Republican Landslide Takes Down Indians

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Last night’s election results were devastating for Indian Country.  Like you, I am outraged by the Republicans lies, and racist dirty tricks used against our INDN candidates and disgusted by the corporate and special interest money that funded them.  There are a few bright spots, which we’ve highlighted at the end of this email, but we cannot ignore the fact that last night the political power of American Indians was set back decades.

 

THE BAD NEWS

We are deeply disappointed by the loss of progressive champions like the only Indian in the Pennsylvania Assembly, Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith who was narrowly defeated and Washington State Senator Claudia Kauffman, the first and only Indian woman in that state’s chamber, who is currently behind in the vote tally.  Our efforts to put the first Indian in the Wisconsin Assembly by electing Mert Summers were thwarted.  Likewise, in our three statewide races, Arizona Secretary of State candidate Chris Deschene, Oklahoma’s State Auditor Steve Burrage, and South Dakota’s candidate for Commissioner of School and Public Lands, Bob Pille were all pilloried.

And, one of our biggest heartbreaks was Jeff Jones’ loss to Race Baiting, Rex Duncan in the District Attorney’s race in Pawnee and Osage Counties in Oklahoma.  The Republicans use of hate and race drove voters away from the most qualified candidate.
 
In South Dakota, two wonderful volunteers from Maryland and INDN’s List supporters traveled to Julie Garreau’s district to help with GOTV activities.  Unfortunately, that was not enough and Julie was unable to retake this State Senate seat from the incumbent who had switched parties from Democrat to Republican. 

Today we wonder why do we do this?  Why do we keep fighting?  I still believe in the same things and hold the same values today that I did yesterday.  The work of INDN’s List is much more than just winning elections, it is about inspiring people who have no hope for a better tomorrow, it is about showing our Indian boys and girls that they can be what they can see, that they too can and should dream big dreams. 

There is no better example of this than Kiowa tribal member, Maya Torralba, who lost her challenge to an entrenched Republican State Representative in Oklahoma last night, when she said, “This campaign isn’t about me, it’s about us.  It’s about getting political power for future generations.  Our brothers and sisters will be inspired and know that they can do it.”

But, clearly, Indian Country and America suffered a major setback yesterday.  In January, we will have far fewer Indians holding office than we do now.  In addition to those already mentioned, in Alaska we lost Representative Woodie Salmon, in Missouri we lost Clay County Clerk Tom Brandom, in Montana we lost Representatives Frosty Boss Calf Ribs and J. David Roundstone as well as Cheryl Lynn Littledog who was running for a Democratic open-seat, and in Oklahoma we lost State Representative Ken Luttrell.

THE GOOD NEWS

In spite of the Republican landslide INDN’s List did win 12 of our 27 races.  In Oklahoma we won our only State Senate Race, John Sparks and will be sending three superstars back to the State House of Representatives: Al McAffrey, Seneca Scott, and Cory Williams

INDN’s List candidate John Oceguera won reelection in Nevada and is in line to become the new Speaker of the House.  Representative Patrick Goggles won reelection and will remain the Minority Leader in the Wyoming State House.  James Ramos will remain President of the San Bernardino Community College Board.  Carolyn Peace Lopez will remain in the Montana State House and Shannon Augare will join the Montana State Senate.  Albert Hale will take a seat in the Arizona State House.  In the Washington State House, John McCoy and Jeff Morris both retained their seats.

This cycle, Republican special interest groups and corporations spent more on elections than ever before.  Unfortunately, INDN’s List had less money than in past cycles.  We tried to help more candidates with fewer resources, and in most races we just could not compete.  We extend a special thank you to the NEA, IBEW, TWU, San Manuel Band, Ho Chunk Nation, Cherokee Nation, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Muckleshoot Tribe, and Jamestown S’Klallam TribeThis way too short list of unions and tribes (and a few very special individuals) take sole credit for our INDN candidates winning the seats we did.  And, to each of you who has generously given your time, energy and financial contributions to help INDN’s List this year, thank you for all you did to help the First Americans take and keep our rightful seats in the halls of power! 

UPDATE: Extremist Republican Attacks INDN’s List and Kalyn Free as “Radical”

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Rex Duncan is at it again!  Typical of the Republican play book, Rex is trying to distract voters from his lack of experience and questionable ethics.   Indian Country Today just published an article showing how Rex’s ballot initiative even threatens tribal treaties.

Rex’s newest target is INDN’s List itself!  In a recent mail piece (see below)  against INDN candidate, Jeff Jones, Rex attacks Jeff for receiving support from INDN’s List, which he calls a “radical liberal organization.”  And sticking with the Republican script, he posted a picture of Jeff, Speaker Pelosi President Obama, and Kalyn Free.

Rex Duncan even went so far as to attack INDN’s List founder, Kalyn Free, as a liberal activist.  The truth is Kalyn Free, like our endorsed candidate Jeff Jones, has far more experience prosecuting criminals and putting them in prison than Duncan! 

Make a contribution to INDN’s List today to hold Rex Duncan accountable for these lies and distortions!  Let’s show him that his attacks on INDN’s List make us stronger and raise more money for our excellent and highly qualified candidates, like Jeff Jones!

Rex Duncan knows he is not qualified to serve as District Attorney.  Rex knows voters will choose Jeff’s integrity and experience over his lack of prosecutorial experience and questionable ethics.  That’s why The Tulsa World just endorsed Jeff Jones in his race for DA!  They said, “Duncan has supported a number of extreme positions and pushed several other irrelevant issues during his years in the legislature.”

First Indian and Steelworker Wins Statewide in Arizona

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For the first time in Arizona history, an American Indian candidate has become a major party nominee for statewide office!  INDN’s List endorsed candidate Chris Deschene, a Navajo and former member of the United Steelworkers, won the Democratic Party’s nomination for Secretary of State in a hotly contested race where he was outspent by over $30,000.  

Now Chris moves on to the November 2nd General Election where he faces Ken Bennett, who was appointed to the office in 2009.  If Chris wins in November, he will become the first Indian to serve statewide in Arizona.  Furthermore, in Arizona, the Secretary of State is the state’s second highest executive officer.  Since 1977, Arizona’s Secretary of State moved on to become Governor four times.  Thus, Chris Deschene will be perfectly poised to become the country’s only sitting American Indian Governor!

Chris needs our help to win in November!  Please make a contribution now to help us support Chris in this historic race!

Chris Deschene is living proof that the INDN’s List system of recruiting, training, funding and providing strategic guidance to Indian candidates works!  He attended our “From the Table to the Ticket” training in 2006 where he impressed all of our staff as well as Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), the Vice Chair of the DNC, who is also supporting Chris.  He won election to the State House in 2008 and is now the Arizona Democratic Party’s first statewide American Indian nominee.

INDN’s List would also like to congratulate endorsed candidates Jack Jackson, Jr. who won his race for Arizona State Senate and Albert Hale who won his race for Arizona State House.

Join INDN’s List on Facebook and Twitter

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INDN’s List has worked on 45 winning campaigns for American Indian candidates across the nation and significantly increased voter turnout throughout Indian Country over the past five years.  We are working daily with candidates to win this November and working with our partners to help increase turnout in Indian Country.  But there’s more that we can do.

That’s why INDN’s List has created a comprehensive social media plan to engage American Indians across the country and reach out to people who have not participated in the political process.  

But we need your help!

Please  join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/indnslist) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/indnslist).  On Facebook, after liking our page (at the top), please  suggest our page (under the picture) to your friends and family.  On Twitter, after following us, please take a moment to send a tweet out asking your friends and family to follow us as well.

Social media will help us better communicate with our supporters.  We want you to not just join our Facebook page and Twitter page but more importantly to join the conversation.  Let us know what is going on in your community.  Share your ideas for what we can do to help more American Indian candidates and increase the Democratic vote up and down the ballot.  Help us reach out to your social network.

Thank you for your time and your help!  Together, we can help make a real difference for Indian Country!