Going On Offense: Paul Hodes

I originally planned to write several “Going On Offense” posts in the days leading up to March 31, but finding time to blog is tricky when you work at a church during Holy Week and an environmental non-profit in the month before Earth Day. Still, I feel it’s important to make time for at least one of MyDD’s “Going On Offense” Act Blue candidates: Paul Hodes.

Hodes, elected to Congress just four years ago, is running for Judd Gregg’s open Senate seat. It’s vital that we win this one – in 2006, New Hampshire had two Repub Congressman, two Repub Senators, two Repub chambers in the state legislature, and a Repub-dominated Executive Commission (the body that approves the Governors’ nominees). Back then all Democrats had was the Governor, but now, all the Repubs have is one lone retiring Senator. If we can’t win even this open seat, we really are sunk this year.

For me, this election is as much personal as it is political. I first met Hodes when he was still just a Concord lawyer and children’s musician, and was impressed from the start. I originally planned to vote for the moderate GOP incumbent Charlie Bass – my Democratic identity was still forming – but after meeting Hodes on several occasions and interviewing him for the Dartmouth Free Press, I was sold. He’s an intelligent and earnest guy with a deep love for New Hampshire, and made for a welcome addition to the House of Representatives. As you can see in my interview, he campaigned on universal health care, and earlier this month took a big step towards delivering on that promise. The US Chamber of Commerce flooded the state’s airwaves with negative ads but Hodes stuck to his progressive guns and voted for reform. He was there for us even in the darkest days of February, writing in the Huffington Post:

There are lessons to be learned from the last year, but wimping out isn't one of them. Losing a special election in Massachusetts and seeing Democrats retiring in the Senate does not mean that we should back down from what we believe in. It doesn't mean we should give up on quality, affordable health care for every American. It doesn't mean we should give up on working for a new energy strategy for the 21st Century. And it certainly does not mean we should give up on fighting for the middle class families that put us in office.

I have one message for Democrats around the country: Get over it. It's time to pick ourselves up and work together to get done what we set out to do and win in November… The Washington Republican Party and their tea-party allies would take us back to the Bush years that were disastrous for our country. Now is not the time for Democrats to shy away from a fight, to back down or run away from who we are. There is too much at stake.

There would be sweet justice in winning Judd Gregg’s seat. Gregg made a fool out of President Obama with the Commerce Secretary nomination, urged obstruction in a December memo, and acted hypocritically on budget reconciliation. His party’s likely nominee, Kelly Ayotte, wouldn’t be much better. Hodes is using her opposition to health care reform to remind voters of the 34,000 small businesses in New Hampshire that will get tax credits under the new law.

In addition to his support for universal health care, Hodes is a great environmentalist – which comes easy when you live in a state with such beauty as the White Mountains. Energy was another prominent theme in his ’06 campaign and this year he’s one of just five Senate candidates to date endorsed by the Sierra Club.

The Hodes campaign wants you to text JOIN, GREEN, or YOUTH to 46337 or visit their website. Both would be helpful, but even more helpful would be to visit ActBlue and donate some much needed cash before tomorrow night’s FEC filing deadline. $5 to each of our “Going On Offense” candidates or even just $10 to the Hodes campaign would go a long way.

Going On Offense

The DCCC’s “Red to Blue Program” has the right idea for the 2010 elections: The best hope for Democrats is to play offense, not defense. Here are five progressive candidates taking it to the GOP who need our help today.

With the jobs picture improving and Repubs reeling on health care, the cycle isn’t looking nearly as bleak as it was just two weeks ago, but it’s still a midterm election and the President’s party almost always faces an uphill battle in its midterms. The best way for us to off-set losses in blue districts is to pick up seats in red districts. This will help expand the party’s map, build a deeper bench for our future, and maintain a progressive governing majority.

The first quarter of this election year ends in just six days, on March 31. The FEC financial statements that follow will be our first real chance to show the media that we are NOT going to shrink or back down in the face of right-wing hate this year. We’ve set up an Act Blue page called “Going On Offense” for five strong progressives running solid races for open red seats. Please give at least $10 to at least two of the five before March 31.

Jack Conway, KY-Sen – Jack Conway is the true progressive in the Democratic primary for Kentucky's open Senate seat. He supports health reform; his opponent, Dan Mongiardo, does not. He supports marriage equality; Mongiardo does not. Like Robert Byrd, he opposes mountaintop removal mining; Mongiardo supports it. We need Kentucky, and we need Jack Conway's record of success. Here’s his latest ad:

Paul Hodes, NH-Sen – Paul Hodes has been an outspoken, aggressive and unwavering proponent of real health care reform since his recent election to Congress. A true progressive hero, Hodes refused to give up when things were at their darkest after Scott Brown won the MA-Sen seat, writing on the Huffington Post, “The Washington Republican Party and their tea-party allies would take us back to the Bush years… Now is not the time for Democrats to shy away from a fight, to back down or run away from who we are. There is too much at stake.” Help Hodes, one of three Senate candidates endorsed by the Sierra Club, continue the remarkable red-to-blue trend New Hampshire has experienced in the last two cycles.

Robin Carnahan, MO-Sen – They say that as Missouri goes, so goes the nation, and in 2010, this might be the closest thing to a true toss-up anywhere on the Senate map. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Missouri resident who still runs her family's farm in Rolla, has cracked down on financial predators and helped guide her office into the 21 Century. Her opponent, Roy Blount, was one of Tom DeLay's top lieutenants during the Bush administration. The choice is clear.

Matt Dunne, VT-Gov –Spend just ten minutes with Matt Dunne and you'll realize that he has one of the deepest commitments to service and firmest grasps on public policy of anyone you’ve ever met. Matt, an executive at Google, is the former director of Americorps-VISTA and a former state senator. His resume and his values are the right choice for Vermont and for the Democratic Party.

Tom White, NE-02 – For the first time in history, a state split its Electoral College vote when NE-02, which includes Omaha, cast its vote for Barack Obama. Let’s keep this district blue and send Terry packing. Help state Sen. Tom White, the author of Nebraska's Military Family Leave Act in 2007, take his record of success on education, civil rights, and workplace discrimination to Congress. White is one of the DCCC’s 13 “red to blue” candidates.

On April 1, we’ll expand this page to include other progressive heroes like Alan Grayson and Bill Halter. For the first quarter, however, we need to send the media and our volunteers a strong message. We can do this.

Dan Quayle Reemerges in NH-Sen

In a way that won't likely make the GOP establishment happy:

Ex-VP Dan Quayle will wade into the conservative-vs.-moderate fray and side against establishment GOPers today when he endorses atty Ovide Lamontagne for Senate.

In a statement to be released later today, Quayle will praise Lamontagne's conservative credentials, adding to a growing number of those on the right who see Lamontange's challenge to ex-AG Kelly Ayotte (R) as a front in the moderate-vs.-conservative struggle.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been going to great lengths in an effort to help shepherd Kelly Ayotte through the GOP primary in hopes of making her the party's nominee to (most likely) face Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes in the open seat contest to succeed retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg. The Committee has hosted a fundraiser at its headquarters for Ayotte, and even went so far as to set up a joint fundraising committee with Ayotte.

Yet conservative Ovide Lamontagne remains. Despite the fact that Granite State voters overall don't have an exceedingly high opinion of Lamontagne -- his 57 percent to 40 percent loss to Jean Shaheen as the GOP's gubernatorial nominee in 1996 marked the Republicans' first loss in a race for Governor in nearly two decades -- conservatives seem to like him (including, apparently, Quayle).

While a great deal of attention is being paid to the few Democratic open seat races, it's quite clear that Republicans have their hands full in their own open seat Senate races -- Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, and, yes, New Hampshire.

Kicking Off the Expand the Map! ActBlue Page for the 2010 Cycle

Last cycle, I started an ActBlue page specifically for Democratic Senate candidates working to pick up seats held by Republicans.  I named it the Expand the Map! ActBlue page because the goal was to expand the map of competitive Senate seats.  The effort was a big success, achieving over 300 contributions and $40,000 for the Democratic Senate candidates included on the page.

Today, I kicked off the 2010 edition of the Expand the Map! ActBlue page with three Democratic candidates for Senate: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes, and Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak.

Click here to visit the Expand the Map! ActBlue page!

In New Hampshire and Missouri, we have the strongest candidates available, candidates who will also make terrific Democratic Senators.  In both races, however, fundraising will always be a top priority.  Missouri Republican Roy Blunt will be able to tap his lobbyist buddies and corrupt cronies for cash ad nauseum.  No doubt the NRSC will also make holding New Hampshire a top priority; and the D.C. GOP establishment has already begun fawning over Palin-esque quitter Kelly Ayotte.  Carnahan and Hodes need our support!  A few years back, all four of New Hampshire's and Missouri's combined Senate seats were held by Republicans.  Wouldn't it feel great to have flipped all four?

In Pennsylvania, y'all know the deal.  Arlen Specter was a Republican Senator for decades.  Even though he changed his Party affiliation, he's still not a Democrat as far as I'm concerned.  Joe Sestak is a real Democrat, and he - not Specter - should win the Democratic primary.  But Specter has a significant edge when it comes to campaign cash; and, Ed Rendell will do all he can to shut off Sestak's fundraising.  Let Specter, Rendell, etc. know that they can't shut down the netroots by supporting Sestak!

Please, please, please help kick off the 2010 cycle's Expand the Map! effort by sending these highly deserving Democrats a few bucks.  $100 makes a huge difference, $20 makes a huge difference, $10 makes a huge difference!  Hop over to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page and make your voice heard.

This is not just a contribution to these Democrats' campaigns.  This is a contribution toward slowing and eventually stopping Republican obstruction in the U.S. Senate.  Thank you SO much!

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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NH-Sen: Paul Hodes Will Run Whether Judd Gregg Does Or Not

Yesterday, with Judd Gregg's withdrawal as President Obama's nominee for Commerce Secretary, two questions persisted: 1. would Judd Gregg run for re-election in 2010 and 2. if so, would Paul Hodes still run for the seat against him?

The answer to the first was not entirely clear. Sure, multiple reports confirmed that Gregg would not run again in 2010 but then at his press conference, Gregg himself hedged with a casual "probably not." Then people wondered, would Hodes still run if Gregg is on the ballot?

Today, we get our answer. Hodes came out swinging against Gregg -- just in case -- slamming him for withdrawing from consideration for Obama's cabinet and, yep, you guessed it, tying him to George W. Bush.

"I am surprised and disappointed at this sudden withdrawal. Senator Gregg would take us back to the years of George W. Bush rather than moving forward with the change agenda that the American people clearly want. I will continue to work with President Obama to create jobs and rebuild our economy for the middle class.

I will be a candidate for the United State Senate in 2010. I look forward to working every day to stand up for New Hampshire as we come together to confront the economic crisis facing our nation."

George W. Bush: the albatross that keeps giving and giving.

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