How are the Arena candidates doing? — Arena

Mar 9, 2018

How are the Arena candidates doing?

We’ve worked with 21 candidates since we began our candidate support work, and are currently working with 10 candidates who are running for office in 2018. Here's an update on how they are performing.

Lee Pedinoff

The Arena PAC Fellowship provides coaching and direct assistance to candidates as they launch campaigns, develop strategy, and implement plans. Though we tailor support for each leader’s needs, we focus on a few critical areas: storytelling, campaign leadership, and organizing. We’ve worked with 21 candidates since we began our candidate support work, and are currently working with 10 Fellows who are running for office in 2018. These Fellows have also set up an Arena Joint Fundraising Committee that has raised over $427,000 from Arena supporters in four months.

We recently launched our application for our second Fellowship class, and we received well over 100 applications from 32 states. We will announce that second class in early April.

In the meantime, we want to take this opportunity to update our community on how our first round of Fellows are performing.

A few highlights

  • Gina Ortiz Jones, candidate for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, had a commanding performance in her primary — garnering more than double the votes of any of her four primary challengers. She is now moving on to a runoff election on May 22nd.
  • Lina Hidalgo, candidate for Harris County Judge, ran unopposed in her primary and now proceeds to the general election as the Democratic nominee. When voters went to the polls Tuesday, they cast almost 10,000 more votes for her than her GOP opponent in his primary.
  • Chrissy Houlahan, candidate for Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District, received new, more favorable district lines from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who struck down the old maps as unconstitutional.
  • Jessica Morse was endorsed by the California Democratic Party — a key boost of momentum to stand out among the crowded field ahead of the June 5 primaries.
  • Lauren Underwood, Lina Hidalgo, Gina Ortiz Jones, and Chrissy Houlahan were featured in the cover story of TIME.

And a few updates on each candidate

Andy Kim, Congress, New Jersey, 3rd District

  • The DCCC picked Andy for their red-to-blue list of top tier candidates.
  • Andy was endorsed by the Burlington County party chairman and three state legislators.
  • Andy outraised his opponent Tom MacArthur without taking a dime from corporate PACs.
  • Katie Hartman, Andy’s only primary challenger, dropped out of the race and endorsed him.
  • Over 6,000 people in all 50 states contributed to Andy’s campaign. And over 1,000 volunteers have signed up in the district.

Chrissy Houlahan, Congress, Pennsylvania, 6th District

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new Congressional map to replace the old one it struck down as a Republican partisan gerrymander. As a result, Chrissy no longer has to content with an oddly shaped district designed to favor Republicans.
  • “If Democratic strategists could build a candidate for Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district, she would probably look something like Chrissy Houlahan.” Read more about Chrissy in The Economist.
  • Chrissy was featured in a Huffington Post story about women running for office for the first time.

Dan McCready, Congress, North Carolina, 9th District

  • Larry Sabato at UVA’s Center for Politics moved Dan’s race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican” — only one spot away from “Toss Up”, making it one of the most competitive House races in the country.
  • Dan began 2018 with three times as much campaign funds as the Republican incumbent, Robert Pittenger.
  • Dan made his candidacy official surrounded by family, friends, and supporters. He also won endorsements from Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, former Governor Jim Hunt, former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.

Elissa Slotkin, Congress, Michigan, 8th District

  • Larry Sabato at UVA’s Center for Politics upgrade Elissa’s race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”
  • NBC News featured Elissa, saying “women have also been activated to run because of congressional gridlock and what they view as an assault on basic rights and values.”
  • Elissa outraised her Republican opponent Mike Bishop by $100,000 last quarter - which is the the second quarter in a row she has outraised him despite not taking any donations from corporate PACs.
  • The Washington Post featured Elissa in a story about former CIA officers running for office.
  • Elissa’s campaign held four volunteer kickoff events in Clarkston, Lansing, Brighton, and Rochester between January and February. At the event in Rochester - where current representative Mike Bishop is from, and which is not typically described as progressive - 115 people showed up.
  • The Detroit Free Press published a story highlighting two women in the district who voted for Trump who are now supporting Elissa.

Gina Ortiz Jones, Congress, Texas, 23rd District

  • Gina shocked the establishment and received more than double the votes of any of her four primary challengers.
  • Teen Vogue published a feature about Gina. The whole story is worth reading, but here’s one highlight: “Ortiz Jones has proven herself a formidable contender in a very competitive primary, steadily collecting enough donations to come in first in overall fund-raising among Democratic candidates and earning the endorsement of groups such as Emily’s List, VoteVets, the Asian American Action Fund, and the Equality PAC.”
  • Gina was endorsed by the only major newspaper in the district, the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Watch Gina on MSNBC with Ari Melber. “This is about protecting the opportunities that allowed me to grow up healthy, get an education, and serve my country.”

Jessica Morse, Congress, California, 4th District

  • The California Democratic Party endorsed Jessica — a key boost of momentum to stand out among the crowded field ahead of the June 5 primaries.
  • Jessica outraised Republican incumbent Tom McClintock and all other challengers in her first two fundraising quarters, with the most cash on hand at the end of the year.
  • Newsweek featured Jessica in a story where she shared why she was inspired to run after the Women’s March.

Josh Harder, Congress, California, 10th District

  • Josh wrote an op-ed for the Modesto Bee defending Dreamers.
  • Over 500 people signed up to volunteer for Josh’s campaign — and they are attending weekly phone banks, house parties, or neighborhood canvassing events in each of their major cities.
  • Josh raised over $150,000 in the first six weeks of Q1 2018.

Ken Harbaugh, Congress, Ohio, 7th District

Lauren Underwood, Congress, Illinois, 14th District

  • Refinery29 wrote about Lauren’s story, including why she decided to run after incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren broke his promise to vote against a version of the Affordable Care Act repeal that excluded protections for pre-existing conditions.
  • The Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald, and EMILY’s List have each endorsed Lauren.
  • Lauren was featured on MSNBC.

Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Judge, Houston, Texas

  • Lina ran unopposed in her primary — which means she is the de facto Democratic nominee. But when voters went to the polls, she received 131,511 votes — almost 10,000 more votes than the Republican incumbent — and a higher percentage of the vote.
  • The Houston Chronicle published a profile about Lina and other Latinx candidates.
  • NPR’s featured Lina on their 1A podcast.
  • Lina has won lots of endorsements. Most recently, Lina was endorsed by Resurgent Left, #VOTEPROCHOICE, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), and LIUNA.

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