Victories for peace in last night's election

 In Election 2012

The energy last night was contagious as cheers echoed throughout the bar where Peace Action West staff gathered to watch the election results come in. Last night was a rejection of the dangerous path Mitt Romney would have taken us down with his ignorance and posturing on foreign policy. One by one, extremist candidates around the country went down in defeat. We saw what happens when the grassroots mobilize and show their power in the voting booth.

Next January, a more pro-peace Congress will hear our voices. We have a Senate that is far more likely to pass important treaties. We have new members of the House who were swept into office by voters who want a real end to our decade of war.

We couldn’t have done this without you. You saw the stakes in this election and stepped up to help pro-peace candidates. Thanks to you, we raised nearly $30,000 for our slate of candidates, sent four organizers to some of the most competitive races in the country, and contacted thousands of voters.

Here’s a rundown of how Peace Action West’s endorsed candidates fared last night:


  • Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) The Progressive Caucus Co-Chair and leading voice for peace in the House defeated Republican Gabriela Sauceda Mercer 57% to 39%.
  • Jared Huffman (CA-2) Huffman has big shoes to fill, taking the seat vacated by antiwar leader Rep. Lynn Woolsey. He heads to the House with a strong mandate, winning over Republican Dan Roberts by 40 points.
  • John Garamendi (CA-3) Republicans added challenger Kim Vann to their “Young Guns” program, hoping to unseat House Armed Services Committee member John Garamendi. Thankfully, we’ll continue to have Rep. Garamendi’s leadership in the House on ending the war in Afghanistan and cutting wasteful military spending, as he won 54% to 46%.
  • Barbara Lee (CA-13) This race showed how the true the “Barbara Lee Speaks for Me” signs we see around this district really are, as progressive hero Lee won reelection with 86% of the vote.
  • Mark Takano (CA-41) This new seat in Riverside created an opportunity to get a new progressive face in Congress from the Inland Empire. Takano defeated his opponent John Tavaglione 56% to 44%.
  • Janice Hahn (CA-44) This race was a product of California’s new top two primary system, pitting two Democratic incumbents against each other. Hahn, who has been an outspoken opponent of the war in Afghanistan since her election in 2009, won with 60% of the vote.
  • Steve Horsford (NV-4) Nevada added a new district in 2012, and pro-peace candidate Horsford will join the NV delegation in January, winning against Danny Tarkanian 50% to 42%.
  • Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) Bonamici won a special election to fill Rep. David Wu’s seat in January of 2012, and had to jump right in to another primary in May and the general election in November. We will continue to have her pro-peace votes in Congress as she won with 60% of the vote.
  • Suzan DelBene (WA-1) This newly redrawn open seat in Washington is one of the most closely divided in the country. DelBene won over tea party Republican John Koster 54% to 46%.


  • Richard Carmona (AZ-Sen) Carmona had an uphill battle taking on Republican Jeff Flake in red Arizona, and through his dogged campaigning he turned this into a tossup race. In the end, Flake won 50% to 45%.
  • Pete Stark (CA-15) Pete Stark has been a wonderful ally for the peace movement through his four decades in Congress. Thanks to the top-two primary system, Stark ran against another Democrat, Eric Swalwell, who defeated Stark 53% to 47%.
  • John Hernandez (CA-21) Hernandez jumped in to try to fill a Central Valley open seat, in an area that has traditionally been favorable to Republicans. Republican David Valadao won with 60% of the vote.
  • Lee Rogers (CA-25) Rogers took on one of the peace movement’s biggest antagonists in Congress, House Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon. His committed grassroots campaigning made the race more competitive than many expected, losing to McKeon 45% to 55%.
  • Joe Miklosi (CO-6) Miklosi took on tea party Republican Mike Coffman, whose district became more Democratic due to redistricting, making the race a tossup. Miklosi managed to keep Coffman under 50%, but unfortunately narrowly lost the race 49% to 45%.

As committed activists, we know our work is far from over. We must push President Obama to take his foreign policy in a bolder direction in his second term. New members of Congress need to be educated about foreign policy decisions they’ve never had to make before. Pro-peace voters need to show that we are still engaged and will keep raising our voices to end wars, reinvest wasteful Pentagon spending in our communities, and put peaceful solutions first.

We always knew it wasn’t just about winning elections. While it is disappointing that some of our favorite candidates won’t be heading to DC in January, our victories last night mean we can step into 2013 with new opportunities on the horizon, and new partners for peace in Congress to take advantage of those opportunities. Thank you for making it possible.



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Showing 13 comments
  • Jean Fisher

    But I was very disappointed that California’s Issue 37 for the labeling of GMO foods was voted down. This seemed like a no brainer to me as all they were asking for was a label just like we have labels on how much salt, sugar, cholesterol are in foods. But Monsanto spend 1 million per day to defeat it with lies.

  • Sara Clay

    Sorry thing to note, but research says people are more likely to believe big lies than little ones, especially if they hear them multiple times! Too bad Monsanto has the money to promote their big lies. Maybe if we become more self-aware of this psychological tendency, our attitudes as a populace might change as we become more self-examining. Also sorry that I’m pessimistic about this in the U.S.; but, then, we are celebrating today, for the most part, are we not?! At least we have re-elected ad administration that believes, I think, in real science.

  • myjustice4all

    Yes, I was disappointed in 37 also, even more so in our NOT voting to abolish the death penality in CA, both no brainers in my opinion.

  • Sara Clay

    Agreed. Here in Vermont, with a bit of land, I can defeat Monsanto by growing my own. And I am proud to live in a state that abolished the death penalty in the 70s, and to be represented by Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy in the Senate, and Pete Welch in the House. Keep the faith, you folks out there so far away! Things can turn around, as we saw last night with the Senate! Keep the faith, and the peace.

  • William W Haywood

    I find it incredible how little impact many of the races had that were not in the swing states. No mention, as of yet, as to why we were not able to make a dent in the House…and you would think that would be interesting to folks because the House is where a major part of the obstruction holds power. All in all, I think it would be insane to say that anything, other than a few name cards, has changed. Politics as usual if you ask me….

  • Kara J Lincoln

    thank you PAW for the year of support!

  • Jane Milliken

    Lets add Chris Murphey D Connecticut to achivements. He is going to do a great job for peace, I believe.

  • Sol

    I am so upset by the defeat of prop 37 that I am prepared to convert to any religion that declares eating GMO food a sin. Then I could make a case that Monsanto and Novartis are forcibly interfering with my religious freedom.
    Does anyone know if there is a religion with this position?

  • Yvonne

    I too was very disappointed with the Prop 37 result. However the good news is that it has brought more attention to this issue and the public is being educated on what GMOs are. I am more adamant than ever to just buy organic and be GMO free!! I wish Monsanto could be prosecuted for all the lies in their commercials. So unfair.

  • Amy

    Sol, I know of no religion like that, but you could start one. I have MS, and only learned of GMO’s when I decided to use nutrition to try and keep my disease from progressing. Since then I have been trying very hard to avoid GMO’s, but it’s not easy since they are in almost everything. I also firmly believe that one of the reasons why I got MS is because of the GMO’s, or at least explains why I now cannot tolerate gluten. Extremely disappointed that Prop 37 didn’t pass, but seeing as how MonSatan threatened to sue the entire state of Vermont for GMO labelling, and does all sorts of other underhanded crap, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. 🙁

  • sciline

    In the vernacular of our Native American brothers, I would designate our congress and senate as: “White and Colored men and women with many wires down!”
    I can only Hope that the “New Arrivals” will see to the “Re-stringing” of these wires!

  • G.P. Kelley

    Might I remind Peace Action West, that before we celebrate Governor Romney’s failed bid for the Presidency, our nation just re-elected a President that has continued our involvement in unnecessary, unjust and illegal war(s). Many of President Obama’s actions have in essence helped to institutionalize the policies of his predecessor.

  • richardkanepa

    If you add instead of substracting the Ron Paul wing of the Tea Party as peace votes, America’s desire for peace would be overwhelming. Jeff Flake voted against Afghan Surge appopieations and earlier Iraq war funding and against the embargo of Cuba,


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