• Mother Jones: Can a Pro-Pot-Legalization Texas Dem Beat an Incumbent Drug Warrior?

    by  • May 28, 2012 • Blog

    Polls show that drug law reformer Beto O'Rourke can win against the incumbent who is doubling down on failed, Drug War policy and rhetoric. We can help the sensible candidate win, but we must do our part and time is short. Election day in this primary is Tuesday, May 29.

    Beto O’Rourke, who will fight to end the failed Drug War, needs the help of the drug law reform community. His opponent, incumbent Silvestre Reyes, has the backing of the establishment Democratic Party—including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton. O’Rourke, however, has been aided by the Campaign for Primary Accountability Super Pac, which has spent $195,000 towards the drug law reformer. The drug law community can help publicize O’Rourke’s candidacy and help him win this important election that can give us another voice in Washington, D.C., pushing for sensible drug laws instead of doubling down on prohibition policies that clearly don’t work.

    From Mother Jones:

    In interviews and on the stump, O’Rourke emphasizes that he’s not running as a pro-pot crusader; drug policy is one of a number of issues on which he feels the incumbent has been an empty chair. As a congressman, O’Rourke says he’ll refrain from pushing through policies his constituents don’t want. But it was the Drug War stance that made him a minor star, landing him speaking invitations at places like the Cato Institute and, in 2011, a book deal. Last November, two months after he kicked off his race against Reyes, O’Rourke and an ally on the city council, Susie Byrd, published a book, Dealing Death and Drugs, highlighting flaws in American drug policy and offering an array of prescriptions, including marijuana legalization.

    “On the major issues that we understand better than anybody else—immigration, trade, drug policy, bilateral relations with Mexico,” Reyes is “a zero,” O’Rourke said in an interview with Mother Jones in March. “He’s just not part of the conversation, much less leading it or bending it towards our region’s interests.” (The Reyes campaign did not respond to a request for comment.)

    O’Rourke is getting help from the Campaign for Primary Accountability, the anti-incumbent super-PAC funded in part by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. The group has spent $195,000 on television, radio, and direct mail attacking Reyes for voting to raise his own pay (a common CFPA trope) and granting a federal contract to a firm that hired three of his kids.

    While defeating incumbents and establishment candidates is a tall task, it can be done—especially in Democratic primaries.  In Oregon, the cannabis community rallied behind Judge Ellen Rosenblum and pushed her to a landslide victory against an opponent with deep pockets, who also had the Democratic establishment behind him.  We can do the same for Beto O’Rourke.  Like Judge Rosenblum’s opponent, O’Rourke’s is doubling down on the Drug War rhetoric and is attacking him for promoting sensible drug laws.  Once again, let’s help the sensible candidate win.

    You can help spread the word about Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign by “Liking” his Facebook page.  If you are able, please donate directly to his campaign.  You can also donate to NCC so we can continue helping candidates with sensible drug reform policies across the country.  Tomorrow, May 29th, is the final day of voting, so the time is short, but we can help Beto finish strong as the polls show that he can win.

    Can a Pro-Pot-Legalization Texas Dem Beat an Incumbent Drug Warrior?  Yes he can, but we must do our part to help him.


    Anthony Johnson is the executive director of the National Cannabis Coalition and our parent division, the American Victory Coalition. He also serves as a Board Member of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


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