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Our Future On the Ballot #6

Heading into the highest-stakes election of our lifetimes, The Appeal launched a newsletter called Our Future on the Ballot, covering insurgent candidates across the country, their elections, and what's at stake.


In today’s issue, we’ll cover:

  • Will the Texas House flip from Red to Blue?
  • Other Texas Races We’re Tracking
  • Plus: Our Portland mayoral debate, Jamaal Bowman’s new commentary piece in The Appeal, a critical county supervisors race in Los Angeles, and more news from around the country.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 18 YEARS, THE TEXAS HOUSE IS IN PLAY

  • The Math: Democrats picked up 12 seats in the last cycle, and need to pick up 9 more to take the House. There are 34 competitive races this cycle, Democrats need to win 21. Here’s the Dallas Observer on how “Democrats Could Flip the Texas House,” and a four part series from Austin’s NPR station on the battle for control of the Texas legislature.
  • Democrats Lead In The Polls: New polling from RA News shows Democrats “hold comfortable leads” in 21 of the 22 competitive districts surveyed.
  • Why It Matters: Texas is a Republican trifecta, meaning the House, Senate, and Governor are all Republican controlled. Governor Greg Abbott announced six bills, to be considered next legislative session, that would effectively increase punishment around protest-related activity. Democrats taking back the House would put a check on Gov. Abbott and the GOP agenda.
  • Relatedly: Governor Abbott is backing Justin Berry, a veteran of the Austin Police Department, for Texas State House District 47. Berry once compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan and has staunchly criticized efforts to defund the police. His opponent, Vikki Goodwin, recently joined The Appeal, where she explained why she opposes Abbott’s effort to usurp local control.
  • Meet Two Transformational Texas Statehouse Candidates: 
    • Lorenzo Sanchezrunning in Texas State House District 67, is a first-generation Mexican-American and a small business owner. Raised by a single-mother who worked multiple jobs to keep food on the table, Sanchez told The Appeal’s Our Future On The Ballot, that he is running on a platform that supports a $15 minimum wage, medicaid expansion, and universal health care. Here’s Sanchez on why we need universal healthcare:

    • Celina Montoya, running for Texas House District 121, would often accompany her single-mother to clean the homes of her classmates. “I know how to fight for workers and small business owners, because I am both,” Montoya said about why she’s running on medicaid expansion and establishing a living minimum wage. Montoya also prioritizes criminal justice reform, for example, supporting eliminating the death penalty and establishing a statewide police misconduct database. Here’s Montoya on The Appeal’s Our Future On The Ballot, discussing her work with the Innocence Project while a journalism student at Northwestern University:

OTHER TEXAS RACES WE’RE TRACKING:

  • Julie Oliver, running for U.S. House of Representatives in TX-25, supports Medicare for all, a Green New Deal, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, canceling all student debt, and safe housing for all. Oliver, whose race is close (“down to the margin of hustle,” as she put it) recently joined The Appeal’s Our Future On The Ballot to discuss these issues, and what it means to her to be a “Medicare mom”:

Mike Siegel, running for U.S. House of Representatives in TX-10, supports Medicare for all, housing for all, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, college for all, and a Green New Deal. You don’t want to miss the powerful video that the Sunrise Movement released in support of Siegel, featuring a worker explaining why he’s supporting Siegel and also organizing with his union for a Green New Deal. Siegel recently joined The Appeal’s Our Future On The Ballot to discuss why expanding voting rights is his top issue:

  • Chrysta Castañeda, running for the Texas Railroad Commission, the primary regulatory body for the oil and gas industry, joined The Appeal’s Our Future On The Ballot to discuss why she wants the job: “The Railroad Commission has enormous powers over oil and gas production in the state of Texas. And when I talk about all day, every day is how important this race is for the climate. And for the environment. In fact, it’s been written up as the most consequential climate election in the nation because of the impact of gas direction on greenhouse gases. And because no place is it bigger than right here in Texas[.]” The Appeal profiled Castañeda today, and here’s a NowThis video on the enormous impact of her race on the climate crisis.

Vance Keys is running for Sheriff in Tarrant County, which has a population of two million people. In a recent interview with The Appeal, Keys committed to ending the office’s 287(g) agreement with ICE, vowed to advocate for ending money bail, and pledged to significantly reduce the jail population by making fewer arrests and diverting more people to treatment facilities.


WHAT WE’RE TRACKING

  • Sarah Iannarone, candidate for Portland Mayor and Ted Wheeler, the incumbent Mayor, joined The Briefing on Friday for a debate. The candidates clashed on policing, anti-fascism and the homelessness crisis.

  • “We can’t let our children go hungry,” wrote Jamaal Bowman in a piece for The Appeal yesterday. The pandemic has put the vast majority of children eligible for free or reduced lunch in “grave danger of malnutrition and starvation.” Bowman proposes a federal extension of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) and interagency collaboration to provide a food delivery system that works for each family in need.
  • Cori Bush, in a recent profile from The Appeal: “My role is to be what I’ve always wanted to see, that’s somebody actually fighting for the regular person. . . I feel like that role starts with fighting for the person who has the least in this district and looking at everything else I do from that lens.”
  • Mondaire Jones, in a recent profile from The Appeal, said that he’s looking to bring “big structural changes” to the halls of Congress and described “two primary problems with our criminal legal system – one is systemic racism, and the other is an overreliance on policing as a means to obtain public safety.”
  • Anna Tovar, candidate for Arizona Corporate Commission, sometimes called the state’s fourth branch of government, joined The Appeal’s Our Future On the Ballot, where she discussed how, as a young public school teacher, her battle with cancer (caused by a rare environmental toxin) propelled her to run for higher office. She hopes to end a legacy of corruption at the Corporate Commission and usher in policies that encourage the use of renewable energies that have already saved Arizonans $2 Billion from 2008 to 2016. Watch her speak about these solutions here:

Holly Mitchell and Herb Wesson are running for a pivotal seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which controls the budget for the most populous county in America. The Appeal highlighted the important race and why it’s critical to criminal justice reform: “Whoever fills the open seat next month will play a pivotal role in determining how law enforcement is funded in the largest county in the United States—at a time when many community leaders believe that genuine transformation of the criminal legal system is within reach,” Mitchell said.

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