As anyone who works in politics knows, this is a non-stop business. One thing I've learned, though, is sometimes you've got to take a second to step back -- if only to assess your current position and future opportunities. Right now is one of those moments for us at the DCCC and for our Democratic Congressional candidates. Monday marked the end of the 2008 first quarter fundraising period -- the first chance to show our strength since the Republicans minted John "In Iraq Indefinitely" McCain as their nominee.
The numbers are still trickling in but the early returns are clear: our Democratic candidates have built powerful grassroots armies of supporters who are giving in unprecedented numbers. Clearly, our candidates have been able to capitalize on the excitement of this "big change" election year to bring new supporters into the political process. I am especially appreciative of the critical role local and national blogs have played in introducing our candidates to new audiences.
We are now slated to have at least 75 races in play -- a more than 50% increase from 2006. We still have a huge challenge in front of us. Our Republican counterparts are "very excited" by right wing "swift boat" groups like Freedom's Watch that are pledging to pour more than $200 million into tearing down our nominees with dishonest attacks. Their chairman even admitted that they "hope we see them in political races all across the board." However, as Bill Foster proved by winning former Speaker Dennis Hastert's seat, we know we can run and win in districts nationwide by focusing on a message of change. You can see our full 2008 targets map here.
On behalf of Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Van Hollen and the Democratic Leadership, I also want to share with you our Battleground Brief to keep you informed of our progress at the DCCC and recent news on our House Democrats and 2008 House Candidates.
Now I've got to get back to work.