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Humane USA-Election Results-correction
From Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 8 November 2004 Issue

Humane USA-Election Results-correction 

Although Humane USA’s choice for U.S. President, John Kerry, has conceded the election to President George W. Bush, other results coming in from around the country have yielded some positive results for animal protection. In the U.S. Senate,  Humane USA-endorsed candidates won three-quarters of the (winning 18 and losing 6). In the U.S. House of Representatives,

Humane USA-backed candidates won 98% of the races (winning 209 and losing 5). Humane USA scored a major victory in its most high-profile race, by narrowly ending U.S. Rep. Chris John’s run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana. John, a Democrat, has been an outspoken advocate of cockfighting, calling it a “cultural, family-type thing.”

Humane USA sent more than 300,000 pieces of mail to Louisiana voters, and ran TV ads in New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette urging his defeat. Under Louisiana’s open primary system, it was assumed that no one would break the 50% barrier and that the top two candidates would face each other in a December runoff. But thanks in part to Humane USA’s involvement, Chris John’s second place finish wasn’t good enough. U.S. Rep. David Vitter, a Republican who opposes cockfighting and has supported other animal protection bills, won 51% of the vote and edged Chris John out of the race. Of more than 1.8 million votes cast, Vitter broke 50% by only 19,000 votes. It’s clear that Humane USA’s involvement, and John’s extreme support for cockfighting, had an impact on this important race.

Humane USA scored another victory in Texas, by helping to
Defeat U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. Stenholm had been even more dangerous and influential than Chris John because he was the top Democrat on a key committee where most animal protection bills are assigned. It had been Stenholm who was the leading voice in Congress against the Downed Animal Protection Act, which seeks to stop livestock too sick or injured to walk from being dragged with chains or pushed with bulldozers into slaughterhouses. We helped voters understand that these elected officials consistently worked against the interest of animal protection.

In statewide ballot measures, unfortunately, extremist trophy hunters were able to defeat two measures in Alaska and Maine which would have banned cruel and unsporting methods of hunting bears. The Alaska measure gained 41% of the vote despite the fact that opponents spent eight times more money than ban supporters, and the Maine referendum received 47% support even though opponents again outspent animal advocates and received legally suspect support from the state wildlife agency – knowingly abetted by Governor John Baldacci, who has become the hand-maiden of the trophy hunting lobby. The close votes demonstrate that citizens find bear baiting and other cruel and unsportsmanlike practices unconscionable.

In Florida, animal advocates appear to have made the difference in a critically important ballot measure advanced by the greyhound racing industry. The industry secured a place on the ballot by hiring a petition firm to qualify a measure to allow slot machines at south Florida greyhound tracks. The industry deceived voters and cast the measure, Amendment 4, as a means of raising money for education. In reality, the measure would have provided a massive new revenue stream for wealthy greyhound track owners, and it would have propped up this inhumane industry.

With Florida having one-third of the nation’s greyhound tracks, it was critical that we defeat the measure. With 99% of votes counted, the measure is losing by 6,000 votes, out of 3.8 million cast. Each and every voter who voted “no” to more greyhound racing made a difference in this race.

All in all, we were able to help reelect key animal protection
allies on both sides of the aisle, such as Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) in the U.S. Senate, and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Jim Moran (D-VA), David Price (D-NC), Chris Shays (R-CT), Rob Simmons (R-CT), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) in the U.S. House. We were able to help new friends of animals make their way to Congress, such as Joe Schwartz (R-MI) in the House and Barak Obama (D-IL) in the Senate. And we were able to defeat anti-animal extremists such as Chris John (D-LA) and Charles Stenholm (D-TX). Once again, animal protection has been a major election issue, and Humane USA thanks all of its supporters for being involved and engaged in these important elections.

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