End Citizens United, which claimed significant success in the midterm elections by campaigning against Republican lawmakers who back the money-in-politics status quo, has put another five senators and seven House members in its 2020 crosshairs.
The progressive watchdog group is dedicated to taking money out of politics, supporting candidates for Congress who pledge to back legislation to tighten campaign finance regulation and opposing lawmakers it sees as tied to big-money special interests in a particularly egregious way. The 12 incumbents on the initial target list "represent the worst of Washington's corrupt establishment, and their decades in office are a stark example of how corporate special interests and dark money conspire to rig our political system," according to the group's president, Tiffany Muller.
The group said all 12 were targeted for defeat in its "Big Money 20" campaign, because of their inappropriate closeness to the drug companies, energy companies and Wall Street firms that have financed their past elections. Four of them are currently or have previously been under investigation for corruption or campaign finance violations.
The group has not yet determined how much money it will spend, but a spokesperson promised "significant investments in these races" and others that will be added to the list later. In the last campaign, it spent more than $10 million on efforts to defeat a score of Republican lawmakers, claiming victory in 15 of those races.
The targeted senators are:
Susan Collins of Maine
John Cornyn of Texas
Joni Ernst of Iowa
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Martha McSally of Arizona
The targeted House members are:
Chris Collins of New York
Rodney Davis of Illinois
George Holding of North Carolina
Duncan Hunter of California
Will Hurd of Texas
David Schweikert of Arizona
Ross Spano of Florida
The group announced that it has already endorsed five challengers to these incumbents: astronaut Mark Kelly against McSally, unsuccessful 2018 House candidate MJ Hegar against Cornyn, Ammar Campa-Najjar in his rematch against Hunter, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for her rematch against Davis and Gina Ortiz Jones in her rematch against Hurd.
Those five lawmakers, and five others on the list, are already viewed as facing some of the toughest and most expensive re-election contests in the country next year. The two who are not, Spano and Schweikert, made the list because of publicized allegations of campaign finance impropriety.
An advocacy project at Princeton University has released a new guide for those who want to combat excessive partisanship in the drawing of legislative districts, hoping it will be a roadmap to help citizens push for fairer maps in all 50 states.
The Princeton project's state information page offers a color-coded map that divides states by "key redistricting features." Eighteen are shaded dark or light green, for example, signaling a third-party commission or demographer already guides the drawing of voting districts.
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Both Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid have taken hacks at the filibuster rules, but it's time to go even further, writes Golden.
Golden is the author of "Unlock Congress" and a senior fellow at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy, which seeks to improve democracy on a global scale. He is also a member of The Fulcrum's advisory board.
It may seem like recent Supreme Court decisions have the conclusive power to halt reform efforts to unrig congressional districts and suck the billions of dollars out of our politics. But this is really not the case. A path remains for Democratic leaders to restore fairness and common sense to American elections. But in order to do it, they'll need to rip a page out of Mitch McConnell's book and restore majority rule to the Senate.
The fact is that millions of Americans of different political stripes crave electoral reforms that would make the House more accurately reflect voter preferences and would slash the corruptive influence of big money on Capitol Hill.