Heart and Soul: Marcy Winograd!

I'm in Marcy's district and many of you know that I was asked to run against Jane Harman, but I knew it was Marcy's time and I'm so happy for her.

So far I've been contacted on the phone and at my door by Marcy's campaign and they were very nice and very thorough, but I haven't heard a word from any of Harman's people. Not even a mailer. I guess voters in her district aren't that important unless they give big donations.

The LA Times ran a great article on her campaign.

The candidate, trailed by a volunteer, is knocking on doors in Mar Vista — down Beethoven Street, across Lucille Avenue, along Greenwood Avenue and on. The June 8 election is just weeks away. There is much ground to cover.

"I'm Marcy Winograd, and I'm running for Congress," she says, over and over again. Her blue jacket is spotted with rain. "I'm a grass-roots Democrat who believes in jobs and bringing our troops home."

Winograd is challenging Rep. Jane Harman, a wealthy eight-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary for the 36th Congressional District. Her Marina del Rey campaign headquarters buzzes with activity. Volunteers man phones. Tables are stacked with slick mailers exhorting voters to "imagine sending a teacher, anti-war leader, and healthcare champion to Washington to be your voice in Congress."

Though it is unusual for a sitting member of Congress to face a robust primary challenge, Winograd has taken on Harman before; she ran against her on an antiwar platform in 2006 and won nearly 38% of the vote.

Allan Hoffenblum, whose California Target Book handicaps races in the Golden State, calls the contest "an ideological battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" — a liberal challenger taking on a more conservative incumbent.

"If it was an open seat, she very well could be a real contender," Hoffenblum said. "But against a well-known, well-funded incumbent, it would be a real shocker" if Winograd won. "It's not the suburbs of San Francisco." Still, Winograd is forcing Harman to work "a bit more than she might like to be working on her reelection," said political scientist Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at USC. "It would be nice if [Harman] could just hang out in Washington….But she's been around. If someone can move an incumbent to do that, that's OK."

The election is June 8th, so if you're in our district please make the right choice. On January 16, Blue America formally endorsed her, and she joined us for a live chat on C&L. We produced this ad for her too:

And what Digby says:

Blue America endorsed Winograd months ago because we are all about waging an ideological battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. (It's a war that never ends, by the way.) And Winograd in Congress would be a true leader in that cause.

If you'd like to help Marcy you can donate here or volunteer for her grassroots campaign.

Howie Klein gives a good rundown on all the props that are on the ballot too if you're interested and praises our Marcy.

If you live in the 36th congressional district-- a stretch along the coast that starts up in Venice and heads south to San Pedro, taking in Mar Vista, El Segundo, Torrance, Manhattan Beach, Hawthorne, West Carson, Redondo Beach, Marina Del Ray and Hermosa Beach-- you have an opportunity to vote in one of the most iconic elections of the year, pitting a conservative longtime incumbent serving corporate interests (the odious Blue Dog Jane Harman) against a scrappy and highly principled progressive tribune of ordinary working families, Marcy Winograd. Marcy was Blue America's first endorsement of 2010.



Blue America Welcomes Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH)

Blue America prefers not to endorse in primaries unless there is a clear case of one excellent progressive Democrat running against a conservative corporate shill. That's how we came to endorse Marcy Winograd against Jane Harman, Doug Tudor over Lori Edwards and Regina Thomas over John Barrow. But in the New Hampshire House race to replace Paul Hodes, who's running for the Senate, had a wrinkle. There was definitely an excellent progressive-- Ann McLane Kuster-- and there was certainly a conservative corporate shill-- Katrina Swett-- but there was another grassroots-type candidate running as well. He's now dropped out and we couldn't wait to invite Ann to come over to Blue America for a live chat. She'll be joining us today in the comments section below.

Annie is an example of a grassroots activist working with her neighbors on real world problems and then taking it up a notch by running for Congress. She's the polar opposite of the spoiled and entitled insider who's running against her, the daughter of one congressman, wife of another and, to top it off, the former campaign chair of the Joe Lieberman For President campaign. As the Concord Monitor pointed out, Annie's money is all coming in small donations from New Hampshire; Swett's comes in big chunks from the corporate interests salivating to get another corrupt special interests shill into the House Democratic caucus who will do their bidding for nickels on the dollar.

Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett, the Democratic candidates for the 2nd District seat in Congress, have far fuller campaign accounts than their Republican counterparts. Their accounts have been filled from near and far. Respectively.

Sixty-one percent of Kuster's reported fundraising through March came from donors in New Hampshire, with her highest-netting ZIP codes including Concord, Contoocook, Portsmouth and Hanover, according to an analysis of federal campaign filings by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics. Swett, by contrast, had raised 11 percent of her money this election from in-state donors. The ZIP codes giving her the most money included Greenwich, Conn.; New York City; and the suburbs of northern New Jersey.

New Hampshire's most respected blog, Blue Hampshire, was in the same predicament we were in-- one candidate too many for an endorsement. That ended last week when they got behind Annie in no uncertain terms (and unanimously):

Nearly four years ago Blue Hampshire was born following a groundswell of political blogging that had sprung up in a successful effort to support Paul Hodes' election to New Hampshire's second congressional district.

Today, we believe the best person to continue the work in Congress begun by Representative Hodes is attorney and advocate Ann McLane Kuster.

As Laura Clawson pointed out on Daily Kos, Ann McLane Kuster "supports the public option, the Employee Free Choice Act, non-punitive immigration reform, and environmental regulation. Not only does she want to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, she wants to repeal DOMA, and she worked to help bring marriage equality to New Hampshire."

In addition, Kuster has been a vigorous advocate for health care access and affordability, especially and unwaveringly so for women's reproductive health. From Ann's website: "Ann believes a woman and her medical care provider should be making decisions about her health care, not the politicians in Washington. She is committed to ensuring that the anti-choice movement doesn't use abortion to derail health care reform, and also that they don't use health care reform to restrict a woman's right to choose."

When I spoke with Annie I asked her if she was satisfied with the way the healthcare reform bill had turned out. She's was clear that she views it as a work in progress and that that's something she would like to get busy on in Washington. "We should be proud that the health care reform we passed will extend coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans," she began, "and that it will stop insurance companies from ending your coverage if you get sick or have a pre-existing condition. Those are major achievements and they wouldn’t have happened without pressure from the grassroots. But our job isn’t done-- now we have to tackle the other (still broken) side of health care, which is the outrageous cost of care. Along with job creation, this is going to be priority #1 for the next Congress that is sworn-in next January and I believe the best way to tackle the cost issue is by using the public insurance option to increase competition."

And she doesn't seem overly thrilled by the way Congress is approaching the occupation of Afghanistan. It was relatively easy for Democrats to oppose Bush's wars. But now that they're Obama's wars, relatively few Democrats are willing to pressure him to end them-- in the Senate Thursday only 18 Democrats voted for Russ Feingold's proposal requiring "a plan for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment" of our troops. There's no doubt where the ex-Chair of Lieberman For President stands on the war. Annie has a very different approach:

I will not let the same broken mindset that got us into Iraq get us bogged down in Afghanistan too. The real threat-- Al Qaeda-- is completely ignoring the borders that our military observes, and it has spread from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Meanwhile, seven years in Iraq and close to nine in Afghanistan have severely stretched our forces, and I am worried that further entanglements will prevent us from having the flexible force structure needed to meet this threat. Finally, this is about our economic security too-- we’ve spent over $1 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we’ve done it by borrowing that money from lenders like China and Saudi Arabia, which poses a potential security threat in itself.

Today's first question to Annie will be how she would be voting on legislation like Barbara Lee's that would prevent funding any more escalations in Afghanistan and seeks only to provide for the safety of American troops as they redeploy out of the country.

Please consider joining the netroots supporters who have rallied to Annie's campaign. She's our newest endorsee on the Blue America ActBlue page.



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Back Marcy Winograd, CA-36

Marcy Winograd was Blue America's first endorsed challenger for 2010. That's because we were looking for a progressive leader, not someone who leans in a progressive direction. Marcy's not a leaner. She's a leader -- and not the kind of corrupt ward healer à la Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel or Chuck Schumer that sadly passes for a "leader" among Democrats -- because of what's in her heart, her soul and her brain. She doesn't command respect and admiration because of an ability to bundle cash from special interests but because of her intellect, her character and her passion.

We asked her back today because she was the first Democrat to stand up beside Raul Grijalva and denounce the xenophobes and bigots in Arizona. Monday is the first day of absentee voting in California. More and more frequently, elections are being won and lost based on absentee and early voting. In CA-36 approximately a third of the voters will vote by mail. And among older voters that number skyrockets to close to 40%.

Last week Marcy asked Jane Harman, the Blue Dog who currently holds the seat, to join her in calling on businesses and residents of the 36th District to boycott Arizona convention facilities and hotels in an effort to reverse anti-immigrant legislation. Harman ignored her and Marcy pressed on on her own.

"If Arizona is allowed to enact laws that promote racial profiling, other states may pass discriminatory laws, as well. That would be a travesty of justice, not only for immigrants summarily stopped and searched for citizenship papers, but for all of us who value civil rights and equality under the law... Rather than passing discriminatory state laws that scapegoat immigrants, we should support federal legislation for comprehensive immigration reform."

Winograd's immigration platform calls for the following:

• a path to earn citizenship for an estimated 10-12 million undocumented immigrants

• an end to brutal immigration raids and detentions in secret jails

• passage of the Dream Act to award citizenship to immigrants who graduate college

• no national ID cards

• no guest workers' programs

• repeal of unfair trade agreements that worsen unemployment in home countries

Like mine and like so many of ours, Marcy's family came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe to escape discrimination and seek a better life. "America," she points out, "is a land of immigrants and we must never forget our rich cultural heritage or the contributions of immigrants who pay sales taxes and often wage taxes while performing much-needed labor."

That video up top is the one-minute version of what will be a 30-second spot Blue America plans to run. When you donate to the Blue America PAC, it will help us get it on television. If you donate to the Winograd campaign, it will help them run their grassroots-oriented campaign, like the phone-banking Marcy talks about below. You can do either-- or both-- at the Blue America '10 page.



Blue America Welcomes North Carolina Secretary Of State Elaine Marshall

Blue America tends not to endorse in primary races between Democrats unless one is really excellent and one is clearly abysmal. This year we've taken stands against Blue Dogs Jane Harman, John Barrow and Lori Edwards and against anti-Choice fanatic Bart Stupak by endorsing, respectively, Marcy Winograd, Regina Thomas, Doug Tudor and Connie Saltonstall. But when it came to the North Carolina Senate race we were in a quandary. We really like the current Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, but one of her primary opponents, Kenneth Lewis, is also an excellent choice. The conservative in the race, Cal Cunningham, currently trying to appeal to Democrats with a laughable and inauthentic feint to the left, is being pushed by Inside-the-Beltway powerbrokers, particularly Robert Menendez and the DSCC. We'd rather not interfere and just leave it up to North Carolina voters. But because of unfair DSCC campaign practices against Elaine we invited her over for a Blue America blogging session today at 6:30pm, EST/3:30, PT.

It's important to keep in mind that there's no incumbent in the country more in peril than Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr prides himself on being part of the lunatic right fringe-promising voters earlier this year:

“…it is impossible for any candidate to get to the right of me.”

Yesterday, with Burr pouting and playing games that jeopardize the well being-- and the security-- of every American, including conservative ones, Elaine Marshall suggested he grow up and do his job, when he walked out on an Armed Services Committee meeting just out of spite, using a foolish procedural measure to delay testimony from Adm. Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command; and Gen. Walter Sharpe, Army Commander of U.S. forces in Korea. These men have more on their minds than partisan petulance from half-wits like Richard Burr.

“Senator Burr and his Republican colleagues need to grow up,” said Marshall. “The health care vote is over, they lost and it’s time to move on to other business. This is one more example of how Washington needs people who will get things done, not people who will stand in the way.”

Burr is the alarmist idiot Senator who has taken millions from Wall Street banks only to proudly tell his wife to take all their money out when the stock market plummeted last year. Hence the nickname, “Bank Run” Burr. He’s up for re-election in November and finds himself with an approval rating of 35% in an anti-incumbent year and leading Elaine by a mere 41-36%, a number that can easily be evened out once the May 4th primary is settled.

I've spent some time following the race and talking with Elaine on the phone. She's feisty, progressive, and refreshing rather like the standard boxed Southern Conservadems we’re used too. Elaine is a populist and not only does she talk a good game, she’s spent a career taking on Wall Street fraud and risky business in the state legislature and as Secretary of State. In fact, her office released figures that she helped return over $130 million from Wall Street scams to the people of North Carolina just last year. "I don't have to promise you what I think can do. I can show you black and white, book and page, my accomplishments. I think that is going to be crucial in this election…”

America voted for change in 2008, and… a lot of people are unhappy because they aren’t seeing it. They look at Washington and they see a lot of politicians and business interests standing in the way of the change they voted for." Richard Burr is clearly one of those politicians.

North Carolina is a prime pick-up for both Democrats and progressives in 2010 and an opportunity we cannot pass up. The state has been trending blue, going for Obama and ousting their Republican Senator Liddy Dole last year; this is a winnable race. The Senate has been where good legislation goes to die this session and we need to elect more bold progressives to the chamber. Elaine is the candidate and she’ll be taking your questions in the comments section below.

Please consider contributing directly to her campaign here.



Blue America Welcomes Craig Pridemore (WA-03)

Please join us in the Comments Section for a chat with Blue America's newest endorsee, Washington state Senator Craig Pridemore, where he joins Alan Grayson and Marcy Winograd on a very short list of Better Democrats.

In 2006, Craig was named Legislator of the Year by Washington Conservation Voters. There were a number of reasons they chose the relatively new state legislator but it certainly had a lot to do with a bill he wrote and successfully passed, the nation's first electronic waste recycling bill which mandated the kind of product stewardship that makes a producer responsible for the full lifetime costs of whatever they make, including the eventual disposal or recycling. Although some electronic goods manufacturers-- some in other countries, where TVs are made-- fought passage, Craig managed to put together a strong bipartisan coalition to pass it. In fact, every Democrat in both houses of the state legislature voted for the bill with only two exceptions, conservatives Steve Kirby and Deb Wallace. Ironically, one of those conservatives, Deb Wallace, is one of Craig's opponents in the Democratic primary for the seat in southwest Washington that has been represented since 1998 by Brian Baird.

Washington's 3rd CD is a non-gerrymandered swing district. Obama beat McCain in 2008 52-46%, Obama's closest win in the state. Bush took the district, narrowly, in 2000 and 2004. Meanwhile, Baird won re-election with 64%, just around what he did in 2006, 2004 and 2002. It's one of Washington's fastest growing areas-- right across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, especially attractive for people eager to avoid Oregon's income tax and Washington's sales tax. With 15,575 homes estimated to be headed for foreclosure in the next 4 years, it has been harder hit by the housing crisis than most of the state. Very much an economic populist, Craig is a perfect fit for the district. A few days ago we had a long talk about how to put WA-3 back on the road to prosperity.

"I have a strong belief that the best thing government can do to stimulate job growth is to invest in public infrastructure and facilities. We can do some targeted tax incentives for new industries, like green energy, but tax incentives alone are not going to stimulate job growth. Businesses are not going to create jobs and start hiring again until demand for goods and services increases. That means putting money in the hands of working people, not Wall Street...

"We've spent thirty years trying to shift as much of the nation's wealth to the supply side as possible and we've succeeded. We need to get back in balance and fuel the demand side as well. We need to get money percolating through all levels of our economy, not just at the top. Republicans seem to have only one strategy for economic recovery and that's to replace good-paying jobs with bad-paying jobs."

Craig comes from a union family. His grandparents met in Hazard, Kentucky, a classic coal mining company town and his grandfather worked in the mine starting at age 15. He was the smallest kind so he had the job of placing the explosives. When he was 17 a blasting cap went off in his hands. His father had to amputate his fingers on the spot. He got docked a day's pay because he had to get his son to town and wasn't working. Craig's grandfather's lost job wasn't replaced by unemployment insurance or workers' comp; nor was there job retraining. Craig's always been very much in sympathy with working people. His dad is a pulp and paper worker and his mom is a school teacher. Everyone's a union member. It helped me understand why Craig is so adamant about fighting for ordinary families, which I heard in his voice when he talked about the battle over health care.

An overwhelming number of people in this country wanted legitimate health-care reform, including the choice of going to a public option. It wasn't just Republicans who thwarted that reform; it was Democrats too. We need strong, progressive Democrats who are going to fight for what the people want-- not just for insurance companies.

"It's clear to me that we will not get Financial Industry reform without election reform. It's clear to me we won't get progressive health-care reform without election reform. It's clear to me we won't end corporate control of Washington, DC without election reform. I'm looking forward to signing on as a co-sponsor of John Larson's Fair Elections Now Act."

Craig is a 49-year-old highly decorated former military intelligence officer who worked after college as a financial analyst the Clark County Public Works Department before being elected a County Commissioner (beating a Republican incumbent heavily financed by the developers' community. It's how he learned about grassroots campaigning, walking 117 miles eight days, meeting with hundreds of people from battleground and Yacolt to Richfield and Camas. He was re-elected and the challenged another Republican incumbent for a state Senate seat. He was re-elected to that job in 2008 with 62% of the vote.

As a state Senator he wrote and passed one of the first successful pieces of legislation for greenhouse gas caps in the U.S. Senate Bill 6001, in fact, directly prevented the construction of a dirty coal plant in Washington, saving untold numbers of people from asthma, heart disease, cancer and a whole battery of chronic lower respiratory diseases. His two main opponents, the aforementioned Rep. Deb Wallace and a millionaire investor, Denny Heck, are both what are euphemistically called "business-friendly" Democrats. That's what Blue Dogs are called before they grow up to be Republicans in Democratic clothing. Heck, particularly -- who has stated no policy positions on anything but who refers to himself as "the only working capitalist in this race"-- has started raking in a great deal of money from all the wrong sources.

Electing Craig Pridemore is an opportunity to make the House a more progressive place and to elect a leader who doesn't just go along with the flow. The first time I spoke with him he told me that "the conventional wisdom up here is that a Democrat can't win if he/she stands for Democratic values. I am absolutely committed to changing that perception and to make WA-03 a reliable, progressive seat in the future." I hope you'll join me in helping him to do just that-- at the Blue America ActBlue page, where Craig becomes the first candidate we're endorsing this who wasn't a previous endorsee.



C&L Live Chat with Marcy Winograd, Blue America Candidate for CA-36

Blue America is very proud to be endorsing Marcy Winograd for Congress today. She's our first challenger for the election cycle-- and our first endorsement in 2010. We didn't play eeny meeny miny mo to decide she would be our first candidate. For us she's a model candidate-- the kind of leader we're looking for to represent working families and progressive ideals in a Congress where neither gets taken seriously when push comes to shove. Let me quote from the opening lines of a flier her Jobs Not War campaign sent out to voters in CA-36 yesterday:

I live my life as a progressive. As an educator, I work to strengthen public education. As a human rights advocate, I promote peace and protection of innocent civilians caught in the middle of war and occupation.

We endorsed Marcy in her first run against virulent warmonger and Blue Dog Jane Harman, the second richest member of Congress (after Darrell Issa) in 2006. We've had a lot of time to get to know her. And the better we've gotten to know her, the more we like her, not just as a person-- which is surprising meaningful-- but as a potential leader of the Donna Edwards sort. Like Donna, Marcy is more than just a political job seeker with a package of consultant-tested positions. Like Donna, she's been a movement progressive, a community activist, and a grassroots leader-- a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of PDA and a tireless worker for the ideals progressives aspire to.

Marcy's race is about more than just replacing a notorious Blue Dog with a progressive voter in Congress. Sure, Harman was the Bush Regime's favorite House member-- and even publicly bragged that she is "the best Republican in the Democratic Party"-- but what enthuses us so much about Marcy has nothing to do with Harman. It's all about Marcy. From the occupation of Afghanistan to comprehensive universal healthcare she has been on the frontlines formulating progressive approaches and strategies. John and Digby and I are relieved that when Marcy is in Congress, none of us are going to have to call her up and twist her arm-- or even hold her hand-- about voting the right way. It's more likely she'll be calling us and telling us who the nervous nellies are who need... bolstering.

You can read the rest of this post at DownWithTyranny but more important, please join us in the comments section here at C&L for a free wielding q&a with Marcy. If you like what you here, please consider joining us in donating to her campaign.



Special Blue America PAC Live Blogging Event Saturday 10am PST/1PM EST with Marcy Winograd

On Saturday we'll have a special live blogging hour with LA's own Marcy Winograd. Blue America has a special announcement at the same time so please join us.

I've been thinking about running against Jane Harman for a long time. I've had reporters quiz me on it and many readers ask me to run, but I've decided not take part in 2010's Congressional election in my home district of CA-36.

There a few reasons why I've taken this path. I think I can do more good for my country and the state of California by concentrating on CrooksandLiars in these troubling times and continue my work for Blue America PAC as the 2010 election comes upon us.

David Neiwert, C&L's Managing Editor and I are putting the finishing touches on our new book we have just about finished titled Over the Cliff, which will require time to promote it, but there is also another important reason which made it so much easier for me to drop out of consideration for the upcoming election: The fact is we have a great progressive candidate already in the race and her name is Marcy Winograd.

She's taking the fight once again to the Blue Dog in our district and I'm putting my full support behind her campaign as she moves forward in 2010. Marcy stands for progressives and since she lives in a progressive district, I'm confident she will fight in ongress for those principles and represent her constituents without compromising as we've seen Jane Harman do so many times before. So please join me in supporting Marcy Winograd for California's 36th District.

Please donate if you can.

And we'll see you tomorrow.




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