When the House of Representatives was struggling to pass health care reform legislation earlier this autumn, Democrat James Langevin was among the right wing members of Congress who were blocking the way. Langevin joined lobbyists representing Catholic Bishops in demanding that the right of private insurance plans participating in a proposed health care marketplace to determine for themselves whether to offer full family planning coverage be revoked. Thanks to Langevin, if health care reform gets signed into law, women won’t have coverage for full reproductive health services.
Representative Langevin may have assumed that this stand against health care reform carried no political risk for him. He may presumed that he had the support of Democratic voters all wrapped up, that Democrats had no choice but him or a Republican. If that’s the case, he was wrong.
Rhode Island State Representative Betsy Dennigan has launched a pro-choice campaign to challenge Congressman Langevin in the 2010 election. She has a good amount of time to assemble an effective campaign too. Unlike many states, which hold their primaries early in the year, Rhode Island’s Democratic primary election won’t be held until the middle of September next year.
Given Langevin’s generally unprogressive record in the House of Representatives, Dennigan stands a good chance of earning the support of enough fed-up Democratic voters to defeat the incumbent. It will be worth watching to see which issues Dennigan uses to set herself apart.