Friday, May 11, 2007

Gerrie Schipske Throws Hat In Via the Web

Her papers aren't in, but she's got a real campaign website up (the first one among the major candidates, as far as I'm aware) and, impressively, already has a live ActBlue webpage that she links to from her campaign site.

Her campaign is based on her being a Long Beach person who'll do right by Long Beach in Congress (what are the other 44% of the district that don't live in Long Beach supposed to make of that priority, I wonder?), and that she's the anti-Big Money candidate.

I've looked over the campaign finance disclosures (1,2,3 ) of her past campaigns against Steve Horn in the prior, Republican leaning version of the 38th district in 2000 and her campaign in 2002 against Rohrbacher in the 46th district. Labor contributions vastly outnumbered corporate.

On the race against incumbent Republican Horn in 2000, Schipske actually outraised him. She got donations from a lot of sitting Democratic House Reps in that race, including from Juanita Millender-McDonald. She was only the second open lesbian to run for Congress, and she got very close to defeating Horn (one percentage point away).

This is what The Nation had to say in 2000 about her challenge in the leadup to the general election.
GERRIE SCHIPSKE, California, District 38

Gerrie Schipske wasn't supposed to be the Democratic nominee against moderate Republican incumbent Steve Horn for a Long Beach-area House seat. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee insiders had groomed a young, not particularly political teacher--whose chief qualification appeared to be the fact that she had been featured on national television programs as an innovative educator--for the race to reclaim the historically Democratic seat. But Schipske, a nurse practioner, lawyer and healthcare policy consultant to the Service Employees International Union, won a primary upset with backing from labor and the district's large gay and lesbian community. Allies including Congressman Barney Frank have worked with labor and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund to keep Schipske, who is openly lesbian, even with Horn in fundraising. She is in an uphill fight, but, says Frank, "She's serious, she's progressive, she's got a chance to be elected, and if she wins she will immediately be a leader in Congress on healthcare issues"
Bonus points for her on overcoming DCCC boneheadedness on the way to almost knocking off Horn. The DCCC did actually support her after the primary according to the disclosure reports, but it sounds like by that time she didn't really need them.

It's just a shame that the raison d'etre for her candidacy divides up the Democrats in the district -- in this case, it's by city instead of by race. And just to let you know what I mean, just look at why Schipske says she's a candidate on the front page of her website , and then look at "37th District Facts". Not so great on Dem unity on that point, that's for sure...

It's just sad to see the tribalism card get played. I (perhaps naively) want to believe it shouldn't be necessary.



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