For the Week of 3/16/2018
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:
State Democrats in another battleground state have set candidate recruitment records. In Pennsylvania - where U.S. Representative-elect Conor Lamb recently flipped a deep-red congressional seat to Democratic control - there will be a Democrat running in 180 out of 203 state House districts and 24 out of 25 state Senate districts this November, and over 100 Democratic women will be on the primary ballot. With the state's Republican-drawn maps struck down by the state's highest court for unconstitutional gerrymandering, electing Democrats to the state's legislature is a critical step in making sure every Pennsylvanian has the right to fair representation and equal access to the ballot box. The DLCC is already laying the groundwork for big wins in the state and using lessons learned from Virginia, where Democrats picked up 15 seats in one election, to plot a path to victory ahead of crucial 2020 redistricting.
Last November, the DLCC and state Democrats flipped 15 seats from red to blue in the Virginia House of Delegates - and 11 of those 15 seats were flipped by Democratic women. Delegates Elizabeth Guzman, Kathy Tran, Danica Roem, Jennifer Carroll Foy, Kelly Convirs-Fowler, Wendy Gooditis, Hala Ayala, Karrie Delaney, Dawn Adams, Debra Rodman, and Cheryl Turpin changed the face of the Virginia House on election night, and continue to make history as leading members of the Democratic freshman class. From criminal justice reform to sexual harassment prevention and family-friendly and gun safety policies, freshman Democratic women are leaving their mark on this session, bettering the lives of all Virginians in the process. With record levels of Democratic women stepping up around the country, the DLCC looks forward to repeating our success in Virginia in other battleground states this November. You can check out some of the strong women candidates running for state legislature at races.dlcc.org.
After a Maine Republican state Representative attacked and bullied multiple teen survivors of the Florida school shooting online, Mainers and Americans across the country were disgusted and called for someone to step forward and oppose the GOP incumbent who was, at the time, running unopposed. Eryn Gilchrist, a 28-year-old Democrat and first-time candidate, has answered the call and stepped up to run. In a statement issued by the Maine Democratic Party, Eryn said she never thought she would run for office, but after reading Rep. Leslie Gibson's comments, she thought that her community deserved better. DLCC Board member and Speaker of the Maine House Sara Gideon commended Eryn's decision to run, saying "She is a concerned member of her community who cares about the future of her neighbors."
In the aftermath of the mass shooting in a Parkland, Florida high school, nearly every state has discussed gun-related legislation. As shown by the Baltimore Sun in this report, state Democrats nationwide have championed safety legislation while Republicans have continued to allow the NRA to dictate their policies. Democrats in California and Delaware are working to raise the age for buying long guns and ammunition from 18 to 21, while Democrats in Colorado rejected Republican bills to allow guns on school grounds and expand the use of deadly force and high-capacity magazines. In Illinois, the state House passed bills to ban bump stocks and raise the minimum age to 21 for buying assault-style weapons, and in Maryland state lawmakers passed measures designed to confiscate guns from people identified as dangerous. On the other side of the gun debate, Kansas lawmakers have advanced a proposal to lower the age for concealed carry, from 21 to 18 years old, and Minnesota Republicans tabled Democratic measures to expand background checks. With guns on the minds of many voters, Americans will be watching their state lawmakers closely as the 2018 midterms fast approach.
On Thursday, a Nevada District Court judge upheld the constitutionality of a state law that could remove hundreds of signatures from petitions in the politically-charged effort to recall two Democratic state senators while ordering a “complete validation” of signatures for both petitions. Democrats believe they have enough signatures to invalidate the recall efforts and end this drawn out and completely unnecessary Republican-fueled saga. In 2016, the DLCC and Nevada Democrats successfully flipped control of both chambers in the state legislature - the only state to do so in the nation. Republicans, desperate to turn back the clock and reclaim control, filed three recall petitions against State Senators Joyce Woodhouse (SD5), Nicole Cannizzaro (SD6), and Patricia Farley (SD8) - all members of the Democratic caucus. The DLCC took quick action to protect our legislators from these baseless recalls, creating a recall committee called Our Votes, Our Voice to run a "decline to sign" campaign to educate and ask voters to not sign a recall petition through mail, field, and digital ads. On Thursday, the DLCC learned that all the work paid off now that the Nevada District Court has ruled in favor of election integrity.
- More State Democrats to Know in 2018 [DLCC Press Release]
- Nevada Court Delivers Blow to Shameful Republican Recall Effort [DLCC Press Release]
"The outcome is yet another example of the Democratic base being fired up and the Republicans not turning out their voters. The momentum on the Democratic side is real."
-- Matt Bales, NC Republican House Caucus Political Director
A leaked memo from North Carolina House Republicans shows this week's major upset in Pennsylvania - and the 39 seats state Democrats have flipped from red to blue since the 2016 election - have Republicans rattled. An email from North Carolina House Republicans' Political Director, Matt Bales, lists 23 incumbent House Republicans in districts that are more competetive than the district Conor Lamb flipped in Pennsylvania - despite gerrymandered maps favoring Republicans. With Democrats running in every single North Carolina legislative race on the ballot this November, the DLCC is ready to bring our winning momentum to the Tar Heel State.
3/16/18: FILING DEADLINE - Iowa, Nevada
3/20/18: FILING DEADLINE - Colorado
3/24/18: ELECTION DAY - Louisiana HD-93 Special Election
3/27/18: ELECTION DAY - Alabama HD-21 Special Election
3/27/18: FILING DEADLINE - Missouri, South Dakota
3/30/18: FILING DEADLINE - South Carolina