Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are Primaries Worth The Trouble? Highest Ranking Member Of Congress Was First Elected By Beating An Incumbent In A Primary


With the plethora of hopelessly gerrymandered districts-- a small and shrinking number of House seats are competitive-- almost the only way to hold a congressman accountable for corruption, malfeasance or incompetence is at primary time. Last cycle, two of Blue America's most memorable achievements were helping Beto O'Rourke overcome corrupt conservative incumbent Silvestre Reyes in El Paso and helping Matt Cartwright take down a far worse Blue Dog, Tim Holden, who Steny Hoyer was stumping for... aggressively. We don't know who our target will be in 2014, but there's a good chance he'll show up on this page first. Current frontrunners include Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC) and Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), but you never know... and a determined and viable opponent is always the most important factor.

And beating an incumbent in a primary is not easy. In fact, there are only 27 current members of Congress who were first elected by ousting an incumbent in a primary:
Charlie Rangel (D-NY) beat the legendary Adam Clayton Powell in 1970
Max Baucus (D-MT) beat Senator Paul Hatfield in 1978
Ron Wyden (D-OR) beat Rep. Robert Duncan in 1980
Peter Visclosky (D-IN) beat Katie Hall in 1984
Fred Upton (R-MI) beat Taliban agent Mark Siljander in 1986
Tom Campbell (R-CA) beat Ernest Konnyu in 1988
John Boehner (R-OH) beat right-wing sex predator Donald Buz Lukens in 1990
Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) beat Stephen Solarz in 1992
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA) beat Charles hatcher in 1992
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) beat Craig Washington in 1994
Chaka Fattah (D-PA) beat Lucien Blackwell in 1994
Gary Miller (R-CA) beat Jay Kim in 1998
John Dingell (D-MI) beat Lynn Rivers in 2002
Tim Ryan (D-OH) geat Tom Sawyer in 2002
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) beat Ciro Rodriguez in 2004
Al Green (D-TX) beat Chris Bell in 2004
Tim Walberg (R-MI) beat Joe Schwarz in 2006
Hank Johnson (D-GA) beat Cynthia McKinney in 2006
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) beat Chris Cannon in 2008
Donna Edwards (D-MD) beat Al Wynn in 2008
Andy Harris (R-MD) beat Wayne Gilchrest in 2008; elected in 2010
Mike Lee (R-UT) beat Bob Bennett in 2010
Mo Brooks (R-AL) beat Parker Griffith in 2010
Trey Gowdy (R-SC) beat Bob Inglis in 2010
Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA) beat Joe Baca (Blue Dog-CA) in 2012
Ted Yoho (R-FL) beat Cliff Stearns in 2012
Ben Wenstrup (R-OH) beat Mean Jean Schmidt in 2012
Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) beat John Sullivan in 2012
Eric Swalwell (D-CA) beat Pete Stark in 2012 who had originally won the seat by ousting George P. Miller (not the current Rep. George Miller) in 1972
Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is in the Senate today because teabagger Richard Mourdock beat GOP incumbent Richard Lugar in 2012
The primary Blue America is involved with right now, IL-02, doesn't have an incumbent. Jesse Jackson Jr resigned and the progressive who can beat self-described "conservative Democrat" Debbie Halvorson is Toi Hutchinson. If you'd like to help us keep this seat in progressive hands and not let it slip away top a corporate shill... we have a special election page set up for that. And the election is in one month.

Matt Cartwright & Beto O'Rourke beat conservative incumbents in hot primaries last year



At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about the others on the list, but John Dingell was in congress before Lynn Rivers was born. Putting him on this list implies he beat her to get into office, which is not true. She ran against him because of consolidation and redistricting. He had much bigger name recognition when they squared off.

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Floor Protection Film said...

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At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Dingell has been a member of Congress since 1955. Dingell and Rivers faced each after redistricting. She was first elected to Congress in 1994.


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