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Note: This is a repost of yesterday's diary, which almost, but not quite, made it to the Rec list. Given all the buzz over Ministry of Truth's excellent diary going national, I figured that this is the perfect time to give Stupak's primary challenger as much of a shot in the arm as possible. Please rec if you think it worthy; hopefully it'll give Saltonstall as much exposure as possible, thanks!

Yesterday Tuesday, there was some exciting news in the world of Bart "Mr. Coathanger" Stupak, as local county commissioner and former schoolteacher Connie Saltonstall announced that she's going to challenge Stupak in the Democratic primary based on his anti-choice/anti-HCR stance:

WASHINGTON – Michigan’s Bart Stupak, a Democratic congressman who could help bring down health care reform over an abortion provision, is getting a primary challenge this year.

Connie Saltonstall of Charlevoix said today she plans to run against Stupak for the Democratic nomination of Michigan’s First Congressional District, citing Stupak’s efforts to stop health care reform if it doesn’t ban use of government money for abortions. Stupak, a former state trooper from Menominee, has held the seat since 1993.
...

“I believe that he has a right to his personal, religious views, but to deprive his constituents of needed health care reform because of those views is reprehensible,” Saltonstall said in a statement.

Kossacks and others quickly pounced all over the story, Googling what little info there is available on Ms. Saltonstall, to see what her story and situation are; is she a legitimate Democratic candidate? Does she have a chance in hell? Etc, etc.

Here's what folks came up with:

I found this on michigandems.com. The phone number goes straight to Connie herself! Wish her good luck.

I have already asked if Connie would support a Public Option and her answer is YES!

Further, even if Saltonstall's candidacy is a long shot, I think it is worth supporting her just to put some heat on these C Streeters and their cronies. This is what ACCOUNTABILITY looks like. Give Connie a call and show her some support!

Campaign Office
11362 Boyne City Rd
Charlevoix MI, 49720
Phone: (231) 547-2138

I also spoke briefly with her; understandably, her phone's been ringing off the hook since the story broke. At the time we spoke, her old campaign website (used for a failed bid for state representative) domain name had expired.

Not for long, however: A few hours later, someone had registered the domain on her behalf; the following message was posted at http://www.conniesaltonstall.com:

This site is being parked by an unaffiliated, but pro-choice, person interested in seeing Bart Stupak defeated.
I was concerned that his potential primary challenger hadn't yet bought her .com domain, and fearing anti-choice saboteurs, I picked it up.

I have no malicious intentions. I'll happily transfer the domain to Ms. Saltonstall, once she or her soon-to-be campaign contacts me to get the domain, at no profit to me.

I can be contacted at info@conniesaltonstall.com

Then, someone came up with the following bio on Ms. Saltonstall, via MIList.org:

Connie grew up in Charlevoix, graduating from Charlevoix High School and the University of Michigan. She married and was an elementary school teacher for seven years before having 2 children. Elected to the Charlevoix Board of Education in 1979, Saltonstall was appointed to the Michigan Association of School Board's Taxation Sub-Committee. In 1980 she began a career in radio and in 1983 co-founded a national media research firm which Connie owned and successfully managed until 2001 when she retired. In 2006 Connie was elected to the Charlevoix County Commission. Currently serving on the Charlevoix County Commission on Aging Saltonstall is also a board member of Hospice of Northwest Michigan and a volunteer mediator and board member for Northern Community Mediation.

As a dedicated community activist, Connie have served a member of the Library Building Committee; was a leader in preserving and renovating an old school which is now a spectacular library, cultural center and information hub for people of all ages. As a member of the Charlevoix Waterfront Art Fair Committee and co-chair of the successful Great Northern Fish-In public art project auction, Saltonstall helped raise over $300,000 for the American Red Cross. At the moment she is currently working with the Friends of Charlevoix County Roads to pass a millage for county road funds.

Connie's son Brayton and his wife Aimee live in Ventura, CA with their 1 year old son, Jack.

That brings us to today, where there have been some more exciting developments.

First, the Detroit News has ran their own story on the topic. Two noteworthy points are bold-faced below--note that while Stupak does have a lot of money, it's not that much, since I presume he was never expecting a serious challenger (especially in the primary):

"I decided to run because people were asking for a candidate because they were mad about the health care issue. It's his willingness to not have health care pass over his abortion position that has people like me upset."
...

The anti-abortion community has rallied behind him, while he has angered many in his own party.
Saltonstall, 64, said "health care is a right everyone should have," and "Bart Stupak is not representing the Democratic Party's values by being willing for it to not pass."

She said she won't drop her primary challenge if Congress passes health care legislation. Stupak has raised $465,835 in this election cycle and has $274,756 in cash on hand. He chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

Next, TPM has chimed in with some more key items:

Saltonstall told me that her "dream" health care bill would create a single-payer system in the U.S. "But I know how difficult that would be to get," she said, "so I would support [the current reform proposal] and then work to get it fixed."

How serious a candidate is Saltonstall? Some of the many calls she's fielded today, Saltonstall told me, have come from "national groups" expressing a willingness to help her become the Bill Halter of the Upper Peninsula. She wouldn't name the groups, or how serious the talks have been, but it's not a stretch to see her candidacy appealing to the same dissatisfied progressive groups pouring millions into Halter's campaign in Arkansas.

Saltonstall is not a complete political neophyte -- she won campaigns for the school board and county commission in Charlevoix county in the past, and mounted a losing campaign for the state Legislature in 2008. But she recognized that taking down an opponent like Stupak is no easy fight.

In addition, at least one supporter has created an ActBlue page for her already. Ironically, the person who set up the page calls themself "Republican for Health Reform" and has amusingly titled the page "going_rogue". This has already caused some confusion, as a friend of mine called up recently concerned, because he thought that Saltonstall was the "Republican for Health Care," which, as far as I can tell, is not the case.

Oh, and literally moments ago (as of the original diary), her own official ActBlue page was linked to from the splashpage.

Finally, someone has started working on her new campaign website--I don't know if it's her, a staffer, or some other third party, but there's at least a quickie introductory splash page as of this writing.

In other words, IT'S ON!!

I swear, I haven't been this geeked about a primary challenger since Ned Lamont announced he was taking on Joe Lieberman in 2006! (Yes, I know about Bill Halter, and have already donated to his campaign, but this is here in my own state, yay!)

Update: I should note that in the comments posted yesterday in response to this diary, a few people who know more about the Upper Peninsula stated that the district--which, by the way, is absolutely huge, covering the entire U.P. as well as a large chunk of the L.P., due to the sparse population up north--is simply too conservative for Saltonstall to win. Being from the Detroit area myself, I can't comment on this other than to say, even if she gets squashed by Stupak, at least it's worth it for the sheer morale-building factor for progressives. If she manages to beat Stupak and then loses the seat to the GOP candidate? Well, that's the risk you take any time you challenge a "safe" incumbent, isn't it?

Update 2: Here's a pic of Ms. Saltonstall, along with a pic showing just how huge MI-01 actually is:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Originally posted to Brainwrap on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 05:58 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    "When even Arlen Specter is asking why the Dems got him to be their 60th Senator if they weren't gonna use the 60 votes, you know something's wrong!" --nyceve

    by Brainwrap on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 05:58:20 AM PST

  •  Even if we don't win these contested races, if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask

    we can get within reasonable striking distance, maybe we can siphon off money from the RNC. Death by a thousand cuts so to speak.

    "A man of true science uses but few hard words, and those only when none other will answer his purpose..." - Melville

    by ZedMont on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:03:24 AM PST

  •  Rachel mentioned her last night as well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, SarahLee, x

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:03:55 AM PST

  •  Add a picture (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, grannyhelen, thomask

    And her opinion of Bart's views on abortion and health reform:

    He "has a right to his personal, religious views, but to deprive his constituents of needed health care reform because of those views is reprehensible"

    http://conniesaltonstall.com/

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:06:10 AM PST

  •  A better ActBlue link: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, SarahLee, grannyhelen

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:08:32 AM PST

  •  I still don't think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper

    that she's a viable challenger. Viable challengers don't tend to be losers in state house races.

    What she's doing there is basically the local version of a failed congressional candidate running against the President in a primary... say Rick Noriega vs. Barack Obama. I don't really think she has a shot.

    Couldn't we try to draft State Senate Minority Leader Mike Prusi? He represents half of Stupak's district and is quite liberal and pro-choice (100% rating by PP).

    •  Her viability is not yet known (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, SarahLee

      We would have to see if she has a realistic shot or becomes a protest vote against Stupak for his behavior by how well she does as a candidate and if she can raise adequate funds to mount a serious challenge.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:29:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Connie Saltonstall wins the nomination... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper, HGM MA, smartdemmg, Benintn

    ...MI-01 will be represented by a Republican after Nov. 2010 in all likelihood. We might not like Stupak's conservative leanings but they are what allow him to get elected in that mostly-conservative area. I have yet to see anything to suggest that Ms. Saltonstall is conservative enough for most MI-07 voters. As a Michigander emabarassed by Bart Stupak's position on health insurance reform, I find that upsetting but I truly believe that what I'm saying is true.

    Become an Eclectablog fan on Facebook.

    by Eclectablog on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:18:31 AM PST

    •  Would Stupak differ much from a republican? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know his voting record on issues other than healthcare and reproductive rights. However, as I recall when Lieberman was primaried, many argued that he was with Democrats on everything except the war but later experience proved this to be false as he actively campaigned against Democrats and the Democratic party.

      when you ask Americans why the poor are poor, they always say it's because they don't work hard enough... They act like poverty is a character issue."

      by smartdemmg on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:23:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stupak votes with (0+ / 0-)

        the Democrats 95% of the time.

        We have a choice in MI-01: we can have Stupak, who is pro-life but votes with Dems nearly all the time, or we can have a pro-life Repub who votes with Dems never.

        Sorry, but that's how I see it from here in MI. It'd be great to punish Stupak for his obstinacy, but it's not gonna happen.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:28:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  When was he the deciding vote on those votes? (0+ / 0-)

          That 95% doesn't impress me when he's grandstanding about willing to kill HCR because he can.  

          If Saltonstall can't win, even if she can't beat him in a primary, maybe she'll make him spend some of his money and he can lose the general.  

          I'm not going to suffer this single issue C-Street fool.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.  

          Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

          by Jonze on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:45:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then it seems there is no point to anti-Stupak (0+ / 0-)

          diaries is there? If his local Democratic support is still strong (and your comment suggests it is, and there is no interest in a primary challenge), then it seems the rest of us our just stuck with his anti-choice amendment in our HCR package.

          when you ask Americans why the poor are poor, they always say it's because they don't work hard enough... They act like poverty is a character issue."

          by smartdemmg on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 07:00:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not saying he can't, or shouldn't, be slapped into line. I'm saying that a primary challenge is likely to be a trivial annoyance at best.

            Better to have the House leadership take away committee assignments and such. Maybe investigate his ass for his C-Street subsidized rent.

            "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

            by happy camper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 07:10:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  See the diary I just put up for your answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap

        Become an Eclectablog fan on Facebook.

        by Eclectablog on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 07:12:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Republicans don't have a candidate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NorthlandLiberal, smartdemmg

      Someone named Thomas Casperson with $251 cash on hand as of 12/31/09 is the only listed republican vying for MI-01.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:23:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ouch. (0+ / 0-)

      This is a difficult truth.

      But I think you're right.

      It's the entire UP plus a huge part of the northern LP.  That's a lot of terrain to cover.

      I'm not pleased with Stupak and I think it's good to give Dems an alternative to him.  But nevertheless, I think we've got a big uphill climb here.

      Better to support someone like Michael Bennet?

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:30:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well if anything, a relatively strong primary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jct, smartdemmg

      challenge where he's forced to spend some money defending his seat can send him a message not to be such a putz.

      "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will" Antonio Gramsci

      by HGM MA on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:42:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bye bye MI-1 (0+ / 0-)

    if she wins the primary.

    "Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money." Michael Steele.

    by Paleo on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:38:08 AM PST

    •  Addition by subtraction. (0+ / 0-)

      Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

      by Jonze on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:46:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Other than abortion, Stupak doesn't have a bad record, particularly when it comes to economic issues.  This is not a Blanche Lincoln situation.

        "Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money." Michael Steele.

        by Paleo on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:57:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So other than threatening to kill HCR... (0+ / 0-)

          He's a good Democrat? If he votes with Dems 95% of the time then why is his district said to be so conservative? Or are they all single issue voters as well?

          Voting with Dems 95% of the time means little when he isn't the deciding vote.  Now when he can be the deciding vote (well him and his super secret group of 10 that he refuses to name) he runs against the party on a personal mission.

          Recall after his amendment passed he went to celebrate with Pitts and other Republicans.

          Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

          by Jonze on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 07:04:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Looks to me she could win (0+ / 0-)

    Macinac and Travers City.  Touristy places like that tend to run more liberal...

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:39:39 AM PST

  •  Stupak will have resigned under a cloud (0+ / 0-)

    for his tax evasion and ethics violations in receiving, and not reporting, subsidized housing in a tony theocrat townhouse.  No need for a primary.

  •  Big district? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap

    Please!  You people in Michigan don't even know what big is.  Talk to Ciro Rodriguez.  Or even my Congressman from NM-03.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 06:58:22 AM PST

    •  Couldn't find the land area of NM-3 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap

      "The district is the second-largest congressional district in land mass east of the Mississippi River. Its boundaries contain much of the northeastern part of the Lower Peninsula in addition to the entire Upper Peninsula. Altogether, the district makes up about 44% of the land area of state of Michigan. It contains the second-longest shoreline of any district in the United States, behind the at-large district of Alaska.

      It contains 30 Michigan counties and a portion of a 31st, comprising almost three-eighths of the state's 83 counties."

      •  To Clarify That ^^ is about MI-1 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap
      •  The land area of Michigan is... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap

        ... 56,809 square miles.  The area of NM is 121,364 sq mi.  NM-01 is relatively small, Albuquerque and suburbs.  The rest of the state is divided roughly in half between NM-02 and NM-03.  Each of them is probably about the size, or nearly so, of the whole state of Michigan.  Rough estimates, certainly, but in the right ball park.

        Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

        by Land of Enchantment on Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 05:40:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually Michigan is 97,716 sqmi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brainwrap

          ...so about double your figure.  I have no idea where you got that from.

          •  And regardless of size... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brainwrap

            ...it's a difficult district.  I drive for a living and have crossed NM on I10-I40 or I25 many times.  

            It's a very different trip than crossing MI-01.  Getting from Ironwood to Bay City is 490 miles and 9-10 hours of driving because of very little freeway.  A much longer drive than crossing NM in terms of time and a little longer in pure distance too.  

            Most people aren't aware Michigan is well over 600 miles to cross from Ironwood or other far reaches of the UP to Ohio/Indiana, a longer drive than any western state with the exception of CA north to south on I5 and MT east to west on I94/I90.

            Not your typical small "eastern" state.

            •  Land area. (0+ / 0-)

              That 97,716 area of Michigan includes water area of the Great Lakes.

              As to the rest of your comment:  Most of NM-03 is nowhere near an interstate, and it's got pretty intense terrain, too - canyons and major mountain ranges.  The state highways aren't all paved.  A trip from Farmington to Clovis is no trivial endeavor, especially if you go via Clayton.  Plus, I'm guessing you're not familiar with the roads on the Navajo Reservation.  (Not to mention the Jicarilla Apache Rez and all the Pueblo tribes.)

              And speaking of Navajo Rez roads, there's this district:

              This one's perhaps even more challenging, if that's possible:

              This one less well known, but the roads are damned challenging.  Mebbe even moreso than in Nevada:

              I "get" that Easterners, even in Michigan, think like that New Yorker map that dismisses the West.  But, really, that district may be big for the region.  And, FWIW, I've driven through that part of Michigan.  What I noticed is that it's mostly pretty flat, and the roads are paved.

              Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

              by Land of Enchantment on Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 07:12:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Whups. (0+ / 0-)

              Left out the NM-03 map, so you can see where Clovis and Farmington are.  (Clayton's up in the NE corner over near Oklahoma.)  And the Navajo Rez is a fair chunk of terrain along the Arizona border.  Jicarilla Apache's up around Dulce.  Pueblos scattered along the Rio Grande (N & S of Santa Fe, and out to the west - Zuni being south of Gallup.)

              Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden, 8/30/09)

              by Land of Enchantment on Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 07:21:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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