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CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
October 2018

Colin Allred, TX-32

Lauren Underwood, IL-14

Linda Coleman, NC-02


website: Colin Allred

Colin Allred's photo Colin's Video Bio
Robert Jackson Video Bio

Colin Allred
TX-32

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

Colin Allred is a lifetime North Texan, born and raised in Dallas by his single mother, a veteran public school teacher, who launched his first time candidate campaign in 2017 to defeat twenty-two-year powerful Chair of the House Rules Committee, Pete Sessions. He is a former professional football player turned Obama administration housing specialist and voter rights lawyer. Now as a candidate for Congress, he is running to empower his community the way it empowered his economic mobility by unlocking economic growth, improving public school education, and expanding access to health care. Not taken seriously for most of the campaign, his campaign has challenged this Republican stronghold, inspired new voters and traditional Democrats, raising over $2.3 million last quarter.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Cook Report recently upgraded this race to a Toss Up from its initial status of likely Republican. This seat is located in the central portion of the state and includes the urban area of north and eastern  Dallas and Collin counties (Dallas, Garland, Highland Park, Mesquite, Richardson, Rowlett, Sachse, University Park, and Wylie). It was one of 25 U.S. House districts that voted for a Republican representative and Hillary Clinton (D) for President in 2016. Sessions, who was first elected in 2002, ran unopposed in 2016 and won re-election by 26.4 percentage points in 2014. Heading into the General Election, Colin is now within a yardstick of possibly defeating Sessions.

 

Dynamics of Race: In his March primary, Colin edged out the crowded Greater Dallas Democratic primary and easily defeated his Democratic opponent in the May run off. Having only raised $1.3 million [2.2 million of cash on hand] to Colin’s $2.3 [no FEC report for cash on hand] million last quarter, the Republican Party and the Trump administration are pouring in millions to stop the overall Democratic surge in Texas to help Sessions and other vulnerable Republicans. This race, similar to  Gina Ortiz-Jones TX-23 race, will receive a turnout bump due to Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s historic US Senate campaign against incumbent (R) Ted Cruz. Internal polling of likely voters demonstrate they are moving away from Trump/the GOP overall and the horse race  among voters who know both candidates, Colin leads 63 – 31 percent. To expand the electorate, the campaign has registered 1,000 new in district voters and identified over 1,000  African American voters who never voted in the primary. To amplify their message, they have hired a full time digital director and 60 team fellowship program to take kick off their GOTV program during the early vote period.  Given this showdown outside groups in support of both candidates are expected to run a TV war - taking spending pressure from both campaigns. In addition, voter engagement efforts led by organizations like the  Texas Organizing Project are increasing the Latino Democratic vote across Texas - a deep democracy that will impact races up and down the ticket.

 

Campaign Status: There is no debate that Allred’s campaign has caught the imagination of voters, the support  of progressive groups, community leaders, and local elected officials like popular Democratic Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (a former Sessions supporter!). While national support is starting to have its impact on TV spending, contributions directly to the campaign and to deep democracy organizations will go a longer way to impact multicultural, early and traditional get out the vote efforts. With a competitive US senate election on top of the ticket, exciting down ballot races, this race will be won by the campaign with the more robust ground game. The status and dynamics of this race also demonstrate how important this race is to the 2020 Census and the 2020 Presidential election.

website: Lauren Underwood

Lauren Underwood's photo Lauren's Video Bio
Robert Jackson Video Bio

Lauren Underwood
IL-14

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

Lauren Underwood is a first time candidate, born and raised in Naperville, a registered nurse and former White House advisor and special assistant on public health emergencies and the Affordable Care Act (ACT). Lauren, who was born with a pre-existing heart condition, decided to run against four-term Republican Randy Hultgren when he voted to repeal pre-existing condition from the ACA in 2017. She  successfully defeated six Democrats in an early March primary, including an incumbent Mayor, receiving almost 60% of the primary vote, out raising all of her primary opponents and her opponent the last three quarters. Now as a candidate for Congress, she is running to create high quality jobs, expand access to health care, and increase the economic security of all district residents.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Cook Report recently upgraded this race to a Toss Up from its initial status of leaning Republican. This seat is located in the outer suburban Chicago communities, including parts of seven counties, including DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Major cities include Aurora, Batavia, DeKalb, Geneva, Gurnee, Naperville, McHenry, Oswego, Plainfield, St. Charles, and Woodstock. It is a relatively affluent [average household income of $105,650], mixed suburban and rural district, with 40% of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Since the 2012 presidential election, party affiliation is weakening with Romney winning 54% of the vote, while in 2016, Trump won 49%-45%. Given the economic mobility of the community, the district is losing younger families to Chicago. This district has also never been represented by a woman of color.

 

Dynamics of Race: Known as a weak fundraiser and average campaigner, Lauren took advantage of Hultgren’s Achilles heel, out raising him by $100,000 in quarter one of this year and topping at $2.3 million by the end of quarter 3 [Holtgen has raised $1.8 million with $1.08 million of cash on hand]. Twenty five resistant groups and the campaign have coordinated their non-paid and paid voter contact efforts from the launch of the campaign [currently have four field offices]. Successfully increased typical turnout in March primary from 8,000 to 48,900 [611% increase!] and are projecting to do the same in the General with a target of 40,000 additional voters. To expand the electorate, the campaign is targeting strong base of older women and people of color minorities throughout the district [52% of the electorate is female, 9% of the electorate is African American, Asian and Latino]. Given that the district is 85% white, Lauren’s campaign needs to invest heavily on its field and TV to engage traditional voters and without deep democracy organizations in the district this work will be left to the campaign to execute.   One factor that can increase Democratic turnout for the Democratic Gubernatorial frontrunner, a seat that would also flip from red to blue and early voting that started in late September.

 

Campaign Status: Underwood’s campaign has earned the endorsement of key progressive organizations, local and national leaders, as well as key editorial boards like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald [both of whom endorsed Hultgren in the past]. The lone Black woman on the DSCC’s Red to Blue program for most of the cycle, your direct support can make a difference in both winning the the House and closer to a more representative democracy. The status and dynamics of her race is also important to the 2020 Presidential election as we seek employ new messaging, organizing, and digital strategies to talk and turnout to suburban Democrat and Republicans - key constituencies in more white and affluent communities across the country.

 

Linda Coleman's photo Linda's Video Bio Robert Jackson Video Bio

Linda Coleman
NC-02

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

Linda Coleman is a lifetime public servant, raised on an eastern North Carolina peanut farm with nine sibling, her work began in the classroom as public school, then public sector human resource specialist, Wayne County Commissioner and former three term state assembly member. Given her previous time in elected office and two failed Lieutenant Governor's race, Linda easily defeated an entrepreneur billionaire to win the May Democratic nomination. A sleeper race among national and local pundits as well as her opponent, three- term Republican Greg Holding, she is now in a contested election that can be the surprise Southern race of the cycle. Now as a candidate for Congress, Linda is running to champion bipartisan solutions for better healthcare, better schools, and reversing Trump era tax cuts.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Cook Report recently upgraded this race to leaning Republican from its initial safe Republican. This seat is located in eastern North Carolina, including parts or all of Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Nash, Wake and Wilson counties. This congressional map was redrawn due to federal court ruling in 2016 that determined NC-02 and NC-12 were racially gerrymandered. Holding held the now dissolve NC-13. This triggered the consolidation of two congressional districts, where Holding emerged successful. The federal court has determined once again that this seat is unconstitutionally gerrymandered but this time, the state ran out of time to redraw district.  This district is more more Republican than the national average, which is the case in 10 of 12 Congressional seats, the Republican Legislature, but except the Governorship. Randy Cooper, a Democrat, narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent - only to have his executive powers diluted by a Republican dominated legislature. Trump won this district 2016 (9%) and no Democrat has been competitive in this seat since 2012.

 

Dynamics of Race: Having won all of his elections with more than 56% of the vote, Holding unlike many Republican incumbents, has posted strong fundraising numbers; allowing him to drive the TV ad watchers from early on this summer. His last quarter filing only showed only $256, 955.15 of cash on hand versus Linda’s filling that shows $444,822.92 of cash on hand.  She has now come from behind, forcing Holding and the House Speaker to defeat rising Democratic tides by allocating $1.4 million in TV ads. Given the low cost media market, she plans to go on TV to target suburban African American vote. The biggest challenge to her path to victory is state sanctioned gerrymandering and the higher rate of un-enrolled voters, effectively makes it impossible for Democrats to win statewide, this is the case for this seat. To expand the electorate, she is focusing on African American non-voters across the district and using digital, ethnic media, and field. There is also a Libertarian candidate in the race, threatening a spoiler for Coleman. Outside TV spending ($1 million) in support of Coleman by the DSCC and North Carolinians for a Fair Economy is helping offset outside Republican spending. A defeat in North Carolina, would be a blow to the heart of the Republican voter suppression strategy locally and nationally. With early voting underway, local authorities are reporting an increase by registered Democrats for mail-in absentee ballots - this is normally dominated by Republicans. As a former aide to US Senator Jesse Holding, former U.S. Attorney and a member of North Carolina’s biggest bank families, Holding is expected to easily raise the money he needs to fund his negative and racist attacks to blunt Coleman’s fourth quarter surge

 

Campaign Status: Coleman’s campaign is now considered a real plausible threat and for locals it's a face off between two political veterans that can possibly begin to turn the tide on the most Republican gerrymandered state in the country.  Earning recently the Charlotte News & Observer editorial board endorsement sends clear message to voters. At a time of reckless Republican administration, North Carolinians need to send Democrats like Linda to Congress. She is an Emily’s List endorsed candidate and has strategically maintained a low profile. The status and dynamics of her race is also important to the U.S. Census and 2020 Presidential election as we seek employ new messaging, organizing, and digital strategies to talk and turnout to rural Democrat and Republicans - key constituencies in the U.S. South.

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Deep Democracy Victories: 2018 Post Primary Wrap-Up


To begin taking back our country, it's important that we support Purple Wave seats in the General. Their primary victories are not enough to make it over the finish line, we need to triple our investment to be successful in November, time to bump up your political giving as we near Election Day.

 


(source, NY Times, Election 2018)

 


CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
August 2018

Cynthia Nixon, Governor New York

Jay Gonzalez, Governor Massachusetts

Zephyr Teachout, Attorney General New York
Josh Zakim, Secretary of State Massachusetts
Robert Jackson, State Senate Seat 31 New York
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, MA-1
Barbara L'Italien, MA-3


website: Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon photo Cynthia Nixon Video Bio

Cynthia Nixon
Governor New York

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 13th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 34.4% of the primary vote

 

Cynthia Nixon is a lifetime New Yorker, an actress, and an unapologetic education, LGBTQ, and reproductive rights activist (video). Raised by her single mother in Upper West Manhattan, she is New York Public School graduate and parent. Her dedication to public school is clear, in her role as the longtime spokesperson for the Alliance for Public School Education, a successful statewide education and racial justice coalition of parents and community members that have increased state education funding by $3.6 billion. Most impressive, is the scrappy, digital and grassroots campaign that is capturing the imagination of New Yorkers.

 

On the Issues

  1. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, the top 1 percent of New Yorkers earn 45 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Resulting in a new normal of extreme wealth and extreme poverty that stretches from New York City, the Hudson Valley (stretches from Albany and Troy, to Yonkers in Westchester County), or Upstate New York. By adopting her multi-pronged people centered economic and workforce development plan, New York state will begin confronting the reality that it's the most unequal state in the country.

  2. Investing in education equity and stopping the school to prison pipeline. Fully funding the  foundation aid, the state funding source for high needs, low income school districts, increase funding for special needs students, and increase funding social and emotional services like social workers, psychologists, or school nurses by reversing hotly contested Cuomo's corporate tax cuts.

  3. Equitably funding and fixing the outdated and unreliable Metropolitan Transportation Authority (subways and buses) by adopting the multi-dimensional Fast Forward plan.

 

Status of Race: Cook Report considers this a solidly Democratic seat. The primary campaign to the left,launched by Nixon this past March, transformed a fairly sleepy primary for current incumbent (D) Andrew Cuomo into a early test for his 2020 presidential ambitions. Son of a former New York Governor and first elected in 2011, Governor Cuomo is considered a corporate Democrat by some of his opponents, who has angered many Democrats for incomplete and underfunded mandates for education, a crumbling transportation infrastructure, and effectively working against building a progressive majority in New York State Senate. For low income white people, communities of color and social justice organizations like Community Voices Heard Power, New York Communities for Change, Citizen Action of NY and Make the Road Action, the situation is worst (see memo for more information).

 

Dynamics of Race: Overall, New York is an ideological battle ground state for the national Democratic Party as mainstream democrats and insurgent Democrats are in contested primaries from the top to the bottom of the ticket with the hope to take control of the State Senate, the upper chamber, and the Governor’s Office. The New York State Assembly, the lower house chamber,is controlled by Democrats and has been since 1939, except for two years. The New York State Senate, is controlled by Democrats, including the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC), a group of 8 (D) State Senators and one Brooklyn State Senator, Simcha Felder, who caucused directly with Republicans even though the IDC was disbanded earlier this year.  Cuomo has raised $31.1 million compared to Nixon’s $660,000. The likelihood of a Nixon victory is a slim, as Cuomo continues to widen his support among registered Democratic voters at 59 percent, versus Nixon’s 23 percent (July 2018). This election cycle, however, has shown that in some cases, women and people of color buoyed by Deep Democracy can emerge victorious (look at Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, NY-16). If she can increase voter turnout of people of color and white progressives across the state she can pull off a Deep Democracy victory. While she is running to left, Governor Cuomo is instead confidently running against Trump

 

Nixon’s Campaign: The campaign has earned the support of the progressive let and grassroots infrastructure and has gained momentum from the unexpected victory Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, NY-16. Running statewide, the dynamics of her race are more challenging than the NY-16 but they are running on the similar left agenda while also rejecting all corporate money. The Deep Democracy (other women and people of color running and social justice organizations that overlap with her path to victory) infrastructure behind her is the sweet spot to her victory. But to close the current margin between Nixon and her opponent, more of  these candidates and organizations need direct financial support (501c3 and 501c4) for their voter engagement efforts, especially as it relates to American Rising Electorate and white progressives. To advance her massage, her campaign is attacking Governor Cuomo’s credibility among Democratic voters by pointing to his previous Trump campaign donations and has a clear left agenda. The status and dynamics of race of this race also demonstrate the importance of this campaign for the future ideological and policy direction of the state and national Democratic Party. This is particularly relevant as Democrats are poised to potentially take over the US House, more women and people of color joining the party ranks as voters and elected officials, and the Democratic Presidential field will begin to firmly shape up next year.

website: Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez's photo Robert Jackson Video Bio

Jay Gonzalez
Governor Massachusetts

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 64% of the primary vote

 

Jay Gonzalez was the former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governor Deval Patrick during the Great Recession. While in the Administration, he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Health Connector, where he oversaw implementation of Massachusetts’ health care reform, and he co-chaired the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Afterwards, Gonzalez was chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care and, most recently, was President and CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families, leading the turn-around of an ailing health insurance provider that serves low-income people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: With a 69% approval rating in a July 2018 Morning Consult poll, incumbent Republican Charlie Baker remains the most popular governor in the country.  The Democratic primary field to take him on, as a result, has been shallow.  Citing anemic fundraising that would make it hard for him to unseat Baker, former Mayor of Newton Setti Warren dropped out of the primary race in April, leaving just two primary challengers: Jay and Bob Massie, an environmentalist and entrepreneur. Setti Warren’s exit highlights the challenges facing any Democratic nominee taking on this moderate, well-liked Republican governor in November.  Governor Baker officially launched his re-election campaign this month with over $8 million on hand. Jay Gonzalez reported having $431,660 at the beginning of August and Massie $109,057.

 

Dynamics of Race: There are few policy differences between Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie. Jay is running a better campaign and is the stronger candidate. Jay has extensive experience in government, healthcare and education and is very detailed when talking about policy.  His resume actually resembles Charlie Baker’s; both were budget chiefs and led health insurers, allowing Jay to go head-to-head with Governor Baker without Baker being able to cite experience and know-how as differentiators. Though Bob Massie has an impressive background, concerns about his health have dogged his campaign and prevented him from being considered a serious candidate for Governor.

website: Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout's  photo Zephyr Teachout Video Bio

Zephyr Teachout
Attorney General New York

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 13th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 31% of the primary vote in 3-way primary

 

Zephyr Teachout is a veteran constitutional and antitrust lawyer and tenure Fordham Law Professor and political activist. She is a nationally acclaimed author(Corruption in America) and recognized expert on the history of corruption and US antitrust laws. Recently, Teachout challenged incumbent (D) Governor Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic Primary, surprisingly capturing a surprising 34.3 percent of the vote. She also lost in the 2016 US House General Election in NY-19 and now has seized the open Attorney General seat, running on a multifaceted justice agendashe is nipping at the heels of current front runner, Letitia James, in a five way contested Democratic Primary.

 

On the Issues

  1. Rooting out corruption in New York State government through rigorous state ethic reforms and combating financial fraud white collar crimes.

  2. Stopping the constitutional and democratic recklessness coming from the Trump administration by fighting back at all attempt to undermine the criminal justice system and systems of check and balances.

  3. Addressing institutional racism that shape our criminal justice system, by leveraging the legal authority of the Attorney General’s office by being a spokesperson for a more humane and just society.

 

Status of Race: This seat is considered a strong Democratic seat and is five way contested Democratic Primary. Teachout is facing four Democrats, including frontrunner Letitia James, former Brooklyn Public Advocate Defender, who has received the support from most establishment candidates, including Governor Cuomo, and leads the fundraising race at $1.17 million and had $991,000 in cash on hand; trailing behind her is US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), first openly gay member of Congress, who has raised $1.17 million and had $981,000 in cash on hand; followed by Teachout, who has raised $390,000 and had $315,000 in cash on hand; and Leecia Eve, a lawyer and seasoned public servant, who has raised $300,000 and had $250,000 in cash on hand. Despite the front runner status of James in this race is still up for grabs with 42 percent of registered voters still undecided.

 

Dynamics of Race: Former Attorney General (D) Eric Schneiderman resigned in early May, due to physical assault allegations, triggering a temporary appointment form Albany and unexpected open Democratic Primary. If victorious, Teachout out would become the first woman to serve as Attorney General of New York but in a race with so many diverse candidates its her legal and political activism that makes her uniquely positioned to take on Trump and ethic reforms in Albany. Even though she is second to last in fundraising, her progressive credentials have fueled her momentum, which is indicated as the sole Attorney General candidates to endorseinsurgent NY-16 Democratic Primary candidate and winner Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

 

Teachout’s Campaign: Came out of the gate running and is increasing its momentum with her recent Nation Magazine and New York Times endorsement. Unlike the Governor’s race, this race is really wide open and a Teachout victory in a deep blue state like New York, can demonstrate the emergence of the Purple Wave. These are Deep Democracy seats won by ideologically more progressive women and people of color, supported by a multicultural and intergenerational caucus of the American Rising Electorate and white progressives. To help ensure that she can run a robust field program she needs more financial support as well as the social justice organizations focused on increasing voter turnout in this race. The status and dynamics of this race is further evidence of the ideological battleground that has emerged in New York for the state and national party.

website: Josh Zakim

Josh Zakim's photo Robert Jackson Video Bio

Josh Zakim
Secretary of State

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 33% of the primary vote

 

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is an attorney who was elected to the City Council in 2013. Josh began his career at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) where he represented working families facing foreclosure on their homes. He also worked in the Public Finance group of the law firm Mintz Levin, specializing on municipal bond transactions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassPort and the MBTA.

 

Josh currently chairs the City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights and previously chaired the Committee on Housing & Community Development and the Special Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Planning & Investment. In his first term on the Council, Josh authored the Boston Trust Act, prohibiting the Boston Police Department from detaining residents based on immigration status. He also successfully introduced an ordinance extending protections for tenants whose homes are converted to condominiums or co-ops, including increased financial safeguards for elderly, disabled, and low-income tenants.

 

Josh’s father is the late civil rights activist Lenny Zakim who the famed Zakim Bridge in Boston is named after him.

 

Josh is running because, in Massachusetts, the birthplace of American democracy, both registering to vote and voting itself have become too difficult for too many people. He’s running to be a champion of voting rights and voting access.

 

On the Issues

 

Analysis of Campaign: Josh is taking on 24-year entrenched incumbent Bill Galvin whose nickname is “the Prince of Darkness.” In a surprise and consequential upset, Zakim won the endorsement of the Democratic Party at the state convention, garnering 55% of delegate votes.

 

The Boston Globe deemed the Secretary of State race “the state’s most nasty and personal race of 2018.” Both campaigns are running negative ads.  Zakim’s ad highlights Galvin’s record as a state legislator from 1975-1991 before he became Secretary of State: voting to ban abortion, to bring back the death penalty and to ban same-sex couple adoptions. Galvin’s ad calls Josh “No-Show Zakim,” saying he hasn’t voted in 15 elections.  Both candidates are trying to draw distinctions for voters, particularly because a June WBUR poll shows 34% of voters are undecided. The same poll showed Galvin had a comfortable lead: 46% to Josh’s 17%, with Galvin popular among older voters. Name recognition is Josh’s biggest challenge: 62% had never heard of him.  With a substantial fundraising haul, Josh’s ability to effectively use his resources to get his message out and turn out his (younger) voters will determine whether he wins on September 4th. 

website: Robert Jackson

Robert Jackson's photo

Robert Jackson
State Senate Seat 31 New York

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 13th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 56% of the primary vote

 

Robert Jackson is a lifetime New Yorker, a seasoned education advocate, former New York City Council member (2002 - 2013) representing Manhattan, and School Board President. Raised in Harlem, with 8 other siblings, his personal experiences of growing up in New York City makes Jackson a fighter for all New Yorkers. He has done this his whole life. As School Board President in the 1990s, he led a class-action lawsuit against the New York state  to fix the broken pubic school funding formula that redistributed over $16 billion to New York Public Schools and included a150 mile march to Albany. His third attempt at running for State Senate District 31, this time Jackson has momentum on his side and is challenging a controversial weak incumbent in a contested Democratic Primary.

 

On the Issues

  1. Addressing the affordable housing crisis by sponsoring legislation that re-establishes give New York City local control of housing laws to avoid further and displacement and established affordability for all.

  2. Fully funding New York Public Schools to address systemic budget shortfalls and supporting policies establishes both unionized charter schools and community schools.

  3. Unlocking the progressive potential of state government by building a legitimate Democratic State Senate majority. This race is one of 10 battleground races for Democrats to win a governing majority in Albany, which can unlock years of stalled progressive legislation.

 

Status of Race: State Senate District 31 includes Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, the Upper West Side and parts of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea. Incumbent (D) State Senator Marisol Alcantara is a first-generation Dominican American, former labor leader, community organizer, card carrying progressive, and Bernie Sanders delegate, who stunned many when she won in 2016 and chose to join the IDCAlcantara is dodged by current campaign finance violations for receiving dark money from the IDC - who supported her first time candidacy in 2016 when establishment Democrats and Dominican Americans would not support her. This lack of support, she contends is what drove her to join the ranks of IDC.

 

Dynamics of Race: The New York State Assembly, the lower house chamber, is controlled by Democrats and has been since 1939 except for two years. The New York State Senate, the upper chamber, is controlled by Democrats, including the the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC), a group of 8 (D) State Senators and one Brooklyn State Senator, Simcha Felder, who caucused directly with Republicans. In recent state senate special elections, Democrats emerged victorious, but State Senator Felder effectively stopped Democrats from taking a 32-31 majority, by continuing to caucus with Republicans even though the IDC disbanded earlier this year. If victorious, Jackson could be a decisive Democratic pick up that can change the balance of power in the State Senate (the General Election will be the final test for  Republicans to maintain control with ten of twelve battle ground races). The IDC is seen as block to all progressive legislation and incumbent (D) State Senator Marisol Alcantara is a member of this block (only woman, second Latino). Her decision to join the IDC in 2016, effectively ceded Republican control of the Senate and is the wedge issue that she must address and that Jackson is exploiting to ensure his path to victory. In fact Jackson has raised $158,000 compared to $107,000 raised by Alcantara.

 

Jackson’s Campaign: has captured the support of an impressive slate of Congressional leaders, local elected officials, community members and grassroots social justice organizations while also holding onto fundraising advantage over his opponent. The Deep Democracy (other women and people of color running and social justice organizations that overlap with his path to victory) infrastructure behind this race makes a Jackson victory viable but it will come down to a strong field program that turnouts people of color and progressive white voters. The status and dynamics of this race also makes this race important to the ongoing debate about the ideological direction of state and national Democratic party in this political and economic climate. Jackson’s victory in a deep blue state like New York, can demonstrate the emergence of the Purple Wave - these are Deep Democracy seats won by ideologically more progressive women and people of color, supported by a multicultural and intergenerational caucus of the American Rising Electorate and white progressives.

website: Tahira Amatul-Wadud

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud's photo Robert Jackson Video Bio

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud
MA-1

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 29% of the primary vote

 

A black Muslim mother of seven, Tahirah Amatul–Wadud is a Springfield, Massachusetts attorney who runs her own law practice focused on civil rights law and domestic relations. A strong defender of religious freedom, Tahirah is legal counsel to a number of religious congregations across Massachusetts and New York. She serves on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, which helped pass equal pay in the state. She also serves on the Family Advisory Council of Boston Children's Hospital, where her daughter received life-saving heart surgery as a newborn. 

 

Tahirah is running because, particularly in this post-Trump era, people are feeling hopeless and Congressman Neal has been missing for years. (Last year, Indivisible Williamsburg took out an ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette with Congressman Neal’s face next to the words: “Has anyone seen this man?”) “I would always be responsive to the constituents,” Tahirah says. “I sincerely believe that you cannot be a defender of democracy when you have a divided loyalty between your constituents and your financiers,” she says in an interview with The Nation, referencing Neal. 75% of Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest is from PACs. Tahirah, meanwhile, has pledged not to accept any corporate campaign donations and advocates for the repeal of Citizens United.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Congressman Neal is currently the longest-serving member of the Massachusetts delegation, having held this seat since 1989. The biggest and most spread out Massachusetts district in area, MA-1 includes 87 cities and towns in western and central Massachusetts. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine the winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Endorsements from progressive organizations ranging from Indivisible and Progressive Democrats of America to Rise Up Western Massachusetts and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) show Tahirah’s strong grassroots support and the excitement among progressive activists about her campaign. Fundraising is Tahirah’s biggest challenge as she takes on Congressman Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest. At the end of the last fundraising quarter, Tahirah had brought in $72,047. This race will test the strength of Tahirah’s ground game, and her ability to channel the excitement surrounding her candidacy into foot soldiers that can reach and persuade voters across this vast district.

website: Barbara L'Italien

Barbara L'Italien's photo Robert Jackson Video Bio

Barbara L'Italien
MA-3

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 15.2% of vote in 10-way primary; came in 3rd

 

Barbara is currently a Massachusetts state senator and has been a state representative, a school committee member, an elder care social worker, and a mom on a mission to provide a better life for all, starting with our most vulnerable. When Rudy, the oldest of her four children, was diagnosed with autism, she fought for her son to get the basic services, care, and education he needed. She went on to run for the state House of Representatives in 2002, where she set out to make sure all kids with disabilities and their families are supported. She became the statewide leader on the issue, building the nation’s strongest safety net for people with autism and leading on landmark legislation to allow people on the autism spectrum to get health insurance. Barbara has also been a leader in the fights for single-payer health care, quality public education for all children, equal marriage, better services and supports for seniors, and jobs and a fair economy. She led the charge in Massachusetts against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the NRA, and the school privatization industry. Barbara’s running because our country is facing some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever seen. She wants to take her experience and success in Massachusetts to Washington to make sure we have a system that works for all of us, and especially those who need extra support to thrive.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Ten candidates are running in this crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. The Democratic nominee faces Republican Rick Green in an undoubtedly tough November general election. Rick Green has already been running paid negative ads against Barbara ahead of the Democratic primary, indicating that Republicans believe Barbara will win the Democratic primary. Though a Democrat is likely to win the seat, the district voted for Republicans Charlie Baker (Governor) and Scott Brown (US Senate).

 

Dynamics of Race: An August Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll showed Barbara to be tied for 2nd place (at 13%) and the leading woman in the race. Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, polled higher (at 19%), and Barbara is tied with former Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford. Lori Trahan polled in 4th place (at 8%), Juana Matias in 5th (at 6%), Alexandria Chandler in 6th (at 4%) and Bopha Malone in the bottom tier (with less than 1%). The largest block of voters (29%) are still undecided with less than two weeks before the primary, meaning the race is still fluid and open.

 

Barbara’s field operation is strong and active in deep democracy practices. Her campaign fully coordinates with the Yes on 1: Safe Patient Limits ballot campaign. They share door-knockers, put up each other’s signs and Barbara even loans part of her campaign office to the Yes on 1 campaign.

 

Fundraising is Barbara’s biggest challenge. She is being out-raised by three other candidates in the top tier: Dan Koh, Rufus Gifford and Lori Trahan. Her strong field operation gives her a strong chance to win. In these final days, if she is able to raise additional resources to reach more voters through TV and bolster an already strong field operation, she will be hard to beat.

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CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
May 2018

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, Governor

Lucy McBath, GA-06
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, FL-06
Xochitl Torres-Small, NM-2


website: Michelle Lujan Grisham

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham photo

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham
Governor New Mexico

Democratic Primary — Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 66.4% of the primary vote

 

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is a 12th generation New Mexican, who hails from a family of elected officials dedicated to families, seniors, and expanding the New Mexican economy. Her career in public service began as a legal service lawyer.  She is currently a three-term member of Congress (NM-1), business owner, and the former Bernalillo County Commissioner, New Mexico Secretary of Health and New Mexico Secretary of Aging. She is running for Governor to leverage her local, state, and federal experience to make major investment in public education, climate, water, and energy commercial/public infrastructure.

 

On the Issues

  1. Transform the state public education system by eliminating the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test as well as creating early universal Pre-K for all children to adult education system.

  2. Grow New Mexico’s long-term economy and climate resiliency by investing in modern and commercially oriented infrastructure including roads, bridges, railway, broadband internet, water, electric transmission, and clean power generation.

  3. Reverse draconian program and service cuts by state and federal GOP leaders by protecting and strengthening Medicaid, fixing our broken behavioral health system, and expanding access to high-quality affordable care.

 

Status of Race: Cook Report ranks this race as leaning Democrat and is an open seat because current Governor Susana Martinez (R), who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, is prohibited from running again due to term limits. New Mexico is one of eight states conducting a gubernatorial election in 2018 that was carried by Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 despite a Republican governor occupying the governor's mansion.

 

Dynamics of Race: Considered the front runner in a three way democratic primary that includes Jeff Apodaca, the son of a former Governor Jerry Apodaca and media executive, and Joe Cervantes, a current State Senator. Despite her front runner status and initial struggle by the state GOP to field a candidate, recent internal polling by the sole Republican candidate, Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-2), shows that this race is dead heat. Currently, 45% of voters say they would prefer Pearce, and 47% of voters Michelle Lujan Grisham the Democrat. At the end of the campaign finance period, Pearce had $2.1 million cash on hand, compared to Lujan Grisham’s $1.8 million. His cash advantage is a result of a court case that essentially allowed Pearce to donate money from his previous congressional campaign to his latest effort to be elected.

 

Lujan Grisham’s Campaign: The campaign has earned the endorsements of most mainstream Democratic organizations and the local Democratic establishment. Unfortunately, her tenure as New Mexico Secretary of Health continues generate media scrutiny and has chipped at her General election lead. The General is expected to be a bruising Trumpian showdown with the current President backing Congressman’s Pearce candidacy. She is expected to win the Democratic Primary on June 5th but will need a strong field campaign if she is going to defeat Congressman Pearce. She can do this by investing more spending on field and digital versus media to increase turnout of her base. Also, donors can also support this race by supporting down ballot races and organizations focused on increasing the turnout of the rising American electorate in New Mexico.

 

website: Lucy McBath

Lucy McBath photo Lucy's Video Bio

Lucy McBath
GA-06

Democratic Primary — September 4th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 36.3% of the primary vote; 53.7% of the run-off vote

 

Lucy McBath is a two-time breast cancer survivor, career flight attendant, who became a social justice and gun violence prevention advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Her national advocacy is inspired by the violent gun violence death of her son Jordan. Locally, she created an education foundation, in her home of Cobb County, tries to close the opportunity gap by providing charitable and educational assistance to graduating high school students attending traditional as well as technical and training colleges and universities. Now as a candidate to Congress, she is running to move the wheel on gun reform and prevention, transform our public education system, and real affordable health care for all.

 

On the Issues

  1. While her Republican opponent has a A+ rating from the NRA, Lucy will advocate for background checks for all firearm purchases, raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 years of age, and work to defeat conceal carry reciprocity measures and work to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and other criminals.

  2. Increasing funding to K-12 education, expanding early college and career technical pathways for young adults and adult learners as well as increasing federal funding for college scholarship programs

  3. As the daughter of a registered nurse and a two-time breast cancer survivor, Lucy will fight to make healthcare affordable for all Georgians.

     

Status of Race: Cook Report ranks this race as leaning Republican and is Democratic challenge of current incumbent is Karen Handel (R). She was first elected in a special election on June 20, 2017. It was the most expensive U.S. House race in history. Handel and her Democratic rival Jon Ossoff, along with outside organizations, spent more than $50 million on the election. She won by a margin of 4 percentage points. This seat consists of many of the northern suburbs of Atlanta and includes eastern Cobb County, northern Fulton County, the Dunwoody area of northern Dekalb County. Now, over a year into Trump's tenure at the White House, nearly 6 in 10 voters in Georgia hold an unfavorable view of the president. After almost a year of votes in Congress and her continued support of Trump, Handel now owns the DC dysfunction and Trump in a way she didn’t previously. Despite the GOP advantage, the DCCC thinks it is one of their best chances to pick up a House seat in Georgia. Expect this general race to be a Trumpian showdown but a difficult race for any Democrat because the district’s lines are drawn to ensure GOP control. More than 70 percent of the voters in the Sixth are white. Some 13 percent are black. The hope for Democratic defeat comes from Trump's narrow win by a margin of 1.5 percent over Hillary Clinton in the district in the 2016 presidential race and voter for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

 

Dynamics of Race: As a heavily recruited first time candidate for state senate, she surprised the local establishment when she announced her candidacy for Congress. Georgia is experiencing its woman blue wave, following national Federal Election Commission trends (339 Democratic women for Congress and an additional 34 women are running for Governor - twice as many in 2016, an all time record). The only woman in a five way Democratic Primary, Lucy’s path to victory relies on recent Southern Democratic victory for recipe of turning out loyal urban party voters and suburban voters. Her fellow democratic challengers include two well-funded Democrats, former local news anchor Bobby Kaple and businessman Kevin Abel, as well as late entry candidate Steven Knight Griffin, an openly gay public health professional. Kaple and Abel are leading the fundraising race with $415,219 and $327,368 cash on hand respectively. The path to victory in the 6th is with a candidate that can excite Democrats while reaching out to independents and moderate swing voters. In Georgia, both of these groups are showing signs of supporting Democratic candidates.

 

McBath's Campaign: Lucy has been endorsed by Emily’s List, has about $52k in cash on hand and hired a Finance Director and General Consultant. Compared to to Kapel and Abel, her cash on hand has Lucy way behind but given the deep democracy opportunities identified Maria’s List recommends making an investment in this race and in organizations focused on increasing voter turnout of the Rising American electorate. With a competitive Democratic Gubernatorial election on top of the ticket on Primary, this race will be won by the campaign with the more robust ground game. The status and dynamics of this race also demonstrate how important this race is to the 2020 Census, 2020 Presidential elections, and the 2021 redistricting process.

website: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell photo Debbie's Video Bio Deb's Video Bio

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
FL-26

Democratic Primary — Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 63.5% of the primary vote

 

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is an Ecuadorian immigrant, first-generation American, mother, and a seasoned problem solver. For the last two decades, she has dedicated her professional and personal life to improving the quality of life and health care access for Miami’s Dade low income residents. She successfully established and expanded a neighborhood health insurance program while working at the College of Health at Florida International University and at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Debbie, a first time candidate for Congress, is running to restore the American social contract that benefited her family and has now disappeared for too many.

 

On the Issues

  1. Making healthcare affordable and accessible is Debbie’s top priority. She will fight for a bipartisan solution to fixing the Affordable Care Act and protecting Medicare while continuing her lifetime commitment to improving health access

  2. Making college affordable and accessible by fully funding k-12 public education, expanding financial aid programs, lowering interest rates for all federal student loans while working on a plan to provide free community college for families

  3. Debbie lost her father to a tragic gun violence and understand intimately the impact this has on families and communities. She sees gun violence as an epidemic and will fight for universal background checks, prevent those with a history of domestic violence or terrorism from purchasing a gun, and prevent firearms from falling in the hands of the mentally ill.

 

Status of Race: Cook Report recently upgraded the rank of this race from leaning Republican to a toss up race and is considered one of the bluest districts in the country represented by a Republican. It also a top priority of the DSCC’s red to blue program and considered by some as the bellwether for Democrats taking back the majority in House. This seat is located in the heart of South Florida, and consists of Monroe and parts of south-west Miami-Dade county, including Key West, Everglades national park, Miami, Redland and Homestead. Heading into the election the incumbent is Carlos Curbelo (R), who was first elected in 2014 and won his re-election in 2016 by 12 points. Curbelo is considered one of the most vulnerable members of the GOP this cycle because of his vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, putting as risk over 100,000 of his constituents. The likelihood of Democratic victory comes from recent presidential elections Barack Obama (D) won in 2012 by a margin of 8 points and Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016 by 16 points.

 

Dynamics of Race: Expected to easily defeat her Democratic primary opponent, this race will be a General Election battle between the challenger and the incumbent. Debbie’s biggest challenge and opportunity is the local perception that Curbelo is a moderate despite his 80% voting record with Trump. Compared to Curbelo who is leading the fundraising race at $2,812,724 with $2,101,202 cash on hand, she has only raised over $926,001 with $702,008 cash on hand. This race presents a strategic democratic opportunity because the campaign is choosing a robust field, mail, and digital program instead of spending money on television. Her campaign is  is relying on  a robust field and mail/digital program that targets low propensity Democrats (Latino and Black) with strong support scores and a much smaller swing voter (women) universe. Debbie’s path to victory in the General relies on her ability to excite the American electorate and raise the money to fund her path victory. In Florida, if investments are made early to support Debbie as well as integrated voter engagement efforts on the ground like the New Florida New Majority, Debbie will be poised to win on Election Day.

 

Mucarsel-Powell’s Campaign: The campaign has built an aggressive grassroots campaign that has the potential to turn this red seat blue and resulting in both local and national attention with key mainstream endorsements from progressive mainstream organizations like Emily’s List as well local/national elected officials like former Vice President Joe Biden. Debbie will also benefit from deep democracy opportunities in Florida such as the Voter’s Right Restoration ballot question, the 2018 gubernatorial, state senate races, and integrated voter engagement efforts, which will drive turnout among Democratic base voters. Her team has built one is one of the best Democratic campaigns to win this November and take out the GOP incumbent. Similar to the GA-6 race, the status and dynamics of this race also demonstrate how important this race is to the 2020 Census, 2020 Presidential elections, and the the 2021 redistricting process.

website: Xochitl Torres-Small

Xochitl Torres-Small photo

Xochitl Torres-Small
NM-2

Closed Democratic Primary — Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
General Election — November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 72.6% of the primary vote

 

Xochitl Torres-Small is the daughter of former social worker and public school teacher, second generation American, and a proven coalition builder. Unlike many of her peers, Xochitl returned to Las Cruces upon graduating early from Georgetown University, to help invest in the community that invested in her. She began her career as a field representative for US Senator Tom Udall, then became a federal clerk, and now is a water attorney. Xochitl, a first time candidate for Congress, is running to bring together New Mexicans of all backgrounds around shared values to adopt sensible solutions to their common challenges and aspirations. To the surprise of the local and national establishment, she is also raising money faster than any of her Democratic and GOP opponents, resulting in her current front runner status.

 

On the Issues

  1. Making health care accessible and affordable means confronting pharmaceutical companies responsible for high prescription costs, expanding rural healthcare, protecting our veterans, and stopping all efforts to weaken Medicare.

  2. Promoting targeted education solutions that understand the challenges faced by rural and urban school district. She will fight for broadband expansion, increasing Pre-K to 12 funding as well as funding for English Language Learners.

  3. It's critical that all New Mexicans receive living wages for their work and that New Mexico develop public private partnerships to create good jobs, invest in a climate resilient infrastructure, as well as early college, career, and adult education pathways.

     

Status of Race: Cook report ranks this race as leaning Republican and it is an open seat because Congressman Steve Pearce is running for Governor against Congresswoman Michelle Grisham Lujan. The DCCC recently upgraded this race to its priority red to blue program, making it one of the 24 seats Democrats need to win to take back control of the house. This seat is located in southwestern New Mexico and includes Catron, Chaves, Cibola, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro counties as well parts of Bernalillo, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Valencia counties. Heading into the General, Xochitl stands to benefit from recent democratic success in this district in 2008, which was the last time this was an open seat. Democrats also outnumber Republicans in this district. In 2008, Obama won this district between 2 - 10 points and by 2 - 4 points in 2012. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton (D) won New Mexico with 48.3 percent of the vote. Donald Trump (R) received 40 percent. Another key factor is the growing unpopularity with Donald Trump (R).

 

Dynamics of Race: Even though her Democratic primary opponent, Madeline “Mad” Hildebrant campaigned for a year before Xochitl, she is expected to easily defeat her Democratic primary opponent. Early voting has already started and a majority of Democratic primary delegates pledged their support to Xochitl. Xochitl’s campaign has contacted voters in 18 of the district’s 19 counties and recently released its first commercial; creating great momentum for her campaign as it pivots to the General. This race will be a General Election battle between the challenger and one of five candidates vying for the Republican nomination. Currently, she has raised $313,332 with $243,409 cash on hand. The GOP front runner, former Hobbes Mayor, former state GOP party chair, and businessman, Monty Newman has raised $594,914 with $368,769 cash on hand. He is followed by State Representative Yvette Herell, who has raised $349,530 with $256,129 cash on hand. By all local accounts, the GOP is a primary is a toss up between the two front runners, but if the recent GOP convention is any indication, State Representative Yvette Herell may have the edge. She defeated Monty Newman for the GOP nomination with 56 percent of the delegate vote. Xochitl’s path to victory in the General election is tied to her ability to turnout her base (Hispanics, women, farmers, ranchers, and hunters) in Dona Ana County, which accounts for 35% of the electorate, and expand her base in Valencia County, which accounts for for 55% of the electorate. To accomplish this, she will focus on water rights and land protection. Internal polling demonstrate that farmers, ranchers, and hunters see this is a top policy issue in the district. The main challenge is the lack of local progressive infrastructure and building the organization quick enough to be competitive in the General.

 

Torres-Small's Campaign: Xochitl's campaign has taken everyone by storm in just five months, in fact, she raised $100,000 in the first three and half weeks of the campaign. This early momentum catapulted her into the DSCC red to blue program, earned her an early Emily’s List endorsement as well as her former boss, US Senator Tom Udall. Having built what she needs to win on Primary Election Day, the campaign is focused on organizational building phase. With a competitive Democratic Gubernatorial election on top of the ticket on Primary, exciting down ballot races, this race will be won by the campaign with the more robust ground game. The status and dynamics of this race also demonstrate how important this race is to the 2020 Census and the 2020 Presidential elections.

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CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
April 2018

Gina Ortiz-Jones, TX-23

Deb Haaland, NM-1

Ayanna Pressley, MA-07


website: Gina Ortiz-Jones

Gina Ortiz-Jones photo

Gina Ortiz-Jones
TX-23

Democratic Primary Runoff — May 22nd, 2018

General Election - November 6th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 42% of the primary vote; 67.9% of the run-off vote

 

Gina Ortiz-Jones is the daughter of an immigrant single mom, who instilled the values of hard work and service. A US Air Force veteran and former intelligence officer in Iraq, she built a career as an economic and national security expert. At her core she is a fighter with the grit and determination that have helped her advance against long odds. Most impressive, though, is the seriousness with which she understands the need to protect those opportunities for others.

 

On the Issues

  1. Jobs and the Economy — make creating good paying jobs in Texas her number one priority - focusing on investing in small businesses and the economy to make sure Texas is at the forefront of job creation and innovation. Gina will fight for a more inclusive economy by attracting new industries and businesses, ensuring rural communities have access to reliable high-speed internet, providing new and advanced skill training programs and forge public-private partnerships to create new talent pipelines, and creating a level playing field so that all corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.

  2. Immigration Reform and Civil Rights — implementing common sense and responsible immigration reform, including the protection of DACA and families trapped in the current system. Gina believes that we need to direct resources to protecting the safety and security of all, while providing those members of our communities who have made contributions to our culture and economy the respect and dignity they deserve. As a gay woman that served under the military’s Don't Ask, Don’t Tell, she will prioritize fighting to enact LGBTQ non-discrimination policies, promoting equal pay for equal work, and ending Citizens United.

  3. Quality Education — ensuring every Texas student has access to a first-class education and the resources they need. She graduated from the kind of high school where too many kids dropped out and benefited from an ROTC scholarship to attend Boston University. She’s ready to fight for our kids - regardless of their background or zip code. Gina will push for full funding of universal pre-kindergarten and early childhood education as well as increasing federal resources for STEM education and special needs students.

     

Status of Race: District located in the southwestern portion of the state. The district includes Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Schleicher, Sutton, Terrell, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, Winkler, and Zavala counties. Areas of Bexar, El Paso, and La Salle counties are also included in the district. Includes San Antonio. Red to blue race (R) held seat Will Hurd, a Trump Republican, was held by an (D) Pete Gallego as recent as 2014, when he lost to Hurd in the General.

 

Dynamics of Race: The DCCC named TX-23 one of the top target districts to flip in 2018 and has staff on the ground in the district as part of their “March into 2018” program. In the last election, Will Hurd won this district by only 3,051 votes (1.3%). But Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in TX-23 by 3.4%. The general cycle is considered an uphill battle and Cook report ranks this a solid Republican seat. The biggest surprise in this race so far, is the loss of preferred establishment candidate Jay Hulings and the rise of Gina as a first-time candidate.

 

Ortiz-Jones' Campaign: Ortiz-Jones has earned the endorsement of Emily’s List, LGBTQ and veterans groups along with a strong fundraising program. She surprised the establishment by defeating all of her democratic opponents in the recent March primaries, where she received 40% of the vote and now faces Rick Treviño (he received 17.5%). To sustain this momentum into the run-off she is securing her base of supporters as she goes into the May 22nd runoff and prepare for battle with Trump Republican, Congressman Will Hurd.

 

website: Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland photo Deb's Video Bio
Deb's Video Bio

Deb Haaland
NM-1

Democratic Primary — June 25th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 40.6% of the primary vote

 

Deb Haaland could become the first Native American (recent NY Times feature) elected to Congress, but her life story is the story of many New Mexicans. Raised in the military, both her parents served, and she continues their public service. She is a progressive activist, turned strategist helping Democrats get elected at all levels, and now she is a candidate for Congress. As a single mother and tribal leader, she has spent her life advocating for progressive causes and the marginalized - a commitment rooted through her parents.

 

 

On the Issues

  1. Jobs and the Economy for All of Us — level the playing field so that corporations, millionaires, and billionaires pay their fair share of taxes, whether that is investing in clean energy, the state film industry, supporting rural farm workers by investing and public school nutrition, the legalization and regulation of marijuana, the production of hemp in New Mexico and throughout the U.S, increasing the minimum wage to $15 and deepening New Mexico’s commitment to renewable energy. She also believes that for the economic to work for all New Mexicans, dignity must also drive our economy, whether that is expanding social security, ensuring access to SNAP, building a strong social safety net, women’s equal pay, fighting for LGBTQ non-discrimination policies, expanding DACA/DAPA, protecting the sovereignty of Indian Tribes, expanding access to public land, and Medicare for All.

  2. Climate Change — a complete divestment from the fossil fuel economy and related infrastructure. New Mexico must lead with a fight for 100% renewable energy, which can lead to thousands of new jobs while spearheading a more just transition of our economy, especially for the state indigenous communities across the country. Addressing climate change means building systems of shared prosperity, whether that means fighting to stop tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, direct defense spending to clean energy infrastructure, as well as ending fracking, offshore drilling, and methane pollution to protect New Mexico and U.S. air and drinking water.

  3. Quality Education — decades of neglect have left New Mexicans at the bottom of all rankings for jobs, economic growth, and child hunger. Public schools are essential to economic and social mobility, to turn the tide on the past, Deb wants to make large wholesale investment for debt free college education, early childcare and education, protect Head Start, lead on career and technical education, comprehensive sex education, living wages for school support staff, reduce class size, stop standardized testing and build community schools. Most importantly, she also believes that we need to stop subsidies to private vouchers, push for a moratorium on charter school expansion, and end the school to prison pipeline.

 

Status of Race: District is located in the north-central portion of the state and includes all of Torrance and parts of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Valencia counties. This is a safely held Democratic open seat vacated by Congressman Open Michelle Grisham, who is now running for Governor. District voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012.

 

Dynamics of Race: At the end of 2017, fundraising numbers were dictating viability but Deb has unleashed her grassroots and grass tops experience to roar back. She recently emerged as the leader of the race in the state party’s pre-convention vote, having earned 35 percent of the vote, with attorney Antoinette Sedillo Lopez receiving 25 percent. Her victory has redefined the race leading into the June Democratic Primary. But former US Attorney Damon Martinez has raised the most amount of money and is expected to continue with his candidacy.

 

Haaland’s Campaign: Haaland has launched an aggressive grassroots field and fundraising campaign led by former Hillary State Director and New Mexico Equality Director (NM was one of few bright spots in 2016). She has earned the endorsement of the state party delegates and other key grassroots community leaders and the most support of local elected officials while ranking second in current fundraising. Her biggest challenge: she doesn't have the deep donor networks that other candidates boast. With two months before the Democratic Primary, she is still trying to close gap against her opponents, who are all writing themselves big checks.

 

website: Ayanna Pressley

Ayanna Pressley photo Ayanna's Video Bio

Ayanna Pressley
MA-07

Democratic Primary — September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 58.6% of the primary vote

 

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Raised in Chicago, as the only child of an activist mother who instilled the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. Her focus as a City Councilor - stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls - is a reflection of her 25 years in public service.

 

 

On the Issues

  1. Economic Growth and Opportunity for All — despite a growing economy across the region, income inequality is a persistent problem that is pushing out longtime residents. Councilor Pressley wants to focus on creating fair economic policies that give tax relief to lower and middle-income workers, not the wealthy and big corporations. She supports expanding the earned income tax credit, social security, improving infrastructure, reforming Wall Street, supporting small business and aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering women to succeed, seeking fair and comprehensive immigration policies or fighting for family paid leave and LGBTQ right. She also wants to create good-paying jobs, that’s why she supports increasing the minimum wage to $15, major investments in workforce training, including apprenticeships and vocational education in advanced manufacturing and technology to help young people find careers.

  2. Education — to build a more inclusive and sustainable 21st century economy, Councilor Pressley will prioritize improving public schools by guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten, debt free college, investing in school buildings, school food programs and in life-oriented education program. She believes that if we’re going to arm our teachers it’s with well-rounded support staff, students who are ready to learn, an environment that enables focus, the tools to teach and the salary that honors their craft

  3. Health Care and Public Safety — protecting the Affordable Care Act and push further by-passing Medicare for all. Councilor Pressley will continue her fight for women’s reproductive justice health, lead on ending the addiction crisis, and enabling health systems to succeed whether through addressing the mental health component of gun violence or streamlining patient data for better treatment. Unlike her opponent, she will go further on public safety by demanding gun control, improving local law enforcement, and eliminating human trafficking.

     

Status of Race: District is located in Greater Boston and includes two-thirds of the City of Boston, all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph, and Somerville, as well as half of Cambridge and a few precincts in Milton. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Head to head Democratic Primary against 18-year incumbent, Michael Capuano, who is generally well-like by the establishment. Recent polls show a competitive race between Ayanna Pressley and Mike Capuano even though a large swath of voters have not yet heard of Ayanna. She already leads Capuano among those who know her, and we can expect her support to continue to expand as more voters become familiar with her and her story. The current political environment will also boost Ayanna, as Democrats are fed up with Congress and hungry for change. This sentiment is especially strong among women, younger voters and voters of color, all core constituencies for Ayanna. Capuano’s support is below 50%, a concerning sign for any incumbent, especially in a change environment like this one. His only real election was in 1998, in a crowded field, where he earned only 23% of the vote. Her legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

 

Pressley's Campaign: Pressley has launched a bold and aggressive multi-ethnic communications, grassroots, and fundraising program led by leading local and DC strategists, who raised $100,000 one week after the campaign’s launch and a total of $364,000 by the end of first quarter. With a tough primary ahead, Councilor Pressley faces an incumbent, who closed out 2017 with $700,000, therefore fundraising is the biggest challenge she faces. Her second challenge is that as a well-liked former mayor and Congressman, Capuano retains a solid reservoir of goodwill and institutional support. Explaining how AP’s vision for the office—and what role a Congresswoman can and should play in today’s politics—will be vital to winning this primary.

 

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GUBERNATORIAL SPOTLIGHT
January 2018

Andrew Gillum, FL, Governor

Stacey Abrams, GA, Governor

Chris Giunchigliani, NV, Governor


website: Andrew Gillum

Andrew Gillum photo Andrew's Video Bio

Andrew Gillum
Florida

Democratic Primary — August 28th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 34.3% of the primary vote in 6-way primary

 

Andrew Gillum, is ready to become Governor of Florida. Featured on Maria’s List this past February, he is known as a statewide progressive stalwart. I've personally seen his unwavering commitment to youth, to opportunity for all, to excellent public education. He was born to lead and has done so his entire life becoming the youngest (23 yrs.) person elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in 2003.

 

After serving ten years and spurring economic benefits across the city, he became the Mayor of Tallahassee in 2015. He has strikingly progressive and outspoken views about LGBTQ rights, criminal justice, immigrant protections, and common sense gun control. Even taking on the National Rifle Association personally to court and winning. Running in a state that has missed electing a Democrat to statewide office by 1% for the last 20 years, he is inspiring thousands by promoting an inclusionary vision for all Floridians and focusing on the higher ground.

 

On the Issues

  1. Education: Invest in "SHOP 2.0" — a public school transformation effort to embed computer education and increase vocation training and career education.

  2. Criminal Justice Reform: Support Re-Entry Services — expansion of restorative justice programs that help youth offenders develop non-violent communication, improve employment hiring practices by removing the criminal record question from initial job applications.

  3. Immigration: Dignity — protect immigrants against any attack and fight mass deportation efforts by the Federal government and locally.

  4. Environment and Climate Change: Resiliency and the Economy — rebuild the state's natural resources (e.g. access to clean water, protection of the Everglades) to protect tourism industry, homes and business.

     

Status of Race: Open seat, incumbent Republican Governor term-limited. Crowded democratic and republican primaries. Four leading democratic candidates, including one Congresswoman, two Mayors, and a businessman, are running in the Democratic Primary. Too early in cycle to determine viability of candidates in the Republican race.

 

Dynamics of Race: In December, Cook Report, ranks this race as a Democratic toss-up. Florida has Republican supermajorities locally, statewide, and nationally (since 2011). Increasing turnout of 100,000 voters of color, women, and youth will influence any potential Democratic victory in the November election. Recent influx of over 200,000 climate refugees from Puerto Rico (not all voter-eligible) who will likely vote Dem. Statewide and local republicans and democrats are mired in corruption and sexual harassment claims.

 

Gillum’s Campaign: Running a grassroots and people centered campaign, Andrew’s team has designed a targeted voter contact program that identifies the 100,000 votes needed to flip this November Election. Facing a competitive primary he understands how to connect voters from the countryside of northern Florida to the beaches of Miami. Fundraising will be a large factor in success of field program. Primary is wide open, most voters are not paying attention this early.

 

website:Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams_photo Stacey's Video Bio

Stacey Abrams
Georgia

Democratic Primary — May 22nd, 2018

 

Update: Won with 76.5% of the primary vote

 

Stacey Abrams, a seasoned legislator, is forging an unprecedented run to become the Governor of Georgia as an African American woman. Navigating conservative forces in the State Assembly for 10 years, and getting results results that matter from stopping sale tax increases, expanding education funding, supporting reproduction health to protecting Georgia's children and families. Stacey's known as a skilled and successful negotiator.

 

Stacey is a serial businesswoman, civic engagement leader, and lawyer, who is driven by three childhood rules: church, school, and care for each other. She is leading fellow Democrats in stopping the GOP from supermajorities, establishing the New Georgia Project and registering over 200,000 voters, and is an award winning author.

 

On the Issues

  1. Georgia's Children: Bold Action for a Brighter Vision — cradle to career policy plan that includes expansion of quality child care (0-3 yrs.), universal Pre-K, more after school programs, and increase wages for teachers.

  2. Education: Strong Public Schools — fight any privatization efforts and fully fund K-12 system; creating post-secondary career pathways, continuing education, vocational education, and tuition free college.

  3. Community and Economic Mobility: Broad based agenda — establish state income tax credit, extend collective bargaining rights, fight back on regressive taxes, small business development, and apply restorative justice solutions to address recidivism and bail reform.

  4. Environment and the Economy: Sustainable future for all — protect communities from environmental injustices (e.g. Petroleum pipeline, hazardous waste clean-up) and create up to 45,000 high wage, energy jobs.

 

Seat Status: Open seat, incumbent Republican Governor term-limited. Two democratic state representatives, including Stacey Abrams, are running in the Democratic Primary. Six candidates, including four current elected officials, are competing in the Republican Primary. The May 2018 primaries will decide the final contenders for the November General Election.

 

Dynamics of Race: In December, Cook Report, ranks this race as a long shot and safely Republican. However, donors and philanthropy are making on the ground investment in voter engagement initiatives, like ProGeorgia, that year by year are registering and increasing voter turnout of people of color and focusing on hard to count communities for the 2020 Census and 2021 redistricting process. Recent victories in Alabama (Doug Jones, D, US Senate) and Virginia (Democratic State House Majority), remind us clearly of the long term benefit of investing in community, electoral, and partisan organizing.

 

Abram’s Campaign: Stacey is a great fundraiser, has a strong campaign team and organizational structure to win but has an uphill battle in deeply conservative Georgia. Front runner for the Democratic primary, her campaign has the possibility of increasing turnout of democratic leaning voters.


website: Chris Giunchigliani

Chris Giunchigliani_photo Chris' Video Bio

Chris Giunchigliani
Nevada

Democratic Primary Caucus — June 12th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 38.9% of the primary vote in a 6-way primary

 

Chris Giunchigliani, a champion of progressive causes and seasoned legislator, is leading a trailblazing campaign focused on public school education to become Governor. Chris has the expertise, credibility and relationships to ensure that every child, regardless of zip code, has access to a quality public education that equips them to succeed.

 

Chris currently serves as Clark County Commissioner (elected twice and Vice President), where she has been one of the few voices fighting the $750 million give away to build a new Raiders football stadium and pushing back developers encroaching native lands. She is an outspoken opponent of the hateful, fear-mongering, divisive rhetoric coming from the President and his allies in Congress and in Nevada. Unabashedly progressive, effective, and described by many as the “real deal” she is ready to take on the conservative establishment of Nevada.

 

On the Issues

  1. Education and Nevada's Youth: Quality and full public school funding — fix the state education funding formula to increase opportunity for kids in some of the worst-performing schools in the country. Every young person should have the opportunity to go on to get the skills necessary to get a good, family-supporting job.

  2. Women's Rights: Lifetime commitment to advancing a women's rights — to make her own healthcare decisions, equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave and ensuring access to quality, affordable childcare, and mandating insurance companies to cover contraceptives.

  3. Criminal Justice Reform: Seasoned advocate — Original sponsor to restore ex-felon voting rights, instrumental in reduction of wait times for sealing criminal records, and led charge to banning the box in Clark County.

  4. Environment: Pioneer on renewable energy and land preservation — wrote the first renewable energy legislation in Nevada and led the way to allow homeowners to use solar energy on their homes and green buildings. Chris has always fought to protect our public land.

 

Status of Race: Open seat, incumbent Republican Governor term-limited. Two Clark County Commissioners, including Chris, are running in closed Democratic Caucus. Likely Republican contender, current Republican Attorney General, is waiting for a tough and competitive November General Election. He is a loyal Trump supporter, ideologue and super conservative, and pro-life.

 

Dynamics of Race: In December, Cook Report, ranks this race as a Democratic toss-up. Running an insurgent campaign against a self-described social liberal and fiscally conservative democrat, she is expected to win in closed caucus. Close caucus voters skews on the progressive side and majority women, history of electing progressive nominee. Increasing turnout of voters of color, women, and youth and securing white working class voters will influence any potential Democratic victory in the November election.

 

Giunchigliani Campaign: In just two months, Chris has built a strong campaign team, led by former campaign manager for Gina Reymundo’s successful Rhode Island Gubernatorial race. Very viable and on track to raising $1 million in 2017. Will be outspent in primary caucus but this election will not be about money. General election will be highly contested and expected to attract high national attention.

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MARIA'S LIST 2017

As part of the 2020 Census Design Plan, four key innovation areas have been formulated to better capture more precise census information. The logistical design is there, we need to be vigilant and protect. The challenge of how to protect immigrants, first-generation Americans, African Americans, and women who face increased violence while they participate in the census is real. Resources: National Council of La Raza and Southern Poverty Law Center.

States with Changing Representation

Alabama -1

Arizona +1

California +1

Colorado +1

Florida +1

Illinois -1

Michigan -1

Minnesota -1

New York -1

North Carolina +1

Ohio -1

Oregon +1

Pennsylvania -1

Rhode Island -1

Texas +3

Virginia +1

West Virginia -1

North Carolina Democratic Caucus'

Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan)

Andrew Gillum (Florida)


Housewebsite: Lisa Blunt Rochester


Senate
website: Lisa Blunt Rochester

NC State House

The Democratic Caucus in both the House and Senate in North Carolina

 

Maria's List was heavily engaged in North Carolina last cycle and while our candidate Linda Coleman did not win, progress was certainly made when Dem — Roy Cooper was elected Governor. Now that the courts have rejected unconstitutional legislative maps, Democrats are poised to make much needed gains. They've been hamstrung, but March 15th release of court order redistricting could help. The courts ordered special elections in 2017; legislators will run in 19 house districts and 9 senate districts with redrawn lines. Possible gains in 2017 should lead to increased odds of flipping both bodies in 2018. If all goes well this overreaching R-Legislature will get stuffed back in their box.

 

Don't forget how they stripped the Dem Governor of his budget powers just after election day. And yes, these are the bathroom bill legislators. NC House Democratic Caucus leadership boasts five women and the Senate team is a majority people of color.

 

The current partisan breakdown favors Republicans substantially, they have a 30-seat plurality in the House and 20-seat lead in the Senate. Importantly, if Democrats can win 4 House seats in 2017, they would end Republicans hold on a veto-proof majority.

 

In the House Democrats are led by Representative Larry Hall, an African American legislator from Raleigh and his five-person leadership team that includes four women. The State Senate Democrats also boast a diverse team that reflect the citizens they represent, Senator Dan Blue, Jr., leads the caucus that is comprised of eleven men and women of color.

 

Financial support for the candidates running in these yet-to-be outlined districts will be imperative. The long game is to win back the chamber but 2017 offers a unique opportunity that needs our support.

website: Gretchen Whitmer

 

Gretchen Whitmer photo

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan

 

Gretchen Whitmer has enthusiastically announced her intention to run for Michigan Governor in 2018. She has been very outspoken about the water situation in Flint, about the neglect and the need for accountability. Additionally, while serving in the legislature she voted against loosening state campaign finance regulation, against stricter sentences for juvenile offenders, and against so called "right to work efforts". Gretchen courageously shared her own experience with rape when she led the resistance against enacted laws requiring women to seek enhanced insurance protection should they anticipate needing and abortion. Whitmer also played a role in what many call "Detroit's Grand Bargain" where a private, public, non-profit partnership collaboration helped Detroit exit bankruptcy swiftly, providing evidence of a leader willing to work with others to find collaborative solutions. Sadly, between contaminated water, and right to work, just solutions have been sorely lacking for some time in Michigan.

 

In the Governors role she would have a direct impact on re-districting and give Democrats a much-needed seat at the table. Don't forget, unproven claims of voter irregularities recently make having a voice in the debate incredibly important.

 

A primary challenge is likely for this former Democratic leader in the State Senate and State House Member. Recently, Whitmer stepped in to serve as the Ingham County Prosecutor. And more recently, Whitmer headlined the Lansing Women's March on January 21st. Media reports indicate that nearly 8,000 protesters participated in the event. A positive sign given the difficulty Democrats have had recently at the ballot box in what should be a reliable blue state.

 

Gretchen's decision to announce early should not go unnoticed and she will need resources to get through what is anticipated to be a contested primary and competitive general.

website: Andrew Gillum

 

Andrew Gillum photo

Andrew Gillum
Florida

 

Andrew Gillum, a vibrant Florida voice from the City Council, to Mayor of Tallahassee to being considered for Vice Presidential nomination has yet to declare his run for Governor for 2018. Andrew has been working assiduously on creative solutions to public-private partnerships that are enriching education in the city, to making it easier for small businesses to operate in the city, to lingering issues such as restorative justice programs which show decreases in recidivism rates. An online petition is being circulated that highlights his refreshingly outspoken views about LGBTQ rights, immigrant protections, and common sense gun control.

 

The Florida Governor's race will have significant consequences. At the conclusion of the incumbent's term it will have been 20 years since a Democrat was elected Governor of Florida. Republicans controlled redistricting in 2011 and had maps recently re-adjusted through judicial action. This race has the potential to swing multiple Congressional seats and state legislative seats. As recent history suggests, Democrats need a strong candidate that will be a champion that connects with all voters and Andrew Gillum is the ideal individual to fill this role.

 

Gillum has yet to announce his intentions in this race so we are clearly just monitoring this race and flagging this exceptional leader. Other candidates are also considering the race so a primary and tough general is assured.33

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