Rep. John Dallum Resigns

The Dalles Chronicle reports that Rep. John Dallum (R-The Dalles) will resign, effective at the end of this month.

In a surprise move, Oregon House member John Dallum (R-The Dalles) announced Monday he would not be seeking re-election.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tell you I will be stepping down as the Representative for House District 59,” Dallum wrote in an e-mail Monday. “I have been offered a job in Valier, Montana, a town that is less then two hours away from my grandkids! Dorthy and I could not pass up the opportunity to move back to Montana where we could be close to family. My resignation will be effective the end of this month.”

Dallum barely won his election 2006, beating Jim Gilbertson by 280 votes out of 21,218 cast -- a margin of 50.77% to 49.26%.

District 59 includes voters in Deschutes, Grant, Sherman, Wheeler, Gilliam, Jefferson, and Wasco counties. Gilbertson beat Dallum in the populous Jefferson and Wasco counties, as well as in Gilliam.

  • Garlynn -- (unverified)

    I hope this means that Jim Gilbertson will run again!

    Maybe this time, he will have the name-recognition edge, and receive some funding support from the Democratic Party of Oregon...

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    I know a lot of candidates who ran last time, weren't targeted, and lost have been involved in the DPO's Campaign Committee to increase the amount of support candidates receive. If I remember correctly, Jim Gilbertson was one of those who was there.

    I really hope that many of those who ran last time will consider running again. Sometimes you need to run once to get the name recognition and to build support. I'd imagine we'll see candidates who received little or no support in 2006 getting a lot more support in 2008.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I was Jim Gilbertson's consultant last time, having grown up in Fossil in the heart of #59. Jim didn't announce until almost filing day in '06 and didn't really start walking until the summer, but he knocked on every door he could find in Jefferson Co. and carried it by ten points. He campaigned whenever he could find time elsewhere (he still works as a hay farmer) and narrowly carried Wasco CO., Dallum's home County, as well as Gilliam. Ultra-conservative Grant COunty only gave Jim 38%

    Jim raised $10,000 and kicked in nearly $20,000 of his own. The only money he received from Future PAC was the $800 from the "rural initiative", and SEIU and UFCW were the only two PACS who gave any money, about $250 each. The Deschutes CO. Democrats gave $500, and Judy Stigler gave $200 from her '04 account. It was very hard to have phone calls returned.

    Jim was out "outspent" 2-1, but we spent our money far more effectively than Dallum. We sent two mailings to all likely voters, one to all Ds and one to all voters in R precincts stressing Jim's timber/ranching background and his A rating from the NRA. Dallum only sent one mailing. Jim and I developed the message/text, several of us photographed Jim, and Witham/Dickey and their graphic designer did an outstanding job of putting it all together. We also outspent Dallum on newspaper/radio and had far more signs up.

    This was Jim's second close race. In 2002 he was outspent 7-1, but won 47% against John Mabrey, whose Wes Cooley like "marriage"/money problems came out in Oct. Even when that story broke, Jim was on his own (I didn't really know him then and was working out of state on a campaign) and most of the $8,000 that Jim spent was his own money.

    It's too bad that with that near win in '02, Jim didn't receive more help/attention last time. It's hard to believe that the Republicans will be caught napping again. Still, it is a swing district and Jim is thinking of running again. I just left a message for him.

  • LT (unverified)

    I second everything that Grant and Garlyn said.

    If Democrats want to increase their majority, they need to take races like District 59 seriously.

    And if I EVER hear anyone use the phrase "lousy R to D ratio" again, I will know the person speaking has no sense of history and no common sense.

    There are those "professonals" who say "we have limited resources and we have to target. Let's hear such people defend the level of non-support in District 59. Or is the Democratic party the party of listening to consultants because of course they always know more than anyone else--incl. those with experience in rural elections?

    Jenni, the campaign committee sounds like it is the best one in a long time (certainly better than years ago when it "decided" Democrats should take a stand on a coastal vs. inland issue--the inland point of view--in a year when there was a major coastal state senate race).
    You mentioned people who " have been involved in the DPO's Campaign Committee to increase the amount of support candidates receive".

    If FP can't provide any more support for District 59 than $800 Rural Initiative, why do they exist? Is it about electing Democrats, or all about raising money doing pass throughs? It is time for those active in the Democratic Party to start having that conversation. And I do mean conversation as in people talking face to face. It would be a good topic for one of the campaign committee meetings--maybe invite one of the state reps or staffers from FP to answer questions.

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    I think Bert Lowry and Paul Evans are doing a great job with the committee, and it's only just begun. It also helps that we had a lot of great people and a lot of candidates get involved in helping to improve things.

  • Miles (unverified)

    Didn't something similar happen to Sal Peralta last time around? No one gave him much of a chance, and I don't think the DPO gave him much party support given that it was a "losing" race, did they? Of course Sal came within a few hundred votes in the final tally.

    If I'm remembering right about the institutional party support, what kind of assurances do we have that the party leadership won't make the same mistakes again that they did in the Gilbertson and Peralta races?

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    For those of you who think that the Future Pac's money should have gone elsewhere remember that Jon Issacs took back the House with the strategy you are criticizing... something that hadn't been done in 16 years. Furthermore, remember that every dollar that you spend in District 49 can't go to the four pick ups we had and if you shifted enough dollars to district 49 to win there we might have lost races that were the backbone of our new majority in the House.

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    So how does a replacement for Dallum take the soon to be vacated seat? Special Election, appointment, rock-paper-scissors?

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    Great news!

    And I will print the message above about lack of funding and give to "someone" at a House Democrats get-together tomorrow night... it is a meeting of donors to House Dems... hopefully they will throw more money thataway next time!

  • LT (unverified)

    Bradley, Yes money spent in 49 tied down Minnis so she and her supporters weren't spending money elsewhere. But after the election I was weeding out old emails and had saved all the ones from FP. The emails about various candidates went something like Brading, Brading, Brading, someone else, Brading, Brading, Brading, someone else. Was he really 3 or more times as worthy of FP attention than any other challenger? And what if institutional funders had taken Brading seriously the previous election? Was this a way of making up for that mistake?

    It took 16 years for FP to win a one vote margin. For all the talk of candidates needing "seed money" and "R to D ratio", 2 candidates named Peralta and Gilbertson had neither the amount of "seed money" (measured as amount in April C & E ) nor the R to D ratio which the "experts" at FP claimed was necessary. And yet, if you were to rank the election results, who came closer to winning--Brading, Gilbertson, Peralta?

    There are those of us old enough to recall the days before Future Pac. The curtain has been pulled back on the "professional expertise and judgement" of FP, and they should never again be taken as seriously as they have been in the past.

    All sorts of incumbents on the GOP side are not running for re-election. If FP can't see their way clear to support the challengers in those districts without preaching that FP knows the districts better than the candidates themselves (esp. in cases like Gilbertson and Peralta) then they owe it to activists to show cause why FP should not be disbanded.

    Of course, I could be really radical and mention that retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice (and active member of the recent Public Comm. on the Legislature) H. Linde has said often that pass throughs are on shaky ground. That,a check written to Friends of Virgil Tibbs, for instance, doesn't belong to Virgil, it belongs to the legal entity of the campaign and should only be used for campaign expenses, not to contribute to other political causes.

    Under that legal reasoning, FP and all the other caucus campaign arms are just pass through organizations at a time when people are getting fed up with partisans. Of course, few politically active people even want to have that discussion, as they like the status quo.

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    There are people all over the map who can win in the next election cycle. Jim Gilbertson, Sal Peralta, and a few others who lost by very narrow margins are in this category. So is the man who I hope will run in House District 26.

    Fortunately, FP is under new leadership (although its former ED is back as a "consultant"). This time around, FP may see the folly of its past mis-distribution of campaign money and develop a larger majority strategy. Also fortunately, DPO's campaign committee has a new verve, new ideas, new vision, and new commitment.

    As always, money is scarce. Campaigners will have to develop campaign plans that sparkle because I think money will flow from major donors if the campaigners have vision and communicate it. We all should be ready to do just that at the Summit this coming October.

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    It took 16 years for FP to win a one vote margin.

    No, no, and even more NO.

    LT makes the same mistake she makes with the DSCC. You don't get to blame one leadership and staff team for the failures of previous people.

    It would be fair to say that several generations of FuturePAC leaders and staffers failed to deliver a majority.

    But if you say that, then you have to also give credit where it's due. Jeff Merkley (leadership) and Jon Isaacs (staff) took over in the 2004 cycle. They planned a six-year, three-cycle effort to take back the House. They accomplished it in just two election cycles.

    Yeah, rail away all you want at past folks -- I'm sure they'll be here to defend their efforts. But don't go blaming the 2004/2006 team for what happened in 1990-2002.

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    And all that attention in e-mails, events, etc. by FP in HD 49 meant that Minnis spent $1.2 million in the district.

    I would hate to have seen what the outcome of the 2006 election would have been had that money been available to be spent on other races. That was enough money to fund 4-5 campaigns.

    Yes, we lost HD 49. However, we got close enough that Minnis had to spend all her time and effort at home. And it scared her enough that she isn't running again. And along with her, several of her pals are leaving as well. That helped get us that 1-vote majority this time, and may very well give us an even bigger majority in the 2009 session.

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    But if you say that, then you have to also give credit where it's due. Jeff Merkley (leadership) and Jon Isaacs (staff) took over in the 2004 cycle. They planned a six-year, three-cycle effort to take back the House. They accomplished it in just two election cycles.

    Yeah, rail away all you want at past folks -- I'm sure they'll be here to defend their efforts. But don't go blaming the 2004/2006 team for what happened in 1990-2002.

    A hearty AMEN to that one Kari. I'll see you (and I guess Peter Bray) tonight at the big FuturePAC gig.


    And it scared her enough that she isn't running again.

    I guess that's one way to look at it, but there is more to it than that, Jenni.

    Once our gang secured the victory, people like Minnis and Scott, who have governed their own caucus by intimidation and never missed a chance to stick it to Jeff and the Dems; were suddenly having very little fun in the '07 session.

    These relatively dim bulbs don't know how to work from a minority position. Unfortunately guys like Ted Ferrioli and Chuck Adams are not similarly handicapped.......

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Yes, we won the majority (although on revenue matters we don't have the super majority we need.) Future PAC and the caucus/lobby helped a lot of challengers win and Riley and Galizio survive in tough districts- Great Job!

    It is unfortunate, though, that we often end up spending a lot for landslides, while candidates who come close (Jim was one of about four or five last time) receive no help, or not enough to matter. At least one D candidiate, for example, spent over $400,000 and won by 30%. He was a great candidiate from the beginning who raised a lot of money walked non-stop, stayed on message, and had a tainted, cluless opponent. Did his campaign really need the tens of thousands he received at the end? Even though we couldn't know what the magnitude of the Democratic sweep would be, I think some of the candidates were overfunded at the expense of others. Another $30,000 for Jim and our candidates in Medford and Yamhill might have made the difference. I also realize this is hindsight and there has to be a cutoff point somewhere.

    Caucus/party control and keeping the consultants happy seems to be the primary reason for this. FuturePac has two favored mail consultants who can only take on so many races. Those consultants always want to design and mail roughly 10 mailings per candidiate, and those don't come cheaply. The candidates they work with often cause unlimited brain injury to the consultants, and they probably would have a hard time taking on more clients even if they wanted them. Jim and I talked to one consultant who would only consider him if he agreed to a minimum of seven mailings at a cost of $50,000. With salary, radio, newspaper, signs etc.. added on, that went way over Jim's budget.

    Candidates who aren't favored/targeted/funded are typically left out of the loop. It is up to them to find people with campaign experience and the time to help to guide them through the process that is foreign to most new time candidates.

    My fear for '08 is that neurotic incumbents will insist that they are in danger, and that they will be overfunded at the expense of good challengers. This is true for the Senate and House. In 2004, I must have seen Re-Elect Ryan Deckert ads more than beer ads, even though he really didn't have a race.

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    Ah, but Minnis would have needed to actually show up for her to not have any fun. She missed something like 300+ votes this last session.

    It's like she decided she was just going to take her toys and go home since she didn't get her way.

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    It is unfortunate, though, that we often end up spending a lot for landslides, while candidates who come close (Jim was one of about four or five last time) receive no help, or not enough to matter.

    Ah yes... if only we could predict with absolute certainty how many votes someone was going to get.

    Then, we could heed the instructions of Joe P. Kennedy: "Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide."

    As for Mr. $400,000 and 30% win, well, it's also true that sometimes there's a point where the campaign "tips" - just a few bucks less and it could have been a tight race. That last $25,000 might have been enough to "tip" the race, and discourage the GOP volunteers and donors, etc.

    There is most certainly NOT a direct relationship between dollars spent and votes received. If there were, we'd be easily able to determine how to win every winnable race by 50.1% and spend zero dollars in all the rest.

    But as they say in sports, there's a reason you play the games.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I understand the mentality of going all out in the targeted races and not looking back, and it is all too easy to coach the game when it's ended. Granted, the blowout wins we had last year often don't happen. In too many races in the past we have lost legislative seats by a few points. We won the majority and that's what counts.

    I still think, though, that adding an eleventh, twelfth, or thirteenth mailing to a targeted campaign isn't necessarily as effective as adding a fourth, fifth, or sixth mailing to a competitive but not first tier candidiate. For that matter, a second or third mailing could make a difference. Susan Van Orman from Hood River told me that she could only afford one mailing, and she still won 45% of the vote. I know many consultants don't agree with that strategy, but some, like Kathy Shaw, who mangaged Alan Bates' campaigns, do.

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    Fairly early in the campaign, I sent a letter to each Democrat in HD26. Most of the Ds I talked to in the follow up couldn't even remember having received it. Later, with what little money I had (including the whopping $800 from FP), I was able to get off a post card to all Ds, all the Rs (different message), all the NAVs (with endorsement and message for them from Phil Kiesling), and all the Libertarians. That's two mailings to Ds and one to everyone else and pretty much equivalent to Susan van Orman's campaign.

    I knew from the start, directly from Jon Isaacs, that he did not consider HD26 winnable or worth more than the occasional smile. What I don't understand yet is why FP recruits candidates and then virtually guarantees that the candidate will not succeed. In this respect, I am reminded of Howard Dean's concept of a 50-state strategy and struck by Jon Isaacs' failure or refusal to effect a 60-seat strategy.

    The very idea of reserving high faluting technical advisers and current polling data for an elite group and shutting the loss leaders out of any real campaign resources seems, again, to show a real attempt to guarantee failure. This is particularly unnerving when we look at the impressive candidates discussed above who could have won with campaign help from FP.

    Gaining a 31-seat majority, given the circumstances, was a lucky break. As I've indicated above, this coming campaign cycle should have a different and more successful result.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    As is written several times in this thread of dialogue, the mythology that the Future PAC strategy of targeted races over a period of six years restored the legislature to the Democratic Party control is stated.

    People who should know better repeat this as if it were the truth. Well, it falls far short of being the truth.

    Back in the early to mid 1980’s and again in the early 1990’s I participated in various professional groups and political action committee’s that advocated for various children’s services and human services. Back then, the “professionals” in the political end of things told us that we needed to allow them to pick targeted races, to get our best chance at electing Democrats that would support our agenda.

    And that is how we lost the legislature to the Republicans.

    We seem to have forgotten over the 14 year period while the Republicans controlled the Oregon Senate, and the 16 year period while the Republicans controlled the Oregon House, just how we got to that place of their controlling things. We got there thinking we would run a race here or there, and focus just upon these individual races. We won battles, but lost the war.

    The attribution that Future PAC won back the legislature for the Democrats by targeting races is complete nonsense. In fact, the Republicans ran out of time. They came to power with broad based support on the idea that government cost too much and could be cut, time and again. 1990 is when Measure 9 passed, our first property tax limitation, and this is what brought the Republicans to power. Well as time went on, the Republican cut this program and that program. But in Oregon, we the voters all have our favorite programs. Some like the Extension Service (4-H and County Fair stuff). Some like smooth highways. Some favor children’s services, or senior services. But the largest one of all is our education system. University tuition has doubled and doubled again. K-12 class sizes are larger than during the peak of the baby-boom, and classes such as music have been cut. As time went on, more and more Oregonians were seeing their favorite State programs cut to the point of dysfunction. If you gore enough oxen sooner or later you gore my ox. That and the Federal stuff, Iraq, etc. makes the Republican Party’s believability level lower than ever.

    So, the pendulum swung, and here we are. Did Future PAC do that with targeted races? Hardly. (Targeted races means “a lot for the few” – hmmm, sounds Republican doesn’t it?)

    What has really won is individual candidates with a message of hope and progress. Government has a good purpose, and people know that in the end, like it or not, government is where the problems of our society get solved or resolved. As long as the Democrats provide candidates that share hope and progress – we will be winners.

    What we really need to focus upon is the multi-cycle need to build support for Democratic Candidates across the State. We have seen the downside of targeted races such as Lee Coleman’s pitiful $800 in support from Future PAC, and Sal Peralda’s near win without timely Future PAC support.

    I would hope that the Democratic Party and partners like Future PAC work towards establishing campaign thresholds. In particular, a minimal investment in every campaign for State or Federal level positions that would include at least one mailer to every voter in the district should be made available. We need to get that message of hope and progress out to every Oregonian through the fog of Republican controlled media (partial in the valley, total in Southern, Central, and Eastern Oregon) – and the only sure way to do it is with direct contact. We need to do it every election cycle where we have a candidate. Mail is the cheapest and surest way to get to everyone, and increasingly people just hate those phone calls. After the threshold is met, then perhaps some money could be directed to races where things appear to be close.

    But if we ever want to build the base of the Democratic Party with voters in Oregon, we have to get off the targeted race idea, and engage in strategies that are directed to ALL Oregonians.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    In my critique of how much money is spent on races, I don't want to beat up on Future PAC. The fact is that Future PAC does focus on districts they see as winnable and they try to pick candidates who will work hard and raise money. Brian Clem, Chris Edwards, Dave Edwards and other candidates were worthy of the support they received, and they won.

    Jim Gilbertson's personal fundraising wasn't strong and he didn't get started soon like Brian and others. FuturePAC had in years past targeted the more Democratic (old) dist 56 (Wasco/Hood River) and, yet, three targeted Democrats lost there by 10%-20% in 1988, '94, and '00. I can see why the more R leaning 59 didn't seem promising. However, the numbers aren't that bad, and Jim came close twice (very close last time) and Jack Lorts won 43% in 2004 even though he was outspent 7-1. Dist 59 should probably be on our target list for 2008.

    I think this discussion is useful to help prospective candidates realize that if Future PAC targets them, they will receive a lot of help. The majority of candidates, however, won't receive much help. The exception is if they do well and are bumped up the next go around. Betty Komp is a good example of a second time candidiate who had earned her stripes in '02 and received a lot of help in '04. Betty told me that when she first ran, no one from the caucus office would return her calls.

  • Ms. Mel Harmon (unverified)

    I apologize if I missed it, but did anyone answer Glen HD28's question? How is Dallum's replacement to be chosen? I seem to recall something about how his party will choose, but is there a set pool (District Leaders, PCPs) from which they must choose? Or can they choose anyone?

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    A mailer to every voter in the district sounds simple enough. Until you look at the numbers behind that.

    I looking at past C&Es, mailings are often listed at $6,000-$12,000 for a house district. I looked at several mailings for Kulongoski, and they were in the $32,000 to $41,000 range. And these are typically targeted mailers - not to every voter in the district/state. Having never done a mailing before, I don't know how it varies around the state - just what I've seen on some C&E reports.

    So let's use $8,000 as an example of a cost of a mailer in a house district and $36,000 for statewide.

    There are 60 house seats and 15 senate seats up every 2 years. Plus a handful of statewide races as well as at least 5 federal races (6 in the years in which a Senate seat is up).

    60 x $8,000 = $480,000 15 x $16,000 = $240,000

    Already you're at $720,000, which is more than FP spent in the 2006 election cycle. And we haven't included any support for federal races or statewide races. Plus that's just mailers for candidates -- we haven't included in polling, staff, training, rent, additional candidate assistance, etc.

    Even if you assume FP would get a bigger discount because they're ordering so many mailers, it still costs more than FP spent in 2006 (they spent about $641,000 - about half what Minnis did for her race).

    In the DPO's Campaign Committee, we're trying to come up with ways to give a minimum level of support to all Dem candidates. But one thing you have to remember is that it all costs money. A lot of money. And with the DPO taking on the expenses of the DNC organizers (DNC pays salary, but not expenses), plus doing the trainings all over the state, the voter file, a volunteer database for the entire state, etc., they're already spending a lot more money than they have in the past.

    It's fine and dandy to expect more of them, but we have to do something so they can afford to do so. I contribute monthly to the state party as well as my county party. I give donations to Future PAC and to candidates when I can. I also work as hard as I can to help come up with new ideas and implement them. It takes our ideas, our money, and our time to make things happen.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Jenni - I appreciate how you have thought about this to a point. It is important to cost out options.

    However, you are using cost to justify a strategy.

    On the other end, I am saying that the strategy ought to be a threshold of support in every race. (Hmmm, am I sounding like Howard Dean?) Mailers are an example of what my strategy might look like if implemented - e.g. a tactic. It doesn't have to be mailers, it doesn't even have to be 100% of the cost.

    We have choices ahead of us, not set in stone ways of thinking. It has been set in stone in Oregon in the Democratic Party for at least 25 years that most of our money raised for elections should go to a few races that are targeted. This is destructive to the Party, it is destructive to candidates in districts where they are thought of as long-shots, and it is destructive to our support among voters that need message reinforcement to maintain loyalty.

    So, Jenni, if you wipe the slate clean, and start all over again, would you choose to pour the vast majority of the money into a few targeted races, or ???? ....

    Again, from the big picture - targeted races win battles, but don't even engage in the "war". We lost a war in the late 1980's - early 1990's, and won it these last few years. But those battles had little to do with the wars.

    What would Jenni do?

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    I'm only using cost to show that Future PAC had a limited amount of money to spend, which greatly decreases what they are able to do. It's amazing to think of what they were able to do with the money they had.

    Personally, my choice would be to spread the money around just a little more. I'd really like to see candidates get a little more seed money -- as we've discussed in campaign committee meetings, it takes money to get money. You need a certain amount just to get started. And not everyone can initially fund that themselves. Especially since some candidates will take unpaid time off work in order to campaign.

    I'm hoping that if we can implement some of the stuff we're working on, people will be more likely to give because they know we're doing a lot more to help all Dem candidates, whether it be the campaign in a box, yellow book, seed money, trainings, etc. Maybe we even need to do targeted fundraising just for that cause. Then we'll have more funds, so we can do targeting as well as help non-targeted candidates enough so that they can win (or at least do well enough to prepare for a win the next year - some areas will take 2 election cycles).

    I'd still pour quite a bit of money into Brading's race. It kept Minnis very busy. She spent almost twice as much in her district as Future PAC did for the entire state. I'd hate to see how differently that $1.2 million would have been spent had she not felt so threatened by the strength of Brading's campaign.

    I'd hope that in wiping the slate clean, I'd be implementing some of these ideas we've discussed, such as targeted fundraising for a fund for seed capitol and such, so that we'd have more funds to spend in addition to making some changes in how it was spent.

    Sal's race, for example, could have really used money earlier in the race. That was obviously a winnable race. And who knew that we'd come so close to beating Wayne Scott? What would have happened with a little support?

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    Despite my criticism of the way FuturePAC spent some of the money in Brading's race, especially at the end, I'm really glad that they did spend as much money as they did in his race. Queen Karen got scared and called in all her old favors, sapping money from the rest of the Republicans' races throughout the state. I shiver to think about what the last session would have looked like had there not been such a strong candidate in HD49. Her campaign would have had to spend very little and the R money would have gone to the races that were narrow wins. So, FuturePAC does deserve credit there.

    I'd like to see some attention paid this cycle to HD51. Linda Flores is awful, and in 2004 there was a great challenger who got little institutional support and lost. Can we get rid of her this time around?

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    I'd love to see House Districts 49, 50, 51, and 52 go our way. That would put Democrats in seats currently held by Minnis, Lim, Flores, and Patti Smith. They're also the four house seats in Multnomah County that are represented by a Republican - 49 and 50 are entirely in the county, 51 and 52 are partially in the county.

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    My take on 2006 is this:

    FuturePac followed a reasonable and rational strategy.
    For the most part, they spent money in districts where they had a voter registration advantage, and took a shot at an open seat where they had a strong candidate.

    By my count, they went 7-2 in targeted races and 0-2 in close races that they should have recognized as competitive sooner. All-in-all, a very good campaign.

    Just a few stream-of-consciousness observations...

    No way should Jim's race have caught them by surprise given what he did in 2002.

    Targeting Minnis, which DFO and other groups strongly advocated for at the end of the last session, was brilliant.

    They paid much closer attention than did the R's.

    I have it on good authority from 2 sources that Wayne Scott told his caucus that Nelson was polling 20 points ahead of me in HD24 less than two weeks before the election.

    I'm not one who believes that resources should be allocated to every race. Not all candidates campaign. Why take money away from candidates who are working hard and give it to someone who isn't? But support should be given for candidates who work hard, and that support should involve more than offering to buy donor lists for $800 as FP did with their "rural initiative".

    As much as I like Charles Lee, they shouldn't have continued to target Newberg/Keizer once they had failed in recruiting Vic Backlund. I'm not saying that in hindsight. As chair of the YC Dems, I recruited Vic Backlund as a candidate in HD25, and pitched the idea to Isaacs.

    The money they spent there should have gone to Gilbertson or held in reserve to support candidates who were exceeding expectations late.

    My advice?

    Budget $30,000 to $50,000 to spend on candidates who are not immediately recognized as "top-tier" at the very beginning, and prepare to allocate the money in early September rather than after the ballots are mailed.

    Encourage staff to treat all candidates with a modicum of respect, even if they are not on the target list.

    Keep your promises to all candidates in a timely fashion, even if they are not on the target list.

    Don't assume that you understand districts that you've never targeted better than the candidates who are running hard in those districts.

    Remember that $15,000 spent in a timely fashion on a low budget race will have a bigger impact that $30,000 spent on a targeted race.

    Just my $0.02.

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    Lee Coleman wrote:

    What I don't understand yet is why FP recruits candidates and then virtually guarantees that the candidate will not succeed. In this respect, I am reminded of Howard Dean's concept of a 50-state strategy and struck by Jon Isaacs' failure or refusal to effect a 60-seat strategy.

    Of course, the whole reason that you recruit candidates is to run a 60-seat strategy. Which, btw, FuturePAC did in 2006. Actually, we fell a bit short at 54 (I think), but trust me -- Tonia St. Germain (to pick one at random) was under no illusions that she was going to win.

    Jenni's math points out the absurdity of spreading the money around evenly. Not even Howard Dean is doing that. (And to the extent that he is, it's because he knows the DCCC and the DSCC is targeting specific campaigns. Similarly, DPO should be building for the long-term in all 36 counties - while FuturePAC and SDLF work to win campaigns.)

    If you're not going to spread it around evenly, you target. How tightly you target, and the way you make your choices are all up for debate -- but make no mistake: Ya gotta pick your battles.

    Lee, I'd love to hear your recruitment experience. In years past, FuturePAC recruiters would make absurd promises to lots of candidates - who would then get burned. As an observer of the recruitment process in 2006, I know that they worked to communicate reasonable expectations. Candidates don't always listen to the expectations on them, while they're busily dreaming of all the support they're going to get.

    In one respect, LT is right. Candidates should expect to win on their own, with their own donors, their own volunteers, and their own network. Develop a campaign plan that gets you to the finish line without any institutional help. That way, if you do become a targeted race and get lots of help ... that's gravy.

    I'm impressed by how often people think they're somehow entitled to other people's money, time, and energy. No, you gotta earn it.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Perhaps things have changed from the late nineties when I ran for the legislature. Then, it was "The Coalition" - OPEU, AFSCME, OEA, and a few junior partners who decided who would be targeted, and FuturePAC went along for the ride. This is not conjecture on my part, but what I was told by Nick Blosser, who was the FuturePAC liaison to candidates.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Regarding the question about the replacement procedure, Republican precinct people from the counties in Dist 59 will be at a set time and date. (A very small portion of Deschutes is in the dist.- I'm guessing only PCP from those few precincts will be included.)

    The R PCP will listen to speeches from a field of candidates. I believe those who are interested in running basically show up and sign up, although somewhat might have to nominate them, I'm not sure. The PCP will choose 3-5 potential replacements, although it is usually 3.

    County commissioners from the Dist 59 counties will then decide who they want to appoint to Dallum's seat. There are a lot of Dem. commissioners out there who might not like the options. In '98, the Dem. Clackamas commissioners decided to not pick any of the crazies who the R PCPs had picked to replace Sen. Bill Kennemer. The decision then was left to Gov. Kitzhaber, who appointed Vern Duncan.

  • miles (unverified)

    If you're not going to spread it around evenly, you target. How tightly you target, and the way you make your choices are all up for debate -- but make no mistake: Ya gotta pick your battles.

    That's a pretty obvious point, Kari. The issue is that FP got it wrong with Gilbertson and Peralta. If those two votes had been there this session, how much easier would it have been to pick off a couple of Republicans for key votes, like Healthy Kids?

    I'm not suggesting that they should have gotten it right -- these things are always easier in hindsight. What I'm asking is this: Given how wrong they were on these two races, what has FP learned? What have they done to avoid losing such an opportunity again? Sal's idea above is pretty good -- is FP listening?

    I won't hold it against anyone who fesses up to a mistake. But I have yet to hear FP or the DPO admit that it was a mistake. I have yet to hear you say it, either.

  • (Show?)

    I think there's a difference between making a mistake and being surprised.

    It's a mistake when you fail to see or act on data that's available to you. It's a surprise when there was no data to tip you off.


    And don't forget: In the case of the Peralta race, FuturePAC actually did pour a bunch of money into the race at the end. A major reason why Sal didn't get a lot of earlier funding was simple: He turned it down.

    A big part of the power of a party committee isn't the direct funding. It's the ability to point other donors to races where their money will do the most good (i.e. pushing 'em over the top.) Sal decided to decline all out-of-district PAC donations.

    Please don't misunderstand me: I think Sal's principled move was honorable and good and decent. Had he won, he'd have set a good example for others (as Ben Cannon did.) But it's pretty disingenuous for his supporters to argue, after the fact, that he should have gotten more support from institutional players - when he specifically declined that support in his campaign.

    (Incidentally, Sal himself hasn't argued that the big PACs should have given him more money -- I suspect that some of the anonymous gripers here don't actually know the details of that campaign.)

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Mike Morgan was another close D challenger, against Esquival in Jackson CO. Van Orman and Gilbert (Molalla) were competitive.

    I had earlier mentioned paying for landslides. In fairness to FuturePac and the lobby, I looked at the results, and there were some challengers who had narrow wins- Cowan and Chris Edwards. Although Betty Komp's race wasn't mentioned a lot last year, she won narrowly in a tough district, and the Galizio/RIley seats had to be considered endangered. The blowout wins were Clem, Reid, and David Edwards.

    I still think that after a house race has gone over, say, $300,000 or $350,000, it makes sense to start diverting some money into these second tier but winnable districts, but many others would disagree.

    We also need to emphasize the importance of county parties and local donors/activists. In Jefferson County, Jim Gilbertson had essentially no volunteers helping and just a few small donors. He won based on his own intensive walking in his home county. Wasco county has a good group led by Teresa Hepker and Gwen Schatz that became active calling/walking in the fall, and the county party paid for four big newspaper ads for Jim, the Governor, and two other candidates, which was a big help. We also had a good donor base in Wasco co, and several of them were $250+ donors. Jack LOrts and Larry Kennedy in Wheeler and Dale Thompson in Gilliam were helpful in staffing Jim, canvassing and putting up signs. Unfortunately, the county organizations are very hit and miss, especially in rural OR. Jim lost big in Grant and Sherman counties, which are heavily Republican. Some local volunteers might have made a difference.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    Arnie Roblan, was another close race I forgot in my last post.

  • John English (unverified)

    I live in DIst 59 living in Mosier. Jim Gilebrtson is a good folksy canididate who developed a good message/stump speech. I think some snobs underestiamte him as a country bumpkin, but he is quite intelligent and very knowlegable of the issues. He didn't go all last time, mainly because of his farming business. I think he said he wants to devote more time if he runs agian, but will he? He's no kid, but seems to be in good shape.

    Jack Lorts, who ran in '04 seems like a good person with an eduaction admin. background who ran as too much of an orthadox liberal. His brochure virtually copied the DPO platform on every issue, which istn't wise in that rural distrcit, plus he came out in support fo the sales tax. He also didn't spend nearly as much as Jim.

    There are some Dem county commisisoners in the dist. Bill Lennox, elected in Wasco last year in Wasco seems quite impressive.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    My guess is that no one is no longer looking at this post, but based on this article from The Madras Pioneer, I gave some wrong information about the selection process for Dallum's replacement. According to the article, every county submits their own names for commissioners to choose. Although each commissioner votes, the strength of each vote is determined by county population. Article below:

    Search is on for Republican representative

    Wanted: Republicans that want to do battle on a statewide stage. Rep. John Dallum's surprising resignation as District 59 representative in July has created a vacancy in Salem, and it's up to the county commissioners of the district to fill it. The commissioners of eight counties -- including Jefferson -- will each get one vote each as to who they want to replace Dallum. Each commissioner's vote will be weighted by the population of district residents which they serve, broken down by percentage basis. Other counties which the district either covers or touches include Wasco, Wheeler, Grant, Deschutes, Clackamas, Gilliam and Marion. Wasco has the most population in the district followed by Jefferson. The commissioners will vote on candidates submitted by their local Republican Central Committee. The Jefferson County Central Committee is chaired by Lou Dobbins. Dobbins said the committee hopes to submit three to five names, but so far, no local resident has stepped forward for consideration. "I've had a few feelers, but that's about it," said Dobbins. Dallum, who served two terms in Salem, and was key in the 2005 fight to get funding for Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras, resigned to take a school superintendent job in Montana. He is no stranger to this office-filling process as he was voted in by commissioners to replace John Mabrey, of The Dalles, who resigned in 2004 when facing legal problems. To be considered, a candidate must live within the district and be a registered Republican. Dobbins said the committee has about 30 days to submit names. Commissioners will likely elect Dallum's replacement shortly thereafter. To find out more about the local Republican's process of submitting potential candidates, call Dobbins at 546-5722.

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