Update 310: Final Endorsements Rollout;
Candidates in CT, FL, KY, MN, PA, TX, VA, WA
This week, 20/20 Vision completes its endorsement of U.S. House candidates for the 116th Congress. Endorsements were based on disparate considerations, but mostly on candidates who are running in flippable districts, campaigning for progressive and forward-thinking economic policies, refusing corporate PAC contributions.
Of our endorsees, 73 percent are women, 68 percent first-time candidates. Those 40 years old are 30 percent of the group. Almost all of these candidates are in margin-of-error races in districts currently held by the GOP. We commend them for your consideration for your help, volunteering and, of course, through financial contributions.
Jahana Hayes (CT-05)
- Cook PVI: D+2
- 2018 Primary: Hayes 62/Glassman 38
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Hayes $1.3M/Santos $56K
2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes is running against former mayor of Meriden, Manny Santos, for one of the small number of seats left open by a Democrat this cycle. This race is seen as safely Democratic — former incumbent Elizabeth Etsy won the district by 16 points in 2016. Both the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight rate this race as solidly Democratic, and Hayes’ forecasted vote share is double digits ahead of Santos’.
Hayes, still working full-time as a high school history teacher, is running on a platform of social justice. Her key issue is improving public education, as well as promoting common sense gun laws, single-payer healthcare, an immigration system that integrates the DREAM Act, and reducing economic inequality in her district and beyond. She has been endorsed by End Citizens United and EMILY’s List, among others.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)
- Cook PVI: D+6
- 2018 Primary: Mucarsel-Powell 63/Grimes 37
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Mucarsel-Powell $3.3M/Rep. Curbelo $4.9M
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is challenging Rep. Carlos Curbelo in FL-26, a district that includes southern parts of Miami-Dade, the Keys, and the Everglades. FL-26 is the most Democratic district in the country that is represented by a Republican. Because of Curbelo’s popularity, many doubted the viability of flipping this seat, but the race has recently been rated as a toss-up and organizations like EMILY’’s List and Planned Parenthood have pointed it out as one to watch. Recent polls have Mucarsel-Powell narrowly leading.
An immigrant from Ecuador, Mucarsel-Powell has spent the majority of her career working in a variety of nonprofits. She helped establish and grow the NeighborhoodHELP program, which brought mobile health clinics to underprivileged communities in South Florida. She also worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation to help slow the impact of climate change on ecosystems — a major issue in South Florida. Mucarsel-Powell is campaigning heavily on improving access to quality, affordable healthcare. She also supports increasing the minimum wage and expanding job training programs, as well as investing in clean energy and infrastructure.
Amy McGrath (KY-06)
- Cook PVI: R+9
- 2018 Primary: McGrath 49/Gray 41
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: McGrath $6.7M/Rep. Barr $4.4M
First-time candidate and retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath is facing Republican incumbent Andy Barr in KY-06. Similar to MJ Hegar in TX-31, her campaign message has been focused on her biography as a veteran and mother. McGrath’s comprehensive 32-page strategy to transform the economy of KY-06 details plans for more infrastructure investment, increasing the minimum wage, progressive tax reform, paid parental leave, and improving the ACA. McGrath has called for stricter oversight of payday lenders and, if elected to Congress, she will be a stellar advocate for consumer protections.
McGrath is facing a barrage of attack ads from Republican groups determined to hold onto this Lexington district, but she is sticking to her guns with a positive message on her policies and credentials. Recent polls have the race too-close-to-call and well within the margin of error. On election night, this will be one of the key seats to watch if Democrats are to secure a majority in the House.
Dean Phillips (MN-03)
- Cook PVI: D+1
- 2018 Primary: Phillips 82/Young 18
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Phillips $4M/Rep. Paulsen $5.1M
MN-03 is a bellwether race that will determine if Democrats can pass the 23 seat threshold and take back the House. Business leader Dean Phillips faces the influential Joint Economic Committee Chair Erik Paulsen in the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul. This congressional district is a prime example of what may fuel the blue wave, as Democrats are becoming more and more viable in suburban districts once dominated by Republicans. Over the last month, Phillips has begun to pull away in the polls giving him some tailwind heading into next week’s general.
Phillips has brought an anti-corruption message to MN-03 by taking the “Minnesota Way Pledge” to not accept any corporate or special interest PAC money. Phillips is also campaigning heavily on a progressive economic message, advocating for fiscal and social responsibility through tax reform and protection of programs such as as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Scott Wallace (PA-01)
- Cook PVI: R+1
- 2018 Primary: Wallace 57/Reddick 35
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wallace $9.8M/Rep. Fitzpatrick $2.9M
In PA-01, self-funded Democratic candidate, Scott Wallace, is running against two-term GOP incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick. Even before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered it to be redistricted, PA-01 was won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. For weeks, polling has rated this race as evenly split between the two candidates, and there is still no frontrunner in sight.
Former counsel for the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, Wallace is focusing his campaign on Healthcare and Disability Rights—advocating for Medicare for all, expanding Medicaid programs, protecting CHIP, and reigning in prescription drug prices. Additionally, he wants to build sustainable job growth in Pennsylvania through increased government funding of renewable energy resources and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Susan Wild (PA-07)
- Cook PVI: D+1
- 2018 Primary: Wild 33/Morganelli 30
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Wild $2.4M/Nothstein $851K
Attorney Susan Wild is running against county commissioner Marty Nothstein in PA-07, an open seat. Wild was the first female solicitor of Allentown, PA and is outraising her Republican opponent by more than two-to-one in this Lehigh Valley district that now favors Democrats after redistricting earlier this year.
Wild is tailoring her economic platform around quality jobs and economic prosperity, advocating for strong unions, apprenticeship programs, infrastructure investment, and protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit. She is also committed to protecting health care and retirement benefits through her support of Medicare and Social Security. Recent polls look favorable for Wild and show her well positioned to take the seat.
Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (TX-07)
- Cook PVI: R+7
- 2018 Primary: Fletcher 67/Moser 33
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Fletcher $4.6M/Rep. Culberson $2.8M
In TX-07, a small district in Western Houston, Attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher is challenging Rep. John Culberson, a nine-term incumbent. This race has had national attention since the primary and Fletcher has achieved a large fundraising advantage. Clinton won the district in 2016 and Culberson is seen as vulnerable — he has voted with Trump consistently and voted to repeal the ACA. Recent polls all have the race tied within the margin of error.
Fletcher has lived and worked in the district for most of her life. As a lawyer, she gained recognition for her work with the people of Houston, being named as one of the Best Lawyers in America and becoming her law firm’s first ever female partner. Her campaign platform is centered around the economy. She wants to increase infrastructure investment, particularly in light of the effects of Hurricane Harvey. She also wants to increase access to capital for new and existing businesses, as well as expand job-training programs.
Colin Allred (TX-32)
- Cook PVI: R+5
- 2018 Primary: Allred 69.5/Salerno 30.5
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Allred $4.2M/Rep. Sessions $4M
Civil Rights Attorney and former Obama official, Colin Allred, is running to unseat Rep. Pete Sessions in TX-32, a district that serves a suburban area of Dallas. Although the district leans Republican, demographic changes over the last few years have made it more possible for a Democrat to win. Allred has attracted national attention, aided by the endorsement of former President Obama, and eight-term incumbent Sessions is facing his toughest race since he was elected. Allred and Sessions are neck-and-neck in recent polls.
Allred has a very diverse past. He attended Dallas public schools where his mother was a teacher and went on to play in the NFL as a Tennessee Titans linebacker. Allred later became a civil rights attorney and worked for the Obama administration as Special Assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of General Counsel. His big issues are healthcare and education. Sessions voted to repeal the ACA, while Allred supports Medicare for all Americans. Allred also wants to increase investment in job training programs and infrastructure.
Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
- Cook PVI: R+6
- 2018 Primary: Spanberger 73/Ward 27
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Spanberger $4.9M/Rep. Brat $2.3M
Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative and federal law enforcement officer, is running against economics professor and Trump-endorsee Rep. David Brat in VA-07. In 2014, Brat defeated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in this district’s Republican primary, one of the most shocking outcomes of that cycle. This year’s race is among several red-to-blue districts in Virginia with former military or intelligence officer women running as first-time candidates. FiveThirtyEight has moved this race from lean Republican to a toss-up and it is tied within the margin of error.
Spanberger is running on progressive and popular issues, like access to affordable healthcare, gun violence prevention, legalizing marijuana, and protecting social security and Medicare. Catering to the conservative base in the region, she’s also using her background in law enforcement and intelligence to create a moderate platform on national border security and immigration. Finally, she’s taken a strong stance in favor of campaign finance reform and against gerrymandering.
Carolyn Long (WA-03)
- Cook PVI: R+4
- 2018 Primary: Beutler 42/Long 35*
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Long $2.3M/Rep. Beutler $2M
First-time candidate and university professor Carolyn Long is going up against long-time Washington politician and moderate Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who flipped WA-03 in 2010. The district includes reliably Democratic Portland suburbs, as well as rural, blue-collar areas that have shifted towards the Republican party in recent years. Healthcare is the dominant issue in the race, with Long campaigning hard as a supporter of the Affordable Care Act and Herrera Beutler struggling to defend her record of voting to repeal the law dozens of times.
Her economic platform highlights issues like campaign finance and tax code reform, as well as job creation and higher wages. Long is also emphasizing her experience in teaching bipartisanship. In counties that went for Trump by more than 30 points in 2016, Long’s ability to connect and speak with rural, blue-collar conservatives and her progressive platform that fights for issues that affect low-income communities are key to winning this race.
Dr. Kim Schrier (WA-08)
- Cook PVI: EVEN
- 2018 Primary: Rossi 43/Schrier 19*
- Total amount raised in 2018 cycle: Schrier $5.3M/Rossi $4.1M
Dr. Kim Schrier is a first-time candidate running against Dino Rossi in an open seat vacated by GOP Rep. David Reichert. WA-08 is one of the districts held by Republicans that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, so there is a good chance to win here in November. Dr. Schrier is rejecting corporate PAC money and has a number of strong endorsements from the likes of End Citizens United, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, and more recently, former President Barack Obama.
Dr. Schrier is advocating for a number of progressive economic issues such as implementing a living wage, boosting infrastructure investment, and growing the number of apprenticeships. As a practicing pediatrician, Dr. Schrier is also campaigning for a Medicare public option which would be offered alongside private insurance plans in the individual and small group markets. The race is looking like a statistical tie, so the outcome in the general will most likely come down to turnout.