Tuesday's primaries in Connecticut, Vermont, Wisconsin and Minnesota added up to a very good day for Democrats and for progressives up and down the tickets. In every state and in every contested congressional election, far more votes were cast in Democratic races than in Republican races. That's a clear indication of Democratic enthusiasm and Republican lack thereof.
Let's take Vermont, a state that went for Hillary, and Wisconsin, a state that went for Trump, as examples. Both states had highly contested gubernatorial races. Democrats overwhelmingly nominated progressive Christine Hallquist in a 4-way contest. The Republican race pitted popular incumbent Phil Scott against a far right challenger backed by the NRA. Not only did Hallquist, a transgender woman, win more votes than Scott, but 57,102 voters participated in the Democratic primary, while only 35,840 bothered to show up for the Republican primary.
In Wisconsin, 537,840 voters showed up for the Democratic primary but just 456,007 came for the GOP primary, where GOP incumbent Scott Walker is polling significantly under State Superintendent of Education, Tony Evers, who won the Democratic primary.
And in the big congressional races, progressives won the day-- Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Jahana Hayes (who faced down a Chamber of Commerce establishment shill) in Connecticut, and Randy "IronStache" Bryce in southeast Wisconsin.
There's a good chance that the first time you heard about Randy it was from us. Why would I say that? We helped the Working Families Party and state Senator Scott Larson recruit him to run long before the DCCC had ever heard about him. He was "just" a grassroots veterans and union leader activist at the time. But he was the answer to our decades-long prayers about finding someone who could stand up to Paul Ryan. Bryce didn't only stand up to Paul Ryan, he built a brand and a campaign team for himself that drove Ryan, speaker of the House, out of the race.
After the primary results showed a 20 point win-- and showed more Democrats coming to the WI-01 polls than Republicans-- Bryce wrote that "I’d really like to take the opportunity to thank Blue America for all of the incredible help getting us to where we are today. This wouldn’t be possible without amazing people doing amazing things."
"Next stop," he continued, "is to take out Paul Ryan’s handpicked successor. He claims to be a 'manufacturer.' Truth is-- he’s a corporate lawyer who outsourced American jobs to Mexico and China. Trump recently tweeted out an endorsement for him. I really hope he comes to campaign for him."
Like in most districts across the country, voters have an opportunity to get even with Republicans for what they've done to us, while Randy Bryce is telling Wisconsinites what he plans to do for them. "The top issue in the district," he told us, "is health care. It’s really heartbreaking to listen to someone say that they can’t afford to live. Health care isn’t a privilege and I’m going to fight like hell to make sure that we get Medicare-for-All passed. There IS enough to go around but we need to stop giving the wealthiest donors all of the breaks and help out those who do the work."
Needless to say, by Wednesday Ryan's SuperPAC had already started spending big to smear Randy. "It’s not a surprise-- we knew they were coming," he said. "The Republicans don’t have any ideas that help us so it’s all that they have left. It just keeps the batteries charged and makes me want to work even harder. Again-- thank you! I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for you."
But now the hard work starts. Ryan's SuperPAC is slated to spend as much as $5 million dollars against Randy. They were already spending during the primary in the hope of knocking him out then. That didn't work. Nor did it deter them from pushing the Ryan clone they picked as their candidate, Bryan Steil.
Please help Randy get through the next two-and-a-half months and take back Wisconsin's first congressional district for working men and women instead of for the rich and privileged.
There's a reason why Bernie picked Randy as his first candidate to endorse and why he picked Racine as the first city he campaigned in for a congressional candidate. He wants to see Randy Bryce in Congress. If you do too, please consider contributing what you can by clicking on the 2018 Blue America congressional thermometer up on the right.
The DCCC begs candidates to not include controversial issues on their websites. Randy Bryce has done the exact opposite-- straight talk from someone who plans to work in Congress reforming it. Check out his campaign platform here.
So, it's 'ON like DONKEY KONG' in WI-01. Are you ready to fight? Here's where to start.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team