We discussed yesterday the phenomenon known as the political groundswell — some are earth-shaking, some a mere jostle. Former Congressman Bob Etheridge reports a groundswell for him to run for governor in the Democratic primary. He was at home in Lillington at the time, I believe.
Etheridge joins Walter Dalton and Bill Faison in the race so far — three moderate-to-conservative white male candidates. Former State Treasurer Richard Moore, if he gets in, would make four, and if Congressman Mike McIntyre runs, make it five.
We know that Congressman Brad Miller's feeling the progressive tremors; so is state Sen. Dan Blue, according to this tweet from WRAL:
Just talked to Sen. Dan Blue. He's still interested in #ncgov - says he's weighing pros and cons and will have a decision next week. #ncpol
If both Miller and Blue decide to run — well, you know, two progressive candidates from Raleigh?
Blue said he won't decide until next week. Is he waiting for Miller, whose timetable should have him announcing one way or the other by Sunday?
I spoke with a friend of Dan's last night who said he's thinking very seriously about a gubernatorial run. Blue, a former speaker of the N.C. House, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002, losing the Democratic nomination to Erskine Bowles.
There's strong sentiment in the party that it's time an African-American candidate ran at the top of the state Democratic ticket. Of course, Harvey Gantt was the U.S. Senate nominee in '98 and '04 against Jesse Helms. But the late Ralph Campbell remains the only African-American to serve in a Council of State post — he was State Auditor — and his office was well down the ballot.
Former state Rep. Linda Coleman, D-Wake, is already in the lieutenant governor's race; if elected, she'd be the first black woman in a Council of State position. Whether Blue would be interested in lieutenant governor, I don't know. It's not much of a position unless a Republican is elected governor — then the light-gov could be top Democratic official in the state (note: unless the ground really shakes, the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem will still be Republicans after this year's elections).
In that circumstance, Blue would be tremendously influential and odds-on for the gubernatorial nomination in 2016. But then, if the Democratic candidate for governor loses this year, what are the chances Blue or any other Democrat could be elected lieutenant governor?
(Update: I don't read Komen's statement as being ambiguous about future funding for Planned Parenthood. But a writer for DailyKos is dubious.]
(Update 2: Komen's cave-in has Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., deeply disappointed from her anti-choice perspective. I've posted her statement below.]
Komen for the Cure just released the following statement from Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors:
We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives.
The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.
Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.
Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.
It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.
Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.
We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.
From Congresswoman Ellmers:
WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Renee Ellmers released the following statement from her office in Washington this afternoon:
"I am deeply disappointed in the sudden reversal by the Komen Foundation of their original pledge to cut ties with Planned Parenthood - the nation's largest abortion provider. Their original stance to stop funding pending an important congressional investigation was an act of courage and prudence, making their sudden reversal today appear hollow and weak."
"As a nurse and mother, I will continue to champion the sanctity of life and women's health, regardless of contemporary trends…and sometimes that takes the courage to do what is right, not what is convenient."
In July, Congresswoman Ellmers hosted a press conference with Congressman Randy Hultgren following a report published by Americans United for Life that detailed extent of Planned Parenthood's involvement in providing abortions while receiving taxpayer funding.
To learn more about the report and its findings from Americans United for Life, click here.
Hopefully, I don't need to tell you what the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation did to Planned Parenthood ... or about the storm of protest resulting from it. Around here, the annual Komen Race for the Cure 5K, scheduled for June 9, is the biggest road race & walk around. Or was. I know I won't be wearing my Cure T-shirts any more.
[Update: Here's a good idea from Gray Newman: Mail your shirts back to them ... at this address: http://www.bluenc.com/join-me-mailing-our-komen-t-shirts-back-them]
This morning, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-NC, called out the Komen folks in blunt terms. Hagan isn't given to rants. This is about as close as she gets:
Greensboro, NC — U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC) released the following statement after Susan G. Komen for the Cure cut off grants to Planned Parenthood health clinics used for breast cancer screenings, mammograms and education.
“I am deeply disappointed that Susan G. Komen for the Cure has pulled grant funding for preventive care, screenings, mammograms and education at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. More than 25,000 North Carolinians depend on Planned Parenthood for health and education services including breast health care that saves lives and saves families. The women who depend on this care don’t deserve to be caught in the crossfire of politically motivated attacks. Unfortunately, most of us know at least one person whose life has been affected by breast cancer. We need to use every tool in the toolbox to fight this terrible disease. I urge Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reconsider this decision for the sake of women’s health in North Carolina and around the country.”
With Erskine Bowles out of the running, the door is wide open for a Brad Miller candidacy for governor. That's my take. Miller's? He said he hasn't quite decided whether to run. "I've gotten a lot of encouragement that I haven't solicited," he says. "I'm thinking very hard about it. I know I need to make a decision very quickly."
Don't forget, he just reminded me when we spoke on the phone, that a week ago he was announcing he wouldn't run for re-election to Congress ... and his assumption in making that announcement was that he would never again be a candidate for public office.
Back in those olden days — a week ago — we chatted about the prospects out on the punditry/advocacy circuit for an ex-congressman who's expert on banking issues and voice for progressive interests. Now the subject is the Executive Mansion and leader of the Democratic Party back home in Raleigh. "I know that state government affects North Carolinians as much as what happens in Congress," Miller said.
It sounded to me like a former state legislator ... who's been in Washington for the last decade ... getting pumped up to come back — but we'll see. At any rate, Miller would enter a Democratic primary for governor as the clear progressive favorite against Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and Rep. Bill Faison. And if former state Treasurer Richard Moore gets in, he'd make a trio of moderate-to-conservative candidates against Miller.
MoveOn.org just sent along its "Go Brad, Go" sentiments —
Following the news that North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue is not running for reelection and Democrat Erskine Bowles has no intentions of running, MoveOn released survey results showing that their North Carolina members overwhelmingly want Rep. Brad Miller to run. Over 87% of MoveOn's members that took part in the survey said they want Rep. Brad Miller to run for North Carolina's Governor. MoveOn has 147,000 members across the state of North Carolina.
Below are a handful comments from North Carolina MoveOn members reacting to the survey.
- "Brad should certainly consider it; we need a strong, effective Democrat who supports education, jobs and the middle class," said Adrienne, a MoveOn member from Raleigh.
- "Brad's such a stellar people's representative that it would be a tragedy to lose him from the NC political scene," said Leslie, a MoveOn member from Greensboro.
- "Brad should run because he's honest, trustworthy and fights hard for what he believes in. I have the utmost respect for him and am thankful for what he has done for North Carolina," said Merrill, a MoveOn member from Greensboro.
Full email below.
————— Forwarded message —————
Dear MoveOn member,
North Carolina Representative Brad Miller, one of the top Wall Street reformers in the nation, just announced that he's not running for re-election because redistricting had him set to face another Democrat in a primary. North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue also just announced that she won't be seeking re-election.
Miller hasn't decided whether or not to run for governor, but public opinion could influence his decision. We're curious what MoveOn members who live in the area think. Please take a minute to complete our brief, two-question survey on the race.
Click here to weigh in on whether Brad Miller should run for governor.
Brad Miller authored the bill in Congress that would break up the big Wall Street banks and prevent future bailouts. He also fought to make it easier for North Carolinians to "Move Our Money" from big banks that gamble away our money to smaller community banks. So please let us know whether you'd like to see him run for governor.
Thanks for all you do.
—Adam R., Wes, Elena, Marika, and the rest of the team
I know I'm feeling it. The earth is rumbling, my friend. I can sense the tremors, but it's not an earthquake. No, it's that groundswell of political support that comes with a politician at campaign season ... and the ground is swelling at the same time for so many Democratic candidates for so many offices that the cumulative impact is literally nerve-jangling.
Just today, I learned there's a groundswell of support for Hampton Dellinger to run again for lieutenant governor. The Indy endorsed him in the '08 Lt. Gov. primary; he ran second to current Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. Dalton is, of course, running for governor, having come through the crack in the earth caused by Bev. Perdue's withdrawal.
You can read about the DraftHampton movement here: DraftHampton.pdf
You'll be forgiven if you've confused it with the groundswell of support for Ken Lewis to run for lieutenant governor.
They're both lawyers from Durham.
Linda Coleman, not a lawyer from Durham, is also generating a groundswell for lieutenant governor, or so I hear. She's a former Wake County Commissioner and a former member of the State House of Representatives.
Speaking of the House, Keith Karlsson felt the groundswell before he announced his candidacy for a House seat from District 49.
That's not to be confused with District 38, where (so far) the earth's been moved for Abeni El-Amin and Lee Sartain. Lindy Brown, for whom a groundswell was also reported, was running in District 38 before either of them. (Corrected as to the district number.)
And the ground is still shaking in House District 11, where Duane Hall's groundswell of support (Chris Corchiani!) caused him to get in the race.
Who am I missing?