Antiwar Candidates Challenge Incumbent Democrats in House and Senate Races
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
The 2006 mid-term elections are just five months away. In the Senate, close to three-dozen seats are up for grabs, while all 435 seats are open in the House. Democrats hope growing public discontent with the Bush administration will help them win control of Congress from the Republicans. But some of this year's most heated races won't just come down to Republicans vs. Democrats - or Independents - in November. Rather, in primaries this week and continuing through the summer, some of the country's closely-watched races will pit Democrats - against Democrats. And there's one main issue that's creating the fault line: the war in Iraq.
Across the country, a handful of challengers are taking some of the leading Democratic figures to task for voting to send US troops to Iraq and refusing now to bring them home. On this issue and others like government wiretapping, these candidates say many elected Democrats have betrayed core party values and provided political cover for the Bush administration.
We hear from four of these candidates that are shaking up races across the country: Jonathan Tasini in New York, Marcy Winograd in California, Ned Lamont in Connecticut and John Bonifaz in Massachusetts. [includes rush transcript - partial]
We begin here in New York with Jonathan Tasini. He is a union leader and organizer, and former president of the National Writers Union. He is running against incumbent New York Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
Joining him here in our Firehouse studio is Cindy Sheehan. Since the death of her son Casey in Iraq in April 2004, she has emerged as one of the leading figures of the anti-war movement in the United States. She is the co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. She has called on Democrats to vote against their pro-war incumbents. Welcome to Democracy Now!
We invited Senator Clinton to come on the program but her office declined our request.
- Cindy Sheehan, her son Casey was killed in Iraq in April 2004. She is the co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and a member of Voters For Peace.
- Jonathan Tasini, union leader and organizer. He is the former president of the National Writers Union.
Joining us from a studio in Los Angeles is Marcy Winograd. She's a teacher and longtime activist. She's running against incumbent California Congressmember Jane Harman for the Democratic nomination in California's 36th Congressional District. The primary vote in that race is today.
- Marcy Winograd, teacher and longtime activist..
We turn back to the Senate for one of the most-watched races of the primary season. Joe Lieberman, the three-term Democratic Senator from Connecticut, is facing his first major challenge to re-election since he won his seat eighteen years ago. Senator Lieberman has been one of the most vocal Democratic supporters of the Iraq war. Anti-war sentiment is growing in Connecticut. A recent poll showed more than 60 percent of the state's voters believe the war in Iraq is wrong.
Disenchantment with Lieberman within his own party has grown so vocal he recently refused to rule out leaving the Democratic ticket and running as an Independent. His opponent joins us now in our firehouse studio. Ned Lamont is a former telecommunications executive. He won a third of the delegate vote at the Democratic Party's state convention last month to put him on the ballot in the primary on August 8th. We invited Senator Lieberman on the program but he was unavailable to join us.