Obama letter brings Democratic donors out of the woodwork

June 27, 2012

A fundraising appeal from President Barack Obama on Monday netted Democratic Congressional candidates their biggest online fundraising day ever, New York Congressman Steve Israel said at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Obama made an email appeal asking supporters to donate $3 or more to help the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The appeal raised $580,000, said Israel, chairman of the DCCC, which helps recruit and raise money for candidates for the House of Representatives.

“Our base is animated, engaged, writing checks,” Israel said. “Our grassroots participation is absolutely off the charts.”

Obama’s brief email contained the suggestion that “if you’re with me, then I need you right now. We’re just days away from the mid-year fundraising deadline — this is the biggest test yet of our commitment to win in 2012. We can’t fall short on this one.”

Israel said small checks have been flowing into the committee’s coffers recently. “A few weeks ago a guy sent us his World War Two war bond,” he added.

Democrats need a net increase of 25 seats in the November election to take back control of the House of Representatives.

Israel said he is buoyed by recent surveys – from Reuters/Ipsos, Bloomberg and CNN – showing that voters prefer Democrats over Republicans on a generic Congressional ballot but that the expected flood of spending from deep-pocketed Super PACs backing Republicans “keeps me up at night.” The DCCC has tried to counter that onslaught by reserving blocks of TV advertising time in 60 districts where it expects Super PACs to be active.

Being an incumbent will be a detriment for congressional candidates from either party in November given the public’s disdain for the political process, Israel said. “The whole Washington brand is in trouble – but the House Republican brand is toxic,” he said. “That’s the brand they have to defend.”

Photo credit: Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, speaks during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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