Beltway Happenings
December 2, 2006--"We need to be the party that represents all Americans," DNC chairman Howard Dean stated at the regular meeting of the DNC's Executive Committee.  He said that one of the Republicans' biggest mistakes has been focusing on a narrow base.  Speakers lavished praise on the "50 State Strategy" implemented by chairman Dean.
Congressman-elect Tim Walz (DFL), a geography teacher at Mankato West High School, defeated six-term incumbent Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R) in Minnesota's 1st CD, which stretches across the bottom part of the state.  Walz noted that only one other Democrat, Tim Penny, has won the district in the last 110 years.  He said he benefited significantly from the "50 State Strategy," citing the work of Sarah Duevel.  DFL executive director Andrew O'Leary recalled that in summer 2005 the DNC had provided for four employees for the state party to do with as it pleased.  The DFL put those staffers in challenger congressional districts, and matched them with four of its own employees for the other districts.  Sarah Duevel was the first of those DNC paid staffers.  "We saw immediate results," O'Leary said.  He said those staff were instrumental in the DFL picking up 27 legislative seats in the mid-terms (the DFL gained control of the House and added six seats in the Senate.
Congresswoman-elect Nancy Boyda (D), who upset five-term Rep. Jim Ryan (R) in Kansas' 2nd CD, likewise praised the "50 State Strategy."  Boyda ran what she described as "a fairly traditional campaign" in 2004.  She said that "the DNC was on the ground since August 2005" and lauded their approach as, "Hey why don't you guys tell us what you need."  She said she decided to run again because that organization was already in place. 

Out of her 2004 experience Boyda has some harsh words for consultants.  "People are looking for authenticity, not a cookie cutter type campaign," she said.  She and her husband Steve wrote all the text for three multi-page newspaper inserts; during the course of the campaign a total of 800,000 copies were distributed through about 50 newspapers in the district.  Boyda also noted that, "First of all, I refused to go negative."

Also at this meeting members of the Executive Committee received an update from Technology Director Ben Self.  In the afternoon the Rules and Bylaws committee met and considered, among other matters, a modest bonus delegate plan to encourage state parties to hold their 2000 delegate selection contests later in the calendar.

Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action