[As with all Blue America chats, please keep discussions on topic and please be polite to our guest today.  Any off-topic discussions should be taken to the prior thread.  And, with that, please help give a big FDL welcome back to Angie Paccione!  -- CHS] 

Before we welcome Angie Paccione back to Firedoglake today, I want to ask you to humor me for a moment. The video, below, takes 1 minutes and 19 seconds to view and it neatly sums up why Blue America is Angie Paccione Country. (Besides, if you don’t watch it, you won’t understand the title of today’s post.)

If you’ve watched it, you understand why more than 800 of us contributed over $15,000 to Angie’s campaign last year and why we decided to use of Blue America PAC to place hundreds of radio ads all over Morgan and Yuma counties.

You will also understand why the Denver Post urged its readers to vote for her and why I was on the phone to Angie several times after the election asking her to consider running again. A few weeks ago she called me and told me she’s decided to go for it, this time with help from part of Ed Perlmutter’s winning ’06 election team. Here’s the archive of her first FDL session.

Today Angie joins us after having won 97,670 votes (43%) against Musgrave’s 104,876 (46%) in a district with 170,294 registered Republicans (40%), 145,759 unaffiliated voters (34%) and only 108,642 registered Democrats (25%). Look closely at those numbers! It appears that almost all the registered Democrats turned out for Angie and only 60% of Republicans voted for Musgrave, nearly negating the GOP registration advantage. (Bush won the 4th CD against Kerry with 58%.) It might also be worth bearing in mind that Angie spent $1,951,000 and Musgrave spent $3,212,000. The difference this year is that where Angie was only well known in her own Larimer County in 2006 (which, unlike previous Democrats, she won), this year her name recognition district wide is an astounding 84%. Many incumbents don’t have name recognition that high.

It often takes more than one try for a candidate to defeat an incumbent.

In 2004 Pombo beat Jerry McNerney 61-39%. Two years later, McNerney’s grassroots campaign came roaring back and helped make America a better place by taking out Pombo 53- 47% in a Republican district Bush had won with 54%. In 2004, far right lunatic Jim Ryun (KS-02) beat Nancy Boyda 56- 41% and last year Boyda turned the tables on the nutcase, 51- 47%. The DCCC offered McNerney and Boyda no substantive support; they ran grassroots campaigns and the difference in 2 years in both races was name recognition garnered from the previous cycle.

I’m certain you follow my drift.

This year, even though Angie is wildly popular among CO-04 Democrats– especially in Larimer and Boulder counties, where she increased Democrat margins and beat Musgrave– before Angie can challenge Musgrave again, she has to face some Democrats who have decided to take advantage of the work she and her team have done in the district.

One guy, state Senator Brandon Shafer, who was supposedly being touted by Inside-the-Beltway types, and who Angie described to me as “high quality” and “a rising star,” quickly got a sense of the district’s loyalties and almost immediately bowed out. However, if Washington reactionaries are backing away, local reactionaries aren’t.

Colorado’s horrible right-wing Senator (not Allard, the other one– Salazar) has dispatched one of his staffers, Betsy Markey, to take on Angie. Salazar has a crappy overall voting record, votes with Republicans to confirm Bush’s worst anti-choice judicial nominations, and voted with Republicans for the anti-consumer/anti-worker bankruptcy bill. If Markey reflects his positions she may be better than Musgrave, but not much better.

And Angie? I asked her how we’re going to end the occupation of Iraq. “We’ve got to separate the notion of supporting the troops from the notion of supporting this president’s agenda.” In 2006 Angie strongly opposed Bush’s occupation of Iraq. Two days ago she told me “I’m against this president’s agenda for Iraq… and against his agenda for Iran. I supported going into Afghanistan and I think we should have done a better job there. I’d like to ask President Bush about Osama bin-Forgotten.”

Locally she says there are several issues that are resonating with the voters. “When it comes to health care, people are ready for a solution. They’ve had enough. There are nearly 800,000 people in Colorado without health insurance, particularly children and older women. People I meet when I’m campaigning are telling me that they’re spending more on medical insurance than on their mortgages!”

Fixing what the Republicans have done to public education is another of Angie’s key issues. Makes sense; she was a teacher for over 2 decades. She told me “No Child Left Behind is a hollow soundbyte. An educated population– with fully funded quality public schooling from kindergarten through college– is essential for genuine national security in the 21st century.”

So Angie’s back on the Blue America list and I hope you’ll join me in donating some money to her campaign. We’re not going to find a better candidate, not anywhere, to help us reclaim our country. Avalon Books sent us a box of the just-released YOUNG J. EDGAR: HOOVER, THE RED SCARE, AND THE ASSAULT ON CIVIL LIBERTIES. Each book has been autographed by author Ken Ackerman and it sells in stores for $28.95. Every Angie donation for $30 or more gets a Blue America thank you with a book (until the box is empty.) Add a cent to your donation if you don’t want the book. One more thing, Jacquie is already planning out an aggressive paid-media strategy for CO-04 in ’08, so if you want to stick some dough in the Blue America PAC, please don’t be shy.