The 2002 Elections

January 27, 2002

Report given at the National Board meeting

This is not meant to be a rounded out report, but rather is presented in the
framework of Sam’s opening with specifics to help immerse the entire Party in
the 2002 elections.

1. Importance of 2002 elections

The importance of the 2002 elections cannot be overstated. As Sam said, this
is the main arena to slow down the right-wing blitzkrieg and hopefully to create
new openings for struggle.

At sake are 36 governors, control of the House and Senate of US Congress, and
many state legislatures. Surely we have learned from the theft of the Presidency
in 2000 that the ultra-right will stop at nothing to win.

Any idea that there is no difference with right-wing control ignores the appointment
of Ashcroft and Ridge and the assault on civil liberties, civil rights and labor
rights; and ignores the failure to respond to needs of laid off workers; and
the impact of the economic recession. The life threatening consequences are
felt sharply in states, cities and towns across the country, as hunger and homelessness
rises, healthcare becomes inaccessible, public education and social security
are endangered and what remains of the safety net is decimated, leaving women
and their children stranded, and hurting disproportionately communities of color.

The Bush war plan is being used as the cover for implementation of the entire
right-wing corporate agenda. Bush’s demagogic campaigning has to be exposed.
He says he is a "compassionate conservative", but shows no compassion
for the Afghani people or any other people. He says he operates by "bi-partisanship",
but in fact operates in most partisan manner. He says he doesn’t go by polls
and focus groups, but does exactly that. He says "don’t discriminate against
Arab Americans", but 95% of those detained are Islamic. He makes an appeal
to Latino voters, but the Republican Party in California pushed the anti-immigrant
Proposition 187 and English-Only measures.

The weakness of the Democrats in not fighting for full measures for working
and unemployed families and in supporting the war drive leaves the door open
for the right-wing in the elections. And this election is expected to be very
close. Therefore, it is labor and allies who are the key to mobilize on issues,
and push forward a strong agenda. The legislative battles including for economic
recovery and voting rights, the Enron scandal, and community and labor struggles
including the Charleston 5 victory, will have an impact on the 2002 elections.

The AFL-CIO is now selecting labor’s national priority races, based on where
labor has the density of members to make the difference in a close contest.
These will change based on the primaries.

The priority labor campaigns deserve our support. In addition our work will
take us beyond these races to election districts where we have organization
and where there are strong pro-labor candidates, African American, Mexican American
and Latino candidates such as Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. Barbara Lee.

Every district should consider where we can make a qualitative difference.
What are the election campaigns where there is a labor or people’s candidate,
where we can participate in coalition to build a movement in that election district,
and in the process build our Party.

Input from this meeting of the National Board and from the districts will be
presented to the first meeting of the new Political Action Commission on January
30, in preparation for the National Committee meeting. Some Commission members
have already submitted excellent reports including David Trujillo on California
and Denise Weinbrenner on Western PA.

2. Control of the House:

There are 221 Republicans, 211 Democrats and 2 independents in the House of
Representatives. For the Democrats to gain control of the House, they need at
least 6 more seats.

23 incumbent House members – 15 Republicans and 8 Democrats – are not seeking

There will also be open and new and combined House seats as a result of redistricting.
Ten states lost seats: CT, IL, IN, MI, MS, NY, OH, OK,
PA, WI. Eight states gained seats: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA,
NV, NC, TX. As of November, 20 states had completed redistricting, and by now
many more are completed. In most states, the Legislature draws the lines, and
the Governor has veto power. Some lawsuits are possible (Michigan).

An indication of the approach by the right-wing is shown in South Dakota (the
home state of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle), where the White House recruited
Republican John Thune to challenge Democrat Tim Johnson.

The AFL-CIO has tentatively singled out 69 priority districts, where they feel
labor can make the difference to defeat an anti-worker Republican, or where
a Democrat is vulnerable. The AFL-CIO goal is to build a pro-worker majority
in the House.

3. US Senate:

As we know, the Democrats have 50 seats, the Republicans have 49 seats, and
there is one Independent.

34 seats up for election: 20 now held by Democrats; 14 are now held by Republicans.
We can rejoice that Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and Phil Gramm are retiring,
but the question is what will happen in those districts now?

Among the progressives up for re-election are Paul Wellstone (MN) and Jean
Carnahan (MO).

4. Governors in 2002
36 Governor seats are up for election. There are 18 open seats, where the Governor
is term limited or retiring – 7 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 1 Independent. There
are 18 Governors up for re-election – 4 Democrats, 13 Republicans, and 1 Independent.

The AFL-CIO has prioritized 28 Governor races.

Of special national significance is the effort to defeat Jeb Bush (R) in Florida.
Also, George Pataki (R) in New York, and Jane Swift (R) in Massachusetts. In
addition, the re-election campaign of Gray Davis (D) in California has been
singled out for national importance.

States with open seats of special importance include: Illinois – outgoing George
Ryan (R); Maine — outgoing Angus King (I), with pro-labor candidate Chelle
Penegre (D); Maryland – outgoing Parris Glendening (D); Michigan outgoing John
Engler (R) with pro-labor candidate David Bonier (D); and Pennsylvania – was
Ridge, with a heated Democrat primary between Ed Rendell and USWA-supported
Robert Casey, and also with consumer activist Mike Morrill as candidate on the
Green Party.

5. Target 5000

The AFL-CIO was very successful with its "2000 by 2000" campaign.
There are now 2,540 union members who hold public office. The next goal is "Target
5000", to double the number of union members who hold public office. Many
are at the local level. Of special note is Tony Hill, leader in the affirmative
action and voting rights battles in Florida now a candidate for State Senate.

The Labor 2002 effort is aimed at combining political mobilization with organizing
the unorganized. We can remember that Labor 2000’s education, mobilization and
voter turnout of union members made the difference in electing six pro-labor
Senators. Of the 26 seats lost by Democrats in the South between 1992 and 2000,
only 4 were in districts with 25,000 or more union members.

Therefore, the labor movement is seeking to forge a bond between organizing
and politics, with the expectation that candidates must act to support union
organizing efforts if they expect to be endorsed. The AFL-CIO slogan is "We
must radically change the relationship between elected officials and unions
or radically change who represents us." Labor 2002 will do all that was
done in 2000 and more, including even broader outreach to allies.

6. The Party

The section on the Party should be the largest section of the report to the
National Committee meeting. Today, this report presents an outline that must
be fleshed out with concrete proposals.

The goal is to mobilize the entire Party; to set priorities district by district
around labor and people’s candidates. We should not be approaching these elections
simply from the vantage point of electing this or that candidate in 2002. We
should be approaching our work from the longer term perspective of deepening
our ties at the grass roots, building day-to-day on the issues and building
Communist Party clubs.

There are a number of challenges we face in the 2002 elections:

We have to find the best ways to bring forward the peace issue, and to relate
the peace issue to the economy, racial profiling and civil liberties.

We have a special contribution to make in forging multi-racial unity, and in
helping build coalitions of labor and allies, African American, Mexican American
and Latino voters, women, environmental organizations, young people’s organizations,

We have to relook at how to deepen working relations with independent formations
like the Working Families Party coming forward around the country. This includes
the Greens, where we should take each situation on its own merits. There are
a number of Green Party elected officials playing a very positive role, and
we should relate to them, while at the same time making clear our commitment
to tactics that build unity to defeat the ultra-right.

We have to examine how to help our clubs strengthen their ties at the grass
roots, including working in such a way as to build club "voting blocs"
that can supplement get-out-the-vote efforts of labor and other organizations.

We need to encourage and help bring forward Communist candidates. Unfortunately
the new Political Action Commission had not yet formed in time to assess November’s
elections. Nonetheless, we should start by hearing the results of our candidates
in 2001 and build on that. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Denise
Weinbrenner on her re-election. In addition, the Convention workshop on Communist
candidates was well attended and filled with ideas, so that is also part of
our starting point.

7. In Motion

Yesterday I had the opportunity to represent the Communist Party at the NorthEast
Action conference "Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise Voting Rights in the
Northeast – Strategies for Change". The date had originally be scheduled
for the weekend following September 11, and was postponed. As a result, it was
expected that there would be about 50 people or so. Over 160 turned out.

The attendance was a broad, multi-racial cross section of labor and community
organizing plus an array of national speakers including Richard Womack from
the AFL-CIO, and many civil rights and community organizations. It was clear
that there is a wide array of activity taking place. A Congressional candidate
played an active part in the conference, Martha Fuller Clark, who, if elected
will be the first woman from New Hampshire to serve in Congress.

We heard a report from an NAACP Legal Defense lawyer who went to a meeting in
Florida last week. 800 people showed up. She emphasized that the anger about
the election theft is very much alive, and activism is growing in Florida. Across
the country, the movement for election law reform and voting rights is gaining
momentum. The concept of democracy is being broadened in this movement so that
voting rights and clean elections are placed in the context of the fight for
economic rights and racial equality. This is especially significant in light
of the dangers of the US Patriot Act and the Homeland Security.

The biggest response was received by Rev. Nelson Rivers, Director of Field
Operations for the national NAACP. "After September 11, a lot of people
lost their voice," he said, "And I’m going to show you how to get
it back." He spoke of Ali and King as exemplifying the meaning of real
patriots, who spoke up against an unjust war, an urged that the true meaning
of King’s message be followed today. He got a rousing standing ovation when
he said, "Martin Luther King challenged America in 1967 to do something
about poverty in America and killing of people of color half way around the
world. Today, we have a chance to make a difference."

We should approach the 2002 elections as critical for the survival of working
people in this moment, but also interconnected with long-term building of labor’s
strength, of labor-community coalition, and of the Communist Party.

2002 Election Priority Races – Preliminary

Governor: Siegleman (D)
Senate: Sessions (R, potential)
House: 3 (open, was Riley R)

Governor: Open, was Knowles (D)

Governor: Open, was Hull (R)
House: 1 (open, new), Kolbe (R-8, potential)

Arkansas *
Senate: Hutchinson (R)
House: Ross (D-4), Snyder (D-2 potential)

California *
Governor: Davis (D)
House: Condit (D-18, potential)

Senate: Allard (R)
House: 7 (new)
State Senate

Connecticut *
Governor: Rowland (R, potential)
House: Simmons (R-2), Maloney (D) v. Johnson (R) in combined cd 5

Florida *
Governor: Bush (R)
House: Thuman (D-5), Shaw (R-22)

Georgia *
Governor: Barnes (D, potential)
Senate: Cleland (D)
House: 3 (new), 11 (new)

Governor: Open (was Cayetano D)

Illinois *
Governor: Open (was Ryan R)
House: Phelps (D) v Shimkus (R) in combined cd 19, Evans (D-17, potential)

State Legislature

House: 2 (open, was Roemer D), Hostettler (R-8, potential), Hill (D-9, potential),
Carson (D-10 potential)

Iowa *
Governor: Vilsack (D, potential)
Senate: Harkin (D)
House: Leach (R-2), Boswell (d-3), Latham (R-4), Nussie (R-1, potential)

Governor: Open (was Graves R, potential)
House: Moore (D-3), Tlahrt (R-4)

House: Northup (R-3, potential), Lucas (D-4, potential)

Senate: Landrieu (D)
House: 5 (open, was Cooksey, R)

Maine *
Governor: Open (was King, I. Chelie Pingree (D)
Senate: Collins (R)
House: 2 (open, was Baldacol, D)

Governor: Open (was Glendenning, D potential)
House: Ehrlich (R-2), Morella (R-8)

Governor: Swift (R). Democratic primary: Reich; Tolman

Michigan *
Governor: Open (was Engler, R). Bonier (D)
House: Smith (R-7, potential), Rogers (R-8, potential), Knollenberg (R-9, potential),
10 (open, was Bonior, potential), 11 (new, favors R)

Minnesota *
Governor: Ventura (I)
Senate: Wellstone (D)
House: Luther (D, 6), Kennedy (R-2)

House: Shows (D) v Pickering (R) in combined cd 3

Missouri *

Senate: Carnahan (D)
House: Graves (R-6, potential)

Senate: Baucus (D)

House: 3 (new), Berkley (D-1, potential)

New Hampshire *
Governor: Open (was Shaheen, D)
Senate: Smith (R)
House 1 (open, was Sununu, R); Bass (R-2, potential)

New Jersey
Senate: Torricelli (D)
House: Ferguson (R-7, potential), Holt (D-12, potential)

New Mexico *
Governor: Open (was Johnson, R)
House: Skeen (R-2, potential)

New York
Governor: Pataki (R)
House: Israel (D-2)

North Carolina *
Senate: Open (was Helms, R)
House: Hayes (R-8), 13 (new, potential, favors D)

North Dakota
House: Pomeroy (D-AL)

House: Strickland (D-6)

Oregon *
Governor: Open (was Kitzhaber, D)
Senate: Smith (R)
House: Hooley (D-5)

Pennsylvania *
Governor: Open (was Ridge, R) Democratic primary:Rendell v. Casey; Green Morrill
House: probably several, but redistricting still too cloudy

Rhode Island
Governor: Open, Was Almond, R)

South Carolina
Governor: Hodges (R)
Senate: Open (was Thurmond, R potential)
House: 3 (open, was Graham, potential)

South Dakota
Governor: Open (was Janklow, R potential)
Senate: Johnson (D)
House: AL (open, was Thune, R potential)

Governor: Open (was Sundquist, R potential)
House: 4 (open, was Hilleary, R)

Texas *
Governor: Perry (R)
Senate: Open (was Gramm, potential)
House: Edwards (D-11), 25 (open, was Bentsen, D), Sandlin (D-1, potential),
5 (new, potential, favors R), Stenholm (D-17, potential)
State Legislature

House: Matheson (D-2)

Governor: Open (was Dean, D)

House: Forbee (R-4, potential)

Washington *
House: Larsen (D-2), Inslee (D-1, potential), Baird (D-3, potential)
State Legislature

West Virginia
House: Capito (R-2)

Wisconsin *
Governor: McCallum (R)
House: Baldwin (D-2), Ryan (R-1, potential)
State Legislature


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