Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  

 MIDWEST: Political Note # 398 David Palmer IL 13, Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #398 David Palmer IL 13, Political Note #418 Cindy Axne IA 03, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02 

 SOUTHEAST: Political Note #385 Carolyn Bordeaux GA 07, Political Note #410 Charles Evans NC 08, Political Note #416 Stewart Navarre VA 01, Political Note #388 Elaine Luria VA 02

NORTHEAST: Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07, Political Note #394 Susan Wild PA 07, Political Note #397 Eugene DePasquale PA 10

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 #417 Abby Broyles OK 05, Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04.

(For those who wanted to donate to the Senate candidates in Lens Letter #45, the link for John Fetterman did not work.  You can connect to his website via

November 25th, 2021            Political Note #428 Cindy Axne IA 03

2022                                          General Election

Cindy Axne spent a fair portion of 2021 considering whether she should run for the US Senate or for governor.  Like Chris Pappas (NH 01) each considered the possibility that gerrymandering would make for an untenable district and that a run for governor would be an option.

Iowa has finished redistricting and Cindy Axne has made her decision.  She is running for reelection to a third term in the House of Representatives. That’s a good thing.  Democrats do not need another open Democratic seat to defend.  In Iowa, it is tough enough to elect a Democrat to Congress.  Reelection is a better bet.

When Democratic control of Congress is firmer than it is today, Cindy Axne should run for Governor.  She may have earned her reputation for sharp elbows while playing old fashioned 6 on 6 girls’ basketball in high school where she was an imposing six footer.   Or she may have earned that reputation as a manager, working in Iowa government.  She has demonstrated that she is good at governing. Not that her time in government was always clear sailing.

Cindy Axne was fired from her job in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  We don’t know the details.  She has kept her mouth shut, which is probably an indication of integrity.  The Republicans have never said anything either. Since they did they firing, I would not credit them with integrity on the issue.  She had worked for nine years in state government — in the Department of Administrative Services and later the Department of Management under two Democratic administrations. She worked at the Department of Natural Resources as administrator of the management services division from which she was fired by the Republicans.

Cindy Axne was a back of the house person.  She focused on budgets, personnel management, technology — unglamorous work.  “I made sure state agencies had proper processes and strategies in place to implement their services in a tighter fashion — making sure they used taxpayer dollars wisely.”  Even though she has a 100% voting record supporting President Joe Biden in this deeply partisan House of Representatives, she says much the same about most of her work in Congress: “It’s not policy, it’s problem solving.”

Cindy Axne was born in Michigan, but grew up in Iowa, graduating from Valley High School in West Des Moines.  She majored in journalism at the University of Iowa, then got an MBA from Northwestern.  From Northwestern, she went to work in Chicago for the Tribune company.   She worked in journalism, but not as a reporter.  She worked in leadership development and planning for the Tribune before returning to Iowa to work in state government.

Cindy Axne has recounted, maybe only once in public, an incident that demonstrated her toughness.  Walking home alone at night in Chicago, she started walking faster when she noticed she was being followed by, it turns out, a man wearing a ski mask.  He caught up with her and pushed her into an alley.  Rejecting his threats if she didn’t stay quiet, she screamed, punched him with the hand that she carried keys in to protect herself, and kicked him.  He ran off as people turned on their lights and appeared to be coming to her aid.

With her second term underway, Cindy Axne’s 2022 campaign will be different from her past campaigns.  In 2018, she attacked an incumbent Republican for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and his lack of concern for the health of his constituents.  In 2020, she attacked him again as he ran to get his seat back.  The 2020 vote was close.  She got 48.9% of the vote and won by 1.3% or a little more than 6,000 votes.  She won’t have David Young to kick around in 2012.  Three Republicans have announced their candidacy for the nomination against her – a State Senator who became an aide to Senator Grassley by way of time in the Air Force, a former State Rep who was also an aide to Senator Grassley and served as Director of White House Correspondence under GW Bush, and an African-American woman who describes herself as a conservative Republican.  Whichever Republican gets the nomination and a chance to attempt to mug her, Cindy Axne will have to defend her record.

She has made a couple of unforced errors.  She is being attacked for not disclosing financial transactions.  She explains that was a failure on the part of her retirement account (and her husband) to make appropriate disclosures.  With characteristic generosity of spirit, the head of the Republican Party in Iowa says he doesn’t believe her that this was an unintentional error.  She is also being attacked for a statement that, due to Covid, there are hospitals in Iowa that are so overcrowded they can’t accept patients for other essential services. A follow up with the hospitals found that they were crowded, but that they do take life threatening emergency cases like heart attacks or provide services after an automobile accident.

Cindy Axne has plenty to work with in her 2022 campaign – the substantial funds Iowa health centers have received from the American Rescue Plan, her support for both the infrastructure plan and the reconciliation budget plan (the importance of child care support, paid parental and medical leave, the danger of climate change).  She can speak about the value of biofuels and child tax credits that are in the budget plan.  She serves on the Agriculture Committee – a crucial spot for Iowa.  And she is on the financial services committee – crucial for strengthening the economy.  She positions herself as a moderate by being a member of the New Democrats Coalition – fiscally moderate, socially progressive.  She’s on both the health care task force and the energy and environment coalition (where she can continue to advocate for biofuels).

Cindy Axne will need your help to get re-elected.  Through the end of June, she raised $1.2 million.  She needed $6 million to win her election in 2020.  Help out Cindy Axne Make a donation.

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


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

Wisconsin 03 Brad Pfaff Candidate to replace retiring Ron Kind

Elsewhere in the US

Arizona 01 Tom O’Halleran  Received 51.61% of the vote in 2020

Georgia 07    Carolyn Bordeaux  Received 51.39% 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 (Redistricting makes this seat safer for her)

Texas TX 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020 (He is now running in the safe Democratic TX 34)

Texas 32 Colin Allred  Received 51.95% of the vote in 2020 (Redistricting makes this seat safer for him)

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

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

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

 California 25            Christy Smith Help her make the third time a charm.

California 48            Harley Rouda  Help him get his seat back from a far rightist supporter of Trump and Elder

Illinois 13                  David Palmer.  Help this financial planner and former basketball player and defeat a perpetually vulnerable Republican

Iowa 02                     Christina Bohanan Help this popular U of Iowa law school professor and state rep

North Carolina 08   Charles Evans  Help this formerly incarcerated guy who created a non-profit to help others like him

New Mexico 03       Gabe Vazquez Help this outdoorsman who knows how to make government work

Ohio 15                     Allison Russo  Help this health care researcher win an open Republican seat.

Oklahoma 05           Abby Broyles  Help this young, former television celebrity and investigative reporter defeat a vulnerable Republican

Pennsylvania 10     Eugene DePasquale Help the former State Auditor defeat Incumbent Scott Perry — the most active Congressional conspirator to overturn the 2020 election

Texas 23                   John Lira Help this military guy with roots in San Antonio defeat a conventional Republican (Redistricting makes winning this seat tougher.)

Virginia 01                Stewart Navarre Help this former Marine Colonel and medical exec defeat an extreme Republican in a district hinting at purple


REDISTRICTING AND ITS IMPLICATION – in order of map adoption

Oregon                       Adds a competitive sixth seat.  Probable gain of one Democratic seat.

Maine                         Slight changes in its two seats.  Probable no change.

Nebraska                   Changes in its one competitive seat.  Probable no change

Indiana                       Makes a competitive seat less competitive.  Probable no change.

West Virginia            Loses one seat. Probable loss of one Republican seat.

Texas                         Gains two seats from 23 R 13 D. Adds an R seat and a competitive seat. Probable gain of two Republican seats

Iowa                            Instead of 3 of 4 competitive seats, one of the 3 becomes a lean R.  Probable no change

Alabama                    6 Red seats and 1 Blue seat remain.  Probable no change

North Carolina          5 Blue seats reduced to 3. 8 Red seats increased to 10. One competitive seat remains. Probable -1 D, +2 R

Nevada                      No change except Blue and Red seats become leans.  Probable – no change

Montana                    1 Red seat increased to 2.  Probable +1R

Idaho                          2 Red seats.  Probable no change

Utah                            4 Red seats. Makes a lean Red seat solid Red.  Probable no change

So far:                        Probable no changes in Democratic seats and plus 4 Republican seats.

Organizations to support

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA)

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS)

The Democratic (State) Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)

Fair Fight Stacey Abrams organization to support fair elections

The Lincoln Project Former Republicans whose messaging is tougher than ours,

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