California Group Steps Into Vacuum on the Left
During last year's campaign, two big new groups -- America Coming Together and the Media Fund -- captured the imagination of such mega-donors as international financier George Soros and insurance magnate Peter Lewis. Exclusive Hollywood fundraisers drew movie stars and producers.
In the aftermath of defeat, however, many of these deep-pocketed donors have picked up their marbles and gone home. ACT and the Media Fund, which were originally billed as long-term projects, are in hibernation with uncertain futures after their billionaire benefactors stopped writing checks.
Last week a new organization was launched, aiming to build the liberal cause with supporters who have thinner wallets but longer attention spans. The New Progressive Coalition said it will try to create a "marketplace of ideas" in which donors of all sizes can be connected with "progressive innovators and organizations" crafting long-term ideas to rebuild the left.
The group got going with a grant of nearly $1 million from Andrew and Deborah Rappaport, a Silicon Valley couple who in the 2003-2004 election cycle gave at least $4.7 million to liberal causes.
The group lamented on its Web site, http:/
Executive Director Kirsten M. Falk and a staff of seven at the Redwood City, Calif., offices are setting up a Web site where prospective donors can examine proposals from various liberal activists or organizations. Groups seeking donations will pay to sign up on the NPC site, using a sliding scale from $100 to $5,000, depending on the size of their budget.
In a statement, Deborah Rappaport, the group's president, said, "It's time to look beyond next election . . . and invest in people and ideas."
An organization with similar long-term goals, the Democracy Alliance, was started earlier this year, geared primarily to major donors who commit to giving $1 million over five years.
RNC Turns Up Heat for Kilgore Turnout
With just 16 days before Virginia voters choose a new governor, the Republican National Committee is cranking up its vaunted turnout machine on behalf of GOP nominee Jerry W. Kilgore.
In an e-mail appeal sent out nationwide last week, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman asks for volunteers to "adopt a precinct" for Kilgore. Sign up and the RNC will e-mail you a list of 25 Virginians to call seeking votes for Kilgore on Nov. 8. Then, with one week before the election, the RNC will re-send the list and you'll do it again. Sounds like fun, no?
The "adopt a precinct" initiative comes on the heels of a Sept. 24 RNC-organized phone-athon during which Republicans from across the country made more than 9,000 calls to Virginians, urging a vote for Kilgore. Both tactics were widely used during President Bush's 2004 reelection race.
President Warner, President Daschle
Speaking of Virginia, Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner's fly-around the Old Dominion last week on behalf of would-be successor Timothy M. Kaine was trailed by speculation about his own ambitions.