Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grassroots vs The Inside-The-Beltway Establishment-- Will Doug Tudor Be The Democratic Nominee In FL-12?


Last year there was an intrepid grassroots movement in Florida's Polk County and it spilled over into the Hillsborough County suburbs just east of Tampa. It's been a strongly Republican area in recent years with a PVI of R+5 that translated to a 58% win for Bush in 2004, respective 65% and 69% wins for incumbent Adam "Howdy Doody Nimrod" Putnam in 2004 and 2006. The grassroots movement-- which got absolutely zero nurturing for the state or especially the national Democratic party, was around a Naval vet running against Putnam, Doug Tudor.

After being dissed and insulted by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the DCCC's curiously pro-Republican head honcho in Florida, Doug just went on to work with on-the-ground progressives and Democrats to make a spectacular showing in a district the Democratic Party had given up for dead. Doug won an eye-popping 127,477 votes (42%) after spending $109,851 to Putnam's $2,054,571. In losing races sanctioning by Wasserman-Schultz-- in which real money was spent-- Christine Jennings only managed 38% ($2,416,633) in FL-13, incumbent Tim Mahoney only managed 40% ($2,741,491) in FL-16 and Raul Martinez ($1,881,108) only managed the same 42%, attracting a mere 97,928. Meanwhile, the energy and enthusiasm of Tudor's efforts helped turn out a huge vote for Democrats that propelled Obama to a near tie with McCain-- and far more votes than either Gore or Kerry managed in FL-12.

But I wasn't surprised this morning when a magazine catering strictly to the Establishment political class and read by no one outside the Beltway (but me), CQPolitics, touted a minor Polk County official, Lori Edwards, as some kind of a front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Democrats inside FL-12 are eager for Doug to have a shot at the seat again, particularly because Putnam is resigning to run for state Agricultural Commissioner. Edwards is the kind of me-too Democrat-- another loser like Christine Jennings-- who, offering no tangible contrast with Republicans, doesn't win against Republicans. Doug has more in common with Alan Grayson, the polar opposite of Republicans-- and Florida's most significant victory in 2008, although not, naturally enough, a race that Wasserman-Schultz and the DCCC were key players in.

This morning I asked Doug his thoughts on the rush among all these people jumping into the race for the congressional seat in the 12th. “As was the case during the last run, the 'experts' discount the power of a grassroots campaign to win office. We took over 137,000 votes, which gave us 42.5% of the vote. That was the second best showing among Florida Democrats who didn’t take the seat. As for [Republicans] Ross and Dockery, I say 'Welcome to the big league. Winning a couple of neighborhoods in Lakeland isn’t the same as running in a 2,000 square mile district.' As for Ms. Edwards or any other Democrat that may enter the race, I say 'Where were you when we needed you? Where were you when the race was against Adam Putnam? Where were you when working families were being destroyed by the Republican economy?' Here’s my real regret about the last election. Today the Employee Free Choice Act will be introduced into the House of Representatives. I desperately wanted to be a member of Congress to cast my yea vote on that bill. I have no doubt that Adam will vote no. I wonder if my 2010 competitors, if they were in the House now, would have the courage to stand up for working families. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that they wouldn’t, and that’s a real shame.”

It's crucially important for the health of the Democratic Party that local Democrats inside their own districts recapture the party from the fatally compromised powers inside the Beltway. The Democratic Party's ideas and values is what makes people get out and vote for candidates. But Inside-the-Beltway it's all a business and the principles and values are the first to get trampled the second its convenient to do so. Democrats in FL-12 need to tell DC hacks and flacks and the DCCC who they plan to send to Congress-- not the other way round.

Please consider making a contribution to Doug's campaign at our ActBlue page. Early money is the most valuable donation a grassroots challenger ever sees. And, even $5 and $10 contributions can add up to more people like Donna Edwards, Alan Grayson, Jim Himes, Carol Shea-Porter and Eric Massa and fewer shills sucking on the corporate teat and manifesting Big Business power... regardless of political party.

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At 8:12 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Doug Tudor put skin in the game against the 3rd most powerful republican. We can count on Tudor to make us proud!

The other dems that are tipping their toes and have announced are nothing more than Dixiecrats, which is to say they are ultra conservative.

We need true leadership, man of the people.

This is one local activist who will work his ass off for Tudor.

Thank you, Howie!

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly expect the next Congressman from FL-12 to be Doug Tudor. He has far better credentials than any other Democrat, e.g. military and world experience, and FL-12 needs to join the real world and stop electing Troglodytes to Washington. It's embarassing. Good luck, Doug.

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! I've started referring to Doug as "Our Hero". He's put so much into this race for the past two years, and really knows the whole district.

Doug Tudor is still the only Hero in the race! I might have to call him MYHero!

This other lady, who is she? Never heard of her. I've looked her up and she only shows up on the "Democratic Tombstones" website.

And I agree, where was she these past 6 terms that Opie's been serving in DC? Was she scared of him? No thank you. I need a strong, proud Florida Democrat representing me in DC!

Our Hero! Doug Tudor for Congress!


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