This is the third in the series of Grassroots Reports we are providing over the final few weeks of the campaign to let the blogosphere know what 21st Century Democrats is doing in several key battleground states. This week we're focusing on Maine which has suddenly become a targeted state in the Presidential race and has seen a tightening in the Senate and Congressional contests. After 21st Century Democrats helped force John McCain from Michigan, he redirected some of his staff to Maine in the hopes of winning a single electoral vote there.
Howie Klein brings us the good news that Planned Parenthood has done the right thing and has decided to endorse Democratic challenger Tom Allen in the race to unseat faux moderate Bush enabler Susan Collins.
As Howie says, these single issue groups way too often, in the name of bi-partisanship, endorse incumbent Republicans, despite their record. Indeed, Planned Parenthood endorsed Collins in her re-election bid 6 years ago. But no longer.
It's the first time Planned Parenthood has backed the challenger to a senator it had previously endorsed. It also seems to be the first time Planned Parenthood has backed a Senate challenger over an incumbent who identifies as pro-choice. And It also serves as an example to other so-called "progressive" groups, showing that it's possible to avoid reflexively fluffing those in power.
The decision to intervene in the race--coming from the nation's most important and respected pro-choice organization--sounds an urgent warning to pro-choice Collins supporters, admonishing them to take another look at the junior senator's record.
Howie catalogs the worst of Collins's betrayals to the pro-choice movement:
-voted for the confirmation of anti-Choice radical Sammy Alito to the Supreme Court.
-voted for nearly all of President Bush's lower court judicial nominees, including right-wing activist appointees like Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown.
-voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a law that pro-choice groups saw as a backdoor attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade.
-has remained silent about the Bush administration's recently proposed DHHS rule, which grants health care providers wide latitude to deny services to women on a case by case basis.
Planned Parenthood's bold decision to endorse Allen at this point in the race is also a signal that we shouldn't give up on Allen. They haven't. Indeed, while Collins is widely considered safe, the truth is Allen is closing. According to Rasmussen, Allen has gained 3 points in 2 weeks and is now down by just 10%. Even better, a new DSCC poll has Allen within 8% and Collins below 50%.
For more on Allen visit his website HERE and contribute to his campaign to replace one of the worst Bush enablers in the Senate with a true progressive champion at ActBlue.
I'm here in Bridgton, Maine for the week with my family, so my posting will be light. Bridgton is in Southwestern rural Maine, which I think should be McCain country, but all I've seen are Obama bumper stickers. In fact, the only McCain signage I've seen since I've been here was a McCain yard sign on a front lawn.
Can you say enthusiasm gap? There's a great article in The Bangor Daily News about the extreme Democratic organization advantage here in Maine. The Democratic Party has opened 29 offices in the state, versus just 3 for the Republicans. Notably, Democrats opened just 4 offices in 2004.
There aren't many people who think John McCain is going to turn Maine from blue to red at the presidential level, but the importance of building the volunteer base and driving up turnout is also to benefit the downticket races, most notably the senate race between progressive Democratic Congressman Tom Allen versus do-nothing faux-moderate Bush-enabler Sen. Susan Collins.
Since March, Allen has closed Collins's 23 point lead to just 9 points. He still has a bit of a climb yet, but I think the excellent 60 second ad Allen released yesterday on broadcast and cable TV (there's also a radio version) is a great launch to the final three months of the campaign.
Check it out below.
The Allen campaign is asking us to contribute to keep the ad on the air. For example, to air a 30 second spot during Nightline in Presque Isle, contribute $25 and to air it during CSI in Portland, contribute $500. It's a cool idea. You can help them keep the ad up on the air HERE.
The netroots / blogosphere has picked its favorites, be they Rick Noriega or Darcy Burner or Scott Kleeb. (All three of whom are great candidates.)
In this diary, I wanted to spread the love a bit to a few candidates that don't get mentioned much, or at all. Please help me in this task.
Oftentimes moderate Democrats running in Republican districts, who don't and can't hew to the hard left like we might like, lose out in the online popularity contests. But at the end of the day, their one vote will count for just as much, and will each be replacing the vote of a bad GOP legislator.
In this diary I detail 5 house candidates and 5 senate candidates that are worthy of your donations - even $5 - via ActBlue at this link. Even better, sign up for a recurring contribution - it helps ensure the candidates a steady financial situation.
In 1996 when campaigning for the US Senate, Susan Collins pledged that if she were elected, she'd only serve two terms. Up until now, there was only audio of Collins making that promise. But now video has emerged and it doesn't get any more unambiguous than this:
"I have pledged that if I am elected I will only serve two terms regardless of whether a term limits constitutional amendment passes or not."
In 2002, during her Senate re-election campaign, Collins reaffirmed her pledge as you can see here in this letter to a constituent.
"I intend to serve only two terms as I indicated in the Sanfgord forum 6 years ago."
Yet here she is in 2008 running for a third term, having blatantly broken her promise to Maine voters. Turns out that whole term limits thing...just a "frenzy".
On October 12, 2006 Collins stated that she was breaking her pledge and would seek another six year term in the Senate. Collins justified her new position stating that her viewpoint on seniority has changed, "At the time, I thought that 12 years, that two terms, would be enough. This was at the height of what I would call the frenzy over term limits."