Your Senate Sunday: Connecticut And Hawaii Just Blued Themselves!
Richard Blumenthal shows you his Pokemans, Brian Schatz hangs loose
So back in like March, Yr Editrix noticed that there were about 34 weeks until the election in November, and 34 U.S. Senate races, so why not set Dok on a mission to write up every single one of 'em? Agreeable fellow that Yr Dok Zoom is, he said "Sure! Sounds terrific!" and proceeded to hit the really fun competitive races right away, like John McCain's bid to hold on to his seat, which has gotten even closer since our first Senate Sunday column. Then came the party conventions and the two weekends we took off to maintain a bit of sanity, which means we'll have to double up a couple weekends to get back on our original schedule and finish all 34 races by November. Thankfully, there are a few races where the excitement is a bit less fevered, so we can hit two races in a single column, because there is no way in hell the Democratic incumbent is likely to be dislodged in either Hawaii or Connecticut.
Why those two this week? Simple! Hawaii's primary election was held Saturday, so that was timely. And "Connecticut" was a distracting hole in our spreadsheet of Senate races, between two states we'd already done, Colorado and Florida. There is a science to these things. In fact, Connecticut even held primary elections of its own last week, but not for the U.S. Senate, where both candidates were chosen earlier by their party conventions. American elections, boy I don't know.
So your Connecticut incumbent and likely to stay that way is Democrat Richard Blumenthal, one of the rare Democrats to actually win a race for an open seat against a Tea Party Republican in Teabaggeddon 2010. It helped that he was running against Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Fake Wrestling, who spent a record-setting $50 million in losing to Blumenthal, then went on to lose another senate election to Chris Murphy in 2012 (after which she didn't pay her campaign workers).
In addition to all the chair-to-the face jokes we were, by law, required to make about McMahon, we also had to tut-tut rather a lot at Blumenthal's weird claims that he'd served in Vietnam, when in fact he'd gotten a bunch of deferments and then a spot in the Marine Reserve, which kept his ass safely in Washington DC organizing Toys for Tots drives and protecting a local campground from Viet Cong sappers disguised as untidy campsites. He apologized and still managed to win office despite the controversy, which suggests what a terrible candidate McMahon was, or perhaps that Connecticutians will elect anyone with a D after their name. Sen. Orrin Hatch took decisive action and introduced the "Stolen Valor Act," which passed but got tossed on its ear a few years later when the Supreme Court decided that lying about military service is protected by the First Amendment.
Once in office, Blumenthal has done some genuinely good stuff, like his 2013 sponsorship of a bill to prevent states from imposing "Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers" (TRAP) laws that incrementally make abortions harder and harder to obtain. While the bill didn't stand a chance of surviving a Republican filibuster, it was definitely on the right side of history, seeing as how the Supreme Court has finally decided no, states cannot impose a 9-month waiting period for abortions or require that clinics be certified as Level 1 trauma centers. Blumenthal was also among the first to back fellow Connecticutter Chris Murphy's genuine-for-real stand up filibuster for a gun bill vote in June, and joined John Lewis's unprecedented sit-in on the House floor the following week. He's got the usual assortment of high ratings from liberal groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL (100%), the ACLU (92%), the Human Rights Campaign (100%), and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (100%). He proudly touts a grade of "F" from the NRA, and a "0%" rating from the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity.
Running against Blumenthal is Connecticut state Rep. Dan Carter, who was chosen at the state Republican convention in May over a guy named August Wolfe, whose chief qualification for the Senate appears to have been competing in the shot put in the Olympics. Carter is the sort of guy who can give a speech and say with a straight face that the "Obama-Blumenthal-Malloy alliance" has ruined Connecticut's economy. Yeah, those guys. Carter was the only lawmaker whose district included Newtown to vote against Connecticut's law extending background checks and banning assault rifles following the Sandy Hook massacre, so that should make for an interesting debate point this fall. He plans to make Blumenthal's vote for the Iran nuclear deal a key campaign issue, because apparently wishing we'd just blown up Iran is better than actually having shut down its nuke program. He wants lower taxes, less regulation, and of course an end to Obamacare, because one of these days maybe that'll happen.
We will close our look at the Connecticut race for the Senate with this little chart comparing fundraising for the two candidates:
It looks to be a squeaker, all right.
Hawaii (state motto: "We ARE SO part of the U.S.!") held its primary election Saturday, and in low turnout, incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz won the Democratic primary against four other candidates. Someone had to have won the Republican primary, too, although as of midnight in Yr Dok Zoom's "Mountain Standard Time" (a very wibbly-wobbly time indeed), the most the AP had to say about it was that "Four Republicans also campaigned for the nomination." It's Hawaii, where Republicans have about about as much chance of winning as Democrats do in Idaho. Maybe less. By Sunday morning, the AP had expanded its coverage to add "Schatz advanced to meet Republican John Carroll in the November general election," and proceeded to say nothing about this Carroll guy. John Carroll is a lawyer and former pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, and will almost certainly get stomped in November, because Hawaii votes for Democrats, period.
Sen. Schatz was appointed to fill the seat of badass fighting man (and probably sexual harasser, goddammit) Daniel Inoue in 2012, and was special-elected to serve out the remainder of his term in 2014. Policy-wise, he is really big on fighting global warming, as you might expect from someone from a state surrounded by ocean. He says his goal is to make clean energy a national priority, like it already is in Hawaii. Also, Elizabeth Warren likes him a lot and calls him "a true progressive," so there. We like the sound of this "Hawaii" place so much we won't even think of moving there, so as not to further upset the ecological balance.
The primary also featured a whole bunch of races for the state legislature in which Democrats ran unopposed. Be on the lookout for Scott Brown to move to Hawaii sometime before the 2018 election cycle.
And while this column's beat is the Senate, we should also mention that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who spent election night 2014 on National Guard duty protecting her state from rampaging lava, has handily won her primary as well.
Longtime Wonkers may recall that Schatz was briefly a figure of a trumped-up controversy about alleged frat-boy sheepfucking, which turned out not to actually involve the actual fucking of any sheep. In mere reality, when he was at Pomona College in 1994, pledges at his frat were hazed in this way, which is quite gross enough thank you:
they would just tell the pledges, yo, fuck this sheep, but then the pledges would not fuck the sheep, and if the pledges were stupid enough to try to fuck the sheep, they would stop them and say, yo, do not actually fuck the sheep.
As Yr Editrix observed at the time, the real scandal was that the frat kept a sheep for pretend fucking, and did not take good care of it, though that was not new pledge Brian Schatz's fault. And that's the kind of news you get in August in a non election year.
We always end these things with links to the candidates' fundraising sites, so here they are, even though both of this week's Dems are in very safe seats. Still, you may feel compelled to help out Richard Blumenthal here, or Brian Schaatz here. You can also help Yr Wonkette's quest to cover all 34 Senate races this year by throwing some money in our tip jar here. No sheep, please.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.