Congressman Tim Holden, a Blue Dog pro-corporate Democrat, lost his election to attorney Matt Cartwright

Congressman Tim Holden, a Blue Dog pro-corporate Democrat, lost his election to attorney Matt Cartwright

In one of the most watched primary elections tonight, incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA) lost to attorney Matt Cartwright. A ten-term lawmaker, Holden was well known in the region and enjoyed support from most of the state’s Democratic establishment.

But Holden faced two challenges. One, a redrawn district that forced the congressman to run in an area with more registered Democrats. And two, and perhaps more consequential, voters were presented with Holden’s record of taking corporate cash while voting on behalf of K Street’s interests.

Holden has been embroiled in many corruption scandals. He was closely tied to the PMA defense lobbying scandal, and received some scrutiny for steering earmarks to his campaign donors.

Groups like the League of Conservation Voters and the Cartwright campaign were quick to point out that Holden took hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil and gas interests and voted to deregulate the fracking industry. Asked by Republic Report about his votes, Holden tried to run from his record:

The video, and our research, went viral on popular websites like Reddit. Blue America, a PAC supporting candidates close to the Occupy Wall Street movement and other anti-corporate causes, aggressively hounded Holden over his record.

Republic Report was also active in highlighting in Holden’s record, particularly his 11th hour effort to introduce a bill that would allow factory farms in the mid-Atlantic region to continue to pollute the Chesapeake Bay. The hand-out to big industry came as Holden was receiving thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from big agricultural interests.

Local activist blogs, like John Morgan’s PA Progressive, picked up Republic Report’s story.

Holden faced criticism for voting to gut the Clean Air Act and to pass the Bush tax cuts. Like many Blue Dog Democrats, Holden voted against mortgage modification, another giveaway to Wall Street. In recent months, he was an early cosponsor of the privacy-shredding Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Although Holden voted against the DISCLOSE Act — the fix for the disastrous Citizens United decision — his campaign complained about outside interests coming in and influencing the race. In the final week of the campaign, corporate lobbyists from a group called “Center Forward” aired some $100,000 in attack ads against Holden’s opponent. As we reported, the group is registered to a lobbying firm that advertises its ties to Blue Dog congressmen like Holden.

The Occupy movement, coupled with the voter disgust with the Citizens United decision, could have wide ramifications for the 2012 election. Although Congress is becoming more beholden to powerful corporations, the Holden-Cartwright race suggests that voters may be fed up with corruption this year.

Filed under: Elections

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  • Theodore Wirth

    This is great news because sometimes I wonder whether being a “clicktivist” has any effect. However minutely, somehow I feel that actively particpating in campaigns and conversations intended to flush out this guy actually contributed something.

    • MariaEC

      I agree that ‘clicktivism’ is invaluable in making more and more people aware of facts and issues which have the potential to severely effect their rights and their quality of life. Not to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist but I believe this is an underlying reason why legislators keep attempting to make incursions into blocking internet freedom. Social media and instant, uncensored communication is anathema to corporations and their hired legislative servants.

      • Loren Bliss

        You’re not a conspiracy theorist, MariaAC; you’re a rational observer of the One Percent’s effort to impose fascism on the United States. The ongoing attempts at censorship and the nullification of the constitution imposed by the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Trespass Act and Obama’s 16 March 2012 Defense Preparedness executive order are all part of a carefully scripted replay of the 1934 Bankers’ Plot, for which Google. Capitalism — infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue — must always morph into fascism. The only way capitalism can maintain “growth” is by the imposition of capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation and murderous poverty for all the rest of us — in other words, fascism. Our history is especially instructive: in 1934, the One Percent believed the way to achieve capitalist governance was alliance with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy; Nazi agents were key players in the Bankers’ Plot, and the scheme itself probably originated from Berlin. But this time the chief perpetrators are on Wall Street, and unlike 1934, there’s no Soviet Union — and no U.S. Communist Party — to come to our rescue.

        • T Alers

          Let’s take this all the way to the White House by supporting Gov. Buddy Roemer via the Americans Elect online nomination system. With 1000 supporters in each of 10 states, we can have a third choice on the ballot come November. If you haven’t heard of Buddy Roemer, please check out his platform. He is walking the talk by limiting his campaign to individual contributions of $100 or less and accepts no PAC money. To start, Gov. Roemer will reform campaign finance and lobbying rules, as well as close tax loopholes, create FAIR trade policies, etc. Please, look him up, and then support him on Americans Elect before the first round caucus ends in just 2 weeks.

          Here’s where Gov. Roemer stands on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) H.R.3523:

  • Pingback: Rep. Tim ‘The Fracker’ Holden Goes Down in Pennsylvania Primary. Thanks, Progressives! | PennAvePost

  • PCMartin

    So … whose logo will be on Tim Holden’s golden private-sector parachute? These are the really hard public-policy choices they don’t teach us about in civics class.

  • Pingback: Rep. Tim ‘The Fracker’ Holden Goes Down in Pennsylvania Primary. Thanks, Progressives! | SPH - Small penis humiliation

  • the dissenter

    With Blue balls Dog Democrats, who needs Republican extremists?

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  • CatKinNY

    This is such great news! I sent Matt Cartwright a modest campaign contribution last week ($10); never before has a sense of hope been purchased so cheaply! Thank you, Republic Report, for letting me know about this noxious Blue Dog and empowering me to join a grassroots effort to send him off to K Street fulltime.

  • Pingback: Keystone Progressive Victories In Pennsylvania | FavStocks

  • Pingback: Congressman Tim Holden Defeated: First Lawmaker In 2012 Loses His Seat Over Ties To K Street | Coffee Party Austin |

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  • Linda Mae Chover

    Clicking indicates your support and if enough people think like you then a movement can grow out of that. So I am a ‘clicktivist’.

  • Jaxter

    One down and gawd only knows how many more that need to be weeded out of government.

  • kramarpie

    Vote clean and stay clean or you are OUT!

  • carlton johnson

    This is truly fantastic news. Peaceful non-violent protests are having an incredible result and partnered with the advent of more progressive neew outlets ie…NT (280) on my cable dial, current tv and keith Oberman (who unfortunately is off the air currently) but should return again in some format. the world wide social network is really transforming the political landscape.

  • Ken Gordon

    Voters really can make their voices heard on this issue. If you want to find other candidates who aren’t in the laps of special interest money, check out the candidate list on

  • Mark

    You know, you guys are milking this beyond reason and leaving out the real story in the process. Almost all other political analysts say that Holden along with Altmire, who also lost in the primaries, were really most affected by redistricting. I’d like think voters looked at the Disclose Act, but did they really? This would be a story if there were polling results that showed that voters used that as a primary consideration. Instead, if it’s not redistricting, then it’s actually a case of dueling Super PACs. Thanks to Fox News I found these folks taking credit – Very interesting group.

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