| The Good Guv went tried a novel approach to fundraising recently: he solicited Republican donors:
In a highly unusual move, Schweitzer is soliciting money for his 2008 re-election campaign from individuals who donated to various Republicans running for governor in 2004.
The solicitation tells exactly how much the recipient gave to a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2004 and asks for an identical amount to be given to Schweitzer and Republican Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger's re-election campaign.
"We've been reaching out to people," Schweitzer said in a phone interview. "We only received 51 percent (actually 50.4 percent) of the vote last time. We'd like the support of most Montanans. This is a completely appropriate letter."
The Republican reaction to Schweitzer's fundraising effort was stormy, to say the least. Schweitzer's gubernatorial opponent, Roy Brown, said that "everbody...is pretty outraged about it," and Eric Iverson said "that dog don't hunt." Bob Brown had maybe the quote of the year (just ask Ed Kemmick if you doubt me):
"As far as I know, what he did is not illegal, but it is audacious, and if audacity was music, he would be a brass brand," Bob Brown said.
The funny thing is, that this is exactly the kind of stunt that's going to win Schweitzer his re-election. For one, he'll probably earn some money from the mailing - after all, there are plenty of folks who are still miffed with the state GOP over the last legislative session.
For another, the hysterical reaction from Republicans is well worth the cost. Consider: the reaction has been that Schweitzer has no right to talk or solicit donations from erstwhile Republican donors. It may comes as a shock to the GOP, but you don't own your supporters. You win them. And remember, independent voters are out there, watching.