COVER STORY: The Race to Watch in 2006

Progressive activists, pundits, donors and voters - unite! We have a chance to elect one of our true champions to the U.S. Senate from Ohio in 2006, and his name is Rep. Sherrod Brown (D). As a new cover story in In These Times magazine details, Brown has long been one of the progressive movement's most aggressive standard bearers in a Congress that all too often sells out to Big Money interests.

The editors at the magazine asked me to write an accompanying sidebar piece going over some of the politics of the upcoming race. The fact is, there has been much chatter about this race. The American Prospect's Ezra Klein notes that many in the blogosphere have focused on the different candidates' style, charisma, charm, and all the other B.S. qualities that are far less important than what really matters: namely, how a potential U.S. Senator will vote on issues, and whether they will have the guts to take risks on issues for the progressive agenda, even when it is politically risky. As my sidebar notes, the choice in this race when using the most important metrics is really crystal clear.

I have never nor do I currently work for any of the candidates in this race - I'm interested in this contest only because I am interested in seeing our side put proven progressive champions in positions of power. Opportunities to do that are very, very rare. And when they come along as one has in Ohio, we must seize them. It is time to retake the U.S. Senate and end the era of it being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America.