MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The 2012 campaign season is heating up and Democrats will be defending 21 Senate seats in 2012 compared to the Republicans 10. Democrats hold a slim 51-47 majority in the Senate and there is a very real possibility that Republicans can take the Senate in 2012. Bay Area Democrats is working hard to build a network of funding and support in the Bay Area for many Democrats across the country who are up for reelection.
BAD offers excellent opportunities to engage with our nation’s leaders and join the dialogue on local and national political issues. If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage you to join our effort to make 2012 a banner year for Democratic leadership and will consider joining BAD today.
If you have any questions as to how you can get involved, please give us a call at (415) 692-3556. Also, please be sure to visit us on Facebook. Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you at an event very soon.
Executive Director, Bay Area Democrats
381 Bush St., Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94104
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH WITH FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
Bay Area Democrats members had the opportunity to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama on June 14, at two different events. Members started the day off in Berkeley with a breakfast prepared by the staff of famed Bay Area chef Alice Waters, followed by a lunch reception with the First Lady at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco, with over 200 people in attendance at each event. Several prominent Bay Area leaders were in attendance including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and several members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The topics touched upon in the First Lady’s speeches included the upcoming challenges of the 2012 Presidential campaign, as well as her own endeavors, such as reducing childhood obesity. They were both great events, and wonderful opportunities to meet the First Lady and show support for President Obama.
SENATE SPOTLIGHT: SENATOR BILL NELSON
Incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is running for re-election in 2012 and the race is shaping up to be one of the more interesting campaigns of the cycle. Having served in the Senate since 2001, Nelson now faces a deep field of potential Republican challengers. While the Republican primary has not yet decided who will face Nelson in the general election, former Senator George LeMieux, State Senator Mike Haridopolos, and Congressman Connie Mack IV are considered to be the frontrunners. This election is considered to be very important nationally, as the success of Nelson’s campaign has been linked to the success of President Obama’s re-election success by political analysts. With regard to policy issues, Senator Nelson has been an advocate of several progressive principles that are currently under attack by Republicans nationwide. He has been a supporter of a Medicare prescription drug benefit to lower medicine costs for patients, as well as being an outspoken opponent of the kind of offshore oil drilling that caused the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010.
While political analysts such as the Cook Political Report rate Senator Nelson as being less vulnerable than other Democratic Senators this coming cycle, it is hard to ignore Florida’s history of electing extremely conservative candidates while evaluating this race. Furthermore, with Florida being such a crucial state in President Obama’s bid for re-election this race should be of particular interest to Democrats nationwide.
DINNER WITH SENATORS FRANKEN AND BENNET
On Thursday, June 2, Senators Franken and Bennet were hosted by Bay Area Democrat Board Member Sandy Robertson. Senator Franken talked about the importance of education, the reckless approach Senate Republicans are taking with the debt ceiling and American energy independence. Senator Bennet talked about the importance of improving the American education system as a path to future economic prosperity through innovation and his extensive work on the Health, Education, Labor, & Pension Committee in the Senate.
DINNER WITH SENATOR JOE MANCHIN
On Sunday, June 12, members of Bay Area Democrats hosted Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The conversation with Senator Manchin focused heavily on renewable energy and how the GOP is targeting Senator Manchin’s seat as a path to taking back the Senate. Polls show Senator Manchin with a strong approval rating in his state, and a slim lead against potential Republican challengers, but expect this race to heat up as the GOP begins to invest a tremendous amount of resources in West Virginia.
ENDING MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT
The Republicans led by Congressman Paul Ryan are in a relentless pursuit to end Medicare as we know it. Congressman Ryan’s plan, which has already passed by the House of Representatives in April would end guaranteed health care benefits for seniors and instead give them a voucher to buy their own insurance. The Congressional Budget Office, however predicts that this voucher will be woefully inadequate to cover the cost of health care for seniors and the average out of pocket cost for seniors would more than double to over $12,000, this is more than many senior citizens earn in a year. Furthermore, as health care costs increase the proposed voucher system will not increase at the same rate, meaning that seniors will bear the brunt of the expenses to cover increase in medical care.
This issue has already created a firestorm of voter backlash. Voters specifically rebuked the Republicans’ plan in the special congressional election in New York’s 26th District on May 24 in which Democrat Kathy Hochul won in a very conservative district. The Republican candidate Jane Corwin supported Paul Ryan’s plan, while the winner Kathy Hochul thoroughly opposed it sending a clear message that voters do not want Republicans to end Medicare. Despite the unpopularity of ending Medicare as we know it, Republicans are sticking with the plan, and even Congressman Ryan has stated that, “this is not the time to go wobbly.”
White House officials have stated that ending Medicare is the new litmus test for Republican candidates. Many of the declared Republican Presidential candidates have fervently supported this legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have publicly voiced strong opposition to ending Medicare and have all pledged to defeat the Republicans’ disastrous plan. This issue will not just be important for the 2012 elections, but with both sides digging their heals in, many analysts are predicting that the Republicans’ efforts to end Medicare may be the defining issue in the 2012 campaign.
DISCUSSION WITH CONGRESSMAN CHRIS MURPHY
On Tuesday, May 17, Bay Area Democrats members had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Chris Murphy from Connecticut’s 5th District who is running for Senate in 2012. The meeting was held in San Francisco and members were able to ask Chris about his Senate campaign and what priorities he would address his first day in office. The majority of the discussion centered on Representative Murphy’s plans for clean energy and securing American energy independence. Congressman Murphy is fighting a pretty tight primary race against former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. Public Policy Polling has Congressman Murphy leading in the primary 40% to 38% and the Congressman does marginally better in polls against Republicans in the general election as well. The general consensus amongst most polling firms is that Connecticut is likely a safe Democrat seat.
BREAKFAST WITH CONGRESSMAN MARTIN HEINRICH
On May 19, Bay Area Democrats members enjoyed breakfast with Congressman Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Senate candidate. Congressman Heinrich is currently a member of the House of Representatives proudly serving New Mexico’s First Congressional District. Bay Area Democrats members discussed with Congressman Heinrich his campaign efforts, and the values he would bring to the Senate. With former New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish having entered the race, Congressman Heinrich is preparing for a challenging primary campaign over the next few months. However, Public Policy Polling has Congressman Heinrich polling just over 50% against the leading Republicans in the field.
An Afternoon with Senator John Tester (D-MT)
Date: Saturday, June 25
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Sonoma, CA
For more information on upcoming events, please contact Bay Area Democrats at (415) 692-3556.