Hillary Clinton Endorses Michigan Congressional Candidate

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed and recorded a robocall on behalf of Haley Stevens, who is running for the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 11th congressional district.  Stevens, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama’s Auto Task Force in the Treasury Department and a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, is one of six Democrats vying for the party’s nomination in tomorrow’s primary. The winner will face off against the Republican nominee in November to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Dave Trott.

The transcript of the robocall:

            “Hello, this is Hillary Clinton and I’m calling to encourage you to cast your vote on Tuesday for a fresh, new Michigan leader, Haley Stevens. Haley served as the chief of staff to the Auto Rescue, she helped save 200,000 Michigan jobs, and she knows how to support Michigan’s advanced manufacturing economy, especially through training opportunities. I’ve seen Haley in action. We can count on her to protect the gains we’ve made with Obamacare. So please, vote for Haley Stevens, on Tuesday. Thank you, very much.”

This is Clinton’s first primary endorsement of a candidate in the runup to the midterms, who has generally kept a low profile since the 2016 election. Larry Sabato and the Cook Political Report both rank the race as a toss-up.

Obama, Clinton Enter Election Season with Endorsements and Donations

Former President Barack Obama released a list of 81 congressional, state and legislative candidates in what his office calls a “first wave” of endorsements in the runup to the November elections.  Here is the full list:

California
Gavin Newsom (Governor)
Eleni Kounalakis (Lt. Governor)
Josh Harder (U.S. House, CA-10)
TJ Cox (U.S. House, CA-21)
Katie Hill (U.S. House, CA-25)
Katie Porter (U.S. House, CA-45)
Harley Rouda (U.S. House, CA-48)
Mike Levin (U.S. House, CA-49)
Ammar Campa-Najjar (U.S. House, CA-50)
Buffy Wicks (State Assembly, District 15)

Colorado
Jared Polis (Governor)
Dianne Primavera (Lt. Governor)
Phil Weiser (Attorney General)
Jena Griswold (Secretary of State)
Tammy Story (State Senate, District 16)
Jessie Danielson (State Senate, District 20)
Brittany Pettersen (State Senate, District 22)
Faith Winter (State Senate, District 24)
Dylan Roberts (State House, District 26)
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (State House, District 30)
Shannon Bird (State House, District 35)
Rochelle Galindo (State House, District 50)
Julie McCluskie (State House, District 61)

Georgia
Stacey Abrams (Governor)
Sarah Riggs Amico (Lt. Governor)
Matthew Wilson (State House, District 80)
Shelly Hutchinson (State House, District 107)

Illinois
J.B. Pritzker (Governor)
Juliana Stratton (Lt. Governor)
Kwame Raoul (Attorney General)
Sean Casten (U.S. House, IL-6)
Brendan Kelly (U.S. House, IL-12)
Lauren Underwood (U.S. House, IL-14)

Iowa
Deidre DeJear (Secretary of State)
Tim Gannon (Secretary of Agriculture)
Kristin Sunde (State House, District 42)
Jennifer Konfrst (State House, District 43)
Eric Gjerde (State House, District 67)
Laura Liegois (State House, District 91)

Maine
Louis Luchini (State Senate, District 7)
Laura Fortman (State Senate, District 13)
Linda Sanborn (State Senate, District 30)

Nevada
Jacky Rosen (U.S. Senate)
Susie Lee (U.S. House, NV-3)
Steven Horsford (U.S. House, NV-4)

New Jersey
Andy Kim (U.S. House, NJ-3)
Tom Malinowski (U.S. House, NJ-7)

New Mexico
Debra Haaland (U.S. House, NM-1)
Daymon Ely (State House, District 23)
Natalie Figueroa (State House, District 30)

New York
Antonio Delgado (U.S. House, NY-19)
Anna Kaplan (State Senate, District 7)

North Carolina
Wiley Nickel (State Senate, District 16)
Ron Wesson (State House, District 1)
Terence Everitt (State House, District 35)
Julie Von Haefen (State House, District 36)
Sydney Batch (State House, District 37)
Rachel Hunt (State House, District 103)

Ohio
Richard Cordray (Governor)
Betty Sutton (Lt. Governor)
Steve Dettelbach (Attorney General)
Kathleen Clyde (Secretary of State)
Zack Space (Auditor)
Aftab Pureval (U.S. House, OH-1)
Jill Schiller (U.S. House, OH-2)
Phil Robinson (State House, District 6)
Stephanie Howse (State House, District 11)
Mary Lightbody (State House, District 19)
Beth Liston (State House, District 21)
Allison Russo (State House, District 24)
Erica Crawley (State House, District 26)
Tavia Galonski (State House, District 35)
Casey Weinstein (State House, District 37)
Taylor Sappington (State House, District 94)

Pennsylvania
Madeleine Dean (U.S. House, PA-4)
Susan Wild (U.S. House, PA-7)
Tina Davis (State Senate, District 6)
Liz Hanbidge (State House, District 61)
Carolyn Comitta (State House, District 156)

Texas
Adrienne Bell (U.S. House, TX-14)
Colin Allred (U.S. House, TX-32)

How the endorsements break down by numbers:

OFFICE

Governor – 5

Lieutenant Governor – 5

Attorney General – 3

Secretary of State – 3

Secretary of Agriculture – 1

Auditor – 1

U.S. Senate – 1

U.S. House of Representatives – 22

State Legislatures – 40

Half of the endorsements are for state legislative candidates.  The significance of this is presumably twofold: to rebuild the Democratic bench that was decimated during his presidency, and to set the stage for the next census and redistricting after 2020. Curiously, he only endorsed three candidates for Secretary of State, who are the top elections official in each state and will be responsible for overseeing the 2020 primaries and presidential election.  President Obama also endorsed 22 candidates for the House of Representatives, three short of the number House Democrats need to win to flip control of the chamber.

STATE

California – 10

Colorado – 13

Georgia – 4

Illinois – 6

Iowa – 6

Maine – 3

Nevada – 3

New Jersey – 2

New Mexico – 3

New York – 2

North Carolina – 6

Ohio – 16

Pennsylvania – 5

Texas – 2

Almost half of his endorsements come from three states – California, Colorado and the perennially important swing state of Ohio. Also worth noting only one endorsement for U.S. Senate – Jacky Rosen. Claire McCaskill was an enthusiastic and early backer of his in the 2008 primary, but given that Missouri has become a more conservative state during the past decade, it is likely that being endorsed by Obama would be used against her by Missouri Republicans.

Onward Together, the political organization started by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made 26 donations to Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State, as well as congressional PACs, according to a review of the organization’s most recent campaign finance filing.  The donations, each worth $5,000 – the maximum amount permissible by federal law, totaled $130,000.

Here is the list:

  • Nelson Araujo (Nevada Secretary of State)
  • Jocelyn Benson (Michigan Secretary of State)
  • Sean Casten (IL-06)
  • Kathleen Clyde (Ohio Secretary of State)
  • TJ Cox (CA-21)
  • Jason Crow (CO-06)
  • Deidre DeJear (Iowa Secretary of State)
  • Deb Haaland (NM-01)
  • Josh Harder (CA-10)
  • Katie Hill (CA-25)
  • Steven Horsford (NV-04)
  • Mike Levin (CA-49)
  • Lucy McBath (GA-06)
  • Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23)
  • Katie Porter (CA-45)
  • Aftab Pureval (OH-01)
  • Harley Rouda (CA-48)
  • Talley Sargent (WV-02)
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05)
  • Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
  • Scott Wallace (PA-01)
  • Susan Wild (PA-07)
  • Jennifer Wexton (VA-10)
  • ASPIRE (Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus)
  • Bold PAC (Congressional Hispanic Caucus)
  • Congressional Black Caucus PAC

How the donations break down by numbers:

House of Representatives – 19

Secretary of State – 4

Congressional PACs – 3

The story was first reported by CNN.

 

Hillary Clinton Urges Democrats to “Keep Fighting, and Keep the Faith”

ATLANTA – Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Democrats to embrace the party’s progressive platform from the 2016 election and the protests and activism that have broken out across the country since January, according to a videotaped message played for Democratic National Committee members gathered in Atlanta for the party’s winter meeting. “Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country,” she said, echoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s now-infamous explanation for his decision to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the Senate floor earlier this month. This was her first political address since her election loss last November. Here is the complete transcript of the message:

Hello Democrats,

Thank you all for coming together to represent our party at its best: united, energized, and ready to wage and win the battles ahead. Now as Democrats, we have diverse views and backgrounds. We are Democrats, after all. But we’re bound together by the values and hopes we share for our country. I am grateful for all your hard work and support during the election. Being your candidate was the honor of a lifetime, and I was inspired to see women and men from all walks of life and every corner of our country coming together on behalf of our shared values. While we didn’t get the outcome we worked so hard for, I will always be proud of the campaign we ran: a campaign that was better and stronger thanks to each of you.

After the primaries, we came together as a party to write the most progressive platform in history. Ideas we championed are now inspiring leaders and activists across our country. Nearly 66 million votes are fueling grassroots energy and activism. Nearly everywhere, people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out, and working for an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted. From the Women’s March to airports where communities are welcoming immigrants, refugees and people of every faith, to town hall meetings where people are speaking up for health care, the environment, good jobs and all the other issues that deserve our passionate support. Among those millions making their voices heard are future mayors, city and state officials, governors, members of Congress, even future presidents.

The challenges we face as a party and a country are real. So now, more than ever, we need to stay engaged in the field and online, reaching out to new voters, young people and everyone who wants a better, stronger, fairer America. We as Democrats must move forward with courage, confidence and optimism, and stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next. Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country. Thank you to the leaders who have already done so much, beginning with Barack and Michelle Obama. Thanks as well to Donna and the DNC leadership, and to the outstanding bench of Democrats stepping up to lead us forward. As long as we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for our country, our best days are still ahead of us. So keep fighting, and keep the faith, and I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

God bless you, and God bless America.

No Sign of Buyers’ Remorse Among Trump Voters in Post-Election Poll

Pew Research Center published the results of a post-election/end of the year poll earlier this week. This particular statistic surprised me:

The headline: More Clinton voters regret their vote than Trump voters, though not as many as Johnson voters.  I’m sure those numbers would be different if Clinton had won and Trump had lost. Beyond this, another statistic:

https://i2.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20132719/4_51.png

https://i1.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20132825/4_61.png

The entire findings of the poll are well worth reading. These nonvoter figures are fascinating and disturbing for both parties as they regroup in the wake of the election and try to figure out how they can get these nonvoters to turn out for their candidates in future elections.

Also, these figures on how partisans from both left and right view the two major parties:

https://i1.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/21091840/1_1c.png

https://i2.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20131839/1_21.png

https://i1.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20131945/1_41.png

https://i2.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20132156/1_51.png

https://i0.wp.com/assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/20132050/1_61.png

All images/graphs from Pew Research Center.

Inside the Clinton White House

For Democrats nostalgic for the 1990s a month after Hillary Clinton’s election loss, Russell L. Riley’s Inside the Clinton White House: An Oral History was just released.  Check out the writeup from the Los Angeles Review of Books.

A Look Ahead at the Possible 2020 Democrats

Because it’s never too early to start speculating for the next presidential election, the Washington Post handicapped the Democrats’ possible field of presidential candidates for 2020.  One key observation:

Although this most stunning upset in modern presidential history has produced (and will produce) a thousand aftershocks, one of the most unlikely and important is that the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 is now open.

That opening is made all the more remarkable by the fact that there is simply no logical heir (or even heirs) to President Obama or Clinton — no obvious candidate waiting in the wings to step forward and rebuild the party. Vice President Biden appears to have decided that he is done running for office. As a two-time loser, Clinton is done, too. And after that, the bench is, well, pretty thin.

The outcome of the last election did two things: it postponed the Republican reconstruction most people thought would happen after a Donald Trump loss; and it accelerated the need and timetable for a Democratic reconstruction, which many thought wouldn’t happen until after a Hillary Clinton presidency. To elaborate on the latter point, most Democrats and political observers would probably have assumed that the party would have another four years (or eight) during a Clinton presidency to develop its bench in state and federal government. Needless to say, that plan changed and they’re scrambling to start the rebuilding process, particularly at the state level where the party has suffered many losses during the Obama years.

The good news for Democrats is they have a favorable map and calendar for statewide races for the next two years, not so much for congressional races, particularly the Senate. [Keep in mind, a lot can change in two years. This is the outlook as it stands right now.]  This gives them an opportunity to recruit candidates and test new messages and strategies and build up their bench in the run-up for the 2020 presidential election and redistricting. The bad news is they have a lot of catching up to do.

Kirsten Gillibrand Reaching Out to Clinton Donors

The New York Post is reporting that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Hillary Clinton’s successor in the Senate) has been reaching out to Clinton’s donors with an implicit eye toward the 2020 presidential election.

The story also points out, “However, while Gillibrand has close ties to Clinton’s political network, the move hasn’t gone down well with some Clinton supporters. ‘Many of us are still grieving. It’s like going after the widow at a funeral.'”

In addition this could also potentially set up a battle between two New Yorkers in the 2020 Democratic primaries (the other being Governor Andrew Cuomo) to take on New Yorker Donald Trump in the general election.

The Race for DNC Chairman Begins

(This blog was originally published on my Medium account on November 12.)

At the Dawn of the Post-Obama Post-Clinton Era, Democrats Look for New Leaders

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shocking losses, Democrats were left reeling to figure out what to do next: what they stand for, where their party goes, and who will emerge as the next generation of leaders. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid’s time as leaders of their party is almost over, and they will likely be respected elder party statesmen (and woman) in the same way many of their predecessors are regarded. Democrats have four years to figure out who they are and how to present a viable alternative to President Donald Trump in 2020, a crucial election not just because it’s a presidential year but because it’s also a census year. The outcomes of the 2020 races will determine congressional redistricting as well as the number of votes states get in the Electoral College for the following decade. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will lead the Democratic minorities in Congress, which will have to deal with united Republican executive and legislative branches which are expected to begin the next term by dismantling President Obama’s accomplishments and legacy.

The first step in the post-Obama/post-Clinton Democratic Party is the election of a new Democratic National Committee chair, to replace interim chair Donna Brazile who had to guide the party through the final months of the 2016 election after Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation following the initial WikiLeaks email dump. The thinking among some journalists and political observers is this could be a rehashed and potentially messy proxy war of the Clinton-Sanders Democratic primaries. The original plan was for President-elect Hillary Clinton’s choice to be DNC chair to be elected after her inauguration in January. Now, sources tell Politico that the election will take place sometime in February or March. Here are the names, listed by alphabetical order, that have been declared or rumored for the position in the past few months and the last few days after Clinton’s loss:

Xavier Becerra: Member of Congress representing California’s 34th District, which includes downtown and northeast Los Angeles. He is the outgoing Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the #4 ranking Democrat in the leadership and the highest-ranking Latino in the party. He was considered as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton.

Raymond Buckley: Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and DNC Vice Chair. New Hampshire was one of the few bright spots for Democrats in an otherwise dismal 2016 election with Maggie Hassan’s Senate race victory and Carol Shea-Porter’s House race victory. There was already buzz about him being potentially the next DNC chair going back to the Democratic National Convention last summer. During a more recent interview with NH1 News Political Director Paul Steinhauser, Buckley said he had been receiving calls encouraging him to run for the position. He would be the first openly gay political party leader in history. (Former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman came out after he left the job.) As DNC vice chair and chairman of the New Hampshire Democrats, Buckley was neutral during the 2015–2016 primaries, but has had historical ties to the Clintons, but also said he had a “great relationship” with Bernie Sanders, noting he hired two Sanders New Hampshire operatives to join his staff.

Howard Dean: Former governor of Vermont and DNC chairman from 2005–2009. He oversaw the rebuilding of the Democratic Party after the 2004 election with the 50-State Strategy, meant to rebuild state party infrastructure and outreach efforts, particularly in traditionally red states where Democrats might not have spent money or time in in the past. During his tenure, the Democrats took over both chambers of Congress in 2006 and won a historic presidential election with Obama in 2008. He was also a pretty fierce partisan brawler in opposing George W. Bush and Republicans in general as a 2004 presidential candidate and as DNC chairman, which is something Democrats would probably appreciate from him in potentially taking on Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, or Mitch McConnell. Two days after the 2016 election, Dean tweeted, “The [Democrats] need organization and focus on the young. Need a fifty State strategy and tech rehab. I am in for chairman again.” Dean was a Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2015–2016 primaries.

Keith Ellison: Member of Congress representing Minnesota’s Fifth District, which includes Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. He currently serves on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which decides committee assignments and sets the House Democratic caucus agenda, and serves as chief deputy whip to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, the #2 Democrat in the House. He is also the co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He was the first African American to represent Minnesota in Congress, and the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Looked at purely on the basis of optics, having an African American Muslim from the Upper Midwest — the region of the country that secured Trump’s victory — as a leading national voice of opposition to Donald Trump could be a powerful message and messenger. This video clip of Ellison on ABC’s This Week from July 2015 warning of the possibility of a President Trump has gone viral in the past few days. Ellison was a Bernie Sanders supporter during the 2015–2016 primaries. He has received backing in recent days for the DNC chairmanship from Sanders, Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren.

Jennifer Granholm: Former governor of Michigan. She was a top Hillary Clinton surrogate and co-chair of the Clinton transition team, and seen as a possible front-runner for the position if Clinton won the election. She told Politico in the days after the election that she was “not interested” in the job, and that Keith Ellison would be “great,” while also mentioning Becerra and Housing Secretary Julián Castro as possible candidates.

Jaime Harrison: Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. A former aide to #3 House Democrat James Clyburn, he broke a barrier by becoming the first African American elected to the post in 2013. He is also a principal at the Podesta Group, the lobbying firm founded by Tony and John Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman — which raised questions about his impartiality before the South Carolina primary earlier this year about whether or not the Democratic Party establishment was treating Bernie Sanders fairly. (Hacked DNC emails published by WikiLeaks during the Democratic National Convention last summer showed that some elements within the party weren’t impartial during the primary, resulting in the resignations of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and several staffers.) In response to the speculation about the race for DNC chairman, Harrison recently tweeted, “I’m blown away by the tons of calls, emails, and texts urging me to run for DNC Chair… praying about it. I’ll decide soon!”

Steve Israel: The outgoing member of Congress who represented New York’s 3rd District which covers parts of Queens and Long Island, and former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He told Politico at the beginning of this year that he would be retiring from office to “pursue new passions and develop new interests, mainly spend more time writing my second novel.” Newsday reported his name was being floated for the DNC chairman position at the convention last summer in the aftermath of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation.

Jason Kander: Missouri Secretary of State. Kander recently ran and lost the race for Missouri Senate by 3 points, outperforming Hillary Clinton in a red state Donald Trump won by 19 points. A former military intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan and only 35 years old, he is considered one of the promising stars in the party after having run an unexpectedly close race in a Republican state. He declined to run for reelection as Secretary of State to focus on the Senate race, which means he leaves office next year.

Minyon Moore: Former DNC CEO who previously served as a political adviser in the Clinton White House. One potential problem is the fact that she was caught up in an investigation into a possible undisclosed financing of a pro-Hillary Clinton get out the vote effort in at least four states during the 2008 primaries. She has also operated mostly out of the public eye throughout her career, which is a sharp contrast from the very public nature of the DNC chairman position.

Martin O’Malley: Former mayor of Baltimore, former governor of Maryland (who was also a partial basis for the character of Tommy Carcetti on HBO’s The Wire) and 2016 presidential candidate who dropped out of the race early on. He tweeted, “Since the election, I have been approached by many Democrats who believe our party needs new leadership. I’m taking a hard look at DNC Chair because I know how badly we need to reform our nominating process, articulate a bold progressive vision, recommit ourselves to higher wages and a stronger middle class, and return to our roots as a nationwide, grassroots party.”

R.T. Rybak: Former mayor of Minneapolis, DNC vice chair, and the first mayor of a major U.S. city to endorse Barack Obama for president in 2007. He is currently the president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation and on the board of Generation Next.

Stephanie Schriock: President of Emily’s List, an organization that encourages pro-choice Democratic women to run for office. She previously served as Howard Dean’s finance director during his 2004 campaign, as well as campaign manager for Jon Tester’s 2006 Senate race in Montana and Al Franken’s 2008 Senate race in Minnesota.