One Of The 2 Democrats Who Voted To Shut Down The Government, Mike McIntyre, Has A Primary Challenge
Remember this video Alan Grayson made to explain a handful of congressional Democrats who "are anti-Choice, who are pro-war, who are against workers' rights, who do nothing to promote jobs or promote health or safety?" In it he makes the case the voters deserve a real choice on election day. "If you have two Republicans running against each other, one with an "R-E-P" next to his name and the other one with a "D-E-M" next to his name, its a tremendous disservice to the public... If you run as a Democrat, there are certain things that you should stand for. You should stand for Justice; you should stand for Equality; you should stand for Peace. It's not that hard to figure out what it means to be a Democrat once your eyes are open to it."
He also explained how Republicans understand this dynamic and what Democrats can learn from them. "Every time one of them gets just a little bit out of line, they're threatened with a primary, they're actually engaged in a primary and from time to time they actually lose those primaries. That's the discipline the other side uses to keep their people in line for the sake of corporate interests, for the sake of religious fanaticism, for the sake of weird misconceptions about human nature and ordinary life... We can learn from them. We need more Democrats who are Democrats. If we do that, we'll actually win more races. As Howard Dean said years and years ago, 'You can't beat a Republican by being a Republican.' Nobody's fooled by that. If the public has a choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican running as a Democrat, they'll choose the real Republican every time." That pretty much blows away the entire DCCC strategy that Steve Israel operates under.
Grayson didn't mention any of his colleagues' names, of course, but he had to have been thinking of a group of New Dems and Blue Dogs who consistently vote more often with the GOP than with the Democrats on crucial matters. And two of the worst of the worst, Jim Matheson, a Utah Blue Dog with a ProgressivePunch score this year of 26.42 (worse than half a dozen Republicans) and Mike McIntyre who is both a Blue Dog and a New Dem from North Carolina. They were the only two Democrats who voted with all but two Republicans to shut down the government unless Republican policy agenda items were met.
In 2010, a real Democrat, Claudia Wright, won enough support in the Democratic Party convention that she was able to primary Matheson-- his first in a decade-- and sent him scurrying furiously-- at least temporarily-- back towards the center and away from the far right. She raised $20,000 and he raised over a million for the primary. He got 67% of the vote. No Democrat has taken him on since and so far there isn't one running next year.
And that brings us to the odious Mike McIntyre, one of the DCCC's most heavily-financed incumbent Democrats. He's heavily financed despite voting against Nancy Pelosi in 2011 and 2013 and despite his loud refusal to endorse Obama for president against Mitt Romney. He opposed the Affordable Care Act and keeps voting with the GOP to repeal it and parts of it. He's rabidly anti-gay and never misses an opportunity to prove it by voting against LGBT equality. He also consistently votes against Choice and even voted against the DREAM Act. Oh-- and he's a pro-pollution, anti-environmental voter as well. The NRA loves him, rates him an "A" and donates thousands of dollars to him. And like we've been pointing out, it was McIntyre and Matheson who were the only Democrats who voted with the GOP to shut down the government last week.
So are the Democrats threatening him with a primary? No-- quite the opposite. Steve Israel is gearing up to spend between $2 and $3 million to save his seat next year. He only beat Republican David Rouzer by 654 votes (out of more than 336,000 cast, the closest election in the country). Rouzer will probably beat him again next year-- not that that would ever stop Steve Israel from wasting a few million dollars from low-info grassroots donors who give to the DCCC because they mistakenly think the DCCC supports progressive values and candidates.
Fortunately, this year, there is a grassroots candidate running against McIntyre for the Democratic nomination, popular New Hanover County Commissioner, Jonathan Barfield, the only Democrat elected in the county, which is the biggest in NC-07. (Obama lost New Hanover 52-47%.)
Blue America would love it if every Democratic candidate was as brilliant and courageous as Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren. You never really know until they get into office. We feel great when we can see a state legislative record-- like Carl Sciortino's or Daylin Leach's-- but mostly we have little to go on besides what the candidates tell us about themselves and their platforms. Barfield seems sincere and his progressive values seem firmly rooted in his life's experiences and his spiritual beliefs. He has a public record of supporting initiatives that benefit ordinary working families and his campaign website's policy page looks good. As for McIntyre's vote the shut down the government, he said "I cannot understand why in a time when there are so many American Citizens walking around with no health care what so ever, we have 2 to 4 Democrat Congressmen, one who is from our own state of North Carolina, who continue to vote to defund Obamacare. I fully support the Affordable Care Act."
He understands what Grayson was talking about in the video up top about the difference between a real Democrat and a fake Republican. "I do not believe that it is governments place to legislate or decide for us who anyone can love or marry," he told his supporters. "It wasn't but a few generations ago when interracial marriage was illegal in many states. It was the passing of the landmark civil rights decision in the Loving v. Virginia by the US Supreme Court that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. We still have work to do, but we are on our way."
And, by the way, on Monday evening when the Republicans voted for a third time to shut down the government, McIntyre was joined by 8 other of the worst Democrats in the House: Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ), John Barrow (New Dem/Blue Dog-GA), Raul Ruiz (CA), Stephen Horsford (NV), Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT) and Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY). If you'd like to help Jonathan Barfield replace McIntyre in Congress, you can contribute to his campaign here.