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2020  General Election Puzzling

How do you go directly from losing a state senate election to winning election to Congress?

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell did that.  She was elected to Florida’s 26th Congressional District in 2018 – a district that runs from the Florida Keys through western Miami to Homestead.

How do you go from escaping Ecuador to relative poverty in California to a prosperous life? 

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell did that.  She, her mother, and three older sisters immigrated to the US, to Pomona, California.  Her move across the country to Florida came later.

How do you go from working for non-profits and colleges to running for Congress?  To running for Congress successfully? 

 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell did that.  She volunteered in a couple of presidential campaigns, ran for the state senate, and won a primary in a Democratic district represented by a Republican.

The Republicans explain.  Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s husband.  They say he’s corrupt. He works with corrupt Ukrainians.  He was the attorney for a metals alloy business owned by Ukrainians, Ukrainians who combined political power with making money.  He then worked for an American business that did business with the Ukrainians and with Georgians (the Eastern European kind).    Republicans seem to suggest that her husband, Robert Powell, had ill-gotten wealth that put her in a position to run for political office.

Republicans have nothing to substantial to say.  No claim of specific illegal acts.  No criminal investigations anywhere.  The Georgians did shut the business down.  They said the business failed to pay for certain permits. Robert Powell claimed the shut down was a political act by the Georgian government. Maybe the business failed to make certain payoffs.

The Republicans explanation, even if it were accurate, doesn’t account for Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s success.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell seems to be really good at assimilating into the North American culture. Her mother had left a prosperous, but apparently, dangerous life in Ecuador.  An immigrant to California at age fourteen, Mucarsel-Powell would watch her mother work two jobs to keep going.   She would watch her three older sisters become Americans.  She would figure out what works in North America, what allows people to become successful.

Her adolescence and young adulthood in California suggests just that. In campaign literature, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell makes something of her work in a donut shop as a teenager.  More important. Her mom found a good landing place.  Pomona.  A center for great educational institutions.  Among colleges that made up the Claremont Consortium.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell was a really good student.  At Pomona Catholic High School.  At tiny Pitzer College where she got her BA.  With about 1,000 students, Pitzer is one of the top forty colleges in the nation according to US News and World Report.

=She continued to be a really good student at Claremont Graduate University where she got a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy.  As she was beginning her Master’s Degree program, she learned that her businessman father had been murdered in Equador.

Not long after she received her degree, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell migrated again — from California to Florida.  She went to work for non-profits: The Hope Center (supports Christian missionaries), Zoo Miami Foundation, the Coral Restoration Foundation.  She learned how development worked in the non-profit world. She became the Director of Development for Florida International University.  Four years later she became Associate Director of Advancement for FIU’s medical school.  After four more years, she became an associate dean there.  Promotion for competence.  Competence in fund raising is an important skill for non-profits and for politics.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell worked for both the John Kerry and Barack Obama campaigns.  She ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate position.  She won the primary to run for Congress then defeated a Republican Congressman who had been skillful in his effort to hang on in a Democratic district.

Look at Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign.  There are no Ukrainians here.  There is no one resembling Manafort.  In her campaign, she argued for: -strengthening the work force to improve the economy,

  • funding early childhood education and fully funding K-12 education to improve education,
  • creating an immigration system that reflects our appreciation of immigrants including appropriate treatment of asylum seekers, and a path to citizenship for DREAMers,
  • investing in clean energy and innovative infrastructure to slow climate change and its impact on the environment,
  • banning assault weapons, creating universal background checks, and preventing prospective terrorists and domestic abusers from obtaining weapons to ensure gun safety,
  • ensuring equal rights and reproductive freedom for women, and -achieving a tax system that helps the middle class and small business rather than billionaires and wealthy corporations.

Look at her brief time in Congress.  She has been judicious in her membership in caucuses.  She fits naturally in the Hispanic Caucus and the Caucus for Women’s Issues.  She has joined both the Progressive Caucus and the fiscally conservative New Democratic Caucus.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s committee appointments have been close to perfect for her.  She was appointed to the sought after Judiciary Committee.  She is on the subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship (pretty relevant for Florida and for her personally) and on the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security (fitting well with her concerns about gun safety and her consciousness of her father’s murder).

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will also serve on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  She is on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment (Perfect for Florida, especially with her experience in protecting coral) and on the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management (Perfect for Florida and for her interest in stopping climate change).

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s committee assignments are wins.   Inside Elections has begun its predictions and sees Debbie Mucarsel-Powell as not being vulnerable.  I don’t believe it.  A Congressional candidate who won, as she did, by 4,119 votes, is in for a tough reelection fight.  Prove me wrong.  Send her money. Help her build a big enough war chest so that otherwise strong candidates are reluctant to take her on.

Those who need our help now for 2020.

Doug Jones                     AL Senator  won by 21,924 of 1,348,720 votes

Ben McAdams                 UT 04       won by 694 votes of 269,271 votes

TJ Cox                               CA 21       won by 862 votes of 113,616 votes

Lucy McBath                    GA 06       won by 3,264 votes of 317,032 votes

Kendra Horn                    OK 05      won by 3,298 votes of 238,738 votes

Jared Golden                    ME 02      won by 3,509 votes of 281,371 votes*

Xochitl Torres Small        NM 02       won by 3,722 votes of 199,256 votes

Joe Cunningham               SC 01       won by 3,982 votes of 287,433 votes

Andy Kim                            NJ 03       won by 3,973 votes of 306.875 votes

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell  FL 26       won by 4,119 votes of 235,475 votes

Anthony Brindisi                NY 22       won by 4,473 votes of 250,957 votes