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Donation strategy in a political swarm

Donation strategy in a political swarm

From a reader:

Sorry to bother you, Professor, but I got an e-mail from a Wisconsin Recall Fund (which I don’t remember donating to, but they probably bought my e-mail from a list since I made several donations to Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefish), asking for donations to help defeat a Jennifer Schilling, Democrat state senator.

I don’t intend to give them any money, but would probably donate something to her opponent – if I could find out who it is. I’ve tried several searches and had no luck finding out, and thought you might know of some sources I could try (or maybe you even know who this person is).

I don’t have a lot of money to donate to politics, but have been saving what little overtime I get for the past 2 years, so I’ve got a nice little “war chest” to help fiscal conservatives get elected. I helped get some elected to Congress in 2010, and it actually felt good! I do appreciate your suggestions on L.I., and have donated to several of them.

I’d also like to ask your advice. Do you think what little money I’ve saved for this would be better spent on the national races (other than the candidates in my home state of Virginia that I want to support), or would it better to send some of it to local races in other states that could make a difference? I’m not very knowledgeable about politics (and quite frankly would have nothing to do with anything political if I weren’t so furious at what the leftists – politicians and media – have done to my country). You seem very knowledgeable, and I’d appreciate any suggestions to help me focus in an area that’s foreign to me.

Thanks for all you do.

This year is like a political swarm.  There are so many important races and so many candidates worthy of supporting; it gets even more complicated when one considers the federal versus state issue.

I tend to focus on federal, particularly in a year like this when defeating Obama is the highest priority, followed closely by holding the House and retaking the Senate.  The damage being done at the federal level is so severe that improving our position in states, while important, will be largely irrelevant if Obama and the Democrats get to complete their missoin for four more years in D.C.

The swarm problem is why I created Operation Counterweight focusing on a relatively small number of congressional races in which relatively small donations can make a difference.

There are too many important races to donate to everyone, so pick a small number and do as much as you can afford as early as you can.  A donation in late August is worth a lot more to a candidate than a donation in late October.

I haven’t launched my own personal donation campaign, that’s probably coming next week.  I plan on giving until it hurts, because if we believe what we have been saying about this being the most important election of our lifetimes, then we should put our money where our mouths are.

Early next week I’ll unveil the final Operation Counterweight list.

(Search the Operation Counterweight tag to see who we’ve covered so far.)


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


In VA, donating to some Commonwealth Senate candidates might be worthwhile. That house is nearly split, the actual House is mostly GOP.

But the US Senate race and the POTUS race here are going to be key. Canvassing and volunteering will locally will do more damage than donation.

100% solution: Donate time in VA, donate money elsewhere.


Henry Hawkins | August 10, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Awesome, Mr. J. Count me in.

Allen West contribution, DONE.

According to Shilling’s (note the spelling) Wikipedia page, “Bill Feehan, a La Crosse businessman and county board supervisor, announced he’d run against Shilling in the regularly scheduled fall election.” Link:

Yep, time to put our time, money, and energy where our hearts are.

I just contacted Connie Mack’s campaign after driving home and seeing a sea of Nelson signs. Mack winning the FL senate seat is possible, and I’m jumping in to do what I can locally. This will be only my second actual, on the ground involvement in a political campaign (the first was Scott Brown’s in MA; obviously, I’ve since moved to FL), but it won’t be my last. Whatever the outcome this November, our work will not be done for years (if ever, we cannot go back to sleep).

Absolutely love the professors Operation Counterweight. Can’t go wrong there. Another site making a serious impact this year is the Campaign for Primary Accountability. The strategy they’ve hit on has already forced a number of “early retirements” that are good news for voters. Besides the white house, changing congress should be our highest priority, I believe. You make the biggest impact focusing your donations there.

This focus on where we should target our donations is extremely helpful. Thank you for it.

In addition to donating money to Conservative Senate and House candidates for federal seats in states outside the state one lives and which can be flipped, would also suggest getting out the vote for the local and state races ie sign up to make phone calls, walk door to door, have small groups of people on sidewalks-during rush hour and expecially closer to election day- holding signs for the most Conservative candidates running (holding signs is actually quite effective and an inexpensive way to advertise your candidate to the public and it also give the impression that candidate has serious volunteers).

Money is extremely important, however volunteering time to get out the vote to a public which typically pays less than seven minutes per week paying attention to politics is far more influencial than just relying on tv ads.

    syn in reply to syn. | August 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Note, even if you live outside the state of another Conservaitve candidate you’d like to help get elected you can make phone calls (especially if you have unlimited calls or unlimited calling on weekends) Sign up to volunteer to make phone calls and most campaign will give you a call list and script.

    FOr example, right now there is an important primary Aug 14th in FL District 7 Sandy Adams (conservative) vs John Mica (republican and Obama’s favorite cheerleader.

    Sandy Adams won in 2010-with the help of the Tea Party- and kept her promises while in office then was redistricted and is now having to run against the corrupt John Mica.

I just wish there was some way to make donations without being inundated with junk mail and phone calls for the next several years.

    barbara in reply to malclave. | August 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    GFL on that one, malclave.

    Once you make a donation one time to someone, a bazillion others will buy your address/e-mail and innundate you forever. The first thing I have to do when I go to my e-mail is delete a bunch begging e-mails from politicians I’ve never donated to. (Same with mail – 90% of it goes directly into the recycle bin.)

    Do yourself a favor and get a separate hotmail or g-mail account to use for political donations. Wish I had…. 🙁

Obama signs bill exempting presidential appointees from Senate confirmation
Published: 8:23 PM 08/10/2012

This significantly undermines the constitutional scheme of our Republic, effectively neutering Advice and Consent of the Senate for presidential appointees…

Our Government’s legitimacy is eroding right before our eye’s.

What’s this? Legal Insurrection PAC? Excellent! ‘LIPAC” sounds a little odd though.

Just so you know, I got a phone call from an unidentified number purporting to be from the Republican party national senatorial campaign asking for donations. I told him that I am not a Republican, I have a Democratic history, but I am very much aware of the need for the Republicans to take the White House and the Senate.

I also told him I would be donating to Operation counterweight.
The Republican Party has been dismissive of the TEA Parties, and seems to be buying into the lies of the Democratic Party, that the TEA Parties are all right-wing radicals.

For me, radicalism has always been an anathema. Radicals, in my opinion, are simplistic and wasteful. Part of the appeal of the TEA Parties is that they set aside the culture-war issues to deal with the country’s fiscal problems. I believe the cultural issues are routinely used as a wedge and a distraction so that scoundrels can have the freedom to take taxpayer money and divert it to their political cronies.

Professor, I hope you include some PACs in your suggestions.