Marching Orders: 5/2/18

Marching Orders: 5/2/18

Endorsement season is in full swing, and Heather Sanborn (from fellow Maine state Rep. Eric Jorgensen), Christy Clark (from the Charlotte Observer) and Rick Raley ( all got big ones. Local media also did profiles on Yatish Joshi, Wiley Nickel, Shawna Roberts and Wade Munday.

Marching Orders: 4/12/18

To deliver real reform, we need to sustain this momentum toward the November elections and continue building a strong coalition — around the district, across the aisle and over the fence — to establish gun safety as a national priority and ensure we elect candidates who stand up to the NRA and the politicians who support corporate profits over people’s lives.
— Joseph Kopser (TX-21)

An occasional update on the candidates, lawmakers and the legislation LEAP Forward is tracking.



Yatish Joshi (LEAP Foward endorsed in IN-02) and his Democratic opponents participated in the second and final debate of the primary season. The primary is scheduled for May 8, and early voting began Tuesday. Local coverage of the debate from WNDU and the South Bend Tribune.

Another Democratic debate in Indiana will be held on the 17th featuring LEAPer Lane Siekman (IN-06) and his primary opponents. The debate will take place on at 7:30 and will be hosted by Ball State College Democrats.

Fr. Mark Kurowski (SD-01) will be holding a town hall and giving a major speech entitled "Renewing Indiana: A 21st Century Vision for the Crossroads of America" on April 18. A Q&A will follow.


Hannah Golden at Elite Daily has a column highlighting the campaigns of progressive outsiders, and highlighted Katie Muth (SD-44) in the piece as the type of candidate drawn to politics in this day and age:

This year's candidates show that the elections aren't limited to the traditional crop of political players. A record number of scientists, for example, have put their names in the ring for the midterms. Meanwhile, as NBC reports, more and more millennials have announced their candidacies. And it makes sense: they nearly doubled their voter turnout from 2008 to 2016, and they're projected to be the largest voting group in the next presidential election, per Pew Research. I spoke with one such woman, 34-year-old Katie Muth about what it's like to be one such candidate. Muth, an anatomy professor and athletic trainer, is running for state senate in Pennsylvania's 44th district currently, which is held by long-time incumbent John Rafferty.

Marty Qually (HD-91) will take part in a candidate forum hosted by Gettysburg Rising on April 12 alongside Republican candidate Kurt Holland. The incumbent, Dan Moul, declined to attend. Pennsylvania's primaries are scheduled for May 15. 



Joseph Kopser (LEAP Forward endorsed in TX-21), wrote an op-ed entitled "A Veteran's Approach to America's Gun Safety Crisis" that illustrates why he was one of the first endorsements I made during the course of this project. More and more veterans are running for office, and as they take the Democratic mantle and run on gun safety, they add an important voice - one of experience with weapons of war - to a debate that has gotten stale. The entire piece should be read in its entirety. 

Lots of people have questions about the early resignation of Blake Farenthold and what it means for the race to replace him. Frankly, I'm one of them, especially since the primary contest includes LEAPer Eric Holguin (TX-27). Fortunately, Suzanne Freeman, writing for, has a good primer on where things stand and where they go from here. 

Marching Orders: 4/10/18

An occasional update on the candidates, lawmakers and the legislation LEAP Forward is tracking.

Thank you to the LEAPers who participated in Town Halls for Our Lives over the weekend. If you attended, please send your photos to me and I'll include you in a future post. 



The (Columbus, IN) Republic published a candidate Q&A with LEAPer Lane Siekman (IN-06) last week that touched on partisanship and DACA. They also have a detailed view of the race that expands the candidates' positions on, among other things, firearm regulation:

Siekman said he supports universal background checks and an updated national database.
“We also need to outlaw bump stocks and allow the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to study gun violence in America. Finally, we need to look at limiting civilian access to military style weapons built for the battlefield,” Siekman said.



Louisiana Democrats deserve a lot of credit for continuing to author legislation to address the gun violence epidemic in their state. Solidly under Republican control, Louisiana ranks 43rd according to the Giffords Gun Law Scorecard and third in gun related deaths. Legislation to ban bump stocks and other "rapid fire" devices in the state has been introduced by Sen. Troy Carter (D) and is expected to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary B Committee as early as April 10. Banning bump stocks has the backing of a clear majority of Americans, and LEAP Forward will be grading this legislation and are urging support.

Rhode Island

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Two pieces of graded legislation are headed before committee this week. H. 7075 and H. 7688 will both be heard by the Judiciary Committee and LEAP Forward will be scoring support for both pieces of legislation. 

H. 7075 is a statewide bump stock ban which bans the device, along with "any device, part, accessory or attachment designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic" weapon. 

H. 7688 says that "persons subject to extreme risk protection orders for being an imminent danger of causing personal injury shall surrender all firearms. This is termed a "red flag" bill, and a March Quinnipiac poll showed such laws are among the most popular ways to address gun violence, with less than 10% of the public opposed to such legislation. 

The NRA is whipping opposition to both bills. 

Marching Orders: 4/6/18

An occasional update on the candidates, lawmakers and the legislation LEAP Forward is tracking.



A national story in the USA Today about AL-02, where incumbent Martha Roby is suddenly getting a lot of attention as prospects of a larger Democratic wave increase. Roby has made her way onto the DCCC's target list in large part due to Doug Jones' win in the Alabama Senate special election last fall, and is embroiled in a tough primary in a district Jones only narrowly lost. The DCCC hasn't expressly backed a candidate in the Democratic primary, but LEAP Forward has endorsed Tabitha Isner in her race.


Yatish Joshi (SD-01) and his opponent participated in a conversation on Lakeshore Public Radio that can be listened to HERE.



Senate Bill 274, which prohibits the sale of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21, passed out of the state Senate's Judiciary C committee and heads to the full Senate. The bill passed committee with bipartisan support and restricting gun sales to persons 21 or older has 78% support among the public. The NRA nevertheless continues to whip opposition to the bill. 


Jeremy Mele (LEAP Forward endorsed in HD-19) got my favorite kind of endorsement - a personal one via letter to the editor. It's from Brett Vars of Springvale and can be read HERE

North Carolina

David Wilson Brown (NC-10) will be participating in a series of candidate interviews by Indivisible Asheville on April 12. 


LEAPer Shawna Roberts (OH-06) went on the 1 on 1 with Tim Continenza podcast to discuss her campaign, and the show can be heard HERE  


The Doylestown (PA) Intelligencer reached out to state lawmakers and their opponents to hear their thoughts on gun violence and how to address it. More than a week later, they report hearing back from only two, including Daryl Boling (LEAP Forward endorsed in HD-152). We again appreciate hearing Mr. Boling's ideas on this subject and invite readers to see them in their entirety HERE

The group Citizens Empowered Jenkintown will be holding a fundraiser for state Senate candidate Katie Muth (SD-44) on April 7. Muth will also be participating in a Meet the Candidates forum on April 21.