The US is still over a year away from the House elections in 2014, and having picked up just seven more seats in 2012 from 2010, it will be an uphill battle if the Democrats are going to grab the 17 seats of the 435 up for grabs, needed to secure a majority in the House in 2014.
That isn’t to say that it is impossible for Democrats to secure a much needed majority. There are some promising candidates pushing for a victory in 2014. I will focus on two Congressional races in this article.
West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District:
Firstly, former Chairman of West Virginia’s State Democrats Nick Casey. Casey is a candidate running for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. The open seat will be vacated by Republican Shelley Moore Capito, who will be running for the Senate seat. On Casey’s campaign website, it is clear that a jobs plan is a priority, and rightfully so given that West Virginia as a whole has a 6.2% unemployment rate (15th highest in the US), with counties in the 2nd Congressional District having some of the highest rates of unemployment in the State. Casey’s website says:
“My campaign will focus on energy, infrastructure and the jobs they generate. Jobs repairing and expanding our roads, bridges, internet coverage, and essential infrastructure will help our entire economy grow. Right now in the Second Congressional District we have partially-finished projects. I’m talking about Route 35, Corridor H, Route 9 and other similar projects. Each of these are more than halfway finished and the remaining segments are already designed. Let’s finish these critical projects now, not in 20 or 30 years.”
– Given that Shelley Moore Capito has represented the district since 2001, with projects left unfinished, energy left untapped, and unemployment still high, it seems time for a change. It will be a struggle to win over a conservative leaning district in which President Obama lost every county in 2012, but with a clear focus on jobs, and on breaking the deadlock in Washington, Casey’s moderate, common sense approach could very well take the seat.
Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Race:
Less safe for Republicans in 2014, will be Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, which, since redistricting, has become a seat that could go either way. The swing seat is a battle between liberal Aurora and conservative Highlands Ranch. The Representative for Colorado’s 6th, is currently Republican Mike Coffman. Coffman is one of those Republicans that alienates those who aren’t exactly like him:
“I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”
– Not only is he questioning the President’s place of birth in a show of Donald Trump-esque non-reason, Coffman is also sure that the President, in his heart, is unAmerican. He of course doesn’t define what ‘being American’ means, and why the President doesn’t fit that definition, just that he is ‘unAmerican’ in ‘his heart’. No focus on issues, just on needless abuse. He also suggested that the President might use the military and an overseas conflict to help him win the election in 2012. And last week, whilst Congressional Republicans were demanding the President seek Congressional approval for a strike on Syria, upon hearing that that’s exactly what the President would do, Coffman changed position:
“The Assad government has had all the time in the world to move their assets around so they don’t present themselves as easy targets.”
– So, now Republicans are unhappy that the President didn’t strike early, without Congressional approval?
This is the face of a Republican Representative who has no reasonable argument and so must resort to weak insults with the distinct reek of desperation. When Coffman isn’t busy abusing the President, he is busy on his website, being Mr Obvious:
“…it is vital to promote responsible gun ownership by keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and of the mentally unstable.”
– That’s not a position. The alternative would be “we must ensure the mentally unstable can easily get hold of firearms“. The antithesis to the absurd, is not a position worth voting for, unless a credible plan accompanies it.
Mike Coffman is one of the many old rich male, anti-women Republicans in Congress. The elephant in the womb. He co-sponsored a bill to cut Title X entirely because it provides federal funds to Planned Parenthood, which uses private funds for abortion (again, provides private funds for abortion, not federal). Title X offers family planning funding and services including breast and cervical cancer screenings and preventative healthcare to millions of low income women and families. His war on the most vulnerable doesn’t stop there, Coffman voted no on the expansion of Children’s Health Insurance Program and co-sponsored “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” and “Defund ObamaCare”. Coffman, in short, is a time and money wasting anti-Obamacare Republican dedicated to the wealthy, who spends his time on useless legislation, to make a political point that no one wants to hear.
Coffman’s challenger for Colorado’s 6th, is Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff, like Casey is focusing on ending the stalemate in Washington and producing a Congress that actually works, along with green jobs. Romanoff also refuses to take campaign money from special interests, insisting:
“Washington is awash of special interest money…I’m going to need individuals to chip in and make contributions. I want to represent the people of the 6th District, not special interests.”
– Romanoff is one of very few to eschew campaign contributions from big business and special interests, worried – and rightfully so – that they distort the political process. By contrast, in 2011/12, Mike Coffman raised $216,000,000 from leadership PACs, $174,000 from the oil and gas industry and $144,000 from the real estate industry. According to the Denver Post, in 2012, Coffman received $10,400 in individual donations, over the legal limit.
Romanoff was the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives between 2005 and 2008, sponsored Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act. Whilst the process for receiving a BEST grant is a tough one, it is invaluable, given that small districts and charters have practically no other options for funding. Sanford Superintendent Kevin Edgar said:
“The BEST program is our only hope”
Romanoff has also authored laws protecting victims of domestic violence, and treatment for mental illness.
– So the choice is clear in 2014; an anti-women Representative with slightly neurotic, deluded Tea Party-esque tactics, funded by big oil among others, and no discernible position on most issues, or a Representative who isn’t tied to special interests and has worked for the benefit of the most vulnerable in the past.
Democrats need to secure more than double the seats they managed in 2012, if they are to take back the House and get Congress moving. It’s a tough battle, but it isn’t impossible. Focusing on candidates is vitally important and I will look at several more races over the coming weeks and months.
Vote Nick Casey for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
Vote Andrew Romanoff for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.