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While Democrats control the House of Representatives by 231-202, they cannot pass progressive bills on health care, the environment, jobs, justice, and impeachment - or even stop horrendous Republican bills on Iraq, torture, and warrantless wiretapping - because a few dozen "Bush Democrats" usually vote with George Bush.
The other solution is to support progressive Democrats in primaries against "Bush Democrats," and that's why we launched this effort, drawing heavily on the excellent advice of Blue America's Howie Klein.
The main reason progressives have avoided primaries against Democratic incumbents is the fear that a divisive primary might help turn a "Bush Democratic" seat into a Republican seat. Realistically, there may be a few "Bush Democrats" who are uniquely able to win in Republican districts and therefore should not be challenged in a Democratic primary. But those are the exceptions, not the rule - especially in an election like 2008 where Democrats have a large lead due to widespread disgust with Bush and the entire Republican Party. We will not target incumbents who are truly exceptional.
While we focus on replacing incumbent Bush Democrats, there are two other situations in which progressive Democrats face Bush Democrats:
- Open seats where progressive Democrats are running against Bush Democrats
- Progressive Democratic incumbents who are being challenged by Bush Democrats
You can help all of our progressive Democratic candidates through our Actblue page:
Below is a list of Democrats who voted wrong on one or more crucial votes. Some are hard-core "Bush Democrats" while others simply join them from time to time.
By publishing this list, we hope to accomplish several goals:
- Persuade these Democrats to stop voting with Bush so we don't have to challenge them in a primary. Democrats who reverse their bad votes and genuinely embrace progressive positions will be
crossed off our list
- Encourage progressive Democrats to run primaries against those who keep voting with Bush
This list began after 59 Bush Democrats voted against the McGovern Amendment on 5/10/2007 on the first key vote to end the war. Those 59 Bush Democrats voted for an endless occupation of Iraq despite overwhelming opposition from Democrats, Independents, and even many Republicans. The list has been modified since then to take account of other key votes since the original Iraq War vote on 10/10/02.
Key to Column Headings:
"B/R" ranks each district on a "Blue/Red" scale where 1=Strong Blue, 2=Leans Blue, 3=Tossup, 4=Leans Red, 5=Solid Red. In theory there is less "risk" in challenging an incumbent in a Blue district than a Red one, because the seat should stay Democratic regardless of who wins the primary. But each district and each race is unique, so that general theory may or may not apply.
"Incumbent" links to a page for each incumbent where you can discuss progressive Democrats who could challenge them in a primary, and other topics related to local political organizing.
"B/N" identifies Members who join the "Bluedog" (B) or "New Democrat/DLC" (N) caucuses. "Bluedogs" claim to support "fiscal responsibility," but these Bluedogs support a war that has already wasted an incredible $434 billion and driven budget deficits to record levels. "New Democrats/DLC" claim to support "national security" but the Iraq War has severely damaged our armed forces, undermined military recruitment, increased global terrorism, and alienated our allies. Those who play a leadership role with either group earn an asterisk (*).
"BDI" is the "Bush Democrat Index" which ranks all Democrats on their overall voting support for George Bush and the Republicans. It is the reverse of the Progressive Punch Index.
"Votes" identifies key votes where these Members voted wrong:
- ?: (Not in office when vote occurred)
- A: Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq on 10/10/02 (bad=support)
- B: Bankruptcy Bill on 5/14/05 (bad=support)
- M: Military Commissions Act on 9/27/06 (bad=support)
- I: Iraq Supplemental McGovern Amendment to end the war by 4/08 on 5/10/07 (bad=oppose)
- R: Andrews Amendment to block Iraq/Afghan funds for military strike on Iran on 5/16/07 (bad=oppose)
- X: Iraq Supplemental with unenforceable timetable on 7/12/07 (bad=oppose any timetable)
- W: Warantless Wiretapping on 8/4/07 (bad=support)
- C: Bi-Partisan Compact on Iraq to oppose any funding cuts 9/26/07 (bad=support)
- P: "Protect America Act" letter co-signer 2/08 (P voted against Democratic alternative 3/14/08)
- Q: Iraq $163B on 6/19/08
- F: FISA wiretapping immunity on 6/20/08
"Primary Nominees" lists people whose names have been mentioned. If they are running and have a web site we link to their site. If we consider them priority candidates (whether or not they are running) we make them bold.
|AL05||4||Bud Cramer||B||2||ABMIRWCPQF||retiring in 08|
|AZ08||3||Gabrielle Giffords||B||79||?IQF||Jeff Latas|
|CA28||1||Howard Berman||117||AIQF||Rep. Cindy Montanez
Rep. Lloyd Levine
|CO02||1||109||IQF||running for US Senate|
|FL02||4||Allen Boyd||B*||6||ABMIRWCPQF||Rep. Al Lawson|
|GA08||5||Jim Marshall||B||9||?MIRXWQF||Robert Nowak
|GA012||1||John Barrow||BN||12||?MIRXWPQF||Regina Thomas 7/15|
[Likely to retire after
IA loses seat in 2010]
|IN09||4||Baron Hill||B||32||A?IWQ||Gretchen Clearwater 5/6|
|KY06||3||Ben Chandler||BN||55||?BMIWQF||Sen. Ernesto Scorsone|
|MD05||1||Steny Hoyer||*||83||ABIQF||Paul Pinsky|
|NC011||3||Heath Shuler||B||23||?IRWPQF||Sen. Martin Luther Nesbitt
Rep. Susan C Fisher
Rep. Ray Rapp
|PA13||1||Allyson Schwartz||N||145||?BIRQ||Chuck Pennacchio|
|PA17||5||Tim Holden||B||11||ABMIRXPQF||Sen. Michael O'Pake|
|SD00||4||Stephanie Herseth Sandlin||BN*||36||?BMIRWCQF|
|TX09||1||Al Green||167||?BIF||Rep. Alma Allen
Rep. Hubert Vo
|TX27||2||Solomon Ortiz||14||BIQF||Juan Garcia|
|TX29||1||Gene Green||43||AIQF||Sen. Mario V. Gallegos|
|UT02||5||Jim Matheson||B||10||ABMIXWCPQF||Mayor Rocky Anderson|
|WA03||Brian Baird||CKQF||Cheryl Crist|
|WA06||Norm Dicks||AQF||Paul Richmond|
|TN-09||1||Steve Cohen||Nikki Tinker||Cohen is an outstanding progressive Freshman who won Harold Ford Jr.'s open seat in 2006 by beating cousin Joe Ford Jr. in the Democratic primary and brother Jake Ford in the general election. Religious right ministers want to defeat Cohen because he supported the Hate Crimes Bill H.R. 1592 and they are likely to support Nikki Tinker, Harold Ford Jr.'s former campaign manager, who came in 2nd to Cohen in the 2006 Democratic primary.|