Thanks to all of you who believed -- and who worked so hard for peace and justice
from Jean Hay Bright
November 9, 2006
Thanks to you all!
It was an exhilarating year and a half, bearing the torch as your anti-war, pro-health care, pro-labor, pro-environment, protect-the-Constitution candidate. From the election results, we know that almost 110,000 of you share my view of the America we want to live in. That's a lot of people! Thank you all for those votes, and thank you all for all your individual efforts, to pull in those votes for me and for our shared vision.
We received support from the Maine Democratic Party, the Baldacci, Allen and Michaud campaigns, the Democratic leaders in the Maine Legislature and county Democratic committees all over Maine. Thanks too go to MaineNOW, the two local DFA chapters and the Maine Building Trades Council, all of whom endorsed me. We received endorsements from Congressman Dennis Kucinich, author Stephen King, the Rockland Courier-Gazette, and TheBollard.com, among others. Nationally, ImpeachPAC sent a much-needed $5,000 along with its endorsement, and the PeaceTeam helped in producing and airing one of our hard-hitting Iraq War TV ads.
Our volunteer webmaster, Alisha Langerman, deserves special note, for the hours and hours of design work, tweaking and content uploading. I am so grateful for her offer to help early on in the campaign, and so thankful for her patience and perseverance under not always the best of circumstances. Thanks too to her recent co-webmaster, Dan Ellis, who has been filling in when Alisha's college studies take precedence. News Flash! The Smithsonian has asked us for permission (granted!) to archive our entire web page for historical purposes! Now that's impressive!
Our list of Supporters is wonderfully long (and you're probably on it). And the volunteers! Hundreds of them -- far too many to name here -- with incredible skills and ideas and energy. All in all, this was a phenomenal all-volunteer grassroots effort. The energy in this campaign was amazing. All over Maine people stepped up when needed. You drove the cars, stuffed the envelopes, made the calls, pounded in the signs. Most importantly, many of you flocked to your local Democratic offices in the final weeks of the campaign and helped out wherever you were needed. As we traveled around the state in the final days of the campaign, it was so encouraging to see people working to get out the vote for a superb slate of candidates.
Everywhere we went we met competent, capable candidates. It was a pleasure to campaign with them. To those who were successful, I offer my most sincere congratulations. To those who, like me, were not successful, thank you for all your work. And I want to offer a special congratulations to one particular candidate, Knox County Sheriff's Department Detective Donna Dennison, who, when she takes the oath of office as Knox County Sheriff, will become the first female sheriff in Maine history.
All these hundreds of active supporters and volunteers resulted in a group effort that enabled us to use our $112,000 in total campaign contributions wisely and effectively. Doing the math, you can see that we spent only about $1 for every vote we got. It looks like Olympia Snowe will have spent more than $3 million when all the numbers are in, which means she spent almost $8 for every vote she received.
Here's the frustrating part: CNN's exit poll showed that 65 percent of Maine voters disapproved of the Iraq war. But of those who disapproved of the war, 66 percent told CNN they voted for Olympia Snowe anyway. So, of Snowe's almost 400,000 votes, an estimated 230,000 of them came from people who oppose the war. Think about that. As we know, Snowe voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002 and for every war funding bill since. She is a war hawk, and only four weeks before the election did she suddenly decide that "staying the course is neither an option nor a plan." I, on the other hand, have been against this war since before it started. It was the primary reason I decided to run against Olympia Snowe. It has been my main campaign theme the entire race. If people had been paying attention, if 145,000 of those 230,000 anti-war voters had gone my way instead of Snowe's, I would be apartment hunting in Washington. So, at $1 per vote cast for me, I can't help but wonder what another $150,000 might have been able to accomplish, how much better we would have been able to get our message out.
We will save for another day the analysis of why a number of Beltway Democratic and/or progressive organizations that should have been on-board (DSCC, EMILY's List, National NOW, National PDA, National DFA, Move-On, etc.) shied away or outright refused to help. There's nothing we can do about that now. But you can see my frustration.
Now that the election is over, the bottom line financially is that this campaign has about $6,000 in unpaid bills coming due the next few weeks, and just over $13,000 in outstanding loans. It will be a financial hardship for David and me to cover those bills and to write off those loans. (Some of you may know that David was laid off in March, when the company he worked for downsized. We've been living off our savings since the June primary.) So if you have some extra cash, or have arm-twisting ability with personal friends who may be able/willing to help out after the fact, please send them our way. Individual contributions are limited to $2,100 per election cycle, but the primary election and the general election are considered separate election cycles. At this point, any checks we receive (made out to Jean Hay Bright U.S. Senate) should indicate in the memo line which election cycle (primary or general) the money should be applied toward. Campaign and home address is 4262 Kennebec Rd., Dixmont, ME 04932.
The bottom-line politically is that, from her perspective, Sen. Snowe can claim a mandate from Maine voters to continue her destructive ways. (Any way you look at it, 74% of the vote is a substantial mandate.) Despite all our best efforts, Maine voters -- many of them anti-war Democrats -- have returned to office for a six-year term a pro-war Bush-enabler who has had no qualms about denying habeas corpus rights to people our government is holding without charge around the world, who is willing to pardon George Bush for violating our Fourth Amendment rights with his warrant-less wiretapping of American citizens, who threw her support behind the horrific Military Commissions Act, and who is willing to confirm any nominee George Bush puts forward, for Supreme Court, federal judgeships, UN ambassador, CIA chief, etc. Snowe now has even more reason to ignore us, or arrest us, when we pile into her offices demanding a change of direction or a shift in her vote.
I hope that the Democratic sweep across the nation will serve to curb Snowe's right-wing tendencies. But whether that scenario works out the way we would like it to work out remains to be seen.
We've begun posting a few post-election comments on our Blog. Feel free to add your own. (The postings are not automatic, we don't have that technology, so you're sending us an email which we will post later.)
You may also want to check out these election sites:
Election results from BDN -- http://www.bangornews.com/election/2006/
Exit poll from CNN -- http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/ME/S/01/epolls.0.html
Thank you again for all your work and for your best wishes. It has been wonderful working with you. If we can figure out how to do it, we should harness that energy to make for a better world. But that, too, is for another day. I need to get back to farming, and to spend some time figuring out what comes next in my life.
Love to you all,