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Another Transactional Conservative Democrat Just Joined Trump's Party-- Will Brindisi Be Next?




Technically part of the DC exurbs, Berkeley County, West Virginia, the second most populated county in the state, has pretty much always been Republican-- even when West Virginia was a loyal Democratic bastion. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the county was LBJ in 1964.

In 2016 Berkeley County Democrats went to the polls and expressed their support for Bernie over Hillary-- 49.2% to 44.0%. The general election was a wipeout, Trump beat Hillary 66.0% to 28.7%. The anti-red wave didn't hit Berkeley County and most voters there opposed even conservative Democrat Joe Manchin's reelection, who got just 42.6% of the vote. The county performed at an R+24 level for Congressman Alex Mooney that year. And this year Trump bested Biden 64.6% to 33.3%.

West Virginia's 61st state House district lies entirely within Berkeley County and includes Martinsburg, the county seat. The Delegate, Jason Barrett is a conservative Democrat in the Joe Manchin mold. He was first elected in 2012-- beating GOP incumbent Walter Duke-- and was defeated two years later in a rematch with Duke. Duke didn't run again in 2016 and Barrett narrowly beat Republican Travis Bishop toregain his old seat. In 2018, his Republican opponent, Anthony Vitale, was disqualified after the primary and Barrett won with no opponent. This year, with a 100% rating from both the NRA and the AFL-CIO, Barrett beat Republican Kim Morgan-Saladini 58.5% to 41.5%.

On Friday Barrett was in the news, another conservative Democrat stabbing the party in the back right after being reelected. Barrett switched to join the GOP. With Barrett’s departure, Democrats will hold 23 House seats (out of 100) next year. Republicans gained 18 seats in the Nov. 3 election to increase their majority from 58 to 76. West Virginia. Had been one of Trump's top states in 2016-- and did even better this cycle.


2016-

Trump- 489,371 (67.85%)

Hillary- 188,794 (26.5%)

2020-

Trump- 545,382 (68.63%)

Biden- 235,984 (29.70%)


The only Democratic delegates left in the Eastern Panhandle are John Doyle and John Unger. Doyle said he wasn't surprised by the switch. "He's so conservative that I've always thought he was really a Republican. I don't say that critically but analytically."

The last uncalled congressional election is for New York's 22nd congressional district (8 upstate counties, but primarily swingy Oneida and blue-leaning Broome). There are no good outcomes in this race between Trumpist sociopath Claudia Tenney-- who was defeated in 2018-- and Congress' most right-wing Democrat, Blue Dog chairman Anthony Brindisi. Both have ProgressivePunch "F" grades. Brindisi voted against progressive roll calls 74.70% of the time. more so than several Republicans! And what Brindisi did for the last two years is something no Republican could do. He whined and threatened and begged in private Democratic meetings to water down any legislation that even hinted at something progressive. One of his Democratic colleagues told me that "Brindisi is the worst member of Congress... I hope he loses." That didn't stop the DCCC and Pelosi's House Majority PAC from spending over $5.5 million to try to rescue his sorry ass.


Despite Brindisi spending $5,696,808 to Tenney's $2,320,796, Tenney leads Brindisi by 12 votes, although with thousands of votes disputed. Brindisi was recruited by the DCCC because he was the most conservative Democrat in the New York state Senate and the DCCC institutionally abhors the progressive values that once made the Democratic Party dominant. Will Brindisi eventually flip to join the Republicans? Many Blue Dogs have, including Pete Geren (TX), who coined the name Blue Dog as well as Blue Dog founders Billy Tauzin (LA), Nathan Deal (GA), Mike Parker (MS), Ralph Hall (TX), Greg Laughlin (TX), Gene Taylor (MS) and Jimmy Hayes (LA). More recently Blue Dog scumbags Jeff Van Drew (NJ), Artur Davis (AL), Parker Griffith (AL) and Bobby Bright (AL) also jumped the fence. Will Brindisi be the next one to jump the fence? That decision will be made entirely based on his own perspective career trajectory, but no matter what he does, you can bet he will be voting conservatively and with the Republicans, not the Democrats.




©2000 by Howie Klein. Leading The Progressive Fight Online Since 2000

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