Marcy Winograd brings energetic campaign to northern California, makes Harman nervous

 In Election 2010

Marcy Winograd & Rebecca Griffin

Congressional candidate Marcy Winograd and Peace Action West Political Director Rebecca Griffin

I am feeling energized and inspired after a series of fundraisers for Peace Action West-endorsed candidate Marcy Winograd in Northern California. Marcy’s passionate defense of progressive values fired up the audience, and the energy of her committed supporters was contagious.  Peace Action West cosponsored the events with Progressive Democrats of America, and the Wellstone Democratic Clubs from Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Marcy Winograd, author and activist Norman Solomon and I spoke to enthusiastic crowds in Sacramento and Berkeley, making the case that this is a critical race for progressives to dive into. While getting a more progressive representative in the 36th district seat would be a huge victory, this race also has wider implications—we are sending a message to the Democratic Party and Congress that they need to show us some bold leadership, or their jobs are in danger.

It’s clear that the Winograd campaign is already making incumbent Jane Harman nervous. In an impressive feat of organizing, the Winograd campaign managed to gather signatures of more than 300 California Democratic Party delegates to pull Harman’s pre-endorsement at the upcoming convention:

Primary election challenger Marcy Winograd has staged a successful effort to deny veteran California Rep. Jane Harman the pre-endorsement of the California Democratic Party, just days before the state party meets for its annual convention.

Harman had obtained more than 70 percent of the vote in her Southern California-based district’s March 20 pre-endorsement meeting. But Winograd announced this week that she had collected more than the 300 delegate signatures needed to strip Harman of that pre-endorsement. The pre-endorsement of the local party typically guarantees to candidates the endorsement of the state party at the state convention, which places the pre-endorsees under a roll call vote.

With neither Harman nor Winograd capturing the 36th District pre-endorsement, the fight for the California Democratic Party’s approval now heads to the floor of the state convention, which will meet in Los Angeles next week.

The Harman campaign scrambled to respond, and their accusations against the Winograd campaign are baseless:

“Winograd and the PDA have no issues to campaign on, so they instead want to abuse the Convention and waste time attempting to disenfranchise Jane Harman’s significant number of progressive supporters,” said Harman campaign adviser Harvey Englander. “Rather than firing inward, PDA should target vulnerable California Republicans. The goal is to build the progressive base, not shrink it.”

As I pointed out in my speeches this weekend, it’s laughable to say that Marcy Winograd has no issues to campaign on. Jane Harman is a vocal supporter of harsh, counterproductive sanctions on Iran. She has called for a “limited window” of engagement, with the military option on the table if that limited window passes without success. She even called for fomenting ethnic tension in Iran, though she later retracted the statement after an enormous backlash. This is escalating an already dangerous status quo that has failed to elicit changes in the Iranian regime’s behavior or relieve tensions between our countries. Harman has also been heavily criticized for her early support of the Iraq war and her attempts to help cover up the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping. Jane Harman only voted with Peace Action West 50% of the time in 2009, according to our recently released voting record. And that’s only her foreign policy record. Now that she is being challenged from the left, Harman is identifying as a progressive, but the Winograd campaign points out that when she ran for governor of California she called herself “the best Republican in the Democratic Party.”

The more people know about Marcy Winograd’s campaign, the more critical support she gains. As one attendee said during the question and answer session at the Berkeley event, “I wasn’t familiar with your candidacy before tonight, but you have won me over, and I am going to make a contribution.”

We need to get the word out about the Winograd campaign and send a clear message to Congress—we want members of Congress who do what’s right, not what’s politically convenient. Click here to donate to Marcy Winograd’s campaign, and pass along the link to your friends.

Paid for by the Peace Action West Voter Fund.

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