Don't forget about our good statehouse candidates

Barack Obama may be crushing John McCain in Iowa, but that is no excuse for you to slack off.

In July I wrote about five reasons to get involved in state legislative races. My reasoning was:

 1.  The 2010 census looms, to be followed by redrawing Congressional districts in most states.

  2. Many policy matters are determined at the state level.

  3. Getting progressive Democrats elected to state legislatures will build our bench for future House, Senate or gubernatorial races.

  4. You probably can find a competitive statehouse race near you, no matter where you live.

  5. Your individual actions are more likely to make a difference in a statehouse race.

In addition to donating directly to good state legislators and legislative candidates, I give to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which supports statehouse candidates across the country.

I was pleased to learn on Friday that the DLCC is accepting nominations for candidates to be included in its “40 essential races” program.

Dear [firstname]:

It is no easy task to pinpoint a handful of essential candidates among the thousands of competitive legislative races this year, but that is exactly is what we at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee intend to do over the next three weeks.

Using the information and resources we’ve gathered so far this cycle, we will identify 40 candidates in top races all across the country who need help in this election. For our part, we will provide these candidates with strategic support and promote their races among our partners and allies.

We also know that there are plenty of strong Democrats throughout the country with the potential to win important districts whose races are just emerging — so we are asking for your help to find them.

While we reveal the list of our targets, we will also accept nominations for an additional 10 candidates to go on our essential races list. Please submit a name:

http://www.dlcc.org/action/200…

And while you’re on our site, will you also take a minute to make a contribution of $25 or more?

Every dollar that you give will go directly into taking the fight to the Republicans who want to control our state houses. With your help, we will elect leaders who won’t let the GOP pass their radical policy agendas or redraw districts to create a permanent conservative majority. Can you support us today?

http://www.dlcc.org/action/con…

The DLCC is committed to electing Democratic majorities all across the country, but in order to win in competitive states, we need support from friends like you.

Thank you for all that you do,

Michael Sargeant

Executive Director

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

I asked someone at the DLCC whether these “essential races” will mostly feature challengers or incumbents. I was told that most of the targeted races involve Democratic challengers trying to take Republican-held seats. However, some will be incumbents, and some will be challengers trying to hold Democratic seats.

I encourage progressives to get informed about the key races in your state, then go to the DLCC site and nominate the candidate of your choice for this program.

For example, strong Democratic challengers seeking Republican-held seats in Iowa include Jerry Sullivan in Iowa House district 59 and Swati Dandekar in Senate district 18 (both seats are open because of Republican retirements).

A good candidate trying to hold the open Iowa House district 29 is Nate Willems, a former regional director for Howard Dean and occasional contributor to MyDD.

Incumbents being targeted this year in Iowa include Eric Palmer in House district 75, Elesha Gayman in House district 84,  and Tom Rielly in Senate district 38.

Please let the good candidates in your state or region know about the DLCC program.

You can also set up your own ActBlue page to raise money for your favorite candidates, whether or not they are named an “essential race” by the DLCC. Century of the Common Iowan blogger noneed4thneed created this page to support Tim Hoy in House district 44, Sharon Steckman in House district 13, Gayman, Palmer, and Sullivan.

Vox Populi provides information about three good Indiana House candidates on this ActBlue page.

Remember, even if your state is not competitive in the presidential campaign and your representatives in Congress are safe incumbents, you can probably find a swing statehouse district not far from where you live.

We can’t afford to neglect those down-ticket races. Donate, volunteer, and spread the word.

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