While the potential candidates to primary State Senators Monserrate and Espada are sorted out, it looks like we have a definite primary challenge to the recently appointed Senator Gillibrand. Jonathon Tasini has jumped in the race to be, as he claims, the progressive candidate. The press release, or shall I say diary is strong and to the point.
I believe New York voters deserve a choice. We live in a democracy, and elections should be about addressing the issues, not about party insiders "clearing the field" for a favored candidate. If party insiders had "cleared the field" in 2008, Barack Obama would not be president today.
New York--and the nation--are at a critical point. We are living through the most unprecedented financial crisis in our lifetime--and, at the same time, I see a great opportunity to change the country.
There are great choices to be made--whether and how we will unburden Americans and businesses from the crushing costs of obscene health care costs (I have been an unwavering supporter of single-payer, "Medicare for All"), whether workers will truly share in the great productivity they have created over the past three decades, whether workers will have the right to join a union, and whether we will live up to the promise of "equal justice under the law" by granting marriage equality throughout the land.
I am the only progressive in the race. And I believe, as do my supporters, that we have a chance to move the Democratic Party in a progressive direction. New Yorkers will have a very clear choice in 2010--a choice of values and principles.
Of course that all sounds great, but can a guy that won 17% of the Democratic primary vote take on another establishment candidate? The answer is probably not. Of course anything can happen, and as Tasini notes, Obama did overtake Clinton about a year ago today. Yet Tasini is no Obama and as much as his ideas warm the hearts of progressives everywhere (or not), what anti-Gillibrand forces need is a strong challenger and at this point, the consensus is for Carolyn Maloney to spearhead the effort.