Marching Orders: 1/7/18

Our (mostly) daily roundup of news about our tracked legislation, candidates, and districts.

Legislative News

"Elections have consequences" is something that, for progressives at least, is most often said sadly these days. But in California, the new year has shown that elections can have positive consequences as well. From the NRA-ILA website (I read it so you don't have to:)

While most of America was busy preparing to celebrate the New Year, gun owners in California were scrambling to lawfully purchase ammunition while they still could. Beginning January 1, all ammunition sales were required go through a California licensed dealer or licensed ammunition vendor.
This new requirement is one of two new ammunition laws that were passed by the California legislature or adopted by California voters in 2016. The law that took effect on January 1 will generally prohibit gun owners from bringing ammunition into the Golden State or from purchasing their ammunition online.  

Thank you to Gov. Brown and Democrats in the California legislature for passing this legislation. We look forward to tracking your work during the 2018 session. 

District News

OH-01

Howard Wilkinson has an in-depth look at this Cincinnati-based district for WVXU radio that's worth a read for anyone interested in what could be the toughest fight an incumbent has in the state next year. Rep. Steve Chabot and his seat made it on our list of targets because of his voting record during the 2017 legislative session in Congress, but apparently other organizations, including the DCCC, have it in their sights (ugh) for 2018.

While the article lays out the list of candidates who took a pass on the DCCC's recruitment efforts, it's clear that the two declared candidates - Robert Barr and Laura Ann Weaver - fit the mold of a lot of Democrats we've seen running next year. And by that we mean - they don't fit the normal mold at all:

Today, one month away from the candidate filing deadline, the most active candidate to take on Chabot in Ohio 1 appears to be one who would make history if he were elected.
His name is Robert Barr; and what makes him unique is that he is a rabbi – and no rabbi has ever been elected to Congress. Catholic priests, a couple; Protestant ministers, a bunch.
But never a rabbi.

Meanwhile, Weaver, a transgender dentist, is making her first run for office and has made her campaign thus far entirely about the incumbent :

"I like Steve Chabot," Young said of her Ohio 1 run in 2016. "We had a fun time on the campaign trail. He's a gentleman. It's not about him. It’s about making sure the needs of the people of the district are met."
On a host of issues, Young said, including health care for children, sexual harassment, care for the elderly and protecting the environment, "he's been absent for the past 20 years."

We are continuing to monitor this race, and will be making an endorsement once candidate filing closes and the entire field is set. 

OH-04

Rep. Jim Jordan, the one former Speaker of the House John Boehner once referred to as "an asshole" and "a legislative terrorist" is the perfect example of what we mean when we say that Democrats should fight the fights that need fighting. Every indication is that he will win election next year: he has a gerrymadered R+14 district and won comfortably the last two cycles.

But Jordan's record on firearms legislation demands that we support an effort to replace him, and two Democrats - 2012 and 2014 challenger Janet Garrett and Andrew Mackey - are looking to keep him from being too comfortable.

...just because the deck is stacked against them, that doesn’t mean Democrats are going to concede re-election to Mr. Latta and Mr. Jordan.
Mr. Jordan’s likely Democratic opponent, retired Oberlin teacher Janet Garrett, ran and lost against Mr. Jordan in 2014 and 2016, and is already running hard on social media.

We continue to research an endorsement in this race, and will have an announcement when filing closes next month. The Democratic primary is set for May 8.

TX-21: Jason Kopser

A good writeup in the Austin American-Statesman about the Congressional battlegrounds in Texas, including Texas-21, where we've endorsed Joseph Kopser.

A staggering 18 Republicans are competing in Smith’s 21st District, which includes parts of Central and South Austin. Four Democrats are running, with many national Democrats banking on Austin businessman and Army veteran Joseph Kopser as the party’s hope in a red district.
“Kopser is one of the best candidates in the country, and I would not be shocked if he breaks through,” said Democratic strategist Matt Angle, who is based in Washington, D.C., and since 2005 has directed the Lone Star Project to challenge GOP dominance of Texas politics. Angle said he sees the district as a “sleeper” because it is predominantly Republican.

Mark P. Jones, a local political scientist is quoted in the article as saying a "perfect storm" would be necessary to win this seat, but the criteria he lists that would qualify (a top tier Democrat, a flawed Republican, and low presidential approval) are all in play here. 

Kopser's primary is on March 6th.