There have been a couple of different developments in the various campaigns that I thought I’d post. Forgive the detour through bullet-point land, but this will just be a collection of otherwise disconnected facts and factoids. Feel free to use the comment section as an open thread.
- Pombo’s destructive mining provision was passed in the budget reconciliation bill passed Friday. I’m not sure what will happen to it during the conference committee, but I’m not hopeful.
One of the interesting aspects of the provision that has gone largely unnoticed in the press is how the giveaway of federal land might have the effect of privatizing land that Native Americans claim as their ancestral land. (Update 8:10 PM-To be clear, some of this land is held in trust by the federal government for Native American tribes. So this would be a direct transfer of land from Native Americans to other private entities). These types of land claims by Native Americans have come up in hearings Pombo has held about Indian gambling, so he is certainly aware of the problem.
But then again, I would not expect Richard Pombo to prioritize the equitable treatment of Native Americans over the chance to privatize federal land in the service of his campaign contributors. Ideologically and financially, Richard Pombo always stands with those who view the land as an exploitable resource.
- I was informed yesterday that while Margee Ensign was speaking to the DVC Young Dems, Steve Filson and Jerry McNerney were meeting and greeting folks at a Phil Angelides event in San Francisco. Apparently Ensign was aware of this event, although I’m not sure when she found out. Still, if there was a way to announce her candidacy on a night that was sure to be overshadowed by other Democrats, this was it.
- There are two news items about Jerry McNerney’s campaign.
First, McNerney has hired consultants in Washington to help with his fundraising. We’ll see how that turns out. McNerney needs to seriously begin raising PAC money, and he might find some labor or environmental groups that are willing to donate something to him. I’m not an expert, but I have been told that PACs will sometimes give money to more than one candidate in a race. If McNerney can get even half the money Filson has raised from PAC, it will push McNerney over the $100,000 threshold he definitely needs to reach (and surpass) by the next FEC reporting date.
Second, McNerney has successfully recruited some people to help him shore up a couple aspects of his campaign that were a bit weak. The WDRC has a strategic planning retreat today, and at least three members who attended the retreat were volunteering for his campaign, including the two immediate past co-chairs. The club may or may not make an endorsement in the primary, but it’s significant that there was a break out session at this retreat about fighting Pombo. None of the active members, to my knowledge, are involved with either of the other two Democratic campaigns, so I could see the WDRC moving into the McNerney camp in the future. Also, although some WDRC members have been working with McNerney for awhile, some of them have only recently been given (or maybe, accepted) more centralized roles that are commensurate with their significant skill and experience. (Full disclosure, I’m a member of the club and some of the McNerney Campaign volunteers are close friends of mine). Still, both my personal and political instincts tell me that his campaign is headed towards where he needs it to go.
Steve Filson sent out the following update to my co-author VPO:
[VPO], we are continuing to build our momentum and as you know this comes in the form of funding and leadership support, both from civic and elected officials, and of course through meeting as many people we can one on one and through all the associations. We are doing well in all these areas. We are currently marking up and finalizing a couple of appearances before the end of the year.
All of Filson’s activity occurs somewhat off my radar. I only personally know of one person who has was impressed with him, but the last time we had a conversation she spoke very highly of Ensign.