As I wondered about why non-locals would care about a Mercer Island city council election, one conspiracy theorist pointed me to an article called "They Won't Know What Hit Them" in March 2007 Atlantic Monthly that describes a brilliant strategy to influence national issues through local elections:
Ted Trimpa, who is Colorado’s answer to Karl Rove ... cited the example of Barack Obama: ... It feels good to write him a check. “The temptation is always to swoon for the popular candidate,” Trimpa told me, “but a fraction of that money, directed at the right state and local races, could have flipped a few chambers.
The idea is for a national organization to encourage its members to send checks, not to national campaigns (where a single contribution won't make much difference) but to local ones where a small donation can make or break an election. Since nation-wide politicians have to start somewhere, you can dramatically affect the future in the long run if you can prevent the opposition from ever getting elected in the first place.
A quick glance at the donor list for our election makes it clear that the specific issues in the article don't apply to current Mercer Island elections, but I think it's a great idea and something all political interest groups will do eventually.
Incidentally, I'm getting a bunch of emails from both campaigns and while I'm happy to hear from you directly , I encourage you to please, post to my comments. I'm not intending this to be a political blog and I'm too lazy to check all the facts before summarizing into another post. Go ahead and post anonymously if you like.