Remembering National Director Russell Hemenway

Russ Hemenway, NCEC National Director On January 30, 2014 NCEC lost its National Director Russell Hemenway. Beginning with his activity in the Lexington Democratic Club, Russ spent his lifetime as a reformer. Through his work at the NCEC, Russ was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, earned a spot on Nixon's enemies list, and was a driving force behind campaign finance reform and the establishment of the FEC in 1971.

Under his guidance, the NCEC developed first-of-its-kind data-driven targeting as early as 1976. He advised candidates in thousands of campaigns and had a lasting influence on decades of politicians.

Russ served as the NCEC's National Director for nearly 50 years and remained deeply committed to our mission. In 2013, Russ insisted that we continue our work and, together, we mapped a strategy for the Committee going forward.

We lost one of our friends, a leader, and an inspiration; progressives lost one of their most effective champions of reform. Russ is dearly missed, but we are certain he would be enthusiastic for the future of the NCEC. The organization he worked so hard to build is continuing its mission with his same enthusiasm and dedication.

Senate Outlook 2016

With their 2014 election wins, the right-wing hasn't held this many seats in Congress since 1948—when the National Committee for an Effective Congress was founded!

2016 US Senate Elections

Republicans seized control of the US Senate by flipping nine of the 21 Democratic-held seats up for election. They also tightened their grip on the US House with a net gain of 13 seats. Doubtless, we will see a push to repeal hard-won healthcare reforms and efforts to secure government hand-outs for their corporate interests.

To our advantage, the 2016 map presents an excellent opportunity to reclaim control of the Senate as overreaching Republicans must defend 24 of the 34 seats up for election in the coming Presidential year.

Recapturing the House will be a greater challenge as Republicans used their advantage in state legislatures to secure control of many seats through craven gerrymandering. Still, dozens of opportunities exist and the NCEC is working intently to identify the best districts to recover and begin chipping away at an extremely lopsided Republican majority.

Looking Forward

In this past election, organizations spent tens of millions of dollars to help win contests that never had the slimmest chance of succeeding. Sophisticated techniques, alone, cannot drive winning campaigns when underlying strategy defies electoral fundamentals.

Combining lasting wisdom with fresh thinking, the NCEC focuses on providing the best fundamental analysis possible. Recent improvements to our technology infrastructure have advanced the speed and accuracy of our data handling, quality assurance, and analytical capability to guide winning strategy.

Assisting progressive candidates (at no cost to them) can only happen with your continuing support. Renewing your membership in the NCEC will show the right-wing that we remain steadfast and determined to protect our democracy from extremism.