Sunday, June 13, 2004

Only two people have held the Third Congressional District seat in the last 52 years--Richard Gephardt and, before him, Leonor K. Sullivan. Now that Gephardt is retiring, ten different Democrats are scrambling for the job. As Jo Mannies points out in the Post-Dispatch, "It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a job that can last a lifetime." So we at Change for Missouri have to take this race seriously.
Only four of the ten have any real shot at it, with funds in the $130,000-$200,000 range. Russ Carnahan has the most money because he has THE NAME. He's not particularly impressive, though, as far as having charm as a public speaker or possessing progressive political ideas. One small but telling example: he buys campaign supplies from union-busting Wal-Mart. Joan Barry, on the other hand, respects unions and will get a lot of union support because her husband is the business agent for the influential Plumbers and Pipefitters union. She states that she is a progressive. Either Carnahan or Barry would be an acceptable nominee. But Steve Stoll would not. He's a Republican in Dem's clothing: a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-prayer in public schools social conservative. And if the progressives in the race aren't careful, they'll knock each other off and give the coveted nomination to the pseudo-Democrat Stoll.
Voters who want the genuine article when it comes to progressive politics need to support the fourth nominee, Jeff Smith, who is one of the Dean Dozen. He's been endorsed by this group and targeted by Howard Dean for help in the election. Indeed, Dean is coming to St. Louis Sunday, June 20th, for a free rally on his behalf. Jeff's campaign is rolling. To quote Mannies again:
Smith . . . captured the Democratic endorsement in Jefferson Township a few weeks ago over the objections of Londe and others who backed Carnahan. Smith's red-meat rhetoric often ignites forum crowds. A standard line: "If John Ashcroft is for it, I'm probably against it."
Until now, Jeff's main outlets for his progressive ideas have been in teaching political science at Washington University, working to improve education for the urban poor, and advising Democratic candidates both locally and nationally. Most notably, he served as deputy political director for Bill Bradley's presidential campaign. To find out more about Jeff's impressive bio, check out his website: jeffsmith2004.com.
Now he wants to move out of the classroom and use his ideas to change public policy, not just talk about it. Jeff Smith is the man we need in the Third Congressional House of Representatives slot--for the next 25 years and counting.

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