I've spent the last two weeks hosting Colorado's drive-time morning radio show at AM760, and every single day we've called appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet's (D) office asking him to come on the show and explain why he thinks it is OK to refuse to take a public position on the Employee Free Choice Act. Each day, he has refused, and now my question is: Will organized labor fund a primary against Bennet (D) here in Colorado if he votes against EFCA? It's starting to sound that way, as this Denver Post story includes this statement as Bennet refuses to take a public position on the issue:
"Leaders in high positions have to make tough decisions," said Mitch Ackerman, regional director for SEIU, who when asked if a "no" vote would impact labor's support for the Democrat in 2010, answered simply: "Absolutely."
Every Democrat in the Colorado congressional delegation who has had to face voters in an election is on record supporting EFCA. The only Democrat who has refused to take a position is Bennet - a guy who was appointed (and a guy who made headlines recently joining the new Senate Blue Dog caucus that sounds like it's aiming to obstruct the progressive priorities in Obama's budget).
Obviously, this shows the real downside of appointed senators - they feel no accountability to voters. The only upside is that appointed senators have a much tougher time winning reelection and winning primaries in states with high-quality alternative candidates like, say, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (who is already pondering a primary challenge). The inherent vulnerability of an appointed incumbent - especially one who has never run for office before - means that if Bennet votes against EFCA and therefore gets a labor-backed primary, there's a good chance he'll go down - and he'd deserve to go down if he was that arrogant and out of touch on such a fundamental worker-rights issue.