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A Bitter Harvest for Democrats
Many of the Democrats who lost their seats this week voted for the 2014 farm bill – only to see farm groups donate to their Republican opponents.
Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) were among those Democrats who voted for a farm bill that increased unlimited subsidies and cut funding for food assistance programs but who lost their seats.
What’s more, Pryor served as chair of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds agriculture and rural development, funneling money to big agriculture’s favorite projects.
All three lost, in part, because the farm lobby invested heavily in their opponents.
According to Open Secrets, a database about money, influence and politics operated by the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics, agribusiness contributed more than $257,000 to help Corey Gardner replace Udall as a senator from Colorado -- almost twice what the same groups contributed to Udall.
What’s more, according to the National Journal, in the election cycle that wound up Tuesday, farm groups financed even campaigns of Republicans who didn’t support the 2014 farm bill.
Overall, 16 Democrats who voted for the 2014 farm bill were defeated on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s results echoed past efforts by farm groups to defeat Democrats – even when Democrats supported legislation to increase farm subsidies.
Other examples include former Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) who lost despite her influential role as chair of the Senate agriculture committee, and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-N.D.), who had been a relentless advocate for farm supports.
CC photo courtesy of: Flickr, user sammydavisdog