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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

An efficient way to help elect some progressive Democrats

by David Atkins

Very rarely do I make a personal plea for help. It's not easy for me: I hate asking for things from people. But this is really important.

A few years ago I decided to follow Howard Dean's advice and get involved in making my local Democratic Party a more progressive place. One thing led to another, and on July 24th I was elected Chairman of the Ventura County Democratic Party after serving for two years as a vice chair. As it turns out, I've taken the helm at an extraordinary time when Ventura County (just northwest of Los Angeles County) is nationally watched and going to have a dramatic impact on national politics.

Unfortunately, most even political people don't pay much attention to their local county parties. They're seen as dull backwaters where people focus on silly things and get together for coffee. Or worse, establishment centers that negate progressive power. But in this case nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I can guarantee that there is nowhere in the country that your money could be put to better use than right here to elect progressive candidates and support progressive causes. I really mean that. Why?

Because right here in Ventura County, we have three hotly contested, nationally watched races for Congress, two huge State Senate races that may make the the difference between whether we get single-payer healthcare in California or not, a potentially close Assembly race, and our part in defeating one of the most damaging laws to ever hit organized labor. To win all these races, Ventura County Democrats will need to make at least 100,000 voter contacts throughout the County spread out across allof them. But we can't do it without YOUR help.

Keep in mind that we have no paid staff, so literally every single dollar will go directly into the resources needed to make the phone calls and knock on the doors. So what are the races? Let's start with:

  • CA-26: Progressive Democratic Assemblymember Julia Brownley will be going up against oil, tobacco and insurance Tea Party State Senator Tony Strickland. Julia Brownley is one of the best we have in the entire state, and this race is an epic showdown between one of the more conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats in the state. Right now Julia has a slim lead in the polls, and voter turnout will make all the difference. Your help in turning out the vote will be crucial here.
  • CA-24: Another hugely watched, tight contest between Democratc Congresswoman Lois Capps and tax cheat/Republican-in-moderate's-clothing Abel Maldonado. As in CA-24, the Democrat has a slim lead and voter turnout will be crucial to success. Again, your help could make the difference.

  • CA-25: Blue America-endorsed Democrat Lee Rogers is fighting an uphill but winnable battle against the incredibly corrupt Republican Buck McKeon. Normally this wouldn't be a high-level contest, but McKeon's corruption could turn this seat blue for a great candidate in Lee Rogers. Again, turnout will the issue.

State Senate:
  • SD19: Currently "represented" by the same execrable Republican Tony Strickland who is running for Congress and narrowly won by less than 900 votes in 2008, this district has been redrawn in a much more favorable light for Democrats. Hard-working progressive Hannah-Beth Jackson is running here again, and leads Republican Mike Stoker by a decent margin. This is a pickup opportunity in the California State Senate, where single-payer healthcare fell just two votes in the State Senate short of passage. That's a very big deal.
  • SD27: Senator Fran Pavley is up for re-election against formidable Republican Todd Zink in a much more difficult district than she has dealt with in the past. Fran is well-liked in local progressive circles, and holding her seat is a must if we want to pass progressive budgets and enact single-payer healthcare in California.
And, of course, we also have to stop Proposition 32, the most dangerous threat to organized labor in the country this side of Scott Walker. Every single dollar you can spare for the Democrats in Ventura will go toward making phone calls and knocking on doors, and sending out literature on behalf of these crucially important races. There is no better return on donor investment in the country right now for electing progressive candidates and advancing progressive causes at the same time. Please help if you can, and we can help turn the tide in California and across the country. It starts here: Volunteers at the Ventura County Democratic HQ phonebank this June.

Thanks so much!