COVID-19 vaccine

Why You Can’t Get A Coronavirus Vaccine

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

If you're one of the many millions of Americans who can't get a COVID-19 vaccine, know that Donald Trump never had a vaccination distribution plan for the country.

Though COVID-19 raged throughout Trump's last year in office, he did nothing to prepare for vaccine distribution. Consider that lost time, less lives saved.

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Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein

Child Sex Trafficking Prosecutions Plummet Under Trump

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Add child sex traffickers to Trump's basket of deplorables. Under his watch, federal prosecutions of that class of criminals have declined significantly.

In Trump's four years in office, both federal prosecutions against child sex traffickers, and the proportion of criminal referrals for child sex trafficking on which charges were brought, have both dropped, according to new data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research effort by Syracuse University. That's a total reversal of how things were handled under President Obama; numbers on both counts climbed steadily.

This isn't surprising, considering what we know about Donald J. Trump. He once walked into the changing room of a Miss Teen USA beauty pageant while contestants – some as young as 15 – were in various stages of undress.

Trump addresses the contestants of the Miss Universe 2010 competition in Las Vegas. (Miss Universe Organization)

Trump claims that's his right. "I'll go backstage before a show and everyone's getting dressed," Trump told Howard Stern on his radio show. "I'm allowed to go in, because I'm the owner of the pageant and therefore I'm inspecting it… 'Is everyone OK'? You know, they're standing there with no clothes. 'Is everybody OK?' And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that."

He is known to have partied with the late child rapist Jeffrey Epstein – once alone with him and 28 'girls' at his Mar-a-Lago estate in the early 1990s. He once said of the poster boy for child sex trafficking and abuse, "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific Guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

Earlier this year when law enforcement finally snagged Epstein's partner in crime, Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly baited, groomed and molested underage girls herself, Trump said at a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic that he "wished her well."

And these are only the stories we know about.

So, while it's not shocking his administration has turned its back on the growing problem of child sex trafficking – just last year only 37 percent of cases were prosecuted. It is unconscionable.

Trump's scorecard against child sex traffickers is the worst in two decades. During the Obama administration, almost half of all criminal referrals were prosecuted. That compares with the Bush administration which prosecuted 46 percent. Trump's dismal record shows prosecutors chose to file charges in just 43 percent of cases over the past four years.

The reason given by federal attorneys for not prosecuting cases in fiscal year 2020? The good ole law-enforcement get-out-of-jail-free plum of too little evidence, according to TRAC. And if that didn't fit the bill, attorneys cited "a need to prioritize federal resources and interests."

It's too bad the clock's running out on this election. Because Trump's new campaign slogan could be, "We care about the wall, not the small."

Democrats Poised To Win Full Control Of Statehouses

Democrats Poised To Win Full Control Of Statehouses

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.


Two weeks from the highly anticipated midterms and Democrats could see several states go pure blue from gubernatorial races down to the state House elections.

There are currently 26 states in the country that are Republican trifectas, meaning the GOP holds power from the governorship to the majority in the state Senate and Congress. Democrats hold eight trifectas today. But there are several states in play with more seen as potential new Democratic strongholds from New Hampshire to Colorado than as potential Republican targets.

State legislatures can wield incredible power, from the ability to shape redistricting to gun laws and abortion rights. In fact, the winners from this election will have the once-a-decade chance to redraw congressional maps following the 2020 Census. And as the Trump administration continues to tear down the federal government, states become more powerful.

In the midterms, Democrats are running more state legislative candidates than they have in the past 20 years. There are 5,349 Democratic candidates this year compared with 4,741 Republicans, according to an article by The Washington Post. Republicans had run more candidates than Democrats in the past six election cycles. And this year, Democrats are even ahead of the number of Republican candidates from 2010, which saw huge gains for the GOP at the state and federal level.

In a best-case scenario, Democrats could pick up 17 new trifecta states, according to an analysis by Ballotpedia. That would leave the Republicans with 13. But it is more likely that Democrats pick up between five and 11 new trifectas. Here are the states that are the most vulnerable for a Democratic takeover:

Colorado: With term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) stepping down the governorship is still seen as leaning Democratic. There are 17 seats up for election this year with 10 held by Republicans, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. Democrats just need to flip two Senate seats to make this state a trifecta. Democrats hold a majority in the House already.

Florida: With term-limited Republican governor Rick Scott vying for a U.S. Senate seat, the gubernatorial race is considered a toss-up. To gain the majority of the Senate, Democrats need to take four more seats, representing a 20% gain. And for the state House, Democrats would need to flip 17 new seats, a 14% gain.

Illinois: Though currently held by a Republican, Bruce Rauner, the governorship is rated “lean Democratic” this election. The House and Senate are both controlled by Democrats, so if they can hang on to their majority and flip the governorship, they would make this a trifecta.

Michigan: Another term-limited governor stepping down, Republican Rick Snyder, the governorship is rated “lean Democrat.” To take a majority in the Senate, Democrats need to flip nine seats or almost 24%. Republicans hold a supermajority here and have had control of the Senate for more than 25 years. To take over the House, they need to take nine seats there as well, but that’s an 8% change. More than a fifth of the incumbents can’t seek re-election because of term limits so Democrats have a good chance to take the House.

New Hampshire: The Republican governorship is rated lean Republican this election, though incumbent Chris Sununu is considered one of the country’s most popular governors, according to The New York Times. Democrats need to flip three out of 24 seats to take a majority in the Senate, and 22 seats in the House, representing a 6% change. It’s also worth noting that 17% of Republicans serve districts that voted for Clinton in 2016.

Wisconsin: Incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R) is up for re-election but the race is considered a toss-up at this point. Democrats need to win two more seats this election, a 12% change, to gain a Senate majority and 15 more House seats, representing a 15% gain.

There are two states that Ballotpedia considers moderately possible for Democrats to pick up: New Mexico and New York. It also considers Ohio a high possibility, though other outlets do not.

And there are two more states that Ballotpedia sees as “slight possibilities”: Montana and North Carolina.

Connecticut, meanwhile, is the one Democratic trifecta that is highly vulnerable to a Republican takeover or at least turning it purple and busting up the trifecta. The outgoing Democratic governorship of Daniel Malloy, who is stepping down after two terms, is rated a toss-up for this election. The state Senate is currently a tie and for a majority; Republicans would need to flip only one seat. For control of the House, they would need to flip just five seats, representing a 3% gain.

Two states seen as slight possibilities for new GOP trifectas are Minnesota and Vermont.

In the best-case scenario for Republicans in the upcoming election, they could end up with 37 state trifectas, leaving just three Democratic ones.

In between, there are six toss-up states that could go pure red, blue or purple. Those include Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and Pennsylvania.


GOP Superpacs Pull Money From Failing Incumbents

GOP Superpacs Pull Money From Failing Incumbents

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

You know we’re getting down to the wire when the big purses start pulling out of campaigns and redirecting their funds to candidates they think have a prayer of winning. In the past week, we’ve seen that play with two big Republican PACs, the Congressional Leadership Fund and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Most recently, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), cut off funds for two GOP incumbent campaigns, for Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). The Super PAC, which has already raised about $100 million for the 2018 election cycle, is pulling out of $1 million in TV ad spots it had reserved for Coffman and $2.1 million it had reserved for Bishop. The fund will redirect the funds elsewhere, according to an article in Politico.

Political action committees give a disproportionate amount of their campaign dollars to incumbents because congressional re-election rates are typically in the 90% range. So, to see PACs walk away from incumbent races, especially funds so flush with cash, is quite unusual. But then again, this mid-term election is anything but typical.

According to Republican officials, in both races, Democratic challengers are leading and are expected to outspend Coffman and Bishop significantly in the final weeks leading up to the election. But another PAC, the National Republican Congressional Committee, isn’t convinced Coffman is a lost cause and has agreed to fill the gap with a $600,000 TV ad buy, according to the Politico article.

However, a Democrat super PAC, House Majority PAC, is so confident Democratic challenger Jason Crow can overtake Coffman, it has pulled out of $800,000 it had planned for TV advertising in the Denver-area swing district.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled funds from other races it sees as unsalvageable at this point, such as the Congressional District 17 in Pennsylvania. It recently canceled its ad reservations in the district where Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) is up against Conor Lamb (D). The PAC had spent about $2.2 million in ads opposing Lamb. But the Democrat has significantly outraised his Republican challenger at $7.3 million to Rothfus’ $2 million, according to a report at the end of June by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Other Republican candidates have been unhappy about the lack of support from the NRCC, such as Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.). And others are in danger of getting cut off, including Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Pa.) and Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa). But as former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), who was involved with the NRCC during his tenure, said, “These are very Darwinian decisions. It means selection of the fittest.”

As we get closer to Election Day, expect to see more money move around campaigns as Republicans try to scramble to hold onto their edge in the House and Senate.


Education Galvanizes Voters Keen To Toss GOP Congress

Education Galvanizes Voters Keen To Toss GOP Congress

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.


If there’s anything that’s come out of the Trump era, it’s a galvanization of activism across the country, renewed by enthusiasm, from the women’s march, to the fight of teachers for fair pay. People are standing up for their beliefs and rights like we haven’t seen in decades. And it is affecting ballots this mid-term season.

The latest example is the GOP runoff election held in Oklahoma on Aug. 28. The fight of state teachers there, who fought against Gov. Mary Fallin and the state’s legislators who slashed education budgets by 23.6% between 2008 and 2015, reached a satisfying new stage when the teachers’ fight turned into might at the ballot box, according to a New York Magazine article.

They had already won a small salary increase by going on strike, pushing the governor to pass a small increase in a fracking production tax—the smallest in the nation. But it proved the teachers could possibly win against the heavyweights, the energy billionaires, and they promised to take the rest of their fight for better educational resources all the way to the election.

They won, big time, last week after largely cleaning house in the first primary. Out of the 19 Republicans who voted against raising taxes to fund the teacher pay increases, only four survived the primaries and will be on the ballots in November.

Oklahoma isn’t the only state seeing this kind of a movement. It follows West Virginia, where a Republican state Sen. Robert Karnes lost re-election after opposing his state’s teacher strike for wage increases. He was defeated in the May primaries by state Delegate Bill Hamilton.

The same thing happened in the Kentucky primary in May. School teacher Travis Brenda defeated Republican House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell in the GOP primary because Shell, one of Mitch McConnell’s protégés, led a push to cut teachers’ pensions.

Voters’ Resources

Represent.Us – A bipartisan anticorruption site with information on current laws, policies, national and local resources to help make a difference in political financing.

U.S. House of Representatives Financial Disclosure Database – Use this site to view the financial disclosure statements for Congressional members and candidates.

United States Senate Financial Disclosures – This site provides the financial reports for Senators, former Senators and candidates from January 2012 to present. Senator reports are available until six years after the Senator leaves office; candidate reports are available for one year after they run for office.


Now Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) is fighting for his political life against the superintendent of schools for the state, Tony Evers, the Democratic challenger. Walker is trying to rebrand himself as the “pro-education” candidate. Nobody seems fooled, though. A recent Suffolk University poll showed Walker trailing 2 points behind Evers.

However, it’s not just education activism that’s giving people hope. We’ve seen activism on so many issues gear up since Trump’s inauguration, and that’s translating into voter enthusiasm.

Fox News just released a new poll asking among other questions, how interested people were in the upcoming November elections. The high total came in at a median 47% who said they were extremely interested. The news service has asked that question 28 times over the past three mid-term elections, but this result, with calls conducted Aug. 19- 21 among a random national sample of more than 1,000 registered voters, was the highest.

Across all demographics, Veterans showed the most enthusiasm at 53%, though when asked how that compared to previous congressional elections a majority said its interest registered at a similar level. The under-45 age bracket showed the lowest interest, unsurprisingly, at 41%, yet this was the only demographic among nine where the majority showed an increase in interest over previous midterm elections.

Of the total, 65% said they were certain to vote in the midterms. The group that said it is certain to vote in the upcoming election by the largest percentage was Clinton voters, at 76%. That compares to Trump voters, at 67%. And as most polls are showing, when asked if the election were held today, 49% of respondents said they would vote Democratic, compared to 38% who said they would vote Republican.

Massachusetts Primary Preview

Here are the races to watch on Tuesday:

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is expected to hold onto her seat, and has raised a hefty war chest of $31.5 million, with more than half coming from small donations. However, several Republicans and a well-funded Independent candidate are challenging her. Leading the GOP candidates are John Kingston, with just shy of $6 million raised, most of which is self-funded; Geoff Diehl, with $1.9 million; and Beth Lindstrom at 1.4 million. V. Shiva Ayyadurai, an Independent candidate, has raised nearly $5 million. He is a scientist and an entrepreneur with four degrees from MIT, known for making a controversial claim that he invented email.

7th Congressional District: Incumbent Rep. Michal Capuano (D) is up against a tough opponent in Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley. The councilwoman served as former Sec. of State John Kerry’s political director when he was a U.S. senator, and if elected, she would be the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts. She was the first black woman elected to Boston’s City Council in 2009. Capuano has raised $1.7 million, from a mix of large individual contributions and PACs, compared to Pressley’s $890,143, mostly all of it from large individual contributions, according to Center for Responsive Politics.

3rd Congressional District: The state’s only open seat falls in this district which has attracted a deep bench of Democratic candidates. Frontrunners include Dan Koh, who has raised $3 million; followed by Russ Gifford, with $2.1 million; and Lori Trahan, with $1.1 million. Two Republicans are vying for the seat, Rick Green, who has raised $810,031, and Scott Gunderson, at just over $1,000.


In California, Democrat Dollars Back A Republican

In California, Democrat Dollars Back A Republican

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.


Californians head to the polls Tuesday, June 5, and to turn more seats blue, Democrats and their campaign machines are pulling out all the stops.

The Golden State has an unusual primary system; the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, make it on the ballot in November. That makes for all sorts of guerrilla warfare.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in a bold move to try to split the Republican vote for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Calif.) 48th Congressional seat in Orange County, has spent about $110,000 in the last week to bolster candidate John Gabbard (R), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The committee, the official campaign arm for Democrats in Congress, paid for robocalls and radio ads supporting Gabbard, who lags behind frontrunners Rohrbacher and California state legislator Scott Baugh.

Unlike countless other key congressional races across the country, Russia and the swirl of news regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation is uniquely relevant to Rohrbacher’s re-election bid. The 30-year congressional veteran is a persistent advocate of closer relations with Moscow. It’s position that has derisively earned him the moniker “Putin’s favorite congressman” and tied him into the daily trickle of news on possible collusion in the 2016 election.

The Democrats seem to be having some issues on their own ticket. The committee’s candidate is real-estate executive Harley Rouda, who has a war chest of close to $2 million, according to Federal Election Commission data—more than Rohrbacher at just under $1.6 million. National liberals also back Rouda. But the California Democratic Party has endorsed Hans Keirstead, a stem cell researcher and neuroscientist. He had slightly outraised Rohrbacher at $1.63 million.

Baugh’s communications director, Matthew Cunningham, said he doesn’t think the committee’s last-minute spending will be enough to keep the Republican off the ticket. “The Democrats are saying and doing anything they can to knock (Baugh) out of No. 2,” Cunningham told the Center for Responsive Politics. “Republicans are turning out in the 48th, and we’re confident of taking the No. 2 spot on June 5.” Baugh had only raised $591,853, according to the FEC.

The primaries to date have proven that money doesn’t guarantee a win. But Baugh’s team may be underestimating the might of the committee and its “Red to Blue” campaign backing candidates across the country with organizational and fundraising efforts to flip seats in November.

Ballotpedia has been tracking the primaries where the committee has endorsed candidates and out of 9 races where the data is available, eight of the candidate backed by the committee have won. The only instance a non-committee candidate won was in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District on May 15. In that race, candidate Kara Eastman (D) won the primary and will be on the ballot in November.


Big Eight Primary Preview

This Tuesday, eight states hold primaries for the mid-term elections. Here’s a snapshot of what to watch for in each state.

Alabama: Keep an eye on the Alabama attorney general race. Three candidates are vying for the full term to fill incumbent Steve Marshall’s (R) spot, who was appointed in February 2017, when then-State Attorney General Luther Strange (R) was tapped to fill the seat for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R). Three candidates to keep an eye on are Chess Bedsole, Troy King and Alice Martin.

California: The Golden State’s jungle primary system, which sends the top two candidates to the November election regardless of party, makes for a most interesting spectacle.

Incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is seeking her sixth term, despite not getting an endorsement from the California Democratic Party. Her top challenger is Kevin de León (D). The Republican field has a wide range of candidates and white nationalist Patrick Little (R), who was expelled from the Republican convention, managed to poll in second place to Feinstein in April, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

One of the hottest primaries to watch is the 25th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Steve Knight (R) is the only Republican in the race, which means a Democrat will automatically get on the ticket in November. Bryan Caforio (D) came within six points of defeating Knight two years ago, and he’s running again. Another top candidate is nonprofit executive Katie Hill (D). Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016.

Iowa: Republicans currently control pretty much all power in the state and the midterms represent a chance to change that. The gubernatorial race is one to watch as five Democrats hope to unseat incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

Democrats are hoping to flip the 3rd Congressional District held by incumbent Rep. David Young (R), and the Fourth Congressional District, which is held by Rep. Steve King (R).

Montana: Keep an eye on the Republican primary for the Senate seat held by incumbent Jon Tester (D-Mont.), which is considered vulnerable after Trump carried the state by 20 points in 2016. Four Republicans hoping to challenge Tester are State Auditor Matt Rosendale, former state judge Russ Fagg, businessman Troy Downing and state Sen. Albert Olszewski.

Mississippi: The race to watch in this state is for the 3rd Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Gregg Harper decided against running for re-election in this firmly red district. Six candidates are now circling his seat with state Sen. Sally Doty (R) and district attorney Michael Guest (R) leading the pack.

New Jersey: The Garden State could be critical for Democrats to take back the House this fall. Races to watch include districts 2 (both Democratic and Republican primaries), 7 and 11. On the Senate side, incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D), whose corruption case ended in a mistrial last fall, is running again but challenged by activist Lisa McCormick (D) and two GOP candidates, former biotech executive Bob Hugin (R) and businessman Brian D. Goldberg (R).

New Mexico: The race to watch in this state is for Congressional District 1. Incumbent Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is running for governor, leaving the seat open for a field of seven Democratic candidates, one Republican, one Libertarian and an Independent. Frontrunners include Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D), Debra Haaland (D) and Damon Martinez (D).

South Dakota: The race for Governor is an open seat with incumbent Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) unable to run due to term limits. Four-time Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) is leaving the state’s one Congressional seat to run for governor. She’ll face challengers state Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) and Democrat Billie Sutton, the state Senate’s minority leader.

Vying for Noem’s open Congressional seat are three Republicans, Dusty Johnson, Shantel Krebs and Neal Tapio, and one Democrat, Tim Bjorkman.

House Challengers Raising More Money Than GOP Incumbents

House Challengers Raising More Money Than GOP Incumbents

Reprinted with permission from


Republicans know they have a fight on their hands to keep control of the House with a narrow majority. And it’s not looking good that to date 14 Democratic challengers have outraised their GOP incumbents while not a single Democratic incumbent faces the same problem, according to cycle-to-date campaign finance data. In fact, nine Democrats have six-figure advantages over their opponents.

Take North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District where a competitive race is seen as leaning Republican. Democratic challenger Marine veteran Dan McCready has a six-figure fundraising lead over Republican incumbent Robert Pittenger. McCready has raised $1.8 million, spent $514,000 and has $1.3 million cash on hand. Pittenger, meanwhile, has raised about $1.1 million and spent nearly $875,000, which leaves about $253,000 cash on hand.

Two coastal toss-ups – California’s 48th and New York’s 19th—are showing the Republican incumbents lagging by six-figure deficits as well. In California, Democrat Harley Rouda has outraised Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) by almost $326,000 and in New York, Antonio Delgado has raised $295,000 more than Rep. John Faso (R).

In the race for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, it gets worse. Democratic challenger Roger Dean Huffstetler has pulled in nearly $650,000 more than Rep. Tom Garrett (R).

And then there are the races where incumbents are being outraised by challengers within their own parties, as is the case with two Republicans and one Democrat. Republican George Flinn Jr. of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District has outraised Rep. David Kustoff (R) by almost $333,000 ahead of the August primary to date. Scott Dacey is outraising 12-term Congressman Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District by $56,000 ahead of the primary. And in New York’s 16th Congressional District, Democratic challenger Jonathan Lewis has raised $30,000 more than Rep. Eliot Engel (D), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Democrats need to win 24 seats to win a majority in the House. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has become the 38th House Republican to announce retirement or plans to seek another office.

Dark Money Floods Hotly Contested Arizona Congressional Race

Arizona’s 8th Congressional District prepares to cast ballots on Tuesday for the next House representative to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Trent Franks (R) who held the seat since 2013 before announcing his retirement in December amid sexual harassment claims. A lot of money has funneled into this race, which pits two female candidates against each other, former state Senator Debbie Lesko (R) and Hiral Tipirneni (D), an emergency room physician.

Tipirneni has raised about $735,000 to Lesko’s $565,000. But enter the dark money, mostly in favor of Lesko, to try to throw the race. As of this month, dark money groups, in the form of several Republican PACs, have poured about $1.5 million into supporting Lesko—spending more than $900,000 the week before the election. Outside spending groups have spent a little more than $60,000 in support of Tipirneni.

The 8th Congressional District is made up of affluent, older white suburbanites and has long been a Republican stronghold. But this race has all the makings of the recent Pennsylvania race that went to Democrat Conor Lamb by just 627 votes.

Earlier polls showed Lesko in a comfortable lead—up by double digits—while an Emerson College poll a week ago showed Tipirneni a point ahead of Lesko, which is still within a margin of error.

That same Emerson poll showed that Tipirneni’s supporters were likely to stick with their party contrasted with Republicans who are showing a new national trend of splitting or leaning Democratic.

Voting Resources

U.S. Election Assistance Commission—This site gives information on how to register to vote, election day, contact information, candidates and tons of other helpful links. The EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission created in 2002 by the Help America Vote Act.

U.S. Vote Foundation—This site provides information on how to register to vote, election dates and deadlines, plus information for domestic, overseas and military voters.

Can I Vote—This is a great and easy resource with information on voter registration, polling places, voter identification and absentee and early voting. It is part of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Rock the Vote—This site has all the information necessary to register to vote and learn about the important issues. There is information on how to volunteer and take action on issues that are important to you, as well as many resources to help you stay informed.

Can Stacey Abrams Become the First Black Female Governor?

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams has already made history. The House Minority Leader for Georgia, Abrams (D) is the first woman to lead either party in the state’s general assembly. But she could make history on a much grander scale if she wins her bid for governor, thereby becoming the state’s first female governor and the first black female governor in our nation’s history.

The Spelman College and Yale Law School Graduate, with a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, has an interesting résumé. She has worked as a tax attorney and created the New Georgia Project to register hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly minorities, young people and unmarried women – a growing voting bloc for Georgia.

Abrams has also written eight romance novels for HarperCollins under the pen name Selena Montgomery. Later this month, she’ll publish a book under her own name, “Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change.”

Abrams still has the primaries to get through. She’ll face Stacey Evans (R), a former member of the state legislature on May 22.

If successful, she’d likely face Casey Cagle, Georgia’s lieutenant governor in the General Election. Cagle’s made a few missteps lately, though. Notably, spurning Atlanta native Delta Air Lines when it decided to stop honoring discounts to members of the National Rifle Association after the Parkland, Fla., shooting. That much-publicized move by Cagle may have also cost the state the site of Amazon’s next headquarters.

It would seem Abrams has a lot of ammunition, in addition to the momentum of the Blue Wave sweeping the nation. Stay tuned.

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Uses Executive Power to Restore Voting Rights to Parolees

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to use his executive power to restore voting rights to some 34,000 parolees in the Empire State, after the state legislature defeated his bill to do the same.

Critics will see the move as a bid to shore up more votes as Cuomo runs for a third term as governor. But the move is not an automatic reinstatement of voting rights. Rather, Cuomo has built a system where he will restore the rights of parolees by using his power to pardon them. However, if law enforcement authorities object to the restoration, Cuomo reserves the right to withhold these privileges on any specific parolee. This could shape up to be a bureaucratic nightmare, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.

Right now, 34 states outright deny parolees the right to vote. Another 12 states make ex-offenders serve a waiting period before voting rights are reinstated or keep them off the voter rolls permanently. And because prisoners and ex-convicts are disproportionately minorities, moves to deny them the right to vote after they have served their prison sentences is increasingly seen as a move to suppress the voting rights of minorities in state, local and federal government.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Florida has ordered Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his cabinet to overhaul the process for reinstating the voting rights for ex-convicts, which have to wait a period of seven years before they can reapply.

Candidate Filing Deadlines

Residents of Michigan seeking to run for office in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as state executive positions in Michigan, including governor, state and local judicial positions and county positions, must file paperwork by Tuesday, April 24. Also on the ballot in November will be the Special Election for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and Michigan State Senate District 2 and Michigan House of Representatives District 68. The state’s Primary Election will be held on Aug. 7. Independent candidates have until July 19 to file paperwork for the upcoming general elections in November, according to Ballotpedia.

Residents of South Dakota seeking to run for office must file paperwork by Tuesday, April 24. There is one federal U.S. House seat up for grabs in the general election. There are eight state executive offices, including governor and lieutenant governor; all 35 state senate seats; all 70 state house seats; and one of the five seats on the state supreme court. The primary will be held on June 5 and if a primary runoff is necessary, it will be held on August 14.