The Question for progessives of the 2nd District: Has Donnelly earned our votes?

Thus far Rep. Joe Donnelly is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary. His Republican challengers, Luke Puckett and Tony Zirkle seem to pose little threat. (See discussion here or here. Even conservatives aren’t optimistic.)

To date Donnelly has amassed more than $700,000 in his bid for re-election, more than three times the amount he had on hand at a similar point in the 2006 election cycle.

Yet, while it’s obvious that progressives prefer Donnelly to the district’s previous Congressman, Chris Chocola, there are many progressives frustrated and disappointed in Donnelly’s actions during his first term. Donnelly’s celebration – he released a press release to call attention to his ranking the 5th most “independent” Democrat in Congress – of his “moderate” views rankle a lot of the citizens who worked to get him elected in 2006.

In 2006 Steve Francis stepped forward to challenge Donnelly and, despite an enormous financial disparity, collected 14% of the vote. Francis had to contend with Donnelly’s having been backed by the DNC and

It remains to be seen whether a progressive Democrat in the primary and/or a third party or independent candidate in the general election will offer progressives an alternative to our “independent” Congressman.

Remember, Joe, it was the voters of St. Joseph County which solidified your victory in 2006. St. Joseph County is a relative Democratic stronghold with a significant number of progressives who are increasingly frustrated with your lack of principled stands on a host of issues ranging from the war in Iraq to immigration.


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