The Lamont campaign is feeling upbeat about this quarter’s fundraising, and perhaps with good reason. According to a campaign email, Lamont has raised money from over 4,000 individual donors.
I sat down with Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan today to discuss fundraising and other issues surrounding the U.S. Senate primary.
Swan was hesitant to discuss exactly how much money the Lamont campaign had raised, but did say that it was "…significantly more than what’s on [progressive fundraising site] ActBlue," which, according to a report seen on the site, currently stands at about $177,000 and accounts for 3,526 donors. Swan also added that "a decent number [of the donors] are from Connecticut," although he was unable to say precisely how many.
Swan seems confident that the Lamont campaign is keeping pace with their rivals. When asked whether Sen. Lieberman’s sizable lead in the money race worried him, Swan smiled and said, "It did before our filing deadline."
Swan acknowledged the role that the Web is having on the campaign. At this point, he said, "The netroots won’t win it for us, but we won’t win without the netroots." Later, he added, "There’s no way we’d have 4,000 donors seven weeks after hiring a campaign manager without the internet."
The Ground Game
The Lamont campaign is looking for more than just the support of the Web. According to Swan, they’ve been busy building a field organization, gathering enough signatures to petition their way on the ballot, continuing to develop issues and reaching out to delegates and organizations. And, although many unions are standing behind Lieberman, Swan says he remains "optimistic about labor."
Swan also spoke about the reception his candidate got at the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey dinner last week. He recalled that Lamont and a few supporters had circulated among the tables. "The response was phenomenal," he said. "…Out of the sixty tables we went to, [only] one didn’t want to talk to us." He said that while most didn’t commit to Lamont, they were at least willing to listen.
A Desire for Change
Swan rejects the charge made by the Lieberman campaign that Lamont is an angry candidate focused on one issue. "[Lamont] is anything but an angry single issue guy.” In fact, Swan says, Lamont seems to encourage decorum in the ranks. "He doesn’t even want us referring to [Sen. Lieberman] as ‘Joe.’"
Swan stressed that the campaign was about issues, and that "On most big issues, [Lieberman] hasn’t represented Connecticut." He hopes that Lieberman and Lamont will have a chance to debate at some point.
In the end, he thinks voters want something different. "When we win August 8th [it will] really wake a lot of people up nationally on how much people want change," he said.