Democratic Rep. Bill Owens and his likely Republican opponent, Matt Doheny, are launching fundraising missives in the past few days that knock one another in hopes of shaking some campaign cash from the fundraising tree.
In a message entitled "Grassroots Support" that went out Wednesday, Mr. Owens asks his supporters for whatever they can give to raise $13,250 before Dec. 31, the next filing deadline (reports will be out about two weeks later).
Mr. Owens — who, as I've pointed out, calls for collegiality and compromise ad infinitum when he's not writing a fundraising appeal — describes Mr. Doheny as "my Tea Party opponent" who will "self-fund" his campaign. He never actually names Mr. Doheny in the message.
The Doheny campaign would probably reject both of those assertions. Sure, Team Doheny is going to have to court tea party folks in NY-23, and already has the support of some of the big names — Mark Barie at UNYTEA in Plattsburgh, for example. And some of his positions are along the lines of what the tea party wants — never raise taxes, shrink government, etc.
But Mr. Doheny is a candidate who is going to rely on his business acumen to convince voters that he knows how to bring jobs to NY-23. He's the Mitt Romney of this race, not the Michele Bachmann.
And the Doheny campaign is putting more of a focus this year on fundraising from outside groups, though he has said that he will fund his campaign as necessary.
And that brings us to Mr. Doheny.
He went with the soft sell in his fundraising message. In fact, it's not until 12th paragraph that Mr. Doheny gives the, "I am grassroots and I need you" appeal.
"I don't have political action committees raining money into my campaign coffers, but I have something much more important. I have YOU," Mr. Doheny said in the lengthy message.
More important than a fundraising appeal, of course — and, as any good former journalist like Jude Seymour would know, you put the most important stuff at the top — is a call for unity on the right. Conservative splits in the historically Republican 23rd Congressional District have helped Mr. Owens become the first Democrat to represent the area since before the Civil War.
"We are making an extensive outreach to those in the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties to make sure that all three are united in a common goal in 2012: unseating Bill Owens," Mr. Doheny writes.
For your full viewing pleasure — I've taken out self-serving hyperlinks, but pasted the rest in full — here are the full fundraising messages, first from Mr. Owens, then from Mr. Doheny. (You'll notice they both mention American Crossroads.)
On December 31, the pundits, the media, and my Tea Party opponent will use the totals in our campaign's account as a measure of our strength. We must stand together before this critical fundraising deadline.
My self-funding opponent will try to make the campaign about Washington politics and not about the real issues facing our region. He will rely on partisan gimmicks to distract from the issues and prevent us from working together to get things done. We can't let him.
I need your help today to show we have the grassroots support necessary to fight back. A contribution of $100, $50 or $25 today is critical to meeting our fundraising goal!
The gridlock in Washington remains as a constant obstacle. But I will continue to urge my colleagues to work together on common sense solutions to the problems we face.
Our goal is to raise $13,250 this week, and I need your help. A contribution of $100, $50 or $25 today will be a tremendous help to our campaign.
Thank you for your continued support.
P.S. Outside interest groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads have been working to distort my record since my first day in office. I need your help to fight back. Please contribute $100, $50 or $25 today."
I hope all is well and you are enjoying this wonderful holiday season. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
As we start to close the book on 2011, I want to provide you with an update on what I've been up to these past few months. In September, I again became an official candidate for the 23rd Congressional District here in northern New York.
Working Hard in the District - Since filing as an official candidate, I have been working tirelessly to visit our friends and neighbors across the 11-county district, pointing out the failures of both President Obama and Congressman Owens and talking about how I can bring positive change to Washington.
We are making an extensive outreach to those in the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties to make sure that all three are united in a common goal in 2012: unseating Bill Owens. Whether it be barnstorming across St. Lawrence County in support of the Conservative slate of candidates, rallying with Republicans before Election Day in Cape Vincent, or visiting with grassroots folks in Port Leyden, my team and I have worked every day to make sure that the people of the 23rd Congressional District know that I am here to provide the leadership and relief they have been looking for.
We will hit the ground running next year. And I will continue to strive to be the hardest working candidate and earn every vote and supporter that I possibly can.
2010 Recap and Reminder - For those who can't exactly remember what happened in last year's race between Owens and me - a few points:
My race was one of the 10 closest in the entire United States last year. I came up short by just 1,995 votes, or 1 percent, while another Republican who had dropped out of the race but remained on the ballot took more than 10,500 votes, or 6 percent of the vote.
The majority of voters didn’t pick my Democratic opponent. Bill Owens received just 47.5 percent of the total vote, the smallest percentage of any winner in a House race in the entire nation. In two races, Bill Owens has never received more than 48 percent of the vote. And this district has 40,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. If we work together, we can win.
Media Outreach - With Jude Seymour's leadership and hard work, we have made an extensive media push in the district, as well as New York state and the nation. A few of the many interviews: with Liz Benjamin on Capital Tonight, with Tracy Byrnes on Fox Business Network and with John Moore on the CBS affiliate in Watertown.
National Interest - In light of the close contest last year, outside independent groups have been focusing on next year's 23rd District race. American Crossroads GPS – formed and led by Karl Rove – have already spent $200,000 in advertising that opposes Bill Owens. Read more about the work of American Crossroads here, and watch the ad here.
Democrats know Owens is vulnerable and that we have an outstanding opportunity to take this seat. Their fundraising arm placed my opponent on its “Frontline List,” which I like to affectionately call the Democrats’ “endangered species list.” Membership does have its privileges. The Democrats have been able to prop up Owens' rather sluggish fundraising from individuals by steering tens of thousands of dollars from special interest group to his campaign chest.
Fundraising – I don't have political action committees raining money into my campaign coffers, but I have something much more important. I have YOU. If you would like to donate, please do so by visiting our newly revamped website. No amount is too small to show your support for my message and put the Democrats on notice that, together, we are serious about bringing fiscal sanity back to Washington.
My friend Harry Wilson, who you may remember from last year’s state comptroller race, has agreed to chair my fundraising effort. We’ve also recruited more than 50 people to help us raise the funds we’ll need to keep this race competitive. There’s more information about our fundraising push here. If you have any ideas or suggestions on fundraisers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jason Feulner, our finance director. His contact information is below.
Volunteering - Besides donating, we would love to have you actively participate in the campaign. We continue to build a grassroots team in every county in the district. If you're ready to help and volunteer with the campaign in any way, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Alicia Sirk, or any of the team members below.
Social media - Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and encourage your friends to do the same!
I am confident that we will be successful in 2012!
Have a great holiday season and merry Christmas! See you next year.