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The Progressive Update (8/13/2020): Progressive Victories All Around, Potentially More to come.

Holy shit guys, things are starting to get real! I’m currently writing this on August 10th, and we have had a shit ton of victories for progressives during the past week. August 4th had primaries in five states, all of which had progressive victories. Then we had progressive victories in Tennessee on the 6th, and in Hawaii on the 8th. And tomorrow (as of the time this is being written), there will likely be at least few more. I’d like to take the time to cover exactly what happened in each state.

Washington saw progressive Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate Marko Liias advance to the general election against neoliberal Denny Heck, in addition to Beth Doglio and potentially Jason Call (it’s too close to call at this moment, but I’ll probably know before i finish writing this piece), and also state Senate candidate Kathryn Lewandowsky, and State Rep candidates Georgia Davenport, Angie Homola, Marianna Hopkins Everson, and Ryan Johnson. While things didn’t go as planned for Joshua Collins or Rebecca Parson, we still had some pretty significant takeaways here.

One of the biggest bombshell victories has been Cori Bush’s victory against incumbent Lacy Clay, with her having effectively taken down a multi-decade long dynasty, and having done so without AOC’s endorsement. The fact that her victory is in the red state of Missouri also likely indicates that we will see a progressive movement form in this state in the coming years, and we may even get a genuine progressive to challenge Roy Blunt in 2022. On top of this, Missouri has also passed a Medicaid expansion, and saw progressive state rep candidate Kimberly-Ann Collins win her primary for a district for which she is now running unoppossed in the general election.

Michigan saw Rashida Tlaib win her primary against neoliberal Brenda Jones in a landslide, when she was previous cited as the most vulnerable member of “The Squad” by multiple outlets, in addition to congressional candidates Dana Ferguson and Jon Hoadley, State Rep candidates Andrea Garrison and Christopher Slat, Oakland County Prosecutor candidate Karen McDonald, and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit win their primaries.

Arizona had a surprisingly close race between Eva Putzova and Blue Dog Tom O’Halleran, which indicates a much stronger progressive presence than initially expected and that O’Halleran is basically screwed in the inevitable 2022 rematch. This is in addition to the Primary Victories of State Senate candidate Martin Quezada and Pima County District Attorney candidate Laura Conover. And of course, there is the cheery on top of former Maricopa County Sheriff and notorious piece of shit Joe Arpaio losing his primary for his old job, effectively ending his political career.

For fucks sake, even Kansas had a few victories despite it being the last state I expected to see any in. The most obvious of these being that far right scumbag Kris Kobach lost his primary and is thus no longer at risk of winning. Yes I know that neoliberal dipshits who haven’t learned their lesson from 2016 tried really hard to make him win so that their neoliberal puppet may have a fraction of a chance of winning a Senate seat in Kansas, but given that I’m a disabled trans lesbian and am actively at risk when fascist scumbags like Kobach are in power, I don’t consider it a worthy investment, so you all can get fucked! There is also the fact that 2018 Justice Democrats candidate and congressional nominee James Thompson may have successfully gotten enough write in votes to make the ballot in a local judicial race, although we won’t have confirmation until the 14th.

Tennessee of all states had an even bigger bombshell victory than Cori Bush’s win against Lacy Clay. As enormous of a victory Cori Bush’s was, it was fairly easy for me to predict in the coming weeks. The signs were there, and the writing was on the wall. Marquita Bradshaw’s victory in the Democratic Senatorial primary, on the other hand, was WAY out of left field. I have been following every progressive Senate candidate through this cycle, and Marquita Bradshaw was nowhere near my radar. We literally saw a candidate that was outfunded 250-1 win the Senatorial nomination. For comparison, Charles Booker was out raised 40-1 and still lost.

And it’s not even as if Bradshaw had the same kind of endorsements that Booker had either. Having seen just how efficient the Democrat establishment has been at squashing progressive campaigns, if someone told me that Bradshaw would win this primary a few weeks ago, I would have assume they didn’t understand how elections work. Chuck Schumer must be MORTIFIED that this happened under his watch!

From what I have gathered, the most likely explanation for how Bradshaw won the nomination is that Tennessee has open primaries, and a lot of normie Democrats have come to believe that victories in red states depend more on who the Republican candidate is and that policy doesn’t matter. This allowed the people who actually care about policy to determine the result of the race, which meant that both Marquita Bradshaw AND Robin Kimbrough Hayes dominated the race because this is what happens when people vote for who they want to run based on policy instead of narrative.

And I can already picture swarms of neoliberal apologists swarming to say that this victory “doesn’t count” because only the soulless puppets with lots of money who stand for absolutely nothing are supposed to win. On the contrary, something like this would not happen if James Mackler was actually an interesting candidate who ran on actually fixing the issues instead of partisan buttfuckery, and this just goes the show you that the only reason we are struggling to get progressives into office is because the rules are made specifically to prevent that from happening.

It is also worth mentioning that progressive candidates Blair Walsingham and Meg Gorman have won their primaries, and the challengers Keeda Haynes and Noelle Bivens had remarkably strong performances in their respective primaries, and could very well be potential 2022 congressional nominees.

And if that was STILL not enough, Hawaii had one congressional candidate, seven State Rep candidates, two city council candidates, and six county council candidates win their primaries. Kai Kahele’s victory is noteworthy since he’s running in a blue district and is pretty much guaranteed victory. State Rep candidates Jeanne Kapela, Adrian Tam, and Ernesto Ganaden have replaced incumbent Democrats and are running in blue districts with high chances of victory, while Trish La Chica and Matt LoPresti are running in vulnerable swing districts with Republican incumbents.

And Yesterday, we had Ilhan Omar win her primary with an 18 point lead and had David Zuckerman win the nomination to take on Republican Governor Phil Scott. Additionally, we have had had Minnesota state Senate candidate Omar Fateh unseat long time incumbent Jeff Hayden, and have had former Clarkston Mayor and US Senate candidate Ted Terry win his primary runoff for DeKalb County Commission, District 6, where he is now running unoppossed in the general election. We are also waiting on the results of Minnesota State Rep candidate Esther Sgbaje, who is currently leading incumbent Raymond Dehn and is very likely to be declared the winner soon, and Minneapolis City Council Ward 6 candidate AK Hassan, who is in a race with no clear winner and that had ranked choice voting.

So this brings us to the next round of primaries that occur in Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming. The bulk of the major races are in Florida, but there is some stuff in the other two I’d like to cover. Alaska has perennial candidate Bill Hibler running for Alaska’s at large congressional seat, but he has no hope of winning given I can find no information on him AND that Alyse Galvin has raised a fuckton of money.

Wyoming is a fairly interesting case in that there are progressives running for both Senate AND Wyoming’s sole congressional district. I’ve written about Senate candidate Yana Ludwig a while back, and since then, she has actually been a really good friend of mine so of course I’m going to stan the hell out of her. The House race also has two candidates that can be considered progressive with Carl Beach and Lynnette Grey Bull. While I support both candidates, I find myself leaning more towards Carl Beach given that he has the more progressive policies. I can definitely tell that Grey Bull has a strong passion for her work and is more socially progressive than Carl Beach, I also think that the policies are ultimately what matter more and will make a bigger impact.

Yana LudwigDonation Link
Carl BeachDonation Link
Lynnette Grey Bull – Donation Link

And now we get to talk about Florida, a state with a fuckton of progressive challengers. Unfortunately, none of them are in the same position as Cori Bush where we can predict a certain victory, except for possible exception to a few state legislative and local candidates. The most high profile candidate is Jen Perelman, who is running to unseat former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

A lot of us may remember Wasserman Schultz for having effectively rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders back in 2016, and having received so much backlash that she needed to step down as chair of the DNC. This resulted in her being challenged as far back as 2016, where she resorted to illegally disposing of backup paper ballots so that there was no way to prove or disprove whether or not election fraud occurred. This time around, it was recently revealed that she hosted a private event with the election supervisor the day before early voting started. I’m sure there is absolutely nothing suspicious going on there.

It goes without saying that Wasserman Schultz’s tenure has been absolutely steeped in corruption. A few examples include..

Co-Sponsored a GOP Bill to delay the implementation of CFPB regulations for two years.
– Has been pro-Israel to the point that she allied herself with both George W Bush and Donald Trump.
Compared medical marijuana to pill mills, then offered to switch positions only if a critic took back their criticism.
Voted in favor of regime change in Libya.
– Recently voted against cutting the Pentagon budget by 10% in the middle of a pandemic.

I could probably list a fuck ton more, but I think you get the idea. Unfortunately, Jen Perelman has only raised $320,678 compared to Wasserman Schultz’s $1,493,493, and Perelman does not have the same type of high profile endorsements that Cori Bush or Jamaal Bowman had. Granted Perelman has a few high profile endorsements such as Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, 350 Action, and Brand New Congress, but it’s still a long shot.

Another noteworthy race is Florida’s 15th congressional primary, the top two are former Peabody winning journalist Alan Cohn, and the Blue Dog Coalition endorsed Adam Hattersley. While Cohn hasn’t backed policies like Medicare for All or a Green New Deal, he does back some pretty significant policies such as a minimum wage increase, ending the war on drugs, ending cash bail, automatic voter registration, and restoring voting rights to felons.

In general, one can tell that Alan Cohn is the better option given that his plans lay out specific policies, while Hattersley just lays out a bunch of flowery vague nonsense that amounts to nothing. On top of this Cohn has also been endorsed by former Florida Governor and US Senator Bob Graham, in addition to that of Cenk Uygur of The Young Turk’s fame. Given that the two seem to be neck in neck in terms of funding, I think Alan Cohn has a shot at winning the nomination.

In Florida’s 18th congressional district, the primary is between former Florida deputy solicitor general Oz Vazquez, and former U.S. Navy judge advocate and 2018 Justice Democrats endorsee Pam Keith. I’m going to be honest, I have a few issues with Pam Keith as a candidate. I don’t know how she was in 2018, but it seems like lately she has gotten too close to the establishment since she keeps establishment partisan nonsense, and then there’s the fact that she responded to criticism over dismissing a credible rape allegation against Joe Biden with a multi-tweet tirade against Bernie Bros.

And the thing is, I kind of agree in that a lot of Bernie supporters are basically just internet trolls with better political vies. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run into many of these types that may have the right idea on economic policy and not invading other countries to death, but are just as bigoted and toxic as your average Trump supporter. And I wouldn’t have much of a problem with her outburst if it weren’t for the fact that she uses it to stifle a serious rape accusation!

So while I fully understand why that would turn anyone away from Pam Keith’s candidacy, she does still fully support a lot of the progressive policies we care about, and still shares our end goals. I have also sent her an email asking if she still believes that the allegations against Joe Biden “likely aren’t true,” or if it was just a spur of the moment thing she said in the midst of frustration, but I have yet to receive a reply. Regardless of what one says, she does support progressive policies, and the establishment doesn’t want her to win. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not that’s enough for you to support her.

Florida’s 6th Congressional district has Richard Thripp, who is running for the nomination to take on Republican Michael Waltz. While Thripp has significantly outfunded his opponent Clint Curtis, it is a bit more discouraging when one realizes that the vast majority of Thripp’s campaign is self funded, which indicates a lack of grassroots support. He seems set to win the nomination, but hopefully he gets the necessary support needed to take on Michael Waltz.

Florida’s 19th Congressional district has Cindy Banyai, who is running the district 2028 Democratic nominee David Holden. David Holden currently has the edge in terms of name recognition and funding (most of which comes from contributions over $200), but Banyai has at least secured a decent array of endorsements. Even if she wins, it’s going to be a difficult fight considering that three of the Republican candidates for this district have raised over $1,000,000.

Florida’s 20th Congressional District has Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who is making her 2nd Attempt to Primary Incumbent Alcee Hastings. Cherfilus-McCormick currently is outfunded by Hastings, but it is worth noting that she is pouring more of her own money into the race this time around. The downside is that Cherfilus-McCormick has not raised quite as much in terms of small dollar donations, but we will see how much of a difference it makes.

Florida’s 5th Congressional District has Albert Chester, who is attempting to primary Incumbent Democrat Al Lawson. Albert Chester has raised $77,749 as of March 31st, which leads me to believe he may have broken $100,000 since then, which means he may have enough to compete with the $483,176 that Lawson has raised. Whether it will be enough for him to win is to be seen, but let’s hope it is.

Florida’s 24th Congressional District has Sakinah Lehtola, who is attempting to primary incumbent Frederica Wilson. As with Albert Chester, Lehtola’s campaign finance information has not been updated since the end of March, which had her at $11,866. Hopefully she has raised more since then. It is worth noting that 91% of Wilson’s campaign contributions this cycle have come from PACs, which indicates that she has not been actively campaigning. Whether or not Lehtola has the finances to capitalize on this remains to be seen. Also if Lehtola does not win the Primary, Christine Olivio is running as an Indpendant.

Florida’s 3rd Congressional District actually has two progressive candidates, with Tom Wells and Adam Christensen. Tom Wells has run in both the 2016 and 2018 elections, so he likely has the edge in name recognition. Meanwhile, Christensen seems to have Wells beat in the number of endorsements he has, and in terms of fundraising. Unfortunatelly there is also a Neoliberal candidate in Phil Dodds, who currently has the most money of them, but it thankfully isn’t an overwhelming lead.

In Florida’s 21st district we have former Tulsi Gabbard legislative advisor Guido Weiss, who is attempting to primary incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel. Unfortunately this race is a bit one sided seeing as how Weiss has only raised $23,297 as of July 29th while Frankel has over $1,000,000 dollars on hand. Even if Weiss managed to pull through, he’d need to win in the general election over Laura Loomer (yes, THAT Laura Loomer) who has raised a similar amount of money.

Lastly, we have Kristy Thripp who is running as a write-in candidate for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 2nd Congressional district, and Sufiyah Yasmine who is running as an independant Write-in for Florida’s 9th district. I am fully aware that their write-in status severely dampers their ability to win, it would be remiss for me to not give them a mention at least. I’d also recommend supporting Guerdy Remy (State Senate District 9), Tamiky Lyles (State Rep District 43), Elijah Manley (State Rep District 94), Joe Kimok (Broward County State Attorney), Monique Worrell (Orange-Osceola State Attorney), and Melba Pearson (Miami-Dade State Attorney).

Jen Perelman – Donation Link
Alan Cohn – Donation Link
Pam Keith – Donation Link
Richard Thripp – Donation Link
Cindy Banyai – Donation Link
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick – Donation Link
Albert Chester – Donation Link
Adam Christensen – Donation Link
Tom Wells – Donation Link
Sakinah Lehtola – Donation Link
Christine Olivio – Donation Link
Guido Weiss – Donation Link
Kristy Thripp – Donation Link
Sufiyah Yasmine – Donation Link
Guerdy Remy – Donation Link
Elijah Manley – Donation Link
Joe Kimok – Donation Link
Monique Worrell – Donation Link
Melba Pearson – Donation Link

And there we have it. That’s all the candidates that I know of, but at the rate things are going, I probably missed some state legislative candidates or something. It is looking like there will now be a stronger progressive presence in Florida. Let’s make Florida Man proud!

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