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November 25th, 2022 Political Note #525 Get the House Back in 2024, Part 1
2022 General Election
On Election Day, I projected that the country would elect 220 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and left myself a little leeway. I could not decide about two seats.
So far, 221 Republicans and 213 Democrats have been elected. One seat is outstanding and projected to go Republican. I would brag about coming so close in my prediction, except for one thing. I have not looked carefully at how many individual seats I was wrong about. I’m sure there were plenty.
I am looking at who among the Democrats and Republicans are the most vulnerable for 2024. The closest races are a pretty good clue. As we wait to see what happens on the Presidential level for 2024, we can begin to help ourselves in Congress. Send a little money every month to the most vulnerable Democrats. Watch the behavior of the most vulnerable Republicans and do what is possible to make bad behavior visible.
A win with 55% or less of the vote could be a standard for vulnerability. Twenty-nine Republicans fit that category. Forty-three Democrats fit. If the uncalled race is called according to how it is leaning, that would make 31 vulnerable Republicans and 44 vulnerable Democrats. Look at the very closest races.
DEMOCRATS WORTH SUPPORTING IF WE WANT TO REGAIN CONTROL OF THE HOUSE
- Jared Golden (ME 02) (R+10) got 48.2% of the vote defeating former Representative Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin never got over losing in 2018 because of the ranked voting system. Adam Frisch, the Democrat who ran such a close race against Lauren Boebert in CO 03 urged Democrats to focus more effectively on rural voters. Others fret about Democrats losing the white working class. Maine is the 2ndmost rural district in the country, the 2nd whitest district in the country, and has a relatively low household median income of $55,000 plus. Jared Golden illustrates Democratic success in a conservative district.
- Jared Golden supported the Infrastructure Bill, voted for the Inflation Reduction Act – praising especially the plan to control drug pricing. He has supported strengthening social security, returning to the Paris Climate Accords, overturning Citizens United, and gets an A rating from NORML, which supports marijuana legalization.
- Jared Golden opposed several bills without preventing them from passing. For most of them, he explains his reasons. He opposed the original Build Back Better bill because it did not control drug pricing and eliminated the SALT tax cap in order to help high tax states. He opposed the first version of the American Rescue Plan because he thought the eligibility standards for getting the $1,400 stimulus package were too loose. He opposed the updated North American trade treaty because enforcement was too weak, which would then hurt Maine’s economy.
- Only one contrary vote did not include an explanation. He simply opposed gun safety proposals. He knows his district, but let’s hope that in the future he can oppose assault weapons.
- Yadira Caraveo (CO 08) (R+3) got 48.38% of the vote in this newly created district while defeating State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer. The district stretches from north of Denver to Greeley which is farther north of Denver and has a population that is 38.5% Hispanic – primarily of Mexican origin.
- Yadira Caraveo is the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants who sent all their children to college. A pediatrician and a member of Colorado’s House of Representatives, she deftly combines culturally progressive and culturally conservative positions. She sponsored a bill to provide free contraceptives and reproductive care to undocumented immigrants in order to reduce death rates among mothers and infants. She proposed adding an age requirement for some cannabis products in this state which was the first to allow the use of recreational marijuana. She co-sponsored a bill with Republicans, angering many Democrats to conduct a THC test for all “unnatural deaths.” Some argued the testing plan was racially divisive. She argued the testing would be useful in preventing young people from becoming addicted.
3. Gabe Vasquez (NM 02) (D+4) got 50.35% of the vote, defeating a Native American realtor, the incumbent Yvette Herrell, who was completing her first term. She, in turn had defeated a one term incumbent Democrat. This rural district that encompasses the southern half of New Mexico no longer stretches north to east central New Mexico. changing the district from and R+14 Lean. The new district, according to a report in the Lee County newspaper, divided New Mexico’s oil and gas industry evenly over the three districts instead of concentrating it in NM 02. All three districts are heavily Hispanic.
- Gabe Vasquez was a Las Cruces City Councilor. His principal interest is the environment. He had been director of community relations for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, deputy director of New Mexico’s chapter of the Wilderness Society, and Director of the Western Conservation Foundation. He argues that conservation is for everyone not just the elite, that household income should never determine who gets access to clear air, clean water, and the outdoors.
- Jahana Hayes (CT 05) (D+3) won 50.4% of the vote running against an African American former state Senator. This is a rural district, though it includes the small city of Waterbury where she is from. It includes the western part of the state except for the New York City suburbs. It is the least Democratic district in Connecticut’s all Democratic delegation. The district is 71% white, 17% Hispanic, and 6.5% Black. Jahana Hayes, like her opponent, is Black.
- When she was first elected in 2018, Jahana Hayes battled the local press which declared her a member of the Squad. She had grown up in public housing in Waterbury, had been removed from advanced high school courses after she had a baby, but made her way to college with a support of her former guidance counselor. Before running for Congress, she was a teacher in Waterbury and had been named National Teacher of the Year. She has been an advocate for children, for women, and for education.
- She is a member of the agriculture committee as well as the education and labor committee. As a member of the education and labor committee she took on Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene — asking the Republican leadership not to place her on the education and labor committee in the light of Greene’s claims that the mass killing of children and educators at Sandy Hook was a “false flag.” Sandy Hook is in Jahana Hayes
REPUBLICANS TO WATCH AND TO CALL OUT FOR THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR
- Ryan Zinke (MT 01) (R+10) got 49.7% of the vote while defeating attorney Monica Tranel. He left the Trump administration under fire for corruption. A former college football player with a BA and an MBA from Oregon, he retired from the Navy SEALs after more than two decades in that unit. He was a state senator in Montana and served a term in Congress before his appointment to Donald Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of Interior. Ryan Zinke resigned as Secretary after investigations found he had inappropriately chartered a private flight to Nevada to speak to a professional hockey team and blocked and may have lied about his role regarding a Native American casino in Connecticut. Other investigations were beginning – one into his role in a development in his hometown of Whitefish, Mt, another into his use of personal emails.
- His policy positions are questionable. As Interior Secretary he denied the existence of climate change and argued that environmental terrorist groups caused California wildfires. He proposed eliminating 4,000 Department of Interior jobs and a 13% cut in the Department budget. As part of that cut, he proposed reducing the Land and Water Conservation Fund by more than 90%. A hunting enthusiast, he sought to end the ban on the import of trophies from elephant hunting and the like.
- There is no hint that Monica Tranel is considering running again in 2024. You could donate to the Montana Democratic Party and/or to Forward Montana.
- Lauren Boebert (CO 03) (R+15) got 50.1% of the vote while defeating businessman and former City councilman Adam Frisch. Lauren Boebert’s views and actions are so consistently inconsistent with reality and a humane vision of the world, you wonder if anything new would persuade her constituents to vote against her? Actually a lot of them did vote against her. In 2020, she won the general election by 6 points, the primary by 9. In 2022, she won the general election by 554 votes.
- Wikipedia’s summary of her views and actions is as good a source as any: In addition to her advocacy for guns and gun rights, “Boebert supports Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him and voted to overturn its results during the Electoral College vote count. She has supported the QAnon conspiracy theory, and some academic and journalistic sources have investigated her ties to far-right extremism. She opposes transitioning to green energy, COVID -19 mask and vaccine mandates, abortion, sex education, sex-reassignment surgeries for minors, and non-heterosexual marriage. She advocates for an isolationist foreign policy (but supports closer ties with Israel for religious reasons) and wants to minimize immigration to the United States. A self-described born-again Christian, Boebert has said that she is ‘tired of this separation of church and state junk’ and argued for greater church power and influence in government decision-making.”
- She and her husband are not free from corruption (both financial and personal) charges. Boebert Consulting, which they created, pays her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars for consulting with Colorado oil and gas producer Terra Energy. In 2015, she was arrested for encouraging kids being arrested for drinking to escape from the police. In 2016 she was cited for operating an unsafe vehicle and other violations. Initially, she failed to appear in court. Subsequently she pled guilty regarding the vehicle and the other charges were dismissed. In her 2022 memoir, despite the fact that he had pled guilty and spent a few days in jail and two years on probation, Boebert denied that her husband had exposed his penis to two women.
- Some of her political positions invite characterization. Was she advocating for the starvation of babies when she opposed bills to alleviate the baby formula shortage? Did she favor military government when she refused to condemn the Myanmar generals’ coup d’etat? Does she really believe that immigrants have been welcomed to the United States so they can replace the unvaccinated? Does she really believe that the drug fentanyl is a weapon of mass destruction? Does she have any evidence that transgender health care is actually sexualizing children for horrific sexual research? Does she really want the Church to direct the government? Which church?
- Like Jared Golden, Adam Frisch, found the right tone for a Democrat in a conservative, rural district. He promised to rebuild the middle class, to protect current good paying jobs and create more by supporting locally produced energy including oil and gas, and to protect natural resources, especially Colorado’s forests and water.
- On inflation, he described Boebert as bought and paid for by special interests. He proposed reducing costs by reducing regulation and fixing the supply chain.
- On Jobs, he described Boebert as distracted from local concerns by her national celebrity. He would focus on reducing regulations that affect local businesses and support colleges and universities.
- On Water, he described Boebert as neglecting this issue central to Colorado’s interest. He would protect water conservation projects and find new sources of water for those downstream who want Colorado’s water.
- He continues in this vein, describing support for veterans, for development of many kinds of energy sources, for fiscal responsibility, for education, for women’s choice, for affordable health care, for family farmers and ranchers, and for the environment.
- And he came within a whisker of winning in this R+15 district. Adam Frisch is considering running again. Give him money to encourage him.
- State Senator Zach Nunn (IA 03) (R+2) defeated two-term incumbent Cindy Axne with 50.3% of the vote. Nunn was a state rep and state senator. He emphasizes his electoral success in ousting Democrats and his career in the military. Currently he is a Lt. Colonel in Iowa’s National Guard. He has credentials – including a Master’s Degree through the military and another Master’s Degree from Cambridge University. He has worked for Senator Grassley and for Sir Peter Bottomley in the British House of Commons.
- Cindy Axne attempted to defeat him by accusing him of opposing abortion with no exceptions, as wanting to defund the police through a state senate proposal that would fine Iowa cops $50,000 for enforcing federal gun laws, against competing with China, against lower prescription drug costs, and minimizing the January 6 insurrection.
- Nunn impetuously raised his hand in a debate to express support abortion without exceptions. He has since backtracked to suggest permissible exceptions to an abortion ban. He favors quick and bold actions. Sometimes that can be enormously favorable to him. He worked on an effort to fly six planes to Afghanistan to bring civilians out of the country after the US military had left. Sometimes, however, his proposals are dangerous. He excoriated Joe Biden for failing to use American and European planes to protect Ukraine. He did not acknowledge or consider what might be the consequence of a military confrontation with Russia. He promises, boldly, that he will stand by his conscience and vote independently in Congress regardless of the Party position. You would think that an independent politician, schooled internationally in international relations, could have praised Joe Biden’s tough response in Ukraine which has also avoided an American military confrontation with Russia.
- In 2018, Axne was elected with 49% of the vote. In 2020 she was elected with 48.9% of the vote. In 2022, though she lost, she earned 49.6% of the vote – more than the two previous elections. Will she be watching Zach Nunn’s Congressional performance in anticipation of a return match in 2024? Until she takes a step that would allow her to formally consider that possibility, you cannot support her. You can support the Iowa Democratic Party and/or the Blog Bleeding Heartland. Check out the website: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/about/.
It seems as if Democrats have just come off an election that was pretty successful. Furthermore, there is still a US Senate election to win. How can we begin dealing with 2024. I will quote my mother-in-law when asked when she would stop worrying about her then adult daughter with kids in high school and college. “It never stops,” she said.
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