2006 midterm results indicate success for Dean's Fifty State Strategy

Thursday Chris Bowers at MyDD posted on a study by Harvard University's Elaine Kamarck indicating early success for Howard Dean's Fifty State Strategy. The study focused on "39 congressional districts where Dean had made an investment in organizing" (as opposed to states where the organizers worked at the state party headquarters for all U.S. House candidates). The North Carolina Democratic Party now has three organizers.

...those congressional districts where the DNC had paid organizers on the ground for over a year more than doubled the Democratic vote over what would have happened due to forces outside the control of the Party, such as the war in Iraq and the unpopularity of a Republican President.

...in the absence of significant amounts of DCCC money, the presence
of a DNC organizer in a congressional district puts the average Democratic increase in the vote significantly above what would be expected simply given the anti-Republican currents in the country in 2006. Districts that had less than $10,000 from the DCCC still exceeded the average national increase by nearly 3 percentage points. Districts that received between $10,000 and $100,000 exceeded the average national increase by nearly 4 percentage points. Not surprisingly, those districts that received between $100,000 and $200,000 in DCCC contributions exceeded the national average by over 8 percentage points.
These districts also exceeded the average increase for the districts with a DNC organizer. Obviously money matters. But what is interesting about this table is how much can be accomplished with organization. Since there were only two districts that were targeted by the 50 state strategy that received more than $200,000 I would not make too much of this finding. Keep in mind that it is often argued that there are diminishing returns to money in politics.

Appendix A. Outcome of Congressional District Races where DNC organizers had been working for over 16 months (NC table data below)

Congressional_____Democratic___Increase/Decrease
District___________Win/Loss____in Dem. % of Vote

North Carolina 8____Loss_______+6%
North Carolina 11___Win________+11%

Larry Kissell's NC-8 race was a squeaker, as we well know. DCCC support may have spelled the difference between NC-8 and NC-11. DCCC chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel had personally recruited Heath Shuler for NC-11 and was hanging his hat on turning out Charlie Taylor. (One of his staff members came to run our Election Protection effort.)

Appendix B. Fifty State Strategy Congressional Districts by DCCC money spent. (DCCC spending figures from www.opensecrets.org)

Congressional_____DCCC
District___________Contribution

North Carolina 8____$46,260
North Carolina 11___$108,560

I can't speak to the analytical methods, but anecdotally, the presence of organizers had a galvanizing effect and helped pull districts together. The branding campaign Mark Hufford helped craft gave Democrats renewed presence in the reddest parts of western NC, ticked off the GOP, and told voters, "We're here."

Comments

Hadn't seen this

Thanks for posting it.

I think the translation to a full-court press statewide - whether we call it the 100 county strategy or whatever - it direct and totally applicable. Every seat. Every time.

Recommended

Nice post. We have a lot of work left to do in North Carolina, but I think Jerry Meek and his team and Dean's 50 state strategy have us well on our way.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The study confused me

I didn't read it closely. But I did notice that its author refers to districts with a DNC organizer and no money. She claims those districts had higher increases in their Democratic vote than the average national increase. However, the author does not include those districts in the Appendix.

As listed, the 11th and the 8th had DNC organizers. But the 11th district organizer also worked for the 10th and the 5th. And the 8th district DNC rep covered several other central districts (and I don't believe she was in place for the 16 months they claim).

So, perhaps the author's analysis is correct, but I'm suspicious because the districts not receiving DCCC funding are not listed.

Perhaps there are more appendices than the two I saw in the PDF I was sent.
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

Still sorting through this

I think the "no DCCC money" districts are in Appendix B: FL-13, HI-2, IN-9 and MN-6, although IN-9 showed a 1% negative "gain" for 2006.

Kamarck says, "...there were some DNC staff that worked through the coordinated campaign efforts with state parties and focused on specific congressional districts."

That seems to indicate how she selected the 39 districts, but how would she know that? It's not very clear.

Oh, and thanks, UCB,

for the post, and for emailing it to my husband. That was you, wasn't it? Why don't you post some more, especially with all your inside info . . . ?
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

look

"Drama Queen" you cant be undercover if people are going around talking about who is who.

Speaking of your "undercoverness" I hope you and your husband had a great post election trip.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

I'm not really all that undercover anymore

Someone related to me but who shall remain nameless has 25 years of a somewhat justifiable fear that I will say something truly offensive. This blogger stuff has really terrified the poor guy. (I hope he doesn't read this.)

And I'll send you a link to the vacation video when it's done. When are you coming out this way?
 
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

haha

Tell him not to worry. No one reads these pesky blogs anyway.

I have no idea. Between class and the new puppy the drive is kinda daunting. I do need to take advantage of the invitation though. I miss the mountains.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

This ought to be required reading

For every county and district Chair of the Democratic Party.

If the local leadership will look to the future offered by Dr. Dean's strategy, they can leave a most excellent legacy of adaptation and improvement.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

2006 could have been a bigger year for Dems...

I'm probably in the minority here but I think 2006 would have been a bigger year for Dems if we had a stronger fundraiser leading the DNC. McAuliffe raised 350 million in 2004 and they almost beat Bush with a terrible candidate.

Compare that to 2006 when Dean only raised $119 million to the RNC's $208 million.

He also spent a lot of the money that McAuliffe had raised on his 50 state strategy which amounted to extra staffers in each state registering voters and doing field work (important, but negligible considering the amount of volunteers who poured into these efforts for free in 2006.)

How can Dean argue that his 50 state strategy was a success when he was making the argument all along that you can't judge the strategy by the results in 2006 because it is a long term strategy?

I think we could have won many more seats (including Kissel's) had we not fallen so far behind the GOP in $ despite the record fundraising by the DCCC and DSCC.

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

This is what I'm talking about here:

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20060424&s=scheiber042406
HOWARD DEAN'S MESSIAH COMPLEX.
Scream II
by Noam Scheiber
Post date 04.13.06 | Issue date 04.24.06

Once every four to six weeks, Dean sits down somewhere on Capitol Hill with the two most powerful Democrats in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. One topic of conversation comes up regularly: the DNC's spending priorities. Reid and Pelosi believe the party may be poised to win back Congress after over a decade in the wilderness. They want Dean to pony up for the cause. Dean's response to their invitation is invariably the same, according to a senior Democratic congressional staffer who has attended the meetings. "He'll say, 'I hear you. But that's the problem with Democrats. We have to think big.'"

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

but

the counter to that is that Dean was chosen to lean the DNC for his ideas and not for his money ability.

I dont think we won because of Dean. I dont think we won because of Rahm. I dont think we won because of blogs. We won because Americans rejected the results of Republican rule. If we want to continue it then I think Dean's strategy is the only way. And if you can compete in every state then you dont need to spend 20 million just to turn out columbus and 10 million to turn out cincy and so on when you can spend 5 million over 4 years and win half the electoral votes in the midwest.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

from "The Inside Agitator" (NYT Magazine, 10/1/06)

Underneath this clash of field plans and alpha personalities lay a deeper philosophical divide over how you go about rebuilding a party — which was really a dispute about cause and effect. Did you expand the party by winning elections, or did you win elections by expanding the party? Most party insiders had long put their faith in elections first, arguing that the best way to broaden the base of the party was to win more races.

[snip]

Recent history, though, would seem to undercut this theory. In the 1990’s, the Democrats won two presidential elections behind a popular leader, and yet the party didn’t grow. In fact, Democrats lost ground at every level of government except the White House and cemented their position as the party of coastal states.

[snip]

[If Democrats don't win back the House] rather than dissect the mechanical failures that cost them a few thousand votes here or there, Democrats might be forced to admit, at long last, that there is a structural flaw in their theory of party-building ... that a national party may not, in fact, be able to win over the long term by fixating on a select group of industrial states while condemning entire regions of the country to what amounts to one-party rule. Which would mean that Howard Dean is right to replant his party’s flag in the towns and counties along America’s less-traveled highways, even if his plan isn’t perfect, and even if he isn’t the best messenger to carry it out. As another flawed visionary, the filmmaker Woody Allen, once put it, 80 percent of success is just showing up.

Amen.

showing up and staying in one place....

. that a national party may not, in fact, be able to win over the long term by fixating on a select group of industrial states while condemning entire regions of the country to what amounts to one-party rule.

The targeted races in the Senate and House were all over the country and not concentrated in blue states. What you saw happen in 2006 is that as races became more competitive, they received more resources from the committees and party (with the sad except of Kissel.) This system worked, it was just under funded to really take advantage of the pendulum swinging back.

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

"Repealing the estate tax is like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics". - Warren Buffett

NC Dean and Emanuel?

The groundwork has been laid in those counties that make up NC Congressional District 8. The money Dean gave for on the regional field organizers, for the database of voters made a tremendous difference. Then you need a candidate who shows his dedication to ordinary people. Larry inspired us to take those resources and make many thousands of votes happen. This campaign was enormously successful. The next race will start with a far more organized bunch of Democrats with tremendous experience in how to get out the vote.
Larry only lost by a few hundred votes. And Robin Hayes outspent them 4 or 5 to 1. Many of us believe that the DCCC Emanuel money would easily have led to a victory. But not to be discouraged because organization is never a waste. Next time.
But for now please help us retire the campaign debt ($80,000):
Kissell for Congress
106 East Main Street
PO Box 1530
Biscoe, NC 27209

TurnNCBlue