It Would Be Great To See Blue Dog Jim Costa Replaced In Congress-- But Not With Another Blue Dog

Sometimes people ask me who the single worst Democrat in Congress is. Until very recently, I had never even thought it was Pelosi. Last session it was unquestionably Kyrsten Sinema, the genuinely mentally unbalanced Blue Dog from Arizona, who is currently the single worst Democrat in the Senate. This cycle it has been Josh Gottheimer, Blue Dog, grotesquely corrupt Wall Street whore, New Dem, tool of the murderous Saudi regime and chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. So far this session, Gottheimer's 26.32 ProgressivePunch crucial vote score can be compared to Justin Amash, a Republican until 2 weeks ago when he became an independent and whose score is 60.53.

But looking beyond just raw scores there are always 3 or 4 Blue Dogs on the band side of everything important, Trump enablers and enemies of working families and progressive values, Thank God just one is here in California, sex predator and Blue Dog Jim Costa, who represents the 16th district in the Central Valley. The district has a sweet D+9 PVI and Trump only managed 36.4% there. One of the poorest districts in the country (the 412th poorest out of 435), it is a Latino majority district (59.2%) and only 23.5% white.

Costa, like Devin Nunes, is the grandchild of Portuguese immigrants who went into dairy farming. He was elected to the state Assembly in 1978, where he was widely considered the worst and most right-wing Democrat in the legislature. When he was finally term-limited out in 2002 he became a corporate lobbyist. But then his local New Dem congressman, Cal Dooley, retired 2 years later to become a K Street lobbyist himself. Costa-- despite an arrest for hiring teenage hookers-- one of whom was an undercover cop-- and despite drug paraphernalia found in his home, won the primary.

Costa's congressional district, CA-16, includes most of the city of Fresno, all of Merced County and a piece of Madera County. Aside from Fresno, the population centers are Merced, Madera, Chowchilla and Los Banos. Costa, who engenders zero enthusiasm among Democratic base voters, has been on shaky ground recently. In 2010, Republican Andy Vidak's challenge was so strong that, despite Costa outspending him $2,076,986 to $891,826, it took 3 weeks of recounts before Costa was declared the winner by 3,050 votes. 2014 was even worse for Costa. With no help from the GOP whatsoever, dairyman Johnny Tacherra-- outspent by Costa $1,116,677 to $342,204-- was declared the winner on election night. A shady recount in Fresno handed the final tally to Costa 46,277 (50.7%) to 44,943 (49.3%). Costa's foolish and dysfunctional response to these close calls has been to tack further and further right.

His Trump affinity score is 34.4%, second worst of any Democrats', having voted, for example, to support ICE, to roll back Dodd Frank protections, to allow guns in schools, to allow for racial profiling by auto finance companies, against opening impeachment hearings (twice), reauthorizing warrantless wiretapping of American citizens under FISA, for attempts to repeal Obamacare, removing antitrust exemption for insurance companies, for Trump's scheme to hobble regulatory agencies, for repealing a rule requiring energy companies to reduce waste and emissions, and against Climate Change efforts involving ozone standards... Whenever there are Democrats crossing the aisle to support the GOP, you can always expect Costa to be among them. After he voted for the TPP (which included $700 million in cuts to Medicare), Blue America sent our lovely accountability truck (below) to drive around Modesto, Merced, Atwater, Livingston and Fresno, you know,  to spend a couple of weeks reminding voters in the district what Congressman Costa is all about. We sent the truck out again when he was one of the only Democrats in Congress to continue funding the genocide in Yemen.

So... you'd think it would be a dream come true to see Costa with a primary challenge. And, in a way it is. First I heard Kim Williams, a college professor and former foreign service diplomat was taking him on and more recently Fresno City Council member Esmeralda Soria declared that she's running. (The Republicans have a real estate agent, Kevin Cookingham, in the jungle primary.) I've tried getting in touch with both Williams and Soria but neither has responded. As far as I can tell, Williams is a bit to the left of Costa and Soria is pretty much exactly the same, politically, as he is.

Late last week, the Fresno Bee took a look at Soria's announcement of her campaign. "Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria," reported Brianna Calix, "announced on Thursday she is running to represent California’s 16th Congressional District. Soria, a Democrat born to Mexican immigrant farm laborers in the Tulare County town of Lindsay, is in her second and final term on the city council. Soria’s political strength in Fresno could make her the most formidable challenge of Costa’s career."

After Soria’s announcement, Costa said he was disappointed in her decision and pointed to her past endorsements. He said in the last eight months they’ve met for lunch, coffee and social events and she never shared any major criticisms or disagreements with him.

Costa said his record will help him win again as it has in prior elections.

“I always work very hard every day to help people in our Valley,” he said in a telephone interview with The Bee. “…I always put my trust and faith in the voters of the Valley. This is my home and this is what my passion is.”

Costa’s victories over the years have come from his strong voter base in Fresno, while he lost ground in Republican-dominated rural areas like Merced County’s west side. Much of Soria’s council district in south-central Fresno falls within the 16th Congressional District, and she’s made allies with the other Democrat council members representing the southern parts of the city.

Soria also enters the race at a time when people of color are gaining traction in Fresno and challenging the political establishment in ways similar to what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accomplished in New York through grassroots organizing and community activism.

In an interview with The Bee, Soria never uttered Costa’s name, saying her congressional bid isn’t about her opponent or partisan politics. “I’m focused on who I represent,” she said. “People want a fair shot. They don’t want a handout.”

Costa, a 67-year-old Blue Dog Democrat, has faced one Democratic challenger since his first bid for Congress in the 2004 primary, Steve Hazei n 2010.

...Whether Soria can beat the veteran politician could depend largely on early fundraising. She said she won’t take any corporate money for her campaign.

Meanwhile, Costa in his last election accepted money from PACs and corporations such as Chevron, Google, Comcast, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, plus various agriculture or labor-related groups. Costa also is likely to receive fundraising support from other longtime and high-profile California Democrats.

Costa touted his long list of endorsements from the state’s top leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, as well as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Many have committed to coming to the Valley to help him campaign, he said.

Soria may not be well-known outside of Fresno and her hometown in Tulare County, but the 37-year-old millennial said her background as the daughter of immigrants from a rural community will help her connect with voters in Merced and Madera.

Soria said she was inspired to run by her family’s personal stories and the ones she’s heard from city constituents, former interns and students she’s taught as an adjunct faculty member at Fresno City College.

“My family and the thousands of families here in the Valley that continue to struggle, they’ve worked hard, they’ve played by the rules and they give back. Yet, to this date, they’re barely making ends meet,” she said. “Things haven’t changed. The economy has gotten better. Our unemployment rate has decreased, but not enough. There’s still too many families that are struggling to make ends meet.”

On the issue of health care, Soria wants more affordable options, saying everyone should be able to have similar health care plans as representatives in Congress.

Immigration is a top issue for Soria, who once planned to be an immigration attorney. She called the immigration system broken and said she supports a path to citizenship for Dreamers, a guest worker program for seasonal workers, and condemned the current border crisis, saying “we can’t continue to allow these kids to be in cages.”

Affordable college and student loan debt is another top issue for Soria, who said she’s personally saddled with $150,000 debt from law school.

While Soria avoided directly criticizing Costa in her interview with The Bee, she added: “I wouldn’t be running if those issues were fixed.”

Costa pointed to his voting record to support water needs, transportation infrastructure, reducing prescription drug prices and working with state assemblymembers to bring a medical school to the Valley.

She touted her record at City Hall, helping spur job growth and fix neighborhood problems such as paving roads, building parks, advocating for affordable housing and holding more than 40 community meetings.

Soria’s council colleague Garry Bredefeld recently criticized her for a trip to Washington, D.C., where she met with Ocasio-Cortez. “AOC,” as she’s known online, has been described as a Democratic Socialist and also challenged a longtime Democratic incumbent in her district, where she represents Queens and the Bronx in New York.

While Soria vocally supports some progressive issues such as immigration reform and race-related issues, she’s also supported law enforcement and has been recognized for being “business friendly” while on the Fresno City Council.

The idea of Soria painting herself as a progressive is patently absurd. One actual progressive politician in Fresno told me she is basically Costa with a skirt and "every bit another Blue Dog-in-the-making."

Down With Tyranny

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 168
Pass Blue 208
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 14
John Pilger 416
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 2578
FEE 4599
Marine Le Pen 380
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 910
Mohamed Omar 371
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 18
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 107
Vetenskapsradion Historia 152
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 217
Les Crises 2799
Richard Falk 166
Ian Sinclair 108
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 9478
Kafila 472
Gail Malone 39
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 9732
Vanessa Beeley 125
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5629
Paul Craig Roberts 1814
News Junkie Post 58
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 4771
Sir Ken Robinson 24
Stephan Kinsella 99
Liberty Blitzkrieg 851
Sami Bedouin 64
Consortium News 2672
21 Century Wire 3544
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 88
David D. Friedman 152
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1514
Tom Dispatch 523
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4306
The Barnes Review 527
John Friend 473
Psyche Truth 159
Jonathan Cook 145
New Eastern Outlook 3977
School Sucks Project 1775
Giza Death Star 1916
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 613
GMWatch 2299
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 34
Jay's Analysis 967
Le 4ème singe 90
Jacob Cohen 208
Agora Vox 15499
Cercle Des Volontaires 436
Panamza 2187
Fairewinds 117
Project Censored 946
Spy Culture 528
Conspiracy Archive 76
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 570
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 835
Independent Science News 80
The Anti Media 6664
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 292
The Mind renewed 442
Natural Society 2619
Yanis Varoufakis 1001
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 145
Porkins Policy Review 423
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 597
Libyan War Truth 335
DeadLine Live 1913
Kevin Ryan 63
Aaron Franz 235
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 145
Peter B Collins 1564
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 10775
Climate Audit 224
Donna Laframboise 438
Judith Curry 1131
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2382
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 91
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 11918
Laura Wells Solutions 44
Video Rebel's Blog 436
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 20477
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3014
Northerntruthseeker 2385
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4712 Blog 3072 Original Content 6948
Corbett Report 2361
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1199
Webster Tarpley Website 1103

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public