I promised lots (and lots) of reasons; here are six:
1. Ed O’Reilly has been criss-crossing the state talking to people in forums of all sizes. He understands working families and has been working hard to really listen and understand people’s concerns. It’s a shame, but it’s often true that unless there’s a contested election, our elected officials don’t get as much face time with the people they want to represent.
2. O’Reilly brings a progressive agenda that’s often lacking from Senator Kerry, and he’s shown a real willingness to stake out risky positions. It’s good for the Democratic party in general to show the unenrolled (“independent”) voters that there’s diversity within our party. You don’t have to be a Kerry-Democrat to be a Democrat.
3. He’s a straight talker, in spite of his background as a lawyer, and agree or disagree, he doesn’t mask his positions on issues.
4. Agree or disagree with O’Reilly, you can see how he’d bring a fresh perspective and new energy to the primary race for Senate, and if you’ve ever met him, you know he’ll increase the press visibility for both candidates.
5. Even Kerry supporters should consider voting for O’Reilly at the convention. It wouldn’t hurt Kerry to get into some debates and gain publicity during the primary, in preparation for the general election.
6. Last, but certainly not least, the only way to have a democracy that engages voters is to offer them choices. Far too many elections are uncontested. Let’s change that.
I hope Democrats will take a moment to find out how to attend their local caucus, and then come down to vote, or even become a delegate themselves.
Please use the comments to discuss the merits of having O’Reilly as a challenger, or having primary challengers in general.