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Connie Saltonstall released a statement yesterday in light of passage of health care reform by the House.  

"First, let me say ‘thank-you’ to Congressman Stupak for his vote on this historic reform bill...

Fair enough! But the bottom line is that she is not giving up her primary battle against Bart Stupak, and I say in total agreement "Give him hell, Connie!"

Even more importantly, in her statement Saltsonstall endorsed single-payer and says that she will fight for it if elected.

This is not a perfect bill. I believe universal healthcare is a right, not a privilege or a luxury. When I get to Congress, I will continue to fight for a single payer system which I believe is the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver healthcare to all. Quality healthcare also allows women the opportunity to make responsible life decisions for themselves and their families."

Saltonstall has already raised more than $72,000 on Act Blue, and has gotten endorsements from a number of progressive organizations.  She seems positioned to give Stupak a serious challenge.

It would be way cool and psychologically impressive to get that Act Blue contributions number up beyond $100,000.

It's true that Bart Stupak finally negotiated a truce.  It's true that he gave a fiery speech on the House floor attacking the motion to recommit, which basically attempted to reinstall the 'Stupak language' into the bill.

But as Saltonstall notes,

The healthcare debate should never have been sidetracked into an abortion debate.

Truth to tell, Bart Stupak caused me a couple of sleepless nights, worrying that he would die on his sword rather than see this health care legislation signed into law.  (I really thought it was going to fail.) And of course he undoubtedly caused Nancy Pelosi and President Obama an awful lot more pain and agony than my petty worries and anxieties. Not to mention holding the entire nation hostage to demands he knew could not be met for his 15 minutes of fame.  Enough is enough.

I don't want to have to ever have to think about Bart Stupak again! And I urge you to help make it so by supporting Saltonstall.

While Congressman Stupak is primarily on my mind today, I'll mention a couple of other primary challengers to members of Congress who decided, for their own bizarre reasons, to put roadblocks on the way to this historic day.  

Yes, Blanche Lincoln, I'm talking about you and your challenger Bill Halter, but I suspect nothing more needs to be said on this site in that regard.  

And less famously, but even more notoriously, Stephen Lynch (D-MA) who just makes my blood boil for coming out of nowhere in the last days leading up to the vote, even rejecting a plea by Vicki Kennedy to vote for the legislation.  A Democrat from Massachusetts voting against this bill! Well, he almost officially has a primary challenger,Harmony Wu, and if she runs I'm going to support her along with Saltonstall.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 10:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This will be interesting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jdld, 2laneIA, jpmassar, antooo

    I'm a Stupak constituent. I can't wait to see how this shapes up.

    We need another Huey P. Long and federal funding for abortion. -9.00, -4.05

    by KVoimakas on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 10:39:43 AM PDT

  •  Instead of fighting your own party... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desron, jpmassar

    Pitting Democratic money vs Democratic money why not target Republicans from Blue States and districts who voted against the bill?

    Getting more Democrats elected will marginalize the Stupaks of the party.  

    Saltonstall, Wu might be feel good candidates for progressives, but can they win the general should they win the primary?

    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 Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 10:40:15 AM PDT

    •  If either Saltonstall or Wu can beat the incumben (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peacestpete, jpmassar

      ..incumbent they should do fine in the general. The big hurdle is the primary, with little money and time it's an uphill battle for both.

      I'm thinking Saltonstall has little chance now that Stupak has tried to make amends and the bill is passed.

      Wu has a real shot in MA-09 though.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 10:45:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had no idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zapp Branigan

      I was member of the Democratic Party.

      But even if I was, which I'm not, I'd think it tremendously important to find candidates who will not vote against their President and the signature issue of their party and send a message to those who don't.

      I understand there is a tradeoff.  And it has to be balanced.  You don't want to make a nutcase R win in place of a DINO.  But if you can replace a DINO with a progressive and not cause the House to revert to R control then you also win.

    •  You got a list of Democratic challengers... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...from districts and states where Republicans voted against the bill?  Some of us are already supporting those challenges.  For example Billy Kennedy, who is challenging Virginia Foxx (NC-05).

      But the issue goes to party discipline.  Stupak nearly derailed healthcare reform entirely in order to satisfy his C Street buddies, James Dobson, and the National Pro-Life Coalition.  And there are 20 Democratic members of the House who voted Yes on the GOP motion to recommit.  Crossing the leadership on procedural votes should have consequences both in the House and in the Senate (Ms. Lincoln).

      And it's not really pitting Democratic money against Democratic money.  It's pitting democratic money against corporate money.

      Can Saltonstall and Wu win the general after they win the primary?  If you believe that the political landscape changed in 2008, it is not clear.  But Saltonstall would pick up the labor votes that Stupak had from the western U.P. and lose the conservative Catholic votes from the lower peninsula.  If Saltonstall, who is from the lower peninsula, can put together a large enough base there, she very well could beat the Republican.  What she lacks at the moment is name recognition throughout the district and sufficient funds to mount both a primary and general campaign.

      It's not just a matter of progressive feel-good politics.  Progressives in Congress essentially got nothing in the healthcare bill and wound up getting their names tied to the vote because "the perfect is the enemy of the good."   Blue Dogs like Mike Ross took corporate money and worked to sabotage the bill all along, including voting for the motion to recommit.  But Bill Clinton holds a fund raiser for Ross.

      It's time we stopped rewarding this sort of divisive behavior on the part of the Blue Dogs.  And the use of a small faction to highjack a bill for concessions on nonrelated issues.  And flat out lying about what was in the bill.

      Stupak has much to answer for.

      50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

      by TarheelDem on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 11:30:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How much money (0+ / 0-)

        will it take to mount a primary challenge to Stupak?

        •  Don't know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The media market should be somewhat cheaper than most.  And a lot depends on what the base of committed pro-choice voters looks like.  A major expense will be travel because the district is so large.

          The more serious issue is whether Saltonstall can muster the field resources to turn out her Democrats to the primary.  As a county commissioner, she probably has some allies among current and former county commissioners in the district.  Who might or might not want to go out on this limb.

          Stupak will have the backing of the White House, DNC, DCCC, and most likely the Michigan Democratic Party as well.

          It is not going to be easy, but if it fails it does not damage Stupak.

          Of course, my basic philosophy is that every American voter should have the opportunity to choose a progressive Democrat in a primary and every American voter should have the opportunity to choose a Democrat in the general election.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 01:03:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Stupak must be primaried. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2laneIA, jpmassar

    A pro-life Democrat is one we can live with, if we must, i.e., a necessary evil. That evil becomes unnecessary when we have an obstructionist like Bart Stupak who believes his narrow religious beliefs are more important than the needs of 300 million Americans, at a most important, defining historic moment. We DO NOT need his likes in congress, and we can certainly do without him.
    Who knows what other historic legislation he will obstruct tomorrow to promote his "pro-lie" not "pro-life" agenda. Maybe it will be another momentous legislative occasion. There is nothing pro-life about supporting the deaths of thousands of Americans who don't have health insurance.

    STUPAK MUST GO. He only came on board to vote for the bill when it became obvious that the bill will pass without his vote, after other members of the Stupak dozen started stating their support for the bill and he knew he had no leg to stand on.

  •  politics ain't pretty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but it works

    better than any other form of government

    bye bye stupak

  •  Stupak's 100 percent AFL-CIO rating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    AFL-CIO gave Stupak a 100 percent rating for the 2008 Congressional session.

    I'd hate to see a Saltonstall-Stupak race turn into a progressives vs. labor fight.

    •  I don't know of any union endorsement for Connie (0+ / 0-)

      Saltonstall in her 2008 race for the 105th state house seat where she got 37% of the vote.

      Stupak received endorsements from the following unions in 2008:

      International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 324
      Michigan State AFL-CIO
      Michigan Teamsters Joint Council No. 43
      National Association of Social Workers
      National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU)
      Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
      United Auto Workers (UAW)

  •  Let's focus our energy as a team (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I really hate to see us primary people who are not vulnerable.  I too was very disturbed by Stupak, but at the end of the day he came through. We need to rise above and look to future, and save as many seats as possible.

    I am concerned about the people who voted yes and are vulnerable.  I wish we knew who Nancy let vote No. Because we should not punish those folks either.  

    I just hope we can ferociously defend our current seats. I do not plan to turn on our current seats if they voted yes.

    Goodness knows, Ms. Governor half-term has already issued her hit list.

    •  I'm with you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's easy to understand the desire to punish Democrats who abandoned us on the HCR vote, but I don't really think we have the luxury of turning on each other like that.

      Activism, I think, is better channeled into defending Democratic seats that are in danger, and in persuading people like Lynch to modify their positions (after all, there will be many more heath care-related votes in the coming years).

      Aside from a few true turncoats (Hello, Blanche Lincoln), we should working to keep the Democratic majority together through the next election.

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