Prior Months

By the time you read this column, we will know who won and who lost on November 7th.
By Terry Leach, President, LDC

November 2006

I am very excited that astute (and witty) columnist Lisa Vorderbruggen will be sharing with our membership her experiences on Jerry McNerney’s campaign trail. Remember when we first met Jerry? When our club invited the 3 Democratic candidates for the Primary nomination with our members?

And we couldn’t get reporters too excited about this race?

The week before the election (when I am writing this column), has shown how much can change. GOP Congressman Pete McCloskey, a lion if I ever met one, has been stomping all over the 11th Congressional District with Jerry, and last week, Hollywood in the likes of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, came to lend a hand. But the LDC has been with Jerry all the way… and so has Lisa, and it will be wonderful to share what has become a nationally watched phenomenon of grass-roots triumph, right in our backyard with Lisa. Come join us!

As many of you know, I’ve also been a tad busy working as a consultant on a campaign; my first statewide campaign. For the last 10 months, I’ve been the Director of Outreach & Strategy on the Garamendi for Lt. Governor Campaign.

My husband is clocking me in at working about 18 hours/day. My cell phone voice mail is often full and I cannot get to all of my e-mails.

If I’ve offended any of you for taking too long to get back to you, I hope you understand!

I know that I’ve learned something very important about campaigning and political consulting. And that is that while money is hugely important; it isn’t everything. In the last two days, with the race essentially tied between John Garamendi and Tom McClintock, following Jerry McNerney’s team’s incredible example, I worked with my mostly traditional colleagues in the Campaign, and began an unprecedented grass-roots effort to bread the tie and have John come out on top. As I mentioned, by the time you receive this, you’ll know if we were successful.

Essentially, I worked with real heroes in many health care advocacy communities, including the spinal cord injury community, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, cancer, ALS, Krohn’s, autism, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, to get out the word that Prop 71 Fonder Bob Klein and other stem cell advocates had significant concern that should McCintock, who was the primary opponent to stem cell research in CA, win, he would be able to appoint up to 5 individuals to the stem cell oversight board, thus tying up this effort, possibly indefinitely.

McClintock had the help of 60,000 phone bankers with the help of $25 million placed into the creation of 48 highly sophisticated call centers AND significant money from oil, tobacco and insurance.

Two days before the election … the race a head heat … John was out of money.

Working around the clock with courageous Bob Klein and his colleagues and a host of health heroes, I sent out a call for enough money to air a new commercial on the stem cell issue and Bob and I worked with the producer of the commercial to have him contribute the commercial to the campaign as an in-kind contribution, since there was no money left to buy it.

My colleagues were not convinced that grass-roots activism really had any legs. Having started Howard Dean’s meet-ups in Contra Costa County and seen that effort multiplied several-thousand-fold around the country … together, with my friends in the health advocacy community, we stood firm and sent out a call to thousands to help us raise $50,000 in two tight days.

What is so exciting to report is that our wonderful local representatives, Tom Torlakson, Ellen Tauscher, Barbara Lee, and Loni Hancock joined with our grass-roots efforts and reached out to their supporters, as well, and we raised … $1000,000 in two days!

The stem cell commercial … as I am typing this column … and sighing with relief for the first time in days … is set to run in LA tonight on all but one station … the night before election day! With the race tied!

Please believe me when I urge you to get involved. If John Garamendi and Jerry McNerny win their races against the odds of unbelievable out-of-state oil, insurance, and pharmaceutical money … it was only because everyday people … like you and me … cared enough to get involved.

Thank you for all that you have done! Please stay connected … we need to be ready for 2008!