Monday, June 02, 2008

Our Air America Contest Is Over-- And The Winner Is...


Our week long Air America contest ended this morning at 5:59am, PT. Between last Monday morning and now, 312 people took the opportunity to vote-- by adding one cent to their donations-- for one or more of our Blue America candidates. Every single candidate-- please look at the list-- got at least a few votes. The best measure of the success is that we took in $12,348 (and some cents). The average donation was $39.58, but most of the donations were for $1.01. And 10 donations for $1.01 meant 10 votes (+, of course $10.10), whereas a donation of $500.01 only counted for 1 vote.

By late Sunday night I could see it was a neck and neck race between Debbie Cook (CA), Howard Shanker (AZ) Dennis Shulman (NJ) and Leslie Byrne (VA). The other candidates with large numbers of votes were Jon Powers (NY), Jim Himes (CT), Ed Fallon (IA), Eric Massa (NY), and Judy Feder (VA). Leslie's consolation prize is that her supporters donated almost $2,000 which we are praying will help her fend off a massive influx of corporate special interest cash from Gerry Connolly, the Joe Lieberman/Zell Miller Democrat who is running against her a week from tomorrow in the Virginia primary.

By just a few votes, our top vote-getter was Dennis Shulman, a blind rabbi from northern New Jersey. If he's new to you, please go back to out November 3 live blog session with him at FDL. Dennis wound up picking up over $1,000 from our donors this week. Tomorrow he faces a primary opponent who is campaigning against his support for the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. Once that's over with he'll be facing the last really radical right extremist incumbent in the Northeast, GOP fringe nut, Scott Garrett. Yesterday the biggest paper in Dennis' district, the Bergen Record endorsed him.
Shulman's moderate positions and measured tone are appropriate to the diverse district and, should he win Tuesday's primary, will make for an interesting contrast with Garrett (who has no primary opposition) in the fall. "Problem-solving has been my life, not ideology," Shulman told The Record's editorial board.

Shulman supports expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program for low- and moderate-income families, which has met stiff opposition in Washington. On immigration, he favors border security measures short of a fence, as well as a pathway to citizenship for the millions already here illegally. We agree on both counts.

We also appreciated Shulman's emphasis on ethics. If elected, he said he would not accept contributions from industries regulated by his House committees. He also identified a worthwhile policy priority: improving care for disabled veterans.

Like Howard Shanker, Debbie Cook, Leslie Byrne, Jon Powers, Eric Massa and Judy Feder, Dennis' campaign was able to successfully mobilize its e-mail list to go over the the Blue America page and donate with pennies attached. They never let up and they mentioned the contest in several communications and it paid off. Dennis has also been endorsed by Wes Clark, New Jersey congressmen Frank Pallone and Steve Rothman, and scores of local leaders. It's with great pleasure that we'll be sending him the check we get from Air America this week. I want to thank all 312 generous donors who took part in this contest. Your efforts will go to help bring BETTER Democrats to Congress.

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