TX-10 – Dan Grant makes it official: “I’m in it to win it!”

The candidate filing period opened today – and Dan was there to make it official, saying he hoped to signal his understanding of how eager Central Texas voters are to get started on changing Washington.

“I’m in this race to win this race,” Dan said.

Dan’s newspaper column on Iraq earns praise

Last Saturday, the Austin American-Statesman published Dan’s latest column on the “mournful legacy” of his opponent’s allies in the Bush-Cheney administration.

“The sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation has come and gone, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has come and gone, the White House surge in Iraq has come and gone, and soon another holiday season will have come and gone, too,” Dan wrote in the piece. “As these milestones pass, we are no closer to getting it right… Enough is enough.”

Dan lays out a smart strategy for immediately ending U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war through a three-pronged approach to “redefine our mission, reduce our troop levels, and reinvigorate U.S. diplomacy around the world.” Click here to read the whole column – and to see why Dan’s campaign is gaining national momentum.

Pocket change for positive change

Dan’s ongoing donation program, Ten for Dan, is a unique opportunity for you and 10 of your friends to make a difference. A simple contribution of $10.10 from each of you can make the difference. It will help us keep our TV spot on the air – and bring positive change to Washington.

Click here to give $10.10 – pocket change for positive change.

And click here to see Dan’s TV spot.

Dan Grant: ‘SCHIP Fight Not Over Yet’

It’s World Series week, and Congressman Mike McCaul is about to get another chance to improve his batting average when a measure providing uninsured Texas kids the kind of health insurance program he enjoys comes up again for debate.

So far, he’s batting 0-2.

First, he voted against the bi-partisan SCHIP bill that would have extended coverage to nearly 1.4 million Texas children whose parents work hard and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance.  Then, he remained in lockstep with the Bush-Cheney administration and voted against overriding the President’s veto.

Forty-four Republicans joined the Democratic majority in voting to override last week and guarantee access to affordable health care for the children of parents who are working hard and playing by the rules.  They ignored the misinformation spread by the White House and did the right thing.

But not Mr. McCaul.  So here are some facts to help him do the right thing, too:

  • More than 90 percent of those families covered by SCHIP earn less than $41,000 a year and can’t afford the average $12,000 annual premiums to cover their children.
  • McCaul and his fellow ideologues claim the SCHIP proposal would cover families earning $83,000 a year.  But they’re wrong — and they know it.  No state, including Texas, can cover higher-income families without approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which President Bush controls.
  • SCHIP is a fiscally responsible plan that saves local taxpayers money by guaranteeing access to health care at the doctor's office, not the emergency room.
  • SCHIP isn’t a step toward the kind of government-run health care McCaul and his cronies enjoy. Under the proposal, states are free to provide health coverage any way they choose — and most of them, including Texas, choose to use private insurers to deliver coverage.
  • SCHIP is aimed directly at those who need it. States earn bonuses for enrolling those most in need and lose federal matching funds if they don't cover the poorest children — and it phases out coverage for those few adults who are currently enrolled.

The issue isn’t going away.  More than 80 percent of Americans favor the measure Mr. McCaul has voted against — twice.  The question now is whether he will be independent enough next time to swing for the fences or continue to look to the bench for instructions on what to do.

Dan Grant (TX-10): ‘Call McCaul’

The U.S. House Thursday is scheduled to vote on whether to override the President’s controversial veto of the bi-partisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Rep. Mike McCaul should vote to provide more than 1.4 million uninsured Texas children the health care they need.

Unfortunately, McCaul voted against uninsured kids and for insurance industry special interests the first round.  Will he find the moral courage to do the right thing today?  Will he finally make Texas priorities his priorities?

You can help by calling Rep. McCaul’s Capitol Hill office at 202-225-2401 and asking him to vote for nearly 1.5 million eligible children of working parents who deserve the same health insurance taxpayers give him.

Last week, Rep. McCaul was quick to hand out a congressional certificate of recognition to an Austin woman honored as one of 18 child care providers across the country at the first annual National

Child Care Provider Awards.  She deserved it. Now it’s time for McCaul to recognize that uninsured Texas kids deserve his attention, too.

Call McCaul today and tell him to vote to override the Bush-Cheney veto.

House Retirement Watch: Back to the Future

With retirement fever becoming an epidemic on Capitol Hill this week, I thought it would be useful  to take a look back at how the open seat picture unfolded in the 2006 election cycle and compare it to where we stand today.

At this point in 2005, Republicans were dealing with nine open seats of an eventual total of twenty.  Interestingly, only two of these nine were straight-up retirements, whereas the bulk of these early announcements were made by House members seeking a promotion to a statewide office.  While the rumors and speculation are rampant, only five Republicans have announced retirements this year:

However, of these five, four are “straight-up” retirements, while the fifth (Duncan Hunter) may as well be, too.  Additionally, retirements by Rick Renzi (AZ-01) and Ralph Regula (OH-16) seem all but official, and many are convinced that Dave Hobson (OH-07) will throw in the towel, as well.  I don’t expect that we’ll see too many Republican House members (if any) bothering to try their hand at statewide races next year, but I do expect, with the shocking retirement announcements of Pryce and Pickering, that many more Republican members will test the winds during the August recess and make similar decisions (if not announcements) around Labor Day.  I believe that this rings especially true when one considers that most the “true” retirements of 2006 (i.e. the desire to end one’s political career) came in the fall/winter of ’05 and ’06.  And in a Presidential cycle, perhaps many potential retirees will feel obligated to give their would-be successors more of an opportunity to build their campaigns before the media cycle is utterly dominated by the top of the ticket.

So who’s next to grab a life preserver and bail?

MI-09: Better Know a District…Michigan’s 9th!

By: Jordan Wells and Kevin Hrit – (Disclosure: Jordan worked as Nancy Skinner’s Online Outreach Organizer in 2006. Kevin worked as Nancy Skinner’s Field Director in 2006, and crunched numbers for Practical Political Consulting in Lansing.)

Michigan’s 9th Congressional District will be one of the top targeted races for 2008. The DCCC has already aired ads exposing Knollenberg’s awful record on veterans. Knollenberg is under fire from citizen action groups, and has been constantly bashed in letters to the editor throughout the district. Knollenberg is beatable. He narrowly won the ’06 election with 51% of the vote, and has 15% less money now than he did this time that cycle.

It appears the 9th District has undergone a sudden blue trend. However the Democratic base in the district has been growing steadily for the last eight years. Despite the growing Democratic base, Joe Knollenberg continues to cruise to electoral success versus weak challengers.

Jump below the fold for an extremely detailed analysis of the numbers from the 9th District.

In 2002 David Fink performed 2.21% below the Democratic base, with 39.89% of the vote, despite raising 1.2 million and contributing 1.2 million of his own.  In 2004 Steve Reifman performed 6.80% below the Democratic base, with 39.54% of the vote. In 2006 Nancy Skinner performed 4.28% below the Democratic base, with 46.21% of the vote. The Democratic base in 2006 was 50.49% (in ’02 it was 42.19%, in ’04 46.34%).

Clearly the 9th District is more competitive than the election results make it appear, which is great news given Knollenberg’s low vote totals in 2006. Democratic candidates in the 9th have failed to win over independent voters and even win over all Democratic voters. This has been due to a lack of fundraising, lack of connection with voters in the district, and lack of clear understanding of the 9th district.

Currently the two potential contenders for the 9th District nomination are Nancy Skinner and Gary Peters. Nancy ran for the 9th in 2006. Gary’s last election was 2002 when he ran for Attorney General.

In the 2002 Attorney General race, Gary Peters performed at or above the Democratic base in 72% of 9th district precincts (234 out of 325). This certainly puts the candidate’s performance in perspective. While losing by 4,677 votes in Bloomfield Township, Peters actually performed above base in all 36 precincts of the township. In his former home city of Rochester Hills, he outperformed base by 4.66%, in 30 of 32 precincts.  Despite losing the AG race Peters out performed the Democratic base in 72% of the 9th District. Consider that this is a statewide election, and each candidate did not necessarily concentrate on persuading 9th District voters. Peters was above base in 19 of 22 jurisdictions, and just slightly under base in the other 3 (within 2.2%).

Let’s look at Peters’ 1998 State Senate campaign, where he could campaign locally. In this election Peters performed at or above base in 99% of the precincts (155 of 156 precincts).  It is worth noting that in his run for State Senate in 1994, he won a five way primary with 51% of the votes, despite facing formidable challenges from Democratic contenders in a district stretching from Pontiac down through Southfield.  Then went on to win his first term in the Senate.

In 2004 Steve Reifman performed 6.80% below the Democratic base, taking 39.54% of the vote. These results have negatively effected the perception of our district and promoted the idea that no Democrat could win there.

In 2006 Nancy Skinner performed 4.28% below the Democratic base, with 46.21% of the vote. She only performed over base in 18 precincts out of 319 precincts (over base in 5.64%) and only 1 jurisdiction.

In 2004 Nancy also ran for Senate in Illinois. She lost in the primary (to Barack Obama), and as Kevin can tell you, being a first time candidate is really tough.

In Royal Oak City, where Nancy grew up, she performed 4.00% below base. In Birmingham, where the campaign office was located, where her dad coached high school football and where she lived during the campaign, she still performed 0.38% below base.

Gary Peters strong performances are due to the stances he has taken. He was a leader in the fight to protect Great Lakes water, earning him the Sierra Club's Environmentalist of the Year Award. Peters was the Democratic Caucus Chair in the State Senate, and ranking member on more policy committees than any other Senator. You can read more about Gary's biography at this profile article about him in the Michigan Bar Journal.

Nancy Skinner's support comes from her time on a radio talk show in the district. She promoted sustainable living, and worked on the Chicago Climate Exchange. She won a medal from working with the Clinton administration in 1993 for her efforts in rebuilding flood ravaged communities with sustainable building techniques on the Mississippi river delta. You can read more about Nancy on her bio page from her campaign website.

Neither candidate has filed with the FEC. Nancy Skinner's federal committee from 2006 remains open with $18,000+…although she has not filed any of the required reports for 2007. Gary Peters maintains a State Leadership PAC with $20,000+ (as of July '07) which can not be spent on a federal campaign, although he has been supportive of the State and County Party and candidates.



98 Base 14SD : 61.08% 

98 Peters :.65.48% 

98 Peters Performance v. Base : +4.40

02 Base : 42.19% 

02 Fink : 39.89%

02 Fink Performance v. Base : -2.29%

02 Peters : 45.52%

02 Peters Performance v. Base : +3.33%

04 Base : 46.34%

04 Reifman : 39.54%

04 Reifman Performance v. Base : -6.80%

06 Base : 50.49% 

06 Skinner : 46.21%

06 Skinner Performance v. Base : -4.28%


Here are the numbers and facts, please draw your own conclusions.

TX-10: Will Mike McCaul Condemn Scooter’s Amnesty?

The commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence wasn’t really a surprise. We already knew the President believed in amnesty.

But the silence from our Congressman is troubling. Mike McCaul fancies himself an authority on national security and is a member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Does he condone the treasonous act of outing a clandestine intelligence agent?

Standing by your friends is one thing. Standing by a high government official convicted of lying to federal agents to cover up Dick Cheney’s campaign to take the nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses is another.

We need a change in Washington – now.

Please join me at http://www.dangrantforcongress.com/ to see how we can make a fresh start in a new direction.

I’m Running to Reclaim the Seat Tom DeLay Stole From LBJ

When I was a 17-year-old high school student in Austin, I volunteered for Congressman Jake Pickle, the legendary Texas Congressman who held the CD-10 seat for 31 years, from 1963 until he retired in 1994. Back then CD-10 was known as “LBJ’s District” because a young Lyndon Johnson had held it. LBJ used the seat to lead implementation of FDR’s New Deal, and his efforts brought electricity to central Texas.

Congressman Pickle was a worthy heir to the LBJ legacy. His work to reorganize Social Security has kept the program solvent and functioning into the present. He also brought a great deal of research and technology investment to the area, and was a strong and effective advocate for higher education and the University of Texas.

Now I’m running for that seat myself. And though the district has changed dramatically (thanks to Tom DeLay and his partisan allies), the promise of public service I learned in Congressman Pickle’s office still holds true today: honor the past and imagine the future.

Washington used to do a better job of addressing the needs and values of our citizens, thanks to public servants like Mr. Pickle. Not a perfect job, but a better one.

No more. The partisan zealots who have seized control have us headed in the wrong direction. There is a dangerous disconnect in the foreign policy they pursue under our name, and a mean-spirited push to do away with, rather than improve, vital services here at home.

We need a change in Washington. Now.

From Iraq to immigration to health care, Mike McCaul is neither honoring the past, nor imagining a future that makes sense. Simplistic, moralistic stands taken by poll-tested politicians haven’t made things better, nor has his rubber-stamping the failed Bush administration’s every policy.

It won’t be easy to make a fresh start. But with your help we can. Please come to my web site at www.dangrantforcongress.com today and sign up or contribute if you can. We’re especially looking for volunteers from the district – Ted Ankrum ran a great campaign last time and I’m looking to build on those efforts.

I know if you help send me to Washington, D.C. we’ll have a representative that everyone in the district can be proud of. I saw Congressman Pickle at work first hand, and I’ll work hard to honor the past and imagine the future.

Dan Grant, Candidate For TX 10: ‘Why I’m A Democrat’

I’m running for U.S. Congress in the Texas 10th. Why?

Because my district was gerrymandered by Tom DeLay and Karl Rove, and our current representative does not reflect the mainstream values of Houston, Austin, and all the places in between.

Iraq.  Katrina.  Abu Ghraib.  Walter Reed and Guantánamo, Osama Bin Laden at large.  Big Pharma writing Medicare plans while Texas seniors lose prescription drug coverage.  Big Insurance writing campaign checks while Texans pay twice the national average to insure their homes.  Soaring deficits, a demoralized foreign policy – and a capital city so tied up in partisan knots that they have no idea how to get us back on the right track.

We need a change in Washington.  Now.

If the litany of failure during the past six years has taught us anything at all, two of its most important lessons are:

* Modern Republicans can’t govern because they don’t believe in government.

* When government breaks, voters turn to Democrats to fix it.

The Republican administration is discredited, and even some of its most loyal apologists are now trying to scramble back to the middle ground.  But voters aren’t fooled.  It’s the extremist ideology and partisan zealotry symbolized by fallen leaders like Tom DeLay that put them out of sync with mainstream voters in the first place.  So those who enabled DeLay’s enterprise to get themselves elected have no credibility portraying themselves as moderates now.

None of which means that Democrats will automatically inherit the mantle of leadership.  Yes, voters are disgusted with Republican corruption, cronyism, and incompetence.  But Democrats are going to need to provide a common-sense vision that gives modern expression to the traditional values that made us great. 

Those values are worth remembering.  They earned us respect around the world and led to creative policies at home that helped build a vibrant middle class.  The eight-hour work days, the 40-hour work week, maternity leave, workers’ compensation, and time off to go vote.  Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare to help keep working families from slipping into poverty.  Civil rights, women’s rights, environmental rights.

Each of those progressive changes happened because earlier generations looked around and said, ‘We need a party of our own that stands for the values we hold dear.’  And they would be astonished today to learn that some in our party are afraid of change.  We can’t be afraid of change.  We are the party of change! 

I believe in the power of effective government to make a positive difference in our lives.  Not more government, necessarily, nor even less government.  Just better government.  So that we can improve national security while taking smart steps to end our involvement in Iraq and guarantee that we don’t have to send our brave men and women back there in a few years because we didn’t do it right this time.  So that we can move toward energy independence, reduce the national debt, and help provide a level playing field for middle-class families who work hard and play by the rules.  So that we can make quality health care affordable, protect our natural heritage, and stop cutting investments in education even as our global competitors in China and India increase theirs.

Voters are yearning for change, not more of the same, and they are looking to us to propose decisive steps.  Let’s embrace that change – to put our principles to work again to get our nation back on the right track.  Not to forget our traditions, but to fulfill them and to make it clear what we stand for in terms our friends can’t misunderstand and our opponents can’t misrepresent.

We need change – now.  And that’s why I am a Democrat.


2006 Senate: When They Filed

(Bumped – promoted by DavidNYC)

Campaigns, as we all know, start earlier and earlier every cycle. But I thought it might be helpful to take a look back at when some of last year’s Senate challengers formally filed statements of candidacy with the FEC, as something of a benchmark for what we might expect this year:

Candidate Party State Date
Bob Corker R TN 10/14/2004
Matt Brown D RI 2/16/2005
Mark Kennedy R MN 2/22/2005
Amy Klobuchar D MN 3/1/2005
Bob Casey D PA 3/11/2005
Patty Wetterling D MN 3/14/2005
Tom Kean, Jr. R NJ 3/15/2005
Kweisi Mfume D MD 3/17/2005
Sheldon Whitehouse D RI 3/31/2005
John Morrison D MT 4/16/2005
Bernie Sanders I VT 5/2/2005
Ben Cardin D MD 5/6/2005
Harold Ford D TN 5/25/2005
Jon Tester D MT 5/27/2005
Katherine Harris R FL 6/20/2005
Michael Steele R MD 6/24/2005
Richard Tarrant R VT 7/6/2005
Mike McGavick R WA 7/26/2005
Pete Ricketts R NE 8/15/2005
Jim Pederson D AZ 9/2/2005
Claire McCaskill D MO 9/13/2005
Paul Hackett D OH 10/11/2005
Mike Bouchard R MI 10/15/2005
Sherrod Brown D OH 10/18/2005
Jack Carter D NV 11/1/2005
Harris Miller D VA 1/9/2006
Jim Webb D VA 2/9/2006
Ned Lamont D CT 2/10/2006

So this table tells me two things. First, that running for Senate is an incredibly hard two-year slog for most people. Alright, we already knew that, but seeing all these dates puts this fact into stark relief. This business ain’t for the weak of heart – or body.

Second, this also tells me that if this cycle is anything like the last one, we may have to wait almost a year to see the field get hammered down. However, given general trends, plus the presidential race (with its super-early primaries) sucking up so much oxygen, I’d expect to see most serious candidates filings take place well before February 2007. I don’t think we’ll have too many – if any – Lamonts or Webbs this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if just about every contender files by Labor Day of this year.

Bottom line: We’ve still got plenty of waiting left to do on the Senate recruitment front, but probably not as much as last time. And you can be sure Chuck Schumer isn’t wasting even a moment. Neither, of course, are we.

(One small caveat about this list: As I say, it reflects candidate filing dates with the FEC. Actual announcements – ie, the kind with all the hoopla and press coverage – might have taken place at different times than listed in this chart. But in most cases, they should probably be pretty close.)