To Change the Outcome, Change the Candidates

Jeff Erdmann, who we’ve endorsed in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, is a natural candidate for the party’s current mood: fresh, with deep roots in his state and a commitment to the kind of Progressive policies that largely originated on the northern plains. He’s a teacher and a coach growing his campaign with living room meetings and long afternoons in the cold, introducing himself to voters and hearing their concerns. There is virtually no chance that, if elected, he’d become a captive of any interests but those of his constituents.

In an incredibly important article highlighting the democratic party’s preference for fund-raising ability over commitment,The Intercept uses the Democratic Party’s support of Erdmann’s opponent, medical device executive Angie Craig, as a case study in what’s wrong with the national party.

Craig, while at the medical device company St. Jude Medical, directed the firm’s political action committee in the 2012 election cycle, after spending the previous six years on its board…While she ran it, the PAC spent heavily on Republican politicians, directing funds in the 2012 cycle to Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell, Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, Scott Brown, Mike Enzi, Richard Burr, Bob Corker, and John Barrasso. Then-Speaker John Boehner and presumed-future-speaker Kevin McCarthy, as well as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, all got money from Craig’s PAC.

Craig ran and lost in 2016 in an open seat election where she spent $4,000,000 more to bring in less than 3,000 more votes than the candidate that lost in 2012.  Part of the reason Jeff is running stems from disappointment he encountered while volunteering on Ms. Craig’s campaign.

That spring, a voter asked (Erdmann) a question about Craig’s position on an issue that he couldn’t answer, so when Craig held a Q&A with the volunteers, he asked her if it was OK to direct voters to the website for an answer. “No, not really,” Erdmann recalled her saying, “because we haven’t developed our website yet because we don’t want the Republicans to know where we stand, and we haven’t seen end-of-summer polling yet.”

Later, he said, he was phone banking and asked a supervisor what message he should tailor to the rural part of the district, since the script seemed aimed at city dwellers. “Just tell them the trailer-court story, they’re not big thinkers out there…”

You’d think the election of Trump would have taught everyone a lesson, but no. The party is backing Craig and her special interest connections for a second time – sure that she can raise money, even if she can’t win the district.

Erdmann is important not just because he’s a great candidate who will be a great representative for his district. He’s important because his election would remind the national Democratic Party that commitment to working Americans makes a candidate more electable, not less, and that the Democratic Party is stronger when it fulfills its historic role as the party of working people.

Read the whole Intercept article here.

The People's House Project