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Take Back the House

by Barney Arnold (barney.arnold@comcast.net) and Michael Ansara, May 2, 2018

November 6, 2018, is our time to take back the House and stop Donald Trump from further damaging our democracy!

The House of Representatives has 435 seats, 70 of which are considered by Swing Left (https://swingleft.org) to be competitive. These are the “swing districts,” places where the winner of the last House of Representatives’ election was determined by a thin margin; and/or where the last presidential election was won by 15% of the vote or less; or where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump; or where other specific circumstances make it a competitive district. We need to flip at least 23 seats to take back the House in 2018. And we need to hold on to the vulnerable Democratic-held districts.

Since the 2018 Senate map heavily favors Republicans, the House is a better place to focus our energy. House races generally receive less attention, so our dollars, hours, and talents have greater impact.

The two closest targeted districts to Carlisle are Maine Congressional District 2 (defeating a vulnerable Republican), and New Hampshire Congressional District 1 (saving a Democratic seat).

Maine CD 2—primary on June 18

CD 2 basically covers everything north of Portland up to the Canadian border. Republican Bruce Poliquin won this seat in 2016 (his second term) by 33,797 votes, 9.6%. This district backed Obama in 2008, and again in 2012 where he won by a margin of 9 points; it flipped red in 2016 for Donald Trump who won by 10 points.

Poliquin is a conservative, former State Treasurer, who has gotten publicity for refusing to answer questions about Trump and health care from his constituents. He already has national Republican support and money in the bank.

Three Democrats are running in the June 18 primary: State Rep. Jared Golden, Craig Olson, and Lucas St. Clair. We need to be ready to support the Democratic nominee the day after the primary.

Note of interest: Maine will use ranked-choice voting (RCV) for the first time—an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

NH CD 1—primary on September 11

The district covers the southeastern part of New Hampshire, consisting of three general areas: Greater Manchester, the seacoast, and the lakes region, along the border with Maine. In the last election, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter won this district by only 4,904 votes, 1.3%. This district has swung back and forth between Shea-Porter and the Republican, Frank Guinta, four times since 2010. She is retiring so this seat is vulnerable. Guinta is not running as of this writing. In 2012, Obama barely defeated Romney, 50% to 49%; in 2016, Trump beat Clinton, 48% to 47%.

This is one of the most competitive districts in the country. Eight Democrats are running, including two state reps and the son of Bernie Sanders.

How to help in these two districts from Carlisle

1. Raise money for the district fund—set up now in each of these districts to accept donations for whomever wins the democratic primary. Since it’s expected that there will be a lot of national money flowing into these races, this may be the least important contribution for us to make.

2. Remote phone banking and texting—this can be done here in Carlisle, ideally as a group activity, throughout the primary and into the general election season.

3. Door to door canvassing, in pairs, in the district: (a) immediately following the primary, we would begin doing persuasion and voter identification, mostly on the weekends; and (b) for the 7+ days before the Nov. 6 election, we would be doing GOTV (Get Out the Vote); again we would do this in groups, organizing carloads of volunteers to drive to the district for specific shifts.

Of these three, canvassing is the biggest time commitment and may be the hardest to do. It is also by far the most effective at reaching people.

Our Goal: to build a pool of people from Carlisle and neighboring towns who are trained and prepared to do these tasks, especially door to door canvassing.

Action Steps

1. Sign up tonight to join the CRTA mid-term electoral team!

2. Recruit people now to host a small gathering/house party to recruit more volunteers

3. Develop a calendar of phone/texting opportunities in Carlisle and sign up volunteers

4. Develop a calendar of canvassing shifts in the district and sign up groups of people to volunteer for specific shifts

Orientation and training will be provided:

1. for house party hosts

2. for those doing phone/text banking

3. for those doing canvassing

4. it will be possible to arrange a video conference or in person meeting with the candidate, which greatly enhances the volunteer’s understanding and motivation.

CRTA meeting on May 2, 2018

Thanks to Barney Arnold and Michael Ansara for hosting and to the School Committee candidates Melynda Gambino and Shannon May Lavery for coming. Thanks to Gina M. Fox for proposing Carlisle support for Race Amity day on Sunday June 10th - CRTA is proud to join in sponsorship!

Candidating with Jeff Ballinger, Leonard Golder, and Rick Green on April 12, 2018

Candiating with Alexandra Chandler, Dan Koh, Patrick Littlefield, Bopha Malone on March 23, 2018

Carlisle Rising at Massachusetts Indivisible Conference, November 2017

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