As you may or may not know, Howie, John and I are based in Los Angeles, and as progressives nothing has stuck in our craws more than the fact that that Jane Harman was able to hang onto her seat in California's 36th district (John's home district!) despite the fact that she was a Big Money Blue Dog who barely set foot in the area. When she announced her resignation from Congress we whooped for joy. Her retirement to the world of think tank advocacy has given us another opportunity to elect a real progressive to fill the seat.
Amazingly, we are blessed with two fine progressives who have thrown their hats into the ring: Marcy Winograd, who we endorsed in the two primaries she ran against Harman, and Debra Bowen the current Secretary of State who we also endorsed in her two statewide runs. It's an unusual and luxurious choice for progressives -- it so rarely happens that we have more than one great candidate.
We are fond of Winograd and greatly admired her willingness to take on the Democratic establishment as she did at last year's convention. That kind of pluck is in short supply. She is a stalwart progressive and a good friend and it was a privilege to support her in 2006 and 2010. However, after much deliberation we have decided to endorse Debra Bowen in this race. The reason is quite simple. We believe that all other things being equal, Bowen simply has the better chance to win.
Bowen is a hero to California progressives, and you may know of her through her national leadership on election integrity and internet issues as California Secretary of State. Indeed, she decided to run for the office after the debacle of 2000 for reasons I imagine many of us can relate to:
“I became motivated to get it right before we had another horrible disaster for our whole democracy,” said Bowen. “We couldn’t afford another election where there was vast mistrust of the results.”
She ended up winning the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage award for her work on election integrity.
With her high profile as a reformer and advocate for government transparency as Secretary of State, she has been a member in good standing of the Progressive Movement from the beginning, speaking at Netroots Nation and identifying herself with our cause. What you may not know is that previous to holding statewide office, she represented 90% of CA 36 for 14 years in the state Assembly and Senate and that she has a stellar progressive track record as a legislator as well. She is very popular in the district to this day among moderates and progressives alike, who see her as "their" statewide candidate. It's a big advantage and one that we think will propel her to victory over all the others in the race.
As a movement progressive, Bowen will naturally lend her strong voice to advocate for working families in congress and stand up for civil rights and civil liberties. Her record is clear on that. And with her reformer credentials, along with her dedication to green energy (her first foray into politics was working with Heal the Bay back in the 1980s) she is perfectly positioned to be a leader for us, for our time.
As a progressive netroots candidate, Bowen is naturally running a people powered campaign and we urge you to contribute to her cause. She will have a race on her hands with Winograd, LA Machine City Councilwoman Janice Hahn (Harman's hand-picked successor) and wealthy well connected Republican Mike Ross running and she'll needs our help. (Read Howie's post at Down With Tyranny for more on the machinations of the Hahn campaign.) We have a real chance to elect a movement progressive to this seat. Please donate if you can.
And now it's my pleasure to introduce you to Blue America candidate for congress from the 36th district, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Please give her a nice welcome: