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by Christopher Walker

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This page features top challengers and some progressive PACS, to help them support progressive candidates.



Image of VoteVets

VoteVets

This group puts together and airs some of the most pungently effective of all political ads. They target mealy-mouthed Republican incumbents who do a lot of public saluting, but who haven't voted to support veterans' benefits. And they support Democrats with military experience who run against draft-dodging GOP incumbents who vote for war without really understanding what it costs in lives and honor.

They expose hypocrisy. It's a good thing.

Update VoteVets announced in March 2009 that they support the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

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Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

Victory Fund provides leadership workshops to openly gay candidates who want to run for local, state, or federal office, and fund-raises nationwide for them. In the 2006 cycle the Fund endorsed 88 candidates - 55 incumbents and 33 non-incumbents. 67 of them won.

They're effective!

Image of Mark Udall

Mark Udall

CO-Sen

This 5-term progressive Congressman has laid good groundwork for a bid for the Senate seat that comes open in 2008 with the retirement of low-profile GOP incumbent Wayne Allard.

Colorado began a trend to move bluer in the 2004 elections. Democrats captured control of the state legislature and flipped the other Senate seat. The Republicans have coalesced around an extremely conservative former Congressman who will start with a dedicated right-wing base of support.

The seat has to be regarded as the ripest Senate seat for a flip this cycle, but it alarming to see Democrats start to take the flip for granted. Colorado is a polarized state and the retiring incumbent is a Republican. It will take money and energy and talent to win this seat, even though conditions are favorable.

The AFL-CIO midterm report on Congress's voting record in the 2005 session shows Udall leads the Colorado delegation in support of legislation to protect working families. And, of course, for members of the Udall family, working to protect the environment is genetically hard-wired. Congressman Udall'€™s endorsements have included Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and the Human Rights Campaign.

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Democracy for America

They back good candidates for office and have an effective rapid-response email network.

Most recent accomplishment: herding senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) back into the Democratic caucus on a vote not to grant telecom companies retroactive immunity for their role in helping the Bush administration place warantless wiretaps. They marshalled thousands of telephone calls to persuade her not to be the only Democrat voting the wrong way on the Judidciary Commitee's version of that bill.

Image of Jerry McNerney

Jerry McNerney

CA-11

Republican smears against this outstanding Democratic freshman began with a mass mailing on the day he took the oath of office. They will spend millions to regain this seat, and it will take millions to keep this progressive alternative-energy guru in what used to be Richard Pombo's seat, serving on the House Science and Technology Committee, the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In some ways this was the most satisfying flip of the 2006 cycle; it would be a shame to lose it.

Image of Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen

TN-09

A social progressive with solid experience in Tennessee's state legislature, Steve Cohen defeated a crowded field of conservative, moderate, and Memphis machine politicians to win the seat in 2006. Voters returned him to the ballot after a stiff challenge from the right, in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Image of Martin Heinrich

Martin Heinrich

NM-01

Wingnut Republican Congressvarmint Heather Wilson opened up this seat when she made a (failed) bid for the US Senate. Heinrich, a well-established office holder in the district's population center, flipped the seat in 2008.

Key issues for Martin: bringing our troops home from Iraq as soon as possible and making sure our returning soldiers receive the quality health care and benefits they deserve; and what he calls "an Apollo Project for energy independence, moving America toward renewable energy sources: "No accomplishment would be a more valuable legacy for our children."

Image of Larry Kissell

Larry Kissell

NC-08

Grassroots favorite Larry Kissell unseated entrenched, 5-term Republican incumbent, Robin Hayes.

Larry was one of the best candidates we fielded, in the 2006 cycle: hard-working, honest, with solid Democratic values. His wealthy opponent's money came from the sale of his family's textile mills - all the American jobs they represented went overseas. Freed from any repercussions to his personal fortune, which he re-invested in oil industry stocks, the incumbent voted for NAFTA after promising his constituents not to do so.

Larry came heart-breakingly close to defeating Hayes in 2006 (a 300-vote recount photo finish) and won outright, in 2008. Congratulations to all who helped!

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Progressive Patriots Fund

Russ Feingold'€™s PAC disburses money to progressive candidates running for winnable House seats. It'€™s important to demonstrate that Senator Feingold has fund-raising clout similar to the big players in the Senate like Kerry, Clinton, and Kennedy, and that PACs that focus on liberal candidates can be an effective alternative to the DCCC.

Senator Feingold's PAC raised significant money in the 2006 cycle for key races in Congress, and also in the successful effort to take control of the Iowa state legislature, where Republicans enjoyed a very slim margin.

Image of Tom Perriello

Tom Perriello

VA-05

Flip the Virginia Delegation! This long-held reservoir of GOP strength cracked last cycle when Jim Webb won George Felix Allen's senate seat. Periello retired conservative Republican incumbent Virgil Goode.

Periello favors a new look at energy policy, access to health care, and he blames our security mess since 9/11 on the Bush Administration.

Image of Andrew Rice

Andrew Rice

OK-Sen

State Senator Andrew Rice took on GOP incumbent James Inhofe, widely regarded as one of the most conservative voices in the Senate. Andrew won his blue-safe urban state senate seat with endorsements from the Sierra Club, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats, and the AFL-CIO. Cherished issues for Andrew include protecting privacy and civil rights, public education, and affordable health care. A married father of one, Andrew has a Master's in Divinity from Harvard, and won the 2006 primary with wide support from Oklahoma City's gay community.

Andrew is the type of young Democrat that I want to see rise to the forefront in the Democratic Party.

Image of Scott Kleeb

Scott Kleeb

NE-Sen

Scott Kleeb, a rancher, teacher, and activist building support from the bottom up is the kind of new Democrat who can shake loose the death grip that the GOP has had on the West and Plains states. He ran for Congress last cycle in NE-03, by far the largest of Nebraska's 3 congressional districts. NE-03 has never sent a Democrat to Congress, but Scott, a political neophyte, raised more money than the Democrats running in NE-01 and NE-02 combined, and pared the GOP down to a 10-point margin.

Nebraska as a whole is less conservative than the 3rd district, and is represented by one incumbent Democratic Senator, and an open seat... for Scott.

Scott's populist, grass-roots campaign won a resounding victory in the May 13 primary, leading a field of 4 candidates with 69%. The winner will face a Bush cabinet officer hoping to walk into an easy Senate seat in November. Let's give the voters a real choice, and make it a real contest.

Image of Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown

CA-04

Charlie Brown held corrupt GOP incumbent Doolitle to 49%, a career-low margin, in the 2006 cycle. With Doolittle retiring from Congress, the seat is open and a prime target for 2008.

Charlie Brown gained name recognition from his run last cycle and will face the arch-conservative winner of an ugly Republican primary who is moving from outside the district to run for Doolittle's former seat.

Let's help Charlie push to the victory line in 2008!

Image of Mark B. McCracken

Mark B. McCracken

PA-05

County Commissioner McCracken won a Democratic primary that was conducted with civility and good humor, in an open district where the other party disgraced themselves with crude shenanigans and ludicrous candidates who tried to substitute huge warchests for credentials.

Mark will face a third-tier Republican contender who won the GOP primary with only 19% of the Republican vote, and who does not have personal millions to spend. The PA-05 seat has been Red-held for a long time; this is the best shot we will have at flipping PA-05 in the foreseeable future. Can you help?

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