Initial reports of Eric Swalwell dropping out of the 2020 presidential election were treated with jubilee on twitter. Many Democrats are grateful to him for being the first also-ran to come to his senses and drop out. Even he seemed to think so, telling the Times:
“The polling wasn’t moving after the debate,” Mr. Swalwell told reporters Monday afternoon. “We didn’t want to just screw around here. We wanted to grow with the threshold, and if we didn’t, we wanted to get out.”
Yet there is more to the story. It was not just that he had been overshadowed in the debates (and California fundraising circuit) by Sen. Harris , or even that another single issue California candidate has gotten in. It was also that he is facing his toughest primary challenger in years.
The same Times report goes on to describe this challenge:
Mr. Swalwell struggled to gain traction in the race. Meanwhile, back in California, a young Afghan-American city counselor who has been compared to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York announced her bid for his House seat.
“I didn’t take anything for granted,” Mr. Swalwell said Monday, noting that he planned to go directly from his announcement to an immigration event in his district. “I hope the district sees that these issues that I was running on nationally are the district’s issues.”
No word on whether local Congressman Seth Moulton, who spent the last debate at an Airbnb criticizing his fellow Democrats, is ready to come home to his district. Two prominent women in the district are challenging him to do so-by challenging him for his seat.
Lisa Peterson is a financial planner who ran for a City Council seat in Seth’s adopted “home town” of Salem in the aftermath of the Trump election. She is now calling on Seth to come home or go home.
From today’s Globe:
Moulton’s presidential ambitions are front and center in Peterson’s case for why she would be a better representative for the Sixth District.
“It’s clear he’s moved on from the district,” said Peterson, 41, in an interview. “I mean, obviously he’s running for president so he’s not here, he’s not representing us. I think we can do so much better.”
She will be joining Topsfield resident Jamie Belsito, who had already announced a campaign. Meanwhile, Rep. Lori Ehrlich, the state rep from Seth’s actual hometown of Marblehead and, former State Sen. Barbara L’Italien, have also been talking about getting in. John Tierney has also been rumored to take another crack at his old seat.
I was one of the few writers here to back Moulton in his primary run against Tierney. I’ll still defend that decision as the best way to have kept that seat blue in a bad year for Democrats nationally. I even defended Moulton from critics of his close ties to disgraced generals like David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, his more fiscally conservative voting record, his more hawkish foreign policy record, and his first failed rebellion against Speaker Pelosi.
Seth once proudly stood for putting country before self. It has became all too clear from his futile second rebellion against Speaker Pelosi to his doomed from the start vanity campaign for President that Seth now stands for putting self before his district. I’ll always respect his service to his country. The best way for him to serve his district going forward is to drop out of the presidential contest and let someone actually invested in serving as our Representative in Washington pick up the torch. It is time for new leadership in the MA 6th.