it's worth investing in.
I would like to communicate to all the Alabama Democratic candidates — not just for Senate, but for Congress, judge, or whatever — this kind of organizing is not rocket science. You can do it, too and I'll invest my small to medium dollar contributions and my shoe leather in your effort and consider it well spent, win or lose. But if you decide to run a lazy, cautious, lo tech or no tech campaign that doesn't build anything f
or the future, count me out.
Come on y'all, don't make me send my money to Oklahoma!