Check out the website:,  US Congress:  Political Note #282 Hillary Scholten MI CD 03, Political Note #249 Jon Hoadley MI CD 06, Political Note #244 Dan Feehan, MN CD 01, Political Note #258 Collin Peterson MN CD 07, Political Note #297 Christine Finello PA CD 01, Political Note #304 Susan Wild PA CD 07, Political Note #253 Eugene DePasquale PA CD 10    US Senate Political Note #225 Gary Peters, Michigan, Political Note to come Tina Smith Minnesota,

Political Note #324         State legislature candidates Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania legislatures

2020                                    General Election

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

We have looked at ways to flip the Arizona House and Senate and the Texas House.  Here are candidates to support to flip the Michigan House of Representatives, the Minnesota Senate, and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  If the Democrats are to sustain its position as the majority party in the country, that can only be achieved if Democrats have majorities in the state legislatures. These, along with the previous Political Note and the succeeding one provide information about the state legislative bodies most susceptible to being flipped and, for the most part, the legislators Daily Kos believe can achieve those flips.   Consider providing some support to these legislators who, in turn, would provide support to the Democratic governors of their state.

Michigan House of Representatives. (need 4 seats)

The Michigan State Senate has 38 members.  Twenty-two are Republicans.  Sixteen are Democrats.  The State Senate, whose members have four year terms will be up for election in 2022.  Members of House of Representatives  have two year terms in a much larger body. Michigan’s House has 110 members. 58 are Republicans.  52 are Democrats.  If Democrats can protect Democratic seats and flip four Republican seats, they will gain control of the House.  Here are five Democrats the Daily Kos believes can flip seats.

Kelly Breen MI HD 38 (western edge of Detroit metro area) came within 600 votes of flipping  the district in 2018.  She is a city councilor in Novi, an attorney, and is a member of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation and Moms Demand Action – both gun safety organizations. She is native to the district and will be in a different race this year.  This seat is open and she promises to work with the (now Democratic) Governor and legislators on both sides of the aisle to deal with the state’s most important issues – especially Covid-19.

Julia Pulver MI HD 39 (Detroit suburb) is a nurse who has run unsuccessfully for the County Commission and the State Senate.  She is no perennial candidate, though.  She has made progress turning the Republican districts she ran in more welcoming to Democrats.  A NICU nurse devoted to saving the lives of endangered premature infants, she gained national attention and 55,000 retweets refuting President Trump’s comments about abortion.

Barb Anness MI HD 45 (Rochester, northern suburb of Detroit) is a graphic designer and a public school activist.  Secretary of the Rochester School Board, she is a member of the Michigan PTA Board and chairs their federal legislative committee. She has been Vice President and President of her local PTA and chair of their legislative committee.

Christine Morse MI HD 61 (Kalamazoo) traveled the world with her husband, a Navy guy.  After high school, she worked at a automobile plant as her father did.  She went on to college and then to law school.  She practiced law for a while before her marriage.  Having returned to Michigan, she was inspired by the election of Donald Trump to try Democratic politics.  Thought unsuccessful, she proved to be a very disciplined campaigner for the County Commission against a long time member in a Republican district.  Now she is trying for the State House, running for an open seat against a former Trump administration aide and Mitch McConnell campaign official Bronwyn Haltorn.

Chokwe Pitchford MI HD 79 (Benton Harbor area) is running against Republican first term legislator Pauline Wendzel.  His is an African-American Odyssey.  His Benton Harbor parents left with hope for New Orleans where Chokwe was born.  They returned to Benton Harbor with despair and got caught up in the crack epidemic.  Chokwe was raised by his grandmother until his parents decided to aim for success in Atlanta.  His father worked construction and his mother earned a nursing degree. When the economy turned sour in 2007, they returned home to Benton Harbor.  Chokwe attended the Creative Arts Academy and Benton Harbor High School.  He completed his degree at Lake Michigan College while fighting to save his High School from closure — his introduction to politics.  He and his fellow recent graduates represented the High School in Lansing in ways that elected leaders could not.  He got a college degree in politics and a further degree in politics at the college of hard knocks.

Minnesota Senate (need 2 seats)

The Minnesota State Senate has 67 members.  35 are Republicans.  32 are Democrats (actually members of the DFL or Democratic Farmer, Labor Party).  Democrats need to flip two Republican seats while holding their own seats to gain control of the Minnesota Senate.  The Minnesota Senate has an unusual pattern for length of term.  In years ending in 2 or 6, terms are for four years.  In years ending in 0, terms are for two years.  Democrats have a 20-vote margin in the Minnesota House of Representatives.  Minnesota’s governor is a Democrat.  If a net of two seats can be flipped in the Minnesota Senate, Democrats would have a trifecta government – control of the House, Senate and the Governor’s office.

Sara Flick MN SD 25 (north and west of Rochester) is the marketing manager for the Mayo Clinic.  She grew up on a farm in Missouri, but had her life turned upsidedown at age 18 when her father died of cancer.  She left home for the Unniversity of Missouri, then found her way to Arizona where she got her Master’s degree while working for Goodwill.  She settled in Minnesota with her husband, for whom southeastern Minnesota was a return home.  In Minnesota, in addition to her work, she has been an advocate for ranked choice voting, justice for members of the LGBTQ community, conservation, and gun safety,

Aleta Borrud MN SD 26 (south and east of Rochester) is a physician retired from the Mayo Clinic where she was on the staff for 18 years.  She has been an activist for access to healthcare, for racial justice, for conservation, .Now she is ready to be a legislator instead of an advocate.

Lindsey Port MN SD 56 (Minneapolis southern suburb) has been a candidate before.  A graduate of the University of Minnesota’s school of management, she was executive director of a program training progressive candidates. She ran for a House seat in 2016 and lost.  She began running again in 2017, but suspended her campaign.  She had reported a well-known state senator for sexual harassment as did others.  He eventually resigned, but there was fall-out for Port.  In Minnesota, there was a sense that Al Franken was an unfair target of the “me, too movement,”  Port’s complaint was somehow conflated with the complaint against Al Franken and she appeared to have severely damaged her political career.  She remained in politics in 2018, working for gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy’s campaign and Congressman Dean Phillips’ campaign. She is back again, not necessarily damaged,  in 2020, running for an open seat for the Minnesota House.

Pennsylvania House (needs nine seats)

Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor, but Republicans control the House and the Senate.  The Pennsylvania Senate has 50 members.  28 are Republicans.  21 are Democrats.  There is one independent, a former Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans.  Half of the Senate seats are up for election in 2020.  A Pennsylvania based blog says only three of the Republican held Senate seats are in play.  There is very little chance to flip the Senate in 2020.  The same blog says up to a dozen House seats are in play.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has 203 seats.  109 are Republicans. 93 are Democrats.  One seat is vacant.  If the Democrats can hold their seats and flip nine Republican seats, they will gain control of the House.  The candidates below are running for the eleven seats Daily Kos believes Democrats can flip.

Emily Skopov PA HD 28 (Alleghany County outside of Pittsburgh) ran against House Speaker Mike Turzai in 2018 and was the first ever to come within 10 points of him.  Skopov predicted victory in 2020, explaining that the district is experiencing demographic and ideologic changes.  Skopov is a writer and producer of films for television and the Founder of No Crayon Left Behind, which collects crayons from restaurants and elsewhere to provide art supplies for children who would not have them otherwise.

Marlene Katz PA HD 29 (Bucks County, Philadelphia suburb) is a businesswoman who has grown her business.  Starting as a spa employee, she now owns several spas and her own product line.  As an undergraduate, she won an award for her study of the holocaust.  She is on Temple Judea’s committee on social activism and is on the Board of the Peace Center of Bucks County. She has been particularly active about gun safety issues.

Lisa Geiger Shulman PA HD 30 (Alleghany County, Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs) is a former chief of staff for State Rep Dan Miller.  Before she took on that role in the legislature, she was active in a non-profit that advocated for early childhood education and in training prospective teachers and teacher-leaders to work in schools that serve low income children.  She attended Pitt and stayed having fallen in love with the area and, incidentally, having fallen in love with and married a local.  She is running in one of the districts considered particularly susceptible to being flipped.

Michele Know PA HD 44 (Alleghany County most western section) is an early intervention specialist for young and needy children.  She has deep roots in the area – ancestors who fought in the Civil War and the Revolutionary war as well as more recent forebears who worked in steel mills and fought in WWII.  She has served as a school board director, non-profit founder (to help children have access to books), and community advocate for 30 years.

Brittney Rodas PA HD 105 (northwest of the state capital, Hershey) is a 25-year old research analyst in the state House of Representatives. Consider two turning points in her young life:  Her family had been Republicans, but she became a Democrat after her father’s death from a heart condition, a death she was convinced would not have happened had there been a way for him to get health insurance to pay for treatment.  The second turning point was the legislature’s inability to pass legislation developed through the research that she and others completed for the legislators.  She is committed to passing legislation and  making Pennsylvania a place that works for people like her father.

Lindsay Drew PA HD 106  (Dauphin Couty which includes Harrisburg and Three Mile Island) is a marketer.  For nearly ten years, she has been running a marketing business for small businesses. She describes her sister’s death in an automobile accident as a driving factor in her commitment to choosing a more meaningful life.  That drive has manifested itself, in addition to her creation of the Jennifer Drew Foundation, in her service as a school board director, as chair of the local Democratic Committee and precinctwoman, and her candidacy for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Nancy Guenst PA HD 152 (Hatboro, northeast of Philadelphia near the NJ line) is the Mayor of Hatboro.  She is an army veteran, a former German translator and analyst.  Hatboro has been her residence for 59 years. She has served on the city council, on the library board, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary.  She was treasurer for the town revitalization board.  For almost 25 years, she has owned her own business Designs in Stone.

Anton Andrew PA HD 160 (a crescent at the Maryland border) was born in Washington DC of West Indian parents.  He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Hofstra’s law school.  He has been a senior advisor of two Presidents of Cheney University and has been active in conservation as well as pro bono representation of needy clients.  He ran against long time incumbent Steve Barrar in 2018 in this heavily gerrymandered district and lost by just over 800 votes.  He is trying again.  This time Barack Obama has endorsed. him.

Deb Clamacca PA HD 168 (Southeastern Pennsylvania) retired from the Marines as a Captain. Retired, she worked as a manufacturing manager for her family business, for other businesses, and then as a social studies teacher. She is running, partly because she told her students that politics is not a spectator sport.  She is an advocate for independent commissions deciding district boundaries and fixing Pennsylvania’s education funding.

Claudette Williams PA HD 176 (Poconos) is retired from the military. She moved to Mt. Pocono from New York City with her three children looking for a better life.  That life was interrupted after 9/11 when she was called back for military service. She could not retire until 2014, when she retired as a Sargent Major. The support her children  received while she was away was a compelling factor in her decision to commit herself to the community.  She became the first African American to Chair the Monroe County Democratic Committee and the first  woman of color to be President of the Borough of Mt. Pocono. Using military terminology in her campaign she says “she knows the drill.” She insists Harrisburg is an opportunity, not a mess.

Ann Marie Mitchell PA HD 178 (northeast of Philadelphia) is a Business Attorney with degrees from Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she studied business law with Elizabeth Warren.  Mother of two, she has been living in Northampton Township with her husband for 20 years and is eager to take on Trump supporter Wendi Thomas whose scurrilous campaign defeated Helen Tai in 2018.  She knows something about hard times. Her father came to the US having survived post WWII Germany and Ukraine,  His mother worked as a cleaner in New York City hotels so he could attend City College.  He became a teacher.  Her mother, a graduate of Bishop McDonald High School in Brooklyn became a bookkeeper and, at age 50, a college graduate.


Three Notes about State Legislatures

 Political Note #322 Arizona Senate and House of Representatives, Texas House of Representatives

 Political Note #323 Michigan House of Representatives, Minnesota Senate, and Pennsylvania House of Representatives

 Political Note #324 North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives