Often, in politics victories are far and in between. Here at Blue America, we don't pick candidates because we assess them as having the best chance to win. We pick them because we think they'll do the best job in office if they do win.
This past week, one of our top congressional candidates, Mike Siegel, won a resounding victory in central Texas, despite the fact that his opponent and that opponent's allied SuperPAC spent $1.7 million to Mike's $724,908, over a MILLION dollars more, much of it in disgusting, slimy character assassination from the SuperPAC. With endorsements from Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Lieu, Ro Khanna, Dolores Huerta, Bill McKibben, the AFL-CIO, the Sunrise Movement and dozens of other groups and individuals and a straight-forward progressive message, Mike prevailed across the district. If you want to help Mike in the general election battle against Trump enabler Michael McCaul, just click here.
And we had another big victory last week-- of a slightly different nature. Blue America has been working with the Florida Environmental Caucus and 90 For 90 to help flip the Florida legislature. Normally, the Florida Democratic Party ignores dozens of seats, leaving them as "gimmes" for the GOP. Those are seats where Republicans don't face any accountability, no matter how badly they've served their constituents, and don't have to spend any resources defending their incumbency. And in those districts, there is no organizing at the grassroots level by state legislative candidates who should be--if they existed-- be helping turn out the vote for statewide and federal candidates.
Well, this year, for the first time in recent memory, every state House and every state Senate seat has a Democrat running, an amazing accomplishment, due in great part to the Environment Caucus and to the tireless efforts of 90 For 90.
The state Democratic Party though, "celebrated" by then denying access to the voter files to struggling recruits unless they paid the party for the use. How outrageous is that? But that was the battle we won last week. The Florida Democratic Party-- with a little push from the Biden campaign-- "re-thought" their position and after quite a struggle, finally agreed to provide every Florida state legislative candidate with the voter information for their own districts-- gratis. How much of a difference does this make? We asked some of the candidates.
State Senate candidate Rachel Brown is running to represent Lee County-- including Fort Myers Sanibel and Cape Coral-- in Tallahassee. While Republicans Ray Rodrigues and Heather Fitzhagen savage each other in a vicious Republican primary battle, Brown is talking with voters about what a progressive platform built to represent working families looks like. "
This is a pivotal moment in Florida history," she told us, "and time will tell who was on the side of fighting corruption. The battle started with Dr. Fergie Reed and Dr. Janelle Christianson on the front lines and day by day, more follow. Candidates signing up to run, people donating and signing up to volunteer, allies in the party coming to assist despite the cloud of doubt hanging over the battle field. [Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner] Nikki Fried just bought us all a key piece of needed battle equipment... and the army keeps growing day by day."
Jared West is running for the state House in Polk County, an area that includes Haines City, Poinciana, Davenport and Winter Haven and that Alan Grayson tells me is ripe for a red to blue flip. This morning, West told me that "Having access to the voter files is a major victory for all candidates, and now we can start making contact and building out our grassroots campaigns. In my district, we have 6,138 more Democrats than Republicans. For the first time in 20+ years, we have a very real chance to flip this seat, and access to the voter files made that even more possible."
Sarasota County House candidate Lisa Stortstrom, a special needs teacher, is all in. "I jumped in to save what is left of District 74 and to take out James Buchanan," she told me. "I will definitely need everyone’s help to flip this, but I know I can with the VAN voter files and with help from progressive groups like Stonewall Dems and Equality Florida. Vulnerable people in this area have been losing their medical services and Buchanan is looking in an other direction."
So, how about we celebrate this good news by getting as many of these grassroots progressive 90 for 90 candidates elected as we can-- up and down the Florida ballot. They are tan, rested and ready to serve The People. If you can, please give to any or all of them here.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team