The Salt Lake Tribune yesterday ran a great read on Dean’s 50-state strategy from a red state perspective. The chairman of the Utah Dems is apparently very happy with it, but the two counties he cites explain the problem with the strategy.
Specifically, Holland cites progress in building the party in Iron County and Cache County… Since the 2004 election, 3,486 Republicans have registered in Cache County, compared with 490 Democrats. And in Iron County, the 10,857 registered Republicans still easily overwhelm the 1,423 registered Democrats.
There is a good reason these seats aren’t competitive. Look at those numbers. Out registered almost 7 to 1 in Cache and Iron counties, yet they’re pumping money into those places and likely to lose some squeakers for lack of funds. Dean’s former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, outlined the reasons this is a terrible idea, but he’s charging ahead anyway.
I can tell you, from a state party perspective, that the first paragraph of Trippi’s memo is dead on. You will constantly be hearing from people in counties like Iron and Cache telling you that this great candidate they have can win, if only you put more resources into the district early.
In New Mexico, that crace was Manny Aragon’s state senate seat in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Every year we were told that we could win it if we put more money in. This despite the fact that every Republican gubernatorial and presidential candidate the state had seen in 20 years had failed to garner more than 35% of the vote. They still claimed it was winnable.
If we had put a million dollars into that race, maybe it was winnable. But we won many marginal seats by 100 votes or less where that money was better spent. Mark my words, that’s the lesson the Democrats will learn under Howard Dean. He may be the single reason the Republicans keep the House and Senate.