Final Endorsements Rollout (October 31)

Update 310:  Final Endorsements Rollout;
Candidates in CT, FL, KY, MN, PA, TX, VA, WA

This week, 20/20 Vision completes its endorsement of U.S. House candidates for the 116th Congress.  Endorsements were based on disparate considerations, but mostly on candidates who are running in flippable districts, campaigning for progressive and forward-thinking economic policies, refusing corporate PAC contributions.

Of our endorsees, 73 percent are women, 68 percent first-time candidates.  Those 40 years old are 30 percent of the group. Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error races in districts currently held by the GOP.  We commend them for your consideration for your help, volunteering and, of course, through financial contributions.




Jahana Hayes (CT-05)

  • Cook PVI: D+2
  • 2018 Primary: Hayes 62/Glassman 38
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Hayes $1.3M/Santos $56K

2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes is running against former mayor of Meriden, Manny Santos, for one of the small number of seats left open by a Democrat this cycle.  This race is seen as safely Democratic — former incumbent Elizabeth Etsy won the district by 16 points in 2016. Both the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight rate this race as solidly Democratic, and Hayes’ forecasted vote share is double digits ahead of Santos’.

Hayes, still working full-time as a high school history teacher, is running on a platform of social justice. Her key issue is improving public education, as well as promoting common sense gun laws, single-payer healthcare, an immigration system that integrates the DREAM Act, and reducing economic inequality in her district and beyond. She has been endorsed by End Citizens United and EMILY’s List, among others.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)

  • Cook PVI: D+6
  • 2018 Primary: Mucarsel-Powell 63/Grimes 37
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Mucarsel-Powell $3.3M/Rep. Curbelo $4.9M

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is challenging Rep. Carlos Curbelo in FL-26, a district that includes southern parts of Miami-Dade, the Keys, and the Everglades.  FL-26 is the most Democratic district in the country that is represented by a Republican. Because of Curbelo’s popularity, many doubted the viability of flipping this seat, but the race has recently been rated as a toss-up and organizations like EMILY’’s List and Planned Parenthood have pointed it out as one to watch.  Recent polls have Mucarsel-Powell narrowly leading.

An immigrant from Ecuador, Mucarsel-Powell has spent the majority of her career working in a variety of nonprofits.  She helped establish and grow the NeighborhoodHELP program, which brought mobile health clinics to underprivileged communities in South Florida. She also worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation to help slow the impact of climate change on ecosystems — a major issue in South Florida.  Mucarsel-Powell is campaigning heavily on improving access to quality, affordable healthcare. She also supports increasing the minimum wage and expanding job training programs, as well as investing in clean energy and infrastructure.

Amy McGrath (KY-06)

  • Cook PVI: R+9
  • 2018 Primary: McGrath 49/Gray 41
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: McGrath $6.7M/Rep. Barr $4.4M

First-time candidate and retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is facing Republican incumbent Andy Barr in KY-06.  Similar to MJ Hegar in TX-31, her campaign message has been focused on her biography as a veteran and mother. McGrath’s comprehensive 32-page strategy to transform the economy of KY-06 details plans for more infrastructure investment, increasing the minimum wage, progressive tax reform, paid parental leave, and improving the ACA.  McGrath has called for stricter oversight of payday lenders and, if elected to Congress, she will be a stellar advocate for consumer protections.

McGrath is facing a barrage of attack ads from Republican groups determined to hold onto this Lexington district, but she is sticking to her guns with a positive message on her policies and credentials.  Recent polls have the race too-close-to-call and well within the margin of error. On election night, this will be one of the key seats to watch if Democrats are to secure a majority in the House.

Dean Phillips (MN-03)

  • Cook PVI: D+1
  • 2018 Primary: Phillips 82/Young 18
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Phillips $4M/Rep. Paulsen $5.1M

MN-03 is a bellwether race that will determine if Democrats can pass the 23 seat threshold and take back the House.  Business leader Dean Phillips faces the influential Joint Economic Committee Chair Erik Paulsen in the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul.  This congressional district is a prime example of what may fuel the blue wave, as Democrats are becoming more and more viable in suburban districts once dominated by Republicans.  Over the last month, Phillips has begun to pull away in the polls giving him some tailwind heading into next week’s general.

Phillips has brought an anti-corruption message to MN-03 by taking the “Minnesota Way Pledge” to not accept any corporate or special interest PAC money.  Phillips is also campaigning heavily on a progressive economic message, advocating for fiscal and social responsibility through tax reform and protection of programs such as as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Scott Wallace (PA-01)

  • Cook PVI: R+1
  • 2018 Primary: Wallace 57/Reddick 35
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wallace $9.8M/Rep. Fitzpatrick $2.9M

In PA-01, self-funded Democratic candidate, Scott Wallace, is running against two-term GOP incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick.  Even before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered it to be redistricted, PA-01 was won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.  For weeks, polling has rated this race as evenly split between the two candidates, and there is still no frontrunner in sight.

Former counsel for the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Wallace is focusing his campaign on Healthcare and Disability Rights—advocating for Medicare for all, expanding Medicaid programs, protecting CHIP, and reigning in prescription drug prices. Additionally, he wants to build sustainable job growth in Pennsylvania through increased government funding of renewable energy resources and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Susan Wild (PA-07)

  • Cook PVI: D+1
  • 2018 Primary: Wild 33/Morganelli 30
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wild $2.4M/Nothstein $851K

Attorney Susan Wild is running against county commissioner Marty Nothstein in PA-07, an open seat. Wild was the first female solicitor of Allentown, PA and is outraising her Republican opponent by more than two-to-one in this Lehigh Valley district that now favors Democrats after redistricting earlier this year.

Wild is tailoring her economic platform around quality jobs and economic prosperity, advocating for strong unions, apprenticeship programs, infrastructure investment, and protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit. She is also committed to protecting health care and retirement benefits through her support of Medicare and Social Security. Recent polls look favorable for Wild and show her well positioned to take the seat.

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (TX-07)

  • Cook PVI: R+7
  • 2018 Primary: Fletcher 67/Moser 33
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Fletcher $4.6M/Rep. Culberson $2.8M

In TX-07, a small district in Western Houston, Attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher is challenging Rep. John Culberson, a nine-term incumbent. This race has had national attention since the primary and Fletcher has achieved a large fundraising advantage. Clinton won the district in 2016 and Culberson is seen as vulnerable — he has voted with Trump consistently and voted to repeal the ACA. Recent polls all have the race tied within the margin of error.

Fletcher has lived and worked in the district for most of her life. As a lawyer, she gained recognition for her work with the people of Houston, being named as one of the Best Lawyers in America and becoming her law firm’s first ever female partner. Her campaign platform is centered around the economy. She wants to increase infrastructure investment, particularly in light of the effects of Hurricane Harvey. She also wants to increase access to capital for new and existing businesses, as well as expand job-training programs.

Colin Allred (TX-32)

  • Cook PVI: R+5
  • 2018 Primary: Allred 69.5/Salerno 30.5
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Allred $4.2M/Rep. Sessions $4M

Civil Rights Attorney and former Obama official, Colin Allred, is running to unseat Rep. Pete Sessions in TX-32, a district that serves a suburban area of Dallas. Although the district leans Republican, demographic changes over the last few years have made it more possible for a Democrat to win. Allred has attracted national attention, aided by the endorsement of former President Obama, and eight-term incumbent Sessions is facing his toughest race since he was elected. Allred and Sessions are neck-and-neck in recent polls.

Allred has a very diverse past. He attended Dallas public schools where his mother was a teacher and went on to play in the NFL as a Tennessee Titans linebacker. Allred later became a civil rights attorney and worked for the Obama administration as Special Assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel. His big issues are healthcare and education. Sessions voted to repeal the ACA, while Allred supports Medicare for all Americans. Allred also wants to increase investment in job training programs and infrastructure.

Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)

  • Cook PVI: R+6
  • 2018 Primary: Spanberger 73/Ward 27
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Spanberger $4.9M/Rep. Brat $2.3M

Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative and federal law enforcement officer, is running against economics professor and Trump-endorsee Rep. David Brat in VA-07. In 2014, Brat defeated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in this district’s Republican primary, one of the most shocking outcomes of that cycle. This year’s race is among several red-to-blue districts in Virginia with former military or intelligence officer women running as first-time candidates. FiveThirtyEight has moved this race from lean Republican to a toss-up and it is tied within the margin of error.

Spanberger is running on progressive and popular issues, like access to affordable healthcare, gun violence prevention, legalizing marijuana, and protecting social security and Medicare. Catering to the conservative base in the region, she’s also using her background in law enforcement and intelligence to create a moderate platform on national border security and immigration. Finally, she’s taken a strong stance in favor of campaign finance reform and against gerrymandering.

Carolyn Long (WA-03)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Primary: Beutler 42/Long 35*
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Long $2.3M/Rep. Beutler $2M

First-time candidate and university professor Carolyn Long is going up against long-time Washington politician and moderate Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who flipped WA-03 in 2010. The district includes reliably Democratic Portland suburbs, as well as rural, blue-collar areas that have shifted towards the Republican party in recent years. Healthcare is the dominant issue in the race, with Long campaigning hard as a supporter of the Affordable Care Act and Herrera Beutler struggling to defend her record of voting to repeal the law dozens of times.

Her economic platform highlights issues like campaign finance and tax code reform, as well as job creation and higher wages. Long is also emphasizing her experience in teaching bipartisanship. In counties that went for Trump by more than 30 points in 2016, Long’s ability to connect and speak with rural, blue-collar conservatives and her progressive platform that fights for issues that affect low-income communities are key to winning this race.

Dr. Kim Schrier (WA-08)

  • Cook PVI: EVEN
  • 2018 Primary: Rossi 43/Schrier 19*
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Schrier $5.3M/Rossi $4.1M

Dr. Kim Schrier is a first-time candidate running against Dino Rossi in an open seat vacated by GOP Rep. David Reichert. WA-08 is one of the districts held by Republicans that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, so there is a good chance to win here in November. Dr. Schrier is rejecting corporate PAC money and has a number of strong endorsements from the likes of End Citizens United, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, and more recently, former President Barack Obama.

Dr. Schrier is advocating for a number of progressive economic issues such as implementing a living wage, boosting infrastructure investment, and growing the number of apprenticeships. As a practicing pediatrician, Dr. Schrier is also campaigning for a Medicare public option which would be offered alongside private insurance plans in the individual and small group markets. The race is looking like a statistical tie, so the outcome in the general will most likely come down to turnout.

*Top-two primary


Candidate Endorsements in GA, KS, TN, VA, WA (October 24)

Update 309: Candidate Endorsements in GA, KS, TN, VA, WA

Last month, 20/20 Vision endorsed a first round of candidates for the next Congress.  Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error races in districts currently held by Republicans.  Today, we present the second round of endorsees. Endorsements were based on disparate considerations, but mostly on candidates who are:

  • running in flippable districts
  • campaigning for progressive and forward-thinking economic policy
  • refusing corporate PAC contributions
  • female, under 40, and first-time office seekers

This week, we review the 2018 endorsed candidates running for Congress in the states of Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.




United States Senate

Sen. Maria Cantwell  •  Washington

Sen. Maria Cantwell, first elected to the Senate in 2000, is running for her fourth term this year. Cantwell is the most senior junior senator and is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee.  She supports universal access to healthcare and believes in strengthening and expanding the ACA. Her independent-mindedness and probing intelligence on even the most technical and difficult issues are an asset not just to the Caucus, but the Senate itself.

Cantwell’s opponent, Susan Hutchinson, is a former state GOP party leader and an outspoken supporter of President Trump. She believes the Trump tax cuts are helping create a more robust economy. When asked what should be done about climate change, Hutchinson suggested people carpool. Cantwell has outraised Hutchinson by almost $11 million and a recent poll has Cantwell up by 14 points.

Phil Bredesen  •  Tennessee

The Volunteer State hasn’t been in the habit of sending Democrats to the U.S. Senate, but the race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker is one of the top pickup opportunities for Democrats this cycle.  Phil Bredesen coasted to victory in his Democratic primary and faces Trump-fanatic Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the general.

A former two-term governor of the state, Bredesen boasts a politically moderate and bipartisan record — essentially a prerequisite for winning over moderate-conservative swing voters in ruby-red Tennessee.  Gov. Bredesen had a successful tenure as Governor of the state, creating more than 200,000 new jobs and generating over $34 billion in new business investment over the course of his incumbency.

Bredesen has notably shown some maverick tendencies, including a recent announcement that, if elected, he would not back Sen. Schumer as leader of the party — decrying hyper-partisanship among both parties for the dysfunction in Washington. The race has been tight for months, but a recent Vanderbilt poll has Bredesen narrowly ahead of Blackburn, 44 to 43. Despite this, FiveThirtyEight has Bredesen’s chances of winning at 25 percent, with a forecasted vote share of 46 percent, compared to Blackburn’s forecasted 51 percent.

U.S. House of Representatives

Lucy McBath (GA-06)

  • Cook PVI: R+8
  • 2018 Primary: McBath 36/Abel 31
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Rep. Handel $8.2M/McBath $1.3M

Activist Lucy McBath is trying to turn GA-06 blue for the first time since 1979.  McBath is running against Rep. Karen Handel, an ardent Trump supporter. GA-06, which encompasses parts of rural Georgia and some progressive suburbs of Atlanta, was the site of the most expensive House race in history last year when Jon Ossof ran and lost in a runoff against Handel. Despite being out-funded by a factor of eight, McBath has made rapid gains in the past few months and has narrowed polling data to well within the margin of error.  

McBath’s past sheds light on her political ambitions. In 2012, her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed outside of a gas station. After the tragedy, she became a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and has been a major proponent of gun reform throughout her campaign. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, she champions protecting the ACA and expanding Medicare programs, as well as raising the minimum wage to match the rising cost of living.  She is a fresh voice for social justice in the Democratic establishment, and is proving an adept first-time candidate, challenging hard-line conservative Handel.

Sharice Davids (KS-03)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Primary: Davids 37/Welder 33
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Rep. Yoder $3.7M/Davids $3.1M

Sharice Davids hopes to be the first Native-American woman to enter the halls of Congress as a member. Davids challenges one of the most vulnerable candidates of the cycle, Rep. Kevin Yoder. Many Democratic pundits were surprised to see KS-03 on the list of main targets for the DCCC to pursue during this cycle. Recent polls have shown Davids ahead by seven to nine points and her lead is only increasing.

Davids is running a strong campaign focused on kitchen table economic issues. She believes the Trump tax cuts were a budget-busting corporate giveaway and wants a true tax cut for the middle class. She is also prioritizing small businesses, advocating for a childcare tax credit, and supporting the expansion of broadband infrastructure to rural areas. While Davids is pushing progressive policy that would benefit middle class Kansans, Rep. Yoder has gone on the offensive, pushing identity politics and taking his campaign decidedly negative. Davids has remained positive and has a good opportunity to flip the Johnson County seat for the first time since 2010.

Elaine Luria (VA-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+3
  • 2018 Primary: Luria 62/Mallard 38
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Rep. Taylor $3.4M/Luria $3.1M

Elaine Luria is a former nuclear engineer, retired U.S. Navy commander, and a small business owner in Hampton Roads. She joined the Navy at 17 years old and became one of the first woman to attend the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School. Luria is up against first-term incumbent  and retired Navy SEAL Scott Taylor, who has had a troubling campaign plagued by allegations of election fraud.

Luria is running on expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, preserving Social Security and Medicare, and improving public education. She is a strong environmental advocate, paying special attention to the Chesapeake Bay, an area upon which much of southeast Virginia’s economy relies. Luria has also railed against the recklessness of the $1.9 trillion national debt increase as a result of the GOP’s 2017 signature tax law. Luria and Taylor are neck-and-neck after a fluctuating cycle, and recent polling has shown that her forecasted vote share has grown by one point in the final stretch of this cycle.

Jennifer Wexton (VA-10)

  • Cook PVI: D+1
  • 2018 Primary: Wexton 42/Friedman 23
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wexton $4.5M/Comstock $5M

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton comfortably won her crowded June primary in VA-10. She is up against vulnerable incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock, who, voting 98 percent of the time with President Trump, has found herself out of step in an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing district. During her time in the state legislature, Wexton voted in favor of a number of progressive economic policies, including raising the minimum wage, closing the gender pay gap, and establishing paid medical leave. If she wins in November, she will look to continue this progressive economic agenda on a federal level.

Recent polls have Wexton ahead of Comstock, with the most recent poll putting Wexton up by seven points. The polls show Democratic enthusiasm in the district, with 75 percent saying they are “very enthusiastic” about November’s election, compared to just 59 percent of Republicans. Clinton carried the district by a ten-point margin in 2016, and Wexton will be hoping for such a result in a district that is one of the best flip opportunities for Democrats in 2018.

Endorsements: The Northeast (October 17)

Update 307 — Endorsements: The Northeast

Last month, 20/20 Vision endorsed 29 candidates for the next Congress, the first round of such endorsements.  Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error-tight races in districts currently held by Republicans. Candidates were endorsed based on disparate considerations but we mainly focused on candidates who are:

  • running in flippable districts
  • campaigning for progressive and forward-thinking economic policy
  • refusing corporate PAC contributions
  • female, under 40, first-time office seekers

This week, we review the 2018 endorsed candidates running for Congress in the Northeast states of Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Looking ahead to Friday, we will examine the implications of FSOC’s decision to de-designate Prudential, the last nonbank to shed this label, raising the question: are non-banks now a non-issue for systemic risk and Too Big to Fail?  




United States Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand  •  New York

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand began her political career in 2007 in the House of Representatives and in 2009 was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.  In a 2010 special election, Gillibrand secured her position and in 2012, she was elected to a full six-year term with 72 percent of the vote — a higher percentage of the vote than any other statewide candidate in New York.  From her early days in the Senate, Gillibrand has been increasingly outspoken, taking the lead to address sexual assault in the military and later moving on to a range of progressive economic issues.

She has been legislatively innovative on a surprisingly disparate set of issues, authoring a portion of the STOCK act — passed in 2012 — to address corruption in Congress, introducing the FAMILY Act in 2017 to improve paid family leave, and proposing the Postal Banking Act in 2018 to increase banking services for rural and impoverished areas.  Gillibrand has served the state with distinction and is likely to secure an easy victory next month against her Republican challenger.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren  •  Massachusetts

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been a leading voice for progressives in Congress since her election to the Senate in 2012.  Warren was a prominent figure in the Obama administration, where she headed the Oversight Council of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  She also conceived and led in the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

As a member of the Senate, Warren has continued to address consumer protection issues, especially related to banking.  She, along with Ranking Member of Senate Banking, Sen. Sherrod Brown, led the opposition against the largest roll back of Dodd-Frank to-date, S. 2155.  Sen. Warren has been the progressive gold standard in the Senate on a multitude of issues. Recently, she has taken on President Trump and introduced legislation to curb the corruption that his presidency has brought to Washington.  She has represented the Commonwealth with dedication and energy and deserves re-election.

U.S. House of Representatives

Andy Kim (NJ-03)

  • Cook PVI:  R+2
  • 2018 Primary: Ran unopposed
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Kim $4.4 Million/Rep. MacArthur $3.6 Million

Andy Kim will challenge Rep. Tom MacArthur for his seat in NJ-03.  Both candidates ran unopposed in their primaries. Kim and MacArthur are tied neck-and-neck in the polls and Kim has been hitting the campaign trail recently with former Vice President Joe Biden. The district voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of about six points, but voted for Obama both in 2008 and 2012. It is rated as a toss-up district and recent polls have the candidates within two points of each other.

Kim is a Rhodes Scholar and worked on national security and counterterrorism in both the State Department and the Obama White House. He is running on a broad swath of issues such as healthcare affordability, middle-class family tax relief, campaign finance reform, and ending gerrymandering. According to Kim, his major reason for running is due to the proposed cuts to the ACA — cuts that his opponent MacArthur would have voted for — which would take away coverage for his parents and unborn son.

Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)

  • Cook PVI:  R+3
  • 2018 Primary: Sherrill 77/Harris 15
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Sherrill $7 Million/Webber $1 Million

Mikie Sherrill is a former United States Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor running in NJ-11 for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s open seat. Sherrill served in the Navy between 1994 and 2003, eventually being promoted to the position of lieutenant. After leaving the Navy, she earned her law degree and later joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. Her opponent, Jay Webber, serves in the New Jersey Assembly and was previously Chairman of the New Jersey Republican party.

Sherrill is campaigning on reducing the cost of college tuition, living, and healthcare, as well as protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare. She has criticized the 2017 GOP tax plan, asserting that it does not provide necessary relief to middle-class families. She also advocates for campaign finance reform, such as overturning Citizens United. With three other candidates running for the seat, the race is crowded. Sherrill continues to narrowly lead in the polls by two to four points and has raised and spent more than twice as much as Webber.

Antonio Delgado (NY-19)

  • Cook PVI:  R+2
  • 2018 Primary: Delgado 22/Ryan 18
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Delgado $6.5 Million/Faso $3.3 Million

Antonio Delgado is running in NY-19, a district seen as one of the best pickup opportunities for Democrats in the country. Delgado is facing off against GOP incumbent, Rep. John Faso. A Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, Delgado is running on a progressive agenda, taking the No-Corporate PAC money pledge and campaigning hard on healthcare, advocating for a public option to the ACA. The healthcare angle is particularly effective against Faso, who voted for the disastrous American Health Care Act of 2017 and is incorrigible in his pursuit to destroy the ACA.

Faso and his campaign originally planned to run on tax cuts, but because the messaging is not resonating with voters, they are going for fear and gutter tactics such as ad hominem attacks on Delgado’s stint in the music industry. In September, Delgado received endorsements by both President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden. An independent Monmouth poll in September has Delgado up 45 to 43 with a lot of room to grow despite the barrage of Republican attack ads. As of September 30, Delgado’s campaign has raised over $6 million, and in the past three months, outraised Faso by nearly $3 million.

Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05)

  • Cook PVI:  D+13
  • 2018 Primary: Scanlon 28/Lunkenheimer 15
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Scanlon $1.6 Million/Kim $459K

Mary Gay Scanlon is the Democratic candidate running for the House in PA-05. She will face Pearl Kim, a former assistant District Attorney and a Senior Deputy Attorney General for Pennsylvania. The district was redrawn by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2018 after a decision that the old district was unconstitutionally gerrymandered; the open seat is now rated by Cook Political Report as a Likely D pick up. Scanlon is out-raising her challenger by a factor of four and is viewed as the likely winner of the general election, but an entrenched county GOP machine and midterm voter turnout make the election more competitive than national polling suggests.

Scanlon is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law school and has been a civil rights attorney for over 35 years. She leads a pro bono program for low-income citizens that received the 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association for providing outstanding legal services to the disadvantaged. As a candidate, Scanlon is running on expanding resources for public schools, student loan reform, repairing and expanding the ACA, ending the gender pay gap, and creating new jobs through reinvesting in our nation’s infrastructure programs.

Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06)

  • Cook PVI:  D+2
  • 2018 Primary: Ran Unopposed
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Houlahan $3.7 Million/McCauley $240K

Chrissy Houlahan ran unopposed in her primary to become the Democratic candidate for PA-06. Though a political outsider, Houlahan offers a wide array of policy and leadership experience. A Stanford and MIT-educated industrial engineer, she served as COO of AND1 Basketball, where she grew revenue from $4 million to over $250 million. Houlahan is also no stranger to serving her country and community, having spent sixteen years in the U.S. Air Force as Captain and one year teaching chemistry in North Philadelphia as a Teach for America Corps member.

Her policy priorities include increasing access to affordable healthcare, increasing funding for education, and campaign finance reform. Should Houlahan win come November, as polling suggests, she will help end Pennsylvania’s all-male Congressional delegation. At the end of the June, Houlahan had raised an extraordinary $2.8 million compared to Republican tax attorney Greg McCauley’s $174,000.

Candidates for Congress in the Midwest (October 3)

Update 303: Congressional Endorsements 2018;
Candidates for Congress in the Midwest

Last week, 20/20 Vision endorsed 29 candidates for Congress this year, the first round of such endorsements.  Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error-tight races in districts currently held by Republicans. Not only are they terrific candidates, but they have potential to be future leaders in the House and Democratic Party.

This week we review the 2018 endorsed candidates running for Congress in the Midwest region.  We will be covering the other regions of the country weekly over the course of this month.




United States Senate

Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

Senator Sherrod Brown recalls the late Sen. Paul Wellstone in style and substance as a full-throated progressive populist and defender of working people in his state and nationally.  Sen. Brown, as Ranking Member of Senate Banking, led the opposition to S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. Throughout the process and as bill manager in opposition, Sen. Brown kept a majority of the caucus together and focused on the larger issues of systemic risk and the damage that the bill does to the American consumer.  As a member of Senate Finance, Sen. Brown was also one of the primary voices of opposition against the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), a catastrophe of inequity.

Sen. Brown is in a tough reelection campaign.  The two-term Senator is going up against Trump sycophant, Rep. Jim Renacci.  Sen. Brown is currently enjoying a double-digit lead in polling but has said that the number of Trump voters that turn out in Ohio will dictate the way the race breaks. President Trump currently has a 45 percent approval rating in Ohio, above his national average.

Senator Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)

Senator Tammy Baldwin has been a beacon of leadership and creativity in championing progressive economic legislation since her election to the Senate in 2012.  She has taken on the big banks, voting against S. 2155. She has also been a fierce advocate against special interests by introducing amendments and bills to tackle corporate greed and political corruption.  Sen. Baldwin’s commitment to accessible, affordable healthcare is signature. Her leadership on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Appropriations committees has put her at the forefront of the fight against the junk health plans created by the Trump administration to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Wisconsin has not had a statewide Democrat elected in a midterm election since Sen. Herb Kohl in 2006.  President Trump turned the state red in 2016 and the state GOP has deep pockets and a strong organization, Sen. Baldwin has been the main target of the Koch and Uheline networks, who have spent more in her race for State Senator Leah Vukmir than any other in the country.  But with healthcare the top issue on voters’ minds here, Tammy’s service and dedication should be rewarded.

U.S. House of Representatives

Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)

  • Cook PVI: D+1
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Finkenauer 67/Heckroth 19
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Rep. Blum $855K/Finkenauer $469K

Abby Finkenauer is a skilled first-time candidate who dominated her primary, securing over two-thirds of the vote.  Her fairly humble background gives her experience of the plight of families struggling to get by. Finkenauer’s father was a union pipefitter and welder who went through periods of precarious employment.  During her time in the state legislature, Finkenauer fought to make high-quality healthcare available for all Iowans and supported affordable education for students.

On the campaign trail, Finkenauer has argued for progressive economic policies, such as infrastructure reform and raising the minimum wage, and has been a vocal critic of the 2017 GOP tax plan which she views as giveaway to the richest Americans.  On Monday, President Obama endorsed Finkenauer and a recent September Emerson College poll has her ahead of her challenger, Rod “Clerical Error” Blum, by 5 points.

Cindy Axne (IA-03)

  • Cook PVI: R+1
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Axne 58/Mauro 26
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Rep. Young $1.13M/Axne $263K

Another Iowan and first-time candidate, Cindy Axne, had an impressive primary.  A small business owner and former state official, Axne is focused on a number of progressive economic policies, including healthcare for all, equal pay, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and campaign finance reform. GOP Super PACs, such as Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), are spending big on TV ads in the district, leaving Axne at a fundraising disadvantage compared to her rival, Rep. David Young.  Axne was also endorsed on Monday by President Obama. Should both candidates win in November, they will be the first Democratic female members of Congress from Iowa and would shift the state’s delegation from 3-1 R to 3-1 D.

Liz Watson (IN-09)

  • Cook PVI: R+13
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Watson 66/Canon 31
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Watson $794K/Rep. Hollingsworth $444K

Despite its recent red trend, Indiana’s 9th is a purple district and has flipped back and forth between parties since its inception. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth is the incumbent in a seat that was vacated by now-Senator Todd Young in 2014. Hollingsworth, who will face Liz Watson in November, is seen as a vulnerable candidate. A multi-millionaire business owner, he moved to Indiana just one year before he was elected in 2016.

Liz Watson is a fifth-generation Hoosier who was raised in Bloomington, the biggest city in her district. As a former Labor Policy Director for congressional Democrats, Watson is a staunch pro-labor candidate who is advocating for a $15 minimum wage and the right to organize. She also supports specific infrastructure revitalization programs, raising the low income housing tax credit, and expanding Medicare to all Americans. Watson does not accept corporate PAC money and has advocated for campaign finance reform to combat Citizens United and congresspeople with special interests like Hollingsworth. IN-09 is the type of working class, Trumpian-toned district that Democrats need to win back in order to take the majority in 2018.

Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Slotkin 71/Smith 29
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Slotkin $2.85M/Rep. Bishop $1.02M

Elissa Slotkin is a first-time candidate who cruised through her primary with over 70 percent of the Democratic vote.  She is facing incumbent Rep. Mike Bishop, who won over 90 percent of the Republican vote in his primary. Slotkin and Bishop are going head-to-head in Michigan’s 8th District, with FiveThirtyEight predicting Bishop marginally ahead at this point in the race.

Slotkin is a born-and-bred Michigander who has federal-level experience in national security and intelligence initiatives and has worked under both Republican and Democratic leadership.  She is strongly committed to bipartisanship and what she calls a “straightforward, commonsense” approach to crafting policy. She supports an efficient and responsible budget, and has come out against the TCJA. In a similar vein, Slotkin wants to overturn Citizens United and has pledged not to accept corporate PAC money during her campaign.

Haley Stevens (MI-11)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Stevens 27/Greimel 22
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Stevens $526K/Epstein $275K

Former Obama Administration official and leader in advanced manufacturing, Haley Stevens is running in MI-11 for a seat left open by Republican incumbent David Trott. MI-11 is an overwhelmingly suburban district located northwest of Detroit that narrowly voted for Trump and Romney in 2016 and 2012, but voted for Obama in 2008. Stevens’ opponent, Republican Lena Epstein, is a businesswoman and self-funder who has largely tied herself to President Trump.

Stevens has emerged as one of the star candidates this election cycle, having won a crowded primary against four other competitive candidates.  She served as chief of staff for the Treasury Department’s Auto Task Force under President Obama, which is reported to have saved 200,000 Michigan jobs.  Haley played a key role in managing the Recovery for Automotive Communities and Workers initiate in the Obama White House Office of Manufacturing Policy. Her work helped save General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 by assisting with the arrangements for financing and creating a structured bankruptcy plan.  Stevens has also campaigned hard on reducing healthcare costs in her district, primarily by strengthening the ACA. Pundits are calling this race a “toss-up” or leans Democratic.

Angie Craig (MN-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+2
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Uncontested
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Craig $2.43M/Rep. Lewis $896K

Minnesota business leader Angie Craig faces a rematch with Rep. Jason Lewis in November. Craig, whose first run at this seat in 2016 ended in defeat, is poised to change the dynamic in MN-02 this time around. Rep. Lewis has defined himself as an unapologetic Trump Republican, who some in Minnesota have called “Trump before Trump.”  In a district largely located in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, who narrowly voted in favor of the President in 2016, voters seem poised to reject Rep. Lewis, and Craig looks set to overcome her 2016 defeat. Craig’s business background is well-suited for suburban voters in MN-02, and she is running on kitchen table economic issues, such as investing in small business entrepreneurship and fighting to make fixes to the Affordable Care Act.

Kara Eastman (NE-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Eastman 52/Ashford 48
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Rep. Bacon $1.05M/Eastman $370K

Nebraska, a reliably Republican state in presidential elections, is now on the forefront of the Democratic Party’s ambitions in the 2018 midterms. NE-02 lies on the periphery of the Omaha Metropolitan area and is currently represented by Rep. Don Bacon, who was elected in 2016. He is now facing stiff resistance in the general election from the insurgent Democratic candidate, Kara Eastman.
Eastman was born and raised in the Midwest with her mom and grandparents. She started her career in public service earnestly through her own start-up.  Her non-profit, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, is a nationally-recognized, award-winning organization, and has raised over $13 million to support healthy housing in Omaha.  The non-profit serves over 4,000 Nebraskan families and has created dozens of jobs for the local community. Eastman wants to take her service experience to the next stage and make healthcare-for-all a reality, end irresponsible gun legislation, and ensure that incoming generations of students can attend college affordably.

Aftab Pureval (OH-01)

  • Cook PVI: R+5
  • 2018 Democratic Primary: Uncontested
  • Total amount raised 1H 2018*: Pureval $2.03M/Rep. Chabot $507K

A first-round Obama endorsee and current Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Aftab Pureval is running to unseat longtime incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot. While Pureval faces a tight race against Rep. Chabot, he has experience playing the underdog in Ohio. His unexpected county clerk victory in 2016 landed the Democrats a seat that they had not controlled for over a century. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley called Pureval the Democrats’ best chance to reclaim OH-01, a seat controlled by Republicans for the past decade. Sen. Brown also called the race one of the best opportunities Democrats have to flip a seat in all of Ohio.The mainly rural district makes up a large section of Cincinnati, which is a part of the district Pureval will have to work hard to turn out.  Pureval is running his campaign with a progressive economic policy focus — vociferously opposing the GOP tax cuts, arguing for the protection of Social Security and Medicare, implementing a $15 federal minimum wage, and supporting the rights of workers to collectively bargain with their employers.

*Total campaign receipts compiled according to FEC Data from Jan. 1, 2018-Jun. 30, 2018