Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What's Up with the Hafer campaign

In the 2006 cycle, I did a little bit of volunteer work in the Democratic primary for Pennyslvania's 18th District, currently held by incumbent Republican Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair). Congressman Murphy rolled up an easy win in a lean GOP district that is definately flippable. This was his third straight token opposition victory in a district that should be contested. The ideological ground is no worse, in my opinion, than the 4th Congressional District which was taken by conservative Democrat Jason Altmire away from Santorum ally Mellisa Hart in 2006.

Democrats have offered fairly weak candidates in the past with minimal funding. Candidates have not had either the pre-exisiting social and political networks that could put in a reasonable amount of early viability cash, OR had the charisma, luck and grit to raise the initial viability cash.

This time around, Bethany Hafer, a member of a regional political family through her hat into the ring to contest the Democratic nomination, and through the 3rd Quarter of 2007, had shown decent fundraising; pulling in roughly $75,000 or slightly less than what the Democratic general election candidate could raise during the entire election cycle in 2006.

Going through the disclosed donor list, she is pulling an interesting collection of donors. There are establishment Democrats, office holders and Friends of XYZ committee donations that show the good ole boy's network support, and also a couple of reasonably influential local progressive activists have donated at least $250.

Checking out the disbursement data, the campaign manager, or at least the only person who was routinely getting paid for 'consulting services' has a recent success running an effective GOTV program that pushed a progressive candidate over the top in a local primary. I still think this race is a tough pick-up opportunity for Democrats, but the early viability building blocks are in place.

And then I checked on her website and there is a problem here:

Nothing scheduled for most of the past month. Where are the meet and greets? Where are the Westmoreland County Democrats Hot Cocoa and Membership Meetings? Where are the hand shakes at the Peters Township High School basketball games? Furthermore, there is no mention of her or her campaign on Google News:

What's going on here? Murphy is beatable, but it will take an active and energetic candidate to do so, and I am not seeing that right now. What am I missing here?

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