Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Primary Season: Next Up-- NC Runoff + Georgia, Utah & Oklahoma


Moment of triumph for Arkansas progressives- Joyce Elliott beats Robbie Wills

The U.S. Senate would have been considerably less reactionary-- and less a vehicle for wealthy and corrupt corporate interests-- but Blanche Lincoln won a close reelection race last night. There isn't a lot we know about Bill Halter and I doubt he would have turned out to be some kind of a progressive knight in shining armor but there is one thing we do know about him: he's not Blanche Lincoln. His first priority was never going to be to kill the Estate Tax or try to undercut Democrats at every turn-- from Social Security and healthcare reform to Employee Free Choice. Lincoln has had a disgraceful and hackish career even when she was just a slimy Blue Dog in the House using another name (Blanche Lambert). Watching her seemlessly transition to K Street would have been more than natural. But, alas, she'll still be forcing the Senate Democrats to water down every bill and make each even less family friendly and more in line with her corporate donors' avaricious self interest. Unless-- as is very likely-- she loses in November to corporate shill GOP slob John Boozman.

There was some excellent news out of Arkansas as well. Proven progressive leader Joyce Elliott beat conservative hack Robbie Wills in the second C.D. (Little Rock) and will now face Karl Rove crooked protege Tim Griffin. Please give her a hand (and whatever you can afford). She's a Blue America endorsed candidate and you can donate here. She'll need the help. If she wins in November she'll be the first African American elected from Arkansas since the mid-1800s.

But there's no getting around the tremendous loss last night in California's 36th district, where voters decided to give reactionary warmonger Jane Harman another term instead of doing the sensible thing and electing Marcy Winograd. We'll just have to learn to fight harder and smarter. In the end, Marcy took 41.2% of the vote.

But primary season is far from over and there are still plenty of messages Inside-the-Beltway Democrats need to hear. The next key races coming up to focus on are the North Carolina Senate primary runoff that pits progressive champion Elaine Marshall, the front-runner, against an ambitious but unaccomplished empty suit being pushed by Bob Menendez. That comes up June 22 and yesterday Durham Mayor Bill Bell endorsed her. This past weekend the National Federation of Democratic Women announced she has been selected as the Outstanding Democratic Woman Elected Official for 2010. Former opponent, Ken Lewis, the guy who came in third, not only endorsed her; he joined her campaign as chairman! Please consider adding your support here.

That same day, the 22nd, Utah Democrats have the most exciting and meaningful primary the've had in my memory when progressive champion Claudia Wright faces struggling Blue Dog incumbent Jim Matheson. Matheson has asked the voters to look at his record and she is responding to that challenge.

"Matheson has shown little if no leadership in his 10 years in office and the Second District deserves better" Claudia told us. "I believe he voted for the repeal of DADT simply due to the fact that I am in this race... [and] the fact that he attended the Grand Marshal Reception for Pride the weekend, something he has never done, shows he is pandering the base." Matheson appeared like a fish out of water at the reception unable to interact with anyone there. He left before the annual Pride Awards were presented and skipped the actual parade at Washington Park entirely. Claudia was given the opportunity to address Pride, and took part in the Pride Parade and was welcomed with rousing applause at every turn.

"I also question the timing of his introducing the two wilderness bills this last month, one of which trades land destroyed by off road vehicles and snowmobiles at the Snowbird Ski Resort for pristine wilderness." she said. And at a press conference on Monday, she questioned his statement last week "that we need to look at safety issues when it comes to deep water oil rigs," as too little too late. "He has been on the Subcommittee for Energy and Environment for ten years, where has his leadership been?" Energy companies know exactly where-- and have been very grateful.

Following a successful fundraiser Monday evening, Claudia is now heading out on her Wright Way Tour throughout the sprawling Second District to meet with voters and tell them of her pledge to revisit them each month from DC to share ideas and issues with them, something Matheson doesn't seem to believe it-- and certainly doesn't do.

And that brings us to July, a month with two important races for anyone interested in taking the Democratic Party back from corporately funded conservative Blue Dogs. Both races pit proven progressive state legislators against 2 of the most reactionary Democrats in Congress, John Barrow and Dan Boren. In GA-12 we see a re-match with former state Senator Regina Thomas, except this year Barrow doesn't have the support of President Obama like he did when he lied his way back into office in 2008. Although Barrow is running a well-financed media campaign, Regina has a grassroots operation and the power of constituent rage over Barrow's attempt to undermine healthcare reform and other initiatives backed by President Obama and the constituents who Barrow has routinely ignored in favor of his country club friends who vote for the Republicans anyway.

The following week (July 27) anti-health care fanatic Dan Boren is facing Oklahoma state Senator Jim Wilson, a healthcare reform champion. It is also a classic battle between an outrageously corrupt and entrenched incumbent an a reform-minded clean government type. Like Matheson, Boren has wormed his way onto natural resources committees where he's in line to get tremendous bribes-- disguised as campaign contributions (he's the #1 House member, including Republicans, on the payroll of Big Oil in this cycle!)-- and sabotage effective regulation of the predatory corporate instincts of his paymasters.

You can help us defeat Matheson, Barrow and Boren-- and replace them with Claudia Wright, Regina Thomas and Jim Wilson-- at Blue America's Blue Dog page

UPDATE: Notable California Republican Primary Races

For all their bluster, the Southern California teabaggers completely flamed out, the same way all the statewide teabagger candidates flopped-- Poizner (26.9%), birther queen Orly Taitz (25.7%), and Chuck DeVore (19.0%)-- did. They all lost against the incumbents, although Jerry Lewis and Gary Miller both had unpleasant surprises. In Lewis 41st CD, Eric Stone, the guy who was afraid to campaign against Lewis lest he get whacked, wound up with just over a third of the vote. Imagine if he had campaigned. The final was:
Jerry Lewis- 65.9%
Eric Stone- 34.1%

Pat Meagher, the progressive Democrat running-- with no opposition-- drew 20,607 votes, compared to Lewis' 28,025.

In the 42nd CD crooked conservative Gary Miller had to contend with three teabaggers and they managed to keep him under 50%! The final vote:
Gary Miller- 49.0%
Phil Liberatore- 37.2%
Lee McGroarty- 10.7%
David Su- 3.1%

My highest hopes for a surprise was in the 44th CD (Riverside/Orange counties), where we expect Bill Hedrick to win in November. But conservative Chris Riggs ran a good-- if underfunded-- campaign against Ken Calvert from the right and managed to mobilize church-goers and teabaggers for a respectable showing:
Ken Calvert- 66.6%
Chris Riggs- 33.4%

Conventional wisdom-- and teabagger ravings-- had predicted a close call for corporate shill Mary Bono Mack-- a supporter of the two Bush bailouts and cap-and-trade but the 45th CD Republicans largely stayed with her, although she's likely to be ousted by conservative Democrat Steve Pougnet in November. Last night's finals:
Mary Bono Mack- 70.4%
Clayton Thibodeau- 29.6%

The only other GOP primary I was watching closely was in the 19th CD, where Dirty Dick Pombo was trying to a comeback and had the support of many of his old colleagues and, of course, every major polluter in America. He came in a distant third:
Jeff Denham- 36.4%
Jim Patterson- 30.4%
Dick Pombo- 20.8%
Larry Westerlund- 12.4%

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At 8:14 AM, Blogger Cirze said...

Thank you, friends!

Best small site coverage I've read yet.


At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"but Blanche Lincoln won a close reelection race last night."

Howie, I understand there are already some legal challenges in place. This is one:

So Garland county, that's strongly pro-Halter, had 41 poll stations in the first round of the primary, and *2* yesterday. Was this a win for Blanche of Walmart, do you think, or a steal?

At 11:27 AM, Blogger CarlFox said...

FYI, David Dreier may have won his primary, but voters in his district chose "Not Dreier" in greater numbers – and that was without a competitive Democratic primary.

Tea leaves, anyone?

Howie named Dreier as one of 5 "most likely to lose" R congressmen in a prior piece.

Here's the data on the results from the 26th last night, via Wall Street Pawn:


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