Last November, when the falsehoods and deceptions that led our nation into the Iraq War were already clear, as were the staggering human and economic costs, The Nation made this pledge in its lead editorial: "We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign."
We felt strongly – and still do – that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite credentials, can win these midterm elections as well as the 2008 national election. Peace Action – in the same spirit as our editorial – created its inspired Peace Voter Pledge, and has identified peace candidates who are locked in tough races as we enter the home stretch before Election Day. In the continuing effort to identify leaders who will fight to end this disastrous war and further the cause of peace, we are providing that partial list of peace candidates here.
"In general, ‘peace candidate' means wanting to bring our troops home from Iraq," says Peace Action's Organizing and Policy Director, Paul Kawika Martin. "Although some also believe in cutting military spending, diplomacy for Iran, nuclear disarmament and other important peace issues."
Here, then, are some peace candidates in tight races who are worthy of your support:
Charlie Brown (D-CA) for Congress
Charlie Brown is running for Congress in California's 4th District against Republican incumbent John Doolittle, who is losing ground due to links to Jack Abramoff. Brown is a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force who voiced opposition to the war in Iraq before it began. Despite a district redrawn for Doolittle's benefit, recent polls show Brown in a statistical dead heat with the incumbent.
Jerry McNerney (D-CA) for Congress
Jerry McNerney is a progressive Democrat who has a good chance of beating the reactionary Richard Pombo (R-CA) in California's 11th District. He supports Rep. Murtha's plan for a speedy withdrawal of the troops, and The Cook Political Report now calls this once safe Republican seat a toss-up.
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) for Congress
In the highly competitive race for the open seat in Colorado's 7th District, Ed Perlmutter has made his support for troop withdrawal well-known. He has said that one of his first acts in Congress will be to add his name to Rep. Murtha's list of co-sponsors for legislation calling for a speedy withdrawal. Perlmutter is also a strong advocate for alternative energy research and is effective at making the connection between US foreign policy and the need for a new energy policy at home.
Diane Farrell (D-CT) for Congress
Running against Republican Chris Shays in Connecticut's 4th District, Diane Farrell has taken a strong stance against nuclear proliferation. Farrell recognizes that the US needs to lead by example when it comes to nonproliferation and understands that investment in new nuclear weapons detracts resources from critical parts of the federal budget. She also knows that it's time to bring the troops home in a way that respects their safety and our obligations to the Iraqi people. Polling shows the candidates even in this race.
Ned Lamont (D-CT) for Senate
Running against war hawk Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont says: "Those who got us into this mess should be held accountable…the $250 million a day we are spending in Iraq is better spent on pre-school and healthcare, public transit and veterans benefits." Lamont praises the leadership of Rep. John Murtha and calls for a speedy withdrawal of troops.
Paul Hodes (D-NH) for Congress
Paul Hodes faces Republican Rep. Charles Bass in New Hampshire's 2nd District. Hodes believes that the US should lead global nuclear disarmament by example – ceasing new nuclear weapon development, maintaining the moratorium on nuclear tests, and reducing our current nuclear stockpile. Hodes also supports a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and pledges to work against permanent US military bases in Iraq.
Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for Senate
Sen. Bob Menendez opposed the Iraq War from the start, back when most of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate failed to take a strong stand. Although Menendez angered many in the peace movement with his vote for the Military Commissions Act, he supports beginning troop withdrawal this year. He faces a tough opponent in Tom Kean, Jr., and is locked in a tight race.
John Hall (D-NY) for Congress
Running in New York's 19th District, John Hall is a truly progressive candidate with pro-peace positions on important issues such as nuclear weapons and the occupation of Iraq. Hall calls for immediately beginning troop withdrawal. He also recognizes the urgent need to rebuild relationships with the international community, particularly by joining treaties to ban landmines, the International Criminal Court, and reducing global warming emissions. The redistribution of federal funds from nuclear weapons to funding human needs is another key issue for Hall.
Dan Maffei (D-NY) for Congress
Dan Maffei challenges 18-year incumbent Rep. Jim Walsh in New York's 25th District. Maffei is a strong advocate for an immediate and safe withdrawal of our troops. He also supports an independent investigation into the Bush administration officials' involved in leading us into a war under false pretexts.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for Senate
Progressive Rep. Sherrod Brown is in an extremely close race to oust the conservative Senator Mike DeWine (R). Although Brown angered many in the peace movement with his vote for the Military Commissions Act, over the past four years in the House he has averaged more than 94 percent on Peace Action's voting record.
Joseph Sestak, Jr. (D-PA) for Congress
Running against incumbent Rep. Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania's 7th District, retired three-star Admiral Joe Sestak calls for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2007 and favors nuclear disarmament. Sestak would act far better on peace issues than ten-term incumbent Weldon who in the last six years averaged an appalling 11 percent on the Peace Action voting record.
Bernard Sanders (I-VT) for Senate
This isn't actually a "close race." Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is heavily favored to win Vermont's open Senate seat. But his wealthy opponent has spent more than $2,000,000 of his own money. If Sanders is indeed elected, he will be the most progressive member of that body and will continue to champion peace issues.
As these tight races go down to the wire, your contribution, GOTV efforts, and vote can make the difference between the continued occupation of Iraq, or contribute to electing those who could be instrumental in helping move a newly elected Democratic Congress to push for speedy withdrawal and the pursuit of peace.