Election Day is Here!

May 15th, 2012 by dlombardi

Well, we are getting to the end of the road in HD 48. The ballots get counted today, so we thought it would be useful to bring everyone up to date. It’s been a wild ride.

Endorsing Jeff Reardon proved to be the easy part of this election.  Winning has been the hard part.  Below is an update on what we have done to that end. We won’t know the outcome until tomorrow, but win or lose, we want to thank everyone who hit the doors, worked the phones, made a contribution, or just offered moral support to what we think has been an important campaign.

Coalition Building:
Over the past two months we have organized community and labor groups in support of Reardon. We did pretty well, getting both WFP affiliated unions and others to endorse Jeff Reardon.  Here’s the list:

•    United Food and Commercial Workers (WFP Affiliate)
•    Operating Engineers (WFP Affiliate)
•    District Council of Carpenters
•    District Council of Laborers* (WFP Affiliate)
•    Oregon School Employees Association

* (This endorsement is of particular significance because it’s the union of which Mike Schaufler claims to have been a member.)

Another endorsement that really shook things up was that of MoveOn.org. They have only recently started to get deeper into non-Congressional races, and we were able to persuade them that this was a very important one. MoveOn launched an aggressive fundraising and volunteer operation and were great allies throughout the race.

We also want to recognize our partners at MotherPAC, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, CAUSA, Progressive Kick, and the Communication Workers of America for their strong support of our work on behalf of Jeff Reardon.

Field and Volunteer Operations:
This is where the rubber meets the road in an election like this.  There’s nothing fancy here, just one-on-one conversations with voters – at work, on the doors, on the phones.

With the crucial support of the Oregon League of Conversation Voters, we ran a terrific field program that ended up being the heart of the overall Reardon campaign’s field efforts.

Three main pieces here: (1) Canvassing teams that went door-ro-door; (2) phone banks; and (3) volunteer mobilization.

Here are some numbers that we hope will help get Reardon over the finish line:

WFP field program to date:
Doors knocked: 13,514
Phone dials: 8,302
Overall contacts: 4928
1s & 2s:  3506  (1s are solid for Reardon, 2s are less solid but lean our way)

Campaign Rapid Response:
When it was discovered that Mike Schaufler had accepted a $3000 contribution from Koch Industries, a notorious enemy of unions and environmental causes, the WFP led the push-back which forced Schaufler to return the contribution within 24 hours.  We launched on-line petitions, led press outreach, and organized a press call for labor leaders to speak about the issue with reporters.

Media Clips:
Normally, a State House Primary wouldn’t garner much attention from the press.  However, the Oregon WFP worked hard to raise the profile of this race locally, statewide, and even nationally:

“Is Oregon Rep. Mike Schaufler, the Happy Valley Democrat who faces what could be a serious primary challenge, starting to see the loss of his once-solid union support? That question came in the wake of the decision Wednesday by the Working Families Party — which is largely run by officials from several unions — to endorse Schaufler’s opponent, teacher Jeff Reardon.” ~Jeff Mapes, the Oregonian – 3/21/12

“Schaufler has represented himself as a champion of the working class, and he’s supported by the Oregon AFL-CIO. However, the pro-labor Working Families Party announced its support of Reardon last week, along with Local 555 of United Food and Commercial Workers and Local 701 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.” ~Peter Wong, the Statesman Journal – 3/25/12

“Schaufler has raised about $240,000 for his reelection campaign, with nearly two-thirds coming from business interests. Reardon raised nearly $150,000 and is getting key help from the OLCV and the Working Families Party.” ~Jeff Mapes, the Oregonian – 5/9/12

“Progressive frustrations boiled over when Schaufler accepted a $3,000 contribution from the Koch Brothers, the first time the Republican magnates gave money to a Democratic legislator west of Texas. The Working Families Party and its allies, including 800 people who signed a petition within a day criticizing the gift, forced him to return it.” ~Steven Rosenield, AlterNet – 5/10/12

“Schaufler touched another nerve with Democratic critics when he reported receiving $3,000 from Koch Industries, the first time the group had given money to a Democratic candidate for office west of the Mississippi. (He later announced he was returning the money, following pressure from Working Families Party and allied groups.)” ~ Lucia Graves, Huffington Post – 5/14/12

It’s never easy to unseat an incumbent legislator – especially one who is as well funded as Mike Schaufler.  But the chance to elect someone as decent and progressive as Jeff Reardon made it worth trying. The WFP doesn’t have the resources of the major parties, but we focused where we thought we could make a difference: intensive face-to-face organizing that would introduce voters to a new candidate, win their support, and get our voters to return their ballots.

So, keep your fingers crossed. If Reardon does win, of course, then the real work begins! We need to work with him on all sorts of issues in Salem.

But for now, we want to again say thanks to the leaders, members, staff, volunteers and allies who helped on this campaign.

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