January 22, 2018 Meeting Notes

NOPE Neighbor Meeting Notes

January 22, 2018

Twenty-seven people attended our first NOPE meeting of 2018.  Thank you to everyone for participating! The meeting focused on our next steps in helping to flip the country from red to blue. We also discussed several other NOPE activities. To engage in any of the activities described below send an email to NopeNeighbors@gmail.com and we’ll connect you with that effort if you’re not already involved.  

Turning Red to Blue

Debra Fried Levin described current plans for our involvement in the 2018 elections.

Congressional Races in Virginia and Pennsylvania. There are at least two U.S. Congressional seats in Virginia that could be flipped from red to blue in 2018:  Barbara Comstock’s seat in the 10th District in Northern Virginia, and Scott Taylor’s seat in the 2nd District (Newport News/Virginia Beach area). The primary will be held on June 12. Once we see who the Democratic candidates are, we will develop a plan for how to support them. There will also be several flippable seats in Pennsylvania (many in the Philadelphia area) that we might support. We anticipate that NOPE activities for both states will include canvassing, postcards, text-banking, and possibly phone calls (if we can use a hub-dialer, which sends us numbers where there are real people on the other end). Resources on Congressional races and statistics are posted on the last page.

State Legislative Races. We plan to focus on state legislative races in Pennsylvania, although there will be some good opportunities in other states, as well. The Pennsylvania primary will be held May 15, with 30 flippable state legislative races as well as races for Governor, Senate, and Congress. After the primary, we will identify the state races we want to focus on. We will renew our Race for Democracy to raise funds for these races, and will sponsor canvassing as well as postcard, text banking, and phone banking  activities.

Special Election, Conor Lamb (D),  PA 18 Congressional District, March 13. In the meantime, we will be involved in the March 13 special election for the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional district (southwest and southeast of Pittsburgh). Conor Lamb (D), https://conorlamb.com/, is running against Rick Saccone (R), a state representative who aligns with Trump (Trump and Pence are campaigning for him). The seat was vacated by Tim Murphy, a so-called  pro-life Republican who resigned after he impregnated his staffer and then asked her to have an abortion. This race will be an uphill battle to win, but there is a lot of energy around Lamb and a January 22 poll found Conor Lamb to be only three points behind. We will raise money for him using the Giving Circle technique described below. We’ll also conduct other activities (e.g., postcards, text bank, canvassing). Resources on state legislative races and statistics are posted on the last page. For more information on contributing to Conor Lamb see Contribute to Conor Lamb's Special Election Campaign.

Larry Buc (Swing Left 31st Street, also in Chevy Chase, DC) described a Skype call that his group held with Conor Lamb. He said they are very impressed with Lamb and that they have obtained $35,000 in commitments for him!

Progressive Political Giving Circle. Debra proposed that NOPE organize a Giving Circle – from February through October – for 2018 election candidates. We will be doing Race for Democracy again this year and the focus will be PA state legislative races. Our Giving Circle will focus on congressional candidates or others that will help flip Congress. Each NOPE participant has the opportunity to commit $X a month to contribute to a NOPE identified candidate. NOPE Giving Circle participants will have the opportunity to suggest candidates who they would like to support financially and to provide information about their candidate (e.g., name, district, type of race, money raised to date, percent in the district who voted for Clinton vs. Trump). We will supply a template for gathering these data and provide links to where to find the information. Each month, NOPE Giving Circle participants will review the suggested candidates and select one to support.

We are testing this approach using Conor Lamb, (March 13 Special Election, PA18 CD) as our February Giving Circle candidate. In preparation, Debra asked everyone to indicate on an index card how much they would contribute to Lamb and how much they would contribute on a monthly basis for other candidates. Individual information was not shared and will be kept private. The commitments are not  binding, of course, but it looks as if we’re off to a great start: folks responded that they would give a total of $2,400+  for Lamb (about $100/person, but the range of gifts was from $5 to $500) and $1,400/month thereafter (about $58/person). Most people said they think they can recruit at least one friend to join the giving circle.

There was discussion about how we can increase awareness about Conor Lamb. More to follow on this soon. Larry Buc described a video that we can post on social media and email to friends along with a request to “join me” in supporting Conor Lamb (see https://secure.actblue.com/donate/cl4c-ad2?utm_campaign=em18_180123_newad_fnd_gq_ful__CLC&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cl4c&refcode=em18_180123_newad_fnd_gq_ful__CLC-lnk1&recur_weekly=yes ). Larry also invited NOPE members to the national SwingLeft meeting on Saturday, January 27.  See: https://actionnetwork.org/events/swing-lefts-blue-wave-tour-comes-to-washington-dc

Racial Justice Working Group

Jean Simons talked about the NOPE Racial Justice Working Group. At their second meeting (held on January 21), members discussed focusing on affordable housing and gentrification issues in D.C. They  will investigate other groups that are working on these issues [One DC (http://www.onedconline.org/), Empower DC (http://empowerdc.org/), and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (http://www.legalclinic.org/)] to determine if we can volunteer with them in some way. Holly Pollinger, who is with a Cathedral Heights group, Neighbors Combating Climate Change, and Jean also discussed looking into the issue of environmental justice.

Neighbors Rising

Jeannie Engel provided an update on recent Neighbors Rising successes working with Identity, https://identity-youth.org/ and LYAC, http://www.layc-dc.org/. These activities included a campaign to purchase soccer equipment for youth participating in a community soccer program, providing Thanksgiving meals, and purchasing books for 4th graders for an after school program. This week, Neighbors Rising raised more than $1,800 for a local family that needed to obtain three U visas to allow them to stay together in their U.S. community.

DC Self Rule

Kathy Stein talked about the Americans for Self-Rule PAC (http://www.americansforselfrule.org/), which works to protect the democratic will of D.C. residents from Congressional overreach and to promote the District’s right to independent, democratic self-governance. She suggested inviting a spokesperson from the PAC to talk at a future NOPE meeting.

Herd on the Hill

Ellen Boneparth talked about how Herd on the Hill, http://herdonthehill.org/, enables D.C. volunteers to deliver constituent letters – complete with photos, personal stories, and requests for a response – to Members of Congress and their office staff.  

Catalyzing Impact

Stacy Brustin talked about her work with a group called Catalyzing Impact, which targets states that have restrictive voting practices. The group is working on gerrymandering and redistricting with OneVirginia2021 (https://www.onevirginia2021.org/). It is also supporting the League of Women Voters in Fairfax County to translate their voter education guide into Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.


Groups Focused on Congressional Elections

SwingLeft: https://swingleft.org/

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: https://dccc.org/

Groups Focused on State Legislative Races

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee: http://www.dlcc.org/

Every District: https://www.everydistrict.us/

Flippable: http://www.flippable.org/

Forward Majority: http://forwardmajority.org/

Mobilize 2020: https://www.mobilize2018.org/#home

National Democratic Redistricting Committee: https://democraticredistricting.com/

Sister District: https://www.sisterdistrict.com/

Sources for Research and Data on Races

Cook Political Report: https://www.cookpolitical.com/

Daily Kos Elections: https://www.dailykos.com/blog/Elections

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, University of Virginia Center for Politics: http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight: https://fivethirtyeight.com/contributors/nate-silver/

Virginia Public Access Project: https://www.vpap.org/

2018 Primary Dates

Here are a couple lists of upcoming 2018 primary election dates and runoff dates. The date for each state covers its primaries for state legislative seats (in 46 states) along with U.S. senators and representatives, governor, and statewide officials. We will post this information on the NOPE website.

National Conference of State Legislatures:  http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/2018-state-primary-election-dates.aspx#Dates

Federal Voting Assistance Program: https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/VAO/PrimaryElectionsCalendar.pdf

Respectfully submitted by,

Joanna Pratt & Debra Fried Levin, Co-leaders

Nope Neighbors website: www.NopeNeighbors.org

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