Candidate Endorsements in GA, KS, TN, VA, WA (October 24)

Update 309: Candidate Endorsements in GA, KS, TN, VA, WA

Last month, 20/20 Vision endorsed a first round of candidates for the next Congress.  Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error races in districts currently held by Republicans.  Today, we present the second round of endorsees. Endorsements were based on disparate considerations, but mostly on candidates who are:

  • running in flippable districts
  • campaigning for progressive and forward-thinking economic policy
  • refusing corporate PAC contributions
  • female, under 40, and first-time office seekers

This week, we review the 2018 endorsed candidates running for Congress in the states of Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.




United States Senate

Sen. Maria Cantwell  •  Washington

Sen. Maria Cantwell, first elected to the Senate in 2000, is running for her fourth term this year. Cantwell is the most senior junior senator and is the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee.  She supports universal access to healthcare and believes in strengthening and expanding the ACA. Her independent-mindedness and probing intelligence on even the most technical and difficult issues are an asset not just to the Caucus, but the Senate itself.

Cantwell’s opponent, Susan Hutchinson, is a former state GOP party leader and an outspoken supporter of President Trump. She believes the Trump tax cuts are helping create a more robust economy. When asked what should be done about climate change, Hutchinson suggested people carpool. Cantwell has outraised Hutchinson by almost $11 million and a recent poll has Cantwell up by 14 points.

Phil Bredesen  •  Tennessee

The Volunteer State hasn’t been in the habit of sending Democrats to the U.S. Senate, but the race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker is one of the top pickup opportunities for Democrats this cycle.  Phil Bredesen coasted to victory in his Democratic primary and faces Trump-fanatic Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the general.

A former two-term governor of the state, Bredesen boasts a politically moderate and bipartisan record — essentially a prerequisite for winning over moderate-conservative swing voters in ruby-red Tennessee.  Gov. Bredesen had a successful tenure as Governor of the state, creating more than 200,000 new jobs and generating over $34 billion in new business investment over the course of his incumbency.

Bredesen has notably shown some maverick tendencies, including a recent announcement that, if elected, he would not back Sen. Schumer as leader of the party — decrying hyper-partisanship among both parties for the dysfunction in Washington. The race has been tight for months, but a recent Vanderbilt poll has Bredesen narrowly ahead of Blackburn, 44 to 43. Despite this, FiveThirtyEight has Bredesen’s chances of winning at 25 percent, with a forecasted vote share of 46 percent, compared to Blackburn’s forecasted 51 percent.

U.S. House of Representatives

Lucy McBath (GA-06)

  • Cook PVI: R+8
  • 2018 Primary: McBath 36/Abel 31
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Rep. Handel $8.2M/McBath $1.3M

Activist Lucy McBath is trying to turn GA-06 blue for the first time since 1979.  McBath is running against Rep. Karen Handel, an ardent Trump supporter. GA-06, which encompasses parts of rural Georgia and some progressive suburbs of Atlanta, was the site of the most expensive House race in history last year when Jon Ossof ran and lost in a runoff against Handel. Despite being out-funded by a factor of eight, McBath has made rapid gains in the past few months and has narrowed polling data to well within the margin of error.  

McBath’s past sheds light on her political ambitions. In 2012, her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed outside of a gas station. After the tragedy, she became a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and has been a major proponent of gun reform throughout her campaign. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, she champions protecting the ACA and expanding Medicare programs, as well as raising the minimum wage to match the rising cost of living.  She is a fresh voice for social justice in the Democratic establishment, and is proving an adept first-time candidate, challenging hard-line conservative Handel.

Sharice Davids (KS-03)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2018 Primary: Davids 37/Welder 33
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle:  Rep. Yoder $3.7M/Davids $3.1M

Sharice Davids hopes to be the first Native-American woman to enter the halls of Congress as a member. Davids challenges one of the most vulnerable candidates of the cycle, Rep. Kevin Yoder. Many Democratic pundits were surprised to see KS-03 on the list of main targets for the DCCC to pursue during this cycle. Recent polls have shown Davids ahead by seven to nine points and her lead is only increasing.

Davids is running a strong campaign focused on kitchen table economic issues. She believes the Trump tax cuts were a budget-busting corporate giveaway and wants a true tax cut for the middle class. She is also prioritizing small businesses, advocating for a childcare tax credit, and supporting the expansion of broadband infrastructure to rural areas. While Davids is pushing progressive policy that would benefit middle class Kansans, Rep. Yoder has gone on the offensive, pushing identity politics and taking his campaign decidedly negative. Davids has remained positive and has a good opportunity to flip the Johnson County seat for the first time since 2010.

Elaine Luria (VA-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+3
  • 2018 Primary: Luria 62/Mallard 38
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Rep. Taylor $3.4M/Luria $3.1M

Elaine Luria is a former nuclear engineer, retired U.S. Navy commander, and a small business owner in Hampton Roads. She joined the Navy at 17 years old and became one of the first woman to attend the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School. Luria is up against first-term incumbent  and retired Navy SEAL Scott Taylor, who has had a troubling campaign plagued by allegations of election fraud.

Luria is running on expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, preserving Social Security and Medicare, and improving public education. She is a strong environmental advocate, paying special attention to the Chesapeake Bay, an area upon which much of southeast Virginia’s economy relies. Luria has also railed against the recklessness of the $1.9 trillion national debt increase as a result of the GOP’s 2017 signature tax law. Luria and Taylor are neck-and-neck after a fluctuating cycle, and recent polling has shown that her forecasted vote share has grown by one point in the final stretch of this cycle.

Jennifer Wexton (VA-10)

  • Cook PVI: D+1
  • 2018 Primary: Wexton 42/Friedman 23
  • Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wexton $4.5M/Comstock $5M

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton comfortably won her crowded June primary in VA-10. She is up against vulnerable incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock, who, voting 98 percent of the time with President Trump, has found herself out of step in an increasingly diverse and rapidly changing district. During her time in the state legislature, Wexton voted in favor of a number of progressive economic policies, including raising the minimum wage, closing the gender pay gap, and establishing paid medical leave. If she wins in November, she will look to continue this progressive economic agenda on a federal level.

Recent polls have Wexton ahead of Comstock, with the most recent poll putting Wexton up by seven points. The polls show Democratic enthusiasm in the district, with 75 percent saying they are “very enthusiastic” about November’s election, compared to just 59 percent of Republicans. Clinton carried the district by a ten-point margin in 2016, and Wexton will be hoping for such a result in a district that is one of the best flip opportunities for Democrats in 2018.

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