Nat’l Progressives Make First Moves Toward Backing A Stupak Primary

When I interviewed Connie Saltonstall last week, the former Charlevoix County, MI commissioner told me she’s aiming to become the next Bill Halter with her primary bid against Rep. Bart Stupak (D). Now it looks like her prediction may be coming true.

Democracy For America, one of the progressive groups that helped push Halter into his primary race against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) in Arkansas, is now polling its membership to ask them if the group should turn some of its resources to Saltonstall, who is running on a platform of opposition to Stupak’s focus on abortion in the health care debate.

“We don’t just jump into a primary race without the overwhelming support of members making it clear exactly where the DFA community stands,” DFA deputy political director Michael Langenmayr wrote in an email message today.Langenmayr praised Saltonstall in the email, highlighting her willingness to stand up as a pro-choice progressive against Stupak, a man who the left has come to equate with turning back the clock on abortion rights.

“Connie is a Democrat. She’s pro-choice,” Langenmayr writes. “And she wouldn’t block healthcare reform for the people in her district just to please her personal special interests.”

Should the DFA membership decide to back Saltonstall, her campaign could get a big boost of national cash quickly. DFA was among the groups that helped to raise over a million dollars for Halter from across the country in his first week as a candidate.

In the email, Langenmayr describes what DFA could do for Saltonstall based on its past efforts to help progressive house candidates in primaries against moderate incumbents:

When Rep. Donna Edwards stood up to run against Bush-Democrat Al Wynn in 2006, DFA was there to back her up. And when she barely lost and decided to go for the re-match in 2008, DFA members led the way again. Locally, DFA members were staff on the campaign and volunteer boots on the ground. Nationally, we delivered the money and media that helped fuel the campaign. Working together, DFA members made an impact and helped deliver victory on Election Day.

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