I live in the 36th District here in California, where we have a primary election for Congress between Rep. Jane Harman and progressive challenger Marcy Winograd. I’m squarely in Winograd country – there’s a yard sign every other house – but that’s not necessarily representative of the district at large. So I’ve been wondering just what the prospects were for a Winograd upset. Well, I didn’t know just how scared Blue Dog Harman was of losing her job until I saw the negative ad she’s running against Winograd.
The ad, of course, is silly. No one member of Congress can “kill the defense budget” or cause Israel to “cease to exist”; it’s not even worth responding to that nonsense. The presence of one member of Congress who dissents from the perpetual war machine conventional wisdom would be refreshing, however, and that’s who Winograd represents.
But let’s get some perspective here. Harman is outspending Winograd by a healthy margin. We’ve gotten several Harman mailers and none for Winograd. Harman’s been on cable TV more (including with this ad, though Winograd has a couple ads up on cable as well. But clearly, Harman must be reading some data that shows Winograd with a shot. We’ve seen no-name candidates all over the country grabbing 35-40% of the vote without spending a dime. Winograd has raised close to $300,000, and she has residual name ID from a 2006 run where she took 38% of the vote.
This is a tough year for any incumbent, and without much action in the statewide primaries on June 8 on the Democratic side, only motivated voters are going to turn out. Winograd’s supporters are probably more motivated, enough for Harman to go negative. It’s extremely surprising to see an incumbent do this against an underfunded opponent.
I’ll put Winograd’s entire response on the flip.
My opponent fails to tell the truth, which is that I am a Jewish peace activist working to expand the reach of aerospace to transition from a war economy to a green economy. My rallying cry throughout the campaign has been “Jobs, Not Wars.” In the Middle East, I will gladly endorse a two-state or one-state solution to which both sides agree. My goal is peace in that region. As a Jewish woman of conscience, I have asked my opponent to join with President Obama and me in calling for an end to ever-expanding Israeli settlements. Harman, instead, attempts to censor debate by attacking those who encourage dialogue.
In addition, I support diplomacy to end nuclear proliferation and promote greater understanding in the world.
Jane Harman has refused to debate me for four years, even when Rabbi Dan Shevitz of Temple Mishkon Tephilo offered the use of his temple for a debate gratis. Now my opponent attacks me with misinformation. I await the day when she will stop hiding behind TV ads and consultants and face me in a debate. That would burst her bubble.