Thursday, October 13, 2016

CAMPAIGN$ | Dem Home Stretch for Senate–Heidi's List (Updated Oct. 25, 2016)

Joe Biden warns: The White House is
 not enough.
“If we win the White House and fail to take the Senate, it’s a Pyrrhic victory”–VP Joe Biden, New York City, June 2016

How to Help Democrats 
Win the Senate
 (Updated Oct 20, 2016)

Home-Stretch Tips from 
Guest-Blogger Heidi Fiske 

In the next few years, four Supreme Court justices are likely to retire. As Mitch McConnell has shown us, the Senate can drag its feet indefinitely on confirming a new justice. 

It is essential that Democrats regain control of the Senate. Supporting these candidates, therefore, is more important than almost any race specific to your district.

This year 2016 is an especially good one to try. Democrats will need to gain just 4-5 new seats, while holding the ones they have, to take control, because many more Republicans than Democrats are up for re-election. 

Despite this potential advantage, key races are very very close. On October 11, the NY Times “Upshot” called control of the Senate a 50-50 proposition.  

Each side is fighting hard. Republicans  -- shying away from Trump -- are pouring money and, increasingly, people on the ground into these races. In Missouri, for instance, Democratic candidate Jason Kander announced October 11 that a Republican SuperPac has purportedly already talked to one million Missouri voters in person or on the phone.  

But exhilaratingly, on October 18, the Clinton campaign began transferring $6 million to state parties in seven purple states to help Get Out The Vote for down ballot candidates,  and began putting new resources into red states like Arizona, Missouri and Indiana in an effort to win a landslide. And, according to Politico, Democrats will badly outspend Republicans on TV ads in the eight most competitive Senate races: $81 million versus just $65 million for the GOP.

Democrats need to fight the new GOP push with money and on-the-ground volunteers. 
This memo is written to help you figure out how to do that. It was written by Heidi Fiske 
for posting here. Please send comments and updates to her at heidifi33 [at] aol [dot] com.

What Not to Do
  1. Don’t waste your $ and time on California, Illinois, or Wisconsin, because the Democratic challengers are virtually certain to win in these states.
  2. And don’t waste resources on Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio, because the Democratic challengers are almost certain to lose.
  3. Keep an eye on Indiana. It is likely that Democrat Evan Bayh will win, though he seems to be chewing through his earlier significant lead. The state has gotten redder since he left the Senate in 2011 with a serious war chest, which he is deploying here.
Heidi's Top 7 Senate Candidates
Where to Concentrate Your $ and Time

My Top 7 candidates are listed in rank order based on how likely the candidate is to win, as of October 13, 2016. (A more complete challenger list in 15 states follows.)

1. NH Maggie Hassan
Governor of New Hampshire
Special note:  Both parties have poured so much money into this small state that donations may not be half as useful here as volunteering. Race: Some polls put Hassan ahead; others the incumbent Ayotte.  Popular governor vs. popular senator.  Ayotte has recently withdrawn support for Trump; will write in Pence. Key positions: Hassan lists just about everything on her site. The first four are combating opioid crisis; national security; economy, jobs and innovation; education and workforce development.   HF note: Have heard her speak three times; she is likeable and an accomplished governor.  Website: To volunteer:

2. PA Katie McGinty
Former chief of staff to PA governor
Race: McGinty has been slightly behind but is climbing.  Key positions:  protecting environment (worked for both President Clinton and PA governor in key environmental roles); jobs and economy; education; affordable health care; women’s and LGBT rights, protecting SS and Medicare.  HF note:  Have heard twice, once at an event where she was backed by VP Biden. Attractive and vigorous.  Website: katiemcginty.comMake check to:  Katie McGinty for US Senate and mail to Katie McGinty for US Senate, PO Box 22447, Philadelphia, PA 19110 To volunteer:

3. NV Catherine Cortez Masto
Former Nevada Attorney General
Race: running to replace Harry Reid, and has his machine behind her, but is about tied with opponent Congressman and Brigadier General Joe Heck, though she is rising.  Key positions: overturning Citizens United; raising minimum wage; protecting Medicare and Social Security; comprehensive immigration reform. As AG she fought meth labs, sex and human trafficking, predatory lending and aggressive foreclosures, scams against seniors. HF note: Have heard her once; impressive. Website: Mail check to: Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate, 8020 South Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89139. To volunteer: Large Filipino population, so tagalog as well as Spanish is useful here. 

4. NC Deborah Ross
Former State Congresswoman
Race: Incumbent opponent ahead but unpopular; Ross not well known, hence volunteering is very important, and her head of volunteers, Sandra Johnson, is superb.  Key positions: for building infrastructure; women’s economic issues (e.g. minimum wage, equal pay and Social Security); solving student loan crisis; gun background checks; LGBTQ rights.  Also for protecting seniors and veterans and overturning Citizens United.  HF note:  have hosted a fundraiser and heard her speak elsewhere and met with her at length as well. Extremely impressive, poised, thoughtful. Website:  Make check to: Deborah Ross for Senate and mail to P O Box 28258, Raleigh, NC 27611. Contribute on-line to

5. MO Jason Kander
Missouri Secretary of State
Race: slightly behind incumbent Roy Blunt Key positions:  Advocating for women and African Americans; government accountability; environmental protection; support for small businesses; early childhood education. Wants constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget (!), which strikes me as a far-right, ill-advised fantasy. However as it will never pass, his other qualities make him a standout.    HF note: have heard once. Impressive, young candidate. Website: Make check to:  Missourians for Kander and mail to Missourians for Kander, PO Box 548, Columbia, MO 65205. To volunteer:

6. FL Congressman Patrick Murphy
Race:  This is such an important state that effort and money are worth it, even though Murphy is consistently seen as behind Marco Rubio, and this is the one close Senate race in which the Republicans have a bigger tv-ad war chest than the Democrats: $9.6 v. $4.2 million. However, Rubio has only 44%, not 50%; Clinton has a slight edge in the state; and Obama has done tv ads for both Hillary and Murphy, including in Spanish. Key positions:  growing the middle class; immigration reform; protecting voting rights; strengthening Social Security and Medicare. HF note:  no personal contact.  [JTM note: Alice and I have attended at least one fundraiser for him and found him to be fiscally knowledgable and alert, and socially liberal; he was the youngest person in the Congress when he was first elected; he has been elected twice with 60% of the vote in a GOP-leaning district.] Website:  Make check to: Murphy for Florida. Mail to: Murphy for Florida, 4521 PGA Blvd #412,  Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

7. AZ Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Congresswoman 
Special note: Ann Kirkpatrick seriously lags John McCain in most polls. Also, not only does he have universal name recognition, but, because of his Senate seniority, through his committee assignments he controls a lot of benefits for Arizona. 

However, I am such a fan of Ann Kirkpatrick herself, her broad and well-organized campaign on the ground, and her money-raising team that her race is listed here as one to support. 

And she has some new advantages. McCain has said he will veto any Hillary Supreme Court nominee, which is bound to hurt him. Hillary is making a major push to take this Red State, with Michelle Obama campaigning for her there. Ann raised $3 million in the 3rd quarter. At the very least, help to her now can tee up another run in 2018, when Jeff Flake’s seat will be up.

Key positions: pro choice, pro LGBTQ rights, fighter for veterans, paid maternity leave, immigration reform, Affordable Care Act. HF note:  We have met twice at length, plus I gave a fundraiser for her, and was on the host committee for a second, so I have a good feel for her. Sweet, shrewd, down-to-earth, honest, compassionate. The word people at both fundraisers used most often to characterize her was “impressive.” Website:  Donate online at
Make check to: Kirkpatrick for Senate and mail to Kirkpatrick for Senate, PO Box 34421, Phoenix, AZ 8506 To volunteer:

15 Dem Challengers
In State Alphabetic Order

Dem Challengers are seeking to fill a Republican-held or vacant seat.

Table Column Headings
  • C or O? Challenger, or Open seat? (“Open” means the incumbent is not running)
  • DSCC: Endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which backs candidates in races they think are important, and winnable but not sure, hence where money is likely to have the most impact.
  • EMILY’s List: Endorsed by EMILY’s List
  • DFA: Endorsed by Democracy for America, whose candidates tend to be very progressive. (DFA backed Bernie for President.)

How to Donate: ActBlue or Check?
If you like donating frequently with small amounts, then ActBlue and other intermediaries are useful in reducing the administrative burden for campaigns of taking credit card charges and having to comply with reporting requirements for gifts. The greater frequency of small donations allows for faster feedback to candidates on how they are doing. However, donating by check keeps your email address more private and more of your money gets to the candidate without the haircuts taken by your credit card company and ActBlue.