GO TIME: Primaries This Tuesday And Beyond

GO TIME: On Tuesday there are primaries in California, Iowa, New Jersey, South Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Montana and New Mexico. Three weeks later-- on June 26--there are congressional primaries in Colorado, New York, Oklahoma (and Utah).

When we show up at the polls -- DEMOCRATS WIN. If you live in any of the states that vote Tuesday, please be sure to get to the polls-- and drag a friend-- or two friends-- with you. Blue America has a special page for California congressional candidates we've endorsed.

Kevin de León is the progressive running for the U.S. Senate. And these are 7 House candidates who will ensure California will be Leading the effort to pass a progressive agenda-- and put a check on Trump.

But let's focus on the most important June 26 campaigns in Colorado, New York and Oklahoma, where our candidates are Levi Tillemann in the Denver suburbs and Saira Rao in Denver itself, DuWayne Gregory on Long Island and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a district in Queens and the Bronx and Tom Guild in the metro Oklahoma City district.

What does it mean to be a progressive candidate in these races? Let's look at how Alexandria defined it in her just released video. Besides helping save the country and NY-14 from Trump and the Democratic Party from Joe Crowley, Alexandria emphasizes that

"It's time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same. That a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off foreclosure, doesn't live here, doesn't send his kids to our schools, doesn't drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us. What the Bronx and Queens needs is Medicare-for-all, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform. We can do it now."

Does "late money" for the June 26 campaigns do any good? I asked two of our candidates. DuWayne has been elected and reelected over and over to be Chief Executive of the Suffolk County legislature. He told us that

"During this phase of the campaign voter contact is critical. We have over one hundred volunteers going out speaking with voters. We can use these funds to pay for supplies our canvassers need like pens, clip boards, campaign leaflets, or to buy a tank of gas. Also, with additional funds the campaign can purchase a last minute cable spot to get our message costs $50,000. To send an additional mailing costs $14,850. It is expensive to finance a political campaign and your contribution will help us meet the critical tasks that have to get done in order to win."

"We have knocked nearly 13,000 doors," said Tom Guild. "We have participated in 16 parades. We have spoken at numerous events. We have put up hundreds of yard signs. We have done a mailer to the district. We have billboards up throughout Oklahoma's 5th CD. We have started display advertising in key publications. We have done online advertising. We need financial support to do one final mailing, buy crucial paid media on TV and radio, and to support our GOTV efforts. Your support can make a crucial difference and put us over the top to win the June 26 primary. That will put me in a position to make a YUUUUGE difference for you, our state, and our nation and to pursue and implement our shared progressive agenda to move our country forward by providing quality affordable health care, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, fixing our corrupt campaign finance system, protecting our environment, providing quality public education for our children, expanding Social Security, and adopting Medicare for All. I’m all in! Are you?"

It's now or never. If possible, please contribute to our candidates to ensure they'll have everything they need to win.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world.

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



3 More Days Left In Our Ice-T Gold Record Fundraiser For Alex Law


Blue America is at the tail end of a fundraising effort on behalf of Alex Law, the progressive Democrat running against South Jersey Machine incumbent Donald Norcross, brother of notoriously corrupt party boss, George Norcross. Since being installed in Congress by his brother in 2014-- after the corrupt old Machine hack was driven out by scandal-- Norcross has been a dependable vote for many of John Boehner's worst policies. His first vote in Congress was for the Keystone XL Pipeline. And after an AIPAC-funded trip to Israel he returned to Cherry Hill in his district with GOP warmonger Tom MacArthur  in tow  to announce he would vote with the Republicans against the Iran agreement.

Alex Law, the first Democratic congressional candidate anywhere in the country to endorse Bernie Sanders, is as different as a Democrat could be from Norcross. He backs the Iran deal, opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and is all about helping ordinary middle class Jerseyites fulfill their legitimate aspirations while taking on the big money special interests that call the shots for the the Norcross brothers.

Blue America will thank one randomly selected donor to Alex's campaign on this page by sending them a rare, collectible RIAA-certified gold record for Ice-T's album, O.G., Original Gangster. Ice-T, a resident of New Jersey, is now best known as an actor but in the '90s he was an inspirational rapper who was an early incarnation of what is now called the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

In Alex's own words, "the #BlackLivesMatter movement is something that expresses the continued frustration around the idea that some people in our society exist under different rules than other people. This is the same kind of frustration that Ice-T's music expressed 25 years ago. I am working to do everything I can to find real solutions to these problems such as unfair drug policy, income inequality, and education disparity. I think we need to legalize marijuana, as it is one of the biggest tools used by over-zealous police forces to imprison young African-American males at a rate astronomically higher than young white males. I think we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour so that people can work at a livable wage. I think we need to make college more affordable for everyone, so that in America, everyone, not just the privileged, have the opportunity to better themselves. The frustrations expressed by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Ice-T are incredibly real and the problems are daunting. But, I am going to work as hard as I can to help." 

Any contribution for Alex Law's grassroots campaign on our Blue America ActBlue page that comes in before Sunday night at 9PM will make the donor eligible for the thank you gift from Blue America.

As Alex told us last week, "I am running against Donald Norcross in next year's primary because he represents the worst in American politics: catering to special interests, machine political corruption, and voting with the Republicans constantly despite his Democratic district. We are lean and we are grassroots, but ultimately, we will win this election."  

Let's help him do just that.



Meet Barbara Buono, Chris Christie's Worst Nightmare

CROSS-POSTED TO CROOKSANDLIARS.COM

My first exposure to Chris Christie was when I saw video footage of him abusively browbeating a school teacher at a town hall meeting for having the temerity to question his education policies. I can hardly begin to explain the depth of my visceral repulsion at his bullying tactics. I can't imagine ever voting for him after seeing that and I don't think I'm the only woman in America to react that way.

But it's not just his vile personality. His record is execrable as well. Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger characterized his time in office this way:

New Jersey’s unemployment rate is the highest in the region, and yet he left $3 billion in federal money on the table when he canceled plans to build a tunnel under the Hudson River. The state’s credit rating has dropped on his watch, thanks to his habit of pushing costs to the future. New Jersey’s foreclosure rate is also among the highest in the nation, and the state’s response among the most inept...Christie opposes abortion rights and closed six Planned Parenthood clinics. He vetoed marriage equality. He vetoed a surtax on millionaires. He has retreated on climate change. And he removed the only black justice from the state Supreme Court.

He's also on record denying climate change and just last week declared himself the one true heir of Rudy "9/11" Giuliani with a national security speech that would have sounded better in the original German. Only in America would such a man be widely touted by the chattering classes as a voice of "moderation."

Luckily for New Jersey there is one feisty politician who knows better, State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democrat who'd like to save her state from any more of Christie's so-called "success" by denying him another term as Governor. Let's just say her record is as progressive as his is conservative. And there's no mistaking what she really stands for.

Buono is the daughter of a butcher and a substitute school teacher who put herself through law school. She vividly recalls her own early years of struggle, even having to apply for government assistance at one point. Her compassion for the concerns of average working families led her to politics in the early 90s, working her way up to become the first woman majority leader in the State Senate, where she took on Christie as the Chair of the budget committee. This woman isn't one little bit cowed by the thuggish Christie.

We know it's an uphill climb and so does Buono. But we all think that there are a whole lot of New Jersey Democrats, especially women, who will go into that voting booth and decide they just can't stomach the idea of Chris Christie as Governor again or ... gulp ... president and put a stop to him. If people get a chance to hear a reform-minded, anti-corruption progressive like Barbara Buono they may just realize they have a better choice. We'd like to help her get the word out and we hope you do too.

If you can donate something to her campaign it will not only help a true Blue America progressive but will also help to stop one of the most odious conservative villains in American politics. A twofer!

Please help me welcome State Senator Barbara Buono to Blue America.



New Jersey Can Help Fix The Senate

I’m not the most famous candidate running for Senate in New Jersey.  If you know me at all, you probably know me as the congressman who beat IBM’s computer, Watson in Jeopardy-- the one whose bumper stickers say “My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist!”

But as a true progressive, you care about more than celebrity and slogans.  You care about electing the senator who will fight the hardest for our shared values.

So let me tell you why, with your support, I will be that person:  the truly progressive, evidence-driven voice we urgently need in the U.S. Senate.

As a teacher and a scientist, I used to help run the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and led the nuclear nonproliferation program at the U.S. State Department. This experience gives me a very different perspective from anyone now in the Senate –and gives me the conviction to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

You see, right now, the Senate has zero scientists. And as a result, the evidence in support of our progressive priorities is being ignored:

• The earth’s climate is changing, and human beings are responsible. Every single month for the last 28 years has been warmer than the historic average. If America fails to act, millions of people will die.

• America’s health care system is not the best in the world-- not even close. We’re paying 40 percent more than any other country as a share of our economy, and we’re still leaving almost 50 million people uninsured.

• America is betraying our young college students-- burdening them with an average of $27,000 in student loan debt, then abandoning them to face 13 percent unemployment in the workplace.

If we’re honest about the evidence, the way forward is clear.

We need to tax carbon so that polluters pay for the greenhouse gases they’re dumping into our atmosphere.

We need to move to a single-payer health care system, the kind that has held down costs and improved quality in nations around the world.

We need to make college more affordable by charging students the same low interest rate, 0.75%, that Wall Street banks pay to borrow money from the government.

And we desperately need a senator for the 21st century: someone who has a real understanding of the science and technology that are changing our world.

Because despite what some senators have claimed, the Internet is not a series of tubes, abortions do not cause breast cancer, and breast implants do not make women healthier. And although changing technology does present new challenges to law enforcement, it does not mean the NSA has the need or the right to monitor the phone calls, letters, and e-mails of innocent people-- treating Americans as suspects first and citizens second.

It’s long past time for the Senate to have at least one scientist, at least one voice who follows the evidence wherever it leads, no matter the political or personal risk.

Rush Holt, Rocket Scientist

Contribute

Will you help me be that truly progressive, evidence-driven voice? If so, I ask for your vote and your support.

Please visit my website, RushHolt.com. See where I stand, watch my videos explaining these ideas in more depth, and-- if you like what you see-- share the word with your friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Thanks.  It’s a privilege to run for your seat in the Senate, and I can’t wait to get to work for you.

Rush Holt



Ed Potosnak Comes Out For k.d. lang... A New Blue America Contest


I was the general manager of Sire Records when k.d. lang released her platinum smash album, Ingénue in 1992. I worked on the amazing video for "Constant Craving," which I wanted to use in this post. But Warner Bros Records, a company long since pillaged by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and sold off for spare parts to the Russian Mafia, doesn't allow embedding for the clip on YouTube. So... below, the song that inspired the Rolling Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby" 5 years later-- yes, k.d. gets writing credit on it-- is the live Grammy Awards performance. In fact, the song won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Aside for my love for k.d. and for her music, why am I bringing this up now? Glad you asked. k.d. is also one of Ed Potosnak's favorite all-time artists and, as you probably know, Blue America has endorsed Ed for the New Jersey congressional seat currently held by anti-health care reactionary Leonard Lance. See that platinum award disc up top? k.d. gave that to me after her album sold a million copies. This week she agreed to personally autograph it, not to me, but to whomever wins our Ed Potosnak contest. She's playing at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ on September 22. So... we'll pick a lucky random winner on September 20 and Ed will personally take the plaque backstage so k.d. can sign it to the winner. So, the obvious question: how do you enter?

That's easy: just donate to Ed's campaign here-- any amount; after all, we're not Republicans-- and one winner will be chosen at random to get this very special Thank You from Blue America. We did a similar kind of contest for a signed Green Day guitar and raised over $5,000 although the winner just gave $10. Make sure you contribute between now and September 20th, either on the linked ActBlue page or by check to Blue America PAC, PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

But, apart from wanting a memento of k.d.'s incredible career, why donate to Ed's campaign? We've written about him many times before but you can get to know more about him from this guest post he wrote in July. Ed's a science teacher and yesterday he told me that "our future is in today's classrooms. All across our nation great disparities exist between the educational experiences of some students and others. Not only is it not fair, these inequities hurt our future. Republicans have shown their disregard for our future time again by slashing aid to schools, teacher bashing, and cutting support for our colleges. For America to remain economically competitive in the global economy, Congress needs educators like myself to make sure every child is treated fairly and has access to a high quality education." Equality of all kinds is a hallmark of Ed's campaign. He also said that "our nation's diversity is one of our greatest strengths and in Congress I will work every day to ensure every American is treated equally. It is not acceptable to allow discriminatory policies to be on the books. As an openly gay man, I have experienced institutional discrimination and am committed to making sure it ends for all our communities."

Again, you can contribute to a stalwart and dedicated New Jersey progressive, Ed Potosnak, here at the Blue America page, and we'll enter you in the running for the k.d. lang RIAA platinum award for Ingénue. While you think about it, see if you can resist this:



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Ed Potosnak, D-New Jersey

No signs of any rapture in New Jersey this morning yet. In fact, at 11am (PT; 2pm in NJ) Ed Potosnak -- the Blue America-endorsed candidate for the Congressional seat currently being held by health-care hypocrite Leonard Lance -- will be talking to us live from north-central Jersey. Ed will be joining us in the comments section (below) to accept the Blue America 2012 endorsement, live-blogging about his campaign and how New Jersey voters are reacting to the right-wing jihad against the middle class, seniors and the whole social compact. Meanwhile, contributions for Ed's campaign are gratefully being accepted at our Blue America page.

We endorsed Ed last September for the 2010 race against Lance primarily because of his emphasis on education policy and its role in innovation and moving the country forward. Ed himself is a chemistry teacher and small business owner and several years ago he was selected as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow.

"In my first year as an Einstein Fellow I helped craft legislation to improve science and mathematics education. This bill was introduced by then-Senator Obama; it passed, and is being implemented. In the second year of my fellowship I worked on legislation to ensure every student has access to a high quality education, establishing a 9-11 like commission to address the urgent crisis in our schools. This also passed and the Equity Commission is currently underway... There is so much more to do and I am running for Congress to once again get the job done."

The incumbent he's running against is a garden variety career politician whose decades in office has been more about self-service than public service-- something you may have noticed if you were tuned into the fracas between Lance and Blue America over his health-care hypocrisy, which led to this ad:

Ed performed extremely well in a devastating year for Democrats. Not one Democratic challenger unseated a Republican incumbent but, with a feisty yet under-funded grassroots campaign, Ed managed to hold his own against the red tidal wave. This year looks far more promising nationally -- especially in NJ's 7th, where Obama beat McCain 51-48% in 2008 and will probably do a lot better next year against Bachmann or Palin or Romney or Gingrich or Pawlenty or whichever sociopath they come up with on the right.

"The issues we care about today are as important as they were this past November," he told us, "creating jobs, growing the economy, improving education, promoting innovation, and protecting the American dream... Things need to get done in Washington. The GOP has done nothing to address jobs and the economy... According to Congress' Joint Economic Committee if the Ryan plan to turn Medicare into an inadequate voucher program, for which Congressman Lance voted, were to be signed into law, seniors across America would face bleak economic prospects.

"But with the exception of Florida, there is no state more disastrously impacted than right here in New Jersey. Congressman Lance has seen these numbers and well knows that by 2022, out-of-pocket expenses for the typical 65-year-old enrollee in New Jersey would jump from $6,832.43 to $13,892.47, the second biggest increase in America ($7,060.03). I'll fight against that ever being enacted every day I'm in office."

An openly gay candidate, Ed takes equality and social justice very seriously. "We need better representation in Washington to ensure that America's policies are fair and just for all. The future of America depends on the education we provide today and we need to act with urgency to improve our schools and foster innovation. We must ensure that every single child in America is prepared to help our nation overcome the challenges of the modern world, innovate, and lead the global economy."

If you'd like to help Ed's campaign, you can do so at the Blue America ActBlue page



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Jeff Gardner (D-NJ)

When a mutual friend at DFA called me to tell me about a candidate for state Senate in New Jersey running in a Paterson-based district not far from where I once lived, I came away very impressed with his credentials and with the significance of the race beyond just the borders of his north New Jersey district. But I decided to check him out further by calling an old friend of Blue America's 2010-- and hopefully 2012-- congressional candidate Ed Potosnak. I asked Ed if he'd ever met Jeff Gardner. His enthusiasm was positively explosive and I asked him to write a few lines for us today:

"I am extremely pleased Jeff Gardner is running for NJ State Senate. Jeff is a progressive Democrat, which is sorely needed in our state Legislature, and a strong voice in support of equality and opportunity for all, not just a select few. His opponent, a 30+ year Trenton incumbent, has lost touch with the needs of his constituents, and has failed to deliver for his district. In addition to being a strong advocate for all residents, Jeff is down to earth, able, approachable, and will fight to create jobs and to realign our State's out of control spending to attract and retain business and stimulate innovation. As a fellow New Jerseyan who cares deeply about our America's economic recovery, reestablishing trust in government, and ensuring equality, I hope you will join me, and Blue America, in supporting Jeff. When elected he will change how NJ works."

As we explained at DownWithTyranny a couple of days ago, it takes a really exceptional candidate for Blue America to go beyond our mission of electing progressives to the U.S. House. Jeff is just such a worthy exception. And his opponent, John Girgenti, New Jersey Majority Whip, is drowning in a sewer scandal and made a name for himself by loudly and spitefully crossing the aisle in Trenton to vote with the GOP against marriage equality.

Please join Jeff in the comments section below and if you like what you hear and can handle it, please consider making a $5 or $10 contribution to his grassroots campaign through our Blue America ActBlue page.

Jeff is eager to rid the Democratic Party of a bigoted and corrupt fossil like Girgenti and then to move forward and deal with an even worse problem: Chris Christie. “We need leaders in Trenton," he told me, "who are looking out for our families, not the politically-connected and the powerful. We can’t balance our budgets on the backs of working families. Our cities and our middle-class have sacrificed enough. I promise to protect vital government services and make sure multi-millionaires and faceless corporations pay their fair share.”

And in case you're discouraged that the power of well-funded corrupt political hacks like Girgenti is too much to overcome, keep in mind that Jeff already beat him once! "He used to be the Democratic municipal chairman in my hometown of Hawthorne. After years of increasingly bad results for Democrats at the local level, I mounted a challenge and won. Against an entrenched incumbent whose support is built on little more than patronage and graft, it seems that hard work and the promise of real representation is quite effective."




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