Nick Tomboulides: You’re listening to No Uncertain Terms, the official podcast of the Term Limits Movement. I’m Nick Tomboulides, and this is election week, 2022.
Speaker 2: Your sanctuary from partisan politics.
Nick Tomboulides: We’ve got a preview of the general election, I’ll be discussing some of the US Senate races and state legislative races where pledge signers are making an impact. Remember, every time a US Term Limits pledge signer gets elected, we move one step closer to our ultimate goal of passing term limits for members of Congress. This is going to be a big election, historic, you don’t wanna miss this one.
Nick Tomboulides: Alright. So I wanted to give you a quick report on the status of US Term Limits for the upcoming election. Currently, there are 102 US Term Limits pledge signers elected to Congress and 881 pledge signers elected to state legislatures. Those folks in Congress, they’ve signed a pledge to sponsor a constitutional amendment directly, three house terms, two senate terms, and no longer limit. Those state legislators have signed a pledge to support the term limits convention. You need two-thirds of states, 34 states come together in a convention, they can bypass Congress, propose the term limits amendment for Congress on their own. Both numbers of pledge signers are gonna increase substantially after the election Tuesday because candidates have been signing the pledge in droves, they’ve been signing the pledge at a record pace. Why is that important? Because term limiting Congress is nothing if it’s not a numbers game. It’s about maximizing pledge signers at the state and the federal level to get an amendment proposed. And I’ve said it before, we don’t need a majority of politicians to sign the pledge, that would be great to have, and we’ve had it before, we had it in West Virginia, but we don’t need it.
Nick Tomboulides: We just need a committed core of term limits warriors who are willing to stand on the front lines and fight for this and rally other people, other members of the legislature to their cause. Now, we’ve already seen it in places like Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri, Alabama, none of those States had a majority of their legislators sign the pledge, but all of them had a solid group who had signed and that group was able to push and persevere, and it gave us political capital, it gave us the juice that we needed to pass the term limits convention in those states. So we’re working on term limits convention, we’re working on proposing the amendment at the federal level, no one’s holding their breath for Congress, but members of Congress who support term limits are effectively celebrities. They are great spokespersons for the issue. If you have enough supporters at the federal level who’ve signed the pledge in prominent positions, you can potentially leverage that in the media and force Congress to have committee hearings again and force Congress to have a vote. So we’ll start with the federal races, talk about that. Here are some of the ones on the watch list, my watch list that are gonna be most impactful from a term limits perspective.
Nick Tomboulides: First, the US Senate race in Arizona between Mark Kelly, the former astronaut, and Blake Masters, who I believe is a tech entrepreneur. Kelly is an incumbent, he’s been in there a few years and he has long refused to sign our pledge. We’ve reached out to him, our Regional Director Ron Hooper has reached out to his camp. He won’t sign the pledge. I mean, his wife’s a former Congresswoman. They’re all about politics, not about term limits. Blake Masters, on the other hand, is an outsider. He is a pledge signer. He has been committed to term limits for a while, he talks about it on Twitter, he talks about it on the campaign trail. That race is probably going to be a photo finish. It’s going to be very close because it’s looking like a Republican year, which helps Masters, but on the other hand, Kelly has the advantage of incumbency and we wouldn’t be doing what we do if not for how powerful that advantage is. But it’s an opportunity for a net term limits gain, and it’s on our watch list. In Florida, pledge signer Marco Rubio is defending his seat against term limits hater Val Demings. Rubio is expected to retain. In Georgia, incumbent Raphael Warnock, who hasn’t signed is being challenged by Herschel Walker.
Nick Tomboulides: Walker signed the pledge very early on, and it has been a bumpy road for him so far in this campaign, but the polls seem to be showing a resurgence. Walker is currently ahead, that’s another attempt, another opportunity rather, for a possible term limits pick-up in the US Senate. In Nevada, incumbent pledge avoider Catherine Cortez Masto is taking on early pledge signer, Adam Laxalt, who is the former Attorney General of that state. I remember personally putting the pledge in the hands of Masto’s Chief of Staff, we were at the same event in DC. I got the typical, “Yeah, we’ll pretend to care about this,” grin and I never heard from him again. But her opponent, Laxalt, is a signer, he’s looking very strong in terms of polling. It’s another pick-up opportunity. In North Carolina and Missouri, there, two anti-term limit Republicans are retiring, Roy Blunt in Missouri and Richard Burr in North Carolina who’s had some insider trading problems. They are expected to be replaced by two pledge signer Republicans. Ted Budd is the guy running in North Carolina, the pledge signer Republican Eric Schmitt is the guy, he won a bruising primary in Missouri, and he’s been a term limits guy since day one, so you’ve got a net gain of two right there. In Ohio, there’s an establishment anti-term limit incumbent Rob Portman. He’s choosing to retire. So that is an open seat. The GOP nominee, JD Vance, the author, has signed the pledge.
Nick Tomboulides: His opponent, Tim Ryan, 20-year Congressman, has not, he has refused. Ryan is unique because he’s actually gone on record on multiple occasions to say he opposes term limits. I’ll give him a little bit of credit for being honest with the voters about that terrible and unpopular stance. Most politicians will try to hide it and they hope the public never finds out, but Tim Ryan is completely out there, “Yeah, I oppose term limits. I oppose what 80% of the voters of Ohio want.” Is that a good strategy for trying to win a Senate seat? Probably not. But these guys make tactical errors from time to time and I think it’s a good thing that his position is out in the sunlight. But Vance is the term limits supporter in this race and he is currently favored to win. And then we will briefly cover Pennsylvania. There, it’s Dr. Oz versus John Fetterman. Fetterman is not his real name. That’s the name of the doctor who created him. I’m just kidding. [chuckle] Oz is the pledge signer here, Fetterman is not.
Nick Tomboulides: This race has had a very tortoise and hare vibe to it where Fetterman had a huge lead out of the gate but since then he has stumbled a lot, which has allowed Oz to play catch-up. And now I think Oz is a slight favorite in Pennsylvania as a pledge signer. He’s replacing Pat Toomey, so this would not be a net pick-up due to the fact that Pat Toomey is a long-time term limits supporter. He’s retiring. He’s term limiting himself. So, if Fetterman wins, that would be a net loss for term limits. If Oz wins, then we would maintain our position in Pennsylvania. Of course, there are some other long-shot pick-up opportunities as well in states like Colorado and Washington. Maybe even Connecticut, my home state, where some of the polls are tightening. But just based on what I’ve covered here, we’re looking to be in the ballpark of six or so net pick-up opportunities in the Senate, maybe even more. That’s to say nothing of the House where 20 or 30 net pick-ups is probably not off the table. We just don’t have the time to go into all of the House races right now, maybe if we have some time on next week’s post-election podcast, we will discuss a few of those.
Speaker 3: This is a public service announcement.
Nick Tomboulides: Ron DeSantis strikes again. No Uncertain Terms is a non-partisan podcast produced by a non-partisan organization, US Term Limits, on behalf of a non-partisan issue, term limits, so it might seem a little off-putting to some that we run so many clips of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on our show. We get it, but what can we do? Governor DeSantis is always talking about term limits, plus, both as a US representative and now as Governor, he has taken concrete steps to enact or defend existing term limits at the federal, state, and now county level. So, here we go again.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: But you see what they’re… They’re producing this slop up in Washington, people like Nancy Pelosi, who by the way, you wanna talk about putting a tired donkey out to pasture, you can get that done very soon. But here’s the thing, you see people like Pelosi, and what it shows me means she’s been doing this for so long, we need term limits for members of Congress. Come on.
Nick Tomboulides: But we can’t forget about the state legislatures. There are thousands of races, Tuesday, for state House and state Senate, many of them are across our target states. And these are not household names unless you happen to live in the state, but they are extremely important and I’ll give you a few examples of why that’s the case. In Arizona, we keep coming back to it because it’s become the term limits state of the West, it’s ground zero. And there we have passed the term limits convention through the state House multiple times, but we have yet to pass the Senate. And as recently as this year, we came within two votes of passing the Senate. It’s absolutely imperative that we get to the magic number of 16 votes to pass the Arizona Senate. But the Senate is being shaken up this year, this election cycle, and we are involved as a group in voter education, issue advocacy activities there, that means we’re sending mailers to citizens to inform them about where these candidates stand. And one race where we’re doing that in particular might be the most important in the state, it’s the District 9 state senate race between Robert Scantlebury and Eva Burch.
Nick Tomboulides: This race is a potential game changer. Scantlebury has signed the pledge to co-sponsor the term limits convention. In the primary, he knocked out an incumbent Republican who voted against us. He dethroned Tyler Pace, who was frankly one of the worst people on term limits anywhere in the country, just unapologetically bad on the issue of term limits, career politician worshipper. But now Scantlebury, after beating Pace in the primary, has got a super competitive general election on his hands against an anti-term limits Democrat. So he’s trying to run the gauntlet here. He’s trying to beat the Democrat in the general after unseating the bad Republican in the primary, and it’s a race where we’re monitoring it very closely to see what happens and we’ve sent a bunch of mailers to inform citizens about where the candidates stand. So we’re tracking that one very, very closely, but a Scantlebury win would be a huge net gain in the Arizona Senate, possibly, depending on how the other races shake out, exactly what would be needed to give the term limits convention a majority in that chamber.
Nick Tomboulides: In another Arizona race, House District 16, you have a unique situation where a pledge-signing Democrat, Keith Seaman, and a pledge-signing Republican, Rob Hudelson, are running in the same district as an anti-term limit incumbent Republican, Teresa Martinez. Arizona has multi-member House districts, so two of these three will be elected. There are two seats up for grabs, not just one, that’s how you get away with having two Republicans running in the general election. But here you see, it’s sort of a microcosm of the term limits issue, because we’ve got bipartisan agreement on the need for congressional term limits with Hudelson signing the pledge, Seaman signing the pledge, but Martinez being the odd woman out, so to speak. She voted against the term limits convention in committee, so her opposition is clear, it’s on the record. And she has made also really nasty statements against term limits in the Capital Press, a lot of very fact-free and unhinged stuff, it will be interesting to see what happens in this race.
Nick Tomboulides: But I can tell you on balance, the Republican caucus in Arizona has been tremendous for the issue of term limits. They have been just stalwartly solid and supportive, with the exception, in the house, of Teresa Martinez, who’s very very bad. So we’re watching that. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in this race. Granted, Martinez is only one vote, but she could be poisoning the well with other members if she sticks around, which might prove problematic. We’ll be watching that one for sure. And then, man, I wish we had time to go in-depth on all of these state legislative races, but there are literally hundreds of them. A few others that I’m tracking. Ken Ivory, who is an Article V and a term limits legend, he is one of the founders and leaders of the Article V state legislators’ caucus. He has been the tip of the spear on this issue, advocating for it and fighting back against the misinformation for years.
Nick Tomboulides: Ivory is back on the ballot in Utah in District 39. I know he has a tough race on his hands, but he is a hard campaigner and he’s highly respected in Utah, so I think he’s going to emerge victorious there. We are doing voter education in his race. In Alaska, another race worth watching, this is for State Senate District H. The State Senate Districts are lettered, not numbered up in Alaska. There you’ve got a pledge signer, Mia Costello, incumbent State Senator, has always been great on the issue of term limits. And she’s being challenged by an anti-term limits Democrat, Matt Claman, who previously opposed this resolution when it was in front of the House Judiciary Committee where he had served for a long time, and had more recently, I believe, served as the chairman. So that one is obviously on our radar. It could be a paradigm shift in Alaska if Costello vanquishes Claman, certainly would eliminate one of the biggest anti-term limit, anti-Article V convention cheerleaders out there.
Nick Tomboulides: We will be watching closely and reporting the result of that, assuming Alaska gets their results in time, reporting that result to you next week. But Arizona and Alaska, these states are just the tip of the iceberg. We’re also sending voter education mailers in North Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Montana, Kansas, Utah, as I mentioned, Iowa. It’s going to be a very big night for our issue on November 8th, and it’s a credit to all the people on our team, all the volunteers of US Term Limits who’ve done the work to pin down these candidates and get pledges. There’s nothing more important in the term limits world than getting candidates to put pen to paper and make a commitment before they are elected to support this effort. Because once they’re in office, once they’re safely re-elected, as we’ve learned unfortunately, all bets are off. But we’ve got the best team ever here, and they have done a tremendous job going round-robin and getting all of those pledges this election cycle. So we’ll be back next week with an election report on how it went. Stay tuned.
Nick Tomboulides: Thanks for joining us for another episode of No Uncertain Terms. The term limits convention bills are moving through the state legislatures. This could be a breakthrough year for the Term Limits Movement. To check on the status of the term limits convention resolution in your state, go to termlimits.com/takeaction. There, you will see if it has been introduced and where it stands in the committee process on its way to the floor vote. If there’s action to take, you’ll see a Take Action button by your state. Click it. This will give you the opportunity to send a message to the most relevant legislators urging them to support the legislation. They have to know you’re watching. That’s termlimits.com/takeaction. If your state has already passed the term limits convention resolution, or the bill’s not been introduced in your state, you can still help. Please consider making a contribution to US Term Limits. It is our aim to hit the reset button on the US Congress, and you can help. Go to termlimits.com/donate, termlimits.com/donate. Thanks. We’ll be back next week.
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