Last Saturday I wrote an epiphany diary about how my belief in the use of the primary had changed.
I used to think that we should be cautious in that approach with our incumbents. I thought having experience elected officials in the with seniority had benefits that outweighed a couple of bad stances on issues. Yes, even those that I cared deeply about. Sure we need to reward carrots not sticks, but I think we also need to encourage more challenges like the ones we are seeing. It's done us some good and I'm more proud than ever right now to be a Democrat. We have begun to stand up to the ConservaDems and let our voices be heard. This is just the beginning.
Well I'm renewing that challenge that I issued then to get involved and help take our country back. It's Friday and you might have a couple extra bucks to donate to candidates or you might have a few hours this weekend to canvass, make phone calls or just do your part to encourage your neighbors about who we need to elect this cycle.
I've added a number of primary challengers that are taking on incumbents to the Progressive Electorate/Daily Kos Act Blue page.
Some of those on our page like Bill Halter, Joe Sestak, Mac D'Alessandro and Regina Thomas (our newest addittion) are taking on Bad Dog DINO incumbents. Others like Tarryl Clark, Billy Kennedy and Grier Raggio are taking on reactionary Republicans.
Let me talk about Regina Thomas for a second. Here's an excerpt from a diary I posted about her at Progressive Electorate last night
In 2008 we endorsed Regina Thomas in her quixotic bid against Bad Dog John Barrow. Unfortunately, her bid lost all steam once Barack Obama endorsed Barrow who repaid the favor by voting against health care reform.
We renew that endorsement in her 2010 battle against one of the most regressive Democrats in Congress. Barrow sealed his fate with many in his district after voting against health care reform.
We challenged Barrow in 2008 on his vote for FISA and the bush tax cuts.
Down With Tyranny discussed this race today and reminded me why we endorsed Thomas in 2008. Barrow is an awful reactionary.
..[S]ome Democrats say Barrow went too far in alienating his own party and Obama on health care, particularly for many black leaders to justify supporting him. Black voters make up 41 percent of Barrow's constituents, and account for a solid majority in Democratic primary races. It's unknown whether Obama will weigh in with an endorsement.
State Rep. Mickey Stephens, a black Democrat from Savannah, made the rounds of local churches stumping for Barrow in past campaigns. However, Stephens refrained from taking sides in Barrow's 2008 primary race with Thomas.
This year, Stephens is openly supporting Thomas in the Democratic primary. Barrow's health vote, he says, wasn't just the last straw - it "was a piece of timber."
"Most African-Americans are under-insured or don't have insurance at all. They need it the most," Stephens said. "John didn't just turn his back. He turned his back and ducked on this vote."
Two other black lawmakers who endorsed Barrow in the 2008 primary have backed off this year. State Rep. Bob Bryant of Garden City says he's now supporting Thomas. State Rep. Quincy Murphy of Augusta said, while he's unhappy with Barrow's health vote, he hasn't decided whether to endorse either candidate.
I had hoped that Barrow would improve after being endorsed by Obama in 2008. Boy was I wrong, he's just as much of a reactionary and more of a ConservaDouche now than he was then. But it looks like we have a real chance this cycle to send him home.
There are a number of great candidates to get behind this cycle. Ones that don't make us wince when we vote for them or click the little Act Blue button.
So yes primaries matter, they always will. It's our opportunity to affect change within our own party.