Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website: 

July 9th , 2024                       Len’s Political Note #655 Eugene Vindman Virginia 07

2024                                          General Election

 Eugene (Yevgeny) Vindman is the twin brother you did not meet on television.  His brother Alexander (Aleksandr) was assigned to listen in on President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.  That was the phone call that led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment.  That was the phone call that Alexander Vindman testified about.

The twin brothers were born in Ukraine.  After their mother died, their father moved the three year olds and their older brother Leonid to a place with many fellow Ukrainian Jews – Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach.  They had what might have been their fifteen minutes of fame, when they showed up briefly, as ten year olds, in a Ken Burns documentary.  Their dad did hard, physical labor moving furniture until he passed the necessary test and graduated to more sophisticated hard physical labor as a “sandhog” working on tunnels and other underground work.

The twins attended local public schools and graduated from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn.  The both graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton where they joined ROTC. When they graduated, they fulfilled their military obligation and joined the army.

Eugene Vindman met his wife at Binghamton.  Cindy Groff Vindman earned a doctorate in microbiology and is currently working as a civilian scientist for the Army Research Laboratory.  Recently, for instance, she did a presentation about the use of Artificial Intelligence in examining the sequences of DNA as she studied how to create high performing and sustainable materials for the military.

Eugene Vindman’s army experience included time as a paratrooper and as an officer in the infantry.  He also had an opportunity, after his wife completed her doctorate, to get a Master’s Degree in administration and a law degree from the University of Georgia.  Law degree in hand, he was assigned to JAG and made himself an expert on various aspects of military law.  He wrote papers for the journal Foreign Affairs, wrote for the Just Security blog, and was eventually promoted to Colonel.  He was assigned to the National Security council where he was the Deputy Legal Advisor.

Eugene Vindman’s brother Alexander took a different path to the National Security Council.  After serving in the army overseas, he earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Harvard and a doctorate in international affairs from Johns Hopkins.  He served in South Korea and Germany and then in Iraq for two years where he was injured by a roadside bomb.  He was promoted to major and to Lt. Colonel.  He served as a Foreign Areas officer in US Embassies in Kyiv and Moscow and returned to Washington to work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  From there, he was assigned to the National Security Council.  He was part of the American delegation to the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky and one of his roles was to be part of the staff who joined presidential telephone conversations. A president speaking to a foreign leader without staff present is an exceedingly rare occurrence.

Troubled by a July 10, 2019 meeting of high US officials with Ukrainian officials during which Americans sought an investigation of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden by the Ukrainians and the July 15, 2019 phone call between Trump and Zelensky in which Trump threatened to withhold arms to Ukraine if the investigation was not undertaken Alexander Vindman went to speak to the appropriate NSC official – the NCS’s Deputy Legal Advisor.

Alexander Vindman and the Deputy Legal Advisor (remember, the Deputy Legal Advisor was Eugene Vindman) began the whistleblower process that eventually led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment, to the reassignment of both brothers by the Trump administration, and their subsequent retirement from the military.  Alexander is now the Director of a think tank which he founded, the Institute for Informed American Leadership.  Eugene Vindman is running for Congress.

Eugene Vindman describes his campaign as defending American values, as standing up to MAGA Republican attacks on Americans’ “fundamental rights –  a woman’s right to access abortion care, a student’s right to learn in a safe, high quality public school, a worker’s ability to enter the middle class, or a voter’s right to make their voice heard.”

That approach struck the right chord for the Democratic primary.  Running to replace the incumbent Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer who is preparing for a 2025 run for governor of Virginia, he defeated a large field of candidates, gaining 49% of the vote.   Fredericksburg is in the center of this mostly east-west district south of Washington, DC, east of Charlottesville, and north of Richmond.

Eugene Vindman’s Republican opponent is former Green Beret Derrick Anderson.  Anderson is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a JD from Georgetown.  An Army platoon leader for two years, he was in the special forces for thirteen years, of which 7 was as a National Guard officer.  He had two federal clerkships before he practiced law for a year and a half in Washington DC.  In 2022, he came in second in the Republican primary for Virginia 07 with 24% of the vote against the winner’s 29%.  In 2024, he defeated a field of six candidates, outpacing the second place finisher 45 – 37.

The DCCC sees Anderson’s principal weakness as having been an opponent of any legalization of abortion.  Anderson’s policy issues are complaints about inflation and about illegal immigrants.  DCCC’s other criticism is that Anderson is just one more MAGA loyalist.  Anderson’s campaign website avoids these problems by not addressing issues at all.

Virginia 07 is a kind of swing district.  In 2021, the Republican candidate for governor carried the district 52 – 47.  In 2022, Abigail Spanberger was reelected 52 – 48.  There are no polls available to help us project a winner in 2024.   Eugene Vindman is ahead in the money race, even though he spent 80% of the funds he raised winning the primary.   He raised a total of $5 million and had $900,000 available on May 29 after the primary.  Derrick Anderson raised $1 million and had $400,000 left on May 29.

Help Eugene Vindman stretch his financial lead.  DONATE. Keep this seat Democratic.

Other Virginia House Races

VA 02 Navy Veteran Missy Cotter Smasel is challenging one term incumbent Republican Jen Kiggans.   Kiggans won that race 52-48.  There are no polls to provide clues to where matters stand in 2024.  Missy Cotter Smasel, with $400,000 available on May 29 has work to do to catch Kiggans who had $1.8 million.  See Len’s Note #595

VA 10 Delegate Suhas Subramanyam is seeking to replace Jennifer Wexton who was compelled to retire because of illness.  In her last election, Jennifer Wexton defeated the Republican 53 – 47. There are no polls to provide clues to where matters stand in 2024.  The winner of the Republican primary, Mike Clancy, had $100,000 on May 29 to begin this next phase of the election.  Suhas Subramanyam had $300,000.  They both have a lot of money to raise.  Help Suhas Subramanyam.  DONATE.

US Senate

 Virginia has a Senate race.  Former Virginia Governor, candidate for Vice President of the US under Hillary Clinton in 2016, Tim Kaine is a substantial favorite to be elected to his third term as US Senator.  In a poll In April he led Hung Cao by 12 points – 48-36.  On May 29, he led Cao in funds available $8.6 million to $200,000.

Senate races in nearby states


County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is taking on the popular Republican former governor Larry Hogan.  This is a contest between Maryland’s heavy lean toward  Democrats and Hogan’s popularity.  Angela Alsobrooks has a story – local, a Duke graduate with a Maryland JD, a prosecutor and then county executive.   She comes from a family where her dad delivered newspapers and her nom was a receptionist, from a family that is conscious of having fled to Virginia from South Carolina after her great grandfather was shot and killed by a South Carolina cop in what amounted to a lynching.

Hogan was a successful businessman and anti-tax advocate, he promised to “govern from the center” when he ran for governor.  He avoided involvement with the legislature, avoided cultural hot button issues.  After he completed his maximum two terms, he declined to support the far right Republican nominee.   He found a middle ground on gun safety.  His middle ground on abortion was to acknowledge personal opposition, but unwillingness to change Maryland law.  He will find that kind of position harder running for the US Senate.

Hogan won his last race for governor 51-49.  The current governor, a Democrat, won the 2022 race 65 – 32.  In the financial race for US Senate, after a tough primary Angela Alsobrooks had $1.9 million on April 24.  Larry Hogan had $1.8 million.  A June 20 poll found Angela Alsobrooks leading by 8 points (48-40). Help her keep that lead.  If she does not, Democrats have little chance to retain control of the Senate.  Besides, Angela Alsobrooks will be an interesting and effective Senator.  DONATE.  See Len’s Political Note #643


Bob Casey’s race for a fourth term is tight enough to warrant encouragement for his support.  Bob Casey’s dad was governor of Pennsylvania and the leader of anti-abortion Democrats.  Bob Casey Jr has been a moderate Democrat.  He clarifies his political views with his issues page. First up is agriculture as he notes efforts made on behalf of crops grown in the state, reminding everyone that he knows that Pennsylvania is not only urban.  Second is children and families explaining that everyone cares that children are healthy, economically secure, learning in school, free from hunger, and safe from harm.

Bob Casey’s opponent is David McCormick  — hedge fund head who returned, more or less, to Pennsylvania from Connecticut only to lose the Republican primary for the Senate in 2022. A multimillionaire, he is trying again.  West Point, PhD from Princeton, CEO of a start up before leading his hedge fund, he apparently does not need an issues page. His top issues? He says  “….he’ll work to rein in spending, oppose tax increases, and exercise fiscal responsibility….As the father of six daughters, he knows that [fiscal responsibility] is essential for the next generation entering the workforce”.

I’ll bet fiscal responsibility is not the first priority of David McCormick’s daughters.  McCormick is also interested in securing our borders.  He complains about Bob Casey voting against “tougher border security measures” but says nothing about the negotiated agreement passed in the Senate to support aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and to secure the border that was scuttled in the House at Donald Trump’s direction so that candidates like David McCormick can complain that nothing is being done.

In the last Senate race in Pennsylvania, the Democrat John Fetterman was elected 51 to 46.  Consider that a clue for 2024.  Two polls so far in June show Bob Casey leading by 6 points. A third poll shows Bob Casey leading by 4.  Money could make the difference and David McCormick can pull whatever money is needed out of his pocket.  As of April 3, though, Bob Casey had $11.9 million and David McCormick had $6.4 million campaign funds.  David McCormick could easily come up with $6 million of his own money to put himself ahead.  To make it harder for McCormick to use his own money, help Bob Casey. DONATE.  See Len’s Political Note #581


Other nearby races

Tennessee has a race worth some support.  Gloria Johnson, but for one vote, would have been the third state rep to be expelled from the legislature for conducting a conversation with the gallery about gun violence.  She is running against incumbent Republican Marsha Blackburn who may be the most retrograde of the Republican Senators up for election – and that is a feat.  See Len’s Political Note #622. DONATE

West Virginia has a race which almost all Democrats have given up on winning.  Glenn Elliott, the Democratic mayor of Wheeling, has Joe Manchin’s endorsement in the race against Republican Governor Jim Justice. DONATE

Delaware does not have its primary until September 3.  Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rocherster is the only Democratic candidate and the overwhelming favorite against whichever Republican comes out of the primary.  DONATE


Donate to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

As we look toward November, 2024, Help sustain the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign.  Even while the campaign is in flux, we know that whatever the resolution, resources are essential.   Every donation, large or small, makes a difference.  Larger donations mean more money for the campaign.  But many in the media count the number of small donations as a measure of enthusiasm for the candidate.  Make a small donation if you cannot afford a large one.  DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS.

See Len’s Political Note #605