Category Archives: Elections

Ted Cruz – Climbing the Mountain

We knew it was only a matter of time until they climbed that mountain!

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Ben Carson – The Second Elephant in the Room

trump-carson

Donald Trump has intrigued the world with his bombastic and bigoted approach to American politics. I say “intrigued” because not since George Wallace have the American people heard such hatred and venom spewed from a national presidential candidate. And never before have we witnessed any single candidate control and manipulate the media as adroitly as Donald Trump.

To many, he is an anomaly. To others he is a savior. And to the rest of us he is a buffoon who has bought his way into the political arena, and thinks that he can buy the White House. Is he a flash-in-the-pan? Will he tank in the near future? Quite possibly. If that should happen, what then? Who is next in the line of 17 potential Republican candidates? Interestingly, at this point in time, all signs point to Dr. Ben Carson.

While not the ostentatious windbag that Trump is, Carson should still give the American voter pause for his political and religious views. As a distinguished, retired neurosurgeon with no political experience, and with no party affiliation, Carson became a Republican in 2014, in what he called a “pragmatic move,” because he was considering a run for the presidency.

Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist with very strong religious views and a platform that is built around his beliefs. His popularity with Republican some voters is a reflection of this. When it comes to pressing issues, his stands are ultra-conservative and, in many instances Bible-based.

When it comes to abortion and a woman’s right to choose, Carson is vehemently anti-abortion, believing that life begins at conception. He is firmly against stem-cell research, even though it has recently come to light that he engaged in that same research earlier in his career.

Carson has long been an opponent of same-sex marriage. At one point, he was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the extremists to watch. After a lot of pressure, the SPLC removed the label and the article and apologized to Carson. However, in a 2013, interview with FOX News, Carson made the following statement. “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Association, a group advocating pedophilia], be they people who believe in bestiality—it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”

He would later go on to make comments indicating that he believed homosexuality is a choice, and that many people go into prison straight and come out gay.

Carson would certainly be supported by the NRA should he be successful in securing the nomination. His stance on gun-ownership, and his repeated statements about martial law, would earn him the NRA’s coveted A rating. Last year on Washington Times Radio, Carson made the following statement: “Citizens should be able to own weapons, they should not have to report what weapons they own so that somebody can come and collect those weapons before, you know, they start their martial law.”

Additionally, Carson believes that we must keep the detention center at Gitmo open to protect the American people; he wants Obamacare repealed and equates it to slavery; he thinks that Russia is a huge threat, and says that “All options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies such as President Putin;” and he says that the United States should always stand with Israel and her people.

On the issue of immigration, Carson opposes birthright citizenship. In 2014, he wrote, “We must create a system that disincentivizes [sic] illegal immigration and upholds the rule of law while providing us with a steady stream of immigrants from other nations who will strengthen our society. Let’s solve the problem and stop playing political football,”

Perhaps one of the most prominent of his positions is his staunch belief that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and that progressive activists are “attempting to drive faith out of our society. He recovers quickly by saying that all faiths should have a right to pray, “in private.”

Donald Trump brags about his enormous wealth, while Carson often speaks of his meager beginnings in rural Georgia. Trump rants and raves and says outrageous things to baits the media with his bodacious sound bites, while Carson is much lower keyed, and garners less attention. However, Carson is being heard by a good sized segment of the right-wing population and he is closing the gap with Trump.

While it is quite early in this election cycle, and it’s still anyone’s game, one thing is becoming abundantly clear – even Republican voters are dissatisfied with establishment politics, and have no stomach for dynasties. To Democrats and liberals, another thing is becoming very evident – and that is unless they want to give up the White House to the likes of a Donald Trump or Ben Carson, it is imperative that they turn out in record numbers to vote.

 

 

THE PROGRESSIVE & LIBERAL CASTRATION

 

by Nicole Nichols

Liberal JFKYou say you are a “Progressive.” Just what the hell does that mean? You claim to be a liberal. Define liberal. Don’t just give me some mamby-pamby bullshit answer about being for the little guy, or being pro-choice, or standing for equal rights. Define those terms as they relate to you. Do some introspective detective work. Ask yourself the really hard questions. How liberal or how progressive are you, really?

The liberals and progressives that I used to know had some balls – you know, cajones! Big brass ones! They really did stand for something, and they never caved on their beliefs. Never! No matter how beat down they were, no matter how much ridicule, or opposition they encountered, they just kept getting up and coming back at you. They knew who they were and they fought until the very last gasp had escaped them.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe we have taken our last breath. Maybe we are in the throes of the death rattle.

Right now, as I ponder this, we are at a major turning point in history. Progressives and true liberals have an opportunity to turn this country into something that it should be – or, we can send it right into the arms of the Grim Reaper. Given the current state of affairs, and the current tide of castrated liberals who inhabit the so-called left, I’m inclined to believe that the latter will be the choice of day.

On a daily basis we take to the internet and bemoan the current state of affairs. We lick our wounds and beg for a Band-Aid, hoping that we will also get a pat on the head and a hug from our online friends. Meanwhile the Republican “clown car” chugs along picking up all sorts of steam. What the hell happened to us? Where’s the fight? Where’s the do-or-die attitude? How many times are we going to roll over? Maybe we just got tired. Maybe we just threw in the towel.

Now, we finally have something to get excited about. Now, we have a real shot at showing the world what we know to be right. Now, we have a voice. But only if we are willing to fight. Instead, like a herd of geldings being led to the slaughter we whinny and whine – and we settle. We just acquiesce and tell ourselves it’s the best we can do.

On the one hand, we have a 2016, presidential candidate who cozies up to Wall Street and big corporate money. Her ties with Monsanto and the bio-tech industry are in glaring contrast to the values and beliefs of true liberals. She is hawkish and a good friend of the Military Industrialist Complex. But, that’s okay, because she’s better than any of the GOP candidates.

While that is true, what does it say about the liberals and progressives who sing that song?

For so long, we have felt that we had little choice in selecting our political candidates. How many times have I heard the complaint, and said the same thing myself, about having to hold our noses and vote for the lesser of the two evils? Then, of course, there are those who choose to “make a statement” by not voting, or voting for some obscure party or candidate who might be on the ballot in five states. That works out real well, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, we have a candidate long admired by liberals and progressives for his strong stands against Citizens United and the corporate take-over of America. A candidate who is the guardian of the middle class. A candidate who truly believes that government should work for the people. A liberal. A progressive.

Yet, the reaction of those on the left has been one of utter contradictions and defeatism. While the large majority of liberals agree and lament that he will never get the nomination, there is also a contingent that will work tirelessly towards the insuring their prophecy comes true.

What’s wrong with this picture? Where’s the fight? Where’s the determination? Where’s the heart?

There are those who claim that Bernie Sanders cannot beat Hillary Clinton, but that his candidacy is a good thing because, at least, there will be a national dialogue about the issues that liberals hold dear. Seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? Is that the most we can accomplish? We can talk the talk – but whatever happened to walking the walk?

Others think that even though it’s a losing battle, at the very least, he will pull Clinton further to the left. Really? Has anyone been paying attention? Have we slipped so far into that black hole of despair that we actually believe anything we say, or are we just trying to appease each other with platitudes and tepid hope?

Sure, the “dialogue” and the pressure might cause Clinton to emerge from that Republican-light cocoon that she is all wrapped up in, at least, for campaign purposes. But, what about the long haul? Does any true liberal or progressive honestly believe that her emergence would be long-lived? Do you, really? Dig deep, friends. Do you honestly believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton would relinquish her ties to corporate America…to all of that money…to all of that power that she has been immersed in for so long, to suddenly become the beacon of liberal America?

Are you a liberal? Define liberal. Are you a progressive? What the hell does that even mean? It used to be that most people who identified themselves as such affiliated themselves with the Democratic Party for voting purposes. That was before the Party morphed into a right-leaning monolith of conniving deception and way before the corporate coup that has crippled the nation. Today, however, the Party has found its comfort zone in capitulation and submission to the radical right-wing, thereby rendering itself ineffectual in liberal or progressive movements.

In short, they are impotent. Castrated. Also, apparently, they have taken a goodly number of previously left-leaning, courageous, and stalwart liberals with them.

It’s a sad day in the United States. We are inundated with religious right-wing bravado and rhetoric. We have allowed the Wall Street tycoons to lull us into docility. We have been “fixed.” Neutered. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the nominee for president because we, quite simply, gave up. As one Facebook poster so aptly predicted:

“The Democrats…will crush the Left into submission, sacrificing it on the Altar of Plutocracy at the Church of Lesser Evils.” (Johann Ivan)

 

 

Are we liberal, or progressive, even wise enough to do the right thing? Or, have we been conditioned into fatalistic acceptance of the status-quo? Are we courageous enough to fight back, or have we lost all semblance of that tenacity and fortitude that has always been our hallmark? Are you a liberal? Are you a progressive? Are you really?

 

 

 

 

2016 Senatorial Elections Are Crucial to Democrats, Liberals, & Progressives

 

All eyes and media focus are currently on the 2016, presidential election. election-2016-buttonPrecious little attention is being given to the crucial senate races that will be waged in the next national election. This is an egregious error considering the current right-wing stranglehold on our government.

Once it became evident to the right that Barack Obama would be a two-term president, the financial guru’s who really run this country began to back congressional and state candidates, and to pave the way for the 2016 elections. Now that they have a majority, they clearly intend to buy the White House. That is why it is imperative that liberals and progressives begin today grooming and promoting viable Senate and House candidates who represent their interests. We do not have the luxury of waiting. Now it begins…

KELLY ANN AYOTE – Republican Senator from New Hampshire

Kelly AyotteAyotte is a first-term Senator whose seat will be up in 2016, for reelection. She is the former State Attorney General. Her name came up as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in 2012, and the next year Newsmax magazine listed her as number 11 among the 25 most influential women in the Republican Party. They called her “an emerging force in Congress. 1

In a tight race during the 2010, elections, Ayotte drew the endorsements of such party notables as John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, Tom Coburn, and Rick Santorum.

In 2012, a scathing article appeared in Addicting Info which claimed:

“As Junior Senator, Ayotte voted against the United States Postal Amendments meant to save the Post Office, and against repealing tax deductions for oil companies. She voted for the Keystone XL Project, to extend the Bush tax cuts, and to reduce the corporate tax rate. She voted to remove all regulations regarding electronic debit card transactions and against emergency disaster relief appropriations, Ayotte is pro-fracking, pro-CISPA, and has an A rating from the NRA for her position on gun control. She is married to Lt. Joe Daley, a reservist fighter pilot, who flew combat missions in Iraq, and the mother of two children. Ms. Ayotte is on the front lines of the battle to treat captured terrorist suspects as prisoners of war rather than criminals. “We don’t want to tell a terrorist you have the right to remain silent, she says, “that’s the issue here.” Sarah Palin calls Kelly Ayotte, “a Granite State Mama grizzly who has broken barriers.”2

Upon careful review, I found those claims to be quite accurate. Ayotte is also pro-life and receives a consistent 100% rating from the National Right To Life Committee.

Her biggest donations came from Elliott Management Corporation which the management affiliate of hedge funds Elliott Associates, L.P. which is run by C.E.O., Paul Singer. In 2014, it was estimated that Singer had a net worth of $1.9 billion.

Interestingly, Singer, whose son is currently in a same-sex marriage, has donated millions of dollars to various organizations supporting LGBT rights, yet Kelly Ayotte is vehemently against gay marriage and gay adoptions.

Senator Kelly Ayotte is the goddess of right-wing conservatives. With close ties to Goldman Sachs, the Koch Brothers and much of corporate America it might be very hard to unseat her. However, if the left chooses to get its act together, it might not be impossible.

ROY DEAN BLUNT – Republican Senator from Missouri

roy bluntBlunt is a former member of the United States House of Representatives (1997-2011) who won a Senate seat in 2010. Back in 2006, at the height of the scandal involving Jack Abramoff, Blunt’s name was thrown into the mix and his involvement with both Abramoff and Tom Delay came into question.3

He has been endorsed in the past by Missouri National Right to Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, Michele Bachmann, Red State, and the National Rifle Association. His political action committee the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund has met with it’s own scandal when Blunt accepted more than $1.1 million from corporations donated by the same companies that were implicated in the indictment of his friend and colleague Tom DeLay.

Blunt is a staunch pro-life, Southern Baptist. In 2012, he proposed the “Blunt Amendment” that was piggy-backed onto a highway appropriations bill. The amendment would have blocked part of the Affordable Care Act that requires all insurance plans to cover the birth control pill. The proposed amendment would have allowed not only religious organizations, but any employer with a “moral objection” to opt out of birth control coverage. The amendment was ultimately defeated.4

Earning a 92% rating from the Christian Coalition, Blunt has voted against same-sex marriage and gay adoptions. He has voted in favor of defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Additionally, he takes strong stands against the Separation of Church and State and Affirmative Action while advocating for the privatization of Social Security, faith-based initiatives, and an absolute right to gun ownership.

While in past elections he has won easily, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that has been growing within the party regarding Blunt. Many Tea Party members and ultra-right-wingers are questioning his efficacy. That dissention could prove to be a real factor in unseating him. However, it could also mean that he could be replaced with someone even more radically conservative. It should signal Missouri Democrats and Progressives that this is a Republican seat that could be won by the right liberal. The time to start is yesterday.

JOHN NICHOLS BOOZMAN – Republican Senator from Arkansas

John BoozmanBoozman is an Optometrist and former United States Representative (2002-2010). In 2010, Boozman was the first Republican to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction. So, how is that working out for them?

Being a true Southern Baptist, and a true hard-core conservative, John Boozman takes a very strong stand against abortion, women’s rights, LGBT issues, the separation of church and state, and immigration. He is a staunch gun-rights advocate and favors expanding the military.

His previous endorsements came from the Susan B. Anthony List, the National Rifle Association, Wal-Mart Stores, and Elliott Management. Earlier this year, Boozman was one of the 47 Republican senators to sign the controversial letter to Iranian leaders in an attempt to hinder negotiations with that country.

Last year, Boozman suffered a heart attack and underwent heart surgery, however, it doesn’t appear that he is slowing down, nor has there been any indication that he plans to retire. In August of last year the Arkansas Times published the following statement:

John Boozman meanwhile is one of the lowest profile Senators in the country. A plurality of voters in the state- 38%- have no opinion about him one way or the other. 34% approve of him to 28% who disapprove. Boozman’s big victory in 2010 was really a reflection on voters disliking Blanche Lincoln more than anything else, and it doesn’t appear that Boozman has made much of an impression in his own right.”5

The fact that Governor Beebe could beat Boozman in a “what if” scenario, however, is not indicative of anything on the horizon. The fact that there were 38% of those polled who had no opinion about him, could however, indicate that Arkansas voters are becoming more apathetic, or that they just don’t know what he is all about. At any rate, his seat will be up for grabs. It Democrats and Liberals put their skills to work, they really could pull this off.

RICHARD MAZUE BURR – Republican Senator from North Carolina

Richard BurrA former sales manager for Carswell Distributors, Burr has been in the United States Senate since 2005. Prior to that, he served 10 years in the House of Representatives.

Another hard-core conservative, Burr stands opposed to abortion, women’s rights and LGBT rights. While he opposes same-sex marriage on a personal level, he says that the decision should be up to individual states. He does not support the separation of church and state and believes in public school prayer as well as faith-based initiatives. He is a Second Amendment Advocate and wants to privatize social security.

Last year, as the ranking member on the Senate Committee of Veterans Affairs, Burr penned an angry letter to American veteran organizations for their failure to condemn the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Erick Shinseki, for his part in the VA scandal, claiming that the leaders of these groups did not care about the health and well-being of their members.6

Burr was also one of the 47 Republicans who signed the controversial, and some say, treasonous, letter to Iranian officials.

In January of this year, Burr took over as the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Just prior to his becoming Chairman, then Chairwoman, Diane Feinstein had released the executive summary of the CIA’s torture program. The full report was sent to the President. As one of Burr’s first acts, he sent a letter to Obama asking him to return all copies of the report signaling his dedication to maintaining secrecy and curtailing transparency.7

Although there have been rumors that Burr was planning on retiring, he recently quashed our hopes by announcing that he intended to run again in 2016. As far as the polls are concerned, there is almost a dead even split among those counted with a 36% approval rate, 37% who disapprove. Given the controversy surrounding Burr’s recent maneuverings, one can only hope that this long-time politician will be relegated to the farm. But, Democrats had better have someone really strong waiting in the wings.

DANIEL RAY “DAN” COATS – Republican Senator from Indiana (Retiring)

Dan CoatsSo, in Indiana we have a hard-core Republican retiring from the United States Senate. But…don’t get too excited. There are a few others hoping to fill that seat, not the least of which is Coats’ congressional staffer, Eric Holcomb who has already announced.

While this race promises to spawn a lot of candidates, it is important to note that Eric Holcomb is very well known in Indiana as the former chairman of the state Republican Party, and where Mitt Romney carried the day by 10 points in the 2012 elections. He will have the same support and funding that propelled former Governor Mitch Daniels through two elections.

It is pretty safe to assume that Holcomb embraces the same right-wing values as Senator Dan Coats, and will continue down much the same path. There are several other Republicans who are considering, but who also might be apprehensive about challenging such a powerful figure. While no democrats have announced yet, Evan Bayh, former Governor and Senator, is mentioned quite frequently as a potential candidate. This will be a tough race, but Democrats need to get their ducks in a row quickly.

MICHAEL DEAN “MIKE” CRAPO – Republican Senator from Idaho

Mike CrapoCrapo is an attorney and former United States Representative (1993-1999). He has been in United States Senate since 1999.

Crapo is a Mormon, a bishop in the Church of Latter Day Saints, and although he previously publicly stated that he didn’t drink alcohol, he was arrested in 2012, and plead guilty to a DUI.8

In 2011, it was reported that Crapo was one of the members of the “Gang of Six,” a bi-partisan group charged with coming up with solutions to reduce the American deficit.9

He is a strong advocate for firearms ownership and voted against any expansion of background checks, so of course, the National Rifle Association has supported Crapo as well as the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Crapo is a very hard-core conservative and conducts himself as such, standing firm against women’s and LGBT rights, he is supportive of a school-prayer amendment, faith-based initiatives, and the privatization of Social Security. He is also against raising taxes on the wealthy and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

The only declared candidate in opposition to Crapo at this time is Independent Timothy A. Raty. Crapo’s DUI charge could have hurt him with the voters, but he has a pretty good stronghold on that seat, and some very deep pockets supporting him. However, a Democratic run at this seat should be launched immediately. It’s time to send the right a very big message.

CHARLES ERNEST “CHUCK” GRASSLEY – Republican Senator from Iowa

Chuck GrassleyThis 81 year-old politician is a former United States Representative (1975-1981). He previously served in the Iowa State Legislature (1959-1974). He has been in the United States Senate since 1981. Obviously, he has been very popular in that state.

In the past, a good portion of his funding has come from the oil producing industry, and insurance companies. Contributions from Monsanto have also been noted. He has been endorsed by Americans for Legal Immigration, Campaign for Working Families, Huck PAC, Iowa National Federation of Independent Business, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, and National Right to Life Committee. All of these reflect this hard-core conservative’s views.

Chuck Grassley has been representing Iowa in his Senate seat for 34 years, and in D.C. for 40 years. It is inconceivable to me that he would want to shoot for another six, or that the voters would even consider him to still be a viable option. It is equally incomprehensible that the Democratic Party cannot field a candidate who could beat him in 2016. Come on, people! Get it together, and make this right!

JOHN HENRY HOEVEN – Republican Senator from North Dakota

John HoevenHoeven is a former banker and governor of North Dakota. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Hoeven is somewhat of an enigma in a couple of ways. In 2010, as he was paving the way for his Senate bid, it was reported that in 1996, he had been a Democrat:

“I have always been moderate in my political views, but now that I am considering elective office, I realize I must join a political party and stick to it,” Hoeven wrote in 1996. “I have decided to join the Democratic-NPL Party because I believe that is the best fit for my views.” Also in his 1996 letter, Hoeven strongly rejected the suggestion that he could be a Republican: “What people don’t want is partisan politics as usual. The effort by overly partisan members of the Republican Party to cast me as one of their own is just that, partisan politics as usual.”10

According to his campaign manager, Don Larson, at the time he was going to run for Governor, he realized that his views were more in line with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party.

While Hoeven is pro-life except in certain situations, and anti-LGBT rights, favoring and Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, he strongly believes in Affirmative Action. He is against school vouchers and proposes an increase in pay for teachers, he doesn’t take a firm stand on the separation of church and state, or prayer in public schools. He does, however, favor faith-based initiatives.

Hoeven is a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights, and doesn’t favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

In his last bid for senate he was endorsed by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Huck PAC, National Education Association, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, and National Right to Life Committee.

While Hoeven seems more moderate than many of the Senators on some issues, it is imperative to remember that he is supported and funded by several unsavory and extremely right-wing people and groups. Unfortunately, given the fact that Hoeven won his seat by a 3 to 1 margin in 2010, and the total lack of apparent candidates from the Democratic Party, I think this one would be very hard, if not impossible to pull off.

JOHN HARDY “JOHNNY” ISAKSON – Republican Senator from Georgia

Johnny IsaksonIsakson is a former president of a large real estate company, and a former United States Representative (1999-2005). He became a United States Senator in 2005.

Interestingly enough – and to demonstrate just how far right the Republican Party has gone – many within the rank and file have designated Isakson as a Republican in Name Only, a RINO. Yet, he consistently receives 100% ratings as well as endorsements from the National Right to Life Committee, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, United States Chamber of Commerce, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, Americans for Prosperity. American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Gun Owners of America, National Rifle Association, Numbers USA, American Family Association, Christian Coalition of America, Family Research Council, and ACT! For America – just to name a few.

Isakson has been backed, endorsed, sponsored, and funded by almost every major right-wing outfit in existence. Johnny Isakson is a hard-nosed, hard-core, right wing conservative who is owned by his handlers and makes all the right moves.

It is highly unlikely that Isakson will be unseated. I say this, not because he is wildly popular, but because he is a Republican in the State of Georgia, and, unfortunately, if the Democratic Party continues to insist that only moderate, middle of the road, Democrats stand a chance, the voters will be presented with little to no choice but to dance with the guy they went with. Pathetic truth.

RONALD HAROLD “RON” JOHNSON – Republican Senator from Wisconsin

Ron JohnsonJohnson is the former CEO of a polyester and plastics manufacturing company. In 2010 he beat out then Senator, Russ Feingold, for the Senate seat. He claims that he “sprung out of the Tea Party.”

Johnson is a Club for Growth tool. Because he had no political history and no voting record, he has been referred to as a “Blank Slate.” In truth, Johnson portrayed himself as a “moderate” during his campaign, and the voters bought it.

In 2011, a controversy arose over what was termed a “deferred compensation agreement” with his former employer. That “agreement” garnered Johnson $10 million – $9 million of that was spent on his campaign. He came under intense scrutiny over whether or not campaign finance rules had been broken. He refused to stipulate the terms of the agreement.

And, more controversy erupted a little over a month ago when it was reported that Johnson’s office sat on complaints about a VA medical center over-prescribing medications.11

Johnson takes the same right-wing, ultra conservative stands as his other Republican cohorts and rubs elbows with all the same money people. Wisconsin is home to a lot of Democrats who, right now, are very dissatisfied with the representation that he is providing. The Washington Post has called Johnson the “most vulnerable candidate on the map.”12

I agree that he is vulnerable. It is widely speculated that Russ Feingold might very well consider running against Johnson again. Whatever happens, this is a Senate seat that the Democrats need to take back.

MARK STEVEN KIRK – Republican Senator from Illinois

Mark KirkKirk is an attorney and former United States Representative (2001-2010). From 1995-1999, he served as counsel to the House International Relations Committee. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Mark Kirk is among the more moderate Republicans in the senate at this time. He favors a woman’s right to choose, Affirmative Action, and same-sex marriage. He has a very low rating from the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America, and favors providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals.

On the flip-side, he opposes Obamacare and favors the privatizing of Social Security. He also favors prayer in public schools as well as faith-based initiatives.

During his political career he has been endorsed by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Citizens United Political Fund, Combat Veterans for Congress, ConservAmerica, Illinois National Federation of Independent Business, National Defense PAC, National Federation of Independent Business, National Education Association, Ocean Champions, Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

In spite of his moderate stands, it should be remembered that Illinois is, generally speaking, more Democrat than Republican. Additionally, he has created his own downfall in many ways. Kirk is a decorated Navy reservist, but back in 2010, Kirk was giving a speech to a gathering of experts on U.S. Chinese relations when he stated, “In my role in the military, I command the war room in the Pentagon.” Completely untrue.13 Also, it was determined that another statement of braggadocio made by Kirk was equally as erroneous. Since 2002, Kirk has been telling audiences that he was the recipient of am “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award. What Kirk had received was actually the Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Award.14

With the unfortunate claims made by Kirk, came the revelation that during a speech he delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives in 2003, he claimed, ““The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us”. Well, of course that didn’t happen. He would later retract that statement in the Chicago Sun-Times by saying, “I simply misremembered [sic] it wrong.” The fact is, the Pentagon has no record of Kirk’s transport ever being fired upon.

This kind of dishonesty is indicative of Kirk’s character and may very well not be lost on the voters of Illinois. Additionally, Kirk has recently come under fired for comments that can only be construed as racist.

In 2012, Mark Kirk had a stroke. His full recovery was in question for quite a little period of time.

This is definitely a senate seat just waiting for a Democrat to occupy. Democratic Representative Tammy Duckworth has already thrown her hat in the ring. It’s time for liberals to step up in Illinois.

JAMES PAUL LANKFORD – Senator from Oklahoma

James LankfordLankford is a Baptist youth worker and former United States Representative (2011-2015). He won the senate seat last year during a special election after the resignation of Tom Coburn. Lankford qualifies as a ReBiblican, for certain.

Lankford tows the political line of the extremist right, and stands squarely in the realm of theoretical rule, claiming that his “Biblical Worldview” will guide him in his decision making.17

In 2012, Lankford opposed protection of gay employees against discrimination. He argued that homosexuality is a choice that could be changed. When he became highly criticized for that comment, he claimed that he was being singled out because he was a Christian. Lankford has continued to attempt to block any and all legislation protecting LGBT rights, citing the Bible as his reason.18

Lankford recieves superior ratings from all of the usual conservative sources. His funding an support generally comes from American Council of Engineering Companies Oklahoma, Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Family Research Council, House Conservatives Fund, National Rifle Association, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, National Right to Life, Campaign for Working Families, Eagle Forum, and the Christian Coalition of America.

There is little doubt that Lankford will be re-elected to the Senate. After all, we are talking about Oklahoma, perhaps the reddest state in the nation. It is also unlikely that the Democrats will be able to field a candidate who would provide the voters with much of fa choice. The Oklahoma Democratic party has become nothing more than weak and anemic, hence it’s doubtful that the Sooners will have any relief from the choke-hold that evangelicals and extremists have on them.

 

MICHAEL SHUMWAY “MIKE” LEE – Republican Senator from Utah

Mike LeeLee is an attorney who was elected to the United States Senate in 2010. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk for now Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito. In 2005, he began serving as the general counsel for then Utah Governor John Huntsman. He is the son of Rex E. Lee, Reagan administration Solicitor General.

Suffice it to say, Lee is every bit as right-wing as his senatorial colleagues. After all, he is a Tea Party darling who aligned himself with Ted Cruz during the government shut-down. For many in the GOP, Lee is even too far to the right. Even John Huntsman, a hard-core conservative has indicated that he is considering supporting someone less radical.19 In spite of that, he still has a large support base and a lot of money at his disposal.

Lee is endorsed and funded by Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, Republican Senatorial Committee, Americans for Legal Immigration, Freedom Works, LibertySlate, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, One Nation PAC, Republican Liberty Caucus, Tea Party Express, and Utah National Federation of Independent Business.

In a speech he gave last week, Lee characterized the three of the GOP candidates, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz as three of his closest allies.20

The State of Utah is probably too Republican for Democrats to expect to mount a real political challenge to Mike Lee. More than likely, the best we can hope for is that he will have opposition in the form of a primary by a candidate less extreme and with less ties to the radical groups engineering the outcomes of our elections.

JOHN SIDNEY MCCAIN, III – Republican Senator from Arizona

John McCainMcCain is a former Navy captain, Viet Nam Prisoner of War, United States Representative (1982-1986), and current United States Senator. Earlier this month, he announced that he would run again for this seat. McCain is currently 78 year-old, and has been a Senator for 29 years. In 2008, he ran for President, with Sarah Palin as his running mate.

McCain has been described as a “libertarian leaning conservative. He is an advocate of overturning Roe v. Wade and only providing abortions under certain circumstances. Yet he believes in Affirmative Action and is comfortable with same-sex marriage. He receives an 83% rating from the Christian Coalition, and favors prayer in schools along with vouchers and faith-based initiatives. He is an opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mc Cain also favors the privatization of Social Security and an absolute right to gun ownership. He is vehemently against raising taxes on the wealthy, and for expansion of the United States military.

In past elections he has been endorsed and supported by Campaign for Working Families, National Right to Life Committee, Arizona Right to Life Committee, Arizona National Federation of Independent Business, Combat Veterans for Congress, National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Rifle Association, among others.

McCain will be challenged in a primary. While all of the players have yet to be revealed, a couple have emerged so far – Alex Melusky, and current Arizona State Senator, Dr. Kelli Ward. Both are hard-core conservatives. No Democrat has announced as of yet. It is important to remember that a Senate seat hasn’t been won in Arizona since 1988. Given the current mind-set of the Democratic Party, and it’s failure to endorse and support candidates in tough races, this could be a deciding factor. It is also important to note that McCain already has $3.5 million in his war chest.

There are a few names being bandied about in Democratic quarters, but none have taken the bait at this juncture.

JERRY MORAN – Republican Senator from Kansas

Jerry MoranMoran is an attorney and former Kansas State Senator, as well as former United States Representative (1997-2011). After his senatorial win, he served as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee which, in 2014, produced the first Republican Senate majority since 2006.

In 2014, Moran lost some favor with the GOP when he teamed up with Ted Cruz and other Tea Partiers to try and defeat the omnibus spending bill.21

Additionally, Moran was one of the 47 Republicans who signed and sent the controversial letter to Iranian leaders. He would later explain this action thusly:

“The letter makes clear that any long-standing agreement must be reviewed by the Legislative Branch, and input from the Senate should be seriously considered by the Administration before any agreement with Iran is reached.”22

Moran’s previous endorsements and support has come from, National Right to Life Committee, Kansas National Federation of Independent Business, Kansas Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, Republican Liberty Caucus, American Security Council Foundation, and Partnership for America.

Given the fact that the last Democrat to be elected to the United States Senate by the voters in the State of Kansas was George McGill in 1932, it’s unlikely that it will happen in 2016. Given that incredible statistic, it is also unlikely that the Democratic Party will put much emphasis on fielding or supporting a challenger.

LISA ANN MURKOWSKI – Republican Senator for Alaska

Lisa MurkowskiMurkowski is an attorney who was first appointed to her senate seat in 2002, by her father, Frank Murkowski, then Governor of Alaska. In 2010, Murkowski lost in a primary. She then entered the race as a write-in candidate winning that election.

Murkowski is somewhat of an anomaly among senate Republicans. She is pro-choice, and a member of the Republican Majority For Choice. However, she voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She was one of only five Republican senators who voted for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and she voted for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Yet, in 2004, she voted in favor of a federal constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2013, however she announced that her opinions were ‘evolving,’ and that she would now support same-sex marriage.

In true Republican fashion, however, she is no friend of the environment, supporting oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She also receives high marks from the Christian Coalition for her stand against the separation of church and state.

Also true to form, Murkowski is against raising taxes on the wealthy, favors the privatization of social security, stands firmly behind Second Amendment rights, and is against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Murkowski is quite popular in Alaska, and you can bet that after her primary loss in 2010, she has been busy building that popularity and getting ready for 2016. We can only wonder if her old nemesis, Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller, will decide to give it another go. The Democrats do have one hope – Mark Begich, former United States Senator as well as former Mayor of Anchorage.

Rand PaulRANDAL HOWARD “RAND” PAUL – Republican Senator from Kentucky

Paul is an ophthalmologist and son of former United States Representative, Ron Paul. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, and is currently running for President of the United States.

Rand Paul is a Tea Party darling who considers himself a “constitutional conservative. He believes that life begins at conception and is against abortion in all circumstances unless the mother’s life is in danger. He has called same-sex marriage a “moral crisis” and says that it “offends myself and a lot of people.”23

In February, Paul took a stand against states requiring children to be vaccinated. He believes that parents have the right to decide that without government mandates.

“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”24

Paul claims that women won the “war on women,” and are “no longer downtrodden,” and that it is illegal to impose racial segregation on the private sector. He stands in opposition to the separation of church and state, and favors faith-based intitiatives.

Rand Paul opposes all restrictions placed on gun ownership and assault rifles. In short, he is the consummate right-wing extremist.

Should Paul get the Republican nomination for President, his senate seat will become vacant. Should he not succeed in his presidency bid, he will be up for reelection. Either way, this a good opportunity to rid our government of a very unstable and unsavory individual. In many ways, his nomination by the Republican Party would be the optimal situation. There is little chance that he could win against a strong Democratic candidate. A senate race, however, that is solely dependent upon the Kentucky voters is a whole other story.

Rob PortmanROB PORTMAN – Republican Senator from Ohio

Portman is an attorney and former United States Representative (1993-2005). He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

Portman is a typical right-wing Republican in many aspects. However, his stand on same-sex marriage rapidly changed when his son announced to both Rob and his mother that he was gay. Portman did a complete about face.

While Portman is pro-life, and takes the same stands as most of the GOP on other issues, his flip-flop on same-sex marriage has put him at odds with the fundamentalist Christians and various “family-oriented” organizations. But, someone loves him.

At the close of the first quarter of this year, it was disclosed that Portman now has $8 million in his war chest. In February he published a list of about 500 Republican officials across the State of Ohio who have endorsed him.

This is a golden, and I do mean golden, opportunity for Democrats to wrest a senate seat from that clutches of the GOP. Former Governor Ted Strickland and City Councilman, P.G. Sittenfield are both expected to run against Portman. It would, undoubtedly, be in the best interest of the Democratic Party to encourage Sittenfield to bow out, as Strickland has garnered the support of Bill Clinton and promises to give Portman a run for his money. At any rate, the Democrats can win this election if they play their cards right.

MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO – Republican Senator from Florida

marco-rubioRubio is an attorney and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, beating out Governor Charlie Christ for the nomination. He is also currently a candidate for President of the United States. He will not seek reelection to the Senate.

Rubio is a hard-core conservative who is far right of center. In 2013, he claimed to believe in protecting life, but was quick to say “I’m not a chauvinist.” He wants to expand birth control exemption for faith-based organizations, and to require ultrasounds before abortions. He supports giving legal protection to unborn children. Consequently, he has a 100% rating and endorsement from both Campaign for American Families and the National Right to Life Association.

He supports an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but until that time, would leave it up to the states. He supports prayer in public schools, vouchers and charter schools, an absolute right to gun ownership, and the privatization of Social Security.

Rubio initially claimed that his parents had fled Cuba to escape Castro’s regime. This was later proven false when it came to light that they had arrived in the United States years before that time. This embellishment of the facts didn’t sit very well with the large Cuban population residing in Florida.

For a few years, as he was growing up, his family attended the Church of Latter Day Saints. In fact, he was baptized in the Mormon Church. He would later revert back to Catholicism.

Rubio is well known for his distortion and embellishment of facts.25 How well Rubio will do as a Presidential candidate remains to be seen, of course. However, he can be certain that these words will come back to haunt him.

While many believe that he has a lock on the Hispanic vote, it must be noted that non-Cuban Hispanics often hold deep grudges against the preferential treatment that has been given to Cuban immigrants.

As to who will inherit his senate seat, there are a number of Democrats who will certainly vie for that position. We can only hope that the Democratic Party in Florida is strong enough, and wise enough to get out there early and back candidates who will have the best interests of, not only Floridians, but the country at heart.

TIMOTHY EUGENE “TIM” SCOTT – Republican Senator from South Carolina

TimScottScott is a realtor and financial advisor and former United States Representative (2011-2013). He was appointed to his senate seat by Governor Nikki Haley in 2013, upon the resignation of Jim DeMint. He is the first Republican African-American from South Carolina, and one of only two serving in the United States Senate. In 2014, he won a special election to fill out the term of DeMint.

Unfortunately, there is no other way to describe Scott than to call him and evangelical, hard-right, Republican who tows the party line, and brings his Biblical beliefs to the party.

When asked about poverty and welfare, Tim Scott said:

I started my small business, in a small apartment with some friends. I was a poor kid growing up in a single parent household. I was losing myself. I had lost my way. I flunked out of high school as a freshman. I failed World Geography, Civics. Now think about that; a United States Senator who failed Civics. I used to think I was the only one, and when I became a member of the Senate, I realized that there might be a few more who didn’t pass Civics either, and then I failed Spanish and English. Now, when you fail Spanish AND English, they don’t call you bi-lingual. Nope, they call you bi-ignorant, because you can’t speak any language, and that’s where I found myself.

“That why I give so much credit to [my mentor] John Monis, a Chick-Fil-A operator. He came along at the right time. John Monise taught me that you can think your way out of poverty. That Citadel graduate taught me that if you really want to escape poverty, it comes through the power of education.”26

He has been previously endorse by American Conservative Union, American Veterinary Medical Association, Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks, National Rifle Association, South Carolina National Federation of Independent Business, and Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance.

As of yet, he has drawn no opposition from either party, and given South Carolina’s conservative nature, it is doubtful that a Democrat could be successful against the power and the money behind Scott. But, we can be hopeful – right?

RICHARD CRAIG SHELBY – Republican Senator from Alabama

Richard ShelbyShelby is a former attorney and former United States Representative (1979-1987). He has been a United States Senator since 1987. Initially, Shelby was a Democrat and part of a group of Conservative Democrats known as the Boll Weevils. During his second term in office, he switched to the Republican Party. That was, undoubtedly, the best fit for Shelby.

As another hard-core conservative he stands with the party, and the religious right, on all issues. His endorsements and support come from Americans for Legal Immigration, Campaign for Working Families, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, and the Christian Coalition.

We are talking about Alabama here. The likelihood that much is going to change is almost non-existent. Shelby has a pretty good lock on that Senate seat, and thus far, it appears that he will face little to no challenge. One Democratic candidate has filed – Ron Crumpton. I can pretty much guarantee that he will receive zilch in the way of backing. He is not very well known, stands on pretty much one issue – the legalization of marijuana – has no money, and promises to fizzle very quickly.

 

JOHN RANDOLPH THUNE – Republican Senator from South Dakota

John ThuneThune is a former United States Representative (1997-2003) He was elected to the Senate in 2004. His name has consistently been raised for both a Vice Presidential and Presidential candidacy.

Thune is another hard-core conservative, evangelical who votes consistently along those lines. He has raised $800,000 in the first quarter, but that’s not all – that $800,000 brought the amount in his coffers to over $10 million.27

The Democrats have a history of not even trying in South Dakota. It appears that might very well be the case again. Shame on them. So far, Thune hasn’t gained any challengers – wonder what he is going to spend all that money on.

 

PATRICK JOSEPH “PAT” TOOMEY – Republican Senator from Pennsylvania

Pat ToomeyToomey is a businessman and former United States Representative (1999-2005). After that he served as the president of the Club for Growth. He was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

According to Politico: “…the Club for Growth is the pre-eminent institution promoting Republican adherence to a free-market, free-trade, anti-rregulation agenda.”28

Toomey is certainly a corporate tool, and a formidable fundraiser. He is endorses and supported by Business-Industry Political Action Committee, Campaign for Working Families, Catholic Families USA, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Firearms Owners Against Crime, FreedomWorks, National Federation of Independent Business, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, One Nation PAC, Pennsylvania National Federation of Independent Business, Republican Liberty Caucus, Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Club for Growth.

This is going to be one of the most interesting campaigns of the 2016 elections. Toomey will meet Everett Stern, a Security Intelligence Consultant and whistleblower, in a primary. Ed Pawlowski, former Allentown Mayor and gubernatorial candidate, and Joe Sestak, former Congressman and retired Navy Admiral, both Democrats, have entered the race. Anything is possible, but there will be drama.

 

DAVID BRUCE VITTER – Republican Senator from Louisiana

David VitterVitter is a lawyer and former adjunct professor as well as a former United States Representative (1999-2005) He was elected to the United States Senate in 2005.

In 2007, Vitter found himself in all kinds of hot water when it was revealed that his phone number had shown up on the D.C. Madam’s list. Of course, he would later publicly take responsibility for his “sin” with his wife standing by his side.

His penchant for a little on the side doesn’t temper his politics, however, he is the epitome of conservatism believing he protecting family values with his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage. As part of his penance for his lascivious behaviors, a few months after the scandal Vitter would earmark $100,000 for a the Louisiana Family Forum. The group’s focus was on challenging the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Vitter would explain that it was his way to help promote better science education.29

Vitter has lots of money behind him because he does the bidding of those to whom he is beholden. But, here’s the deal…Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, has reached his term limit. Vitter has announced his candidacy for that position. In his announcement he made the following statement:

“After much prayer, thought, and discussion with Wendy and our children, I have decided to run for governor of Louisiana in 2015,” Vitter said in his video announcement. “Let me first assure you that this decision will in no way limit the critical work I’m doing today in the U.S. Senate—representing you and your family will continue to be my top priority, but I believe as our next governor I can have a bigger impact addressing the unique challenges and problems we face in Louisiana.”30

The Louisiana Gubernatorial election will take place on October 24, 2015, with four candidates seeking that seat. Should Vitter win, he would then appoint someone to fill out his term.

This one will be a very interesting race. Why would anyone in Louisiana vote for a Republican? Well, why would any woman or minority vote for a Republican? Your guess is as good as mine.

Citations

  1. Meyers, Jim. “Newsmax Exclusive: The 25 Influential Women of the GOP” “http://www.newsmax.com/politics/newsmax-top-25-women/2013/07/31/id/518085/
  2. Middle Aged Woman Talking. Will Romney Choose Another Sarah Palin as an Answer to the War on Women? http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/02/will-romney-choose-another-sarah-palin-as-an-answer-to-the-war-on-women/
  3. USA Today. Blunt, Delay Shared Connections to Lobbyist Abramoff January 11, 2006. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-01-11-blunt-delay_x.htm
  4. Brown, Elizabeth & Knott, Alex. The Indictment of a System. http://www.publicintegrity.org/2005/11/21/5535/indictment-system
  5. Brantley, Max. Arkansas polling: Beebe could beat Boozman; Hillary falls to all Republicans. http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/08/06/arkansas-polling-beebe-could-beat-boozman-hillary-falls-to-all-republicans
  6. Stein, Sam. Veterans Groups Rip Into Sen. Richard Burr for Questioning Their Priorities. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/25/richard-burr-veterans_n_5389296.html
  7. Eaton, Joshua. Powerful Senate Republican Tamping Down Torture Disclosures. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/25/key-senate-republican-tamping-down-torture-disclosures.html
  8. Miller, Jake. CBS News. Senator Mike Crapo pleads guilty to DUI charge. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sen-mike-crapo-pleads-guilty-to-dui-charge/
  9. Meet the Gang of Six. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ef45ghifi/mike-crapo-republican-2/
  10. Kleefeld, Eric. Flashback: Republican Candidate Hoeven Rejected GOP and Declared Himself a Democrat in 1996. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/flashback-republican-senate-candidate-hoeven-rejected-gop-and-declared-himself-a-democrat-in-1996
  11. Hess, Hannah. Rep. Johnson Denies His Office Sat on Whistleblower Tips. http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/ron-johnson-denies-his-office-sat-on-whistleblower-tips/
  12. Chris Cillizza. Aaron Blake, & Sean Sullivan. Why Republicans’ Senate Majority Could be Very Short-Lived. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/07/why-republicans-senate-majority-could-be-very-short-lived/
  13. Smith, Ben. Politico. Kirk: ‘I command the war room in the pentagon.’ http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0510/Kirk_I_command_the_war_room_in_the_Pentagon.html
  14. Bryant, Steve. 5 NBC Chicago. What Would Kirk Be Saying if the Post Hadn’t Mentioned Giannoulias? http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/What-Would-Kirk-Be-Saying-if-the-Post-Hadnt-Mentioned-Giannoulias-95292714.html
  15. Todd Lightly, John Chase and Rick Pearson. Chicago Tribune. Lirk apologizes for misstatements about military career. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-06-03/news/ct-met-mark-kirk-military-record-060420100603_1_military-gulf-war-democratic-senate
  16. Pallasch, Abdon. Kirk says he ‘misremembered’ military record. http://chicago.suntimes.com/
  17. Dolan, Eric W. Raw Story. Oklahoma’s Senator Elect to use ‘biblical worldview’ to defeat the national debt. http://www.rawstory.com/2014/11/oklahomas-senator-elect-to-use-biblical-worldview-to-defeat-the-national-debt/
  18. Israel, Josh. Think Progress. What the Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced A Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans. http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/01/21/3184661/anti-lgbt-james-lankford/
  19. Raju, Manu. Politico. Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/mike-lee-tea-party-2016-elections-113730.html
  20. Arkin, James. Real Clear Politics. Mike Lee on 3 GOP Candidates’ Strengths, Weaknesses. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/04/10/mike_lee_on_3_gop_candidates_strengths_weaknesses_126222.html
  21. Wise, Lindsay. McClatchy Washington Bureau. Conservatives take notice of Jerry Moran’s vote with Senator Ted Cruz on omnibus spending bill. http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article4732188.html
  22. Hancock, Peter. LJWorld.com. Sens. Roberts and Moran explain signing letter to Iran. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/mar/14/sens-roberts-and-moran-defend-signing-letter-iran/
  23. New York Times. April 7, 2015. Rand Paul on the Issues. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/us/politics/rand-paul-on-the-issues.html?_r=1
  24. Weinberg, Ali. ABC News. Rand Paul No-Show at Senate Vaccine Hearing in The Wake of Controversial Comments. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rand-paul-show-senate-vaccine-hearing-controversial-comments/story?id=28868892
  25. Farley, Robert. FactCheck.org. April 13, 2015. FactChecking Marco Rubio. http://www.factcheck.org/2015/04/factchecking-marco-rubio/
  26. Speech at 2014 CPAC Convention. March 6, 2014. http://www.ontheissues.org/2014_CPAC.htm
  27. Doering, Christopher. Argus Leader. April 20, 2015. Thune raised $800,000 in first quarter. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/20/thune-raises-first-quarter/26095001/
  28. Burns, Alexander & Palmer, Anna. Politico.com. April 7, 2014. Inside the Club for Growth’s art of war. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/inside-the-club-for-growths-art-of-war-105415.html
  29. Eggler, Bruce. The Times-Picayune. September 22, 2007. Vitter earmarked federal money for creationist group. http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/09/vitter_earmarked_federal_money.html
  30. Izadi, Elahe. National Journal. January 21, 2014. Sen. David Vitter Makes His 2015 Run for Governor Official. http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/sen-david-vitter-makes-his-2015-run-for-governor-official-20140121

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKLAHOMA 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS

OKLAHOMA 2014 MID-TERM ELECTIONS

GOVERNOR

Mary Fallin (R) – Fallin is the current Governor of Oklahoma. Need I say Fallinmore? Fallin is listed as a “Libertarian-Leaning Conservative.” Residents of Oklahoma consider her to be a hard-core conservative, but more than a little flakey. She is staunchly pro-life; firmly against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights; strongly against the separation of church and state; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-Obamacare; pro-school vouchers and charter schools; anti-clean energy; a friend of big oil and gas; favors faith-based initiatives; anti-immigration.

Joe Dorman (D) – Dorman is running a strong race against Mary Fallin in the Dormanvery Red State of Oklahoma. He is currently a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Dorman is considered a moderate Democrat. He is: pro-life; anti-separation of church and state; pro-Obamacare; favors the privatization of Social Security; pro-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; pro-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti- immigration and pathway to citizenship.

NOTE: Apparently, Dorman is the closest thing to a Republican that the Oklahoma Democratic Party could come up with. Considering that Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in the nation, that is not too surprising. Interestingly, he has come under criticism from many liberals and democrats for his failure to address a number of social issues as well as his obvious conservative stands on others. However, Mary Fallin has come under fire from a number of public-education and parental groups recently which could severely hurt her chances at re-election. Dorman, on the other hand, seems to put most of his eggs into one basket – and that is public education. While pandering to those groups might garner him a lot of support, his failure to address issues of importance to the liberals and progressives in Oklahoma might cost him somewhat. The other thing to consider is his stand on the privatization of Social Security which isn’t playing well to the senior population.

As far as I can tell, this one is up for grabs. A couple of things are for certain, however. A changing of the guard is sorely needed in Oklahoma, and, while less than ideal, Joe Dorman is the only hope this state has for moving forward at this time.

UNTIED STATES SENATE

Jim Inhofe (R) – James Mountain Inhofe is the current United States Senator Senate Committee Kicks off Climate Change Hearingsfrom Oklahoma, and former United States Representative. The soon to be octogenarian was first elected to the Senate in 1994.  He is one of the most conservative members of Congress – and one of the most controversial. He is infamous for his steadfast assertion that human activity does not create climate change and that global warming is a hoax.

Additionally, Inhofe has repeatedly voted against federal disaster aid for states hit by natural disasters – unless, of course, the state happens to be Oklahoma.

Senator Inhofe has also been called “The Family’s Missionary in Uganda,” The Family being the secretive C-Street group of which Inhofe is a member. In February, 2014, World News reported:

“Sen. Inhofe has traveled to Africa at least 20 times since 1999, at a cost of at least $187,000 to taxpayers (not including the cost of military aircraft) for what the Senator described as “a Jesus thing.”  In Uganda, Inhofe attended Bahati’s Ugandan prayer breakfasts and invited Bahati to the United States three times. Inhofe, who once boasted of being “proud” that there was not a single gay relationship in the “recorded history of our family,” also boasted that he “adopted” Uganda.  And yet Sen. Inhofe has denied knowing Bahati and, eventually, reluctantly, condemned the country’s anti-gay law.”

In spite of the many controversies over the last three decades, however, Oklahoma voters have still supported James Inhofe. Will this year be different?

On the issues, Inhofe is nothing less than a hard-core conservative. He is: pro-life; anti-same-sex marriage and LGBT rights; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; pro-vouchers and charter schools; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; and anti-green energy.

Matt Silverstein (D) – Silverstein is a Real Estate agency owner and financial Silverstienplanner out of Bixby, Oklahoma. Very little is known about Matt, other than by October, 2013, just 4 months after announcing his candidacy, he had raised over $200,000.  We can say that he is a somewhat moderate or middle-of-the road Democrat. He is: pro-women and equal rights; supporter of marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBT community; pro-Obamacare; against Social Security privatization; firmly for public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; against higher taxes on the wealthy; favors military expansion; and favors stricter Voter ID Laws.

NOTE: While Silverstein is certainly not a progressive Democrat, and has some less than desirable views on a couple of the issues, he is, certainly, more palatable that Jim Inhofe. We can only hope that the voters in Oklahoma have come to their senses in this next election and will send Inhofe to the farm. While Silverstein is running an admirable social media campaign, we can’t overlook the fact that mid-terms notoriously bring out  small crowds – and many people vote for familiarity.

James Lankford (R) – Lankford is currently the United States Representative lankfordfor the 5th District. He is running to fill the Senate seat that will be vacated by Tom Coburn. To begin – Lankford was the student ministries and evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and he was director of the Falls Creek youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis, Oklahoma.

Lankford is probably even further to right of Tom Coburn, and probably even more extreme in his views, if you can believe that. He is also the darling of right-wing, conservative, Oklahoma voters. He is: pro-life believing that life begins at fertilization; anti-Affirmative Action and women’s rights to equality; anti-same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. He wants anti-same sex marriage opinions to be “protected as free speech;” anti-separation of church and state. He wants the first week in May designated as “Ten Commandments Week,” and wants abstinence only taught in public schools; anti-Obamacare; pro-vouchers and charter schools; pro-absolute right to gun ownership. Believes that more guns means less crime; opposes higher taxes on the wealthy; opposes amnesty and a pathway to citizenship; opposes green energy; and favors military expansion.

Connie Johnson (D) – Constance Johnson is currently an Oklahoma State JohnsonSenator first elected in 2005. According to Wikipedia:

“In June 2014, Senator Johnson and attorney David Slane announced the filing of an initiative petition for a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Oklahoma which would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of recreational marijuana and three ounces of medical marijuana. According to Johnson, “We’re putting forth Genesis 1:29 as the basis of this campaign. God created this wonderful, miraculous plant and we know that it has been vilified for the last 100 years, and it’s time to change that in Oklahoma.”

Aside from being the first African American woman nominee for the United States Senate from Oklahoma, Johnson is very liberal in her views. These two factors make her quite the anomaly in this state. She is pro-life, pro-LGBT and same-sex marriage, pro-separation of church and state, pro-Obamacare, and pro-public education.

NOTE: Connie Johnson is the liberal’s dream candidate. It is unfortunate that she is currently pitted against the religious-right’s darling in this race – especially in Oklahoma. She will secure a majority of the African-American vote, as well as some Native American supporters, and, of course, the vote of what few liberals and progressives live in the area. Will it be enough? Only if ALL of those groups mentioned turn out in record numbers. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but I won’t hold my breath.

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

District 1

Jim Bridenstine (R) – District 1 Republican nominee who didn’t draw a BridenstienDemocratic opponent. Bridenstine is the current U.S. Representative for the state of Oklahoma. Bridenstine is a Southern Baptist and member of the Tea Party.  He is uber-conservative in all areas. While the district is solidly Republican, the fact that someone like Bridenstine goes unchallenged by Democrats is really troublesome to me.

District 2

Markwayne Mullin (R) – Mullin is the current United States Representative Mullinfor the 2nd District. He is a business owner and member of the Cherokee Nation. As a staunch Pentecostal, Mullin is pro-life and anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. From his website:

“Our nation was founded on conservative principles that are enduring. Yet our federal government, through this Administration and its liberal allies, is attempting to force people of faith to violate their core religious beliefs and to silence those who disagree with their liberal agenda.

“The liberal media, modern culture and the Obama Administration are attempting to redefine our values – such as the definition of marriage. As Christians, it is our responsibility to stand up for our beliefs and our values.

“I will always defend religious freedom, traditional marriage between one man and one woman and the sanctity of life.”

He is one of the newcomers on the political scene, and is is the epitome of Oklahoma small-town politics. Markwayne Mullin adheres to the dogma of the far religious right, and is a member of the “Birther” regime.

Earl Everett (D) – An 80 year old candidate living in Ft. Gibson. Everett ran Everettlast year and lost. This year he has filed, but failed to do much else. Apparently, the Oklahoma State Democratic Party didn’t want to put any energy into this campaign.

District 3

Frank Lucas (R) – Lucas is the current United States Representative for the Lucas3rd District. He has represented Oklahoma since 1994. He is another far-right, hard core conservative. On the issues he is: pro-life (wants to grant the preborn 14th Amendment Rights); anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage (also wants to ban gay adoptions); anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; wants English declared the official language of the United States; pro-military expansion; pro-Voter ID laws; pro-big oil and gas and anti-green energy.

Frankie Robbins (D) – Robbins is running primarily on two issues: Oil Robbinsindependence and addressing climate change. His positions on social issues and issues concerning foreign policy, social security, etc. have not been publicized. Unfortunately, this is not unusual amongst Democratic candidates in the State of Oklahoma. Often they feel that their positions, if known, in this conservative state might cost them votes.

NOTE: Frank Lucas is the far-right, dominionist candidate that people in District 3 love. The chances of him being upset are pretty slim. It all depends on how disgruntled the voting population is on November 4th.

District 4

Tom Cole (R) – Cole is the current United States Representative for the 4th ColeDistrict who has been serving since 2003. Cole is another of Oklahoma’s ultra-conservative politicians. Accordingly, on the issues he is: pro-life (wants to grant the preborn 14th Amendment Rights); anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-public education; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-immigration; pro-military expansion; pro-Voter ID laws; pro-big oil and gas and anti-green energy.

Bert Smith (D) – Smith says he is a “Populist Democrat” and a “Yellow Dog SmithDemocrat.” He is a former Math teacher and a retired U.S. Army  Lieutenant Colonel. His main issue is supporting and defending the Affordable Care Act.

NOTE: Bert Smith doesn’t have much of a political presence in Oklahoma. He has run for office before, but never successfully. Tom Cole, on the other hand, maintains a high profile, and has the funds to actually campaign – not that he will have to do much of that this time around.

District 5

Steve Russell (R) –  Steve Russell is a former Oklahoma State Senator, and Russellretired soldier. Russell is also the owner and founder of Two Rivers Arms, a small rifle manufacturing business that makes copies of the Iraqi Tabuk AK-47. He is seeking the seat vacated by James Lankford.

Russell is a Southern Baptist and very much opposed to abortion. He is also a gun-rights advocate. He pledges to fight against Obamacare and to curb government.  Additionally, he is a major fan of the Oil & Gas Industry.

Al McAffrey (D) – McAffrey is currently an Oklahoma State Senator and McAffreyformer State Representative. McAffrey is the first openly gay man to ever be elected to the Oklahoma State Legislature. He is a liberal, and very strong Democrat.

Robert Murphy (L) – Murphy is running as a Libertarian. On the issues he is: Murphypro-choice; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-legalization of marijuana; etc.

Buddy Ray (I) – Buddy Ray is running as an Independent and is a member of Raythe Tea Party. He claims to be running a “Christ-Focused Campaign.” He also says that most of his Congressional salary will go toward Christian education and personal needs of poor and minority children.

NOTE: This will be a very tough race between Russell and McAffrey. The very fact that Lankford is now running for the U.S. Senate, and is very popular among Republicans in this district puts both candidates in awkward positions. McAffrey is a very popular candidate with Liberals and Progressives, while Russell is equally as popular with Republicans. While the District has historically leaned Republican, there is currently a climate of general dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs among voters. Native American voters are upset over the racism exhibited by Governor Fallin. The Hispanic community is not happy with some of the egregious racial profiling and immigration laws. The LGBT community has continuously been degraded and maligned by the current administration. This election will come down to voter turn-out in this district. Democrats have a shot at this one, but only if they flood the polls on November 4th.

 

IS HILLARY THE ONLY VIABLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

questionIS HILLARY THE ONLY VIABLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?
By Nicole Nichols

There has been considerable angst expressed by Progressives over the belief that Hillary Clinton will be the sole Presidential candidate in 2016. In numerous conversations and polls it has become apparent that the dismay is wide-spread, and other than an Elizabeth Warren unlikely possibility many feel that all hope is lost.
According to the Politics and Governance Portal, part of Politicks.org, however, there are some others on the horizon. Would any of them be viable, or acceptable to the Progressive base? Even if they should throw their hats in the ring, would they present a clear challenge to the heavily favored, though somewhat battered Clinton?
The list is lengthy with numerous undesirables, to be certain. However, for those who claim that Clinton is the only viable candidate – think again. We just haven’t been looking in the right places.
Here are the possibilities listed:

THOSE ALREADY DECLARED:

Willie Carter: This will be his 8th run at the Presidency. He is a small-business owner out of Los Angeles who is also a Sunday School Superintendent. He claims that he was “commanded of the Lord to enter the race to become President of the United States of America.

Something tells me that Willie doesn’t stand a chance with Progressives – or in this race.

Doug Shreffler: This will be his first run for any office. He is, according to him, a former CIA Black-ops kind of guy with a “G4 Classification,” with the code name “Strong Ramrod” – whatever in the hell that means. Interestingly, he has had a great deal of difficulty with the press over this claim since no one has been able to verify such a classification or even his employment with the CIA.

Shreffler fills the bill in his reported stance on all of the social issues which are of concern to Progressives and Liberals around the country. The problem is that no one will ever take this guy seriously. He claims to be running a grassroots campaign (good luck with that). According to his website, “His goal is to unite people from the lower, middle and upper classes while maintaining the values of the Founding Fathers.”

Something tells me that Strong Ramrod will fail to rise to the occasion.

Michael Steinberg: He is an Attorney out of Tampa Bay, Florida. He’s pretty much a centrist in his views. Except for protecting Social Security he is pretty silent on other social issues. This statement pretty much sums up his stance on the issues:

“He advocates a strong foreign policy that focuses on strengthened ties with historic allies and a firm approach to the challenges posed by US adversaries around the world. He believes in rethinking education policies to redesign and strengthen schools and place the emphasis on achievement and excellence. His economic policies emphasize incentives for job growth which he believes will reduce the government’s expenditures on social welfare programs while at the same time bring more revenue into the Treasury for much needed investments in science, education and programs for the elderly and disabled.”

 

Something tells me that Progressives and Liberals are not interested in electing another “Blue Dog” Democrat to the Presidency, and Steinberg appears to be just that. It is highly unlikely, as well, that he will be able to muster the financial support necessary to become a viable threat to Hillary.

Robby Wells: This candidacy should raise all sorts of red flags – but don’t discount his viability. Robby is the CEO of a marketing business in Charlotte, North Carolina. He ran for President in 2012, as an independent when he was unsuccessful in securing the nomination of the Constitution Party. Now he is running as a Democrat even though he is as self-described “Constitutional Conservative.”

His party ambivalence is but one of the problems he presents. His affinity for the Constitution Party should set off all sorts of alarm bells for Progressives and Liberals. In the past he has also been a staunch supporter of Ron Paul and is certain to attract more than a few former Paulites into his camp.

But, perhaps the most alarming thing about Robby (if all of the previous doesn’t scare the bejusus out of you), is the fact that he proudly proclaims that he is a member of one of “the fastest growing churches in the nation, Elevation Church.” Elevation Church is nothing short of a cult. Steven Furtick, the lead pastor of the church, along with his flock have long been criticized by other denominations for their cultish behaviors.

Reformation 21, a popular Christian blog, cited a page from a Sunday School Coloring book used by Elevation Church, as “…the kind of evangelical brainwashing that all of us should be calling out. This should make us angry. Because its wrong. And because it’s not Christianity.”

http://matthewpaulturner.com/2014/02/19/this-is-what-stevenfurtick-is-teaching-the-kiddos/

With attendance at about 14,000 every week, the “church” brings in a tidy little payday of about $400,000 every week.

Something tells me that the smell I am finding so repulsive is the proverbial rat. I look for Wells to make a little splash in a big pond. While he doesn’t have anything near a shot, there will be a few lost souls who rally around him and make a lot of noise. Those who jumped onto the Ron Paul bandwagon, but find his son as repulsive as I do, will, undoubtedly engage with Robby, and along with them they will bring their same brand of zealotry and divisiveness that we witnessed in 2008 1nd 2012. The rest of us will get out our well-worn fly-swatters and have them at the ready.

THOSE LISTED AS POTENTIAL CANDIDATES:

Ben Affleck: Yes – THAT Ben Affleck – actor, director, screenwriter, & producer. He has also been an active supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, as well as a human rights activist. He is the co-founder of Eastern Congo Initiative an “advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo.”

Affleck embraces many Progressive and Liberal views and leanings. Both in 2001 and 2007, Ben indicated that he might someday run for Congress. He hasn’t yet. Recently rumors have been flying that he might consider a run at the Presidency.

Something tells me that he won’t do that. He has been quite supportive of Hillary in the past, so I doubt that he will go head to head with her. However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him make a Senate or house bid. To those who say that he doesn’t have enough political experience – I say that might be just what this country needs.

Birch Evans “Evan” Byah: Former Governor and United States Senator from Indiana. Evan is somewhat of a mixed bag leaning left in some areas, right in others. He is an attorney and partner with the McGuire Woods Law and Lobbying firm – a huge and very influential outfit. He is also a Senior Advisor with Apollo Global Management – a private equity firm, a messaging advisor for the United States Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Board of Directors of Berry Plastics Corporation, and on the Board of Directors for Marathon Petroleum.

Something tells me Byah won’t throw his hat into the ring, but will work behind the scenes on behalf of Clinton. Byah has access to a lot of corporate money which will be flowing into the coffers of which ever candidate he supports. As to the Progressive/Liberal base – Byah represents more of the same and would gain very little support from that group.

Michael Bennett: He is a current United States Senator out of Colorado. Michael is a businessman and attorney from Denver. He was first appointed to his Senate seat in 2009, and was elected in 2010, in one of the closest and most expensive races in history.

Bennett fits the bill on almost every issue. He is married to Earthjustice Legal Defense Attorney, Susan Diane Daggett. He is pro-choice; pro-same-sex marriage; pro immigration reform; pro-gun control; pro-renewable energy, etc., etc.

Something tells me that Bennett will not seek the Presidential seat. However, he appears to be a viable candidate and one that, certainly, bears a close look at from the Progressive/Liberal corner. He appears to be flying under the radar currently. Perhaps with a little encouragement he will become a little higher profile after the mid-terms.

Joseph Robinette “Joe” Biden, Jr: Current Vice President of the United States. Joe doesn’t need a lot of introduction or discussion. He sought the Presidential nomination in both 1988 and 2008, dropping out early in the race.

Something tells me that, although he is considering a bid for the Presidency, he won’t run. Joe is definitely a liberal-leaning individual with the cajones to carry out the office – no doubt. However, all of the hoopla surrounding Hillary Clinton right now might just make him think twice. Should he opt to run and fail against the heavily favored Clinton, he would be the first sitting Vice President to be snubbed by the Democratic Party. I doubt that he wants that distinction. Unfortunately, the recent outpouring of Hillary supporters could prove to be a very intimidating factor to others considering a Presidential bid.

Barbara Boxer: She is currently a United States Senator from California. Boxer is one of the most liberal people currently seated in the United States Senate, supporting progressive and liberal issues across the board. The problem? Last year Boxer introduced Senate Bill 462 – The United States-Israel Partnership Act, which some progressives considered to be highly discriminatory toward Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims. The Bill was sent to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations. Given the current events with Israel, Boxer might not have the same appeal to those on the left.

Something tells me that Boxer would make a good run at being President if she were so inclined. She could certainly hold her own in a primary against Clinton. Is she being courted, or even considered, by the Democratic Party? It doesn’t appear that she is.

Maria Cantwell: Current United States Senator from Washington since 2001. She has been called a “savvy, pro-business Democrat.” Prior to becoming Senator, Cantwell was in the United States House of Representatives from 1993-1995, where she voted in favor of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As a Senator, she has created more than a little friction between herself and fellow Democrats when in 2005, she voted for the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Something tells me that although Cantwell appears to be a hard-core liberal, her length of tenure in the political realm, and her leaning toward big-business would make her unpalatable to those on the left end of the spectrum.

Bob Casey, Jr. : Current United States Senator from Pennsylvania since 2006, when he defeated Rick Santorum. Now, Casey is pretty liberal in many of his views. However, he makes no apologies for being a pro-life Democrat. He also voted to confirm both John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Additionally, Casey is pro-2nd Amendment rights and against gun control.

Something tells me that Bob Casey might be a Presidential candidate in the future – but not in 2016. His pro-life stance will, certainly, hinder his popularity among women voters, but he has some charisma and his voting record on other issues make him viable, and probably likable to the current population of moderate Democrats.

William Maurice “Mo” Cowan: Former interim Senator from Massachusetts through his appointment in 2012. This is an interesting choice for a “potential Presidential candidate.” While Mo is, undoubtedly, a rising star within the Democratic Party, he has never run for election of anything. As a matter of fact, he declined the opportunity to run in the 2013 Special Election. He is now a fellow at the Institute of Politics in the Harvard Kennedy School. Given his short tenure, it is really impossible to determine his stance on many issues. He is considered a “moderate liberal” by the “On the Issues” website.

Something tells me that considering Mo as a “potential candidate” is wishful thinking on someone’s part – but, not any liberals or progressives that I know.

Andrew Cuomo: Current Governor of New York since 2010. Quomo is currently viewed as one of the most Progressive governors in the nation, largely because of his stance on same-sex marriage and gun control.

Something tells me that he won’t be considered by the Democratic Party. I say this because he might just be a little too far to the left for them to consider him electable. That, combined with the fact that he has been living with Sandra Lee from the Food Network for the past three years without the benefit of marriage, probably wouldn’t sit well with the ever-increasingly centrist and right-wing DNC.

Howard Dean: Former politician; former Governor of Vermont; and 2004 Presidential candidate. Howard Dean is the consummate liberal. He founded Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee, in 2004. Dean knows how to run a true grassroots campaign, and was hugely successful in his fund-raising efforts.
In 2000, as Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean signed into law the first piece of civil union legislation in the nation. Dean has expressed an interest in running in 2016.

Something tells me that because Dean has been away from the political arena for so long, and because his leanings are toward the progressive end of the spectrum, he is not being courted or considered. However, he does hold some promise as a potential candidate.

Rahm Emanuel: Former U.S. Representative; White House Chief of Staff; and current Mayor of Chicago. Rahm has undergone sharp criticism for his support of the Iraq War. However, on social issues he is quite liberal. For some time he served as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee where he led the party’s efforts to capture the majority of the House of Representatives in the 2006, elections resulting in a 30 seat gain for the Democrats. However, he came under considerable criticism for ignoring and refusing support for some progressive Democrats.

Something tells me that neither the DNC, nor the Progressive base, will even consider an Emanuel run at the presidency. His temper and outbursts aside, his hawkish stance coupled with his support of Israel and anti-Palestinian stance would render him untenable to those on the left. Additionally, given his Jewish heritage, and the controversies that he has been involved in it is unlikely that the DNC would be too excited about an Emanuel candidacy.

Al Franken: United States Senator from Minnesota. Franken is hugely popular with the liberal and progressive base. Franken is a strong advocate for single-payer health care, LGBT and women’s rights. He is one of the leaders in the fight for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizen’s United.

Something tells me that if Al Franken ran for President in 2016, a record number of progressive and liberal Democrats would flood the polls. Could he beat Hillary in a primary? That is a good possibility and one that should be explored.

Kristen Gillibrand: Former United States Representative and current Senator from New York. Gillibrand was appointed to her Senate seat by, then governor, Paterson to fill the vacated seat of Hillary Clinton. While in the House she was part of the “Blue Dog Coalition,” a caucus of Conservative Democrats. However, while in the Senate she has appeared more liberal in spite of her 100% rating from the National Rifle Association.

Something tells me that Gillibrand would be more easily elected than, say, an Al Frankin. Yet, she would not be all that appealing to the progressive camp. Gillibrand will not run against her friend Hillary Clinton. In many ways, I think they are pretty much cut from the same cloth.

Alan Grayson: Former and current member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida. In actuality, they don’t come any more progressive than Alan Grayson. He has been one the most outspoken members of Congress and a champion for health care reform.

Something tells me that his outspoken manner coupled with his progressive ideology would be considered too extreme for many of today’s voters. While progressives would rally strongly around Grayson, mainstream liberals and centrists would likely be less enthusiastic.

Christine Gregoire: Former Governor of Washington State. While she faced some criticisms from Democrats during her tenure as Governor, Christine Gregoire endeared herself to many with her support for LGBT rights, teachers, and new mothers. She has been regularly suggested as a potential Supreme Court Justice.

Something tells me that Christine fits the bill as far as mainstream acceptance. She’s not too radical, yet in touch with many of the social issues that plague Americans today. On top of that – she’s the right gender for what seems to be in vogue today. However, she doesn’t seem to have the name recognition that would immediately sell her to the public – and there isn’t much time left. While she might not be a true Progressive, I think she’s close enough to make her an acceptable candidate.

Kamala Harris: Former and current Attorney General of California. Kamala holds the distinction of being the first female, the first African-American, and the first Asian-American Attorney General in California. Harris has to be considered a very progressive potential candidate for any office she chooses.

Something tells me that we will see and hear a lot more about Kamala Harris in the future. While she is making a very big splash among the liberal and progressive community, a presidential run is probably too lofty of an idea right now. Imagine what the Tea Party would do with a presidential candidate with a mother born in India, and a father born in Jamaica!

Maggie Hassan: Current Governor of the State of New Hampshire. Hassan can be characterized as liberal, but not progressive. While she favors a progressive view on most things social, she also favors an expansion of the military.

Something tells me that the inclusion of Maggie Hassan on this list should be questionable, and grasping at straws. With very little name recognition, and no indication of interest in a presidential run, I would say that the odds are slim to none that Hassan is our girl.

John Hickenlooper: Former Denver Mayor and current Governor of the State of Colorado. John Hickenlooper is a somewhat eccentric, but very popular politician. Liberal in his views, Hickenlooper would make any bid for office quite entertaining.

Something tells me that Hickenlooper might move on to bigger and better things in the future. Right now, I think he is quite comfortable right where he is, and not ready to throw his hat into such a dog-fight.

Jay Inslee: Fomer United States Representative and current Governor of the State of Washington. Inslee has a very liberal voting record and is a big advocate of clean energy. He has also been a proponent of LGBT rights, and appears to be well liked by Washington voters.

Something tells me that Inslee is someone to be looked at closely as a future contender. Given the fact that he just became governor last year, it’s highly unlikely that he would even consider a presidential run in 2016.

John Kitzhaber: Former and current Governor of the State of Oregon. Kitzhaber holds views that a largely liberal. On the Issues characterizes him as a “Moderate Liberal.” This would probably make him a viable candidate to many Democratic voters.

Something tells me that John Kitzhaber lacks the interest in running for President of the United States of America. He is Oregon focused as he has been for all of his political career. While, obviously, a popular Governor, he doesn’t strike me as someone who has the inclination to move up that chain.

Amy Klobucher: United States Senator from Minnesota. Amy Klobucher made the New York Times list of the seventeen women most likely to become the first female President of the United States. She is definitely liberal, and supports the liberal agenda.

Something tells me that since so many believe that the time is right for a female president, Amy Klobucher fits the bill. She is definitely worth more than a passing glance. Actually, if she doesn’t want the position she might just be a plus as a Vice Presidential running mate.

Mary Landrieu: Current United States Senator from Louisiana. First, it must be noted that Mary Landrieu is the most conservative Democrat in the United States Senate. Her support of the Keystone Pipeline, alone, pretty much seals her fate among progressives.

Something tells me that Mary Landrieu is on her way out the door in November. The sad thing is, she will probably be replaced by a Republican. At any rate, she would be a hard pill to swallow for most left-leaning and progressive voters.

Daniel Malloy: Current Governor of the State of Connecticut. Malloy is just about as liberal as they come, and definitely progressive on all social issues. Whether or not he has the interest or the stamina to withstand the rigors of a Presidential race is not known, however.

Something tells me that Dan Malloy should be courted and encouraged to move on up, if not in 2016, then at a later time.

Jack Markell: Current Governor of the State of Delaware. Jack Markell is another of those “Moderate Democrats.” He is a businessman out of Newark, Delaware, who earned a fortune in wireless communications at both Nextel and Comcast.

Something tells me that Jack Markell is way too conservative, and way too corporate oriented to even be considered by progressives for a presidential nomination. However, Markell has expressed an interest in running in 2016, saying that should he choose not to he would support a Joe Biden candidacy.

Claire McCaskill: Current Senator from the State of Missouri. We will never forget how McCaskill whipped Todd Akin. However, Claire is pretty close to centrist when it comes to her politics, and very much a friend of the coal mining industry.

Something tells me that even though her gender is correct for this point in time, she might not be as acceptable to the left as some of the others who have been mentioned.

Robert “Bob” Menendez: Current Senator from the State of New Jersey. Robert Menendez is, certainly, a left-leaning liberal. Another factor in his favor is his Cuban heritage. However, Menendez has been surrounded by controversy for a number of years. True, some of that controversy was brought about by zealous right-wingers who wanted to damage him.

Something tells me that Menendez would not be an electable presidential candidate largely because of the damage that has been done through accusations, investigations and controversy.

Chris Murphy: Current Senator from the State of Connecticut. Murphy is the youngest member of the Senate and one of the brightest stars in the Democratic Party. He has gone on the offensive attempting to pass legislation that would hold Supreme Court justices to the same ethical code as other federal judges and provide an avenue for recusal. His stance on social issues is nothing less than progressive.

Something tells me that liberals, progressives, and the Democratic Party are missing the boat if they don’t heavily recruit this young man and groom him for the Presidency – if not in 2016, certainly, in the next election.

Patty Murray: Current Senator from the State of Washington. Many say that Patty Murray is a hard-core liberal. Her voting record bears that claim out. Again, there is another female contender on the horizon.

Something tells me that Patty Murray will not seek the highest office in the United States. That’s fine. We need all the liberal Senators we can muster.

Janet Napolitano: Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Arizona. Janet Napolitano is somewhat of an enigmatic mixed bag. While liberal-leaning on some issues she falls largely in the “moderate” are in the whole picture of things. Several news sources have speculated that she might throw her hat into the ring in 2016, and Time Magazine listed her among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States. Seriously?

Something tells me that aside from being more moderate than liberal, Janet Napolitano also comes with a lot of baggage. She has stirred up more than a few hornet’s nests and found herself embroiled in more than her share of controversy.

Bill Nelson: Current United States Senator from the State of Florida. He has held that office since 2001, is an attorney, and resides in Orlando. Nelson is a left-leaning liberal, by all accounts.

Something tells me that as one of the few sane Congressmen representing the State of Florida, Bill Nelson, who is quite popular, would be a really good candidate. Is anyone even looking at this man?

Jay Nixon: Current Governor of the State of Missouri. Although a Democrat, Nixon shows several signs that he is a very right-leaning politician. He has been embroiled in controversy surrounding his stands on abortion, capital punishment, and school desegregation.

Something tells me that given his conservative nature, and his current actions concerning Ferguson, Jay Nixon wouldn’t stand a chance in hell of being a viable presidential candidate. No self-respecting true liberal or progressive would ever elect this individual.

Martin O’Malley: Former Mayor of Baltimore, and current Governor of the State of Maryland. O’Malley might very well be the Progressive’s Dream. He is hugely popular within the Democratic Party and has many laudable accomplishments under his belt. Additionally, he has indicated great interest in a presidential run in 2016.

Something tells me that Martin O’Malley is the dark horse here. With the current dissention in the liberal/progress ranks over a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy, I think now is the time for O’Malley to start making more than overtures about running.

Pat Quinn: Current Governor of the State of Illinois. Quinn is one of those moderate Democrats who seem to be so prevalent within the party today. While he takes some pretty liberal stands, he still holds to a more conservative approach.

Something tells me that Pat Quinn would never be a serious contender in a presidential race. He has had quite a struggle in his first term trying to turn the state around after the controversial Governor Rod Blagojevich affair.

Chuck Schumer: Former United States Representative and current Senator from New York. Chuck Schumer has been in office for twenty-seven years. Schumer is liberal in his voting record.

Something tells me that Schumer is too much of a member of the “old guard” to be an acceptable presidential candidate in today’s political climate. While he has a liberal voting record, he has also had a lot of time to get his hands dirty.

Brian Schwitzer: Former Governor of the State of Montana and current Chairman of the Stillwater Mining Company. Brian Schwitzer is kind of an interestingly, down-to-earth, folksy guy. While he appears somewhat liberal, it’s his mouth that gets him in trouble.

Something tells me that Brian Schwitzer’s recent remarks regarding both Eric Cantor and Diane Feinistein have killed any chance, albeit small, that he might have had at any kind of nomination.

Peter Shumlin: Current Governor of the State of Vermont. Peter Shumlin has been called a “liberal’s liberal.” His record is absolutely stellar when it comes to all liberal/progressive issues. He appears to be a real champion.

Something tells me that Peter Shumlin will not confine himself to Vermont politics. He may not run for President in 2016, but it’s a pretty safe bet that we will see him in a national election in the future.

Earl Ray Tomblin: Current Governor of the State of West Virginia. Why Tomblin runs as a Democrat is anyone’s guess. By all appearances, he is one of those middle-of-the-road guys who sways in the breeze, is unpredictable in his ideology, and could be a member of either party depending on the issue.

Something tells me that Earl Ray Tomblin would be a very unlikely candidate for President of the United States. Should he throw his hat in the ring, his bid for that office will be very short lived.

Mark Warner: Current Senator from the State of Virginia. Mark Warner is a centrist. His stand is somewhat flakey on most social issues of import to liberals and progressives. He considered running for President in 2008, and it was speculated that he might be a Vice Presidential candidate, but he withdrew his name.

Something tells me that Mark Warner might be recruited heavily by those sitting in or a little to the right of center. But, if you are looking for a true liberal or progressive, he is not your guy.

Elizabeth Warren: Current Senator from Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren is nothing short of an icon to Progressives in America. She is credited with the creation of much of the intellectual foundation of the Occupy Movement. Needless to say, she is being heavily encouraged to run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, although she has repeatedly said that she will not.

Something tells me that should Warren change her mind, she has a very good chance of becoming the first female President of the United States. However, should she choose not to run, her tenure in the Senate will result in some historical legislation.

2014 Texas Candidates

 

Texas – United States House of Representative Candidates

DISTRICT 1

GohmertLouis Gohmert (R) – is the incumbent. He ran unopposed in the primaries. He is a Southern Baptist who has been in office for the last 10 years. He does not believe in man made climates change and claims that evidence supporting same is “fraudulent.” He supports charter schools and vouchers.

Gohmert sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Bill, believing that life begins at conception. Additionally, after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School Gohmert claimed that the tragedy never would have happened if teachers had been armed. In an interview, he told Chris Wallace, “I wish to God that she [principal Dawn Hochsprung] had had an M-4in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out… and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” He also claimed that the 20 victims who had been killed with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle had “defensive wounds.”

Gohmert has distinguished himself as somewhat of a conspiracy nut with his rantings about “Terror Babies,” where Muslim women become pregnant and deliver here in the United States and take the children back to become terrorists. Also, his paranoia about national security and the Muslim Brotherhood has helped to raise concerns within the Muslim community.

Gohmert sponsored legislation that would designate the first weekend in May as Ten Commandments Weekend.

On the issues, Gohmert is: anti-women’s rights; anti-affirmative action; anti-LGBT rights; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-enforcement of anti-gay hate crimes; anti-prohibiting job discrimination basend on sexual orientation; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; voted no on giving mental health full equity with physical health; pro-charter schools, vouchers, and parental choice; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; opposes higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration, anti-birthright citizenship, pro – declare English as the official language; anti-green energy; pro-big oil and gas industry.

Gohmert has been endorsed by: Freedom Works; Campaign for Working Families; Tea Pary Patriots; Government Is Not God (GING PAC); Eagle Forum. REBIBLICAN

Louie Gohmert is a special kind of a bat-shit crazy, uber-conservative, ReBiblican. Unfortunately, he has a lot of support from like-minded money men and powerful groups.

McKellarShirley McKellar (D) – a retired United States Army officer, and registered nurse. McKellar is somewhat of an enigma. Although she is running as a Democrat, the opening statement on her website where she discusses her political stands can’t help but to raise an eyebrow or two. It reads:

“Compassionate Conservatism
“I strongly believe in core Texas values – encouraging personal responsibility, compassion for others, and supporting family values. Strong families are the foundation for a prosperous and civilized community.”
The rest of the discussion can only be described as “generic.” Her stance on education leaves one scratching their heads: “A good education system helps strengthen our society by teaching and instructing young adults, giving them a strong foundation that will help them learn and succeed as citizens and individuals.” Really? On health care she claims that we have the “greatest health care system in the world,” and then says that we need to reform it.
In a statement she makes to her electorate she closes with: “With the guidance of family and friends I now realize that God has a distinct and very different pathway for me to follow. It is my desire to use my skills and ability to enforce the greater good for ALL Texans. “I ask for your VOTE and your SUPPORT.”
My gut tells me that, at the very least, she is a Blue Dog Democrat, or a Republican running not-too stealth.
NOTE: Sorry, Texas District 1 is in serious trouble. Unfortunately, it appears that Louie Gohmert will remain in D.C. spewing his nonsensical and venomous message – and we’ll have to live with that for another two years.
DISTRICT II
PoeTed Poe (R) – is the incumbent and the first Republican to ever represent the Second District. That isn’t his only distinction, however. In 1981, Poe was appointed as a felony court judge – the first Republican judge in Harris County. There he became nationally known for his “creative sentencing.”
Poe has been surrounded in controversy for a number of years. First, in November of 2002, Poe ruled from the bench that he would allow the PBS show “Frontline” to film jury deliberations during a capitol murder case. On appeal, the higher court struck down Poe’s decision.
Quoting Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, on the House floor in 2007, didn’t do a lot for his image, either.
In 2009, Poe became a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, furthering the ridiculous notion that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen. This act created a lot of negative reaction from the media for Poe.
In 2011, it came to light that Poe, along with two others were trying to prohibit soldiers families from choosing which prayers could be said at the funerals of their fallen loved ones. This was seen as an effort to impose Christian ceremonies on military funerals.
He is currently under scrutiny over erroneous charges he filed in 2003, which have resulted in a young boy requiring 24hr medical care for the rest of his life. It is promised that a book chronicling the circumstances surrounding this case will be forth-coming in November of this year.
Ted Poe is a hard-core conservative who is: anti-women’s rights; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-LGBT rights; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-vouchers and school choice; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; opposes higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration; anti-birthright citizenship; pro-English as official language; anti-green energy.
Poe’s endorsements include the following: Texas Medical Association; Houston Association of Realtors; Texas State Rifle Association; National Rifle Association; Freedom Works; National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); National Right to Life; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Texas Alliance For Life, Inc.; National Association of Police Officers. REBIBLICAN
Poe lives in Humble, Texas where he is a member of the Church of Christ. He attended Abilene Christian University. In spite of the many controversies surrounding Poe, he has managed to garner support from a number of heavy-hitting groups and deep pocketed PACs.
LetsosNiko Letsos (D) – a teacher out of Houston. At the moment, Letsos isn’t making any noise in spite of his slogan “The Time for Boldness is Now.” He is advocating for a Democratic National Convention in 2014 – as if that is going to happen. With a little over 3600 people on his Facebook page, a call for government transparency and accountability and little to no name recognition, I don’t like his odds against the Poe machine.
NOTE: Again, unfortunately, it appears that yet another Texas District will remain red, only helping to destine Texas to an ultimate fail. One can’t help but wonder where the real liberals and progressives reside in the State of Texas – and why they aren’t stepping up.
DISTRICT III
Johnson SamSam Johnson (R) – the incumbent from Plano. Johnson will turn 84 this year. He is a retired construction executive, former fighter pilot and Viet Nam prisoner of war for seven years. He was first elected to the House in 1981. Johnson is a hard-core conservative.
On the issues he is: anti-women’s rights; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; pro-vouchers and charter schools; pro-abolishing the Department of Education; pro-absolute right to gun-ownership; opposes higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration and birthright citizenship; anti-green energy.
As one of Texas’ longest serving congressman, Johnson is part of the old-guard. It appears that he runs largely on his conservatism and his military background. He currently has over $763,421 in his coffers. REBIBLICAN
NOTE: Sam Johnson will, once again, be the United States Representative for the Third District of Texas as he drew no Democratic challenger, and Cecil Ince, the Libertarian candidate failed to be nominated by the Libertarian Party.
As the Texas mid-term elections are taking shape, the lack of Democratic candidates signals a dire situation in the State.
DISTRICT IV
Hall RalphRalph Hall (R) – is the incumbent. At 91 years of age he is the oldest serving member of Congress, the oldest person to ever serve in the House of Representatives, the oldest person ever elected to a House Term, and the oldest House member ever to cast a vote.
In the primary he received 45.42% of the vote in a field of five. He will face a run-off with United States Attorney, John Ratcliffe, who received 28.77% of the vote.
Hall was a member of the Democratic Party for more than 50 years when, in 2004, he switched his allegiance. His voting record certainly does not reflect any semblance of either a liberal or conservative Democrat. Currently, he cannot be labeled anything other than a hard-core conservative Republican.
On the issues Hall is: 100% pro-life; anti- Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; anti-enforcement of anti-gay hate crimes; anti-gay adoptions; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; pro-charter schools and vouchers; pro-absolute right to gun ownership; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration and birthright citizenship; advocates making English the official language; anti-green energy; pro-big oil and gas. REBIBLICAN
While he has received an endorsement from Michele Bachmann, and will garner some sympathetic support from his District IV constituents, he might just have his hands full with his Republican challenger in the run-offs.
RatcliffeJohn Ratcliffe (R) – from 2004 to 2007, Ratcliffe was appointed to the office of Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas by George W. Bush. From 2007-2008, he served as U.S. Attorney. He is currently listed as a Partner in John Ashcroft’s Law Firm.
On the issues Ratcliffe is: anti-Obamacare; anti-immigration and amnesty; pro-gun ownership; anti-gun control; anti-woman’s right to choose; pro-Israel.
He is endorsed by: North Texas Tea Party; Collin County Conservative Republicans; Senate Conservatives Fund; Red State; Club For Growth; Madison Project; Our Liberty Elections; Jim Gilchrist (Minuteman Founder); Dallas Morning News. REBIBLICAN
NOTE: There is, once again, no Democratic challenger in this race. However, the run-off election will tell us a couple of things: 1) How loudly does money speak? Right now, Hall and his old-guard cronies are scrambling to raise campaign funds, while Ratcliffe’s coffers are being lined by big-business and heavy-hitting right wing groups; 2) How far does sympathy go? Hall has spent seventeen terms in the House. As the oldest member, will his constituents re-elect him, or will they seek to infuse new blood into their little corner of Congress? Obviously, the Fourth District will remain red either way.
DISTRICT V
HensarlingJeb Hensarling (R) – the incumbent. Hensarling is an attorney who was first elected to the House in 2002. He was the former State Director for U.S. Senator Phil Gramm. He was dubbed the country’s “Budget Nanny” by the National Review in 2005.
On the issues he is: anti-woman’s right to choose; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-gun control; anti-Obamacare; pro-parent choice and charter schools; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Affirmative Action; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration and birthright citizenship; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN
Hensarling is a hard-core conservative Republican, who promises to deliver more of the same to the Fifth District and the nation. He has drawn a Libertarian challenger.
AshbyKen Ashby (L) – a former engineer and teacher. Ashby’s stand on the issues is the usual Libertarian fare – smaller government; no more bailouts; end the war on drugs; shut down the Department of Education, commerce, energy, Homeland Security, etc.; end the TSA; end farm subsidies; cut entitlements; and lower taxes. He doesn’t address social issues or civil liberties.
NOTE: Ken Ashby has been running unsuccessfully for office since 1992, and probably won’t do any better this time around. Hensarling is pretty much a shoe-in for the Fifth District.
DISTRICT VI
Barton JoeJoe Barton (R) – the incumbent. Barton, a member of the Tea Party Caucus, has held his seat in the House since 1985. The Sixth District encompasses the communities of Arlington, part of Fort Worth, and several rural areas south of Dallas.
Barton was the lead representative in forcing the switch from analog to digital TV and auctioning off the public airwaves to private companies.
Last year, Barton, a real piece of work, campared man-made climate to the Biblical flood story and argued that climate change isn’t man-made. He is a major proponent of the Keystone Pipeline. Additionally, in the House hearings on the BP oil spill, Barton told Tony Hayward, the executive officer of BP, “I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize.”
Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) listed Barton on its Most Corrupt Report in 2011.
A hard-core conservative, Barton is another of the old-guard Republicans that Texans seem to be so fond of. As to the issues, he is pro-life; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-gay adoptions; voted against prohibiting job discrimination based upon sexual orientation; anti-enforcement of anti-gay hate crimes; anti-separation of church and state; supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN
Interestingly, Barton recently switched his position on creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in this country. This resulted in his loss of an endorsement from Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) and placed him on their “traitors” list. He has, however, been endorsed by: Red State; the National Rifle Association; Dallas Morning News; Texas Alliance For Life; Concerned Women for America; Americans for Prosperity; Keep America Safe; American Security Council Foundation; Christian Coalition of America; Family Research Council.
cozadDavid Cozad (D) – a former United States Marine and teacher out of Arlington. He is pro-education; pro-equal pay for women; pro-choice; pro-Obamacare; pro-immigration reform; pro-Dream Act; pro-green energy; anti-fracking and pro-EPA regulations.
NOTE: On the surface, Cozad looks like a dream candidate for liberals and progressives. The big question is “how will all of this liberalism play out with the voters in District VI? Cozad ran against Barton in 2010, and Barton garnered 66% of the vote to Cozad’s 31%. It all depends on how disgusted District VI voters are with the status quo. Liberals and Progressives have a golden opportunity here to unseat Barton and bring a little bit of sanity to Texas and the nation. The first hurdle is getting them to the polls to vote.
DISTRICT VII
culbersonJohn Culberson (R) – the incumbent. Right out of the box, the Seventh District takes in a very big part of West Houston and Harris County. The District was created in 1967, and has been, historically, Republican. Culberson has been endorsed by: Americans for Legal Immigration; Family Research Council; National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); Texas Right to Life; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On the issues, Culberson is: pro-life; anti-Obamacare; anti-immigration; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-enforcement of gay hate crimes; voted no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation; anti-separation of church and state; pro-privatization of Social Security; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN
cargasJames Cargas (D) – is an energy attorney out of Houston. He served on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton Administration, later worked in the Al Gore Presidential Campaign. Cargas ran against Culberson in 2012, and received only 36.43% of the vote. He had the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle, the National Herald, NEO Magazine, and the Washington Monthly.
Cargas is running on the following issues: increase federal funding for science and biotechnology; a comprehensive national energy policy; protecting social safety nets; protecting women’s rights; enacting comprehensive immigration reform; and supporting public transportation.
In short, Cargas appears to be a highly educated, intelligent individual with a passion for creating a sustainable environment, bringing common sense and humane ideas for immigration reform to the table, and protecting the rights of women as well as civil and human rights. He has been endorsed by an impressive list of civil rights organizations and renowned scientists and physicians.
Sounds good, right? The big question is how smart are the voters in the Seventh District which has never elected a Democrat?
fowlerGerald Fowler (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination to run in the Seventh District. He is a civil litigation attorney. Fowler isn’t making a lot of noise, and it is unlikely that he would win the seat. However, his candidacy only serves to muddy the waters in what is certain to be a difficult climb for Cargas.
DISTRICT VIII
BradyKevin Brady (R) – the incumbent. Brady is a Chamber of Commerce executive. He is a hard-core, right wing, conservative Catholic.
On the issues he is: fiercely pro-life; strongly against Affirmative Action; voted no on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act; opposed to LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and enforcing anti-gay hate crimes; anti-separation of church and state; supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatizing Social Security; pro-vouchers for private and parochial schools; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration, amnesty, and birthright citizenship; anti-EPA regulations; pro-big oil and gas development. REBIBLICAN
Brady is endorsed by: Family Research Council; Texas Right to Life; Texas Alliance for Life; National Rifle Association; Texas Conservative View; Conservative Republicans of Texas; and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
pettyKen Petty (L) won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Petty parrots the Libertarian theme quite well, although he doesn’t seem to be making a lot of noise. He is running as the “Liberty Candidate,” emphasizing individual freedoms and states-rights. He rants against Brady and Obama, and Obamacare, while championing for the 2nd Amendment. He is very much in favor of school vouchers and parental choice.
NOTE: Voters in the 8th District will, likely, send Brady back to D.C., putting another feather in the nest of ReBiblicans who are seeking re-election this year. Of course, the alternative that they have in Petty doesn’t leave them with much of a choice.
DISTRICT IX
greenAlexander (Al) Green (D) – is the incumbent serving since 2005. He is a Southern Baptist attorney out of Houston who previously served as the President of the Houston NAACP.
On the issues he is: pro-choice; pro-gun control; pro-Affirmative Action; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-Obamacare; pro-separation of church and state; pro-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-immigration and pathway to citizenship; pro-green energy.
Al Green has excellent ratings among all liberal groups who are endorsing and funding campaigns. The fact that he has held his office since 2005, gives hope to Texas Democrats and the people of the Ninth District.
johnsonJohnny Johnson (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. His platform includes: securing our borders and no amnesty; repealing Obamacare; supporting term limits; controlling spending; return to the Constitution; and protecting Second Amendment Rights.
Johnson strongly believes that the First through Tenth Amendments to the Constitution are “granted by our Creator.”
NOTE: It appears that Johnson has very little in the way of backing or endorsements. Green should run away with the vote and help to bring a little ray of sanity to an insane House of Representatives.
DISTRICT X
McCaulMichael McCaul (R) – the incumbent and the wealthiest member of Congress. He is a Catholic out of Austin, and has held his seat since 2005. According to Wikipedia:
“In August 2011 AlterNet reported that McCaul, along with John Culberson and Ted Poe, was attempting to remove the right of deceased soldiers families to choose which prayers, if any, were to be read at a soldier’s funeral. The three politicians were said to be attempting to impose Christian ceremonies on the military funerals of everybody who has served in the military, regardless of whether or not the deceased was Christian and with or without the consent of the family of the deceased.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_McCaul
On the issues he tows the GOP party line: pro-life; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-vouchers and charter schools; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration and pathway to citizenship; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN
He has been endorsed by the Texas Farm Bureau; National Federation of Independent Business; National Rifle Association; and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
CadienTawana Walter – Cadien (D) – a registered nurse with virtually no political experience. As of April, Tawana only had a little over $2,000 in her campaign coffers, and almost nothing in the way of an internet presence.
kelseyBill Kelsey (L) – is a pilot for Zimex Aviation out of Austin who really doesn’t appear to be running any sort of campaign at all.
NOTE: Given the current lack of funding and media presence, it is unlikely that McCaul will be upset in November. The apparent disinterest of the Democratic Party in Texas screams of its imminent defeat.

DISTRICT XI

Mike ConawayMichael Conaway (R) – the incumbent, and long-time friend of George W. Bush. Conaway is an accountant out of Midland and has held his seat since 2005. He is a hard-core, conservative, Southern Baptist.

On the issues he is: pro-life; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-same-sex marriage; anti-LGBT rights; anti-separation of church and state; pro-prayer in school; anti-Obamacare; pro-vouchers and school choice; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; ant-immigration and pathway to citizenship; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN

Conaway has the support and backing of the National Rifle Association, and all of the right-wing pro-life groups, while civil and human rights groups shun him like the plague.

Ryan LangeRyan Lange (L) – won the nomination of the Libertarian Party. He lives in Ballinger. For all practical purposes, no one seems to know anything about Ryan Lange. His Facebook page is a hodgepodge of his simplistic views on a variety of policies and practices making it obvious that he lacks the knowledge and the maturity to pose any sort of real threat to Conaway.

DISTRICT XII

Kay GrangerKay Granger (R) – the incumbent out of Fort Worth, and the first Republican woman from Texas in the House of Representatives. She has been there since 1997. Prior to taking a seat in the House, Granger was the Mayor of Fort Worth.

Despite some GOP members thinking she might be “too liberal” for the House back in the early 1990’s, Granger has made her bones on some of the conservative issues favored by the hard-right.

On the issues she is: pro-life (she claims “pro-choice,” but her voting record says otherwise); anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; anti-separation of church and state; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatization of Social Security; pro-vouchers and charter schools; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-gun control; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN

Mark GreeneMark Greene (D) – is a former City Councilman. He is the antithesis of Granger on all issues: pro-choice; pro-civil and human rights; pro-separation of church and state; pro-public schools; pro-green energy.

 

 

Ed ColiverED COLLIVER (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. According to his website: “Ed Colliver believes in personal freedoms, local jurisdiction, fiscal responsibility, and international non-interference.” He claims that if elected he will “protect your Constitutional rights and fight to keep the federal government out of your bedroom, out of your medicine cabinet, out of your gun locker, and out of your wallet.”

NOTE: There is little doubt that Texas needs a change. That change could begin with the election of Mark Greene. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party, Texas businesses, and the voters in District Twelve have the good-sense and the conviction to make this happen.

DISTRICT XIII

Mac ThornberryMac Thornberry (R) – is the incumbent. He is an attorney and rancher out of Clarendon. Mac has been serving in the House since 1995.

On the issues he is: fiercely pro-life; strongly against Affirmative Action; voted no on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act; opposed to LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and enforcing anti-gay hate crimes; anti-separation of church and state; supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer; anti-Obamacare; pro-privatizing Social Security; pro-vouchers for private and parochial schools; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration, amnesty, and birthright citizenship; anti-EPA regulations; pro-big oil and gas development. REBIBLICAN

He has been endorsed by: BeefPAC of Texas; National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB); National Rifle Association; Texas Association of Business; Texas Farm Bureau; Texas Right to Life; and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Mike MinterMike Minter (D) – is the owner of Falls Foundation Repair, Indian Capital Group of Texas, and Indian Plains Leasing of Nevada. He is a member of Texoma Cowboy Church. He says that his “strong Christian faith and belief in the value of liberty and education will be the foundation” of his work in Congress.

Emily PivodaEmily Pivoda (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. She has established absolutely nothing in the way of internet presence.

 

NOTE: It is absolutely unclear as to whether or not Mike Minter will truly represent liberal or progressive ideologies or if he will further the interests of the Blue-Dog Democrats. Pivoda seems to be more of a token representative of the Libertarians. Thornberry has the backing. It will be an interesting race, but I fear that District XIII will vote for more of the same.

DISTRICT XIV

Randy WeberRandy Weber (R) – is the incumbent out of Pearland who succeeded Ron Paul. He is a small businessman, politician and former Texas State House Representative.

On the issues he is: pro-life; anti-Affirmative Action; anti-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-traditional values; ant-separation of church and state; anti-immigration; anti-Obamacare; anti-gun control; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN

He has been endorsed by: Ron Paul; Rick Perry; Gregg Abbott; Todd Staples;Ruth and Nolan Ryan; Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Texas Right to Life; Eagle Forum.

Don BrownDon Brown (D) – is a mortgage broker out of Galveston. He is a strong supporter of unions and of LGBT rights. He is running on preserving Medicare; strengthening the public education system; preserving Social Security; and restoring jobs and the economy.

 

John WiederJohn Wieder (L) – is a minister and Viet Nam War veteran. He ran in the 9th District in 2012. In an interview with the Examiner in 2012, he made the following statements:

“There is a Parental Rights bill before Congress now. Please go to parentalrights.org and sign the petition to return parental rights to the parents.Please join us in prayer for the safe return of my wife, Jernielyn Wieder, to us. Prayer for prayer back in school, prayer that all the unborn see the light of day all over the world and they live long productive lives, and pray parental rights are returned to the parents.”

“Guns, anyone can own gun, just register them like cars.”

“GOD, prayer back in school, whole life(conception to natural death),students use modern technology etc.”

Enough said.

NOTE: Don Brown seems like the most logical candidate in this race. The question is, “can he outspend Randy Weber and his endorsers?” It’s a shame that we have to ask something like that, but thanks to Citizens United that is exactly where we are.

DISTRICT XV

Ruben HinojosoRuben Hinojosa (D) – is the incumbent out of Mercedes. Apparently, there is hope for Texas! Hinojosa is a grocery executive who has been serving since 1997.

On the issues he is: pro-choice; pro-Affirmative Action; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-separation of church and state; pro-public education; pro-preservation of Social Security; pro-immigration and pathway to citizenship, and the Dream Act; pro-green energy; pro-Obamacare.

Hinojosa has been endorsed by the National Education Association and the Texas Hospital Association PAC. He has been a tireless advocate for the disadvantaged.

Eddie ZamoraEddie Zamora (R) – is the Executive Vice President of OE Investments. Zamora writes about his unsavory past on his campaign website. He served a little over 5 years in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for threatening his ex-wife with a gun in a Wal Mart parking lot in 1994. Two years later, he was convicted of stalking. In 2002, he claims that he found the Lord and that has changed his life.

On the issues he is: pro-life; anti-same-sex marriage; pro-states rights; pro-elimination of the Department of Education; pro-limited government; anti-Obamacare; anti-gun control; anti-EPA regulations and mandates; pro-oil and gas; anti-immigration and amnesty.

Zamora believes that all of our rights, including the right to bear arms, were bestowed upon us by God.

Zamora has garnered the endorsement of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), and Red State.

Johnny PartainJohnny Partain (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. We won’t even discuss this candidate other than to say that he ran in 2012, and gathered 1.65% of the vote.

NOTE: While it is unlikely that Hinojosa will be unseated, as District XV is largely Democrat, Zamora could make a good run. A lot will depend on voter turn-out in this race. Hopefully, the Democrats will understand this.

DISTRICT XVI

Beto O'Beto O’Rourke (D) – the incumbent and businessman out of El Paso. He was first elected in 2012.

On the issues he is: pro-choice; pro-Affirmative Action; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-separation of church and state; pro-Obamacare; pro-public education; pro-immigration and pathway to citizenship; anti-military expansion.

In 2012, O’Rourke won the primary against Silvestre Reyes who had been endorsed by both President Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

Corey RoenCorey Roen (R) – is a career Army Officer who pledges to “vote the Bible” if elected.

On the issues he is: pro-life; anti-same sex marriage; pro-traditional values; anti-immigration. REBIBLICAN/DOMINIONIST

Jaime Perez (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

NOTE: Look for Roen to pick up endorsements from numerous right-wing, and religious right groups between now and November. This one is tough to call at the moment.

DISTRICT XVII

Bill FloresBill Flores (R) – the incumbent and former CEO of Phoenix Exploration Company out of Bryan. He is a Southern Baptist and has held the seat since 2011. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Houston Baptist University. His last campaign was endorsed by George H. W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee.

On the issues he is: pro-life; anti-LGBT rights and gay marriage; anti-Obamacare; amti-gun control; voted no on the Violence Against Women Act; anti- separation of church and state; pro-vouchers and school choice; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; anti-immigration; pro-military expansion; anti-EPA regulations.

He is endorsed by:  Business and Commerce Political Action Committee (BACPAC); National Right to Life; and Gun Owners of America. REBIBLICAN

Nick HaynesNick Haynes (D) – is a social worker. His platform includes the fight for immigration reform; equal opportunity; and a government that works for its people. He is a member of the Antioch Community Church, and a member of Bibles, Badges, and Business for Immigration Reform. Haynes’ wife came to this country illegally, hence he has taken up the fight for immigration reform.

Shawn Michael HamiltonShawn Michael Hamilton (L) – won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. He is a former government contractor out of Waco.

On the issues he is: pro-life, believing that life begins at conception; anti-gun control; pro-state rights; pro-school choice and parental right to choose;

NOTE: The waters are really murky in this race. That Bill Flores needs to go is a given. Hamilton is, apparently, a rather right-leaning Libertarian and probably stands little to no chance of a victory. Haynes on the other hand, is an enigma. A former conservative, he is now championing the immigration issue. However, where he stands on other issues remains to be seen.

DISTRICT XVIII

Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson Lee (D) – is the incumbent out of Houston. She is an attorney and a judge and has been serving since 1995. She is known as one of the “meanest” bosses in Washington with an outrageous turnover of staff. In spite of that, Lee represents liberal and progressive issues much of the time.

On the issues she is: pro-choice; pro-Affirmative Action; pro-LGBT rights and same-sex marriage; pro-separation of church and state; pro-public education; pro-Obamacare; pro-preservation of Social Security; pro-gun control; pro-immigration reform; pro-green energy; and anti-military expansion.

Sean SeibertSean Seibert (R) – as a former Colonel in the United States Army. He ran against Sheila Jackson Lee in 2012, where he received 22.5% of the vote. His platform is rather generic in that it speaks in vague generalities regarding national defense, border security, taxes, jobs and the economy, and fiscal responsibility. He, perhaps wisely, shies away from addressing any of the social or hot-button issues currently being debated.

NOTE: Given the demographics of District 18, it is highly unlikely that Seibert will unseat Lee. Of course, it is early and major endorsers are waiting to commit, however, I think it is safe to say that Lee will retain her seat.

DISTRICT XIX

Randy NeugebauerRandy Neugebauer (R) is the incumbent. He is an account and real estate developer out of Lubbock who has held his seat since 2003. In 2001, he was ranked as the “most conservative member of the House” by the National Review. Neugebauer lives up to that label with his voting record. He is a member of the Values Action Team and the Prayer Caucus.

On the issues he is: pro-life;  anti-LGBT rights; anti-gay marriage; anti-Obamacare; anti-separation of church and state; anti-gun control; anti-immigration, amnesty, pathway to citizenship; pro-privatization of Socail Security; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy.

He is endorsed by: Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), Business and Commerce (BAC-PAC), with top ratings from the following organizations: American Conservative Union, Christian Coalition, National Right to Life, Club for Growth and National Rifle Association.  REBIBLICAN/DOMINIONIST

Neal MarchbanksNeal Marchbanks (D) – is a retired meteorologist and United States Air Force Veteran. He is running on the following platform:

Agriculture; Public Education; Wind and solar energy; A strong middle class; Improving services and benefits to veterans; Women’s rights; Pro-Choice; Pro-Obamacare; Pro-pathway to citizenship; anti-racial profiling; and anti-Voter ID laws and voter suppression.

Richard Chip PetersonRichard “Chip” Peterson (L) – is Professor Emeritus at Texas Tech University and is a frequent candidate. He claims that he is running: “1) to give people the option of voting for a well-qualified candidate who doesn’t belong to any major party; 2) Because some people do not want to vote for the incumbent (possibly because they don’t want to vote for any incumbent) and I want them to have a choice other than staying home or for voting for a member of the Democratic (“Socialist”) Party who would have to support the policies of Nancy Pelosi if elected; 3) To keep pressure on the present incumbent to keep him fiscally conservative and not let him pander to special interests by promising to spend more of the people’s money than his opponent from the Democratic (“Socialist”) Party; 4) To insure that at least one candidate in the race will be strongly committed to obeying the U.W. Constitution and protecting individual liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights; 5) To help build the people’s awareness and support for the Libertarian Party which is the only party truly committed to following the principles established by our nation’s founders in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is the party dedicated to support limited government, individual liberties, and low taxes.”

NOTE: Rarely are Texans given the opportunity to elect someone like Neal Marchbanks – a true liberal. Marchbanks would be a breath of fresh air to the Nineteenth District. What becomes problematic here is that Neugebauer has held this district for a number of years. Last election he won 85% of the vote against Peterson. In a District that is heavily Republican it will be a serious challenge for Marchbanks – especially if Peterson is able to garner that same 15%.

DISTRICT XX

Joaquin CastroJoaquin Castro (D) – is the incumbent and identical twin of Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio. He first served in the Texas Legislature from 2003-2013. Interestingly, Castro is running unopposed assuring him the seat. While he is a Democrat, and considered a liberal, he is a little more moderate than progressive. Still, his stance of social issues will help to level the playing field a little more in Texas and the rest of the country.

DISTRICT XXI

Lamar SmithLamar Smith (R) – is the incumbent and an attorney out of San Antonio and has been serving since 1987. He is a Christian Scientist.

On the issues he is: pro-life;  anti-LGBT rights; anti-gay marriage; anti-Obamacare; anti-separation of church and state; anti-gun control; anti-immigration, amnesty, pathway to citizenship; pro-privatization of Socail Security; anti-higher taxes on the wealthy; pro-military expansion; anti-green energy. REBIBLICAN

Smith has been endorsed by: Texas Association of Business  & Commerce (PAC); Texas Alliance  for Life; Texas Right to Life; and National Rifle Association.

Ryan ShieldsRyan Shields (L) – is an oilfield worker who won the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Shields shares little about his personal life getting straight to the issues which he finds problematic. He is running on an 8 point platform, this is where he stands:

1) Introduce Fair Tax and Balance Budget Amendment; 2) Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; 3) Strengthen Private Property Rights; 4) End the Federal Reserve; 5) Reintroduce the Marijuana Act of 1937; 6) Protect  private decisions in a persons private life from government intrusion; 7) Make across the board cuts to the budget; 8) Increase oversight on government spending.

Philip PKT TottenhamPhilip “PKT” Tottenham (I) – is a non-profit founder and businessman. Tottenham is all over the place with peace, love, and freedom. He quotes Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Gandhi. Apparently, Philip is extremely liberal in his views and wants to put an end to injustice, inequality, and corruption. All noble quests, to be certain. He refuses to take ANY donations relying on social media to garner him a win.

NOTE: Twenty-seven years is long time for anyone to serve in Lamar Smith’s capacity. But, it appears that he will be there for a couple of more years. Shields is a typical, bombastic Libertarian while Tottenham is way too altruistic in his goals.

TO BE CONTINUED