The Friday Five — November 8, 2013

Publish:  Nov 08, 2013

by Carolyn Fiddler

The Atlas Project political team combs through the news every day to bring the latest relevant headlines to progressive activists in the field. Now, we bring you five stories that may have flown under your radar this week.


In New Mexico, election seasion is not quite over. On November 19, Albuquerque voters will go to the polls to fill a vacancy on the city council and to decide on whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks. New Mexico Politics with Joe Manahan reports that their exclusive poll shows that 56.3% of likely city voters oppose the proposed ban, 37.4% support it, with 6.4% undecided. Pro-choice groups have ads up on TV, but supporters of the 20-week ban have yet to go on the air.


  • Petition requiring women to purchase abortion rider on health insurance could become law  [Detroit Free Press]

Anti-choice activists in Michigan appear to have collected a sufficient number of signatures to get a law on the books that would require insurance companies to offer abortion coverage only through a separate rider to a customer’s policy. If at least 258,088 of the 315,477 submitted signatures are valid, the petitions move to the state Board of Canvassers and on to the Legislature, which has 40 calendar days to approve or reject them. If the petitions are approved, the measure automatically becomes law – Gov. Snyder will have no authority to review or veto it. If the Legislature takes no action or rejects the petitions, the issue will go to the voters in November 2014.


State Senator Ralph Northam’s victory in the Virginia lieutenant governor race will open up his seat in SD-06, which includes parts of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. Delegate Lynwood Lewis, former Delegate Paula Miller, and Northam campaign treasurer Andria McClellan are lining up to run for vie for the Democratic nomination; thus far, two Republicans – freight executive Wayne Coleman and attorney John Coggeshall – have declared their candidacies. Northam flipped the seat from a Republican in 2007 and won reelection after the 2011 redistricting. A Democratic win in this upcoming special election is required for Democrats to take majority control of the chamber in 2014.


The November 5, 2013, New Jersey gubernatorial election may have delivered a wide margin of victory for Chris Christie, but it did so with less than 38% turnout. The contest was the lowest-turnout gubernatorial election in the state’s history.


Although Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has supported policies described by one Democratic state senator as “some of the most harmful…to the citizens of Detroit,” the Michigan lawmaker has suddenly become one of the city’s biggest promoters. In a public letter to his colleagues in the legislature, Bolger asks lawmakers to embrace the state’s largest city, and to encourage their constituents to, as well. Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park, says he’ll believe it when he sees it.