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The Progressive Update (8/22/2022): July & August recap, Florida & New York Primaries.

So, a lot happened since the last update. The reason why is because July had only one primary, and up to this point, I was busy working with Progressive Victory 2022, a group of volunteers looking to help research and organize in various races across the country. If you are interested in joining this group, you can click this link here. I think that this group can seriously have an impact given that many campaigns are often short on volunteers, and that a group with over 6000 members can really help turn the tide in some of these races. Anyway, there’s likely not going to be much more progressive update pieces after this, since I plan to focus my energy towards PV22 and on creating my most important General Elections piece.

Anyway, it’s best to begin with the recap, starting with the end of June. June 28th had primaries in Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, and New York. Utah and Oklahoma had little of significance happen, but the other three has some significant gains, and some losses. Marie Newman, Kina Collins, and Ana Maria Archila all lost their respective races, but Delia Ramirez won her primary, as did the Bernie Sanders endorsed Johnathon Jackson, even if he wasn’t the best candidate in his race.

Perhaps the most noteworthy victories in Illinois were former Congressional candidates Rachel Ventura and Hoan Huynh winning their primaries for state Senate and state House respectively. This is in addition to progressives Lilian Jimenez, Kevin Olickal, Abdelnasser Rashid, and Nabeela Syed each winning their state House primaries, two of whom successfully primaried sitting incumbents. On top of this, progressive Anthony Joel Quezada has successfully primaried incumbent Cook County District 8 Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr, and is running unoppossed in the General Election, in addition to Andrew Englebrecht, Sherry Williams, and Destinee Ortiz advancing to the General Election for Will County Board of Supervisors districts 4, 5, and 9 respectively.

Colorado did have some disappointments with Sol Sandoval barely losing the primary to take on Lauren Boebert (though she likely would have lost anyway), and with Neal Walia not even coming close to beating the incumbent Dem (though I didn’t have the highest of hopes for him), but it did have a significant win with abolitionist candidate Elisabeth Epps winning the most expensive primary in the state for State House district six. They REALLY did not want her to win, but she did it anyway. Progressive Elizabeth Velasco also won her primary for state House district 57.

Then there’s New York, which had statewide races, and state Assembly primaries. Jumaane Williams and Ana Maria Archila lost, but they also outperformed DINO scumbag Tom Suozzi, despite the latter having a far more active campaign. There were a ton a progressive candidates for state Assembly, and most challengers failed, but some succeeded, those ones were Steven Raga, Zohran Mamdani, Juan Ardila, Maryjane Shimsky, and Sarahana Shrestha. This was in addition to every challenge against progressive incumbents failing miserably, so we came out ahead on this one.

Maryland had its primaries in the middle of July, and it had its good and bad. The bad was that former progressive Congressional incumbent Donna Edwards lost her primary despite having both the progressive AND establishment branch behind her. This was in addition to Mckayla Wilkes having a worse performance than in 2020, and Max Socol losing his primary as well. The good news is the Wes Moore, the most progressive candidate in the Gubernatorial primary, won it, and he will almost inevitably win in the General Election. Progressive Brooke Lierman also won the nomination for state Comptroller, and progressives Joe Vogel, Jackie Addison, and Caylin Young winning their state House primaries, and Sam Cogen has successfully primaried incumbent Baltimore Sheriff John Anderson.

And then the past few weeks we’ve had a tone of primaries, so much that I just decided there’s no way I could cover them all, but I can cover the results. On August 2nd, we had primaries in Missouri, Arizona, Washington, Michigan, and Kansas. And there were a lot of disappointments. Andy Levin, Lucas Kunce, Jason Call, Rebecca Parson, Brianna Westbrook, Huwaidi Arraf, and Stephanie Gallardo all lost their primaries. But on the other hand, Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib both fended off their primaries by large margins, which crushed the narratives that their constituents wanted them gone.

And of course, there were a bunch of smaller wins in each of these states as well. Most notably was that Domestic abuser Eric Greitens lost his primary, meaning that we averted a major crisis. Additionally, progressives Adrian Fontes and Martin Quezada winning the nominations for Arizona Secretary of State and Treasurer respectively. Progressives Javier Ramos and Brian Jaye also won the nominations for Arizona’s 5th and Michigan’s 9th Congressional district, but they have next to no chance of winning the General.

Arizona also saw progressives Priya Sundareshan and Anna Hernandez won their primaries for state Senate in districts 18 and 24 respectively, in addition to Oscar De Los Santos, Leezah Sun, Analise Ortiz, and Cesar Aguilar winning their state House primaries in districts 11, 22, 24, and 26. Missouri saw progressives Anthony Ealy, Adrian Plank, and Del Taylor win primaries for state House districts 36, 37, and 84 respectively. Michigan saw progressive incumbents Abraham Aiyash and Helena Scott fend off their primary challengers for Michigan’s 9th and 7th state House districts, in addition to Natalie Price, Veronica Paiz, Donavan McKinney, Dylan Wegela, Carrie Rheingans, Jason Morgan, Sharon MacDonell, Kelly Noland, Kristian Grant, and Matthew Dawson all winning their state House primaries.

Kansas saw an enormous victory with abortion rights being voted for by a large margin, but there wasn’t much else to celebrate aside from Marvin Robinson II beating his openly transphobic opponent in the primary for state House district 35. In Washington state, both Patricia Weber and Claudia Kaufman have advanced to the General election in their respective races, as have state House candidates Beth Doglio, Sharlett Mena, Leah Griffin, Darya Farivar, Shukri Olow. One district (37-2) even had two progressives, Chipalo Street and Emijah Smith both advance to the General.

Two days later, Tennessee had its primary, and there was only one noteworthy race, where progressive Justin Jones won the nomination for state House district 52. So that’s nice… nothing else really happened there.

August 9th then had primaries for Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. This was a more significant primary than the previous few due to some pretty significant wins. Most notably, Mandela Barnes won his primary for the US Senate in Wisconsin, in addition to progressive Becca Balint winning her primary for Vermont’s At Large Congressional in a landslide. It also looks like David Zuckerman is on his way to being Lieutenant Governor of Vermont again.

On the downside, Ilhan Omar came dangerously close to losing her primary. It turns out that she decided to forgo TV ads despite boomers being the largest block of active voters by far. She apparently felt confident in her support in younger voters that she didn’t even need to bother with older ones. And to be fair, she was right, she did win despite the massive amounts of attacks and spending against her. If anything, it’s a testament to how well liked she is. Let’s just hope she learned her lesson from this close call.

Unfortunately, Ilhan Omar‘s ally Amane Badhasso wasn’t nearly as successful. She only managed 15% in her race. To be fair, Betty McCollum is one of the better Congressional Dems. She’s not quite Squad territory, but primarying her is also not the highest priority. She honestly made my most important primaries list due to Badhasso’s influence in the progressive movement alone, but it seems like establishment Dems have stepped up their game when it comes to protecting their own. I suspect this is why Badhasso didn’t gather that many endorsements, though it could also be due to the fact that police defunding isn’t a popular proposal among Dems. Hey, she at least did better than Connecticut’s Maud Hrezi, who didn’t even make the ballot.

On the plus side, there were a number of victories on the state and local level. Connecticut had Anti-choice state Senator Dennis Bradley and Anti-Vaxx extremist state Rep Jack Hennessy both lose their primaries to standard Democrats. Minnesota had progressive State Senate candidates Erin Maye Quade and Zaynab Mohamed win their primaries for districts 56 and 62 respectively, in addition to progressives Alicia Kozlowski, María Isa Pérez-Hedges, and Leigh Finke winning their primaries for state House seats 8B, 59B, and 66A. Progressive Mary Moriarty will also be advancing to the General Election against tough on crime Democrat Martha Holton Dimick.

Vermont had some especially noteworthy victories in the state legislature. The primary for Chittenden Central District had progressive incumbent Phil Baruth and progressive challenger Tanya Vyhovsky win two of the three seats, and the third progressive in the race, Erhard Mahnke, missed the third seat by only 2 votes! Never let them tell you your vote doesn’t count. The state House saw progressives Kate Logan (Chittenden-16), and Conor Casey, Kate McCann (both Washington-4) all win their primaries. In addition to progressive Sarah Fair George win re-election for Chittenden County State’s Attorney against tough on crime challenger Ted Kenney. Wisconsin saw progressives Darrin Madison Jr, Alex Joers, and Mike Bare win their primaries for state Assembly districts 1, 79, and 80 respectively, but not much else happened aside from them and Barnes.

Hawaii then had their primaries a few days later. The kinda progressive-ish Jill Tokuda won her primary for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district, which was nice. Though the real victories came from the state legislature once again. Progressives Terez Amato, Mahina Poepoe, Elle Cochran, Corey Rosenlee, Rose Martinez, and Natalia Hussey-Burdick each won their primaries for state House seats 11, 13, 14, 39, 40, and 50 respectively.

That just leaves Alaska and Wyoming’s primaries. I haven’t had the chance to research them, but I’m pretty sure those states have like, a total of 6 progressives between the two, so I’m probably not missing anything. So Liz Cheney is gone, totally didn’t see that one coming. Like wow, that’s just a complete shock, my jaw is on the floor right now. Who could have possibly seen her loss coming after she ran Anti-Trump ads in the reddest state in the country. I’m just shocked, no one could have possibly anticipated this in the entire history of the universe, not even God himself could have foreseen this. Just absolutely astonishing.

Okay, the recap alone is almost 2K words, so I should probably get to the actual primaries that are coming up. The 23rd has primaries in Florida and New York, and there’s some noteworthy stuff going on. I didn’t have time to scour through every race in those states, so I’m only writing about the ones I know. If you’re disappointed that I’m not going in as much depth as usual, just read Primary School. They do a better job than me anyway. The only problem is they don’t post theirs until the day before each primary, which is so much better than me posting mine a few days before it.

Truthfully, I’m writing this in case this piece influences at least a handful of people see it and are influenced. I mean, we’ve already seen some of these close races, so I don’t want to take any chances.

So, starting with Florida, there are some significant primaries to discuss. Starting with the Gubernatorial primary. Currently, it appears that the two main choices are former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, and incumbent commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried. The dynamic of this race has basically come down to “conservative Democratic Vs normal Democrat,” and as much as I hate to say it, I think Crist may have a better shot. I know that such a thing is practically sacrilege for a progressive like me, but let me explain this real quick.

Ron DeSantis has raised $165.6 million thus far. It’s quite clear that Charlie Crist is the only one who can hope to compete with those fundraising numbers, and even then, it’s not like he has any hope of matching them. Ron DeSantis is looking to run for President in 2024, Charlie Crist isn’t. The best strategy against DeSantis is to peel off moderate conservatives who have nostalgia for Crist’s Governorship, and feel that DeSantis is pushing too far to the right. If Crist ends up winning, it’s going to be by a close margin, and the name recognition that comes from being a former Governor combined with some hopefully well placed ad spending and the controversy coming from Roe Vs Wade being repealed and the “Stop Woke” and “Don’t Say Gay” bills should hopefully inspire increased Democratic turnout.

If you’re disappointed cause there’s no progressive in that race, then I’d like to point you towards the Attorney General race. The current front runner appears to be former Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who has previously refused to enforce the death penalty under former Governor Rick Scott. Though I will say that trial attorney Daniel Uhlfelder is also an interesting prospect, being most known for critiquing Ron DeSantis’s disastrous Covid policies by dressing up as the grim reaper at public gatherings. Either of them would be immensely preferable to Jim Lewis, whose platform is “I was a prosecutor for several years and I will protect cops,” because that’s clearly a relevant issue.

And before anyone points out that I just recommended Charlie Crist, I recommended him because he has money and name recognition. Jim Lewis doesn’t have that, so you may as well go for the ones who will actually inspire people to show up for them.

Also from Florida, we have the primary for the state’s 10th Congressional district. I’ve described this race in my most important primaries piece, and it looks like Maxwell Frost is leading in terms of fundraising and spending, which is a good sign. So, there haven’t been many changes since then, aside from former Congressman Alan Grayson deciding to enter the race without spending any money. This seems to be one of the few districts where a progressive seems to have a smooth path to the nomination.

There are still a bunch of progressives running in Congressional primaries, but they also don’t have much of a chance at winning since they are in mostly red districts. The most likely one aside from Maxwell Frost is Alan Cohn, who won his districts Democratic nomination in 2020, but only managed 44% in the General Election. That being said, he has more of a chance since his campaign at the very least has a budget. Tom Wells (CD3), Jan Schneider (CD16), Cindy Banyai (CD-19), Allen Ellison (CD23), Christine Olivo (CD26), Angel Montalvo (CD27), Juan Paradas (CD28) and Amaro Lionheart (SD21).

Also there’s Elijah Manley, who is attempting to primary incumbent state Rep Daryl Campbell in Florida’s 94th state House district. While Manley’s campaign has a pretty small budget, it IS worth noting that he managed 25.1% in the special election primary to replace former state Rep Boddy DuBose, who has also attempted to primary in 2020.

And that brings us to New York, where we have three noteworthy Congressional Primaries, and two state Senate ones. Starting with New York’s 10th Congressional District, where we have a threat of electing conservative Democrat Dan Goldman to a progressive district because Mondaire Jones and Carlina Rivera won’t drop out and endorse Yuh-Line Niou. A recent poll has found Dan Goldman in the lead by 5 points, and he’s currently has millions through self funding. Niou is the next in line behind Goldman, and it would be absolutely heartbreaking for Niou to lose this one. There’s thankfully a few signs of hope.

The first of these is that progressives Tiffany Cabán and Shahana Hanif, both of whom represent the district have stepped in to endorse Niou. On top of this, Dan Goldman got endorsed by Donald Trump, who said that “he will be very compassionate and compromising to those within the Republican Party.” There’s also the recurring question of whether or not the most recent polls were conducted only in English, as both Niou and Rivera have large supporter bases of non English Speakers. Either way, we need all hands on deck. The Working Families Party has a Phone Banking Event for Niou tomorrow at 6:00 PM EST, so it’s recommended that you sign up if you don’t want another progressive to be blocked by corporate money and smears. Donating also helps.

Yuh-Line Niou – Donation Link

The next major primary if for New York’s 17th Congressional district. Now, some of you may remember that, when I wrote my most important primaries piece, I was kinda harsh on Biaggi when she was running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. At the time, I was harsh because there was already an established progressive in that race and Biaggi didn’t represent much of the district, which risked splitting the vote. While I do still have some criticisms of Biaggi, such as her opposition to criticizing Israel, I will admit that it was pretty badass of her to stand up to Sean Patrick Maloney after he forced Mondaire Jones out of his own district.

So, for those not in the know, Alessandra Biaggi is now primarying Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the DCCC who not only went hard on campaigning for Anti-choice pro NRA Dem Henry Cuellar and endorsed Republicans for local New York offices, but who has also helped elevate extremist right wingers like John Gibbs because he believes they are easier to beat, and because he learned nothing from 2016. And what is even better is that Biaggi isn’t playing nice with SPM either, she’s going after him for all of the above, in addition to bragging about watering down Obamacare.

If Biaggi wins, it would send a clear message to the Democratic party about bullshit like what they pulled on Mondaire Jones, and it would mean we’d have someone who isn’t afraid to call out her own party. And lord knows we need more people like her. You can sign up to volunteer here.

Alessandra Biaggi – Donation Link

Then there’s New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which I wrote about in my most important primaries piece. It turned out to not get nearly as much attention as the previous two races due to redistricting making the district more purple, but Melanie D’Arrigo still needs your help, and she’s still the only progressive in a race where all the other major candidates are corporate Dems. Unfortunately, her race doesn’t seem to be quite as close as the other two, with D’Arrigo lagging behind most polls, but she did seem to be climbing in them, if the only two polls of the race are an accurate indication. It’s very much worth trying for. You can sign up to volunteer here.

Melanie D’Arrigo – Donation Link

Those are the three major Congressional races in play, but if you live in any of their districts, I’d also suggest voting for Queen Johnson (CD-8), Brittany Ramos DeBarros (CD-11), Slava Rar (CD-20), and Eddie Egiru (CD-26). And also, let’s make sure we don’t let AOC (CD-14) or Jamaal Bowman (CD-16) lose their primaries, though I doubt they have to worry all that much.

Anyway, that just leaves us with the two state Senate races. The more noteworthy of the two is New York’s 59th state Senate district. The progressive in this race is Kristen Gonzales, and her opponent is Elizabeth Crowley. Elizabeth Crowley is the cousin of former Congressman Joe Crowley, who just so happens to be the same Congressman that lost his primary to AOC in 2018. Elizabeth Crowley also had forged signatures on her petition, told her black City Council opponent that she’d win because BLM would die, sent out fake eviction notice mailers to attack the same opponent, waffled on gay marriage, and has taken donations from Trump donors.

There was previously another progressive in this race with Nomiki Konst, but she has since suspended her campaign and endorsed Kristen Gonzales. I mention this because Trump supporting billionaire is funding ads naming Nomiki Konst as “the only socialist in the race,” which conveniently benefits Elizabeth Crowley, and there’s no attempt by her campaign to disavow these ads. We must make sure these scumbag misinformation tactics fail and that Gonzales is elected. You can sign up for Phone banking here.

Kristen Gonzales – Donation Link

The second noteworthy race has David Alexis attempting a primary challenge to incumbent state Senator Kevin Parker. I initially planned to prepare for this section by scrutinizing Kevin Parker’s record and policies, but after looking at his Wikipedia page, I don’t think that will be necessary. The reason for this is that Kevin Parker is known for a series of especially violent and entitled outburst towards his colleagues, often against women. In 2005, Kevin Parker screamed “you’ll get yours” at office employee Neysha Williams due to an earlier encounter between the two.

In 2008, a special assistant to Parker claims that he “choked her, knocked her eyeglasses off her face, and then intentionally smashed her glasses by stomping on them.” In 2010, he chased down a photographer, damaged his camera, and broke his finger. Later in 2010, Kevin Parker had to be physically restrained during a tired against Senator Diane Savino, where he called Savino a “bitch” and offered to fight her boyfriend. In 2018, a female staffer pointed out that that a placard for his campaign was placed illegally in the bicycle lane. Parker responded by telling the staffer to kill herself. When confronted about this incident, he responded “I don’t know why this is a temper issue. Did I touch her?

You can sign up to volunteer for David Alexis’s campaign here.

David Alexis – Donation Link

I think that covers all the noteworthy primaries for this week. We only have a few more primaries left before the general election, and there will likely only be one more Progressive Update piece until then, after which will be the most important General Elections. Let’s keep up the good fight!

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