On the jump, you'll find a Democratic Party news release attacking the Republican hit squad -- justifiably -- for its ads distorting the record of state Rep. Monty Davenport. It reminds me:
News releases are good things. TV buys are good things. But they are not a political ground-game, the all-important shoe leather effort to get voters to the polls. Does the Democratic Party have one?
Does the Democratic Party have a database of all registered voters? Does it have segmented databases of demographic groups rich with likely Democratic voters? Does it have volunteers to call those targeted voters? Does it have volunteers going door to door? Does it have volunteers who work the polls to be sure that identified voters have turned out and to call them if they have not?
The Republicans have established such a system nationwide. Thanks to that system, voter suppression and dubious voting machines, they won two national elections that, by rights, should have been won by Democrats.
Handing out money to the same old preachers and hacks in the belief that they can summon a reliable black monolith sufficient to elect any statewide Democratic candidate is not a ground game for the 21st century. It is patronizing. It is also doomed, sooner rather than later, to failure.
The subject is on my mind because I've been called and written by the Republican voter identification effort in recent weeks. (Who knows why? Probably because I've signed up for Republican publications from time to time and because, believe it or not, I was a dues-paying member of the Young Republicans for a time in college.) To date, I can't recall a call or letter or e-mail or door-knock on behalf of the Democratic Party. A voter turnout effort that doesn't reach me and my reliably Democratic neighborhood is, to put it mildly, in need of some fine-tuning.
UPDATE: We received a generic vote-Democratic robocall from Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEWS RELEASE
Rep. Monty Davenport Takes D.C. Funded Interest Group to Task for Misleading Voters about His Record
Little Rock -- The Coalition for Arkansas’s Future has employed a Washington D.C. media firm, Red Sea LLC, started by Tom DeLay’s former director of communications Jonathan Baron. Red Sea is a an extremely conservative media group that has run ads against Republicans John McCain, Arlen Specter and has the very right wing Club for Growth as one of its major clients.
“It’s no surprise that a DC media firm associated with Tom DeLay, that was willing to run attack ads against a distinguished leader in the Republican Party like Senator John McCain, is willing to lie about Monty Davenport’s record,” said Democratic Party of Arkansas executive director John Whiteside.
“The truth is Monty Davenport is a good conservative Democrat who led the fight to combat meth in the State House and has taken a strong stance against illegal immigration, but a bunch of people from Washington, D.C., are willing to spend a bunch of money in District 86 to distort Rep. Davenport’s record. I think the voters in the Ozarks know Monty is good guy, a cattle farmer, a small businessman and they know he has been working hard for his district. That’s why I expect the voters to reject these Washington. D.C., smear tactics and re-elect Rep. Monty Davenport on Nov. 7th,” Whiteside said.
The Coalition for Arkansas’s Future, a 527 interest group out of Little Rock, has received over half a million dollars from the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governor’s Association. The Democratic Party has estimated that CFAF has spent almost $50,000 to produce mailers and radio ads attacking Rep. Monty Davenport.
“It’s a sad day when Washington, D.C., comes to the Ozarks and tries to tell people how to vote,” said State Representative Monty Davenport.
Group is Not Telling the Truth about Rep. Davenport’s Stance on Illegal Immigration
Rep. Monty Davenport has stood firm against illegal immigration and voted for Act 907 that gave our state troopers the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Rep. Davenport has a detailed plan to end illegal immigration in Arkansas. Rep. Davenport is opposed to federal amnesty for illegal immigrants, he supports using the National Guard to secure our border with Mexico, he wants to upgrade Arkansas driver’s licenses to make it tougher for illegal workers to make counterfeit ids, and Rep. Davenport wants to punish companies who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
“The truth is Rep. Monty Davenport has fought illegal immigration as a state representative and has a plan to end illegal immigration in Arkansas,” said John Whiteside.
Group is Not Telling the Truth about Rep. Davenport’s Record Fighting the Meth Epidemic in Arkansas
A recent mailer from CFAF questions Rep. Davenport’s commitment to cracking down on methamphetamine manufacturing because he voted for a bill, SB387, which helped ease the overcrowding issue in Arkansas. “The state prison system is currently running at 104 percent capacity, and 397 convicts are in county jails awaiting a bed in a state prison.”(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/23/06)