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.
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.
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.
Internet Outreach Coordinator
Pennacchio for Pennsylvania
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.