For the Week of 12/8/2017
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
For the first time since 2000, Democrats may take back the majority in the Virginia state House of Delegates: everything rests on the upcoming recounts that will take place later this month. As of now, Virginia Republicans are clinging to the majority with a 51-49 margin, but these critical recounts in four districts put the majority in play. Specially-appointed panels of Virginia judges have just scheduled recounts for December 13th, 14th, 19th, and likely the 21st in three razor-close races (HD-28, HD-40, HD-68, and HD-94) that will decide control of the Virginia House. Republicans spent millions on these elections, but the outcome is coming down to just a handful of votes. The DLCC is closely monitoring the recount process and is working with our Virginia legislative leaders and in-state allies to provide necessary support and resources.
This past Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Representative-elect Jeanne McNeill scored a resounding and solid victory in the special election for House District 133. The seat became vacant after her late husband, Rep. Daniel McNeill, passed away. He was elected to represent the Lehigh County seat in 2013. A retired special education professional and member of the Pennsylvania chapter of NEA, Rep.-elect Jeanne McNeill campaigned to continue her husband’s legacy of standing up for working families, ensuring all Pennsylvania children have access to a quality education, and bettering the lives of her neighbors and now constituents. Rep.-elect McNeill bested her Republican opponent winning almost 68% of the vote, topping Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance in the district by nearly 15 points. Rep.-elect McNeill’s win is a success for Democrats: with HD-133 secured, Pennsylvania Democrats can look for opportunities in other parts of the state in 2018 and beyond. DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post underscored the importance of this race, stating: “With crucial 2020 redistricting on the horizon, Pennsylvania is a top target for the DLCC and our allies as we look to correct Republicans’ extreme gerrymandering in the state.”
Georgia’s newest state Senator-elect Jen Jordan claimed a critical victory last Tuesday night – not only for her constituents, but for all Georgians. Sen.-elect Jordan’s victory in the special election for Georgia SD-06 officially broke the Republican supermajority in the state’s upper legislative chamber. Breaking Republicans’ supermajority and stranglehold on the Georgia state Senate was a vital step in the DLCC’s strategy to prevent another decade of gerrymandered maps following 2020 redistricting. A longtime resident of the district, Jordan brought a lawsuit against the Secretary of State in 2015 after she uncovered an unprecedented data breach where the Secretary of State’s office unlawfully distributed the personal information of every voter in the state. Endorsed by Georgia Equality and both Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Jordan campaigned on her commitment to protecting the rights of all Georgians, expanding access to affordable health care, raising the minimum wage, and improving public education.
The bogus recall campaign launched by Republicans and special interest backers in August in a desperate attempt to grab seats from fairly elected Democrats is coming to a head. Republicans submitted recall petitions against Democratic women State Senators Joyce Woodhouse and Nicole Cannizzaro, and failed to meet the petition requirements to recall state Senator Patricia Farley. Because Republicans have virtually no chance to gain control of the Nevada state Senate next year, they are resorting to these shady tactics and baseless recalls their own governor has disavowed as “dangerous.” However, the DLCC and state Democrats are making sure Sens. Woodhouse and Cannizzaro have everything they need to fight back. Currently, attorneys for Sen. Woodhouse have filed suit against election officials, alleging that recount petitioners turned in almost six thousand unqualified signatures. While no court case has been filed yet in the recall effort against Sen. Cannizzaro, attorneys representing Democrats’ interests in the state have already called out the Nevada Secretary of State’s office for improper conduct resulting in the favoring of the recall petitioners. As of now, outcomes are uncertain but one thing is for sure: the DLCC will not allow this attack on our democracy to go unchallenged and we will stand with our Nevada Democrats as we fight back against this affront to our electoral system.
In their latest crackdown on voting rights, New Hampshire Republicans are trying to pass a bill (HB 372) that would make it harder to vote for college students in New Hampshire. The bill states that an individual may vote in New Hampshire only if he or she complies with the state’s onerous requirements for residency. To prove residency, an individual must register his or her car with the state and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license, which adds up to several hundred dollars. At its core, HD 372 is a thinly veiled poll tax; the right to vote would come with a price tag with an ulterior motive to disenfranchise college students. New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu has been supportive of other restrictive voting laws in the past, so this bill has a chance of being signed into law, if passed.
- DLCC Announces 2018 Board of Directors [DLCC Press Release]
- State Legislative Leaders Converge in Washington to Plan for 2018 [DLCC Press Release]
"There’s so much energy in the DLCC because Democrats know that what’s happening in state legislatures really determines the destiny of this country...In the next year, Democrats will be going all-out to recruit good candidates to run for office and win at the state level. This will develop a new generation of talented leaders and help make change real across the country."
- U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey
12/12/17: ELECTION DAY - Iowa SD-03 Special Election
1/9/18: ELECTION DAY - Georgia HD-111 Special Election
1/9/18: ELECTION DAY - Connecticut HD-15 Special Election
1/16/18: ELECTION DAY - Wisconsin SD-10 Special Election