The netroots have opened up the nominations for endorsements again. Now that the May primary date has passed and Larry Kissell easily won in the 8th District it's time to make the case for his inclusion in the project.
First, Thank You to those who have supported Larry enthusiastically at DailyKos, MyDD, ePluribusMedia, and BlueNC through diaries written by his supporters and those he has written. This truly is an amazing community and an invaluable resource to candidates and their supporters. The campaign trail can be long and hard and it's wonderful to come here and feel the energy, which for us has been completely positive. I have to admit, I'm not formally with the campaign. I am an independent blogger, but my heart is behind Larry Kissell and I won't pretend to be even a tiny bit objective about his candidacy.
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The rules for inclusion in the netroots fundraising project appear to be written for Larry Kissell. He's running against Robin Hayes, a Republican incumbent. The primary is over and Larry won the nomination of the party. This is an important race and is winnable, however no outsiders have accepted this as a top-tier race. He easily satisfies the first set of criteria.
Larry Kissell is a strong progressive candidate. His positions can be found on his web site and I wrote about them in this diary at DailyKos not long ago. For the sake of brevity, I will not repeat the information, but feel free to ask specific questions in the comments. We will do everything possible to get an answer if we don't already know it.
North Carolina's 8th Congressional District has more registered Democrats, as referenced in this post at MyDD by Jerry Meek, the chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Independent polling(PDF) from April 28, indicates that now is the time for a progressive candidate to bring those Democrats who vote Republican back into the party. This poll has a slight push to it, but not before the most important question was asked. Robin Hayes is polling at 28% - lower than the President. A fact that is huge in this district. Bush won with 54% of the vote. The "push" question in the poll is an actual quote from Robin Hayes, so it isn't a vehicle used for spreading a lie. After the push and when paired with Larry Kissell, Hayes took 32% and Kissell took 40%. Once again, this is huge in this district.
There are two explanations for this. One is a negative against the incumbent and the other is a positive for the challenger. Many voters in the 8th lost their jobs to free trade agreements and Hayes cast the deciding vote to approve CAFTA after promising he would vote against it. Larry spent 27 years working in the textile industry. He relates to these disgruntled mill workers and they see someone who understands them in Larry. I think most people want to vote for a candidate instead of against a candidate. Finally, voters in the 8th District have someone they want to vote for in Larry Kissell.
Larry was one of the first candidates to embrace local blogs. He bought ad space and includes these blogs on the email list for media releases. He also has posted diaries at BlueNC, a North Carolina group blog and DailyKos, where they quickly move to the recommended diaries list. He has included MyDD when cross posting these diaries. While he is relatively new at using the blogs for his personal messages, he has recognized the importance of the netroots from the very beginning of his campaign.
The local netroots has also recognized Larry Kissell's importance as a candidate. The race in the 8th is frequently written about on BlueNC and The Southern Dem (my personal blog), where I have posted many diaries in support of Larry's candidacy. You will find other local bloggers posting in support of Larry as well - Jim Buie, Orange Politics , Political State Report, Ed Cone and The Political Junkies. At DailyKos diaries have been posted by millstone, working for change, kismet, Anglico, RANT, Targator, The Southern Dem (my posts) and several others. At MyDD many of these same bloggers have posted about Larry. Obviously, interest in this race is picking up.
The big thing now is turning this interest into money. Plain and simple. Larry doesn't need to match Robin Hayes dollar for dollar, however he needs a great deal more than he has in the bank now. The campaign has hired a professional fundraiser and they are doing what needs to be done in North Carolina. Hayes spent $1.2 million for 55% of the vote compared to Beth Troutman's $225,000 for 45% in 2004 in a district that went for George Bush.
I have kept a close eye on FEC filings for Hayes and the most important trend I've noticed is his loss of the small unitemized contributions. He has steadily lost these "voter" contributions over the past couple of years. Larry, on the other hand is picking them up. Most of the money Hayes receives comes from PACS and the wealthy in Charlotte. I posted about this trend and you can find more details in this blog post on my site, The Southern Dem. This race can be won, but Larry needs some financial help. He is the perfect candidate for the netroots.
One of the areas that isn't addressed by the criteria is local organization. The Kissell campaign has it covered there as well. There is very strong grassroots support for Kissell in every county. I was born and raised in Charlotte and have been fairly active in local politics. It has been a long time since I have seen groups in Charlotte getting behind a candidate the way they are behind Larry. We will keep working hard to win this seat. The bottom line is Larry needs the netroots, but we need him too. Please consider including Larry Kissell in the netroots fundraising program.