Outside Progressive Groups Rush to Push Sen. Schatz Over the Finish Line [UPDATED]

Editor’s Note: This post was updated to reflect that this Friday, voters will vote in Puna and to clarify regarding donations from PCCC members. 

PCCC Supporter for Sen Schatz.JPG

A PCCC Supporters Volunteers for Sen. Schatz at a PCCC-Organized Phone Bank | Courtesy PCCC

Saturday’s Senate primary in Hawaii had Sen. Schatz leading Rep. Colleen Hanabusa by 1,635 votes. However, the race is not over just yet. Officials deemed the voting locations for two precincts in Puna, which is located on the Big Island, unsafe as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. The Hawaii Board of Elections has announced that this Friday, voters will be able to vote. Voters will have to appear in-person, though. However, Hawaii News Now reports that over 9,000 residents are believed to have lost power.

Progressive groups are now returning to Hawaii in a last-ditch attempt to secure victory for the Senator. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and MoveOn have all endorsed Senator Schatz and they are reaching out to members for additional help.

MoveOn has just over 39,000 members in the state. Additionally, MoveOn members and staff workers have made over 20,000 calls in support of Schatz. The progressive group also opened an office in Honolulu a few weeks ago on July 22. Online postings show that MoveOn is continuing to hire organizers for the office. According to the executive director of MoveOn Political Action, Ilya Sheyman, “Once the storm recovery is complete, Hawaii MoveOn members will keep working to turn out progressive voters in these two precincts for Sen. Schatz.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is utilizing its near one million members, over 4,400 of which are in Hawaii in what the group is calling an “unprecedented overtime round.” Members around the nation were sent an email asking for donations to help the effort. According to a spokeswoman with the PCCC, over $67,000 had been donated with over 8,500 by PCCC members by Election Day. The average donation was $5.89. The spokeswoman said that more has been raised for the campaign since Election Day.

The PCCC spokeswoman says that over 100 of their Hawaii members have pledged to volunteer in support of the Schatz campaign. In addition, the group is working with the campaign to see how they will be of help. TKNN has reached out to the Schatz campaign for any comment on the outside help, but they have not responded. This article will be updated with their response if they do end up responding.

Finally, Democracy for America, the Howard Dean-founded group, said that they plan on connecting their 4,400 state members “directly” to the campaign. The group says that they have 327 members in Puna, the location of the two precincts. A group spokesman says that their members in Hawaii have donated over $18,000.

Senator Schatz is currently surviving his primary by only over 1,500 votes. But with over 8,000 votes up for grabs, progressive groups are converging on Puna for a last dose of grassroots action.

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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