Washington 8: Democratic Groups Rush to Burner’s Aid After Fire

by Nathan L. Gonzales July 8, 2008 · 12:05 AM EDT

Darcy Burner, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), lost her house in a fire last week, but thanks to her 5-year old son, she is glad to be alive.

Democratic groups are now using the fire to urge donors to help Burner and her campaign.

The fire broke out early Tuesday morning, July 1, and Burner’s son woke her and her husband up to alert them to the blaze, giving them just enough time to escape unharmed. But according to a local fire official, the house is considered a “total loss.”

Burner is in the middle of a competitive race against Reichert in Washington’s 8th district. She lost narrowly to Reichert in 2006 and her rematch is considered one of the Democrats’ best opportunities to defeat an incumbent this cycle.

Through the first quarter of the year, Burner was narrowly outpacing the incumbent in campaign contributions. She raised almost $1,397,000 through March, compared to $1,371,000 raised by Reichert, and she had more cash on hand than the Congressman.

After her narrow loss in 2006 and because of her stances against the Iraq War and the FISA bill, Burner has become a darling of the Democratic net roots. Now, in the midst of tragedy, the net roots are trying to come to her aid even more.

“Though she had what I know is a fantastic fundraising quarter, Darcy’s not going to be doing call-time for some time, so let’s help her out,” Democratic blogger Matt Stoller wrote on the Open Left Web site, soliciting campaign contributions for Burner through Act Blue.

“The tragedy has obviously upended her life, and she’s struggling right now to put all the pieces back together,” Markos Moulitsas wrote in a front page post on Daily Kos, prompting readers to give through Act Blue as well. “She is family.”

Since Burner is a candidate for Congress, giving her family personal support may be complicated. But according to one source familiar with campaign finance law, as long as the aid isn’t given for the purpose of influencing a federal election, it should be OK.

“For those who would like to do something to express their support, let me suggest making a contribution to your local humane society or animal shelter in memory of [the family cat] Charlotte [who died in the blaze], or to the Washington State Council of Firefighters Benevolent Fund,” Burner said in a statement.