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For Progressives-- Tomorrow's Most Important Races

There will be plenty of entertaining primaries to watch tomorrow-- the 3-way shit show among Republicans vying to go up against John Fetterman in the open Pennsylvania Senate seat, the horror show in western North Carolina where Kevin McCarthy is determined to destroy young Nazi Madison Cawthorn-- despite Trump's reiterated backing ("Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again…let’s give Madison a second chance!")-- for exposing the GOP's coke and sex orgies, the gubernatorial election between a hard core conservative and a hard core fascist in Idaho... But those aren't the races I want to focus on here.

Today we're talking about the primaries where progressives have a real chance to-- House races in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Kentucky. [Note next week we have the Texas runoff between Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros, and the key primary between senile Blue Dog David Scott and progressive champion Vincent Fort in Georgia-- as well as entertainment only GOP races in those states plus Arkansas and Alabama.]

It's too late for financial contributions for tomorrow's races but it's not too late to give to Jessica Cisneros and Vincent Fort, who are both counting on vigorous GOTV field operations a week from tomorrow and need some assisatnce-- so here's the place to help defeat Blue Dogs.

OK, let's start with North Carolina's first congressional district, where we have a classic contest between the worst possible conservative Democrat-- anti-Choice, anti-healthcare, anti-voting rights Don Davis and a powerful and proven progressive, Erica Smith. A couple of million dollars in fetid sewer money-- laundered from Republicans by AIPAC and Mark Mellman's Democratic Majority for Israel-- has flooded into the district at the last minute to smear Smith and bolster Davis.

The district went from D+7 to D+5, frightening off elderly, lazy conservative G.K. Butterfield and leaving the district open... and possibly vulnerable. As of the April 27 FEC report, six candidates had raised enough to be considered viable-- and 4 of them are Republicans. So with the GOP fielding its own conservative candidate, conservative voters don't need a DINO like Davis from teh Republican wing of the Democratic Party, when they have their own candidate (Political Science 101).

  • Sandy Robertson (R)- $1,153,248 ($1,002,211 self-funded)

  • Sandy Smith (R)- $867,519

  • Erica Smith (D)- $719,323

  • Don Davis (DINO)- $611,679 ($21,900 self-funded)

  • Billy Strickland (R)- 393,927 ($250,000 self-funded)

  • Brad Murphy (R)- $195,103 ($166,503 self-funded)

On top of that, AIPAC has spent $2,392,885 smearing Erica Smith and Mellman's Democratic Majority for Israel has kicked in another $466,706. Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, J Street and Blue America have been trying to spend independently to defend Erica's record and contrast it with Davis'.

The 4th district--Durham, Wake Forest and the suburbs north of Raleigh-- where Democrat David Price is retiring, also has an important primary. The district went from D+31 to D+30, still the bluest district in the state. There are 4 Democrats in the hunt, two progressives (Nida Allam and Richard Watkins), a moderate (Valerie Foushee) and a celebrity vanity candidate (Clay Aiken), each of whom has raised enough money to be competitive:

  • Nida Allam- $805,550

  • Valerie Foushee- $797,341

  • Clay Aiken- $480,121

  • Richard Watkins- $106,167

Nida Allam has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie, Pramila, Ilhan, Rashida and by a wide range of progressive organizations, from the Communication Workers of America, the Working Families Party, DFA and Our Revolution to Sunrise, Friends of the Earth, Equality North Carolina and Peace Action. Foushee has been endorsed by conservative signifiers like Jim Clyburn, EMILY's List, G.K. Butterfield and the CBC PAC.

Let's skip over to the two red hot open-seat races in western Pennsylvania. Both districts, the 12th and the 17th favor Democrats, making the primaries crucial. The 12th, basically Pittsburgh, from which moderate Democrat Mike Doyle is retiring went from a D+26 to a still totally safe D+15, and the 17th, Conor Lamb's district west of Pittsburgh, went from an R+2 to a D+1.

The 12th pits progressive state Rep. Summer Lee against AIPAC ($2,403,698) and DMFI ($403,452)-financed DINO Steve Irwin. He's raised $1,222,763 and Summer has raised $707,082. Another progressive in the race, Jerry Dickinson, has raised $684,967. Summer is being called the next member of the Squad and her endorsements start here:

...and also include Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, Ro Khanna, Jamaal Bowman, Andy Levin, and just about every progressive organization, locally, statewide and nationally, including Blue America, Clean Water Action, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, DFA, Friends of the Earth, J Street, Justice Democrats, Planned Parenthood, PCCC, PDA, the SEIU, Stonewall Democrats, Sunrise, and the Working Families Party.

The 17th is a swing district and it's crucial that Democrats nominate the progressive in the race, Chris Deluzio and not the establishment moderate, Sean Meloy. There are 4 candidates who have raised significant money for this one:

  • Jeremy Shaffer (R)- $729,063 ($507,858 self-funded)

  • Chris Deluzio (D)- $488,183

  • Sean Meloy (D)- $251,248

  • Jason Killmeyer (R)- $135,212 ($90,732 self-funded)

Finally, there's Oregon's 3 competitive districts, 4, 5 and 6. We'll start with the 4th, Pete DeFazio's district-- he's retiring-- which is centered on Eugene and includes most of the coast. It went from an R+1 to a D+9. The Republican, Alex Skarlatos, raised over $5 million last cycle and won 46% of the vote to DeFazio's 52%. This cycle he's already brought in $1,877,562 and has no significant primary opposition. There are 4 Democrats who have raised competitive money for this race. The establishment moderate is Val Hoyle, the most likely candidate to be beaten by Skarlatos, since she stands for nothing at all and has nothing to offer anyone. She's simply a careerist hack trying to figure out what she's supposed to say to win. The establishment likes her because she reminds them of themselves. She personifies what's wrong with the Democratic Party. Doyle Canning is the progressive in the race.

  • Val Hoyle- $777,135

  • Andrew Kalloch- $275,014 ($21,670 self-funded)

  • Doyle Canning- $232,295

  • John Selker- $185,167 ($53,370 self-funded)

The only big outside money is the race is from the cryptocurrency industry ($541,891), which is making a play to take over the whole state this cycle and is backing Val Hoyle, of course. Doyle Canning has progressive backing from Sunrise, PDA, Indivisible, Blue America, Our Revolution, PCCC, Friends of the Earth and all the other progressive groups involved.

The 5th district is the biggest opportunity for a progressive to beat a Blue Dog tomorrow. It's a newly redrawn district and which Kurt Schrader has decided to run in. The old 5th was slightly blue (D+4 compared to D+3), but the Democrats in the district are more progressive. His opponent this cycle is a Jamie McLeod-Skinner. He's raised $2,258,882 to her $691,074. Center Forward, the blue Dog PAC that Schrader controls, has spent $1,035,000 smearing Jamie and supporting Schrader. The New Dems have kicked in another $50,000 for him. And because he is the only Democrat in the House to vote against raising the minimum wage and one of the only ones to vote against lowering the cost of prescription drugs, Biden and Pelosi endorsed him.

This morning, The Intercept published a piece by Ryan Grim on the race, emphasizing his vicious attack on Pelosi last year when he was working his ass off to derail Biden's and Pelosi's Build Back Better efforts. "Schrader," wrote Grim, "was a leader of an effort by centrist Democrats to disrupt Pelosi and Biden’s plan to pair a bipartisan infrastructure package with a reconciliation bill that included Biden’s social policy agenda as well as an ambitious attempt to tackle the climate crisis. In June, Schrader had joined with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and seven other Democrats demanding that the bipartisan bill be split apart from the broader agenda. Progressives warned that Gottheimer and Schrader’s maneuver was intended to kill the Build Back Better Act, though in public the centrist bloc claimed nothing of the sort was planned. In private, Schrader was honest about his motivation, telling a group of major donors organized by the dark-money group No Labels that once they had gotten the infrastructure bill through, they could then pivot to undermining Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. 'This is a big deal. I just wanna thank you guys so much for your support, having our backs, being a big part of why we are, where we are today,' Schrader said, according to audio of the gathering obtained by The Intercept. 'Let’s deal with the reconciliation later. Let’s pass that infrastructure package right now, and don’t get your hopes up that we’re going to spend trillions more of our kids’ and grandkids’ money that we don’t really have at this point.' The bloc had won a promise to vote on the infrastructure bill by September 27 but had used the intervening months to coordinate with Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to undermine support for the reconciliation bill, and progressives were refusing to support one without commitments toward the other."

Schrader, now facing a tough primary challenge on Tuesday from Jamie McLeod-Skinner, has campaigned as a supporter of many of the policies in Build Back Better that he helped kill.
McLeod-Skinner has the endorsement of the Sierra Club, Working Families Party, and other progressive organizations hoping to oust Schrader, as well as local Democratic parties. In 2018, she challenged Republican Rep. Greg Walden, losing by 17 percentage points, but coming much closer than observers had expected in the heavily red district. Last cycle, she ran and lost in the Democratic primary for secretary of state.
Schrader, meanwhile, has relied heavily on endorsements from the very Democratic establishment figures whose agenda he undermined, including Pelosi and Biden. “Kurt Schrader has had my back from early on and played an important part in the progress we have made as a nation,” Pelosi is quoted saying in one Schrader campaign mailer.
On May 12, House Majority PAC, Pelosi’s super PAC, gave the maximum $5,000 to Schrader’s campaign. A Pelosi spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to respond to Schrader’s claim that the House speaker is truly a terrible person.

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