Friday, March 16, 2012

SD 1: John Lee Gets a Primary Challenge. And I Honestly Didn't Know About It.

Honestly, I did NOT know this was coming. When I was at Stonewall on Wednesday to listen to John Lee discuss his experience in the Legislature and answer questions about his record, I had no clue that Southern Nevada Stonewall's new Vice-chair was preparing to challenge him in the Democratic Primary in the new SD 1.

And now, it looks like Senate Democrats are in for a real Battle Royale. On one side, the Senate Caucus will have to decide how to defend John Lee in the primary. He is the incumbent, after all, and the caucus typically favors incumbents first.

But on the other hand, a number of progressive activists will probably be jumping behind Pat Spearman. Considering his past votes on matters of LGBTQ equality, the environment, education, and more, the grassroots left hasn't ever had a very good relationship with Lee. Tensions have been rising in the last few legislative sessions, so perhaps this was bound to happen at some point.

I'm sure there will be talk of how this affects the Senate Caucus. The fact of the matter is that this is how the ("small d") democratic process works. Primaries happen. And if Pat Spearman didn't do this, someone else might have announced.

Still, I just hope folks on both sides of this emerging divide remember to look at the bigger picture. Regardless of what happens in this primary, there's a big election coming in November. And not only is partisan control at stake, but so are the environment, workers' rights, education, LGBTQ equality, tax reform, and so much more.

I honestly didn't even know about this until Jon Ralston tweeted it. And I had no clue on Wednesday that this was going to happen. I'm confident that Stonewall will be fair in its endorsement process, as no endorsements have even been issued yet. I just hope that the larger progressive activist base will really think this through and make sure that whatever happens in this primary doesn't harm larger efforts to make a positive impact on the Legislature in this fall's election.

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