Monday, November 16, 2009

DGA Shifts Attention to 2010, Especially Wisconsin

Coming off losing two big gubernatorial campaigns earlier this month, it appears as though the Democratic Governors Association is looking ahead to 2010. In a statement that was sent out yesterday, the DGA announced that it will be targeting the gubernatorial campaign in Wisconsin. This comes after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett officially entered the race.
“Mayor Barrett is well-known as a common sense leader and dedicated public servant who is making his community a better place for families and creating good-paying jobs,” said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the DGA. “In these difficult economic times, his accomplishments leading his city will appeal to people across Wisconsin, who will embrace Mayor’s Barrett’s proven leadership and vision to bring good jobs to the state.”

“Mayor Barrett’s candidacy positions Democrats for victory and signals the depth of our commitment to holding this seat,” Daschle said. “The DGA will play a very active role in keeping Wisconsin blue.”
There's been a lot of speculation that Barrett would enter the race because he's viewed as an extremely popular mayor who has represented a city that is very progressive. In fact, when Barrett originally won the mayoral seat he took on the Democratic incumbent and his closest competitor in the general election during his re-election bid was the socialist candidate. I bring this up because it would greatly benefit a Democratic candidate in Wisconsin to have a high turnout in Milwaukee and Barrett will be able to perform extremely well in the Democratic city. As local blogger and activist Dan Cody points out, this is extremely important because one of the leading Republicans is currently the Milwaukee County Executive and has argued that he'll be able to win by performing well in the area. Barrett's entrance into the race will make that extremely difficult.

Now the race in Wisconsin is just one of 36 gubernatorial campaigns that will be taking place in 2010, so the DGA's announcement indicates something of importance because it helps to indicate which races they believe will be winnable. After we saw the DGA get involved early here in Virginia and investing in a lot of advertising that focused on McDonnell's negatives (something that eventually backfired and played a role in Deeds losing by 18 points), I think it will be extremely important to see how the DGA performs in these important races.

The best thing that the DGA could do right now is help candidates like Barrett build up their ground games. This will not only allow them to remind the Democratic base of some of the reasons to vote FOR Barrett, but will also help to recruit the volunteers who will be needed to help the campaign. In the end, it will be these volunteers who'll be crucial in helping to get out the vote and remind their neighbors why it's important to elect strong Democratic candidates (something that was lacking in the approach that was taken in 2009).

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