Thursday, November 09, 2006

An election roundup, part 1: Congress

I intended to write yesterday, but the day after Election Day turned out to be a little busier than I expected. Actually, that may be a good thing, it's given me a day to think about my reaction to Tuesday's events. Some quick thoughts:

Congressional races: No surprises in the first, fourth and fifth. Well, actually, one surprise. I was expecting Roy Nielsen to do better in the fifth, maybe even becoming the first independent candidate in recent memory to beat a major party candidate. My mistake.

In the third, I'm mildly encouraged by the events of the last few days. I've been hard on Boswell for running nasty negative ads that any progressive should be embarrassed by. He won by a relatively wide margin. Whether the ads were necessary or not is something we'll never know. But I do feel like one step in the right direction has been taken.

Two years ago, I stood on the floor at the Iowa Democratic Party's election night party when we found out that America faced four more years of W. About the same time, Leonard Boswell took the stage to give his victory speech. He used it to announce that he was running again. That was the point when I stopped voting straight-ticket. I had knocked doors for more than half a dozen candidates, Boswell was the only one who had won, and instead of telling us what he hoped to accomplish in his next two years, he told us he was launching his next campaign.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. Leonard Boswell has just won handily, partly by raising more money than any congressional candidate in history, and he's coming to the podium. I cringe, expecting to be infuriated again. Instead, he says we need to change the way campaigns are run. I couldn't agree more, and I'll be watching to see if he takes a step to make it happen. I'm still skeptical, but it's significantly better than what I expected.

Moving on to the second. At the very least, I'm pleasantly surprised. I wrote Dave Loebsack off in March, and in September when the first polls showed he was close, I accused his campaign of push polling. It turns out I was wrong on both counts.

Make no mistake, Loebsack's victory is one of the biggest upsets of our lifetime, but it's also the biggest turnaround I've ever seen. Just eight months ago, Loebsack's campaign wasn't even organized enough to get him on the ballot in the primary. Today he's a Congressman-elect who defeated an incumbent who started serving almost a decade before I was born. Impressive, to say the least.



T.M. Lindsey said...

You weren't the only one who wrote Loebsack off, but I'm surprised, given your allegience to the progressive movement and agenda, that you didn't look deeper into his candidacy and support Dave. I realize you don't reside in the 2nd district, but nonetheless, Dave does represent Iowa.

If anything, Dave's victory should be a model for progressives and the progressive movement in electoral politics. He won because of his tireless grassroot efforts and because of those people who believed in Dave and helped push his candidacy forward.

Congratulations, Dave. You earned it.

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