Tag: competitive primary

Women’s March participant wins Urbana, Illinois mayoral primary

On January 21 of this year, millions of women in the United States and around the world participated in a series of Women’s Marches in protest of the horrendous policies of President Donald Trump.

Last night, the Women’s March scored its first major electoral victory in a Democratic primary for Mayor of Urbana, Illinois:

An eight-year Urbana city councilwoman who campaigned on the promise of improving economic development in Urbana is one step closer to becoming mayor.

Diane Marlin took the Democratic mayoral nomination by a landslide in Tuesday’s primary — piling up 2,427 votes to 12-year incumbent Laurel Prussing’s 1,510 and Evelyn Underwood’s 316.

Next up: An April 4 date with Republican Rex Bradfield in the consolidated general election.

Diane Marlin was a participant in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois Women’s March, and now she has defeated a longtime incumbent mayor of one of Illinois’s most progressive cities. I live in another municipality in Illinois, but I wish Diane well in the general election in her city!

We now have a competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary to celebrate the Illinois bicentennial

Next year, Illinois will celebrate the 200th anniversary of our state gaining statehood, and, as a proud Illinois Democrat, there is no better way to celebrate our state’s bicentennial than a fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Well, we’ve officially got one, and it’s in the Democratic primary for governor:

“I am running because we’ve gotten to a point in this country where wealth worship is the only qualifier for public office, trumping public policy. Chopping benefits or declaring strategic bankruptcy or selling companies off in pieces for profit is somehow seen as the secret ingredient for an Illinois utopia,” said (Ameya) Pawar.

Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is officially running for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Illinois, joining businessman and former University of Illinois Board Chairman Christopher G. Kennedy, who intends to formally launch a gubernatorial bid later this month. CGK and Ameya are probably not going to be alone:

Does Pawar have the wherewithal to go up against the potential primary election cash of Democratic billionaires (Chris Kennedy & JB Pritzker)? Or to take on, maybe, a couple of state senators (Kwame Raoul & Andy Manar), a pair of congresswomen (Robin Kelly & Cheri Bustos) or an Attorney General named Madigan?

A note to gubernatorial candidates and potential gubernatorial candidates: don’t ask me if I want to be your lieutenant-gubernatorial running mate, because the answer is going to be no, and I’m currently serving a two-year term, which includes the spring 2018 primary, as an election judge in Vermilion County.

STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

Three Wisconsin endorsements for the August primaries

On August 9 of this year, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls to vote on candidates running in partisan primaries for both houses of Congress, seats in the Wisconsin State Legislature (all State Assembly districts and even-numbered State Senate districts), and many county-level offices that are elected on a partisan ballot.

I’ve already endorsed Russ Feingold in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, Sarah Lloyd in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary, and Jimmy Anderson in the 47th State Assembly District Democratic primary. In three other contested Democratic primaries in Wisconsin, I hereby announce endorsements.

3rd Congressional District – Myron Buchholz

I proudly endorse Myron Buchholz, who is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). I wrote this blog post when Buchholz entered the race, but now I formally endorse Buchholz. Myron Buchholz is a strong progressive who will oppose any unjustified war, even if a Democratic president wants to lead our troops into a full-scale unjustified war. Ron Kind, on the other hand, is a corporate Democrat who supports the NRA’s agenda of proliferating guns into every part of American society. Furthermore, Buchholz opposes international trade deals, such as President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is supported by corporate Democrats like President Obama and Congressman Kind, but would result in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of U.S. jobs being moved to low-wage countries like Vietnam. Buchholz believes in protecting America’s economy, not allowing foreign countries to take our jobs.

4th State Senate District – Mandela Barnes

I proudly endorse Mandela Barnes, who is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee). Lena Taylor is probably the most right-wing Democrat in the Wisconsin State Legislature, being a supporter of the NRA’s gun proliferation agenda, a supporter of giving taxpayer money to religious schools, and a political ally of Scott Walker. Mandela Barnes, who was named after the late, great South African leader Nelson Mandela, is obviously more progressive than Lena.

Dane County District Attorney – Ismael Ozanne

I proudly endorse Ismael Ozanne, who is seeking re-election for the job of top prosecutor in Wisconsin’s most progressive county. Ozanne is facing a primary challenge from Bob Jambois, a close ally of State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). Jambois is from Kenosha County, which is nearly 50 miles from Dane County (measured as distance between Cambridge, Wisconsin and Genoa City, Wisconsin), and Jambois is a former Kenosha County District Attorney. Jambois is a carpetbagger and not a native Dane County resident.

ENDORSEMENT: Zephyr Teachout for 19th Congressional District of New York

I proudly endorse Zephyr Rain Teachout for the Democratic nomination in the 19th Congressional District of New York.

My endorsement of Zephyr is not based on the fact that she has the coolest name in American politics (she certainly does) or because of the cool outfits she wears in parades across her congressional district (see here and here), it’s because she’s an absolutely awesome person. If elected to Congress, nobody, and I mean nobody, will be a stronger and more effective advocate for removing the undue influence of big money in American politics than Zephyr. Zephyr is one of only two congressional candidates in the entire country that I’m aware of (the other being 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin candidate Sarah Lloyd) who has openly talked about how free-trade deals have hurt farmers and rural America. Zephyr is the only congressional candidate that I’m aware of who has talked about how large companies have locked away technologies that can be used by small businesses. Zephyr understands that climate change is real, and that real solutions are needed to curb or reverse global warming.

Zephyr has the Working Families Party line and faces Will Yandik in the Democratic primary, and the winner of the primary will face Republican opposition from the winner of a contested primary between John Faso (who has the Conservative, Independence, and Reform Party lines), Andrew Heaney, and Bob Bishop. I strongly encourage New York Democrats to vote for Zephyr Teachout on June 28. You can view Zephyr’s campaign website here, and she’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

ENDORSEMENT: Susie Lee for 4th Congressional District of Nevada

As Democratic voters in the 4th Congressional District of Nevada go to the polls today, I’ll take this opportunity to encourage voters in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, which includes the northern part of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, to vote for Susie Lee in the Democratic congressional primary.

While Bernie Sanders has been busy trying to sell former gangster and convicted car thief Lucy Flores to progressives, the truth of the matter is that a majority of general election voters in the 4th Congressional District aren’t going to vote for someone with a felony record. People simply don’t like being represented in Congress by criminals, so a vote for Lucy Flores is effectively a vote for Crescent Hardy, who is nothing more than a right-wing rubber stamp for right-wing Republicans like Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. I’m saying this as someone who voted for Bernie in the Illinois primary.

While there are a total of eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, only three of them have a realistic shot of winning the nomination: Lee, Flores, and Ruben Kihuen. Of those three, only Susie Lee is actually a current resident of the 4th Congressional District of Nevada. On the issues, Lee supports building an interstate highway between Las Vegas and Reno (currently, one has to drive through either California or Utah in order to drive between Las Vegas and Reno without having to drive over mostly two-lane roads), and Lee also supports protecting Social Security and Medicare.

ENDORSEMENT: Jimmy Anderson for 47th Assembly District of Wisconsin

I proudly endorse Wisconsin State Assembly candidate Jimmy Anderson for the Democratic nomination in the 47th Assembly District of Wisconsin.

Before I rage against the Democratic establishment yet another time (you know it’s coming), I’ll say a few things about the candidate that I’m endorsing. Jimmy Anderson was nearly killed by a drunk driver in 2010, in fact, Anderson is a quadriplegic as a result of the injuries he sustained in an automobile crash. After finishing law school, Anderson founded a non-profit group that gives out free breathalyzers and helps victims of drunk drivers with various expenses. Anderson is a progressive-minded Wisconsinite who will fight for government transparency, restore workers’ rights, protect Wisconsin’s environment, and fight for equal rights. This press release from almost a week ago lists Katie Belanger, a political consultant and LGBT rights advocate, as Anderson’s campaign treasurer.

Now, about that pesky Democratic establishment…Anderson is running for a state assembly seat that is currently held by another “Democrat” (if you wish to refer to him as such), Robb Kahl. Kahl supported Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during his 2010 campaign, and, thanks to people like Kahl supporting Walker, Walker and his far-right Republican allies went on to bust labor unions in Wisconsin, repeal environmental regulations, drive down wages, and make it harder for women to ensure that they’re paid the same as their male counterparts, among other things. To say the least, Kahl and his buddies in the Democratic establishment in Wisconsin are not fond of the idea of someone running against him, and, while they didn’t make fun of Anderson’s disability, they did something that is, in my opinion, even worse:

This is such a distraction,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh. “Think about this. Hopefully all 35 of us (Democrats in the Assembly) are going to come out strongly for Robb. Every dollar and every door that we do for our colleague is another dollar and another door that we’re not doing in a Republican district that we can win. When we pick up a seat or two fewer in the fall, I’m going to think about these so-called progressive hypocrites that went after this unnecessary seat to make themselves happy or to high-five their friends at the co-op.”

[…]

Hintz said he generally has mixed feelings about primary challenges in safe districts, adding that it’s not enough for the incumbent to have voted with the party. Kahl, he said, has been a team player who works to get Democrats elected throughout the state.

[…]

“I’m in the business of trying to elect more Democrats, not trying to increase the size of the Solidarity Singers,” Hintz said.

Gordon Hintz, who operated a motor vehicle without proof of insurance and, before that, was fined over $2,000 for sexual misconduct, is also the type of guy who disparages progressives in Dane County, Wisconsin’s second-largest county by population for their way of life, believes that democracy is a distraction, thinks that state legislators should spend more time getting political cronies elected than legislating, and attacks people for singing.

If Hintz’s remarks weren’t offensive enough, Kahl himself, who hasn’t officially decided whether or not to run for re-election, went full elitist when asked about Anderson’s candidacy:

Kahl has yet to announce whether he’ll run for reelection. “Jimmy’s been talking about running for a couple of months now, so this isn’t a surprise,” Kahl says. “Jimmy has a compelling life story, but he’s never held elected office, and the people in my district know me, they know that I run to serve, and I will have their support if seeking the nomination is what I decide to do.”

According to Article IV, Section 6 of the Wisconsin Constitution, anyone who is a resident of Wisconsin for at least one calendar year before the election, and is legally eligible to vote, can run for state assembly in the district in which he or she resides. For Kahl to attack Anderson for not having held prior elected office is, in my opinion, elitist, since both Kahl and Anderson both meet the legal qualifications to run for state assembly in the 47th Assembly District of Wisconsin.

If you’re tired of royalist, elitist, patronizing, demeaning, and out-of-touch political insiders thinking that the Democratic Party should be an exclusive club for them and their cronies, then support Jimmy Anderson for Wisconsin State Assembly in the 47th Assembly District.

ENDORSEMENT: Maria Chappelle-Nadal for 1st Congressional District of Missouri

I proudly endorse Maria Chappelle-Nadal in the U.S. House Democratic primary in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the city of St. Louis and northern parts of St. Louis County.

Maria isn’t just part of the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s a way of life for her. During the Ferguson protests that were sparked by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Maria was hit with tear gas that was fired by law enforcement. Make no mistake about it, Maria herself has been a victim of police brutality, and, if she’s elected to Congress, she’ll fight to end police brutality in America. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is more passionate about racial justice issues than Maria.

Maria is running against incumbent Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr., a backbencher who was virtually silent while chaos erupted in his congressional district.

Tammy Duckworth wins MoveOn email straw poll for Illinois U.S. Senate race

With a whopping 91% of the vote, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) has won the MoveOn Illinois U.S. Senate email straw poll. That means that Duckworth has been endorsed by MoveOn, a progressive political organization.

If I’m not mistaken, one must have been from Illinois and have been on MoveOn’s email list in order to get a ballot (for the record, I received an email ballot and voted for Duckworth). Although Wikipedia lists three candidates (Duckworth, former Chicago School Board member Andrea Zopp, and radiologist Robert Marshall) as running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, only Duckworth and Zopp appeared on MoveOn’s straw poll ballot.

The email in which MoveOn announced the straw poll results emphasized Duckworth’s military service (she lost both of her legs after a Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting over Iraq in 2004 was shot down) and support for the nuclear deal with Iran and attacked Republican incumbent Mark Kirk for being one of the most vocal opponents of the Iran deal:

The results are in, and MoveOn members in Illinois have voted overwhelmingly to endorse Tammy Duckworth for U.S. Senate!
Rep. Duckworth knows the costs of war more than most, having served in Iraq as a helicopter pilot before losing both of her legs in combat…
[…]
In contrast, current Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is one of the biggest war hawks in all of Congress. In addition to voting to invade Iraq, he railed against President Obama for pursuing diplomacy with Iran, even claiming that the President’s goal was to “get nukes to Iran.”
Make no mistake about it, Mark Kirk is dead wrong when it comes to his absurd claim that the Iran deal would result in President Obama giving nuclear weapons to Iran. In fact, the Iran deal would keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands and prevent another war that would cost thousands of American lives and billions of American taxpayer dollars. MoveOn members in Illinois have made it clear that Tammy Duckworth would be a better Democratic challenger to Kirk than Andrea Zopp, who voted for Rahm Emanuel’s plan to close dozens of Chicago public schools, mostly in predominantly-black neighborhoods, would be.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin officials release the party’s own autopsy

A 22-member Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) committee, led by DPW Second Vice-Chairman Jeff Christensen, released its own internal report on the 2014 midterm elections in Wisconsin yesterday. You can read the full report here; it’s a 14-page PDF file.

According to the DPW Administrative Committee, here’s what I’ve interpreted as being the main points in the report:

  • Since 1990, Wisconsin has become an extremely polarized state, with a very strong two-party system and the top-of-the-ticket race in November general elections in Wisconsin having a huge impact on downballot races.
  • The DPW should provide more support to candidates in officially non-partisan local elections in order to build a bench of Democratic candidates for state legislative and statewide elections.
  • The DPW shouldn’t meddle in contested primaries unless it has a very good reason to do so (such as scenarios involving known Republicans/conservatives running in a Democratic primary or a candidate who is clearly unfit for public office running in a Democratic primary).
  • The DPW leadership should explain its proper role in the political process and management of the party more effectively.
  • The Republicans’ message in Wisconsin is to effectively paint the Democrats as the “party of government”, even if Democrats aren’t in power.
  • Democrats should rebut the Republicans’ talking points more effectively.
  • Democrats in Wisconsin have focused too much on attacking Scott Walker and not enough on promoting a positive message of any kind.
  • To use terminology that was used in the report, Democrats in Wisconsin have “played nice in the sandbox”, leading to Democratic candidates who are too defensive.
  • While Democrats should focus heavily on tailoring a positive message to rural voters, both rural and urban voters in Wisconsin regard education, infrastructure, and jobs as three important issues.
  • Election fatigue is becoming a major problem among Democratic activists/volunteers in Wisconsin.
  • In regards to the DPW’s field operations, the DPW should find various ways to optimize voter turnout.
  • Three programs created as part of the “72-county strategy”, regional field organizers, Spring Forward (support for known Democrats running in officially non-partisan local elections in Wisconsin), and Red-to-Blue (support for Democratic state legislative candidates in Republican-leaning or heavily-Republican areas of Wisconsin) should be expanded.
  • The most important point of the report is that “the path to a new progressive era (in Wisconsin) is entirely possible”.

While some of these points are specific to Wisconsin, some of the points also apply to state-level Democratic parties in other states as well.

The report strongly suggested that the DPW should run statewide candidates who can run on a positive, progressive message, as well as relate to both urban and rural voters. However, the report didn’t suggest any potential statewide candidates for future elections in Wisconsin, and there aren’t that many Democrats in Wisconsin who could pull off such a campaign. Lori Compas, who was the recall organizer and Democratic candidate in the 2012 recall attempt against Republican State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, is the first person that comes to mind for me. However, I don’t think that Compas is interested in running for public office again at all. The second person who comes to my mind is Kathleen Vinehout, a state senator from the west-central part of Wisconsin who was the third-place candidate in the 2012 Democratic primary in the gubernatorial recall election. Vinehout nearly ran for governor last year, but injuries sustained in an automobile crash prevented her from running for governor. There’s probably a few others out there as well.

Additionally, while the DPW’s report didn’t touch on any of these points at all, I do have several suggestions of my own:

  • Democrats in Wisconsin should run against income inequality, preferably by using “1% vs. 99%” messaging and supporting ideals such as raising taxes on the wealthy and ending tax breaks and other forms of corporate welfare for businesses.
  • Democrats in Wisconsin should run on progressive ideas and values, and, even more importantly, they should explain how progressive policies would benefit all or the vast majority of people.
  • Democrats in Wisconsin should stop speaking favorably of Republicans, as well as stop ignoring and criticizing progressives.
  • Democrats in Wisconsin should emphasize restoring local control to counties and municipalities over issues that are best dealt with at the local level.
  • Progressive-minded Democrats in Wisconsin should, as much as possible, distance themselves from fellow Democrats who are opposed to progressive ideals and values on many issues, most notably Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
  • Democrats in Wisconsin, should, if possible, use the own words of Republican elected officials and candidates against them.

One thing is clear from the DPW’s autopsy: The DPW, in its current state, is one of the weakest state-level Democratic Party organizations in the entire country. A Second Progressive Era in Wisconsin is certainly obtainable, although it’s going to require progressives to hold the DPW leadership accountable to many of the points they made in their own report on the 2014 elections, as well as require Democrats to run progressive candidates who can appeal to a wide coalition of voters.