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With a bit over two weeks to go until the midterms -- that's calendar time, not Trump Distortion Field time -- there's one more dang data-driven campaign project to give some thought to: How about flipping eight state legislatures from red to blue? The nerds at Data For Progress have picked out eight state legislature races they think could be key to switching an entire legislative body to a Democratic majority, and bundled the bunch together into a single ActBlue donation campaign (the suggested donation is 80 bucks, because ten bucks per seat, but you can also give less or more, and even divide up your donation how you choose). Since 2000, rightwing billionaires like the Kochs and the Mercers have turned state legislatures into laboratories of Bad Ideas, so hey, let's try to get the most bang for the buck and concentrate money on seats that could well make all the difference in the targeted states!


Data For Progree co-founder Sean McElwee, who helped popularize "Abolish ICE" (catch this fine Chris Hayes interview with him), explained to The Intercept how the eight races were picked:

To settle on which eight races to highlight, McElwee said, Data for Progress first winnowed the state legislatures down to the ones that could have the most impact nationally. Control of state government allows a party not just to pass legislation, but also to draw districts and write voting rules that can affect who turns out. It's a lever that Republicans have been pulling for years, and that Democrats have largely avoided focusing on.

Republicans currently control each of the eight chambers being targeted, and each represents an opportunity to uncork progressive legislation or push back on conservative assaults. Flipping the state Senate in Colorado, for instance, would give the party unified control of the government, as long as Democratic nominee Jared Polis is elected governor.

Then the group tried to determine which single race in each state was most likely to tip the chamber blue; in some states where there were ties, they went with the Dem running against the most loathsome Republican, which is why they included Wade Carlisle, a Democrat running for the Arizona Senate seat currently held by Sylvia Allen, the creationist weirdo who chairs the Education Committee, believes uranium is good for you (it hasn't hurt any animals in the 6,000 years the planet has been around), and who in 2014 introduced a bill to protect jail and prison guards accused of "misconduct" with female prisoners, because she just cared that much about due process. And maybe because her son-in-law, a former jail guard, was shitcanned for sexual misconduct toward several female prisoners. Heck of a tie-breaker! Good luck, Wade Carlisle!

In addition to Carlisle in Arizona, the fundraiser will help Kristin Bahner, who's running for the Minnesota House, as well as

Janet Cruz, a Florida Senate candidate; Nancy Fett, an Iowa House candidate; James Gaughran, a New York Senate candidate; Alberta Griffin, a Michigan House candidate; Julie Henszey, a Wisconsin Senate candidate; and Tammy Story, a Colorado Senate candidate.

The funding drive has already helped Bahner exceed her modest fundraising goal of $42,000, and now her campaign is looking at some exciting last-minute expenditures, like

hiring not one, but five canvassers and putting out digital ads. It's also considering whether there's enough time before the election to send a piece of mail around the district, and there's even talk of a radio ad.

Not bad for a campaign that had been worrying it wouldn't be able to scrape together enough for a single canvasser.

The money isn't only helping state candidates get ads and airtime and staff. It's also giving them a shot of the ol' drive and optimism, as this anecdote from Kristin Bahner illustrates. She was out knocking on Dems' doors in the district where she's running, and saw a man mowing his lawn. He wasn't on her list, but hey, Meet The Voters, so she went over to ask for his vote. Things got stupid quickly:

He shut her down immediately, saying that if she wasn't a Republican, he didn't want to hear from her.

Bahner has had success persuading Republicans to support her, she said, so she asked if he would just be willing to hear her out.

"Nope, you got two strikes against ya," he told her.

"Yeah, what is that?" Bahner said she asked him.

"Have you looked in the mirror lately? First, you're a Democrat, and second, you're a woman, and there ain't no fixin' that," the man told her.

She had already been exhausted, she said, but the exchange, in a way that surprised her, gave her a boost of new energy. "As I walked away, I was sort of angry, sort of in shock, that somebody would so blatantly say that, in this day and age, to me. But, you know, with every step, the angrier I got, the more fired up I got. I'm ready to go send that man a thank-you note," she said. "Instead of giving up, I listened to what that man said and it fired me up. I said, 'This is why we need somebody to fight for the little guy.'"

Then a couple days later, she checked her ActBlue account and saw she'd received a buttload of money from all over the country, and by golly she has some ideas about how to use it.

So hey, go make somebody's day and help flip a state legislature blue, will ya? You might even help make life better for people in eight states -- our side has WAY better ideas than ALEC.

[The Intercept / Data For Progress / Give Smart campaign on ActBlue]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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