Plunderbund didn’t “officially” take sides in the Senate primary battle between Jennifer Brunner and Lee Fisher, but if you read the blog back then it would have been amazingly clear who most of us were supporting. Despite Brunner’s fundraising disadvantage, former PB blogger Modern Esquire took on Lee Fisher, the entire Ohio Democratic Party and anyone who was foolish enough to say anything negative about Jennifer Brunner.
Brunner didn’t win, but she did impress a lot of us with her willingness to fearlessly get out in front of important progressive issues. After the race for Senate, Brunner started a political action committee named Courage PAC “to encourage advocacy and citizen activism”.
While we’ve recently taken issue with some of Jennifer’s decisions to cozy up to the Kasich administration, I think we all had high hopes her PAC might do some good. So far, the record is kind of mixed.
To be fair, the PAC doesn’t have a lot of money. Records from the Secretary of State’s site show they spent slightly more than the ~$16K they raised. Most of it at the Apple online store and an email service. But Brunner is a big name in Ohio politics and her endorsement certainly carries some weight.
Her PAC recently made two endorsements. One makes a lot of sense. The other makes absolutely none.
The first endorsement was in the 31st Ohio House District race between three Democrats including Denise Driehaus and Luke Brockmeier.
The Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed Driehaus while Brunner’s Courage PAC has endorsed Brockmeier.
I don’t live in the district, and I won’t take sides, but I will say, in this case, the Courage PAC endorsement at least understandable.
There’s no doubt that Denise Driehaus a strong Democratic candidate on most issues. She’s a supporter of LGBT rights. She has the endorsements of labor and the party. And she’s proven she can win elections in a pretty Republican-leaning part of the state.
But two things changed recently:
1. The 31st was redrawn to lean heavily Democratic.
2. Women’s health and reproductive rights have suddenly become THE hot topic this year
Driehaus, unfortunately, is a pro-life Democratic. Which likely worked well for her in her old district, but may not play as well in this new district and this election cycle.
Luke Brockmeier, on the other hand, works for Planned Parenthood and has been endorsed by NARAL.
Again, without taking sides here, it’s easy to see why the party would endorse Driehaus in this case and also why Brunner would endorse Brockmeier. The question of perceived electability vs. progressive street cred is one Brunner faced in her Senate primary race against Fisher, and one voters will face today in the 31st.
Brunner went with candidate who more closely aligns with her stance on women’s health issues – Luke Brockmeier – and that’s a completely understandable choice. Brockmeier supporters and thrilled by the endorsement. Party insiders, not so much. Say what you want about Jennifer Brunner, but at least she’s never boring.
Now the other endorsement.
Pat Lang is the Athens Law Director. He’s pro-choice. And he’s the endorsed Democratic candidate in the 15th Congressional race.
But Courage PAC is now helping collect signatures to get Warren Taylor, the owner of Snowville Creamery, on the ballot to run as an Independent against Lang in the general.
Everything I’ve heard about Taylor leads me to believe he’d be a good candidate for office. He’s a popular and well respected small business owner who is concerned about the environment. And if he’d run in a primary against another Democrat, then I could understand that endorsement from Courage PAC.
But this makes absolutely no sense. Up until a few weeks ago, Taylor was trying to collect signatures to to run for Senate as an Independent against Sherrod Brown.
I can see no logical, political or ideological reason for Brunner’s PAC to support an independent in a race that’s already going to be very difficult for the Democrat to win. Lang has a serious uphill battle against incumbent Steve Stivers in the 15th. Adding Taylor to the mix pretty much guarantees Lang’s defeat.
As with all things Jennifer Brunner related, I guess you need to take the good with the strange. And so it goes with her Courage PAC.