Not surprisingly, given all the new conduits for corporate and labor union political fundraising, the 2012 sweepstakes are already under way. No one wants to get ambushed by all the last minute money of the past race. There is no down time, with blue-chip law firms already furiously raising money for the next round and normally relaxed incumbents already dialing for dollars. A story in the Los Angeles Times lays out "the new normal."
The local example of this is Sen. Patty Murray, the newly named chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She's wasting no time either. Here's a letter just received by a financial backer of Sen. Murray in her 2010 victory last month. Is this the job Washington state voters sent her back to D.C. to do?
"I’m so honored that the people of Washington state re-elected me to the U.S. Senate where I can continue to help people and solve problems. We all know that our country is facing many challenges, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to help us overcome them.
"I’m also tremendously grateful for all of your support throughout our hard-fought 2010 campaign. It wasn’t easy, but with your help, we won a huge victory for all Washington state families.
"Now I want to ask you to join me in a new challenge — so we can keep on winning.
"I recently accepted the responsibility of chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee where I’ll be helping elect Democratic Senators around the country in 2012.
"We have a lot of work to do and 23 Democratic seats to retain — and I need your help, starting right now, to do it.
"Please contribute now — so together we can support my Democratic colleagues who are fighting for all Americans in the U.S. Senate!
"Here in Washington state, we accomplished something very rare in 2010: We fought off a well-funded challenger fueled by right-wing rhetoric and massive out-of-state, special interest funding. In fact, we were the target of the most spending by shadowy right-wing front groups in any Senate race — and we won.
"The skills we honed in our 2010 race are going to be even more critical in 2012 — when there will be even more special-interest money and more extreme rhetoric.
"In 2010, we fought and won. Now let’s gear up for an even tougher 2012.
"Contribute now — so I can help my Democratic colleagues up for re-election in 2012 — like our own state's great Senator Maria Cantwell — get off to a strong start!
"I wouldn’t have taken this job as DSCC Chair if I didn’t believe we were ready for this fight — or if I didn’t believe we’d have you on our team.
"Helping people and solving problems has been at the heart of our work together, year after year. Our commitment to that ideal inspired the support and optimism that helped us win in 2010.
"Helping people and solving problems is also at the heart of what makes us Democrats — and our commitment to that ideal shouldn’t stop at our own state borders.
"So let’s take our fight to the next level. Help me lead the fight for Democrats around the country by contributing right now.
"Thank you for standing with me in 2010 and for standing together with me, once again, for 2012.