Welcome to The Midterms Minute: a look at the candidates and races that you need to know about, shout about and support to make sure we have a blue tsunami on November 6th. (Quick links at bottom of the page.)
In our last two segments, we spotlighted the Minnesota and Wisconsin primaries which are both happening on August 14th. If you missed those segments, check out our previous episodes or visit bestoftheleft.com/activism. Today, we’ll round out the August 14th primaries with spotlights on Connecticut and Vermont.
Governor: There is a competitive Democratic primary for governor in Connecticut. Businessman Ned Lamont is the state Working Families Party choice and is running on criminal justice reform and a $15 minimum wage. His opponent is currently mayor of Bridgeport, but previously went to jail for seven years after being convicted of extortion and bribery while in office. Lamont is polling neck-and-neck with the expected Republican nominee. Politico has called this a race to watch, because, as you may recall, governors elected this year will be involved in their states’ redistricting process following the 2020 Census.
5th District: Connecticut’s 5th district is another race where Republicans have a chance in November. And so, the Democratic primary has been heated. But Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, has grabbed national attention with her energy and inspiring life story. Unlike her opponent, she supports single-payer and has received endorsements that include the Working Families Party and AFL-CIO Connecticut. If she wins, she could become the first African American to represent the state. Connecticut’s Democratic Party establishment has expressed concern about her lack of political experience, but she was drafted to run and has a strong ally in Senator Chris Murphy.
Important Dates: If you’re a Connecticut resident, your voter registration, whether online, mailed, or in-person, must be received by August 9th.
Representative At Large: Turning now to Vermont, Democratic incumbent Representative Peter Welch is facing a primary challenge for his congressional seat, which is the only House seat Vermont has. A few months ago, it came to light that Welch received campaign contributions and bought and sold stock from the very companies lobbying for the prescription drug bill he championed. Thank goodness Vermonters have a choice. Doctor and veteran Daniel Freilich is running a campaign primarily focused on campaign finance reform and anti-corruption that also includes medicare for all, a green revolution, and other progressive policies.
Governor: Also in Vermont, Republican Phill Scot, a first term and well-liked governor, is up for reelection. As we’ve already mentioned, governorships are critical this year. In the Democratic primary there are two front runners. Christine Hellquist is the former CEO of the successful Vermont Electricity Cooperative. She’s running on a progressive platform, touting her leadership experience in utilities, and her campaign is the first ever in Vermont to organize a union contract with campaign staff. If she won in November, she would also be the first openly transgender governor in the country. Environmentalist, James Ehlers, is the other primary front runner. He’s also running on progressive policies, although the self-proclaimed “provocateur” has some strange tweets about unions and abortion in his past. He says his views have evolved since then and the AFL-CIO has endorsed him. It’s also worth noting that a 13 year old - Ethan Sonneborn - is another legitimate candidate in this primary race. Though he likely won’t win, he’s taking his campaign very seriously with a message that is all about inspiring young people to get politically engaged.
U.S. Senate: And finally, Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, the most well-liked politician in the country, is facing two primary opponents. One is a self proclaimed “Clintonian” and “Obamacrat” who moved to Vermont after the 2016 presidential election with the specific goal of unseating Sanders. The other is a farmer running as an Independent with a focus on fighting climate change. He says he likes Bernie but is concerned that his focus is too national and that he’ll leave the office to run for president again in 2020.
Important Dates: If you’re a Vermont resident, early voting has already begun and you must be registered by primary day, August 14th, to vote in the primaries.
We want to emphasize registration cut off dates and absentee ballot request and submission dates are different for each state, sometimes even each county. We highly suggest reviewing your state’s information, and voter ID laws, at rockthevote.org as soon as possible to ensure you will be able to vote in both the primary and general elections.
So, if building the bluest of blue waves is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about supporting progressive candidates across the country via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
THE MIDTERMS MINUTE:
Check your state registration deadlines and voter ID laws with rockthevote.org
For an easy way to donate to candidates, check out DownTicket.com on your mobile browser.
“15 Ways to Help a Campaign Win Their Election” (Political Charge)
August 14th Primaries:
Governor (Dem. Primary) - Ned Lamont
5th District (Dem. Primary) - Jahana Hayes (Heads up! Republicans are vying for this seat in November.)
Heads up! General Nov. 6th - U.S House - 2nd District - One large county in District 2 pivoted for Trump in 2016. Incumbent Dem. Joe Courtney will run against Republican Dan Postemski in the general.
U.S. Senate - Bernie Sanders
U.S. House - 5th District: Ilhan Omar
U.S. House - 8th District: Michelle Lee
U.S. Senate (Dem. Primary for Nov. Special Election) - Tina Smith
Governor (Dem. Primary) - Erin Murphy
U.S. House - 4th District: Incumbent Gwen Moore will very likely win her primary.
U.S. House - 7th District: Margaret Engebretson
Heads Up! General Nov. 6th: U.S. Senate - Incumbent Tammy Baldwin is running for reelection in Nov. and facing $8.5 million in conservative money against her.
Posted July 24, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1198: All we have to fear is fear itself (Our Culture of Fear)