SSP Daily Digest: 7/9

CO-Sen: Both Jane Norton and Ken Buck found something else to do when Michael Steele showed up in town yesterday, eager to take his off the hook, technically avant-garde message to Colorado’s urban-suburban hip-hop settings. Seems like Steele has a bad case of the cooties in the wake of his Afghanistan comments.  Buck instead went to hang with the decidedly non-hip-hop Tom Tancredo at a rally yesterday instead, where Tancredo called Barack Obama the “greatest threat to the United States today.” Buck subsequently had to distance himself from Tancredo’s comments via conference call… I’m wondering if Buck would have rather appeared with Michael Steele after all.

NV-Sen: Sharron Angle rolled out her campaign’s first ad; perhaps wisely, she isn’t in it at all, other than a voiceover doing the required disclaimer at the end. Instead, it’s just a narration-free black-and-white montage of the economic woe that, of course, Harry Reid caused. Which completely contradicts her own message that she’s touted in public appearances, which is that it’s not a Senator’s job to create jobs, and that it was in fact a bad thing for Harry Reid to intervene to save 22,000 jobs at a local construction project. To top all that off, Angle said Wednesday that Reid’s attempts to fight back on the jobs issue were an attempt to “hit the girl.” (UPDATE: Jon Ralston uncovers that Angle’s ad buy was for a whopping total of $5K. Add this one to the growing pile of bullshit ad buys aimed at getting free media.)

OH-Sen: Lee Fisher’s fundraising numbers are out. The good news is: he finally had a seven-digit quarter, pulling in at least $1 million last quarter and giving him “more than” $1 million CoH. The bad news is: that’s less than half what Rob Portman raised last quarter, and it’s a more than 8:1 CoH advantage for Portman.

AL-Gov: Two different polls are out in the Republican runoff in Alabama, and they paint very different pictures. One is from GOP pollster Baselice, working on behalf of a group called Public Strategy Associates. They give Robert Bentley a 53-33 lead over Bradley Byrne. The other is an internal from the Byrne camp; they’re claiming a four-point lead, although without any details about topline numbers or even the pollster. They’re also claiming that Byrne has gained 7 points in the last week while Bentley has lost 7, presumably because of Byrne’s attacks on Bentley’s friendliness with the Alabama Education Association, the teachers’ union that has particularly had it in for Byrne. Byrne also rolled out endorsements from two of Alabama’s sitting House members, Spencer Bachus and Jo Bonner.

CA-Gov: Seems like Jerry Brown took a look at the internals at the latest Field Poll and realized he’d better do something about his standing among Latino voters. He held a press conference yesterday with 14 Latino leaders, criticizing the sincerity of Meg Whitman’s softening of her immigration stance since the GOP primary. Xavier Becerra pointed out that “Jerry Brown broke bread with Cesar Chavez. His opponent breaks bread with Pete Wilson.” (Wilson, of course, was the driving force behind Prop 187 last decade.)

CO-Gov: Dan Maes, the insurgent candidate in the GOP primary, is pretty much out of gas. He raised all of $33K last quarter, with $23K CoH. That cash on hand is somewhat less than the $27K fine he’s going to have to pay for various campaign finance violations he’s committed.

GA-Gov: SurveyUSA has more polls of the fast-approaching gubernatorial primaries. They find John Oxendine at 32 and Karen Handel at 23, meaning they’re likely to advance to a GOP runoff. Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson are lagging at 12, with Ray McBerry at 5. On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes is at 56, which would let him avoid a runoff against Thurbert Baker (who’s at 18). Dubose Porter and David Poythress languish at 6 and 5, respectively. (SUSA also has Dem Senate and downballot numbers, if you click the link.) PPP (pdf) is also out with a poll, although this is one of their rare internals that makes it to the public view; it’s on behalf of J.C. Cole, a Thurbert Baker backer. They find Barnes just under the runoff mark: 49 Barnes, 19 Baker, 4 Porter, and 3 Poythress.

MA-Gov: The money race in Massachusetts is a pretty close three-way race, although Tim Cahill, corresponding with his slide in the polls, has also lost his financial edge. GOPer Charlie Baker has the most cash on hand with $2.97 million, with Cahill at $2.95 million. Dem incumbent Deval Patrick has the least, $2.37 million, but seems to be expecting some help from the state Dem party, which has a big CoH edge over the state GOP.

NE-Gov: The Nebraska governor’s race is turning into a bit of Democratic debacle, as the departure of Mark Lakers has left Dems looking high and low for someone willing to take his place at this late date. Ben Nelson says someone’s likely to emerge before the July 23-25 state convention, although he didn’t volunteer any particular names.

TN-Gov: Knoxville mayor (and oil baron) Bill Haslam seems on track to be Tennessee’s next governor, according to a poll for local TV affiliate WSMV. (The poll was conducted by Crawford, Johnson, and Northcott, a firm I’ve never heard of.) The free-spending Haslam leads the GOP primary in the open seat race at 32, with Rep. Zach Wamp at 21 and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey at 11. Haslam also performs the best against Mike McWherter, the only Dem left in the hunt. Haslam wins 60-34, while Wamp wins 59-35 and Ramsey wins 51-41.

FL-22: Allen West continues to post gaudy fundraising numbers; he says he raised $1.4 million in the last quarter, likely to be the biggest total for any Republican House challenger. West, of course, is a client of BaseConnect, and a lot of that money gets churned through for direct-mail expenses, but he is steadily expanded his cash on hand, claiming to be up to $2.2 million. Rep. Ron Klein had $2.6 million CoH at the end of the previous quarter in March.

GA-08: Here’s a fundraising success for a late entrant for the GOP: state Rep. Austin Scott, who bailed out of the gubernatorial primary to run an uphill fight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall, outraised Marshall last quarter. Scott raised $251K last quarter (including $56K of his own money), leaving him with $213K CoH. Marshall raised $165K, but has $981K in his war chest.

MI-03: In case there was any doubt who the DeVos family (the power behind the Republican throne in western Michigan) was backing, they made it explicit today. Dick DeVos announced his support for state Rep. Justin Amash in the GOP primary to succeed retiring Vern Ehlers.

MN-01: One more surprise GOP fundraising score to report: state Rep. Randy Demmer had a good quarter, pulling in $303K, leaving him with $251K. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz hasn’t released numbers, but had $856K CoH banked last quarter.

NY-23: Scozzafava endorses Bill Owens! No, it’s not quite what you think. It’s Tom Scozzafava (apparently absolutely no relation to special election opponent-turned-endorser Dede Scozzafava), the Supervisor of the town of Moriah. Owens also got some probably more significant good news on Tuesday: Don Kasprzak, the Republican mayor of Plattsburgh, offered some public praise of Owens and, while stopping short of endorsing him, said that he couldn’t vote for either Doug Hoffman or Matt Doheny.

OH-12: With Rep. Pat Tiberi having dropped an internal poll yesterday showing him dominating Democratic challenger Paula Brooks, today it was Brooks’ turn. She offered up an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which also showed her losing, but by a much smaller margin. The poll sees the race at 48-36 in favor of Tiberi, with 10% going to Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine.

CA-Init (pdf): The Field Poll also provided numbers for four initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot in November. Like several other pollsters, they see a close race for Prop 19, which proposes to legalize marijuana: it’s failing 44-48. Perhaps the most significant race, though, is Prop 25, which would solve the Sacramento gridlock by allowing passage of a budget by a mere majority vote; support for Prop 25 is very broad, at 65-20, with even Republicans favoring passage. Voters don’t support Prop 23, a utilities-funded push to overturn the state’s greenhouse gases emissions law; it’s failing 36-48. Finally, there’s 42-32 support for Prop 18, a bond to pay for water supply improvements.

Fundraising: A couple more fundraising tidbits from the Fix: Democratic GA-Gov candidate Roy Barnes raised $1.3 million last quarter, while GOPer Nathan Deal raised $570K. And in NH-Sen, Bill Binnie reported raising $550K, but bear in mind he can write himself checks as need be.


•  IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 40%, Bill Brady (R) 43%

•  SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 44%, Kristi Noem (R) 49%

AL Post Primary Rundown

Last night, the voters in Alabama voted on nominees for each party to contest seats up for election in November. Here is a rundown of how things went in the Yellowhammer State last night:

AL-GOV: The GOP Primary will go to a runoff between former State Senator Bradley Byrne and either State Representative Robert Bentley or Real Estate Developer Tim James. Personally, I’m surprised Roy Moore, who was polling second in polls leading up to this race, placed 4th. In the Democratic Primary, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks surprised many by crushing Congressman Artur Davis by a nearly 2-1 margin.

AL-LT GOV: State Treasurer Kay Ivey, who abandoned a hopeless Gubernatorial bid earlier this year, unsurprisingly romped over State Senator Hank Erwin and Teacher Gene Ponder. Ivey will face Incumbent Jim Fosom Jr. in November.

AL-AG: One of the biggest surprises of the evening occurred here with Attorney Luther Strange walloping Incumbent Republican AG Troy King by 20 points, a race that was under the radar for most political observers. In another surprise, Attorney James Anderson and former State Democratic Party Chairman Giles Perkins will go to a runoff. Perkins finished nearly 19 points below Anderson in yesterday’s vote tallies.

AL-State Treasurer: In another massive upset, former State Finance Department Official Young Boozer crushed former State Treasurer, former PSC Commissioner, and son of former Governor George Wallace, George Wallace Jr. by about 30 points(Thank God!!!). Unsurprisingly, in the Democratic Primary, former State Conservation Commissioner Charles Grimsley defeated Attorney Jeremy Sherer by about 20 points in the final tallies.

AL-AG Commissioner: In the GOP Primary, Former State Conservation Commissioner John McMillan and Walker County Economic Development Chair Dorman Grace are headed to a Runoff. The winner faces an uphill fight against Democratic Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Glen Zorn.

AL-SEN: No surprises in either race, Republican Senator Richard Shelby will face Democratic Attorney William Barnes in November.

AL-01: No surprise, Republican Congressman Jo Bonner horse-whipped Real Estate Developer Peter Gounares and will do so again to Constitution Party Artificial Reef Contractor David Walter in November.

AL-02: The Republicans will go to a Runoff between Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby and Businessman Rick Barber. Whoever wins faces Incumbent Democrat Bobby Bright in November.

AL-05: In the GOP Primary, Madison County Commissioner Morris Brooks surprised everybody by trouncing turncoat Congressman Parker Griffith 51-33. In another surprise, former Congressional Aide Steve Raby beat back a challenge from former State Board of Education Member and Grandson of former Senator John Sparkman, Taze Shepard 61-22.

AL-06: Incumbent Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus God-smacked Pastor Stan Cooke 77-23.

AL-07: Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Smoot and Attorney Terri Sewell surprised everyone by outpacing State Representative and son of former Congressman Earl Hilliard, Earl Hilliard Jr. to make the Democratic Runoff. The GOP has a Runoff of their own between Some-Dude Don Chamberlain and Mortgage Broker Chris Salter.

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Merlin’s Take on the 2010 AL Races

Here’s my predictions on how my homestate’s races will go:

Governor: Incumbent GOP Governor Bob Riley is term-limited, thus setting up a free-for-all on both sides. On the GOP side, State Representative Robert Bentley, former State Community College System Chancellor Bradley Byrne, State Treasurer Kay Ivey, Real Estate Developer Tim James, former State Economic Development Director Bill Johnson, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Financial Analyst James Potts are in the running. On the Democratic side, Congressman Artur Davis, State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Ron Sparks, and Inventor Sam Franklin Thomas are in the running. The Primary will be a tossup between James, Byrne, and Moore. Methinks Davis wins the Primary. This race will be a Tossup until the end. TOSSUP.

Lieutenant Governor: Incumbent Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom Jr. is running for re-election. On the GOP side, State Finance Department Official Young Boozer, State Senator Hank Erwin, Teacher Gene Ponder, and Homebuilder Dean Young are in the running. The Democrats have unified behind Folsom Jr. The GOP Primary will be a tossup between Boozer and Erwin. Whoever wins will get crushed by Folsom Jr. DEM HOLD.

Attorney General: Scandal-mired Incumbent GOP Attorney General Troy King is running for re-election. On the GOP side, King and Attorney Luther Strange are in the running. On the Democratic side, Attorneys James Anderson and Michel Nicrosi and former State Democratic Party Chairman Giles Perkins are in the running. I expect King to defeat Strange 54-46 and Perkins to defeat Nicrosi 63-37. In the end, King narrowly wins 51-49. GOP HOLD.

Secretary of State: Incumbent GOP Secretary of State Beth Chapman is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Chapman. There are no announced Democratic Candidates, but potential candidates are Secretary of State’s Office Administrator Ed Packard and former Secretary of State Nancy Worely. Chapman will defeat whoever the Democrats nominate, if anybody. GOP HOLD.

State Auditor: Incumbent GOP State Auditor Samantha Shaw is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Shaw. The Democrats have unified behind Accountant Miranda Joseph. Shaw crushes Joseph in the neighborhood of 67-33. GOP HOLD.

State Treasurer: Incumbent GOP State Treasurer Kay Ivey is running for Governor. The GOP has unified behind former State Treasurer and former State PSC Commissioner George Wallace Jr. On the Democratic side, former State Conservation Commissioner Charles Grimsley and Attorney Jeremy Shearer are in the running. Grimsley will win 73-27 over Shearer. Wallace Jr. will defeat Grimsley 58-42. GOP HOLD.

State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries: Incumbent Democratic State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Ron Sparks is running for Governor. The Democrats have unified behind Deputy State Agriculture Glen Zorn. On the GOP side, Walker County Economic Development Chair Dorman Grace, former State Conservation Commissioner John McMillan, and Businessman Dale Peterson are in the running. I expect McMillan to win 59-32-9 over Grace and Peterson. Zorn will narrowly defeat McMillan 53-47. DEM HOLD.

US Senate: Incumbent GOP US Senator Richard Shelby is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Shelby. The Democrats have unified behind Attorney William Barnes. Shelby devours Barnes 77-23. GOP HOLD.

AL-01: Incumbent GOP Congressman Jo Bonner is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Bonner, Real Estate Developer Peter Gounares, and Business Consultant Clint Moser are in the running. The Constitution Party has unified behind Artificial Reef Contractor David Walter. Bonner defeats Gounares and Moser 79-14-7, and destroys Walter 96-4. GOP HOLD.

AL-02: Incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby and Businessman Rick Barber are in the running. The Democrats have, reluctantly, unified behind Bright. I expect Roby to beat Barber 54-46. Roby will defeat Bright 53-47. GOP PICKUP.

AL-03: Incumbent GOP Congressman Mike Rogers is running for re-election. The Gop has unified behind Rogers the Democrats have unified behind Attorney Josh Segall, and the Independents have unified behind Real Estate Broker Mark Layfield. Rogers will defeat Segall and Layfield 52-46-2. GOP HOLD.

AL-04: Incumbent GOP Congressman Robert Aderholt is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Aderholt. The Democrats have nobody. GOP HOLD.

AL-05: Incumbent GOP Congressman Parker Griffifth is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Griffifth, Madison County Commissioner Morris Brooks, and Businessman Les Phillip are in the running. On the Democratic side, Attorney Mitchell Howie, former Congressional Aide Steve Raby, and former State Board of Education Member Taze Shepard. I think Brooks defeats Griffifth and Phillip 51-45-4. Shepard will defeat Howie and Raby 56-35-9. Brooks will defeat Shepard 52-48. GOP HOLD.

AL-06: Incumbent GOP Congressman Spencer Bachus is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Bachus, Pastor Stan Cooke, and TV Show Producer Paul Lambert are in the running. The Democrats have nobody. Bachus will defeat Lambert and Cooke 76-19-5. GOP HOLD.

AL-07: Incumbent Democratic Congressman Artur Davis is running for Governor. On the Democratic side, Attorney Martha Bozeman, State Representative Earl Hilliard Jr., Frank Lankster, former Radio Journalist Patricia Evans Mokolo, Attorney Terri Sewell, Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Smoot, and Mortgage Broker Eddison Walters are in the running. The GOP is unified behind Tea Party Activist Michele Waller. I expect a Runoff between Hilliard Jr. and Smoot, with Hilliard Jr. winning 51-49. Hilliard Jr. handily defeats Waller 74-26. DEM HOLD

AL-01, Fuller a genuine Democrat, he assures progressives

In a recent exchange of emails, Thomas E. Fuller, Democratic candidate for Congress in Alabama’s First District, assured progressives that “you will not be  disappointed in my stand on the issues or my commitment to Democratic Principles.” This was in response to a direct inquiry involving withdrawal from Iraq, support for S-CHIP, retroactive immunity for telecoms, and tax breaks for billionaires. It will be a pleasure to support a true Democrat as a change from incumbent Bush-bot, Jo Bonner.

Fuller is the chair of the Washington County Democratic Party and will need support from all Progressives to unseat the detestable Bonner.

AL-01- Do we have a challenger?

It appears that the Alabama State Democratic Party did a great job of recruiting and landed a worthy challenger to Jo Bonner (R:AL-01) on the last possible day for qualifying, Thomas E. Fuller of Chatom. Although I have not spoken to anyone in authority or to Mr. Fuller himself, his name does appear on the party’s “current candidates” list, and I am hopeful that we now have a shot at this seat.

Bonner has now served (or dis-served) three terms in this seat, and has proven himself one of George W. Bush’s most dependable allies in the war on human services and individual rights. As I said, I do not know the challenger but I find it hard to imagine a Democrat who would not be a huge improvement on Mr. Bonner. I look forward to working for Mr. Fuller’s election.


The “Ben Lodmell for Congress” local campaign office is moving closer to our grand opening with a meeting today of local supporters with his staff members from Mobile to make plans for a painting and furnishing party . Anyone reading this diary who has contacts in the First District, please feel free to join us and/or to contact others who might be interested.

This is going to be a race, folks. Make no mistake.  There are already a lot of “little people” on board in this campaign. If Jo Bonner  expects a cakewalk he may just be in for a surprise.


“Big Ben” Lodmell is a big man in many ways.  At 6’6″ and about 280 pounds, he is an imposing figure.  Boyishly good looking, with a quick sincere smile, he makes friends easily.  His impressive intellect is not on public display in a prideful way, but hearing him slip easily into Spanish, Portuguese and French when the occasion requires it will immediately let one know that this is a well educated and intelligent man.

With an extensive background in international finance, he understands how fiscal policies affect the economies of great nations as well as ordinary families.  His experience as an administrator of human service not-for-profit agencies have touched his heart and created a burning desire to help those who need it the most. Ben has the vision that lets him see that helping the poor, the unemployed, sickly, elderly, and, most of all, the children in our society is not expensive gravy to be dolloped on when there is extra money available, but rather the beef, the essential function of government that makes all other functions possible.    If you live in the First District, plan now to vote and campaign for “Big Ben” Lodmell. If you do not, but you want to participate in improving Alabama and America in a very real way, write your check to “Lodmell for Congress” and mail it to 106 E. Church St. Atmore, AL 36502.  Thank you.

Remember: “yard signs are pretty, but dollar signs win elections”.  

AL-01Lodmell on Oil Prices and Policy

Ben Lodmell Democratic Candidate for Congress in Alabama’s District 01 released this policy statement today.

They don’t call oil “black gold” for nothing. At $100 a barrel, which we saw earlier in the year, it is easy to understand that comparison. That’s seven times more than the price of crude oil 30 years ago! Which has some experts more than a little worried about how high the price may go if tension in the Middle East escalates, especially with Iran, or if instability in other oil producing countries gets out of hand.  If such a scenario unfolds, they say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” when it comes to the price of oil.

Even so, there are worse fears than that. Some oil industry experts predict there may not be enough oil to go around if increasingly industrialized nations like China and India begin sucking oil up faster than it can be produced and refined.

 But you and I and our neighbors here in the 1st District don’t buy crude oil. So why should we be concerned if the price of gasoline, say, goes up another half-a-buck or so? Why? Because the cost of gasoline is only the tip of the American economic iceberg.

The fact is virtually everything we consume contains some kind of oil component. The fact is our economy is already faltering because of it.

Yes, experts are saying the price we pay for gas at the pump will probably jump to about $3.40 a gallon by spring and may be as high as $3.75 later in the year. But before that up-tick in gas prices puts an added crimp in the take home pay of working families, many will see at least a 33% hike in the price of heating oil. And that’s just the beginning of the inflationary spiral. The fact is that oil affects the cost of just about everything we manufacture and eat and anything and everything that’s shipped by truck or plane.

In short, oil has an ever-tightening strangle hold on the throat of America’s economy. It threatens the way we live, thanks in large part to our ever-growing dependency on foreign oil, which amounts to about 60% of our needs. Couple that with the all-for-oil approach by the Bush-Bonner gang in Washington, and we have a real recipe for disaster. What is the Bush-Bonner approach to the energy crisis? Damn the consumer! Damn the environment! Damn the world! Full speed ahead, with exploration, drilling and pumping, wherever there’s a buck to be made! To hell with polluting the earth and the atmosphere and despoiling the oceans! Give the oil producers what they want. Give them what they pay for with their unconscionable and corrupting political contributions. Give them subsidies and drilling rights, and protect their tax breaks. That’s what Bush wants. That’s what Jo Bonner has voted for time and again. That’s the Bush-Bonner plan. It gins up the profitability of major oil producers to unconscionable heights, while every fuel-sensitive industry in the country suffers and every man, woman and child America pays the ever-increasing price.

This near-criminal idiocy has got to step. Our country must get out of oil, plain and simple! And we must do it fast or watch our way of life erode away. What we must do is create a “clean energy economy” with the same kind immediacy and national commitment that enabled America to put a man on the moon in 10 years. The Apollo Alliance is a national movement with just such a goal. But to make that goal America’s goal, we must first change whom we send to Washington to make the rules. That means the Bush-Bonner gang has got to go, every last one of them. And when I get to Congress, you can bet that creating a clean energy economy will be one of my top priorities.

AL-01-Ben Lodmell’s Year End Message

What follows is Congressional candidate Benjamin Lodmell’s response to incumbent Congressman Jo Bonner(AL-01-R). We might just have a race on our hands but Lodmell needs your support.


Want to hear a bad joke? Bush’s man in Mobile, Jo Bonner, claims he has represented Alabama’s 1st Congressional District for going on six years. Well, if that’s a joke, the joke’s on us. Bonner hasn’t represented anything but the special interests that fill and re-fill his campaign war chest whenever voting season rolls around. Like now. But that’s only part of the joke. The joke really gets going when you read Jo’s year-end tout sheet of the Bush-Bonner gang’s accomplishments during the first session of the 110th Congress.

Believe it or not, Jo Bonner has the unmitigated gall to begin his year-end sermon from Mount Washington by saying, “Congress ended the year successfully.” To write that kind of drivel, Jo must be eating too many side orders of grits, and they’ve gone to his head! If this past year was so successful, Jo, why does the latest poll by George Washington University show that 61% of the likely voters in the next election disapprove of the job performance of the Republicans in Congress? I guess they haven’t read your year-end review.

Speaking of which, Jo, why don’t you try explaining how you and your ideologically-driven brethren have the audacity to take credit for getting “$70 billion in funding without strings for Iraq and Afghanistan” and “full funding of S-CHIP through the coming year”? You’ve got to be kidding; the Congress had no choice. The President vetoed so many prior bills on these two issues alone, he had to refill his pen with ink.

What you didn’t say about the “no strings” funding for our troops is that the American people still have no exit strategy for a war where are troops keep dying and we have no hope of winning. As for the S-CHIP legislation, what you, after repeated Presidential vetoes, accomplished, despite all the self-congratulations, was to deny healthcare coverage to 10 million uninsured children. Good going Jo. As for the energy bill you took credit for passing, nowhere in your commentary do you mention that you once again came to the aid of your oil and gas industry buddies by cutting out of the bill a roll back of $13.5 billion in tax breaks that could have been used to extend tax credits for wind, solar, and biomass power, as well as hybrid cars.

But Jo is right about one thing in his year-end self-promoting report. As he says, “American families are feeling the pinch of higher costs of living – record high gas prices, heating costs, health care costs, and education expenses.” He’s right about that. And if anyone believes he is really going to try to help working families cope with the tough economic times that are coming, the joke will be on them again.

AL-01: Lodmell on Special Interest money; his pledge

I just read the list of “Target Seats” from the DCCC and I’m not happy.  Has the entire South, except for Florida, slipped right off the map?  Have they learned nothing from 2006, when we picked up far more seats than expected? If we ignore the South by saying “we can’t win down there”, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. I believe that some of these honest and hardworking young Dems have a chance, but only if we pay attention and give them some support (especially financial support). Take a moment to read what Ben Lodmell has to say in this press release/pledge to supporters.

MOBILE, December 26, 2007 – “This Democrat will not solicit any special interest money in the coming election campaign against the incumbent Republican Congressman Jo Bonner.”

With these words, Ben Lodmell, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, today vowed not to let big business be a corrupting influence in the 1st Congressional District of Alabama. In a letter to supporters, Lodmell wrote, “The people can trust that my allegiance is to them and only them. They have my word on it.”


Lodmell said he is making this pledge because big business has “hijacked” congress. “It’s as plain as the cash in Congressman Jo Bonner’s campaign coffers. You can see it in his voting records,” Lodmell said.

Lodmell described “Bush’s man in Mobile” as “a millionaire many times over who knows the value of a buck and where to get it. Let’s just take a look as his money guzzling Congressional campaign record.” Since his first campaign in 2002, Bonner has collected over $4 million in political contributions, while personally contributing less than 1%. “More than half of the cash raised,” Lodmell said, “came from political action committees, with who knows how much more coming from other special interest groups whose main purpose is making sure they bought the right kind of political action in Congress.

“Worse yet,” Lodmell said, “most of these contribution have gone into funding extremely expensive political advertising and self-promotion campaigns that manipulate the truth beyond recognition.

“Heck, Jo has already collected $365,719 this election cycle and he hasn’t even begun campaigning – or maybe he has, at least as far as collecting special interest money is concerned.”

“And who are the usual suspects that pour dough into Jo’s campaign pockets election cycle after election cycle? ” Lodmell asked. “There’s the oil and gas industry, agriculture, the utilities, insurance, healthcare and tobacco interests, bankers, the timber and transportation industry, and the old reliable defense contractors, just to name a few.

“And what do these purveyors of bad government get for putting Bonner in office and keeping him there? He votes for subsidies and tax incentives that gin up their profitability at public expense. And he votes against limiting business activities that might curtail that profitability, also at the public’s expense.”

Lodmell ended with this admonition to his supporters: “Bonner isn’t the only one playing the money game in Washington. It’s systemic. And as a result, what we have in Washington is government of business, by business and for business. The people no longer matter. Just money.”

Ben Lodmell declared his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Congress from the 1st District in August. He describes himself as the people’s representative. “I’m a fiscally responsible pragmatist and an independent-thinker who can bridge the ideological extremes that often get in the way of getting the people’s business done in Congress.”  


AL-01 Major statement by Candidate Lodmell

This is a statement released today by Benjamin Lodmell, candidate for the First District Congressional seat in Alabama. Reprinted here with Lodmell’s permission. Please support his candidacy with contributions to his Act Blue account.

Alabama can be in play, but only if we assume that it is doable.


I wonder if Bush’s man in Mobile, Republican Congressman Jo Bonner, missed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story on the soldier who suffered a nervous breakdown after collecting body parts during two tours of bloody carnage in Iraq? I wonder if Jo knows the Army discharged that soldier, claiming he had a “personality disorder” that pre-dated his military service and not post-traumatic stress syndrome. I wonder if Bonner knows the Army denied that soldier his full veteran’s benefits – or that the Army demanded the return of $14,597.72 from the soldier’s re-enlistment bonus? Or that more than 22,000 service personnel have been discharged similarly since 2001?

I wonder if the Republican congressman from the first district knows that the U.S. military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back some of their re-enlistment bonuses because they can no longer serve, having lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing – and, in some cases, all of the above? Or that 20,000 troops returned home with brain injuries that were not even classified as wounds received in combat?

I wonder if Bonner knows that? Or that as 60,000 veterans have been waiting six months or more for an appointment at a VA hospital? Or that the VA has a backlog of over 600,000 disability claims? Or that it takes an average of 177 days to have those claims adjudicated?

Surely he must know about the scandalous living conditions and care being provided wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. And if that’s not close enough to home for Jo Bonner, all he has to do is talk with Alabama’s Department of Health, which recently threatened to crackdown on a Baldwin County veterans’ nursing home following the death of two patients and allegations of improper medical care.  

Of course Jo Bonner knows. The question is what did he do about it and when? And more importantly why did he and his White House boss so eagerly send hundreds of thousands of America’s God-blessed men and women into an infernal combat quagmire only to have many thousands of them return bloodied and dismembered but proud and unbowed to a bureaucratic nightmare and an ungrateful Administration that failed to properly care for them?

What took you so long to vote for the funding, Jo, when just about everybody in America knew the enormity of your failure? It wasn’t the money, Jo, was it? It was politics, plain and simple. And that kind of partisan politics stinks to high heaven.

Ben Lodmell

Candidate for Congress

Alabama’s First District