National Progressive PAC Backs Strader Against Pitts

Rep. Joe Pitts (left) and Aryanna Strader

Blue America, a progressive PAC, will formally endorse challenger Aryanna Strader tomorrow against incumbent Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester) in PA’s 16th district.  The group channels donors and grassroots supporters nationwide to help the candidates it supports.

Blue America founder Howie Klein called Strader one of the most positive and energetic congressional candidates he’s seen running this year anywhere in the country.

“The Pennsylvania legislature made the 16th district more open to an independent-minded populist like Aryanna than it has been in the past,” he said. “If she can get her message out, she’ll have a very good chance of beating Joe Pitts the same way Matt Cartwright beat Tim Holden in the 17th. And like Matt, Aryanna is part of the next generation of dynamic, progressive leadership the country is looking for.”

Strader, 30, is U.S. Army veteran, small businesswoman and mother of two.

Blue America PAC says of itself that it, “doesn’t work in safe districts where our help isn’t needed. We look for tough races where a little encouragement, some financial help and some advice could go a long way, especially with candidates unlikely to get much help for the DCCC or the DSCC.”

And indeed, Strader will have to work hard to prove that she’s a competitive candidate – including any financial help the PAC could bring. Open Secrets, a nonprofit research group that records the use and effect of money in U.S. politics, observes that Joe Pitts has raised $793,081 so far this 2011-2012 cycle, 78 percent of it ($616,085) from PACs. Strader struggles behind with only $50,286 so far. 2 percent of her funding, a mere $1,000, has been from PACs.

She has the difficulty of being a candidate running in a district historically unfriendly to her party: the newly drawn 16th district has voted Republican 56 percent of the time on average.

However, there is hope for the Democrats; in 2008 Obama won the district 50.2 percent to 49 percent. Further fueling Democrats’ hope, as Blue America posted on Facebook Monday, Strader’s district is “newly redistricted and distinctly less red.”

In order to get the cash she needs to realize the Democrat’s hope, Strader first has to get others to see it. Strader and Blue America’s goal is to make potential donors view her campaign as viable. No matter how much they’d like to see her succeed, donors won’t risk their money unless they think there’s a good chance of returns.

Strader may find support in the many progressive activists across the country who oppose Pitts for his strong – and vocal – pro-life legislation. MOMocrats call Pitts “virulent, anti-choice”, and Blue America describes him as a “obsessed anti-Choice fanatic”.

Meanwhile, Pitts spokesman Gabe Neville sees the PAC’s endorsement as a detraction to Strader’s campaign and criticized Blue America.

“This will raise Strader a few dollars, but it will also cost her votes. ‘Blue America’ is so left-wing it brags about attacking even thoughtful Democrats like our neighbor Congressman Tim Holden,” he said.

“In their statements, Aryanna Strader and ‘Blue America’ repeatedly express their desire to fight about abortion, but not once do either of them use the words ‘jobs’ or ‘unemployment.’  That speaks volumes about how out of touch they are. Joe Pitts, on the other hand, is actively focused on creating jobs and reviving our economy through smarter government, new markets, cheaper energy, sustainable budgets, and stable tax rates.”

He also knocked her residency, noting that she moved to Chester County in July 2011 and doesn’t actually reside within the newly drawn 16th.

And though the district is less Republican after the redraw, it has only gone from a Cook PVI of R+8 down to R+6. For example, Lois Herr ran in the previously drawn district in 2010, 2006 and 2004. She lost by margins outside a slight change in PVI (30.8 percent, 17 percent and 29.9 percent, respectively).

Tuesday at 2pm Strader will live-blog with Blue America members at CrooksandLiars.com for an hour. Blue America is also asking for contributions to Strader’s campaign through a public Act Blue page, and notes that the PAC’s average contribution falls around $45.

6 Responses

  1. I’m pleased to read that there is someone else running besides the Democrat and the Republican. I didn’t really know anything about John Murphy so I checked his website and found nothing to indicate any claims about him being “progressive” assuming that is a negative term.
    I can fully understand the concern that Strader has
    Relative to fending off independent candidate Muhy. His positions seem far more reasonable and workable than the Democrat. It seems that Strader says that she can create more jobs by giving tax cuts to businesses. Now that seems “naive. Isn’t that exactly what the Republicans say? It seems to me that businesses hire people when the demand for their products or services increase! If people have no money, then no demand! If taxes are lowered for corporations then the government has less money to spend on services for needy children, retired military men and women, not to mention national defense. How can lower corporate taxes encourage people to spend? Government has to realize that it is the only organization that can do anything to turn our economy around!
    I encourage everyone, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, to take an honest look at the website of John Murphy.

  2. As a resident of the 16th district for over 15 years and a candidate for the 16th district that got more votes than any other Democrat in the history of this race, I too question the abilities Of Ms. Strader. and her knowledge of this diverse farming community??? Being a women is not enough to win this seat! Being someone everyone needs is just enough!

  3. Funny, read that entire thing and still didn’t see where Strader talked about jobs. Saw nice liberal catch phrases about equal pay, reproductive rights, etc. Apparently Mr. Neville wasn’t lying about Blue America or Strader.

    Does this make Pitts any less of a dinosaur, no? But is he still more representative of the 16th than Strader and Blue America? Absolutely.

    She goes down by at least 62-38.

  4. “…Pitts is a dinosaur who should be consigned to history.” New nickname for Mr. Pitts: “Jurassic Joe.”

  5. Pitts’ campaign is lying about Blue America and Aryanna Strader not mentioning jobs. Much of the letter was exactly on that. Word for word, here’s the last 2/3s of the letter:

    She [Aryanna] learned at a very young age the meaning of hard work as she watched her mother labor as a waitress and her father who performed room maintenance and other odd jobs for local hotels.

    Her family did their best while living well below the poverty line. With the assistance of local Churches, Food Stamps, and the National School Lunch Program, as well as receiving a public education– from Head Start through high school– Aryanna knew and appreciated the value of what her community provided.

    Compare Aryanna to Joe Pitts, the man bought and paid for by corporate health care interests, a man who thinks selling Medicare to insurance companies and Social Security to Wall Street is absolutely wonderful.

    In Aryanna’s district, there is only one certainty: Joe Pitts is a dinosaur who should be consigned to history. Aryanna is the only Democrat challenging Pitts but she also has to fend off independent candidate John Murphy, who claims to have progressive values but has absolutely no problem characterizing Aryanna as”naive”. Viva la patriarchy, Mr. Murphy. While he says he has similar values to Aryanna’s, it’s clear he doesn’t have a lot of respect for women and that alone should disqualify him.

    Aryanna Strader, at age 31, has already accumulated two lifetimes worth of milestones. If you know nothing else about her, know this: She knows how to set a goal and reach it. That’s true of her life and it’s true of her service.

    Above all, Aryanna is a real fighter for women, and that alone makes her the perfect candidate to send Pitts packing.

    I believe that all women should have the freedom to choose what is best for them and their families. We are witnessing new attacks on women’s reproductive freedoms, restrictions on care, and legislation forcing women to undergo procedures that would suggest that they “close their eyes”. The generations of women like my mom and those who came before me, fought for the freedom to choose and believed that these were settled matters. And now, unfortunately it is a fight that women of all ages must take up once again. I am prepared to lead that fight.

    As a matter of family growth and financial security, we must also ensure that women in the workplace are on equal footing. During my service in the United States Army, I worked just as hard, pulled my own weight and went to war like all the other troops. And when I was promoted to an E4, I received an E4 pay; just like the male members of my unit. As a working mother of two, I will work as an advocate on behalf of women everywhere so they are treated fairly in their profession, and to set an example for my daughter, and my son.

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