Minutes for June 6, 2021

Soon after we began, we had a virtual visit from Dr. Ben Moses, VA-HD-59. He is a very impressive candidate—ICU doctor and Army veteran—who can connect to his rural district over health care. He seems clear in understanding that he needs amazing turnout from the 2020 Biden voters to have a chance. Normally these odd-year elections have a big drop-off, for both sides.

Our ActBlue page is up for Ben, and Naomi and I will match up to $500 given over the next two weeks.

Our friends at EBAA are supporting Alex Askew (VA-HD-85) and Nancy Guy (VA-HD-83), both repeats from 2019. Bill, who was out of town, says that EBAA is raising $1800 (each) for an intern, now called a Fellow. We postponed making any commitment to these races, but we can reconsider. Biden won both of their districts, Guy’s with 56% and Askew’s with 55%, although Guy had much the closer 2019 race. Trump won Moses’ district: it is a much steeper hill to climb.

We have Virginia postcards. I am working on getting addresses from the Moses campaign; alternatively, you can write for other Virginia Delegate seats through Postcards4VA.

We also had a poor result in the Texas Special Election for mayor of McAllen. Not only did the Republicans win in a county that is 85% Hispanic, turnout was apparently 7%. That’s a level of disinterest we can’t overcome long distance. Let’s look for grassroots groups than can fix this. There are also two Congressional special elections in November for Ohio. OH-11 is a lock, the only question is the Democratic Primary. Bernie adviser Nina Turner is so much better than the alternatives she is also getting mainstream support. OH-15 is a tough district for us. Our candidate, Allison Russo, holds a Ph.D. in. public health, so getting support from STEM groups. If we lose by single digits, it would be a positive indicator for 2022.

Closer to home, we are looking at CA-21. A new, young Democrat is running: Bryan Osorio. We have received an invitation to a Zoom fundraiser, Saturday, June 19th at 2pm. There’s no sign defeated ex-Rep. TJ Cox is trying again, which is probably for the better. Osorio is a 2018 graduate of Cal, the son of Mexican immigrants, and first-generation college graduate.

The rest of the meeting discussed how to handle Joe Manchin’s thumbs-down on S.1., the “For the People Act”. The best way forward, Bruce suggested (I agree), is to rally Democrats behind the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which has no provisions that are controversial among Democrats, or among the general public. Manchin even wants a strong version restoring pre-clearance. (All the provisions are, I suppose, controversial among Republicans, as they involve allowing people to vote.) We will contact Feinstein’s and Padilla’s offices to suggest they get behind this plan. (We will keep it separate from our suggestions that Feinstein, who is senile, should retire.)

We suggest communicating by fax.
Windows users: You can create a “printer” that is actually a virtual fax machine. This is part of the Windows system itself.
Mac users: If you have a multifunction printer connected to a phone line, you will probably be able to fax from that. If not, this web site allows you to send five faxes (max three pages each) per day. I have used it successfully while traveling. Ignore all of the sign-up ads and offers for expensive fax services. Just use the free option.
As usual, tech support available from Yours Truly.

NM–01 Special Election results

Given the Blue nature of the district I don’t think it is a reason to throw a party, but I can safely say Team Red (or is that Team Brown, the color of fascism?) can not be pleased with the New Mexico results. Democrat Melanie Stansbury is ahead by over 25, likely to outpace even the big wins Biden and now-Sec’y of the Interior Deb Haaland racked up in November.

Calendar

Next Indivisible Elmwood meeting: Sunday, June 6, 4:00 pm, at the Elmwood Resistance HQ. [UPDATE: Ben Moses (VA HD–59) will join us by Zoom, 4:15–4:30.]

Remember that on Friday, June 4, Ann Overton is collecting items you wish to donate to the EBAA Garage Sale. Email her for directions and to determine if your donation is an accepted item.

A new group, Central Valley Matters, is holding a Zoom fundraiser on Thursday, June 10th, at 5 PM. The recipients are Valley Voices (located in Kings County), Valley Forward (located in Fresno County), and the Dolores Huerta Foundation (located in Kern County). RSVP and more information here.

And right now: Postcards4VA has addresses for the Delegate races in Virginia. We will try to have some Virginia-specific postcards to give out; our Blue Wave cards aren’t quite apt.

Tony the Democrat also has postcard campaigns going.

In the NM-01 special election, as of Friday, early ballots from Democratic registrants were outpacing Team Red’s by over 2:1. The election is June 1. Democrat Melanie Stansbury has also outraised the Republican by over 2:1. I wish Democrats would stop trying to win elections by flooding the zone with expensive yet mediocre ads—and I especially wish they would stop asking us for donations to do it. [UPDATE: Separate post on result. Short version, Big Blue win.]

Minutes from May 23, 2021

“Minutes”. Long time since I wrote that.

We started with a champagne celebration of being able to get back together again.

I continued with a discussion of the elections held since last November. Although Jon Ossoff raised more than any Senate candidate before, with Raphael Warnock in second place, credit really goes to Stacey Abrams and her ground game. We followed that with a collapse in the TX-06 Special Election. We were going to lose this in the runoff, but we didn’t even make it to the runoff, and the fault seems to lie with Democrats who don’t understand teamwork. I didn’t mention at the meeting, but another good example is the late Alcee Hastings, whose Blue seat will sit vacant until early 2021 through a combination of local Dems who don’t want to resign their current positions early and Hastings’ belief he had to run again in 2020 as an 84-year-old man with advanced pancreatic cancer.

We can redeem ourselves with a good performance in the NM-01 Special Election to replace Deb Haaland, now Secretary of the Interior. This is a Blue district and anything less than a double-digit victory will encourage Team Red. Despite the hysterical emails you receive, early voting, although disappointing in numbers, is excellent in party breakdown.

The focus of odd-year elections is again Virginia. Our old friends Nancy Guy and Alex Askew are running for re-election to the House of Delegates. Their districts seem to have become a little safer. Guy won by 41 votes last time, but Biden won by about 15 points. East Bay Activists Alliance, which has a picture Guy and Askew unlabeled[!] on their front page, will be phone- and text-banking for them again. I have volunteered for a big challenge: HD-59, where Dr. Ben Moses is taking on the Republican incumbent. Trump won this district by 20-plus. Besides having to peel away Trump voters, there is a Libertarian who might siphon conservatives unhappy with the Trump brand. I am going to ask Moses to Zoom into one of our upcoming meetings to give a pitch. Don’t give him your rent money. This is to lay the foundation for the Democratic Party in an area it has been invisible for decades. He is on track to get enough for that.

We also discussed what 2020 California loss we would like to help win back. Naomi and I have become partial to CA-21, where we canvassed for TJ Cox. (Districts may get renumbered in the decennial reapportionment.) There is already a promising D candidate, Bryan Osorio, currently Mayor of Deno. Not Deno nor Deləno. Osorio is a child of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college graduate: Berkeley 2018. Christy Smith doesn’t seem to know how to win her district, and Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy are in strong positions. Bruce and Babette Jackson think we should make a target of McCarthy anyway. Two Democrats are already in the race against him.

Judy Stacey explained that the bill to allow non-LEO sheriffs has been bottled up by Democrats. It was not a good Legislative session for progressives.

Bruce, sometimes known to phone-bank targets as Bruno, has his own post on democracy protection, Joe Manchin edition.

Ann Overton announced an EBAA garage sale to support the Movement Voter Project. The sale itself is not near Elmwood, but you can drop donations off with her on Friday, June 4. Email her first, because only specific items will be sold.

Non-political: Janice Weingrod has a show upcoming at the Moss Gallery, at 2980 College in Elmwood near the movie theatre. Hours are 12:00–4:00 pm, May 27 through June 19.

We discussed how we want Indivisible Elmwood to move forward. Everyone is happy to be meeting in person. Naomi and I would like some other people to host on occasion. This will give us a chance to grow by bringing in friends without asking them to go to strangers’ homes. There was support for this. We would like to be at 20 to 25 active members, realizing not all will attend meetings, but still be available for postcard and phone campaigns.

Back in-person business

[EDIT: May 25, minutes are above] We haven’t seen each other in a long, long time. We are putting in-person Indivisible Elmwood back on the schedule, with an initial meeting for May 23, 4:00 pm at the usual safe house. Naomi and I are both fully-vaccinated (Pfizer). We expect all of you are, too. Yes, there will be chocolate brownies. And a lot to catch up on. RSVP.

Virginia House of Delegates

“Isn’t this where we came in?”

Four years ago, we were getting the Virginia Democrats into within a coin-flip of state control. Now it is time to defend and extend.

I have volunteered, via Bluebonnet, to do data diving for Ben Moses, the Democratic candidate for the 59th House of Delegates [Assembly] district. He’s an M.D. and served as an Army doctor. Great bio. This district is in green on the map. No cities, and the only town you have heard of is Appomattox, where Robert E. Lee surrendered.

VA HD-59

This is a tough district, the eleventh-most Trumpy out of one hundred. But the Republican incumbent has convictions for DUI, illegal hunting, and minor weapons violations. He is also a pathetic fundraiser who may have to be bailed out by the larger party, taking away contributions that could go elsewhere.

I don’t want to reveal the Moses campaign’s plans and inner workings, but it is a matter of public record that he has already raised more than the Democrat from last cycle, with six months to go. This is the first time the Democrat has serious professional organizing. I am considering hosting a fundraiser for him as an Indivisible Elmwood event. Who would be interested?

Of course, the candidates we have supported before, Alex Askew and Nancy Guy, also need funds for their re-election. However, Joe Biden carried their districts by about 10 points. They need to get identified Democrats who have voted before to go to the polls. Moses needs to turn out infrequent and new voters, which will be more expensive.

SB 271 for better Sheriffs

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced SB 271, the Sheriff Democracy and Diversity Act, to allow all registered voters to run for Sheriff — reverting back to the eligibility requirements in place from 1850 until 1989.

“Liberal” Alameda County has a particularly bad sheriff, a Republican friend of ICE, manager of notoriously abusive Santa Rita Jail, and promoter of militarized policing. A major reason is the 1988 requirement that restricted sheriff candidates to law enforcement officers in reaction to the 1980 election of reformist prison lawyer Michael Hennessy as Sheriff of San Francisco.

Indivisible Elmwood has nominated SB 271 to California State Strong for endorsement by the state Indivisible organization. The coalition supporting this bill now seeks endorsements and support letters from all possible organizations, professional associations, religious congregations, local governing bodies, institutions, etc. Please promote this bill widely. Contact Judith Stacey: judith.stacey@nyu.edu for additional information, to arrange a zoom, and/or to provide a support letter or endorsement. Thank you so much.

Weiner’s full press release.

Fact Sheet.

Sample support letter.

We win Georgia x 2

I doubt any of you are waiting for Indivisible Elmwood to make its declaration, but we have flipped both Senate seats in Georgia. Senator Raphael Warnock. Senator Jon Ossoff. Not entirely how I expected the Democrats to regain control of the Senate! Al Gross didn’t come close and the insipid Cal Cunningham made the always-fatal mistake of cheating on his mistress.

We sent a great deal of money, postcards, letters, texts, and phone calls to help make this happen. The margins are close. Every act helped. Sometimes you get the miracle.