DLCC's State of the States - September 15

"What have Georgia Republicans come to when they are outwardly admitting to suppressing the African-American vote?"

Record Amounts of Cash Going into 2014 State Races

via Governing Magazine

Stateline's Jeffrey Stinson takes a look at the "record-breaking rate" at which campaign contributions are pouring in to statehouse races across the country:

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is spending about $20 million this election cycle on legislative races, said Michael Sargeant, the group’s executive director.

Sargeant this month unveiled a multi-year “Advantage 2020” plan aimed at winning control of the nation’s legislative chambers during the next three election cycles. At present, Republicans control 28 legislatures to the Democrats’ 17. Four are split and Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is nonpartisan. The year 2020 is critical, because after that year’s census, state lawmakers in most states will be charged with drawing districts for state legislative and congressional seats.

MSNBC Highlights DLCC's Advantage 2020 Initiative

MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin highlighted the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee's "Advantage 2020" initiative, a major effort by the DLCC to help Democrats win elections and level the playing field in order to be successful in the next round of redistricting:

Last week, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee announced it would commit at least $70 million to Advantage 2020, a program aimed at targeting legislative chambers in key states over the next four election cycles with the specific aim of influencing redistricting. The plan calls on Democrats to invest resources not just in state chambers the party has a shot at winning this November, but in legislatures where they might have a chance at slowly eroding a GOP majority over time thanks to demographic trends.

“[Gerrymandering] has led to far right policies in states, far right policies in Congress,” Michael Sergeant, executive director of the DLCC, told reporters in announcing the new program. Republicans “don’t feel like they’re accountable to anybody because they feel like they have drawn the lines and the maps in such a way that they don’t have to actually answer to the voters,” Sargent said.

VIDEO: Utah Democratic Candidates Get A Boost from DLCC

via KUTV CBS 2

There are over 60 local, democratic candidates for the Utah State Legislature, according to the Utah Democratic Party.  

Currently, the national Democratic party is giving the local candidates a boost by sending teams of field workers to Utah and 26 other states.  The teams will help spread the word about the candidates and also push voter registration.  

The effort is headed by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.  

"The more people vote, the more people participate and that is not only better for democracy, it's good for the Democratic Party," said Michael Sargeant, Executive Director of the DLCC.  

DLCC Launches Advantage 2020 as the Key to Success in the Next Round of Redistricting -- $70 Million-Plus Effort Starting with the 2014 Cycle

DLCC Advantage 2020

Washington, D.C. (August 21, 2014) – Together with a roster of Democratic state legislative leaders from across the U.S., the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) launched today in Minneapolis, MN Advantage 2020, a major effort by the DLCC to help Democrats win elections and level the playing field in order to be successful in the next round of redistricting.

[LISTEN TO RECORDED LAUNCH EVENT HERE]

Advantage 2020 is the result of the DLCC’s analysis of the electoral opportunities that exist in all 50 states in 2014, as well as an examination of the electoral and demographic changes that are expected this decade.  In this assessment conducted jointly with Clarity Campaigns, the DLCC determined that Advantage 2020 will require an investment of a minimum of $70 million over the next four cycles.  This investment has begun in 2014, and the DLCC expects to increase the level of investment significantly in each cycle thereafter.

Much is at stake in the next round of redistricting. Partisan control of Congress hangs in the balance, as do policy outcomes in every state capitol.  During the past two redistricting cycles, Republicans have cashed in their legislative power to draw maps to favor their own special interests.  As a result, we have seen ultra-conservative measures passed at the state level and a Tea-Party Congress that is no longer held accountable. Our politics are broken and blocking Republicans from blatant gerrymandering is a critical step in fixing our system.

DLCC Statement on South Carolina State Rep. Samuel Rivers, Jr.'s False Claims and Criminal Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  In the wake of shocking and shameful revelations about South Carolina state Rep. Samuel Rivers, Jr. (R) in the Charleston City Paper, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is calling for a response from the South Carolina Republican Party. 

Representative Rivers has consistently claimed to have earned a Ph.D. from the unaccredited Smith Christian University, even listing “Doctorate of Theology” as a bullet point on his official statehouse biography, which has since been taken down. Recently, Rivers has admitted to never completing the doctoral program requirements while at Smith, instead receiving an honorary degree from the institution.

It also came to light that Rivers authored an op-ed in the July 21st edition of The Post and Courier that lifted entire paragraphs from an op-ed released by Wyoming cattle ranchers. According to Rivers, he worked on the piece with “a friend of mine” who he refused to identify.

Now, after investigation, court records have surfaced that reveal Rivers was convicted of assault and battery in 1995. When asked by the Charleston City Paper, Rivers acknowledges the incident as “a disagreement with me and a friend… I got the best of him.”






(Photo credit: Charleston City Paper)

Indiana GOP Candidate: 'No one has the guts' to let poor people 'wither and die'

In an effort to perpetuate untrue stereotypes that people who receive government assistance are lazy and unmotivated, Indiana’s GOP candidate for State Rep. John Johnston reached a new level of offensive when he suggested that instead of helping poor people, we just let them die.   

His comment came amidst an online rant in which he not only expressed his frustration that “no one has the guts to just let [poor people] wither and die,” he also accused those on government assistance of being “less motivated to get a job” and “simply happy enough that they will do nothing.”  

From The Raw Story:

The candidate made the comments in a discussion thread on the Mad Mac page, which covers local politics.

“For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts,” Johnston said during the discussion. “They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager.”

“What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less,” he continued. “No one has the guts to just let them wither and die. No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22.”

“The voters are the ones in charge,” Johnston said. “(H)owever when only 10-11 percent show up to vote, not much will change. People simply are not hurting enough, or simply happy enough that they will do nothing. consequently the dole continues.”

AZ Rep. Adam Kwasman Mistakes YMCA Campers for Migrants

Republican State Rep. Adam Kwasman took time out of his legislative duties and congressional campaign to join protestors in Oracle, Arizona awaiting buses full of migrant children. When Rep. Kwasman saw a bus filled with children, he took the opportunity to describe to reporters the “fear on their faces” and tweet that it is “the abrogation of the rule of law.” Only, the bus wasn’t full of migrant children. It filled with YMCA kids on their way to summer camp.

Read more>>

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has the answer to a Blue South

From the Daily Kos:

By Egberto Willies

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is not very well-known nationally. She has been on a few news segments for the traditional media but none of those appearances have garnered her national recognition commensurate with her accomplishments.

It is obvious she was well aware of that when she gave her speech at Netroots Nation. “I want to start by telling you a story which I need to do. Because you have now heard from a list of very exciting people and you have no idea who I am or why I am here. So, I am going to tell you why.”

Abrams went on to tell her story. She grew up in Mississippi. Her father was from the poor side of town. Her mother was from the side of town that was even poorer. “Her family was the family poor people made fun of,” Abrams said.

Her mother was a second grade dropout. The woman that her mother cleaned for insisted that her mother go back to school. A caring teacher had placed in her records that if the little girl ever came back to school, she should not be held back because she was intelligent. Good people did good things for a good girl who society disregarded. Ultimately, her mother graduated as valedictorian of her class and completed several college and graduate degrees. Her father, who was dyslexic, taught himself to read and graduated from college.

2020 war room: Inside the secret plan to beat GOP gerrymandering

From the Daily Kos:

By Ian Reifowitz

Image from Bill Marsh, New York Times

What a great title, huh? At Netroots Nation in Detroit, there was a panel by that name, and it did not disappoint. Moderator Tom Bonier began by laying out how Republicans approach gerrymandering, and elections in general:

If you can't win fair, change the rules.

And that's pretty accurate. Republicans do this on any number of fronts, from voter suppression tactics such as reducing the number of days people can vote, making it harder or impossible to register and vote on the same day, purging the voter rolls in ways that throw legitimate voters off the rolls, and demanding voters show government-issued photo ID (although gun permits are allowed in Texas, naturally, but not college ID's). In addition to these, Republicans have excelled in mastering the redistricting process by gerrymandering districts at the local, state, and federal level.

The two sides don't do it to anywhere near the same degree, however. In the runup to the 2010 elections, Republicans developed a $30 million plan called REDMAP to aid in their attempt to flip state legislatures and thus gerrymander districts going forward. As you can see above, it worked.

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