I wanted to share with the Daily Kos readers the Thank You from Andy Hurst, Democratic candidate for Congress to represent Virginia's 11th CD.
In his message, Andy probably doesn't take enough credit for the Democratic takeover of the House, or especially of the Senate. As you may know, Andy Hurst gave Tom Davis the toughest race of his political career, so instead of allowing Davis to use his war chest to fund races all over Virginia and the country, Davis used almost all of it here in the 11th. According to the FEC, Davis took in $2.5 million, and spent $2.6+ million. Davis was unable to spread his millions around in other districts, the better to buy silence and cooperation from other members of the House. AndyGÇÖs contribution was felt in House races because he assured Davis was absent. Also, Hurst's work with GOTV for Jim Webb was critical to put Webb over the top, making the Republicans gave back the Senate as well as the House.
To pull off his win, Davis used taxpayer funded campaign mailers in his array of deceptive mailers, and he used harassing and felonious robocalling to suppress voter turn-out. Davis has used the suspect Conquest Communications in the past for telephone polling, and the House Republican Party paid for work in Virginia in 2006. In addition to the FBI investigation related to his connections to Jack Abramoff, Davis may be sidetracked in his bid for the Senate in 2008. Stay tuned! On to Andy's thanks...
Thank You from Andy Hurst
Friday, 10 November 2006
I wanted to thank you for all you did for my campaign for Congress.
This campaign accomplished amazing things. You and I began this effort with a candidate who never before ran for office, with no name recognition and no treasury -- only ideas on how to improve our representation and a passion to share them.
At the end, we received more than 100,000 votes, more than any other House challenger in all of Virginia. The race ended at 56%-44%, the closest margin by far of any House campaign in Northern Virginia. We won 19 precincts, and lost by a razor-thin margin in many others. Tom Davis received a challenge like he has never faced in his twelve years of incumbency.
Even more amazing is what you and I overcame in doing so well:
* We refused to take any special interest or PAC money, and nevertheless raised nearly $400,000 from individuals who cared about the future of our country. Davis, on the other hand, took money from every special interest or PAC who would give it to him, and spent more than THREE MILLION DOLLARS on his re-election campaign.
* We declined the invitation to engage in a negative campaign. We focused on Davis' record of support of the Bush administration, and kept our commercials and distributions focused on our positive message of change. Davis took a different tack, sending out a series of seven negative mailers calling me things such as "dangerous" and "extremist," attacking my service as an attorney and my New Jersey roots in attempting to smear me.
* We received little attention from the press, pundits, or the national Democratic Party apparatus, all of whom believed Davis' argument that he was untouchable by someone he considered a "goofball" and a "midget." As it turned out, our energized grassroots field campaign mobilized tens of thousands of voters who were hungry for change, and we far outperformed other campaigns that were given much more publicity and far greater resources.
When all was said and done, you and I got the 11th District electorate focused on things we care about -- like the War in Iraq, corruption in Washington, and improving our health care system. We took on a powerful Republican with all the advantages of incumbency, and fought him to a standstill. Resources that otherwise would have been sent to help George Allen and other Republicans in tight races were spent here. Tom Davis will now be a member of the minority in Congress, and that is no small part due to our hard work.
Elizabeth, the kids and I can't thank you enough for all you did for us. Our family made a lot of new friends in the campaign, and believe more than ever in the causes that inspired me to run in the first place. I look forward to thanking all of you personally in the next few weeks, to sharing stories and catching up. Elizabeth and I will continue to work for Democratic causes and candidates in the future, and would be delighted to work with you in doing so.
We scarred the hell out of Davis forcing him to empty his war chest and have to start all over for his '08 Senate run (which might be even more endangered if Allen decides to run). I like to tell people that in 2004 Davis sent $240,000 to 39 candidates outside the district, this year he only sent out $3,100 to three candidates meaning, that we helped cement our majority by keeping that money in state and not in close races around the country. And thats due to everyone that helped knock on doors and chipped in a few bones here and there to help us get the word out.
George Burke, Chairman of the 11th District Congressional Committee sent a thank you note to Andy's staff that sums up the race fantastically, allow me to quote him.
You have made us all proud and it was a privilege to work with you in what has proven to be the closest election Tom Davis had ever endured in his six terms in the Congress. You won at least 19 precincts for Andy and came within a few votes in many more. No challenger has done that before. Your earned your candidate more than 100,000 votes to make him the only Democratic congressional challenger, including Phil Kellum in the 2nd CD, to top the 100,000 vote mark. You pulled a larger percentage of the vote for Andy than any other Democrat has ever received against Davis and, quite frankly, you scared the hell out of Davis and his campaign staff despite Davisâ€™ 10-1 money advantage. It is because of Andy and you that Davis was forced to spend $3 million to garner only 55 percent of the vote.
I want to single out James for praise because he is the campaign manager and the person responsible for making the trains run on time. I have worked a lot of congressional and Senate campaigns over the years and I must say I have never met a young man in charge of a campaign who has operated with such efficiency, dedication, professionalism, and effectiveness. I had the privilege to work with James on a weekly and often daily basis and I repeatedly marveled at his insight and strategic decisions.
I also had the opportunity to deal with Mike, Matt, Sean, Dave, Peg, Donald, and Nate with some regularity and I was impressed by the energy and hard work they put into this campaign.
While I didnâ€™t have an opportunity to work directly with the rest of you, I was able to observe you in action and see the outstanding results that you achieved. Everyone who worked as staff, volunteers, or was associated with the Hurst campaign in any shape or form deserves a pat on the back for your outstanding work against insurmountable odds.
Andy was a great candidate and he grew better every day. But even the greatest candidate cannot get his message out and win the hearts and minds of the voters without a dedicated and hard-working staff. Andy was lucky he had all of you on his side and I know how much he appreciates all you did.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to enjoy this race as much as I did.
If anyone wants to get in touch me with (especially about how we're going to take back the VA State Senate in 2007) here is my e-mail.
I hope you keep the passion, good luck in the future!!!
I was disappointed that he didn't win, but extremely proud of what he accomplished.
I hope the Andy Hurst has a very long future in politics and I'm immensely grateful for everything he did to help the Webb campaign.
Thanks Andy. We're in this together for the long haul.