Progressive Primary Winners Abandoned By The DCCC

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Normally, I don't buy into "lesser-of-two-evils" politics. If Democrats nominate a corrupt reactionary Blue Dog I'm at least as incensed as I am over a Republican. That's not going to change either. And, I'm still saying that "normally" no longer applies, not with Trump and his Congressful of enablers and rubber stamps. I'm telling friends and relatives-- my sister lives in Jeff Van Drew's district-- to just hold their noses and vote for anyone with a "D" next to their name.

As Digby has been saying since he moved into the White House, we're in existential territory here. Boxing in Trump is more important than anything.

That said, there's no need to stop reminding the establishment Democratic Party that we need them to stop turning off the base with their Blue Dog/New Dem agenda and their uncontrollable hatred for the Democratic grassroots, for progressives and for the kind of reform that will cut off the spigots of money and power that motivates the careerism of the Hoyers, Wasserman Schultzes, Crowleys (buh bye) and the mirror images the DCCC keeps recruiting as candidates.

The DCCC is now whining how progressives have to get on board the unity train and pull together to elect a Democratic Congress to stop the boogie man in the White House. They're correct. What they're not correct about is that that's a one-way street.

Let me give you an example. The DCCC drew up a list of the most crucial districts that they absolutely had to prioritize to flip in November. They call it their "Red to Blue" list. One is the Omaha swing district, NE-02. The DCCC went out and recruited a Blue Dog, Ben Ashford, who the voters in the district had rejected in 2016 after he served a term in Congress and voted pretty consistently with the GOP. Democrats refused to reelect him and now there's a Republican, Don Bacon, in the seat.

The DCCC's strategy, which is regularly proven wrong, is that if a conservative Democrat votes with the GOP, "moderate" Republicans will eschew their own candidate and vote for the conservative Democrat. When will the DCCC learn that just doesn't work and all they do is turn off base Democratic voters?

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In Omaha, a progressive Democrat, Kara Eastman, ran a grassroots campaign on issues that voters wanted to hear about. And she won, despite massive DCCC fingers-on-the-scale help for Ashford. The voters picked her-- 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (43.57%). So how did the DCCC respond? They wrote NE-02-- their "must win" district-- out of their 2018 strategy and refused to back Kara. No institutional money is flowing in her direction. They flat out refused to add her to their Red-to-Blue page.

The same thing is happening with progressive primary winners all over the country-- including in must-win swing districts! Blue America has a page for that: Abandoned By The DCCC.

There are men and women-- mostly women-- on this list who won their primary races and who the DCCC is refusing to recognize while they're asking progressives to support wretched Blue Dogs and New Dems because... "TRUMP!"

I spoke to one of those candidates this morning, J.D. Scholten. He was in a 3-way primary race to see which Democrat would take on the odious Steve King. J.D. out-raised King in each of the last two FEC reporting quarters. Each time, he called the DCCC to tell them and urge them to work with him to beat King. And each time, the DCCC refused to take his call or to call him back.

Then came the primary. Scholten beat the establishment fave, an ex-lobbyist with a Blue Dog agenda, Leann Jacobsen, and another candidate, John Paschen-- and it wasn't close.

• J.D. Scholten- 14,514 (51.27%)
• Leann Jacobsen- 9,055 (31.99%)
• John Paschen- 4,741 (16.75%)

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So, J.D. called the DCCC to tell them and ask for their help. Do you want to guess what happened? That's right... no return call.

J.D. is campaigning full-time, not by sitting and calling donors and PACs and corporations, although he's still raising enough grassroots money to be ahead of King-- $195,348 cash on hand for J.D. and $87,250 cash on hand for King-- but by driving his RV into every town and hamlet in the sprawling 4th district and meeting the voters. The DCCC doesn't recognize that as valuable.

Please consider contributing to the candidates who have won their primaries -- up against Republicans while the DCCC ignores them. These are important races, not the "easy" ones the DCCC regularly screws up. Maybe these candidates are lucky not to have DCCC interference in their campaigns. But they do need some money to compete effectively.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Big Win In Maine-- And 7 Contests Tuesday

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We had some great news a few days ago. Finally— 8 days after the polls closed, Maine's Secretary of State verified that Jared Golden, a full-blown progressive champion, beat his opponents in the first instance of ranked-choice voting for a federal election in the country. That means Jared will be taking on Trump enabler and Wall Street puppet Bruce Poliquin in November. The final score--after all the votes for Craig Olson were eliminated-- between the top two were:

Jared 23,516 (54%)
Lucas St. Clair 19,741 (46%)

Jared is the majority whip in the state House and said his message of economic fairness and political reform resonated in the sprawling, rural and poor 2nd District which Trump won 51-41% in 2016. The pathetic one-note NRCC immediately dubbed him "the Nancy Pelosi of Maine." The DCCC immediately added him to their Red to Blue list, something they are still refusing to do for another progressive primary winner, Kara Eastman in Omaha.

Both Jared and Kara will need some serious support to overcome Republican incumbents in November. Please step up and give what you can. We promise if elected, our country will be much better off with these 2 progressives are in Congress!

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Tuesday there are 7 Blue America-endorsed congressional candidates in primaries, they are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michael DeVito and DuWayne Gregory in New York; Levi Tillemann and Saira Rao in Colorado; and Tom Guild in Oklahoma, as well as gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous in Maryland.

After that, a break. There are no primaries in July. The next big date for progressives comes on August 7 when Ellen Lipton and Rashida Tlaib have primaries in Michigan; Lisa Brown has hers in Washington and James Thompson is up to bat in Kansas. A few days later-- Hawaii is progressive enough to hold elections on weekends to make it convenient for voters-- Kaniela Ing faces off with a gaggle of awful fake Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

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All of these candidates can use some help, but I want to especially urge you to help out the candidates who have already won their primaries and are facing off against Republicans-- Kara Eastman (NE), Jared Golden (ME), Katie Porter (CA), and Jess King (PA). Just tap the ActBlue Thermometer or this link to give whatever you can spare. It really does add up!

Thanks for always doing what you can to help make a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



KARA!

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Last Tuesday, one of the biggest, most exciting and meaningful victories for progressives was Kara Eastman's win in the Nebraska Democratic primary. She beat Blue Dog and DCCC endorsee Brad Ashford 20,239 (51.43%) to 19,113 (48.57%). ​

It was another case of local Democrats slapping down the DCCC for their pig-headed interference in a local primary. The DCCC attempted to gaslight the district-- that voted overwhelmingly for Bernie in 2016-- telling them they needed to nominate a proven reactionary, "ex"-Republican instead of a woman who ran on many of the same issues that made Bernie so attractive to local, 2nd District Democrats.

With the help of the DCCC, Ashford raised $558,946 and spent $397,194, while Kara raised $355,887 and spent $284,880. Ashford was endorsed by anyone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party​ the DCCC could round up-- not just the Blue Dogs but the New Dems, Gabby Giffords, the labor unions that do whatever the DCCC tells them and, of course ambitious Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff, who has been traveling around the country using his new-found celebrity to help right-of-center candidates like himself undermine progressive candidates like Kara.

Kara had the support of Blue America and of other progressive forces independent of the Democratic Party establishment, from the Nebraska Unity PAC and Nebraska Grassroots Progressives and the Working Families Party to Climate Hawks Vote, the PCCC, VoteProChoice, local independent-minded unions like the Plasterers and Cement Masons, the Insulators and the Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation union, as well as local political leaders like state Senators Tony Vargas and Justin Wayne and Omaha City Council president Ben Gray.

As soon as Kara's victory over Ashford was official, the DCCC removed him from their Red-to-Blue page. But instead of replacing him with Kara, they took NE-02 entirely off their radar.

One of the country's most flippable districts suddenly no longer existed! What happened to Pelosi's spiel about unity? Is it only the unity of progressives backing successful conservative Democrats but not unity when progressives win? Is that unity? And what happened to Pelosi's spiel about how 'we all win when women win?' Instead we hear Pelosi thundering about how 'the DCCC won’t help party nominees unless the conservative establishment backed them.'

When we endorsed her campaign last February, she told us that

over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters.

I'm the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now.”

Now Kara needs our help to beat a tougher candidate in November, Republican incumbent Don Bacon, a Trump rubber stamp very much out of touch with voters in the Omaha Metro.

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With the DCCC already signaling they'd rather let Bacon stay in his seat then help a progressive win it, Kara is going to need our help more than ever.

She's a fighter and winner. Please contribute what you can by clicking on the Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer above.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

Howie, for the entire Blue America team



Omaha? Blue America Endorses Kara Eastman


Kara Eastman is the newest Blue America endorsee. She's running for the blue-trending Omaha Metro district-- NE-02, currently tenuously held by conservative backbencher Don Bacon. Before she gets to Bacon, she has to beat conservative "Democrat" Brad Ashford, who was a Republican for 38 years, including the first term of the Obama administration.

According to the Omaha World Herald, Ashford voted with the Republicans while in Congress more than all other Democrats except for two. In the Nebraska legislature, he voted for an ultrasound bill and voted yes on LB 1103, a bill that prohibited abortions in Nebraska after 20 weeks. He’s taken contradictory stands on almost every important issue over his long political career. Ashford voted for and against the Dreamers, for and against the Iran nuclear deal, and against the Clean Power Plan rule (SJ Res 24) that established carbon dioxide emission guidelines for power plants. Under Obama, he voted against facets of the Affordable Care Act, in the Nebraska State Legislature he voted for some anti-choice bills, and he has gone back and forth on his stances on the Keystone XL pipeline. People in the district tell me they are unhappy with Ashford’s voting record. They also feel like he is not in it to win it. 

Word on the street is, Nebraskans are looking for someone with energy, with vision and with passion.  Knowing this, even with a record like Ashford’s the DC Dem's establishment candidate enjoys the backing of the entire ‘Republican wing of the Democratic Party’— the Blue Dogs, the New Dems and, of course, the DCCC. 


Kara's primary fight has been based on convincing voters that her pragmatic, progressive stances make her a stronger candidate. We cannot agree more! The Democratic primary election is on May 15.



She told us that with a grassroots campaign focused on field operations, door-knocking, an integrated digital and communication plan, and engaging voters; her campaign is speaking directly to real people. She and her volunteers have knocked on over 25,000 doors already. Women, labor unions (she just received her fourth labor endorsement), activists, and communities of color that have been disenfranchised by conservative candidates and are crucial to winning NE-02. Her bold advocacy is motivating and energizing the Democratic base, and it’s already been recognized in the form of a national endorsement from Climate Hawks Vote and now from Blue America. This is a district that can be flipped.



"Omaha Democrats," said Kara,

"are frustrated. We’ve run the same kind of 'moderate to conservative candidate' at the local, state, and federal level, and we’ve seen them lose over and over again. Even though my primary opponent won by a slim margin in 2014, he lost his re-election bid in 2016. As a matter of fact, he was the only incumbent Democrat to lose to a Republican in the entire country that cycle. Don Bacon, who won by just over one percentage point, now votes in line with the current administration 97% of the time. He’s vulnerable, and all the political prognosticators say that the election is a toss-up. Over the last decade, Nebraska’s second Congressional district is one of the two most competitive in the nation. So why can’t Democrats consistently win here? They don’t ignite the base, and they don’t go out and talk to voters."

She's the first serious progressive candidate to run in Nebraska’s second district and her grassroots campaign has knocked on over 25,000 doors and has gotten voters excited about the race. She told us that,

"the majority of the people we talk to at the doors commit to voting for me. I’m pro-choice, I support common-sense gun safety regulation, I’m passionate about health and environmental protection, and I’ve opposed the Keystone XL pipeline. I will fight for a Medicare for All system because healthcare is a right. I also will fight for debt-free education, because I’m tired of seeing students, even at Metro Community College where I serve on the Board of Governors, drowning in student loans. The U.S. has to compete in a global market by investing in green and healthy housing. Climate change is the number one moral and national security threat to our children, and we need to address it now."

Kara is good on all of our issues and we're excited about her campaign because we see her as someone who will be an aggressive champion for campaign finance reform. "Fixing campaign finance laws and taking lobbyist money out of politics," she said, "will change Washington. I’m proud to have over 1500 individual campaign donors, but I won’t take just any and all corporate PAC dollars. In fact, my fundraising has been neck and neck with that of my primary opponent, even though he’s been in Congress and accepts a large amount of PAC money."


With the strong grassroots campaign that she's built, Kara Eastman can win this swing district. As a social worker with a reputation for getting things done in her community, she's ready to work hard to make real changes in the political system when she gets to D.C. We believe in Kara's campaign and we urge you to contribute what you can. It's strong, idealistic women with real life experience like Kara who are going to change America, not decrepit, recycled, reactionary Blue Dogs dumped upon us by a corrupt establishment. 


Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team




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