Dean Group Makes ‘Anti-Endorsements’ Against GOP Leaders Boehner, McConnell

A political action committee associated with former top Democrat Howard Dean has taken the unusual step of issuing “anti-endorsements” against the Republicans who would take over the reins of Congress should the GOP win control in November.

Democracy for America (DFA) says its membership selected House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, as the top vote getters of the “DFA 2010 Villains anti-endorsements.”

Boehner likely would become speaker if Republicans capture the House in the coming midterm elections, while McConnell probably would be elected majority leader if the GOP retake the Senate.

Democrats are defending their current majorities in both chambers against a hard conservative onslaught, and an unfriendly overall political environment.

“These Villains are the worst of the worst enemies of progress in America,” says Arshad Hasan, executive director of DFA, a group built out of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s failed 2004 campaign for the presidential nomination. “There is nothing — nothing — that would be a bigger setback for America than seeing right-wing corporate lapdog John Boehner take the gavel from progressive champion Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.”

McConnell and Boehner were in a close race for the “worst enemies of progress” with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), DFA says in an announcement. Although he formally caucuses with the Democrats, Lieberman has been out of step with his former party for years. He lost the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2006 due to his support for the war in Iraq, and actively campaigned for Republican John McCain for president two years later.

Bachmann, meanwhile, has become a darling of the tea party, and a nemesis for Democrats, in her two terms as a congresswoman.

DFA’s full list of anti-endorsements is here.

“DFA Members understand that our work is not just about a day in November,” Arshad says. “That’s why we single out the worst enemies of progress and work to defeat them, no matter how long it takes. DFA does not shy away from the tough fights.”

DFA says its anti-endorsement is the embodiment of the “50 State Strategy,” the nationwide push Dean instituted as DNC chief and is credited as helping his party win Congress in 2006. DFA says it will make “a long-term, high-priority investment” in the states and districts of the “villains,” including dedicating staff to increasing Democratic voter registration, campaign training and increased resources for local progressive activists and the long-term commitment to defeat them with a progressive Democrat.

Such a goal would be a tall order against Boehner, who regularly thumps Democratic opponents in his western Ohio district in suburban Cincinnati and Dayton. Like all members of the House, Boehner is up for re-election this year, and every two years.

McConnell, however, usually wins re-election by much narrower margins. He was re-elected in 2008 with 52.9 percent of the vote. McConnell will next face Bluegrass State voters in 2014.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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