Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  Lens’ Letter #32 What the Dems should do about the Supreme Court, Len’s Letter #33 What the Democrats should do about the Federal Courts.

Incumbent Senators who need support:  Political Note #387 Mark Kelly Arizona US Senate, Political Note #379 Raphael Warnock Georgia US Senate, Political Note #365 Catherine Cortez Masto US Senate Nevada, Political Note #359 Maggie Hassan US Senate New Hampshire,

 Democratic Challengers: Political Note #400 Val Demings Florida US Senate, Political Note #420 Thomas McDermott, Jr. Indiana US Senate, Political Note #408 Charles Booker Kentucky US Senate

Independent challenger:  Political Note #427 Evan McMullin Utah US Senate

November 21st  2021         Len’s Letter #45

2021 for 2022                     Senate Candidates to donate to now

Donate early. Make a difference for winning elections in November 2022.  Expand the Senate majority.   Who should you donate to?   Early money generates more money.  It generates excitement, new donors, and can carry candidates to victory.  Who should you donate to now?  Candidates for whom the money could make a difference.

The 2022 election cycle will not be easy for Democrats.  The chaotic pullout from Afghanistan, the ragged process toward achieving Joe Biden’s legislative goals, and Americans’ unfulfilled longing for a return to normality have hurt his and Democrats’ standing.  We can’t get that regard back easily.  We can be optimistic and determined.  The infrastructure bill’s passage may be a turning point for a swing back to Democratic candidates.  Write postcards and donate money.  Who should you donate to?  Begin with defense.  Follow up with candidates who can flip Republican Senate seats.

Here are my recommendations:

Catherine Cortez Masto Incumbent US Senator Nevada

Raphael Warnock Incumbent US Senator Georgia

Mark Kelly Incumbent US Senator Arizona

Maggie Hassan Incumbent US Senator New Hampshire

John Fetterman Lt. Governor Pennsylvania

Val Demings Member of Congress Florida

Tim Ryan Member of Congress Ohio

Abby Finkenauer Former Member of Congress Iowa

Charles Booker Attorney Kentucky

Evan McMullin. Retired CIA officer, Independent candidate for Senate Utah

A good defense makes a good offense possible.

Four incumbent Democratic Senators are vulnerable. To expand the majority, we need to defend them first.


Catherine Cortez Masto is the senior Senator from Nevada. She is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and the daughter of Manny Cortez, a political force in Las Vegas and Clark County. For 13 years, he was head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.  She married Paul Masto, a member of the secret service who she met when Bill Clinton visited Nevada.  She grew up in Las Vegas, leaving only for law school and a stint as an assistant US Attorney in Washington.  Before she was elected to replace Harry Reid as US Senator, she was elected Attorney General, twice by double digits.  She was a workmanlike AG, first outlining the problems she would deal with (scamming the elderly, sex trafficking, the meth epidemic), and domestic violence) and then creating task forces to address the issue.  Catherine Cortez Masto has been a similarly workmanlike Senator.  Her interests have included women’s health, cities (think Las Vegas), and energy (think Las Vegas in the desert). She has participated in what appears to be a transformation of Nevada into a Democratic state.  Beginning with her victory in 2016, Democrats won Nevada’s other Senate seat in 2018 and elected a Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. In 2020, Joe Biden carried the state.

But complacency kills campaigns.  None of those Democratic victories was by more than 5 points. The Attorney General was        elected by less than a point and Catherine Cortez Masto was elected by a little more than 2 points. She will have to defeat Adam Laxalt,  a son of the Republican right wing — literally. His grandfather was the Republican Senator Paul Laxalt from Nevada, his father, Pete Domenici, was the Republican Senator from New Mexico.  Raised and schooled in Washington, Laxalt’s first job was with John Bolton. Elected Nevada’s Attorney General in 2014, he spent his term in office suing to end abortions. He served a term and ran for governor, losing 49-45, one of those close Democratic wins.  Laxalt entered the Senate race recently and has $1.4 million in the bank. He will raise more than enough money to be competitive.   Catherine Cortez Masto https://www.cortezmasto.senate.govhas armed herself for the 2022 campaign.  As of September 30, she had $14.8 million for her campaign.  Help her fend off a dangerously right win Republican in a state where the elections have been consistently close.


Raphael Warnock was elected to the US Senate in Georgia in January, 2021. His runoff victory and Jon Ossoff’s gained the precarious Democratic majority in the US Senate which we are attempting to expand.  The Reverend Doctor Raphael Warnock is how he was introduced to us.  The eleventh of twelve children of a couple living in public housing in Savannah.  Both of them were Pentecostal ministers.  His father, who had been in US Army during WW II where he learned to repair vehicles, sustained the family with a business restoring abandoned cars and selling them.  Raphael Warnock’s spiritual father was Martin Luther King Jr. From King, Jr, he learned the powerful connection between religion and politics among African Americans.  His wife, from whom he is separated, works for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies finding and supporting emerging leaders.  A more than diligent student and as a student an emerging leader, Raphael Warnock got his BA at Morehouse, his MA and PhD at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  After serving at churches around the country, he became the youngest senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the church that was once the home of Martin Luther King, Sr. and his son.

Well-connected in Democratic politics, Raphael Warnock gave the benediction at Barack Obama’s second inauguration, held interfaith services with Al Gore on climate change, and was a leader in an effort to get Georgia to adopt Medicaid expansion.  Only a few months ago, he defeated the appointee Kelly Loeffler in a special election to the US Senate.  In the multipartisan primary Raphael Warnock led Kelly Loeffler 33-26.  He won the run off 51-49.  With $44 million in hand for the 2022 election, he is outraising everyone.  How much will be enough to cope with Republican voter suppression, a Republican legislative authorized take-over of the Atlanta voting process, and various other steps taken to discourage minority voters?  Republican leaders, at former President Trump’s direction, have agreed that Raphael Warnock’s opponent should be another African American — former University of Georgia three time All American and Heisman Award winning football player Herschel Walker.   Raphael Warnock  is prepared for that contest, but he needs your financial support, too. Donate!

Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, was elected as Arizona’s junior Senator in 2020 in a special election for what had been John McCain’s seat. He grew up in New Jersey, one of a pair of twins of mom and dad police officers, went to the US Merchant Marine Academy, and later earned a Master’s Degree from the US Navy Graduate School.  He flew for the navy, serving two deployments to the Persian Gulf on a carrier during Operation Desert Storm and later served as a test pilot.  In 1996, he and his twin brother Scott were selected to be space pilots. Both continued as astronauts.  Mark Kelly’s fifteen-year marriage ended in divorce. He later married Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.  Four years after the marriage, she was shot and disabled in an assassination attempt.  She retired from Congress; he retired from the navy. Together they ran an organization supporting gun safety and research.

In 2019, Mark Kelly announced a run for the special election to unseat Martha McSally, who had been appointed to replace John McCain after his death.  He ran as a moderate Democrat.  In addition to his positions on gun safety, he supported a $15 an hour minimum wage.  He has supported the infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation bill with new social supports.  He must run again in 2022 because he had been elected to complete what had been John McCain’s term of office.  Arizona has grown more Democratic, but Mark Kelly’s reelection is far from automatic.  Five Republicans are competing to run against him – two corporate types, two former military, and Arizona’s current Attorney General.   All of them believe he is vulnerable.  He has prepared himself for this contest.  So far, he has raised $19 million.  He’ll need more, probably a lot more.  He’ll need every bit of help you can provide.


Maggie Hassan is the junior Senator from New Hampshire. She grew up in a Boston suburb and went to Brown where she met her husband.  Her father, Robert Coldwell Wood, a Midwesterner, taught political science at MIT and served as an undersecretary in the Johnson administration. Her husband, an Irish American with a Middle Eastern sounding last name, held several positions, including Head of School for six years at the well known Exeter Prep School in New Hampshire.  Before moving to New Hampshire, she got a law degree from Northeastern University and practiced law in Boston.   She ran for the New Hampshire State Senate to make sure that disabled children, like one of her own with multiple sclerosis, would be educated with typical children. She had great success in the State Senate, eventually becoming the majority leader in which role she led passage of a difficult and ground-breaking budget. Her success with the budget propelled her to a successful run for governor. After two terms as governor, she ran for the US Senate against Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte.  Maggie Hassan won that campaign – by .15%, by 1,017 votes.  She has been a moderate Democratic Senator – more active than most in support of gun safety issues, more cautious than most about raising the minimum wage to $15, and as strong as most Democrats in her condemnation of the January 6 insurrection.

Maggie Hassan has already raised $9 million for her campaign.  Her only current opponent is Retired Brigadier General Donald Bolduc who has only $130,000.  Bolduc is neither her worry nor ours.  New Hampshire Governor, Chris Sununu, an MIT graduate, the son of a former governor and White House Chief of Staff, and the brother of a former Congressman and US Senator considered a run for the Senate and decided against.  He would have been a formidable opponent, having been reelected in 2020 with 65% of the vote while Joe Biden was carrying the state.  Complacency kills campaigns.  Maggie Hassan will need every dollar she can raise to discourage other potentially strong Republican candidates and to defeat whoever emerges to oppose her.

Five Democratic challengers have primaries, but are sufficiently dominant to encourage us to proceed as if we know they will be the nominee.


John Fetterman is Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor. He is heavily tattooed, 6’9”, wears a biker-type beard, and used to weigh over 400 pounds. Mostly, he’s for the underdog and a progressive, though he does favor fracking.  He is the child of two teenagers in a story that went right.  His dad worked his way through college, sold insurance, and created an insurance business.  John Fetterman planned to enter the business until a college friend died in an automobile accident coming to pick him up.  He stayed in college and played football, but changed his goal.  He would create a better world.  He joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters and followed one kid through to the kid’s college graduation, went to work for AmeriCorps after college and again after getting a Harvard/Kennedy School MPP.  East of Pittsburgh, in Braddock,  PA  – a low income, two-thirds African American community, he worked with teenagers for AmeriCorps, ran for mayor, and ran the city imaginatively leading to a kind of community renaissance.  One incident has been fodder for Republicans. With a gun, he chased down what turned out to be an unarmed Black kid after hearing what sounded like gun shots. He still insists the kid was dangerous and reminds us that he is in prison today.  He made a creditable showing in the 2016 primary for the US Senate, was elected Lt. Governor in 2018, and is now running for the open Republican US Senate seat.  He has five Democratic primary opponents – Congressman Conor Lamb who is a former JAG prosecuting attorney, and three others.

The odds are with John Fetterman.  There are no primary polls to tell us, but general election polls do show John Fetterman leading or tied with Republican opponents. He has run state-wide once before and was elected.  Look at the finances. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, Conor Lamb reported $2.6 million in donations.   He led three candidates who reported less.  John Fetterman reported $9.2 million.  Republicans have six candidates.  The most successful has raised one third of what John Fetterman has raised.   John Fetterman will have money for his campaign.  What he’s got now is not enough.  Donate early if you want to help him dominate the general election as well as the primary.  You can donate at The primary is not until May 17, 2022.  We should not wait.


Three term Member of Congress Val Demings represents the Orlando area. She will be Florida’s Democratic nominee to defeat Marco Rubio who is looking for his third term as a US Senator.  She grew up in Jacksonville.  Her father was a janitor, her mother a. housecleaner.  She went to a desegregated school in sixth grade and was a success.  Uncertain about whether she had enough money for college, she almost didn’t go. Her parents pushed.  She went to Florida State University, got a degree in criminology and, after a year or two, a job in the Orlando Police Department.  She met her husband in the department.  He became chief of police, then sheriff.  She became chief of police, then a Member of Congress. In campaigns, she’ll say “Work hard and play by the rules.”  Pressed in an interview, she adds: “There will always be people who try to put obstacles in your way and remind you that you’re different.  And you’ve got to push back.”

 She has been successful in Congress, as she has been everywhere.  Joe Biden gave her serious consideration as a Vice Presidential candidate.  In Congress, she has been an advocate for gun safety, an advocate for strengthening the Affordable Care Act, and an advocate for women’s health.  She served as one of the impeachment managers in Trump’s first trial and voted for conviction in both.  She supported expelling from Congress Members who rejected certifying Electoral College votes.  Marco Rubio, under the guise of supporting teachers and firemen, has proposed severing Republican ties with large corporations whose policies are too progressive and replacing their boards of directors.  Val Demings has raised nearly 20 times her nearest primary competitor, a convincing enough financial lead to make us all confident she will be the Democratic nominee.  With $13.5 million raised, she is just about $2 million ahead of Marco Rubio.  Help her stay ahead of Rubio financially.  If she can stay ahead of him financially, she might wind up ahead of him when the votes are counted.


The Wikipedia article about Tim Ryan’s home town, Niles, Ohio, lists notables from the town — him and 16 others. Six of the sixteen were professional athletes or coaches. Tim Ryan’s parents divorced when he was seven.  His mother worked in the local courthouse, giving him some interest in politics. He was a quarterback in high school and would have been the same at Youngstown State College if his knee hadn’t given out. He switched colleges, went to an obscure law school, and went to work for Jim Traficant, the Congressman from Youngstown, Ohio —  a corrupt character and a popular blue collar Congressman.  Tim Ryan ran for Traficant’s seat and won, defeating a Republican and Traficant, who ran from jail.  In Congress, Tim Ryan had a trajectory.  Early in his tenure he opposed limitations on robo-calls. In 2008, he attended a mindfulness conference as he gradually rethought his views.  In 2010, he voted with those who opposed abortion. In 2012, he published a book called The Mindful Nation.  In 2013, he married his second wife, who he may have met at the mindfulness conference.  In 2015, he wrote a piece explaining he had changed his views on abortion. In 2016, he attempted to oust Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader. In 2018, he worked, unsuccessfully, to allow an undocumented immigrant in his district to be able to stay in the US.  In 2020 he began and then dropped a Presidential bid.  Now he is running for the US Senate from Ohio.  He mixes a blue collar approach to life with moderately progressive views – not too different from Ohio’s current Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

Tim Ryan has a primary opponent, an activist named Morgan Harper.  She has raised a half million dollars.  He has raised ten times as much — $5.6 million.    Seven Republicans are competing.  Three of the seven, all wealthy, have raised money in Tim Ryan’s range – a banker, a businessman, and a former party chair. The best known candidates – former state treasurer Josh Mandel and author/celebrity/businessman JD Vance – have raised much less.  We won’t know until May 3, 2022 if Tim Ryan  is definitely the nominee or which Republican he will be running against.  Help Tim Ryan and increase the possibility of expanding the Democratic majority by donating to his campaign now.


In 2018, Abby Finkenauer was 29 years old, a little older than AOC. She won election to Congress by 5 points.  She lost in 2020 by 2.  Instead of a rematch for 2022, she chose to run against US Senator Chuck Grassley who will be 89 while running for his eighth term as Senator.  He was first elected to the US Senate in 1980 – 8 years before Abby Finkenauer was born. He is the oldest member of the Senate and when Republicans had the majority was President Pro Tem.  As Chair of the Judiciary Committee, he acquiesced to Mitch McConnell and refused to give Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, a hearing.  Abby Finkenauer went to high school in Dubuque.  Her mother worked in local schools; her dad was a welder.  She went to Iowa’s Drake University.  Her interest in politics began early during kitchen table conversations with her dad and her union activist uncle.  She served as a page for the Democratic Speaker of the House.  After she graduated from college and the Speaker retired, she ran for his seat in the state assembly.  In the legislature, she drew on her youth.  She sought relief for people with college loans, arranged for people to testify about legislative proposals via the internet, and fought to protect women’s right to control their bodies.  On the floor of the Assembly, she asked why so many adult males wanted to control her body.

Abby Finkenauer announced for the Senate in July, 2021 and was effective at discouraging most primary opponents though two candidates have joined the race.  Abby Finkenauer’s fund raising has not been spectacular, but with a million dollars raised she has raised ten times as much as the only other Democrat who reported having raised any money at all.  Fortunately, Chuck Grassley has been lackadaisical about raising money.  At the end of 2021’s third quarter, he had raised $3.3 million.  With a serious effort, she can stay within range of the Republican. She’ll have to.  Right now, though name recognition is certainly a factor, she is behind in the polls by double digits. She needs your help. Donate to Abby Finkenauer’s campaign. (369)


Charles Booker gives every indication of being good at campaigning. In 2018, raising very little money, he lost the Democratic primary to Amy McGrath by two points as they each sought to run against Mitch McConnell.  McGrath was amazing at raising money in her effort to defeat Mitch McConnell, but not as effective as a candidate.   Charles Booker grew up genuinely poor in Louisville, Kentucky.  Both his parents dropped out of high school.  His mother skipped meals so he could eat.  She rationed insulin for his diabetes to make the medication last longer.  Despite the obstacles, he was a strong student.  He graduated from high school, went to the University of Louisville and its law school.  After local and congressional internships and volunteer work, he became an aide to a Louisville City Councilman, then moved to state and non-profit roles (among them a staffer at the State Fish and Wildlife agency).  He was elected to the state legislature, then ran for the US Senate.  He argued “Black, White or Brown, we all want a society where every single person can be safe in their homes without the fear of being killed by … government agencies we pay to protect us, [a society w]here the air is clean, and the water we drink won’t make us sick.”  He added “We can redefine our politics by replacing the old Southern Strategy with a new one that lifts love and unity over hate and division.”

Help Charles Booker realize his goal.  He is doing what he can to realize the goal.  He has raised $1.7 million.  That’s a good beginning.  Amy McGrath raised $94 million in 2020.  The incumbent Rand Paul has already raised $9 million.  Paul is an embarrassment.  He is a board certified ophthalmologist because he created his own board.  His wife purchased stock in a pharmaceutical that makes anti-viral medication when insiders were learning but before the public was aware of the dangers of Covid-19. He urged Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and continues to advocate for the Big Lie that the election was stolen. He opposed compensation for the victims of the 9/11 attack because – who knows why, maybe because they were mostly New Yorkers.  Do what you can so Charles Booker can make his case to the people of Kentucky.  Contribute.


Evan McMullin is about as different from Charles Booker as you can get. He is running as an independent for the US Senate from Utah. Unlike his failed independent run for President, which began out of disdain for Donald Trump (a disdain he retains), Evan McMullin has started early enough.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University, former CIA agent in the Middle East and South Asia.  He left the CIA after eleven years, got an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, worked for Goldman Sachs, then worked for Republicans in Congress.  He became chief policy director for the Republican Conference.  In that post he watched Donald Trump’s capture of the Republican Party and turned away from the party.  He ran for President in 2016, endorsed Joe Biden in 2020.

Would Evan McMullin join the Democratic caucus if elected to the Senate?  I hope his Joe Biden endorsement is a clue. Is Evan McMullin more conservative than Joe Manchin – to pull an example of a conservative Democrat out of my hat?  They are probably equally conservative.  Joe Manchin opposed the Trump tax cuts.  Evan McMullin might not have.  Joe Manchin is opposed to same sex marriage.  So is Evan McMullin, whose mother is in a same sex marriage.  He has accepted the Supreme Court decision supporting same sex marriage and would not pursue the issue further.  They seem similarly opposed to abortion and similarly in favor of means testing for various safety net provisions.  An Evan McMullin who caucuses with the Democrats is infinitely preferable to the current Republican Senator Mike Lee.  Even an Evan McMullin who caucused with the Republicans would be preferable to Mike Lee.  We know that Evan McMullin would not be an automatic Mitch McConnell follower.  He sees himself as an American patriot, as someone who steers his own course.  I would donate to him.  I urge you to do the same.

Three states, listed in alphabetical order, do not yet have a dominant Democratic candidate.  When there is, the Democratic candidate could come out a winner.

  1. Missouri has an open seat. Especially if the Republicans nominate the sex scandal disgraced and resigned governor Eric Greitens, one of the four Democrats seeking the nomination could win.  Check them out. The two who have raised the most money are anti-corporate activist Lance Kunce and former State Senator Scott Sifton.
  2. North Carolina. This state keeps promising us a win.  Here is an open seat where Democrats could win. North Carolina has a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Attorney General.  They have five candidates, two of whom have reported raising nearly $3 million dollars.  Each of them has raised more than any of the four Republicans in the race.  Former Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the State Supreme Court had a distinguished career in that role and would be the first African American Senator from North Carolina.  State Senator Jeff Jackson is religious, former military, an attorney, and is running an energetic and moderately progressive campaign.
  3. Wisconsin used to be a Democratic state. Its Republican Senator Ron Johnson is among the least appealing Republicans in the Senate (and that says a lot). At least 8 Democrats are running to oust him, if he actually decides to run (He has raised $2.6 million).  A Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry has raised more.  Two candidates who have won state-wide are serious candidates – the State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and the Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes. Popular County Executive Tom Nelson is also in the mix.
  4. I encourage you to take a look at some other candidates who could conceivably gain momentum toward flipping a Republican seat: Mayor Thomas McDermott of Indiana, ex cop James Vandeermaas of Idaho, Navy Vet and Pilot Luke Mixon of Louisiana, Businessman Michael Steele of North Dakota, State Rep and engineer Krystle Matthews of South Carolina.


Do what you can to help these Democrats win.  Let’s get us to 52, maybe even to 54 Democratic Senators.  Do it now because 2024 will be tougher.