A single issue independent candidate running for the senate focused almost exclusively on abortion rights because the Democrats are running an anti-abortion candidate against Santorum.
Abortion rights leader Kate Michelman is thinking of jumping into the Senate race in Pennsylvania as an independent.
Michelman is appalled by Democratic Party leaders’ selection of anti-abortion candidate Bob Casey Jr. as their choice to try to unseat two-term Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.
With abortion a non-issue in this election, at least till now, it was pretty much choose up sides and vote. And Santorum was getting whacked if the polls are any indication.
Insert abortion as an issue and, well, things change:
Analyst and pollster Terry Madonna at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania said, “If she runs as an independent, they’ve given Santorum a significant boost.” He added, “This is a very interesting dilemma liberal Democrats have right now.”
Heh ... well yeah, and that's a bit of an understatement, isn't it? Michelman would run as an indpendent because she couldn't meet the deadline to qualify for the Democratic primary in May. She'd also have to get 67,000 signatures before August to qualify for November.
Obviously if she were running in the primary she'd probably get spanked pretty badly by Casey. Or at least you'd think she would (a single issue candidate ... not that appealing). However with the screech level from the left elevated to an alarming degree concerning abortion and Roe v. Wade, not to mention the confirmation of Alito and now the South Dakota abortion law, well, stranger things have happened.
So if you take that premise to the election in November ... whole different ball game, isn't it? That is if Michelman actually carries through with her threat and shows up on the November ballot as an independent.
Can you say shades of Nader? Split vote? Santorum wins?
Now obviously all of this could be much ado about nothing if she is simply flapping her gums. But indications are it's at least a bit more serious than that:
Michelman is conferring with Democratic pollster Harrison Hickman and other strategists and will make her decision in the next two weeks.
She has been traveling the country on a tour to promote her new book, With Liberty and Justice for All: A Life Spent Protecting the Right to Choose. At a book event in New York last Thursday night several prominent Democratic donors urged her to run against Casey and Santorum.
I cannot imagine anyone more pleased with her possible candidacy than Rick Santorum. He may copy Alito's thank you letter and send it to her if this all comes to pass.
And Bob Casey? Well he's been fine till now:
As of early February, a survey of 611 Pennsylvanians by Franklin and Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research showed Casey besting Santorum, 50 percent to 39 percent, with 11 percent of those polled saying they were undecided.
If you don't think this is a serious threat, trot on over to Firedoglake and have a gander:
We're now the number one blog fundraiser for Ciro Rodriguez, and that money is 100% pro-choice (not that the others are not, BTW). These totals speak in a language so simple even Elmendorf can understand it — if candidates want to harness our energy and our money, they better have their pro-choice credentials in order.
Bob Casey need not apply.
Santorum has some real problems to overcome, obviously, and it remains to be seen if the gap of 11% stays that wide as November approaches, but if it narrows, and it probably will, and if Michelman enters the race, it is not at all improbable that she might end up saving Santorum's bacon.
The irony would be delicious (and for the record, I am not a Santorum fan).
Not 67,000 ballot access signatures. More like 100,000, because you need a cushion.
This is a rare situation in PA due to its bizarre election laws. They will be unable to do it without hiring paid petitioners at a rate of betwen $1-2 per signature.
The petitions are scary-looking and must be filled out absolutely correctly or the signatures are thrown out. Usually a good quarter of sigs get thrown out.
BTW I ran my ex-wife’s campaign for PA Auditor Gen’l in 1996, on the L ticket against Casey Jr. She was the only pro-choice candidate on the ballot for a race Casey Jr would ultimately win. Michelman’s NARAL did not endorse my ex.
This left us politically weaker when we worked hard fighting these draconian ballot access laws the following year. We missed convincing the League of Women Voters to study the ballot access issue by two votes.
A page holds (I haven’t done this since 1976) something like 80 signatures. If one signature is not eligible (not registered, wrong voting ward, county or district) then all 80 get thrown out.
All I needed was 100 signatures, so I got about 130 (a page and a half). The first page got thrown out because one person was from the wrong county. I was left with 50 signatures, not enough.
I do suggest that if you think you understand your voting district or ward etc., go out and collect signatures. The experience will leave you in disbelief. I learned more about the political process and the state of my community during the 3 days I collected signatures then I had in the previous 10 years.
First there is the people who don’t want you at their door, for a myriad of reasons. Then those who are afraid of your intentions. Past that you meet the Seniors who are terrorized by the kids in their neighbor and the small businessmen who are afraid to look partisan for fear of alienating any of their customers.
Maybe the whole "first past the post" voting system just isn’t working out. As Dale said the other day, electing both houses of congress the same way defeats the founders’ intent behind having two different houses.
I wonder if rather than returning to state selection of senators (which must be politically impossible), using an alternate vote counting system for Senate seats would mean fewer races were decided not by the candidates’ own support within the electorate but by the side-effects of spoilers.