Grassroots Organizers Focus on California Districts to Flip House

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Grassroots organizers focused on flipping California’s 14 Republican Congressional districts talked strategies at the opening day of the California Democratic Convention on Friday.

Organizers from U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa’s 49th District have been protesting the wealthy Republican Congressman’s voting record nearly every Tuesday since President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Indivisible 49 leader Misty O’Healy said Friday the political group held its 59th rally this past week at Issa’s office in the north San Diego County city of Vista. The weekly rallies have been the longest ongoing protest of any Indivisible organization aimed at fighting the Trump administration across the country, O’Healy said.

She called the rallies the “life blood” of garnering interest in the district to flip the seat blue in November.

Issa won reelection in 2016 by the slimmest majority of any Congressional race. In January, he announced he was retiring and would not be seeking reelection, with many political experts crediting Indivisible 49 for successfully pressuring the congressman to step down.

More than 60 local organizations in Vista formed the first action council last March and meet monthly to discuss getting out the vote to “Flip the 49th.”

California Democratic Party field director Katharine Marrs said getting new grassroots organizations to partner with more established Democratic clubs is vital for flipping the state’s 14 red Congressional districts. California’s Congressional seats currently held by Republicans represent more than half of the 24 “swing” seats Democrats need to win in November to take control of the House of Representatives.

“We can all agree on one thing: to flip the seat, even if we don’t agree on everything else,” Marrs said in acknowledging the “rift” in the Democratic Party since the 2016 election.

That’s one of the reasons group like Indivisible 49 and Swing Left are not endorsing candidates ahead of the June primary: they have a singular goal of flipping California’s Republican Congressional districts and don’t want to ostracize volunteers who might disagree with an endorsement. The groups plan to throw their support behind the Democratic candidates who get nominated in June.

Swing Left organizer Steve Pierson said his group also plans to harness volunteer energy from strong Democratic districts like Los Angeles and San Francisco and distribute volunteers for phone banking and other activities in the 14 Congressional districts they want to flip this year.

The weekend’s convention includes speeches from Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in addition to a program celebrating black voters with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber and other black Democratic leaders.

There were well over 100 Democratic activists at the panel discussion. Panelists discussed how progressive groups need to “share a calendar” to avoid duplicating efforts, support each other’s events and generally show a united front when it comes to their political goals.

The California Democratic Party will adopt its 2018 party platform on Sunday.



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