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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Republican Not-Quite-50-State Strategy

Did you know that this guy, Michael Livingston, was running against Chaka Fattah for the 2nd congressional seat here in West Philly? Neither did I. I only learned about it after he dropped out of the race. To quote Keystone Politics:
"Yesterday Keystone Politics received a Press Release indicating that Michael Livingston, Republican candidate for the Second Congressional district had withdrawn from the race against Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah.

Mr. Livingston, in attempt to garner any media attention, has emailed again to see why we haven’t posted a story. Frankly, his running was not newsworthy and his abandoning the race is even less newsworthy."
Ouch. It's actually a fairly interesting non-story though. The final press release on Livingston's website is titled "Livingston Withdraws from Race, Blasts Local and National Republicans for Extreme Positions, Lack of Support" Now, it's not unusual for congressional challengers of either party to be upset with national party organizations for too little support, financial and otherwise. But Livingston was apparently snubbed completely.
While critical of local leaders, Livingston reserved his strongest criticism for the national Republican Party, most notably its Congressional wing. From that release: “The NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) spent $1 million on a by-election in Louisiana but could not even provide me with a weekend of candidate training,” he explained.
Many of you know that I'm a big fan of Howard Dean and Barack Obama's 50 state strategy. Sure, you might not win every congressional race, but local organizing pays dividends up-ticket. Also, you might not win every state, but national attention can pay dividends down-ticket. We now know that the Obama campaign will field paid staffers in all 50 states. We may not win Alabama, but that's how you build a national party.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are in bunker mode. Stingily allocating funds and staffers to only those races they hope to defend. Similarly, McCain's electoral map to the White House focuses on holding the Bush states, with a laser like focus on Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The 2nd CD is deep blue territory, but people won't vote for you if you don't ask them to.

But If the Republican's haven't figured that out yet, by all means don't tell them now.