Last year, no one believed that DeLay was touchable in his district. A first-time candidate, Richard Morrison, wwas running against him, and DeLay had an enough cash advantage.
But with the ethics scandals and a changing district, my organization's political project, Campaign Money Watch conducted a poll in early October 2004 and determined that DeLay was vulnerable. As we began to act on this info -- reach out to other organizations, potential funders, and strategists -- we were discouraged by far too many allies who should have been there by our side.
Over the last ten days of October, we spent approximately $165,000 in the district to educate voters with a radio and a TV ad. Democracy for America did the same. DeLay poured millions in to defend himself and attack Morrison.
Voters gave DeLay a victory with only 55% of the vote -- his lowest total ever -- landing him on a very short list of those incumbents who are perceived to be vulnerable by Washington insiders, the same ones who shunned our outreach earlier.
So you can imagine my feeling of vindication to seeing Dan Allen's piece in the Washington Post this morning with this headline:
A key early paragraph:
DeLay garnered 55 percent of the vote in the November election against a relatively unknown Democrat, an unusually modest showing for a veteran House member who is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. Some Republican officials and DeLay supporters worry that with President Bush absent from the top of the ticket next year, liberal interest groups might target the conservative majority leader and spend millions of dollars on campaign ads to try to defeat him.
Allen describes spending time in DeLay's suburban district speaking with people who support DeLay. I also spent a few days meeting with people in DeLay's district in January, but I got a decidedly different take. Read here and here. This district is much different than the one DeLay represented for years in part because of DeLay's own redistricting and in part because of the changing dynamics of the area. DeLay has much to be worried about.
We're going to keep up the work on educating voters about DeLay. When we formally launch our in-district later this year, we'll need lots of people in Texas and around the national to help out in many ways, including financially.