For the Week of 5/26/2017
Barack Obama began his first term as an Illinois state Senator at just 35 years old. While serving in the state Senate, Obama helped establish an Earned Income Tax Credit for working families, changed the lives of thousands of kids by expanding children's healthcare, and worked to pass critical criminal justice reform in Illinois. DLCC is fighting to elect more progressive leaders like President Obama — local leaders who believe in state progress and the future of their state and country. By starting in the states, Democrats will be able to effectively resist Trump’s GOP while protecting the Obama legacy and rebuilding the Democratic Party.
As Trump’s Republican Party continues to push an extremist right-wing agenda in D.C. and in statehouses nationwide, women across the country are fighting back by running for office. Nowhere is this surge of women candidates more prevalent than in the 2017 Virginia House of Delegates elections. While Virginia Republicans struggle to find candidates willing to run for the state House this fall, Virginia Democrats are touting record-breaking recruitment levels and are fielding candidates in more districts than ever. Additionally, more than half of the party’s candidates running in Republican-held districts are women – another recruitment benchmark. Through efforts like DLCC's Combine, DLCC and allied progressive organizations are working to recruit, train, and elect talented Democrats to state legislatures to protect and advance state progress, build the party’s bench, and help thwart GOP gerrymandering in the next round of redistricting. Recent special election victories by Democratic women activists-turned-candidates in once-reliably-Republican districts demonstrate both the power of the resistance as well as Trump’s impact on legislative elections.
This past Tuesday, two women carried Democrats to victory in New Hampshire and New York special elections. While Democrats have enjoyed electoral overperformance and multiple special election wins since Trump’s inauguration, Tuesday’s special elections mark the first (of many) districts to “go blue” in the Trump era. Outperforming Hillary Clinton’s November numbers by 11 points, Representative-elect Edie DesMarais flipped Carroll 6 for New Hampshire Democrats. In New York, Assemblywoman-elect Christine Pellegrino improved on Hillary’s November numbers in AD-09 by 39 points, flipping a district that went for Trump by more than 20 points. DLCC is committed to supporting state Democrats as they lead the resistance against Trumpian policies pushed by Republicans in statehouses across the country.
Democratic Senator-elect Brian Benjamin’s victory in Tuesday’s New York special election cements Democrats’ majority in the 63-seat chamber. DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post was joined by DLCC Board member New York Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in congratulating Senator-elect Benjamin and calling for the unification of the chamber’s Democratic members. “For New York to be a progressive bulwark against the Trump agenda, the IDC must join with the Democratic Conference and not only give New Yorkers the Democratic majority they elected, but also establish New York as a key state with a Democratic governing trifecta,” said Post. DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison and other national Democrats echoed DLCC’s call for a unified Democratic majority.
On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down congressional districts drawn by North Carolina Republican lawmakers as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. This makes North Carolina the third GOP-controlled state legislature in a row to have its maps declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. This most recent SCOTUS decision has the potential to immediately impact other gerrymandering cases nationwide. In Texas, the federal district court in San Antonio ordered relevant parties to submit a brief about how their redistricting claims might be affected by the North Carolina decision. Through efforts like Advantage 2020, DLCC continues to fight to elect more Democratic lawmakers to rebalance the map-drawing process and protect our electoral system from being rigged by the GOP.
*DLCC's Quote of the Week*
"I am meant to be here. And so are so many other women."
Check out Elle Magazine’s fantastic profile of first-term Washington state Senator Rebecca Saldaña and find out how she went from studying theology, to organizing for farm workers and immigrants, to serving her fellow Washingtonians as a state Senator