Eric Griego with his family (campaign photo)
We've had a long litany of Democratic villains at Daily Kos over the years—candidates so bad, we had to do everything we could in the primaries to knock them out. There has been Ed Case in Hawaii, Katrina Swett in New Hampshire, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, Henry Cuellar in Texas, and of course, Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.
These are Democrats so vile that they made a mockery of our efforts to elect "more" Democrats. With friends like those, who needed Republicans? And hence, over the years, we focused increasingly on "better Democrats," and there's no place better to wage that battle than in open party primaries.
We've got one of those in New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, and we have a Democrat running worthy of inclusion into our gallery of rogues. Specifically, I'm talking about former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez.
The guy sucks in lots of ways, but perhaps nothing else encapsulates his sucktitude than this, when he contemplated challenging Tom Udall in a primary for New Mexico's 2008 Senate election:
He [Chavez] also said he is confident he would defeat Udall in a primary. "Philosophically, he's so far to the left," Chavez said. "I'd rather not have him in the race, but that's a challenge I'd not shy away from." [...]
"I feel very strongly that this is going to be a Democratic pickup and I'm going to be that Democrat, because I'm a moderate Democrat," Chavez said. "I think the Republicans are more afraid of me than some others."
Yeah, he's another one of these "I'm not one of those scary liberals"-type Democrats who thinks only "moderates" can win.
“The contrast in records between me and [Udall] won’t situate him well for the general election.”
So how did Udall do, the guy who was "so far to the left" that he wouldn't be "situated well" for the general election? He won his race against a top-tier Republican with 61 percent of the vote.
So we have a shitty Democrat in the race, and you better believe that corporate interests are already flooding his coffers with cash. But do we have a better Democrat? The answer, fortunately, is a resounding yes: Eric Griego.
Griego, a state senator and former city councilperson in Albuquerque, has received the strong enthusiastic endorsements of MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Blue America PAC. With Daily Kos jumping on the bandwagon, this is about as close as you'll ever get to a netroots sweep.
The enviros are all aboard—Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Conservation Voters New Mexico, as well as much of labor—the Teamsters, CWA, AFSCME and several local unions. (Chavez is particularly terrible on labor issues.)
Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, chair of the House Progressive Caucus, was effusive in his endorsement:
"Eric Griego believes that 'the last thing we need to send to Washington is a Democrat who's a kinder, gentler version of the Republicans'. I agree. Democrats must fight for a government that works for all people, not just those with deep pockets and fancy titles," Grijalva noted.
"Eric fought to get corporate money out of politics as an Albuquerque City Councilor, where he passed one of the strongest local campaign finance reforms in the nation. As State Senator, he took on the Big Oil companies and put middle-class workers first by passing a green jobs bill into law," Grijalva continued. "Eric is supported by leading progressive groups and major labor unions -- and he is the only candidate in the race to have a lifetime 100% rating from Conservation Voters New Mexico.
Griego is also a strong supporter of marriage equality, which is still not as common as it should be.
As a nation, we should also value and respect any two persons to love and marry one another without government interference. I believe that love between individuals is a sacred right protected in the Constitution and that is why I also support the full repeal of DOMA.
This seat's current occupant, Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich, is working to become New Mexico's next great senator. Holding this open seat will be critical to getting Rep. Nancy Pelosi her gavel back, and Republicans will contest it hard (Heinrich won it with just 52 percent of the vote in the 2010 bloodbath). But it is a Democratic seat—President Obama won it by 20 points in 2008—and there's no reason a strong progressive can't win and hold it.
There is a third candidate in the race—county commissioner Michelle Lujan, who may or may not be a solid progressive (seriously, try to find any real information on her positions at her website). But she doesn't have the demonstrated track record of Eric Griego, and we cannot allow a divided left let Marty Chavez become John Boehner's and Wall Street's favorite Democrat in D.C.
We'll be working hard, with our allies in the progressive movement, to help Eric Griego get the nomination and the general election victory in 2012. Consider this your introduction to one of our early 2012 stars.
You can see his answers to our Orange to Blue questionnaire below the fold. (I particularly like the answer to the last question.)
Eric Griego for Congress
Daily Kos Orange to Blue list
Daily Kos Orange to Blue 2012 questionnaire
1. Do you support:
a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200, Subtitle B, including § 223(b)(1 (A), as introduced in the House, 111th Congress)?
b) The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789, 111th Congress), which would allow all citizens or permanent residents to buy into Medicare?
2. Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:
a) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship — one that does not include overly-punitive fines or a touchback requirement — for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;
b) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of
temporary worker programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to
workforce shortages; and
c) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps
on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act?
3. Do you oppose each of the following changes to Social Security and Medicare:
a) Raising the retirement age;
b) Eliminating or reducing the cost of living adjustment;
c) Directly reducing benefits;
d) Means-testing recipients; and
e) Privatization, so-called "personal accounts," and vouchers?
4. Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560, 111th
Congress), including the provision known as "card check"?
5. Do you pledge to vote against any efforts to extend the temporary tax cuts for
income over $250,000 (Public Law 111-312)?
6. If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog Coalition?
Yes. In fact, I pledge to proudly join the Congressional Progressive Caucus to
fight for bold progressive solutions to address our nation’s challenges.