MA-09: Update on Progressive Mac D’Alessandro vs. ConservaDem incumbent Stephen Lynch

If you haven’t already, please join Mac’s Facebook group and please, please, please contribute to Mac through ActBlue!

The big news this past week out of MA-09 is that progressive challenger Mac D’Alessandro will make the Democratic primary ballot against anti-choice, anti-health care reform ConservaDem incumbent Stephen Lynch.  He submitted 5,000 signatures to city and town clerks offices by the May 4 deadline.  As long as at least 2,000 are certified valid (should be no problem with 5,000 submitted), Mac submits the 2,000+ certified valid signatures to the Secretary of State by June 1 and he’ll give voters a choice against ConservaDem Lynch.

Mac took to YouTube to thank his grassroots supporters for their help making the signature drive a big success:

Progressive Democrats across the country have reason to be active in this race.  There were 34 House Democrats who ultimately opposed health care reform; and Lynch’s vote was among the most perplexing:

Then there are the real head scratchers. Reps. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) famously abandoned the reform push late in the game, after having voted for the House bill. Lynch, in particular, went on a very public crusade of opposition to the bill from the left, and cast his vote despite pleas from President Obama and AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka that he vote with the party.

Of the 34 anti-health care reform Dems, some are running for other office (Senate or Gov), some are retiring, but most are running for re-election.  Best I can tell though, few if any have serious primary challengers.  MA-09 will provide progressive Democrats nationally with an opportunity to send a message to a ConservaDem who abandoned one of the Democratic Party’s central pillars – expanding access to health care and moving toward truly making quality health care a right instead of a privilege.

That appears to be why Mac’s campaign has found itself on’s radar screen as a viable primary challenger worthy of progressive support:

In the wake of Rep. Stephen Lynch’s vote against health care reform, many progressives have expressed frustration with him-and now he’s facing a serious primary challenge.

Mac D’Alessandro is the New England Political Director for the progressive Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and he’s pledging to “be on the side of consumers and workers, and not on the side of health insurance companies and big banks.”

So get in the game!  Now that Mac has demonstrated grassroots strength through the impressively successful signature drive, he has to raise money – and ConservaDem Stephen Lynch starts off with a $1.3 million campaign war chest.  So, please, please, please head over to Mac’s ActBlue page and contribute as generously as you can!

Here is some background on Mac, from his Facebook group:

Mac D’Alessandro of Milton, Massachusetts, has spent his career fighting on behalf of working families. For the past nine years, Mac has worked for the Service Employees International Union, most recently as New England Political Director. Prior to working for the SEIU, Mac worked for Greater Boston Legal Services, directing legislative efforts to help families combat poverty. Mac earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology and Environmental Policy from Rutgers University and his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School. Mac, 40, is married to Jennie Mulqueen, an early childhood arts educator, and is the proud father of five-year-old Sophie and three-year-old Atticus.

MA-09: Progressive Dem Mac D’Alessandro Takes on ConservaDem Stephen Lynch

SEIU’s New England regional political director Mac D’Alessandro has taken the primary plunge against incumbent Stephen Lynch.  (Lynch, for you Progressive Punch score followers, gets a lousy 2 rating, coming from Massachusetts, and has a lifetime progressive score on “Crucial Votes” of 81.87, which drops to 71.95 when focusing on 2009-2010.)

D’Alessandro promises to be a progressive alternative to Lynch.  D’Alessandro’s Facebook group, started this week, is up to almost 900 members.  I’d encourage you to join.  And he just got on ActBlue.  You can help replace ConservaDem Stephen Lynch with a real progressive by making a contribution to Mac D’Alessandro today.

D’Alessandro has also introduced himself to the local progressive netroots at Blue Mass Group:

Greetings, Blue Mass Group!  My name is Mac D’Alessandro.  I’m the New England Political Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and, as of this week, I am a candidate for United States Congress from Massachusetts’ 9th district.  I am a progressive Democrat, and I’m running for Congress because I believe that the working families in our communities deserve a Congressman who will fight for them and who will actually be a leader on key issues that matter to them – from reforming our health care system (and building on the recently-passed reforms) to holding Wall Street accountable to investing in job creation for our communities to protecting our civil rights and ensuring equal protection under the law.

I have spent my career fighting for working families.  I’ve been with the SEIU for nine years.  Prior to that, I worked for Greater Boston Legal Services, directing legislative efforts to help families combat poverty.  I live in Milton with my wife Jennie, our children Sophie and Atticus, and our cat Nile.  Like most families throughout the district and across Massachusetts, my wife and I sit at our kitchen table on a regular basis, going over our bills and the family budget, paying for today while trying to save for tomorrow.  We see too often that the well-being of Fortune 500 companies are put in front of the good fortune of working families like ours.  That is why I’m running.  The 9th district deserves more than just another representative; the district deserves someone who will champion our Democratic ideals in the U.S. House of Representatives as we fight to balance the playing field for working families like ours.

There were 34 House Democrats who opposed health care reform.  Lynch was the only one from Massachusetts.  And, of those from the 34 who are running for re-election, I still don’t see a lot of primary challenges.  Supporting Mac D’Alessandro’s campaign can send a message nationally to Democrats wavering on other issues (like Wall Street reform).  Mac very much represents what it means to be a “Better Democrat.”  Please spread the word, join the Facebook group, and contribute any amount you can.

IA-Gov: Culver won’t have a primary challenger after all

Jonathan Narcisse told the Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich yesterday that he won’t run against Governor Chet Culver in the Democratic primary. He plans to register for the ballot as an independent candidate. Narcisse served a term on the Des Moines School board is the publisher of several African-American and Latino-oriented publications. He also appears regularly on some talk radio programs in Iowa. His political views are an unusual blend, as you can see from reading his manifesto, An Iowa Worth Fighting For. Narcisse advocates some ideas commonly associated with Republican candidates (big reductions in corporate and property taxes and the size of government), as well as others usually heard on the political left (e.g. supporting living wage legislation and reform of drug laws and sentencing).

Obradovich reported yesterday,

Narcisse says he collected enough signatures to get on the ballot (the deadline is Friday), but he said his changed his mind about filing based on what he heard from Iowans as he’s traveled around the state.  “They really want an independent voice,” he says, someone not tied to either party.

I asked Narcisse if he would be willing to release the signatures, because otherwise people will be skeptical that he was able to collect them. He didn’t outright refuse but he also didn’t say he would release them. He said he’s used to dealing with skepticism from the media but he’s focused on making his case to voters around the state.  But if he’s going to say he’s collected them, he should prove it.

Obradovich posted a press release from Narcisse, which explained his decision and thanked the volunteers who “helped me obtain the signatures that I needed to be on the June 8th primary ballot.”

Ever since Narcisse announced plans late last month to run for governor as a Democrat, many political observers have privately predicted that he would not be able to meet the signature requirements. Narcisse can speak knowledgeably about public policy for hours, but his campaign manager is a management consultant and former teacher with no previous political experience. Democrats seeking statewide office in Iowa had to submit more than 4,000 total signatures (0.5 percent of the party’s statewide vote in the 2008 presidential election), including at least 1 percent of the party’s vote total in that election in at least 10 counties. (Statewide Republican candidates needed to meet the same percentage targets, but that worked out to fewer total signatures because Barack Obama did so much better than John McCain in Iowa.)

A strong statewide organization could collect more than 4,000 signatures on short order; Republican candidate Rob Gettemy’s campaign collected 3,000 in the second Congressional district in just two weeks. I agree with Obradovich that observers will remain skeptical about Narcisse’s campaign if he doesn’t release his nominating petitions. Republican blogger Craig Robinson writes today that Narcisse’s story has shifted dramatically in the last three days. He concludes, “The inability for Narcisse to get on the Democratic primary ballot is a deadly blow to any credibility he may have had as a candidate.”

Ed Fallon had been recruiting some Democrat other than Narcisse to challenge Culver, but nothing materialized. In my opinion, Culver didn’t deserve a primary challenger despite the many complaints you hear about him from Iowa Democrats.

Why Did Hillary Clinton Win Massachusetts?

By: Inoljt,

I think we all remember the 2008 Democratic primaries, that exciting and epic battle. In many ways the campaign caused more excitement than the general election, whose result was never really in doubt (especially after the financial crisis).

Both candidates drew upon distinctly different coalitions. In an influential article, Ronald Brownstein analyzes the difference this way:

Since the 1960s, Democratic nominating contests regularly have come down to a struggle between a candidate who draws support primarily from upscale, economically comfortable voters liberal on social and foreign policy issues, and a rival who relies mostly on downscale, financially strained voters drawn to populist economics and somewhat more conservative views on cultural and national security issues.

President Barack Obama assembled a coalition from the former, these “wine-track” Democrats. When most Americans think of liberals, they think of wine-track Democrats. Mr. Obama, then, was the liberal candidate; Mrs. Clinton the “beer-track,” working-class representative.

So candidate won the most liberal place in America?

In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the state of Massachusetts (you may have realized this by reading the title of this post). The result wasn’t even close; Mrs. Clinton’s margin was 15.37%.


These results are most strange. Barack Obama supposedly built a coalition upon liberal Democrats – yet he lost Massachusetts, the very image of liberalism. He then proceeded to win the nomination.

I will attempt to explain this puzzling result below.

There are several elements to it. Firstly, the state Massachusetts does not contain as many wine-track Democrats as most Americans tend to think. Rather, it includes a number of working-class, beer-track Democrats. These voters support Democrats based upon economic issues (which is not to say they are socially conservative). The state holds a strong union presence along with a high percentage of Catholics, numbering almost half the population. While in many places Catholics no longer vote Democratic, in Massachusetts they still are loyal to the party. According to exit polls, Catholics (45% of voters) went for Clinton by a 2-1 margin, while union households (27% of voters) supported Clinton 60-35.

Nevertheless, Clinton’s overwhelming victory remains surprising. Taking working-class support for Clinton into account, one still would expect Obama to do relatively well.

Remember, however, that this is Hillary Clinton we are talking about. Hillary Clinton, the champion of women’s rights. Hillary Clinton, the powerful and polarizing First Lady conservatives absolutely hated. Though the memory has dimmed, Hillary Clinton once stood at the forefront of “wine-track” liberalism. In February 5th, 2008 many liberal Democrats still remembered Hillary the feminist. Only later did Hillary the working-class fighter emerge.

Moreover, at that time Barack Obama continued to be a relative unknown, a bolt of lightning who had come out of nowhere. Hillary Clinton, therefore, made substantial inroads into Obama’s coalition, just as Obama took away a central pillar of working-class Democrats (blacks). Exit polls indicated that 62% of women supported Clinton (36% supported Obama); progressive white women probably went for her even more strongly. Throughout the primaries, Jews and gays (both deeply liberal groups) tended to support Clinton.

I am not terribly satisfied with this analysis; it does not seem to fully explain how the most liberal state in the union supported the more conservative candidate. The result perplexes me even today.

Nor did Massachusetts constitute an anomaly; Clinton did well in other liberal areas. She and Obama, for instance essentially tied the San Francisco Bay Area:


Reasonable explanations behind this result also exist. Working-class Latinos gave Clinton strong support; thus her large margins in heavily Latino San Jose and Fresno. Moreover, upper-class Asians – a major Bay Area constituency – supported her 3-1.

Yet the fact remains that, out of the two most liberal regions in the nation, Hillary Clinton won a landslide in one and tied another (if one adds together the Bay Area’s nine metropolitan counties, Obama actually wins by 1.2%). All this against an opponent whose base lay amongst liberal Democrats. It is all very puzzling.

Note: All images are modified pictures taken from the NYT.

NY-Sen: Meet Jon Cooper: Still Pondering Run Against Gillibrand

Jon Cooper said it was an eye-opening moment for him. He was watching the press conference announcing Governor David Paterson’s selection of Kirsten Gillibrand to serve as New York’s junior U.S. senator. His spouse Rob inquired out loud if that was former Senator Alfonse D’Amato standing on the platform with her.

Last week, I spoke with Cooper about his possible candidacy, his career and why he is interested in running for a seat that was once held by Hillary Clinton, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Robert F. Kennedy.

At first, Cooper dismissed the notion that a former Republican U.S. senator from New York – the same man Senator Chuck Schumer beat in 1998 – would be at a ceremony for Republicans. But, much to his dismay, there D’Amato stood mere feet away from Gillibrand as she was introduced as New York’s newest senator.

Cooper makes it clear that he has ideas. He isn’t just going to run an anti-Gillibrand campaign, but he can’t help but point out her record. He mentions her past ties to Big Tobacco, the 100 percent rating she received from the National Rifle Association and her evolution on numerous issues that could be perceived as politically convenient.

“Her past position (on gun control) was of concern,” he said. “There are some people are distrustful of her evolution on this and other issues and are concerned about what they see as flip-flopping and see this as insincere or they question her character. I’m not saying I do. But there are those who do.”

For Cooper, however, it is different. He is not yet a declared candidate but he is touting his own record and why, if he were to run, he should be considered a serious contender to Gillibrand.

“I have, many times over the years, took stances that might not have been politically popular with my constituents but I believed it was the right thing to do,” he said.

As an openly gay and happily married man, Cooper is the father of five children he and his spouse Rob have adopted. He has served 10 years on the Suffolk County Legislature and currently is the majority leader for the legislature’s Democrats. He lists two key pieces of legislation as highlights of his career. He wrote the first law banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in the country. Since then, a number of states (including New York) have adopted such laws. In addition to that, Cooper also authored legislation that banned the sale of ephedra. That effort led to the federal government imposing a ban on the dietary supplement.

Jobs and the economy is an area that Cooper knows all too well. Cooper is running the family business, Spectronics Corporation, in Westbury. He said that while he is on the corporate side of things, he also is very much pro-labor and supports workers.

In the 2008 presidential primaries, Cooper backed an underdog named Barack Obama. Cooper was the first elected official from New York to endorse Obama and went on to be the Long Island chair of the Obama campaign. He said that, at the time, people asked him if he realized the political risk he was taking. Cooper said he had supported Hillary Clinton in the past but once he met Obama, he was sold. It was through the Obama campaign that Cooper met many grassroots organizers, some of whom are now aiding him in his exploratory efforts and organizing meet and greets throughout the state for people to meet him. Cooper was in upstate New York this weekend meeting voters in Buffalo and Rochester and will be back in upstate New York again, especially if he decides to run.

Cooper knows that he has a long way to go. He realizes that Gillibrand has millions in her bankroll. He realizes that she has received nearly every county chair’s endorsement to date. But one thing he references to is that Obama was counted out too. No one thought Hillary Clinton could be beaten. But with the greatest grassroots campaign ever, Obama pulled it out in the primary and won the general election.

A vast majority of Obama organizers and activists that Cooper worked with in 2008 are urging him to run and are supporting him. Democratic clubs have urged him to run. Progressives are supporting him. And while he says he isn’t comparing himself to Obama, the comparisons are glaring.

“The party establishment, for the most part, quite understandably is falling in line behind our Democratic incumbent senator regardless of how she got to that office,” he said. “But she’s the incumbent Democrat now and I expect most of the political establishment to back her. But a lot of the grassroots leaders that had been early supporters of Obama seem to be lining up behind me or at the very least, urging me to run so that we will have a choice, which is what this is all about: Offering Democrats in New York State a choice.”

While Cooper doesn’t have a full slate of issues on his platform yet (understandable at this stage), his platform stresses the importance of economic development, pushes for progressive values and support of the environment and the fight for health care, consumer protection, gun safety and middle class tax cuts.

So when will we know whether or not Cooper is running? He says by the end of the year he will have a decision. He is testing the waters right now to see just how much support he has and what the response is statewide. I spoke with him over the weekend and he seemed to be very pleased and excited by the response in Buffalo and Rochester. So we’ll see just how far he is willing to go and if he is going to make an upset bid for the U.S. Senate.

New York County District Attorney Race

Here in New York City, we’re being deluged with direct mail, not only for Mayor (why doesn’t Bloomberg just save his money, since we all know him, and he’s gonna win, anyway?) but for lower offices, such as Comptroller and DA. This diary will be about the candidates for DA.

There are three candidates in the Democratic primary for New York County DA: Cy Vance, Richard Aborn, and Leslie Crocker Snyder. Amazingly, no-one is running on the Republican line.

Cy Vance, the son of the former Secretary of State under Carter, is endorsed by the New York Times, apparently the Daily News (“Vance stands well above his rivals”), and an array of New York City politicos and activists, including Caroline Kennedy, former Mayor David Dinkins, Gloria Steinem, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, but probably most importantly, the legendary outgoing DA, Robert Morgenthau, who calls him the “best qualified” for the job.

Richard Aborn, endorsed by Bill Bratton – the former brilliant NYPD Commissioner, hired early in Giuliani’s administration and eventually forced out because his extremely successful crime-fighting ways made him too popular for Giuliani’s liking – and my congressman, Jerry Nadler, among others, is making reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws (here’s a critical look at them) his main campaign plank. In his direct mail, he calls for:

treat[ing] substance abuse as a public health problem, not just a criminal one[, providing] drug treatment for non-violent offenders who have a substance abuse problem[, and…]providing retroactive sentencing relief to non-violent offenders still incarcerated under obsolete laws[.]

He doesn’t make clear in the mailing or in the relevant section of his website how he would be able to reform laws as New York County DA, but it seems clear that he would use his “judicial discretion to divert non-violent, low-level drug offenders into treatment programs rather than sentencing them to state prison.”

Finally, there is Leslie Crocker Snyder, a former Judge of the New York City Criminal Court (appointed by Mayor Ed Koch and reappointed by David Dinkins) and New York Court of Claims (appointed by Republican Governor George Pataki) and longtime attorney.

Based on her direct mail, her campaign seems to be an attempt at frightening people into voting for her. In 2005, she tried to beat DA Morgenthau by arguing that he was too old and she should replace him almost just because she is younger. It seemed that everyone who knew and worked with him said that he was extremely sharp mentally and worked long hours tirelessly, so Snyder’s strategy backfired, and she was heavily defeated. Now that the position is open, she appears to consider Cy Vance her main opponent, and seems to be once again trying to get in through sleazy methods. She is sending a 4-page direct mail brochure. On the first page, there is an ugly, mirror-image photograph of what is supposed to look like New York in the bad old days. The text on top of the page says as follows (in all caps):


On the second page:


On the third page:


The brochure details two of the criminals he defended, as if their crimes reflect badly on him as a defense lawyer. This is demagogic in the extreme. As Vance said to Snyder in an excerpt from a debate that took place on New York 1 TV (I didn’t hear the whole debate):

I believe that everybody in this country deserves the right to a fair trial, particularly those who are presupposed guilty like the individual in the Sudafed case. I took on that case in a court-appointed capacity. I believe that is the job of a defense lawyer to protect people and to make sure the government proves its case. Now if you believe otherwise, you shouldn’t be running for this job.

My inclination is to vote for Aborn, based on his strong position on the drug laws, which have caused almost incalculable waste in money and human lives, but if I find out that this is really a two-person race between the other candidates, I will vote for Vance without hesitation in order to keep Crocker Snyder out.

I’d welcome your opinions about this race, and any polling data you may have come across.

PA-Sen: Netroots Overwhelmingly Support a Draft Sestak Effort

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

As many of you know, over the last five days, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in partnership with a number of progressive organizations and blogs including Senate Guru, asked those in the netroots, “Should a Draft Sestak movement be created to take on Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary?”

Netroots for Sestak The results are in and they are overwhelming.  85% of Pennsylvanian respondents and 86% of respondents nationally want Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary.  The poll has even gotten the attention of Congressman Sestak, as the PCCC points out:

“I am honored that so many of you took the time to vote in the recent grassroots Straw Poll. Let me tell you, I and many others were paying attention. If I decide to run it will be in large measure because of the grassroots energy of so many people like you. Until I and my family make that decision, please accept my thanks and my best wishes as you continue be active participants in our people-powered democracy. Thank you so very much!”

Due to such an overwhelming response, a Draft Sestak Fund has been created on ActBlue.  To contribute and further encourage Congressman Sestak to enter the race, click on the image below:

Draft Sestak Fund

If you need any additional motivation to contribute to this effort to draft a real Democrat to oppose Specter in the primary, consider Specter’s actions since announcing his Party switch:

1) Specter opposed the Obama budget.

2) Specter opposed the “cramdown” mortgage/bankruptcy reform, siding with banks over families.

3) Specter reiterated his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

4) Specter reiterated his opposition to President Obama’s nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Office of Legal Counsel.

5) Specter announced his support for Republican Norm Coleman over Democratic Senator-elect Al Franken in Minnesota’s Senate race.

6) Specter promoted a website that appeared to raise money for cancer research but, in actuality, simply raised money for his campaign.

7) Specter denied reports that he told President Obama that he would be a “loyal Democrat” despite multiple reporters sticking to their story.

The netroots have displayed overwhelming support for Congressman Sestak to take on recently-Republican Arlen Specter.  Help the effort by contributing to the Draft Sestak Fund.

PA-Sen: A Draft Sestak Effort?

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, working with a number of progressive organizations and blogs including Senate Guru, has put out a poll to gauge netroots interest in supporting an effort to draft Congressman Joe Sestak to challenge recently-Republican Arlen Specter in the PA-Sen Democratic primary next year.  The poll will be open for the next four days, and provided are both pro and con arguments regarding a draft effort.  To read the arguments and vote in the poll, click the below link:

Sestak vote

PA-Sen: The Potential Democratic Primary Pool

{Originally posted with poll at my blog Senate Guru.  Head over to vote in the poll.}

With conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey set to challenge incumbent Arlen Specter in the 2010 Republican Senate primary, I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll see a bloodbath in which Specter is labeled a convictionless flip-flopper and Toomey is dubbed an unelectable right-winger.  No doubt both Specter and Toomey will spend the bulk of their resources just to get through the primary, leaving the eventual Republican nominee politically battered and financially near-broke, having to re-build a bankroll from almost scratch.

Naturally, this raises the question: who do you want the Democratic nominee to be?  With the Republican nominee starting the general election in rough shape from a bloody primary, and with Pennsylvania Democrats continuing to grow their voter registration edge over Pennsylvania Republicans, Democrats are in the driver’s seat.  Without further ado, here is the cattle call of potential candidates, in alphabetical order:

District Attorney Lynne Abraham

During late-December of last year, both KYW Newsradio 1060 Philadelphia and CBS-3 Philadelphia reported that District Attorney Abraham was considering a bid.  As for bio, she was head of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in the 1970’s and subsequently a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  She has been District Attorney of the City of Philadelphia since 1991 and has won four elections during her tenure – but she has already announced that she is not running for re-election to the post this year.  A knock on her as a candidate, though, is related to the strength of her resume: in 2010, she will turn 69-years-old.  I don’t imagine she’d plan on seeking several six-year terms to build her seniority.

State Representative Dwight Evans

The 54-year-old State Representative is a powerhouse in the state Legislature as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, having served in the state House for nearly thirty years, but has also had his share of electoral losses.  He finished third in the 1986 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, finished third in the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and had fifth-place showings in two crowded Philadelphia Mayoral runs in 1999 and 2007.  Still as the Democrats’ Appropriations chief for nearly twenty of his thirty years in the state House, he has wielded considerable power for a long time.  The Executive Director of the PA-Dems was talking Representative Evans up this past January as a possible 2010 Senate candidate.  Representative Evans has done a great deal to improve Philadelphians’ lives, but has had difficulty translating that success in bids for higher office.

Congressman Patrick Murphy

At only 35-years-old, Congressman Murphy, an Iraq War veteran now serving his second term in Congress, is considered a rising star in the Party.  Some of his pluses are quite obvious: his military experience brings unique perspective and his relative youth would allow him to build seniority over the years for Pennsylvania.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congressman Murphy was the 187th most liberal member and the 240th most conservative member – in other words, he was fairly centrist.  Given the political carnage that is expected at the end of Specter-Toomey: The Sequel, PA-Dems may want to elect someone more liberal than Congressman Murphy has been.  Also, while Congressman Murphy appears to be a more-than-decent fundraiser, as of the end of 2008, he had just under $150,000 on hand, with just over $100,000 in debt, which means he’s starting from nearly scratch on the money front.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz

Now serving in her third term, Congresswoman Schwartz is one of only two women in Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation.  Her bio includes: executive director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center, a Planned parenthood clinic in Philadelphia, ’75-’88; acting Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, ’88-’90; State Senator, ’91-’04; Congresswoman, ’05-present.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congresswoman Schwartz was the 112th most liberal member and the 316th most conservative member, i.e.she was a bit to Congressman Murphy’s political left.  Also, known for being a strong fundraiser, she closed out 2008 with just under $2 million on hand and no debt.  On Election Day 2010, Congresswoman Schwartz will be 62-years-old, suggesting perhaps only a tenure of two-terms tops if she ran.

Congressman Joe Sestak

The 57-year-old military veteran is in his second term in Congress.  After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974, Congressman Sestak picked up an M.P.A. and a Ph.D. from Harvard before embarking on an impressive naval career.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congressman Sestak was the 150th most liberal member and the 277th most conservative member, putting him in between Congressman Murphy and Congresswoman Schwartz in the ranking.  Also a very solid fundraiser, Congressman Sestak ended 2008 with over $2.9 million on hand and no debt.  Back in December, Congressman Sestak’s office suggested that he wouldn’t be a candidate for Senate in 2010; however, with the new political dynamic of the combative Republican primary, perhaps Congressman Sestak might reconsider.

State Representative Josh Shapiro

Like Congressman Murphy, Representative Shapiro is only 35-years-old.  He is in his third term in the state Legislature, and was named Deputy Speaker of the House in his second term.  Prior to his time in the state Legislature, Representative Shapiro spent about eight years on Capitol Hill working for several elected officials, including service as Chief of Staff to Congressman Joe Hoeffel, Arlen Specter’s last Democratic opponent.  Representative Shapiro has met with the DSCC to discuss a possible bid; and, he has begun an aggressive outreach campaign to determine whether or not he’ll run.

State Board of Education Chairman Joe Torsella

The 45-year-old Torsella has worn many hats: state Board of Education Chairman, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning for the City of Philadelphia under then-Mayor and now-Governor Ed Rendell.  He also ran for Congress in 2004 and narrowly lost the Democratic primary to now-Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who won her first term in that election cycle.  He is also the only announced candidate for Senate in 2010 on the Democratic side, though he has yet to launch a campaign website (that I can find, anyway) despite having announced two months ago.  It is rumored that Torsella enjoys the support of Governor Rendell’s political machine behind the scenes.  Through contacts from his numerous civic roles and possible assistance from the Rendell machine, Torsella was able to raise a respectable $600,000 in Q1 (having only started campaign fundraising in mid-February).  The amount is enough to demonstrate capable fundraising, but far from strong enough to scare off primary challengers, especially members of Congress with seven-figure campaign bankrolls.

State Auditor Jack Wagner

Auditor Wagner began serving as a statewide official in this capacity in 2005, succeeding Bob Casey Jr., who, of course, defeated Republican Rick Santorum for Senate in 2006.  Prior to his tenure as Auditor, Wagner spent a little over a decade in the Pennsylvania state Senate.  Auditor Wagner is also a Purple Heart recipient from his time with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.  Auditor Wagner is the only person on this list from western Pennsylvania, which could provide a geographic advantage.  On Election Day 2010, Auditor Wagner will be 62-years-old, like Congresswoman Schwartz, suggesting a limit to his possible tenure in the Senate.  Additionally, it’s been reported that Auditor Wagner has told friends that he will not run for the Senate seat.

Former State Treasurer Robin Wiessmann

Former Treasurer Wiessman had a largely financial services background before filling the remainder of Bob Casey’s Treasurer term after he ascended to the U.S. Senate.  She spent the 90’s as President of Artemis Capital Group and went on to serve as a Vice-president at Goldman Sachs.  She also put in a stint as Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Philadelphia.  If Wiessman was interested in a prolonged political career, one suspects that she would have run for Treasurer last year instead of ceding the office, though.  If she does decide to run, fundraising won’t be as difficult as it would be for other first-time candidates as her husband is reportedly a major Democratic fundraiser.

With Governor Ed Rendell serious about retiring from electoral politics and with current state Treasurer Rob McCord in only his fourth month in the role and having expressed no interest in a Senate bid thus far, this appears to be the pool from which a Democratic nominee will arise.  You’re encouraged to make your case for your candidate in the comments.  If there is someone you would like to see as the Democratic nominee in PA-Sen who hasn’t been listed, share your thoughts in the comments, as well.

OR-SEN: Election Pregame–Polling, Videos, Articles, Results Info!

Hey there folks, TJ from Loaded Orygun here–Oregon’s progressive community and a member of the 50-State Blog Network.

All eyes are obviously turned towards Oregon later tonight, but without any results until at least 11pm eastern–and no exits to pore over–some folks might get a little edgy from all the “Obama can’t hack the working class” nonsense on cable and need a distraction to get ready for the GOOD news.

The first thing to check out is the nuts and bolts election info provided by one of our members, skywaker9. Ballot dropoffs, other websites to visit, where to get results, how vote by mail works here–lots of great stuff.

We’ve been mostly covering the Senate race between Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley, and I’m sure what most folks would like to know is, who’s gonna win? And the answer is…no one knows for sure. But there have been four polls in the last 8 days on the race, and taken together they definitely give us some clues.

Want something a little peppier, visual and shorter to read through? What’s easier than videos? Check out the candidates responding to the most recent SUSA, Novick’s ad on Hardball last night, and what some pundits have called “the best 90 seconds of the primary.”  

Finally, a look at some of the many non-Oregon publications that have featured Novick or addressed the Senate race. Prominent among recent articles is the AP piece essentially pitting Novick against Chuck Schumer, but there’s also a top-notch bio piece by the Oregonian if you need to find out more about the man, a great interview in slashdot–plus links to all of the 12 state newspapers that endorsed Novick.

Enjoy your virtual visit to Oregon, and I hope your candidate wins!