CA-32: Election Day: It's GOTV Time For Judy Chu

(I am proud to be doing netroots outreach for Judy Chu for Congress but I am speaking personally here, not on behalf of the campaign)

Election day is upon us here in California and in addition to the statewide ballot initiatives (I'm voting NO on 1A-F, more on why HERE and HERE), the 32nd district of California (East Los Angeles stretching east to Covina) is going to the polls to choose a new member of Congress to replace former Congresswoman Hilda Solis.

Polls have been open since 7am and close tonight at 8pm. If you haven't voted and are not sure about your voting location, go HERE. If you have further questions, call (800) 345-VOTE or check out SOS Debra Bowen's voter guide.

Usually on election day, I'd write a post analyzing the state of the race from the ground. Instead, for that coverage I'm going to refer you to Calitics whose coverage has been consistently excellent (check out Dante Atkins's last two updates HERE and HERE as well as David Dayen's HERE and HERE.) Instead, what I'd like to do in this post is write my own personal reflections on the campaign and the candidate I've been proud to work for throughout this brief special election.

Over the past few weeks, I've been very proud to work for Judy Chu's campaign in CA-32. When I took the job, I thought I'd be working for a good solid Democrat and I was right. Judy is a strong progressive and isn't afraid to say it. She is passionate about universal healthcare, the Employee Free Choice Act and building a green economy to put people back to work. Ultimately, it's become reall clear to me that not only will Judy make CA-32 proud representing them in Washington, DC but she truly is the best candidate in the field to carry on Hilda Solis's legacy in Congress. Also, I was always impressed with how fearless Judy was about interacting with the blogosphere. She actually got that if she really wanted to get her substantive message out, she was going to need to go around the mainstream media filter and that's precisely what we did. On top of all of this, though, what I've learned over the past few weeks about Judy is that while I am happy to be working for a candidate for congress with whom I agree on issues, more importantly, I feel really fortunate to be working for someone I really believe will be one of those better Democrats we keep talking about. I know Judy will be more than simply a reliable vote, she will be a progressive champion in Congress and if she wins today, I will always be proud to have contributed in some small way to her getting there.

One of the great things about Judy is that she is that rare elected official who has not lost touch with her progressive grassroots values. After 23 years of being in elected office, Judy's priorities are still rooted firmly in the grassroots of the 32nd district. I witnessed this first hand at a candidates forum a few weeks ago, which was hosted by 5 local Democratic clubs; Judy was still a member of three of them. She was interacting with the members of the clubs as though they were her friends she hasn't seen in a while, because that's precisely what they were. And this is exactly how she treats everyone working for her, whether volunteer or paid staffer. Whenever I'm at HQ, if Judy's not on the phones speaking to voters, she's mingling with the volunteers, speaking to them as peers, thanking them for their hard work because she knows from decades of hard grassroots organizing that that's where the race will be won or lost. And you can tell by the enthusiasm of the young volunteers for the work they're doing to get Judy elected that their admiration for her is just as strong.

Judy treats people the same way she's run her campaign, with integrity and respect, and I think it speaks volumes about the sort of representative she will be in Washington. As the Calitics editorial board wrote in their Anyone but Gil Cedillo anti-endorsement in the race:

...we do believe that, at some level, how you campaign does dictate how you govern.

Indeed.

But first thing's first: before she can get to Washington, Judy has to win tonight. With 7 hours left before polls close, here's what you can still do:

  • If you live in the 32nd district, please vote for Judy Chu.
  • If you know people in that district, urge them to get to the polls to support Judy whether by email, phone call, Twitter or Facebook status update.
  • If you are on Twitter, you can follow my updates throughout the day @toddbeeton and follow and add to the #ca32 tag.
  • Even more important, if you have some free time today to do some incredibly important GOTV work for Judy, please call the office at 626-430-3601 or just show up at 4153 North Maine Ave., Baldwin Park, CA 91706.

Thanks for helping send a real progressive champion to Washington.

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CA-32: Judy Chu, The Solis Family's Pick For Congress

On Saturday, about 100 volunteers and supporters streamed in and out of Judy Chu headquarters in Baldwin Park as the race in the 32nd district to replace Hilda Solis in congress neared its final days (the special primary election is on May 19.) The phone banks were packed, the precinct walkers returned for a bite only to head back out again and Judy was there mingling and thanking folks for their help.

Among the supporters who had come to help Judy on Saturday were Hilda Solis's sister Anna and her mom. I turned around at one point to find Mrs. Solis stuffing envelopes for Judy (pic to the right -->). It's a unique situation in that, as a member of the President's cabinet, Hilda Solis is not able to endorse in the race to replace her. In her place though, several members of her family have stepped up and been vocal champions on behalf of Judy. Hilda's sister Irma introduced Judy at her campaign launch event in March and on Saturday, Anna and Mrs. Solis were out in force.

Judy and Hilda Solis go back 20 years. Both coalition builders and community activists, Judy and Hilda came up from the grassroots. Like Hilda, Judy is of and from the district and knows the issues that are most important to the residents of the San Gabriel Valley, a quality that makes her uniquely qualified among those running for the 32nd congressional seat to carry on Hilda Solis's legacy. Over the flip, some video of the Solis sisters talking about Judy in their own words.

In the meantime, if you'd like to volunteer for Judy's campaign in the final week, especially if you can take off election day to do GOTV, please contact the campaign HERE and donations at ActBlue are always welcome.

I'm proud to be doing blog outreach for Judy Chu For Congress

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Happy Mother's Day...and News

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and all the mothers out there.

Last week I gave my Mom a whopper of a Mother's Day gift of sorts -- the news that I would be moving back east in June as I've just accepted a job doing netroots outreach for Kirsten Gillibrand's 2010 Senate campaign. I'm extremely excited about the opportunity but unfortunately it will mean I'll be leaving MyDD, most likely right after the May 19th CA-32 election. I'll miss this crazy place and blogging every day, of course, but I know this is the right move for me professionally and personally and I look forward to the new adventure.

But more on that in a future post. For now, in the spirit of Mother's Day, I wanted to share this CNN interview with my new boss.

I hope all you Moms are having a great day!

Consider this an open thread.

Update [2009-5-10 21:15:31 by Todd Beeton]:More on Senator Gillibrand (Mom-NY) at Politics Daily.

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Well, Hey, At Least Steele Took A Position

Yesterday, Michael Steele decided to wade into the gay marriage debate by slamming the passage and signing into law of a bill that makes same sex marriage legal in Maine.

"Our party platform articulates our opposition to gay marriage and civil unions, positions shared by many Americans. I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman and strongly disagree with Maine's decision to legalize gay marriage."

Of course, Steele's statement was at odds with his own previous remarks to GQ about gay marriage being up to the states:

That's why I believe that the states should have an opportunity to address that issue..." [...]

Having said that, I think that the states are the best laboratory, the best place for those decisions to be made, because they will then reflect the majority of the community in which the issue is raised. And that's exactly what a republic is all about."

Which is more in keeping with the cowardly position taken by Maine's two Senators (per The Plum Line):

Earlier today, Collins said on MSNBC that the decision is best "decided at the state level." And Snowe's office put out a statement citing her support for the Defense of Marriage Act, which leaves it to individual states to "make their own determinations on this very personal issue."

And the cowardly position that Robert Gibbs resorted to when responding to a question on the subject on behalf of the president yesterday (per Pam's House Blend):

Jake Tapper: Does the President or the White House have a reaction to the Governor of Maine signing a same-sex marriage bill?

Robert Gibbs: No, I think the President's position on same-sex marriages has been talked about and discussed.

Tapper: He opposes same-sex marriage.

Gibbs: He supports civil unions.

Tapper: Does that mean that he's going to say or do anything against what the citizens of Maine --

Gibbs: Not that I'm aware of. I think the President believes this is an issue that's best addressed by the states.

So, way to go, Michael Steele. Your position on gay marriage may be execrable but, hey, at least you have one.

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And Maine Makes 5

Equality on the march:

Maine's governor signed a freshly passed bill Wednesday approving gay marriage, making it the fifth state to approve the practice and moving New England closer to allowing it throughout the region. [...]

The Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man and one woman, as state law currently allows. The House had passed the bill Tuesday.

Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, who hadn't previously indicated how he would handle the bill, signed it shortly afterward. In the past, he said he opposed gay marriage but supported civil unions, which provide many benefits of marriage.

Turn Maine Blue has Baldacci's statement:

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions," Governor Baldacci said. "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

"Article I in the Maine Constitution states that 'no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person's civil rights or be discriminated against.'"

"This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State," Governor Baldacci said.

"It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine's civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government."

The likelihood is that this law will be challenged at the ballot box.

Update [2009-5-6 13:43:48 by Jonathan Singer]: Just to add, for all of the backlash we saw five years ago when a single city -- San Francisco -- began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, it's quite remarkable how little backlash is being to seen now with a fifth state, including the third just this year, allowing for marriage equality. The culture war might have worked well for conservatives the Republicans in 2004, but clearly the ground has shifted in the time since. And I wouldn't be at all surprise to see this movement towards marriage equality continuing, not only potentially in neighboring New Hampshire but also across the country as well.

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PA-Sen: Pennsylvania Democrats Embracing Specter For Now

According to GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, Arlen Specter, predictably, leads in a hypothetical Democratic primary with Joe Sestak.

Arlen Specter: 57
Joe Sestak: 20
Undecided: 22

Consider this a baseline poll, still largely a function of name ID. Sestak will close once he finally gets in and starts to gain a statewide profile.

The PCCC has an online straw poll asking whether there should be a Draft Sestak movement (vote HERE.) I've been a vocal supporter of Sestak's running against Specter for several reasons, one of which can be found in the general election numbers from the POS poll:

Arlen Specter: 41
Tom Ridge: 49
Undecided: 10

When deciding between two moderates, all things presumably being equal, Pennsylvania voters choose the guy who hasn't just sold out for political expediency. If Ridge does run, there needs to be a battle of ideas in this Senate race, Ridge needs to be able to be saddled with the failures of the Republican Party; how can Arlen Specter make that case when he's been right there, enabling that failure?

We simply must have a real Democrat running in the general election or at worst make Arlen Specter resemble one. The way to accomplish both of these goals is to draft Joe Sestak for Senate.

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Shorter Arlen Specter On His Support For Norm Coleman: My Bad

Forget all that other stuff Arlen Specter said. He was just confused, you see.

"In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates," he said. "I'm ordinarily pretty correct in what I say. I've made a career of being precise. I conclusively misspoke."

Asked who he's backing now in elections, Specter said, "I'm looking for more Democratic members. Nothing personal."

A different day, a different party, what's a guy to do?

What Markos said:

He's so devoid of any conviction that one day, justice requires Coleman to be declared the winner, and the next day, it doesn't?

He's an empty, hollow, shell of a man. There is just one value that drives him -- political self-preservation.

But we have one thing in common. We both are looking for more Democratic members. That's why I hope Sestak primaries his ass.

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PA-Sen: Arlen Hoping Norm Wins

Hey, who said Arlen Specter wasn't consistent and principled? Here it's been two days since he declared that he had no intention of being a loyal Democrat and sure enough, according to Mark Halperin, the following will appear in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday:

The new Democrat says the Minnesota Republican should return to the Senate.

"There's still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner."

Wow, really? So, the question must be asked: DSCC, Ed Rendell, Joe Biden and Barack Obama, is he still your guy? Really?

I guess I gotta give Specter credit, with each passing day, he keeps making a stronger and stronger case for a primary challenge against him.

Update [2009-5-5 17:8:20 by Todd Beeton]:Deep thought: can we send Specter back?

Update [2009-5-5 17:25:22 by Todd Beeton]:In the comments the quote is being met with some skepticism, understandable considering the source. I would like to see a New York Times source give the full context of the quote but here's Byron York in the meantime:

In next Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter sits for the "Questions For" feature. In the not-yet-released article, Specter becomes the only member of the Senate Democratic caucus to pull for Republican Norm Coleman to win the disputed Senate race in Minnesota, although the way the question is phrased, it's not solely a matter of party loyalty or disloyalty:

Question: With your departure from the Republican Party, there are no more Jewish Republicans in the Senate. Do you care about that?

Specter: I sure do. There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.

What do you think?

Update [2009-5-5 17:25:22 by Todd Beeton]:Per TPM, Harry Reid's office responds to what appears to be an unambiguous statement of support for Norm Coleman by our latest "Democrat":

"Well, on that one we are just going to have to disagree," Manley writes, "because as far as Senator Reid and the people of Minnesota are concerned, Al Franken is going to be the next Senator from Minnesota."

I'd say Reid is being rather restrained. Regretting your support for Specter yet, Harry?

Update [2009-5-5 18:33:15 by Todd Beeton]:NYT link is up. Here's more context:

With your departure from the Republican Party, there are no more Jewish Republicans in the Senate. Do you care about that?
I sure do. There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.

Which seems about as likely at this point as Jerry Seinfeld’s joining the Senate.
Well, it was about as likely as my becoming a Democrat.

I don't really see how he could just be kidding as some have suggested, and clearly neither does the NYT since their headline is "Specter Backs Coleman For Senate."

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DE-Sen: Delaware Voters Prefer Republicanism To Nepotism

A new Susquehanna poll shows that if Republicans can recruit Delaware At-Large Congressman Mike Castle to run for Joe Biden's former Senate seat, he would destroy the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe's son (and Delaware Attorney General) Beau Biden.

Castle 55
Biden 34

The big bad news for Biden:

Among Republicans, Castle leads Biden by a margin of 82% to 12% and among Independents he leads Biden 55% to 28%. Biden leads among Democrats only by a 52% - 36% margin, however.

The analysis plays up Castle's cross-party appeal but it's hard not to see this as much as a rejection of nepotism as it is a vote of confidence for Castle. Hard to imagine Dems holding this seat if Castle gets in.

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KY-Sen: Bunning Lashes Out At McConnell

This Kentucky Senate race is getting more and more amusing every day. It appeared last week that Bunning had given Trey Grayson his blessing to get into the Republican primary, perhaps a sign that he intended to step aside. Now it's looking more and more as though Grayson is the pawn Mitch McConnell is using to nudge Bunning out. Well, if Bunning is going anywhere he's not going quietly.

Ah sweet GOP eating their own goodness:

Sen. Jim Bunning today renewed his attacks on his fellow Kentucky Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of selfishness and being responsible for lost GOP seats in the Senate.

...He said: "Do you realize that under our dynamic leadership of our leader, we have gone from 55 and probably to 40 (Senate seats) in two election cycles, and if the tea leaves that I read are correct, we will wind up with about 36 after this election cycle.

Nice. As Mark Nickolas writes, you gotta wonder if Bunning includes himself in those 4 more losses he envisions for the GOP next year.

Of course, the way to guarantee Bunning's defeat would be for him to stay in the race and on that front, Bunning is actually sending some mixed signals.

From The AP, we get this:

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning says he's still in the race for re-election next year despite having encouraged Secretary of State Trey Grayson to form an exploratory committee to consider a run.

Yet Bunning's local NPR station is reporting:

Bunning also said the only way he'd ever consider abandoning the race was if he failed to meet his fundraising goals later this year.

Nickolas provides some context:

Bunning's comment in the NPR story about only considering "abandoning the race" if he failed to meet his fundraising goals is the most lucid comment made this year by someone who's not considered very lucid to begin with. Keep in mind that Bunning's publicly-stated first quarter fundraising goal was $2 million but he raised just $262,000, and that was before Grayson entered the race. Bunning's second quarter is likely to be equally dismal for him, while Grayson will probably report $1 million to $2 million in contrast since McConnell must do everything he can (as does NRSC Chairman John Cornyn) to show that Grayson has the heft to knock-off Bunning and hold on to this seat, which remains easily the most vulnerable in this cycle if Bunning remains their nominee.

Unfortunately, gotta agree with Nickolas here, it's hard to see Bunning staying in to the end. Grayson's gonna be much harder to defeat.

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