Scarecrow's dog Walden

After a week of voting that saw over 110,000 votes cast, the winners of the FDL 2010 Fire Dogs Contest are:

First Place: Dennis Kucinich, 24,967 votes
Second Place: Alan Grayson, 17,296 votes
Third Place: Anthony Weiner, 13,160 votes

Each of these members of Congress will all receive a $10,000 FDL ActBlue fundraiser, and the FDL community will phone bank into their districts to ID 500 likely voters for GOTV efforts. At that point, we’ll open up the contest for Round 2, and start it again in a contest for three more candidates.

Donate and sign up for phone banking now!

So, what’s the secret? How do these three get their supporters to show up for them like that? Having worked with many many progressive members of Congress, this is what these Reps do that others don’t:

  1. Treat online supporters like others treat lobbyists: Grayson, Kucinich and Weiner treat the online community like Jim Himes treats Goldman Sachs. Whereas Himes calls up his bankster donors before he takes a votes, these three go online and made their case to online activists.
  2. Take action on issues progressives care about: Kucinich was quick to announce he’d hold hearings into the Christmas eve bailout of Fannie & Freddie, which the FDL community thanked him for by raising $3,200 in a couple days. That’s more than most checks that a lobbyist would write, just for doing what he believes in. No moral compromise involved.
  3. Speak up in the media about populist concerns: Grayson is particularly good about getting his message on television, and his questions at House Financial Services Committee hearings have made him a YouTube star (2.1 million views for questioning the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve). Weiner is a familiar face on CNBC.
  4. Operate at the pace of the blogosphere: See Grayson’s appearance on FDL the day Citizens United was announced, to talk about bills he has offered in response. People were just digesting the Supreme Court decision, upset and looking for direction, which Grayson had anticipated. A day or two later something else might have pushed it out of the news cycle and the intensity would not have been so high.
  5. Know when you’ve got something that will go viral, and get it out there: Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people cheering some moment on TV in the comment section, and I’ve asked an office if they have video or if the Rep wants to come talk about it. Mostly they never get back or they finally remember a couple of weeks later. If people are already organically chattering, that means something, but it doesn’t last long if you don’t feed it. These Reps know how to work that successfully.
  6. Tap into existing networks: Kucinich and Weiner have been big supporters of single payer health care. Grayson championed Audit the Fed and got money bomb help from the libertarians. Both groups have big, existing online networks that support their efforts.
  7. Work your email list: As a result of their efforts, all three have developed reliable progressive brand names and have been able to build up big email lists that they can tap when they need to. All three sent out emails asking their supporters to vote for them. Totally kosher. And that means we have more people we can enlist to phone bank and help GOTV efforts in their districts, which helps them, as well as those in downticket races who could fall to low turnout in 2010.

We made a big effort to reach out to House offices to let them know the contest was on, and offered to help them get their message out about issues they care about. I was really surprised to find that many had no idea how to interact with blogs and it never occurred to them to go online and keep people informed about what they were doing on issues they have championed.

Every one of them said they would love to be liberated from scurrying around for PAC money. I told them all we’d be happy to help them and that the best thing to do was to start communicating sooner, rather than later. . . they need to build bridges now so they’ll be there when they need them.

I told them to blog at the Seminal, let us know when they’re working on something, and, if they want to chat with the community about a burning issue, give us a holler and we’ll try to schedule some front page time. That’s a standing offer.

After coming up for air from the health care battle, I can honestly say that there’s nothing more important than breaking the link between lobbyist money and campaigns — but campaign finance reform alone isn’t enough. Developing an alternative progressive financing apparatus is a must.

In a year when even safe Democrats are facing serious challenges to their seats, the online community can provide support by virtue of our numbers that lobbyists can’t.

Getting members of Congress to start thinking about the blogs in a different way by demonstrating to them all, right now, that we know how to help our friends is a really important step in turning things around.

Visit the 2010 Fire Dogs Page to donate and volunteeer

Previous Posts: Contest Announcement, Day 1 Totals, Day 2 Totals, Day 3 Totals, Day 4 Totals

Representative Final Total Representative Final Total
Kucinich, Dennis (OH-10) 24967 Eshoo, Anna (CA-14) 109
Grayson, Alan (FL-08) 17296 Tsongas, Niki (MA-05) 109
Weiner, Anthony (NY-09) 13160 Hastings, Alcee (FL-23) 106
Frank, Barney (MA-04) 5217 Fudge, Marcia (OH-11) 104
Lee, Barbara (CA-09) 2706 Harman, Jane (CA-36) 104
Waters, Maxine (CA-35) 2701 Michaud, Michael (ME-02) 104
Conyers, John (MI-14) 2639 Mitchell, Harry (AZ-05) 104
Grijalva, Raul (AZ-07) 2592 Murtha, John (PA-12) 101
Massa, Eric (NY-29) 2497 Moran, James (VA-08) 100
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie (FL-20) 2450 Luj·n, Ben Ray (NM-03) 99
Kaptur, Marcy (OH-09) 1809 Dicks, Norman (WA-06) 97
Pelosi, Nancy (CA-08) 1732 Van Hollen, Chris (MD-08) 97
DeFazio, Peter (OR-04) 1609 Carney, Christopher (PA-10) 96
Doggett, Lloyd (TX-25) 1241 Murphy, Christopher (CT-05) 96
Waxman, Henry (CA-30) 1170 Klein, Ron (FL-22) 95
Ellison, Keith (MN-05) 1021 Davis, Susan (CA-53) 94
Schrader, Kurt (OR-05) 923 Welch, Peter (VT-AL) 93
Pingree, Chellie (ME-01) 893 Rodriguez, Ciro (TX-23) 92
Woolsey, Lynn (CA-06) 876 Kagen, Steve (WI-08) 91
McGovern, James (MA-03) 736 Berman, Howard (CA-28) 90
Edwards, Donna (MD-04) 652 Arcuri, Michael (NY-24) 89
Baldwin, Tammy (WI-02) 566 Halvorson, Deborah (IL-11) 89
Kennedy, Patrick (RI-01) 514 Vel·zquez, Nydia (NY-12) 89
McDermott, Jim (WA-07) 499 Stupak, Bart (MI-01) 88
Capuano, Michael (MA-08) 448 Doyle, Michael (PA-14) 84
Edwards, Chet (TX-17) 445 Driehaus, Steve (OH-01) 83
Polis, Jared (CO-02) 445 Sherman, Brad (CA-27) 83
Clyburn, James (SC-06) 441 Connolly, Gerald (VA-11) 82
Shea-Porter, Carol (NH-01) 434 Courtney, Joe (CT-02) 80
Hall, John (NY-19) 426 Sutton, Betty (OH-13) 80
Tierney, John (MA-06) 381 Levin, Sander (MI-12) 79
Hinchey, Maurice (NY-22) 379 Owens, Bill (NY-23) 79
Filner, Bob (CA-51) 372 Napolitano, Grace (CA-38) 78
Jackson-Lee, Sheila (TX-18) 369 Larsen, Rick (WA-02) 75
Blumenauer, Earl (OR-03) 352 Titus, Dina (NV-03) 75
Schakowsky, Janice (IL-09) 326 Berkley, Shelley (NV-01) 74
Murphy, Patrick (PA-08) 320 Sarbanes, John (MD-03) 73
Inslee, Jay (WA-01) 282 Bishop, Sanford (GA-02) 72
Yarmuth, John (KY-03) 262 Carson, Andre (IN-07) 71
Honda, Michael (CA-15) 257 Adler, John (NJ-03) 70
Watson, Diane (CA-33) 255 Boswell, Leonard (IA-03) 67
Holt, Rush (NJ-12) 248 Ellsworth, Brad (IN-08) 67
Capps, Lois (CA-23) 243 Peters, Gary (MI-09) 67
Garamendi, John (CA-10) 234 Price, David (NC-04) 67
Jackson Jr., Jesse (IL-02) 234 Shuler, Heath (NC-11) 67
Stark, Pete (CA-13) 234 Lofgren, Zoe (CA-16) 66
Dingell, John (MI-15) 224 Olver, John (MA-01) 66
Farr, Sam (CA-17) 222 Schwartz, Allyson (PA-13) 66
Perriello, Thomas (VA-05) 219 McCollum, Betty (MN-04) 64
Markey, Betsy (CO-04) 217 Hill, Baron (IN-09) 63
DeGette, Diana (CO-01) 216 Kratovil, Frank (MD-01) 63
Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08) 210 Oberstar, James (MN-08) 63
Kilroy, Mary Jo (OH-15) 210 Spratt, John (SC-05) 63
Hare, Phil (IL-17) 208 Moore, Gwen (WI-04) 62
Nadler, Jerrold (NY-08) 206 Miller, Brad (NC-13) 61
McNerney, Jerry (CA-11) 200 Johnson, Eddie Bernice (TX-30) 60
Castor, Kathy (FL-11) 197 Loebsack, David (IA-02) 59
Ackerman, Gary (NY-05) 186 Teague, Harry (NM-02) 57
Brown, Corrine (FL-03) 186 Smith, Adam (WA-09) 56
Obey, David (WI-07) 175 Matsui, Doris (CA-05) 55
Bright, Bobby (AL-02) 170 Rush, Bobby (IL-01) 55
Delahunt, Bill (MA-10) 169 Clay, William Lacy (MO-01) 54
Wu, David (OR-01) 165 Israel, Steve (NY-02) 54
Salazar, John (CO-03) 161 Brady, Robert (PA-01) 53
Kirkpatrick, Ann (AZ-01) 157 Etheridge, Bob (NC-02) 52
Speier, Jackie (CA-12) 154 Scott, Bobby (VA-03) 51
Cohen, Steve (TN-09) 149 Tonko, Paul (NY-21) 50
Maloney, Carolyn (NY-14) 148 Himes, James (CT-04) 49
Cummings, Elijah (MD-07) 146 Thompson, Mike (CA-01) 48
Chu, Judy (CA-32) 141 Johnson, Henry (GA-04) 47
Gutierrez, Luis (IL-04) 139 Lowey, Nita (NY-18) 46
Bishop, Timothy (NY-01) 136 Andrews, Robert (NJ-01) 44
Foster, Bill (IL-14) 132 Kind, Ron (WI-03) 44
Skelton, Ike (MO-04) 132 Watt, Melvin (NC-12) 44
Slaughter, Louise (NY-28) 131 Pascrell, Bill (NJ-08) 43
Braley, Bruce (IA-01) 129 Schiff, Adam (CA-29) 43
Fattah, Chaka (PA-02) 128 Quigley, Mike (IL-05) 40
Markey, Edward (MA-07) 127 Larson, John (CT-01) 39
Boucher, Rick (VA-09) 126 Peterson, Collin (MN-07) 36
Schauer, Mark (MI-07) 124 Pomeroy, Earl (ND-AL) 35
Becerra, Xavier (CA-31) 122 Rothman, Steven (NJ-09) 35
Cleaver, Emanuel (MO-05) 120 Engel, Eliot (NY-17) 33
Miller, George (CA-07) 119 Kildee, Dale (MI-05) 32
Perlmutter, Ed (CO-07) 119 McIntyre, Mike (NC-07) 25
Heinrich, Martin (NM-01) 117 Mollohan, Alan (WV-01) 25
DeLauro, Rosa (CT-03) 115 Sires, Albio (NJ-13) 21
Payne, Donald (NJ-10) 114 Langevin, James (RI-02) 20
Carnahan, Russ (MO-03) 112 Roybal-Allard, Lucille (CA-34) 17
Walz, Timothy (MN-01) 111
Total 110610

Visit the 2010 Fire Dogs Page to donate and volunteeer