For the Week of 12/1/2017
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:
Big news out of New York this week as the eight-member group of rogue Democratic state Senators -- known as the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) -- took its first steps in returning to the mainline Democratic conference. For years IDC members have been conferencing with Republicans, thereby gifting Republicans with a majority in the state’s upper legislative chamber. The DLCC has been extremely vocal about the need for the IDC to break its deal with Republicans. The IDC announced that they would start negotiations to return home after DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post made it clear that until the rogue members returned to the mainline, “all options are on the table for returning this chamber to its rightful Democratic majority.”
The 2016 election hit Kansas Republicans hard: Democrats flipped 13 seats from red to blue as voters punished Governor Brownback and Kansas Republicans for desecrating the state budget and putting the state in crisis mode. Now, in 2017 special elections, Republicans in Kansas’ neighboring state of Oklahoma are feeling similar burns of retributions for inflicting a budget crisis on their constituents. Over the past four months, state Democrats have flipped four seats from red to blue. The most recent win occurred on November 14th when 26-year-old Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman bested her GOP opponent by 31 votes in a deep red Senate district that overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016. After Democrat Jacob Rosecrants’ decisive victory in Oklahoma HD46 last July, DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post remarked: “Our wins tonight send a clear message to Republicans everywhere that no matter how red the district is, you can’t hide from the shadow cast by the Trump administration–the American people will hold you accountable for dangerous and extremist Republican policies at the ballot box.” That statement holds true today as the DLCC and state Democrats continue to win in conservative districts in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Georgia, and other red states across the country.
DLCC Spotlight Race candidate and special election winner Manka Dhingra was just sworn in as state Senator for Washington LD45 – restoring Democrats’ majority in the Washington State Senate -- and already state Democrats are working to pass critical and meaningful legislation. Democrats have a lofty to do list that includes enacting policy to address climate change, immigration, women’s reproductive rights, as well as passing the Washington State Voting Rights Act. DLCC Board member and Washington Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson captured the significance of Senator Dhingra’s recent victory and the importance of a Democratic-led Washington Legislature, stating: “We need to provide every protection that we can because I don’t have faith in the current administration in Washington.” The DLCC is proud to have been the instrumental player in ensuring Senator Dhingra’s victory last November.
November was a tough month to be a Republican, especially in Virginia where state Democrats claimed landslide victories in the House of Delegates, flipping at least 15 seats from red to blue and closing the margin in the chamber. Democrats and Republicans currently stand at 49 seats each, and with recounts pending in at least two districts, control of the chamber is still in play. Recent analysis of turnout in the state is another dose of bad news for Republicans as we head into midterm season: young voters turned out in droves to support the Democratic ticket. According to an analysis of exit polling by a group at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, young voters — who are often among the least-engaged, especially in a nonpresidential election — had a turnout rate of 34 percent, up from 26 percent in the 2013 governor’s race and double the youth turnout in 2009. What’s more, these millennials supported Northam over Gillespie 69% to 30%. As young people remain vigilant in the era of Trump, Republicans should be worried.
“You can’t just say, ‘I hate Trump, vote for me…That doesn’t win you the House of Delegates. If you can’t speak fluently about your local issues, you’re just not going to win, period.” This quote from Virginia Delegate-elect Danica Roem encapsulates the DLCC’s mission perfectly. The DLCC does not have one standard campaign plan for every candidate in every district in every state – we understand that each district is dealing with its own set of local issues that must be respected. Roem’s campaign platform centered around fixing state infrastructure, specifically Route 28 – a highway that’s been prone to heavy traffic for decades. While her opponent, incumbent Del. Robert Marshall (self-acclaimed Virginia’s “chief homophobe”), centered his campaign around attacking Roem on her gender identity and smearing her at every turn, Roem remained committed to local issues and connecting with voters on their needs. While Republicans have been talking about controversial and extremist agenda items championed by Trump, state Democrats have been focused on issues important to the people they hope to work for at the state capitol.
- Duran deserves credit for handling of sexual harassment situation [The Denver Post]
- Episode 104: Jennifer Carroll Foy [Topic]
"The first wall of resistance against Trump is in the states. With the Republican control of Congress, the way that we can really step out against trump is through state action…The major policy confluences of our time are happening in state legislatures day by day and there may be a log jam in Washington, but I’ll tell you, there isn’t a log jam in these state legislatures – they are quickly passing legislation through these sessions across the country and moving very actively."
- DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post
Check out DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post's recent interview on WCNY's Capitol Pressroom. Post chats with Susan Arbetter about New York State Democrats' plan to reunify the Senate Dems, the DLCC's 50-state blueprint to win back legislative chambers, and why Democratic majorities matter in the Trump era.
12/5/17: ELECTION DAY - Runoff elections in CA HD-51 and GA SD-06, SD-39, HD-60, HD-89
12/5/17: ELECTION DAY - Massachusetts SD Worcester & Middlesex Special Election
12/5/17: ELECTION DAY - Pennsylvania HD-133 Special Election
1/16/18: ELECTION DAY - Wisconsin SD-10 Special Election