Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Yes, There Are Still Crucial Congressional Primaries To Win


There's still hope for the Democratic Party

Most states have already picked their congressional candidates for November and July is a time-out for primaries BUT there are still 19 states with congressional primaries coming up in August and September. And some of them are extremely important. In only one instance-- Delaware-- is it still possible to file to run. The state, which votes on September 13 has a filing deadline next week-- July 12. And with the state's one congressman business-friendly John Carney running for governor, there are already 5 Democrats-- front-running state Sen.Bryan Townsend plus former state Secretary of Labor Lisa Blunt Rochester, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Sean Barney, conservative accountant Mike Miller and businessman Scott Walker-- and 3 Republicans in the hunt.

Primary season kicks off again on August 2 in Michigan, Washington, Kansas and Missouri. Progressives have nothing realistic to hope for in Kansas. Next door in Missouri, Berniecrat state Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal is challenging crooked Democratic incumbent Lacy Clay in St. Louis but that's the only glimmer of hope for progressives in the whole state. In Washington, there are two Berniecrats running, state Sen. Pramila Jayapal in a crowded field to replace retiring progressive Jim McDermott in Seattle, and Angie Marx, who wants to take on Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler. There are no viable primary opponents for most of the state's dreadfully right-of-center New Dem delegation and the most vulnerable Republican in the state, Dave Reichert-- in a district Obama won both times-- has no plausible opponent (primarily because Pelosi's DCCC is the most incompetent organization known in the history of mankind).

Michigan is such a mess that there is nothing to look forward to on primary day in a state where one has reason to hope for a worthwhile Democratic Party. In fact, one of the culprits in Michigan's moribund Democratic Party, Lon Johnson, is running for Congress that day in a race where neither Democrat is worth voting for. Jack Lessenberry: "Michigan currently has nine Republican congressmen and five Democrats. The district boundaries have been skillfully drawn to give Republicans an absolute lock on six seats. All five Democratic seats are entirely safe, which leaves only three districts, all now held by Republicans, which could conceivably change hands. Democrats self-destructed in one of these, the Eighth, when the Hollywood actress they recruited turned out to be a hopelessly flawed candidate. Gretchen Driskell may give Congressman Tim Walberg a battle in south-central Michigan. But the First District is entirely open, since after waffling, Dan Benishek decided to keep a pledge to retire after three terms." This is where Lon is running in a district that is two and a half times the size of Massachusetts.
Johnson, the former state party chair, is the favorite, though he first has the awkward task of beating the man he originally recruited to run in this district, two years ago, retired Kalkaska sheriff Jerry Cannon.

Cannon, who lost last time, is bitter that Johnson has pulled the rug out from under him, but there are few signs that Cannon is raising the kind of money needed to be competitive in either the primary or the general election. But whether Johnson can win in November isn’t clear.

Four years ago, Johnson, now 44, tried to win a state house seat in Kalkaska, but lost despite outspending his opponent. He then served a little over two years as state party chair, to mixed reviews. Though his candidate for governor gave Rick Snyder a close race, he lost. Johnson also spent heavily on a scheme to boost turnout via absentee ballots, which failed.

This year, however, he has raised far more cash and has more on hand than any of his opponents. He’s already bought lots of TV ad time for the fall, and is campaigning like a dervish, living in and campaigning from a 1985 GMC Motorhome he recently bought.

Opponents say he’s a carpetbagger. But Johnson argues his considerable connections will enable him to do more for the district in terms of attracting jobs and rebuilding infrastructure.
The DCCC is all the way in for Johnson, who's married to an Obama operative, and that would normally indicate he's unfit for office-- which is true-- but Cannon is, if anything even worse. Two days later comes the Tennessee primary and there's nothing going on there, with reactionary Blue Dog Jim Cooper in Nashville once again unchallenged by a real Democrat.

There are 4 primaries the following week, August 9-- Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont-- but no viable races have developed. Collin Peterson (MN), arguably the most right-wing Democrat in the House, has no opponent and Berniecrat Myron Buchholz, the progressive running against reactionary head New Dem Ron Kind (WI), had only $15,499 on hand on March 31 compared to Kind's $2,255,042 war-chest. There is no Republican running in the district in November, since Kind adequately represents their interests. Connecticut and Vermont are dead-zones on primary day in terms of federal races.

Hawaii's primary is August 13, where an open seat is likely to allow right-wing New Dem Colleen Hanabusa to slither back into Congress in the first district and where progressive activist Shay Chan Hodges in challenging conservative Berniecrat Tulsi Gabbard.

Three days later it's primary day for Wyoming-- where the open at-large seat is likely to fall to Liz Cheney-- and Alaska (August 16), where 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats are all going up against forever incumbent Don Young. They all have something in common: none had raised any money as of March 31 to deploy against Young's $606,985 war-chest.

The primary runoff for the Oklahoma City congressional seat is on August 23, pitting progressive Berniecrat Tom Guild against establishment hack Al McAffrey. The winner faces off against GOP incumbent Steve Russell. Please consider contributing to Guild's campaign here.

The last August primaries are on the 30th and they're both big deals, especially Florida's, where progressive icon Alan Grayson is battling it out with a corrupt, life-long Republican hack masquerading as a Democrat, Patrick Murphy, for a chance to group against Marco Rubio. If Murphy wins the nomination, Rubio will have an easy victory in November. Grayson is the best Democrat running for the Senate inany state and Murphy is the absolute worst. Please contribute what you can to Grayson's campaign here. There are also a number of House seats worth looking at. In Grayson's Orlando area district conservative state Sen. Darren Soto is being pushed by the New Dems and there isa danger that the progressive vote will splinter. The best way to defeat Soto is to support Grayson's new wife, Dena Grayson. Next door in the 10th district, the DCCC and New Dems are running a typically worthless shill, Val Demings, and there are more than one good candidates also running. The best chance to beat her though is by voting for Bob Poe. The DCCC found a multimillionaire non-Democrat to run for the seat Murphy is giving up, Randall Perkins-- a Trump-like figure-- and he's poured over 2 million of his own dollars into the race already. A better choice would be Jonathan Chane. The most important House primaries though are in Miami-Dade, where Annette Taddeo is going up against corrupt reactionary New Dem Joe Garcia and where Berniecrat Tim Canova is taking on the biggest fish of all, the symbol of congressional corruption, TPP fanatic Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And, last but not least, the best Democrat to go up against Wasserman Schultz's Republican ally-- and partner in corruption-- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is Berniecrat Adam Sackrin.

The same day, Arizona Democrats go to the polls to pick their candidates. Tom O'Halleran is another Republican the DCCC is backing for Ann Kirkpatrick's seat. He's not worth voting for. In the second district former state Sen. Matt Heinz is the best choice to go up against Martha McSally in a district likely to flip because of Trump at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately no Democrat is challenging far right Blue Dog Kyrsten Sinema.

Massachusetts votes on September 8th and Democrats hold all 8 congressional seats; not one primary in any of them. Aside from the aforementioned Delaware September 13 will see primaries in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. An anti-Choice nut is running against David Cicilline in RI-01 and a progressive, John Hamilton, is running against the conservative incumbent in the other district, Jim Langevin. New Hampshire's first district had a Wall Street creep, Shawn O'Connor, challenging Carol-Shea-Porter in the primary but his catastrophic race switched to independent after his ploy to woo Bernie voters backfired. Unfortunately, no Democrat is challenging the deceitful right-of-center New Dem, Ann Kuster, in the other district. After New Hampshire and Rhode Island, primaries are done and it will be all about the November election. You can help progressives in primaries-- and ones who have already won their primaries-- here by clicking the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

Labels: ,


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Mark Gisleson said...

Also in WI the 1CD has two unknowns running to face Paul Ryan, but one is right to life. More complicated now thanks to a nascent movement to have Dems cross over to vote for Ryan's ultra right wing opponent, a tatted up Harley riding local manufacturer, Paul Nehlen, who has Sarah Palin's support for his Dump Ryan movement.

We ignore the unfunded races, but we shouldn't. Still, unseating Ryan will be all but impossible as Dems at the national level want to campaign on guns, a third rail issue in the rural WI 1CD.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That so many Democrats running for office across the nation lack real support is a sad thing. As I see it, the Party has lost connection with the people in such districts. Working-class people don't have a lot of time nor money to spend on candidates they don't know. But while candidates may not have a lot of money, they certainly have time to use to reach out to the public in their desired districts. I suspect that people respect someone who reaches out to them much more than they would someone whose face shows up on TV a lot.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another progressive candidate in south Florida is Alina Valdes, CD 25. A Cuban American physician who has practiced and taught medicine in the Bronx and Florida, she has served the unpriveledged who are often excluded from health care such as homeless people in Florida. She has most of the progressive stances in her platform that the Bernie revolution is pushing.


Post a Comment

<< Home