Blue America, Onward And Upward: Good Guys Always Win In The End

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The first time he ran for Congress, Alan Grayson lost the primary. Two years later Blue America encouraged him to run again and he did. Derided by the political Establishment in Florida and in DC, he beat their favorite in the primary and went on to beat the incumbent Republican congressman in the November general. He then went on to inspire millions of Americans desperate for political leaders who could and would stand up to the conservative consensus that dominates Beltway politics. And when Grayson lost in 2010, he started working on the 2012 race. Blue America was with him every step of the way.

And on Tuesday we celebrated when he won the biggest congressional comeback in American history-- a 62.5% victory that saw him win the vote in every municipality in Florida's 9th district. He won among men and he won among women; he won the youth vote and he won the senior vote and he won the votes of people in between. He won among white people, among black people, among Hispanics and among Asians. He won the urban vote, the suburban vote and the rural vote and he won over 60% of the vote in Orange County, in Osceola County and even in red-leaning Polk County! 3,205 individual contributions from Blue America donors added up to $57,190 for Alan this year.

Yesterday, Grayson said in a statement that speaks volumes about his dedication to the ideals embodied in the men and women who put him back in office:

"Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that one Democrat is as good as any other, that we’re all interchangeable parts. We’re not. Some of us have a head, and a heart, and a spine, and some of us don’t. Blue America concentrates on helping the Democrats who deserve our help, the Democrats who can make a difference. Blue America’s encyclopedic knowledge of every Congressional race means that they do your homework for you. When you support Blue America, you’re supporting the best of the best, in the most important races in the country. It sure made a difference in our election.”

And Alan wasn't our only big win this cycle. After we helped a young reform-minded El Paso City Councilman, Beto O'Rourke, oust longtime corrupt incumbent Silvestre Reyes in a primary that sent shock waves through the DC Establishment, Beto went on this past Tuesday to roll up an awe-inspiring two-to-one landslide, beating his Tea Party opponent 65.5 to 32.8%. Aside for raising money for Beto, we also introduced him to Alan Grayson and Jared Polis so that he would have a base among other reform-minded Democrats in Washington and not just the corrupt, corporate-oriented glad-handing party leaders.

As you know by now, all three of the people Blue America backed for Senate -- Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin -- won incredible victories. Bernie was reelected with over 70% of the vote. Elizabeth was the only Democrat to dislodge a sitting Republican senator -- Wall Street's favorite member of the Senate, no less -- and Tammy Baldwin beat back a four-term governor to become Wisconsin's first woman senator, and the first openly gay person to even win a Senate seat in America.

In 2010, Annie Kuster and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter were both victims of the Tea Party wave that swept over New Hampshire. Tuesday that wave reversed itself, and both outstanding grassroots progressives won congressional seats and helped turn New Hampshire dark blue again-- with a new Democratic governor and an overwhelming victory in the state legislature. And across the country in California, state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a principled and determined progressive, who got no help from the DCCC, won a powerful 10-point victory over Climate Change-denier Gary Delong.

Blue America is very proud of all our winners, of course -- and very proud of our members who gave and gave and gave and gave so generously and so consistently. We're also incredibly proud of the candidates who didn't win their races but who fought hard, usually against overwhelming odds and with no help from the DCCC or the Beltway Establishment or the state parties that take their cues from Washington. Rob Zerban gave Paul Ryan the biggest fight of his career and came closer to ending it than anyone who's ever challenged him before. Rob will be back.

And Rob isn't the only one we will be working with again. Some of our youngest first-time candidates -- Aryanna Strader, Lee Rogers, Nate Shinagawa, Nick Ruiz -- have assured me that what we've worked so hard to build won't be wasted. Lee took on the powerful and entrenched chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and gave him the first close call of his long, corrupt career. Will McKeon even run again? None of these candidates had any help from the DCCC; all of them outperformed expectations and made a mark. The morning after his near victory over Tea Party debt collector Tom Reed, the DCCC asked Nate Shinagawa to suit up for 2014, which indicates that might actually support him next cycle. I'm certain, with your help, Blue America will.

Let me share with you a note I got on Wednesday morning from Aryanna Strader our candidate in PA-16, who waged a lonely battle against entrenched incumbent Joe Pitts:

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Blue America Welcomes Tammy Baldwin

Every time I see Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on TV, I forget she's a politician. She doesn't come across as one. She comes across as a friend or a neighbor who you turn to for good advice, someone who respects all points of view and doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Is she too nice to be in the polarized Senate? Her House colleagues think she's just right. And I suspect China doesn't either. Last week she even introduced a bill with Wisconsin Republican freshman Reid Ribble to shield American manufacturers from unfair trade practices in low wage Asian countries. "American manufacturers deserve our full support in combating China's relentless pattern of international trade law violations," Baldwin said. "The simple fact is China cheats."

And Wisconsin senior Senator Herb Kohl, who is retiring and has endorsed Tammy as his replacement, telling voters in his state that Tammy has strong convictions, a strong personality and "a tremendous drive to achieve things... she's going to be a model senator, a standard of what we look for... the highest and best kind of public servant."

Tammy is best known in Congress as one of the most dedicated and persistent fighters for economic justice. This month she got a great deal of press coverage when she introduced the Buffett Rule in the House. But on a day to day basis, she was working behind the scenes pushing legislative solutions for real people with real problems, usually efforts that didn't get noticed by the public. One of her colleagues on the House Energy & Commerce Committee told me that during the debate over health care reform she would never let up on a provision to allow young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they turn 26. I asked her what made her come up with that and what kind of push back she got from the Republicans on the committee?

Health care has always been a very personal issue for me. I was raised by my grandparents-- my mother was too young to raise me when I was born-- and they were there to take care of me. As a young child, I came down with a serious illness. Something like spinal meningitis. Though I made a full recovery, I had to spend three months in the hospital and many more after that in recovery care. But my grandparents, who had always relied on their family health insurance-- a good plan for the time-- came to soon learn that granddaughters are not considered dependents. Wife, yes. Daughter, yes. But no coverage for me, they were forced to pay out of pocket. And then to top it off, I was a child with a pre-existing condition.

So, I’m proud to have worked to ensure that more young people have access to insurance and affordable care. This includes the amendment I offered in committee to expand coverage for young adults, and also the work we did to eliminate pre-existing conditions for children, and soon adults. It also means that I’m a target. Let me tell you: the health insurance giants aren’t too fond of you when you take stances like these.

And the three corporate lobbyists masquerading as Republican candidates, Neumann, Thompson and Fitzgerald, have an entirely different vision than Tammy's. It's dark and it's based on Ayn Rand's Law of the Jungle politics. Only the strong survive. When I asked Tammy if her progressive vision is something that will work outside of Madison, in places like Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, she didn't miss a beat.

I’ve fought for Wisconsin values and the middle class, and these just aren’t issues in Madison. I’ve had constituents in Beloit who’ve suffered as manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas to places like China.

I traveled much of the state over the summer during our state senate recalls and as I went from Ozaukee county to Eau Claire and all across Wisconsin people told me about the same struggles they were facing: making ends meet, finding work, and taking care of their children. So, this fight-- this campaign-- is about their struggle. I’m fighting so that they can have a little extra at the end of each month to save for their daughter’s college fund. And to make it easier for that the single dad in Appleton to find meaningful work so he can quit that second job and stay home with his son a few more hours each day. That’s something that resonates and people can relate to whether I’m in Dane County or Waukesha County.

If Tammy wins in November, she will be the first woman ever elected to the United States Senate from Wisconsin. And she'll be the first openly LGBT senator ever... from anywhere. Blue America has only found three candidates this cycle we're enthusiastic enough about to endorse for the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin. What a team! Please consider contributing what you can at the Blue America ActBlue Senate page. And please join us for a live discussion with Tammy at 1pm today (CST) in the comments section below.



Blue America Endorses Tammy Baldwin!

This morning Tammy Baldwin officially announced her candidacy for the Wisconsin Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl. If you haven't already seen the announcement video, you should:

Tammy already has the boots on the ground - now she needs capital. Will you join us in endorsing Tammy Baldwin by giving something to her campaign today?

Because of her outstanding record in the House, Blue America immediately endorsed her Senate campaign-- just minutes after her announcement. And this isn't just a matter of a terrible alternative-- a whole gang of conservatives vying for the seat. Tammy is a proven progressive leader who doesn't hesitate to take the right stands, whether that means opposing Bush when he's wrong... or opposing Obama when he's wrong. She has been a consistent leader in ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and she's been a consistent leader in standing up for working families against the excesses of Big Business.

Because she's the first woman to have ever won a congressional seat from Wisconsin and the first openly gay person to campaign and win a House seat, Tammy is an historic figure. I imagine her presence in the Senate could be especially discomforting to right-wing hypocrites Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell, while she serves as a model for progressives across the country. If Wisconsin Democrats need an inspiring figure near the top of their ticket, they couldn't hope for a better one than Tammy Baldwin!

Wisconsin is the epicenter of the progressive grassroots movement, with organizing on the ground ready and able to take on the machine.  Tammy is a known leader among them and they will work their hearts out for her. But they will need our help -- the Koch Brothers aren't going to abandon their stake in the state and the Republicans who serve them will do everything to prevent a Democrat seizing the seat.

Over 400 Blue America donors have contributed to each of the Senate campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Please consider giving that kind of enthusiastic support to Tammy Baldwin as well. It would be hard to imagine that there will be any other candidates on this page this year.




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