DLCC Essential Races 2016: Round 3

Press Releases

Arizona House District 2: Daniel Hernandez, Jr.

Daniel Hernandez is a Southern Arizona native dedicated to improving his home state. In 2011, Hernandez was interning for former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and took action to save her life the tragic day she and 18 other people were shot. Hernandez was later elected to the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board. As an active member of the LGBT community, he has served as a member of the Tuscon Commission on LGBT issues. As Representative, Hernandez will fight for commonsense gun safety, LGBT equality, and education equity, and he will work to raise the minimum wage. In November, he and Democratic incumbent Rosanna Gabaldon will face GOP incumbent John Christopher Ackerley.    


Arizona Senate District 28: Representative Eric Meyer, M.D.

Dr. Eric Meyer serves as the Minority Leader of the Arizona House of Representatives and is now running for state Senate. Prior to serving in the House, Dr. Meyer served on the Scottsdale School Board for eight years and has continued to advocate for public school funding and quality education for all students while serving in the state House. Dr. Meyer supports affordable, quality healthcare for all Arizonians, and as an experienced ER physician and former Director of Emergency Medicine, understands how improving state policy can make quality healthcare affordable and effective. This November, Dr. Meyer will face GOP state Rep. Kate McGee in this crucial race as Democrats aim to flip the state Senate.    


Florida House District 47: Beth Tuura

Emmy award-winning broadcaster Beth Tuura was inspired to run for the Florida House after witnessing the GOP-led chamber sponsor out-of-touch legislation unrepresentative of the general public. As Representative, Tuura will defend a woman’s right to choose and her right to equal pay and quality healthcare. She will work to strengthen gun safety laws, improve education, and protect the environment from harmful fracking chemicals and loosened regulations. As a member of the LGBT community, Tuura will fight for equality and stand up against discrimination of any type. In November, Tuura will face Republican incumbent Mike Miller as Democrats look to flip this key district.  


Florida House District 69: Jennifer Webb

Jennifer Webb is a first-time candidate running for a seat in the Florida state House. Raised by a single mother, Webb understands the needs of working class families after watching her mother fight to provide for their family on minimum wage. Today, Webb is the Director of Community Engagement for the University of South Florida and teaches faculty how to give back to the Bay area. Webb builds projects that bring together non-profits, business, the university, and residents to create stronger communities, reduce violence, increase employment, and support students. As Representative, Webb will be one of the first openly LGBT women in the legislature and will fight to fund quality public education, protect the environment, and promote fair and equitable economic growth. In November, Webb will face GOP incumbent Kathleen Peters to represent this swing district that supported Obama in both 2008 and 2012.


Florida Senate District 37: Representative José Javier Rodriguez

Florida native, attorney, and current state Representative José Javier Rodriguez has spent his life defending others. After serving in the U.S. Peace Corps, Rodriguez worked as a lawyer in the Miami community, inspired by his Cuban father to defend the rights of those who could not afford lawyers. This work helped improve working conditions in the community, raise wages, and help families keep their homes and small businesses. In the state House, Rodriguez has successfully advocated for working families, fought for tax relief for homeowners, and championed investments in the state’s infrastructure and public schools, and he is running to bring his experience to the state Senate. In November, Rodriguez will face Republican incumbent Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and help Democrats make gains in this key chamber.    


Minnesota House District 28B: Thomas Trehus

Twenty-six year old Thomas Trehus is a first-time candidate offering a fresh perspective for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Trehus currently serves on the Spring Grove School Board of Education and is a passionate public schools advocate. He will fight to ensure school funding needs are met for all districts and Minnesota children have access to high quality public educations. Trehus will work to move Minnesota forward by investing in critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, and broadband internet expansion and push for responsible environmental protections to preserve the state’s natural resources. In November, Trehus will face GOP incumbent and extreme conservative Greg Davids as Democrats work to flip the state’s lower legislative chamber.


Minnesota Senate District 1: Kip Fontaine

Kip Fontaine is running for the Senate seat previously held by Democratic Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, who retired after serving three decades in office. After earning his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School, Fontaine went on to serve northwest Minnesota as Assistant Polk County Attorney in Crookston, Clearwater County Attorney in Bagley, and since 2007, as Manager of the State Public Defender’s Offices in Thief River Falls and Crookston. Fontaine is an active member of his community, serving as Deacon of his church and as a former board member and chair of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. In November, Fontaine will face Republican Mark Johnson as Democrats look to expand their majority in the state Senate.   


Minnesota Senate District 58: Matt Little

A Lakeville native, Mayor Matt Little is running to represent his hometown in the state Senate. Little has long been an active member in the community, organizing food drives and volunteering for numerous causes. Little took his dedication to his community a step further when he was elected to the City Council in 2010 and then as Lakeville Mayor in 2012. During his time as mayor, Little worked to attract businesses to Lakeville, resulting in a 9.4% increase in job growth. Little also worked across the aisle to pass budgets that invested in the community while keeping taxes low for working families. As state Senator, Little will use his local government experience to continue his efforts to advance state progress and provide constituents with efficient and reliable government. In November, Little will face Republican Tim Pitcher as Democrats look to pick up this now-open seat and expand their majority in the state Senate.


Missouri Senate District 1: Senator Scott Sifton

Senator Scott Sifton was first elected to the Missouri Senate in 2012. An attorney and a Gladstone native, Sifton is an involved member of the community, beginning his public service on the Affton School Board, where he cut taxes by $6.25 million while raising salaries for teachers and completing $25 million in building projects. Sifton went on to serve in the Missouri House, representing HD-96 from 2010 to 2012. As a Senator, Sifton has focused on ensuring quality public education, championing strong ethics rules for legislators, and supporting veterans as a member of the Missouri Veterans Commission. In November, Sifton will face Republican Dr. Randy Jotte, who is running for SD-01 after losing the 2012 Republican primary for SD-02.    


Missouri Senate District 19: Representative Stephen Webber

Current Missouri state Representative, attorney, and Marine Corps veteran Stephen Webber will aim to keep a now-open state Senate seat in Democratic hands this November. After serving his country in Iraq, Webber served the people of his home state as an aide to U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. Webber was first elected to the state House in 2008 and earned a reputation as a thoughtful and fair lawmaker, working across the aisle to make college more affordable, increase job training programs, and ensure access to healthcare at no cost to taxpayers. In the Senate, Webber will continue his commitment to serving the people of Missouri by working to increase funding for STEM programs, attract good-paying jobs to the area, and improve public schools. In November, Webber will face extreme conservative Caleb Rowden.  


Montana House District 3: Representative Zac Perry

Representative Zac Perry was first elected to the Montana House in 2014 after defeating the Republican incumbent in one of the closest races of the cycle. A Columbia Falls native, Perry is an involved member of his community, working as a substitute teacher and volunteering for multiple non-profits. Rep. Perry uses his experience as a teacher and love of his home state to inform his policies, and he has earned the respect of locals and both parties for his fair and thoughtful approach to lawmaking. He has fought for well-funded public schools, advocated for bully prevention programs (such as OLWEUS), worked to keep public lands public, and voted to protect the rights and wellbeing of all Montanans, regardless of background. The importance of Rep. Perry’s re-election campaign is underscored by the disqualifications of his Republican opponent, Taylor Rose. Rose has been deeply active in white-supremacy groups; the Southern Poverty Law Center listed Rose as part of the “new wave of extremists” running for office in 2016.


Montana House District 25: Garrett Lankford

Born and raised in Great Falls, first-time candidate and Little Shell Tribe member Garrett Lankford is eager to help his community flourish as the youngest Representative in the Montana House. While earning his degree at Montana State University, Lankford served as the Associated Students of MSU’s political director, where he represented students at the state capitol during the 2015 legislative session on issues like student debt, wage increases for state employees, and a tuition freeze for Montana students. Lankford is a passionate advocate for higher education and believes all hardworking students deserve the chance to obtain a college degree. As Representative, Lankford will fight for the future of his home state by prioritizing the needs of Montana’s children, ensuring public lands stay public, and promoting responsible healthcare laws. In November, Lankford will face Republican Jeremy Trebas for this now-open seat.  


Montana Senate District 26: Representative Margie MacDonald

Current Montana state Representative and Minority Whip Margaret “Margie” MacDonald will aim to flip this now-open state Senate seat for Democrats this November. An experienced lawmaker, MacDonald supported legislation to expand access to affordable healthcare and mental health services, preserve public lands, and protect children from abuse. MacDonald’s history of standing up for others is further evidenced by her work as the director of Montana’s Office of Community Service, as Executive Director of the Montana Association of Churches, and as Executive Director of Gov. Schweitzer’s Office of Community Service. In November, MacDonald will face former state Rep. Donald Roberts, who is running for SD-26 after losing the Republican primary for SD-27 in 2014.  


New Mexico Senate District 29: Leader Michael Sanchez

Born and raised in Belen, Majority Leader Michael Sanchez was first elected to the New Mexico state Senate in 1992. Leader Sanchez has been a proven advocate for working families, helping to pass the H.I.R.E. Initiative, fighting to close corporate tax loopholes and prevent tax dollars from going to out-of-state corporations, and working to spur job creation and entrepreneurship. Leader Sanchez has worked to protect the environment, develop state infrastructure, and improve public education so all New Mexicans can benefit from state progress. In November, Leader Sanchez will face GOP challenger Gregory Baca as Democrats fight to expand their majority in the state Senate.  


North Carolina House District 98: Jane Campbell

During Captain Jane Campbell’s nearly 26 years in the United States Navy, she deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, became one of the first women to serve on a combat ship, served at the Pentagon and with the National Security Council at the White House, and received numerous decorations and awards. Since retiring in 2015, Campbell and has been an active member of the Davidson community and was motivated to run for office by the passage of North Carolina’s HB2, otherwise known as the state’s discriminatory “bathroom bill” that voided municipal LGBT protections. In November, Campbell will aim to unseat one of the authors of HB2, GOP Rep. John Bradford; if elected, Campbell will be the only openly LGBT member in the state House.  


North Dakota House District 44: Karla Rose Hanson

Grassroots public policy advocate Karla Rose Hanson is running to bring moderate leadership and family-focused legislation to the state House. A co-founder of North Dakota Coalition for Privacy in Health Care and a North Dakota Women’s Network board member, Hanson has long been a prominent women’s health advocate. She served as the spokeswoman and communications manager for North Dakotans Against Measure 1, a campaign against the unsuccessful statewide measure to pass an extreme “personhood” constitutional amendment. In November, Hanson will face member of the ALEC Board of Directors and GOP Rep. Blair Thoreson, who is known for his opposition to campaign finance reform, gun safety, and women’s rights.  


Ohio House District 16: Tommy Greene

A Young Democrat and leader in the LGBTQ community, Tommy was born in Westlake and grew up in Bay Village, where his parents — a former steelworker and a teacher’s aide — taught him the value of hard work and fighting for what is right. Greene represents a fresh voice for the future, and he will lead efforts to raise the minimum wage, ensure schools are properly funded, bring more manufacturing and high-tech jobs to the district, and expand skills training. This November, Greene will face Republican incumbent Dave Greenspan in the race for this crucial Ohio House district.  


Oregon House District 51: Janelle Bynum

Janelle Bynum is running to succeed fellow Democratic Rep. Shemia Fagan in the Oregon House. Bynum is a Happy Valley resident and small business owner with deep community ties, a passion to help others thrive, and a plan to move Oregon forward. The daughter of teachers, Bynum understands the value of a quality education and will work to fund public schools so every student has the opportunity to succeed. As a member of the Portland Business Alliance, Bynum will bring experience and a firsthand account of issues facing Oregon’s entrepreneurs. In November, Bynum will face Republican Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer as Democrats aim to expand their legislative majorities.  


Oregon Senate District 3: Tonia Moro

Tonia Moro was chosen by Jackson County Democrats to run in the November special election after the sudden passing of Democratic incumbent Sen. Alan Bates. A former federal defender, Moro also served as counsel for small businesses and for Oregon cities, where she saw firsthand how state policies can help or hinder local communities. A long-time advocate for improving state policies on mental health services, foster care, domestic violence, and family and youth services, Moro helped promote meaningful reform under the late Sen. Bates’ leadership. In office, Moro will work to bring green jobs to Oregon, improve schools, and support affordable housing. In November, Moro will face Republican Alan DeBoer as she looks to further the late Sen. Bates’ impactful work and help Democrats expand their chamber majority.   


Wisconsin Senate District 14: Brian Smith

As a small business owner, former educator, and longest-serving mayor of his hometown of Waupaca, Brian Smith will bring invaluable firsthand experience to the Wisconsin Senate. Smith will work to fund public schools, empower local governments to make community decisions, and champion women’s rights in Madison. In November, Smith will face incumbent GOP Sen. Luther Olsen; Olsen was recently implicated in a possible 2013 pay-to-play arrangement between lead paint manufacturers and Republican lawmakers. The Guardian’s report on leaked documents link Olsen’s votes to campaign donations.


Wisconsin Senate District 18: Mark Harris

Current third-term Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is running to represent swing district SD-18 in the Wisconsin Senate. In the past three elections, SD-18 was won and lost by just a few hundred votes; with Gov. Walker and Donald Trump’s unpopularity hindering down-ballot GOP candidates, Harris will fight to claim this now-open seat for Democrats. A former City Council member, mayor, and County Board Supervisor, Harris will bring valuable local government experience to Madison.  Harris supports increasing the minimum wage, improving infrastructure, funding public K-12 education, and spurring economic development through job growth and responsible investments. In an effort to force Harris out of this key race, Gov. Walker recently signed a bill barring county executives from simultaneously serving in the legislature. 


West Virginia Senate District 16: Delegate Stephen Skinner

Attorney and Charles Town native Stephen Skinner was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2012, becoming the first openly gay person elected to the West Virginia Legislature. After serving two terms in the House, Skinner intends to bring his valuable experience to the state Senate, where he will continue his efforts to attract good-paying jobs to the Eastern Panhandle, secure school funding, reverse the escalating drug epidemic, and protect constituents’ drinking water by leading the effort to ban radioactive fracking waste. A founder of Fairness West Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, Skinner will continue to advocate for legislation adding sexual orientation to the state’s non-discrimination law both on and off the Senate floor. In November, Skinner will face Republican Patricia Rucker (whom he defeated in his 2014 House re-election campaign) in the race for this battleground district that could determine partisan control of the chamber.