Sunday, July 27, 2014

August Primaries


There are quite a few of them but the ones progressives have a stake in, in chronological order, are Hawaii (August 9), Wisconsin (August 12), and then a late super-Tuesday on August 26 for Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. That same day has primaries in Alaska, Missouri, Oregon and Vermont with interesting races but no races that pit a progressive against a shill from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

Up top is the brand new video from one of the most grassroots campaigns anywhere, the Tom Guild campaign for the open Oklahoma City congressional seat. Guild came in a strong first in the 3-way June 24th primary, beating non-courageous, and conservative Establishment Democrat Al McAffrey:
Tom Guild- 11,597 (42.1%)
Al McAffrey- 8,505 (30.9%)
Leona Leonard- 7,424 (27%)
McAffrey, who is being partially financed by Krumme Oil, has out-raised Guild but small contributions through ActBlue are keeping Guild competitive. OK-05 doesn't have an astronomical media market and Guild is using contributions to keep his ad on TV news shows and on a field operation and get out the vote effort.

Yesterday we took a brief look at the WI-07 primary, where a Republican right wing lunatic and gun fanatic, Mike Krsiean, switched his party registration so he could primary progressive Democrat Kelly Westlund in the race to replace Paul Ryan-clone Sean Duffy. The other Wisconsin primary to watch is in the southeast part of the state, WI-01, where an L.A.-based UFO conspiracy buff, Amar Kaleka, is challenging Rob Zerban (on the same day that a Republican marijuana activist named Jeremy Ryan is challenging Paul Ryan in the GOP primary. Republican crossbow expert Ryan Ryan says he will challenge whichever of the two Ryans wins when he's old enough to run in 2016.) So far Paul Ryan raised $6,938,372; Rob Zerban raised $494,878; Amar Kaleka raised $138,353; and neither Jeremy Ryan nor Ryan Ryan has raised enough to file with the FEC. In WI-07, Sean Duffy has raised $1,808,688; Kelly Westlund has raised $303,214; and Mike Krsiean and his 700 pound pig Barney are refusing to report their fundraising to the FEC.

There's an important primary in Phoenix, where Ed Pastor, first elected in 1991, is retiring from a super-blue district, AZ-07 (PVI D+16). Obama beat hometown boy John McCain there 65-34% and in 2012 wiped out Mitt Romney 72-27%. Whoever wins the Democratic primary August 26 will be the next congressmember. There are 4 Democratic candidates, Ruben Gallego, Randy Camacho, Jarrett Maupin and, from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, Mary Rose Wilcox. Gallego, who has been endorsed by Raul Grijalva, Dolores Huerta, MoveOn, the Sierra Club, Climate Hawks Vote and Daily Kos, is the progressive fave in the race and Mary Rose Wilcox is just another grotesquely conservative, corrupt EMILY's List pick. They're the only two who have raised any money-- $434,873 for Gallego and $335,656 for Wilcox. Celinda Lake has done the only published poll (May 22) and it shows Gallego leading Wilcox 38-32%.

Primary day in Hawaii, two weeks from yesterday, is really important and it features two races, one for Senate and one for the House, that pit shills from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party against proven progressives. The Senate race is a match-up between Senator Brian Schatz, one of the best members of the Senate-- right up there with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley and Tom Harkin-- against a corrupt conservative New Dem, Colleen Hanabusa. Everything you need to know about the Senate primary is here. The House race is to replace Hanabusa in the seat she gave up to run against Schatz. The progressive in the race is Stanley Chang and he's being challenged by two conservatives, Mark Takai and Donna Kim. Back in May the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed Chang. Last week, Japanese-American congressman, Mark Takano, lied to his fellow caucus members and convinced them that his Japanese-American pal Takai is not really a conservative and railroaded them into making it a "dual endorsement." They should have known better because Takano, one of the least effective and least trustworthy members of the CPC, also went to bat for corrupt conservative Pete Aguilar (a New Dem) on behalf of DCCC chairman Steve Israel (a Blue Dog who was behind both Aguilar and Takai).

One of the CPC members I respect, even admire, sent me a note that explained how Takano had persuaded him and other members to go for the dual endorsement. I don't have permission to publish it but I will publish my own response to that member:
Yeah, I know. And Brat had no chance to beat Cantor either. So Stanley had "no chance" so you endorsed an anti-gay conservative who's slightly better on most things-- but not all-- than Donna Kim, splitting the progressive vote and guaranteeing that Kim will win. Sorry it took so long to get back to you but the electricity in my neighborhood was down all day 'til just now.

Takai talks a good game, but he's not a progressive, as I've been writing about on my blog.

Many Democrats including el presidente have "evolved" on marriage equality in recent years, but Takai's flip-flop is very recent and smacks of opportunism, which is how the press in Honolulu interpreted it. Takai voted no on civil unions twice and was in favor of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2012. He only reversed his position after deciding to run for Congress, a few months ago. Does a "progressive" go from no on civil unions and pro-marriage amendment to yes on marriage in the blink of an eye?

Takai introduced bills to drug-test welfare recipients twice. He's terrible on choice. You mentioned emergency contraception as an issue that is important to you, but Takai has repeatedly said that he would vote for religious exemptions for hospitals that don't wish to offer emergency contraception, including in statements to the Hawaii Family Forum in 2010 and 2012. This is not ancient history.

You expressed concern about the polling, but the most recent poll (by Civil Beat) was conducted over two months ago. It had a sample size of 249 people and a margin of error of nearly 5%. This poll was in the field just 2 days after Stanley's first TV ad went live and right at the point where Stanley's campaign began ramping up their voter outreach. It does not reflect today's reality on the ground. The media in Hawaii paid barely any attention at all to this race until very recently, due to the high-profile primaries for Senate and Governor. In May, voters were not knowledgeable about the candidates and were only responding on the basis of name recognition.

Labor unions and other local organizations are notoriously risk-averse in their endorsements and tend to go for establishment figures. Stanley has gone out of his way to court labor and all the local unions like him. Many of the major unions like HGEA have decided to stay neutral in this race. The endorsement by Equality Hawaii is a joke. There was no questionnaire, no process, no interview; just a few board members getting together to back Takai. Equality Hawaii is widely mocked and hated by the progressive LGBT community in the state. Takai's endorsement by the Star-Advertiser is meaningless and they are very conservative, having endorsed the worst Democrat in contemporary Hawaii politics Mufi Hannemann (anti-equality so-called Democrat turned Independent this cycle) twice for Governor in 2010 and Congress in 2012. Needless to say, he lost both times.

I'm not sure what evidence Takai gave you for his strong ground game, but we have people on the ground in Honolulu and they are NOT seeing it. Except for Schatz, Stanley's campaign is the only one in the state that has a serious field operation. I'm talking about real voter outreach, not just appearances like sign-waving, which is what many in Hawaii mean when they talk about canvassing.

Kim said in this week's debate, when asked who she would vote for if she weren't running: "To be very honest, I would be supporting Mark Takai, because I've worked with Mark Takai for many years in the State House of Representatives. We get along very well and I respect Mark."

Takai is going through the motions to pander to the progressive community, and if you watch his talking points over the past several months you will notice this evolution. Sure, it's great that he's on our side now for some issues, but I have a hard time imagining him in the Progressive Caucus-- MAYBE the way Jared is-- and I very much doubt that he'll be a reliable progressive vote if elected. His interest first and foremost is bringing more military resources to Hawaii.

XXX, I don't expect anything better from Takano, but you got sold a bill of goods and I feel awful about it.

Endorsed Mark Takai, who has a virulently homophobic voting record, but… what the hell?

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