Voters in twelve states head to the polls today. Ten states are holding primaries: California, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia. There’s also a Senate runoff in Arkansas and a congressional runoff in north Georgia. Today we look at one race in particular: the congressional race in Southern California’s 36th District, where antiwar candidate, longtime activist and Progressive Democrat Marcy Winograd is challenging the eight-term incumbent Jane Harman, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. Four years ago, Winograd challenged Harman and won more than 35 percent of the vote. [includes rush transcript]
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Voters in twelve states head to the polls today. Ten states are holding primaries: California, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia. There’s also a Senate runoff in Arkansas and a congressional runoff in north Georgia.
Today we look at one race in particular: the congressional race in Southern California’s 36th District, where antiwar candidate, longtime activist and Progressive Democrat, Marcy Winograd, is challenging the eight-term incumbent, Jane Harman, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. Four years ago, Winograd challenged Harman and won more than 35 percent of the vote. This year, Marcy Winograd has challenged Harman on a number of issues, from the economy to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to education, civil liberties and US foreign policy on Israel and Palestine.
We invited Congress member Jane Harman on the program for a debate with candidate Marcy Winograd, but Harman declined. Marcy Winograd has agreed to be with us. Her campaign is backed by a range of groups, including Democracy for America, founded by former DNC chair Howard Dean. Marcy Winograd, joining us from Los Angeles.
This is a big day for you, Marcy Winograd. Why did you choose to run again against Jane Harman?
MARCY WINOGRAD: Yes, thank you so much, Amy, for inviting me back on your show. The Winograd for Congress campaign is about a people-powered campaign to take back our Congress from its corporate stranglehold. And under that umbrella, I would say it is time for people to step forward and demand that their candidates and their representatives forsake corporate contributions. We have raised almost a half-a-million dollars from relatively small donations, in an effort to not only end the corporate stranglehold on Congress, but to transition from a war economy to a job-rich green economy.
AMY GOODMAN: And what is different between this campaign, Marcy Winograd, and the campaign that you ran four years ago?
MARCY WINOGRAD: Amy, last time that I ran, in 2006, I had just seen Jane Harman on Meet the Press attack the New York Times for finally telling the American public about the Bush administration’s massive illegal wiretapping program. I jumped into the race three months before the primary and in that short amount of time was able to mobilize almost 40 percent of the primary vote. This time we have a very strong infrastructure to build on. We had over 800 volunteers. In addition, we had more time to reach out to diverse communities, specifically the Latino community, which makes up a large percentage of our voting population. And we had, I think, a message, an anti-corporate message that resonates at a time when people are tired of these bailouts and want something for themselves, something for the ordinary American who’s working so hard and struggling to hold on to their job and their home.
AMY GOODMAN: This latest issue, the issue of the attack on the Gaza flotilla that ended up killing nine of the activists onboard, your position on this and your opponent’s?
MARCY WINOGRAD: Well, when this happened, I published a press release denouncing what had happened, calling for an international investigation into the deaths of these activists and ultimately for an end to the blockade, because that’s what this effort was all about, was breaking that blockade and providing humanitarian aid to over a million Palestinians who are regularly denied clean water and medicine. My opponent was silent for many hours, for days, following that assault. And I then issued a second press release condemning her for her silence and urging her to break her silence and call, with me, for an international investigation into what happened and for an end to the brutal blockade of Gaza. After a few days, she did issue a press release. She didn’t say what type of investigation. She said there should be some sort of investigation, though she did say that the boats should be allowed to go through.
AMY GOODMAN: And —-
MARCY WINOGRAD: My opponent, I have said that she’s in the pocket of AIPAC, which she has demonstrated in the past.
AMY GOODMAN: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how do you differ?
MARCY WINOGRAD: Despite what my opponent says, she continues to vote to escalate in Afghanistan, to send more troops to Iraq.
From the beginning, from before the invasion of Iraq, I have been very visible on the street corner with neighborhood peace vigils, organizing within the California Democratic Party, co-writing, co-authoring resolutions, putting our party on record calling for an end to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and running a campaign in ’06, an antiwar candidacy.
My opponent, you know, despite the barrage of protests that were emailed, that were phoned into her office prior to the invasion, she voted against a majority of House Democrats to take us to war in Iraq, this at a time when she was the ranking minority member on the House Intelligence Committee, when she should have known better. She could have read the National Intelligence Estimate; perhaps she did and didn’t care -— I don’t know. But in that report, which was a synthesis of intelligence from sixteen different agencies, it said very clearly, boxed and highlighted, that reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were highly dubious. So she took us to war in Iraq. She votes, despite what she says, to escalate in Afghanistan. More recently, she appeared on Fox News to threaten Iran with a military attack, and she repeatedly talks about the next front being Yemen. In one of my mailers, I said, "Let’s follow the money." My opponent, Jane Harman, has up to $8 million invested in the weapons industry, and she has yet to recuse herself on the supplemental war appropriation. That’s wrong.
AMY GOODMAN: So you disagree with President Obama over the surge in Afghanistan?
MARCY WINOGRAD: Yes, I don’t think that there is a military solution in Afghanistan. I think we have seen that in the last several years. What has come? What has come of this occupation, this war? Only more war. In fact, we serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists, each time we drop a bomb or send a drone to drop bombs on innocent people, who are maybe not targeted but become casualties in this never-ending perpetual war. It’s time to break out of this cycle and to challenge the economic engine driving this. And that’s why I talk about the importance of transitioning to a new green economy, where we can double the number of jobs, if we invest in mass transit, as opposed to investing in war.
AMY GOODMAN: Marcy Winograd, we only have ten seconds, but do you think President Obama has dealt with the BP oil spill adequately?
MARCY WINOGRAD: I have called repeatedly for a national environmental corps, and I hope that President Obama will be the catalyst for this, as we look at the devastation that has occurred in the Gulf
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there. I thank you very much for being with us, Marcy Winograd —-
MARCY WINOGRAD: Thank you. Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: —- Progressive Democrat running for the Democratic nomination in Southern California’s 36th District.