Last-Minute Democracy


The Republican National Committee’s top priority is the House—this October, it’s transferred more money to the National Republican Congressional Committee (202-479-7000) than to Senate races. Giving to the RNC means giving to the ground troops on Election Day, too. RNC spokesman Danny Diaz says, “It’s very different than the Democrats. They have a hodgepodge of different groups because they’ve proven incompetent doing it themselves.” But even at ground level, it’s the RNC running the show.

The NRCC is funneling money to shore up beleaguered incumbents. New York’s District 20 (near Cooperstown), 25 (Buffalo), and 19 (the Hudson Valley) are in play, too.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (202-675-6000), headed by Elizabeth Dole, is spending $3.5 million on the last leg of Republican candidate Tom Kean Jr.’s bid in Jersey to help make up for the projected loss of seats in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Locally, funds will help get-out-the-vote efforts for incumbent Mike Ferguson (732-560-4700) in New Jersey (he’s ahead by three points in the latest polls). Signing up to volunteer for third-term Connecticut representative Rob Simmons (860-572-0001) scores a lawn sign or bumper sticker (the latest poll has him up by two). New Jersey Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr. (908-789-2100) may be the GOP’s best hope to pick up a Democratic seat; he has a campaign office in Mountainside, 35 minutes from midtown.


Robert Menendez’s New Jersey senatorial campaign (201-420-8898) has a campaign office right across the river, in Hoboken. In the most competitive congressional races close to town, Joe Courtney’s upstart bid (860) 577-8283 is looking for door-knockers against Representative Simmons in Connecticut’s District 2: “It’s scenic—you’ve got the Long Island Sound right there, and the trees have been turning,” says field director Katherine Scott. Linda Stender (908-322-1996) is facing Representative Mike Ferguson in New Jersey; campaign offices are in nearby Scotch Plains.

Direct contributions to Rahm Emanuel’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (202-863-1500) will be matched three-to-one by less-competitive Democratic House members’ own campaign coffers. Polls make the necessary fifteen-seat pickup seem very achievable; funds will go to ad buys in an expanding list of toss-up races.

Chuck Schumer’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (202-224-2447) has outraised its Republican counterpart and is spending heavily on the critical races in Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri while playing defense in New Jersey.

Howard Dean’s Democratic National Committee (877-336-7200) is giving most of the money it raises to 50-state voter-turnout efforts, rather than directly to congressional candidates. If you’re more interested in long-term party buildup than in Tuesday’s results, this is for you.

Have good intel? Send tips to

Last-Minute Democracy