BREAKING (MD-SEN): Democracy for America, EMILY's List cheer early Edwards polling lead

Earlier this morning, new polling showed Donna Edwards possessing an early lead in Maryland's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Democracy for America (DFA) and EMILY's List released statements this morning cheering the exciting new polling results. DFA and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee helped successfully draft Edwards into the Maryland Senate Race earlier this year.

Statement from DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain:

"Donna Edwards stands out in this early polling because she presents Marylanders with a unique opportunity to send a leader to the U.S. Senate with the perspective of an African-American woman and proven experience fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with grassroots progressives for big ideas like expanding Social Security." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

Statement from EMILY's List Executive Director Jessica O'Connell:

“Donna Edwards has taken an early lead because she understands the problems Maryland women and families can’t afford to ignore like gender discrimination in pay, our country’s lack of family-friendly workplace policies, and women’s access to health care,” said EMILY’s List Executive Director Jessica O’Connell. “Today, there are no African American women in the United States Senate, and Maryland needs Donna’s unique and important perspective as a single African American mom at the table. The EMILY’s List community of over three million members is committed to keeping this seat in the hands of a progressive Democratic woman and is proud to continue supporting Donna Edwards’ campaign for U.S. Senate.”

Key facts about DFA and EMILY's List:

  • Democracy for America is a national progressive political action committee with more than 20,380 members in Maryland and one million members nationwide. Since 2004, DFA members have raised and contributed nearly $43 million and made more than 10.1 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 831 progressive candidates nationwide.

  • EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women's issues, and turn out women voters. We've trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color - including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.
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Categories: Press Releases

Statement from Democracy for America's Charles Chamberlain on Sec. Clinton's higher education plan:

Statement from Democracy for America's Charles Chamberlain on Sec. Clinton's higher education plan:

"There's a lot to like about the debt-free focus of Sec. Clinton's plan for higher education. It's an ambitious proposal that demonstrates the Clinton campaign has been listening to grassroots Democrats' calls for big, bold ideas to address our growing income inequality crisis.
"If you had any doubt that the populist, progressive Warren Wing is the driving force in the Democratic Party today, the emerging competition among Democratic Presidential candidates to establish the biggest, most comprehensive plan to tackle student debt should erase it.  And that's a good thing for Democrats' chances, up and down the ballot, in 2016."  -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

DFA was one of the organizations behind the Run Warren Run campaign, a national effort to encourage Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for President.

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Democracy for America Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Sen. Schumer's betrayal on the Iran Deal:

Democracy for America Executive Director Charles Chamberlain on Sen. Schumer's betrayal on the Iran Deal:

"As disappointing as Sen. Schumer's betrayal on the Iran deal is, it's ultimately a cave to the far right that will bring few, if any, additional short-sited Senate votes with it.  We're going to get the Iran Deal done with or without Senator Schumer or anyone else who insists on being trapped in the past when it comes to conflict resolution in the Middle East.  Senator Schumer was wrong when he voted to back the war with Iraq and he's wrong to work with Republicans to kill this nuclear deal with Iran, period.

"As for what we're doing: We're already making sure Democracy for America members and other progressives all across the country speak out at town hall meetings this August and flood congressional offices with calls over the next 60 days in support of the Iran deal.  We're also going to strongly support any member of Congress who stands with the American people and backs this deal in the face of the same fear-mongering, neo-con BS that got us into the War in Iraq.  --  Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

DFA and a number of allies launched to help facilitate the townhall organizing efforts Charles mentioned.  DFA is a national political action group with 1 million members nationwide.

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Categories: Press Releases

ENDORSEMENT: Democracy for America backs four progressives in contentious Virginia Senate elections

BURLINGTON, VT – This morning, Democracy for America (DFA), the national progressive organization founded by Governor Howard Dean, endorsed four progressive candidates for Virginia State Senate.

The four candidates that DFA endorsed today include:

  • Dave Belote (VA-Sen 8)

  • Dr. Jill McCabe (VA-Sen 13)

  • Jeremy McPike (VA-Sen 29)

  • Senator Jennifer Wexton (VA-Sen 33)

DFA’s endorsement of these four progressive champions is part of the organization's on-going “Purple to Blue” Project, a national multi-year effort to win state House and Senate chambers across the country, with a focus on making “purple” state legislative seats decisively Democratic.

Quote from Democracy for America Electoral Director Annie Weinberg on today’s endorsements:

“From forcing women to submit to trans-vaginal ultrasounds to denying them access to affordable healthcare, Virginia Senate Republicans have taken the war on women and working families to a whole new level. 

“These progressive champions will help put an end to right-wing attacks by standing up to the Republican fringe groups and fighting for the people of the Old Dominion.” -- Annie Weinberg, Electoral Director, Democracy for America

In addition to today’s endorsements for Virginia State Senate, DFA also announced its endorsement of Joana Garcia (VA-HD-42) in her race for Virginia’s House of Delegates. DFA previously endorsed Jennifer Boysko (VA-HD-86), Elizabeth Miller (VA-HD-32), Shelly Simonds (VA-HD-94), and Kathleen Murphy (VA-HD-34) in their respective Delegate races

Key Facts about Democracy for America and its endorsements:

  • Democracy for America is a people-powered Political Action Committee with 1 million members nationwide including 22,087 members in Virginia.

  • Earlier this year, DFA backed Kathleen Murphy in her successful special election.

  • Since its 2004 founding, DFA members have raised and contributed nearly $43 million and made more than 10.1 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 831 progressive candidates nationwide.

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Categories: Press Releases

How the #BlackLivesMatter action at Netroots Nation has already changed more than a presidential election

By: Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America.

The Netroots Nation presidential candidate town hall made clear that the progressive movement and the Democratic Party need to do more, right now, to support the Movement for Black Lives.

I say that as someone who was in the convention hall watching as young, powerful Black women demanded that progressive leaders actively address the state of emergency that has exploded over the last year as friends, family, and neighbors have been murdered at the hands of a structurally racist criminal justice system. As the #BlackLivesMatter protest at Netroots Nation emphasized in asking the presidential candidates to #SayHerName, the arrest and death of Sandra Bland is just the latest tragic example.

Of course, it matters that Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders immediately failed to empathize with and adequately respond to the demands of these organizers. Both O’Malley and Sanders missed a clear opportunity to lead a united progressive movement dedicated to actively confronting power wherever it exists -- from the Wall Street banks that are rigging our economy to a criminal justice system that is brutalizing Black and Brown people.

However, the most important effect those brave voices in the Movement for Black Lives are having isn’t on the 2016 presidential candidates, but on the broader progressive movement.

Democracy for America (DFA) has over one million grassroots members around the country in all fifty states, and for ten years we’ve worked to elect progressive candidates up and down the ballot. As the Movement for Black Lives has grown, we’ve helped battle police militarization in the wake of the protests after the killing of Mike Brown, raised money for community organizations in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, joined our allies to financially support this month’s Movement for Black Lives convening of organizers in Cleveland, and supported successful local efforts to increase voter turnout in Ferguson’s city council elections this past April.

But real solidarity means not just taking action in response to racial injustice and police brutality, but doing everything we can to connect the fight against structural racism and our country’s culture of white supremacy to every aspect of the work we do. And, after hearing the calls of our friends at Netroots Nation, that’s exactly what we intend to do at DFA.

Going forward, DFA will be changing the questions we ask the candidates we endorse for offices from dog catcher to the President. Just as we’ve asked candidates where they stand on LGBTQ rights, comprehensive immigration reform, making college debt-free, and expanding Social Security, we’re going to ask every candidate who wants our support how they will stand with the Movement for Black Lives and what they will do to confront structural racism and our culture of white supremacy.  We want the candidates we endorse to not only say that #BlackLivesMatter, we want these candidates to know that progressives -- including those in organizations with largely white memberships and staff like DFA -- expect them to stand up to, name, and address systemic racism as fundamental and foundational to the movement to end income inequality.

We also know that if candidates don’t speak out and campaign on issues of racial justice, it will be exceedingly difficult to build the political will to aggressively combat the deep-seated racism that underlies our most powerful cultural and political institutions. A good example: Often, racial justice issues aren’t included in the battery of questions pollsters ask voters, making it very unlikely that candidates will see the many opportunities to use their campaign, not just to win office, but to respond to the state of emergency that exists in Black and Brown communities right now.

That’s why, as an organization that works closely with candidates running for office, DFA is committing to  actively help campaigns poll on racial justice issues, amplify messaging that takes on structural racism, and work with campaigns to communicate with voters more often and more effectively about race.

Most importantly, DFA wants to work to change the kind of candidates that are running for office. According to a recent project by the Reflective Democracy Campaign, 90% of the 42,000 office holders in the U.S. are white and 65% are white men. Clearly, the skills and talents of progressive women, and especially progressive women of color, are not being tapped for the critical problems our country needs to solve.

We can no longer afford to exclude some of our best and brightest leaders; we need leaders that reflect the full array of talent that America has to offer. That was one very important reason why we proudly worked to draft Rep. Donna Edwards for her U.S. Senate run this year and backed Nina Turner in 2014 for Ohio Secretary of State, but it’s also why we intend to work even harder to recruit and support progressive people of color to run for office and win in 2016 and beyond.

At Netroots Nation, #BlackLivesMatter leaders called on all of us to use our power to respond to the current state of emergency, say the names of those who have died at the hands of a racist criminal justice system, and to build a more equitable society where our elected leaders reflect and honor the full breadth and depth of the lived experiences of their constituents. Democracy for America is ready to heed that call to action and make sure it has real electoral consequences in 2016 and beyond.

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