I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

I'm not interested in your candidate. Really, I'm not. I'm not interested in the presidential race.

Don't get me wrong. I care about it and the future of the country. I have my own preferences among the Democratic candidates. But I'm not interested in that race right now. It's dull compared to something much, much more exciting.

Yes, I'm talking about the Michigan 7th Congressional District!

Imagine a Republican incumbent. He's a former right-wing minister, who's proud of the fact that in the state legislature, he basically voted no on everything. He's got the support of the Club for Growth, whose out-of-state donors financed his last campaign. For a Christian minister, he ran a very un-Christian primary campaign in 2006, smearing a well-respected public servant. He votes no on everything of importance, can't get along with other members of Congress, is terrible at constituent services, and routinely embarrasses his district and his state.

His name is Tim Walberg.

Now, imagine three Democratic challengers. One is the underfunded underdog who almost defeated Walberg in 2006. One is a respected former mayor and former state senator, who's got decades of experience and connections across the state. And one is a lawyer who's worked with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, and managed to out-raise the incumbent during the second quarter of 2007.

Those Democrats are Sharon Renier, Jim Berryman, and David Nacht, respectively. All three are legitimate challengers to Tim Walberg.

Now, imagine that the DCCC is interested in the race. And imagine that all three Democrats have expressed an interest in working with the netroots, and a certain blogger named Fitzy (or Lenawee Liberal on Daily Kos) has had the pleasure of being in contact with all of them.

This is a top-tier pick-up opportunity in the House, and I'm excited. It's much more fun to follow than Clinton-Obama-Edwards-Richardson-Dodd-et c.

Next, of course, comes the shameless fundraising plea-- you can contribute to the ActBlue Democratic Nominee Fund for MI-07 here.

Of course, this diary has a broader point. So much attention is focused on the presidential race-- so much energy and enthusiasm and passion-- and that's fine. It's healthy and it's a sign that the blogosphere is really exerting influence on the race. Really, I don't mind seeing the Recommended List filled with candidate diaries.

But there's a lot more than just the presidential race, and a lot of it is pretty exciting. I've latched on to the Michigan 7th District and a few other local issues, but that's not all there is. There are Senate races, House races, state legislatures, governors, ballot initiatives, school boards, county commissions...

In other words, there are countless ways in which a good progressive Democrat can help change the world.

I'm not saying you need to give up your presidential candidate. I'm saying, take a five minute break. Open up your local newspaper. Re-read all the headlines, and see what catches your eye. I'll bet quite a bit that there are a lot of ways you could help progressives in your area.

Oh, and remember to donate to the MI-07 Democratic Nominee Fund.

Tags: David Nacht, House 2008, Jim Berryman, MI-07, Michigan, Sharon Renier, Tim Walberg (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

That's my rant for today

Ready to help create a progressive country? It'll take a lot more than just electing a president.

by Fitzy 2007-07-21 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

Who is he supporting? Hillary or Obama? If he does not support Hillary, I am not interested.

LOL. Just kidding. Have a nice weekend.

by areyouready 2007-07-21 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate
Amen. Lots of local races we should care about. If you know a good candidate, send them here:
http://www.americasolidarity.org/node/66 7
by IvyTodd 2007-07-21 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

America Solidarity is a great org. Hopefully others will participate in their polls.

http://www.americasolidarity.org/poll

by annefrank 2007-07-22 05:21AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

   Thank you for this diary! I am interested in the race for Prez, but at this point I think my limited resources are more useful in supporting Congressional candidates that I like. I'm pleased to see that there is activity in MI; it seems like there were some missed opportunities there in 2006. Best of luck in defeating Timmy Tim, or whatever his name is. ("One-termer" should be it...)

by Zack from the SFV 2007-07-21 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

Lived in Walberg's district last couple of years, including the primary when he dumped Schwarz, before moving moving back into Ann Arbor and Dingell's district.

Walberg is ripe for the taking.  I did some analyses of the GOPer primary in 04 and it was pretty clear Schwarz won only because of the wing-nuts spreading around numerous candidates, each stressing some wing-nut hot button.  So it was pretty clear that Schwartz would not make it the second time around.

I do not have a lot of confidence in Renier, however, despite her good work helping with CEDAW.  Proven inability to raise money and while she got close (relatively speaking) in a Dem wave election, I just don't see. In the last two cycles she's faced a moderate out of touch with his base and a loon who alienated everyone but his base and still could not get the job done, even with a strong breeze to her back.

I think Walberg will have solidified his position a little bit, but a stronger candidate with some more money should be able to take him out.

The district overall is a reasonable split, light pink say, and probably trending blue given where and what demographic changes are occurring.   The interesting dynamic is that GOPers face a structural disadvantage in that a very high proportion of their voters in the district are way out on the ledge (Hillsdale county in particular), so if they venture far toward the middle, they get knee-capped like Schwarz.  They have a low ceiling just above their wingnut core, is what I am saying.

Besides being a total theocrat, Walberg also ran a weak campaign that relied heavily on the outside hit pieces on Schwarz from Club of Growth (I know because for weeks we got, I'm not making this up, 4-5 identical CoG pieces each day; for a group droning on about government inefficiency, they sure don't know how to run their campaigns efficiently; try merging your mailing lists morons!).  That is not going to be there and at least 40% of their mailings were lifting up Walberg.

Let's get this one.

by Trond Jacobsen 2007-07-22 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

Thanks for this, it is actually the most refreshing diary I have read all week.  Do you have any suggestions for which of these candidates has the best chance in the primary?  Would you be willing to do a more in depth look at all of the primary candidates?

by Obama08 2007-07-22 05:03AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

Best chance in the primary? That's tricky...

Of the three Democrats that have announced, Jim Berryman looks most like the ideal candidate. As a former mayor of Adrian, he could possibly win Lenawee County, which is Walberg's home county (and mine), and which Walberg won 56-42 over Renier. If Berryman could just make Lenawee County more evenly split and have solid majorities in Battle Creek and Jackson, he wins.

David Nacht is really an unknown quantity at this point. He's never run for office before, but he managed to raise $160,000 in the second quarter-- more than anyone else in either party. So in both the primary and the general, he'll have the money to compete. I have been impressed by him, though, because he's been making the rounds with parades and local events, getting his name out there.

And then Sharon Renier. I like her, personally. She's colorful and exciting. Unfortunately, she doesn't like to raise money. That can be a problem. And this would be her third time as the nominee, so maybe something a little new and fresh might help. So far, she hasn't raised any money for the 2008 campaign. Still, you can't count her out. Her primary victories in both 2004 and 2006 were unexpected and against candidates with more money.

But with the level of enthusiasm among local Democrats and attention given to this district, I think the primary is really impossible to predict. This district has never seen anything like it before... Democrats are usually sullen and resigned to failure.

by Fitzy 2007-07-22 06:50AM | 0 recs
General

I'm sorry, I meant general when I said primary.  Which of the candidates stands the best chance of beating Walberg in the general.  All three candidates sound like they would be fine choices, but what does it take to win the district?  Does it take the money that Nacht has?  Does it take the energy Renier has?  Does it take the experience that Berryman has?  You are the one who knows the district best...

by Obama08 2007-07-22 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: General

The general election's tough to call, too. Honestly, I think any of the three could win. If I had to go with my gut feeling right this moment, I'd say Jim Berryman has the best chance of winning the general election.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily constitute an endorsement. In terms of the big issues of the day, Berryman's still a blank slate-- the last time he really ran for office was 1998. I'll be undecided until they start talking about what they actually stand for.

by Fitzy 2007-07-22 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: General

I don't have much money to donate, I'll do what I can donating to the general election fund.  If you have more analysis of this race in the future I would be interested.  Also, if you have any events that you need a volunteer for I'll see if I can't make it across the state to help.

by Obama08 2007-07-22 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

This is great stuff. Presidential campaigns are often so much bigger and less influenced than is a local Congressional race. It's good to see some returned focus on the Congressional in the rec list.

by michael in chicago 2007-07-22 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Not Interested In Your Candidate

There are about 48 Republican districts we can / probably will attack.  Obviously we shot for 50 last time and came up with 30.  Now we're going into 2008 better funded and more prepared.  I'm going to do a diary about the 48 districts to attack, the two districts we should Primary oust Democrats to expand on a liberal majority, not just a Democrat majority.  And I haven't made a full count, but we have plenty of seats to defend ourselves, however being the home team should make it much easier.  We've also seen a big lack of successful recruitment on the Republicans part, making defense only easier.  

2008 should be like taking candy from a baby if all goes smoothly.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-07-22 10:43AM | 0 recs

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