Marching Orders: 1/5/18

Targeted Districts

PA-03

The Erie Reader had a lengthy interview with PA-03 Democratic candidate Chris Rieger that's worth a look as we continue to research an endorsement in this race. There's nothing specifically about gun control, and the interview is a little heavy on the inside baseball, but it's worth a read, and Rieger clearly enunciates his strategy to re-engage the Obama coalition in this district:

 If you look at Erie County, Barack Obama won Erie County by about 16 or 17 points in 2012, Trump of course won it by two; it was a 10,000 vote swing. Those are primarily Democrats, the Obama coalition Democrats. So, I think the question our campaign, and many campaigns are trying to answer is “how do you win them back?” I think you win them back with those grassroots economic issues, things like a living wage, healthcare for every American, and getting private money out of politics, which is an idea even many independents and Republicans can get behind. We’re trying to bring that message everywhere.

The filing deadline in Pennsylvania is on March 6, and the Democratic primary is May 15.

MI-08

The House Republican leadership announced that its super PAC (the Congressional Leadership Fund) is stepping up its efforts to keep the House in 2018 by expanding its local offices in GOP-held congressional districts - a clear sign that these districts are considered firmly in play for 2018. 

One of those is also one of our targets - Michigan 08, where we are researching a Democratic primary between candidates Chris Smith and Elissa Slotkin. Full list here, via Roll Call. 

VA-07

Anecdotally, we've talked a lot about how impressive the field of Democratic candidates running in traditionally Republican districts has been. In Virginia's 7th, an R+6 district where Republican Dave Brat won comfortably last year, fits that bill more than most, where we are trying to choose among three impressive Democratic candidates.

But anecdotes are anecdotes, and data is data, and there is some impressive data today from the campaign of Marine veteran and airline pilot Dan Ward, who reported raising more than $284,000 during Q4 and $547,000 to date. From Richmond 2Day:

Ward’s last two fundraising quarters were the highest back-to-back fundraising performances ever recorded for a 7th District Democratic primary candidate, according to FEC filings.
 “November’s tremendous election results and the unprecedented support we’ve received for our campaign shows: Democrats in Virginia are fired up to take Congress back from extremists like Dave Brat,” Ward said. “ I think people are hungry for real leadership in Congress and want a Representative who is willing to stand up for the values that truly make this country great.”

Ward's two Democratic opponents, Abigail Spanberger (who was neck-and-neck with Ward in Q3 fundraising) and Helen Alli, have yet to release Q4 numbers.

Tracked Legislation

HR 666

We've researched and graded hundreds of pieces of legislation in the service of our legislative scorecards, but HR 666 - introduced by LEAPer Jamie Raskin (MD) - is the first we can recall that is strictly an effort to raise awareness of just how pervasive our gun violence epidemic is.

Raskin’s Resolution would change House of Representatives’ Rules to require that a 60-second moment of silence be observed in honor of each and every person who is killed by gun violence in the U.S. on the next legislative day after their deaths occur. 2017 was just deemed the deadliest year for mass shootings in modern US history, and the “daily toll of gun violence even outside mass shootings continues to be ghastly and unacceptable,” Raskin said.
Raskin’s Resolution immediately earned the support of the Newtown Action Alliance (NAA), which noted that, although there are 33 victims of gun homicides every day, “Congress pays tribute only to mass shooting victims with a moment of silence on the House or Senate floors.” “All lives taken by gun murders in America deserve equal attention,” the NAA wrote in a letter of support.

We are happy to add our small voice of support to this bill, and will be grading future action.

Nebraska LB 780

Another day, another deeply red Midwestern state where a Democratic legislator has stepped up and drawn a line. Following news yesterday that Kansas Rep. Vic Miller filed legislation to ban bump stocks in that state, Patty Pansing Brooks of Nebraska filed her own bill Wednesday on the first day of the session.

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, said she believes that the state would be safer if it banned a device that enables mass shooters to increase their rate of fire. The senator, a Democrat, noted that she is entering the final year of her first term.
“If I’m not re-elected, I think I would walk away from here thinking, ‘You did nothing about the proliferation of guns in your community,’ ” she said Wednesday.

Once again, while the NRA briefly (and, it turns out disingenuously) paid lip service to curtailing bump stocks after the Las Vegas massacre, their local counterparts at the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association said their group wouldn't support any attempt to regulate gun accessories. 

We applaud Sen. Brooks not only for the legislation, but for the sentiment expressed in her words, and hope more Democrats rally to the idea that at the end of their careers, they will have to look back and ask "did I do what I could?" We will be grading future action on LB 780 and are urging support.