Local Democrats are mourning the loss of Amy McGonagle, who was the Bay Area’s regional field director for the Obama campaign last year and most recently had been a community organizer and scheduling director for Ro Khanna’s congressional campaign.
McGonagle, 35, of Fremont, died Monday.
“I was deeply saddened by the news that the life of a key campaign staffer was cut tragically short this week,” Khanna said by email Wednesday. “Amy McGonagle was a bright and vibrant young person who regularly inspired and lifted the spirits of the entire Ro for Congress family. She was one of the first people to join my campaign, and we continue to benefit from her contributions first as a community organizer and later as director of scheduling every day. My thoughts and prayers are with Amy’s family and friends during this terrible time.”
As Obama for America’s Bay Area regional field director, McGonagle had supervised two offices, managed and trained dozens of volunteers and directed get-out-the-vote efforts including phone-banking to mobilize voters in seven battleground states.
She blogged in July 2012 about her battles with “a severe nerve disorder—one known for the constant and unbearable pain it causes” that had necessitated two brain surgeries. “Thanks to our President, I cannot be denied health insurance because of my medical history, unless the Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act,” she wrote.
“Of course, I left the race disappointed that we didn’t win. But I also left honored and humbled to have represented values we believe in and to speak for so many good and decent people. We’ve lost races before, and in the past, those setbacks prepared us for larger victories. It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon.”
“Romney was so shocked and exhausted on election night, his address to CPAC today felt like the real concession speech,” Ari Shapiro, who covered the presidential campaign for National Public Radio, posted on Facebook today. Shapiro will be talking about that later today on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.
With the presidential election only a week behind us, members of Congress are starting to take requests for free tickets to President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Some – including Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo – already have pages on their websites at which you can request tickets in a lottery system. The rest of the Bay Area’s delegation will have similar pages up soon; you must request tickets from your House member, or from one of your state’s two U.S. Senators.
Every cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee tells us that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is among the nation’s most vulnerable House Democrats; every cycle, he proves otherwise. In 2008, with a 1-point voter registration disadvantage, he won by 10 percentage points; in 2010, with a .32-point voter-registration disadvantage, he won by 1.1 percentage points; and this year, with a 12-point voter-registration edge, he won by 8 percentage points. Instead of pouring resources into the campaign of a 25-year-old with no job experience, perhaps the GOP should’ve looked for greener pastures.
2.) Your navel-gazing is near-sighted.
California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s statement last night indicates he believes Romney and Republicans failed to “make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can’t succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system.” I’m sure some Democrats will disagree with the philosophical underpinnings of that argument, and that’s not a debate I’ll get into here. But what Del Beccaro failed to address was that the GOP clearly lost big among Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and young voters – that is, most of this nation’s future electorate. If his party can’t find platform that appeals to these blocs, and an effective way of explaining it to them, it’ll continue to wane even further. Already I see some GOPers sniffing that Obama won without a mandate, but the fact is, he won the popular vote by at least about 2.7 million and – if Florida were to stop counting votes now (and where have I heard THAT before?) – he’d win there too, meaning he carried every battleground state except North Carolina.
3.) Who has the mandate?
Gov. Jerry Brown has the mandate. He won it in 2010 when he beat out the candidate who spent a record $142 million of her money to no avail. He won it again last night with a resounding 8-point victory for Prop. 30, his tax hike for K-12 and higher education. And it seems voters are tired enough of gridlock in Sacramento that they may have handed Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature – another mandate, of sorts, for Brown’s agenda. The moral of this story: Don’t mess with Jerry.
Here’s California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s statement on what happened tonight:
“While tonight wasn’t the result we had hoped and worked for, it is clear that many Americans are dissatisfied with the president.
“Republicans are losing the prosperity/capitalism argument. The inability of Republicans to make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can’t succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system is at the root of this loss. The core value of our heritage is being lost. We must and can get it back.
“It is now up to Republicans in Congress, who must every day be a real reform party. They must work to offer true reform of government programs and drive the agenda.
“Unfortunately, Governor Romney was not aggressive enough in making this case and that ultimately led to tonight’s disappointing outcome. But with the help of of our committed and tireless volunteers, we can turn this around.
“I would like to thank all of the volunteers here in California and throughout the nation that kept this race so close.”
California’s longest-serving poll worker was honored today in San Francisco by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
Elisa Kennedy, 96, has hosted a polling place in her San Francisco home and/or has worked as a poll worker in nearly every election for the last 75 years, Bowen’s office said. Her service began shortly after she reached eligible voting age and has spanned more than 120 elections.
Kennedy was four and a half years old when the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified.
“A lot has changed in politics and in the world since Elisa first volunteered as a poll worker 75 years ago, but her commitment to democracy and her devotion to her community has remained constant,” Bowen said in a news release issued Tuesday. “The people of San Francisco have been fortunate to have Elisa help elections run smoothly and I am so grateful to her and thousands of others who volunteer to serve as poll workers year after year.”
Bowen presented Kennedy with a medal from the National Association of Secretaries of State; the award recognizes individuals or groups with a record of outstanding service and dedication to elections, civic education, or service to state government.
“It’s been in my blood,” Kennedy said in Bowen’s news release. “I find it very rewarding, in that I’ve met so many people through the years and it’s been a great satisfaction to me. It’s the wonderful people.”
Bowen noted that each statewide election requires a one-day workforce of 100,000 poll workers in more than 24,000 polling places across California. Poll workers help secure ballots, educate voters about their rights, ensure accessibility for voters with disabilities, and more. A poll worker is paid an average of $100 for the day’s work, though rates vary among counties.
Some words of inspiration for those who still haven’t cast a ballot today:
“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.” — Daniel Webster
“I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.” — Walt Whitman
“We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy.” — President Lyndon B. Johnson