06/21/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Courage Express: Why Congress Needs Jennifer Brunner

This post was submitted by Julie Daniels, WCF Political Programs Manager. WCF believes so strongly in Jennifer Brunner's candidacy that they sent Julie to work on the ground in Ohio for her campaign.

Ever since I met Secretary Jennifer Brunner, I've been a fervent supporter. She is warm and personable, yet strong and commanding. The more I learn about her, the more I believe in her run for U.S. Senate--especially since the Democratic party told her to be a good girl and stay in her place as Secretary of State.

But now that I've been on the ground in Ohio, riding the Courage Express with Brunner around the state for three weeks, I am among thousands of supporters who are absolutely certain that she is the right choice for U.S. Senate. And not just the right choice--the necessary choice.

In a race where Brunner, the out-fundraised and Party-abandoned candidate, could have easily faded into the background, we're now seeing just the opposite. Despite relying purely on grassroots organizing, Brunner maintains a single-digit gap in the polls between her and Democratic challenger Lee Fisher--as well as against the potential Republican opponent, Rob Portman.

If Brunner can garner this much primary support without Party or financial backing, can you imagine what she'll do as the Democratic nominee?

2010-04-21-CourageexpressJulie.jpgBrunner has exactly what Americans are clamoring for on both sides of the aisle: integrity, transparency, and a fresh perspective. I.e., no Washington insiders. They want folks who will arrive on the Hill and show no fear in truly representing their constituents.

But both Brunner and Fisher claim to be just that candidate.

So who's right: the guy supported by the Party establishment, holding Galas and throwing money at the voters via TV ads, or the woman driving around the state in an old silver school bus, speaking one-on-one with the voters?

And let me remind you again that Brunner was repeatedly told to step aside by Party leaders. If anyone is a Washington outsider, it's her. If anyone is directly connected with the voters' concerns and priorities, it's her.

I wonder how Lee Fisher is assessing the needs of Ohioans--I don't think you can have a two-way conversation through a TV ad.

Working side-by-side with Jennifer Brunner has truly reminded me why I get out of bed and go to WCF every morning--she embodies why we exist.

And this race is the perfect example of what's wrong with politics for women: When the Party doesn't allow for competition, women disproportionately end up being kicked out of the race.

It is only due to her stamina, commitment, and courage that Brunner has stayed in this race, despite every effort to force her out.

Every day--and almost every hour--I can feel the campaign gain momentum as we go from place to place and hear more supporters who say, "I've already voted for you, and I'm telling all my friends to do the same."

Along with many Ohioans, I have witnessed the kind of leader that Jennifer Brunner will be in Congress and know that her passion for public service is unmatched. Her dedication to Ohio residents would undoubtedly override political selfishness or pressure to toe the Party line.

So if we truly want change in Washington, we need a leader who will ask the hard questions, be inclusive yet unrelenting, and truly advocate for their constituents. We want Jennifer Brunner. We need Jennifer Brunner.

Cross-posted from Women and Politics.