Montana’s Denise Juneau has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars in eight weeks in her bid to represent the state in Congress.
Juneau, who is the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, reported raising $263,803. The campaign says it’s more than any previous Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in their first fundraising period. That total is made up of 1,029 individual donors, 85 percent of whom are from Montana.
“For too long, our state’s lone vote in the U.S. House has been cast by one extreme, out-of-touch representative after another – congressmen less focused on getting things done for our state, and more focused on getting elected to higher office,” Juneau said. “I’m running for Congress to change that. My campaign is focused on doing what’s best for Montana first and foremost, with a commitment to helping create new opportunities for working families here at home. The enormous support we have already received from all across our state is proof that Montanans are ready for that change, and 2016 is the year it’s going to happen.”
Juneau also won the important endorsement from EMILY’S List. EMILY’S List has more than three million members and invests in pro-choice, Democratic women running for national, state and local office.
“Denise Juneau is a lifelong public servant who has fought to increase educational and economic opportunities for all Montanans,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List in a prepared statement that was posted Monday on the blog 406 politics. “As Montana’s superintendent of public instruction, Denise has been a champion for quality schools and for policies that give all students a fair shot. Our country has never before elected an American Indian woman to serve in Congress, and Denise is determined to break that glass ceiling to advocate for women and families whose voices aren’t heard in Washington.”
Juneau is a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes.
Steele leads in Arizona primary poll
There are new numbers from Arizona and they show that Democrat Victoria Steele is a strong candidate both for the primary contest and in the general election against Republican Martha McSally. Steele is a former member of the Arizona House of Representatives and is Seneca and running for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that Steele trails McSally but within single digits behind the incumbent. The same poll shows Steele slightly ahead of her Democratic Party opponent, former representative Matt Heinz. “In a poll of 714 CD2 voters, 48 percent said they would vote for the retired Air Force colonel and a former A-10 fighter pilot compared to 39 percent, a Democrat who represented Arizona’s 9th District in the State House of Representatives since 2012.”
“Southern Arizonans recognize that Victoria will fight just as hard for them as their Congresswoman, as she did for them as their State Representative. If this momentum continues, and Victoria continues to outperform Heinz in polls, as I believe she will, Victoria Steele will be the Democratic nominee to face Martha McSally next November,” Keith Rosendahl, the campaign manager for Steele for Congress, told The Daily Star.
A democratic challenger to Joe Patookas
Joe Patookas has a primary challenger in Washington’s 5th Congressional District. David Kay, a U.S. Army and Foreign Service veteran, told the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin that he will be a moderate in the race.
“I will not be liberal enough for some. I will not be conservative enough for others,” said Kay, 59, a North Carolina native who moved to Spokane in 2000 with his wife. “I’m running as a moderate Democrat. I hope I will be American enough for everybody.”
Patookas, former chairman of the Colville Tribal Business Council, is making his second run for the office held by Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
New candidate in Arizona’s 1st congressional district
I’ve written that Arizona’s 1st Congressional District ought to be Indian country’s top priority. There are more Native American votes in that district than any other. There are 724,868 voters in that district and 23.2 percent of that is American Indian. Four years ago that number was about 22 percent and unless the district lines change, those numbers will continue to rise. Shawn Redd, Navajo, is running on the Republican side of the ballot. The Navajo Times reports that another Navajo, Kayto Sullivan will campaign as a Democrat for the House of Representatives.
“I want to be a voice for the people,” Sullivan told The Navajo Times. “People (politicians) promise all kinds of things, but they do not listen to the people.”
My most recent spreadsheet listing Native American candidates for Congress.
Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports.