Blog from May, 2017

ASDC Clips 4/18/17
Association of State Democratic Chairs Clips

Association of State Democratic Chairs


Bernie Sanders, Tom Perez bringing Democrats' 'Fight Back Tour' to Mesa

Bernie Sanders, the left-leaning senator from Vermont who shook up last year's Democratic presidential primaries, will join Tom Perez, the national party's new chairman, in Mesa next Friday as part of their "Come Together and Fight Back Tour." "This past election cycle, the Arizona Democratic Party laid the groundwork to break the Republican stronghold on Arizona, so much so that we outperformed several traditional blue states," Alexis Tameron, Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman, said in a written statement. "We know our work is not yet done, but I’m thrilled to welcome Chairman Perez and Senator Sanders, two proven leaders who understand how critical the Grand Canyon State will be for the future of this party."


Democrats look to field strong candidates for Congress in '18

Hoping for a tidal wave of anti-Trump votes in 2018, Democrats say they are working hard to line up strong candidates to run for Congress. After suffering setbacks in November, Democrats say the political climate is improving for them in Arkansas and nationwide. State Rep. Michael John Gray of Augusta, the newly elected Democratic Party of Arkansas chairman, said he's monitored the contests in Kansas and Georgia and is encouraged by what he sees. "In this past election cycle, people wanted change. And now they're starting to feel the effect of some of the Republican Party change and they're not liking it," he said. Arkansans who are dissatisfied with Republican leadership will have an alternative in 2018, Gray said, adding, "We're going to be ready." Democrats in all four congressional districts in Arkansas have already expressed interest in running, though it's premature to release the names, party officials said.


California Democrats focus on normally safe GOP House seats

Democratic plans to target half of California’s 14 Republican members of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections represent a high-stakes bet that President Trump’s continuing unpopularity in the state will filter down to even the strongest GOP candidates. There’s going to be a backlash in the state from voters still outraged that the GOP businessman was elected at all and others upset with Trump’s plans for the nation, said Robin Swanson, a spokeswoman for the California Democratic Party. “Donald Trump lost California by more than 4 million votes,” she said. “When Republicans align themselves with his unpopular policies, it’s going to stick.” Democrats plan to spend the money to make that happen.


Georgia Democrats See Chance To Send A Message With Special Election Upset

Democrats in Georgia's 6th District aren't exactly used to the fact that they might actually win something. "It's just so wonderful to have a potential for a progressive Democrat to capture the district, and to send a message that we don't approve of the Trump agenda and the direction he's taking the country in," Bruce Johnson said as he gathered at Jon Ossoff's campaign office on Saturday morning to begin knocking on doors ahead of Tuesday's vote. "This is a pretty extraordinary moment for Georgia," Ossoff continued to his supporters that had come out on the final weekend of the campaign. "The eyes of the whole nation are on us. The eyes of the world are on us. And it's a rare chance for us to stand up and make a statement about what we stand for, and to prove that we believe in a country that is decent and kind, compassionate, courageous and tough, that we reject fear and division, that we stand together in all of our diversity, working for a better community here, and a better country."

Georgia special election is next test for GOP’s success under Trump

A special election to fill a longtime Republican House seat in Georgia has turned into a national referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as an early test of the left’s ability to turn its opposition to Mr. Trump into electoral success. The race, the first federal election since Trump’s victory last fall, was a sign of the growing energy among political groups on the left. Activists have staged marches and spoken out at town hall meetings with congressional lawmakers in the months since Trump took office, drawing comparisons to the conservative Tea Party movement that sprang up after Barack Obama’s election in 2008. “The excitement levels we’re seeing right now are unprecedented,” Rebecca DeHart, the executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, said. Democrats see the race as “a referendum on the Trump administration,” she added.


Hawai‘i Democrats to Host 4/20 Cannabis Forum

The Democratic Party of Hawai‘i will host a forum to discuss the future of cannabis in the state on Thursday, April 20. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a legislation summary by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (via video conference) and continue with presentations from other panelists and a question-and-answer session until 7:30 p.m. The informational forum will serve to educate party members and the public at large on the debate surrounding cannabis and efforts currently underway at both the state and federal levels. The conversation will be wide-ranging and touch on decriminalization and de-scheduling efforts in Congress, decriminalization bills at the Hawai‘i State Legislature, the national trend toward legalization in other states and municipalities, the current status of measures relating to medical dispensaries across the state, and health benefits of cannabis for Hawai‘i patients.


Sen. Claire McCaskill Continues Town Hall Tour in Springfield

Senator Claire McCaskill continued her Town Hall Campaign across the Show-Me State with her 7th event in Springfield today at the Glass Place. McCaskill has represented Missouri since 2007, and claims that open public forums are a way to stay accountable to her constituents. “There’s no question I am an underdog, but I’m used to that,” said Claire McCaskill. The local Democratic Party issued this statement to KOLR10 News in light of the town hall meeting today, from Chairman Stephen Webber. "It's sad that Missouri's Republicans in Congress are ducking public town halls - but it's not surprising given the unpopular, extreme policies they're pursuing in Washington that would slam Missouri's families and our rural communities,” said Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber. “I'd want to hide from the public too, if I were them.”


Nevada GOP Sen. Heller faces combative town hall crowd

Nevada Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller distanced himself Monday from the Trump administration's immigration and health care policies at a sometimes combative town hall meeting with hundreds of critics. Considered one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election next year, Heller also insisted he supports Planned Parenthood's family planning efforts despite his recent vote to allow individual states to defund the program. "It didn't repeal money for Planned Parenthood," he said. "I think the states should be making those kinds of decisions." Nevada's Democratic Party said in a statement afterward that Heller "lied repeatedly about his record of trying to defund Planned Parenthood" and repeal the Affordable Care Act. "While we've gotten used to Sen. Heller changing positions to suit his audience, his blatant lying was an insult to his constituents," party spokesman Stewart Boss said.

New Hampshire

Sununu drops nomination for environmental commissioner after rocky hearing

Gov. Chris Sununu announced on Monday that he’s withdrawing his nomination of Peter Kujawski as commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services. The decisions follows last Wednesday’s rocky performance by Kujawski at a public confirmation hearing in front of the Executive Council. At that hearing, Kujawski was questioned over his qualifications for the job and his understanding of state environmental policy and programs. Minutes after the statement by the Corner Office, the New Hampshire Democratic Party criticized Sununu, the state’s first Republican governor in a dozen years. “Kujawski was clearly unprepared for his nomination hearing, and his lack of environmental experience and lack of deep consideration of many issues made him unqualified for the job. Rather than appointing the acting DES commissioner who was already doing the job, he nominated a friend and donor who was vying for any agency nomination Sununu would hand him,” longtime NHDP chair Ray Buckley said in a statement.


Democrats hope to flip PA's 10th District seat

Republican Congressman Tom Marino of northeastern Pennsylvania is expected to leave his seat to take a role in the Trump Administration. While he hasn't officially announced any move, candidates on both sides of the aisle are ready to jump into the ring. Congressman Marino won each of his elections in the 10th district since 2011 by wide margins. Marcel Groen, Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, says the seat could flip. "It appears that the President's numbers are not doing well, so I think it gives us an opportunity," Groen said. The most recent Franklin and Marshall College Poll reported only 38 percent of respondents in the district thought Trump was doing a good or excellent job.

South Carolina

Trump's election spurs Democrats in SC and elsewhere

Alexis Frank and Mary Geren each attended the Women's March on Washington after President Trump's inauguration in January. Now they are both running as Democratic candidates for Congress. Frank and Geren said Trump's policies helped inspire their long-shot candidacies. Throughout the state and across the nation, large numbers of Democrats are lining up to run for office. "People are coming out of the woodwork," said Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. The Hill, a website that covers Congress, reported last week that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spoken with 275 potential candidates, including 20 in a single Illinois district.


Record Participation in Democratic County Party Reorganization

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Tennesseans gathered and reorganized 84 of 92 eligible county parties, and elected 52 new county party chairs. The change in leadership in more than half of the counties reflects a more energized group of Tennessee Democrats who are ready to stand up in their communities. Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, Mary Mancini said, "We have seen a huge amount of new energy and interest in the Democratic Party since election day. People from all parts of Tennessee are becoming more active citizens, holding elected officials accountable and joining their county parties.” "The tenacity shown by these former candidates represents their resolve and commitment to continue fighting for Democratic values. They see the Republican supermajority is focused on divisive issues that do not address the everyday needs of Tennesseans. Electing more Democrats starts with growing our county parties and effective and energetic leaders are essential to that effort," Mancini added.


Democrats talk about future of party, getting people involved

Southern Vermont residents gathered at Memorial Hall Tuesday evening to discuss the future of the Democratic Party. Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party Faisal Gill was in attendance to answer questions and talk about his own vision of where he wants to take the party in the coming years. Members of southern Vermont’s Indivisible groups were also present. The Indivisible movement aligns with Gill’s vision for the future of the Democratic Party. He said he would like to see the party get back to grassroots and he stressed the importance of holding discussions. “The way you want to do it is exactly like this,” Gill said. “Go out, talk to people, hold community forums. That’s one of the biggest things you’ll see the Democratic Party doing. We’re going to hold community forums all over the state on all kinds of issues. You can’t just have one forum and expect to be done. It has to be a recurring discussion.”


Democratic Party Candidates Meeting with People in Charlottesville

Candidates running in the Democratic Primary got a chance to meet with voters in Charlottesville this weekend. The Charlottesville Democratic Committee hosted a candidate fair for the two seats up for grabs on City Council, and for the position of commonwealth's attorney. The candidates were set up tables inside the Central Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Saturday, April 15, where voters could visit with them individually. "The primaries at this point are just weeks away, and so this is really our last chance as the city Democrats to organize this kind of event before the primaries in June," said co-chair Elayne Philips with the Democratic Party of Virginia.


Democrat accuses Trump of 'empty promises'

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning says President Donald Trump coming to the state to talk about the importance of manufacturing jobs is one thing, but fulfilling his campaign promises is another. Trump plans to talk about the economy and the value of American jobs during a stop Tuesday at tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. in Kenosha. Laning said Monday that Trump is "full of empty promises" on job creation. She says, "We are going to hold him accountable to the promises he made." Laning says the Republican agenda under Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has hurt the economy and she worries that Trump will do no better. Wisconsin's unemployment is at a 17-year low, but neighboring states have been adding jobs at a higher rate.

ASDC Clips 5/1/17
Association of State Democratic Chairs Clips

Association of State Democratic Chairs


Massachusetts Democrats Work to Combat Trump’s Disastrous First 100 Days: Part 2

While President Trump fails to live up to any of his promises during the first 100 days of his administration, Democratic leaders and elected officials in Massachusetts are standing up to Trump and defending Massachusetts residents from his policies and political attacks.  “One hundred days into the Trump administration, the President has broken dozens of his unconventional campaign promises. It’s clear he only cares about enriching himself and advancing the same old Republican agenda of tax cuts for the rich and less for the rest of us,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. “Luckily, here in Massachusetts, our elected officials are fighting for our rights and looking out for working families. Our Attorney General, Maura Healey, has been recognized as a national leader in the fight to defeat the Trump administration’s illegal executive orders, and our Democratic statewide officials are speaking out against the President’s lies and hateful rhetoric.”

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, Joe Biden talks of winning 'it back,' but adds 'Guys, I'm not running'

Joe Biden’s speech to sold out New Hampshire Democratic Party Dinner may have sounded like an early version of a 2020 stump speech, but the former Vice President insisted he’s not considering a third campaign for the presidency. Early in his keynote address at the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner, Biden said that when NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley invited him to speak in the first-in-nation-primary state, “there wasn’t a doubt in my mind, even though it caused a lot of speculation.” But Biden then immediately added “Guys, I’m not running.” A top state Democrat told NH1 News Biden could do more for the party by not running for president again. “Am I disappointed that Joe Biden says he’s not running. No. I think he is the kind of person we need to speak for the party, to lead for the party, and to encourage other people to run,” NHDP 1st Vice Chair Martha Fuller Clark said after the former vice president’s speech. The longtime state senator from Portsmouth added that “he (Biden) could not inspire us the way he did tonightif he were running for office.”

New Mexico

State Dems elect Santa Fean as party’s chairman

New Mexico Democrats have elected Santa Fean Richard Ellenberg as their state party chairman while they seek to mend divisions from last year’s presidential election and parlay opposition to President Donald Trump into electoral success in 2018. Ellenberg, 69, drew support from different corners of the party. With a record as chairman of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party, he pledged to turn the statewide organization into a fundraising, campaigning powerhouse as it works to win the Governor’s Office next year and hold on to a seat in the U.S. Senate. “In Santa Fe, we ended up with Bernie people and Hillary people working together. That’s the way it should be,” Ellenberg told members of the party’s central committee during a Saturday meeting in Albuquerque. The central committee also elected Neomi Martinez-Parra of Lordsburg as vice chairwoman and Katharine Clark of Santa Fe as secretary, and re-elected Robert Lara of Las Cruces as treasurer.


Pres. Trump celebrates 100th day with Harrisburg rally

President Donald Trump returned to Harrisburg on Saturday night to ring in his 100th day in office with Keystone State voters who helped deliver him the White House in November. “There is no place I’d rather be than right here in Pennsylvania to celebrate our 100-day milestone, to reflect on an incredible journey together and get ready for the great, great battles to come — and that we will win in every way,” Trump told the 7,000-plus supporters and handfuls of protesters at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. Before the president took the stage, liberal groups from across the region held demonstrations, marches and counter-rallies near the Farm Show Complex. Chad Baker, chairman of the Democratic Party of York County, joined. Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman Michael Blake, Pennsylvania State Sen. Daylin Leach, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse and others at a Pennsylvania Democratic Party resistance rally across the street from the complex. Baker said he was speaking at the rally because he was “ready to hold Donald Trump accountable for the last 100 days and for the rest of his administration.”

South Carolina

SC Democratic Party elects new chair

Political strategist Trav Robertson is the new chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party. Still licking their wounds after the election losses of 2016, S.C. Democrats electing a new leader at their annual convention Saturday pinned their hopes on a battle-hardened campaign manager instead of a progressive grassroots activist. “I’m going to work every day to create an organization that takes the fight to Republicans in this state,” said Robertson, 42, who has more than 20 Democratic campaigns under his belt. Robertson’s supporters billed him as the only candidate who can start to turn back the GOP tide. “Trav Robertson is a winner,” former state Rep. Anton Gunn, D-Richland, told the convention. “He knows how to take a district from red to blue. ... I got elected in a red district because Trav Robertson knew what he was doing.”

National Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez calls on South Carolina to 'flip the fifth' district

Democratic National Convention Chairman Tom Perez told South Carolina Democrats Friday that if they take their message of being the party of unity and inclusion to the people, they will be able to flip the state's 5th Congressional District from red to blue. "We can do this, but we have to talk to people and listen to people," said Perez, the keynote speaker at the S.C. Democratic Party's annual fundraising Blue Palmetto Dinner. "We have got to articulate what we stand for, and then we have to put those morals into action." Three Democrats are facing off in 5th District special election primary Tuesday. The winner will vie to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Mick Mulvaney when he left earlier this year to join President Donald Trump's administration as budget director. Seven Republicans are running in the primary. Perez said if Democrats explain to people that they believe the economy works best when it works for everyone, when no one who works a full-time job should live in poverty and that education is the great equalizer.


Texas Republican Bundles Bills to Protect Kids from Sex Offenders and Labor Unions

State Sen. Jane Nelson began the 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature with a clear goal: protect children from rapists and labor unions. The Republican introduced a packet of legislation at the beginning of this year that included giving local governments the right to expand neighborhood sex offender boundaries. But here’s the proposal that’s ringing alarm bells at Democratic headquarters and labor union halls across the Lone Star State: Nelson offered legislation to make sure no kid joins a labor union without the consent of their parents. "This bill protects parental rights by requiring consent before a minor may join a union, and it protects minors from entering into a contract that they may not fully understand." Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa contended Nelson’s proposal was nothing but an “attack on working Texans and the labor unions that protect their rights.” “This is downright wrong. Republicans say that minors can have the freedom to work in Texas, but not the freedom to speak up together, join a union, and fight for a better workplace. Instead, they’re met with burdensome parental consent paperwork and bureaucratic nonsense,” Hinojosa said in a statement.


Summit in Hampton strives to unite, energize local Democrats

Vanda Jaggard felt encouraged and inspired as she walked out of Sunday's Democratic and Activists Summit in Hampton, where 200 Hampton Roads Democrats gathered to promote party unity and find ways to work together to support their causes and win elections. Summit organizer Gaylene Kanoyton, first vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said she formed the event in hopes of capturing the energy that many Democrats had following the presidential election and directing that energy to campaign support or advocacy for an issue. After leading the crowd in a chant of "Together, united, we'll never be divided," Kanoyton said she was happy with the turnout of the Hampton Roads event and the energy she felt from those who attended. "We don't all agree always ... but here we see how we all can come together," Kanoyton said.

Virginia Democratic chair said Trump victory awakened her party

The election of Donald Trump as president and his first 100 days in office have jolted Democrats across Virginia and the country, the chairwoman of the Virginia Democratic Party says. “It’s given us a new awakening,’’ said Susan Swecker, who said membership in local Virginia Democratic committees is burgeoning and said there is a surge in the number of Democratic candidates filing for fall Virginia House of Delegates and Senate races. “I’ve never seen more enthusiasm and interest in House of Delegates races,’’ Swecker said. While Trump has attempted in his first 100 days to fulfill campaign promises by defunding the Environmental Protection Agency and replacing ObamaCare, his budget proposal has gone further. Swecker said the potential impact of the Trump budget is felt everywhere. The Trump budget cuts could affect Amtrak service in the Shenandoah Valley, funding for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport and other agencies.


Immigrant Communities Coming Together for May Day

Today is May Day, and Washingtonians are rallying with people across the country in support of laborers and immigrant communities. Otherwise known as International Workers' Day, May Day now is also associated with immigrants' rights. The Tri-Cities area has been planning May Day protests since the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in February, when every Latino-owned business in Pasco closed up shop. Organizer of the May Day march, David Cortinas of the Tri-Cities Latino Coalition, said he expects a similar response today. Washington state Democrats also are participating. Cedar Kennedy with the progressive caucus of the state Democratic Party is scheduled to speak. She said the new administration is harming immigrant communities of all kinds in central Washington. "Trump's agenda is not only terrorizing Latino farm workers, which we hear a lot about, but it's upsetting high-level workers as well,” Kennedy said.