Cindy Sheehan officially announces candidacy for Nancy Pelosi’s Congressional seat

She’s running as an “independent”:

Citing her son as inspiration, a tearful Cindy Sheehan announced her candidacy Thursday for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The anti-war activist is running as an independent against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has represented San Francisco in Congress since 1987.

“The country is ripe for a change,” said Sheehan, who spoke at a podium with her son’s photograph attached to it. “It’s going to start right here and right now.”

Sheehan’s 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Since then, she has gained international notoriety by setting up camp outside President Bush’s Texas ranch and demanding to meet with the president.

Last month, she announced her intention to run against Pelosi if the speaker didn’t move to impeach Bush by July 23. On Thursday, she said Pelosi had “protected the status quo” of the corporate elite and had lost touch with people in her district, most of whom, she said, want American troops out of Iraq.

Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the speaker has always opposed the war in Iraq and has focused on bringing troops home “safely and soon.”

He would not comment on Sheehan’s candidacy.

Sheehan admitted she has no funds for a campaign, but planned to immediately get started raising money. Without giving further specifics, Sheehan said she wouldn’t accept money from corporations and would run on a platform of universal health care. Sheehan said she also wants to make college affordable and improve ethics in the legislative and executive branches.

Captain Ed comments:

Strange events occur in politics, but it seems highly unlikely that Sheehan will prove to be anything more than a gadfly to Pelosi in the 2008 race. Even with the support of Daniel Ellsberg, who accompanied Sheehan yesterday, San Francisco voters are not likely to toss away Pelosi’s powerful leadership position to support someone who plays kissy-face with Hugo Chavez. Frisco has its nuts, but they’re not that crazy. [Note: I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Ed! ;) –ST]

On the off chance that they are, though, the Democrats will have to spend a little more money in the Bay area to protect Pelosi. That certainly helps Republicans in other parts of California. Sheehan may wind up assisting the GOP in some small way to push harder in the few contestable Congressional districts in the Golden State, a rather ironic twist on Sheehan’s effort.

Like Ed, I don’t think Cindy will come even remotely close to defeating Pelosi – but all the same, it’d be interesting to watch the race in the unlikely event that it becomes competitive, as Pelosi would have to somehow prove that her anti-war credentials are stronger than Mother Sheehan’s, which possibly could be a hard sell, considering that Sheehan has the Absolute Moral Authority Card on her side.

Stay tuned.

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