Five Surging Races Worth Your Attention in the Last 12 Days ‘Till Election
Four years earlier from this evening I was in a bar with other political pro’s having an argument about the race in VA-05. Tom Perriello, the Democratic candidate, was running an insurgent campaign that had become closer than anyone expected. Summertime polling had Perriello down as much as 34 points, but the gap had closed to 8 in October, and then went down to a 3 point spread heading into Election Day.
I was taking the pro-Perriello side because of two simple factors. First, Perriello was a charismatic candidate who had superior intellect that enabled, rather than prevented, his ability to connect with the electorate. Second, his opponent was terrible. I thought, maybe this race is in play despite the experts’ opinions. When the dust settled, Perriello won 50.1% to 49.9%.
In 2012, there are a handful of races that haven’t received too much attention in the national political news, but have similar trend lines and surging candidates. Here’s a couple of races that might not be quite the same as Tom Perriello’s but are worth keeping an eye on and helping out in the late stages of the 2012 cycle.
1. Eric Stewart for Congress, TN-04
If you like to see hyprocrites go down in flames, this one’s for you. TN Dems landed a great recruit in State Senator and Truman Partner Eric Stewart, but this is a deep red district that was written off.
…Until Stewart’s Tea Party pro-life opponent, Doctor Scott Desjarlais had his divorce records unsealed. Turns out he had an affair with a patient, she told him she was pregnant, and he pressured her to get an abortion… and for some weird reason he tape recorded the call!
Stewart has now narrowed the gap to 5 and is surging behind an influx of new third party advertising. He’s the perfect guy to take advantage of Desjarlais’s fall – a plain-spoken, common sense, and very likeable Blue Dog.
2. Scott Holcomb for Georgia State Representative
If you support veterans, then read on. Truman Fellow Scott Holcomb is a Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who easily won a Georgia State House seat in 2010. But Republicans decided that he was too much of a threat after Holcomb repeatedly bested them in issue debates on the floor. So they carved him a completely new district and started throwing thousands of dollars into media to defeat him.
But in a classic overreach, Holcomb’s opponent cut one of the most ridiculous and insulting ads of the cycle, saying Holcomb was on drugs while serving in the Army. If was easily debunked by the media and Republicans yanked it from youtube, but no veteran should have to face such hateful political attacks.
3. Nate Shinagawa for Congress, NY-23
Back in 2008 I liked Perriello because he was charismatic, running on principle, had a last name ending in a vowel, and unusually short for a Congressman. I thought to myself “maybe one day I’ll share these four characteristics.” In 2012, Nate Shinagawa is filling his shoes.
In a pinkish-red upstate NY district, Nate, a lifelong community organizer, has been lighting up the crowds and has locked in the backing of a strong progressive infrastructure. If he can match opponent Tom Reed on the air, he can keep surging.
4. Mike O’Brien for Congress, MI-06
Those who’ve followed our clean energy campaign, Operation Free will recognize Fred Upton as one of the truest champions of dirty energy in America. Upton seemed unbeatable until he ran into a United States Marine Corps. Sergeant named Mike O’Brien.
O’Brien has been taking the fight directly to Upton in a newly-shaped Michigan District with a strong leadership narrative seen in this ad. The result? He’s the last guy who’s been added to the DCCC Emerging Races list and has released polling showing him within 5 points. Also, he’s cool.
5. Stephanie Kapsis for Alexandria City School Board
I had to round it out with a home-team pick for the beltway crowd, and an inspired woman candidate, Stephanie Kapsis. Since you probably can’t make it out to Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan or Upstate New York, here’s one where you can make a difference.
Stephanie is the wife of Truman Fellow and clean energy developer Jim Kapsis. I particularly like her because she’s running for School Board with an actual teaching background, not as a stepping stone to higher office. She’s also a Teach For America alum (one of my favorite programs) and has the strong support of TFA’s political leadership efforts.
Michael Moschella is the Political Director at the Truman National Security Project