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I am going to be upfront, I am currently working as the Internet Outreach Coordinator for another candidate in the PA Senate race.  

His name is Chuck Pennacchio.

Kos's front page post about "Casey mulling a man-on-dog challenge," has sparked me to speak on some of the reasons I drove 1000+ miles to help get Chuck's campaign off-the-ground online -- and why I think he is the best candidate of those deciding whether or not to run.

I hope you will allow me to share them with you below the fold.

Update [2005-1-18 18:29:48 by ttagaris]: Chuck is reading this diary right now from his office before he heads home from teaching for the day.

Please keep the recommendations and questions coming. When he returns he will address them all.

First of all, from a strict netroots perspective, the fact that I was his first hire speaks volumes.  The first time we talked I began to pontificate about what the netroots is capable of, but I was wasting my breath.  He was already sold.

The interesting thing was, that his focus wasn't even on fundraising -- it was on using the net to organize and solicit ideas. He is committed to reaching out directly to the netroots, soliciting those ideas, feedback, and including us in the effort.  You will see him on sites like Kos, MyDD, and BOP News.

At that point, I was sold.

OK.  That's great.  But who the hell is Chuck Pennacchio, what experience does he have, and why the hell do you think he can win?

Well, did you know that Democrats have lost the last 13 full-term US Senate elections in the state of Pennsylvania?  Amazing.  Clearly, the status quo is also untenable in the Keystone State.  And remember, this is a state that went for Kerry -- we don't need to run Joe Leiberman here.

Stephen Yellin included Chuck when talking about the 2006 Pennsylvania Senate race this weekend.

For now, there's one Democrat who's running against Santorum, and that's Chuck Pennacchio.

Pennacchio, a history professor from Philadelphia, is a progressive in the mold of Paul Wellstone, and with the same fire and passion. He served as Deputy Manager of Tim Wirth's 1986 upset to succeed Gary Hart in the US Senate from Colorado, and was Paul Simon's field director in Iowa in 1988 (where Simon nearly beat favorite Dick Gephardt), so he's not a neophyte either.

You can also toss on campaign organizer for Senator Tom Harkin when Harkin was first elected to the United States Senate.  

And why did he do so well?  Cause he has always placed an emphasis on grassroots politics.  It's not about the ability to raise billions of dollars and going on the air in a series of ad wars with Republicans.

It's about connecting, face to face with voters and sharing a dialogue about a good progressive message.

That is a winning message, not something we have to run away from to win, especially in "blue states."

So what does Chuck do now?  He is a History & Political Science Professor at a school in Philadelphia.

And the students love him.  He was selected as "professor of the year," by the Delaware Valley College Student Government 2 years ago.  Now he teaches at the University of the Arts in Philly.

He is a serious candidate.  If you are a member of any DFA group in PA, check your rolls -- there is a good chance you will see Chuck on the list.

The campaign also has a fiercely loyal core of volunteers committed to organizing state-wide.  There was one man who drove 3 hours (both ways) just to attend a DFA meetup at Penn State last week.

Ask Chance the Garnder (Kossack/ite/mopolitan), they met there.

Here is the bottom-line.  Whoever gets out this primary will have the support of a nation at their back.  A ham sandwhich could get 51% of the vote in the primary and raise millions of dollars just because they are running against Santorum.

But as the grassroots of a party, what stops us from getting involved in Democratic primaries?  Why don't we do everything we can to get our candidates selected in primaries as opposed to supporting the establishments choice.

Sure, it involves working actively for more months in an election cycle.  But to reclaim our party, isn't it worth it?

And when that candidate gets out of the primary, it is in our best interest to have one that is willing to put the time and resources into a solid grassroots campaign, respects all that is possible in the netroots, and reflects the values and ideals we hold dear.

With Professor Pennacchio, you have that chance.  For many of us, if a status quo candidate gets the nomination - the only "man/woman on dog" we have in the fight is an anti-Santorum one.  Sometimes being the anti-candidate just isn't enough.

Right now I am getting a new website up befitting of a campaign on the cusp of starting a netroots movement.

It will have all of the tools for two-way communication, inclusion, and participation we in the netroots deserve.  It will also serve as a window into the campaign never seen before.

The content is being updated and upgraded daily.  When the new site is on-line it will be like nothing you have seen before.

Tim

Internet Outreach Coordinator
Pennacchio for Pennsylvania
http://www.chuckfosenate2006.com
tim@chuckforsenate2006.com

P.S. The candidate is teaching right now, but when he returns, I am sure he will want to respond to all of your questions.  He already has his Kos account.

Don't forget your ideas about what you would like to see from the "perfect" campaign website.

Fill it up below.

Originally posted to ttagaris on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 01:27 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  why beat it - it tastes so good... n/t (none)
  •  Yes yes yes. (none)
    Drop you comments and suggestions below.  This campaign is going to reach out like never seen before.

    I hope you give our efforts a serious look.

    Tim

  •  Did you work for Jeff Seeman's campaign? (none)
    I'm trying to remember where I've seen your handle before....I thought you were running one of the "David vs. Goliath" campaigns during the 2004 election cycle.  If you were on Seeman's campaign, I wanted to ask what his plans for '06 are.
  •  Alternatives (none)
    Are there House races that either Pennacchio or Casey could go after as an alternative?  Sounds like 2 good candidates.
    •  Thank you. (none)
      He is a great candidate.  I was at a house party for Chuck the other night and watched him turn a room on its head.

      Two hours in a Q&A with 22 people, and the room was still completely engaged when it ended.

      I will let Chuck address this questions specifically when he gets back.

      Personally, I know that we need a progressive option in this race.  By not having one, the voices of millions of Pennsylvanians and Americans who have a stake in this race are silenced.

      Anybody but Santorum will not beat Rick Santorum at the end of the day.

      Tim

      •  Does Chuck have any experience (none)
        other than other people's campaigns'? What makes him qualified to be a US Senator? I am from Pa and will be working hard in the '06 election... for someone. A viable progressive alternative to Casey would truely be a gift. (As far as I can tell, Casey doesn't even have a website.) I would be interested to see what Chuck has to offer. Maybe I'll wait until the website launches and see for myself. How soon until launch?
        •  Well... (none)
          There is a website up right now:

          http://www.chuckforsenate2006.com

          What we are doing is creating more tools for involvement and two-way communication.

          As soon as we finish getting the resources to get that off the ground, it will be like nothing you have seen before.

          So for now, you can check out that site.  Chuck will be on here often, so there will be plenty of changes to talk directly with the candidate on Kos and our blog (and other agents of communication) once it gets off the ground.

          Thanks,

          Tim

          •  Ahhhh, that's better (none)
            I didn't realize that the first link was incorrect. Thanks, Tim.
          •  I heard about Pennacchio on dKos (none)
            I heard about Pennacchio on dKos awhile ago.  I e-mailed him just before Christmas to ask about his position on gun control, since that was not addressed on his website, and is a critical issue in PA. No answer!  Should I have expected one by now?

            It would be great to have a progressive candidate.  I'll be watching to see how his campaign progresses.

            Word to the wise:  dump the PENNacchio for PENNsylvania thing -- very amateurish.  Sorry.

            I'm not moving to Canada. I'm gonna stay here and be a MAJOR pain in his ass.

            by politichic on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 02:48:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re: PENNacchio for PENNsylvania (none)
              I thought it was silly at first too, but it is very effective;  name recognition is the key and this sticks with you.  Chuck came to the Harrisburg DFA meetup a couple of weeks ago & I met him - very impressed with him.   But I couldn't remember his website address.  I did remember the PENNacchio for PENNsylvania logo and found a reference to the siete on google.   Name recognition is what killed Joe Hoeffel; if this works I say stay with it.

              Central PA: Come Blow Your Horn on Little Blog Blue

              by Jeff in PA on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 04:57:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You could be right (none)
                The name IS hard to remember without some kind of mnemonic device.  I guess I shouldn't underestimate the tolerance of the populace for dumb-sounding things . . . look at much of television, for example.

                What do you know about PENNacchio's stance on gun control and taxes?

                I'm not moving to Canada. I'm gonna stay here and be a MAJOR pain in his ass.

                by politichic on Wed Jan 19, 2005 at 09:55:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Dumb Question, But (none)
        If Joe Hoeffel elects to run, given his progressive credentials and superior name recognition, why should someone support Chuck instead?
        •  Great Question, Actually. (none)
          Chuck did alot of work in supporting Joe Hoeffel's campaign locally, and it's a question that has been raised at house parties we've attended.

          I don't want to bastardize his answer, so I will let the candidate answer for himself when he returns to the office.

          So check back and expect an answer from the candidate directly.

          Tim

      •  Anybody but Santorum... (none)
        Good quote, I must agree.  

        You've started early enough. Now organize, organize, organize.

        "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."

        by WA Dem PL on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 02:19:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup. (none)
          Like I addressed above, he is grassroots.  He understands the value of organizing throughout the entire state.

          The most telling story so far (in the short time I have been here) is the supporter who drove 3 hours each way to attend a State College meetup.

          Isn't that amazing?

          Organization is the key to any solid grassroots effort, and yes, we have started early.  First out of the gate.

          Tim

    •  Senate over House (none)
      That's what I know; that's what I've spent a lifetime studying for, a lifetime organizing for, and a lifetime preparing for.  

      Witness: Personal Aide to Alan Cranston, organizer/manager for Harkin, Wirth, Simon, and Kerry/Edwards.

      I also earned a Ph.D. in diplomatic history--as the central role of a Senator is to understand and execute on questions of foreign policy.

      Thanks and best,

      Chuck Pennacchio  

      •  Ph.D. in Diplomatic History?!! (none)
        Foreign Policy as central to the role of a Senator?! Hot damn--We're getting pretty close to you getting my support.

        This might be a dead thread by now, but Chuck, tell me what you think after CAFTA. How 'bout free trade in general? Peter Beinart? You got a region of the world you're most interested in? Maybe I'll go look at your bio at... where do you teach again?

        •  Not dead to me... (none)
          I am always checking back.  It will be a staple of the campaigns online outreach; leave no thread unchecked.

          He teaches at University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

          I will find out about CAFTA & Free Trade.  If nothing else, there will be dozens of other threads, and a blog on our homepage.  Bookmark it?

          Tim

  •  Bad Link (none)
    Tim,

    Just wanted to tell you that the above link (chuckforsenate) is a letter off.

  •  I run a DFA group in Princeton, NJ (none)
    and Chuck has joined my group, posted on the board, and emailed me on occasion about his campaign. He's not an active member or anything, and he doesn't come to any meetups, but that's not the point. It would be impossible to do. He's reaching out to all the area meetups, and that's brilliant. I'm not in his state, but if he ever wants to come to our meetup to ask for support, he's more than welcome to (we also have a lot of money).

    now - watch this drive.

    by jmelli on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 02:33:46 PM PST

    •  Thank you. (none)
      Actually, it wouldn't be impossible for us to get there.  In fact, you can expect us there at some point, probably soon.

      Support from NJ, MD, and DE will be crucial in mobilizing a strong ground game in the eastern part of the state.

      Like I stressed above, this candidate has a great mind for what it takes to successfully organize.  With a bit of momentum at the start -- we have a great chance.

      It's been done before.

      Thanks again,

      Tim

    •  Princeton gathering (4.00)
      Let's do it.  Please feel free to e-mail me on possible times and locations.

      Thanks and best,

      Chuck Pennacchio

      chuck@chuckforsenate2006.com

  •  recommended (none)
    It is going to be very interesting to see where this goes -- this is a race we all need to pay attention to.

    I'm glad we have one of our own directing communications.

    I think Tim can probably make this a model for the country on how a candidate can maximize the netroots.

    •  Kind words. (none)
      And once again, thank you for the recommendation.

      Of course, I agree with you on the "one of our own" comment.  I think you will see more and more people of the netroots take positions on campaign.

      The key is to get them a seat AT the table with the senior staff members.  I am glad that I have that here.

      Tim

  •  Is this his work? (none)
    Is this article about county elections in PA an example of his writing?
  •  He Needs Statewide Office First (none)
    In a big state like PA, there is no replacement for the name recognition that comes from running for statewide office.  I'm sure I would love Chuck as a candidate, but he's not going to make an impact without first being Treasurer, Auditor, Lieutenant Governor, etc...  That was one of Hoeffel's weaknesses.  Chuck needs to build from something, not run for Senate as his first elected office.
    •  statewide office first (4.00)
      Respecting your view, there is more than one way to skin this cat.  Just take a look at John Corzone, Bill Frist, and Paul Wellstone as examples of Senate winners with no previous public office experience, let alone statewide position.  Joe Hoeffel's problem was not his limited political base.  After all, Rick Santorum rose from the House to the Senate.  Hoeffel's problem was lack of organization, resources, message, and management.  My track record in organizing wins for Harkin, Wirth, Simon, and Kerry/Edwards (PA) has taught me as much.
      Thanks and best,
      Chuck Pennacchio
      chuck@chuckforsenate2006.com
      www.chuckforsenate2006.com
       
      •  But . . . (none)
        1.  Santorum was running against a two-year incumbent amid the 1994 anti-Dem wave; he's now a 12-year incumbent himself.  

        2.  Two of the three senators mentioned could self-finance millions of dollars; can you?

        3.  I absolutely dispute your characterization of Hoeffel's campaign w/r/t message, organization and management.  Could you clarify what you mean there?
        •  He will expand - stick around... (none)
          He was rushing to catch a train home as he was posting.

          Tim

        •  To point #3 (none)
          I loved Joe Hoeffel but he ran an awful campaign.   At least here in Harrisburg, there was no coordination between his office and the county & state dem offices (I went to the state dem office trying to find yard signs, etc. and not only didn't they have them, but no one in the office even knew where Hoeffel's Hbg office was.  While that's a negative for the state dem party, I put more blame on the candidate).   There was no coordination between Hoeffel and PA Victory 04.   None between Hoeffel and the grassroots organization.  

          And what was Hoeffel's message?   He wasn't the most dynamic candidate and did not articulate anything the resonated with voters.   I supported Hoeffel more than any candidate other than Kerry, but I will not support him in the Primary because I am certain he will lead to 6 more years of Santorum.

          Central PA: Come Blow Your Horn on Little Blog Blue

          by Jeff in PA on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 05:08:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah (none)
            i agree, with no on Hoeffel.  there seem to be better options out there.  i was incredibly dissapointed when i heard him speak at the K/E rally in Pittsburgh shortly before the election.  he was underwhelming to say the least.  he just was not a good communicator.  he made kerry look like clinton up on the stage.

            disclaimer: i really am from mars

            by juls on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 07:12:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Facts (none)
            1.  There were no lawn signs because there were no lawn signs.  As soon as the campaign got them in, they were shipped out to Dem HQs in every county, and went away quickly.  We just couldn't get enough printed, given how much we focused on tv.  And we all spent plenty of time in that office -- with TJ and the entire staff supporting us.

            2.  Coordination between PA Victory '04 and the campaign was massive.  They were two floors up from us in Philadelphia.

            3.  There was no Hoeffel office in Hbg.

            4.  What was the message?  Specter = Bush.  89%.  Over and over.  When people heard it, they bought it.
        •  Why I will win (none)
          Thanks for your feedback.

          Santorum is more vulnerable than Wofford was in 1994.  Among other weaknesses, his first public pledge was to limit Senate terms to 12 years, and to limit jury awards to $250,000 (his wife took $350K in a subsequent settlement).

          Much as I loved Joe Hoeffel as a candidate, I was pained that he never executed a complete campaign strategy.

          Thanks and best,

          Chuck Pennacchio  

  •  Yes... (4.00)
    A Pennacchio volunteer came all the way up to little old State College last week to share his message at our DFA meetup.  

    As I posted on the main page Casey thread, I think this race is the time to campaign hard for a single-payer system and if Casey runs then his feet should be held to the fire on that issue in the primary -- maybe Pennacchio's progressive grassroots effort can make that happen.  I watched the Wellstone! documentary the other night.  The thought of someone speaking truth to power like that again is very appealing.

    The major hurdle as I see it is getting his message out to all the elderly voters who take part in the primary in even more disproportionate numbers. Casey is already a trusted household name with them.  Even my perennial idea to run hard on the issue of long-term care is complicated by Casey's record of "getting tough" on nursing homes.

    "The government is us, you and me." - TR

    by Chance the gardener on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 02:54:45 PM PST

  •  wellstone analogies (none)
    I'm a native Philadelphian now living in NYC, already planning to donate as much as I can afford and otherwise help out however possible to send Sen. Man-on-Dog home for keeps in Jan. 2007. Pennacchio sounds like a compelling candidate. As someone who's never much liked the Caseys and was in total dismay when the Democrats ran a DINO against Santorum in 2000, I'd love to believe that he has a shot.

    Paul Wellstone was, IMO, the most admirable person in public life I've seen in my 31 years. But I'm not at all sure that Paul Wellstone could have won in Pennsylvania, where there's no DFL tradition, no "prairie populism" legacy to draw upon, no Humphreys and Gene McCarthys lodged in the state's collective memory.

    Wellstone's other great strength, from everything I've read about the man, was his ability to, one, effectively represent farmers and rural voters in Congress; and two, earn the respect of those voters such that even if they didn't agree with him, they generally admired him and felt that he was, in some sense, "on their side." Again, maybe this stems from the populist backstory of MN.

    Perhaps Pennacchio can do all these things too. And (though it arguably contradicts what I just wrote) I love the idea of a Philadelphian running against Santorum; the reason we win the state in presidential years but lose the Senate is that Philly only bothers to vote in real force for the top office. Perhaps with one of their own in the race, they could swing it in the off-year.

    But as the diary author says, the absolute key is knocking Sick Rick out of office. I hope the candidate can answer these questions I've raised well enough to give me (and, obviously more important, the Democrats who actually vote in PA) confidence that he can do that.

    •  Wellstone analogies (none)
      Paul Wellstone's strategy was brilliant.  No doubt.  Not only is his former campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, offering advice, but we have the added advantage of the Internet that was never there to help Wellstone.  

      Stand up for farmers?  You bet.  I'm an active member of the PA Grange, I live in rural Bucks County, and taught 6 years at Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture.

      I also have strong ties to veterans (having been a military caseworker to Ron Dellums and aide to vet-champ Alan Cranston), strong ties to educators (as one), and strong ties to labor (having organized workers).

      Thanks and best,

      Chuck Pennacchio  

  •  You took my breath away... (none)
    ... with the idea that Chuck is in the Wellstone mold. We miss our beloved Senator every day.

    If this comparison holds up, get audio or video up of a speech ASAP. Hearing Gov. Dean on the Internet is what had me hooked just 6 weeks after Wellstone died.  

    The candidate's positions and style need to be front and center once people find your site.

    •  Agreed. (none)
      We are going to use audio and video like never before.

      Podcasting is just the tip of the iceberg.  When I tell you there will be a "window into the campaign," I mean it.

      I don't want to go into too much detail online, simply because we are going to first in so much using the netroots to participate in two-way communication.

      Tim

      •  Past public speaking (none)
        I see that Dr. Pennacchio has been involved in debates, teach-ins, and other public speaking events for the past couple years:
        "The question is where should the balance be between the demands of liberty and the demands of security," Pennacchio said. "The forfeiture of one almost certainly ensures the loss of the other. During war time there is a tradition of looking the other way. There is a tradition of setting constitutional rights up on a shelf."
        Because public speaking and debate are an important part of campaigning, I'd be really interested in seeing a recording of one of these events, if such a thing exists.
  •  Creaming Santorum (none)
    First of all, Tim, I want to congratulate you on being the first of us out of the gate in the fight to kick the frothy mixture out of office.

    I recommended the diary, because I believe that a high priority for us at dkos should be to keep up the chatter about primary candidates for 2006 Senate and House races--especially in the all-important contest with Santorum. We can play a great role by encouraging those we like and who we think can win. Through this electronic primary process of sorts, we've already had a huge impact on the DNC chair race--witness the meteoric decline of Tim Roemer.  

    On Professor Pennachio's candidacy, I will certainly now take a good look at him. I've appreciated very much your work on Swing State Project, so your endorsement itself goes a long way with me. He also seems to me to be a guy who knows how to win, which scores a lot of points with this Vince Lombardi Democrat.

    And I guess that leads me into my question for the candidate:
    I'm thinking there's a good chance that a strong showing from you early, alongside candidacies from maybe Kathleen McGinty and Barbara Hafer, might well convince Casey to keep focused on that 2010 gubernatorial race. Since, my primary concern is simply that we win--particularly this currently Santorum-held seat--please convince me that you would be the strongest candidate the Dems have to offer in 2006.

    Also, guys, I see that this thread has fallen off the page, so RECOMMEND it.

    •  Thank you. (none)
      I appreciate the endorsement to recommend the diary as well.  It's okay that it has fallen; you will see plenty of us for the next year.

      Expect Chuck to get to all of these terrific questions shortly.

      Tim

    •  convince me (none)
      I am the only candidate serious enough to be in the race this early; the only one with a Senate winning tradition under my belt (organizing/managing for Tom Harkin, Tim Wirth, and S.B. Woo [primary]); the only one running as a citizen-candidate (non-careerist); the only one with rural, suburban, and urban roots; and the only one with national security, international diplomacy, and history expertise (see above).

      Thanks and best,

      Chuck Pennacchio

  •  Way to go Tim! (none)
    I sent you a E-mail. Reply with a phone # and time if you want to talk. I could give you my # also.

    "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." - Adolf Hitler. Quoted By Bill Moyers 12-17-04

    by Tomtech on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 04:35:11 PM PST

    •  great. (none)
      If you can - please also send the email to ttagaris@yahoo.com

      Unfortunately, the pop server is 'poot' right now, and I am just a comm guy -- a true tech-idiot.

      Thanks,

      Tim

      •  Check your e-mail (none)
        I havent been saving my E-mails so it may be a little different from the other one but not much.

        "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." - Adolf Hitler. Quoted By Bill Moyers 12-17-04

        by Tomtech on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 07:03:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did. (none)
          And I emailed you back.

          I included my cell number, give me a call.  I'll be up until around 1 AM EsT.  Feel free to call before then.  Seriously, don't hesitate even though its late.

          Tim

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