If you were running to become the junior U.S. senator from New York, where would you raise money?
Certainly, your home state (in this case, New York) comes to mind. And since New York is home to New York City, the go-to place for political fundraising dollars, you would have no problem raising funds from the large group of people willing to give the maximum amount to any candidate they like.
For Jonathan Tasini, his fundraising locale of choice isn't the state he wishes to represent, but rather Del Mar, California. That is where Tasini was last night for a fundraiser hosted by actor Richard Dreyfuss.
Jimmy Vielkind has more on the Tasini Hollywood fundraiser:
Jonathan Tasini, a labor activist who is mounting a left-flank challenge to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will host a fund-raiser tonight in Los Angeles featuring actor Richard Dreyfuss.
Tasini told me by phone from LA that he has known Dreyfuss--the star of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Mr. Holland's Opus--for about three years. Dreyfuss is an active Democratic donor, and played Dick Cheney in the 2008 film W. Tickets start at $100 a head.
I asked Tasini how things were going, in light of a new poll which shows Kirsten Gillibrand running behind potential Republican opponents.
"I believed from the very beginning that she will not be the senator from New York," Tasini said. "It will either be that I defeat he in the primary, or she'll lose in the general election. Democrats should be very concerned about that; I will be a much stronger candidate against any Republican."
"I intend to be the nominee. I'm very confident in that," he said, noting things are "very, very different" than his Quixotic 2006 primary against Hillary Clinton.
I have always wanted Siena or Marist to include Tasini in their polling. If he thinks Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will lose in the general election and that he "will be a much stronger candidate against any Republican" then we should know just how well he fares against the likes of Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki.
There are those who come here and criticize our coverage of this race and label the whole blog (The Albany Project) pro-Gillibrand even though there are only a few of us in this community who are outspoken in our support for Gillibrand. Yes, a few of us are front-pagers, but that doesn't make the whole group pro-Gillibrand. That is like the labeling that went on during the 2008 elections that tabbed Daily Kos as the blog for Obama and MyDD as the blog for Clinton. Were front-pagers on those respective blogs supportive of those respective candidates? Yes. But it wasn't an accurate label of those blogs.
The truth is that I would take primary opponents a little more seriously if they did two things:
(1) Ran on their own platform instead of trying to run against the incumbent. If you have to run on someone's weaknesses instead of your strengths, why bother running?
(2) Treated the race seriously by actively campaigning, traveling the state and by putting New Yorkers first just as you would have to do as senator.
In Tasini's case, he fails both. While he does have his own platform, that is not his primary focus. He is trying to highlight Gillibrand's weaknesses instead of his strengths. He did the same thing in 2006 with Hillary Clinton. It didn't work then and it won't work now.
Tasini had a problem with being viewed as a serious candidate in 2006. The same can be said now. Instead of making trips to Hollywood for fundraisers with actors, why not take that time and effort and come to upstate New York (not Ithaca, somewhere else), the North Country or hold a fundraiser on Long Island. There is more to this state than the five boroughs and Tompkins County. Apparently, Tasini doesn't know that.