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Results tagged “Minnesota” from Blog for Choice

Choice Out Loud All-Stars: Payne McMillan

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Our Choice Out Loud - On Campus representatives have done amazing work to engage the community around the issue of reproductive rights. We asked our graduating class of activists from this academic year to tell us why they decided to become a campus representative, what they accomplished, and what they've learned. Here's the latest post in this series.

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Meet Payne McMillan:

What was your major?
I am an English major at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Why is choice important to you?
Choice is important to me because I believe that pregnancy is personal. It's nobody's business what a woman chooses to do once she is pregnant, but there needs to be structures that support her, regardless of what her decisions are. The ability to be in control of your own reproductive health is a fundamental right, as is all health care.

How did you get involved in the pro-choice movement?
I got involved in the pro-choice movement when I signed up for Students for Reproductive Health and Choice at the St. Olaf College co-curricular fair. Going to the meetings gave me insight into how important the protection of choice is and how opponents have been chipping away at reproductive rights, especially recently. It's important that men are allies and advocates; these issues don't just affect women, but they affect families and the well-being of all people. Now I will be an informed voter that makes sure to elect legislators that protect reproductive rights.

What was your favorite event that you planned as a Campus Representative?
We hosted a Faith and Choice event, where we brought in Rev. Kelli Clement from the Minnesota Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice as a speaker. She addressed how interconnected choice is with other areas of social justice. Her perspective showed that religion and abortion rights don't need to be pitted against each other, which is something most people don't realize.

What is/are the greatest skill or skills that you've learned from being a Campus Representative?
I've learned how to talk about these issues in an informed and respectful manner. I feel that I am well informed and can stand my ground in defending reproductive rights and educating people on the issue.

What is your earliest memory of interacting with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
I went to pro-choice lobby day in the spring of 2013 at the Minnesota Capitol. I also worked with them this fall in putting pressure on the "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC) in the town I live, Northfield.

Out of all the different ways to engage with this issue, why did you choose to engage with NARAL Pro-Choice America?
Through the campus representative program, they already had a presence at St. Olaf, which made it easy to get involved. I like NARAL because it is a powerful, established organization that works efficiently and effectively in not only protecting but expanding reproductive rights.

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Two Percent Is How You Talk About Milk, Not Women

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Last year, Nebraska enacted a far-reaching ban on abortion care. This abortion ban is another example of political intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship, and hurts the woman whose wanted pregnancy experiences heart-breaking complications, such as a fetal anomaly or a cancer diagnosis. In these situations, abortion may be the only way to protect the woman's health or ensure she can have children in the future.

One Nebraska family is speaking out about a tragedy they faced that makes clear just how cruel this law really is: 


Many thanks to Danielle and Robb Deaver for their bravery in sharing this heart-breaking personal story.

Despite the tragic consequences Nebraska's law has for families in that state, lawmakers in at least seven other states are considering copycat bans on abortion care

In Minnesota, anti-choice politicians tried to downplay the effects that their proposed abortion ban would have on everyday people. Anti-choice state Sen. Warren Limmer was particularly dismissive of women who face situations like Danielle Deaver's, noting that their cases make up only two percent of abortions:  

If it's only 2 percent then the other side of the argument really shouldn't have a whole lot to worry about.

Linnea House, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, set the record straight about Sen. Limmer's callous and cavalier attitude toward women's health:

I know that we Minnesotans are proud of our agricultural heritage, but I must remind you that 2 percent is how we talk about milk, not women...

As a woman and as a mother, I do worry. A lot. It's what we do. And when I read about women, and their lives, dismissed in such a way, I worry that you don't understand what is at stake...

So, Senator Limmer, please remember, when you make references to 2 percent of women, you're talking about our sisters, our nieces, our friends, and our neighbors. You could even be talking about ME.

Hear, hear!


I assure you that nothing as extreme that violates that basic fundamental right -- and it is a Constitutional right as established by the United States Supreme Court -- will be enacted with my signature. It will not happen here in Minnesota.

Kudos to Gov. Dayton, Linnea, and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota for fighting to protect women's health and lives in the North Star State. 

And a special mark of shame goes to Sen. Limmer and all the other politicians who believe they are more qualified to make personal decisions than the women and families in a tragic situation. They put an extreme agenda before the needs of women and their families.

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We just love Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). Even when he reminds us that we aren't "Meet The Press" in an article in today's CQ:

Franken also addressed a NARAL Pro-Choice America luncheon on Feb. 2, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. He fired up a crowd of 500 activists at another rally for health care overhaul in Minneapolis on Feb. 21 organized by MoveOn.org, Organizing for America, local labor groups and Health Care for America Now.

But for now, Franken is not prepared to open himself up to all comers by taking questions from reporters in the hallway on the story of the day, be it health care or any other topic. He says he doesn't yet know when he will be ready to do that. But he said he feels he is still working to make sure his colleagues and his constituents know he is not taking his job lightly and that he wants to be a valuable asset in the Senate.

"People had a right to be skeptical, I guess, that here I am in show business and you know, [ask] 'Is Al going to jump in front of the camera or is he going to be focused on the people of Minnesota?'" Franken said. "But the NARAL thing was the NARAL thing. It wasn't 'Meet the Press.'"

We know we aren't "Meet The Press," Sen. Franken... but can we agree that we might be closer to "Washington Week in Review?" (I'm a huge fan of Gwen Ifill's.)

Which reminds me - I never shared our "highlights" video from our Roe v. Wade 37th Anniversary Luncheon, held in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, February 2, 2010... did I? Watch the short video below to see highlights from Sen. Franken's remarks (and the remarks of a few other guests and speakers):

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Rep. Michele Bachmann: Pro-Choice When it Comes to Her Choice

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Elizabeth Shipp is the Political Director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

 

Village idiot, thy name is Michele Bachmann.

MB.jpgOkay, so we've known for some time now that anti-choice Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is...how does one put this delicately...a few bricks short of a load; not the brightest bulb in the box; not the sharpest knife in the drawer...you know...she fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.

In the past she's called for the media to investigate her fellow members of Congress to find out who was anti-American. She's told her constituents that she and her family wouldn't participate in the 2010 Census and encouraged them to do the same -- potentially undercounting her district and therefore, eliminating it during re-districting. She's even compared AmeriCorps to "re-education camps" for young people -- and her son just joined AmeriCorps!

Now comes another Michele Bachmann gem of a quote about health-care reform that made many of us at NARAL Pro-Choice America do a double take because she sounded a lot like...well...us! On Sean Hannity's right-wing rant (oops, inside thoughts appearing on screen -- I meant radio show) earlier this week, here's what Rep. Bachmann said about health care reform:

That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions.

I added the underline emphasis because it's so deliciously hypocritical that I just couldn't help myself. Michele Bachmann is telling people that politicians like herself should not come between a woman and her doctor when it comes to personal, private medical decisions. Hmmm...where have I heard that before? Oh...from pro-choice Americans, you dang moron.

Anti-choice zealot Michele Bachmann...right-wing nut case Michele Bachmann....woman whose recent tele-townhall forum was entitled "Keeping the Faith with the Unborn" ...you...No, seriously...YOU want government to keep their laws off your body and stay out of your health care decisions?!? You're joking, right? Is this the same Michele Bachmann who works hard for her 0 percent rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America because she consistently supports GOVERNMENT and politicians like herself coming between women and their doctors when it comes to reproductive health care?!

If she weren't so crazy, this might be funny. But she is, so it isn't.

Michele Bachman is just another anti-choice politician who wants to have it both ways: keep government and politicians out of our lives, unless THEY are the government and politicians intruding in personal, private decisions. They want to play God with our health care but not with their own.

Come to think of it, didn't Rep. Bachmann recently say that she'd run for president if God called her to do it? Michele...just between us...that's not God calling...that's just us calling you out for being an idiot...again.

Just as we were celebrating Al Franken's victory in Minnesota, we received disturbing news: Anti-choice senators are using health reform to attack reproductive-health care coverage. Millions of women could lose coverage for abortion care - even if their private health insurance already covers it!

Unless we act now, the Senate could ban reproductive-health services from being covered in the new health-care system.

So please join us and expose and stop this anti-choice attack - call on your senator to oppose a ban on reproductive-health care coverage in the health reform bill.

Time is truly tight here. We need you to take action immediately.

After you send your email, please do even more:

  • Forward this blogpost to all your friends.
  • Call your senator. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your senators. When the Senate staff person answers, simply ask to leave this message: "I urge the senator to oppose any attempts to ban reproductive-health services from being covered in the new health-care system."
  • If you have a Facebook or MySpace page or Twitter account, help us get the word out. Repost the link to our action page - http://action.prochoiceamerica.org/site/Advocacy?id=3835&pagename=homepage - and ask your friends to add their name.

As Nancy Keenan said in an alert we sent out today, "Our success -- or failure -- today could affect millions of woman across the country. Don't let this ban take away health-care options so many women already have."

Are you feeling down now that the election excitement has passed? Do you miss the gut-wrenching suspense we experienced before November 4? Well, you're not alone, and the Liberty Lowdown is here to help.

Check out our uplifting (albeit slightly creepy) post-election Liberty Lowdown pick-me-up.

See, don't you feel better as you remember all our fabulous pro-choice victories? This election, we:

-Elected Barack Obama as our next pro-choice prez
-Picked up 20 pro-choice seats in the House and 5 in the Senate
-Made over 635,000 calls
-Defeated another attempted abortion ban in SD
-Sent over a million pieces of mail
-Helped Obama win all the states where NARAL Pro-Choice America volunteers knocked on doors and made calls
-Defeated anti-choice ballot measures in CO and CA

And if that hasn't quite brought you out of your post-election funk, you're in luck! There's still two undecided races: MN and GA.

The recount is still underway for the Franken-Coleman race in MN, so that should keep you on the edge of your seat for a bit.

And tomorrow is the runoff election between pro-choice Jim Martin and anti-Choice Saxby Chambliss for Georgia Senate. So if you live in GA, set the oreos aside and get out to vote for Martin! 

So chin up, all you crazy-for-choicers - sit back and be proud of everything we accomplished this election. Then get right back up and help us reverse eight years of anti-choice policies. We've got a lot of work to do.   

So that leaves Georgia and Minnesota

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Since Begich was declared the winner in the AK Senate race, and Stevens released his concession statement, the only two U.S. Senate races we're waiting to hear about are those in Georgia and Minnesota.

Today's update comes from Hotline's Last Call:

• The RNC has transferred $2M earmarked for the GA SEN runoff to the NRSC, which was $4M in debt after Election Day (The Hill). And Rudy Giuliani will hold a fundraiser for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on 11/25 ("Political Insider").

• A judge granted MN SEN challenger Al Franken's (D) request for the "rosters of disqualified absentee voters," though "a key elections board" has yet to rule on whether any wrongly rejected ballots can be counted (AP).

and from MSNBC's First Read:

*** Don't (re)-count your chickens before they hatch: That, of course, brings us to Minnesota, where the recount in the Coleman-Franken race begins today. Coleman declared victory Tuesday with the certification of the initial results. But law mandates a recount, so nothing is in stone. The reason why Coleman is trying to look the part of the winner is to call into question any lead taken by Franken in the recount. Of course, that PR strategy didn't work for Dino Rossi during the controversial recount in Washington State in 2004. Also consider this: We're going to know the outcome in Georgia (December 2) before the one in Minnesota (mid-December). Go figure. By the way, Bill Clinton stumps in Georgia today for Jim Martin.

Finally, the Associated Press had a story today which talked about groups that are working to elect (pro-choice) Jim Martin:

Ask Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss or Democratic challenger Jim Martin about all the national attention their U.S. Senate runoff is attracting and they say that Georgians will ultimately decide the contest.

But that hasn't stopped the outside dollars from rolling in to try to have some sway.

Campaign finance records show that in the two weeks since Election Day groups from NARAL-Pro Choice America to the National Cotton Council have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Georgia race.

And that doesn't count the $1.4 million the national parties in Washington have so far poured into the state to flood the airwaves with blistering runoff attack ads.

Chambliss and Martin are each raking in donations for the Dec. 2 runoff. The hotly contested race could end up being among Georgia's most expensive. New financial filings from the candidate are due later this week...

NARAL-Pro Choice America spent close to $20,000 on printing and telemarketing opposing Chambliss.

Your Daily AK, GA and MN Senate race update

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Again, via the First Read team:

*** The remaining races: In Alaska, election workers will count approximately 24,000 ballots today, which could give us a clearer picture in a race where challenger Mark Begich (D) currently leads incumbent Sen. Ted Stevens by 1,022 votes. After today, overseas ballots will remain to be counted, and the process, according to the Anchorage Daily News, will last through the week of December 1... In Georgia, early voting began yesterday for the Chambliss-Martin Senate run-off, and there were reports of some lines (the turnout of the youth and black vote in this runoff, by the way, will be the ultimate test of Obama's base; have they become permanently engaged in the overall political process or only engaged in Obama individually?)... And in Minnesota, the five-member state canvassing board meets today to officially certify the original results in the Coleman-Franken race, with the manual recount beginning tomorrow. 
 
Countdown to Georgia Senate run-off: 14 days
Countdown to Electoral Vote Count: 51 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 63 days

The AFL-CIO is also making news with their game-plan for GA (via Hotline On Call with a h/t to Jonathan Martin):

A union spokesman argues that In a low-turnout election, the union vote looms large. There are about 325K union voters in GA.

The AFL-CIO's GA game plan:

-- Deliver 550,000 worksite flyers
-- Make 600,000 phone calls
-- Send 610,000 pieces union mail
-- Knock on 225,000 doors

This should really help Jim Martin.

How long again to Inauguration Day, 2009? 63 days!

Update on AK, GA and MN U.S. Senate Races

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Via MSNBC's First Read:

ALASKA: Per the Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is in grave danger of losing re-election after Mark Begich widened his lead to 1,022 votes Friday. More than 90 percent of the votes are now counted, and Friday's count of absentee and questioned ballots could have been Stevens' best chance to make a comeback. That's because it included all the ballots left from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where Stevens has enjoyed his most unwavering support." 

"There are about 24,000 ballots left to be counted, coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. The state will tally them all Tuesday." 

GEORGIA: "Georgia supporters of the fair tax turned out en masse Sunday to cheer the idea of a national sales tax, which has become a thorny issue in the state's high-profile Dec. 2 U.S. Senate runoff. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won Georgia's GOP presidential primary in February, joined about 2,000 people Sunday afternoon at the Gwinnett Civic Center in what became not just fair-tax rally, but a major campaign stop for Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie. Chambliss backs the fair tax, which would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and replace the federal income tax and most other federal taxes. Democratic challenger Jim Martin of Atlanta opposes it." 

According to the Martin campaign, Bill Clinton will rally for Martin in Atlanta on Wednesday.

MINNESOTA: "Although he doesn't have a seat, Al Franken will have the floor Tuesday when he meets with Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "Franken, who is locked in a mandatory recount of the Nov. 4 balloting with Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, will update Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others on the recount process, said his spokeswoman, Colleen Murray. The Senate leaders and the candidate also will talk about upcoming legislation, she said. 'If he should win this election, it would be irresponsible for him not to get ready to take office,' she said. 'Minnesota deserves a senator who is ready to take office on Day One.'"

"Franken, who was last in Washington in September, will skip a scheduled orientation for new senators also scheduled for this week. Attending that, Murray said, would be 'presumptuous.'Coleman's communications director, Mark Drake, upped that ante, calling it 'highly presumptuous for Mr. Franken to undertake such a visit when his real purpose appears to be fundraising and gaining partisan advantage from non-Minnesotans.'"

It probably goes without saying, but Begich, Martin and Franken are all NARAL Pro-Choice America-endorsed candidates which means they are fully pro-choice and you should help them in any way you can... blog about their races, donate, volunteer or talk to friends and family that live in the states of Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota.

Updates on MN and AK Senate races

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For those of you that can't quite let go of election-madness 2008, I give you the following Minnesota and Alaska updates, courtesy of First Read:

*** The remaining races: Today, we might have a better sense of the outcome in the Alaska Senate race, when the state's Elections division expects to count most of the outstanding 90,000 early, absentee ballots or questioned ballots. Ted Stevens (R) currently holds a 3,257-vote lead over Mark Begich (D)... In Georgia, it's being reported that McCain will stump for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) on Thursday... And in Minnesota today, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie holds a press conference to provide additional details of the recount in the unresolved Coleman-Franken Senate race.


*** More on Minnesota: The Republicans may be struggling how to deal with rebuilding their brand, settling the Georgia Senate run-off, or dealing with the Ted Stevens situation. But the party -- both in Minnesota and nationally -- seems to have quickly settled on a strategy to deal with the Minnesota recount. The party apparatus seems to be in sync in labeling the recount and the recanvass as somehow a questionable process. Using the fact that Franken picked up so many votes during the recanvass, the GOP talking point appears to be to question the recanvass and use that to issue a cloud over the recount process. Bottom line: It appears we're quickly heading to a situation where neither side is going to believe the final result of the recount.

Madia Momentum

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The Huffington Post has a story up today proclaiming, "Democrats Set To Win 20 Or More Seats In The House." Guess who had a race that was profiled as one where an Independent (who voted Republican in the past) was now voting for the Democrat? Ashwin Madia, woot woot:

Liebo, a self-described independent who doesn't much like what he calls the "far-right" drift of the GOP, over the past two decades has voted to return Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad to the House from Minnesota's 3rd District. He viewed his nine-term congressman as a "middle-of-the-roader" who worked "for everyone's benefit" in his suburban territory west of the Minneapolis-St. Paul.

But with Ramstad retiring, Liebo, 78, says this year is different. He's now leaning toward supporting the Democrat, Ashwin Madia, to succeed him.

"These open seats are the critical battleground," Ohio political scientist John C. Green said. They are, he added, "the difference between (Democrats) having a modest success and a great success."

Republicans are defending nearly five times the number of open seats than Democrats are protecting. These seats generally are considered much more vulnerable to takeover by the other party than those where incumbents are seeking re-election, because the candidates lack the powers of a sitting lawmaker, such as name recognition, money, and the kind of reputation and rapport with voters that Liebo described with Ramstad.

...In the Minnesota race, Democrat Madia "seems to be more liberal than the other one," Liebo said, referring to Erik Paulsen, the Republican candidate. Liebo also said he identifies with Madia more because both are former Marines. But more than anything, Liebo can't wait for a clean break from Bush and his policies. "I just want all those bad people to go away," he says.

Yes, yes, horray, kudos and all that to Madia (and the other pro-choice candidates), but I urge you to remain cautious and continue to volunteer, donate, and help out the Madia campaign in any way you can... as though he's ten points down. That way we can ensure we're doing absolutely everything we must do to elect our pro-choice candidates!

It's as Zack Stephenson over at MNPublius says:

But let's not get cocky. As Matt reported yesterday, Republicans are spending $1 million in a last minute attempt to defeat Ash. Don't let this seat slip out of our fingers. Donate today.

I know I always like to know what Chris Cillizza thinks, so I was pleased to see that he named Madia the "slight favorite" in the battle for MN-03:

Democrat Ashwin Madia appears to have edged ahead of state Sen. Erik Paulsen (R) in this race in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. In a neutral year, Paulsen would likely win. But Madia's grassroots campaign, his service in Iraq and the strong year shaping up for Democrats in the state make him a slight favorite.

Well, I'm pleased to report that pro-choice America is on the case to help bring change to Minnesota!

You can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Madia/Paulson race. For more ways to get involved with choice in Minnesota, please visit our fantastic affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. They have a voter guide you can access here.

Well shoot. That concludes Ashwin Madia week on Blog for Choice. I hope you've enjoyed it! Check out NARAL Pro-Choice America's endorsements page to see who else we've endorsed, and stay tuned for next week when highlight a slew of must-watch races!

Well what have we here? The Cook Report is, um, reporting that MN-03, the open seat where the fabulous Ashwin Madia is running, has moved from "toss up" to "lean Democratic." This is excellent news, and furthers the momentum Madia is no doubt feeling after last night's debate:

Overall, I thought all three candidates got their point across -- Paulsen, that Congress has low approval ratings and he wants to fix it; Madia, that we need fundamental change in our economic policies; and Dillon, that he doesn't have the institutional backing that either of his opponents has, but he still knows a bit about the issues.

Fundamentally, I don't think anything said or done tonight changes the nature of the race. Madia is outworking Paulsen on the ground and holds his own in debates against a guy who has legislative experience to bring to bear on the race but seems to have been waiting for "his chance" at this seat.

You can read more about last night's debate here, here and here.

But, back to the Cook Political Report.

MN-03 OPEN (Ramstad) Toss Up to Lean Democratic

Democrats say Iraq veteran and attorney Ashwin Madia whipped his campaign into shape over the summer and is in good position to capitalize on the rotten political climate for Republicans in Minnesota. Republicans began the cycle wishing they could clone state Rep. Erik Paulsen and run him in just about every suburban open seat in the country, but no matter how adroit a candidate he is, it may not matter this year.

Private polling shows Madia with a small lead under 50 percent, but Minnesota politicos note Madia may not need to get to 50 percent to beat Paulsen. Independence Party candidate David Dillon may be able to ride former Sen. Dean Barkley's Senate race coattails to a substantial share of the vote. Time is running out for Paulsen to make his move.

This is kind of a big deal. House Editor David Wasserman continues to write:

At this point, the choice Republican strategists face is not whether to play offense or defense, but rather where it's still worth playing defense. All the signs of another big "wave" election are apparent, and our current outlook is a gain of 23 to 28 seats for House Democrats.

I love news like this, but I have to say, it makes me so nervous to hear it. So much can change in a blink of an eye, so pro-choice Minnesota and pro-choice America... remain focused and motivated! Don't take this news for granted! Get out there and donate, volunteer, and help Madia in any way you can.

P.S. You can also help the Madia campaign fight-back against the negative ads he's being hit with. More information here

You can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Madia/Paulson race. For more ways to get involved with choice in Minnesota, please visit our fantastic affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. They have a voter guide you can access here.

Ashwin Madia news round-up

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A MN-03 public service announcement: Independence Party candidate David Dillon will join Paulsen and Madia on stage at Edina High School's Fick Auditorium tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. for a debate sponsored by Debate Minnesota. Click here for directions to the event at 6754 Valleyview Road, Edina.

Ok, so I've got three Madia mentions that I wanted to draw your attention to today.

First up is a little something I read in the Minnesota Independent3rd CD: Debate tonight, new party ads, and a gender gap on parade:

While the country turned its fickle eyes to Minnesota's suddenly compelling 6th Congressional District contest, the race for the state's 3rd District didn't stop being hot. Over the last two days, both major parties' congressional committees unveiled new TV ads. Big male guns vouched for the Republican candidate, state Rep. Erik Paulsen, and big female guns tried to widen a gender gap in favor of DFLer Ashwin Madia -- while heaping derision on another female office-holder, state Rep. Michele Bachmann. All this and more, with video and details about tonight's candidate debate in Edina, after the jump.

Ok, for full transparency, you should know that NARAL is part of the story too (scroll down to the bottom). But the whole piece talks about tonight's debate, the latest slew of campaign ads, the latest polling and women for Madia, and this very blog series. Hot!

Second up, I wanted to draw your attention to this funny, but complementary, blog post over at Daily Kos, I think Ashwin Madia (MN-03) is stalking me:

I came home last night to a message on my answering machine from Ashwin Madia, Democratic candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 3rd district.  It was not a recording, and it was not a volunteer.  It was Ashwin himself, telling me that the campaign is going well, that he believes he's going to win, and that he wants to give me an update on the campaign.  He asks me to CALL HIM BACK, on his personal cell phone.

Now, full disclosure: while I don't live in Mr. Madia's district, I have given him some money.  Not a lot-- maybe 200 bucks (I can't recall exactly).  I gave him this money a few months ago when, again, the guy called me to ask for it.  I don't know about all of you, but I am a sucker for the personal sales pitch.  If a real live candidate for Congress asks me, one to one, for some dough, I have a hard time refusing.

So presumably when I call him back, he's going to ask me for some more money.  And you know what?  He's going to get it.  If you're wondering how Mr. Madia has raised more money than just about any other candidate for Congress this year, here's the answer: he is working harder than any other candidate.  If he's calling small fries like me, personally asking for money, then my god, how much time must he spend each day on the phone? It boggles the mind...

Congratulations, Ashwin Madia, on running perhaps the finest campaign this cycle.  I wish I could vote for you (I live in a very safe D district, Betty McCollum's).  But instead, I'll be opening my wallet once again to help you on your way.

Wow, Ashwin Madia... fundraising superstar? I like! A NARAL Pro-Choice America spokesperson was quoted today as saying, "NARAL Pro-Choice America will drop a total of four mail pieces and our volunteers will make calls in support of pro-choice Ashwin Madia. Madia's record on a woman's right to choose is far superior to that of his opponent's and we look forward to working with him when he becomes a congressman...Our political director routinely receives calls from members and activists about candidates and races to support throughout the country and we always make sure to mention Ashwin Madia's race." Hopefully it helps, Madia!

Finally, I wanted to alert you to the latest rumor taking a turn at the rumor mill, Is McCain giving up Minnesota?:

To that end, the New York Times reports that the McCain campaign is seriously cutting back on its spending in a number of states where Obama has a clear lead:

Democrats who monitor advertising spending now put at five the number of states where Senator John McCain is reducing his advertising - New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maine and Minnesota.

In essence, Mr. McCain's campaign has decided to spread the advertising time he bought for the upcoming week in those states over the next two final weeks.

While station managers in the affected states said they were not ruling out the possibility that Mr. McCain would pump money back in before election day, on Nov. 4, the move represents a stark reordering of priorities.

Well, it's not the whole enchilada, but McCain reducing his advertising is a start.

You can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Madia/Paulson race. For more ways to get involved with choice in Minnesota, please visit our fantastic affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. They have a voter guide you can access here.

I know I'm a day late on this, but I didn't want the news to get lost in the shuffle of things.

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The success so far of Ashwin Madia, left, symbolizes what Democrats hope to do: extend their territory farther from urban centers. With Middle America feeling the pinch of the economic crisis, it seems to be working in places such as Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, which has been held by Republicans since 1960. A month ago, Republican state Rep. Erik Paulsen led the race. (By Jim Mone -- Associated Press)

Yesterday, the Washington Post had a whole article dedicated to the one-and-only "Race of the Week" star, Ashwin Madia:

On paper, it makes little sense that Democrat Ashwin Madia is running a close race for Congress in the Minneapolis suburbs. He is a 30-year-old political neophyte challenging a respected Republican statehouse leader for an open seat held by the GOP since 1960.

But Madia is an Iraq war veteran who has turned a combination of economic worry and demographic change into a serious chance of beating state Rep. Erik Paulsen in a closely watched bellwether for Democratic hopes of extending their reach in the suburbs.

Recent polling shows Madia slightly ahead, a reversal of Paulsen's own slim lead a month ago. A lead in a district long considered safe GOP territory typifies a year that looks increasingly likely to turn out big for Democrats in Congress.

It's a great article that expands a little beyond Madia's race into other seats the DCCC hopes to turn from red to blue.

You can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Madia/Paulson race. For more ways to get involved with choice in Minnesota, please visit our fantastic affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. They have a voter guide you can access here.

(Photo source: Jim Mone -- Associated Press)

From now until the election, NARAL Pro-Choice America will focus on a different congressional race each week. This week is Ashwin Madia week, so stay tuned to Blog for Choice for more information about Madia's race!

Another Monday means another "Race of the Week," and this time, it's Ashwin Madia's turn. Ashwin is an Iraq war veteran and attorney and he is running for an open seat in the swing district of MN-3. Here's Madia giving an overview of what he's about:

Flashy video? No. But an inspiring and exciting pitch for why he should be MN-3's congressman? Yes!

Madia is fully pro-choice, and stated on his Stonewall DFL questionnaire, "The next Congressperson from the Third Congressional District needs to be both a strong advocate for pro-choice legislation as well as someone who will recognize and take a firm stand against future 'stealth' efforts to undermine a woman's right to choose. I pledge to be that kind of Congressperson if I am fortunate enough to earn your support in this race."

His opponent is anti-choice Erik Paulsen - a state representative who is no friend to a woman's right to choose. State Rep. Paulsen has consistently earned 0% ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota and 100% ratings from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. He has introduced numerous pieces of anti-choice legislation in the Minnesota State House, including bills on abortion reporting requirements, constitutional standards for abortion, biased counseling, and mandatory delays.

No way... not on our watch! Please visit Ashwin Madia's website and see how you can help elect a pro-choice cadidate to represent this swing district! 

  AshwinMadia20seated.jpgYou can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Madia/Paulson race. For more ways to get involved with choice in Minnesota, please visit our fantastic affiliate NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. They have a voter guide you can access here.

New poll alert!

 

Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken leads Republican Senator Norm Coleman by 2 points in a new poll taken for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  Franken leads Coleman 38% to 36% in the poll, with Independent candidate Dean Barkley taking 12%.  The poll also found that only 32% of Minnesota likely voters say that Coleman is doing an excellent or good job as Senator, with 56% saying that he is doing only a fair or poor job.

"Norm Coleman's bitter personal attacks against Al Franken aren't working because Minnesotans know Coleman's record of siding with George Bush in Washington and they are ready for a change," DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. "Norm Coleman is running one of the most negative campaigns in the country because he can't defend his record, but Minnesotans aren't buying it."

The poll of 600 likely voters was taken September 29 to October 1 by the Mellman Group and has a 4% margin of error.

Live interviews are usually more reliable than automated ones, which is great news, and it's great to see Minnesotans are speaking up for the change they need, and deserve. 


I also really loved this video by Franni, Al's wife:



Wow. That's another really powerful ad by the Franken campaign. Did you know that Franken wrote the screenplay for (one of my most favorite movies ever) When a Man Loves a Woman?

Anyway, that concludes Al Franken week on Blog for Choice. I hope you've enjoyed it! Check out NARAL Pro-Choice America's endorsements page to see who else we've endorsed, and stay tuned for next week when we choose another race to focus on!

Al Franken Hates Puppies!

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I know it's not reproductive-health realated, but this ad is pretty genius:

 

... and Minnesotans have paid the price. Let me remind you that Norm Coleman is one of the most anti-choice members of the Senate. He not only votes against legal abortion, but even votes repeatedly against prevention measures that have included birth control. Coleman is even on record opposing Roe v. Wade, essentially declaring that the case was wrongly decided and should be overturned. Minnesotans deserve better.

We all deserve better, and with Franken in the U.S. Senate, we're one step closer. 

Visit Franken's website to learn how you can help, and visit the Minnesota section of our elections section to see what other down-ballot races exsist in Minnesota (and any other state, for that matter). And, of course, remember to vote November 4.

080930_franken_ideas.jpg

  • The Politico reports on the Franken/Coleman race saying, "For many nostalgic voters, Franken stirs the same sort of passion as the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. So if the comic can keep reminding voters of his political forefathers while riding Obama's coattails, he could come out on top... [H]ere in Minnesota, there is an electorate invigorated by Obama and angry at President Bush. And like Bush, Coleman is suffering from voter fatigue and may not have broad enough appeal to attract independent and undecided voters."
  • Franken rallies supporters, marches to Sexton says The Record (the student newspaper of the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University in St. Josephy, MN):

"This race is pretty simple," Franken said through a PA system. "It's about who's going to fight for the working families, the middle class families in Minnesota."

Franken also accused Coleman of accepting "more money ... than any politician in the history of Minnesota" from oil, insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

"You're the ones that are going to make the difference in this campaign, the 18 to 30(year-olds)," Franken said. "We're going to do this. We're going to change this country, and it's going to be in your hands."

Visit Franken's website to learn how you can help, and visit the Minnesota section of our elections section to see what other down-ballot races exsist in Minnesota (and any other state, for that matter). And, of course, remember to vote November 4.

Blech. H/t to People for the American Way for this one:

Focus on the Family is getting involved in House and Senate races in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas, sending out scorecards in which Republican candidates are praised for their "consistently pro-life and pro-family records" and the Democrats are blasted for having "taken audaciously liberal positions - particularly on life and marriage."

Ok, nothing new there, right? So the mailers are basically the same, with candidate specific paragraphs inserted for the specific candidates. Here's some text from the mailing which targets the Franken/Coleman race:

That's why Minnesota's Senate race is so critical. The contrast between the candidates is sharp. Norm Coleman has maintained a stellar pro-life record and a generally pro-family record in the U.S. Senate. Al Franken, on the other hand, has not only taken strikingly liberal positions since returning to Minnesota, but his comedic record in New York is an embarrassment to those who care about family values.

Now, aside from the 1970's backdrops they used (again, h/t Right Wing Watch), they totally hit the nail on the head. When Focus on the Family asks the question: Does the candidate support pro-life policies?, the answers are such:

Norm Coleman: Coleman has a 100 percent pro-life voting record in the U.S. Senate, according to the National Right to Life Committee.

Al Franken: Al Franken fully supports legalized abortion and is endorsed by NARAL, the top pro-abortion lobbying group.

We certainly do endorse Al Franken, and with the latest poll results showing it's an extremely tight race, we need to show him support as much as possible. So visit his website and help the Franken campaign in any way you can. 

From now until the election, NARAL Pro-Choice America will focus on a different congressional race each week. This week is Al Franken week, so stay tuned to Blog for Choice for more information about Franken's race!

Ladies and gentleman, I'd like to introduce you to Al Franken, candidate for the U.S. Senate Race in Minnesota:

 

I got that video from his Women for Franken section on his website. I like the chance to meet his wife and his daughter - it helps give me context to a man I know only as a comedian.

So... why is Al Franken our Race of the Week? Well that's easy. Franken is a fully pro-choice comic, radio talk show host, author and Democratic activist and is taking on first-term anti-choice Sen. Norm Coleman. On NARAL Pro-Choice America's Race of the Week webpage, I learned the following:

In a written statement to Minnesota Public Radio Franken stated, "I believe that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. And during the Clinton Administration, the number of abortions declined every year. Why? Because under President Clinton our government understood that the best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That should be our focus." (Written Statement to MPR, provided by NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota)

In contrast, Sen. Coleman is one of the most anti-choice Senators we have in the current U.S. Senate.

YIKES!

You can learn more about the race on our Race of the Week webpage. Not a Minnesota voter? No problem. See if we've endorsed pro-choice candidates in your state or district... and, as always, stay tuned for more information on the Franken/Coleman race.

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