Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy Pays Off
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 13 November 2006
The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rahm Emanuel, stormed out of Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean's office in May after an expletive-filled tirade against the DNC's spending too much money, too early, in "non-battleground states." Emanuel was concerned the DNC would be broke and not on the playing field in November. The opposite was true, and the playing field was larger due to the early investment.
Was Emanuel Talking About States Like Indiana?
The Democrats picked up 3 seats in a state that was considered as red as the Hoosiers' basketball uniforms. Dean, in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, said: "We put folks into Indiana a year and half before we knew the candidates."
Was Emanuel Talking About States Like New Hampshire?
Voters in New Hampshire, home of the nation's kickoff presidential primary, re-elected Democratic governor John Lynch in a landslide over state representative Jim Coburn (R). Democrats gained more than 80 seats to grab a majority in the 400-member House, where they had been in the minority since at least 1922. Democrats also picked up five seats - giving them 13 of 24 seats - to flip control of the New Hampshire Senate, where they have been in the minority since 1988.
Was Emanuel Considering Governors' Races?
Going into the midterm elections, Republicans had a 28-to-22 advantage in governors. That number has now flipped. States with Democratic governors now command 295 electoral votes, up from 126 before the election, a factor that could have a "huge impact for the presidential race in '08."
How About State Legislatures, Rahm?
Democrats nearly doubled the number of states where they control both the legislature and the governor's office. Fifteen state governments are now solidly blue politically, seven more than before the voting. Ten state capitals are fully in Republicans' hands, down from 12. The other 25 states have divided government.
Emanuel and Schumer Deserve Credit, Too
Much has been made about the battle between Dean and the Netroots v. Emanuel and Schumer. In the end, they all did their jobs, and the Democrats prevailed. The DCCC and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) pumped enough money into the key races in the last month of the campaign to guarantee victory. Now if they could just see that by pumping money and staff early into all 50 states, Howard Dean gave them more key races to work with.
The lesson learned should be that the DNC should continue to build the party from the ground up in all 50 states, expanding the playing field, while the DCCC and DSCC should continue to target the key races, giving the final push to victory.