Congressional Battleground Spotlight: Continue Berning Down The House, People

Congressional Battleground


I get it. It’s tough to get passionate about down-ticket items. But real change isn’t all piss and vinegar. The Berners scream up and down about Hillary but seemingly don’t want to transfer that energy into the more difficult and substantial goal of repelling the rightward leap of our lawmakers. Right now we have a very real chance to make a statement that the obstructionist, nationalist, racist direction of conservatism has no place in America of the future. So, what are the final 12 battleground seats that could give us a liberal majority in Congress?

Burning Down The House, Part 2

Congressional Battleground 13: Minnesota’s 2nd

Republican incumbent John Kline is stepping down after 14 years of service. Whether that’s because it’s begun leaning Dem or because he’s just getting old I don’t know. What I do know is that Jason Lewis and ANGIE CRAIG will be fighting for the district on November 8th.

Angie has the backing of the Teamsters Union, United Steelworkers, the HRC, Senator Al Franken, Democratic members of the committee on Education and the Workforce. She was formerly a journalist, then worked for a medical company where she helped build jobs and open the workplace to women. So she looks to support more money for college, push forward with greater funding for addiction programs, and commit to fighting climate change.

Lewis, on the other hand, believes in a “fair” tax code (translation: tax the billionaire at the same rate as the middle-class working stiff) that encourages investment and savings (translation: gut capital gains and convince rich people to spend less, thus driving down consumership and hurting the general economy but allowing some filthy lucre hordes), he wants to secure the border and of course destroy the ACA (though he doesn’t get into what to replace it with).

So Angie Craig it is.

Congressional Battleground 14: Nebraska’s 2nd

Right now Democratic incumbent BRAD ASHFORD is repelling an attempt by Don Bacon (R) and Steven Laird (L) to take this seat conservative (because don’t kid yourselves, the Libertarians are about as anti-Bernie as it gets, from their disdain of social safety net programs to their free-market “let Wall Street run wild” ideologies).

Ashford has voted for trade because let’s be honest, without trade you wouldn’t be sitting in that nice office crunching numbers in front of a computer; you’d be like a 3rd-world worker who makes his money by robbing the earth of natural resources. He voted against abortion bans and for increasing military protections, a man proven to be able to work across aisles but decidedly democratic. He voted to expand Medicaid eligibility and voted against some but not all environmental bills (he does represent Nebraska, after all, and they’ve basically just got mining, fracking and corn)(though at the same time he wants stricter regulation of our waterways). Among other votes, he voted against a law that would allow police to ask people they pull over for proof of citizenship.

Don Bacon, meanwhile, wants to double down on fighting ISIS in the middle east, increase military spending, is hardcore pro-life, wants to “simplify” the tax code and, of course, repeal Obamacare. Newt Gingrich is backing Bacon.

Congressional Battleground 15: Nevada’s 4th

This is a big one, especially if you’re environmentally-minded since Nevada will likely become a force in the battle to turn over federal lands to 3rd-world-country-minded cash-poor local govs who want to strip the lands of every last mineral before realizing they spent all their money on military-grade weaponry and having to sell to scumbag developers (because let’s be honest, if I’ve learned anything from Flint, MI, to everywhere in the south, red states are crap at supporting themselves).

Cresent Hardy, the GOP incumbent, looks like a bloated John Boehner with a further-right lean. Co-sponsored the “Defund Planned Parenthood” bill. Voted against a bill that would require states to teach sex ed that actually educated people about sex. Has voted for every environmental-reg-gutting bill and of course voted to repeal ACA (so he’s a big fan of wasting time and effort). And of course he voted against background checks on gun buys.

RUBEN KIHUEN is the man here. Not only had Bernie done some fundraising for the local Dem noms, Kihuen has listed as his priorities addressing wealth inequality and holding Wall Street accountable, investing in children, raising the minimum wage, making a debt-free college and protecting consumers, homeowners, veterans and seniors.

Congressional Battleground 16: New Hampshire’s 1st

Republican incumbent Frank Guinta is about as party-line as it gets. Actually, he’s a tea partier, AKA, the far-right wackjobs ruining conservatism. He wants to repeal Dodd-Frank, claiming it’s a government boogeyman hurting average people’s retirements (ironic, since it’s actually in place to restrict the real boogeymen ruining people’s retirements) and take out all financial regs as a member of the House Financial Services Bureau. Oh yeah, and people within his own party are taking him on because of shady campaign finance infractions.

To the rescue comes CAROL SHEA-PORTER, former NH rep from 2006-2010. She opposed the Keystone Pipeline and the controversial Farm Bill that cut out food stamps. She voted against anti-amnesty bills, fought the shutdowners, voted against anti-abortion bills and for the ACA, saying it was a good start but she wants more. She’s pro-environment, pro-weed-legalization, all about green energy and all about staying out of Iran and keeping the military smaller. And she wants higher taxes on the wealthy, believes in stimulus over the corrupt free market savior and opposes privatizing social security.

Congressional Battleground 17: New York’s 1st

This is an important seat since New York has a loud voice in national politics and comprises a chunk of East New York aka the Strong Island), including parts of home-to-American-royalty Suffolk County. Incumbent Lee Zeldin is hoping to keep this Red against Dem ANNA THRONE-HOLST and Working Families Party’s KENNETH SCHAEFFER.

What does Zeldin stand for? Well he stands against marriage equality and medical marijuana. But he’s for the disapproval of increased and current EPA and other environmental regulations; he’s for the ending of Planned Parenthood and against safe food labeling and tribal sovereignty, though he does want to cut taxes for businesses.

What does Throne-Holst stand for? Pro-choice, building jobs on Long Island, reducing gun violence, childhood education and extensive budget audits. For the environment and for labor.

Schaeffer, meanwhile, has very little online presence. But he’s the person for Bernie’s Working Families Party. If you’re a local organizer and think you can get LI whipped up to support him, he’s seemingly the most progressive person I’ve seen running in any of the battlegrounds (though that’s only based on his status as a member of Bernie’s brigade). Other than his attempt to run as a liberal for NY’s Supreme Court, this guy is a ghost.

Congressional Battleground 18: New York’s 3rd

Democratic incumbent Steve Israel decided to adbdicate, leaving Dem TOM SUOZZI to fend off either Jack Martins or Philip Pidot following an October court ruling due to some irregularities involving signatures and something or other. Michael McDermott is the libertarian candidate to stay away from.

Martins wants to cut taxes, of course, and add tax caps for the uber-rich. He wants to gut regulation and probably cut wages under the guise of “lowering the cost of doing business.” Martins actually has a track record of embracing environmental regs and has put together state budgets and infrastructure spending packages that have seemed to work. On the other hand, Philip Pidot is running on the claim that Democrats have pulled the national fiscally and generally leftward (despite proof that the opposite has happened) and so if Pidot wins the GOP primary, do everything you can to keep Nassau county and surrounding areas out of this anti-Democracy, anti-regulation pro-business scumbag.

For good measure, Suozzi has made priorities of helping people adapt to the changing job and environmental needs, infrastructure, the environment, safety nets and fighting terrorism.

Congressional Battleground 19: New York’s 19th

Republican incumbent Chris Gibson decided not to seek re-election after 6 years in the seat. So ZEPHYR TEACHOUT (D) will be taking on John Faso for the 19th.

Teachout brings more than just the coolest name ever in politics. She’s strongly pro-women’s and LGBT rights. Good with legalizing marijuana but wants to beef up gun regs. Wants to expand Obamacare and investing in renewable energy as well as small businesses.

John Faso, meanwhile, is another 2nd Amendment hero, fighting a war that doesn’t exist except as a marketing ploy for Guns Inc. He wants to pursue a heavy US military presence in the Middle East and thinks the key to getting more jobs in upstate New York is cutting government funding.

Congressional Battleground 20: New York’s 22nd

This is another congressional seat vacated by a man who joined up in 2011, Richard Hanna. It opens up a battle royale for another Upstate New York seat between D-KIM MYERS, R-Claudia Tenney, L-David Pasick and Upstate Jobs Party candidate Martin Babinec. So where do they sit?

Claudia Tenney: Wants to fight big banks and big business. Cool. She also wants to fight unions, the media and politicians. Another hypocritical part of the system. And who you think she’ll cave too – the fading unions or the charging businesses? She also wants to end Obamacare and kick out immigrants.

David Pasick: Wants America to devolve to laissez faire anarchy except without the anarchic charm (he’ll want to strengthen a police force to keep the poor folks in their place). Basically. Though I do like libertarian’s social philosophies. It’s a step from the hypocritical current GOP guard.

Martin Babinec: As his party’s name implies, he’s all about jobs. Close the borders. Encourage investment. Gut regulations, likely including environmental regs. Basically Libertarian but with one blessed pro-corporate message.

KIM MYERS – Women’s health and jobs. Fighting addiction. Strengthening rural communities. Protecting social nets. And helping ease student debts. So vote for Kim.

Congressional Battleground 21: New York’s 24th

Congressman John Katko had a pistol stolen from his truck. It was later used in a gambling dispute, and bullets from the pistol killed two people. Katko claimed he had it locked up; it was later discovered he had left it loaded in a bag in his truck. This could happen to anyone, even a Republican Congressional incumbent from central New York. Still, this is pretty damn careless; imagine if Obama had left a gun in his truck in Chicago and it was used to kill some folks?

Regardless, what has he done in his last 2 years as a lawmaker? Well he wrote a letter to his party-mates to try and keep them from shutting down the government so that’s cool. But of course he also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Of course one of his big campaign promises is to end Obamacare, quoting the party-line propaganda that it’s failing. And he pays lipservice to renewables but wants to continue pushing forward with fossil fuels and such. Of course he’s against business regulations. As one of the more active congressmen, it’s time to end his run before he can get started.

So what does democrat COLLEEN DEACON believe in? Programs that support family, providing insurance and maternity leave (you know, like the rest of the civilized world?). She wants to address climate change and champion the environment. And to make college more affordable. She’s the embodiment of everything Bernie was fighting for.

Congressional Battleground 22: Pennsylvania’s 8th

Republican incumbent Michael G. Fitzpatrick decided not to seek reelection. So his brother, Brian, is seeking the seat instead. What does Brian want? Of course to double down on our ineffective, murderous law enforcement (he’s former FBI). To fight the scourge political correctness and secure the border with a wall and surveillance and people — even though that already exists… Basically, he’s campaigning to be Trump’s mini-me.

There’s of course a libertarian running for the seat but they’re basically just Republicans who want to legalize weed and let gay people marry. But the real only choice is STEVE J. SANTARSIERO. He wants to reform our government, getting rid of things like Citizens United and GOP-district gerrymandering. He wants rights for all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or identity. He’s a fervent environmentalist. And who are his priority as to jobs, subsidies and other government support? The middle class.

Congressional Battleground 23: Texas’ 23rd

Oh Texas. The greatest thing to emerge from the Brexit were the whispers of the Texit (though maybe when they realized nobody would care they quieted down on that, like that boyfriend who says he’s going for good but doesn’t because he realized his girlfriend wasn’t really gonna miss him). And Republican incumbent Will Hurd wants to keep on the proud tradition of America’s most retrogressive state. Pro-life, anti-tax-increase. Thinks you can fix the economy by dropping taxes, not by upping government spending. Is against regulation of greenhouse gases and guns. And he wants to deport every immigrant to their country of origin before they get citizenship.

 PETE GALLEGO-D wants to take him down. Gallego is a Texan despite being a dem, though, so he opposes gay marriage and supported an abortion law that says young women need their parents’ permission. While he has support from the Sierra Club and wants to reform immigration with a path for citzenship, doesn’t want to repeal the ACA, and is against the dread voucher systems, he still wouldn’t be considered liberal anywhere but in the deep, dark, dirty south Texas. He’s a big supporter of DREAM and I guess for these reasons he’s better than Hurd. In the end, though, it’s south Texas. A very tough place to go full left.

Congressional Battleground 24: Wisconsin’s 8th

Republican incumbent Reid Ribble decided to retire this year. So Mike Gallagher -R is looking to take up the mantle. Step 1: Gut regulations and taxes. Step 2: Implement austerity. Step 3: Increase overseas miliitary presence. Step 3: Legalize guns to protect the 2nd Amendment (wait, what? guns are illegal?).

Let’s end this on a happy note, with a vote for TOM NELSON.

He will work with anyone, regardless of political party, who shares his dedication to community service, efficient government and a focus on job creation through education, infrastructure development and job training.”

He supports Obamacare and family values, and wants to raise taxes, especially on the rich. Finally, the DCCC is supporting him and in a state as liberal (yet hamstrung by atavistic conservatives) that’s a huge endorsement that will lead us 1/5th of the way to a progressive majority.

Why Fight This Good Fight?

So why fight for a democratic House majority? Do you care about reining in big business, trying to fight global warming and ensuring our beautiful natural resources are there for future generations, and protecting Americans not just from high oil prices and the phantom of terrorism but also from the real threats of disease, injury and illness in the way that only affordable efficient, (ideally single-payer/socialized) health care can? Do you want all Americans to have the right to contribute legally to the nation, not just the ones who arrived a few generations ago? Do you believe in equal rights for women, the poor and LGBT citizens? Then get out and vote local, especially if you’re in one of the previous 24 battlegrounds. And reach out to your friends all over the nation to ensure they stump, scream, call, do whatever they can to set up a Congress that will crush the smoking scourge of retrogressivism and at some point in the next generation allow us to put a real changemaker in the Bernie mold atop the most powerful seat in the free world.

It’s time to Bern down the House. This is where Bernies’ legacy can make the biggest change for today, tomorrow and the future of America.

And while you’re at it, wipe that smug smile off Paul Ryan’s entitled lily-white face by making him a minority. That’s a position he’s definitely not used to.



Ryan Ariano

Born and raised in Baltimore, Ryan has been kicking around the west since the first Clinton White House. Having worked all over SoCal in the surf industry, Hollywood, marketing, journalism and finance, he now hangs his hat just outside Jackson Hole where he can fulfill an addiction to ascending and descending mountains.

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