Can the western states ensure a Democratic Congress?

This is the big one.  The West has 143 Congressional Districts.  Some districts are likely to flip.  I won’t encourage you to invest your money in the following. Democrats should win these:  Lean D: Former Congresswoman Kirkpatrick of AZ 2, Venture capitalist Josh Harder of CA 10, Attorney Mike Levin of CA 49,  Veteran and attorney Jason Crow of CO 06, Philanthropist Suzy Lee defending an Open D seat  in NV 03, and  Likely D Former Congressman Steven Horsford of  NV 04  

I was looking for four Republican seats to be flipped in the West.  This is five.  A majority of one is not enough.Continue the simplistic formula. Estimate victories equal to the number of seats which 538 calculates as having a better than 50% chance of winning, Five fit that description..   Five more flipped seats would give us a majority of six in the House.This estimate of the number of seats to be flipped is based on shaky reasoning. This estimate of the number of seats to be flipped is based on ratings of analysts from a few days ago.  Things change. Nothing about this prediction of flipped seats is cause for complacency.  A majority of six seats is better than no majority at all. 

Let’s complete the process of taking the House.  Make donations.  Write postcards.  Do what you can to help get that majority.  Let’s see if we can make it a big majority.

Alternative donation strategies for getting the Democrats over the top.Strategy 1 Seal Victory for those in the lead. Feel more secure about a small majority.  Support:Katie Hill CA 25, Kate Porter CA 45, Henry Rouda CA 48,Strategy 2 Focus on the closest. Assume those who are well ahead will win.  See if you can help make a slightly bigger margin.   Support:Gil Cisneros CA 39, Diane Mitch Bush CO 03, Xochitl Torres-Small NM 02, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher TX 07, Ben McAdams UT 04, Kim Schrier WA 08Strategy 3 Push where a push could get someone over the top. Feel confident the Blue Wave will help those who are leading, you help those who are worth a risk. Alyce Galvin AK AL, Kathleen Williams MT AL, Joseph Kopser TX 21,  Gina Ortiz Jones TX 23, Colin Allred TX 32Strategy 4  Love the Longshot  If they appeal to you, help them out.  TJ Cox CA 21, Ammar Campa-Najjar CA 50, Kendra Horn OK 05, Todd Litton TX 02, Sri Preston Kulkarni TX22,  Lisa Brown WA 05Strategy 5 Mix and Match  Read the notes below about the candidatesChoose the candidates you love and support them.

Tilt D1. Democratic Challenger Non-Profit Executive Katie Hill for California’s 25th District.  538 calculates she has a 72% chance to win election.Hill is part of the youth movement.  She is thirty.  She has a cause.  She was Executive Director of People Assisting the Homeless.  Her organization helped the homeless in the ordinary ways.  She and her organization also helped politically — passing a ballot measure to raise over a billion dollars for permanent supportive housing for the homeless in Los Angeles.  Hill is not ordinary.  Her family is not ordinary.  Her grandparents achieved the American dream — from poverty to high levels in academia.  Her parents twisted the story a little.  Her dad was a cop.  Her mom a nurse.  Hill is a small time farmer.  With her husband.  She is a rock climber.  With her husband.  She identifies as bisexual.  Made it public early in the campaign.  It is no longer a surprise.  Her Republican opponent is seeking his third term.  His father authored California’s same sex marriage ban.  His son married his husband in San Francisco when Gavin Newson, as Mayor of San Francisco, performed rogue marriage ceremonies. 

Katie Hill won 53 – 47.

2. Democratic Challenger Law Professor Kate Porter for California’s 45th District.  538 calculates she has a 72% chance to win election.Kate Porter may be the only person to have Elizabeth Warren (at Law School) and Kamela Harris (in the CA AG office) as a mentor.  She is a widely respected attorney.  But has had personal issues.  She had to deal with an abusive husband, had to talk about it publicly.  Rumors about the abuse were making her seem weak.  She’s not weak.  She was Kamala Harris’s tough guy, her collection pro.  She made banks pay up for their fraudulent behavior.  The core of her campaign is support for consumers.  She would reverse the Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and protect people’s health car.  Republican incumbent Mimi Walters supported the Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and was part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Her focus is not on protecting consumers.

Kate Porter won 51 – 49.

3. Democratic Challenger Businessman Henry Rouda for California’s 48th District.  538 calculates he has a 67% chance to win election.Rouda v Rohrabacher.  Not a law suit.  More like a fight.  Until Donald Trump was elected, Dana Rohrabacher was the principal spokesperson for Russia within the US government.  Rouda’s father was a real estate guy in Columbus, Ohio.  So was Rouda.  All over Ohio, really.  Rouda‘s a pal of Trump’s last opponent in the Republican party, John Kasich.  Rouda was a Republican until not long ago.  He would probably say the Republican Party left him.  Not many Republicans would key their Website with: Common Sense Gun Reform, Health Care as a Right, Getting Money out of Politics, Protecting the Environment and Propelling the Economy.  He is no Democratic Socialist.  He is the kind of Democrat who can beat Republican Rohrabacher in Orange County, California.

Henry Rouda won 53 – 47.

Toss ups4. Democratic Challenger Lottery Winner and Philanthropist Gil Cisneros for California’s 39th District.  538 calculates he has a 51% chance to win election.What would you do if you won the lottery? Quit your job?  Gil Cisneros did.   Cisneros wanted to learn more about education.  He went to Brown.  He learned something about what people needed.  He gave away some money, carefully.   When he was in the navy, he was a Republican.  Out of the navy, a distributor for a big food operation, he was a Republican.  Studying what America needs, he became a Democrat.  He is not an automatic victor, though.  He is one of about a half dozen candidates the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund has attacked furiously with negative ads.  In Cisneros’ case, the attacks were claims of sexual harassment.  The woman making the claim has recanted.  The Washington Post reports the ads are false.  But they have driven up Cisneros’s negatives. 

Gil Cisneros won 51 – 49.

5. Democratic Challenger Physician Kim Schrier for Washington’s 8th District. 538 calculates she has a smidge better than a 50% chance to win election.

Smart, diligent, an undergraduate astrophysicist major.  A thorough and popular doctor.  Recognized in a regional magazine as the best pediatrician in the Seattle area.  With almost innocence, she met with her Congressman to explain what was wrong with repealing the Affordable Care Act.  He voted with his fellow Republicans in Committee, then announced his retirement.  Schrier, who had previously expressed little interest in politics, looked into running for his seat.  Smart, diligent, she found other issues important to the district. In a district that stretches from the outskirts of Seattle to the other side of the Cascade Mountains, she added a focus on agriculture and immigration.  Which was a focus on Trump.   Local farms reliance on immigrant workers was disrupted.  The trade and tariff war with China adversely affected those farms and other farms.   Smart, diligent, she has become that kind of politician.

Kim Schrier won 53 – 47.

6. Democratic Challenger Civil Rights Attorney and Former Football Player Colin Allred for Texas’s 32nd District. 538 calculates he has a 32% chance to win election.Allred grew up in Dallas, in the 32nd District.  He played youth football there, high school football there.  He played college football at Baylor in Waco.  He played professional football in Tennessee.  His football career ended with an injury while playing in Dallas.  He went to law school at the University of California, Berkeley. He wrote about civil rights law while in California.  He brought that work, that focus back to Dallas.  Allred is running for Congress more as a civil rights lawyer than as a football player.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton edged Donald Trump in the 32nd District.  Long time Congressman, Republican Pete Sessions, had no opposition that year.  This is a diverse district.  Slightly more than 50% white, slightly less than 25% Latino, slightly less than 15% African American, slightly less than 10% Asian. Can Allred upset Sessions?

Colin Allred won 52 – 46.

Tilt R7. Democratic Challenger Attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher for Texas’s 7th District. 538 calculates she has a 45% chance to win electionPannill Fletcher was born and grew up in Houston.  She went away to college — Kenyon College in Ohio.  She came back — tried acting in Houston.  She went away to law school — William and Mary in Virginia.  She came back.  Practiced law in Houston.  She is a partner now, the first female partner in a firm she describes as focused on “high stakes business litigation.”  That’s corporate law. Unions see the firm and suspect her of being anti-union.  Her issues on her website — civil rights, education, equality, gun safety, health care, immigration.  More issues, too.  When she addresses jobs and the economy, she writes about technical, medical, scientific, and clean energy jobs in Houston.  She writes about job training.  Nothing about unions.  Pannill Fletcher is running for Congress as a tough lawyer.  In 2016 Hillary Clinton edged Donald Trump by a point,  in Texas’s seventh district. The Republican incumbent, John Culberson, was elected to his eighth term in office by nearly 25%.  He is vulnerable, though.  The district is diverse.  Less that 50% white, more than 30% Latino.  More than 10% African American.  More than 10% Asian.  And Culberson has had a stock selling scandal. Pannill Fetcher has a chance to upset Culberson.

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher won 53 – 47.

8. Democratic challenger Attorney Xochitl Torres-Small for New Mexic’s 2nd District.  538 calculates she has a 44% chance to win election.NM 02 has been New Mexico’s Republican district.  With a two year hiatus, it has been represented by a Republican since 198, since 2003 by Steve Pearce.  Pearce is running for governor.  A Republican State Rep, Yvette Herrell, wants to replace him.  Why does Democrat Xochitl Torres-Small have a decent chance to win this time? 1. Torres-Small is a really good candidate.  Particularly knowledgeable about the district and its needs as a result of her experience working in the field for Senator Udall, and an expert on environmental and water issues, topics important for the district.  2. The movement to Democrats all over the country affects every Congressional District, 3.  The President’s unpopularity.  Candidate Yvette Herrell won the Republican primary tying herself to President Trump.  She is still tied to him.  Good for her base.  Hard to expand her base,

Xochitl Torres Small won 51 – 49.

9. Democratic Challenger Mayor Ben McAdams for Utah’s 4th District.  538 calculates he has a 41% chance to win election.Mayor of Salt Lake County, McAdams has been elected by a substantial portion of the 4th District.  He is a conservative Democrat by national standards, a pragmatist locally.  When required by the legislature to create a new homeless shelter outside of Salt Lake City, he changed his looks and dress and spent two days incognito getting into and staying in a homeless shelter.  The experience was, in its way, profound. Now, he is moving toward closing down the large shelter in Salt Lake City and opening new, smaller shelters throughout the County, including Salt Lake City.  His opponent, incumbent Mia Love, is a rare African American Republican Member of Congress.  Love’s political positions are conventional for a Republican.  Deep spending cuts in social services, protection of gun owners from any regulation, opposition to abortion, opposition to same sex marriage, opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  She departs from the conventional on immigration.  A child of Haitian immigrants, she supports DACA and a path to citizenship for DREAMers.  She has denounced the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents.

Ben McAdams won 50 – 50 (694 votes)  

Lean R10. Democratic Challenger State Representative Diane Mitch Bush for Colorado’s 3rd District. 538 calculates she has a 45% chance to win electionMitch Bush  is a Colorado phenomenon.  She arrived in there with plans to complete her doctoral thesis and to ski.  Just right for the eighties.  She stayed to teach at Colorado Mountain College, to be elected to the County Commission and then the state legislature.  She received acclaim for her legislative work.  The incumbent, Republican Scott Tipton, does not believe in climate change, opposes same sex marriage, supports expansion of oil and gas drilling, and (remember this is Colorado) opposed the availability of medical marijuana. He has been accusing Mitch Bush of supporting socialism.  The grounds? She subscribes to a magazine that 4o years ago called itself socialist.   Tipton is acting like he is vulnerable. A couple of financial scandals add to that vulnerability.

Diane Mitch Bush lost 52 – 43.

11. Democratic Challenger Former State Representative Kathleen Williams for Montana’s only District.  538 calculates she has a 35% chance to win electionWilliams opponent is the first term Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, He was convicted of roughing up a Guardian news reporter on the eve of the 2016  election.  Gianforte was recently praised for this act by President Trump.  Praise for violence against a reporter in the midst of the international uproar about Saudi Arabia’s murder of a Washington Post reporter.  Gianforte is an evangelical conservative tech billionaire transplant from New Jersey.  He has been a reliable Republican vote in Congress.  Williams is an expert on water issues, former Associate Director of the Western Land Owners Alliance, former Montana legislator, pragmatic problem solver. Among the problems solved were Native American water rights in Montana.  She was a surprise winner of the Democratic primary and has run with very little money.  She made her campaign stand out by visiting every part of this very large state, driving her pick up truck and sleeping in the camper she pulled with her truck. 

Kathleen Williams lost 51 – 46.

12. Democratic Challenger Democratic Challenger Schools Advocate Alyse Galvin for Alaska’s only District.  538 calculates she has a 30% chance to win election.Strange things happen in Alaskan politics.  Sarah Palin for one. Senator Murkowski lost her primary. Next she was elected as a write-in Independent.  Independent Bill Walker, the current Governor, got the support of the Democrats and won his election.  Long past the deadline for withdrawing, after the mysterious resignation of his Lt. Governor, Walker withdrew to support Mark Begich, the Democratic candidate for governor.   Strangely, Alyse Galvin has a chance to represent Alaska in the House of Representatives.  The incumbent, Don Young, has been representing Alaska for forty-five years. Nominated by the Democrats,  Galvin has never been a Democrat.  She is another independent.   Galvin is making a dent.  She is driving around the parts of Alaska you can drive to in her twenty year old RV, serving cookies in parking lots, and talking to people who say they haven’t seen Don Young in 45 years.  Galvin made her place in Alaskan politics opposing cuts in education spending.  She gets headlines on health issues.  She talks about the scarcity of hospitals and doctors in Alaska.

Alyce Galvin lost 54 – 46.

13. Democratic Challenger Former US Trade Officer Gina Ortiz Jones for Texas’s 23rd District.  538 calculates she has a 26% chance to win electionTexas’s 23rd Congressional District runs from El Paso at the southwestern corner of Texas along the border.  It is not diverse. It is Latino.  Almost 70% Latino, 25% white, 4% African American, 1.5% Asian.  Its candidates are diverse.  Will Hurd, the incumbent Republican is mixed race, usually identified as African American.  Gina Ortiz Jones is Asian, Filipino.  Republicans point that out.  Ortiz Jones explains that, like people whose ancestry is in Mexico, she descends from Spanish colonialism.  She is knowledgeable and impressive and, occasionally, vulgar..  She grew up in the district, poor, and has had great success, eventually becoming the Director of Investment for the Office the US Trade Representative.This has been a tough campaign for Ortiz Jones.  Every time Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Senate candidate for Texas,  tells his story about live streaming an automobile trip back to Texas  when planes would not leave DC, he gives a little boost to his co-pilot — Will Hurd.  When constituents learn that Gina Ortiz Jones is gay, some of them pause.

Gina Ortiz Jones lost 49 – 49 (1,150 votes)

Likely R14. Democratic Challenger Former State Legislative Leader and University Chancellor Lisa Brown for Washington’s 5th District.  538 calculates she has a 23% chance to win election.Brown is attempting to unseat Incumbent Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking woman in the Republican caucus.  Rodgers is no slouch as a politician.  She has to be if she is to defeat Brown.  Brown is good at her work.  In the Washington House, she was elected Assistant Minority Leader in her second term.  In the Washington Senate, the route to Majority Leader went through a stint as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.  As Majority Leader, she led the way experts on leadership encourage.  She listened to her members.  She got their support and got tough measures through — same sex marriage, changes in the way school budgets were approved, a medical school for eastern Washington.  University Chancellor was a change of pace.. Retirement was a bigger change of pace. She came out of retirement in the best possible year to take this seat.

Lisa Brown lost 55 – 45.

15. Challenger Former Congressional Aide Sri Preston Kulkarni for Texas’s 22nd District. 538 calculates he has a 22% chance to win election.General comments first.  1. An analyst urged people to approach the last days of the campaign calmly, without jumping to conclusions.  80% probability is not 100%.  If there is a 20% or 33% probability of something happening, that means it will happen once in five times or once in three times.  We need to take these 20% people seriously.  2. I prejudged Texas.  I think of Texas as a place that is Anglo and Latino, with some African Americans.  Not District 22.  40% white.  25% Latino.  20% Asian.  Also 13% African American.  Wrong about Texas.  Certainly wrong about Houston’s 22nd district.  Kulkarni has a base.  3. I prejudged South Asian candidates.  I don’t know what I expected, but not someone from the State Department. Can Kulkarni pull off an upset in Tom Delay’s old district?  He is working his base.  Getting out the Asian vote.  As a diplomat, his specialty was moderating conflicts.  He served tours in Russia, Iraq, Israel, Taiwan, and Jamaica.  In addition to English, he speaks Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and Hebrew.  He has worked with Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Kurds.  He has been tough with the Russians.  We could use someone in Congress who is tough with the Russians, who could work with Republicans and Democrats when they are at odds (most of the time).  The incumbent is Pete Olson. He can stand up to people. He wants to make life harder for transgender people. He can be aggressive, but he is sometimes way off base.  Just false.  Making things up.  Here are some of the made up things that Pete Olson was willing to claim: 3,000 Americans have been killed by Pakistani terrorists.  Bill Clinton admitted to murdering White House Aide Vincent Foster and threatening Attorney General Loretta Lynch with a similar fate.

The more I looked into this race, the more I wanted Kulkarni to win an upset.

Sri Preston Kulkari lost 51 – 46.

16. Challenger Businessman TJ Cox for California’s 21st District. 538 calculates he has a 21% chance to win electionI know enough about TJ Cox to urge you to support him.  I thought he would be a shoo-in. I would like to know more.  He is an engineer a businessman, and entrepreneur.   J Street, in its endorsement, says he was an engineer and construction manager in the middle east.  Not in Israel though.  J Street reports he came to Israel learn more about the issues in the first Intifada.  What did he build?  In what Arab or non-Arab countries in the Middle East?  I don’t know.I know this.  He came back to California’s Central Valley in the past fifteen years.  He had a thought about running for Congress in 2006.  When that didn’t work, he devoted himself to being a kind of public entrepreneur.  He founded the Central Valley NMTC Fund (CVNF), a certified community development entity that uses the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program to encourage economic development in the low income Central Valley.  That was his biggest, but not his only project.  His website touts the jobs he has helped create in the Central Valley.  When his website addresses health care, it enumerates the Central Valley health clinics he created. Nothing here about the ACA or Medicare for All.  He is not a conventional Democrat.  The incumbent, Republican David Valadao, does what you would expect from an early supporter of Donald Trump.  His only deviation from the Republican line is on immigration. That was only a threat. He threatened to force a vote on immigration issues including a path to citizenship for the DREAMERS.  His compromise to avoid forcing the vote got him and the DREAMERS nothing.

TJ Cox won 50 – 50 (862 votes)

17. Challenger Political consultant Kendra Horn for Oklahoma’s 5th District. 538 calculates she has a 19% chance to win election.Horn is Executive Director of Women Lead Oklahoma.  Her organization’s goals are to empower women to be leaders through civic engagement. She has also been executive director of Sally’s List — encouraging and supporting women in Oklahoma running for office.  Horn has had more conventional political and semi-political work.  She was press secretary for a Congressman.  She worked in communications for the Space Foundation — in DC and in Colorado.  Her opponent, Congressman Steve Russell, is formidable. In the military, he was a central figure in tracking down Saddam Hussein. He is deeply religious and a well regarded motivational speaker. He is no feminist.  He is strenuously anti-abortion.  Says he will fight abortion with all of his being.  He touts adoption and notes the number of adopted siblings in his family.  He includes a space on his website for readers to comment on each issue he espouses.  He leaves up the pro-choice comments. If only he would try persuasion rather than passing laws that take away women’s control of their own bodies. . Respect him. But defeat him.

Kendra Horn won 51 – 49.

18. Challenger Non-Profit Executive Todd Litton for Texas’s 2nd District.  538 calculates he has a 19% chance to win election.Litton has been a civic leader and political figure in Houston for close to twenty years.  His watchwords are common sense and common decency.  His priorities are lowering health care costs and improving treatment in the context of heath care as a basic human right, a pipeline for lifetime learning that begins with preschool for all, a thriving economy with a proper balance of regulation and protection, with a social contract between labor and employers, and with fairer pay and treatment for workers including a $15 per hour minimum wage.  He has a particular focus on the infrastructure needed to prevent future flooding in Housing.  This is an Open seat formerly held by a Republican.  Litton’s opponent is Republican Dan Cranshaw.  Cranshaw grew up all over the world as his father moved around in the oil industry.  He wears an eye patch earned in combat in Iraq.  The favorite, he announced himself as a follower of President Trump on issues from national security to tax cuts.  He would replace social security, which he sees as about to collapse.  He thinks private accounts are a great idea.  He denounces the increasing national debt without understanding the role the tax cuts play in increasing the deficit and the debt.  Will Litton be bold enough to accuse Cranshaw of having neither common sense nor common decency?

Todd Litton lost 53 – 46.

19. Challenger Businessman Joseph Kopser for Texas’s 21st District.  538 calculates he has a 19% chance to win election.Kopser had a close call in the primaries, running second in the first round, but winning the run off.  He is a business oriented Democrat running for an Open seat previously held by a Republican.  Kopser is ex military.  Participating in and observing the impossible effort to create a Bushite democracy out of Iraq, he volunteered for combat.  When he returned to civilian life he created a technology company which was eventually purchased by Daimler Benz.  Perceptive and good at his work.  He entered the race to defeat Lamar Smith, Republican Chair of the House Science Committee; a Republican who knew little about science and respected it less.  Kopser won thepre-election.  Smith retired

Can Kopser upset attorney Chip Roy?  In the run off to be the Republican nominee, Roy, former chief of staff to Ted Cruz, proposed replacing the income tax with a national sales tax and eliminating the right to citizenship for children born in the United States.  His opponent proposed elimination of the interior and energy departments.  Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee.  It is Roy that Kopser faces.  Help Kopser get that upset.

Joseph Kopser lost 50 – 48.

20. Challenger Attorney Ammar Campa-Najjar for California’s 50th District 538 calculates he has a 16% chance to win election.Incumbent Duncan Hunter is one of two indicted incumbent Republican Congressmen running for reelection.  The other one, Chris Collins in NY 27 accused his opponent Town Supervisor Nate McMurray of speaking Korean.  McMurray speak Korean fluently.  Collins showed McMurray speaking Korean and claimed it was a promise to move American jobs to Korea.  This was not a mistranslation. It was a lie.

Duncan lies about his opponent, too.  He says Campa-Najjar is a terrorist.  Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was a terrorist.  One of the worst.  One of the murderer’s of Israeli Olympians in Munich.  Campa-Najjar’s other grandfather was a Latino Christian.  Campa-Najjar is a Christian.   He is not a terrorist.  He favors rapid movement toward clean energy.  He favors Medicare for all.  Hia positions may terrify some Republicans.  He is not a terrorist.  He should not be punished for his grandfather’s crime.  Duncan’s problem is not history or geneology or getting his generations straight. Duncan’s problem is lying.   His other problem is campaign finance fraud.  There is a pretty good chance that Duncan will be punished for his own crime.

Ammar Campa Najjar lost 54 – 46.