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RandySF

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 37,293

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Texas Democrats likely to pick woman or person of color for Speaker if they win the State House.

As Democrats and Republicans fight for control of the Texas House, party insiders and prospective candidates are having quiet conversations about who will be the next Texas House speaker.

The drama hinges on whether Democrats can pick up nine seats in November’s elections and take control of the House. If that happens, you’ll see the first Democratic Party speaker since Pete Laney of Hale Center wielded the gavel in 2001. If Republicans hold on in November, expect a speaker from the GOP ranks to replace Dennis Bonnen.

Bonnen is retiring after a secret recording of a meeting with Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed the Angleton Republican disparaged Democrats, discussed targeting 10 Republicans for defeat and plotted to make the next legislative session the worst in history for local governments.

Now that he’s departed the political scene, the race for House speaker offers numerous possibilities.

The Texas Tribune’s Cassandra Pollock last Friday reported that both parties are considering candidates and it’s been a question posed to lawmakers participating at the annual TribFest.

No one has officially filed the paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to begin running for House speaker, so it’s against the rules for members to lobby each other for the job.

There may be a couple of candidates who emerge before the November election, but most contenders will likely wait until after the election.

Here are some of the possibilities.

If Democrats take control of the House, they will likely pick a woman or person of color to lead the chamber. Conversations I’ve had with several House members, lobbyists and consultants who haunt the capitol have produced numerous names.

Leading Democratic contenders include Senfronia Thompson of Houston, House speaker pro tempore Joe Moody of El Paso, Rafael Anchia of Dallas, Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, Ina Minjarez of San Antonio, Oscar Longoria of Mission and Donna Howard of Austin.



https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/09/28/as-battle-for-texas-house-rages-democrats-republicans-consider-run-for-speaker/

TX-25: National Democrats add Oliver race to 'Red to Blue' program

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Julie Oliver, an Austin attorney aiming to unseat U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, to its “Red to Blue” program.

The district was already on the committee’s target list, among several GOP-held seats in Texas, but the new designation gives Oliver organizational and fundraising support, including strategic guidance and training.

The move signals Democrats’ growing hopes in flipping the 25th Congressional District.

“Texans know tough, and Julie Oliver has always beat the odds,” DCCC chairwoman Cheri Bustos said in a statement. “A homeless, pregnant teenager who dropped out of high school, Julie endured to finish high school, put herself through college and law school with a young family and build a successful career. Julie understands the everyday struggles that so many Texans face, and she’s running for Congress to make sure everyone has a fair shot.”

The 25th District includes portions of East, Central and West Austin, as well as western Travis and Hays counties and most of Fort Hood. It stretches to just south of Fort Worth.

Oliver joined six Texas candidates, and was the second Democrat from Central Texas, in the Red to Blue program. Wendy Davis, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate now running against U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Hays County, was added to the program in January.

“Our campaign’s message of taking on the corporate special interests and bringing down the high cost of health care so that every Texas family can thrive is resonating across this district, and today’s announcement is the latest sign that this district is ready to flip in November,” Oliver said.



https://www.statesman.com/news/20200928/national-democrats-add-oliver-race-to-lsquored-to-bluersquo-program

Shelley Luther, railing against 'tyrant governor,' seeks Texas Senate seat Tuesday

The first question Friday night for Shelley Luther on her Facebook live campaign update was if she wins Tuesday’s special election in Senate District 30 in overwhelmingly Republican rural North Texas, “What is your plan to end (Gov. Greg) Abbott’s shutdown madness?”

Luther said that with six candidates on the ballot — five Republicans and a Democrat — it is going to be almost impossible to avoid a runoff.

“But if I happen to win outright on Tuesday, which, oh my goodness that would be crazy and amazing,” Luther said, “the first thing that I would do is start going after Gov. Abbott’s lockdown and getting these nursing homes open, the bars and then restaurants all the way open, because I think it is absolutely ridiculous that places like Florida can open all the way today, and here we are in Texas being embarrassed that we’re still closed down, and we’re supposed to be the ones that are leading the way, the ones with personal responsibility and strong Republicans.”

Luther gained overnight political celebrity and instant conservative credibility when she was briefly jailed in early May for opening her Salon à la Mode in North Dallas before Abbott’s pandemic-related edicts allowed.

Last week she chastised Abbott as a “tyrant governor.”

Should Luther be elected to replace Sen. Pat Fallon — who is the presumptive replacement for U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe in the very Republican 4th Congressional District — to become one of 31 members of the Texas Senate, it will most certainly be read as yet another rebuke of Abbott by his own party seven months into his nearly single-handed leadership of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, if speculating about the results of a wide-open special election is inherently dicey, with maybe 10% of voters in a vast, 14-county district expected to participate, imparting those results with deeper meaning about the state of Texas politics is even more so.




https://www.statesman.com/news/20200928/shelley-luther-railing-against-lsquotyrant-governorrsquo-seeks-texas-senate-seat-tuesday

Dr. Deborah L. Birx Pressured C.D.C. on School Openings

WASHINGTON — Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer to play down the risk of sending children back to school, a strikingly political intervention in one of the most sensitive public health debates of the pandemic, according to documents and interviews with current and former government officials.

As part of their behind-the-scenes effort, White House officials also tried to circumvent the C.D.C. in a search for alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.

The documents and interviews show how the White House spent weeks trying to press public health professionals to fall in line with President Trump’s election-year agenda of pushing to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible. The president and his team have remained defiant in their demand for schools to get back to normal, even as coronavirus cases have once again ticked up, in some cases linked to school and college reopenings.

The effort included Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, and officials working for Vice President Mike Pence, who led the task force. It left officials at the C.D.C., long considered the world’s premier public health agency, alarmed at the degree of pressure from the White House.




https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/28/us/politics/white-house-cdc-coronavirus-schools.html

North Carolina General Assembly, national GOP leaders file suit against State Board of Elections

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - With the concerns some have over the impact that absentee ballots could have in November still at the forefront of the election, Republican leaders are taking the matter in North Carolina to the courts just 36 days before Election Day.

North Carolina is one of eight states that have witness or notary public requirements for absentee ballots, but new guidance issued by the State Board of Elections just last week has lead to multiple lawsuits by Republican leaders at both a national and state level, saying the new guidance is unconstitutional, and only increases the likelihood of fraud.

“We don’t need to make the kinds of changes that make it more likely that legal votes will get canceled out by inappropriate votes,” says North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger.

Senator Berger says that voters only have to look back as far as 2018 when a Congressional election was overturned in North Carolina because of absentee voter fraud.


https://www.witn.com/2020/09/29/north-carolina-general-assembly-national-gop-leaders-file-suit-against-state-board-of-elections/

Women in Pittsburgh's wealthy suburbs could help Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania

McCANDLESS, Pa. — Like so many other women in suburban America, Alison Duncan was horrified by Donald Trump’s election and decided to get off the sidelines.

Duncan, a 46-year-old graphic designer who hadn’t been involved in activism or politics since college, joined a progressive group and ran for a spot on nearby Pine Township’s moribund Democratic committee. “I didn’t even really know what the job exactly was,” said Duncan, who moved to Southwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children nine years ago from Portland, Ore.

“I just had to do something,” she said.

So there she was early on a Friday evening this month, standing on the side of a highway a half-hour drive north of Pittsburgh with a dozen other sign-waving Democratic organizers.



https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pittsburgh-pennsylania-suburbs-joe-biden-donald-trump-20200928.html

TX-25: Can Julie Oliver Beat Roger Williams?

Trends in the Texas suburbs—especially along I-35, which the Twenty-fifth crosses in both Austin and near DFW—are good for Democrats. Three of the four Texas counties that added the most new voters since 2018—Hays, Williamson, and Travis—fall partially within the district. There are no nonpartisan polls of the race, but internal polling that the Oliver campaign released in mid-September has the challenger down by only two points, within the margin of error, which tracks with a similar poll paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in July.

If there’s any sort of blue wave in Texas, and if Joe Biden finds himself with coattails (the polling gurus at FiveThirtyEight currently give him roughly a one-in-three chance of winning here), then it’ll be because those new voters, who live exactly where Oliver needs them to be, were activated in the race. If she defeats Williams, the story of the 2020 election in Texas will be a story about the suburbs along I-35 completing the transition we began to see in 2018: from a GOP stronghold to a fully purple part of the state that can be contested by both parties.

Even if there’s a dramatic realignment of the Texas suburbs and Oliver improves on her 2018 showing by a big margin, she still might lose by several points. She faces a heck of a gap for a challenger to make up against a well-funded incumbent in a presidential year, when incumbents who share a party with the president tend to do better than they do in midterms. Williams’s internal polling, which his campaign released in early September, draws a stark contrast with Oliver’s—it shows the Republican with a twelve-point advantage.

The Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional races, has this as “likely R,” a race that it doesn’t consider competitive at the moment but that has potential to end up that way. If Oliver wins, it means Democrats have probably picked up a lot of the seats they had targeted across the state. But a district that was drawn ten years ago to be one Republicans can win by 25 points is the kind where it’s a lot easier for a Democrat to claim a moral victory than an electoral one.




https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/julie-oliver-roger-williams-race/

After 2018 wake-up call, Tarrant Republicans scramble to fend off Democrats in Texas House races

AUSTIN — Texas Democrats like their chances this election cycle. If you need proof, look no further than deep-red Tarrant County.

For years, it’s been the largest urban county in the state still voting Republican. In November, Democrats will compete in seven of the eight state house districts held by the GOP in the county. Democrats came within a few thousand votes of victory in five of those races in 2018.

So is the Democratic challenge real this year?

Republicans are not taking it lightly, but despite Democrats' growing strength, GOP lawmakers remain confident they will keep Tarrant red.

“Last cycle was a wake-up call for a lot of people who perhaps have been complacent when they’ve had a challenger,” said State Rep. Craig Goldman, a four-term Republican incumbent who has a Democratic and Libertarian challenger. “I’m going to run a vigorous campaign and I know my fellow state house candidates will as well. I feel confident that we will win.”




https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2020/09/28/after-2018-wake-up-call-tarrant-republicans-scramble-to-fend-off-democrats-in-texas-house-races/

Michigan: Enthusiasm runs high as early voting begins.

DETROIT — Sarella Johnson is not one to curse, but she made an exception Thursday morning, the first day Michiganders could begin dropping off absentee ballots with local clerks.

“The last four years have been h-e-l-l,” she said, spelling out the profanity. “In every regard: in employment, in education, in the unity of the people in America. And the catalyst for all of the chaos is the president of the United States.”

That’s why Ms. Johnson, 61, a respiratory specialist, decided to get up early and stand in line with dozens of fellow Detroiters to drop off an absentee ballot at the Detroit Elections Department with a vote for Mr. Biden.

Joseph Lewis, 59, a Teamster from Detroit, brought his 18-year-old grandson Terrell Wells with him to vote for the first time.

“I wanted to be the first in line. We’ve got to vote him out,” Mr. Lewis said, referring to Mr. Trump. “It’s that simple.”

The coronavirus pandemic may be upending voting this year, and some voters have said they are wary of standing in long lines on Election Day, but that hasn’t stopped a surge of early voting and requests for absentee ballots in Michigan. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, has said the total number of votes cast could exceed five million and set a record.



https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/us/politics/michigan-voting.html

Voting has begun in Pennsylvania's messy, unprecedented 2020 pandemic election

It’s here: There are 36 days until Election Day, but voting has begun in Pennsylvania.

Mail ballots are being printed and sent to the more than two million voters who have already requested them, and counties are beginning to allow a type of early voting at local elections offices. Some are opening satellite offices as early voting sites.

In a state seen as increasingly pivotal in deciding the winner, the start of voting crosses a new threshold in the campaign, as people finally begin to formally weigh in on what has been seen as a day of reckoning ever since the 2016 campaign ended.

“We are gearing up for a very exciting week,” Philadelphia elections chief Lisa Deeley said last weekend. The city’s first 100,000 ballots were being mailed Monday, with 180,000 more to follow in batches over the next few days. And its first satellite elections offices will open Tuesday to allow people to vote early by requesting, receiving, completing, and submitting mail ballots in one trip.



https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pennsylvania-2020-election-early-mail-voting-20200928.html
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