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UPDATE: GOTV for Conor Lamb

First, the good news. The Carnegie campaign location was flooded with volunteers. There were so many that they ran out of walk lists for canvassers. I spoke to some canvassers on their way back. They looked happy and said they had many positive responses.

Now the not so good news. I spent a couple of hours phone banking. There are a LOT of people still planning to vote for Rick Saccone. Now, that might be misleading because these people were actually answering their phones which suggest they are elderly using landlines. And if I were to guess, they’re more likely to skew Republican. They’re also probably more likely to vote.

So, my sense is that it’s going to be very close. Don’t pay any attention to the polls. Getting out on Tuesday is very important.

Wouldn’t you know it, we’re expecting snow.

One other negative: there were a lot of camera crews on site sticking their lenses in our faces. I’m afraid I might have been caught on camera. I hate being caught on camera. 😡 Oh well, too late now. No, I don’t know what channel. Might be Fox for all I know.

And here is the phone bankers’ therapy dog. (I just made that up. I don’t know whose dog that is but very nice doggy.):

Vets for Pets!


GOTV for Lamb in PA 18

Good morning, everybody! This is the last weekend before the special election for PA 18. Let’s recap how we got to this very important, very expensive congressional election for a district that will not exist after November. (folks, you can’t make this stuff up):

  1. Tim Murphy. It all started last year when PA 18’s Representative Tim Murphy got into a bit of a jam. See, Murphy is a family values, anti-choice, piety and free market Republican like the kind that votes in lock step with his party. But Murphy had a more laid back side too. Specifically, he had a girlfriend who thought for a few weeks that she was knocked up. So, she wrote some emails to Murphy asking him what his opinion was on the subject. Turns out Murphy already had a family so he suggested that she might want to get an abortion. The girlfriend decided to retain that email for future use. And use it she did last year. The good people of PA 18 saw that Murphy was a cad an a hypocrite and demanded that he resign. These are the same people who voted overwhelmingly for Trump so consistency might not be their strong suit but let’s be charitable and say that they appear to have learned their lesson with Murphy. So he resigned. No biggy for the Republicans. They’ll just run another hard ass for PA 18, a pretty solidly Republican district vaguely gun shaped district abutting Pittsburgh and gobbling up perfectly innocent suburbs in its rural and exurban mass. Piece of cake. What could go wrong?
  2. Trump continues to be president. Kicking liberals is a lot of fun but it turns out that PA 18 voters might be tiring of Trump’s shtick. And Murphy’s dalliance with his girlfriend shined a light on Republican hypocrisy in a rather unflattering way. Plus, the economy has not improved all that much in PA 18, healthcare is ridiculous, and except for the areas closer to Pittsburgh, there aren’t that many minorities and immigrants to get angry with in the rolling hills and hidden hollows of PA 18. Oh, sure, the seat is still guaranteed to go Republican. The Republican legislature took care of that. What could go wrong?
  3. The PA Supreme Court. Earlier this year, it took a look at the PA district map in a suit brought by PA voters and the Democrats and said, “Huh, this is interesting. There are more D’s than R’s in this state by about 800000 voters, but regardless of how many times D’s outvote R’s, they can only get 5 out of 18 congressional seats. Whatsupwiththat? Let’s take a look at those maps again”. The court ruled that Republicans had somehow managed to gerrymander the maps so that Republicans would always walk away with 2/3 of the Congressional districts in PA. I’m sure it was unintentional or due to geography just like the Republicans claim. 🙄 But it’s curious how hard they fought to keep the “unintentionally” unfair maps in place after the court ordered new maps drawn in order to better ensure that all Pennsylvanians had equal protection and free speech under the law according to the PA State Constitution. All of the subsequent efforts of the PA Republicans were rebuffed, they drew new maps, which weren’t much better than the old maps (did they think no one would notice?). So the court had some independent congressional map drawing dude from Stanford put PA into his speshul computerized map algorithm modulator and it spit out a new map where all the districts are rejiggered. This is where I come in.
  4. PA 18 is toast in November. Yep. It will no longer exist in its present vaguely gun shape at the lower left corner. Now it will be merged and resected with the current 12th district in its pre-chosen form of a giant slorb and take a chunk of the 9th district that is threatening to gobble everything in sight. The new map is shown below. The new PA 17 district is in red, just above the green snot monster that is Mike Doyle’s district of Pittsburgh. Yes, Pittsburgh is still surrounded but believe me, this map is better. The new 17th district has a lot more Democrats. But the old 18th district still needs a rep until November. So, Democrat Conor Lamb is running for it against Republican Rick Saccone. Lamb is a former marine, a former federal prosecutor and all around clean cut dude. Saccone is another bible thumping family values Republican. Enuf said. Whoever wins this district will have about 2 seconds to bask in the glory before he has to turn around and run all over again in a new district in November. Rick Saccone will end up in Mike Doyle’s district in November. Lamb lives in Mount Lebanon. So in November, his suburb has been redrawn to be in the 17th district. Yes, PA’s Mighty 17th! As it turns out, my suburb just to the east of Pittsburgh has been gently excised from Mike Doyle’s district (he represents most of Pittsburgh) and has been reassigned to the 17th district, which used to be a different district number and it’s all pretty confusing but this much I know: come November, if Lamb wins on Tuesday, he’ll be one of two incumbent Congressmen from my currently non-existent district while old PA-18 will have no incumbents running in November because it will morph into the new PA-14. It hurts my head to even think about it.

Anyway, that’s a long winded way of explaining why I’ll be phone banking and canvassing this weekend for Conor Lamb. The polls are irrelevant at this point. No, don’t even. I went through that with Hillary Clinton. All the coordinators said “Don’t look at the polls! We need every vote in every precinct in PA and if you don’t canvass this third area today and she loses, IT WILL ALL BE YOUR FAULT”. Well, we here in Allegheny county kept our end of the bargain and she won in a landslide and even exceeded Obama’s vote count in 2012 by 14000 votes. It was those other canvassers in East Jabip, York county PA and the lovely voters of PA 18 that let us down in 2016. I’m willing to give them another chance to make amends.

Should be fun. The temperature is supposed to get up to a balmy 42°F today. I have my handy dandy cross body messenger bag for packing flyers, water bottles and gloves, and my favorite pair of fringed canvassing boots I got for $22 buckaroos from Target 3 years ago. All I need is my quilted black puffer with a hood and I am ready to work up a sweat walking the hilly streets and risking my life in red PA 18 that will exist no more in a few months.

Wish me luck!

If you’re from PA 18 or will be in PA 17 in November, consider doing some volunteering this weekend. It’s easy. You get used to talking to strangers. And we need to make sure to get every vote in every precinct or IT WILL BE ALL OUR FAULT IF LAMB LOSES.

But seriously, folks, it’s going to be close. Get out there if you can.


I went to hear The Clarks in Oakmont last night. They’re a local Pittsburgh band and it was an excellent live show. Oakmont is going to be in the Mighty 17th in the fall. Anyway, here’s a song they played last night. It’s a little Bruce working class industrial with a little mountain twang. Enjoy!