Boynton Brown steps down at helm of Idaho Democratic party
Sally Boynton Brown is stepping down after five years as executive director of Idaho’s state Democratic Party. She announced the move on her Facebook page Friday. “When I started at the IDP, as field director, I said I would stay five to seven years and I am proud of all we have accomplished in that time,” Boynton Brown wrote. “We have come out of two very difficult election cycles — 2014 and 2016 — however the Party has responded by growing stronger and growing our membership.” She regularly put in more than 100 hours a week on party business as head of operations for the state Democratic organization. “This is my life. I don’t have work,” she told the Statesman in December. “I am here to save democracy.” In her post, Boynton Brown said the party’s former communications director, Dean Ferguson, would return to serve as interim executive director pending a search for a full-time replacement. She said she had not decided on her next steps but planned to stay in Boise with her husband and family and “continue the investment we have made this last decade in Idaho politics.”
'We're very much alive'
Ever since the end of the 2016 election, some national political pundits have sounded the death knell of the Democrat Party. Friday night in Connersville, however, the chair of the Indiana Democratic Party emphatically refuted those pundits, while rallying local Democrats in advance of an important election year in 2018. John Zody, chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, was in Connersville Friday as the keynote speaker at the Fayette County Democrat Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner at the John H. Miller Community Center, the party’s biggest fundraiser of the year. “I would say those pundits are wrong. Nationally, obviously we had a tough election. We had a tough election here in the state, but we’re very much alive. Parties are evolving organizations, they change from time to time,” Zody said. “Our change is that we’ve got a lot of new people involved since the election. A lot of people have gotten energized and united with both being Indiana Democrats, and with what’s happening in Washington and the realization that this current administration that’s in Washington is already not keeping the promises they made. There’s a lot of energy everywhere, we’re happy to have that energy, and we’ve just got to make sure we’re giving people an opportunity to get involved with the party.”
Frankfort local named Kentucky Democratic Party’s new executive director
Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe co-owner, progressive and former Democratic National Convention delegate Mary Nishimuta plans to build a bridge between experienced party faithfuls and energized newcomers from the last presidential election as the next executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Staying issue-driven, Nishimuta plans to steer clear of the 24-hour news cycle partisan tit-for-tat noise and instead talk openly with Kentuckians in all 120 counties about the issues affecting them. “That proven history of bringing people to the table having open, honest dialogue about either how to fix problems or move forward or unite for a common purpose is the skillset that is critical for the Kentucky Democratic Party,” Nishimuta said. “Our goal in the Kentucky Democratic Party is always to fight for working families in Kentucky. What it means is I hope we break down a lot of that negative dialogue and actually make it real for people again.” KDP chair Rep. Sannie Overly said Nishimuta will be an asset to the party. “Mary has a deep background in grassroots organizing, as well as extensive management experience in the private sector,” Overly said. “She will be a tremendous asset to the party as we fight for better jobs, education and health in Kentucky.”
Watchdog group asks U.S. attorney to investigate Missouri Senate leader
A government watchdog group wants a U.S. attorney to determine whether Missouri's leading Republican state senator took money in exchange for legislation to aid a donor's legal battle. Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., announced Wednesday that it filed a complaint with Tom Larson, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, against Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin. Friday morning, Missouri Democratic Party chair Stephen Webber reached out to reporters to ask why Attorney General Josh Hawley had not launched an investigation of his own. The top law enforcement official in the state is missing in action, Webber said, adding that Hawley's inaction could erode Missourians' faith in their government. Humphreys and his family gave at least $3 million to Hawley's campaign, and Humphreys also signed on to a letter urging Hawley to run for U.S. Senate. Webber questioned whether Hawley was reluctant to investigate a fellow Republican and launch an investigation involving a patron who gave his campaign millions of dollars.
Dems hunt for a win in Montana special election
The special election spotlight shifted west this week after a hard-fought race in Georgia. Now all eyes are on Montana, where a popular local folk musician will square off against a wealthy businessman to fill the state’s lone congressional district. The recent special elections have become nationalized, but Quist’s campaign argued that Montana’s race is unique and will be decided by voters who are independent-minded. An aide said Quist has made inroads in more rural, GOP-leanings areas, which he’ll need to pull off an upset. Special elections usually generate lower turnout, with the election’s scheduling on the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend set to reduce turnout even further. Plus, the reliably Democratic students at two of the largest colleges in Montana will already be on summer vacation. “It’s going to be a base election,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, adding that the race comes down to “the party that turns out their base and grabs those independents.”
New Mexico Democrats Energized After County Party Elections
Over the past few weeks, thousands of New Mexico Democrats gathered to reorganize and elected 17 new county party chairs. This year’s changes in leadership reflect an energized group of New Mexico Democrats who are ready to organize and stand up for all New Mexicans no matter where they live or their background. “Democrats came out in force in 2016, and we’re excited to see that momentum fuel our county party reorganization,” said Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Several of our county party meetings saw record attendance, and the newly-elected county party chairs are hitting the ground running, and ready to prepare for the 2018 election.” After record breaking early voter turnout in the 2016 general election and an upswell of action against irresponsible Republican policies of the Trump and Martinez administrations, Democrats in New Mexico have continued to increase engagement across the state. At Democratic County Central Committee meetings, Democrats elected their leadership teams, and this year 17 of the 33 counties elected new county chairs. The state Democratic Party will elect a new leadership team on April 29.
Democrats say they’re energized for a run at governor’s race
Amid surging enthusiasm, the Ohio Democratic Party’s high hopes for 2018 were in evidenceSaturday night. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, along with three declared candidates for governor and two other statewide hopefuls, plied the crowd at a dinner celebrating the legacy of John Glenn, the fighter pilot, astronaut and Democratic senator from Ohio who died in December and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said he’s bullish on the party’s prospects next year. The Democratic Party suffered a bruising loss last November when Republican Donald Trump carried the state by almost 9 percentage points. But Pepper said history shows that Ohio Democrats have a history of rebounding from such losses. “Democrats seem to get energized when they lose,” he said.
Gov. McMaster’s ‘joke’ about women jumping into pool raises eyebrows
A “joke” by Gov. Henry McMaster at a recent gathering at the executive mansion about offering a woman money if she would jump in the swimming pool has landed the governor in political hot water. State Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison called the comment “sexist,” saying it is similar to portraying women as sex objects in wet T-shirt contests. “Here’s a man who’s succeeding the first woman governor of South Carolina. It’s totally disrespectful, totally uncalled for. He needs to apologize to the mothers, daughters and grandmothers in this state,” Harrison said. “He’s the governor – not the coach of some basketball team.” McMaster’s spokesman, Brian Symmes, said Friday, “It’s no surprise in today’s climate that a lighthearted joke, taken out of context, is being used to score cheap political points. But to selfishly sully an event that the governor and First Lady hosted to thank our state law enforcement leaders for personal gain is absolutely offensive.”
Sanders brings Democratic unity tour to North Texas
Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders helped rally Texas Democrats on Thursday as the party seeks to show a unified front against President Donald Trump. Texas Democrats are energized after the 2016 presidential election gave the state its closest race in two decades — Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, by 9 percentage points here. Three traditionally conservative congressional districts in Texas also went for Clinton, giving Democrats potential new pick-up opportunities in 2018. "Mark my words: 2018 will be the best midterm of our lives, but it won't be easy," said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. "We cannot take on the Trump agenda divided. Too much is at stake."
Sen. Bernie Sanders brings ‘Come Together and Fight Back’ tour to SLC
Sen. Sanders appeared alongside newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman TomPerez as part of a nationwide "unity tour." They spoke to a crowd of about 3,000 Democrats and progressives in Salt Lake City on Friday. "This is not about Bernie Sanders. This is not about TomPerez. This is not about anybody else," Sanders told the crowd. "You know what this whole thing is about? It’s about you! And it’s about your children and it’s about your parents, and it’s about the environment." The Utah Democratic Party, one of the few to see gains in local elections last year, hoped to turn Sanders supporters into political activists. "We’ve been really trying to train all of these activists. We’ve got this huge surge of women, which is phenomenal," said Utah Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Littlfield. "We’ve been trying to train people. Train people to run for office, train people to run campaigns."
Sen. Duckworth to Headline Wisconsin Democratic Convention
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, of Illinois, will be the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention in June. The state party on Thursday announced Duckworth as the headliner for the first day of its meeting Friday, June 2. The annual gathering bringing together state office holders, party activists and others is in Middleton, just outside of Madison. The meeting comes as the Democratic Party prepares to defend the seat of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year and find a challenger for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Numerous Democrats have said they will not take him on, while others are still mulling whether to get in the race. State party chairwoman Martha Laning is also seeking re-election. That vote will occur at the convention.