Lesli Messinger
Friday, 27 July 2012 02:52

Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress

Written by  Messinger for Congress

Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia.  It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.

If the Democratic hopeful happens to be a woman, facing off against a very entrenched and powerful man, many a political strategist might counsel, ”be prepared to lose.”

But Georgia Democrat Lesli Messinger is determined to run for Congress, and win.

“There’s too much at stake for Democrats to let this election default to Rep. Kingston, who is seeking his 11th term in Congress, largely unopposed,” Messinger asserts “He does not represent those most vulnerable in the ongoing economic recession, his voting record obstructs President Obama’s efforts to assist those hurt most by the economy, and is, in fact, more extremist than the voting records of most of his Republican colleagues.”

The only Democratic woman candidate running for a national office this election season in Georgia, she’s a lone progressive Democrat amid the state’s Congressional candidates.

But that could mean higher visibility. With public disapproval of a Republican-dominant Congress now at an all-time high, this anomaly might make her more of a standout.

Traditionally Democratic, Georgia has “flipped” politically in the last decade. Republicans currently control both U.S. Senate seats and eight of the 13 U.S. House seats — plus all of the state’s 13 constitutional offices. Here, 82 percent of state legislators are male. The last Congresswoman from Georgia, 11th District Rep. Cynthia McKinney, lost her bid for re-election in 2006 to current U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson.

“Women here have progressed in state offices, but have not broken into national politics,” Messinger notes. “I’d like to be the candidate that changes that.”

Messinger is mounting a campaign against the Republican monopoly on coastal Georgia, to restore opportunity to ordinary Americans, equalize fair treatment to minority communities when it comes to federal resources, and restore economic opportunity a Republican-dominant Congress, and career politicians like Rep. Kingston, have robbed ordinary citizens from having.

A former guardian ad litem for children, Messinger has been a school safety activist and national advocate for stronger laws to protect youth from drug abuse.  Her political activism includes involvement with the high-profile Democratic presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and President Obama. 

Messinger’s Democratic values took shape during her upbringing in Ohio farm country. Her father was a union member, and her grandfather, a World War II veteran who earned the Bronze Star. “We worked hard, and realized the benefits of that,” she says. “Today, lawmakers whose allegiance lies with corporate interests have robbed most Americans of the same basic opportunities.”

Observing the deepening chasm between the classes in the 1st District, and the continuing erosion of the middle class, prompted Messinger to run for Congress.

“I woke up to what is happening,” Messinger says. “I was sponsoring feed-the-hungry events and clothing drives in minority communities in Savannah, and saw the poverty concentrated in these communities here. I observed a 10-term Republican congressman working against the struggling constituents in this district. I knew I had to do something.”

Distressed by what she was observing, Messinger examined Rep. Kingston’s voting record.

“He has consistently voted against measures to assist those hardest hit by the worst economy since the Great Depression – the unemployed, working families, veterans, and individuals on fixed incomes.”

“He votes consistently against the disenfranchised. These are the constituents who need his support most.”

Gearing up for her campaign, Messinger created a powerful presentation that outlines Republicans’ “disconnect” from people most vulnerable in the ongoing recession, and Congressional allegiances to large corporate interests.

Messinger documented campaign funds to support this career politician from industrial lobbyists, big businesses and Political Action Committees (PACs), the financial backers of which remain anonymous.

While Kingston has been considered “untouchable” by any Democratic contender, Messinger thinks otherwise. “Redistricting that took place in 2011 in Georgia gives Democrats an electoral advantage in a portion of Savannah, and a better chance to win than in many years,” she says. “With redistricting, only 125,000 are required to win. With most of the City of Savannah’s Democratic voter base on board, the “electoral math” defines the 1st Congressional District as an 18,000-vote race.”

Gathering support from within her own party, however, is critical, says Messinger. “It continues to be quite a challenge.”

“Democrats here agree they want to send an alternative to Washington,” she asserts. “But they lack a way to marshal the resources.”

The Democratic contender has an uphill battle, but the goal is attainable, according to campaign manager Farooq Mughal.  ”In the 2008 general election, Democrat Bill Gillespie garnered over 83,000 in his bid to win the 1st District seat. He came close, and Lesli Messinger is expected to come much, much closer.”

Rep. Kingston understands his vulnerability, perhaps, as he is campaigning early this year, which is unprecedented, according to Georgia Democratic Party leaders.

Kingston recently made public appearances at Savannah’s Forsyth Park, and was also observed doing a “drive through” in Savannah’s largest African American community, in which Messinger has established a solid presence while campaigning.

“I sought out leaders in this community and searched out the real concerns. I will champion a redirection of federal resources to create fairness in the 1st District,” Messinger points out. She also has innovations in mind for the rural regions in the 1st District, hardest hit by economic stagnation.

Messinger’s hope is that with the support of the Georgia Democratic Party, the National Democratic Committee, and men and women from throughout the 1st District and the State, she can end 20 years of Republican domination in the coastal 1st District.

“Citizens of the 1st District who remain jobless, struggling families, veterans, retirees, poverty-plagued and anyone interested in restoring opportunity to this country, cannot afford more Republican domination in Congress,” she concludes.

“I plan to restore what has been lost, and work for those not now being represented.”

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Latest News from the Messinger Campaign

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    On Saturday, October 20, First Congressional District candidate Lesli Messinger visited Pin Point, Georgia and talked with locals about her candidacy and to listen to what issues those citizens believe are important.

    Messinger has traveled through her congressional district for months since her qualifying back in late May and has touted a strong progressive message and has been able to build grassroots coalitions.

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    Progressive Democrats say Congrats to U.S. Congressional GA District 1 Primary Winner Lesli Messinger. Lesli Messinger has claimed the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday beating Nathan Russo in the Democratic Primary.  Unofficial results showed Messinger with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Russo with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

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    Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia.  It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.

    Written on Friday, 27 July 2012 02:52
  • Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress
    Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress

    State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, has endorsed Lesli Messinger for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

    Messinger, a Savannah businesswoman, is running against Nathan Russo, a retired St. Simons businessman, in Tuesday’s primary.

    The winner will face Republican incumbent Jack Kingston, who is seeking a 10th term.  Last year’s boundary changes left the district with a GOP tilt, but less pronounced than in the past.

    The endorsement apparently is intended to buttress Messinger’s claim to be a stauncher Democrat than Russo and a loyal supporter of  President Barack Obama.

    Russo has argued that, to beat Kingston in the district, a Democrat must make a strong appeal to many independents and at least some Republicans.

    Stephens prefaces his statement by saying he’s “a lifelong member of the Democratic Party for over 30 years.”  

    “Not only does Mrs. Messinger have fresh new ideas that I feel truly represent the people of our district, and the state of Georgia,” he said. “She is a proud supporter of President Obama’s policies. I know Messinger will stand with President Obama in Congress, on a true Democratic front with other members of Congress.”

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:00
  • U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class
    U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class

    Lesli Messinger moved to Skidaway Island four years ago, she says, to escape the “dark and dreary” environs of New Jersey. But Messinger says she found darkness and dreariness near the tranquil community where she and her husband, Nathan, relocated. She says she met women who couldn’t afford cookies for their grandchildren and people whose jobless benefits were expiring.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00

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