Oct 24, 2008
What else will happen on November 4?
As Bruce Mirken pointed out in another post, Rep. Mark Souder, a stalwart drug warrior, may lose his seat in Congress this year. Souder’s possible departure is part of a larger trend of drug warriors losing elections to more sensible candidates.
This change is largely due to the unpopularity of President Bush and the fact that most virulent prohibitionists have maintained close ties with his policies for the last eight years. Their departure is significant for MPP and other drug policy organizations that hope to pass legislation in the next Congress.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more exciting contests.
Kentucky Senate Race: Senator Mitch McConnell (R) v. Bruce Lunsford (D)
Sen. McConnell is currently in a dead heat with his opponent, Democrat Bruce Lunsford. McConnell prides himself on securing millions of dollars in federal funding for marijuana eradication in Kentucky. Come November, he may be seeking a new job.
Florida’s 24th District: Congressman Tom Feeney (R) v. Suzanne Kosmas (D)
Rep. Feeney introduced an amendment in 2003 that would have forced federal judges to hand down harsh sentences to minor drug offenders and has opposed every sensible piece of drug policy legislation that’s come across his desk. His opponent, Democrat Suzanne Kosmas, is currently leading by a 23-point margin. The only catch here is that Kosmas supported the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, a Florida law that MPP opposed. However she has supported alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders.
Colorado’s 4th District: Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R) v. Betsy Markey (D)
Rep. Musgrave has been a consistent opponent of medical marijuana legislation in Congress. In 2006, Musgrave took significant contributions from the National Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association while opposing a Colorado initiative to legalize adult marijuana use. She’s currently losing to Democrat Betsy Markey by nearly 10 points.
Florida’s 8th District: Congressman Rick Keller (R) v. Alan Grayson (D)
Rep. Keller has pushed for legislation to increase penalties for marijuana users and has always opposed medical marijuana legislation. He currently trails his opponent by 4 points.
Michigan’s 7th District: Congressman Tim Walberg (R) v. Mark Schauer (D)
In a state where MPP hopes to pass a medical marijuana initiative this fall, Walberg stands out as a strong opponent to medical marijuana legislation in Congress. He is currently losing by 9 points to his Democratic rival.
Washington’s 8th District: Congressman Dave Reichert (R) v. Darcy Burner (D)
Rep. Reichert, despite hailing from a medical marijuana state, has opposed efforts to protect Washington’s state law from federal interference. He currently trails by 3 points in the polls.