To: Mass Dems Platform Committee
From: Jesse Gordon,
(617) 320-6989 jesse@CambridgeDems.org
Re: FAIR ELECTIONS
I’m testifying today in support of a Fair Elections plank as the successor to the existing platform’s Clean Elections plank.
I have experienced the difficulties of campaign fundraising in numerous campaigns over the years. This year, I’m a candidate myself, a first-time challenger for Cambridge City Council, and I can say definitively that fundraising is the single worst aspect of campaigning.
Incumbents have an easy time with fundraising because interest groups want their support and pay attention to them while they are in office and then while they are campaigning. Challengers have a much harder time getting enough attention to warrant donating. The result is that incumbents are well-protected because of the large campaign warchests that they accumulate because of interacting with interest groups. Our campaign finance system is not supposed to be about protecting incumbents. Campaigns are supposed to be about hearing from the voters and bringing new ideas to elective office.
If I had the opportunity to collect numerous small donations, I could much more readily do so. Especially if my donors and I knew that there were public funding available when I reached a defined target. I urge that the platform include a plank to that effect, to encourage Democratic legislators to adopt new campaign finance rules.