Check out the website  Political Note #189 Doug Jones Alabama, Political Note #248 Al Gross Alaska, Political Note #295 John Hickenlooper Colorado, Political Note #221 Mark Kelly Arizona, Political Note #283 Jon Ossoff Georgia (A),  Political Note #269 Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock Georgia(B), Political Note #320 Paulette Jordan Idaho, Political Note #242 Theresa Greenfield Iowa, Political Note #262 Barbara Bollier Kansas, Political Note #255 Amy McGrath Kentucky, Political Note #330 Adrian Perkins Louisiana, Political Note #236 Sara Gideon Maine,  Political Note #225 Gary Peters Michigan, Political Note #239 Mike Espy Mississippi, Political Note #279 Steve Bullock Montana, Political Note #250 Cal Cunningham North Carolina, Political Note #311 Abby Broyles Oklahoma, Political Note #217 Jaime Harrison South Carolina, Political Note #328 Dan Ahlers South Dakota, Political Note #316 Marquita Bradshaw Tennessee, Political Note #291  MJ Hegar Texas, Political Note #307 Paula Jean Swearengin West Virginia, Political Note #329 Merav Ben-David Wyoming.

101420           Political Note #329   Merav Ben-David US Senate Wyoming

2020               General election

November 3 is coming.  Joe Biden’s lead is widening.  There are no guarantees.  At this time in 2016, Hillary Clinton had a 6 or 7-point lead.  Half of Joe’s.  At this point in 2016 or 2018 for that matter, no one was predicting a Democratic Senate.  While the pundits are reasonably confident in retaining a Democratic House, optimistic about winning the Presidency, they are hopeful about winning a majority in the Senate.  Democrats cannot afford to lift their foot from the gas pedal.  Complacency kills campaigns.

Today’s Note is one of a few about Senate candidates in relatively small states where, if there is a substantial blue wave, a surprise could happen. We have already seen, in Alaska and Kansas and  South Carolina, surprises turn improbable Democratic candidacies into genuine contests.  Whether the next surprise is in Oklahoma or Idaho or Wyoming, if we continue donating money, sending postcards, and offering our help in other ways, we might get a pleasant surprise.  Or two. Consider Merav Ben-David of Wyoming.

Merav Ben-David grew up a Jewish farmer. In Israel. She recalls for the people of Wyoming, Israeli rodeos and her experience as a 12 year-old riding a dangerous Arabian filly. While in high school, her father died, leaving her in charge of the family farm. Like almost all Jewish Israelis, Merav Ben David did her two-year stint in the military.   She became a pilot in the Israeli air force and served during the Lebanon War.

She loved animals and took care of them from her earliest childhood. As an adventurous young adult, she spent five years in Kenya as a wildlife tour guide.  She left the equator and headed toward the North Pole, to Alaska.

Merav Ben David got her PhD at the University of Alaska and worked at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks studying climate change. Briefly, she became a national figure, an American national figure.  She became known for her study of the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on sea otters.

Merav Ben-David had planned to return home to Israel after finishing her doctorate, but the 1990s were a tough time to find an academic job in Israel.  As the Soviet Union disintegrated, Russians Jews were free to come to Israel.  And they did.  Enough of them were academics to create a glut on the market.  She stayed in the United States – working first in Alaska, then in Wyoming.

Should Merav Ben-David be elected by Wyoming to the US Senate, Alaskan politicians will remember her.  Her interest in climate change, was seen as supporting conservation, not opposing the oil industry.  Her application for permanent residency was endorsed by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and other politicians.

Twenty years ago, Merav Ben-David moved to Wyoming to teach at the University of Wyoming.  She found a state with fewer Jews than Alaska, but more than Kenya. She found a university she was comfortable with and became a United States citizen.  She found a Jewish community in Laramie to become a part of.  Laramie has a Jewish Community Center with a rabbi and a lay cantor. They celebrate the holidays together.  She is in charge of matzoh balls for the community seder on Passover.

You might call Merav Ben-David ‘s academic interest preparation for politics.  She studies carnivores.  Her specific academic interest is the effect of climate change.  Half of Wyoming’s income comes from the oil and gas industry.  Merav Ben-David argues she is uniquely placed to work for Wyoming.  Wyoming’s oil industry, which recently provided half of the state’s revenue, has run into hard times.  She explains her expertise.  No one is better prepared to help Wyoming and its fossil fuel industry adjust to the new realities of reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

It makes a great deal of sense that Wyoming’s Senator would be an expert on the effect of fossil fuels on climate change.  It is more surprising for a prospective Wyoming Senator to be an expert on Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian relations. Like almost every Israeli, Merav Ben-David is something of an expert on the topic.  Her family has been in Israel since before Israel became a state.  She is a keen observer of Israel’s politics, an advocate for the two-state solution, and a critic of Israel’s government.  She has a warning for the United States.  Pressure and sanctions don’t work.  Diplomacy works.

Merav Ben-David doesn’t have much in common with her opponent Cynthia Lummis. They have a common interest in animals.  Lummis majored in animal science at the University of Wyoming.  After that, she went to law school school.  Her area of expertise, if that is what it should be called, is being very conservative.  Lummis has served in Wyoming’s House of Representatives, Wyoming’s State Senate, and three terms as the state treasurer.  She served four terms in the US Congress representing Wyoming before she tried unsuccessfully to be elected to the US Senate.

She promises to stand with Donald Trump. (She doesn’t comment on what the Senate might be like without a President Trump and with a Democratic majority.)  On energy issues, her proposals don’t seem to go any farther than to suggest the federal government defer to state rules about fracking.  She has sought ways to limit the financial support environmental groups get from the federal government for their litigation.  On other issues, she is pro-life and would privatize social security.

Wyoming has a chance to surprise us all.  Could Wyoming elect Merav Ben-David  Help her make a last-minute push.  She entered the post-primary season with very little money.  Make a difference for her in these last few weeks.  This is an open seat and brings skills and knowledge that could make a difference for Wyoming and the nation.

There are plenty of Democratic Senate candidates to support (Democrats listed first):


Arizona                      Astronaut Mark Kelly, gun safety leader supported by his wife former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords v. Incumbent and ex fighter pilot Martha McSally. Cash on hand: Mid-September McSally $11 million. Mid-July Kelly $21 million.  Polls (Kelly 51-48, 49-40, 51-42, 48-45,  55-43,  47-38, 49-41)

Colorado                    Former Governor John Hickenlooper v Incumbent attorney and party activist Senator Cory Gardner. July 24 Cash on hand: Gardner $10.7 million, Cash on Hand June 30 Hickenlooper $4.5 million, Polls: (Hickenlooper 49-42, 52-42, 51-46, 49-39)

Iowa                            Businesswoman and civic leader Theresa Greenfield v incumbent Joni Ernst.  June 30 Cash on hand:  Ernst $9.1 Million, Greenfield $5.6 Million, Polls: (Greenfield 49-46, 50-45, 44-42, 46-45, 51-39, 48-47, 49-46,  42-40, 45-42) (Tied 48-48, 47-47)(Ernst 48-44)

Maine                        Speaker of the ME House, Sara Gideon v sometimes moderate incumbent Susan Collins.  Cash on hand: Sept 30 Collins $5.6 Million, June 30 Gideon $5.4 Million   (Gideon 44-43,50-46, 45-41, 49-42,  46-41 Tied 42-42)

Michigan                    Incumbent Democrat Gary Peters has a tough opponent in African-American Businessman John James.  Mid-July Cash on hand: Peters $11.6 Million, Johnson $9.2 Million.  Polls: (Peters 48-46, 51-43, 50-43, 45-40, 48-41, 47-47, 46-41)  (Tied 47-47)

North Carolina.         Businessman, environmentalist, and veteran, Cal Cunningham v Incumbent Thom Tillis.  June 30 Cash on Hand:  Tillis $6.9 Million, Cunningham $6.6 Million.  Polls: (Cunningham 50-39, 50-46, 47-42, 48-47, 48-42, 54-41, 53-41)


Alaska            Physician and Commercial Fisherman Al Gross v. incumbent  Dan Sullivan.  July 31: Sullivan’s cash on hand $5.3 million.  Gross’s cash on hand $3 million. Polls: (Sullivan 48-44, 46-45) (Tied 42-42)

Georgia (A)               Jon Ossoff v incumbent David Perdue.  Cash on Hand June 30. Perdue $10.7 Million, Ossoff $2.5 Million,.  Polls: (Perdue 49-46, 47-42, 41-38, 43-41) (Ossoff 47-42, 48-46, 49-48) (Tied 44-44)

Kansas                      Physician and former Republican State Senator Barbara Boliier v. Congressman Roger Marshall. Cash on hand: July 15 Bollier $4.1 Million, Sept 8 Marshall $1 Million  Polls (Marshall 50-43, 43-39) (Bollier 45-43) (Tied 42-42)

South Carolina          Former Party Chair Jaime Harrison v incumbent, former moderate Republican Lindsay Graham.  June 30 Cash on hand Graham $15 Million, Harrison $10.2 Million.  Polls: (Graham 47-46, 45-44, 46-45) (Harrison 48-47, 45-43) (Tied 48-48)


Five candidates.  The top two will be in a run off.  Three Democrats: The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, Senior Pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, Businessman Matt Lieberman, ex US Attorney Ed Tarver.  Two Republicans: Incumbent Kelly Loeffler, Congressman Doug Collins. The top two on November 3 go on to a runoff. June 30 Cash on hand:  Loeffler $7 Million, Warnock $2.9 Million, Collins $2.6 Million, Lieberman $300,000   Polls: September (1) Warnock 26, Loeffler 25, Collins 16, Lieberman 16 (2) Warnock 31, Loeffler 23, Collins 22, Lieberman 9, Tarver 4 (3) Warnock 38, Collins 25, Loeffler 21, Lieberman 5, Tarver 2  (4) Loeffler 23, Warnock 19, Collins 19, Lieberman 7, Tarver 4; (5) Warnock  26, Collins 22,  Loeffler 21, Lieberman 14;

Kentucky                    Retired Marine Pilot Amy McGrath and conservative Democrat v Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.    Cash on hand: September 30 McConnell $16.6 Million, June 30  McGrath $16.2 Million.  Polls:  (McConnell 48-41, 46-39, 52-37, 53-41)

Mississippi                 Ex Member of Congress and Ex Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy v Incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith.  June 30 Cash on hand: Hyde-Smith $1.2 Million, Espy $680,000.  Polls: (Hyde-Smith 41-40, 54-28, 47-42)

Montana                    Steve Bullock, Democratic Governor of Montana versus corporate-oriented incumbent Steve Daines.  June 30 Cash on hand:  Daines $7.1 Million, Bullock $7.6 Million. Polls: (Daines 52-43, 49-45, 45-44, 50-47) (Bullock 48-46, 48-47)

Texas                         Military Helicopter Pilot MJ Hegar v Incumbent John Cornyn.  June 30 Cash on hand: Cornyn $14.5 Million, M. J. Hegar $900,000  Polls: Cornyn 45-42, 48-39, 47-46, 45-42, 50-40, 40-38, 50-42, 45-39)


Alabama                    Incumbent ex US Attorney and Prosecutor of KKK members Doug Jones v former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. Cash on hand. June 30 Jones $8.8 Million. August 18 Tuberville $550,000.  Polls: (Tuberville 54-42, 52-34)

Oklahoma                  Television journalist Abby Broyles v Incumbent Jim Inhofe  Cash on hand: August 10 Inhofe $2.2 million, June 30 Broyles $200,000.  Polls (Inhofe  48-30, 57-33)


Arkansas                      Prison chaplain and Libertarian Ricky Harrington v Incumbent Tom Cotton.  Cash on hand June 30. Cotton. $6 million.  Harrington $4,000.  Polls Cotton 49-38

Idaho                          Former state senator Paulette Jordan versus incumbent James Risch. June 30: Rish cash on hand $2.4 million.  Paulette Jordan $70,000. Polls (Rish 53-28)

Louisiana                   Mayor Adrian Perkins v Incumbent Bill Cassidy. Beginning of July Cassidy had $6 million.  Perkins has not reported.  Polls: None

South Dakota,           Businessman Dan Ahlers v Incumbent Mike Rounds.  March 31 Cash on hand: Ahlers  $50,000.  Rounds $2 Million. Polls:  None

Tennessee                Memphis-based African-American environmental justice activist Marquita Bradshaw for an open Republican seat in Tennessee.  June 30 July 17 Cash on hand: Bradshaw $1,700  Hagerty $4.1 Million.  Polls: None

West Virginia            Environmental Activist Paula Jean Swearengin versus incumbent Shelley Moore Capito. June 30 Cash on Hand Swearengin $130,000  Cash on Hand Mid-July  Moore Capito had $1.8 million. Polls: None

Wyoming                  Climate Scientist Merav Ben-David v ex Member of Congress Cynthia Lummis. July 29 Cash on Hand Ben-David $27,000, Lummis $400,000. Polls:  None