Blue America 2006 Candidate Update
Donna Edwards (D-MD), 2008's biggest winner
A number of people have asked me how Blue America's 2006 candidates did this year. The short answer is that they did pretty well. First off, each of our winning candidates from 2006 has won re-election. That includes the ones we re-endorsed, the ones we felt were strong enough to win without our help, the ones who we were neutral on and the one member, Chris Carney, who we worked to defeat.
In 2006 Donna Edwards lost a closely contested primary against corrupt hack Al Wynn. Many observers are certain that he managed to steal that election. He went on to win re-election in the general with 82% but lost the primary in 2008 to Donna (by a substantial margin), then resigned to become a lobbyist, giving Donna a leg up on all other congressional newcomers. This time she did even better than Wynn did in the general, taking a hefty 86% of the vote (252,524, the highest numbers of any Democrat running for the House in a contested election, even edging out Hoyer and Van Hollen in Maryland)! Bring that up next time someone tells you it's a center-right nation.
We had two candidates in California last cycle, Charlie Brown and Jerry McNerney. Jerry edged out Dirty Dick Pombo 88,883 (53%) to 78,223 (47%). This year the GOP targeted him and poured money into the campaign of right-wing extremist Dean Andal. McNerney wracked up a 10 point margin, 156,016 to 126,843. Charlie Brown almost beat John Doolittle in 2006, 104,746 (49%) to 97,217 (46%). Doolittle decided to retire from politics and Charlie fought it out with lunatic fringe Republican Tom McClintock in the reddest district seriously contested by a Democrat anywhere. The contest is still not called, as the vote count proceeds. Last official numbers showed a 50/50 break, with McClintock leading Charlie 169,957- 169,335.
In 2006 Blue America helped the Democrats defeat 3 far right GOP incumbents in Pennsylvania. Our three winners turned out to be a bit disappointing and we didn't re-endorse any of them this year. Two are decent moderates, Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy and I was happy to see each increase his margin of victory substantially. Sestak went from a 56% in 2006 to 60% this year and Murphy went from a 50/50 close call in 2006 to a 57% triumph this year. The only former endorsee Blue America has ever subsequently opposed is dishonest reactionary Chris Carney, a homophobic, anti-choice Blue Dog and even his margin of victory managed to creep up slightly from 53% in 2006 to 56% this year.
New York was also a happy hunting ground for Blue America in 2006. Our primary candidate, John Hall, who we re-endosed in 2008, increased his support in the district substantially and, even though he was targeted by the GOP he went from a 51% victory in 2006 to a 58% victory this year. Our other two incumbents, Mike Arcuri and Kirsten Gillibrand, turned out to be moderate Blue Dogs and we didn't re-endose either. Both won re-election, Arcuri, just barely (51%, down from 54% in his pre-Blue Dog days) but Gillibrand with 62% against millionaire Big Biz Republican, Sandy Treadwell, who is hated by local right-wing loons who refused to vote for him. Our big victory in New York this year, though, was in the 29th CD, where Eric Massa re-engaged with Bush rubber stamp Randy Kuhl. In 2006 Eric got 93,974 votes (48%) against Kuhl's 99,926 (52%). This year persistence paid off and Eric took 131,646 votes (51%), helping to send one of the most pathetic members of Congress into early retirement.
Another of our second tries, this one in North Carolina, went even better. In 2006 Larry Kissell was viewed as too progressive by Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC and he was on his own with only grassroots support. He managed to nearly deadlock multimillionaire incumbent Robin Hayes 60,926 to 60,597. This year both parties turned out the voters and, after Hayes joined the Michele Bachmann crazy train, Larry slaughtered him, 155,746 (55%) to 125,355 (45%), one of the worst showings for any incumbent anywhere.
New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes coasted to re-election, increasing his 52% win in 2006 to a comfy 57% this year. It was much the same story for Bruce Braley in Iowa where his 55% win in 2006 increased to a 64% landslide this year. Unfortunately a third party candidate in Ohio's second CD worked out badly for Vic Wulsin. Although Mean Jean Schmidt's percentage of the vote decreased from 51% in 2006 to 45% in 2008, Vic was unable to capitalize on it, with 18% going to a third-party candidate.
And speaking of third party candidates, the Blue America endorsee from the 2006 Democratic primary in Florida's 13th CD, Jan Schneider, ran as an independent this year, helping to keep Blue Dog Christine Jennings out of Congress, a worthwhile accomplishment. Jennings went from a 50/50 loss in 2006 to just a 38% share of the vote this year, despite massive amounts of cash from Blue Dogs, the DCCC and other Establishment Democrats.
UPDATE: 3 OTHER DEMOCRATS WHO PASSED THE QUARTER MILLION VOTE MARK BESIDES DONNA
Tammy Baldwin (274,973), Chaka Fattah (267,605) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (255,991)