The Rightroots 15 Day Challenge: Success!

When we started the whole 15 day challenge, I figured it wouldn’t be all that hard to pull in 100 contributions for each of our 21 candidates. However, we got off to a really slow start and something that normally is a big positive, a high dollar per contribution average, really worked against us.

By the time we made it halfway through the challenge, I realized that we were in deep trouble. At that point, I figured we were on pace to raise about $20,000 to $25,000 and miss our donation goals by a mile. I mean, come on, we had some candidates who were barely out of single digits on their contributions.

However, Lorie Byrd had a brilliant idea: we’d do a blog burst and invite people all across the blogosphere to link to Righroots on Friday of last week. Well, the blogburst, along with a fantastic column by Mary Katharine Ham, worked. The donations started rolling in on Friday and kept going through the week-end. Things did slow up for a few hours on Monday, but, as we got closer to our goals, the challenge took on a momentum of its own. With the clock ticking down, people wanted to step up and help us succeed.

Well, guess what? It worked. All of our candidates hit their donation goals:

Peter Roskam (IL-06): 119
Mike McGavick (Washington): 120
Ralph Norman (SC-05): 122
Andrea Lane Zinga (IL-17): 124
Thomas Kean (New Jersey): 133
Michele Bachmann (MN-06): 127
Mark Kennedy (Minnesota): 145
Van Taylor (TX-17): 146
Mike Bouchard: (Michigan): 152
David McSweeney (IL-08): 154
Rick O’Donnell (CO-07): 159
Ray Meier (NY-24): 160
Scott Tipton (CO-3): 160
Jeff Lamberti (IA-03): 163
Chris Wakim (WV-01): 163
Chuck Blasdel (OH-6): 166
Max Burns (GA-12): 166
John Gard (WI-08): 169
Mike Whalen (IA-01): 170
Michael Steele (Maryland): 186
Diana Irey (PA-12): 205

Moreover, in the process we raised a nice chunk of change. The official count that ABC PAC gave us for the moment we started the challenge was $50,250.12. As of this moment, we have raised $112,618.46. So, we raised more than $62,000 during the challenge and, because of our success, the RNC has agreed to send out a promotional email on our behalf to their mailing list, which consists of millions of Republican voters. Furthermore, our totals don’t include the $14,000 that Jack Kingston’s PAC has given to our candidates for meeting a previous challenge.

Consider that 10 weeks ago, Rightroots wasn’t even an idea in my head yet. Nine weeks ago, we had our first meeting via email. Seven weeks ago, we went public.

In that short period of time, we’ve raised 6 figures for our candidates, been endorsed by the Senate Majority leader and the RNC, and we’ve shattered the conventional wisdom, which has always been that right-of-center bloggers can’t raise money. That’s not bad for a grassroots effort put together on the fly by a bunch of bloggers — and, it’s worth noting that we’re not done yet (Feel free to help us keep up the momentum by donating here).

Now, I’d like to take a moment to thank some of the people responsible for helping us meet this challenge.

First and foremost, thanks to everyone who chipped in. Without the people who dug deep and contributed, we obviously couldn’t have made it.

Also, thanks to all the bloggers who’ve been running blogads and linking Rightroots. By the next election cycle, ABC PAC should be far enough along so that every blog can select its own candidates to promote. But, since that wasn’t possible this time around, it has been great to have so many bloggers supporting the Rightroots slate.

Speaking of ABC PAC, thanks for doing such a great job of handling the money and working with us. It would have been easy for ABC PAC to sit this election out, find some donors, and debut with a website that had every bell and whistle on it for the next cycle. But, because they decided to step up this time, it made this whole effort possible.

Of course, the other members of the Rightroots group, Mary Katherine Ham from Townhall, Robert Bluey from Human Events, Erick Erickson from Redstate, Ed Morrissey from Captain’s Quarters, Patrick Hynes from Ankle Biting Pundits, and Lorie Byrd from Wizbang have all played a big role in getting this effort off to a successful start. They’ve promoted Rightroots on their blogs, came up with great ideas, and they each have done a lot of grunt work that no one will ever hear about to make it work.

Also, special thanks goes out to Bill Frist and VOLPAC, John McCain and Straight Talk America, as well as the RNC for their support during the challenge.

Granted, we still have more work to do on the fund raising front. Also, admittedly, we haven’t been as successful as the liberal bloggers at raising cash yet (although it is worth noting that they had only accomplished a tiny fraction of what we’ve done so far when they were only 7 weeks along). But still, it’s great to take a moment after a push like this to stop and appreciate what has been accomplished so far. From small acorns like this, mighty oaks will eventually grow in future election cycles.

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