Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  NORTHEAST: Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07

SOUTHEAST: Political Note #385 Carolyn Bordeaux

MIDWEST: Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02  

SOUTHWEST: Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonzalez TX 15

WEST: Political Note #383 Harley Rouda CA 48, Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04. 

June 2, 2021           Political Note #388 Elaine Luria VA 02

2022                         General Election

There are tougher districts for a Democrat.  There are easier districts, too.  According to Cook, which creates a partisan index for every district, Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District is exactly in the middle.  One hundred seventeen districts are more Democratic than VA 02. One hundred seventeen districts are less Democratic than VA 02.  It is a very good thing that we have a Democrat in office in VA 02.  Let’s keep her there.

VA 02 is 67% white.  It is 20% African American, nearly 8% Hispanic, and about 5% Asian.  Composed of parts of Hampton and Norfolk and all of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, VA 02 is almost entirely navy.  What isn’t navy is historic and relies on tourism.

In the twenty-first century, before Elaine Luria was elected to Congress, the only Democrat elected to Congress from VA 02 lasted one term.  Elaine Luria is running for her third term.  In her two previous terms, she defeated Scott Taylor – the sitting Member of Congress when she first ran.  It is tough to defeat an incumbent Member of Congress, easier when, as was the case with Taylor, the Congressman has a whiff of scandal about him.  In Taylor’s case, members of his campaign staff were indicted for collecting and forging signatures for an additional candidate for Congress, a candidate they expected would take votes away from Elaine Luria.

In 2022, Elaine Luria will face a new opponent, yet to be determined.  More than likely, her opponent will have connections to the US Navy.  There is, after all, no more important institution in VA 02 than the US Navy.  The Norfolk Naval Station is the headquarters and home port of the US Navy’s Fleet Force Command. Other navy centers in the district include the Joint Expeditionary Base at Little Creek which includes a naval amphibious base and an army post.

Elaine Luria has solid US Navy credentials.  She was a naval officer for 20 years, every year of which was spent on a combat ship.  She retired with the rank of Commander, after commanding an assault craft unit with 400 sailors.  In addition to her Naval Academy degree, she earned an MS in engineering science from Old Dominion and was trained at the Naval Nuclear Power School.  For much of her career, she operated ship-board nuclear reactors.

Elaine Luria is married to a sailor, a retired Commander who spent 27 years in the navy.  As a result of that marriage, she has two grown stepchildren and a daughter.  Elaine Luria, now in Congress for her second term, has a record to run on and defend.

Elaine Luria is among those Democrats who have sought to create a relationship with the Republicans.  She joined the Problem Solvers Caucus which, at the high point of its influence in 2019 negotiated rule changes to ensure a hearing for bi-partisan proposals. That same year she was a leader in a successful bipartisan effort to strengthen cost of living increases for veterans.

Elaine Luria is not so conservative a Democrat that her positions are outside of the mainstream.  She voted to impeach Donald Trump, twice. She favors red flag gun safety laws and universal background checks. (Virginia Beach was a site of one of the many horrific mass shootings.) She sees climate change, in part, through the lens of her national security interest and describes it as a potential cause of global instability. As might be expected, she adds nuclear power to a call for expanding non-fossil fuel technologies like wind and solar.  She had initially opposed taking corporate PAC money, but has relented and accepted funds from a tobacco company and defense contractors.

Elaine Luria’s distinctive role with the Problem Solvers is visible when she addresses issues related to Israel.  In 2019, she and Josh Gottheimer led a group of 25 Democrats who condemned anti-Semitic rhetoric. The target then were unspecified members of the Democratic caucus.  The letter was directed to Speaker Pelosi.

In May of this year, Elaine Luria, Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Kathy Manning (NC) , and Dean Phillips (MN) – all four of them Jewish and Democratic moderates – wrote to the President.  They urged the appointment of an Ambassador at Large to combat antisemitism, condemned anti-Jewish violence, denounced Jews being blamed for the Israeli-Hamas conflict, expressed dismay at dangerous comparisons of facemask mandates with Nazi Germany, comparisons that have the effect of diminishing the seriousness of the Holocaust. Taking care to keep the following in a separate paragraph and to introduce it with an “also” so it was not automatically conflated with anti-Semitism, they rejected accusations that Israel was an apartheid and terrorist state.

Forty-six years old, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Elaine Luria is also a member of the Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations.  Initially established by three African-American and two Jewish Members of Congress — Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Will Hurd (R-TX and no longer in Congress), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL and no longer Chair of the DCCC), Less Zeldin (R-NY and now running for Governor), and the Late John Lewis (D-GA) — the group continues to call for Blacks and Jews to work together in opposition to racism and anti-Semitism.

Continue these efforts with Elaine Luria https://elaineforcongress.comHelp her get reelected.  We cannot sustain a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives without that median district.  She won her elections with less than 52% of the vote.  That is living precariously.  Let’s make her sufficiently established so Republicans are hesitant about taking her on.  Provide her with some support.

Flip Republican Seats

California 48             Harley Rouda

Members of Congress who won with less than 52% of the vote

Georgia 07   Carolyn Bordeaux  Received 51.39% of the vote in 2020

Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Oregon 04    Peter DeFazio  Received 51.26% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) https://dccc.orgThe Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

Special Election Results

Melanie Stansbury ran to replace Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in Congress, in NM 01.  State Rep Stansbury defeated State Senator Mark Moores 60-36.  The 24 point margin was 8 points better than Deb Haaland’s (now Secretary of the Interior) margin in 2020 and a point better than Joe Biden did in NM 01 in the 2020 election.

What do we learn from this win?  Outside spending helps.  Democratic outside spending, including especially money from the DCCC outdid Republican outside spending by a 6-1 margin.  Did the Republican campaign committee see what was coming?  Were the Democrats shaken by being shut out of the runoff in TX 06 put the DCCC on alert?  After all, they did not spend in the recent Texas special election.

If the DCCC has learned to take every race seriously, then we’ve learned a lot.  The Democrats begin the 2022 election cycle with prognosticators reminding us that the party with the presidency almost always loses seats in mid-term elections.  Almost any net loss in the House of Representatives would mean the Democrats lose control of the House.

Take a look at the Democrats above who are defending vulnerable seats.  Choose a few to support and support them between now and November.  So far, I’ve done a note about only one Democrat trying to flip a seat.  There will be more notes as I become confident that Democrats seeking to flip a seat will not have significant primary opposition.  It is possible that Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 and make a net gain of ten or fifteen seats.  Help achieve that goal.

A Special Interest of Mine

New York City has its own small-town politics.   Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

If you live in Part A of State Assembly District 76 in New York, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 22 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in Part A of Assembly District 76, please encourage them to vote for her.

Our club and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four District Leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.

You can learn more about Rebecca Weintraub at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccaWeintraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.