Here I discuss the most important United States House of Representatives races in 2010, based on how liberal the candidate I’m endorsing is and how close the race is.
2010 Florida’s 8th Congressional District House Election, General Election
Incumbent Democrat Alan Grayson is known most for his explanation of the Republican health care plan: “Don’t get sick… if you do get sick, die quickly.” It turns out he’s given to saying blunt, controversial things routinely, and as someone on his mailing list I can attest to that personally. Substantively, all these remarks are sideshows compared to Grayson’s substantive accomplishments such as pushing for an audit of the Federal Reserve and sponsoring the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act. But it showcases a huge reason why liberals love him: he’s willing to take the fight to conservatives not just in the halls of Congress, but in the media and on the airwaves as well. And we liberals need to win the rhetorical war even more than legislative battles if we want to see long-term progress in this country. Grayson is one of American liberalism’s most effective spokespeople – and that’s why we can’t afford to lose him. I’d put Grayson on the list of the top two or three Representatives we really cannot lose this year.
Grayson’s liberal credentials – at least rhetorically – are impeccable. Just watch this interview on Real Time with Bill Maher. When Bill Maher mentioned that he was a progressive Democrat, Grayson confirmed it and then described his political philosophy: “Huey Long, Huey Long, you gotta put some jam on the bottom shelf where the little man can reach it.” I was pleasantly astounded when I watched this. First off, almost no one ever cites Huey Long, who was probably the closest to a socialist a national Democrat ever got, as a political hero, so major points to him for that. Second off, more liberal points for Grayson for using that “jam” quote, though I think it’s actually attributed to Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough, another great liberal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grayson was the first person to use that Yarborough quote since Yarborough himself. This guy is definitely a keeper. I endorse Alan Grayson for reelection in FL-8.
Initially it looked like Grayson, despite representing a swing district, was gonna coast by this year in spite of – or perhaps because of – his antics. He had fundraised prodigiously and had accumulated a big enough war chest to scare off many potentially dangerous challengers – so much so that I started getting exasperated whenever I saw liberals making yet another donation to him. But, it’s a Republican year, so the guy he did end up facing – former State Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster – is now leading him in the polls. A Grayson loss would be a huge blow to progressives in Congress.
Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL-8). Source: Wikimedia Commons.
2010 Virginia’s 5th Congressional District House Election, General Election
This is the race that’s being watched around the country as the incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello has courageously voted for Democratic legislation despite representing a lean-Republican district (though I think his vote for the health insurance law was a waste). Now he’s paying the price, as he’s been running behind his Republican opponent all year, and only recently has he made up some of the gap and now stands an average of a few points behind. He probably won’t pull it out, but he really should. I endorse Tom Perriello for reelection in VA-5.
2010 Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District House Election, General Election
Democratic State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa is running against incumbent Republican Charles Djou, who was elected to this seat in May after the Democratic vote was divided between Hanabusa and Blue Dog Democrat Ed Case. Hanabusa is relatively liberal and is a single-payer, Medicare for All supporter. She also supports government directly creating jobs and investing in infrastructure and education.
This district lost a good liberal Representative in Neil Abercrombie (who will hopefully be elected Governor). Hanabusa can restore that loss. I endorse Colleen Hanabusa for HI-1.
Despite the Democratic tilt of the district, Djou has held a lead for much of the year and only now does Hanabusa have a very slim average lead of less than 1 point.
2010 New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District House Election, General Election
Running for an open seat, Ann McLane Kuster has gotten a lot of positive attention as a candidate running as an unabashed liberal, and doing, well, okay: polls show her with a slim two-point lead. A Kuster win could be one of a few bright spots on Election Day this year. I endorse Ann McLane Kuster for NH-2.
2010 New York’s 19th Congressional District House Election, General Election
I endorse incumbent Democrat John Hall for reelection in NY-19. Hall is a strong liberal Democrat who’s in a swing district. The polls have this race as quite close, with Hall having a less-than-one point lead on average.
2010 California’s 45th Congressional District House Election, General Election
Adam Bink of Open Left has heavily promoted Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, largely because he would be the first gay parent in Congress and he’s supportive on LBGT issues. He’s also decently liberal on other issues as well. I endorse Steve Pougnet for CA-45. Pougnet’s race against incumbent Republican Mary Bono Mack hasn’t been polled, but she’s likely to win.
2010 Arizona’s 7th Congressional District House Election, General Election
This district leans Democratic and in a normal year incumbent Democrat Raúl Grijalva shouldn’t have any trouble winning reelection. But it’s a Republican wave year and Grijalva has come under fire for courageously calling for a boycott of his own state in the wake of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. But a few polls have shown this race with Grijalva holding quite slim leads.
Grijalva, the better co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is a stellar liberal and a champion of the public option and Medicare for All. We need him in the House. I endorse Raúl Grijalva for reelection in AZ-7.
Medicare for All/Medicare You Can Buy Into Supporters
Finally, I’m going to do something a little uncharacteristic and offer a blanket endorsement of all cosponsors of H.R. 676, the legislation to establish a single-payer, Medicare for All health insurance system in the United States. I feel strongly enough about Medicare for All to do this.
I know this endorsement encompasses a few Medicare for All-supporting Blue Dogs such as Joe Baca and Sanford Bishop, the latter of whom appears to be in real danger of losing his seat to his Republican opponent. This is one of the rare instances in which I actually endorse a Blue Dog for reelection (normally I’d either stay out of the race or endorse a minor party candidate).
I will also offer a similar blanket endorsement of all cosponsors of H.R. 4789, the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act. This is also legislation I strongly support and we can’t afford to lose any of these cosponsors.