Virginia '07 Elections for '12 Redistricted Elections

Here in Virginia, the signs are everywhere. I've never lived in a place that has so many political signs around the upcoming election. They are everywhere.

The Democrats have a shot, and this election matters nationally. If we can gain a majority of the Senate or House (the Senate being much more likely), then we will have a seat at the table when it comes to redistricting after the 2010 census. Right now, in a state that's got a 50-50 partisan split, the Republicans hold an 8-3 advantage in congressional seats held.

These districts are already semi-winnable for Democrats running statewide. In 2001, Warner, running for Governor, won 6 CD's, and in 2005, Kaine replicated that feat by winning 6 CD's. It's tougher at the federal level, where we saw Webb win 4 seats in 2006. If Democrats have a seat at the redistricting table, it is entirely possible that the delegation could grow from three to six members in one cycle. It's not just the redistricting issue either, as the the Republican leadership in Richmond have put up roadblocks to progressive policy being enacted in Virginia.

So the eyes are on the '07 Virginia.  The Republican State Leadership Committee have put nearly 400K into the state leg. campaigns of VA's Republicans this year, but the Democrats have the right ingredients for winning again. First, there's momentum from the big Warner/Kaine/Webb wins this decade. Second, in generic balloting for the targeted districts, Democrats are averaging a 4% or greater lead. Third, there are more Democrats running this time than ever before in recent history. The 50 state strategy is trickling down. One note of accomplishment is that more Dem leg. candidates in VA are using ActBlue than any other fundraising vehicle.

Raising Kaine and Not Larry Sabato have more nuts and bolts on the elections.

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Elvis, Weather, and Kentucky Elections

Kentucky rain keeps pourin' down, and up ahead's another town, that I'll go walkin' thru, with the rain in my shoes...searchin' for you, in the cold Kentucky rain.

So sang Elvis Presley about the harsh weather that, unfortunately for the first few stops of the Bluegrass Express union-member mobilization tour, Kentucky occasionally experiences.

Last night's worksite leaflet stop at the Commonwealth Aluminum plant in Hawesville and this morning's stop at the massive Century Aluminum plant in Lewisport would have been rained out if it weren't for the absolute dedication of the volunteers who spent hours handing out leaflets to steelworkers leaving and arriving at the plants.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council President Jeff Wiggins, UAW Local 2370 President Tim Smith, AFL-CIO field representative Don Slaiman, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9443 President Richard Hass and yours truly stood outside the plant gates in the dark, amidst the wind and rain, rain and even more rain, to distribute information on incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher's disastrous history of hurting working families.

All told, the leaflets were a success. We distributed hundreds of fliers, and almost all the workers we spoke to were receptive and friendly. But, ironically, many of them remarked on our dedication to stand out in the rain. The subtext to their comments seemed to be an unanswered question: "Why go through so much bother?"

An answer came easily to Smith. A big grin on his face, he said:

I love doing this! The reason we're out here is to reach out to our members.  Reach out to our members and let them know how important it is to get out and vote November the 6.  

To Tim Smith, it's just that simple. Communication among members is the only way unions can effect positive change in the political arena.  If we want the government's policies to address our concerns--health care, good jobs, retirement security and the dozens of others--then we have to make sure that union members are informed and elect good candidates to positions of power. And if it takes a sopping-wet leaflet or two, or 200,000, that's no trouble at all.


Paid for by AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund.

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Expectations Game, Mississippi 2007

Louisiana has had their jungle primary and Democrats held on to the both chambers of the state legislature, the Lieutenant Governorship, and are heading into run offs for Agriculture Commissioner and Attorney General. Before these runoffs are held, Kentucky and Mississippi will have similar statewide elections on November 6. Additionaly, New Jersey and Virginia will be electing large portions of their state legislatures. Going into these elections, I'd like us to have an opportunity to focus on these somewhat overlooked 2007 elections. Before going forward, I will admit that I am not an expert on any of these states and these threads are mostly here for feedback from the forum users. Today, I'll focus on Mississippi.

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NJ-39: Bergen Record calls out Cardinale, GOP cohorts

By Stephen Yellin

"Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, hates poor people. Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan hates immigrants. And state Sen. Gerry Cardinale, R-Demarest, loves bankers."
Alfred Doblin began his Friday political column in the Bergen Record with those words. Doblin is an equal-opportunity critic of politics, who calls out politicians on both sides of the New Jersey aisle for corruption. As you may know, Garrett was one of just three Congressional Republicans in New Jersey to vote against the S-CHIP override. Lonegan is an anti-immigrant crusader who was recently caught employing illegal immigrants. So it's good to see that Doblin is "playing fair" and telling the truth about Gerry Cardinale and his Republican cohorts - that they are hypocritical ideologues.

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NJ-39:Note to Gerry Cardinale: Senators in Glass Houses...

By Stephen Yellin

From the way Republican State Senator Gerald "Gerry" Cardinale (the leading obstructionist in New Jersey's legislature) talks about ethics, you'd think he was a spotless, blameless white knight of New Jersey politics. After all, he chaired the Ethics Committee in Trenton when the Republicans ruled the roost, and is on record as saying "I can't be bought with a trip". Furthermore, Cardinale has ceaselessly railed against New Jersey's Democratic Party, blaming Governor Corzine, State Senate President Codey, Speaker Roberts and numerous government officials for New Jersey's problems. The real "problem", though is with hypocrites like Gerry Cardinale, who will say and do anything for a vote - or a free vacation. As the old saying goes, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", and this axiom is true for Cardinale.

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