Monday, November 27, 2006

The 159 Club

According to Creative Loafing some pundits claim that the Democratic Party of Georgia is either gasping its last or already dead. Checking over at Peach Pundit, Republicans are positively gleeful that Georgians seem perfectly content with mediocrity and are hoping that we will be the first to arrive at our own funeral. I suggest that we send our regrets and instead embrace strategies for re-invigorating the DPG.

During the last couple of years, the Party formed the 191 Club, a fundraising mechanism named for the address of the Governor's mansion. Not a bad idea, but over on Blog for Democracy, a new concept has begun to emerge. What we need going forward is a 159 Club whose members are committed to cultivating the strength of the Party at the local level. As Sam Zamarripa said to Creative Loafing, "No doubt that our first priority is attracting the best and brightest to run for office," Zamarripa says. "The overwhelming need is to recruit more women. They're more prepared to talk about the issues that people relate to."

Here's the catch, the Party has not to this point routinely partnered with locally elected Democrats and local Democratic organizations to create and maintain a central database of all Democratic elected officials, at every level of government. We need to do this because it is a critical starting point for candidate recruitment, field planning and GOTV efforts. It is not enough to focus on state-level races alone. We must commit to helping qualified candidates seek office at every level. There is nothing that more reflects "Democratic" and "Republican" values than school funding, zoning decisions, and where sewer lines are run.

When I served a Coordinator for Georgia Women for Kerry/Edwards, I learned that most Democrats in Georgia are not formally affiliated with local or state party organizations. Most don't give to the Party or volunteer through the Party structures. They are Democrats because of how they think and how they vote. We need to reach out to these people, in all 159 counties. We need their energy, their perspective, and their ideas. In addition, we need to be willing to reach out to critical swing voters and ask for their support and their vote.

4 comments:

Lyman Hall said...

I'm being serious. I think 159 is a great idea and a cool name.

Lyman Hall said...

I agree with the idea wholeheartedly. Too bad the 159 name is already taken. Its some Republican PAC. Check out the campaign filings.

Amy Morton said...

Funny you should mention that. Now that I think about it, I believe that's the pac Tripp Self, who is running for Superior Court Judge here in Bibb is part of. Each member give $1000 a year so they end up with $159,000 to distribute. I wonder what will happen to the pac if he is elected? Anyway, I think that the concept is a good one.

Amy Morton said...

It's the 159 Group, and now that I've looked at it, I have another post to do...