Blue America has decided to lend a hand to the grassroots campaign going on in Utah's second congressional district on behalf of intrepid progressive Claudia Wright. Claudia will face Blue Dog Jim Matheson June 22. We need to move forward and get this ad on TV immediately. If you don't have time to read the rest of this post but want to help, you can do it by clicking on this link-- and for as little as $5 get the ad up on CNN.

Yesterday I was shocked that one of the Inside-the-Beltway publications, The Hill, actually took note of Claudia's challenge to Matheson. They rarely do that and kind of function as a part of the company town incumbent protection program, just like the shills at the DCCC, who are, of course, fully backing Matheson despite his penchant for habitually crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) had never been challenged in a primary before this year, in which he’s fighting off a political newcomer who could make him the latest incumbent casualty.

Retired schoolteacher Claudia Wright gained traction in Utah’s 2nd district on a strongly progressive platform, while trying to paint the five-term Blue Dog Democrat as inaccessible and out of touch with constituents.

She had never sought elected office and got on the ballot by capturing 45 percent of the delegates’ votes at the state party convention last month. She needed 40 percent to qualify.

Matheson got 55 percent of the delegates’ votes but needed 60 percent to avoid the June 22 primary.

University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said the convention outcome shows this election will be, more than anything, a referendum on Matheson, who may have alienated his base with his “no” vote on healthcare reform.

...Matheson holds a hefty fundraising advantage, with well over $1 million raised compared to Wright’s roughly $25,000.

But Wright argues her lower fundraising numbers belie her campaign’s appeal, given her performance at the state party convention. She said her campaign is refusing to take corporate political action committee (PAC) money, and is instead relying on the media and volunteers going door to door to get out the word.

“Old-style politics, shoe leather and person-to-person, trying to get them to come our way: That’s what we’ve been doing since day one,” Wright said. “We’ve got volunteers across the state who have been doing all of that ... It’s the only way to do this.” ... Matheson’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The average Blue America contribution is $45.00 and it's how we raised all the money we've been able to put into campaigns to help elect progressives like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Carol Shea-Porter, Jeff Merkley, John Hall, Hilda Solis, Steve Cohen, Gary Peters, and many others-- as well as to help progressive champions who haven't gone all the way (yet), like Marcy Winograd, Ned Lamont, Doug Tudor, Darcy Burner and Coleen Rowley. But I tried something new this time-- basically because we had no time. I went to every wealthy gay person I know and begged for the money. It was an exercise in humility. But I'm bad at it and I came up blank. Either they're already donating directly to her campaign or they didn't want to take a chance on a longshot candidate. It doesn't matter how good she is, how gay she is, how bad he is... just that she's not a likely winner. Of course her primary challenge has already gotten Matheson-- who voted with the GOP to table the Hate Crimes Bill-- to vote to repeal DADT (and to even show up at a Gay Pride event-- first time ever-- in Salt Lake City last week). So... I'm putting in the full legal amount I can donate personally and, anyone got $45 they wanna chip in?

Actually, Jacquie's put together a whole menu of spots you can buy with the prices on a special ActBlue page. So that ad up top is what you get to put on the cable TV programs you pick for that price shown next to it. It's kind of fun. Take a look-- and do what you can. Oh, and here's a link to the live chat we did with Claudia last month at Crooks and Liars.



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[More of the same-- Heck and Baird, Inc.]

Brian Baird was one of the 39 disgruntled rogue Democrats who voted against health-care reform last November, along with a gaggle of mostly reactionary Blue Dogs-- from John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD) to Parker Griffith (Blue Dog, now R-AL) and Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC). Baird was the only Washington Democrat to cross the aisle and join John Boehner and Eric Cantor in trying to defeat healthcare reform.

State Senator Craig Pridemore, the Blue America-endorsed candidate for Baird's House seat isn't challenging Baird to a primary battle. Thankfully Baird is retiring from politics-- although not before endorsing a multimillionaire corporate lackey to take his place, Denny Heck. All the lobbyists, special interests and business-as-usual shills are backing Heck. Democratic grassroots and netroots activists in WA-03 are what's propelling Craig's campaign.

The video below explains Blue America's enthusiasm for Craig a lot better than I could in a few hyperbolic words. Please take a look at it as he explains why he supports a clearly flawed healthcare reform bill and how clearly he sees how corporate money is behind almost everything that's wrong Inisde-the-Beltway.

“As I’ve traveled around Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, one of the things that’s clear is that our citizens and our businesses are hurting. We need to step up and help our small businesses and workers succeed by implementing reforms to reduce their health care costs. The problem right now is that we have a health care system dominated by insurance and pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street.

“I believe we deserve a public option. It is essential that we encourage competition in the health care market place, and the only way to do that is to hold the special interests in Washington, D.C. accountable to the struggling families across our nation. I also know that the bill before us means progress. It will provide coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and end the inhumane practice of cutting off those with pre-existing conditions.

“What’s clear is that my opponent, Denny Heck, is standing on the sidelines when it comes to this issue. He wants to wait it out, see what happens, and then decide where he stands. Make no mistake, I support health care reform and I support a public option and when elected, will step up and do everything I can to lower costs and check the power of the special interests in Washington, D.C.”

What hacks like Baird and Heck don't want to understand is that less privileged, more exposed families than their own, right in southwest Washington very much need the reforms offered in the health-care bill neither of them is supporting. Yesterday the House Energy and Commerce Committee put out a report that shows how the bill would impact Baird's constituents:

Continue reading »



MoveOn jumps into the Blue America "Standing Up For The Public Option" fundraiser.

Goal Thermometer

MoveOn has generously joined in on our Standing Up For The Public Option fundraiser and it's helped keep the thermometer rising. When last I looked we were over 300,000 dollars and over 5000 donors. I can't wait to wake up and see where we are next. (I wrote this post at 11:15 PM Thursday)

Howie Klein adds:

UPDATE: MoveOn.org Joins The Battle

If you've noticed that our thermometer is going through the roof today, that's because MoveOn is in the process of sending out a request to their millions of members to join the effort to thank the Democrats in Congress who have drawn the line in the sand for a robust public option and real health care reform beyond the siphoning of public money that the insurance companies and their congressional shills want.

I was watching MSNBC and CNN yesterday and all I was hearing was that progressives supporting the public option are left to the left. WTF does that mean? When Bush used reconciliation to pass his massive tax cut for the rich bill, the media didn't say that it was a right to the right position. We get tarred for having a brain.

And now Terry McCauliffe of all people has said that he's for the public option and is offering to do a fundraiser for anyone who endorsers it in Virginia. Wow.

Not Larry Sabato has worked with Terry McAuliffe to do a major fundraiser for any Virginia candidate who makes the pledge (an effort probably worth six figures).

Terry McAuliffe? Wow! That's an effort! In fact, I'm going back on the Blue America page and donating some more.

And a new poll shows 77% percent of Americans still support the public option.

Yet, while the issue continues to be hotly debated in the halls of Congress, a new poll by Survey USA finds that the idea is as popular as ever amongst the American public:

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

The SurveyUSA poll finds similar results to several other polls that also show that the public option is very popular, a fact that some members of Congress consider to be a detriment.

Yes, I'm a 77%er...

Jane adds:

The House Dems have 77% of the country behind them. Conrad and Bayh have WellPoint and Blue Cross behind them, and messy financial ties to boot. Will they join with the Republicans to filibuster a Democratic health care bill? Because as Kagro X says, that is very much what they are saying they will do.

I guess we will see.



Americans Want Real Health Care Reform. Help Us Make Congress Understand

Judging from the talking points being constantly spewed by the likes of Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Max Baucus (DLC-MT), Blanche Lincoln (DLC-AR), Mary Landrieu (DLC-LA), Joe Lieberman (DLC-CT), and Ben Nelson (DLC-NE), and by the coverage in the corporate media, all of it driven primarily by corporate dollars, one would think that most people oppose Obama's tyrannical plans to impose dreaded health care reform on the American people. But, no. Americans overwhelmingly want health care reform. Wisely, they don't trust the crooked CEOs who run the insurance companies and they don't trust the bought off, sold out Republicans in Congress. Every single poll that comes out shows that Americans-- by gargantuan margins-- favor genuine, government-run health care.

That's why the insurance companies and their shills in Congress are fighting tooth and nail, like mad dogs, to kill the compromise between an Insurance company bailout (the Senate Finance Committee plan authored by Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley) and single payer. The compromise, which offers consumers a choice, is called the "public option." Anyone who likes their for-profit Insurance company's service can stick with it. Otherwise, they can opt for the non-profit government run plan. Studies by the insurance industry show that within a couple of years there will be virtually no people choosing for-profit insurance companies.

John is in Florida but he e-mailed me this story from the NY Times and asked me to pass it along and remind people that Blue America is asking for donations for the television ads we're doing to make Arkansas voters aware that their senator isn't really their senator; Blanche Lincoln belongs to the Big Business CEOs who have financed her career. While she works behind the scenes to protect the interests of her Insurance Industry patrons, Americans "are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll." Even half the respondents who admitted they are Republicans prefer this plan, while among normal Americans, the margins are staggering. Look at this chart and then please consider learning more about (or donating to) our Campaign for Health Care Choice.

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