I hope you saw the Blue America e-mail about Maine senatorial candidate Shenna Bellows yesterday. She's the former ACLU executive director who's taking on Susan Collins this cycle. Although Collins is an old fashioned mainstream conservative, who nonetheless backs her reactionary colleagues nearly all the time, the media just delights in terming her a "moderate." Just Chris Christie. Yeah… Anyway, this won't be an easy battle for Shenna to win, even in an increasingly blue state like Maine. Obama won the state 401,306 (56%) to 292,276 (41%) last year and although the state is saddled with a crackpot Tea Party governor, he only won a 3-way primary with 36% of the vote.
64% of Mainers did not want to see Paul LePage win the governor's job. According to the latest polling, now that Mainers know him, they haven't warmed up to him. 39% approve of the job he's done and 56% disapprove. Even in a 3-way race, he's on track to losing to Democrat Mike Michaud. I doubt Collins is excited to be sharing the ticket with LePage.
The e-mail blast yesterday covered a whole grab bag of reasons why it's important for progressives to support Shenna. Mostly we tried painting a whole picture of the kind of senator she will be and the kinds of difficult issues she will be willing to lead on. I don't expect Shenna Bellows to go to Washingon just to vote well, any more than that was what I expect of Elizabeth Warren or Alan Grayson. Fierce advocates and skillful leaders are in short supply in Washington. Shenna Bellows has proven she'll be one of those.
I asked her to write a brief guest post that I suspect 95% of Democrats wouldn't go near with a ten foot pole: marijuana legalization. For me this isn't just about the specifics integral to the issue; it's also about the courageousness of a candidate for U.S. Senate taking a tough stand on an issue that frightens most politicians.