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2012 Elections: A Good Night for Peace


November 8, 2012
Jon Rainwater / Peace Action West

Commentary: Next January, a more pro-peace Congress will hear our voices. We have a Senate that is far more likely to pass important treaties. We have new members of the House who were swept into office by voters who want a real end to our decade of war.

A Good Night for Peace
Jon Rainwater / Peace Action West

Last night, cheers of joy rang out as all of us at Peace Action West watched the networks call Ohio, and thus the election, for Obama. We rejoiced as many of our peace candidates won their races and extremist candidates went down in defeat across the country. As I talked to folks gathered with us, many expressed the profound relief of having dodged a bullet: the return of George W. Bush’s foreign policy team to the White House.

Jon Rainwater is Executive Director of Peace Action West
Victories for Peace in Last Night’s Election
Jon Rainwater / Peace Action West

(November 7, 2012) -- The energy last night was contagious as cheers echoed throughout the bar where Peace Action West staff gathered to watch the election results come in. Last night was a rejection of the dangerous path Mitt Romney would have taken us down with his ignorance and posturing on foreign policy. One by one, extremist candidates around the country went down in defeat. We saw what happens when the grassroots mobilize and show their power in the voting booth.

Next January, a more pro-peace Congress will hear our voices. We have a Senate that is far more likely to pass important treaties. We have new members of the House who were swept into office by voters who want a real end to our decade of war.

You saw the stakes in this election and stepped up to help pro-peace candidates. Thanks to you, we raised nearly $30,000 for our slate of candidates, sent four organizers to some of the most competitive races in the country, and contacted thousands of voters.

Here’s a rundown of how Peace Action West’s endorsed candidates fared last night:

Victories
Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) The Progressive Caucus Co-Chair and leading voice for peace in the House defeated Republican Gabriela Sauceda Mercer 57% to 39%.

Jared Huffman (CA-2) Huffman has big shoes to fill, taking the seat vacated by antiwar leader Rep. Lynn Woolsey. He heads to the House with a strong mandate, winning over Republican Dan Roberts by 40 points.

John Garamendi (CA-3) Republicans added challenger Kim Vann to their “Young Guns” program, hoping to unseat House Armed Services Committee member John Garamendi. Thankfully, we’ll continue to have Rep. Garamendi’s leadership in the House on ending the war in Afghanistan and cutting wasteful military spending, as he won 54% to 46%.

Barbara Lee (CA-13) This race showed how the true the “Barbara Lee Speaks for Me” signs we see around this district really are, as progressive hero Lee won reelection with 86% of the vote.

Mark Takano (CA-41) This new seat in Riverside created an opportunity to get a new progressive face in Congress from the Inland Empire. Takano defeated his opponent John Tavaglione 56% to 44%.

Janice Hahn (CA-44) This race was a product of California’s new top two primary system, pitting two Democratic incumbents against each other. Hahn, who has been an outspoken opponent of the war in Afghanistan since her election in 2009, won with 60% of the vote.

Steve Horsford (NV-4) Nevada added a new district in 2012, and pro-peace candidate Horsford will join the NV delegation in January, winning against Danny Tarkanian 50% to 42%.

Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) Bonamici won a special election to fill Rep. David Wu’s seat in January of 2012, and had to jump right in to another primary in May and the general election in November. We will continue to have her pro-peace votes in Congress as she won with 60% of the vote.

Suzan DelBene (WA-1) This newly redrawn open seat in Washington is one of the most closely divided in the country. DelBene won over tea party Republican John Koster 54% to 46%.

Losses
Richard Carmona (AZ-Sen) Carmona had an uphill battle taking on Republican Jeff Flake in red Arizona, and through his dogged campaigning he turned this into a tossup race. In the end, Flake won 50% to 45%.

Pete Stark (CA-15) Pete Stark has been a wonderful ally for the peace movement through his four decades in Congress. Thanks to the top-two primary system, Stark ran against another Democrat, Eric Swalwell, who defeated Stark 53% to 47%.

John Hernandez (CA-21) Hernandez jumped in to try to fill a Central Valley open seat, in an area that has traditionally been favorable to Republicans. Republican David Valadao won with 60% of the vote.

Lee Rogers (CA-25) Rogers took on one of the peace movement’s biggest antagonists in Congress, House Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon. His committed grassroots campaigning made the race more competitive than many expected, losing to McKeon 45% to 55%.

Joe Miklosi (CO-6) Miklosi took on tea party Republican Mike Coffman, whose district became more Democratic due to redistricting, making the race a tossup. Miklosi managed to keep Coffman under 50%, but unfortunately narrowly lost the race 49% to 45%.

As committed activists, we know our work is far from over. We must push President Obama to take his foreign policy in a bolder direction in his second term. New members of Congress need to be educated about foreign policy decisions they’ve never had to make before. Pro-peace voters need to show that we are still engaged and will keep raising our voices to end wars, reinvest wasteful Pentagon spending in our communities, and put peaceful solutions first.

We always knew it wasn’t just about winning elections. While it is disappointing that some of our favorite candidates won’t be heading to DC in January, our victories last night mean we can step into 2013 with new opportunities on the horizon, and new partners for peace in Congress to take advantage of those opportunities. Thank you for making it possible.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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