Thursday, March 26, 2009

Utah Democratic Party to Candidates: You Won't Win, Why Try

SL Tribune story on Progressive Majority's move to boost Utah Democrats (emphasis mine):

Friday's visit marks the Progressive Majority's first session in Utah.

The organization got its start in 1999 as a federal political action committee and mushroomed to where the political network now staffs offices in Washington D.C. and eight states.

According to, it backs candidates who stand for economic justice, civil rights, affordable health care, quality public education, protecting the environment and reproductive freedom.

"[Progressive Majority] focused on battleground states in the past," says Utah Democrat Tracy Van Wagoner. "This year they're expanding."

The focus, Van Wagoner says, is to get progress-minded candidates contending for nonpartisan school board and city council slots.

"Of course, we're looking for legislative and state candidates as well," she adds.

Holland cautions that new candidates should view their maiden run for office as an apprenticeship.

Van Wagoner agrees.

"It's the eyes you're opening, even if you don't win," she says, "to tell people they have a choice."

Voters acquired in the first round become a candidate's base for the next run.

This may be a fact, and it may be good advice for potential candidates to keep in mind, but if you're not saying anything else, you're not going to get those potential candidates. This is something to tack on to your message, sure. A message that shows you have a plan (something a bit more than "Common Values" perhaps?). But when voters and those thinking about candidacy -- who have heard nothing from you in months -- read this, you drive them away with the implied lack of vision or plan for the more immediate future. You've got to say more, more often.

Bad form, Mr. Holland/Ms. Van Wagoner. I'm sure Progressive Majority (an organization to be admired) feels their efforts here now are well worth their time and expense.

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