It’s apt to confuse me because it’s such an unusual sight

It’s hard for a guy like me to say this, but…small donor fundraising for Democrats was a smashing success in this year’s elections, and the way we (and others) spent their money was pretty damned smart overall. We gave lots to Conor Lamb and even more to Doug Jones, and raised money for nearly every Democratic candidate who flipped a seat.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to keep this going. I think I finally have a plan. First off, early fundraising is important because it signals to good candidates that they can get in and count on having enough money to run a serious race. That’s why I think nominee funds are so great. I’d like to nominee funds for the, say, 20 Republican districts that are the best Cook PVIs for Democrats. Those are targets for 2020 and by raising money for nominee funds, we can help encourage good candidates to get in. A Republican-held district right near me, NY-24, has a Cook PVI of +3 D but no marquee candidate emerged on the Democratic side. In particular, former Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner elected not to run. What I heard was that she didn’t want to spend hours a day fundraising. What if she or other similar candidates knew they could count on a couple million from ActBlue? It might change things a lot.

I’d also like to raise money for the 30 or so new Democratic members of Congress who are in the districts with the worst Cook PVIs for Democrats. Members of Congress are most vulnerable, they say, they first time they come up for re-election.

So what do people think of doing something like 40-50 House races in 2019 (meaning we raise the money in 2019)? We can also do nominee funds for the Senate races in Maine and Colorado.

I don’t know how possible it is to do anything local on ActBlue. But do remember: local elections are super-important and have very low turn-out. I may try to work with Maze Dancer on some postcards for local elections.

73 replies
  1. 1

    So what do people think of doing something like 40-50 House races in 2019 (meaning we raise the money in 2019)? We can also do nominee funds for the Senate races in Maine and Colorado.

    I think there’s already an adequate slush fund for Maine Senate, but the rest of it sounds good.

  2. 2
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    I know they’ve already raised over a million for a challenger to Collins seat based on her Kavanaugh vote but I think you’re on the right track. Set it up. I’m in.

  3. 3
    Doug! says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah I think that might be right.

  4. 4
    oldster says:

    Do it, DougJ.

    These posts remind the slow-witted among us (i.e. me) to donate. They whip up support for people we know about, and inform us about candidates we would not have heard of otherwise.

    When I finally made my big donations earlier this fall, I used the BJ ActBlue portal, and chose a selection of the 47 (or so?) candidates who were on that list.

    It is smart politics to have this blog whipping donors.

    Whip it good!

  5. 5
    Poptartacus says:

    Riddle me this
    You put up an act blue link
    I click on it and there’s no way to log into my act blue account
    So I have to input info they already have
    It really harshes my buzz

  6. 6
    germy says:

    Is Conor Lamb still voting against Pelosi, or has he come around?

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    Paul Simon approves this message.

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    A prominent rightwing conspiracy theorist with links to a longtime ally of Donald Trump claimed on Monday he had rejected a plea deal offered by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

    Jerome Corsi, who has connections to the Trump adviser Roger Stone, told MSNBC he had been offered a deal if he pleaded guilty and cooperated with investigators, but had resolved not to take it.

    The NBC producer Anna Schecter tweeted that Corsi told her he had been offered a deal on one count of perjury. According to Schecter, he said: “They want me to say I willfully lied. I’m not going to agree that I lied. I did not. I will not lie to save my life. I’d rather sit in prison and rot for as long as these thugs want me to.”

    Grain of salt here.

    otherwise, please proceed, mr. corsi.

  9. 9
    Paul W says:

    I like the idea of driving candidates to important races by raising money for the district/race. If there is a way to do state-focused funds as well that would be interesting, here’s how it works in my head even if there is probably no mechanism for it just yet:
    1) Identify the purple states which would benefit from early fundraising and help in building party infrastructure
    2) Setup multiple funds for the state (local races, federal house seats, gov/statewide races) with goals
    2 alternative or 3) Setup funds for primary season and separate fund for the general
    4) Distribute funds to key raise or individuals that Juicers believe in for that state

    Not completely thought through, but I really like the idea of supporting folks early when a few hundred or thousand dollars mean the difference of whether we get a great candidate or stick with a lame incumbent (or no candidate at all)….

  10. 10
    E. says:

    As for local elections I will say, as an elected official of a very local office (mayor of a small town), they are incredibly important not just for whatever power that elected official wields over his or her jurisdiction, but because they give others a shoulder to stand on. That is, if you have some of your people in local government, local shenanigans can be limited and exposed by those higher up or those seeking a greater office. The GOP was smart back in the Clinton years to start getting themselves placed in local positions from school board on up. It gives your people access and insight. I expect most BJers know this, but I knew it too and the depth of it didn’t hit me until I entered office.

  11. 11
    germy says:

    @TenguPhule: Wow! So he really believes his own bullshit.

    All this time I thought he was grifting the rubes. He’s actually been dipping into his own supply of crazy.

  12. 12
    trollhattan says:


    I’d rather sit in prison and rot for as long as these thugs want me to.”

    I find your offer acceptable.

  13. 13
    piratedan says:

    i would humbly suggest the AZ senate race as well…

    Would it also make sense to toss money at voter registration efforts on places that are seriously under-represented? I’m thinking POC and native american registration and college students since they appear to be the ones that the GOP is targeting to ensure that they do not vote?

    Just sayin’

  14. 14
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I’d be more inclined to listen to you if you were actually here occasionally, instead of being HitNRun Doug.

  15. 15
    Tom Hamill says:

    Colorado is interesting. Trish Zornio ( is a young scientist likely to run for US Senate, albeit with no political experience. I’d say that it’s likely that Hickenlooper will run, as though he is interested in the presidency, it’s a crowded field. While my heart is with Trish, it’s yet unclear whether she’ll be another Beto O’Rourke and surprise.

  16. 16
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    I would like to see even more focus on gaining ground in the Senate. What about raising money for nominees in Arizona and Georgia as well as Colorado and Maine? We know it is possible for Democrats to win in those states. Heck, I would even give to a Texas candidate and feel personally obliged to help Doug Jones run a solid re-election campaign here in Alabama.

  17. 17
    MazeDancer says:

    Early money is the most important money for sure.

    And PostCard Patriots definitely wants to do PostCards for local elections.

    Also important local issues – like environmental and election rights – up for vote.

    As long as there is “Someone in Charge” (SIC) on the local level. To whom everyone sends their hand-written PostCards. And the SIC addresses and sends out when appropriate. They can even stockpile them til November.

    Cannot do the 12/7 job of sending out addresses for local elections. But could set up a system for e-z mailing.

    This worked well for the Lizzie Fletcher campaign. We sent them over 500 PostCards. And she won. (Okay, that was likely Beto coattails. But they thanked us anyway.)

    We’d like to help people start a PostCard Practice. Where you can get in the habit of writing 1 PostCard a week, or 20 a month, or whatever you please, so that when you want to do some highly effective Armchair Activism, you just stop by and take your choice.

  18. 18
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @TenguPhule: His proposal is acceptable.
    I’d rather he rot in prison too.

  19. 19
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    If somebody wants to keep highlighting flippable or otherwise important seats, including in state legislatures, I’m happy to keep shaking shekels out of my pockets.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Tom Hamill:
    I think Hick is just toying with running for president, and will run for Senate against Gardner. He would crush Cory.

  22. 22
    guachi says:

    I love articles like the linked WaPo article because it was written two days before the election. You can read it and nod your head along with the candidates mentioned and how well they did in the election two days later compared to 2016 results.

    Hegar lost by 3 but had a +19 D shift from 2016.
    Spanberger won by 2 with a +17 D shift.
    Carlson lost by 6 with a +9 D shift.
    Soderberg lost by 14 with a +5 D shift.
    Cunningham won by 1.5 with a +26 D shift.
    McGrath lost by 3 with a +19 D shift.

    Now, the Democrats only won 2 of the 6 elections mentioned in the article, but the shift was huge in four of those races.

  23. 23
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    OT but the wife and I are both home, so we’re having an Insight watch party. The “pre-game show” is pretty good, lots of good science info.

    Here’s the livestream link

    If that doesn’t work, here’s the article I got to the page from.

    Here’s NASA’s direct page. That’s probably a better link.

  24. 24

    @White & Gold Purgatorian:
    I think Doug! has some very specific ideas about why he wants to raise money sooner rather than later. The goal here is specifically to ensure there’s adequate funding for candidates in places where lack of obvious funding sources might otherwise scare off viable candidates. If we can get enough money to give those candidates a solid starting point for a campaign, it will be easier to run a full slate. We don’t need to do the same kind of thing for most of the Senate seats, especially not ones like Doug Jones’s, where there’s no real question about who’s going to run.

  25. 25
    Kraux Pas says:

    What about a state legislature initiative?

    ETA: This could be a big deal, especially with redistricting coming up. Also each seat requires less money. Remember Project Red State.

  26. 26
    feebog says:

    First question. Just how many Republicans hold seats with a Dem PVI at this point? Does it even reach 20? If so, maybe make it 20/20, the twenty most gettable seats and the 20 newbies we need to protect the most.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Seriously? The man has a baby to look after. We’re lucky he’s here at all. And he’s raised a shitload of money for Democrats. That’s a good thing.

  28. 28

    Naturalized citizens vote D overwhelmingly compared to the native born and there are millions of permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship but haven’t done so yet. Financial considerations among other things keep many from taking the plunge. Fees for filing for naturalization have inched steadily upwards through the years. If there is any organization/s that help pay naturalization costs and help with the civics and language exam they could be a group worth funding. This could help D prospects in elections too.
    ETA: The entire process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year. And the processing times have been increasing since the past two years.

  29. 29
    Thoughtful David says:

    Virginia has important elections in 2019 that will determine who holds the State Senate and House of Delegates, both narrowly in R hands.
    We could pick, say, 15 candidates to support in each.
    Small amounts of money can really help in those kinds of races.

  30. 30
    Cermet says:

    I’m in.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    @Tom Hamill:

    The primary is where you can vote your heart…..

  32. 32
    WhatsMyNym says:


    You put up an act blue link
    I click on it and there’s no way to log into my act blue account

    I just pull up actblue’s home page on another tab,
    sign in,
    and then go back and refresh the BJ linked tab.
    Now I’m logged in.

  33. 33
    Zelma says:

    I think this is a great idea. I mentioned something like it a while ago. I believe that the average Congressman is expected to raise $2000 per day. We could put up a thermometer for $2000 on a regular basis for the candidates we supported who won their elections. That would give us a reasonable goal and would save said Congressman one day of phoning for dollars. (They really do that regularly.)

    I’m feeling a bit guilty because I just cancelled my regular monthly contributions to my three new NJ representatives. But I need a bit of time to regroup and to figure out where my limited money will do the most good. I’d really like the idea of keeping up the momentum that Balloon Juice has.

  34. 34
    Martin says:

    NASAs Mars Insight is landing right now. Watch on Youtube or NASA TV.

    These events showcase much of what’s great about the US. These are publicly funded missions, of which we are the best in the world at. This is another powered Mars landing. Many of the individuals working on this project have been on it for a decade and will spend another decade on it. This is more-or-less their career.

  35. 35
    MazeDancer says:


    Is Conor Lamb still voting against Pelosi, or has he come around?

    He better shape-up.

    And Abigail Spanberger got some stern e-words from many a woman who wrote PostCards for her that she better listen and learn from Nancy Pelosi. And that we all regret writing PostCards for her now.

    She also got some PostCards to that effect sent to her transitional address.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    We knew that they would do this.

    And, I still say that it hurts their heart to publish the pictures of Mr. Bradford like that. They have been scurrying trying to find a ‘ menacing thug’ picture of him, and all they can come up with is his military photos.

    Police Point Finger at Innocent Man They Killed by Implying He Shouldn’t Have Had His Legal Gun Out

    Natalie Degraffinried
    Today 10:08am

    Alabama police have begun efforts to shift blame to the innocent man they shot following gunshots at an Alabama shopping mall.

    Emantic “EJ” Bradford, 21, was killed by a police officer who was responding to an active shooter situation on Thursday evening. After calling the officer “heroic,” the police realized they had killed the wrong person and said it was “unlikely” Bradford was involved.

    Now they’re saying his decision to “brandish” a gun on the scene—a gun his father says he had a permit for—led to his own death.

  37. 37
    Martin says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: Sorry, didn’t see your post up there.

    So far so good! I have two former students working on this project.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    I would hope that we get a list of 10 GOP Senators up for election in 2020 that we’re going to target.

  39. 39
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @rikyrah: Wait, aren’t the good guys with the guns supposed to brandish them at active shooter situations?

    I’m going to take a guess at the melanin content of this particular good guy. Checks link… yep. Goddamn. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

    OK, back to watching the Mars mission. I need a break from these people.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    SamR says:

    I thought Sean McElwee’s approach of putting money into state-level races was a good one. $10,000 is a drop in the bucket in a Congressional race but half that in a local race can cause a huge swing.

  42. 42
    Mikeindublin says:

    I know it’s a shit ton of work but imho flipping as many state legislatures is nearly if not more important to gaining more house seats.

    Redirecting massive funding their way will impact the landscape and allow for even more house seats and more favorable laws overall for Dems, especially with the census and redistricting coming into play.


  43. 43
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Insight has seen the ground and is about 1 km up, starting its soft landing.


  44. 44
    Spanky says:

    @Martin: It’s down.

  45. 45
    Kraux Pas says:


    I thought Sean McElwee’s approach of putting money into state-level races was a good one. $10,000 is a drop in the bucket in a Congressional race but half that in a local race can cause a huge swing.

    Most definitely. Plus a lot of the decisions made at the state level affect people more personally in general.

    I was also wondering whether it might be a good idea to promote the fund elsewhere, including in meatspace, aka the real world.

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: It’s not “good guy with a gun” it’s “good white guy with a gun.”

  47. 47
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Pictures from the Mars surface. The technology continues to work as designed. So cool. We’re seeing the dust that was thrown up from the landing.

    Am I wrong or is a soft landing on Mars a new thing?

  48. 48
    cynthia ackerman says:

    Done smartly, I think this is a great idea.

    Clearly some Dem freshmen will be in better stead without early small-donor help, but those who can use the relief will likely benefit exponentially.

    I’d also put in a plug for worthy longshots like my own Jamie McCleod-Skinner, who did far better than any other Dem challenger in two decades in a “safe” R district, who spooked her R opponent (Walden) into spending money and political capital, and showed clearly that this district is in motion.

    Jamie has committed to running in 2020. Let’s support her and others like her who, win or lose, change the equation in solid red areas that B Cracker points out are worth fighting for.

  49. 49
    silvery says:

    I’m in. I think the Balloon Juice fundraisers had an impact in the midterm successes and agree 100% with nominee funding.

  50. 50

    One of the consequences of Prop 187 here in California was a lot of legal permanent residents applying for citizenship. It made a lot of immigrants realize they had bigger stakes in the political process than they had realized, and they wanted to be able to have their say. I’m worried that Trump’s control over the immigration and naturalization system will scare people away. They’ve already proven themselves willing to arrest people at green card interviews, and I’m sure that scaring people away from any interaction with the government is part of the goal there.

  51. 51
    Martin says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: No, we soft-landed Viking on Mars in the 70s and the USSR soft-landed Mars 2 lander also in the 70s.

    But we went through a fairly long period of not landing on Mars, and now we’re doing it again. What’s different is that the old Mars landers were quite large, and their landing process wasn’t terribly refined. These recent landings are smaller craft with delicate instruments and need a more more precise and complex landing process.

  52. 52

    @Gin & Tonic: “But, I repeat myself.”

  53. 53
    Just Chuck says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: Most other landings on Mars were soft landings, including the original Viking landers.

  54. 54
    J R in WV says:


    I just pull up actblue’s home page on another tab,
    sign in,
    and then go back and refresh the BJ linked tab.
    Now I’m logged in.

    Thanks for the tip, that bothered me too, I’m sure almost none of my contributions this cycle were added to the B-J total. And I’m afraid to look at the ActBlue totalizer for my total, scary!! Too much, or not enough???

  55. 55
    MazeDancer says:

    Early money matters so much.

    It’s possible we could get some scoop from, oh, pick a state at random, say New York, from Eleanor’s Legacy. They train women to run.

    Also “Run for Something” has lots of candidates. But they are more wide open. Which is good, but funding hundreds of people might be a big daunting.

    While Eleanor’s Legacy, and groups like them, winnow the list. They only recruit, back, and train people they think have a good shot. We could follow their leads. (Full disclosure, gave them free advice once because a Board Member is a close friend. But they’re for real. Great group.)

    There have to be groups like them around the country.

  56. 56
    J R in WV says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    Am I wrong or is a soft landing on Mars a new thing?

    Nope, although a couple of missions designed to land softly had errors in hardware or software that caused them to “land” at very high speeds, as in SMACK!!

    All the rovers landed softly in years past.

    The funniest/saddest high speed landing was either the one where a contractor confused metric dimensions and data with english dimensions, which resulted in a high speed smack. Or the one when the spring-loaded landing legs popped out, and caused a jar that other systems detected, thought that event was the actual landing, and cut off the retro-rockets way early, not so hard a smack but still all broke.

    Springs too strong maybe? Or engineer too dumb, more likely… but both of these Mars missions were hundreds of millions of dollars blown on dumb mistakes. At least they were able to fix the Hubble lens being ground wrong, for millions of dollars and a shuttle launch. Pretty sure they installed a corrective lens, like glasses for the Hubble ‘scope. That’s pretty funny too.

  57. 57
    wmd says:

    I think state legislatures need to be targeted. In particular states that are closely balanced. Redistricting will be controlled by these legislatures.

  58. 58
    Starfish says:

    @Tom Hamill: Have you met Trish yet? I have met her, and she has a ton of energy. I am unsure about how successful she will be.

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:

    Also, I mean to support nominee races and put in early money as possible, and anything any of the jackals or Doug can do to make that more effective will be great.

    We do Emily’s List, IIRC Emily stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast… they went from a few candidates to hundreds this year!

    And thanks for setting up the postcard system, while we didn’t participate this cycle, we surely will be next time! That’s a great plan and sounds like a great system to share addresses.

  60. 60
    Ryan says:

    Can we primary Seth Moulton? Pretty please?

  61. 61
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    @Roger Moore: I get what you are saying about Doug Jones, but if we’re raising money for vulnerable freshman, he surely qualifies.maybe even too much so. Aside from that, are there already top tier Senate candidates in Arizona and Georgia? Or Texas? If not, seems like the “lure them in $$$$” might be better placed in those states than in Maine where folks have already raised a boatload of bucks for a generic candidate to take on Susan Collins.

  62. 62

    @Roger Moore: True but there are many who would apply if not for the financial hurdle. I was wondering if there were organizations that help. I know there are some non-profits in my neck of the woods that help with the English and the citizenship test.

  63. 63
    Fair Economist says:

    I think an early funding campaign for races that might not get a lot of money is great. Appealing as some candidates like McGrath are, I don’t think it’s so important to raise for likely repeats of 2018 contests – those will generally get lots of cash anyway. I think the idea of fundraising for Virginia statehouse races is great, and while we’re at it, what about statehouse races in other states?

  64. 64
    Ciborium says:

    I have been reading this blog for 14 years and have never commented, though I have donated via ActBlue to various candidates DougJ has put up. I decided to comment just to say that I REALLY support the idea of raising money for nominees TBD later as a way of getting good candidates to run, and would definitely donate to support it (my last donation to a DougJ-created ActBlue link was $1,000).

  65. 65
    Adam says:

    I’d also like to pitch funding progressive primary candidates against the Pelosi letter signees or the Problem Solvers caucus whiners. Only the ones in relatively safe districts – I know the Utah and South Carolina guys have to do this. I count 13 with at least +5 PVI and got at least 56% in 2018 – OH13, MA6, CA38, CO7, TX34, TN5, IL11, NY26, MA8, CA9, IL3, TX15, FL9.

  66. 66
    Redshift says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    Virginia has important elections in 2019 that will determine who holds the State Senate and House of Delegates, both narrowly in R hands.

    Hear, hear! Two points to add:

    1. 2020 redistricting (and therefore representation for the next ten years) will look a lot different if Dems control both houses.

    2. As with congressional races, there are still Republicans who haven’t had to campaign seriously for a while and who may retire if they have a well-funded challenger early.

  67. 67
    Redshift says:

    We have local candidates champing at the bit to continue the blue wave and challenge the shrinking GOP contingent on my local county board and school board. So if we want to go to that level, I can point you at them. They are on ActBlue.

  68. 68
    scott (the other one) says:

    @Ryan: I was thinking that same thing. May not be the best use of money, strategically…but damn would it be emotionally satisfying.

  69. 69
    TMinSJ says:

    I’m in too. I’m happy to do monthly contributions to keep the $$$ rolling to recruit good candidates.

  70. 70
    Achrachne says:

    @Gelfling 545: Acceptable? Heck, it’s preferable. I’d like to see that lying creep spend the rest of his days in the slammer.

    Of course, he may be expecting a pardon from the head grifter. If Corsi confesses the political blowback from a pardon would be stronger — it’d be hard for the RW noise machine to claim a pardon was justified because an innocent man was wrongly convicted. Look at that innocent face!

  71. 71
    Dan B says:

    @Betty Cracker: I agree with A Ghost, to a point. Regular posts yes! With baby picture update and short statement: For a bright future for( baby name – Doug’s or a commenter submission – with low res photo for easy posting ) and one update or two.

  72. 72
    low-tech cyclist says:

    A day late to this thread, but NOT a dollar short. I’m in.

    Just one thing to add:

    A Republican-held district right near me, NY-24, has a Cook PVI of +3 D

    Assuming Cox stays ahead in CA-21, NY-24 is the *only* D+(anything) seat held by a Republican, with the other 191 such seats now in the hands of Dems, as it damn well should be.

    Also, the Dems now hold 29 out of 33 seats with a Cook PVI between Even and R+3.

    The Dems have 9 of the 30 seats in the R+4 to R+6 range.

    They have only 6 seats of R+7 or more. You know most of their names: Ben McAdams (UT-4), Kendra Horn (OK-5), Joe Cunningham (SC-1), Lucy McBath (GA-6). Also Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7) and the only incumbent in the group, Collin Peterson (MN-7).

    Looking at that distribution, I’d say we should help out the 15 D’s in R+4 and up districts, and plan on helping out nominees for NY-24 and any of the 25 GOP-held seats in the R+1 to R+6 range. That would be 41 seats.

  73. 73
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    Virginia has important elections in 2019 that will determine who holds the State Senate and House of Delegates, both narrowly in R hands.
    We could pick, say, 15 candidates to support in each.
    Small amounts of money can really help in those kinds of races.

    Enthusiastically seconded! Let’s turn the Virginia legislature blue next year!

Comments are closed.