Thursday, August 04, 2005

Help Us Governor Vilsack

by Kyle Michaelis
Surely, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa knows how much Nebraskans have done for his state (especially creating jobs and funding education) in recent years. Now, he can return the favor by helping us elect a Democratic Governor of our own who can make up some of the difference between Iowa's best-in-the-nation economic development and our worst-in-the-nation ranking by the same standard under Republican leadership.

The AP reported recently:
Gov. Tom Vilsack is forming a new political action committee to help finance Democratic candidates in the 38 gubernatorial elections to be held this year and next.

The effort is called Heartland PAC. Vilsack said Tuesday that it will be designed to develop issues and ideas, as well as raise money.

In a video on the group's Web site, Vilsack described the effort as "a call for action for Democrats to regain the mantle as the party of ideas."

Vilsack will launch the new PAC on Aug. 1, and his success will go a long way toward determining his political future.

The governor Monday took over as head of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that former President Clinton used to pave his way to the White House.

Vilsack is not seeking a third term and has said he'll campaign hard for Democratic candidates for governor nationwide as his final term winds down. His success and the message developed by Democrats over the next year will help determine whether Vilsack can become a viable candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

"We must close the idea and message gap," Vilsack said in the video....

The naming of the PAC is far from a coincidence. Vilsack and other potential Democratic candidates outside of Washington often argue that Democrats must offer messages that resonate in the nation's heartland.

Where better to start in these efforts than with a neighboring state that could certainly use an influx of cash to draw a top-flight candidate into what could otherwise be an Election Day massacre?

If Vilsack is serious about offering a message that resonates in the Heartland, no place is in greater need than Nebraska. Of course, Iowa has it's own gubernatorial race in 2006, and there will be other states with a less formidable (some would say "unbeatable") opponent than Nebraska's Tom Osborne, but it is not in the national and cultural interest of the Democratic Party to forsake such challenges any longer. Yes, it's difficult, but that's why we have to do it. That's why we need the help of leaders like Tom Vilsack.

Today, this AP update ran on the state of Heartland PACs finances:
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and his new political action committee, Heartland PAC, have raised $635,000 in just five weeks to help elect Democratic governors across the country, a new disclosure report shows.

Vilsack took over as head of the Democratic Leadership Council last month and vowed to travel across the country to help elect Democrats in the 38 gubernatorial elections over the next two years.

He's been raising money for a couple of months, but Vilsack's new PAC became effective only this week. The report covers the period from April 29 to June 30.

In the filing with the Internal Revenue Service, Vilsack showed that he has raised $635,000 during that time and spent $68,240.

The report shows that Vilsack transferred more than $50,000 from the PAC that financed his gubernatorial campaign to Heartland PAC. He also got a boost from labor unions, which contributed about half of the money raised, or about $315,000.

$635,000 - that's a pretty damn impressive figure in just three months. It's almost double what Nebraska's Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who's also got eyes on 2008, raised in six months through his similarly-themed Sandhills PAC. But Hagel's funneling that money to local Republicans like Gov. Dave Heineman and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry. We need someone like Gov. Vilsack to take a chance on Nebraska and help counteract that sort of influence.

What do you say, Tom? Can we count on you to be a good neighbor?


Anonymous Chad W said...

I would not be going over to Vilsack anytime soon. He has ruined the state. Our education system has gone into the crapper. Our elderly and veterns care is practically nil now thanks to him and his people in charge. And this so called Heartland PAC is no where close to being called 'centrist' as they so want it to be claimed. Nor does it have anything to do with his so called 'midwestern' views. - he is not from the midwest, ok barely. but this so called PAC is headed by Sen. Kerry, Al Gore, and Howard Dean's campaign groups. - None whom have been very friendly. Nothing close to be centrist. Not to me


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