From under the bus

Democrat Steve Glaser, who lost the race to replace Mike McDonald, is none too pleased with the support — or lack thereof — he got from the TNDP.

An email follows:

To whom it may concern (if anyone):

Now that the elections are over and things are settling down I would like to take this opportunity to thank the TNDP for all the support and help it rendered to our campaign. The 44th has traditionally been a Democratic district and with Mike McDonald retiring it was up for grabs. We certainly started as an underdog since our republican opponent had raised considerable amounts of money prior to the primary and continued to receive funds thereafter. His publications and signage were paid for by the Republican party which prepared and mailed his fliers. His party arranged several fund raisers which featured prominent House and Senate members and garnered significant contributions. 

My opponents party used their considerable clout and gravity to move his candidacy forward and managed to besmirch my reputation in the press with little or no response from us. The TNGOP conducted polling and provided technical support to my opponent and helped raise PAC money from traditional republican strongholds. It appears their strategy was to raise money, present their candidate as a reasonable person, and promote his republicanism to exploit his affiliation with the Romney Campaign. 

On the other hand the TNDP provided absolutely no support to our campaign. In fact, we had to pay for access to Votebuilder, and pay for a "poll" that was ostensibly for us but was done for multiple candidates. We had to cajole
 the party into including our website on the candidate page. We had to request our video be promoted like the other candidates, but it was too late. We received more financial help from the Sumner County Democratic Party than from the TNDP which was zero. It was like pulling teeth to get our calls answered and the answers we got were often times inconsistent or wrong. 

The party did not use its clout to help with fundraisers, endorsements, obtaining PAC money from traditionally Democratic supporters (read Unions, State Employees) or getting our message out to voters through mailing or email. In fact the TNDP made it much more difficult to get volunteers to canvass or phone bank by taking local resources and using them for the Obama campaign in North Carolina. Rather than having our local volunteers helping local campaigns they were lured by inclusion in a national campaign with absolutely no ties to our state or local election. Consequently democratic local candidates received no spill over or or help from association with the national campaign. Just because the National party wrote off Tennessee there is no reason for our own state party to take our local resources away from us. 

To paraphrase Mark Twain, I don't belong to any kind of organized political party, I'm a Democrat. Until the state party develops a common strategy, core values, and a fund raising mechanism similar to that in Colorado (Which swept the House and Senate) we will continue to be also-rans and lament the good old days. Its time to make a commitment throughout the state to build a viable party structure that can and will help ALL local candidates be successful. That starts with leadership.

With the timely resignation of Mr. Forester it is time to bring in someone who will marshal the elected democratic officials and raise the profile of the party through unified ideas and direction. Fundraising must be done on a statewide basis and not left up to the friends and neighbors of a local candidate. We can not be successful as a party if every campaign is left to its own devices. We must come together as a party and show a united front that resonates with all Tenesseeans. A house (or a Senate) divided against itself cannot stand. 

 The party should be helping local candidates in every race by finding, recruiting and training campaign managers. Those managers should be monitored and directed by the party. Fund raising should be done by the party for the candidates and for the party by the candidates. All democratic candidates should have similar issues and talking points which can be bolstered by TNDP advertising and publicity.  Printing, postage, volunteers, blogging, emailing, websites and a core message should all be coordinated through the Party for economy of scale. Until we make a commitment to developing a strong state party local Democrats will continue to struggle. There are many, many people who would like to move the party forward on the local level but they lack direction. That direction should come from the top. 

So in conclusion, I want to ask that if you cant help the local candidates, at lease stop being an impediment. I plan to continue to work for and with the state party and all future democratic candidates. But until we overhaul our system of recruiting and organizing local candidates I believe we will continue to be unsuccessful. 


From under the Bus,

Steve Glaser