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, Political Note #394 Susan Wild PA 07, Political Note #397 Eugene DePasquale PA 10

 SOUTHEAST: Political Note #385 Carolyn Bordeaux GA 07, Political Note #410 Charles Evans NC 08, Political Note #388 Elaine Luria VA 02,

 MIDWEST: Political Note # 398 David Palmer IL 13, Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #398 David Palmer IL 13, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02 

 SOUTHWEST: Political Note #389 Tom O’Halleran AZ 01, 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, Political Note #411 John Lira TX 23, Political Note #399 Colin Allred TX 32

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

 SPECIAL ELECTIONS:  Political Note #393 Allison Russo OH 15 (Election is in November, 2021), Political Note #364 Jana Lynne Sanchez TX 06 (lost), Political Note #382 Melanie Stansbury NM 01 (won),

September 18th, 2021     Political Note #412 Sharice Davids KS 03

2022                                General Election

Twenty-one Native Americans have been elected to Congress.  Four men to the US Senate. Sixteen to the House of Representatives — three of them women.  In 2018, Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland (now the Secretary of the Interior) were the first Native American women to be elected to the House.  They were followed by Republican Yvette Herrell in 2020.

Sharice Davids has faced hard times and has had good fortune.  She is a member of the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) people, which has its base in Wisconsin.  The incumbent in 2018 tried to use that against her to claim she wasn’t truly a Kansan.  Perhaps not.  She was born in Frankfurt, Germany.  Her grandfather was a veteran of the US Army as was her mother, who was serving in the US Army in Germany when she gave birth.  Sharice Davids was raised in Kansas, went to Leavenworth High School. After that, she took a few courses at Haskell Indian Nations University, a land grant university in Lawrence, Kansas.  Then then she attended Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.  She strayed over the state line into Missouri, completing her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.  She could make a pretty good claim to being an American and a Kansan. Her law degree was from away, though.  She went to Cornell.

Sharice Davids was not the first Native American to represent Kansas.  Republican Charles Curtis was. A member of the Kaw Nation, he was born in the Kansas Territory before a portion of that territory became the free state of Kansas. He had the most successful political career of any Native American.   He was an advocate for the assimilation of Native Americans in ways that eventually deprived many of their native lands and was partly responsible for the creation of the assimilationist boarding schools we now understand to have been oppressive and even dangerous places for children.  In 1892, at age 32, he was elected to the House of Representatives. He remained in the House of Representatives until 1907.  He was elected to the US Senate from Kansas in 1907 and remained a Senator, except for a two-year hiatus, until 1929.  While a Senator, he was president pro tem, minority whip, majority whip, leader of the Senate Republican Conference, and ultimately Republican majority leader from 1924 to 1929.  In 1928, he was on the ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate with Herbert Hoover.  Charles Curtis served one term as the Vice President of the United States of America.

When Sharice Davids was elected to Congress, she was the first Democrat to be elected to Congress from Kansas in a decade. She will not find it easy to remain a member of Congress in Kansas – which is as Republican today as it was when Charles Curtis was first elected to Congress.  KS 03 is, however, a long way from, an 8 hour drive from Charles Curtis’s Topeka.  Sharice Davids’ district includes Kansas City, Kansas and suburbs of the Missouri and the Kansas version of the two Kansas Citys. The extent of  Sharice Davids’  challenge in remaining in Congress depends on whether the Kansas legislature recreates this district so that it is more likely to elect a Republican.

Sharice Davids route to her undergraduate and graduate degrees, let alone her route to Congress, was not a straight line.  After high school, even while she went to school, she had to work a lot.  She was the assistant manager of a drive-in. She drove for a wine company.  She was a barista. She coordinated meetings for a Marriot. Finally, 27 years old, she completed her BA in 2007.  She majored in business administration and thought about how she could work in business.  She had other thoughts.  In 2006, she fought in her first amateur Mixed Martial Arts competition.  Her record as an amateur was eventually 5-1.

Her struggles were financial, not personal.  She describes herself as being comfortable in Kansas and as grateful to her mother who encouraged her to “just be me.” She came out as gay in high school, dated a girlfriend, and got exactly the support she needed from her single mother. After receiving an award from the LGBTQ+ organization at Cornell, she explained that admission to Cornell wasn’t crucial to her sense of self.  She had met with the director of a program designed to help undergraduate Native Americans in Kansas City.  Her response to Sharice Davids’ fear that “Cornell’s not going to take me” was “if you don’t apply, then they definitely won’t.”  Sharice Davids said that it was the decision to apply to Cornell, the requisite courage and confidence that changed the trajectory of her life.

Not that the trajectory changed forever. Sharice Davids’ life did not have a simple and clear direction.  She completed law school in 2010 and went off to do corporate work.  That convinced her.  She preferred real battles to mergers and acquisitions.  In 2013, she tried Mixed Martial Arts one more time – as a professional. She had a 1-1 record and fought for the last time in 2014.  She was selected for a two year fellowship in the White House during President Barack Obama’s last year in office.  She took her business and political experience back to the Midwest – to help Native Americans find a way to create their own business.  Not every business was a success, but Sharice Davids was.  She was visibly working to make the people of Kansas more prosperous.

KS 03, in its primarily suburban configuration, was probably ripe for an effective Democrat.  First elected in 2010, the incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder had won with margins of 20 points or more in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  His margin dropped to 10 points in 2016 and a strong run by a Libertarian candidate was a clue to his drop in popularity.  In 2018, Sharice Davids won by 9 points and again by 10 points in 2020.

In Congress, Sharice Davids, former Mixed Martial Arts professional, one of two women who were the first Native American women in Congress and only the second openly gay woman in Congress was conservative in her approach to her work as a Member of Congress. She exercised the discipline of a professional athlete and the thoroughness of a successful law student whose academic preparation was less rigorous than some of her peers.  She became a favorite of the moderate Democratic DCCC leader Cheri Bustos.  Bustos said she would “put [Sharice Davids] at the top of the freshman class in terms of doing things the right way.”  Bustos described her as disciplined and not a show off.  Sharice Davids’ voting record was entirely in line with the Democratic President and the Democratic leadership.  She has been a member of only one ideological caucus – the New Democratic Coalition – a group that is financially moderate and progressive on social issues.  She has become a Vice Chair of that group, Vice Chair for Member Services.  She has taken on an additional leadership role as a regional whip and serves also serves as Vice Chair of one of the most important committees in Congress in the light of the Biden priorities – Transportation and Infrastructure.

After the Kansas legislature finishes recreating its congressional districts, Sharice Davids will have a battle on her hands.  Help her out.  Help keep a Democratic House majority.  Help keep an interesting and potentially powerful leader in the House.  Make a donation.

Democrats to flip Republican seats (I will keep adding to this list)

 California 48            Harley Rouda

Illinois 13                    David Palmer.

North Carolina 08   Charles Evans

Ohio 15                        Allison Russo (Special election November, 2021.)

Pennsylvania 10      Eugene DePasquale

Vulnerable incumbent Democrats to support.  Democratic Members of Congress who won with less than 52% of the vote or are otherwise vulnerable

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

Kansas 03    Sharice Davids  A ten point victor, but facing redistricting for 2022

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 Mexico 01 Tom O’Halloran  Received 51.61% 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

Texas 32 Colin Allred  Received 51.95% of the vote in 2020

Virginia 02 Elaine Luria Received 51.6% of the vote in 2020

Washington 08 Kim Schrier Received 51.79% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

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Support Democrats.  Sadly, Republicans have become enemies of democracy.