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NORTHEAST: Political Note #385 Chris Pappas NH 01, Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07

MIDWEST: Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08,  Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02  

SOUTHWEST: Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonzalez TX 15

WEST: Political Note #383 Harley Rouda CA 48, Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04. 

SPECIAL ELECTION: Political Note #382 Melanie Stansbury NM 01 June 1, 2021

May 13, 2021           Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04

2022                         General Election

Peter DeFazio is a vulnerable Democrat?  That doesn’t seem possible.  He’s a fixture. He’s the Co-chair of the House Beer Caucus.  He was first elected to Congress with 54% of the vote in 1986.  In 1990, he won with 86% of the vote.  As recently as 2008, he won 82% of the vote (The Republicans didn’t field a candidate).  Who knows what redistricting will bring him, but until 2020, he was winning with double digits – 55-40, 56-41 in 2016 and 2018 respectively.  In 2020, he only got 51.5% of the vote.  Republican Alex Skarlatos got 46.2% of the vote.  Daniel Hoffay of the Greens, got 2.2%.

Could Peter DeFazio be in danger in 2022?  Republicans think that 2022 will be automatic.  The party out of power (almost) always gains seats in the House of Representatives.  Democratic weakness in the House races in 2020 and in the TX 06 special election, they say, is a sign that Republicans are coming back.  Republicans are ahead of their fundraising schedule from 2020.

Do not accept the Republican narrative, but take the possibility that Peter DeFazio could be vulnerable seriously.  Give some thought to his career.  Originally, he was an East Coast guy.  He’s from Needham, MA and graduated from Tufts in 1969.  Eight years later, he was graduating with a Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon.  For the next five years, he served as an aide to Oregon Congressman Jim Weaver.  Then he sought elective office for himself.  After four years as a County Commissioner, he won the Democratic primary to replace the retiring Congressman Weaver with 34% of the vote.  Second place got 33%; third place got 31%.

Here’s a clue to why Peter DeFazio could find himself in trouble.  His district is just not that Democratic.  GW Bush carried the district in 2000.  Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016 – by .1%.  Still, you’ve got to think that if Peter DeFazio is in trouble for 2022, the Republicans are going to win the House overwhelmingly, right?

Consider what made Peter DeFazio vulnerable in 2020.  A moderately strong run by the Pacific Green candidate.  2.2% of the vote is not nothing.  And remember just how progressive Peter DeFazio is.  He founded the Progressive Caucus in Congress in 1992.  Co-Founders included Bernie Sanders, Ron Dellums, Maxine Waters, and Thomas Andrews of Maine (who became National Director of Win Without War). In Congress, he opposed a variety of military expenditures bills, he urged Secretary of State Kerry to prioritize Palestinian children in the West Bank, he proposed a small tax on stock transactions, and has opposed reducing the gasoline tax.

His 2020 opponent, Alek Skarlatos, was young – 28 to Peter DeFazio’s 71.  Skarlatos fought in Afghanistan.  He was a hero.  He, a group of friends, and some Frenchmen, all at risk of their lives, stopped a terrorist on a French train from shooting it up.  Skarlatos insisted he was no hero – they were “just doing what [they] had to to survive.”  He has been celebrated for what he had done.  President Obama called and thanked him and he was awarded The Soldier’s Medal.  The French President named him and others involved in stopping the terrorist Knights of the Legion of Honor and made him and the other Americans honorary French citizens.

Skarlatos had become a celebrity.  He appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, on Dancing with the Stars, and in a movie based on their heroism on the French train produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.  The movie was panned. If Alek Skarlatos was going to capitalize on his celebrity, it was not going to be as an actor.

While losing the election in 2020, Skarlatos raised more money than Peter DeFazio; not a lot more, but more. Both raised more than $5 million.  After the election, Skarlatos continued a descent into right wing politics. In January, 2021, he joined the Freedom Foundation think tank in Oregon.  Here’s how the Freedom Foundation describes Skarlatos’s contributions to their efforts: “This week, Alek took to video to announce that we’ve helped free over 85,000 people from union bondage.” What will the Freedom Foundation next describe as slavery?

Help Peter DeFazio.  We don’t want to lose another seat in the House of Representatives.  We certainly don’t want to lose that seat to a radical right winger who thinks that belonging to a union is a form of slavery.  Contribute to make certain that Peter DeFazio will be in our next Congress and will be part of the majority in Congress.  He’ll need to raise more than $5 million this time.

Flip Republican Seats

California 48             Harley Rouda

Members of Congress who won with less than 51% of the vote

Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

A Special Election Coming Up

On June 1, New Mexico will hold an election to replace Deb Haaland in the First Congressional District.  Melanie Stansbury is the Democratic candidate.  Melanie Stansbury moved from a sociology doctorate program at Cornell to advocating for expanding access to medical care and ending access to assault weapons.  A New Mexico State Rep, she worked hard to obtain the Democratic nomination.  New Mexico requires the Party state committees to nominate for special elections.  Melanie Stansbury came from behind to win on the second day of the State Committee’s meeting.  Do some work for her or give some money to her to ensure her election.  The special election is on June 1.

A Special Interest of Mine

New York City has its own small-town politics.   Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

If you live in Part A of State Assembly District 76 in New York, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 22 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in Part A of Assembly District 76, please encourage them to vote for her.

Our club and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four District Leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.

You can learn more about Rebecca Weintraub at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccaWeintraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.