Vermont About To Elect Another Progressive Superstar To Congress?
Seeing members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus being pounded with millions of dollars in right-wing money deployed through AIPAC and DMFI without any adequate response was pretty distressing. I asked a couple of CPC officers. One just lied to me flat out and said they would be coming to the rescue of Marie Newman and the other said the CPC wasn’t spending any money on IEs this cycle, also false. The CPC didn’t spend anything to help Marie Newman (who was defeated) or Rashida Tlaib or Cori Bush (both of whom won). They finally spent close to $80,000 on Andy Levin, not even close to enough to save him from AIPAC’s wraith. Meanwhile, the CPC has done significant IEs for challengers Summer Lee in Pennsylvania (almost $200,000), Delia Ramirez in Illinois (almost $400,000), Jill Tokuda, not even really a progressive. in Hawaii ($133,000 so far) and Rebecca Balint (almost $200,000 so far).
That was the first I heard of Balint. Her primary is this coming Tuesday. I’ve seen two public polls so far. Both from University of New Hamsphire. The one in April showed Balint ahead of the centrist Molly Gray 28-21% and the one from last month showing Balint way ahead, 63-21%. Balint also has a 73% approval rating compared to Gray’s 42% approval. UPDATE: Another poll, this one from Data For Progress, just showed up, also very good for Balint:
Balint is the first woman to have been elected Senate president pro-tem. The seat is open and her top opponent is Lt Gov Molly Gray, a garden variety Democrat who is supported by people who think being pro-Choice is all it takes to reconsidered progressive. Vermont is a very progressive state. The state Democratic Party… not as much. Remember, the party used to run conservative Democrats against Bernie when he was already in Congress caucusing with the Democrats! Those kind of Democrats have all endorsed Gray. Bernie endorsed Balint. This is her campaign launch video:
Aside from Bernie— inarguably the most important endorsement in the state— Balint is being supported by senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markie (D-MA) and some of the best members of the House: Pramila Payapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), David Takano (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI)… Gray has been endorsed by much of the state Democratic establishment: retiring Senator Patrick Leahy and former Governor Madeline Kunin and health care lobbyist Howard Dean. Gray takes corporate and lobbyist money and Balint is financing her campaign from the grassroots level. As of the July 20 FEC deadline, Balint had raised $1,116,960 and Gray had raised $1,053,582. The only significant independent money being spent on the race, aside from the $195,000 from the CPC, is also in favor of Balint— $128,000 from the Equality PAC and $991,909 from the LGBTQ Victory Fund.