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Bowen for Congress

by: Robert Cruickshank

Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 21:14:49 PM PST

Tonight CDP Chair John Burton emailed party delegates to announce Jane Harman's resignation. But what was most interesting was who he mentioned as the only candidate who has told the CDP they're running for the CA-36 seat - and it wasn't Janice Hahn:

As of the sending of this email, the only candidate that has officially informed the California Democratic Party that they are running in the 36th congressional district is Debra Bowen. Bowen has been our Secretary of State since 2007 and she is a former State Senator and State Assemblymember from the area.

Yep. Debra Bowen appears to be running for Congress. She has an ActBlue page up as well. Although she's made no formal announcement, she did tell Bob Brigham earlier today that she was "giving it very serious thought".

It makes sense for Bowen to jump into the race. She's termed out in 2014, and in 2018 the race for governor will be a slugfest between Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, and maybe some other folks as well. Bowen has served her terms in the Legislature, and so there isn't much else for her to do in Sacramento. As much as I liked the idea of Governor Bowen, Congresswoman Bowen works too.

So too does Senator Bowen - as in United States Senator. Dianne Feinstein is likely to run for re-election in 2012 and will probably win. But by 2018 she might be ready to hang it up, and the House of Representatives would be a good place to launch a campaign for Senate - just ask Barbara Boxer.

Most importantly, Bowen has shown herself to be a strong progressive leader during her time in Sacramento - not just as one of the best Secretaries of State in the country, but as a good progressive legislator during her years in the State Capitol. She won't be just one of 435 Representatives - she'll be a strong voice for change and for 21st century solutions to our problems.

Janice Hahn has run for the seat before and has a local base, but so too does Bowen. Bowen's ability to raise money statewide outstrips Hahn's, and Bowen is likely to get more grassroots support, although one should never dismiss what Hahn can bring to the table.

It should be an interesting race between Hahn, Bowen, and who knows who else that jumps in. Either one would be a huge upgrade over the anti-Constitution Jane Harman, even if my support will ultimately lie with Bowen.

Robert Cruickshank :: Bowen for Congress
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Bowen for Congress | 21 comments
Bowen is great, but... (4.00 / 1)
The only problem is that she has been such a good secretary of state, and is somewhat uniquely qualified, that I'd hate to lose her in that position.

Bad news/good news (4.00 / 1)
Bad news is that, you're right, Bowen would be a loss as SOS. Good news is that the new governor would get to name her replacement.

[ Parent ]
who would be a good replacement? (0.00 / 0)
i'm a big fan of freddie oakley, the yolo county clerk, but there's no way she'd run for statewide office.

[ Parent ]
Record as Sec of State? (0.00 / 0)
It seems to be an article of faith among several commenters that Bowen is a great Sec of State - but there is no explication of what it is/what she has done that makes her a great Sec. of State. I quite frankly just haven't followed her or the Sec of State office.  My only knowledge of her office is just that they took a once very good and effective website and turned it into a clusterfuck.  

[ Parent ]
As SOS (5.00 / 1)
The biggest change was her role in turning the tide against the unaccountable voting machines.  Bruce McPherson, appointed by Ahnold to replace Kevin Shelley, was working to bring in Diebold voting machines that offered no paper trail and had a track record of being able to be hacked.  Debra Bowen quickly put a 180 turn on this.

While our voting options aren't the best (I dislike the voting machines, and still use a paper ballot as a vote by mail voter) they're better than McPherson would have given us.  Bowen deserves credit for that, even with a failing web site.

[ Parent ]
Bowen for Congress (5.00 / 1)
Go Debra!

It's worth noting that although Janice Hahn has run for this seat before, she didn't win. It would make as much sense to expect Marcy Winograd to replace Jane Harman. By contrast Debra Bowen has won statewide, and is probably the politician in California with the most proven integrity and responsibility to voters. I hope she runs and eventually takes Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat. Kamala Harris would be an excellent choice for Governor in 2018.

The district has changed since Hahn lost (5.00 / 2)
However, it now includes some much more liberal areas that are not as likely to go for another blue dog like Hahn. Liberal candidate Marcy Winograd got just over 40% in the primary against long-time incumbent Harmon. So I think Bowen could beat Hahn there now. Fesides, Bowen is smart as a whip, has statewide support, and projects a modest, moderate persona that should appeal to voters who already elected her from that district many times.  

[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (0.00 / 0)
Where do you get off calling Janice Hahn a "blue dog"?  She has a very progressive record on LA City Council. Look, both Bowen and Hahn would be fine members of Congress. You have a preference for Bowen? Fine.  But don't mislabel and defame Janice Hahn. That's crappy politics.

[ Parent ]
I'd like to believe that Harman's exit began w/ the Progessive Caucus last year (0.00 / 0)
I recall some drama, and a decent effort on Harman's part to defend her Democratic cred, but the damage was done.  

I'm union staff, but not a spokesperson for my union - all posts represent my views solely.

I'd like that too! (0.00 / 0)
I recall a lot of drama. And, before that, a similar progressive push-back on DiFi. In both cases, the CDP rallied to the defense of the incumbent. It's a bad habit they really ought to break. Because this is how the incumbent thanked them--by quitting!

[ Parent ]
Harman's Parting Gift... (0.00 / 0)
A vote for the Patriot Act...  

[ Parent ]
DiFi gets a pass? just like that? (0.00 / 0)
"Dianne Feinstein is likely to run for re-election in 2012 and will probably win."

not that anybody would try to DO anything about that, like hound her into retirement, or run against her in the primary

not that there are any people called "liberys" or "programists" or whatever who would try to do such a thing

we all think she's been doing a Bang Up Job!

We don't have a primary anymore (8.00 / 2)
Unfortunately, with the passage of Prop 14, there is really no such thing as a primary anymore.  I'm not against holding our Democratic leaders accountable, it is just that I don't think that there is any practical way you could keep an incumbent Senator with her levels of popularity out of the top 2 in an election with all voters.

This is really one of the biggest reasons I opposed Prop 14, top 2 greatly favors incumbents.

I think?

[ Parent ]
the top 2 could help us (0.00 / 0)
if a dem ran that could outpoll the GOP sacrificial lamb. in a dem-dem general election, there would be less reason to vote for difi (although OTOH the GOP would have an obvious candidate in the race to vote for).

[ Parent ]
I'm skeptical (4.00 / 1)
I think a Dem primary would be far more likely to boot a popular incumbent than a general election.  I think your moderate Dems + GOP would give her a comfortable win. Kind of like the Lieberman 2006 election.

I think?

[ Parent ]
the trick would be having a challenger (0.00 / 0)
that was less unexcitingly bland as lamont. bowen could, i think, make feinstein work for it, although i'll admit it'd be an uphill climb.

[ Parent ]
Bowen is a Loyal Democrat (0.00 / 0)
and wouldn't run against DiFi in a primary.  Only crazy Dems like Winograd go up against incumbents and she got all the way to the convention floor in 2010 with her endorsement fight.

What I find interesting is that Burton chose to announce that Bowen was running AND didn't mention (until the next day) that Hahn was also running.  Because Hahn had a web site and and an email blast go out the DAY Harmon announced and was schmoozing with DPSFV days before like she knew it was coming.  So the battle for who announced first has been muddied by the chairman of the party who I would guess has a favorite in this race.  

[ Parent ]
Not so much crazy... (0.00 / 0)
But successful challenges tend to need to come from political outsiders.  An insider tends to have too many vested interests, and is willing to "wait one's turn."

[ Parent ]
what a strange definition of loyalty (0.00 / 0)
me, i would assume a loyal dem was one who did not campaign against the winner of a primary in the general election, but automatic deferral to incumbents in primaries seems a bit much.

i wonder if your loyal/crazy benchmark would hold for primary challenges against liberal democrats, or is it just for conservatives like feinstein and harman?

[ Parent ]
Bowen for Senate, Hahn for Congress (0.00 / 0)
Debra Bowen is very thoughtful and principled and has the respect of all the Democrats I've met who know her. She would make a great Senator.

Janice Hahn is thoughtful and principled as well, and is great at bringing energy and attention to issues.

Hahn is my Councilmember and has been a real champion for the Clean Trucks Program and for labor.  I have seen her show courage that I don't see in other electeds.  The fight for Clean Trucks has moved to the House. We need Janice Hahn to wage that fight. Janice will be an outspoken advocate for Progressive causes.

My hope is that Debra decides to run for Senate and Janice becomes my member of Congress.

Not a word on Marcy Winograd?? (0.00 / 0)

Bowen for Congress | 21 comments
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