News Politics

Markey Wins Democratic Primary, Will Face Off With Gomez for Massachusetts Senate Seat

Robin Marty

The winner on the June special election in Massachusetts won't change the balance of power in Congress, but could change the political landscape heading into the 2014 midterms.

On Tuesday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) defeated fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) in a Massachusetts primary, making Markey the Democratic nominee to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. In a June special election, Markey will face off against Republican nominee Gabriel Gomez, who is running for office for the first time. The winner won’t change the balance of power in Congress, but could change the political landscape heading into the 2014 midterms.

Markey has a strong record on reproductive rights, in stark contrast to Lynch, who dubs himself a “pro-life Democrat.” Lynch, along with a small block of other like-minded Democrats, voted against the Affordable Care Act and supported abortion restrictions during his time in Congress. Markey’s campaign was supported both financially and on the ground by NARAL Pro-Choice America, which applauded his win in a press release. “On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, our member activists and volunteers, we’re very pleased with the outcome of this race,” said NARAL President Ilyse Hogue. “Ed Markey was the only candidate who women can trust to protect our right to choose. Just as we saw in the 2012 election cycle, Americans will support candidates who stand for reproductive freedom. Massachusetts voters acted on their pro-choice values and rejected the anti-choice candidate, Stephen Lynch.”

Republicans, meanwhile, hope that Gabriel Gomez’s victory in their primary means they will have the same special election success they saw back in 2010, with the election of Sen. Scott Brown—a win that led to a tidal wave of Tea Party successes in the 2010 midterms.

Markey has already announced that he will be highlighting major policy differences in the campaign. “We have big issues that divide us,” Markey told The Republican. “I am pro-choice and he is not. I favor banning assault weapons and these dangerous magazines that turn them into weapons of war, and he does not. I support protecting Medicare and Social Security, and he’s ready to put it on the operating table … there are big differences between the Republican nominee and myself and I’m ready to have an eight-week debate over these big issues.”

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According to the paper, Markey has also asked Gomez to take the same pledge that Brown and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren took, to refuse allowing outside interest groups to run ads on their behalf. Gomez has turned down that request, signifying a possible tide of special interest dollars coming into play during this short, intense general election period.

With the community still reeling from the Boston bombings, Gomez will be inclined to focus not just on Markey’s decades as a politician versus his own fresh perspective, but his background as a Navy Seal and national security interests. A wealthy businessman and the son of immigrants, Gomez’s greatest challenge will be to paint Markey as part of the political apparatus in Washington that isn’t working without reminding voters that the self-made, “not a politician” outsiders elected in the last few years have largely caused the gridlock in Congress.

With a slim Democratic majority in the Senate, a one-seat loss wouldn’t create a major difference in voting. A Markey win wouldn’t get Democrats any closer to a veto-proof majority, and a Gomez win wouldn’t provide enough votes to flip decisions in the other direction. Yet this race could still be one of the most important Senate races in decades, simply for its symbolic value. If Markey wins, it would highlight the continuing dissatisfaction with a GOP more interested in scoring points and obstruction than in a government effectively. Meanwhile, a Gomez win could leave us wondering if 2014 will be 2010 all over again.

News Politics

Former Klan Leader on Senate Run: My Views Are Now the ‘GOP Mainstream’

Teddy Wilson

David Duke has been a fervent support of the Trump campaign, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

David Duke, convicted felon, white supremacist, and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, announced Friday that he will run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, Roll Call reported.

Duke said that after a “great outpouring of overwhelming support,” he will campaign for the open Senate seat vacated by former Republican Sen. David Vitter, who lost a bid for Louisiana governor in a runoff election.

Duke’s announcement comes the day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination in the midst of growing tensions over race relations across the country. Trump has been criticized during the campaign for his rhetoric, which, his critics say, mainstreams white nationalism and provokes anxiety and fear among students of color.

His statements about crime and immigration, particularly about immigrants from Mexico and predominantly Muslim countries, have been interpreted by outlets such as the New York Times as speaking to some white supporters’ “deeper and more elaborate bigotry.”

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Duke said in his campaign announcement that he was the first candidate to promote the policy of “America first,” echoing a line from Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night.

“The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First,” Trump said Thursday night. “As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect.”

Duke said his platform has become “the GOP mainstream” and claimed credit for propelling Republicans to control of Congress in 2010. He said he is “overjoyed to see Donald Trump … embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years.”

Trump in February declined to disavow the support of a white supremacist group and Duke, saying he knew “nothing about David Duke” and knew “nothing about white supremacists.” He later clarified that he rejected their support, and blamed his initial failure to disavow Duke on a “bad earpiece.”

Trump’s candidacy has also brought to light brought many incidents of anti-Semitism, much of which has been directed at journalists and commentators covering the presidential campaign.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote in the National Review that Trump’s nomination has “drawn anti-Semites from the woodwork,” and that the Republican nominee has been willing to “channel the support of anti-Semites to his own ends.”

Duke took to Twitter after Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday to express his support for the Republican nominee’s vision for America.

“Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” Duke tweeted.

Duke has been a fervent Trump supporter, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

Duke was elected to the Louisiana house in 1989, serving one term. Duke was the Republican nominee for governor in 1991, and was defeated by Democrat Edwin Edwards.

Duke, who plead guilty in 2002 to mail fraud and tax fraud, has served a year in federal prison.

News Politics

Democrats in Utah, Colorado Make History as First Openly Transgender Women to Win Congressional Primaries

Ally Boguhn

Though Misty Snow's win may be historic for LGBTQ equality, she has previously noted that it was not the reason she is running for office."I'm not running because I'm transgender. I just happen to be transgender," the Utah candidate said.

Voters in Utah and Colorado made history Tuesday after nominating Democrats Misty Snow and Misty Plowright to run for Congress in their respective states—making them the first openly transgender women to win a major party’s congressional primary nomination.

Misty Snow, according to the bio listed on her campaign’s website, is a 30-year-old grocery store cashier from Salt Lake County, Utah, “concerned by the degree of income inequality in this country: particularly how it disproportionately impacts women, people of color, and the LGBT community.” Among the many issues prioritized on her website are paid maternity leave, a $15 minimum wage, and anti-choice regulations that “restrict a woman’s right to having a safe and legal abortion as well as any attempts to undermine a woman’s access to important health services.”

Though her win may be historic for LGBTQ equality, she has previously noted that it was not the reason she is running for office. “I’m not running because I’m transgender. I just happen to be transgender,” she told the Salt Lake Tribune in May. In later statement to the publication, however, Snow acknowledged that “a lot of people have told me whether I win or lose, I’m already making a difference just by running.”

Snow ran opposite Democrat Jonathan Swinton in Utah, having filed to run for office just before the March 17 deadline. Snow decided to run after Swinton, who was running for the Democratic ticket unopposed, penned an op-ed in September arguing that Planned Parenthood should be investigated—though the government should not be shut down over it. After reading the op-ed and thinking it over for several months, Snow told the Tribune she began to think the people of Colorado deserved a more liberal option and thought, “Why not me?”

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Snow’s win means she will move on to run against incumbent conservative Sen. Mike Lee. As previously reported by Rewire, Lee is stringently anti-abortion and has consistently pushed measures “attempting to limit access to or outright ban abortion.”

Misty Plowright, who is running to represent Colorado’s 5th congressional district, describes herself as an “Army veteran, a self-educated woman, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and a passionate social democrat,” according to her campaign’s website. An IT worker from Colorado Springs, Plowright billed herself as the “anti-politician” during an interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette, and is running on a platform that includes campaign finance reform and defending voting rights.

Plowright will now challenge incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) for his seat in the House.

Plowright congratulated Snow in her win in a Wednesday post to her campaign’s Facebook page. “Congratulations from ‪#‎TeamMisty‬ to another progressive candidate in Utah, Misty K Snow,” wrote Plowright’s campaign. “Both women made history last night by winning their Democratic Primary.”

As Slate reported, though the candidates may have both won their primary races, “Snow and Plowright face uphill battles in the coming months”:

Despite a Gallup survey from March 2015 that calculated Salt Lake City’s LGBTQ population as the seventh-highest in the nation, Lee leads Snow 51 percent to 37 percent among likely general election voters according to a poll commissioned by the Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics in early June. And Lamborn, who has represented Colorado’s heavily conservative fifth district since 2007, took nearly 60 percent of the vote in his most recent reelection fight.