Before I start this update about what’s been going on with some of our Blue America candidates, I want to announce the winner of our competition last week for a pair of tickets to the People For the American Way awards ceremony featuring Ambassador Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame and Green Day. Ann Reinhart, a Firedoglake community member, won the drawing. I can’t wait to meet her!

I have another pair of tickets for the October 10th event. As I write this today, the Blue America PAC has collected $5,140.13. Whomever takes us over the $10,000 mark– which could even be done with one donation since $5,000 is the maximum allowable for a PAC (different from a congressional candidate)– gets the pair of tickets for the Los Angeles event. Donations, whether $5, $50 or $5000– or anything in between– are most welcome and can be contributed here or mailed to Blue America PAC, P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

A couple of campaigns have decided to go ahead and finance radio spots on their own and I do believe "Have You Had Enough" will be working its magic for Coleen Rowley and Jerry McNerney in the next couple weeks, as well as for Stacey Tallitsch in Louisiana.

Local blogs have been using the animated videos as fast as Mike turns them out and yesterday Jen from John Laesch‘s campaign sent me this. And several campaigns have submitted the videos to local TV news stations for those ad analysis segments they do on the 10 PM news. WCCO in Minneapolis gave Coleen’s campaign some free airtime.

I was very excited today when CREW released it’s brand spanking new update on the 20 most corrupt members of Congress (plus 5 up-and-comers). The report makes for some wonderful reading and I am very glad to announce that CREW has included several Blue America targets, including Conrad Burns (MT), John Doolittle (CA), Dirty Dick Pombo (CA), Curt Weldon (PA), Don Sherwood (PA), Dennis Hastert (IL)– plus two examples of corruption run amuck who will be added to the Blue America target list in the next few weeks: John Sweeney (NY) and Marilyn Musgrave (CO). [Note: I wish he had a viable opponent, but Jerry Lewis (CA) is the single most corrupt person in the U.S. House and the Democrats have no game plan for challenging him; drives me nuts!] Two of CREW’s original "Beyond DeLay" Republicrooks are no longer on the list — Cunningham and Ney — since they have both either already pled guilty or have entered an agreement to do so.

Of course, the overall thrust of the Blue America campaign is a call for change — time to throw the rascals out.

This hasn’t stopped the always reliably deceitful Republican Party to try to co-opt it, lamely, as their own message. On the one hand, you have a kook like Do Nothing Senate Majority Leader/health care destroyer/cat killer Bill Frist claiming today that, despite the GOP controlling all the committees (usually with an iron hand), the agenda, the rules and having a majority to pass whatever heinous bills they want to, the reason the 109th Congress accomplished so little and is held in such low esteem is because of… the Democratic minority.

On the other hand, you’ve got a Rove-run campaign in Iowa’s open first congressional district, where Blue America candidate Bruce Braley is outpolling extreme right wing loon Mike Whalen, in which the rubber stamp wannabe is trying to convince voters that voting for him will "send the folks in Washington a message for change." Apparently, voters in Iowa like the idea of sending the time for a change message to Washington– but realize that voting for far right Republican nuts like Whalen is a vote for more of the same.

After lots of foot-dragging Republican rubber stampers have been forced into debates with their Democratic challengers, although in all cases they are trying to have short (30 minutes), one-time-only debates since they are eager that no attention be called to their indefensible voting records.

After George Macaca Allen’s terminally inept campaign stumbled into a high profile debate with Democratic challenger Jim Webb on Meet the Press 3 days ago, a despairing far right blogger on Hugh Hewitt’s GOP propaganda site wrote, "For conservatives wishing for Allen to retain his seat, their best hope is that Virginians were otherwise occupied this morning or that the state’s NBC outlets were having technical difficulties…Webb outclassed Allen in every aspect of the clash." Unlike the hapless Macaca, Repugs know they have nothing to offer at debates. This was amply demonstrated when rightist hack John Kline met up with our Coleen Rowley at a debate at the Minnesota state fair.

Upstate New York’s Times Herald-Record ran an interesting piece on John Hall’s stand on impeachment, featuring our Blue America chat with him last week! As Siun mentioned when she sent me the story, "It’s neat to see FDL treated with respect — a source of info on candidate not ‘Hall hung out with rabid lambs and said…’"

We have less than 7 weeks to get our message out and take back Congress and stop the Bush Regime from further deprecations.

What can we do as individuals? We’ve raised $197,000 as of today for our candidates — the combined efforts of the communities that have grown up around Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, Music For America, and Down With Tyranny. Obviously I’m hoping we bring in a lot more. And, obviously, money is only one way to impact the direction our country goes.

I know Pach has written about the Do More Than Vote campaign. I want to reiterate the importance of that and remind everyone about the opportunities it offers us.

DMTV now has chapters in 30 different cities and regions across the country. From California to New York to Michigan to Texas, they’re making it as simple as possible for progressive volunteers to get active. They’ve been gathering all the available volunteer opportunities for each city, organizing them by time commitment, and doing their best to match volunteers with campaigns’ needs. These guys are totally worth checking out and DWT readers who have been in touch with them have told me it’s a great system and that it’s working.

So no special guest today. We can talk about anything at all relating to the midterms. I’m always eager to hear your suggestions.

And, I want to tell you that Saturday we’ll be featuring an old pal of John Amato’s, Tony Trupiano, the Democratic challenger to hack incumbent Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11). Those of us who have heard Tony doing his radio show already know what a powerful and incredible voice he has been for progressive change. Getting Tony into the Congress would be the political equivalent of an 8.5 earthquake going off under the asses of Bush and his disgraceful rubber stamp sham-legislature. Don’t forget– right here at 2 PM (EST).