Showing Up in the Show Me State: Democrats Win in MO-02 Republican Stronghold
I spent last Sunday canvassing for Democrat Mike Revis in a part of Missouri that pundits and consultants had written off as Donald Trump country. Mike was our candidate in a special election for Missouri State House District 97. In 2016, Trump won HD-97 by a 61-33 margin. In 2016, Democrats didn’t even field a candidate for state representative there. Last night, after the final ballots were counted, we learned that Mike won by a 108-vote margin.
Mike’s race offers a roadmap for how we take back the House in November. His district is located almost entirely within Missouri’s Second Congressional District, where I am running against GOP incumbent Ann Wagner.
When you run for Congress, lots of people have ideas about how you should be spending you time: more time raising money, more time tweeting, more time seeking endorsements. Rarely if ever has anyone told me to spend more time going door to door in “solid red” territory.
But after working on a dozen campaigns, I know there’s no substitute for meeting people on their porch. No matter where I go in my district, people raise the same concerns. They’re nervous about the direction our country is headed and the dysfunction in Washington. They worry about their children and grandchildren, and the America we’re leaving for them.
More than anything else, people are angry that their elected officials don’t listen, don’t show up, and have abandoned their obligation to fight for them and their neighbors. I can relate to this. I lost my mom to breast cancer in 2016. For the last couple years of my mom’s life, she purchased a healthcare plan on Missouri’s Affordable Care Act exchange. Last year, when the debate over the ACA was raging, my Congresswoman, Ann Wagner, continued her long quest to repeal and replace, and voted to cut 24 million people off of their health insurance.
That felt personal to me. It felt like she was voting against my mom. It made me angry, and it made me feel ignored. It is why I am running for Congress.
I met a lot of people when canvassing for Mike last week. People who also feel like nobody is listening to them. I met a woman named Sharon who is recovering from a mastectomy. She lives with her elderly mother. She told me she is worried that Medicare is now on the chopping block. She feels like nobody in government has a plan to improve her access to healthcare.
This has to change. Democrats have to be part of the solution by refusing to write off “tough” districts. Frustration and embarrassment with the environment in Washington is everywhere, and that means that we can and we must compete everywhere.
Mike ran a great campaign. He held dozens of public events, gave out his phone number, answered campaign emails personally, and took the time to listen and provide solutions. His opponent did none of those things.
Like Mike, I’m proud to be a part of a new generation of leadership who believes that we must break away from the outdated tropes about where we can and can’t win. Missourians—and Americans—deserve more credit than that. When regular folks step up and speak out, like they will in November 2018, no play-it-safe incumbent will be safe.
I hope you will join me in this fight.
See the article in the Daily Kos here: