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June 11th  , 2024                 Len’s Political Note #649 Who Should I give money to? Part 3.  Congressional seats Democrats can flip

2024                                      General Election

 While the first part of gaining a Democratic majority in the House is defending vulnerable seats, the next part is flipping Republican seats.  Many Republican seats are vulnerable.  If you can help flip these seats while protecting Democratic incumbents in the House and  Senate, President Joe Biden will have a remarkable second term.  So will the country.  First, the the presidential race:

The Presidency
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

There could be presidential election years where it did not matter whether or not you donated to the presidential campaign.  Not this year.

  • 2020 was relatively close. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won: 51.3 – 46.8.  The electoral college was 306-232, but several states were close enough that the electoral college could have gone the other way.
  • As of 4/30/24, since 1/1/21, the Biden-Harris campaign had received $195 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $111 million.  The Trump campaign had received $121 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $123 million.  Until we learn more officially about funds raised after Trump’s conviction, we can assume those figures are an accurate reflection of the relative financial strength of the two campaigns.
  • In May, an even number of polls showed Trump and Biden leading. Almost all of those leads were close. We will have to watch in June to see if there are enough polls to know whether there are changes after Trump’s conviction.
  • DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS See Len’s Political Note #605

 If Democrats are to gain the House, they need to more than overcome the current four seat Republican majority.  The Democrats below can flip Republican seats. 

CA 13             Former Assemblyman Adam Gray l

  1. Lost to Republican incumbent John Duarte by 564 votes in 2022
  2. March 31 cash: Adam Gray had $1.1 million; Duarte had $1.8 million
  3. Before being elected to the California Assembly, Adam Gray had been a state legislative staffer. Duarte was a farmer/businessman before being elected to Congress. He has bucked the Republican party on the most extreme antiabortion measures, the most extreme anti-LGBTQ measures, and his been responsive to farmers who rely on immigrants to pick crops.   This should be a close race again.  Adam Gray outlines 5 issues:  Protecting the water his district relies on for farming, providing sufficient funding for agriculture, supporting K-12 education funding and including Ag-Tech, supporting public safety by continuing to crack down on gangs and extending his California law protecting farms from theft of irrigation pumps and farm equipment.
  4. DONATE TO ADAM GRAY. If he catches Duarte’s in the financial race, he will defeat him in the voting. See Len’s Political Note #586

MI 10              Former County Judge Carl Marlinga l

  1. Lost to Businessman John James by 1600 votes in 2022
  2. March 31 cash Carl Marlinga had $180,000; John James had $3 million. (Dr. Anil Kumar, who had $1 million, is off the ballot for lack of signatures).
  3. The Michigan primary is on August 6. Despite the financial discrepancy, the popular Carl Marlinga, who is averse to fund raising because he was once charged with and acquitted for corrupt fund raising, was recently appointed to lead an Elder Abuse Task Force. He will get another chance to run against James who is the son of a wealthy African American businessman who lost two US Senate races before settling on Congress).  James describes abortion as a kind of genocide. He would defund Planned Parenthood.
  4. DONATE TO CARL MARLINGA The money could make a difference. See Len’s Political Note #623

NY 17             Former Congressman Mondaire Jones

  1. Sean Patrick Maloney incumbent of a neighboring district lost to State Assembly Member Mike Lawler in 2022 by 1820 votes
  2. March 31 cash. Challenger Mondaire Jones had $3.1 million; Incumbent Lawler had $3 million
  3. Mondaire Jones, an African American local, was elected to Congress from this district in 2020. He deferred to Maloney, the national chair of the DCCC, in 2022. Assemblyman Mike Lawler defeated the outsider. Jones has returned home to run against Lawler. Lawler voted to eliminate the additional funds for the IRS in the inflation reduction act and, confusingly, voted against the Parents Bill of Rights of which he was a co-sponsor.  Jones has called for increasing the size of the US Supreme Court.
  4. DONATE TO MONDAIRE JONES. Help him return to Congress. See Len’s Political Note #579

IA 03              Former Agriculture official Lanon Baccam

  1. Incumbent Cindy Axne lost to National Guard Lt. Colonel Zach Nunn in 2022 by 2,145 votes – less than 1% of the vote.
  2. May 15 cash: Challenger Lanon Baccam had $1.2 million; the incumbent had $1.9 million.
  3. Nunn is former military, the Democratic challenger is the child of a Laotian refugee family who relocated to Iowa. Baccam became a US Department of Agriculture official, which is a pretty good credential in Iowa.  Nunn’s reaction to the January 6 insurrection was to disparage US security.  Baccam separates himself from Nunn by stressing his own support for women’s Reproductive freedom.
  4. DONATE TO LANON BACCOM Help him remain close to Nunn in the financial race.  See Len’s Political Note #609

NY  22            Town Councilor Sarah Klee Hood

  1. Democratic veteran Francis Conole lost to Republican businessman and gentleman farmer Brandon Williams by a margin of 2,631 votes, roughly 1% of the vote.
  2. March 31 cash. Ex military and local official Sarah Klee Hood had more than $400,000.  Another Democrat, State Senator John Mannion had nearly $400,000.  The incumbent had $1 million.
  3. Sarah Klee Hood was an early announcer and persuaded me. A village councilor, she became a technology and logistics expert in the army, a skill she has put to use working for non-profits in her district.  The incumbent businessman, son of a Texas corporate lawyer and Baylor graduate, has a relatively loose connection to the district and would lose to a well-funded campaign.
  4. DONATE TO SARA KLEE HOOD. See Len’s Political Note #557

CA 22             Assemblyman Rudy Salas

  1. lost to the incumbent David Valadao in 2022 by 3,132 votes
  2. March 31 cash. Salas had $750,000; Valadao had $1.6 million
  3. The incumbent Valadao is a dairy farmer/businessman. The family claimed excessive regulation drove them to default on loans and go into bankruptcy. Valadao was one of the few Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment.  Rudy Salas was the first Hispanic city councilman in Bakersfield and was a bring home the bacon representative in the CA assembly.
  4. DONATE TO RUDY SALAS. If he catches up in the money race, he wins the election.  See Len’s Political Note #602

NY 19             Attorney Josh Riley

  1. Lost to County Executive Marc Molinaro in 2022 by 4,495 votes
  2. March 31 cash: Josh Riley had $3.5 million; the incumbent Marc Molinaro had $1.8 million
  3. Riley was Al Franken’s staff attorney in the US Senate and he has gone all out on his behalf. Marc Molinaro was the Republican, Conservative, and Reform Party nominee for governor in 2018.
  4. DONATE TO JOSH RILEY He has good chance to win this race. See Len’s Political note #580

AZ 06             Professor and former legislator Kristen Engel

  1. Lost to Juan Ciscomani in 2022 by 5,232 votes
  2. March 31 cash: Engel had $1.9 million, incumbent Ciscomani had $2.5 million
  3. Engel was a state legislator and is a professor of and expert in environmental law; Ciscomani’s family were immigrants. He went to college, law school, and became an aide to Governor Doug Ducey, particularly on immigration issues. He praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, but was critical of the state supreme court’s decision in favor of a near total ban on abortion.  A nationally known environmental attorney, Kristen Engel has urged Arizona to make greater use of solar energy and has urged the US to take steps to move us toward electric vehicles.  She has also described the border as experiencing a humanitarian crisis.  She urges revisions in the asylum process.
  4. DONATE TO KRISTEN ENGEL. If she can catch up in the money race, she will win the election. See Len’s Political Note #558

NE 02             State Senator Tony Vargas

  1. Lost in 2022 to incumbent Don Bacon by 5,856 votes
  2. April 24 cash: Vargas had $1.7 million; Bacon had $1.6 million
  3. Tony Vargas is a state senator who came to Nebraska from Long Island via Teach for America and became a leader in Omaha politics and of Nebraska Hispanics. Bacon is a former general, leader of Congressional moderates who caved and caved to the extreme right wing
  4. DONATE TO TONY VARGAS. He can win this race in the Nebraska district that often gives its electoral college vote to the Democratic candidate for President. See Len’s Political Note #587

OR 05            State Rep Janelle Bynum

  1. Activist Jamie McLeod Skinner lost this race to then Happy Valley Mayor Lori Cavez-DeRemer in 2022 by 7,299 votes
  2. May 1 cash: State Rep Janelle Bynum $300,000, Inc Lori Chavez-DeRemer $1.9 million
  3. Bynum defeated McLeod Skinner in the primary and defeated Chavez DeRemer twice for state rep. In her campaign, Janelle Bynum promises to address housing affordability, homelessness, and the climate crisis in Congress. DeRemer promises to address the national crime wave.  That crime wave may be a Republican talking point, but otherwise it is nonexistent.
  4. DONATE TO JANELLE BYNUM. Help her gain on Chavez-DeRemer in the money race. See Len’s Political Note #618

MT 01             Former Public Service Commission staffer Monica Tranel

  1. In 2022, Monica Tranel lost to the incumbent of what had been a state-wide district Ryan Zinke by 7,937 votes
  2. March 31 cash. Monica Tranel had $1.4 million, Ryan Zinke had $2.3 million
  3. A former Olympic rower, public service commission staffer, and Democratic activist, Monica Tranel is convinced that issues like abortion will make it more possible to defeat Ryan Zinke who was removed as Secretary of the Interior by Donald Trump after ethical questions were raised about him. Including Senator Jon Tester, who is up for reelection, Democrats have a strong field of candidates in this Republican state.
  4. DONATE TO MONICA TRANEL. See Len’s Political Note #603

NJ 07             Former Head NJ Working Families Party Sue Altman

  1. In 2022, Democratic incumbent, about whom ethical questions had been raised regarding stock sales, lost to former state senator Tom Kean Jr by 8,692 votes.
  2. May 15 cash Sue Altman $1.1 million v Tom Kean’s $2.5 million
  3. Sue Altman, the former head of the Working Families party in New Jersey, cleared the field of opponents for the Democratic primary; Tom Kean Jr.’s father was a well liked Republican governor from a family with leaders that stretch far back in New jersey history. Tom Kean Jr was a former minority leader in the State Senate.  Among his goals was streamlining government and reducing taxes.  Susan Altman’s goals, in addition to making New Jersey more affordable, are to ensure abortion rights, address gun safety, and control the climate crisis.
  4. DONATE TO SUE ALTMAN. With resources, she can defeat the Republican incumbent.  See Len’s Political Note #578

NY 04             Former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen

  1. In 2022, Laura Gillen lost to Republican Anthony D’Esposito by 9,751 votes
  2. No polls
  3. March 31 cash. Laura Gillen $900,000 v Anthony D’Esposito’s $1.4 million
  4. D’Esposito is the Republican incumbent up for election in the most Democratic district in the country. He is a former NY cop who staffed Long Island Republicans. Laura Gillen tried acting, theater design, teaching scuba diving, and working for Mother Teresa before going to law school, practicing law in New York City and on Long Island and becoming the Supervisor for the largest town in the country – Hempstead, LI. She lost the Congressional race in a year when New York Congressional Democrats were somehow in disarray. The head of the New York State party, a friend of former governor Andrew Cuomo’s response to questions about the several losses said it was not his job to elect members of congress.
  5. DONATE TO LAURA GILLEN. She should catch D’Esposito in the money race and defeat him in the election.  See Len’s Political Note #586

CA 41                         Former Prosecutor Will Ronnins

  1. In 2022 former Prosecutor Will Rollins lost to Incumbent Ken

Calvert by 11,100 votes.

  1. March 31 cash.Will Rollins $3.2 million v Ken Calvert $2.6 million
  2. With one term off after a loss, Calvert has represented this district since 1992. He supported overturning Roe v Wade, opposed gays serving in the military, and supported the lawsuit intended to overturn the 2020 election.  Will Rollins is a gay man.  After law school and clerkships, he was a press secretary for Governor Schwarzenegger and an Assistant US Attorney working on counter intelligence and counter terrorism cases.  He moved to CA 41 because it has a substantial gay population and because he thought he could replace Ken Calvert.
  3. DONATE TO WILL ROLLINS. This is a big spending, competitive race. See Len’s Political Note #588

CA 27             Aeronautics expert George Whitesides

  1. In 2022, school board member Christy Smith lost to now Incumbent Mike Garcia for the third time., this time by 12,732 votes
  2. March 31 cash George Whitesides $3 million, Mike Garcia $1.8 million
  3. Mike Garcia is a graduate of the US Naval Academy. A naval aviator, he flew over 30 missions in Iraq and then went to work for Raytheon. In Congress, he opposed abortion, favored repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and argued that Covid aid to small businesses should be administered through Chambers of Commerce.  George Whitesides is the former Executive Director of the National Space Society, Chief of Staff of NASA, and CEO of Virgin Galactica.  His political goals include finding a solution to the problem of wildfires, protecting women’s choice regarding reproductive health, and protecting social security and medicare.  If elected, he would probably serve on committees dealing with aerospace.
  4. DONATE TO GEORGE WHITESIDES. Help out in a big spending race. See Len’s Political Note #608

TX 15             Businesswoman and activist Michelle Vallejo

  1. In 2022, Insurance agent Monica DeLa Cruz defeated Businesswoman Michelle Vallejo by 12,881 votes.
  2. March 31 cash: Michelle Vallejo $500,000, Monica De La Cruz $1.5 million
  3. This is the only Texas district intended to be competitive. The first issues that incumbent Monica De La Cruz points to are agriculture – for which she would reduce regulations as a pathway to prosperity, border security – for which she would reduce immigration by requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, and improving the economy for which she would reduce waste in government. Michelle Vallejo returned home after graduating from an Ivy League college to help her family run their flea market and to be a local activist.  Her first three issues are ensuring high quality health care, expanding social security and Medicare, and improving the economy by raising the minimum wage.
  4. DONATE TO MICHELLE VALLEJO. If she can catch the incumbent in fund raising she can win the election. See Len’s Political Note #567

IA 01              Professor and former State Rep Christina Bohannan

  1. In 2022, incumbent Marianette Miller-Meeks defeated state rep and law professor Christina Bohannan by 20,774 votes. In 2020, ophthalmologist and frequent candidate Marianette Miller-Meeks defeated Incumbent Rita Hart by 6 votes.
  2. May 15 cash: Christina Bohannan  $1.8 million, Marianette Miller-Meeks $1.9 million
  3. Opthalmologist Marianette Miller-Meeks had run for Congress several times before squeaking by in 2020. She had said, in 2020, that infrastructure was her highest priority, but in 2021, she voted against Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. She has supported same sex marriage and voted to reauthorize the Defense of Women Act.  Among her goals are to protect the social safety net, to oppose unfair trade practices by China, and to improve America’s infrastructure.  Christina Bohannan knows first hand the importance of preserving the saving net.  Growing up in Florida, when her dad developed emphysema, the family’s life insurance was cancelled. She credits teachers for keeping her focused.  Working her way through school, she got an engineering degree, then a law degree, then a job at the University of Iowa. In the state legislature, she led efforts to help businesses recover from the Covid pandemic, to increase spending for education, to stop human trafficking and elder abuse.
  4. DONATE TO CHRISTINA BOHANNAN. She has closed the financial gap and can win the election if she can keep pace. See Len’s Political Note #594

PA 10             Former local television anchor Janelle Stelson

  1. In 2022, underfunded city councilor Shamaine Daniels lost to Incumbent Scott Perry by 24,116 votes. In 2020 former state auditor, current nominee for attorney general Eugene DePasquale lost to Perry by 25,958 votes
  2. April 3 cash: Janelle Stelson had $200,000, Scott Perry had the unusually low figure for an incumbent of $500,000.  She may have less than half of Perry’s funds, but there is an opportunity to gain on him quickly.
  3. After Lauren Boebert, Scott Perry is the most vulnerable extreme right figure in the House. Janelle Stelson is a former local television anchor who is very well known in the district and a former Republican.  She signs on to the proposal of another former extremist Republican to prohibit stock sales by Members of Congress.  She will prove to be a tough competitor, especially at a time when issues of abortion and contraception have become crucial to the electorate.  Democratic funded polls in April and May found her trailing by 2 and 3 points.  A neutrally funded poll found her trailing by a point.  With resources, she will make this race competitive against one the Members of Congress most active in Trump’s attempt to steal the election.
  4. DONATE TO JANELLE STELSON. With resources, she can win. See Len’s Political Note #640.

The Republicans recently announced a list of 19 of their seats they were defending.  If Democrats can protect the seats listed on Political Note #648 and win most of the 18 seats listed above, Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives.

To avoid the retrogressive goals of the extremist Republicans and the alarmingly vengeful former guy, the country needs a second Biden term, continued Democratic control of the Senate, as well as Democratic control of the House.  Donate and volunteer as if your country’s continued existence as a democracy depends on it.  It does.