Donate to Charlie Brown & 15% Will Go to Tahoe Fire Victims

Last night I received a fundraising email from the Charlie Brown for Congress campaign stating that 15% of online donations will go to the Sacramento – Sierra Red Cross to help the victims of the Angora fire in South Lake Tahoe (which is in California’s 4th congressional district).

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, Charlie Brown has done something similar before. At the end of the previous fundraising quarter in March he pledged to give 10% of contributions to local veteran aide groups. The donations were distributed to the Sacramento Stand Down, Nevada County Stand Down, and Sierra College Veterans Club in mid April.

This is in stark contrast to the actions of Congressman John Doolittle who’s practise it was to give 15% of all contributions to his wife. Charlie in contrast is giving money to the community in his district.

Here’s the fundraising email:

As you know, the upcoming June 30th FEC deadline is a very important benchmark for our campaign. But it pales in comparison to what’s happening right now in Lake Tahoe, where thousands of our neighbors are facing a devastating wildfire.

That’s why between now and the FEC deadline of midnight on June 30th, we will be donating 15% of all contributions made through our online ActBlue page to the Sacramento- Sierra Red Cross–to help area residents who have been affected by this horrible tragedy.

CLICK HERE to Contribute Now! (15% of your donation will help Tahoe Area Fire Victims).

CLICK HERE for a list of groups who are helping those displaced by the fire, and information about how you can help.

Together, we’ve shown that leadership is about much more than just affecting policy in Washington. It is also about mobilizing our collective strength to address real life problems here at home. In other words, leading by example.

A few months ago, our “no veteran left behind” campaign did much more than provide needed funds to area organizations helping veterans and families in need. It set an example that others have followed- both inside an outside of politics. Veterans and families in need across America, not just in our own community, have been the beneficiaries.

The events of this week demand that we lead by example once again.

Please be aware that it says that 15% of all contributions through Charlie’s ActBlue page will go to the Tahoe fire victims. So, I’m not sure if this also applies to other ActBlue pages raising funds for Charlie. I’ll ask the campaign and update once I’ve heard back from them.

cross-posted from Turn Tahoe Blue

More information on the Angora Fire at Lake Tahoe:

Tahoe Daily Tribune
Reno Gazette-Journal
Sacramento Bee

NV-03: “Maybe We Need a Waitress in Congress”

The race between Republican Congressman Jon Porter and Democrat Tessa Hafen in NV-03 (the suburbs of Las Vegas) has been one of the closest in the country with 48.46% for Porter and 46.57% for Hafen and Porter winning by less than 4,000 votes. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Democrats, both in DC and in Nevada, are looking for another serious challenger to Porter after Hafen, a former aide to Sen. Reid, declined to run again. Last week, another potential contender, 2006 gubernatorial nominee and State Sen. Min. Leader Dina Titus, took herself out of the running leaving the field with one announced candidate and two others seriously considering.

Thus far only Andrew Martin has announced his intention to run. He’s an accountant making his first run for elected office and would be Nevada’s first openly gay member of Congress. He’s fairly unknown, though, and I’m not sure if he’d be able to raise the funds necessary for a successful run. Another potential candidate is Larry Lehrner, a nephrologist, a former Republican who does not even live in the district but is nontheless taken very seriously because he’s married to Shelley Berkley, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley that is. A married couple representing two districts of one state in Congress, I don’t think we’ve had that before and I’m not sure we’d want that.

So, maybe it’s time for a waitress in Congress.

There has been speculation that Maggie Carlton, a state senator since 1999 is interested in running and this past weekend she confirmed this:

“My husband and I have been talking about it for a while,” she said. “We might try it. I don’t think it’s too far fetched.”

Carlton, a waitress at the Treasure Island resort, said she wants to talk it over with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and her supporters at home before she makes a decision.

“He’s my congressman, and I don’t like some of the things he’s done,” she said of Porter. “Maybe we need a waitress in Congress, not an insurance guy.”

Yup, you read that right, a waitress. Nevada’s legislature is only in session for four months every other year, meaning legislators have to keep their job after being elected and work to make a living. Wonder how Maggie Carlton does it? So did NPR a year ago. You can listen to their profile of Maggie Carlton here.

Maggie Carlton represents the working people of Las Vegas and Nevada in the State Senate. One co-worker says:

We got somebody speaking for us on a higher level. […] She’ll bring up the questions that other senators probably wouldn’t bring up because they don’t know about nine-to-five working people. […] If Maggie wouldn’t be doing it who would do it?

So, you could argue she’s too valuable in the State Senate and should stay put. However, term limits were introduced in Nevada which means she cannot stand for re-election in 2010. Having her speak for the nine-to-five people in Congress might not be such a bad idea.

How could she win? We know the district is competitive, Porter is vulnerable. She’d have one distinctive advantage: the Culinary Union Local 226 – the most powerful union in Nevada, so powerful that the Culinary’s endorsement might swing the presidential contest in the Nevada Caucus next year. Maggie Carlton is not only a member of the Culinary Union and a Culinary Local No. 226 Shop Steward, she says she was actually encouraged to run for the State Senate by the Culinary:

They wanted someone who clocked in for a living and who understood: running to PTA meetings, trying to do the girl scout thing, getting kids to school on time, all those types of things.

Maggie Carlton has been doing her day-job for 30 years now, maybe it’s time she put down that 40 pound tray not just for 120 days every other year but permanently and take her experience to Washington.

Cross-posted from Turn Tahoe Blue.

NV-02: Heller Had 12th Worst GOP Result in 2006

Nationally, many pundits and bloggers didn’t take Nevada’s 2nd district too seriously in 2006. It was too safe a Republican district to be even slightly competitive, so the argument went.

Well, we all know that Dean Heller in the end won his election against Democrat Jill Derby. Against expectations though, his result wasn’t very convincing. The man who was elected Secretary of State of Nevada three times, barely won more than 50% of the vote in a district that doesn’t include Democratic Las Vegas. So today, I ventured out in search of Republicans who won their districts in 2006 and did worse than him. Turns out that there weren’t that many.

Only 11 Republicans were elected with a worse result than Heller. Among them: Rep. Sali of Idaho, Rep. Cubin of Wyoming, Rep. Musgrave of Colorado and Rep. Doolittle of California. All these districts were presumed to be safely in Republican hands. There was no way they would become competitive and yet they were.

Again, there is talk of Heller being safe, of other Republican districts more important than Nevada’s 2nd. This is reminder for all of these folks that Heller is among the vulnerable dozen Republicans currently serving in Congress:

  * 50.37% Heller
  * 50.24% Pryce (OH-15)
  * 50.21% Wilson (NM-01)
  * 50.14% Hayes (NC-08)
  * 50.08% Buchanan (FL-13)
  * 50.05% Bachmann (MN-06)
  * 49.95% Sali (ID-01)
  * 49.53% Ferguson (NJ-07)
  * 49.26% Doolittle (CA-04)
  * 48.46% Porter (NV-03)
  * 48.33% Cubin (WY-01)
  * 45.91% Musgrave (CO-04)

Results were taken from NPR.

PS: Please note that I only looked at how many people were willing to vote for the Republican, not how well the opponent did. This is not a diary on close margins. Feel free to comment on that below.

Cross posted from Helluva Heller, where Nevada bloggers have united to take down Heller in 2008.

Democrats can win in the rurals

When talking about trying to win the 2nd congressional district in Nevada, which encompasses almost all of Nevada except for the heavily populated parts of Clark County, you almost always encounter one argument: Democrats cannot win in the rurals.

Now, at first look that might be true, statewide Democratic candidates often lose the rural counties and often by a large margin. One reason for that might be that statewide Democratic candidates most often hail from Clark County and might not campaign too much in the rurals.

However, when you take a closer look you might come away shocked. Why? Because Democrats actually get elected in the rurals on a regular basis.

Just take a look at this list of current office holders who identified themselves as Democrats on the ballot:

Churchill County:

Vicky Tripp, County Recorder
John Serpa, County Public Administrator

Elko County:

Mike Nannini, County Commissioner

Esmeralda County:

Nancy Boland, County Commissioner
R.J. Gillum, County Commissioner
Karen Scott, County Auditor/Recorder

Eureka County:

Michael Rebaleati, County Recorder/Auditor

Lander County:

Gladys Burris, County Clerk

Lincoln County:

Bill Lloyd, County Commissioner
Leslie Boucher, County Recorder/Auditor
Kathy Hiatt, County Treasurer
Tommy Rowe, County Commissioner

Mineral County:

Ed Fowler, County Commissioner
Richard Bryant, County Commissioner
Cheri Emm-Smith, District Attorney

Nye County:

Gary Budahl, County Treasurer
Sandra Musselman, County Assessor

Pershing County:

Roger Mancebo, County Commissioner
Celeste Hamilton, County Assessor
Donna Giles, County Clerk/Treasurer
Darlene Moura, Recorder/Auditor
Dave Ayoob, County Commissioner

Storey County:

Harold Swafford, District Attorney

White Pine County:

Robert Bishop, County Assessor
RaLeene Makley, County Commissioner
Martha Rivera Sindelar, County Recorder

Now, that’s one impressive list. You know how I got this information? By skimming through the Secretary of State’s website and writing down each person who won an election in the last four years and was marked as a Democrat. By doing that I may have missed someone, and there may also be persons included who are registered as Democrats but might just be so called DINOs (Democrats in name only). But I have no way of knowing. Why? Because the Nevada State Democratic Party hasn’t actually advertised the fact that Democrats get routinely (and sometimes without even having an opponent) elected in the rurals. Just take a look at their page listing county commissioners. They list the five Clark County commissioners and Pete Sferrazza from Washoe County. That’s it. No mention of the county commissioners from Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Pershing, and White Pine counties.

What conclusions can be drawn from that list? Democrats can win in the rurals, so much is for sure. How do they win? My guess is by meeting the voters and proving that they’re more qualified for the job than their Republican opponent.

Ahead of her election as Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, I asked Jill Derby about her experiences on the campaign trail. Here’s what she had to say:

I was able to connect with many people in all 17 of Nevada’s counties during my campaign for Congress. That experience provides me with a network of positive relationships with which to build the unity, focus, and cohesion which will be important to the Party in the year ahead. Democrats often talk about being the party of inclusion and I intend to make that happen by involving everyone – rural and urban, north and south. I also learned that many Nevadans are independent and not locked into strict party vote. I learned that reaching out and framing our message in ways that resonate beyond our traditional Democratic audience can bring support across party lines, and is particularly attractive to independent voters, of which there are many in Nevada.

In order for a Democratic candidate to beat Dean Heller next year, one can only encourage Jill Derby and hope she’ll focus more heavily on the rurals, highlight achievements in counties like Lincoln and Pershing, and set up a party structure in the rural counties.

Cross-posted from Helluva Heller, a group effort by Nevada bloggers to take on freshman Rep. Dean Heller (R, NV-02) and defeat him in 2008.

CA-04: Doolittle Compares Himself to Duke Lacrosse Players

After giving up his seat on the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, Congressman John Doolittle today had the audacity to compare himself to the Duke lacrosse players during a press conference:

I have been an effective representative for the region and shall continue to be one despite this situation. Finally I will just say that if there is anything we should have learned from the Duke lacrosse case, it is that the destruction of the reputations of innocent people can occur when the government, the press and the public jump to unfounded conclusions. I ask everyone to withhold judgment until the all facts are known and the truth can prevail.

It’s really time that this disgrace of a Congressman leaves not only the Appropriations Committee but Congress itself. However, Doolittle stated he will not resign and will run for re-election:

First I would like you to know I have no intention of resigning from Congress and I have every intention of running for reelection again. Over past last two days the support I have received from colleagues in the House and elected officials from my district has been overwhelming.

Well, you can actually do something about forcing Doolittle out of Congress. You can support Charlie Brown in his attempt to succeed Doolittle. In the last election Brown gathered 46% of the vote compared to Doolittle’s 49% in a heavily Republican district.

Help Charlie Brown by contrubiting to his campaign and by voting for him at the DFA Grassroots All-Star contest.

Read the entire transcript of the press conference here. You’ll notice that Doolittle declines to answer most questions. And here’s the audio.

Cross posted from Turn Tahoe Blue

NV-02: When you worry about a German Blogger, you’re in trouble

Cross posted from Helluva Heller

After being hit on his Iraq stance by the ad of Americans United for Change, Dean Heller went on Bill Manders radio talk-show last night. That in itself is to be expected. However what is not to be expected is that a conservative talk show host and a sitting Congressman care about some little blogger from Germany. But apparently they do.

Listen to this clip (this is the second part of their talk).

Here’s the transcript:

Bill Manders: “What do you know about this guy named Sven Stromann?”

Dean Heller: “Uh… Some guy from Germany.”

Bill Manders: “Well, actually he’s an exchange student in Nevada.”

Dean Heller: “Yea, I think he was at one time…”

Bill Manders: “And he’s got a, I guess they’ve got a website. They’re attacking you,  they want to defeat you in 2008..”

Dean Heller: “Yes they do…”

Funny, ain’t it, how Mr. Manders and Congressman Heller have not only noticed a blog barely three days old but are worried enough about Heller’s re-election to give it credence by mentioning me. Also, Mr. Manders, this is a one person effort. No need for invoking the “they’ve got a website” notion there.

Further highlights from the two parts of this interview: Heller claims that Lisa Mascaro misquoted him in the Las Vegas Sun article. Manders very worried that Heller might change his stance on Iraq, especially his support for the surge. Most hilarious thing, though, is that Heller clearly used information from this blog concerning the automated phone calls made by VoteVets. I’m not surprised, though, as Helluva Heller receives most of its hits from the server of the House of Representatives according to my site statistics (click on “Visitor Paths” on the sidebar and then scroll down).

All in all, you can only come away from this talk show segment with the feeling that Heller’s not all that certain about his re-election prospects. Funny thing, that.

Here are the links to listen to this segment in full:

Clip 1
Clip 2

Thanks to JWH over at No Gibbons for the tip and the clips.

Read more about Heller in yesterday’s diary.

NV-02: Heller’s (R) constituents want out of Iraq

Congressman Dean Heller (R) hears it from his constituents. They want out of Iraq:

Heller returns to Washington this week after hearing deep opposition to the war from constituents in Nevada during spring recess. He said he heard similar sentiments in private conversations, in grocery stores and in homes from “some of my friends, neighbors, colleagues.”

Heller came away believing that two of every three Nevadans oppose the war – on par with national polls. (emphasis added)

And now he’s being hit by an ad campaign run by Americans United for Change.

Watch the ad challening Heller on his stance on Iraq:

Yet, Heller is still voting with the Bush administration on Iraq and is supporting the surge:

Heller voted for Bush’s troop surge and stepped up when the president called Republicans to the White House for a show of support. He called the Democratic House speaker “Gen. Pelosi,” a favorite Republican derision for Rep. Nancy Pelosi.


“I think this is a process you’re constantly reassessing,” Heller told the Sun. “I probably spend the majority of my time thinking about Iraq.”

Heller has struggled during his three months in office to become an Iraq expert. He keeps a copy of the Iraq Study Group report in his briefcase.

You can read the entire article by Lisa Mascaro titled “Heller hears it from every side and now in ads, too” at the Las Vegas Sun.

One Nevada blog, the Desert Beacon, had this to say about Heller:

(Note to Rep. Heller: Removing the report from the brief case and reading it in its entirety might prevent future misinterpretations similar to “It supports the Surge.”) Those who don’t have a copy of the report for their briefcases can download one here. (PDF)

To keep an eye on Congressman Heller, I started a blog this week, entirely devoted to the 435th most powerful member of the House, titled Helluva Heller. Here’s what it’s about:

“Helluva Heller” is intended to track Rep. Dean Heller’s (R, NV-02) actions in Congress and advocates the defeat of Dean Heller in the next general election on November 8, 2008.

“Helluva Heller” will report on Dean Heller’s speeches, his votes, his fundraising and so much more. To help you track Dean Heller, I have posted a list of links on the sidebar.

“Helluva Heller” will also report on possible candidates against Dean Heller in 2008, especially on the Democratic side.

Enjoy “Helluva Heller,” let others know about this blog, and help make Dean Heller a one-term Congressman.

Dean Heller is beatable. While he was Secretary of State of Nevada for three terms he almost lost the Republican primary and his campaign was so much in trouble, that Bush himself had to fly into Reno to fundraise for him. After the 1st quarter of this year his campaign is still in debt. He only beat Democrat Jill Derby last year 50% to 45% in a district that has never seen a Democratic Representative in Congress. However, recently this district is trending away from the Republicans with Democrats especially making inroads in the largest county, Washoe (Reno), which Jill Derby won with 50% to Heller’s 46%.

Keep an eye on Helluva Heller for more, especially on news about finding a challenger for Heller.

My 2009 Dream Cabinet

One election is over, the next one is coming ever closer with one Presidential hopeful (or wannabe) announcing after another.

You may say it’s way too premature to discuss a possible Democratic cabinet with more than two years to go. But hey: we have a tough and largely successful election behind us. Let’s just have a little fun for now.

If you enjoy this kinda stuff then follow be below the fold.

The following is my dream cabinet for 2009. While it is a “dream” in so many senses of the word there are a few tough choices and compromises involved. I first had to decide who I wanted to win and who could win the Presidency. Some of the cabinet choices are related to that, most are not. My choice for President is in no way a judgment about other candidates. You will find a couple of other contenders as members of my dream cabinet. If you see another person winning the Presidency write a comment and tell us how that would impact some cabinet choices.

You will also notice something else. Since this is a dream cabinet, it is a cabinet of diversity, one reflecting the current make-up of the United States. There are 22 people listed below. President, VP, 15 Cabinet Secretaries plus 5 people with Cabinet rank. Of these half are women. You say this is impossible? Just remember that relatively conservative and Catholic Spain has a center-left government with half the cabinet being women. I also considered ethnic diversity. There a 4 African Americans, 3 Hispanic Americans, 2 Italian Americans and 1 Asian American and 1 Armenian American.

Here’s my 2009 dream cabinet:

President – Barack Obama

Yeah, I think he will run, and yeah, I think he can win the primary (because he’ll go with momentum out of Nevada and South Carolina) and with the right campaign and the right choice for VP (see below) he can win the general election. I think my choices below could be a little more realistic with a President Obama since I doubt that he would stuff his cabinet with a bunch of white men. Wikipedia

Vice President – Anthony Zinni

General Zinni, that is. Yeah, he might not be the most liberal candidate out there but he could balance out the ticket very well. Obama will need a strong VP but one without any personal ambitions. I would have liked a woman on the ticket but unfortunately I seriously doubt the voters are ready for a ticket without any white men on it. Zinni’s position on the Iraq war is in sync with Obama’s – they were both against it. Zinni retired in 2000. This year he got behind VA Senate candidate Jim Webb. Zinni’s also from Virginia and with him on the ticket we can hold those voters concerned about Obama’s inexperience (especially in foreign affairs) and have a couple of states in play like Virgnia. Wikipedia

Sec. of Agriculture – Patty Judge

Judge has been Secretary of Agriculture of Iowa since 1998. This year she ran as Chet Culver’s running mate and will take office as Lt.Gov in January. Wikipedia

Sec. of Commerce – Charlene Barshefsky

Barshefsky was the United States Trade Representative in Clinton’s second term. Wikipedia

Sec. of Defense – Jack Reed

Someone with a certain amount of respect needs to clean up the mess created by Rummy & Co in Iraq and elsewhere. This is a tough and unthankful job. I think Senator Reed (Rhode Island) can do it. He’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee and was a Captain when he left the Army. He attended the US Military Academy at West Point. Wikipedia

Sec. of Education – Anna Eshoo

Eshoo is an Armenian American. Born in Connecticut she serves California’s 14th District (Silicon Valley) in Congress since 1993. She’s a strong supporter of the Gay Rights movement. In Congress she co-sponsored the “College Opportunity for All Act” and the “10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act” and led the development of the Democrat’s Innovation Agenda in which education plays a central role. Wikipedia

Sec. of Energy – Hilda Solis

Solis is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and has been the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on the Environment and Hazardous Materials. She represents California’s 32nd District since 2001. Previously she served in the CA Assembly and Senate and in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and the OMB. Wikipedia

Sec. of Health & Human Services – John Kitzhaber

Dr. John Kitzhaber, MD, served as Governor of Oregon from 1995-2003. During his term in office (and previously as President of the Oregon Senate) health care issues were always on the top of his list. He was instrumental in creating the Oregon Health Plan. After leaving office he has kept on working to find solutions to achieve affordable health care for all. Wikipedia

Sec. of Homeland Security – Carolyn Maloney

Maloney represents New York’s 14th District in Congress since 1993. Representing parts of New York City she has been involved in Homeland Security issues ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001. She is chair of the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security. Wikipedia

Sec. of Housing and Urban Development – Shirley Franklin

Shirley Franklin is the mayor of Atlanta and was the first black woman to be elected mayor of a major Southern city in 2001. Shirley has been listed as one of the five best mayors in America by Time Magazine. Wikipedia

Sec. of the Interior – Tony Knowles

Tony Knowles career as an elected official is probably over after losing the Governor’s race this year and the Senate race two years ago. Nevertheless, I believe him to be a good choice to head the Dep. of the Interior which is traditionally run by politicians from western states. Wikipedia

Sec. of Labor – John Edwards

John Edwards would probably make a good President. That said, should he not win the nomination, I seriously doubt he’d want to be the running mate again. He has made labor issues an integral part of his campaign and could be a real asset in anyone’s cabinet as Labor Secretary. Wikipedia

Sec. of State – Bill Richardson

Governor Richardson has previously been Secretary of Energy and Ambassador at the UN in the Clinton Administration. Should he not wind up on the ticket he would make an excellent Secretary of State. He would also be the first Hispanic American in this position. Wikipedia

Sec. of Transportation – Gary Locke

Locke was Gov of Washington from 1997-2005 and was the first Chinese American Governor in the US. As so many Governors he could serve in several positions, Sec. of Transportation being one of them. Wikipedia

Sec. of the Treasury – Bill Bradley

The former Presidential candidate is a sentimental favourite of mine. His wife Ernestine Schland would have been one awesome First Lady. The former Senator cares deeply about tax reform. Whether or not his proposals would be a good solution is debatable. Nevertheless, someone needs to clean up after the Bush administration. Wikipedia

Sec. of Veteran Affairs – Max Cleland

Who else, really? Wikipedia

Attorney General – Patricia Madrid

Madrid is the current Attorney General of New Mexico. She chose to run for Congress this year and unfortunately lost against Heather Wilson. Should she run and lose again in 08 or chose not to run, she would make a great choice to head the Justice Dept. Wikipedia

Other cabinet level positions:

Head of the EPA – Tammy Baldwin

The Environmental Protection Agency is more important than ever. Someone who’s knowledgable and passionate about environmental issues like Tammy Baldwin would be a terrific choice. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce committee she strongly opposes drilling in ANWR. Wikipedia

Ambassador to the UN – Susan Rice

Susan Rice was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Madeleine Albright. She would be the first African American Woman in this job. Wikipedia

US Trade Rep – Ronnie Musgrove

Musgrove was Governor of Mississippi from 2000-2004. During that time he managed to get Nissan to build a plant in his state. He’d probably be a good trade rep for the entire United States as well. Wikipedia

Head of the OMB – Rosa DeLauro

DeLauro represents Connecticut’s 3rd CD since 1991. She has attended the London School of Economics and is a member of the House Appropriations and Budget Committees. Wikipedia

WH Chief of Staff – Donna Brazile

No, a black President doesn’t necessarily need a black Chief of Staff. That said any Democratic President could use a CoS of the caliber of Donna Brazile. She was Al Gore’s campaign manager in 2000 and might have become his Chief of Staff then. It’s likely that she will play a major role in the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, no matter who the nominee is. Wikipedia

This is it. What are your thoughts? Who would you like to see in what position? Comment away.

cross posted from Turn Tahoe Blue