You might have wondered what happened to Larry Kissell after November's election. We haven't been bringing much news out from North Carolina about him, so wanted to update you on all that has happened.
Larry Kissell immediately declared his intent to run again in 2008. He might have slowed down over winter holidays, but he hasn't missed a beat. He is already running like an old pro and is doing what he can to help other prospective congressional candidates in North Carolina.
Please follow below the fold....
This past weekend Larry and his staff attended the annual convention of the Young Democrats of North Carolina. A reception was held for him with DCCC recruitment chair, Rep. Artur Davis, Rep. Brad Miller, NCDP Chair Jerry Meek and Chris Bowers attending. A full post about the event is at BlueNC.
Those of you who paid attention to the campaign in '06 know that Rep. Artur Davis championed Larry's campaign and did what he could to help raise money and to bring attention to Larry at the DCCC. This year Rep. Davis is the recruitment chair at the DCCC, and he could be a very powerful friend for Larry to have. He is also a very kind and gracious man and if I know Larry like I think I do, Rep. Davis' personal support means more than DCCC gold. (OK....now that sounds nice and it is true, but Larry durned well better be first wave of red to blue. Seriously.)
I mentioned Chris Bowers was at the reception. I was able to get a shot of Chris and Larry together and thoroughly enjoyed talking with Chris. (I mean it. I'm not just kissing up.) In my early blogging days I didn't always agree with Chris. I think it's the age difference. However, I kept coming back to MyDD and while I still don't always agree with him, I have a tremendous amount of respect for his opinion. For those of you who haven't met Chris, he is a genuinely nice guy and if I hadn't needed to get my 11-yr-old daughter home, I would have enjoyed talking his ear off at lunch.
This reception was so different from events of '06. I attended quite a few fundraisers for Larry. I even sponsored one that blogger, Working for Change had organized. There were some great events last cycle and there was almost always decent attendance, but the event on Saturday had an infectious energy that I don't remember from '06. People didn't write Larry off after the loss last year. They bought in. All the Kissell campaign has to do is harness that energy and Robin Hayes won't know what hit him.
I'm not the only one who feels that way. Congressman Artur Davis agrees and yesterday issued his personal endorsement of Larry's candidacy. In his announcement Davis had this to say:
“When you experience the enthusiasm that still exists for this humble and capable man,” said U.S. Representative Artur Davis,” you feel even more positive about what he accomplished in 2006 and what he will achieve in 2008.”
“Larry Kissell will be the next congressman for North Carolina's 8th District,” Davis said.
Now, if we can just get the other powers that be at the DCCC in line with Davis' way of thinking, Larry will have an advantage he didn't have last cycle. Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg might just be the answer.
In the '06 cycle, Rothenberg didn't give Kissell a snowball's chance on a warm day. He wasn't even on Rothenberg's radar. Here's a bit of what I wrote referencing just about the only quote you can find from Rothenberg on Larry Kissell.
Funk chooses to get an opinion on the race from a man who hasn't attended any events in the district, spoken with any of the people in the district, apparently hasn't taken a close look at any of the polls and can't possibly have read any of the brilliant pieces I've written on the race(heh). Funk gets this gem from Stu Rothenberg in reference to the wave that might sweep Democrats into office."for Kissell to beat Robin Hayes, it would have to be like the wave that destroyed Atlantis."
Ah, yes, Stu....Atlantis...wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Stuart Rothenberg apparently gets his education in history from Walt Disney movies and that doesn't give me much confidence that he's getting his information about North Carolina's 8th Congressional District from any more reliable a source. Rothenberg might be a respected pol, but he should be a little more responsible when tossing out his comments. He obviously hasn't looked beyond his nose at this race and his flippant comment shouldn't be given the respect or weight that a serious Rothenberg analysis deserves.
Yep. I was not a happy camper with old Stu last year. What does Rothenberg have to say this cycle? So glad you asked:
Go ahead and engrave Robin Hayes's name in stone on Democratic target lists.
...high school teacher Larry Kissell mounted a grassroots campaign and came just 329 votes shy of finally knocking off the congressman.
Even after gaining 30 seats last cycle, Democrats are kicking themselves for leaving this one on the table and are working early and often to help Kissell in his rematch bid.
He might not jump up and down in his excitement about Larry's candidacy like I do, but Rothenberg pays the Kissell camp some respect with his analysis of the race. He calls the campaign last cycle aggressive and spirited. He nods to the fact that Larry Kissell never gave up. Rothenberg also points out that:
"with a margin of less than 400 votes, nothing much has to change in order for Kissell to win."
Anyone paying attention knows that quite a bit has changed. Robin Hayes will be challenged now, not only on his trade votes - votes that have devastated the economic outlook of most counties in his district, but his war and war funding votes as well.
Larry Kissell was barely on anyone's radar in the '06 cycle. His candidacy was a success for the Netroots. He will win this cycle. The momentum he gained by the support of all the donors here and at DailyKos never died down. It has allowed him to hit the ground running and the energy building around his campaign locally is amazing. This will be a Netroots win even if Larry isn't a Netroots candidate in this cycle. We gave him the leg up and he's not wasting it.
Of course, DCCC support is not guaranteed and they will still be looking at fundraising numbers. Please give if you feel so inclined. There's only one thing left to say.
Go Larry, Go!