The power of a primary challenge

Last week a good friend of mine from Eau Claire, a long time member of the Sierra club, got an email from an acquaintance out in Utah. The tone of the email was pure excitement. After more than ten years of citizen lobbying, 3rd congressional district Democratic Rep Ron Kind had finally signed his name to America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. The Act would protect roughly 9.5 million acres of Utah wilderness from mining, oil and gas exploration and other developments. According to my friend, everyone in her environmentalist circle was stunned. Why had Kind suddenly signed onto the bill? She thought she knew.

She promptly wrote Myron Buchholz, who is running in the Democratic Party primary against Ron Kind on August 9th, an email:

” Many of us environmentalists have contacted Ron over the past ten or more years to urge him to co-sponsor “America’s Red Rock WildernessAct”. Seems all it took to persuade him was a Primary opponent. Thanks, Myron.”

So why would Ron Kind, an 18 year incumbent with over $1,000,000 in his campaign war chest, and the full resources and support of the DCCC if needed, be fearful of a primary challenger with no elective office experience who is running a shoe string budget campaign? I’ll tell you why.

In the April 5th Wisconsin presidential primary, roughly 72,000 people voted for Bernie Sanders in the 3rd congressional district. Roughly 45,000 voted for Hillary Clinton. Buchholz has been clear from the start that he’s a ” Berniecrat”, inspired to run by Sanders extraordinary campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency. Kind has been very clear and unyielding in his support for Clinton, endorsing her before the Wisconsin primary and pledging his superdelegate vote to her.

So in this most unlikely election season it appears almost anything is possible. If you haven’t already made a contribution to the Buchholz campaign, please do. Kind has been the most prominent Democrat in the US House of Representatives advocating in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Who knows; maybe he can be persuaded to reconsider?


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