A few days ago, I wrote a post explaining which senators we must target our lobbying efforts at, based on which senators will be most important in determining whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal succeeds or fails. Those senators were Lincoln and Pryor of Arkansas, Manchin of West Virginia, Levin of Michigan, and Reid (Majority Leader) of Nevada. A lot has happened in the past few days, so I figured I should update what our strategy needs to be.
Very recently, four Republican senators have indicated that they are likely to support repeal. These senators are Ensign of Nevada, Murkowski of Alaska, Collins of Maine and Lugar of Indiana. Ensign and Murkowski are awaiting the Pentagon study, while Collins and Lugar are asking there be debate time so that Republicans can introduce amendments to the Defense Authorization bill.
I am very confident that Ensign and Murkowski will vote for repeal when the time comes given their previous statements. However, that would still leave us one vote short of cloture (we were three votes short last time). To further complicate matters, we will have an additional deficit of two votes because we don’t know how Kirk of Illinois and Manchin are going to vote: both of their predecessors' votes went to supporting cloture last time. That means we need three more votes. Therefore, we also need to target Manchin, Lincoln, and Pryor to make sure every Democrat votes for cloture. To be safe, we should also make sure Collins and Lugar are on board by ensuring that Reid allows time for debate. Therefore, our primary target for lobbying needs to be Reid: if we get Reid to allow debate, that’s two more votes, and if we can keep Manchin’s vote and/or move Lincoln and/or Pryor to the ‘yea’ column, that’s enough to put us over the top and them some.
In sum, we have four key senators: Reid, Lincoln, Pryor, and Manchin. And as always, we should be calling the White House to make sure Obama has a major role in this process; his advocacy could help some of those Dems switch sides.. Manchin doesn’t yet have a number, but below are the numbers for the other senators you should call. And please do call: if we demonstrate to these senators that voting for repeal will increase their support and not decrease it, we can shift the tally in our favor.
White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.): 202-224-3542
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark): 202-224-4843
Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark): 202-224-2353
EXTRA (Republicans who may support repeal)
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine): 202-224-2523
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.): 202-224-4814
Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.): 202-224-6244
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): 202-224-6665
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine): 202-224-5344
Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio): 202-224-3353
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