Look at the recent Daily Bits on the website. Five Cheers for David Leonhardt, We’ve met the Deep State
2020 General Election
In 2018, thirty-nine Republican Members of Congress decided not to run again. Ducking a blue wave? One of them was Dave Reichert, the Republican Representative from Washington’s Eighth Congressional District. His retirement made Kim Schreier’s candidacy for Congress a little easier. Not easy, though. She won by a little more than 15,000 votes.
In preparation for 2020, twenty Republican Members of Congress have decided not to run again. Ducking a blue wave? It is still 2019. Republicans have a chance to match or exceed their 2018 numbers. Democrats have a chance to make the new majority larger.
First, Democrats have to defend the majority created with 2018’s blue wave. Kim Schreier https://www.drkimschrier.com/ is no automatic victor. WA 08 was created after the 1980 census. Since then, Kim Schreier was the only Democrat to be elected. The district has moved east. Initially suburban, east of Seattle, now the Cascade Mountains are its spine. It is now a district of Seattle exurbs and rural communities east of the mountains. This is not ready-made Democratic territory.
While WA 08 moved east, Washington state was becoming Democratic. Democratic candidates for President have carried the district since before 2000, but usually with a plurality. WA 08 is unusually willing to vote for third party candidates.
Kim Schreier’s victory in 2018 was a struggle. She ran against a candidate who had come within 129 votes of being elected governor of Washington. She was surprised by a campaign that included an anti-Semitic attack. She was one of several Democrats featured in a Washington Post post-election analysis of campaigns that included drawings or photo-shopped pictures of Jewish Democratic candidates grinning over money they were holding.
Kim Schreier had actually been living the ideal life of a nice Jewish girl (the ideal life of a very smart and hard working, nice Jewish girl). Politics was not part of her plan. From Los Angeles, her dad was a scientist; her mother a teacher. She went to the University of California, majored in astrophysics and earned a Phi Beta Kappa key. Instead of graduate school in science, still moved by her experience with Type 1 diabetes, she went to Med School at the University of California, Davis. She did her residency at Stanford, and eventually joined a practice in suburban Seattle as a pediatrician.
Kim Schreier was focused on her work and her family. A magazine survey voted her Best Pediatrician in greater Seattle. She was described as smart, diligent, and a good listener. If she was an activist, she was an activist school parent.
The Republicans made Kim Shreier an activist medical doctor. Proposals to abolish the Affordable Care Act gave her a new focus. She decided to meet with her Member of Congress. She prepared thoroughly so she could explain what was wrong and dangerous about the Republican proposals. She had no effect.
Dave Reichart voted for Trumpcare in committee. Soon afterwards, he announced he was not running again. Kim Shreier’s activism became directly political. She ran for Congress knowing what she wanted:
- Make Medicare into a public option that individuals or small businesses could choose.
- Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. (She was particularly conscious of the astronomical increases in the price of insulin.)
- Provide more resources for medical research.
Those convictions started her political campaign. She used her capacity to listen to develop positions on agriculture and other issues important to the people of her district. She became a campaigner.
Washington has a California-type non-partisan primary followed by a run-off of the two with the highest vote. Three Republicans, five Democrats, a Libertarian, two Independents, and one guy with no party preference at all got into the race. Dino Rossi, the Republican with state-wide electoral experience, got 43.1% of the vote. Kim Schreier edged lawyer and east of the Cascades resident Jason Rittereiser 18.7% to 18.1%. She was not a favorite to defeat Rossi. Her 15,000+ margin – 52.4$ to 47.8% was not a blowout. The campaign was expensive — one of the most expensive Congressional campaigns in the country. She was good at raising money, too.
In Congress, Kim Schreier joined the moderate New Democrat Coalition. She was appointed to the Committee on Agriculture – great for the eastern side of her district. Her biotechnology and nutrition subcommittees reflected her expertise. Appointed to the Education and Labor Committee, subcommittees on Pk-12 education and human services, she was working in her areas of strength.
Health care is her centerpiece issue. More than almost any other politician, Kim Schreier is vehement in her disdain for those opposed to vaccination. She speaks as strongly as anyone in office about the importance of comprehensive medical care for women. She gladly voted to change the law that precludes the CDC from doing research on the health implications of guns. She spent a large part of her 2018 campaign explaining she was for a public option, though Medicare for All might be an eventual result. She has been quiet while Presidential candidates work through this issue. It is possible, but unlikely, that the political viability of Medicare for All has come much sooner than she predicted.
If anything, we need more Kim Schreiers https://www.drkimschrier.com/ in Congress. We certainly want her to return. Help her get elected. Give her some money. Find a way to volunteer. She needs your help.
These are vulnerable Democratic Members of Congress. If you want to play some defense, choose a few of them to support. If you want to learn about them, look at my Notes about them in the website.
Elected by fewer than 1,000 votes
California 21 TJ Cox
Utah 04 Ben McAdams
Elected by 5,000 votes or fewer
Florida 26 Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Georgia 06 Lucy McBath
Maine 02 Jared Golden
New Mexico 03 Xochitl Torres Small
New Jersey 03 Andy Kim
New York 22 Anthony Brindisi
Oklahoma 05 Kendra Horn
South Carolina 01 Joe Cunningham
Elected by fewer than 10,000 votes
California 10 Josh Harder
California 39 Gil Cisneros
Iowa 03 Cynthia Axne
Virginia 07 Abigail Spanberger
Elected by 15,000 votes or fewer
Illinois 14 Lauren Underwood
Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin
New York 11 Max Rose
New York 19 Anthony Delgado
Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher
Other close races
Illinois 08 Sean Casten
New Jersey 02 Jeff Van Drew
Washington 08 Kim Schreier