As we’re in the middle of a recession and the Democrats just lost two gubernatorial races, the Democratic Governors Association just announced that 2009 was it’s most successful fundraising year ever. As a result of the $23.1 million raised in 2009, Chairman Jack Markell said that the DGA will start with 12 times as much cash as it had in the same point in the last election cycle.
“Americans are focused on restoring prosperity in this country, and it's thanks to their broad support for our ideas that we hit a historic fundraising high in 2009,” Gov. Markell said. “The 2010 elections will be a contest between moving our country along a path of progress or making a U-turn to the failed ideas that created the Great Recession. In this election, ideas will win – and Americans are looking for governors who will put people first, who will rebuild the American Dream and who will invest in our children.”
“Voters will have a stark choice this November – move forward or go back,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, DGA vice chairman. “Our supporters know that Democratic governors and candidates are working round the clock on the biggest priorities of this year: jobs, jobs and jobs. We look forward to an election where we can run on our records of turning the corner on this recession and rebuilding our economies.”
Now I most certainly understand the desire to move forward after the devastating year that Democrats had in elections in 2009, but praising these fundraising numbers as historic and a sign for the future simply doesn’t give me a good feeling. After all, I remember folks at the DGA telling me in the months leading up to the 2009 elections that they had invested historic amounts in Virginia and we ended up losing that race by almost 18 points. That doesn’t inspire much hope in how these huge amounts of money are being spent.
At the same time, if we have candidates who aren’t afraid to stand up for Democratic values in the next few years then the extra money could come in handy to fight off Republican smear campaigns. That money and effort will only work, however, if we actually have candidates who aren’t afraid to stand up for progressive values.