Democratic Moderates Back Allies

Posted May 5, 2004 at 4:55pm

The moderate New Democrat Coalition has kicked off a new fundraising program called Ten for Ten to encourage its Members to give $10,000 apiece to 10 House candidates across the country.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), a leader of the 75-member New Democrat Coalition, said the group has been talking for some time about ways it can help Democratic candidates this cycle. The new project is the first coordinated effort to raise money among existing New Democrats for colleagues in tight races or for challengers who are thought likely to join the coalition if elected, he said.

“The New Democrats have a clear policy agenda and clear ideas, and we want to support candidates who support our policies and ideas,” Smith said.

Eight New Democrats are sending $10,000 to Democrat Stephanie Herseth, who is making a strong bid for South Dakota’s vacant at-large House seat. The eight are donating the money individually, with the contributions totaling $10,000.

Smith said the New Democrats chose to start with Herseth because they had already supported her in her previous, unsuccessful bid for the House in 2002. Herseth also supports the coalition’s pro-technology and trade agenda. Smith said Herseth is expected to join the coalition if elected to the House.

“We’ve done this before, but not in an organized fashion,” Smith said of the Ten for Ten initiative. “We want [candidates] to know the New Democrats are behind them.”

Smith said the group hasn’t yet finalized a list of candidates they will help. The New Democrats, he said, will make that decision based on a questionnaire that gauges candidates’ positions on issues, as well as assessments of their electability.

“We hope to do this for a bunch of different candidates during the cycle,” he said. “It’s to help them feel appreciated, but more importantly, to help them be here.”