Ann Arbor activist Dean Baker's victory in the Democratie primary for the 2nd district congressional seat last month stunned most political observers. Baker defeated Don Grimes by about 400 votes despite the fact that Grimes had the support of virtually the entire political establishment. He also outspent Baker by nearly eight to one. Baker's campaign was able to overeóme these odds by enlisting hundreds of volunteers in a massive last minute push. The huge margin the campaign was able to produce in Ann Arbor was more than enough to offset Grimes slight edge elsewhere in the district. Having defeated Grimes the campaign is now going after a still bigger upset in its efforts to unseat Pursell. Baker's supporters are confident that this goal is atttainable however. Co-campaign manager Mark Weisbrot said, "We showed in the primary, both that people are very upset about what's going on in Central America and that they are willing to get involved on a massive scale in a campaign that makes this a central issue. The message is clear, people do not want their money sent to a gang of terrorist thugs like the contras. They don't want their money going to bomb civilians in El Salvador, and they don't want it used to buy every crazy weapon that the Pentagon can dream up. They want their money to meet real needs, like providing healthcare for the poor and elderly, protecting the environment, and ensuring that their children can get a decent education. Pursell is simply out of touch with his constituents." Weisbrot went on to point out that Pursell had not only been a consistent supporter of increasing U.S. military involvement in Central America and Reagan's military (sce Baker, page 8) Baker (Continued f rom page 1 ) build-up, but that he had also supported cuts in programs such as social security, medicare, student loans, and environmental clean up projects. Pursell will start the campaign with several clear advantages over Baker. He is a fïve-term incumbent, running in what is normally considered a heavily Republican district He will also probably be able to outspend Baker by ten to one, or more. But, Baker's supporters are not intimidated by these odds. Campaign worker Bob Smart remarked, "We're going to do the same thing to Pursell as we did to Grimes. The only difference is that Pursell has to defend his record. He's been scared to show his face in Ann Arbor for the last two years because he knows that he can't stand up to his constituents and justify using their tax dollars to finance terrorism. We're finally going to be able to hold him responsible for these votes. " Baker sees indications that Pursell is worried by his candidacy. "In the week after the primary victory, Pursell reversed his position on Reagan's military build-up and cast four separate votes in support of arms control and restraining military spending." He also said,"Pursell will have to reconsider our demand for a debate after years of having avoided public appearances in confrontational situations." The Republican primary results indícate that Pursell muy be in trouble as well. Pursell ran over 1300 votes behind his 1984 total in Washtenaw County, even though the total turn-out in the Republican primary was almost identical. In some areas his vote was down by 30-40%. In western Wayne County, where his support is traditionally strongest, he tan 15-20% behind the Republican candidates for state senate and state representative, all of whom like Pursell, were running unopposed. "People were willing to pull the levers for all the Republican candidates except Pursell, which could indícate some real hostility," Baker said. Weisbrot points to the evidence as his reason for believing that Pursell can be defeated. Furthermore he sees the long odds as an advantage, "This isn't just a normal congressional race that will determine one vote in the house of representatives. If a bunch of determined activists can get together and throw out someone who is as entrenched as Cari Pursell, then Reagan's plans for war in Central America and further militarization of our society are dead. The people will have sent a clear message. If the other members of congress are not prepared to listen, then they'll have to be prepared to join Pursell on the unemployment line." To volunteer for the Baker campaign cali Democratie Party Headquarters at 747-8211. "The message is clear, people do not want their money sent to a gang of terrorist thugs like the contras. They don't want their money going to bomb civilians in El Salvador, and they don't want it used to buy every crazy weapon that the Pentagon can dream up. ...Pursell is simply out of touch with his constituents."
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