Tag Archives: mike lumpkin

Campaign Update: Q3 Money Race Tells The Story

(Updated with new information at the bottom… – promoted by David Dayen)

The FEC reports are starting to come in for our candidates.  I’ll update them here, but the preliminary numbers are very strong.

CA-50: Wow.  Nick Leibham raised $413,000 in the third quarter, his best quarter of the cycle by a factor of four.  With $334,000 cash on hand, he’s going to be able to get his message out in the final weeks.  As much as anything, this is why Leibham is Red To Blue.  No word on Brian Bilbray’s take yet.  Leibham’s latest ad uses a local war hero to hammer Bilbray for his vote against the new GI Bill, and it’s very powerful, a great improvement over the attention-getting stunts from earlier in the year.  I’m starting to feel good about this race.

CA-45: Julie Bornstein raised around $102,000 in Q3, while Mary Bono Mack raised $245,000.  The cash on hand situation shows Bono Mack with $462,548 in the bank compared to Bornstein’s $179,308.  That’s not terrible, especially if the DCCC steps in with some outside help – they just added Bornstein to their emerging races list (along with Bill Durston in CA-03).  Her latest ad, showing Bono Mack as a rubber-stamping bobblehead, is spot-on (“Do you think George Bush is right 92% of the time?”)

CA-52: In our toughest winnable race, Mike Lumpkin raised $107,000 and has $125,000 CoH, and Duncan D. Hunter raised $290,000 with $321,000 CoH.  It’ll take a monumental effort to win this one, but I don’t consider it impossible.  Lumpkin just got put on the D-Trip’s Races To Watch page, along with Russ Warner (CA-26).

CA-46: A nice writeup about canvassing for Debbie Cook from friend of the blog Andrew Davey (atdleft).

more money updates when they roll in…

UPDATE: Debbie Cook raised $114,000 and has $181,000 in the bank.  Nothing yet from Dana Rohrabacher.  Will she outraise him three quarters in a row?

UPDATE: More numbers:


Charlie Brown: raised $539K, $456K cash on hand.  GREAT numbers.

Tom McClintock: raised $978K, but spent a ton, and has only $94,000 left, with $110,000 in debts.  He is BROKE.  Brown has an infinite lead in CoH.


Bill Durston: raised $149K, $145K CoH.

Dan Lungren: raised $173K (wow, Durston almost outraised him), $680K CoH.  Dr. Bill is going to need some help.


Russ Warner: raised $289K, which is great, but he’s spent a lot early.  He has $119K CoH.

David Dreier: raised $255K.  Wow, Warner outraised Dreier.  He still has $1.7 million in the bank, and he doesn’t seem to be using the money.  He only spent $345K in Q3.  I don’t know if it’s for leadership purposes or what, but he has a hell of a war chest that he’s not using.


Jerry McNerney: raised $601K, $1.02 million CoH.

Dean Andal: raised $345K, with $850K CoH.  Some prize recruit.


Brian Bilbray: This was the number I was waiting for.  He raised $262K and has $382K CoH.  OK, Nick Leibham didn’t just beat Bilbray in Q2, he destroyed him.  And the cash on hand is virtually even.  Wow.


Dana Rohrabacher: Drum roll… raised $148K.  OK, he beat Debbie Cook for once.  The CoH is $497K, but much like Dreier, he’s spent next to nothing.  $35K in the quarter.

Overall, these are good numbers.  Lots of our candidates have the resources they need.  Keep up the pressure.

CA-52: Like Father, Like Son

First, it was Duncan Hunter Sr. who would always refuse to debate. He was the incumbent Republican, in a very red district, so in a way that makes sense. But now his son is doing it too. Only his son isn’t an incumbent, though he’s trying to run like one. First, it was a debate hosted by the East County League of Women Voters, next, it was a debate on a conservative radio show, hosted by Rick Amato. Little Duncan Jr. apparently is terrified of facing off with his opponent, Commander Mike Lumpkin. This tactic of avoiding debates is undemocratic, and insult to the voters of the 52nd district. We deserve to hear from the candidates themselves.

It’s a pattern, and an unfortunate one, of behaving exactly as his father does.

Next on the list is his campaign contributions, the names of his top contributors bare a startling resemblance to those who’ve received earmarks from his father, daddy Duncan calling in favors for his heir? Junior has previously defended the importance of earmarks, by claiming that it’s the only way the Pentagon gets funding. A remarkably stupid statement, particularly given that he himself is a Marine Reservist, he should know better. Then again, he’s a Hunter, so “How government works,” along with integrity and decency, are concepts lost on him.

Judge someone by the company they keep? Perhaps we can. Little Duncan seems to be best buds with the Minutemen, endorsed by them, received money from their PAC, he even spent 4th of July palling around with those ludicrous vigilantes. His father was obsessed with “Border security” as well.

The earmarks and the Minutemen ties would be one thing, if he was at least willing to face his opponent in a debate, giving the voters the opportunity to get to know the both of them. But he isn’t. He wants the seat handed to him, thinks it’s his inheritance, and is generally behaving like a petty, spoiled brat.

Mike Lumpkin of course, put it far more diplomatically:

“Duncan Hunter Junior expects to inherit his father’s congressional seat and not work hard by showing voters what he’s made of in a broadcast debate,” says Commander Lumpkin. “But being a member of Congress is a job-not an entitlement. In a debate he can’t ask his father what to say; he has to be his own man and stand on his own two feet.”

Mike Lumpkin’s website

Mike’s ActBlue page

Lumpkin wins over my brother – a Republican

Cross-posted at our blog

No Time for Jet Lag:

The good news is that my body clock may be naturally set on pacific time – always the night owl.  California is as sunny as advertised, and my lack of exposure to any significant amount of sunshine in my usual daily routine left me vulnerable to sunburn on my 30 minute stroll around the San Diego pier on Monday.

This whirlwind trip to the coast provides me with a delightful fringe benefit.  My youngest brother, Dave, and his family live in San Diego and are welcoming hosts to my visit.  Dave was kind enough to take a few days off work to be my driver and tour guide around the area.  Unlike me, Dave is usually on the far right hand of the political spectrum.  We’ve had many direct conversations over the years about what he wants me to tell “those Democrats in Washington” about what they are doing wrong.

Lately his tune has changed.  Don’t get me wrong – Dave will never think of considering himself a Democrat.  But like thousands of voters across the country, he has switched his voter registration from GOP to Independent.  He continues to be skeptical about whether any politicians can be trusted to “do what’s right.”

Here’s the best part of the story.  Dave did some research on Mike Lumpkin (our endorsed candidate in California CD-52) before I got here.   As an Army veteran, Dave was interested in Mike due to his military career.  To my surprise, he wanted to wait at the campaign HQ so that he could meet Mike even though he lives outside the district (by less than 1 mile).  

Impressed with Mike’s leadership as a naval commander and knowing that being a Navy SEAL means that one has courage and determination, Dave’s shield of skepticism started to weaken.  He chatted with Mike’s campaign field director, Jessica, and volunteer coordinator, Pat, while waiting to meet Mike.  Dave was talking about how he wished politicians would stop partisan positioning and fight for what’s best for all Americans; after all, on the field of battle soldiers don’t look at their platoon mates as Republicans or Democrats.  At that moment, Jessica walked over the shelf and handed my brother one of Mike’s lit pieces.  The photos were of soldiers in position for battle, and the caption was “in a foxhole, we’re not Democrats or Republicans, we’re Americans.”  

To my delight, he left sporting an “I like Mike” sticker on his red Mustang.   I thought he had gone back to his side of town, but he stopped in to visit an old friend in Santee.  He called a couple of hours later to see if Mike was available and came back by to meet him.  His conversation with Mike verified his instincts that his man wasn’t a “typical politician.”  This time, Dave left with an envelope so he could send Mike a check when he gets his next paycheck.

I have to admit that I am usually skeptical that even the best candidates can truly move strong GOP voters.  My brother may think he’s a swing voter, but I know that he will always lean to the right.  He was moved by Mike’s gravitas, experience and common sense approach to Washington.  I’m even more passionate about helping Mike’s team craft a top notch field plan because when voters of all stripes here his story and message they are inspired to action!  Let’s work to get his message out.

Stay tuned for news about the San Diego “GO Team” and some unique constituencies that Mike plans to engage.

CA-52 DCCC To list as an emerging race

Crossposted on DailyKos

That’s right, in this reddest of red California districts, Mike Lumpkin has managed to turn this into a competitive race. Having raised over $300,000 to date, a record for any Democratic candidate in the history of this district, the retired Navy SEAL is turning this into a serious contest.

Mike recently received an endorsement from Hillary Clinton, adding to the already impressive list of endorsements (I think they need to update that page) along with an upcoming joint fundraiser she’ll hold for Mike with Bob Kerrey. The DCCC will soon be listing this as an emerging race, and if the campaign can raise enough money, will be added to their Red To Blue list.

But that’s the hard part, as the campaign needs to raise an additional $300,000 in the next 30 days. No telling if that can happen, it’s certainly an uphill climb. But without a doubt, this is a great opportunity. Do we really want the spawn of Duncan Hunter to inherit his father’s seat? A guy who only won his primary because people thought they were voting for his dad. Is that really what Congress needs more of? Fortunately, there’s a great alternative to that, there’s Mike Lumpkin. If you’d like to learn more about him, he answered some questions for me awhile back, which you can read here.

And if you feel so inclined, here’s Mike’s ActBlue page.

CA-52: Good news for Mike Lumpkin

According to a press release issued by the campaign, Mike has raised more than any Democratic candidate in the history of the 52nd district, raising more than $300,000. I’ll take it as a great sign, though it is a long road to November. But it looks like this time around, we’ve got a serious candidate in this normally very red district. Keep up the great work, Mike!

Mike Lumpkin’s website

Mike’s ActBlue page

Commander Lumpkin’s historic fund raising effort reached record breaking heights last month when it broke the previous record set in the 2000 Congressional race. Democratic candidate Craig Barkacs raised $267,000 over the course of his entire campaign, a number which Lumpkin surpassed last month just after the primary. “East county’s excitement is telling. Just like the rest of the nation, they want change – they want their country back,” said Campaign Manager Chris Young. “It’s not just Democrats who are coming alive in the district, Commander Lumpkin’s supporters and volunteers include Independents and Republicans as well,” said Young.

Hopefully they can put the money to good use, Mike’s a great candidate, and we really, really don’t need Lil’ Duncan inheriting his father’s seat. Just have to make sure he can’t skate by on name recognition, and force him to actually campaign, something his father managed to avoid almost entirely his last few elections, not bothering to debate, let alone even acknowledge his opponents. But Mike definitely looks like the right candidate for the job.

CA House Races Roundup – July Edition

Greetings and welcome to the latest installment of the California House races roundup.  We’re just around 100 days to go until the election, and things are starting to take focus.  There are about a half-dozen seats where Democratic challengers have an outside shot at dumping the incumbent, and another six on the watch list in case something spectacular occurs.  One thing to note is that the Cook numbers are tied to the 2004 election, and given the demographic changes and cratering of the Republican brand I think they mean significantly less now – it’ll be interesting to see how all these districts change in November.

We have plenty of new information to judge these races, including 2nd quarter fundraising reports, national ratings from Charlie Cook and Swing State Project, additional DCCC targets, and the appearance of many challengers at Netroots Nation.  So this list is really about who I think has the best chance to retain or take over a seat, not necessarily who should (though that may come through in the writing).  Here are some helpful bits of information that I used to help judge.

FEC disclosures (you can search by candidate name)

Voter registration by Congressional district.

Swing State Project fundraising roundup

On to the report…


1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney.  Challenger: Dean Andal.  Cook number: R+3.  % Dem turnout in the Presidential primary: 53.7%.  DCCC defended.  This remains the only opportunity for Republicans in the state, and it is starting to slip away.  Dean Andal is proving to be incredibly weak at fundraising, having raised under $200,000 for FOUR STRAIGHT QUARTERS.  He’s not going to be able to get up on TV, and his opponent has not only outraised him but will get about a million dollars in ad help from the DCCC.  Freedom’s Watch threw in a few anti-McNerney robocalls, but that’s really no match for the political muscle of the D-Trip.  Plus, there’s a brewing Andal scandal over his participation in passing privileged information and securing developer contracts for a San Joaquin Delta College contractor.  As for McNerney, his vote for the FISA bill has caused outcry in the district, and national groups like Blue America won’t be lending a hand.  He has changed his position on medical marijuana in response to constituents, a symbolic piece of support with activists.  But I think he’s largely on his own in this race.

McNerney: raised $416K in the second quarter, $1.37m cash on hand

Andal: raised $174K Q2, $663K CoH


I’m going to do four tiers in setting apart the top seats where we have challenges to Republican incumbents.

First Tier

1. CA-04.  Last month: 1.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Charlie Brown.  Repub. challenger: Tom McClintock.  PVI #: R+11.  % Dem turnout in Feb. primary: 44.7.  DCCC targeted.  Tom McClintock actually raised quite a bit of money in the second quarter, but it all got plowed into the divisive primary with Doug Ose.  Plus, he was able to go above individual spending caps because of the “Millionaire’s Amendment,” which was recently ruled unconstitutional, putting constitutional literalist McClintock in a bind over what to do with that money.  We’ve seen real awkwardness from McClintock over how to handle disgraced incumbent John Doolittle, with shows of support and rejections happening on alternate days.  Meanwhile, Charlie Brown is humming along.  He has a 6-1 cash on hand advantage, and he’ll also be the recipient of some ad love from the DCCC.  His courageous stand against the FISA bill, outreach to parts of the district harmed by wildfires, and the release of a good energy plan which stresses tax credits for alternative energy and government fleets going renewable (and opposing opening up new lands for offshore drilling, in line with the “Use It Or Lose It” plan from Speaker Pelosi).  Brown was beloved at Netroots Nation and looks good in polling.  This is obviously our biggest-priority pickup.

Brown: raised $355K, $675K CoH

McClintock: raised $1.27m, $117 CoH

Second Tier

2. CA-46.  Last month: 4.  Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher.  Challenger: Debbie Cook (Responsible Plan endorser). PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  I’m still concerned that the numbers aren’t quite there in the district, but I’m upping Cook this high because I have to acknowledge her achievements.  First, she’s outraised Rohrabacher two quarters in a row, and from what I’m being told, this has a lot to do with Dana and his wife (also his fundraiser) calling Republican backers and getting the phone slammed in their ears.  The Cook Political Report moved the race to Likely Republican, the only such move among competitive California races.  And there are indications that the D-Trip is at least taking a look at this race.  Most of this is happening because Cook is a compelling candidate.  Read her interview with Open Left or watch her interview with Talking Points Memo and you can see why.  Her environmental activism, competent fiscal management in Huntington Beach, and the fact that she’s not a ridiculously corrupt nutjob like Dana Rohrabacher makes for a fantastic profile.  This is probably too high, but there are some great signs here.

Cook: raised $110K, $97K CoH

Rohrabacher: raised $86K, $388 CoH

3. CA-50.  Last month: 5.  Incumbent: Brian Bilbray.  Challenger: Nick Leibham.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.8.  DCCC targeted.  Nick Leibham outraised Brian Bilbray in the second quarter, and took in a nice haul of $245K in his own right.  He’s been gaining some attack points for criticizing Bilbray on wanting to debate on the radio and not in the district, and calling on other states to drill offshore but not California, an incoherent position.  The D-Trip put Leibham on their Red to Blue emerging races list, and dropped radio ads in the district tying him to Bush (MP3 here).  Leibham needs to articulate an agenda rather than just slam Bilbray forever, and that agenda needs to be a true contrast, but there is some movement here.

Leibham: raised $245K, $267K CoH

Bilbrary: raised $210K, $528K CoH

4. CA-26.  Last month: 2.  Incumbent: David Dreier.  Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI #: R+4.  % Dem. turnout: 50.2.  DCCC targeted.  Warner was very focused on fundraising in June and yet came up short of beating David Dreier in the second quarter.  The problem is that Dreier has nearly two million dollars in the bank, so there’s a nearly 40-1 cash disadvantage, including campaign debts.  And despite the positive signs in the district, that’s tough to overcome.  Warner is going to need outside help, and the Bush Rubber Stamp project is a step in the right direction, but I don’t know if they’ll have the kind of money needed to meet the challenge.  There’s not much here to get me excited at this point.

Warner: raised $161K, $125K CoH

Dreier: raised $247K, $1.9m CoH

5. CA-45.  Last month: 3.  Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack.  Challenger: Julie Bornstein.  PVI #: R+3.  % Dem. turnout: 51.3.  The district is ready for a Democrat, and the symbiosis between Manuel Perez’ hotly contested Assembly campaign and Bornstein’s is going to help her in ways that aren’t being respected by the experts.  I still think this race is being undervalued.  However, Bornstein has been fairly invisible, from what I can tell, since the June primary.  And Bornstein got significantly outraised in Q2 as Mary Bono recognized the challenge she is facing can only be overcome with money.  In cash on hand she’s not far out of sight, however, and if Bornstein proves to be a solid and aggressive campaigner and benefits from increased Latino turnout in the Eastern Coachella Valley, there’s still a shot here.

Bornstein: raised $125K, $121K CoH

Bono: raised $336K, $421K CoH

Third Tier

6. CA-03.  Last month: 6.  Incumbent: Dan Lungren.  Challenger: Bill Durston. PVI #: R+7. % Dem turnout: 51.8.  This remains my sleeper pick in California.  The fundraising numbers were close, with Dan Lungren raising $173K to Durston’s $125K.  Lungren is trying to pivot to the center, coming out for nuclear warhead reduction with Russia, and the “X Prize” for battery technology promoted by John McCain.  But he’s firmly in the drill now, do nothing camp (despite voting against the “Use It Or Lose It” plan), and he’s lying about Democratic plans for tax increases.  Then there’s this bit of hilarity:

At a town hall meeting a few months ago Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) was adamant about denying citizenship to babies born in the United States to non-citizens. He lumped the infants into the same category as immigrants who cross the border illegally. He went so far as to sponsor a bill to deny citizenship to babies born to non-citizens.

In a classic flip-flop, Congo Dan “is backing the bill giving the Department of Homeland Security 30 days to process visas for entertainers,” says the Los Angeles Times.

Durston has publicly challenged Lungren to debates, and has a nifty comparison chart on his website that shows he’s truly running a campaign of contrast.  Keep an eye on this one.

Durston raised $125K, $189K CoH

Lungren raised $173K, $615K CoH

7. CA-52.  Last month: 7.  Open seat.  Dem. challenger: Mike Lumpkin.  Repub. challenger: Duncan D. Hunter.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 47.2.  Calitics got to chat with Mike Lumpkin at Netroots Nation, and we were fairly impressed.  He talked up all the “Conservative Republicans for Lumpkin” signs he’s seeing in the district.  One thing he mentioned worried me, however: well over half of the voters in the primary thought they were voting for Duncan Hunter’s father, the incumbent.  That makes this almost not an open seat, and with Hunter’s fundraising advantage, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Lumpkin raised $129K, $54K CoH

Hunter raised $338K, $198K CoH

Also Noted

8. CA-44.  Last month: 8.  Incumbent: Ken Calvert.  Challenger: Bill Hedrick (Responsible Plan endorser).  PVI #: R+6.  % Dem. turnout: 49.3.  Bill Hedrick tried to hit Ken Calvert over earmarks, and certainly there’s still a lot of smoke surrounding Calvert’s dirty dealings.  But in a low information district, Hedrick needs a lot of money for name ID, moeny he doesn’t have.

9. CA-42.  Last month: 11.  Incumbent: Gary Miller.  Challenger: Ed Chau.  PVI #: R+10.  % Dem. turnout: 44.0. Ed Chau has only $12,000 in the bank compared to Gary Miller’s $950,000.  That’s game, set and match, but questions have been raised once again about Miller’s potentially criminal actions (like his financial stake in getting an OC tollway built), so indictment is still on the fringes of possibility here.

10. CA-48.  Last month: 12.  Incumbent: John Campbell.  Challenger: Steve Young.  PVI #: R+8.  % Dem. turnout: 45.1.  Young is touting a poll (and I like that he’s touting it on ActBlue) showing that he’s up six points after biographical and issue information is distributed.  The problem is he has no money and lots of campaign debt, so how will that information get out there?  

11. CA-24.  Last month: 9.  Incumbent: Elton Gallegly.  Challenger: Marta Jorgensen.  PVI #: R+5.  % Dem. turnout: 50.6. Marta Jorgensen has a fairly nice website, but the money isn’t there to make this all that competitive, and she’ll need an Elton Gallegly slip-up. (Of course, she spent $1,375 on the primary and won, so ya never know…)

12. CA-41.  Last month: 10.  Incumbent: Jerry Lewis.  Challenger: Tim Prince.  PVI #: R+9.  % Dem. turnout: 46.3.  Tim Prince is also challenging Jerry Lewis on earmark requests, but Lewis has been pretty adept at escaping scrutiny in the district.

California Pols at Netroots Nation – A Roundup

By my count, we had nine local and federal candidates or elected officials from California joining us in Austin for Netroots Nation.  So much for the adage that us dirty hippie bloggers are to be avoided at all costs.  These candidates and politicians represent the foundation of a progressive alliance that can transform the party and the state over the next decade.  And they all received varying degrees of support at the convention.  Here is a brief roundup in alphabetical order:

1) Secretary of State Debra Bowen – Debra apparently accepted the invitation to appear on a panel about election reform by replying on Facebook.  She is one of our favorites because of her progressive credentials, her commitment to election reform, and her accessibility.  Far from dropping in for the panel and dropping out, she took time to hang out with plenty of us Caliticians.  In fact, during the netroots candidate event, she was simply watching the proceedings when Christine Pelosi called her to the stage – it was not her intention to come as a candidate, but to just attend the conference.  That said, there was a lot of talk among the California delegation about Bowen’s plans for the future.  At least four California convention-goers told me they would quit their jobs to work for Bowen if she sought higher office than the Secretary of State.  She has a bright future and, judging from the reception she received, a national profile.  She is one of our best hopes to get a real grassroots progressive into a legitimate position of power.

more on the flip…

2) Charlie Brown (CA-04) – Charlie has been to all three Netroots Nation events, including the first two when it was known as Yearly Kos.  He is a hero among this community, and he has a lot of support here.  In fact, he proved it with a very well-received appearance at the Lurker’s Caucus.

One of the people attending the caucus was Charlie Brown.  He was there to do what a great many political candidates came to the convention to do — speak to people, press the flesh, make them aware of his campaign and expand awareness.  I was taking a seemingly arbitrary route around the room in calling on people to talk about themselves, and Charlie was one of the first people I called on.

Obviously there was a great interest in him, and there was a lively give and take between the attendants and The Colonel for about 15 minutes.  He cheerfully answered questions and gave us all a good measure of him.

Now, there are a couple of things here that make this moment extraordinary to me.  First of all, the odds were very slight that there were any people in this caucus who were from his home district.  And this was the Lurkers Caucus, a group whose only unifying distinction is that they don’t blog!! But here was Charlie, in a convention filled with bloggers, talking to the very people least likely to blog his appearance. (Yes, I’m blogging it now, but he didn’t know I was going to be there…)

Secondly, after he spoke, we still had about 50 minutes of the caucus and we had resumed moving around the room, giving people opportunities to express themselves.  Now, I know that Charlie was not there to share his lurking experiences.  He was there to campaign.  I fully expected him, and would not have blamed him in the least, to quietly slip out of the room in search of more campaigning opportunities at the convention.  In fact, that’s part of the reason I kind of steered the circuit of speakers to allow him to speak early.  But Charlie stayed for the entire session, listening to people explain why they don’t blog!

It was indicative of the respect Brown has shown for this entire community, from top to bottom, and it’s what’s going to make him a great Congressman from the 4th District.  This is one of the top races in the country from the perspective of the netroots.

3) Debbie Cook (CA-46) – I think Debbie Cook, Annette Taddeo and Alan Grayson were among the most well-received newcomers at the event.  Cook’s passion for environmental and energy issues matched up perfectly with the overriding concerns of the entire conference, which helped a lot.  At the Energy Panel she sat on, along with Alaska Senate candidate Mark Begich and Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley, people in the room told me she was the most impressive.  And Talking Points Memo was similarly taken with Mayor Cook, as can be seen in this interview for the popular site.

Cook switched her flight so she could make the Netroots candidate event on Friday night.  I think she served her candidacy a great deal through this appearance, and considering that in-district donations to her campaign passed 70% in Q2, she has a lot of potential to raise her national profile online.

4) Rocky Delgadillo, LA City Attorney – Delgadillo, who lost to Jerry Brown in a primary for the Attorney General in 2006, appeared on a health care panel that I thought was the most interesting of the entire conference.  I’m going to do a larger story on it, but Delgadillo’s work in this area, rooting out corruption and illegal acitivity among health insurers, was justly recognized.  I didn’t see him walking around the conference.  Here’s a great diary from nyceve at Daily Kos about his efforts.

5) Mike Lumpkin (CA-52) – Calitics actually held an extended breakfast conversation with Lumpkin, running in the open seat created by Duncan Hunter’s retirement.  Here’s a pic:

That’s me, my subpar breakfast, Brian, Mike Lumpkin, and Lucas.  Photo by Matt Lockshin.

I thought Lumpkin was pretty good.  He’s a former Navy SEAL with 20 years of experience in counterinsurgency and command techniques, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  Notably, his plan for Iraq includes a total withdrawal of all forces, leaving no residual troops.  He tends to frame most of the issues in terms of national security, which I guess is to be expected, and he talked about securing the border as well as energy security as two of his major issues on the campaign trail.  Duncan Hunter’s son, also named Duncan Hunter, is his opponent, and in the primary polls revealed that a substantial portion of voters thought they were casting a ballot for the incumbent, so this is not really an open seat in the traditional sense.  Still, this is a race to watch, and I appreciated Lumpkin taking the time to talk with us.

6) Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor – Mayor Newsom walked around the hall on Saturday, showed up at our Calitics/Alternet Books party, and introduced Van Jones on Sunday morning.  Joe Garifoli has a little interview on why he attended:

Newsom is no stranger to online communication. He’s been regularly courting Bay Area bloggers for stories that the uh, ahem, other news poohbahs in town aren’t into. Just this week, he chatted up the city’s wind power project with a handful of local and statewide bloggers. He’s a Daily Kos and Huffington Post regular reader and occasional poster, and he copped to following threads around Facebook. “I really don’t have time to be on there,” he said of the social networking time suck.

“I’m not a convert, I’m one who recognizes the power and extraordinary influence the netroots have. Not just with politics, but it’s about a different interactions with people.” He went to Austin because “I wanted to understand more fully the intensity behind those names. We actually met ‘Bill in Portland Maine.'”

Clearly Newsom was there to build a profile for a statewide run for governor, and I thought that was generally successful.  There seemed to be a buzz around his visit as he walked the halls, and the crowd was receptive to his Sunday morning message, which focused on the environment.  Some were skeptical of the message, and I hope he clarifies his position, but when I spoke with him, I found him very willing to engage on the issues.  I asked about prison policy, one of my hobby horses, and while he wasn’t fully informed on the topic, he expressed a need to drill down and asked me personally to provide him with whatever information I could muster.  You bet I’ll do so, and I respect anyone in politics willing to have a two-way conversation.

7) Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House – You may recall she had a little discussion with some dude on Saturday morning.  That’s been well-covered elsewhere.  Speaking to Pelosi’s staffers, I can tell you that she enjoyed the back and forth and expected MORE of a grilling, which may have been a fault of the organization or the perhaps too-respectful commenters themselves.

8) Russ Warner (CA-26) – This was Russ’ second Netroots Nation, and he did his best to focus on meeting as many people as possible.  I did tend to see him and his campaign staff just about everywhere.  He delivered his passionate message about his son, who was in attendance, at the Netroots candidate event as well.

9) Steve Young (CA-48) – Steve is running for Congress but he’s also a member of the community, and during the California caucus he was as active as anyone in participating in the discussion.  The numbers he’s been showing around on his race suggest there is a real chance here, and I hope he got a lot out of the event.

One half of one day in Austin

The bulk of the Calitics crew has found its way to Austin now (just waiting on Robert still), and California is out in full force throughout the convention. Aside from the editors, Dante Atkins and Todd Beeton are running around as well as frequent guest of the front page Paul Hogarth. Just returned from Howard Dean’s launch of the national Register For Change bus tour geared towards registering new voters. Californians were all over the place there.

Charlie Brown was specifically mentioned a few times in Gov. Dean’s speech. Debbie Cook was in attendance. California blogosphere alums like Matt Lockshin and Matt Ortega were moving through the crowd. Big name Californians who sometimes forget about us like Markos, George Lakoff, and Gina Cooper were working around the edges. Earlier today I ran into Steve Young in the hall, hung out with orangeclouds115 last night, and sat next to kid oakland (and Matt Lockshin) on the flight to Austin yesterday. Most of the Courage Campaign folks are here (myself, Juls and Eden), Bob Brigham is on his way. I’ve met Calitics lurkers and occasional commenters like tilthouse and reconnected with cmanaster. There’s more to come with (for example) Mike Lumpkin due to stop in for the California caucus this afternoon (among others) and hosting a breakfast tomorrow morning.

What’s really striking about all this is to note how many strong voices, incredible minds and game-changing candidates we have in California. Last year at the California Caucus we discussed the role of California as a national leader and incubator for positive change. Looking around Netroots Nation already I’m reminded of just how true that is and how potent California’s brain trust is. For those who are here and for those who are reading I’ll ask- how do we do a better job of fostering and harnessing all this?

California Caucus at Netroots Nation- CONFIRMED

UPDATE: We’re going to be caucusing from 3-4:15 in room 18B.  It’ll be free-form, so bring your own topics and get ready to connect!  From the budget to CDP reform to our chances for a 2/3 majority in the legislature and pickups in the House, there’s a lot to discuss.  We’re also in the Netroots Nation agenda now.  Please come by.

[UPDATE by Lucas] – We’ve got a number of special guests lined up now, but if you’re reading this (even though it’s NN), it might be too late to do anything about it.

[UPDATE: by Dave] – Mad props to Tracy Russo, online diva, who has helped confirm us in this spot.  So tomorrow at 3, be there for the California caucus.  Place to be determined, but check the online agenda, as it will shortly register up there.

For all of you who will be in Austin tomorrow for Netroots Nation, we’re going to attempt to pull together a California caucus for Thursday afternoon, probably in the 3-4:15pm slot. I’ll be posting info on “The Wall” outside 17A&B first thing Thursday morning (which means 9am), so be sure to check in for the finalized details (3pm slot is not set in stone and we need to find a room). Also, there’s a whole mess of Californians who aren’t likely to be checking in on this post (especially this late), so spread the word as you filter in to Austin and help pull together a great turnout.

Last year’s California caucus was a great opportunity to hear from Congressional candidates (We have Mike Lumpkin, Debbie Cook, Charlie Brown, Russ Warner, and Steve Young attending NN at various points this year [I might be forgetting some]) discuss California’s role as an incubator of national ideas (marriage equality is a great example this year), and discuss ways to better tie state and local politics to national activism.

This one is coming together last minute, so spreading the word will really drive how effective this can be. Hope to see everyone there!

UPDATE: Just to remind everyone, on Saturday night Calitics is one of the many hosts of the Alternet Book Party.  I’ve confirmed today that Mayor Gavin Newsom will be joining us at the event to hang out, so it should be fun.  Visit this link for more information.

GOOD Congressional challengers on FISA: The List

(originally posted at Daily Kos)

In the last couple days, there have been several posts across the blogosphere citing what various candidates running for Congress have said on FISA and retroactive immunity for the telecoms.  But so far, it’s been all over the map.  I’ve tried to corral all their statements into my diary on Daily Kos, so you can see who the “good guys” are.

First, let’s start off with the current House and Senate members who voted against this bill.  They do deserve credit, as it’s their jobs on the line.

Below the fold, I’ve modified the original diary to list just the California Democratic challengers running who are standing up for the Constitution, and are against this FISA bill and retroactive immunity.

Update: Found a relevant passage from Bill Hedrick’s website.

Update II: Bill Durston responds!  (see comments)

Now, not all of these statements were made this past week.  Some came from 2007, and others came around February when this issue was last up in the air.  But hey, they’re on record.  So here goes, alphabetically by district.  If you know of a candidate who HAS spoken out against retroactive immunity and the FISA bill, please let me know in the comments, and please include the link where we can read their statement, and I’ll update the diary accordingly.

House candidates

CA-04: Charlie Brown (seriously, read his entire diary, it’s excellent)

I flew missions that monitored electronic communications around the world-often with Soviet MIGs flying off my wing and hoping I’d make a wrong turn.  Our standing order was “if you even suspect you are collecting data on an American citizen, you are to cease immediately, flag the tape, and bring it to a supervisor.”  We knew failure to comply would yield serious consequences-the kind that can end your career, or worse, land you in jail.

In short, professional, accurate intelligence collection guidelines were used to protect America “from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” without also undermining the very freedoms we were protecting.


But this debate isn’t just about security; it’s about accountability. As an officer who was both involved in these programs and held personally accountable for my actions in the name of defending America, I have a problem with giving a few well-connected, well-healed companies who knowingly usurp the law a free pass.


And when I see companies acting “in the interest of national security” held to a lower standard of accountability than the dedicated professionals charged with our nation’s defense, silence is not an option.

And to those few companies seeking immunity for breaking the law despite the best of intentions—might I offer a few comforting words on behalf of all who serve, and all who have borne the responsibilities of safeguarding our great nation…freedom isn’t free.

CA-26: Russ Warner

Going back to FISA, we need to protect our Constitutional rights while keeping the American people safe. These are not mutually exclusive.

Russ Warner: FISA expansion of power so Bush can spy on Americans without warrants (with acquiescence of Congress): Yay or nay?


CA-44: Bill Hedrick

Members of Congress take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.  So do members of the Executive and Judiciary Branches. Unlike the Bush Administration, however, I will do all in my power to uphold and defend the Constitution, particularly regarding the protections and inalienable rights of all humanity it guarantees to the American people.

We live in an unsafe world. We need to ensure we take all necessary and legal steps to safeguard our country and its citizens. Our Constitution provides for checks and balances against government intrusiveness infringing upon fundamental rights of speech, religion, privacy, unlawful search and seizure, etc. It is ironic that the most efficient way to ensure perfect safety is by discarding these fundamental rights. In fact, some of the most repressive governments today (North Korea, anyone?) rule over some of the safest countries – at least when it comes to walking the streets at night.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has ignored the Constitutions checks and balances. Instead it has created its own Rule of Law. The Bush Administration has suspended habeas corpus, sanctioned torture and illegal spying on Americans and created an extralegal detention center in Guantanamo. This arrogance continues even though the American people and many of our leading jurists and representatives have stated they want our Constitution followed in the manner envisioned by our Founding Fathers and confirmed by all subsequent administrations except the current one.

In the past the United States has ensured that those persons on its soil or under its jurisdiction or power are treated with the same dignity and respect as American citizens. This is based on that marvelous statement in the Declaration of Independence, [w]e hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.  These inalienable rights are not limited to one gender, one party or one nationality. While we cannot always influence other governments to respect these rights we can guarantee them whenever they involve those on our soil or under our jurisdiction or power.

Therefore, it is ironic that the Bush Administration, which denounces the human rights record of the Cuban government, echoes that record by claiming the Guantanamo detainees are not subject to American due process in legal proceedings precisely because they are housed in Cuba even though they are under American jurisdiction and power. How long will it be before the current infringement of inalienable rights on our own soil, which now consists of illegal spying on Americans, escalates to suspension of Habeas Corpus or even torture against Americans?

No one not the President, not the Vice President, not members of the Cabinet is above the law, nor should any governmental branch be allowed to discard Constitutional guarantees. When I become your congressional representative I will do more than merely recite my constitutional oath of office as a rite of passage. I will act upon that oath and support and defend the Constitution. I will act to restore the constitutional balance between inalienable rights and safety. As Americans we will be free . . . we will be safe . . . and we will not participate in violations of those inalienable rights guaranteed to all by our Constitution.

CA-46: Debbie Cook

Our nation was founded on a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, the checks and balances in the Constitution and the freedoms Americans hold dear have been slowly eroding. Finally, last week the Supreme Court drew a line in the sand and restored habeas corpus, one of the Constitution’s most basic and essential protections against government abuse.

Some in Congress wish to eliminate another essential freedom by allowing the government to spy on its citizens without a warrant and giving lawbreakers who do so immunity from prosecution. Our founding fathers would be outraged at the bargaining away of the Bill of Rights.

You don’t fight terrorism abroad by taking away at our freedoms at home.

CA-48: Steve Young

We now know George Bush’s wiretapping program is not a narrow examination of calls made to and from suspected terrorist suspects —  unless you believe that you and I are terrorists.  I am worried and angry that the National Security Agency (NSA) has secretly purchased from the three largest telecommunications companies in the country, telephone records on tens of millions of Americans.   On December 17, 2005, President Bush said he authorized the program, “to intercept the international communication of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.  Then on January 23, 2006, after concerns were expressed that the NSA tapped into telecommunications arteries, Gen. Michael Hayden, then NSA chief, now CIA nominee, asserted his organization engages in surveillance if there is a “reasonable” basis for eavesdropping.

George Bush asks us to believe the NSA is not listening to phone conversations.  Does that comfort you?  Anyone with experience in data management knows the government now has the information necessary to cross-reference phone numbers, with available databases that link names and numbers to compile a substantial dossier on every American.  Evidently, Bush now sees the enemy, and it is us.

I will insist on national security — we all must — but we must also insist that America is a land of laws.  No one is above the law.  If the law is a circumstantial inconvenience for President Bush, the law will soon be irrelevant to the ordinary American.   Bush repeatedly asserts that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — which established a special court to confidentially review and authorize sensitive surveillance requests — does not apply to his surveillance program, so George Bush bypasses the court.

When you elect me to Congress, I will sponsor and pass legislation to remove any doubt that warrantless spying on ordinary Americans is illegal.  We must do what is right, let the consequences follow.

CA-50: Nick Leibham

What’s much MUCH more disconcerting to me is the entire FISA bill…As somebody who has been a prosecutor and dealt with the 4th Amendment, I can tell you that this happened to have been the one amendment in the Bill of Rights that all the Founding Fathers could agree upon; that in order for the government intrusion there had to be probable cause signed off on by an independent magistrate that says you may have committed a crime. I find the entire FISA process to be constitutionally dubious. That doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be made constitutionally valid but I think that anytime you have wiretaps involved…that deals with an American citizen, you’ve gotta have a court sign off on it.  The only question in my mind is whether or not that has to be done prior to there warrant being executed or whether or not there is some grace period.  There is no doubt in my mind that the executive branch itself cannot act as both overseer and executioner (of warrants or wiretaps). That, I think, is constitutionally impermissible; I think it’s a violation of the judiciary’s proper role of interpreting laws.

As a former prosecutor [and] law clerk in the US Attorney’s office in the Major Frauds and Economic Crimes section…I’ve never heard of anybody being given immunity when you don’t know what they’ve done. It’s not how the immunity process works.  You don’t say to somebody ‘Whatever you’ve done, don’t worry about it.’…It’s unthinkable to me as a lawyer and as somebody who will have…sworn to uphold the Constitution that I could ever support that.

CA-52: Mike Lumpkin

FISA should never have been expanded. The government’s ability to spy was extensive enough already. The government is failing us in so many ways right now, this can just be added to the list. I want a safe, secure country. I have lived my life trying to secure exactly that. Frankly, the reason I joined the service was to defend my country’s beautiful liberties and secure them for future generations of Americans. Some attribute the following quote to Benjamin Franklin “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” No one can express the ideology of our democracy better than one of the founders.

As far as telecommunications immunity, my understanding is that legal culpability is determined in context. It is quite a thing to have the power of the executive branch of the government pointed in your direction making demands. Lack of courage to say “no” under such circumstances is no surprise. I think courts are well equipped to unravel this type of legal factual minutia and get to a just result. Immunity from the law is something to be dolled out sparingly.

Then there’s those whose names have been bandied about the blogosphere that we’d like to think they’d be opposed to Bush taking away the Fourth Amendment, but where I cannot find a single statement from them about this specific issue.  Much help would be appreciated in figuring out exactly where they stand on FISA.

CA-03: Bill Durston (see update)

CA-24: Marta Jorgensen

CA-41: Tim Prince

CA-42: Ed Chau

CA-45: Julie Borenstein

Did I forget anyone?