Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Part of the Job: How Engineers Deal With Death on the Railroad

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Railroads have seen a recent uptick in highway-rail crossing and

trespassing fatalities. But the memories of the gruesome events

don’t just haunt families and friends of victims, they stick with train

engineers and conductors as well—sometimes for a lifetime.

By Darren Orf
April 9, 2014 12:39 PM  

 

Kim Davids has been a freight conductor for 39 years. Within those four decades, he’s witnessed 16 grade-crossing accidents, and every year around Christmastime he remembers one in particular. On a winter day in Utah 38 years ago, a woman in a car stuck on the tracks was clamoring out of a window to escape the oncoming train, but she was too late. As the train clipped the vehicle, it flipped onto her.

“The problem is that they come back into my mind in vivid detail,” Davids says

Gruesome death and injury are part of the job, but engineers have a front-row seat. Some engineers and conductors are lucky—they may see only one or two accidents in their career. Others who are involved in multiple accidents are known as having “the curse,” though many in the industry consider it mere coincidence. And for some conductors, accidents are so violent and traumatic they can lead to extended leaves of absence, depression, stress disorders, and even leaving the industry.

A Troubling Trend

It’s not so much a matter of if an accident will happen, but when—and the problem is getting worse. Every three hours or so, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. In 2013, highway-rail incidents and trespassing fatalities increased compared to the past three years, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. “It’s a small percentage, but it’s an increase and it’s in the wrong direction,” says Joyce Rose, president of Operation Lifesaver, a 42-year-old national organization dedicated to informing the public about train safety. “We’ve seen a 14 percent increase in trespass fatalities just last year,” she adds.

One headline-grabbing incident happened last month when a Maryville, Calif., teenage couple, who were on their way to the local Sadie Hawkins dance, were caught off-guard by an approaching train. The boyfriend pushed his date out of the way and saved her life, but he was killed at the scene. This is just one of hundreds of deaths that occur on train tracks in the United States every year. And for the train engineer or conductor, the worst is just beginning.

This recent uptick in accidents is the reason behind Operation Lifesaver’s “See Tracks. Think Trains” campaign, which launched April 8. This four-word slogan will echo on televisions, billboards, radios, and by the thousands of presentations by Operation Lifesaver almost 1500 members. Of those volunteers, nearly half are retired railroad workers, Rose says.

About 80 percent of fatalities are male with the lion’s share falling within the 16-34 age group, It’s this group that the “See Tracks. Think Trains” campaign hopes to reach. Distraction is a huge concern. A proliferation of smartphones, headphones, GPS devices, are at least one cause of the inclining death toll, not to mention increased population and railway traffic.

However, Rose thinks there’s a more pervasive, underlying problem. “People don’t think that they’re doing anything wrong when they walk on the railroad tracks,” Rose says. “It’s a criminal act to trespass on railroad tracks, but that psychology is not there and it’s a difficult audience to reach in a methodical way…I’m sure people are not thinking when they try to race the train at a crossing at how selfish that is and the impact that it can cause on other people, especially the engineer of the train.”

The Other Half of the Equation

When a train hits someone or something on the tracks, Davids says, the first thing the crew does is record the time and call the train dispatcher to report an incident. Dispatch then alerts emergency responders while the train crew runs back to the point of collision to see if they can help. Davids took first aid classes for that very reason, even though there’s often nothing he can do. Then the long process of investigating the accident begins.

In the aftermath of a train accident, Davids says, news reports understandably focus on the civilian victims. But a major train accident such as a derailment can send trains careening into ditches or shrapnel ripping through a locomotive’s windshield. “About 90 percent of the time when a railroad incident is reported, they never mention if the train crew is ok,” Davids says. “The reporters are only thinking of half the equation.”

That could be said of the train companies, too. Up until the 1970s or the 80s, many companies expected railroad workers to clean up the mess after a collision and keep working, regardless of any nerves or psychological trauma.

“Initially when I was involved in a fatality, I couldn’t believe there was no assistance,” says John Tolman, vice president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, who started his railroading career in 1971. “Now, we’re moving in the right direction after many years of delay.” In 2008, Congress passed the Railway Safety Improvement Act. The law pushed for positive train control to curtail operator error, but also had a provision that required train companies to provide adequate time off and counseling services to anyone involved in a “critical incident.”

Now, Davids says, by law the train crew is relieved from duty after an accident, given time off, and offered counseling services or the option to speak with other railroad employees who’ve experienced similar accidents, known simply as peer support. Many times employees are absent for a few days, sometimes longer, and some never return at all.

How a Few Seconds Can Last Forever

Patrick Sherry, a professor of psychology at the University of Denver, has studied the mental health of railroad employees involved in critical incidents. Sherry stumbled upon the subject in 1988 when a man entered his office interested in psychology and explaining how railroad workers were experiencing “anniversary accidents.”

“Every April, several people in a certain workforce of engineers…would have an accident—whether back pain or something else—that would trigger getting time off,” Sherry says. He traveled down to the workplace to interview the engineers and listened to their stories: “I was talking to this one guy and he said ‘I once ran into a minivan, we were coming down the tracks and there was nothing I could do. I had the brakes on full emergency. I’m blowing the horn and blowing the horn, and I can see this minivan. We’re getting closer and closer. We got so close I could see the little kids’ faces against the windows of the cars. There’s nothing I could do. We plowed right into them.’”

Sherry explains that this particular engineer could never get the image out of his head. It was so bad in fact, that the engineer would do anything to not work that day. “I found that many of them have had similar experiences,” Sherry says. “Absenteeism is often associated the post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Sherry’s 54-page report, issued in 2011, uncovered some harrowing numbers. Nearly half (43.6 percent) of all rail transit operators are likely to be involved in an accident at some point, and of that unlucky population, 12.1 percent experienced PTSD. Train crews involved in incidents were also more likely to report physical health difficulties.

“Familiar stimuli can trigger those memories,” Sherry says. He then describes one engineer who frequently had to pass the trackside memorial of a victim killed in a train accident he was involved in. “It makes it harder for a person to overcome and/or suppress those memories if the person is continually re-exposed to the stimuli. The body is saying to go someplace else and forget this, but if your job is to travel over the same places again and again, it can be very painful.”

Respect the Tracks

Train accidents are over in a few seconds. But court cases and deposition hearings can linger for years, forcing engineers and conductors to relive their nightmares. Davids has participated in two such hearings, one in which a prosecutor tried to prove negligence, though the case was dismissed. Davids says the accusations aren’t even the hardest part.

“Details are brought out in a courthouse that we don’t know,” he says. “At one of the depositions, they start talking about the lady’s baby, and she was getting married a week after the incident happened.” Years later while giving a driver’s education presentation for Operation Lifesavers, Davids met that woman’s daughter. “I talked to her after the presentation and she said she didn’t remember her mom, and that she was raised by her grandparents,” Davids says. “Those are the things I don’t want to know.”

Davids joined Operation Lifesavers in 1984. He now serves as the state coordinator for Idaho, the state where the Operation Lifesavers started in 1972. In some ways, the new campaign is fighting the stubbornness of human nature. People are always focused on where they’re going, but not where they are, Davids says. People need to slow down, and they need to think, he says—“because anytime is train time.”

The missing story of the 2014 election

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Brothers:

This article, from the Houston Chronicle, appeared on the web at the link below if you want to share. It makes a lot of sense. Also, I want you to know that Texas is not a republican state, it’s a non-voting state. We are working to change that fact. In this election Greg Abbott was elected governor with 59% of the votes. But his vote total is only 19% of the 14 million voters in the state! Hardly a mandate.

We must stay the course and hang on for two years.

TDB

http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2014/11/the-missing-story-of-the-2014-election/

The missing story of the 2014 election

Posted on November 10, 2014 | By chrisladd

Few things are as dangerous to a long term strategy as a short-term victory. Republicans this week scored the kind of win that sets one up for spectacular, catastrophic failure and no one is talking about it.

What emerges from the numbers is the continuation of a trend that has been in place for almost two decades. Once again, Republicans are disappearing from the competitive landscape at the national level across the most heavily populated sections of the country while intensifying their hold on a declining electoral bloc of aging, white, rural voters. The 2014 election not only continued that doomed pattern, it doubled down on it. As a result, it became apparent from the numbers last week that no Republican candidate has a credible shot at the White House in 2016, and the chance of the GOP holding the Senate for longer than two years is precisely zero.

For Republicans looking for ways that the party can once again take the lead in building a nationally relevant governing agenda, the 2014 election is a prelude to a disaster. Understanding this trend begins with a stark graphic.

Behold the Blue Wall:

2016electionPresidentialmap

http://www.270towin.com/

The Blue Wall is block of states that no Republican Presidential candidate can realistically hope to win. Tuesday that block finally extended to New Hampshire, meaning that at the outset of any Presidential campaign, a minimally effective Democratic candidate can expect to win 257 electoral votes without even trying. That’s 257 out of the 270 needed to win.

Arguably Virginia now sits behind that wall as well. Democrats won the Senate seat there without campaigning in a year when hardly anyone but Republicans showed up to vote and the GOP enjoyed its largest wave in modern history. Virginia would take that tally to 270. Again, that’s 270 out of 270.

This means that the next Presidential election, and all subsequent ones until a future party realignment, will be decided in the Democratic primary. Only by sweeping all nine of the states that remain in contention AND also flipping one impossibly Democratic state can a Republican candidate win the White House. What are the odds that a Republican candidate capable of passing muster with 2016 GOP primary voters can accomplish that feat? You do the math.

By contrast, Republicans control a far more modest Red Fortress, which currently amounts to 149  electoral votes. What happened to that fortress amid the glory of the 2014 “victory?” It shrunk yet again. Not only are New Hampshire and probably Virginia now off the competitive map, Georgia is now clearly in play at the Federal level. This trend did not start in 2014 and it will not end here. This is a long-term realignment that been in motion for more than a decade and continues to accelerate.

The biggest Republican victory in decades did not move the map. The Republican party’s geographic and demographic isolation from the rest of American actually got worse.

A few other items of interest from the 2014 election results:

– Republican Senate candidates lost every single race behind the Blue Wall. Every one.

– Behind the Blue Wall there were some new Republican Governors, but their success was very specific and did not translate down the ballot. None of these candidates ran on social issues, Obama, or opposition the ACA. Rauner stands out as a particular bright spot in Illinois, but Democrats in Illinois retained their supermajority in the State Assembly, similar to other northern states, without losing a single seat.

– Republicans in 2014 were the most popular girl at a party no one attended. Voter turnout was awful.

– Democrats have consolidated their power behind the sections of the country that generate the overwhelming bulk of America’s wealth outside the energy industry. That’s only ironic if you buy into far-right propaganda, but it’s interesting none the less.

– Vote suppression is working remarkably well, but that won’t last. Eventually Democrats will help people get the documentation they need to meet the ridiculous and confusing new requirements. The whole “voter integrity” sham may have given Republicans a one or maybe two-election boost in low-turnout races. Meanwhile we kissed off minority votes for the foreseeable future.

– Across the country, every major Democratic ballot initiative was successful, including every minimum wage increase, even in the red states.

– Every personhood amendment failed.

– For only the second time in fifty years Nebraska is sending a Democrat to Congress. Former Republican, Brad Ashford, defeated one of the GOP’s most stubborn climate deniers to take the seat.

– Almost half of the Republican Congressional delegation now comes from the former Confederacy. Total coincidence, just pointing that out.

– In Congress, there are no more white Democrats from the South. The long flight of the Dixiecrats has concluded.

– Democrats in 2014 were up against a particularly tough climate because they had to defend 13 Senate seats in red or purple states. In 2016 Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats and at least 18 of them are likely to be competitive based on geography and demographics. Democrats will be defending precisely one seat that could possibly be competitive. One.

– And that “Republican wave?” In Congressional elections this year it amounted to a total of 52% of the vote. That’s it.

– Republican support grew deeper in 2014, not broader. For example, new Texas Governor Greg Abbott won a whopping victory in the Republic of Baptistan. That’s great, but that’s a race no one ever thought would be competitive and hardly anyone showed up to vote in. Texas not only had the lowest voter turnout in the country (less than 30%), a position it has consistently held across decades, but that electorate is more militantly out of step with every national trend then any other major Republican bloc. Texas now holds a tenth of the GOP majority in the House.

– Keep an eye on oil prices. Texas, which is at the core of GOP dysfunction, is a petro-state with an economy roughly as diverse and modern as Nigeria, Iran or Venezuela. It was been relatively untouched by the economic collapse because it is relatively dislocated from the US economy in general. Watch what happens if the decline in oil prices lasts more than a year.

– For all the talk about economic problems, for the past year the US economy has been running at ’90’s levels. Watch Republicans start touting a booming economy as the result of their 2014 “mandate.”

– McConnell’s conciliatory statements are encouraging, but he’s about to discover that he cannot persuade Republican Senators and Congressmen to cooperate on anything constructive. We’re about to get two years of intense, horrifying stupidity. If you thought Benghazi was a legitimate scandal that reveals Obama’s real plans for America then you’re an idiot, but these next two years will be a (briefly) happy period for you.

This is an age built for Republican solutions. The global economy is undergoing a massive, accelerating transformation that promises massive new wealth and staggering challenges. We need heads-up, intelligent adaptations to capitalize on those challenges. Republicans, with their traditional leadership on commercial issues should be at the leading edge of planning to capitalize on this emerging environment.

What are we getting from Republicans? Climate denial, theocracy, thinly veiled racism, paranoia, and Benghazi hearings. Lots and lots of hearings on Benghazi.

It is almost too late for Republicans to participate in shaping the next wave of our economic and political transformation. The opportunities we inherited coming out of the Reagan Era are blinking out of existence one by one while we chase so-called “issues” so stupid, so blindingly disconnected from our emerging needs that our grandchildren will look back on our performance in much the same way that we see the failures of the generation that fought desegregation.

Something, some force, some gathering of sane, rational, authentically concerned human beings generally at peace with reality must emerge in the next four to six years from the right, or our opportunity will be lost for a long generation. Needless to say, Greg Abbott and Jodi Ernst are not that force.

“Winning” this election did not help that force emerge. This was a dark week for Republicans, and for everyone who wants to see America remain the world’s most vibrant, most powerful nation.

 

 

Terry Briggs, Chairman

IBT – BLET

Texas State Legislative Board

DOT Revised Urine Specimen Collector Guidelines

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

header-DOT_700x90[1]

Official Q&As Published Today  

 

Today – July 3, 2014 – the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, with the Office of General Counsel, issued 49 CFR Part 40 Question and Answers (Q&A).   Like all ODAPC/OGC Q&As, these Q&As constitute official and authoritative guidance and interpretation concerning Part 40. The Q&As issued today are available at http://www.dot.gov/odapc/part40QandA.  The Q&As explain 1) When may a collector give an employee permission to leave a collection site, and 2) What happens if an employee leaves the collection site prior to the completion of the testing process.

 

 

Revised Urine Specimen Collector Guidelines Posted Today

 

The following are some of the changes to the revised Urine Specimen Collector Guidelines from the previous version [October 1, 2010]:

  • Updated web site addresses/hyperlinks, as needed,
  • Modified language throughout the document to clarify concepts and to identify when actions are required versus simply permitted by the regulation.  These edits are italicized throughout this document and the items italicized, underlined, and bolded from the 2010 revisions to this document were returned to normal text,
  • Removed effective dates in Section 4 that have passed,
  • Section 13 was re-organized,
  • Removed Section 14

The revised Guidelines are available at http://www.dot.gov/odapc/urine-specimen-collection-guidelines.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 2/4/14

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:

 

  • Fundraising: In case you haven’t seen it yet, Daily Kos Elections’ massive fourth quarter House fundraising chart is now available. We have listings for over 300 candidates in more than 120 different races, ranging from longshots to top-tier battles, with plenty of hotly contested primaries thrown in as well. You won’t find a more comprehensive—and more succinct—roundup anywhere else. 

    You should also check out our companion chart featuring challengers who have pulled off the difficult feat of outraising incumbents, and the even rarer group of those who have more cash in the bank than the office-holders they’re looking to unseat. Lots of data for election junkies to pore over at both links!

 

4Q Fundraising:

 

 

 

    • MT-Sen: John Walsh (D): $583,000 raised, $436,000 cash-on-hand; Dirk Adams (D): $103,000 raised, $69,000 cash-on-hand; John Bohlinger (D): $20,000 raised (incl. $10,000 in self-funding)

 

    • TX-Sen: John Cornyn (R-inc): $1.5 million raised, $6.5 million cash-on-hand

 

  • TX-Gov: Greg Abbott (R): $3.1 million raised (in January), $29.4 million cash-on-hand

 

Senate:

 

    • KY-Sen: Rasmussen: Alison Grimes (D): 42, Mitch McConnell (R-inc): 42; Grimes 36, Matt Bevin (R): 40.

 

    • NH-Sen, -Gov: UNH has some new numbers for New Hampshire’s races for Senate and governor this fall. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads all comers: 
      • 47-37 vs. ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown

       

      • 47-36 vs. ex-Sen. Bob Smith

       

      • 46-32 vs. ex-state Sen. Jim Rubens

       

      • 48-29 vs. conservative activist Karen Testerman

       

      Weirdly, UNH doesn’t seen any electability gap between Smith and Brown, which is very different from what most other polling has found. This is also the first time UNH has tested any of these candidates except for Rubens, who trailed by a winder 53-28 back in October. Other pollsters have also found slippage for Shaheen, though UNH is notorious for gyrating numbers. 

      UNH also finds Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan on top, leading Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas 45-34 and conservative activist Andrew Hemingway (her only declared opponent so far) 48-27.

 

  • OK-Sen-B: A new poll from Harper Polling of the still-developing GOP primary to replace Sen. Tom Coburn finds Rep. Jim Lankford crushing state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 54-18. It would be a very different story if ex-Rep. J.C. Watts entered the fray, though, as he’d narrowly lead Lankford 40-37, with Shannon at 8. Shannon, though, used to work for Watts, so there may be a relationship there that might dissuade Watts from making a bid. Watts has also been out of office for over a decade and retired voluntarily, so who knows how interested he is in getting back in the game.

 

Gubernatorial:

 

    • GA-Gov: This new report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution is just an absolutely brutal dissection of GOP Gov. Nathan Deal’s leadership—or rather, extreme lack thereof—before and during the recent ice storm that utterly crippled the Atlanta region, with devastating effects that included thousands of children stuck in schools overnight, and even some trapped on buses. Unfortunately, the piece now appears to be locked behind a paywall, but Better Georgia has a run-down of some of the key excerpts

      Perhaps most symbolic: As the storm began moving in, Deal was busy participating in a “Gone With the Wind”-themed event to promote tourism, and even “posed for a photo with Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler.” Later that same day, he attended a luncheon where Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was receiving an award for “Georgian of the Year.” It’s a safe bet that neither man will be in the running for that honor next year, but these little vignettes only tell a tiny part of the story. The full extent of the debacle, which included Deal failing to declare a state of emergency until five hours after snowfall began, is just extraordinary.

 

    • IL-Gov: Though they’ve surveyed the GOP primary countless times, conservative pollster We Ask America hasn’t actually polled the general election, until now. And their numbers are absolutely brutal for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who trails the entire Republican field: 
      • 39-48 vs. state Sen Bill Brady

       

      • 37-46 vs. state Sen. Kirk Dillard

       

      • 37-46 vs. state Treasurer Dan Rutherford

       

      • 39-47 vs. venture capitalist Bruce Rauner

       

      Quinn’s standing is not too different from where the only other recent poll found him; PPP placed Quinn between 39 and 41 percent in November, truly awful for an incumbent. The real difference is that WAA sees the various Republican contenders reaching for the top half of the 40s. Even if you think PPP’s numbers deserve greater respect, neither set is remotely good for Quinn. 

      One thing we want to note, though, is that WAA had a very Republican-leaning track record in 2012. We’ve put together a chart of all the final polls they released from October onward, and if you click through, you can see a clear pattern. WAA didn’t have a ton of awful misses (like, say, St. Pete Polls or McLaughlin & Associates), but 17 of their 22 end-of-cycle polls tilted in the GOP direction, several by double digits. This chart also leaves out a lot of weirdness, like the fact that WAA’s penultimate IL-08 poll (taken just a couple of weeks earlier in October) found Duckworth trailing Walsh by 3 points. 

      If you’re a very keen follower of We Ask America, this probably doesn’t surprise you, since they are, after all, the polling arm of the extremely right-wing Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. But the IMA goes to great lengths to mask their stewardship of WAA, so it’s important that all analysts are aware of this relationship. None of this is to say, though, that Quinn isn’t in a ton of trouble. He certainly is. But polling on this race has been very scarce, and you shouldn’t rely overmuch on the likes of We Ask America.

 

    • MI-Gov: During the Super Bowl, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled one of the strangest television ads I’ve seen this so far this cycle. The 60-second spot features Snyder surfacing from a pool wearing a mask, snorkel, and full wetsuit as a narrator intones: “Some call him a nerd. But Michigan now calls him the comeback kid.” There’s so much weird about this whole ad that I hardly know where to start. 

      First off, the pool imagery is just bizarre in its own right. What on earth is it supposed to mean? Secondly, the narrator has trouble enunciating his Rs, so “nerd” actually comes out sounding like something halfway between “ned” and “newd.” Thirdly, “comeback kid” makes no sense. Maybe Detroit is the “comeback city,” but the phrase “comeback” implies that you’re, you know, coming back from something. It does not mean you assisted in a comeback for someone or something else. So what the hell is Snyder “coming back” from? Bill Clinton earned the nickname because he finished a respectable second in the 1992 New Hampshire primary after polls showed him getting trounced. Is Snyder trying to say he’s rebounding from his own crappy polling numbers? 

      As a slow jazzy tune plays throughout the rest of the ad, the narrator keeps calling Snyder a nehd and rattles of a litany of supposed achievements, though at least from here on out, the camera pans across the Michigan landscape and not the pool at the YMCA. Until the very end, that is, when Snyder’s visage, half cast in shadow, glowers out of the gloom as the narrator informs us that he’s Batman. Well, maybe Aquaman, anyway. 

      Meanwhile, the DGA has a new ad of its own that takes direct aim at Snyder’s long-since worn out “one tough nerd” shtick. Here, the narrator says that a “it doesn’t take a much brainpower to see Rick Snyder’s economic policies are failing the middle class,” then criticizes Snyder for cutting school funding and raising taxes on seniors to give tax cuts to businesses.

 

    • NE-Gov: State Sen. Charlie Janssen is bailing on the Nebraska GOP primary for governor, and in a bit of candor rare for most politicians, he actually admitted it’s because he realized he had no hope. “The way the field was shaping up,” said Janssen, “I didn’t see a clear path to victory.” Gotta respect that. Janssen did say he might run for state auditor, a position that’s open because the current incumbent, Mike Foley, is one of the heavyweights who pushed Janssen toward the exits in the gubernatorial race.

 

  • OH-Gov: In an incredibly un-shocking move, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has announced that he won’t oppose Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald for the Democratic nomination for governor. Portune thought he could take advantage of FitzGerald’s stumble over his initial selection for a running-mate (since dropped from the ticket), but Portune never seemed serious about running, wasn’t able to garner any establishment support, and had no money. With the filing deadline on Wednesday, it looks like Fitz will now have a clear shot at Republican Gov. John Kasich.

 

House:

 

    • CA-33: Break out your Drudge sirens, kids, because Richard Simmons is not—I repeat, NOT—running for Congress! Actually, his response on Twitter to Roll Call‘s Abby Livingston (who cleverly thought to ask) was pretty funny: “i think not lol.” Meanwhile, the two actual Democrats running each announced endorsements from a member of Congress: Rep. Karen Bass for state Sen. Ted Lieu and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard for former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel.

 

    • FL-13: Say what

      “Republican David Jolly said he supports a minimum wage, but doesn’t think politicians should set it.”

       

      Sounds like someone needs a Schoolhouse Rock refresher! Either that, or Jolly believes in the magic of the invisible hand with the fervor of a four-year-old who still hasn’t learned that Santa [spoiler alert] isn’t actually real. The rest of Jolly’s explanation doesn’t make much more sense: 

      “Minimum wage should be indexed to inflation or subject to a cost-of-living adjustment like any other federal income program …” Jolly said in an email. “That means some years it may go up, other years it may stay static. Barack Obama is not an economist, neither is the Congress.”

       

      First off, indexing the minimum wage to inflation is exactly what Obama called for in his most recent State of the Union address. Second off, who exactly would establish this regime? You guessed it: politicians. Someone needs to tell this guy how government actually works. 

      Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Times takes a detailed look at David Jolly’s lobbying work on behalf of an obscure but wealthy businessman, James MacDougal, who founded a conservative advocacy group called Free Enterprise Nation. The entire piece is full of denials by Jolly that he actually lobbied for anything, including privatizing Social Security, increasing health care costs for veterans, expanding oil drilling off the coast of Florida, and opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act to fight income inequality between men and women—even though he listed these topics on his disclosure forms. You sort of wonder what MacDougal was paying Jolly for, since he apparently can’t remember doing much of anything. 

      What’s also amusing is that Jolly has been whining about Alex Sink not wanting to debate him—never the hallmark of a winning campaign—but he insists: “I’m not going to confront these questions about lobbying that much further.” Guess he doesn’t want to debate, either (though the two did in fact go head-to-head Monday night).

 

    • FL-19: Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled the dates for Florida’s second special election this year, to fill the seat of ex-Rep. Trey Radel. The all-important primary in this heavily red district will take place on April 22, while the general is set for June 24. To serve a full term, the winner would then have to run again in the state’s regularly scheduled Aug. 26 primary, followed by the November general election. 

      Meanwhile, state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who’d already been running ads to boost her name recognition, has finally made the obvious official: She’ll run for Radel’s seat. However, attorney Chauncey Goss has decided against a bid. Two other Republicans are already in the race, businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

 

  • IA-03: Attorney Brenna Findley, legal counsel to Gov. Terry Branstad, is saying no to a bid for Congress, even though the NRCC had prodded her toward a run. Plenty of Republicans are already in this open-seat race, but presumably establishment types aren’t thrilled with the field since they were hunting for an alternative.

 

Other Races:

 

  • New Orleans Mayor: On Saturday, the Big Easy went to the polls and easily re-elected incumbent Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu defeated former judge and fellow Democrat Michael Bagneris 64-33. In 2010’s open seat race, Landrieu won a very similar 66 percent. New Orleans has a long tradition of reelecting its mayors: The last incumbent to be tossed out of office was Robert Maestri in 1946. 

    Despite some early speculation that Republicans would open their wallets for Bagneris to try and wound the Landrieu family (Mitch’s sister Mary is, of course, running for reelection to the Senate in November), this does not appear to have happened. Instead, Bagneris received the backing of many of the city’s once-influential African American political organizations. These groups were very powerful during and in the decades after the Civil Rights Movement but have fallen on hard times recently. 

    Bagneris also had the endorsements of both the city Democratic and Republican parties. However, given Landrieu’s personal popularity and the general sense that the city is moving in the right direction, they were not nearly enough for Bagneris. (Jeff Singer)

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 2/3/14

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:

 

  • Party Committees: Both of the major Democratic congressional committees widely outraised their Republican counterparts in 2013, according to newly released year-end numbers. On the Senate side, the DSCC hauled in $52.6 million to finish the year with $12 million in the bank (and $3.75 million in debt), while the NRSC took in just $36.7 million and has $8 million on hand (albeit with no debt). 

    The DCCC also whomped the NRCC, which is perhaps a little more remarkable considering that Democrats are in the minority in the House. Nevertheless, Democrats raised $75.8 million for the year and have $29.3 million saved up. Republicans, meanwhile, raised only $60.6 million and have a much smaller $21 million war chest. (Neither committee is carrying any debt.) 

    Republicans did outpace Democrats by a big margin in terms of how their gubernatorial committees performed, though. The RGA raised $52.5 million compared with $28 million for the DGA. However, the RGA always raises more, largely because wealthy interests can give huge donations at the state level that they simply cannot to the federal committees. That’s why the DGA pre-emptively issued a press release arguing they’ve won eight of nine recent gubernatorial elections where both committees competed, despite getting outspent in seven of those.

 

4Q Fundraising:

 

      Be sure to visit

Daily Kos Elections

      for our giant fourth quarter House fundraising chart, which will go up on Monday morning.

 

    • AK-Sen: Mark Begich (D-inc): $850,000 raised, $2.8 million cash-on-hand

 

    • IA-Sen: Bruce Braley (D): $1 million raised, $2.6 million cash-on-hand; Sam Clovis (R): $71,000 raised, $24,000 cash-on-hand; Joni Ernst (R): $203,000 raised, $290,000 cash-on-hand ; Matt Whitaker (R): $331,000 raised, $232,000 cash-on-hand

 

    • KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell (R-inc): $2.2 million raised, $10.9 million cash-on-hand; Alison Grimes (D): $2.1 million raised, $3.5 million cash-on-hand

 

 

    • SC-Sen-A: Lindsey Graham (R-inc): $1.3 million raised, $7.6 million cash-on-hand

 

    • SD-Sen: Stace Nelson (R): $31,000 raised, $34,000 cash-on-hand (said Nelson: “Don’t need as much as those candidates that don’t have my conservative record”)

 

    • OH-Gov: John Kasich (R-inc): $4.5 million raised (in second half of 2013), $7.9 million cash-on-hand; Ed FitzGerald (D): $1.7 million raised (in last seven months), $1.4 million cash-on-hand

 

    • RI-Gov: Angel Taveras (D): $325,000 raised, $1 million cash-on-hand ; Gina Raimondo (D): $486,000 raised, $2.5 million cash-on-hand; Clay Pell (D): $1.1 million cash-on-hand (includes $1 million personal loan)

 

  • WI-Gov: Scott Walker (R-inc): $5 million raised (in second half of 2013), $4.6 million cash-on-hand

 

Senate:

 

 

  • NE-Sen: A group called Special Operations for America (which amusingly refers to itself as “SOFA”) is running an ad touting former state Treasurer Shane Osborne’s role as pilot of the Navy reconnaissance plane that made an emergency landing at a Chinese airbase after sustaining serious damage in a mid-air collision with a Chinese jet back in 2001 (known as the “Hainan Island incident“). There’s no word on the size of the buy, but in a bit of unwanted kismet, SOFA’s founder happens to be none other than Mr. Anti-Christ himself, Ryan Zinke. (See our MT-AL item below.)

 

Gubernatorial:

 

    • NH-Gov: As expected, conservative activist Andrew Hemingway has entered the race for governor, making him the first Republican to challenge freshman Gov. Maggie Hassan. Hemingway ran Newt Gingrich’s New Hampshire campaign back in 2012, when Newt finished in fifth place (out of the five remaining candidates) with just 9 percent of the vote.

 

  • PA-Gov: During his brief campaign for governor, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski had failed to gain any traction in the Democratic primary, so it’s no surprise that he’ll reportedly drop out soon and endorse state Treasurer Rob McCord. Pawloski’s campaign didn’t deny (or confirm) the decision, but it is promising an announcement Monday.

 

House:

 

    • CA-17: Hah, this is great. Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign dug up some video—from less than two years ago—of fellow Democrat Ro Khanna… praising him effusively to a group of community leaders? Well, of course! Everyone loves Mike Honda, except for the newly minted 2013 edition of Ro Khanna. But here’s what Khanna had to say in 2012: 

      My remarks’ll be very brief, but I do want to acknowledge our great congressional team that represents this area. We of course have Congressman Mike Honda. And I think what people—everyone says good things about Congressman Honda, and the one thing that I can add, having been in Washington, is Congressman Honda of course is a outstanding representative for our area. [Applause] But he is also the one person in the entire United States Congress, who, if there’s an issue concerning the Asian-American community, anywhere and—or if there’s an issue the administration wants to know about Asia, they go to Congressman Honda. So it’s a privilege to have him from this area.

       

      Amusingly, Khanna’s campaign called Honda’s release of this video a “silly attack.” I love the idea that pointing out that your opponent once had nothing but kind words for you is a some sort of “attack.”

 

    • CA-31: Ex-Rep. Joe Baca has once again posted joke fundraising totals: $20,000 raised in the fourth quarter, $21,000 cash-on-hand. The real fight to represents Democrats in November seems confined to just Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar and attorney Eloise Reyes.

 

    • CA-33: As expected, state Sen. Ted Lieu declared for retiring Rep. Henry Waxman’s House seat on Friday, making him the second Democrat to enter the race after former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel. Lieu concurrently rolled out a ton of endorsements as well, including from Los Angeles-area Reps. Alan Lowenthal and Maxine Waters, as well as state Controller John Chiang, who is from the district. 

      Meanwhile, former California first lady Maria Shriver, like her brother Bobby Shriver, is saying no, as is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. However, wealthy Republican-turned-independent businessman Bill Bloomfield, who gave Waxman the toughest race of his political career last cycle, says he’s “leaning toward” a second bid. 

      And in case you missed it, we put together the most comprehensive list of potential candidates in the previous Digest.

 

    • FL-13: Both party committees have released new ads in the Florida special. The NRCC accuses Democrat Alex Sink of spending “$400,000 of taxpayer money to jet around in a state-owned plane” and claims she used the plane “so she could get to a vacation in the Bahamas.” (She actually flew from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, then grabbed a commercial flight.) 

      The DCCC, meanwhile, castigates Republican David Jolly for “cashing out” after working as a Congressional aide “to sell his influence.” The only specific charge is that he lobbied “to keep tax loopholes benefitting Big Oil.” The ad features a stand-in for Jolly (neck-down, in a suit) making his rounds through D.C., at one point carrying a slightly silly-looking Redweld folder labeled “DAVID JOLLY LOBBYING CONTRACTS” in large type.

 

    • FL-19: Businessman Curt Clawson, one of several Republicans seeking the seat of disgraced ex-Rep. Trey Radel, made the stunty move of airing a campaign ad during the Super Bowl. (Locally, of course. Unless you live in Fort Myers, you didn’t see it on Sunday.) Mixing the day’s sports metaphors a bit, Clawson says he’s “challenging President Obama to a three-point contest” because Obama’s “been missing a lot of shots lately—not just in basketball.” It’s content-free but not unpleasant, and at least it’s a damn sight better than the last Republican ad released during the Super Bowl. (That’d be Pete Hoekstra‘s.)

 

    • MT-AL: Former state Sen. Ryan Zinke, who’s seeking the GOP nomination for Montana’s open House seat, called Hillary Clinton “the anti-Christ” and “the real enemy” at a recent campaign stop. And Zinke is supposedly one of the more “moderate” Republicans running.

 

    • NY-04: Even though Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has strong name recognition, support from the DCCC, and the endorsement of retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, she may not have the Democratic primary to herself. Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams has filed with the FEC so that he can start raising money to explore a bid. Abrahams’ announcement actually came shortly before Rice’s entry, so he may now be having second thoughts—or he may just want to get his name out there a bit in anticipation of some future bid for higher office. Abrahams would be the first African American to represent Long Island in Congress, but the district is only 14 percent black, and given all of Rice’s advantages, it’s hard to see him wresting the nomination from her.

 

  • NY-18: Fourth quarter reports were finally due in at the FEC on Friday, so visit Daily Kos Elections for our traditional giant wrap-up of House fundraising numbers. Some reports, though, are still worth special scrutiny. In particular, ex-Rep. Nan Hayworth’s haul of just $37,000 is remarkably pathetic, and it calls to mind a tidbit Emily Cahn offered in December: “[P]rivately, GOP operatives also complain that Hayworth didn’t have the kind of professional organization to run a successful bid in 2012. They add that she hasn’t yet learned from that mistake this time around.” Hayworth does have some ability to self-fund (she gave her first campaign over half a million in 2010), but this is a very weak way to wage a comeback bid.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 1/31/14

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:

 

  • CA-33: Another veteran California Democrat is saying goodbye after a 40-year career in Congress. Los Angeles-area Rep. Henry Waxman, who put together a storied legislative track record during his long tenure, announced on Thursday that he won’t seek re-election this fall. Along with the Bay Area’s George Miller, who is also retiring, Waxman was one of just two remaining “Watergate babies” who served continuously since storming into office in 1974, in a backlash against the Republican Party following Richard Nixon’s resignation. The Washington Post sums up several of his most notable accomplishments: 

    Among that legislation were laws to make infant formula safer and more nutritious (1980), bring low-priced generic drugs to market (1984), clean the air (1990), provide services and medical care to people with AIDS (1996), and reform and modernize the Postal Service (2006). He was also instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

     

    Waxman was also one of the chief architects of the cap-and-trade legislation to fight climate change that Republicans killed off a few years ago (even though the idea originated with their party). Now, though, Waxman simply says, “This is a good time to move on and have another chapter if I am to do anything after Congress.” He also added that he’s “not leaving because I think House Democrats have no chance to retake the House.” 

    Waxman’s 33rd District, which went for Barack Obama by a 61-37 margin, is safely Democratic. Waxman did suffer a scare last cycle, winning by just 8 points—the closest election of his career by far—against self-funding Republican-turned-independent businessman Bill Bloomfield. That may have been partly caused by rust, but it was also very likely due to redistricting, which left Waxman with a much less liberal district that was half-new to him. 

    Indeed, Bloomfield may well run again. A couple of weeks ago, he said he was still making up his mind but noted that last cycle, he didn’t decide until March, so he feels he has plenty of time. He’s also still sending out mailers and maintaining an active email list, so Bloomfield seems very much like a candidate-in-waiting. 

    There’s another independent in the mix, author and spiritualist Marianne Williamson, who’d been running to Waxman’s left (if such a thing is even possible) before he announced his retirement. But apart from Bloomfield, potential successors are going to hail from the deep pool of Democrats who have been waiting a long time for this seat to open up. 

    One candidate has already declared: former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel, who lost a bruising race for mayor last year during which Bill Clinton campaigned for her. Greuel is also a former DreamWorks executive and therefore has Hollywood connections. But she almost certainly won’t have the field to herself. Some other possibilities (in alphabetical order): 

     

     

     

     

    • State Sen. Fran Pavley (will “think about it” but sounds reluctant)

     

     

    Others getting Great Mentioner treatment: term-limited Secretary of State Debra Bowen; L.A. City Council Members Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield; former state Assemblywoman Betsy Butler; radio host Matt Miller; and even former Rep. Howard Berman, who lost a bitter redistricting-induced battle against fellow Rep. Brad Sherman last cycle. 

    Former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver are saying no; both are sticking with their plans to run for the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors. And Rep. Julia Brownley is staying put. Brownley represents the neighboring (and much swingier) 26th District, but her old Assembly district overlapped more with the 33rd, so a switch was conceivable. 

    The real question for Democrats is whether they can put forward a candidate who can run strongly enough in the southern part of the district, which is more heavily Republican. You can see that illustrated well on this interactive map of the 2012 presidential election, in the red blister at the bottom that covers the region known as the South Bay. What’s more, this area is not part of the city of Los Angeles, so a candidate known primarily there (such as Greuel) would have to work hard to make herself known district-wide. If not, Bloomfield could very well pull off a win this time.

 

Senate:

 

    • LA-Sen: Rasmussen: Mary Landrieu (D-inc): 40, Bill Cassidy (R): 44; Landrieu: 42, Paul Hollis (R): 42.

 

    • MS-Sen: A new pro-Thad Cochran super PAC called Mississippi Conservatives is airing a new ad attacking state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Cochran in the GOP primary. The spot lambastes McDaniel as a flip-flopping chameleon who at various times either favored or opposed tort reform, government debt, and the Common Core education standards. There’s no word on the size of the buy.

 

    • NC-Sen: He’s not quite last in, first out—physician Edward Kryn joined the race more recently—but less than three months after entering the GOP primary for Senate, radio host Bill Flynn is signing off.

 

    • NH-Sen: The ostensibly bipartisan communications firm Purple Strategies has released a new poll of New Hampshire, and they find Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen tied with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown at 44. That’s the best result for Brown in all public polling to date, and the first that doesn’t feature Shaheen leading. Purple Strategies doesn’t have much of a track record, though, and almost all of their previous research has been on the presidential level. 

      It appears they only published four polls from October onward in 2012, and all leaned in the Republican direction. Their final Virginia poll had the race tied (Obama won by 4); Colorado had Obama up 1 (he won by 5); and Ohio had Obama ahead 2 (he won by 3). Their final national poll had Obama beating Romney by just 1 point, when of course he prevailed by 4. So nothing too egregious, I suppose, and the sample is small, but the misses were all in one direction.

 

    • OK-Sen-B, -Gov: Conservative former state Sen. Randy Brogdon announced last month that he’d challenge Gov. Mary Fallin in the GOP primary, but now he says he’s considering a switch to this fall’s special election for the Senate. Brogdon previously ran against Fallin in 2010 when the governor’s race was open, losing the Republican nomination 55-39.

 

  • VA-Sen: Dear Republican voters who are disgusted with your party and want to make a big show of acting like you won’t support it anymore by telling pollsters you’re going to vote third-party but are actually full for it and will of course come home in the end and pull the GOP lever like always: good news! Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who pulled 6.5 percent in last year’s race for governor after polling in the double digits, says he’ll run for Senate this fall. So watch out, analysts, because Sarvis may once again queer the results of public polls, or to put things another way: Republicans in mirror may be closer than they appear.

 

Gubernatorial:

 

    • CA-Gov: A new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California (aka PPIC) finds Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown manhandling Assemblyman Tim Donnelly 53-17.

 

    • FL-Gov: Quinnipiac has much more positive numbers for Democrat Charlie Crist than PPP recently did, finding the former governor up 46-38 over Rick Scott, the man who succeeded him. Unlike PPP, who found Crist’s margin dropping from 12 points to just 2, Quinnipiac sees no erosion for Crist, who held a 47-40 lead in November. So who’s right? PPP’s crosstabs were kinda wonky, but there isn’t much other data out there to compare against. The only other recent survey, from Democratic pollster Hamilton Strategies, had Crist up 5, which splits the difference.

 

    • MA-Gov: Purple Strategies also has a poll of the open Massachusetts gubernatorial race. They find Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley beating 2010 GOP nominee Charlie Baker 46-36, though Baker edges state Treasurer Steve Grossman 35-34. Barack Obama’s favorability rating is just 49-42.

 

    • NE-Gov: Seriously? State Attorney General Jon Bruning gave up on the idea of a gubernatorial bid last month, but now—with the filing deadline just over two weeks away—he says he’s reconsidering. Bruning already has two failed bids for Senate under his belt, but the Republican field isn’t especially impressive, considering that the nominal frontrunner is Pete Ricketts, another failed Senate candidate. So who knows? Maybe Bruning would have a decent shot.

 

  • PA-Gov: Businessman Tom Wolf is the second Democrat to go on the air in the Pennsylvania governor’s race, but unlike Katie McGinty, he’s actually putting real money behind his spot: $370,000 according to PoliticsPA, for a weeklong statewide buy. The ad itself is a minute long and actually pretty appealing. Wolf and his family members talk about his background, including the cabinetry company he built to make his fortune (and where he shares profits with his employees), as well as his service to the state as revenue director. It’s hard to make biographical spots feel compelling and authentic, but this one does a decent job.

 

House:

 

    • CA-11: Well, it’s pretty much all over. Not only has just about every major Democrat deferred to state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, but now the very man DeSaulnier’s hoping to succeed, retiring Rep. George Miller, has endorsed him as well.

 

    • FL-13: A trio of Republican groups are reportedly set to pour $1.2 million into the special election in Florida’s 13th on behalf of lobbyist David Jolly. According to Politico, American Crossroads and the American Action Network are each spending $500,000, while the YG Network is contributing $200,000 to the cause, for television ads and mailers. The same pieces notes, though, that Democrats have already reserved $3 million in TV time while Republicans had only reserved $900,000, but that’s presumably not counting this newest infusion of money. 

      Jolly’s also running a second general election ad in which he basically just goes tit-for-tat with his imagined version of Alex Sink: He wants to “balance the budget,” she wants “government to spend more”; he wants lower taxes, she wants higher taxes; she supports Obamacare, he doesn’t. You get the idea.

 

    • NJ-02: Even though state Sen. Jeff Van Drew just said he wouldn’t run for Congress, it looks like attorney Bill Hughes will have company in the Democratic primary anyway. Former White House aide and Obama campaign staffer Dave Cole says he’s entering the race to take on GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo. However, Cole is only 28 years old, and the Philadelphia Inquirer says he “recently played a key role in developing healthcare.gov,” which, fairly or not, is pretty much the worst possible item to sport on your résumé this year aside from West Virginia water quality inspector and Justin Bieber life coach.

 

    • NY-04: The DCCC got their huckleberry: Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, by far the strongest candidate on either side, announced on Wednesday that she’d seek the seat held by retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. There’s a good chance Rice’s entry will deter prominent Republicans from giving the race a go, and she’s also likely to have the Democratic field to herself as well, seeing as McCarthy has already endorsed her.

 

  • VA-08: State Sen. Adam Ebbin is the latest Democrat to enter the phenomenally crowded race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s seat, while Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille has confirmed earlier reports that he, too, is running, and so has former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer. They join Dels. Mark Sickles, Charniele Herring, and Patrick Hope, and 2012 candidate Bruce Shuttleworth—and there are still more candidates considering!

 

Other Races:

 

    • IN Ballot: If you’ve been following the saga of the proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage in Indiana, things have gotten pretty crazy, and the measure’s in something like a state of quantum superposition right now. Here’s the story: The state House finally passed the amendment (following some legislative shenanigans at the committee level), but only after language that would have also banned civil unions was stripped out. Now the bill goes before the state Senate, but Republicans have a serious problem to contend with, because the only way an amendment can get on the ballot is if it’s passed by two consecutive legislatures. 

      So if the Senate follows suit and also removes the anti-civil unions provision, then suddenly we’re dealing with a brand new amendment. The clock would therefore reset, meaning that the next legislature (the one that will convene in 2015) would also have to vote in favor of the amendment—and it wouldn’t go before voters until Nov. 2016. That’s a dicey proposition, given that attitudes keep shifting toward greater acceptance of marriage equality. 

      On the other hand, if the Senate insists on keeping the civil unions ban (and can actually pass it), then the amendment will ultimately have to get voted on by the House a second time. That’s also a dicey proposition, since members of the lower chamber clearly didn’t want to vote on legislation that included such expansive restrictions. So if the Senate sticks to a hard line, it’s not impossible that the measure could die in the House. 

      But if the maximal version does somehow pass both bodies and make it on to the ballot this year, then Republicans will have to sell an extremely conservative law to the public. And thanks to this whole pathetic affair, the amendment’s unpopular anti-civil unions component will receive even greater scrutiny going forward. Given that polling already shows a very uncertain future for the amendment, the Indiana GOP is in an unenviable position. Every option they face sucks for them—and that’s good news.

 

  • KY State House: One legislative chamber that’s certain to be hotly contested this fall is the Kentucky state House, one of the only bodies in the South still held by Democrats. The party’s majority is quite narrow—just 54 seats to 46 for the GOP—and of course the Bluegrass State has trended consistently redder for quite some time. However, only 45 seats will actually be contested by both parties, and Republicans failed to field candidates against several Democratic incumbents who sit in difficult districts. It will still be a very difficult hold for Team Blue, but the landscape at least looks somewhat less tough than it could have been.

Teamsters take action to oppose Fast Track legislation

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

BLET National

Teamsters take action to oppose Fast Track legislation

CLEVELAND, January 30 — On January 31, Teamsters across the country are taking action to oppose Fast Track by calling and emailing their Representatives and Senators. We need to make sure Congress doesn’t pass Fast Track, which would make it easier for job-killing trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to become law.
On January 31, the Teamsters will join the Stop Fast Track Coalition in an Inter-Continental Day of Action across the United States and Canada. Members of the Teamsters Rail Conference, including BLET General Committees of Adjustment, State Legislative Boards, and Divisions, as well the BLET Auxiliary and retirees, are encouraged to participate in events which can be found here.
Fast-track legislation would require that Congress only take a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and would not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and leaves it for others to decide what’s best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for those in this country.
The battle to stop Fast Track legislation is ongoing, and BLET and Rail Conference members can join along side Teamster Local Unions and Joint Councils in standing up against Fast Track in the following ways:
1. Contact your area members of Congress and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track (H.R. 3830). Talking points are available here.
2. Encourage your members to use the Teamster Fast Track Hotline (1-888-979-9806) to call their member of Congress and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track (H.R. 3830). Flyers that can be distributed at worksites are available here.
3. Ask Teamster members to visit the Teamsters “Fast Track is the Wrong Track” website and sign our petition against Fast Track here. They can also send an email to their member of Congress on this site and sign up for text message updates.
You can share your Day of Action efforts with the BLET National Division’s Facebook page by emailing: Bentley@ble-t.org.
Thank you for your efforts to stop Fast Track. If you have any additional questions, please contact the IBT’s Department of Field and Political Action at (202) 624-6993. For more info, please visit the IBT’s Fast Track website.

Thursday, January 30, 2014 bentley@ble-t.org

http://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/newsflash.asp?id=5523

© 1997-2014 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen http://www.ble-t.org

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 1/30/14

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:

 

  • GA-Sen: PPP’s new Georgia poll for Americans United for Change once again finds Democrat Michelle Nunn with small leads over her top GOP rivals, similar to where things stood last August. Here’s how Nunn stacks up, with trendlines in parentheses: 
    • 45-41 vs. Rep. Phil Gingrey (41-41)

     

    • 44-40 vs. ex-SoS Karen Handel (40-38)

     

    • 44-42 vs. Rep. Jack Kingston (40-38)

     

    • 42-41 vs. Rep. Paul Broun (41-36)

     

    Unfortunately, AUFC’s release doesn’t include favorability scores for any of these candidates, but the fact that Nunn has held up over the last six months is a strong sign for her. This may be due to the fact that the Republican candidates have been busy beating one another up and haven’t really been able to focus on Nunn, with a primary and probable runoff looming. This is why it can be good to have the field all to yourself.

 

4Q Fundraising:

 

 

 

 

Senate:

 

    • KY-Sen: Americans United for Change also commissioned a Kentucky poll from PPP, and the numbers there are basically the same as we’ve seen all along. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a 45-44 edge for Democrat Alison Grimes; last month, he was up 43-42, and PPP’s three prior polls all had the race between 0 and 2 points, so I’m not sure what the purpose is in repeatedly polling here. McConnell’s job approvals have recovered a bit, though: He’s still at an awful 37-51, but that’s better than December’s 31-61 mark.

 

  • OK-Sen-B: As expected, state House Speaker T.W. Shannon officially entered the special election for Tom Coburn’s Senate seat on Wednesday, setting up a GOP primary battle with Rep. James Lankford. Rep. Jim Bridenstine also confirmed on the record that he would not run. There are still a couple of notable names considering the race, though, including Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and ex-Rep. J.C. Watts.

 

Gubernatorial:

 

    • GA-Gov: The full story of Atlanta’s snowstorm has yet to be written, but given the nightmarish conditions it’s still imposing on the region, there could very well be political casualties, too. Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed are already the subject of lacerating criticism over their inadequate preparations for and responses to the storm, and it’s going to get worse for them before it gets better. 

      Of course, it’s far too early to start predicting that this debacle have the same impact that the notorious blizzard of Feb. 1969 had on New York City Mayor John Lindsey’s re-election bid that year. But Deal faces a legitimate challenge from Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter this fall, and Reed has statewide ambitions someday, so it’s worth keeping an eye on how this affects their futures.

 

  • PA-Gov: Republican pollster Gravis Marketing has some bad numbers for GOP Gov. Tom Corbett. He loses 48-36 to Rob McCord, 44-35 to Allyson Schwartz, and 41-34 to Tom Wolf.

 

House:

 

    • FL-13: The Republican Party of Florida is absolutely flooding the 13th District with mailers attacking Democrat Alex Sink, to the tune of almost $214,000. With an expenditure this large, there may be multiple different pieces of literature involved, but this hit (on Sink’s alleged misuse of state aircraft) is probably part of this blast. EMILY’s List, meanwhile, is shelling out a much more modest $15,000 on mail going after Republican David Jolly. 

      Meanwhile, the NRCC also filed a report for its latest independent expenditure, another $218,000 for TV ads. That brings their total advertising outlay to about $422,000 so far, compared to $247,000 for the DCCC.

 

    • FL-19: I guess retirement suits him: Republican ex-Rep. Connie Mack, who had been contemplating a comeback ever since (now former) Rep. Trey Radel plead guilty to cocaine possession charges last year, has decided against seeking his old seat.

 

    • MN-07: Rep. Collin Peterson, who holds down a red district that Democrats would be hard-pressed to keep if he retires, now says he will “probably” decide whether to seek another term “by the first of March.” That’s very similar to what Peterson did last cycle, when he also didn’t announce his plans until early March of 2012.

 

    • NJ-03: Evesham Mayor Randy Brown has decided not to seek the GOP nomination for New Jersey’s open 3rd Congressional District, specifically citing his disgust with the amount of money he’d have needed to raise ($45,000 a week, in his estimation). He also took a shot at Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, a fellow Republican who lost last year’s special Senate election to Cory Booker and is traipsing clear across the state to run in the 3rd. Brown called Lonegan a “carpetbagger” who “doesn’t know the district” and said his candidacy is “craziness.

 

    • NY-11: By now, you’ve surely seen this video of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm threatening a reporter with physical violence shortly after Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. The transcript: 

      “So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances,” Scotto said before tossing back to the station. But as the camera continued to roll, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and began speaking to him in a low voice. 

      “What?” Scotto responded. “I just wanted to ask you…” 

      Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” 

      Scotto: “Why? I just wanted to ask you…” 

       

      Grimm: “If you ever do that to me again…” 

      Scotto: “Why? Why? It’s a valid question.” 

       

      Grimm: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

       

      Grimm released a statement afterwards: 

      “I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

       

      On Wednesday morning, Grimm had apparently changed his stance, as the reporter he threatened, New York 1’s Michael Scotto, sent out this tweet

      @repmichaelgrimm called to apologize. He said he “overreacted.” I accepted his apology. — @mikescotto

 

    • OH-14: Hrm. State Rep. Matt Lynch has reportedly “pulled paperwork” with an eye toward challenging freshman Rep. David Joyce in the GOP primary. Joyce, you’ll recall, was hand-picked by local Republican leaders in 2012 after Rep. Steve LaTourette decided not to seek re-election months after the primary, meaning other ambitious Republicans in the area haven’t had a chance to vie for this seat. If Lynch does indeed take the plunge, that could be good news for Democrat Michael Wager, who wouldn’t be unhappy to see his opponent’s coffers drained.

 

    • PA-06, -08, NJ-03: Even though he has no political experience and was a Republican until last month, the Democratic establishment has now fully coalesced around businessman Mike Parrish’s bid for retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach’s seat in Pennsylvania’s 6th District. Nancy Pelosi is coming to Philadelphia next week to raise money for Parrish, along with Army vet Kevin Strouse, who is running in the 8th, and Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, who is seeking New Jersey’s open 3rd District, just across the Delaware River. Previously, the DCCC confirmed on the record that they weren’t talking to any candidates other than Parrish, and pretty much everyone else considering a bid has said no at this point.

 

    • PA-13: State Sen. Daylin Leach, one of four candidates in the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz, just received the endorsement of the guy who preceded Schwartz, ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel. However, the district lines changed considerably (the new 13th contains only around 57 percent of the old 13th), and Hoeffel hasn’t served in Congress for a decade. However, he did later spend a few years on the Montgomery County Commission, so he should still have some name recognition.

 

  • VA-08: Lavern Chatman, a former CEO of Northern Virginia’s Urban League, says she’s considering a run in the Democratic primary for Virginia’s 8th and will decide this week.

 

Other Races:

 

  • Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso has Tuesday’s recap: 

    Pennsylvania HD-78: Unsurprisingly, Republicans held this seat easily, with Jesse Topper defeating Barbara Barron by an 82-18 landslide. 

    Texas HD-50: Democrats held onto this seat; Celia Israel defeated Republican Mike VanDeWalle by a 59-41 margin.

     

    A third special election in Alabama was delayed a week due to bad weather.

 

Grab Bag:

 

    • Kentucky: Filing closed Tuesday in Kentucky for the May 20 primary. There were no surprises in the Senate race: Incumbent Mitch McConnell will duke it out in the GOP primary with businessman Matt Bevin, and the winner will face Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. A few Some Dudes from each party are also in the mix. 

      All six of the state’s congressmen are running for re-election and should have little trouble winning. Somewhat surprisingly, Paulist GOP Rep. Tom Massie is getting off without a primary challenge. Daily Kos Elections rates every seat as Safe for the party that holds them. The GOP controls the entire delegation except Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth’s KY-03. 

      Two big cities will also hold mayoral elections this year. In Louisville, despite winning only narrowly in 2010, Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer faces just token opposition from Republican candidate Bob DeVore. In Lexington, Democratic Mayor Jim Gray is favored but attracted a credible last-minute challenge from former police chief Anthany Beatty. (Jeff Singer)

 

  • President-by-LD: Today we make a stop over in the state of Delaware, where the beaches are nice and the Bidens are plenty. We have results broken down by district for both the House and Senate for every statewide race Delaware held in 2012: president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, lieutenant governor, and insurance commissioner. 

    For decades, Republicans held a majority in the state House of Representatives, only losing power in 2008. It doesn’t look like they’ll be rebounding anytime soon, though. Obama carried 28 of the House’s 41 districts, and Democrats hold a similar 27 to 14 majority in the chamber. 

    If Republicans ever want a shot at regaining power they’re going to need a lot more voters to split their tickets: Only two Republicans come from Obama districts, while one Democrat represents a Romney seat. The median district went for Obama 60-38, about three points to the left of the entire state. The map linked here visualizes each seat: Darker colors represent members sitting in districts won by their party’s presidential nominee, while lighter colors show members sitting in districts won by the opposite party in the presidential election. 

    The Democratic Senate majority dates back decades and it’s not going anywhere, either. Obama carried 14 of the 21 districts, and Democrats hold a 13 to eight edge. Once again, two Republicans sit in Obama districts while one Democrat holds a Romney seat. The median seat went for Obama 57-41, about two points to the right of the state. Of course, Delaware Democrats don’t need a particularly aggressive gerrymander to stay in power. Stephen Wolf’s Senate map visualizes this as well. 

    All five of Delaware’s local statewide Democrats ran ahead of Obama, but only Sen. Tom Carper and Gov. Jack Markell were able to win every single one of the state’s 62 legislative districts. Carper’s Some Dude Republican opponent came within six votes of flipping HD-38, a heartbreakingly close loss that probably has never kept him up at night. (Jeff Singer)

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 1/29/14

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:

 

  • President-by-LD: We’re in an Empire State of Mind today. Since Grand Moff Tarkin isn’t available, we’ll be doing the next best thing and taking a look at the New York state legislature. We’ve calculated the 2012 presidential and U.S. Senate results for both the state Senate and state Assembly, and you can find even more detailed calculations here

    Democrats have held the Assembly for decades and aren’t in danger of losing it anytime soon. The party has a 100 to 40 majority in the chamber, with one independent and nine vacancies. Barack Obama carried 114 of the 150 seats: 10 Republicans and independent Fred Thiele come from Obama districts, while four Democrats were elected districts Mitt Romney won. Interestingly, Romney’s best district, Brooklyn’s AD-48 (where he won 76-24), is represented by a Democrat. However, Assemblyman Dov Hikind is extremely conservative and tends to make the news for all the wrong reasons. The median of the chamber is 62-37 Obama, about three points to the right of the state. 

    The Senate is far more complicated. On paper, Democrats have a 32 to 29 edge, with one vacancy for each party. However, in practice, Republicans run the show here, as they have for generations aside from a brief period between 2009 and 2010. Four rogue Democrats formed the Independent Democratic Conference and are partnering with the Republican minority. A fifth Democratic senator, Simcha Felder, outright caucuses with the GOP, while two other Democrats who’ve been indicted on corruption charges (it’s New York, after all) currently are not welcome in any conference. 

    Obama carried 55 of the 63 Senate seats, but Republicans knew what they were doing when they drew this map. The median district is 56-43 Obama, an enormous 16 points to the right of the state as a whole. The Republicans have also benefited from ticket-splitting. Twenty-one Republicans come from districts Obama carried, with Joseph Robach of SD-56 sitting in the bluest, at 60-38 Obama. By contrast, Felder is the only (nominal) Democrat to represent any of the eight Romney districts, with his SD-17 going for Mitt 58-41, the second-reddest in the whole state. 

    Of the IDC members, all four come from Obama districts. Only David Carlucci represents a competitive district, with Obama winning SD-38 54-45. The remaining three come from districts that went for Obama by at least 62 percent. Indeed, at 74 percent Obama, IDC leader Jeff Klein might be particularly vulnerable to a challenge from a mainstream Democrat. Neither of the two conference-less Democrats are in any danger of seeing their seats go red, either. Obama won John Sampson’s district 89-11, and Malcolm Smith’s 93-7. 

    Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was also on the ballot in 2012, winning 72-26 statewide. Gillibrand carried every single one of New York’s 240 congressional, senate, and assembly districts, a very impressive feat even in a heavily Democratic state. 

    P.S. We also have maps displaying this data for both the Senate and the Assembly. (Jeff Singer)

 

4Q Fundraising:

 

    • OH-Sen: Rob Portman (R-inc): $1.3 million raised, $4.4 million cash-on-hand (note: Portman is not up for re-election until 2016)

 

    • MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D-inc): $1.1 million raised (in 2013), $800,000 cash-on-hand (Republican challengers at the link)

 

    • NE-Gov: Pete Ricketts (R): $1.4 million raised (in last four months of 2013, with no self-funding), $931,000 cash-on-hand; Chuck Hassebrook (D): $525,000 raised

 

    • HI-01: Stanley Chang (D): $126,000 raised, $325,000 cash-on-hand

 

  • PA-09: Bill Shuster (R-inc): $550,000 raised (no word on how much was spent on love and touches)

 

Senate:

 

    • IA-Sen: The pro-Democrat Senate Majority PAC is running its first TV ads in Iowa this cycle, with a spot defending Rep. Bruce Braley against the Koch brothers’ Obamacare assault. The ad is on to something when the narrator says Braley “knows we can’t go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and kick people off their coverage when they get sick.” If you want to fight back against bogus attacks, this is where to focus your fire, because even Republicans say they support these provisions. 

      But overall, the spot lacks punch. The messaging needs to be a lot tighter and more emotionally compelling. Instead, it drifts to a bland statement about “job creation in Iowa” at the end. I’d redo this by featuring a sympathetic figure aided by the Affordable Care Act thanking Bruce Braley for making sure she has insurance and warning that Republicans want to take it all away—from her, and everyone else. The buy is for a reported $225,000, which Jennifer Jacobs notes is less than half what the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity has spent so far on the race.

 

  • OK-Sen-B: GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who would have been the favorite of the Club for Growth and their ilk had he run, has reportedly been telling supporters that he won’t seek Sen. Tom Coburn’s Senate seat in this fall’s special election. Bridenstine hasn’t publicly said anything on the record yet, though.

 

Gubernatorial:

 

    • MD-Gov: Jesus, him too? Just a few days after Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger finally said no to an eleventh hour bid for governor, another Democratic congressman is cagily suggesting he might join the race. This time it’s freshman Rep. John Delaney, who says that it’s his “expectation” that he’ll “continue to serve in Congress,” which means he’s not ruling out a gubernatorial run. 

      Delaney doesn’t have a lot going for him other than his personal wealth and perhaps geography, as his 6th District stretches into Maryland’s far western reaches. But as a first-term representative, his name recognition isn’t high, and the locus of power in a Democratic primary won’t be found in Hagerstown or Frederick. So would Delaney really want to risk throwing his newborn congressional career away for a difficult battle with well-financed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown? Well, this is politics, after all, and stranger things have happened.

 

    • MI-Gov: Here’s that new DGA ad, backed by a reported $1 million buy, which features Democratic ex-Rep. Mark Schauer taking Gov. Rick Snyder to task on education cuts. The spot has very high production values and is narrated by Schauer, who stands in a school lab and mentions that his father was a science teacher. He then castigates Snyder for slashing money for education in order “to give tax breaks to businesses even if they send jobs overseas.” The harsh, negative reaction to education cutbacks has damaged other Republican governors badly, especially Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett, so this is probably a strong, poll-tested message for Schauer to kick things off with.

 

  • PA-Gov: When your campaign is coming up short on the fundraising front, I’m not sure that issuing a video press release is the best way to signal strength. Former state environmental department chief Katie McGinty trails the pack in the Democratic primary as far as money is concerned, so it makes sense that she’d want to generate a little buzz by releasing the “first ad” of the race. It’s a pretty basic biographical spot, mentioning how McGinty’s parents—cop dad, waitress mom—taught their 10 children the value of hard work. But the size of the buy is a mere $6,400—enough only to earn a few writeups, and perhaps tick off reporters for wasting their time.

 

House:

 

    • AZ-01, 02: The House Majority PAC is re-upping their buy on behalf of two Arizona Democrats they’ve been airing ads for. In AZ-01, they’re adding another $67,000 for their spot touting Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, on top of the $125,000 they’ve already spent. Meanwhile, they’re putting in another $30,000 for their ad hammering Republican Martha McSally, Rep. Ron Barber’s likely opponent in AZ-02; previously, they’d laid out $49,000 in that district.

 

    • FL-13: A new survey from the DCCC’s in-house robopolling operation (first obtained by The Hill) shows Democrat Alex Sink leading Republican David Jolly 49-44 in the March 11 race to replace the late Rep. Bill Young. Unfortunately, no demographic breakdowns are provided for the one-day poll’s sample, so there’s not much else to be said about it. 

      However, we can take a look at the DCCC’s 2012 track record, as we did for the other two firms that have released polls here, St. Pete Polls and McLaughlin & Associates. The D-Trip didn’t release as many late polls, but they stacked up quite well, especially compared to the awful St. Pete and McLaughlin: 

      FL-22: DCCC: Frankel (D): 49-39; actual: Frankel (D) 55-45; error: 0 

      IL-08: DCCC: Duckworth (D) 52-42; actual: Duckworth (D) 55-45; error: 0 

      IL-10: DCCC: Schneider (D) 44-43; actual: Schneider (D) 51-49; error: +1 R 

      IL-13: DCCC: Gill (D) 43-37; actual: Davis (R) 46.6-46.2; error: +6.4 D 

      NE-02: DCCC: Terry (R) 48-44; actual: Terry (R) 51-49; error: +2 R

       

      A small sample, but only one real miss and four that basically nailed the final margin. That’s not too shabby. But don’t get too comfortable. All of the surveys from last cycle were conducted closer to Election Day than the current one, and with both sides spending heavily here, a lot can change over the next six weeks, especially since we’re dealing with a special election.

 

    • NJ-02: State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who had been considering a bid against GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo, has ultimately decided against running. Democrats, however, have a credible candidate who’s been in the race for a few months, attorney Bill Hughes, Jr., the son of ex-Rep. Bill Hughes, Sr.

 

    • NJ-07: Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach, who had been publicly considering a bid against GOP Rep. Leonard Lance since earlier this month, announced this week that she will indeed run this fall.

 

    • OK-05: Rep. Jim Lankford’s House seat may have gone for Mitt Romney by a wide 59-41 margin, but by that measure, it’s actually the bluest in Oklahoma. So while a bunch of Republicans have piled into the race since Lankford announced he’d run for Senate, several Democrats are looking at bids, too, and they’re not of the Some Dude variety. They include state Sen. Al McAffrey, state Rep. Anastasia Pittman, former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, and state House Minority Leader Scott Inman. McAffrey says he’s even met with the DCCC and has created an exploratory committee. A serious longshot, though, to be sure.

 

  • UT-04: Holding retiring Rep. Jim Matheson’s seat will be next to impossible for Democrats this fall, but at least they have someone willing to try. Attorney Doug Owens says he’s ready to run, and it so happens that his father, the late Rep. Wayne Owens, held a congressional seat in Utah on two separate occasions, giving it up both times to wage unsuccessful Senate bids. But the elder Owens last served over two decades ago, meaning little name recognition will redound to his son.

 

Grab Bag:

 

  • President-by-LD: Along with our publication of new legislative district results for New York above, we’ve made a few changes to how we present our data generally. For starters, we’ve republished all our data in spreadsheet form, for easier viewing, scrolling, and downloading. We’ve also highlighted our home-grown metric called Combined Average Performance, which you’ll find right next to the presidential numbers on every summary chart. (Here’s the North Carolina Senate, for example.) CAP simply averages Democratic and Republican performance in all statewide races for a given district. 

    In four chambers (the senates in Alaska, New York, and Washington, plus the Alaska House), some wayward Democrats caucus with Republicans. Those who do are now marked with a red “D” and an asterisk in our summary sheets, except for the members of New York’s IDC, who are noted as such in purple. (The conference-less corruptocrat Dems in New York get a starred green “D.”) 

    In addition, we’ve revamped our main resource page (i.e., the one you want to bookmark). At the top, you’ll now find a summary table that, as you might imagine, offers links to our summary sheets. If you’re looking for detailed calculations that include county breakdowns, you can click on each state’s abbreviation in the summary table, or just scroll down, to find separate tables for every state. 

    Finally, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Johnny Longtorso, our special elections maestro. Johnny graciously updated the names of all the legislators in our summary charts (turnover is constant at this level), so everything is now up-to-date and will remain so.

CEPR Economist: Union Member Numbers Up, But Swimming Against Strong Current

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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CEPR Economist: Union Member Numbers Up, But Swimming

Against Strong Current

Posted: January 28, 2014 by laborradio

 By Doug Cunningham

Official numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor show that unions had a net gain of 162,000 members in 2013, thanks largely to gains in construction and manufacturing sectors. Center for Economic and Policy Research economist Jon Schmitt says while gaining members is good, historically these union membership numbers are depressing.

[Jon Schmitt]: “If we were to compare these numbers with 20 years ago or 40 years ago, it would be very depressing, Because the share of unionized workers in both of those sectors is so much lower than it was in the 1970’s or 1950’s. So it’s a movement in the right direction, but it’s swimming upstream against as very strong current.”