|We took down Allen West and some of his best Tea Party friends.
Over a year ago, we decided to create CREDO SuperPAC in order to take down some of the most odious and extreme Tea Party Republicans in the House. People like Allen West who were just too crazy to serve in Congress and who set a new low for what is acceptable from Republicans in public life.
On Tuesday we did just that. We took down Allen West. And Joe Walsh. And Chip Cravaack. And Frank Guinta. Dan Lungren is trailing his opponent as final provisional and absentee ballots are being counted. And Michele Bachmann got the biggest scare of her political career — she retained her seat by a shockingly small margin of just over 4,000 votes.
To put in perspective just how difficult it was to pull off this feat, you need to know that 98% of incumbents win re-election. It is against those astonishing odds that we defeated five Tea Party Republicans who not only enjoyed the deep coffers of being a sitting member of Congress but who also were backed by tens of millions of dollars in rightwing super PAC ads which flooded the airwaves with negative television advertising attacking Democratic challengers.
To defend the most extreme band of Republicans in federal office in history, outside groups spent hundreds of millions of dollars, mainly on broadcast television ads. The response of the Democratic establishment and some of the biggest liberal groups in Washington DC was to fight fire with fire, launching big money ad campaigns and millions in direct mail.
We went a different way. We fought fire with water.
Instead of raising and spending millions in anonymous contributions, we built our campaign with the donations of nearly 70,000 CREDO activists and customers, giving one $20 bill at a time.
Instead of spending millions on huge ad buys in the districts, we empowered over 3,000 local volunteers to get involved and hold their extremist representatives accountable, deploying proven voter contact methods in the most cost-effective ways.
Our campaign shaped these races, and put our progressive values squarely in the local and national conversations in this election. We hired progressive organizers and opened local storefront offices that quickly became community gathering places for activists working on our campaign. We held protests in their districts, we packed their town hall meetings, we got local and national journalists to cover the Tea Party Ten’s extreme statements and actions.
And then of course we knocked on over 120,000 doors. And made over a million phone calls. And had the volunteer-to-voter conversations which are the single most effective way to move voters. Thanks to this work, and in the wake of the defeat of Allen West and the other Tea Party Ten members, all Republicans are now on notice: If you continue your attacks on women, Medicare, minorities and the middle class there will be a high price to pay.
In the districts of the Tea Party Ten and Michele Bachmann, we were up against nearly $30 million in spending by conservative super PACs. We won five races but we didn’t win them all. We fought valiant efforts to defeat Tea Party Republicans Mike Coffman (CO-6), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Sean Duffy (WI-7), Jim Renacci (OH-16) and Steve King (IA-4) but Republicans prevailed.
We didn’t pick any of these races because they were easy; we picked them because they were hard, close, competitive contests. Many of them we chose at the end of last year, knowing a lot would change but wanting to get started building this campaign, because we know that volunteer-driven field campaigns cannot be built overnight.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and so thankful to the donors, volunteers and activists who got involved and worked to make it happen. We look forward to continuing the fight together as we move forward.
We learned in 2008 that election night is not the end of our work but the beginning. And now that we’ve built CREDO SuperPAC we’re not about to hang it up on the shelf.
Our work is just beginning. Can you make a $5 recurring contribution to support our continuing work to win progressive victories and hold extremists accountable?
Of course, there were a few other things decided on Tuesday as well.
We’re pleased to see our friend Elizabeth Warren will represent Massachusetts in the Senate, and that Tammy Baldwin will become the first openly gay Senator in American history. We also cheered the defeat of some of the most appallingly anti-woman Senate candidates like Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.
And of course, it’s difficult to see Mitt Romney’s defeat as anything other than a resounding referendum on his ideology, and a great disaster averted for our country. We will now continue to push President Obama not to deal away Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits and to show at long last the real leadership we so desperately need to fight the urgent threat of climate change.
There is much to do. But Tuesday’s defeat of Allen West and his Tea Party compatriots from the House was a clear victory for grassroots activism and a clear defeat for the Tea Party ideology that has gridlocked Congress and worked to move us backwards.
We are grateful to everyone who has stood with us through this — CREDO’s biggest electoral effort ever — in the past year, and for your continued efforts to fight for the progressive values we all share. Thank you so much for everything you have done.
Becky Bond and Michael Kieschnick
CREDO Action from Working Assets
CREDO SuperPAC has worked to defeat ten of the most extreme Tea Party Republicans in Congress — Allen West (FL-18), Dan Lungren (CA-7), Joe Walsh (IL-8), Chip Cravaack (MN-8), Sean Duffy (WI-7), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Steve King (IA-4), Mike Coffman (CO-6) and Jim Renacci (OH-16) — and Michele Bachmann (MN-6) too! Learn more at