| Democratic activist and fundraiser Mikal Watts was asked by Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to raise $150,000 for the committee looking to win a filibuster proof US Senate in 2008.
Shocking the DSCC leadership, the gathering at Watts' San Antonio home doubled the record for a DSCC fundraiser in Texas- raising a whopping $1.1 million.
The event, headlined by Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), Sen. Ken Salazar (CO) and Robert Menendez (NJ) was packed with Democrats from all corners of Texas, including Congressmen Charlie Gonzalez, Ciro Rodriguez, Solomon Ortiz, Nick Lampson and a healthy contingent of Texas state legislators.
It even resulted in a reunion of sorts between Boyd Richie, Charlie Urbina-Jones, and myself- all candidates for Texas Democratic Party Chair in 2006.
As Schumer ran down the prospects for picking up seats in the US Senate in 2008, you could feel the adrenalin rush of Democrats eager to a great year in 2008. Republicans are defending 21 incumbent seats and the Democrats only 12. Schumer told the crowd that all twelve Democratic Senators are now public in their commitments to run for re-election, including South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson who is in the final stages of recovery of his life-threatening health situation of last November. The only incumbent who has what he considered a tough race is Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), although he said he thought she, too, will do all right.
Sen. Salazar spoke about the US Senate seat in Colorado where Republican Wayne Allard has announced his retirement. In that open seat, US Rep. Mark Udall is unopposed in the Democratic primary and is the assumed nominee. Salazar stated that polls are showing a 25% lead by Udall in an array of possible Republican matchups.
The other states that Schumer put into the top tier were blue states with Republican Senators: Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado and Minnesota.
He cited a recent series of polls showing matchups of potential Democratic candidates vs. the Republican incumbent. He specifically pointed out polls in Kentucky, a traditionally very red state, where Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell resides. In a hypothetical heads up race between McConnell and the Democratic candidate Congressman Ben Chandler, the result was a stunning 45% to 44%. In a second question tying the Republican to support for George Bush and the war in Iraq, the race turned into a Democratic 55% to McConnell 42% shocker. Schumer flatly stated that the same kinds of results are seen even in states like North Carolina and Mississippi.
However, the most exciting Schumer announcement was in his closing about the DSCC's prospects in races across the country where he used this great line:
The Eyes of Texas are Upon Us
But The Eyes of the DSCC are Upon Texas
Pointing out that our own John Cornyn enjoys the lowest approval rating of all 21 Republican Senators up for re-election, Schumer was quite candid that at this point they consider Texas to be in play as a possible pick up state. (Damn, it's been a long time since any of us could make that statement!)
He jokingly made references about Cornyn's pitiful performance in last weeks Judiciary Committee hearings with AG Alberto Gonzalez, pointing out Bush's biggest lap dog defender in the Senate even trying to clumsily re-position himself, as if suddenly figuring out there's something amiss with this Administration.
It's going to take at least $15 million to run a full fledged race against Cornyn by our eventual nominee. It's going to take thousands of grassroots donors in a people-powered activist campaign to make that happen. If we start building now and add 100 new donors a month to the Texas ActBlue Senate Nominee fund we'll be well on our way to retiring John Cornyn in 2008.
The eyes of
the DSCC the nation are upon us, Texas. The time to start is now. Donate today to defeat Cornyn in 2008. He's going down.