Thursday, June 14, 2007

Don't Count on DCCC to help Kissell

A few days ago, Larry Kissell wrote a diary on DailyKos titled No Confidence in Politics as Usual. Tucked away in that diary was this little morsel:
The Washington folks seemed shocked that we recently polled and it showed my opponent is in big trouble and the district agrees with me that we've had enough.
That's right. There's a poll. Unfortunately, I can't get my hands on it, but what I've heard so far is that Robin Hayes is in more trouble than he's ever been in and Larry Kissell hasn't lost momentum. From what I hear - and I promise to produce the poll if it is ever released - on the uninformed poll question, the two candidates (Kissell v. Hayes) are neck and neck.

Hayes appears to be operating out of desperation if the tone of his fundraising letters is any indication. A commenter in the above mentioned diary had this to say:
I know Larry Kissell, supported him in his last run, and am proudly supporting him again. He should have won in 2006, and would have won with only a few dollars more. It was a hard call for the NC Democratic Party, but a wrong call not to get Larry the funds he needed.

Yesterday, I received a letter at my Durham, NC home from Robin Hayes, whom Larry is running against. I haven't read the letter, but on the face of the envelope was this message "On Election Day the Democrat Party and the anti-military came within 327 votes of defeating me. Now they're back to finish the job. My friend, I need your immediate help..."

Democrat Party, anti-military; do you have any doubt that Robin Hayes would resort to fascist tactics to hold his seat? Mr. Hayes, it is the people of North Carolina that are back to finish the job or removing your vile, contemptible ass form the halls of our Congress!

Please help Larry get this job done!
Hayes, is wrong, though. It wasn't the Democratic Party or MoveOn that almost beat Robin Hayes. It was high school Civics teacher, Larry Kissell. He was just a few votes and a few dollars short of winning. One mailer in Mecklenburg County could have made the difference - a mere $5000 would have easily paid for that mailer. Money Rahm and the DCCC sent to a variety of campaigns - many of them losing efforts with much larger margins than this pure grassroots/netroots campaign.

I've read comments on diaries and there are assumptions being made that Larry Kissell will be the DCCC's first red-to-blue candidate. I don't know about you, but I'm not banking on that. I know Larry isn't. He and his campaign have fundraisers planned every week throughout the state. Most of them are small dollar affairs. North Carolina's 8th District is full of people who can give their time, but their wallets are empty.

There was recently a very successful event in Chapel Hill and events are coming up in Albemarle and Concord. I will report back on the Concord event next week as I will be attending.

Many in the progressive online community supported Larry Kissell financially last cycle and he's going to have to count on us again. Folks at BlueNC, DailyKos, MyDD and Firedoglake - just to name a few - gave Larry strong financial support. He needs us again. In his words:
I'm not a rich man and I will never match my opponent dollar for dollar, but with your help, if we start now, we can put all of our small voices and dollars together to have a big voice on election day.
Robin Hayes has a net worth of over $55 million. He has the power of incumbency, contacts with corporate PAC donors and gets hundreds of thousands from Republican candidate leadership PACs. Larry has us.

I'll post several times between now and the end of the quarter asking for your help for Larry. I wouldn't do it if I didn't believe in Larry Kissell. I met him about 14 months ago and I was swept away - not because he said things I wanted to hear, but because his humility, honesty and integrity are right there in the open when you meet him. Fourteen months later, I still feel the same way.

Please give if you can. Here is a link to my ActBlue page. Here is a link to the Kissell ActBlue page and this will get you to his website in case you want to go with Paypal or snail mail.

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Debunking those NC Republican Talking Points

Those of you who read Anglico's post and comments at BlueNC found at this link are familiar with a couple of the new talking points the NC Republicans are using as cover for their inability to answer a direct question.

From Larry Brown:
In all due respect, North Carolinians voted for 35,000 votes more than the Democrats. Democrats won because of gerrymandered districts established by confessed felon Democrat Speaker JIM BLACK.
From Ruth Samuelson:
thanks for your concern.m As an FYI, there were more votes cast for Republican legislators than Democrat in the last election. What you see now is the power of the gerrymandering that former Speaker Jim Black put in place.
From Nelson Dollar:
Interestingly enough the citizens of the State of North Carolina did elect a Republican majority to the House and Senate in 2002, 2004 and even in 2006.


Also, not to belabor the point on gerrymandinger (sic); however, if you look at the votes for the N.C. House hear (sic) in Wake Co. in 2004 you will find that more voters cast ballots for Republican House candidates than Democrat candidates even when you discard all of the votes for Jeffery's and compare an even number of D and R candidates. To quote Al Gore this may be an "inconvenient truth."
Holy crap! This is the most moronic load of horse manure I've heard in a very long time.

What, is there some kind of new vote sharing plan they think we should implement? Did any Republican not win election who received more votes than his Democratic opponent? Am I missing something?

Maybe they just haven't done the math. There were 30 Democrats who ran unopposed and 33 Republicans. The average vote total for a Republican running unopposed was a little over 12, 820. Those three additional Republicans account for about 38,000 votes.

So, the North Carolina electorate didn't vote for a Republican majority, they simply had more Republicans to vote for. I know this is a fairly complex concept for these Republican legislators to understand, but if they are going to have their brains anywhere near the state budget and other important aspects of governing, it would be nice to know they are capable of grasping complex issues.

And.....what the heck is this gerrymandering mess? Have Republicans even looked at the district map or registered voter data? Do they know how many of North Carolina's 100 counties have a Democratic majority? Do they know that as of last October Democrats had over 600,000 more registered voters in this state? Apparently not. Democrats enjoy a majority in 70 of North Carolina's 100 counties. That's right. Seventy, 70, seven zero. It doesn't matter who the speaker was during the last redistricting, it doesn't take gerrymandering to come up with a majority of Democratic districts when that many counties account for over 600,000 more Democratic voters. Actually, it's probably more of a challenge to come up with Republican districts.

I'm feeling a bit visual today, so why don't we look at some maps.

NC House District Groupings (Click for a large PDF version)

There are a few unusual looking districts among them, but without knowing the concentrations of D's and R's you don't know if these are evidence of gerrymandered districts. I could bore you by going district-by-district but I'd rather show a couple more maps.

Let's look county-by-county at registered voters. Here is a map of North Carolina showing counties with a Democratic majority (blue) and Republican majority(red). [click to see a larger version]

Wow, that's a lot of blue! That doesn't mean they all vote with their party, of course.

Now, take a look at the congressional districts colored in to show where there is Democratic representation and Republican representation.

Hmmmm. I see some pockets of blue in Republican territory and some pockets of red in areas with a majority of registered Democrats. Gerrymandered districts? Districts drawn to comply with the North Carolina constitution? Districts drawn to comply with the voting rights act? Hmmmmm. Maybe I'm just too dense to see it. Anyone care to help me out?

Finally, I just have to say something about their lack of comfort with the English language. It isn't the typos, incomplete sentences or creative spelling that lead me to say this, it's their amazingly childish use of the word "Democrat" instead of the proper adjectival form "Democratic". Honestly, if they're going to call us names don't you think they could come up with something a little more creative? That just plain makes them look ignorant. Why anyone would make themselves look any more stupid then they obviously already are is beyond me.