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How to demonstrate a difference between you and the incumbent

with 3 comments

What do you do when you’re a Democrat running for Congress and trailing the Republican incumbent in fundraising — and the Republican brings in the vice president of the United States to shake money out of the fat cats for him?

Answer: Draw a contrast that morally differentiates you from the Republican. That’s what New York District 29 Democratic candidate Eric Massa did Friday.

The incumbent, Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl, brought Dick Cheney into the district Friday (or, more likely, Karl Rove sent him in). Cheney raised about $175,000 at a Rochester event (some reports say it was half that) attended by about 200 people. The vice president has done 91 such fundraisers for Republican congressional candidates in this election cycle.

The bulk of that money at this invitation-only event came from people who ponied up $1,000 each for a “private photo opportunity” with Vice President Cheney. In a district of 1.2 million people whose average income is $26,000, this seems blatantly arrogant.

Mr. Massa, who alerted the press about the event because it was not listed on Rep. Kuhl’s Web site, also raised money Friday — but not for himself.

Instead, Mr. Massa, a retired 24-year Navy veteran, went to Henrietta, N.Y., to the publicly accessible Veteran’s Memorial Park to host a barbeque fundraiser for the local veterans’ outreach center. The public was welcome, and Mr. Massa posed for pictures with anyone who made a donation to the center. (See the slide show of pictures taken.)

Mr. Massa helped raise about $1,200 for the center, according to his daily blog.

That’s a stark difference in imagery about the two men — $175,000 vs. $1,200, how it was raised, and for whom. Mr. Massa’s move was politically astute as well as revealing much about his character. Rep. Kuhl’s Friday event smacks of desperation — even though Federal Election Commission filings say he’s leading the fundraising war. But internal polls by the Massa campaign (cum grano salis here) say the race is a dead heat.

Rep. Kuhl, considered increasingly vulnerable in this election by pundits, has benefitted often from national Republican largesse. President Bush visited his district in March. Top House GOP leaders, through their “leaderships PACs,” have given Rep. Kuhl nearly $75,000 in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Rep. Kuhl, according to Sept. 15 FEC filings, leads Mr. Massa in the money race, $997,351 to $659,600.

Those numbers are woefully out of date given recent fundraisers on both sides. I’ll be checking FEC filings during the rest of the campaign to see how much the vice president raised for Rep. Kuhl and from whom.

Meanwhile, Mr. Massa has 50 bucks of my money — the first time I’ve made a political donation since I gave a ten-spot to Sen. Paul Tsongas. I hope Mr. Massa spends it wisely.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 25, 2006 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. I continue to be encouraged that we actually have a real alternative to the incumbent — someone I could stand to have in Congress representing me, among others. Now if the Democrats finally really pay attention to the idea that Kuhl could be beaten and give Massa some help…

    penshark

    September 25, 2006 at 7:27 pm

  2. It’s good to hear the stories that won’t make the front page, or rather any page in the newspapers. Politicians are, in theory, for the people and it’s good to see one politician that hasn’t forgotten that.

    keplerjd

    September 26, 2006 at 3:42 am

  3. See? YOU have time to write, too. Must be you found your writer’s laxative.

    cwmackowski

    September 27, 2006 at 3:18 pm


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