Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cantwell crushes challengers in primary

Senator Maria Cantwell soared to an easy primary victory yesterday, capturing over 90% of the vote against four nonserious challenges, including Hong Tran, who a tiny minority of Democrats had championed as a protest candidate.
As of this afternoon Cantwell had roughly 91% of the total, and 319,960 votes. Tran, the closest challenger, was at 4% with 16,658 votes.

Senator Cantwell issued a statement last night after it became apparent that she had won her primary with great ease:
I am honored to win the Democratic primary. It has been the greatest honor to represent Washington in the Senate and hope to earn that honor again in November.

I want to thank all of my supporters, especially the hundreds of volunteers across Washington state who went door to door to encourage people to vote in this primary election. Thank you for your hard work all these months – I’m looking forward to spending the next days and weeks working side by side with you to make sure we keep this seat working for our Northwest values and the people of Washington State.

I believe we should put you first. There is a choice in this election – a choice between continuing to pursue policies that benefit the special interests and changing the agenda so that it matches the values of Washingtonians and reflects your priorities.

I will continue to run a true, issues based campaign. I will continue to fight to make sure Social Security remains a safety net for America's seniors. We need to change the course in Iraq so our troops can start coming home this year. We need to make health care and prescription drugs affordable for everyone in Washington state, especially our seniors. We need to lower energy costs so working families aren’t paying for oil company record profits. We need to help America invest in domestically-produced biofuels and alternative energy technologies and become less dependent foreign oil. We need to make sure every child gets a quality, affordable education so they can get ahead. We need to protect our environment. And we need to create high quality, good paying jobs to keep the American Dream alive for our families in Washington state.

During the next seven weeks, I’ll continue my work putting Washington first in the Senate, and I’ll keep traveling the state to hear from you about the issues that matter to you.
Meanwhile, Hong Tran was bitter in defeat, expressing hostility not only towards the state's open primary system, but also towards Darcy Burner and Jim McDermott:
"Ned Lamont is like a trillionaire," she said. "It's only because he has money and he's running against Lieberman, who everyone hates, that makes people like him. His history is not being a progressive."

Tran says much of that critique is true of Darcy Burner, the Democrat running against Rep. Dave Reichert, and the darling of the Democrats this year.

"People have really been enamored of her. But she has no public service background. She's another millionaire running. ... Unfortunately a lot of voters think when someone has money it makes them legitimate."


"He's like this icon. People think that Jim McDermott epitomizes a good liberal and his voting record would not be any different than mine. But to be in a position like that, in such a safe district, you could do so much more."

She said McDermott has based his career on being "antagonistic with Republicans and be critical of people" and should instead use his tenure to do more for the district.
Tran's comments are not only ignorant and inaccurate, but they're also arrogant. We can understand if she's not happy about her poor showing in the primary - 4%, after all, is not much of a protest vote. But her attacks on Darcy Burner and Jim McDermott are completely ridiculous and unfounded.

Tran doesn't seem to want to be part of the Democratic Party. Well, good riddance then. She can become another principled loser like Aaron Dixon, who has freely admitted that he hopes his candidacy will lead to a McGavick victory. Some liberal. With friends like Dixon and Tran, who needs enemies?

But Cantwell's excellent showing in the primary (which was even better than McGavick's - he had 85% of the Republican total and 218,677 votes) is good news. Contrary to what a tiny minority in our party have been saying, the Senator does not appear to be in trouble.

She can and should beat M!ke McGavick but nothing can be taken for granted. Team Cantwell must work as hard as it can in the next few weeks to win the hearts and minds of as many Washingtonians as possible.

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