A few surprises in the Iraq war funding vote

Most freshmen Democrats opposed the bill, but geography was often destiny, as many from red states voted yes.

Published May 25, 2007 6:02PM (EDT)

Given the centrality of the Iraq war issue to the 2006 Democratic congressional victory, I was curious to see how freshman Democrats voted on the war-funding bill passed Thursday night, so Salon editorial fellow Ken Millstone compiled a list for us. In the House, 23 freshmen voted against the bill, and 17 voted for it. But there were big geographic differences. In New England, where the GOP is nearly extinct thanks to the war, all five new Democrats voted against the bill, as did four out of five in New York (only Kirsten Gillibrand voted yes). Predictably, the vote was different as you leave the Northeast, with only two out of six freshmen in Pennsylvania and Ohio voting no. The Midwest was mixed: Both Iowa freshmen Bruce Braley and David Loebsack voted no (yes, the Iowa caucus will be an interesting antiwar crucible), while all the new Indiana Democrats voted yes, but just over the border, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth voted no. Here's the full list of House freshmen: Tell us what you think the surprises are.

Beyond the realm of the House freshmen, Rep. Jack Murtha disappointed some of his antiwar acolytes by voting yes on the bill, insisting that he now believes the Pentagon would run short on money for the troops immediately if the Democrats passed another bill with timelines that would face a certain Bush veto. Murtha promises he will remove Iraq war funding from the Pentagon budget when it comes up in July, and introduce a separate funding measure in September, when Gen. David Petraeus is expected to make his report on war progress. And among Senate freshmen, antiwar netroots favorites Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana voted yes; not surprisingly, Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse voted no.

By Joan Walsh

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