[UPDATE: Note: In this post I speak only for myself. The site as a whole doesn't take positions, generally, and if everyone else agreed with these recommendations, I'd be amazed. END UPDATE.]
If I wait any longer to urge people to give to various political candidates, it will be too late. So rather than actually get around to writing descriptions of people, as I did for Joe Sestak and James Webb, I'll be brief but timely.
First, Claire McCaskill is running for Senate in Missouri. She has been a prosecutor and State Auditor, and according to EMILY's List, "McCaskill has been described as tough, courageous, pragmatic, and efficient; the Columbia Daily Tribune called her “one of the most active and effective auditors in Missouri history.”" (And for a State Auditor, she has a surprisingly strong and detailed position on supporting our troops and veterans.)
Besides, this seat is crucial to Democrats' attempts to pick up the Senate. Can you say "Senator Pat Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee"? I thought so!
Second, Patrick Murphy served in Iraq, taught Constitutional Law at West Point, and is now a lawyer running for Congress in Pennsylvania. There aren't any recent polls up; he was down by eight points a month ago, but things change. He's a strong candidate and deserves support. Pennsylvania note: Lois Murphy is also very good, but more likely to win, as is Chris Carney ("Naval Officer, senior terrorism advisor and consultant to the Department of Defense"). [UPDATE: what I meant here was: I think Patrick Murphy might win, but he's a closer call, and thus, I think, needs money more. Both Lois Murphy and Chris Carney were ahead before the Foley story broke. END UPDATE] Carney is running against this guy:
"Rep. Don Sherwood, a Republican fighting for re-election in northeastern Pennsylvania, says in a TV ad that he is “truly sorry” for cheating on his wife but denies ever abusing the woman he had the affair with."
Third, while Gary says I should list Ed Perlmutter, he seems to be doing very well right now; and since I'm trying to be strategic (buying the house has ruled out my previous carpet-bombing strategy), I probably won't give to him. However, TPMCafe suggests that another Colorado Representative might be more vulnerable than expected: the odious Marilyn Musgrave:
"Protecting traditional marriage is the most important issue Americans face today, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said Friday, as she called on social conservatives to support candidates like herself who oppose same-sex marriages.
Speaking at the Family Research Council's 2006 Values Voter Summit, Musgrave, a Fort Morgan Republican, said she agrees with those who say legalized gay marriage would destroy religious freedoms.
These critics contend social conservatives would be ostracized if opposition to gay civil marriage becomes a form of bigotry. They add that social conservatives could lose their jobs if they refused to recognize same-sex marriages in the work place, religious radio stations could lose their broadcast licenses and churches could lose their tax-exempt status.
"As we face the issues that we are facing today, I don't think there's anything more important out there than the marriage issue," Musgrave told an enthusiastic crowd."
Apparently, this hasn't gone down to well with voters who think that petites bagatelles like the war in Iraq, terrorism, or the federal deficit might just slightly outweigh the importance of defending marriage, not to mention those of us who don't think that letting gay men and women get married would in any way threaten it. As of two days ago, this race was tied. Musgrove's opponent, Angie Paccione, looks good to me; unless the Colorado contingent here tells me something bad about her, I'll be sending her money shortly.
Neil the Ethical Werewolf sold me on two more races. No major organization has polled either of them (though there's this, which has Grant ahead 22-14 -- really), so they're crapshoots, but Neil makes a good case for both of them. (Short version: in both cases, strong challenger, weak incumbent, and cheap races, so your money goes a long, long way.) They are Gary Trauner, who is running for Wyoming's sole Congressional seat, and Larry Grant, who's running in Idaho's first district.
Besides Neil's case, two things really sold me on Trauner. First, his race actually seemed to be tightening up before the Foley scandal, insofar as one can tell in the absence of polling. Second, there's his issues page. I recommend it -- instead of all the usual stuff, there are such entries as Preamble to the Constitution, Partisan Politics and Doing the Right thing, and Integrity, Corruption, and Sunshine in Government. I would bet significant sums that he wrote them himself. And they are actually very good: check out Integrity, Corruption, and Sunshine in Government, for instance, or Immigration.
I love people who write their own issues pages and do a good job. I especially love them when (to judge by the number of related issue pages) they really care about honest and effective government, and have actual good ideas about how to achieve it. And besides: look how cheap!
Larry Grant also seems good, though not as -- idiosyncratically endearing? -- as Trauner. But what really sold me on him was this article from the Hill (which Neil linked to.) Not only does it contain this heartwarming news about Grant's chances against Bill Sali, who won the primary this article discusses:
"Some Republicans are concerned that a win by either state Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho), whom some Idaho GOP leaders consider a lightning rod, or Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, a single-issue anti-illegal-immigration candidate, could significantly boost Democrats’ chances in November because they appeal to a small part of the GOP base."
It also has this charming episode, complete with comments from some of Sali's Republican colleagues:
"Sali’s critics pointed to an incident earlier this month in which he insisted on discussing studies linking abortion to breast cancer during a debate on a bill to require doctors to inform women about abortion-related risks. The Idaho House Democratic leader, a survivor of breast cancer, walked out in tears, and her Democratic colleagues followed her.
The Idaho GOP leaders postponed the day’s business. The Speaker, Bruce Newcomb, told The Idaho Statesman, “That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper.”"
If you don't want the Congress to have someone whom even his fellow Republicans describe as an absolute idiot who doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body, Grant's your man.
[UPDATE: the Spokesman-Review of Spokane WA has just endorsed Grant. In its endorsement, it cites one more example of the high esteem in which his opponent's Republican colleagues hold him:
"When Republican Congressman Mike Simpson was speaker of the Idaho House, he once threatened to throw Sali out of a window in the state Capitol."
Those are my plugs. And remember: Henry Waxman with subpoena power. Patrick Leahy in charge of hearings about the wiretap bill. This matters.