Archive for November, 2008

Donnelly re-elected; possible prospects for 2nd district progressives

November 24, 2008

By now most will know that Rep. Joe Donnelly was re-elected with 67% of the vote. Puckett received 30% with Libertarian Mark Vogel coming in at about 3%.

This is, of course, a landlside victory. But it’s worth considering that Donnelly did not face a serious opponent and Donnelly also surely benefited from it being a strong Democratic year. Donnelly has successfully portrayed himself as a conservative Democrat, a persona apparently palatable enough for the districts otherwise GOP-leaning citizens to cross lines in significant numbers to vote for him. There was never any real question that Donnelly would be re-elected.

It will be very interesting, however, to see what kind of relationship develops between Donnelly and the incoming Obama administration. Donnelly, as part of the Blue Dog Caucus, will be potentially determinative to the success or failure of some of the more progressive moves the new Democrat presidency and Congressional majorities might hope to enact.

If Donnelly emerges as a conservative dissenter within Democratic Party, he can expect the likelihood of an progressive challenge in the 2010 Democratic primary. Til then, it’s up to the citizens of the 2nd district to continue organizing and advocating for progressive values and action. The ground has to move beneath Donnelly’s feet; the ‘center’ must be nudged to the left by grassroots movement work. There’s certainly such activity in the 2nd district– here’s hoping it continues to grow during the next two years.