North Carolina is the most flippable state in the country. Here are the best targets for Democrats.

Democrats need to win just five seats to flip the State Senate and six seats to do the same in the State House of Representatives

After Democrats flipped swing states like Colorado and Virginia all blue in 2018 and 2019, the biggest target for a wholesale flip in 2020 is North Carolina.

In fact, you could say North Carolina has already flipped blue — its representatives just need to reflect it. Democrats won a majority of votes statewide in 2018, but thanks to one of the most egregious gerrymanders in the country, Republicans were able to keep control of the state legislature and pass horrible anti-LGBTQ laws; only an end to their supermajority, earned in 2018, sustained a veto of a terrible anti-choice bill.

Last fall, the State Supreme Court ordered legislators to redraw the maps to even out the worst parts of the gerrymander, which gives Democrats a strong chance to win back both chambers in Raleigh this year as well as the state’s electoral votes in the presidential election. Democrats need to win just five seats to flip the State Senate and six seats to do the same in the State House of Representatives. Here’s a look at some of the best flip opportunities — hat tip to FlipNC for help with analyzing the redistricting.

If you’re excited about flipping North Carolina’s legislature and its electoral votes, CLICK HERE to donate to the great candidates below!

State Senate District 39: You never want to say an election is in the bag, but this one is about as close as it gets without a candidate running unopposed. This Charlotte-area seat had its lines redrawn in the redistricting, going from a GOP gerrymander to a district that favors Democrats by a whopping 25 points. Even better, Democrats nominated a rising star named DeAndrea Salvador, a 29-year-old who founded her own renewable energy nonprofit and was a TED fellow in 2018.

State Senate District 18: Though not quite as big a slam dunk as District 39, this Wake Forest-area district now leans Democratic by six points. Running for Team Blue is Sarah Crawford, who has made a career out of working for nonprofits focused on education, healthcare, and economic stability.

State Senate District 31: Another Wake Forest-area district, this one shifts from being gerrymandered for Republicans to running about even. In 2018 Terri LeGrand, a lawyer and financial aid administrator at Wake Forest University, came close to beating the district’s very anti-abortion senator anyway, and now she’s got an even better shot. We interviewed LeGrand a few months back — check it out!

State Senate District 1: After keeping a very red State House district within 10 points in 2016, Tess Judge is now running to flip a larger State Senate district that’s much closer to dead even. It’s pretty ridiculously gerrymandered, but it should still be a down-to-the-wire race.

State House District 63: In 2018, this central North Carolina district was decided by less than 300 votes. This time around, Democrats have a decisive advantage thanks to the redistricting tweaks and another great candidate, Ricky Hurtado. A first-generation American, Hurtado has also had a career in non-profits, largely focusing on expanding access to education to working people and immigrants.

State House District 9: The now-defunct gerrymander of this district was so egregious, Democrats are going from getting swamped by 20 points in 2018 to being favored to take the seat. The party’s candidate, Brian Farkas, grew up in the Eastern Carolina area and is just 33-years-old, making him another one of the young stars running this year.

State House District 45: Another district that’s going to see a big swing thanks to gerrymandering being straightened out. GOP Rep. John Szoka won by 17 points in 2018 but now will have to face a fair race against a great candidate: Frances Jackson, a long-time community leader, teacher, and county magistrate.

State House District 59: Similar story in this northwestern Carolina district, which voted Republican by 13 points in 2018 but is now much more competitive. Nicole Quick, an occupational therapist and advocate for children with autism, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

State House District 82: Democrat Aimy Steele ran a strong race in 2018 as a first-time candidate, losing by less than six points, and now she’s back to finish the job in this western North Carolina district. She is a former public school principal who is very focused on education policy, a hot-button issue in North Carolina.

State House District 74: Terri LeGrand ran in this district in 2018, while Dan Besse ran in the neighboring 75th House district, where he overperformed recent Democrats and lost by just seven points. The 74th district has been redrawn to be less gerrymandered, and those two factors combined make this a very good flip opportunity.

If you’re excited about flipping North Carolina’s legislature and its electoral votes, CLICK HERE to donate to the great candidates above!

Eviction Prevention Fundraisers: 28 Million Americans are at risk of eviction this summer. We’ve got to help now.

As new cases of COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket across the countries, many cities and states are beginning to roll back re-opening plans and re-issue stay-at-home orders. As if that wasn’t enough of a calamity, tens of millions of Americans (up to 28 million!) will soon be at risk of being evicted from their homes and not having anywhere to go in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Combined with a federal government unwilling to provide any further relief, we’re on the verge of a historic catastrophe.

Here’s where things stand right now:

While most cities and states issued eviction moratoriums at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, those orders have begun to expire and many more will be over by the end of July. While a federal government pause on kicking people out of Fannie and Freddie Mac-backed buildings doesn’t run out until August 31st, it only covers about 30 to 40% of renters, and as The Washington Post reported last week, it’s been largely up to residents to figure out if they’re qualified; only 15 states require landlords to verify it. Elsewhere, landlords have been caught pursuing evictions despite their residents being technically protected, and because they’re generally the ones with attorneys at these hearings, it often works.

For those who owe back rent, things are only going to get worse. The enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act expire at the end of the month, and as of now, neither Donald Trump nor Mitch McConnell seems willing to continue them in any significant way. Economists suggest that would be disastrous, especially with states starting to close up again and the economy at risk of a further major collapse (but as we know, they don’t care). With only a few states and cities having extended their eviction moratoriums, we’re barrelling toward a head-on collision. Already, 32% of Americans haven’t made their July housing payments. And as with everything else in the US, the looming crises will disproportionately impact Black and brown people.

This week at Progressives Everywhere, instead of asking you to donate to an (amazing) candidate or policy ballot initiative, I’m raising money for an even more urgent situation. We can’t wait until new lawmakers are sworn in next year to deal with the imminent eviction crisis, especially in the middle of this resurgent pandemic. Below are a number of non-profits working to keep people in their homes through legal aid, grants, and other tactics. Any help you can offer will make a huge difference.

Coalition for the Homeless (NYC)

Eviction filings began in New York City in June, with an estimated 50,000 or more already primed for submission and execution once the moratorium lifts. To assist in eviction protection, The Coalition for the Homeless provides one-time $1000 cash grants to people who are behind on rent and facing eviction, but with some help, would be able to recover and pay rent in the future. The organization also assists those in need by helping them access funds from other non-profits and government programs.

Donate to NYC Here!

Eviction Defense Network (LA)

The LA-based organization is a community non-profit made up of lawyers and advocates who provide advice and legal representation to anyone facing eviction in the downtown LA courthouse and counseling to anyone in LA County.

Donate to LA Here!

HomeStart (Boston)

Through expertise, mediation, legal services, and financial grants, HomeStart helps families who are at risk of losing their homes avoid eviction and being forced into shelters.

Donate to Boston Here!

Star-C (Atlanta)

This program works with landlords and tenants alike to provide matching-fund grants that help residents in less affluent communities catch up on rent and stay in their homes. The fund offers two payments of up to $750 each.

Donate to Atlanta Here!

Community Advocates (Milwaukee)

Community Advocates provides over 30 different programs and services for the neediest members of the community. This includes eviction prevention and rental assistance. Evictions have already started in Wisconsin, making this one of the most essential organizations to help right now.

Donate to Milwaukee Here!

Legal Services of Greater Miami (Miami, FL)

A non-profit collection of pro bono lawyers who offer free legal counsel and representation to low-income community members in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Before 2020, they helped 20,000 clients a year; this year, demand for their work should rise exponentially.

Donate to Miami Here!

Pennsylvania’s COVID-bomb Republican has an inspiring opponent

On May 27th, Pennsylvania State Rep. Andrew Lewis (HD-105) publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19… on May 18th. While Lewis told his GOP colleagues about his illness, the press release was the first time Democrats who serve at the State House were informed that their colleague may have exposed them to the extremely contagious, extremely deadly virus.

That brazen display of deadly selfishness should tell you all you need to know about Lewis, who has spent most of the pandemic fighting to reopen Pennsylvania’s construction sites so that his family’s non-union construction business can resume work. Just about any Democrat would be better than Lewis, who won by just 500 votes in 2018, and his opponent in this November’s election, Brittney Rodas, is far more than just any run-of-the-mill Democrat.

Just 25-years-old, Rodas has a deep understanding of the government’s complex inner-workings. She worked as a policy analyst in the state legislature beginning in college, working with fellow Democrats to meet with constituents and draft new rules and laws that touched the everyday lives of people across the state. What inspired her to run in this very swingy Harrisburg-area district, however, was the death of her father, a former steelworker and Vietnam veteran. With his passing, Rodas experienced first-hand the very real consequences constituents face when the state falls short of its promises.

CLICK HERE to donate to Brittney Rodas’s campaign via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue page!

“My dad died in July last year after he struggled for a lot of his life with health care,” Rodas tells Progressives Everywhere. “And a lot of those struggles were because of his time in the service. He had COPD and all these other underlying issues. So I had been fighting for insurance for him through [government programs]. Ultimately, he made $7 over the Medicaid limit, which meant he couldn’t afford prescription drugs. When he died, I felt like the system had failed him and I had spent all of my time working for this system.”

Continue reading “Pennsylvania’s COVID-bomb Republican has an inspiring opponent”

Texas is a mess right now. Joanna Cattanach’s House campaign is a must-win if we want to help fix it.

Texas has become the US’s new coronavirus hot spot, with skyrocketing cases setting records nearly every day, hospitalizations rising, and deaths beginning to pile up. It’s both tragic and infuriating, because the situation was entirely avoidable. Instead of practicing smart public health policy, the Republicans caved to the far-right MAGA brigade, taking precious few precautions and lifting even those absurdly early. Now, it’s a runaway train, and the state’s GOP leadership might as well have tied Texans to the rails.

The silver lining is that Texans are increasingly outraged at their state government and ready to make a change. Cities are beginning to require masks, police reforms are being approved by city councils, Confederate monuments are being torn down, and Democrats are making gains. In fact, Dems need just nine seats to take back the State House, and a few of them are big, juicy, flippable targets. That includes the 108th House District, which Democrats lost by a mere 220 votes in 2018.

That’s the race we’re focusing on today — not only will it be super-close, but a win will also represent a further transformation of Texas’s big cities and proof that running everywhere is key to Democratic success.

Joanna Cattanach spent nearly 15 years as a respected journalist in Texas, covering local news and politics as objectively as possible. But after the 2016 election and the 2017 legislative session, which was bigoted and damaging even by Texas Republican standards, she’d seen enough. Instead of covering elections, she was going to run for office herself.

There were two pieces of legislation in particular that convinced Cattanach that dire action was required. As a Latina (and human), the passage of SB 4, the state’s infamous “Show Me Your Papers” Law, absolutely enraged her, while the signing of HB 3859, a “religious liberty” law that allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective parents for just about anything — sexuality, religion, insufficient church attendance numbers, you name it — proved to be the last straw.

“I am a former foster care child and I thought that was unbelievably appalling,”  Cattanach tells Progressives Everywhere. “It was a breaking point for me. I reached out to some of our local media and said, ‘would you like to talk to a former foster care child?’ And that was it.”

Continue reading “Texas is a mess right now. Joanna Cattanach’s House campaign is a must-win if we want to help fix it.”

Mondaire Jones Knows How to Fight for Progress

We’ve learned a lot these past two weeks about Americans, their elected leaders, and the massive gulf in courage between the two. Yes, Republican leaders have acted as cruelly as expected, from Donald Trump’s disturbing, televised threats to send in the military on peaceful protestors to Tom Cotton’s outrageous NY Times op-ed. But we’ve also seen so many elected Democrats utterly fail this test, over and over again, indicative of problems deeper than just pure partisanship.

Congressional leadership has been just about silent, too busy on vacation to take a real stand. Worse, Democrats that run the states and cities where many of these protests and police beatings are happening have encouraged and privileged the carnage. Here in NYC, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo spent the week deploying vicious cops to clobber innocent people who dare violate a draconian 8 pm curfew, then applauded those officers’ “restraint.” 

We are in desperate need of change, and it’s now clear that to make it happen, we need a new generation of leaders who actually experience the stakes in their own lives. And like Alex Morse a few weeks ago, New York congressional candidate Mondaire Jones certainly fits the bill.

Jones is running in the Democratic Primary for Congress in New York’s 17th district, just north of NYC, and has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among othersHe’s one of five Democrats seeking the seat that the retiring Nita Lowey has held since 1989, when Jones was just two years old, underscoring the need for change. The welfare of the 17th district is personal to him, as Jones grew up in Lowey’s district, and understands what it’s like to have the odds stacked up against you — he is an openly gay black man who grew up poor in a starkly divided community he likens to a Tale of Two Cities. 

His resume at 32 years old is impeccable: Jones attended Harvard Law and worked in Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. He’s also long been an activist; Jones became a national NAACP leader in high school and organized against racist police while an undergrad at Stanford. After a short stint in corporate law, he returned home to work for the Westchester County Attorney’s office, where he’s served ever since. 

During our conversation last week, he not only expressed support for progressive policies — including Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and a massive investment in public housing — but also displayed the fighting spirit that it’s going to require to actually get any of those things passed. And in a district that is guaranteed to elect a Democrat, having a progressive with a backbone in office is essential. That he’s running against a state senator who was a member of the turncoat IDC, which gave Republicans virtual control of New York for nearly a decade, makes this race even more urgent.

CLICK HERE to donate to Mondaire Jones via Progressives Everywhere’s ActBlue Page!

“I’m not someone who is still traumatized by Democratic losses in the ‘80s,” Jones said, winning me over in just one sentence. “We need to recognize that public opinion has shifted dramatically. Progressive policies are overwhelmingly supported by the American people. And now we need champions who can message it and who can fight for us without being afraid of their own shadow.”