A Beaverdale mom decided it was time to act when Congressman David Young flip-flopped and voted for the House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement. Young had vowed he would vote no on the previous version, but switched his vote at the last moment.
As a member of the Northwest Des Moines Democrats, Vanessa Phelan had been brainstorming with the group about possible actions to counter Young. One of the options they discussed was renting billboards to express their disagreement with Young’s vote. NW Des Moines Democrats is one of 15 Polk County Democrats neighborhood groups.
Following Young’s Obamacare flip-flop vote, Phelan began to research billboard costs and locations. Discovering that the costs were within reach, her next goal was to find enough small donors to rent their first board. Research led her to CrowdPac.com, a public funding platform specializing in political crowd funding.
The NW Des Moines Democrats then formed a political PAC and begin raising money. At the Polk County Democrats monthly meeting last week, Phelan announced they had raised the required $1,500 for the first billboard. It was accomplished in just four days from the time she started her CrowdPac fundraising via Facebook and Twitter.
That amount pays for one billboard for one month. The first billboard attracted 57 contributors averaging $25 a piece. The views per month varies by billboard location. The three locations they have chosen vary from 17,000 to 76,000 views per month.
This successful billboard campaign by utilizing CrowdPac could be an important tool for other Democratic groups. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be tailored to makes a strong political statement in the local community.
Here’s how the NW Des Moines Democrats advertised their billboard campaign on their Facebook page:
Why you should support this campaign?
On May 5, U.S. Representative David Young cast a deciding vote to pass the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) through the U.S. House of Representatives. Despite telling constituents that he was a “firm no” throughout the week, on the evening of Wednesday, May 4th, he signed his name on to the “Upton” amendment and announced on Twitter that he was voting “yes.” Young voted to pass the bill despite:
- The lack of a Congressional Budget Office score
- The failure to make the bill public or receive feedback before passage
- His promises to protect those with pre-existing conditions in the district
- A deluge of calls from his constituents begging him to vote “no”
Since the majority of District 3, considered “vulnerable” for Republicans, will be negatively impacted if the House bill proceeds through the U.S. Senate, we cannot afford to wait for the 2018 campaign season. We must hold Mr. Young accountable now, but our avenues are limited. Since his vote, he has refused to schedule a town hall meeting in Polk County. We are hoping to place informational billboards about Mr. Young’s AHCA vote in three key locations
- On Court Avenue and 3rd Street, one block from Mr. Young’s office
- On Fleur Avenue, a high-traffic artery that leads to the Des Moines International Airport
- On Beaver Drive, in the heart of Northwest Des Moines
The locations above are listed by priority. The more money we raise, the more time and/or locations we can add. If we exceed our initial fund-raising goals, we will add additional locations and/or buy additional time.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have already met our goal for the first board. We are now working toward board two. Donors will not be charged unless we meet our goal of $1500. The billboard company with whom we have gotten quotes are waiting for us to confirm. As soon as we hit our $1500 minimum, we will contract with them.
Contributions will be used in connection with a federal election and are subject to the limitations and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act 102.5(a)(2)(ii) and (iii). Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.
Why is Iowa District 3 “vulnerable”?
Iowa District 3 is considered a “vulnerable” district for Republicans. Trump won with less than 50% of the vote (Trump won 49% to 45% in the district). Representative David Young is listed as by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a “round one” target. The district voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Voter registrations are fairly evenly split in the district, though Republicans have a 10,000-person advantage as of January 2017. (Democrats, including our group, are already organizing to decrease that advantage.)
Who is running this campaign?
Northwest Des Moines Democrats is a group of citizen activists that has been in existence for eight years. This year, we formed a statewide PAC and a federal nonconnected committee PAC. Our goal is to inform voters in our district. Our membership comprises of citizen activists and volunteers. We do activism in our free time—no one is paid. That means that every cent you donate will go to the cost of putting up these billboards.
What will the billboard say?
If the Congressional Budget Office scores the bill before we go into production, the numbers below might change. We are also still tweaking the language a bit. The billboard(s) will read something like this (with two bullet points per board):
U.S. Representative David Young voted to:
End pre-existing condition protections for 343,000 in this district
Cut Medicaid funds for kids, elderly, & people with disabilities
Cap employer-provided insurance
Destroy healthcare for 250,000 Iowans
Vote Him Out
by Rick Smith