Vegas-Macau gambling kingpin Sheldon Adelson, who fronts for organized crime and launders money from China into American politics, has decided to try to win Henry Waxman’s congressional seat on Los Angeles’ west side— from Malibu down through Santa Monica, Venice, El Segundo and Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes and Harbor City— for a Republican stooge he can easily control, Elan Carr.
First the good news: the last publicly-available polling— by Democratic firm, GarinHartYang Research-- showed Ted Lieu, the state senator from most of the district, leading Carr 55-36%, nearly 20 points. Party registration in the district is 44% Democrat, 33% Republican and Obama beat Romney 61-37%. The PVI is D+11.
“Ted Lieu,” writes Garin, “maintains a healthy lead over Elan Carr in the initial trial heat and Senator Lieu’s support expands slightly, even after we assume attacks from our opponent. Senator Lieu’s strong position in the race is due to his legislative experience, better alignment with the values and priorities in this district, AND the tarnished GOP brand.”
They no longer have to “assume” attacks. Carr’s biggest supporter, the Sheldon Adelson family and his crooked circle, came roaring into the district Friday with 4 mailers, one of which is an ugly racist piece trying to paint Lieu as not sufficiently pro-Israel— and appeal to the district’s huge Jewish population. And now the Adelson front has reserved several hundred thousand dollars on broadcast TV to saturate the airwaves with anti-Lieu smears.
Our independent expenditure committee is running ads in South Dakota’s Senate race, Maine’s Senate race, the Michigan congressional race pitting Paul Clements against Fred Upton... and now Ted Lieu’s race. This is Digby’s and John’s home district and we’re finishing up a full page ad for the Los Angeles Times that emphasizes 4 examples of national leadership by Ted:
the first successful bill to protect consumers from predatory mortgage bankers
the first successful legislation to end conversion therapy for LGBT minors
the first successful bill to take serious statewide action against Global Warming
the first successful bill to end state cooperation with the CIA, NSA and any other federal agencies engaging in unconstitutional domestic spying
Ted Lieu isn’t just another politician making sweet-sounding promises. He’s running on a solid platform of accomplishments and leadership. And, on these issues, the 3 other candidates our I.E. Committee is trying to boost— Paul Clements, Shenna Bellows and Rick Weiland— all agree 100%.
Every cent contributed on our Independent Expenditure Committee page between now and election day will go right into these 4 campaigns.
Although we lost some good candidates in the primaries last week, several of Blue America prospects came out ahead in tough races. Progressive state Senator, Ted Lieu, the California state legislator who was first in the nation write and pass a ban on Republican gay-to-straight "reparative therapy" and to block the state from cooperating with NSA unconstitutional bulk collection of private communication between Americans citizens, beat out two very well-financed conservative Establishment shills-- Wendy Greuel and Matt Miller-- for the Democratic nomination for the CA-33 seat Henry Waxman is giving up.
Victories by either Greuel or Miller would have been nothing short of catastrophic for the progressive movement, statewide and nationally. Although Greuel was seen as a frontrunner--with elements of the transactional Clinton machine behind her-- her viciously negative attack on other candidates backfired and just turned off voters, especially women... and especially her own.
And Lieu wasn't the only great news last week. Two other Blue America challengers won tough races. Although pundits were predicting that Bonnie Watson Coleman would come up short in her race to succeed Rush Holt in NJ-12, she ran away with the race, beating her closest rival, centrist Linda Greenstein, 43-28%. In Iowa former state House Speaker Pat Murphy didn't just win his 5-person contest, he won with enough votes to avoid a costly and unpredictable nominating convention. Like Lieu, Murphy and Coleman will now face Republicans in November, although all three are favored to win-- and become new members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
The other race we were watching closely last Tuesday was the CA-17 challenge from the right by corporate shill Ro Khanna, a desperate hack financed by wealthy Republicans seeking to remove progressive icon Mike Honda. Although they will face each other again in November Honda trounced Khanna 48.6 to 27.1%.
We are sorry to see Californians Lee Rogers and Eloise Reyes out of the running this cycle. You win some, you lose some.
Let's make sure our House challengers who are already guaranteed places in November-- Paul Clements (MI), Ted Lieu (CA), Mike Obermueller (MN), Pat Murphy (IA), Gloria Bromell Tinubu (SC), Michael Wager (OH), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ) and Kelly Westlund (WI)-- have the resources they need to compete against their Republican opponents. That's something you can do here at the Blue America ActBlue page.
Senator Warren Needs More Allies In Congress Who Want To Help Students, Not Prey On Them
By now you've probably heard about Elizabeth Warren's fantastic first piece of legislation, the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. Her goal is to lower student loan interest rates for next year from 3.4% to 0.75% -- the same rate the government loans money to the banks through the Federal Reserve discount window. As of now, unless Congress takes action-- other than drumming up faux scandals to deny President Obama a third term-- student loan interest rates will double to 6.8% on July 1st.
Boehner and Cantor, the Republicans as a party, and the Wall Street bankers who fund them, have declared Senator Warren's proposal a non-starter and have vowed to kill it. Last week Boehner shuffled it into John Kline's Education and Workforce Committee, and Kline did exactly what he was told. The proposal was defeated 23-14, all the Republicans voting NO and all but one Democrat voting YES.
All the Blue America-endorsed candidates support Elizabeth Warren's way of dealing with this problem and all of them would like to get into Congress and make sure her proposal eventually passes.
State Rep. Carl Sciortino is one of Senator Warren's Massachusetts constituents and he's running for the House seat being vacated by Ed Markey, a seat that includes towns like Cambridge, Waltham, Medford, and Framingham, all filled with college students. Carl is 34 and has been an enthusiastic proponent of Senator Warren's approach. He knows that the future of the country lies with people going through school today.
"Our country has always taught its young people that hard work and education are keys to achieving the American dream," he told us. "But for too many families the cost of higher education has become the subject of their nightmares. While Republicans in Washington try to weaken Wall Street regulations, progressive Democrats are working to give our students the same low interest rates as our banks. We have to get serious as a nation about ensuring that our younger generation has the same opportunities to succeed as our parents and grandparents. Senator Warren has put forward a smart and creative solution, and I look forward to supporting her efforts in Congress later this year."
Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County-- is one of the most liberal districts in the state. Obama beat McCain 65.4-33.7% in 2008 and did even better last year-- 66.2-32.9%. The current congressmember, Allyson Schwartz, is giving up the seat to run for governor. She was reelected in November with 69% of the vote. She's always been extremely cautious to not get out ahead on any contentious issues and tends to vote very conservatively for a Democrat in a safe seat, especially on issues of economic justice. This is the perfect time to replace her with a real leader and a courageous fighting progressive. State Senator Daylin Leach fits the bill perfectly. Take a look at the video up top. You have to admire a politician who brags about an "F" from the NRA and who launches a congressional campaign talking about introducing the first same sex marriage bill in the Pennsylvania legislature.
With his record of achievement, Daylin is a natural for Blue America and he'll be joining us in the comments section, below, for a live chat at 11am (2pm ET). He's been taking on tough issues that most politicians are afraid to get anywhere near-- from legalizing marijuana to labeling genetically engineered food. He's been a major opponent in the state legislature of Republican efforts to privatize and voucherize public education and has been one of the leading voices against GOP efforts at voter suppression. He supports the Grayson Takano No Cuts approach to dealing with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "At a time when corporate profits, executive compensation, the stock market and wealth disparity are at near record highs, it is obscene to even consider balancing our budget on the backs of seniors and veterans," he told us. "I fully supported President Obama's election, but I can't support any drift towards corporatism to appease tea-party extremists... Republicans are, on a daily basis, showing their complete indifference to the poor, kids, the elderly and public safety as they not only perpetuate sequestration, but gloat about it. The clock ticks as America waits for some actual human beings with a soul to emerge from the Republican caucus."
The gun lobby is very strong in Pennsylvania and the NRA is a very potent force there. That doesn't seem to deter Daylin one iota. This is what he told us about the battle over gun safety yesterday:
Lets wrap our mind around this. Congress said that it is our national policy that we don't want to know if someone is a violent felon before we allow them to buy a mass-killing machine. This is what it looks like when a country loses its mind.
Further, the idea that any restriction with the word "gun" in it somehow violates the 2nd Amendment is based on ignorance of how the Constitution works. No constitutional right is absolute. We have a right to free speech which is far more unambiguous than the "right to keep and bear arms." Yet there are all kinds of speech which we can Constitutionally restrict. You can't libel someone or lie in advertising, or yell "fire" in a crowded theater. You can say you are against the war in Iraq, but you can't do it through a megaphone in a residential neighborhood at 3:00 AM.
Ironically, most of these restrictions are based on the state's interest in preserving public safety. Similarly, limits on violent people, or juveniles, or spouse-beaters having guns, or the number of guns you can buy per month, or how many bullets you can have in a clip at a time are perfectly reasonable, and more to the point, Constitutional restrictions that in no way impact anyone's 2nd Amendment rights.
State Rep. Brian Sims is the first out LGBT member to be elected to the Pennsylvania legislature. He's from a neighboring district and he's enthusiastically supporting Daylin's congressional run. Sims gained a lot of notoriety when, in fighting GOP attempts to prohibit state-run insurance from covering abortions, he reminded his colleagues that "Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution; we did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." This weekend he told us that "Daylin Leach has been a leader on LGBT civil rights in the Pennsylvania legislature for the last decade which is why I have endorsed him. This is a pivotal time in Washington for issues of equality, and we need proven leaders like Daylin who have a record of fighting for our rights. I know that Daylin will be our champion in DC."
Daylin doesn't mince words when it comes to protecting the civil rights of any groups of people. Speaking about his fight for LGBT equality, he reminded us that, "Martin Luther King said 'the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.' So what is it bending away from? It bends away from bigotry, and discrimination and social acceptance of the idea that its OK to treat people as lesser human beings because they are different from us. In the long run, those attitudes make history sick."
He's been a stalwart fighter against the Republicans in their crackpot war against women. "It is beyond my comprehension how anyone with a mother, wife or daughter could accept anything less than full equality for women. Equality of income, of access to health care, of opportunities to succeed, these are the basic demands that anyone who has a woman he cares about should have." You want the best in Congress-- not someone who the best you can say is that he's better than a Republican? Daylin's your man. We're very proud to endorse him. Please consider contributing to his campaign on the Blue America ActBlue page.