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The 2024 Congressional Outlook Just Changed In New York-- For The Better

Plus Primary Updates Here And There

New map should send Sarah Klee Hood to Congress

Yesterday, the NY State Court of Appeals issued a decision requiring the redrawing of the state’s temporary congressional maps. This is gigantic, not just for New York, but nationally, as it will likely cause the political demise of several Republican Members of Congress. My best guess is that new maps will end the political careers of Nick LaLota and Anthony D'Esposito on Long Island, while making Andrew Garbarino (R) bulletproof and Tom Suozzi a sure thing in the NY-03 district to replace Santos. The Republicans still haven’t found a plausible candidate to go up against Suozzi although I’m hearing they’re about to announce they’ve picked an Orthodox Jewish Ethiopian Israeli, Mazi Melesa Pilip.

Two other more-than-likely dead ducks: Brandon Williams (Central New York) and Mike Lawler (Westchester/Rockland counties). It will take several months before the new lines are drawn, first by an independent commission (which will fail) and then by the state legislature. The Republicans will then sue and the state Court of Appeals will rule against them. There you go.

There are 6 Democrats in the primary to challenge LaLota, frontrunners looking like conservative ex-state Senator Jim Gaughran and Stony Brook chemistry professor Nancy Goroff.

As for NY-03, the February 13 special election will likely make Tom Suozzi an incumbent, he’ll still have to run again in less than a year in the general. Half a dozen Democrats and 9 Republicans have already filed with the FEC as candidates. Presumably most of the Democrats will drop out if Suozzi wins the primary and more Republicans will jump into their primary, although 2 of the Democrats have invested heavily from their own pockets— Anna Kaplan ($197,202), Austin Cheng ($504,046). 

D’Esposito (NY-04) has 5 Democratic challengers so far, two of whom, Laura Gillen, who he beat last year, and Kevin Thomas, have raised significant money.

Lawler (NY-17) has raised $2,570,207 but now that the Democrats have coalesced around Mondaire Jones [endorsed by Blue America], he will keep up and has already raised over a million dollars with no worries about a primary. (Liz Gereghty dropped out a couple of weeks ago and endorsed him.)

Molinaro (NY-19) is going to face Josh Riley again.

Williams (NY-22) has one hope to stay in office— Democrats nominating conservative John Mannion, who won’t be able to turn out the Syracuse vote in the general. So far, though, the progressive candidate in the primary, Sarah Klee Hood, is outraising Mannion two to one.

The New York news was the biggest deal but before it broke, the folks at Primary School had some hot takes on congressional primaries as well. Several caught my attention:

Indio (pop. 89,000) Mayor Oscar Ortiz announced this week that he’s putting together a congressional campaign and will be challenging incumbent Rep. Raul Ruiz. Though the language of his sole statement to the press on the matter is entirely anodyne (promising “new leadership” and “better leadership”? Slow down there, Robespierre), this is very much going to be a challenge from Ruiz’s left. 
Ortiz is a cannabis consultant who was elected to the city council in 2018 as a progressive challenger to a member of the pro-business, status quo faction. He then served as a field organizer for the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign in California and was profiled in Mother Jones at the time. Ortiz was also an early politician calling for a ceasefire, doing so on October 31. Ruiz, meanwhile, is a centrist who still votes like he represents a swing district, which he hasn’t done in almost a decade. Ruiz is a member of the New Democrats, and doesn’t support big progressive programs like Medicare for All.
Though Ortiz has a moderately prominent position, it probably won’t translate too much to a direct electoral benefit. Indio’s mayors are appointed from among the city council, and city council elections are woefully low turnout affairs, leading to a state of affairs where the mayor of a city of 89,000 people was first elected with fewer than 1,800 votes. Realistically, Ortiz’s experience with and connections from field organizing are going to be more useful.
Agoura Hills (pop. 20,000) Mayor Chris Anstead filed with the FEC and with the state of California, so he’s either planning to challenge Rep. Julia Brownley or expecting a retirement.
Rep. Brad Sherman, among the staunchest [AIPAC] hawks in the Democratic caucus, picked up three opponents recently: longtime TV producer Dave Abbitt, neighborhood council member Christopher Ahuja, and Travis Strickland, who may be a high-end chef, or just someone with the same name. None have actually launched campaigns yet, but all three hold some promise as potential opponents to Sherman: Ahuja for having experience in politics and the other two for probably having money.
Activist and healthcare professional Mahnoor Ahmad is running against Rep. Sean Casten, who defeated progressive fellow Rep. Marie Newman in a redistricting-induced primary battle last year. Ahmad, a Pakistani-American Muslim woman, charges Casten with being unresponsive to his Muslim constituents amid the horrific war in Gaza. The inner southwest suburbs of Chicago and the city’s southwest side— turf formerly represented by Newman, which Casten picked up in 2022—are home to a large Palestinian community and a larger Muslim community.
Qasim Rashid [endorsed by Blue America] has secured endorsements from the American Postal Workers Union 604/605 and the Chicago Federation of Musicians. The APWU national organization has called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is a point of division between the two candidates. Rashid has said he’d sign onto Cori Bush’s ceasefire resolution, and has criticized Rep. Bill Foster for not doing so, to which Foster responded that “Hamas must be held accountable” and repeated the executive branch line about humanitarian aid and reducing civilian harm.
Maryland Senate
Rep. David Trone has spent the year airing an endless stream of TV ads across Maryland, the most recent of which, his ninth so far, has a 60 second run time. Owing to the cost, 60 second political commercials are rare, but Trone’s entire strategy is to use his vast fortunate to flood the airwaves before his competition can even introduce themselves. He’s spent $11.2 million on TV ads this year, and it looks like he’s finally getting results. The Trone campaign recently released an internal poll showing him leading his main competitor, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, by a 41% to 34% margin. This is the first real poll of the race in a while (we’re not counting the US Term Limits poll) and it shows both good news and bad news for Trone. The good news is obviously that he's leading in it, and also that he isn't simply sputtering out despite the massive ad campaign. But being up 7% in an internal, before your competitor—who has been endorsed by just about every Democratic politician in the state—has aired a single ad, is not where anyone would want to be.
Two members of the state legislature entered the primary for this suburban district sitting between DC and Baltimore. State Sen. Clarence Lam, currently in his third term in Annapolis, was clearly running before his November 30th announcement, but he's now made it official, and also announced his campaign team full of A-listers in Maryland politics, as Maryland Matters’s Josh Kurtz notes. In the 48 hours following his launch, he raised an impressive but not outrageous $100,000. Lam has been a liberal his entire political career, and our gut sense at the moment is that he’s more promising for progressives than the Anne Arundel County establishment candidate (state Sen. Sarah Elfreth) the probable Howard County establishment candidate (Del. Vanessa Atterbeary) and a plastic surgeon with questionable ethics (Del. Terri Hill). That’s us trying to find distinctions where not too many yet exist, however—the candidates are going to define themselves much more during the campaign itself.
One candidate we can safely say is out of the conversation for progressives is Del. Mark Chang, who just filed papers with the FEC to run this week. Chang spent a decade as a Republican politician and political aide before decamping to the Democrats in 2012 after his boss, the most powerful Republican in the county, got indicted for corruption. Chang got elected as a Democrat to the state legislature in 2014, but didn’t let anything as trivial as no longer being a Republican stop him from voting like one. Politics rewards nothing if not shamelessness, but there’s still something unusually brazen about how Chang is pitching himself. According to Kurtz, Chang “said that on the campaign trail, he will focus on social justice and eradicating hate crimes; eliminating student debt; passing universal health care legislation; combating gun violence; creating more affordable housing; and bolstering reproductive rights”. The “social justice” line is bad enough coming from one of the only four Democratic votes to oppose allowing trans Marylanders to change their birth certificate, but the “bolstering reproductive rights” claim is…does he think people are just going to forget that he sponsored Republican anti-abortion legislation?
As if the field wasn’t crowded enough already, a sixth member of the legislature also entered the fray this week: Del. Mike Rogers, Chang’s seatmate. Rogers was first elected in 2018, and spent his first term, like many freshman legislators, attracting little media attention. His public persona leans heavily on his decades in the Army, and a military background could help him stand out in a district with Annapolis in it. 
After gaining three new entrants, the field then shrunk by one: Atterbeary dropped out via a text to a reporter, saying she’d decided to focus more on her General Assembly priorities. That’s good news for Lam and Hill, the two Howard County candidates left standing.
Longtime Assemb. Herb Conaway will run after all for Andy Kim’s NJ-03, setting up a contest between him and his seatmate in the 7th Legislative District, Assembly Majority Whip Carol Murphy. Murphy is more closely aligned with South Jersey machine boss George Norcross and is also seen as having a good shot at the Norcross-friendly but not entirely Norcross-controlled Burlington County party line in the primary, where about ⅔ of votes will come from Burlington County. Conaway has the early endorsement of Burlington Democratic Chair Joe Andl, but Andl has less power than most chairs and can’t always control the county committee convention-goers. A doctor and Air Force veteran, Conaway would be the first Black representative from South Jersey if he won. 
Anti-abortion Assemb. Wayne DeAngelo and Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello continue to consider campaigns of their own, but this is a Burlington seat and it’s hard to see the line crumbling here the way it might with a Menendez or Tammy Murphy carrying the machine’s banner. Burlington will almost certainly award its line to one of the LD-07 assemblypersons, and whoever gets the Burlington line will very likely win.
What a week, folks! One of the nastiest House primaries of 2024 is actually happening. The Hudson County Democratic Organization announced it would stick with Bob Menendez’s son Rob Menendez Jr., the freshman congressman for NJ-08, despite his father’s troubles and despite polling showing Rob Jr. is far from a sure thing for reelection. Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced today that he’s launching his long-awaited challenge to Rep. Rob Menendez Jr. Bhalla may be best known nationally for his successful effort to eliminate pedestrian deaths in his city, a densely-packed square mile home to 60,000 on the west bank of the Hudson River. He’s already stockpiled more than $500,000—more than the incumbent had as of September 30, and enough to run a real race. He also has one big (tacit) supporter in his corner: Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, the HCDO-backed gubernatorial candidate, who made a rare break from HCDO to anti-endorse Rob Jr., a jab which got Rob Jr. to angrily respond. [We expect progressive James Solomon to jump into this race soon.]

Westchester County Executive George Latimer is officially challenging Rep. Jamaal Bowman [endorsed by Blue America] after months of public consideration, and if there’s one thing he’d like to do with his launch, it's put all those racism allegations to bed. He can’t be racist, you see, because he knew Black people growing up; look, here’s a MLK quote! Anyway, he also just said outright that he can’t win if his district gets more Black people in redistricting, but luckily for him, his deputy Ken Jenkins chairs the state’s redistricting commission. (That entire spiel was Latimer’s angry response to Justice Democrats noting that AIPAC, which recruited Latimer to run, has a record of targeting progressive Black representatives, which is unambiguously true.) This is a five-alarm fire for the Squad; Latimer is a very tough opponent. As we’ve said before, and as Latimer himself said, redistricting is an unknown variable without which we can’t predict much beyond that this will be a competitive and expensive race. Latimer, however, is acting like a man who doesn't expect the district to change much. In fact, Latimer is expecting a district where the Bronx has so little footprint that he can just leave it off his campaign material. Latimer got some heat for that move and eventually added the Bronx in, but the message, and his strategy, is clear: he’s a white guy, and he can run up the margins in the white parts of Westchester to outvote the Black and Hispanic voters in the district, which is why he's been so blunt about needing the district to be white enough for him to win. Good thing he's got the head of the “Independent” Redistricting Commission on payroll or that might be a tall order in the coming round of redistricting, provided the court okays it. Right now, the district is nearly maximally terrible for Bowman— instead of being willing to split the Bronx again, the special master chose to cut the Black neighborhoods in half, giving NY-16 the minimal possible amount of Bronx voters, and then included the bluest part of Westchester County in the district. Any Democratic redraw would want to, at minimum, use some of those blue towns to make NY-17 or NY-18 bluer, which would mean redder towns in NY-16, and a reduced footprint in a Democratic primary. And that's if they don't outright recreate the Long Island-Westchester district from the original, struck-down maps that pushed NY-16 far deeper into the Bronx than the current configuration.
Oregon state Rep. Maxine Dexter is now the third candidate running to succeed Earl Blumenauer. Dexter was first elected in 2020 as a progressive-but-not-leftist candidate, supporting single payer healthcare and the Green New Deal. She defeated a candidate to her left and one to her right in that primary, and she’ll need to do the same here if she wants to make it to Congress. That's easier said than done. The Portland left already likes (now former) Multnomah County Board member Susheela Jayapal [endorsed by Blue America], while we can't imagine the center going for anyone other than suburban politician and anti-homeless crusader Eddy Morales. In ideological contests, candidates trying to split the difference usually get boxed out. 
One reason to expect this election to turn into a high-profile ideological contest, beyond that just being the default state of Portland politics right now, is that AIPAC and DMFI are eyeing the race, according to Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. Kassel cites “[p]ro-Israel activists in Portland” who are afraid she’s going to hold positions on the Israel/Palestine conflict similar to those of her sister, CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal. Kassel also says that both “Democratic strategists and Jewish activists in the region expect” either AIPAC or DMFI to spend in the race, something DMFI says it’s considering but AIPAC is remaining more noncommittal about.

2 comentarios

We want a Dem Senate, Hiuse and Prez. Then add four to the supreme Court.

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14 dic 2023
Contestando a

some of that bad brown acid from Woodstock? You may get prez. Congress no way.

And even with all 3, your pussies won't add 4. They won't even impeach the 4 who are crooks and/or lying zealots.

And let's say that your pussy party TAKES some big hits of that acid and names 4 more... then what? Think they'll even try to fix anything they've intentionally neglected since 1968?

Know any chemists? Maybe you could brew up a couple tons of that acid and lace their lattes with it for 4 years. And make sure you give it to 150 million non-nazi voters for 2026 and 2028. Keep doing it as long as it works.

Or... get real and finally…

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