Co-written by Dinelle Lucchesi.
With this historic and virtually eternal Democratic presidential primary soaking up all the oxygen some of the worthiest state candidates are being overlooked more than ever. The Progressive Democrats of America do a valiant job trying to fill this void by highlighting aspiring pols who are animated by a commitment to social and economic justice and who have a real chance to win.
Take Ed Fallon — someone whose name you probably haven’t heard before. He’s competing in the June 3rd Democratic primary for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. (Iowa confusingly holds its presidential primaries in January independently of the state’s other primary races.) His average campaign donation is $75 and he has a firm policy of never accepting money from PAC’s or lobbyists. His grassroots campaign has melded old-school tactics like phone banking and door to door visits with sophisticated online networking and effective use of youtube videos like this mockumentary on one of his champion causes: campaign finance reform.
Fallon served in the Iowa Legislature for fourteen years during which he established a noble record of working on behalf of peace and justice issues. During his years in the legislature he spoke out publicly against anti-civil rights legislation affecting gays and lesbians, helped lead the debate against anti-minority “Official English” legislation, worked to defeat the application of the death penalty on two occasions, led efforts to protect a rare wetland – Engeldinger Marsh – from highway expansion, consistently introduced legislation to increase the state minimum wage, pushed bills to prevent hiring replacement workers and introduced and passed legislation requiring voting machines to include a paper trail.
Incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell has repeatedly refused to debate Fallon, banking on his campaign war chest ($525,000 from PACs this past year) and his endorsements from Al Gore and Tom Harkin rather than his record to win him the race. That record, while not horrible (Boswell isn’t the worst of the blue dogs and tends to vote with the Democratic majority), has included terrible votes on key issues–notably his support for both the Iraq War and the Patriot Act in 2001 and its reauthorization in 2005.
Fallon carried this swing district when he made an unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2006 and has a legitimate chance at victory. Iowan Democrats, like Californians, have two primary cycles, one for the high profile presidential bid and another, much later voting day for the down-ticket races. Turnout is guaranteed to be smaller than it was in January–all the more reason why an effective mobilization of voters could make the difference. Click here to learn more about Fallon and how to support his campaign.