The Republican party currently holds a majority of control over the United States House and Senate. In an effort to put the Democratic party in charge of Congress, Alan Lowenthal, California’s 47th District congressmember, hosted a townhall meeting on Friday, Nov. 10, in Long Beach to muster support for Orange County Democratic candidates who aim to flip Congress from red to blue.
“Many of us feel deeply disempowered by the direction our country has taken. But now we have a chance to make a real difference,” stated Lowenthal in his office’s media advisory for the event. “Midterm elections are important– maybe none as important as 2018. This election is all about turning the House from red to blue.”
The event granted a platform for 17 candidates from congressional districts 39, 45, 48 and 49 to speak about their respective campaigns and objectives if elected during the primary elections next year.
Many of the candidates shared similar background stories. Some of the candidates are former military members, entrepreneurs or educators– several worked under President Barack Obama.
The majority had immigrant parents and were inspired to run for Congress following the election of President Donald Trump.
They also shared political platforms, as they pushed mostly for immigration reform and environmental protection laws.
Long Beach voters are outside of Orange County’s congressional districts, but Lowenthal believes that his constituents could help support the candidates by learning about their platforms.
Attendees were also given the opportunity to personally meet the candidates after they spoke about their campaigns. The meet-and-greet session provided an opportunity for the candidates to garner donations and volunteers for their campaigns.
Lowenthal said he was excited about the event because he believes it was the first step to change the nation for the better.
He said that a lack of gun laws, a poor approach to immigration issues and a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord have been disheartening for him to experience as a member of Congress.
“Every time I lived through these frustrating moments, I thought about tonight,” Lowenthal said. “We are coming out tonight, and the vision I’ve had is that this is all about the 2018 elections.”
The congressional districts where the candidates are running are currently held by Republicans. Lowenthal said that he is “surrounded by some of the worst members in Congress.”
He said that all he needs in Congress is for 24 seats to be filled by members of his party. As much as the congressmember helped in organizing the event, he told the Signal Tribune that he believes his job is not to tell voters whom to support.
“My role is to let the people pick the candidates,” he said. “This is all about the people.”
Long Beach is important to the Democratic party because a win in the districts surrounding the city would give the Democrats a 17-percent boost to see a change in Congress, according to Lowenthal.
“We used to send people to Ohio, Florida and Texas because they were considered battleground states,” he said. “There are seven competitive seats in California– four surrounding [the Long Beach] district. If we win those seats, that’s almost 20 percent of all the seats we need to do in the entire United States.”
Currently, there are no other planned events or meetings similar to the one hosted last week, according to Lowenthal. However, by the end of June– when the primary election is complete– Lowenthal hopes to host a similar event, this time focusing all support on whichever Democratic candidate wins the 2018 state primary election.