As most of us progressives sit on pins and needles helplessly watchful on the eve of the eagerly awaited Pennsylvania primary, I want to ask you for your help. I have often written in support of Barack Obama, but tonight there is little I or other Obama supporters can do to help Obama.
What we can do, however, is support Democrats looking to fulfill Obama's vision: expand the map, compete everywhere against the Republicans, stand unabashedly for Democratic values, and win in races that we should win, but that no one thought possible before.
Here in Ventura where I live, we have just such a Democrat, and her name is Mary Pallant.
I've had several meetings with Mary over the last few years, and she has impressed me greatly with her tough-mindedness, can-do spirit, strong knowledge of the issues, organizational prowess, and personal charisma and charm. I believe in Mary and her ability to win this seat--and now that I live and work in Ventura County, I've signed on to be the Netroots Coordinator for her campaign.
Why should you help Mary? Because she can win. Seriously. California's 24th district has long been in the hands of the Republican party, largely because of its suburban and exurban demographics, as well as because of the presence of strongly conservative Simi Valley. But the district has been changing for a long time now--and it's poised to flip Blue this year. As David Dayen noted in his House Races Roundup over at Calitics, the 24th district is now on the map for Democrats as it should be. This beautiful district that lies between Henry Waxman's solidly Democratic district in Los Angeles' westside and Lois Kapp's solidly Democratic district in Santa Barbara should by all rights be in Democratic hands this year--and with your help we can make that happen.
Turnout numbers in this district are off the charts as voters get increasingly sick of Republican rule. This R+5 district saw Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by almost 4,000 votes earlier this year, partly due to the historic primary race. Nor is there any indication that the Democratic turnout will do anything but increase in November as we approach this historic general election. I was quoted extensively in the local paper the Ventura County Reporter in its story on Ventura County's flip from red to blue in overall voter registration--one of the major reasons for Tom McClintock's departure to the supposedly friendlier climes of CA-04 to take on Charlie Brown.
Republican Elton Gallegly, meanwhile, is a do-nothing, nearly invisible Rubberstamp Republican who has essentially ignored the needs of the district for years while supporting the unpopular Occupation of Iraq, Bush's unpopular tax cuts for the wealthy.
This is a district that is ripe for the picking for a strong, progressive Democrat. And Mary Pallant is just such a Democrat. Strongly opposed to the Occupation of Iraq and a supporter of the Responsible Plan, an avid supporter of universal healthcare and creating a green economy, and a supporter of efforts to end corruption in government, she is just the sort of progressive Democrat we need. That's why the Progressive Democrats of America have given Mary their enthusiastic support:
On the evening of March 3, PDA's Ventura County Chapter overwhelmingly endorsed Mary Pallant as candidate for California's 24th Congressional District. Mary stated "I am proud to call myself a Progressive Democrat, proud of this endorsement and very proud to be a part of this national movement." [snip]
Mary, who has also been endorsed by PDLA and PD/Santa Monica Mountains, has said, "I am proud to call myself a Progressive Democrat without being an apologist for a tradition consistent with the life, the works and the convictions of John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Senator Paul Wellstone." Another fan is PDA's own Jeff Cohen, who stated, "I've rarely come across a community leader as talented, knowledgeable and public-spirited as Mary Pallant. I heartily endorse Mary Pallant for Congress."
So why isn't Mary on the Blue Majority or Red to Blue lists? Why hasn't most of the progressive community heard more about this exciting, totally winnable race? It isn't for lack of local media attention: Mary has been writing op-eds in local newspapers and appeared on local radio stations. It all comes down to one simple word: fundraising. Mary has raised significant funds so far, but not as much as some of the higher-rolling progressive candidates like Darcy Burner and Charlie Brown. Without more money, Mary will have greater difficulty getting taken seriously by the national media, the DCCC, and Democrats nationally. Without the attention, she will find herself shorthanded against the sleepwalking Gallegly in November.
That's why I'm making this shameless push now for donations to Mary's campaign. Please help me turn my red district Blue this year and switch out one more rubberstamp Republican for a strong progressive Democrat in a very winnable district.
Help us put this race on the map: help Mary Pallant today. And in November, we'll finally be able to put this district where it belongs: squarely in the Democratic column.