Ashford touts endorsement from Jack Heidel: Ability to work across the aisle is key to solving Issues

September 25, 2017

Omaha, NE – Brad Ashford welcomes the endorsement from Jack Heidel, a former candidate for the House of Representatives and current member of the Learning Community Coordinating Council in District 3.

“I absolutely welcome the nod from Jack,” Ashford said. “His attention to pressing issues facing our federal government and how to address them is part of the Nebraska way of doing business. It is what is sorely needed in Washington.”

The endorsement from Heidel, “I’ve known Brad for a number of years. His approach and ability to work with others is unparalleled. When it comes to fiscal prudence and care of our national budget, I know we will be in capable hands when we send Brad back to Washington. I stand firmly in working and advocating to get him back to work for us.”

Heidel is the former chairman of the UNO math department. He is a former candidate for the second district house seat in 2012 and runs a blog on fiscal responsibility – itdoesnotaddup.com.

 

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Roll Call: New Democrats’ PAC Adds 12 Challengers to Candidate Watch List

September 25, 2017

Roll Call Reports:

Moderate Democratic group is stepping into races earlier this cycle.

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 12 House challengers to its list of candidates to watch in 2018.

NewDemPAC’s recognition comes with a $1,000 contribution this quarter and guidance about messaging and strategy. The watch list is a way for the group to get involved in races earlier than it previously has. Last cycle, the PAC contributed about $1 million to federal candidates and it expects to give out at least that much this cycle.

The PAC, which was founded in 2005, is adding multiple candidates in the same district to the list. Being included on the list is not yet an endorsement. NewDemPAC will make those next year.

The current 115th Congress includes 61 New Democrats, led by Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes. California Rep. Scott Peters chairs the group’s PAC.

“Democrats represent every district that is deep blue, but there are a lot of these mixed districts that we just haven’t done that well in,” Peters said Friday. “So what we’re trying to do is supplement the work of the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and offer advice about winning these districts.”

The 12 new candidates to watch are:

  • Dave Min in California’s 45th District
  • Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda in California’s 48th District
  • Paul Davis in Kansas’ 2nd District
  • Elissa Slotkin in Michigan’s 8th District
  • Angie Craig in Minnesota’s 2nd District
  • Former Rep. Brad Ashford, who’s running for the 2nd District seat he lost in Nebraska last fall
  • Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey’s 11th District
  • Anthony Brindisi in New York’s 22nd District
  • Jana Lynne Sanchez in Texas’ 6th District
  • Jay Hulings in Texas’ 23rd District
  • Roger Dean Huffstetler in Virginia’s 5th District.

Chrissy Houlahan, who’s running in Pennsylvania’s 6th District, was already on the PAC’s watch list.

NewDemPAC reviewed the websites and press releases of candidates being vetted for the list. Candidates also had to participate in brief interviews.

The group’s leadership is coordinating with the DCCC this cycle, which Peters said is much less “cookie-cutter” in its approach than it was in 2012 when he was first elected.

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THE HILL: Moderate Blue Dogs see new influence over Dem recruitment

September 22, 2017

The Hill reports:

Moderate Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition are endorsing a slate of candidates Thursday in Republican-leaning districts, as they look to put their mark on the party’s 2018 midterm push.

The group has been working hand-in-glove with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on recruiting candidates, a departure from previous years when moderates found themselves kicked to the curb by the House Democratic campaign arm.

As Democrats look at an expanded battlefield that includes 24 GOP-held House districts won by Hillary Clinton in November, Blue Dogs believe their expanded seat at the Democratic campaigning table will help to broaden the party’s appeal to include more moderate voters.

The Blue Dogs’ first wave of endorsements includes eight candidates, all but one of them in districts President Trump won in 2016. The group is expected to announce dozens more endorsements throughout the upcoming cycle.

“These candidates are outstanding candidates … their opponents are flawed or have extreme vulnerabilities because of extremist stances we don’t think match up with that particular district,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), a Blue Dog member who has helped to spearhead candidate recruitment.

“I’ll stack my candidates up against any of the Republicans in these districts.”

Former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) is included in the first round of endorsements. Ashford, a former Blue Dog who lost his seat in 2016, wants a rematch against Rep. Don Bacon (R) after losing to him by just 1 percentage point.

Only one candidate, former House Intelligence Committee staffer turned federal prosecutor Jay Hulings, is from a district that Clinton won in November. Hulings is looking to unseat Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) in the Texas border district Clinton won by almost 4 points.

The remaining six candidates on the first slate are all running uphill battles in Republican-leaning districts, some in areas Trump won by a double-digit margin.

The list includes Anthony Brindisi (D), a New York State assemblyman looking to run against Rep. Claudia Tenney (R); Paul Davis, the former Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Kansas hoping to win an open seat; and Gretchen Driskell, a former Michigan state House member running for a rematch against Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.).

The Blue Dogs are also endorsing Roger Dean Huffstetler (D-Va.), a Marine Corps veteran running against Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.); Brendan Kelly (D-Ill.), a state’s attorney and Navy veteran who wants to defeat Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.); and Dan McCready (D-N.C.), a Marine Corps veteran running to take on Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.).

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who is working with Schrader on Blue Dog recruitment, said she’s “delighted” by the relationship with the DCCC this cycle. Sinema and others said this is the relations between the two groups haven’t been this good since 2006, when DCCC head Rahm Emanuel made a concerted effort to recruit conservative Democrats in swing districts as part of an effort that eventually won the party a House majority.

Blue Dogs meet with the DCCC weekly to talk about recruitment and strategy, members and their staff have been interviewing prospective candidates over the past few months, and former Blue Dog staffers offered their support and effort to Blue Dog candidates.

Blue Dogs also expect to have more resources than normal to support their candidates — one aide told The Hill that they are seeing a “surge” in donations to their political action committee.

The initial endorsements suggests the crossover appeal approach the Blue Dogs are taking to candidate recruitment for Republican-leaning or swing districts.

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National Journal’s “Hotline’s 2018 House Power Rankings”

September 13, 2017

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

With a growing number of Republican retirements and a surge of hopefuls flooding top battleground districts, Democrats are increasingly optimistic about winning control of the House 14 months from now.

The party appears highly likely to gain seats, particularly with a polarizing Republican president anchored by a historically low approval rating. But with the playing field still forming and the political climate in flux, it’s too early to say whether Democrats can pick up the necessary 24 seats.

This is Hotline’s first ranking this cycle of the 15 seats most likely to flip parties. It’s an early snapshot of the districts as the matchups currently stand, based on an assessment of demographics, fundraising, declared and likely candidates, and interviews with party strategists.

If wave conditions take hold and more GOP members head for the exits, some of the four Democratic seats could get bumped by increasingly competitive races in Republican districts. Other factors with the potential to affect future lists include the ongoing redistricting case in Texas, which could move a Republican incumbent like Rep. Blake Farenthold into far less friendly territory, and Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s likely Senate bid in Arizona, which would leave open a swingy Phoenix-based seat.

 

14. Nebraska-02: Rep. Don Bacon (R)

Former Rep. Brad Ashford is back for a rematch with Bacon, who ousted him by a point as Trump carried the district by 2. A former brigadier general, Bacon has an impressive profile and had a respectable $340,000 war chest by the end of June. But the Paul Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund is concerned enough about Bacon that it chose his district as one of the first beneficiaries for its new field strategy, and it has been inundating voters with information about Bacon’s work to protect a local Air Force base.

 

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Ashford vehemently disagrees with Don Bacon Vote, Shutting down the government should never be an Option

September 8, 2017

Omaha, NE – Brad Ashford vehemently disagrees with Representative Bacon for his vote against keeping the government open, raising the debt limit ceiling and providing critical emergency funds to hurricane victims.

“This is an absolutely unacceptable vote,” Ashford said. “The first order of business, as a Representative, is never voting to shut the government down. The fact that he voted against providing funding for hurricane Harvey, while we have Irma barreling towards Florida makes the vote even worse. This is a perfect example of why what is needed in Washington, more than ever, is for lawmakers with the ability to work across the aisle, to keep our government functioning and to provide help in times of dire need.”

Bacon was recorded as a no vote on HR 601 this morning. The vote was taken on providing emergency supplemental funding to help cover costs from natural disasters, to raise the debt limit ceiling, and to fund government operations until December 8th.

“It is clear that Representative Bacon’s priorities in Congress are extremely partisan in nature and wrong for our country,” Ashford continued. “What this vote showed today is a definitive signal that a government shutdown, default and providing hurricane relief play second fiddle to partisan politics. I could not disagree more with this vote and I made a commitment to never shut the government down while in Congress. There is no excuse to justify voting to shut the government down and it is beyond belief that someone can put party before country.”

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Congress has an obligation to fix our broken immigration System: Ashford calls for fix to DACA

September 5, 2017

Omaha, NE – Brad Ashford released the following statement in response to administrative action concerning DACA.

“The decision today by the Administration regarding DACA underlines the need for Congress to act,” Ashford said. “The Bridge Act is not a solution and a path to earned citizenship is critical. Congress must work immediately to retain DACA and move forward with Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This is something I have continuously called for and will continue to do so until we achieve a solution.”

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Ashford Stresses Importance to Preserve DACA

August 28, 2017

It is time for Congressional Action

 Omaha, NE – Brad Ashford released the following statement about the need for Congressional action concerning DACA.

“The politics being played by the administration make it crystal clear that Congress must get back to work and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Ashford said. “Otherwise Dreamers will always be subject to the whims of the executive branch. I support the existing DACA and oppose the efforts by the administration to repeal it. Its threatened repeal underlines the need for Congressional action, through immigration reform and providing pathways to citizenship to include Dreamers and other undocumented individuals. There is an amendment that will be offered by Representative Schiff (CA-28) that I fully support. The amendment calls for the prohibition of any funds that would be used for the deportation of individuals that fall under DACA. I will continue to make this call as it is the right thing to do for Dreamers and our community.”

 

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Reaction to Charlottesville stirs Nebraska political debate

August 17, 2017

The raging political argument over President Donald Trump’s response to the violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville began Wednesday to seep into Nebraska’s upcoming 2018 congressional races.

While Rep. Jeff Fortenberry condemned in particular “the vile, racist protests and murder perpetrated by the despicable KKK, Nazis and other white nationalist groups,” Democratic challenger Dennis Crawford criticized the Lincoln congressman on Facebook for his late response.

Although Rep. Don Bacon said he “hate(s) all racism and find(s) Nazis, white nationalists and all bigots repugnant,” former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford of Omaha said the congressman failed to “tell the president that you are wrong” in suggesting a moral equivalency between the demonstrators and protesters on opposite sides of the Charlottesville event.

“There are specific times when one must make a stand and tell the president that you are wrong,” Ashford said.

Crawford had leveled his criticism at Fortenberry before the congressman responded to the event, suggesting that “Mr. Fortenberry is a moral coward.”

“As your representative in Congress, I can guarantee you that I would stand up to and speak out against racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and hate,” Crawford said.

After directing his criticism specifically at the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and white nationalists, Fortenberry added: “While the most heinous forms of speech and assembly are protected by the First Amendment, these rights must always be balanced with obligations.

“Violence is never acceptable,” the congressman said.

Bacon said he “despise(s) the violence that is so rampant in our society,” not only the racist violence that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, but also the political violence that resulted in the shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise in suburban Washington.

“Eradicating racism and bigotry shouldn’t be a divisive political issue, but one we all should get behind and support,” Bacon said.

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Hundreds attend local vigil in wake of Virginia violence

August 14, 2017

More than 300 people attended a peace vigil at Turner Park Sunday in response to the weekend chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Activist group Indivisible Nebraskans started organizing the event Saturday, in response to community frustration over the violence and President’s Trump remarks.

“There wasn’t a clear denouncement of these actions that took place this weekend, and so we’re showing up to make our own statement that this is not acceptable in this community and it’s not acceptable in any part of America,” Indivisible Nebraskans co-chair Layne Jensen said.

The peaceful rally kicked off with a moment of silence for the lives lost during Saturday’s incident, including a 32-year-old woman who was killed in an intentional car crash, and two state troopers who were monitoring the event and died when their helicopter went down.

Rally-goers brought “Love Over Hate” signs, American and gay pride flags, and candles.

Those in attendance say they’re supporting unity and love, and hope their voices are stronger than the hateful ones.

“That’s why I’m here, just to have a voice, because we’re all one, and we should all love each other,” attendee Catherine Gordon said, “why can’t we all just get along?”

Politicians like Congressional Candidate Brad Ashford also attended the event. Ashford says political leaders should be very clear that the showing of racism, hate and divisiveness in Virginia should not be tolerated or sugar-coated.

“There is no excuse, there is no way to parse it out, or make it sort of not good, it’s awful,” Ashford said.

Omaha police did have cruisers surrounding the vigil, but no violence broke out and no counter-protestors were present.

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Hundreds hold vigil in Omaha following violence in Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

OMAHA, Neb.(WOWT) It was a solemn show of support, following a day of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday.

“The best way to heal is for people to come together,” Layne Jensen said. “In times like this, it’s not a right or left issue. This is a human issue.”

Which is why Jensen and the group Indivisible Nebraskans quickly organized a vigil in Turner Park. It was a vigil that brought out hundreds Sunday night.

“It’s right or wrong,” Gina Durfee said. “There’s only one side that you can reasonably be on in this vigil we’re doing tonight.”

Durfee was one of the first to come down, saying it is important for all to step up.

“I do believe that there’s much more good in the world than bad,” Durfee said. “I think it’s important for people who believe what we believe not remain silent.”

Speaking up for those reeling after the violence that left one woman dead. She was mowed down by a car after protesting a gathering of white nationalists and neo-Nazis. It is an act that has gotten politicians on both sides speaking up.

“I was very proud of many of my Republican colleagues,” former Congressman Brad Ashford said.

Ashford said everyone should be outraged by what happened, arguing that opposition to the violence is not a matter of politics.

“The values that we hold dear here don’t accept that sort of thing,” Ashford said. “We do have to stand up.”

As just about anyone at Sunday’s vigil said we should all come together to heal.

“We, at the end of the day, are all humans,” Jensen said. “We’re all Americans. We should support and love one another.”

Ashford’s successor, Republican Congressman Don Bacon, also chimed in following Saturday’s deadly violence. He said on Twitter there was no room for bigotry in the United States and has called for all to unite against it.

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