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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:40:36 +0000

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:40:36 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



This is a perfect illustration of why California's top-two primary is awful and should be eliminated

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:33:17 +0000

Ugh. This is some very frustrating news—and yet another reason why we hate top-two primaries with a passion. GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is looking decidedly vulnerable next year after his Southern California House seat swung from a 55-43 win for Mitt Romney to a 48-46 win for Hillary Clinton, and no fewer than four notable Democrats have jumped in to challenge the incumbent, who has only won by less than double digits once in his three-decade career. But a new candidate in the race could screw everything up, and that's because businessman Stelian Onufrei is a Republican. In any normal state, Onufrei, who's pledged to self-fund $500,000, would simply run in the GOP primary against Rohrabacher, while Democrats would go about nominating their own candidate—no problem. In California, though, all candidates from all parties run together on a single primary ballot, and the top-two vote-getters advance to the November general election—regardless of what party they belong to. That means that two Democrats or two Republicans could win any given primary, something that happens with some frequency. Most of the time, one-party races take place in dark blue or dark red districts and no one really complains. But sometimes, when dark stars align, they happen in swing districts, and it's always been to the detriment of Democrats. The most poignant example took place in 2012, when GOP Rep. Gary Miller faced five opponents: one fellow Republican, then-state Sen. Bob Dutton, and four Democrats. While the 31st District was decidedly blue, turnout in California primaries always tilts more Republican. That allowed Miller and Dutton to neatly split half the vote while the four Democrats fought over the other half. In a catastrophic outcome, the leading Democrat, Pete Aguilar, wound up 2 points behind Dutton in third place, completely locking Team Blue out of the general election in a seat Barack Obama won 57-41. (Dutton wound up losing to Miller, who retired a cycle later and was belatedly succeeded by Aguilar.) You'll notice that the arrangement of candidates on each side in the 48th is the same as it was in the 31st: a Republican incumbent, a non-Some Dude challenger, and four seemingly credible Democrats. That's a formula for disaster, especially since the 48th, located in Orange County, is more Republican than the 31st. That means the primary pie for Democrats to squabble over starts out smaller—and the biggest slice could very well not be big enough. Even when they've managed to avoid calamity, California Democrats have had to spend time, money, and resources in order to do so. A good illustration came last cycle when the Democratic-held 24th District was open: The DCCC had to shell out over $450,000 to make sure at least one Democrat would advance. If Onufrei really follows through, and if Democrats don't unite behind a single standard-bearer, the party may have to do something like that again. But it shouldn't have to. To give voters a proper choice in November should not require political parties to limit the choices they give to their own members in June. And Republicans should hate top-two just as much as Democrats. Last year, in the most high-profile breakdown yet, Republicans wound up with no candidate in the general election for Senate, which almost assuredly hurt them downballot as well—and the same thing could happen to them again next year with the governor's race. Not only has the top-two system failed to reduce partisanship, as its naïve proponents had argued it would, but it introduced a major flaw into California's elections, one that's very unhealthy for democracy. But it's one we don't have to live with: Voters approved this change at the ballot box back in 2010, and they can get rid of it the same way. [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:39:18 +0000

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings — “100 Days, 100 Nights”

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Voting Rights Roundup: Kris Kobach claims 'we may never know' if Clinton won the popular vote

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:04:14 +0000

Leading Off ● Voter Fraud Commission: On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s “Election Integrity Commission” held its first official meeting, which was closed to the public and only available via online broadcast. Vice-chair Kris Kobach, one of America’s most notorious vote-suppressors, inaugurated the proceedings with a brazen lie in order to undermine public confidence in our electoral system, claiming that we “will probably never know” whether Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016. There is utterly no evidence that millions of illegal voters cost Trump the popular vote, but that hasn’t stopped the administration and Kobach from furthering the notion.​ Campaign Action ​The commission is already facing at least seven lawsuits against its proceedings for a variety of legal violations, chiefly over privacy—a concern there’s good reason to think the panel has little regard for. In a breach of confidence that could lead to harassment, the commission recently released thousands of comments submitted by the public and failed to redact accompanying personal information, making email addresses and even home addresses available for all to see. Even more concerning, states began reporting last week that they’ve seen a surge in voter requests to cancel their registrations after Kobach requested that election officials send the commission their full registration records. New data from Colorado, for instance, shows that nearly 4,000 voters have done so there, with 54 percent of cancellations coming from Democrats and just 12 percent from Republicans. While that represents just a small fraction of the voter pool, no voter should have to fear for their privacy to exercise their right to cast a ballot. This commission’s end goal is for Congress to amend the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (better known as the Motor Voter law) and impose new voting restrictions at the federal level for the first time in the modern era. Indeed, a newly released email discovered in an ongoing ACLU lawsuit against Kobach revealed that he had emailed a Trump transition team member the day after last November’s election to explicitly propose amending the NVRA. However, his scaremongering is already having its intended effect by diminishing public confidence in our very democracy and even inspiring people to opt out entirely—and the commission has barely even begun its work. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/21

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:00:58 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone. Friday, Jul 21, 2017 · 5:43:57 PM +00:00 · David Nir TN-Gov: Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell, a former Democrat who switched parties three years ago, says he will not join the GOP primary for Tennessee's open gubernatorial race next year. Mitchell had been considering a bid and promised a decision by July 1, but announcing three weeks late practically rates as prompt for a politician. The Republican field to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Bill Haslam is already jam-packed, likely dissuading a smaller fry like Mitchell, though some other big names are still weighing the race. Friday, Jul 21, 2017 · 6:22:39 PM +00:00 · David Nir AZ-02: Former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who'd been considering a bid against GOP Rep. Martha McSally, officially entered the race on Thursday. Kirkpatrick represented northern Arizona's 1st District for three terms but moved south to the 2nd after losing to Sen. John McCain last year, apparently sensing an opportunity that McSally could be vulnerable. But despite her experience winning tough House races, Kirkpatrick does not have the primary to herself. Her most notable opponent is former state Rep. Matt Heinz, who was Team Blue's unsuccessful nominee here last year. However, Heinz recently announced that he raised a quick $180,000 in just the last two weeks of the second quarter, and he previously released a PPP poll conducted in May that showed him leading Kirkpatrick 40-30 in what was then a hypothetical primary. Arizona's primary is a long way off, though, and Kirkpatrick has barely begun to get her name out in her new hometown of Tucson, so this is as good an example as any that showcases how polls are only snapshots in time, not predictions of the future. Friday, Jul 21, 2017 · 9:08:50 PM +00:00 · David Nir IA-02: Iowa's 2nd District, like the rest of the state, swung sharply toward Donald Trump last year, so Rep. Dave Loebsack, the last Democrat in Iowa's congressional delegation, ought to be a natural target for the GOP. So far, though, the only candidate to emerge is physician Christopher Peters, who lost 54-46 to Loebsack last year and just announced he'd seek a rematch. But despite the somewhat close nature of his race last year, Peters doesn't have the makings of a strong challenger, since he raised just $217,000 for his entire campaign. A couple of Republican state legislators haven't completely ruled out bids of their own, but one of them, state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, said he'd be less likely to run if Peters did so himself, so he's probably out. Friday, Jul 21, 2017 · 9:30:55 PM +00:00 · David Nir WV-03: State House Majority Whip Carol Miller, who's served in the legislature for a decade, just became the latest Republican candidate to join the race for the House seat left open by GOP Rep. Evan Jenkins, who is running for Senate. She joins one current and one former member of her chamber: Del. Rupie Phillips and ex-Del. Rick Snuffer, who was the GOP's nominee in West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District back in 2012, when the seat was still held by Democrat Nick Rahall. Interestingly, while this once-blue region has lurched to right to an almost unparalleled extent—Trump won the district 73-23—several notable Democrats are also running here. Still, despite the fact that Democratic Gov. Jim Justice carried the 3rd en route to victory last year, Republicans are the overwhelming favorites to keep this [...]



Morning Digest: Channeling Trump, GOP congresswoman hurls anti-Italian 'mafia' slurs at opponent

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:01:01 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

NY-22: Wow: This is the kind of nasty garbage that, when they stoop this low, politicians usually let their surrogates whisper. Instead, GOP Rep. Claudia Tenney has outright decided to throw the "mafia" card at her Democratic opponent all by herself. In a recent interview with USA Today, Tenney saw fit to bring up the career of Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's father, whom she claimed was "very heavily involved with the organized crime in Utica for many years, representing them."

What the hell does this have to do with Brindisi? Less than nothing—especially since the elder Brindisi ceased doing criminal defense in 1983—but in Trumpian fashion, Tenney transmuted hoary anti-Italian slurs from subtext to text, spitting out:

"Anthony's father represented some of the worst criminals in our community. You have to question ... some of things that have happened in his family. The voters make that decision. I'm not saying Anthony is part of any of that but that's the family you come from.

"His background is significant. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me in my community and said, 'Wow, I don't feel comfortable about some of the background that he has.'"

Brindisi, of course, called this all a load of bollocks, and the Italian-American community (which is sizable in New York's 22nd District) went appropriately ballistic: A former president of the local Sons of Italy declared, "Anytime your name ends in a vowel people feel it's fair to take the mafia shot at you. It's really horrible."

And Tenney? Totally unapologetic. Her campaign retorted that Brindisi was "feigning outrage" in order to "distract voters"—which, you know, is exactly what Tenney is trying to do by peddling this trash. Trump hasn't just given his fellow Republicans license to spew obscene personal insults, he's also a role model for projecting your sins onto your opponents.

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Sickening: Top GOP Senate candidate in Ohio defends 'Pizzagate' pusher and lashes out at ADL

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 21:47:20 +0000

This is some seriously sick shit. Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has been busy running for the same Senate seat in Ohio for more than six years now, has decided to throw his lot in with the absolute worst right-wing scum living in America today. Mike Cernovich is a conservative cult figure who is most infamous for pushing "Pizzagate," the breathtakingly psychotic conspiracy theory that a Washington, D.C. pizzeria housed a child sex ring frequented by top Democrats.

It was enough to make flat-earthers look sane, but the fact that Pizzagate was of course a total lie hasn’t stopped Cernovich. In his latest bugout, he claims that the Anti-Defamation League, a century-old organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, has targeted him for murder. Yep, you read that right. The ADL, you see, just released a report naming 36 leading purveyors of hate from both the “alt-right” and the closely linked "alt-lite," a movement that purports to eschew the overt white supremacy of the "alt-right” but yet somehow manages to be just as hateful toward women, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and blacks.

That prompted Cernovich to tweet that the ADL has created a "Hit List of Political Opponents, Inciting Terrorism," which in turn inspired Mandel to rush to the defense of Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, another hate-peddler highlighted by the ADL. Astoundingly, Mandel declared:

Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec

Not only that, when called on it, Mandel's campaign stood by the tweet and shamelessly used his own family's suffering to issue a further attack on the ADL:

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/20

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:00:49 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone. Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 · 3:36:21 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Sen: The well-funded Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, seems to have settled on its line of attack against Rep. Mo Brooks ahead of the Aug. 15 GOP primary. SLF's second commercial once again accuses Brooks of repeatedly attacking Donald Trump. The narrator argues that Brooks "thinks Donald Trump's border security plan is worse than Barack Obama's," and insists Brooks "repeatedly refused to endorse Trump for president." The spot then plays footage of Brooks, who was supporting Ted Cruz in the presidential primary at the time, declaring, "I don't think you can trust Donald Trump with anything he says." The SLF is supporting appointed Sen. Luther Strange in next month's primary. As the Montgomery Advertiser's Brian Lyman recently noted, Strange, who was Alabama's attorney general until earlier this year, wasn't a Trump supporter during the primary either. But unlike Brooks, Strange kept his mouth shut and didn't publically disparage any of the candidates. Strange is now running as an all-out Trump ally, even calling Trump's presidency "a biblical miracle." A few other Republicans, most notably ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, are also running, but SLF has ignored everyone but Brooks so far. If no one takes a majority, there will be a primary runoff in September. Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 · 3:50:21 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Sen: Strange himself is out with a new TV ad that features nothing but clips of Brooks criticizing Trump. The audience sees Brooks argue that Trump "has alienated so many people in Republican Party ranks with his callous insults," and that Trump is "one candidate that is so belittling, so insulting, I was just asked if I'm going to endorse Donald Trump after things unfold with Donald Trump having this so-called 'insurmountable lead,' and I said, 'No, I'm not.'" The commercial concludes with Brooks telling the camera, "Donald Trump voters, 12 to 18 months from now, they're going to regret their votes for Donald Trump." Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 · 4:28:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IN-Sen: Neither GOP Reps. Luke Messer nor Todd Rokita have announced that they're challenging Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly yet, but both are stocking up their war chests ahead of their likely bids. Messer's team has released a mid-July OnMessage primary poll to Howey Politics that shows the two congressmen tied 23-23. State Attorney General Curtis Hill, who hasn't ruled out a bid, sits at 4 percent, while state Rep. Mike Braun, who says he'll decide by Aug. 1, grabs 2. It's not really clear why Messer released this poll, unless he's actually trying to deter Hill or Braun from running. While neither congressman has jumped in yet, the Messer-Rokita pre-primary has already become a nasty affair. This week, Messer released a statement arguing, " “For months, Todd Rokita has spread lies and halftruths about my family, claiming we are not Hoosiers and attacking my wife’s legal career.” A few days ago, Rokita criticized Jennifer Messer for making $20,000 a month for legal work for the city of Fishers (population: 90,000), arguing that the Messer's are benefiting financially from their political connections, and that Donnelly will use that story against Luke Messer in a general election. Rokita has also accused Messer of not actually living in Indiana. Back in May, Rokita accused Messer of planting a story in Politico that revealed that he had used $100,000 in campaign funds on a private plane, which doesn't violate any ethics rules. While Rokita's people are openly spreading rumors that Messer is "getting cold feet," there's no sign that[...]



This Week In Statehouse Action: Enter The Commonwealth (34 Districts) edition

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:49:05 +0000

Some of the hottest statehouse action in the country right now is happening in the commonwealth of Virginia (New Hampshire notwithstanding, which I’ll get to in a bit), but with a major campaign finance reporting deadline hitting this week, we know now that Cash Rules Everything Around Many Democratic challengers this summer. Time to get Back in the Game! Campaign Action Of the 17 Democrats running to flip Virginia House districts that Hillary Clinton won last November, 10 of them out-raised their Republican opponents in the reporting period that wrapped up on June 30. Eleven additional Democratic challengers raised more money than their entrenched, connected GOP opponents. The Virginia House Democratic Caucus itself closed out the reporting period with over $1 million cash-on-hand—a far cry from the $350,000 the campaign committee had in the bank at this point last cycle. (FYI, Daily Kos will be boosting some Democratic challengers’ fundraising in the months to come—check out our first round of Virginia House endorsements here.) One of these endorsees—the inimitable Danica Roem—raised almost 20 times as much as GOP Del. Bob Marshall in June. But Republicans want to keep this crusader against LGBT rights in this swing district, so we can’t expect this gap to persist, and Marshall himself has pledged to get off his butt in the near future. The Democratic challengers who have out-raised their GOP opponents have another distinction: Most of them are women. In fact, over half of the 54 Democrats taking on GOP incumbents this year are women. Currently, women make up only 17 percent of Virginia’s General Assembly, so even a handful of pickups by women this fall would have a big impact on the legislature’s gender ratio. [...]



Dan Schwartz blasts likely Nevada governor primary foe Adam Laxalt as "bought" by Sheldon Adelson

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:26:02 +0000

State Treasurer Dan Schwartz has been talking about seeking the GOP nomination to succeed termed-out Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for a while, and while he hasn't declared he's in yet, he came very close this week. Schwartz says it's " virtually certain" he'll run, and that he'll "probably announce sometime in September and have an exploratory committee in mid-August. If Schwartz runs, he'll almost certainly need to get past Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the early primary favorite. While Laxalt has not announced he's in yet, there's very little doubt he'll run, and that he'll have more than enough money to run a tough race. But Schwartz, whom the Reno Gazette-Journal writes is " purported to be a millionaire," insists that he's not afraid, and argues that local billionaire GOP donor and casino magnet Sheldon Adelson "has bought" Laxalt. And indeed, Schwartz has not been shy about making enemies within his party. In 2015, lawmakers from both parties trashed his alternative budget proposal, and Schwartz has a bad relationship with Sandoval. Last month, Schwartz said he'd self-fund at least $500,000 for his bid, and unveiled a poll showing him trailing Laxalt just 34-30 in a hypothetical primary. However, that poll was done by Doug Schoen, whose professional reputation is … less than stellar. On the Democratic side, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani recently told the Nevada Independent that she'd decide no later than mid-fall. Fellow Commissioner Steve Sisolak has already announced he's seeking the Democratic nod, and he starts with $3.8 million on-hand. However, Giunchigliani may be able to run to the left of Sisolak, a self-described moderate who has a bad relationship with labor. If either Giunchigliani or Sisolak becomes governor, they'll be breaking a long political curse. As columnist Steve Sebelius wrote back in 2014, very few Clark County commissioners have won election to higher office. Back in 2002, then-Sen. Harry Reid reportedly warned his son Rory Reid about running for the commission, calling it a political graveyard. The younger Reid didn't listen and eventually became the commission's chair, but he badly lost the 2010 gubernatorial race to Sandoval. Giunchigliani herself ran for mayor of Las Vegas from the commission in 2011 and lost the general 61-39. Sebelius wrote that the last Clark commissioner to graduate to higher office was Republican Lorraine Hunt-Bono, who was elected lieutenant governor in 1998. It's not clear if the curse is just the product of bad luck or if there's more to it, but for better or worse, it looks like the 2018 Democratic nominee will be a Clark commissioner. The only other notable Democrat who has made noises about running is wealthy businessman Stephen Cloobeck, whose consultant said was considering as recently as June. However, Cloobeck endorsed GOP Sen. Dean Heller, the top Democratic Senate target, back in April, which ought to be a disqualifier. There was talk earlier this cycle that state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford could run, but he seems far more likely to run for attorney general. [...]



Luke Messer poll finds him tied with Todd Rokita ahead of a nasty GOP Indiana Senate primary

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:30:18 +0000

Neither GOP Reps. Luke Messer nor Todd Rokita have announced that they're challenging Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly yet, but both are stocking up their war chests ahead of their likely bids. Messer's team has released a mid-July OnMessage primary poll to Howey Politics that shows the two congressmen tied 23-23. State Attorney General Curtis Hill, who hasn't ruled out a bid, sits at 4 percent, while state Rep. Mike Braun, who says he'll decide by Aug. 1, grabs 2. It's not really clear why Messer released this poll, unless he's actually trying to deter Hill or Braun from running.

While neither congressman has jumped in yet, the Messer-Rokita pre-primary has already become a nasty affair. This week, Messer released a statement arguing, " “For months, Todd Rokita has spread lies and halftruths about my family, claiming we are not Hoosiers and attacking my wife’s legal career.” A few days ago, Rokita criticized Jennifer Messer for making $20,000 a month for legal work for the city of Fishers (population: 90,000), arguing that the Messer's are benefiting financially from their political connections, and that Donnelly will use that story against Luke Messer in a general election. Rokita has also accused Messer of not actually living in Indiana. Back in May, Rokita accused Messer of planting a story in Politico that revealed that he had used $100,000 in campaign funds on a private plane, which doesn't violate any ethics rules.

While Rokita's people are openly spreading rumors that Messer is "getting cold feet," there's no sign that either congressman is backing down. While Rokita outraised Messer $1 million to $578,000 over the last three months, Rokita has a relatively small $2.35 million to $2 million cash-on-hand lead. Messer himself also said that he'd be talking to his family about his political future "[i]n the coming days." Donnelly certainly won't mind if Rokita and Messer spend the next ten months nuking each other, though he's in for a challenging re-election in this conservative state regardless.

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Women are leading the resistance. These three can lead it all the way to the Virginia capitol

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:11:45 +0000

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All 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates are on the ballot this fall, and Democrats are running in a record-setting 88 of them. Currently, the GOP controls the chamber with a 66-34 majority, and flipping 17 seats is a virtually unheard-of lift in a single cycle, especially when Republicans have gerrymandered the state House map to such an extreme degree.

But you can’t win if you don’t compete, and Democrats across the state have responded to Trump’s election by stepping forward to bring the fight to the GOP at the ballot box. In the commonwealth, the resistance has manifested in Democratic candidates signing up to take on Republican incumbents in every corner of the state, from rural Southwest Virginia to the rapidly growing suburbs and exurbs of Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia.

A record number of primaries this year resulted in strong, battle-tested candidates—and women make up more than half of this contingent of challengers. Indeed, 30 of the 54 Democrats taking on Republican incumbents this fall are women.

Daily Kos is pleased to roll out our first slate of endorsed Virginia House candidates—three women who will bring a much-needed perspective to the state capitol in Richmond. Hala Ayala, Debra Rodman, and Danica Roem are running in competitive districts and can help break the GOP’s stranglehold on the state House.

Help these three amazing women lead the resistance all the way to the Virginia House—contribute $3 to their campaigns today!

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Morning Digest: New Orleans has a crowded race to succeed outgoing Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:01:21 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

New Orleans, LA Mayor: On Friday, candidate filing closed for this fall's race to succeed termed-out New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Eighteen different candidates filed to run, though only five look like they'll have the resources to make an impact. Former Judge Desiree Charbonnet and City Councilor LaToya Cantrell appear to be the early frontrunners, while ex-Judge Michael Bagneris, who lost to Landrieu in 2014, has also been running for some time.

Campaign Action

Businessman Troy Henry, who lost to Landrieu four years before that, launched a late campaign on Friday, and rounding out the main contenders is rich guy Frank Scurlock, who operates a local bounce house empire, though it's not clear just how serious his candidacy is. All of these contenders are Democrats, though in classic Louisiana party-switching fashion, Scurlock was a Republican as recently as April. Charbonnet, Cantrell, Bagneris, and Henry are all African-American, while Scurlock is white.

All the candidates will compete on one ballot on Oct. 14, and if no one takes a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 18 general election, regardless of party. And there's one programming note to be aware of: Mayoral elections in New Orleans have traditionally taken place in February, but because they kept coinciding with Mardi Gras season, they were recently bumped up, so the race that otherwise would have taken place in Feb. 2018 will now happen this October (as will future elections, every four years). However, Landrieu's departure from office still won't take place until May of next year, as originally scheduled, so the next mayor will have to wait an unusually long time before getting sworn in.

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Is GOP Rep. Chris Collins vulnerable next year? He's sure acting like he wants to find out

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:26:17 +0000

The fact that Rep. Chris Collins was the first member of Congress to support Donald Trump—and is still one of his loudest backers—probably only helps him back home, considering New York's 27th District supported Trump by a wide 60-35 margin. But as we've said before, Collins seems intent on finding how just how safe his perch really is—and now one Democrat is as well: Army veteran Erin Cole, who announced a challenge on Tuesday. Cole has a long career in government: After serving in the Gulf War, she worked for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Russia and central Asia; for the Commerce Department here at home; and most recently for a state agency working to bring international investment to New York. But as the Buffalo News' Jerry Zremski quips about Cole, "if resumes win votes, she could be a serious challenger." While her experience gives her credibility, Cole would need much more to put this seat in play. Fortunately, Collins wants to give her the opportunity. Last month, Collins earned some brutal headlines when news outlets reported he had lost $17 million investing in an Australian biotech company called Innate Immunotherapeutics whose lone drug had failed in clinical trials—and which he'd spent years evangelizing about to anyone who'd listen. That included GOP colleagues in the House (several of whom bought in), as well as, it seems, a whole lot of people in his hometown. Back in January, Collins was overheard in the capitol on his cellphone boasting, "Do you know how many millionaires I've made in Buffalo the past few months?" Now Innate's implosion—the stock cratered on the drug trial news, and the company acknowledged it has no future prospects—likely has un-made a lot of those millionaires. Not Collins, though: Prior to this debacle, he enjoyed an estimated net worth of $66 million. If the guy who pushed a stock on you is still sitting pretty while you've lost your nest egg, that's a pretty hard thing to forgive. Of course, Collins may have just been bragging about all the wealth he supposedly created, and he's since claimed that "we all were sophisticated investors who were aware of the inherent risk." But he also may have sullied his reputation with influential folks back home. Cole now has the chance to find out. [...]



New poll shows a tight race to succeed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 20:23:08 +0000

On behalf of the local NBC affiliate, SurveyUSA is out with another poll of November's Atlanta non-partisan mayoral race. In the very likely event that no one takes a majority, there will be a December runoff:

City Councilor Mary Norwood: 27

City Council President Ceasar Mitchell: 10

City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms: 9

City Councilor Kwanza Hall: 9

State Sen. Vincent Fort: 8

Ex-Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman: 6

Ex-City Council President Cathy Woolard: 6

Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves: 4

Back in March, local GOP pollsters Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone found almost the exact same result: Norwood took first with 29 percent, while no one else broke 10 percent. Norwood, who identifies an independent in this very blue city, ran back in 2009 and took first place in the primary with 46 percent. However, then-state Sen. Kasim Reed surged from 36 percent to defeat Norwood by about 700 votes in December.

Of course, it's still early, and some of the lesser-known contenders will have the resources to get their names out before November. At the end of the last fundraising quarter, Aman, who has done some self-funding, had an $800,000 war chest, larger than anyone else's. Norwood edged out Mitchell $653,000 to $529,000 for second. Hall, Woolard, and Bottoms each had a bit less than $400,000 to spend. Fort, a longtime Reed opponent who has Bernie Sander's support, had $231,000 on-hand, while Sterling had $77,000. Eaves brought up the rear with just $55,000.

Racial politics might also play a role in how this contest turns out: Fort, Eaves, Hall, Mitchell, Bottoms, and Sterling are African Americans, while Norwood, Woolard, or Aman would be the city's first white mayor since the mid-1970s. Woolard would also be Atlanta's first openly-gay mayor.

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It's never simple in the Big Easy: Our guide to the race for New Orleans mayor

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:44:22 +0000

On Friday, candidate filing closed for this fall's race to succeed termed-out New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Eighteen different candidates filed to run, though only five look like they'll have the resources to make an impact. Former Judge Desiree Charbonnet and City Councilor LaToya Cantrell appear to be the early frontrunners, while ex-Judge Michael Bagneris, who lost to Landrieu in 2014, has also been running for some time. Businessman Troy Henry, who lost to Landrieu four years before that, launched a late campaign on Friday, and rounding out the main contenders is rich guy Frank Scurlock, who operates a local bounce house empire, though it’s not clear just how serious his candidacy is. All of these contenders are Democrats, though in classic Louisiana party-switching fashion, Scurlock was a Republican as recently as April. Charbonnet, Cantrell, Bagneris, and Henry are all African-American, while Scurlock is white. All the candidates will compete on one ballot on Oct. 14, and if no one takes a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 18 general election, regardless of party. And there’s one programming note to be aware of: Mayoral elections in New Orleans have traditionally taken place in February, but because they kept coinciding with Mardi Gras season, they were recently bumped up, so the race that otherwise would have taken place in Feb. 2018 will now happen this October (as will future elections, every four years). However, Landrieu’s departure from office still won’t take place until May of next year, as originally scheduled, so the next mayor will have to wait an unusually long time before getting sworn in. On Monday, fundraising numbers covering the period from April 8 to July 6, were due, giving us a good look at everyone's financial strength three months out from Election Day. While Charbonnet only entered the race in May, she quickly brought in a hefty $870,000, and she has $645,000 on-hand. As we noted when Charbonnet jumped in, she hails from a well-connected family, and she's close to plenty of political insiders. She’s also received national attention for her efforts on the bench to to steer repeat offenders in drug and prostitution cases, as well as offenders with mental illnesses, towards treatment programs rather than sending them back into the criminal justice system. Cantrell, who represents about one-fifth of the city on the council, launched her campaign back in March. However, her $156,000 haul over the last three months was considerably smaller than Charbonnet’s, and she has just $193,000 in the bank. Cantrell may have also been hurt by the fact that state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who is both a close ally and the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, started publically talking about running for mayor shortly before the filing deadline. Peterson ended up announcing that she'd stay out a few days later, but her public flirtation with a bid might have frozen up donations for Cantrell at the very end of fundraising period as donors waited to see what Carter would do. [...]



New Hampshire Republicans are suppressing the vote—but Democrats can clap back next Tuesday

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:32:50 +0000

In less than a week, voters have a chance to elect Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh to the New Hampshire state Senate. And just last week, Granite State Republicans made it utterly clear why Tuesday’s special election is so important.  Behind closed doors, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has just signed a heinous new law that will impose onerous new residency requirements on New Hampshire voters and legalize intimidation tactics to verify where voters live. The Republican-controlled House and Senate sent the measure to Sununu’s desk after passing it on party-line votes. This new law will require voters who register within 30 days of an election to show additional documentation to prove that they aren’t lying about where they live, and that they intend to live there long-term. Voters who lack the required documentation will be able to cast provisional ballots that won’t be counted unless they submit that required, intent-to-stay documentation within a few days. If otherwise duly registered voters fail to submit that “proof,” the new law empowers state election officials to visit their homes and bring in the state secretary of state’s office for potential investigation.  So, in a nutshell, burdensome new documentation requirement + threat of state officials coming to your home or investigating you? Many reasonable and perfectly legal voters could find this … intimidating. And as if voter intimidation via statue weren’t bad enough, the new law is based entirely on a thoroughly debunked and baseless conspiracy theory about illegal voters supposedly being bused in to New Hampshire for the 2016 election. The governor himself parroted these bogus arguments, and now he’s signed a law based on them. At its core, this law is intended to make voting more difficult for Democratic-leaning demographics like college students and transient young adults. Laws like this one will make taking back the GOP-controlled legislature more difficult for Democrats next year. But laws like this also demonstrate why destroying Republicans’ stranglehold on the state is so crucial. With Republicans in charge, we’ll see more attempts to restrict voting rights, in addition to their ongoing work to defund Planned Parenthood and attack labor unions and working families. Democrats have an opportunity to take a crucial step toward flipping the New Hampshire state Senate on Tuesday. Electing Kevin Cavanaugh will give Granite Staters a lawmaker with decades of experience fighting for working families and progressive values, and it will place Democrats just three seats away from taking a majority in the chamber. And thanks to the New Hampshire GOP, we have an acute reminder of why statehouse majorities are so important. Contribute $3 to help elect Kevin Cavanaugh and break the Republican stranglehold on New Hampshire government. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/19

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:54 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone. Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 · 3:26:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso brings us the results of the latest New Hampshire state House special election: New Hampshire House, Merrimack-18: Democrats had no trouble holding this seat; Kris Schultz defeated Republican Michael Feeley by a 78-22 margin. This seat went 59-37 for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 64-36 for Jeanne Shaheen in 2014, and 61-38 for Barack Obama in 2012. Feeley ran for this seat in 2016 and lost 56-44. Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 · 3:32:40 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer UT-Sen: While news broke back in March that Trump was picking ex-GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman to become ambassador to Russia, the nomination was only announced on Tuesday. Jon Huntsman (or "John Huntsman" as the White House's press release originally spells it) hadn't ruled out a primary bid against Sen. Orrin Hatch, but this probably takes him out of the running. We say probably because Huntsman is of course the guy who was chosen by Barack Obama to be ambassador to China, then resigned two years later to run in the GOP presidential primary. However, the filing deadline to run for the Senate is less than a year away, and even Huntsman probably wouldn't leave a high-profile job that quickly. Probably. Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 · 3:58:21 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CT-Gov: There's no clear GOP primary frontrunner in the race to succeed departing Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy, and both of Team Red's legislative leaders reaffirmed that they are looking at getting in. State House Minority Leader Themis Klarides says she won't decide until the budget is sorted out, but she told Hearst Connecticut Media that she's very interested. However, Democrats have just a small 79 to 72 majority, and if Klarides stays put, she may well wind up as the first female GOP speaker before too long. Klarides said she has " to figure out where I can best serve the state of Connecticut," adding that, "It changes daily." State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano also said he would look more closely at a gubernatorial bid after the budget is done. Fasano does seem a bit less excited than Klarides, saying he's "keeping my options open." Fasano may have even more to lose if he leaves the legislature. The chamber is currently tied 18 to 18, with Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman supplying the key vote that keeps the Democrats in power. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on one ticket, so if Team Red picks up the governorship while holding all their Senate seats, Fasano stands to become majority leader. Meanwhile, another Republican has just decided to dive right into the race. Stamford Director of Administration Michael Handler kicked off his bid this week, skipping the exploratory phase altogether. That's a bit of an odd move, since exploratory mode confers certain advantages related to how Connecticut provides public financing to campaigns, so many people who have decided to run have an incentive to officially just be exploring for a while. Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 · 4:19:25 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IL-Gov: Back in April, GOP state Sen. Sam McCann revealed that he had been approached by unnamed people about a primary bid against Gov. Bruce Rauner, and that he wasn't saying no. On Tuesday, McCann reaffirmed to Chicago's NBC affiliate that he is considering. Unnamed sources say that the senator will wait for the state's school funding issue to resolve before deciding. There's[...]



Morning Digest: Huge sums are fast making the Illinois governor's race the most expensive in history

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:00:59 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard. Leading Off ● IL-Gov: With the second quarter recently ending, we now have fundraising totals for next year's gubernatorial contest in Illinois—and man are they insane. First off, the Democrats: J.B. Pritzker (D): $14 million self-funded, $4.9 million cash-on-hand Daniel Biss (D): $1 million raised, $2.3 million cash-on-hand Chris Kennedy (D): $704,000 raised, $959,000 cash-on-hand Ameya Pawar (D): $139,000 raised, $229,000 cash-on-hand Scott Drury (D): $66,000 raised, $347,000 cash-on-hand (in one month) Bob Daiber (D): $4,000 raised, $10,000 self-loaned, $10,000 cash-on-hand Campaign Action Billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker dominated the money race by self-funding $14 million even as he accepted no donations. Kennedy-family scion Chris Kennedy is also quite wealthy by any objective standard, but he simply doesn't have the means to match Pritzker's self-funding. While he seeded his campaign with an initial $250,000 at the start of the year, he didn't do any substantial self-funding this quarter and somewhat surprisingly ended up raising less money than Chicago-area state Sen. Daniel Biss despite starting off with much higher name recognition. Three other candidates, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, state Rep. Scott Drury, and Madison County schools official Bob Daiber all raised relatively insignificant sums for such an expensive state. While the Democrats first have to get past a crowded primary, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's Death Star will be quite operational when the general election arrives. He raked in $20.6 million during the second quarter and finished June with $67.6 million cash-on-hand, almost certainly the most of any candidate for any office in the country. A whopping $20 million of Rauner's haul, or all but $600,000, came from just a single source: hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who is a mega-donor to GOP campaigns. That comes on top of an earlier $50 million Rauner, another billionaire, gave himself last December, which he intimated was just an opening salvo. Illinois' 2018 election is quickly shaping up to be the costliest gubernatorial race in history thanks to the willingness of Pritzker and Rauner (and Rauner's friends) to write their campaigns eight-figure checks. Pritzker spent a monster $9.3 million in the second quarter, while Rauner also spent a sizable $3.4 million even though he faces no major GOP primary opponent. Politico recently reported that some unnamed party officials think a contest between the two men could top a record-shattering $300 million, and at $90 million, they're already almost one-third of the way there, even though there are still another 16 months until Election Day. [...]



Tennessee Republicans hold insane legislative majorities after just six years of full control

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:18:42 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Tennessee, where the GOP holds massive majorities in both chambers. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here.​ Democrats ran both the Tennessee state House and state Senate from Reconstruction until the early part of the 21st Century. The GOP took a tiny Senate majority in 2004, but two Republicans voted to keep Democrat John S. Wilder, who had led the chamber since 1971, as speaker of the Senate. However, Team Red kept their majorities in 2006 and a Democrat delivered the pivotal vote that finally gave the GOP control. A similar thing happened two years later in the state House, where the GOP seized a one-vote majority. Every Democrat backed Republican backbencher Kent Williams in the speaker race, keeping control out of the hands of the GOP leadership for another term. But the 2010 GOP landslide gave Republicans a hefty 64-34 majority (Williams won another two terms as an independent before retiring), and they got to draw the maps for both chambers. Today, just ten years after Wilder finally lost the Senate gavel and six years after the Republican leadership's choice finally took the speakership, the GOP holds a 28 to five Senate majority and a 74-25 edge in the House. Half of the Senate is up every two years, while the entire House is up each cycle. Donald Trump carried Tennessee 61-35, a swing to the right from Mitt Romney's already-strong 59-39 win four years before. Trump took 27 of the 33 Senate seats, though he narrowly lost one Romney seat. SD-20, which is located in the Nashville area, went from 56-42 Romney to 47.3-47.1 Clinton, but Republican incumbent Steven Dickerson won re-election last year 56-44. All five Senate Democrats are confined to the Obama/Clinton seats, while the GOP controls all the Romney/Trump districts. There's more crossover voting in the House, but still not very much. [...]



Illinois' 2018 gubernatorial race is already nearing the $100 million mark with 16 months to go

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:55:07 +0000

With the second quarter recently ending, we now have fundraising totals for next year’s gubernatorial contest in Illinois. The race is quickly shaping up to be the costliest gubernatorial contest in history thanks to two billionaires, Democrat J.B. Pritzker and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, being willing to write themselves eight-figure checks. First off, the quarter’s totals for the Democrats: J.B. Pritzker (D): $14 million self-funded, $4.9 million cash-on-hand Daniel Biss (D): $1 million raised, $2.3 million cash-on-hand Chris Kennedy (D): $704,000 raised, $959,000 cash-on-hand Ameya Pawar (D): $139,000 raised, $229,000 cash-on-hand Scott Drury (D): $66,000 raised, $347,000 cash-on-hand (in one month) Bob Daiber (D): $4,000 raised, $10,000 self-loaned, $10,000 cash-on-hand Wealthy investor Pritzker dominated the money race by self-funding $14 million even as he accepted no donations. Kennedy-family scion Chris Kennedy is also quite wealthy by any objective standards, but he simply doesn’t have means to match Pritzker’s self-funding. While he gave his campaign an initial $250,000 at the start of the year, he didn’t do any substantial self-funding this quarter and somewhat surprisingly ended up raising less money than North Shore-area state Sen. Daniel Biss despite starting off with much higher name recognition. Additionally, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, state Rep. Scott Drury, and Madison County schools official Bob Daiber all raised relatively insignificant sums for such an expensive state. While the Democrats have to first get passed a crowded primary, Rauner will have built up a fully operational Death Star by the time the general election arrives. He raked in $20.6 million during the second quarter and finished June with $67.6 million cash-on-hand, almost certainly the most of any candidate for any office in the country. A whopping $20 million of Rauner’s haul, or all but $600,000, came from just a single source: hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who is a mega-donor to GOP campaigns. That comes on top of an earlier $50 million Rauner gave himselflast December, which he had intimated was just an opening salvo. Pritzker already spent a staggering $9.3 million in the second quarter, while Rauner also spent a sizable $3.4 million even though he faces no major GOP primary opponent. Politico recently reported that some unnamed party officials think a contest between the two men could top a record-shattering $300 million, and at $90 million, they’re already almost one-third of the way there, even though there are still another 16 months until the general election. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/18

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:00:58 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone. Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017 · 4:29:16 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf MI-Sen: Businessman John James is the latest Michigan Republican to express interest in challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow next year, having recently announced that he’s “exploring” a campaign and will file paperwork with the FEC soon. James served as an Army captain during the Iraq War and does not appear to have run for office before, but he comes from a prominent business family in Detroit. Stabenow is likely a strong favorite to win a fourth term next year, but two noteworthy Republicans are already running: former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young and businesswoman Lena Epstein, who co-chaired Trump’s state campaign. Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017 · 4:59:42 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AK-Gov: On Monday, Republican state Sen. Mike Dunleavy became the first noteworthy candidate to take formal steps to challenge independent Gov. Bill Walker next year when he filed a letter of intent to run, a move that allows him to start raising and spending money. Although Dunleavy did not officially declare he’s running yet, he has looked like a probable candidate for a while. Dunleavy left the state Senate GOP caucus earlier this year after opposing his party’s budget proposal because he didn’t think it contained enough spending cuts, and he unsurprisingly has a reputation as a strong conservative. Walker, who was elected with the support of Democrats in 2014, still hasn’t formally launched his re-election bid, and there’s a chance he could decline to seek a second term. A retirement would throw this race wide open, but Republicans are already gearing up to challenge the governor even if he runs again. Former state House Speaker Mike Chenault and businessman Scott Hawkins are among those Republicans who have previously expressed interest in running. Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017 · 5:44:33 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf IL-Gov: With the second quarter recently ending, we now have fundraising totals for next year’s gubernatorial contest in Illinois. First off, the Democrats: J.B. Pritzker (D): $14 million self-funded, $4.9 million cash-on-hand Daniel Biss (D): $1 million raised, $2.3 million cash-on-hand Chris Kennedy (D): $704,000 raised, $959,000 cash-on-hand Ameya Pawar (D): $139,000 raised, $229,000 cash-on-hand Scott Drury (D): $66,000 raised, $347,000 cash-on-hand (in one month) Bob Daiber (D): $4,000 raised, $10,000 self-loaned, $10,000 cash-on-hand Wealthy investor J.B. Pritzker dominated the money race by self-funding $14 million even as he accepted no donations. Kennedy-family scion Chris Kennedy is also quite wealthy by any objective standards, but he simply doesn’t have means to match Pritzker’s self-funding. While he gave his campaign an initial $250,000 at the start of the year, he didn’t do any substantial self-funding this quarter and somewhat surprisingly ended up raising less money than North Shore-area state Sen. Daniel Biss despite starting off with much higher name recognition. Additionally, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, state Rep. Scott Drury, and Madison County schools official Bob Daiber all raised relatively insignificant sums for such an expensive state. While the Democrats have to first get passed a crowded primary, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will have built up a fully operat[...]



Morning Digest: Time for some traffic problems for Mo Brooks

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:01:00 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard. Leading Off ● AL-05, AL-Sen: Despite the wishes of the Senate GOP leadership, tea partying Rep. Mo Brooks is challenging appointed Sen. Luther Strange in next month's Republican primary. Unlike Strange, Brooks has always had a fallback option if he loses: He can just turn around and seek re-election to his conservative northern Alabama House seat. Now, though, that Plan B is suddenly looking quite a bit choppier. Businessman Clayton Hinchman, an Army Ranger who lost his right leg in Iraq, has entered the GOP primary for Brooks' seat, and it looks like he has some prominent people backing his play. The Washington Examiner's David Drucker notes that Hinchman's general consultant is none other than Ward Baker, who served as executive director of the NRSC in 2016 and is an advisor to the high-profile Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's quite possible, then, that Hinchman’s campaign is an attempt to distract Brooks with less than a month to go before the primary, though Hinchman insists he planned to run before Brooks entered the Senate race. Hinchman argues that Brooks has chosen ideology over pragmatism, and Hinchman says that unlike Brooks, he won't join the arch-dystopian House Freedom Caucus if he wins. But Brooks is getting squeezed from the other side, too. The Senate Leadership Fund has been attacking Brooks for speaking out against Donald Trump during last year’s presidential primary. Brooks was an ardent Ted Cruz supporter, though the SLF’s ads make it sound like Brooks sided with Nancy Pelosi over Trump. Hinchman has now taken up that line of attack as well, arguing that Brooks didn't support Trump "[u]p until the last minute," adding that that "[n]ow that he's running or the Senate, he's completely come back around and said he supports the president." So there you have it: Mo Brooks is both too rigid an ideologue and also an insufficiently loyal partisan. While in the abstract it might seem impossible to square this circle, fealty to Trump is the defining trait of the modern-day GOP, so this makes perfect sense. Believe it or not, Brooks’ seat was in the Democratic hands from Reconstruction until then-Rep. Parker Griffith switched parties in 2009, but it’s since gone dark red. Trump won it 65-31, and Republicans should have little trouble keeping it no matter how much trouble Hinchman makes for the incumbent. [...]



Wealthy anti-establishment Tennessee Republicans search for a primary foe for Bob Corker

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:28:09 +0000

There has been plenty of speculation that state Sen. Mark Green, whose nomination to become Trump's secretary of the Army failed due to his long history of disparaging remarks about Muslims and LGBT people, could challenge Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker in a GOP primary. Green has said nothing publicly, but the Washington Examiner's David M. Drucker reports that he is considering. However, Drucker also writes that most state Republicans expect Green to pass because "he and Corker have a strong personal relationship." Still, Corker may face an expensive primary regardless of what Green does. Corker, who looks likely to run for re-election next year, has a conservative voting record, but the Senate Foreign Relations chair is not exactly a far-right bomb thrower. Drucker writes that wealthy businessman Lee Beaman is leading a charge to finance a more anti-establishment alternative, but Beaman and his allies want to be sure their candidate can actually win. Green is their first choice, but it's not clear if they have a backup plan if he says no. However, a few other Republicans have made noises about facing Corker. Andy Ogles, who leads the state chapter of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity Group, refused to rule out a Senate run, though he's said nothing since then. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett says he will run for Congress this cycle, though he's trying to decide between a Senate bid or a campaign for GOP Rep. Jimmy Duncan's 2nd Congressional District. State Rep. Andy Holt has also talked about challenging Corker, though he recently said he'd defer to Green, Ogles, or Burchett. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/17

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:01:02 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone. Monday, Jul 17, 2017 · 2:23:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and New Hampshire special elections. Johnny Longtorso brings us the latest: New Hampshire House, Merrimack-18: This is an open Democratic seat in Concord. The candidates are Democrat Kris Schultz, a nonprofit communications director, and Republican Michael Feeley, an Army veteran. This seat went 59-37 for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 64-36 for Jeanne Shaheen in 2014, and 61-38 for Barack Obama in 2012. Feeley ran for this seat in 2016 and lost 56-44. Monday, Jul 17, 2017 · 2:53:21 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AZ-Sen: Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is one of the least popular incumbents in the country, in large part thanks to his occasional vocal opposition to Trump incurring hostility from the GOP base. However, GOP hardliners so far haven’t been able to organize a robust campaign against him in next year’s primary. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward has been running since shortly after last November’s election, and she held longtime Republican Sen. John McCain to just a 51-40 win in the 2016 primary. Nevertheless, Ward is a weak fundraiser who appears to be struggling to gain traction, leading Trump diehards to search for another primary challenger. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports that Trump himself is keen on ousting Flake and has held meetings with Ward and two other potential primary challengers in recent weeks. Those two Republicans are state Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who was the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer in 2016, and former state party chair Robert Graham. Both DeWit and Graham have previously refused to rule out running, and Isenstadt relays that Graham has been testing the waters behind the scenes recently. Isenstadt also says that some Republicans are trying to get Rep. Martha McSally or ex-Gov. Jan Brewer to run, but there’s no sign that either of them is interested. Trump has reportedly expressed a willingness to spend $10 million of his own money to defeat Flake, but that could be just another one of Trump’s typical empty promises. While Flake looks vulnerable, a potentially divided field of primary opposition with Ward and another candidate like DeWit or Graham could save him by letting him prevail with a mere plurality. Monday, Jul 17, 2017 · 3:16:31 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf CA-Sen: Longtime Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein looks set to cruise to another term next year and so far has no noteworthy Republican challenger, but she may just land a famous opponent. Reality TV star and transgender advocate Caitlyn Jenner says she’s been considering a campaign against Feinstein as a Republican. Jenner has never run for office before, and it’s unclear just how seriously she actually is about running for Senate next year. As perhaps the most famous trans woman in the world, Jenner would certainly stand out as a candidate, but her conservative positions and support for Trump would be an enormous impediment to defeating an entrenched incumbent in this dark-blue state. While Jenner is personally very wealthy, California is an incredibly expensive state where candidates who self-fund millions have often failed miserably, and it would take a lot to go right fo[...]



Democrats land a surprisingly strong candidate for Senate in Utah against GOP incumbent Orrin Hatch

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 17:36:51 +0000

Utah is one of the most Republican states in the country, but Democrats just landed a surprisingly legit candidate against longtime GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch on Monday when Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson kicked off her campaign. Wilson is currently serving in her second non-consecutive six-year tenure on the county council, having won election to a countywide seat in 2014 and 2004. Salt Lake County covers about one-third of Utah’s population, meaning Wilson may already start out with some decent name recognition. She’s is also the daughter of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson, who unsuccessfully ran for this seat against Hatch himself way back in 1982.

While Wilson gives Democrats a credible contender, merely calling this race a daunting challenge would be an understatement. Utah favored Trump just 45-27 over Clinton, but the 21 percent voting for conservative independent Evan McMullin largely consisted of anti-Trump Republicans who had no problem backing the GOP downballot last year. Hatch hasn’t had a close election battle since his initial victory over Democratic then-incumbent Frank Moss in 1976, and he’s likely a heavy favorite over any Democrat next year.

However, Wilson may be counting on this becoming an open seat, since the 83-year-old Hatch has been deliberately non-committal about whether he will even seek another term next year. Hatch most recently said he intends to run, but just as with his past statements, he has an annoying habit of leaving wiggle room for the possibility of a retirement. While scant polls are available on Trump’s approval rating in the Beehive State, it’s possible that he has still struggled to win over disaffected Mormon Republicans. Wilson’s entry into the race at least gives Democrats a chance here if the stars align for Team Blue in 2018.

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GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler won't challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 15:59:22 +0000

On Monday, Rep. Vicky Hartzler announced that she will not challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill next year, making her the latest Missouri Republican to decide not to oppose the vulnerable senator. Hartzler will instead seek a fifth term representing the 4th Congressional District in rural western Missouri, leaving the GOP still without a notable challenger formally in the race.

However, plenty of other Republicans are interested in running against McCaskill, with most eyes turned toward recently elected state Attorney General Josh Hawley. Meanwhile, state Treasurer Eric Schmitt’s spokesperson recently confirmed for the first time that his boss “is seriously considering” a campaign. Like Hawley, Schmitt was only elected to his current post last November, but ran a formidable campaign then.

Former state Republican Party chairman Ed Martin also recently refused to rule out running, but the tea party darling’s track record of seeking elected office is less than stellar. Martin came just shy of an upset against Democratic then-Rep. Russ Carnahan in the 3rd District in the 2010 GOP wave, but lost in a landslide when he ran for state attorney general against Democratic then-incumbent Chris Koster in 2012. Furthermore, his history of controversial and bigoted statements could be a stumbling block against McCaskill; for example, he defended Trump’s immigration policies last year by saying, "You're not racist if you don't like Mexicans. They're from a nation. If you don't think Muslims are vetted enough, because they blow things up, that's not racist."

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Trump himself is reportedly trying to recruit a GOP primary challenger to Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 15:03:22 +0000

Arizona’s Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is one of the least popular incumbents in the country, in large part thanks to his occasional vocal opposition to Trump incurring hostility from the GOP base. However, GOP hardliners so far haven’t been able to organize a robust campaign against him in next year’s primary. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward has been running since shortly after last November’s election, and she held longtime Republican Sen. John McCain to just a 51-40 win in the 2016 primary. Nevertheless, Ward is a weak fundraiser who appears to be struggling to gain traction, leading Trump diehards to search for another primary challenger.

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports that Trump himself is keen on ousting Flake and has held meetings with Ward and two other potential primary challengers in recent weeks. Those two Republicans are state Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who was the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer in 2016, and former state party chair Robert Graham. Both DeWit and Graham have previously refused to rule out running, and Isenstadt relays that Graham has been testing the waters behind the scenes recently. Isenstadt also says that some Republicans are trying to get Rep. Martha McSally or ex-Gov. Jan Brewer to run, but there’s no sign that either of them is interested.

Trump has reportedly expressed a willingness to spend $10 million of his own money to defeat Flake, but that could be just another one of Trump’s typical empty promises. While Flake looks vulnerable, a potentially divided field of primary opposition with Ward and another candidate like DeWit or Graham could save him by letting him prevail with a mere plurality.

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Morning Digest: GOP faces tough maps in Maryland, one of the rare state legislatures Democrats drew

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:01:09 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Maryland, one of the few states where Democrats controlled the redistricting process this decade. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here.

Campaign Action

Maryland is usually a reliably blue state, and Democrats have controlled both the state House and state Senate for close to a century. Maryland's legislature is only up in midterm cycles, and members were elected under the Democratic-drawn map for the first time in 2014. However, Team Blue got a nasty surprise that year when Republican Larry Hogan won the governorship. It takes three-fifths of each house to override a governor's veto, and Democrats still won a 33-14 Senate supermajority and a 91-50 edge in the state House, both above the minimum numbers. However, Republicans hope that if Hogan is re-elected in 2018, he'll help elect enough Republicans to the legislature to break the Democratic supermajority in at least one chamber and keep his vetoes intact.

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International Election Digest: New French president wins big legislative majority to advance agenda

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 18:01:13 +0000

Leading Off ● France—legislature (June 11 & 18) La République en Marche! ("The Republic Onwards!," or REM), the new centrist political party created by recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron, secured a solid majority in France's powerful lower house of parliament in last month's runoffs. That follows REM's dominant first-round result, which we previously covered in detail. Although many polls predicted a more lopsided result, REM fell somewhat short of expectations, winning 53 percent of all seats in the National Assembly. However, another centrist party called MoDem won seven percent, giving the two allies a combined three-fifths majority. MoDem leader Francois Bayrou and other members of his party quit Macron's cabinet shortly after the election over an investigation into party funding, but MoDem is still likely to support the president's legislative agenda. Consequently, Macron should have little trouble getting many of his proposals passed. This legislative dominance unfortunately leaves France without an effective opposition leadership for the time being, since both the center-left Socialist-led bloc and the center-right Republicans have each fractured between those who oppose and support Macron, making his working majority even larger than the election results would indicate. The broader left is deeply fragmented between several parties, while many on the center-right are likely to agree with with Macron's proposal to weaken labor laws and his tax cut plan, which a recent study found would provide 46 percent of its benefits to the wealthiest top 10 percent of French households. Having secured a firm grip on the reins of power, Macron has proposed a wide array of political reforms, including reducing the number of members of the National Assembly by roughly one-third, while also introducing an unspecified "dose" of proportional representation. Some of these reforms could improve democratic outcomes, but others, such as term limits, are part of an effort to shift power away from parliament and toward the presidency. Indeed, Macron is planning on using executive powers to push through his labor reforms by decree and sidestep parliament entirely. As for the other major parties, the Socialist-led bloc won just eight percent of seats in parliament after many of its voters defected en masse to REM, costing the center-left its previous governing majority. However, the Republicans and their allies also tumbled, from 40 percent in the last election to just 24 percent in June. Meanwhile, the number of women in parliament surged from 27 percent to 39 percent, thanks to the fact that nearly half of REM's slate of candidates consisted of women. Even though populist fringe parties won over 40 percent of the vote in the first round of voting in April's presidential race, that didn't translate into gains in the subsequent elections for the National Assembly. Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front did quadruple its seat count, but that just meant an increase from two seats to eight—just one percent of the 577-member chamber. Similarly, radical-leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon's La France Insoumise ("Unsubmissive France") and the far-left Communist Party together hold just four percent of seats, in part because they ran competing slates of parliamentary [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:24:22 +0000

Michel Pagliaro — “Rainshowers”

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Nothing new in the Old Line State: Democrats dominated in 2014's legislative races

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:11:28 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Maryland, one of the few states where Democrats controlled the redistricting process this decade. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here. Maryland is usually a reliably blue state, and Democrats have controlled both the state House and state Senate for close to a century. Maryland's legislature is only up in midterm cycles, and members were elected under the Democratic-drawn map for the first time in 2014. However, Team Blue got a nasty surprise that year when Republican Larry Hogan won the governorship. It takes three-fifths of each house to override a governor's veto, and Democrats still won a 33-14 Senate supermajority and a 91-50 edge in the state House, both above the minimum numbers. However, Republicans hope that if Hogan is re-elected in 2018, he'll help elect enough Republicans to the legislature to break the Democratic supermajority in at least one chamber and keep his vetoes intact. Maryland has 47 state Senate districts, with one senator per seat. However, the state House is quite complicated. Each of the 47 state Senate seats gets three state delegates. In some cases, the state Senate seat is divided into three smaller House seats, which are lettered A, B, and C. In other cases, parties can nominate up to three people for a state House seat, and general election voters can vote up to three times. A few places have a hybrid approach. For example, House seat 03B has just one delegate, while 03A has two. Before we drill into the numbers, note that we don't have 2012 presidential numbers to compare 2016 to. Unfortunately, Maryland redrew many of its election precincts between 2012 and 2014. As a result, matching 2012 precincts with the current legislative seats is incredibly difficult, and it's even tougher in cases where the 2012 precincts fall into one or more districts. We'll start with the state Senate. Clinton carried Maryland 61-34 and won 33 of the 47 seats. Even though the Senate was last up during the 2014 GOP wave year rather than in 2016, Democrats hold all but one of the Clinton seats, while the GOP lost just one Trump district. The one Republican on blue turf is Gail Bates, whose Howard County-based SD-09 backed Clinton 51-44. Bates won a promotion from the House to the Senate 66-34 in 2014. Her Democratic counterpart is state Sen. James Mathias, Jr. Mathias' SD-38, which is on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore, backed Trump 59-38. In 2014, Mathias won a second term 52-48. [...]



Voting Rights Roundup: New Hampshire GOP passes new law to suppress votes following close 2016 races

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:11:09 +0000

Leading Off ● New Hampshire: With little flourish, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a law that will impose new residency requirements on New Hampshire voters after Republican legislators passed the measure on a party-line vote. This new law will require voters who register within 30 days of an election to show additional documentation that they indeed live day-to-day at the residence they claim as their “domicile" and intend to do so long-term. Campaign Action ​Voters who lack suitable documentation will be able to cast provisional ballots, but they’d still have to provide documents proving their residency meets the state’s new requirements at a later date. If they don’t, this new law empowers state election officials to visit their homes and refer them to the state secretary of state’s office for potential investigation, which many voters might find intimidating. Republicans passed this law after Donald Trump baselessly claimed earlier this year that thousands of illegal voters were bused into New Hampshire to cast ballots, which he falsely asserted cost GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte re-election in 2016. Despite the fact that this completely bogus conspiracy theory was shot down even by Republicans, Sununu himself also made the same brazenly fraudulent arguments just prior to the election. This bill’s supporters have, of course, offered no evidence that voter fraud is a significant problem in the Granite State, because there is none. Instead, this bill is simply intended to make it more difficult for Democratic-leaning demographics like college students and transient young adults to exercise their right to cast a ballot. Ironically, though, it could also unintentionally disenfranchise a group that tends to favor Republicans: active-duty military members who happen to be stationed in New Hampshire. [...]



GOP Gov. Paul LePage tried to blackmail this Democrat out of a job. He's now running to succeed him

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:43:06 +0000

Former state House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat, kicked off his campaign on Thursday for Maine’s open gubernatorial race next year. Eves served as speaker from 2012 to until term limits forced him to retire from the legislature in 2016, and he’ll be seeking to succeed the man who was his arch-nemesis during his time leading the state House: term-limited Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Back in 2015, LePage had sparked a firestorm after threatening to cut off funding for a charter school if it didn’t withdraw its job offer to Eves to serve as its president (Maine legislators only work part-time). Legislators consequently contemplated impeaching LePage over this attempted blackmail, but ultimately backed off, in part because getting a conviction in the Republican-run state Senate would’ve been challenging. Eves filed a civil suit against LePage, but a judge dismissed it last year.

Eves is the latest big name to join the Democratic primary, which recently saw the addition of state Attorney General Janet Mills, while a few other lesser-known Democrats are also in the running. Several more prominent Democratic candidates have previously expressed interest in a campaign, and next year’s primary will be the first in state history to use instant-runoff voting following a 2016 ballot measure (although subsequent legal action likely means that system won’t be used for the general election).

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/14

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:01:11 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Friday, Jul 14, 2017 · 3:39:15 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf MO-Sen: On behalf of the hardline conservative group Club for Growth, Fabrizio Lee is the latest GOP pollster to find Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill trailing a prospective Republican opponent. Their first released survey says state Attorney General Josh Hawley beats McCaskill 46-42, which is relatively similar to a recent Remington Research poll that also had McCaskill losing to several other Missouri Republicans by modest margins. However, with no recent independent polling, it’s hard to say just exactly where this contest stands. No noteworthy Republicans have launched a Senate bid yet, including Hawley, who only just won his first term as attorney general last November. However, top state and national Republicans have been recruiting him to do so in recent months, an effort that increased in intensity following Rep. Ann Wagner’s recent surprise decision not to run for Senate. Polls like this one are likely geared toward pushing Hawley to run by showing him a path to victory, but there’s still a long way to Election Day. Even if this poll has an accurate read on the race right now, it wouldn’t be the first time that McCaskill has overcome seemingly tough odds early in the cycle to ultimately prevail. Friday, Jul 14, 2017 · 4:54:31 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf WI-Sen: Republican Kevin Nicholson hasn’t yet joined the Senate race against Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin, but if he does, he won’t be lacking for early funding. Republican mega-donor Richard Uihlein, who founded the industrial-supply company Uline, has given a whopping $3.5 million this year to a super PAC devoted to backing Nicholson if he runs. Nicholson, who is a businessman and Marine veteran, is one of several noteworthy Republicans who have expressed interest in running for Senate, but none has formally taken the plunge yet by declaring a campaign. Friday, Jul 14, 2017 · 5:32:13 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf GA-Gov: Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, who represents the suburban 4th District east of Atlanta, has weighed in on Georgia’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary by throwing his support to state Rep. Stacey Abrams, who faces fellow state Rep. Stacey Evans in next year’s contest. For her part, Abrams recently stepped down from her role as state House minority leader to focus on her campaign, but she is not resigning her seat. Friday, Jul 14, 2017 · 5:43:14 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Gov: State Sen. Paul Sanford is the latest Republican to say that he’s consider running for Alabama governor next year, noting that hi[...]



Morning Digest: Confederacy-loving Republican Corey Stewart will run against Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 12:01:03 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard. Leading Off ● VA-Sen: After coming shockingly close to upsetting Ed Gillespie in last month's GOP gubernatorial primary, Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart announced on Thursday that he would challenge Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine next year. Kaine hasn't emerged as a major Republican target so far, and if Stewart emerges from next year's primary, they may just abandon this race altogether. Trump lost Virginia 50-44 and he certainly hasn't gotten any more popular here, but Stewart has bragged that he was "Trump before Trump was Trump."​ Campaign Action ​Stewart kicked off his new campaign by pledging to "run a very vicious and ruthless campaign against Tim Kaine and I'm going to win," and he's probably not kidding about that first part. During the gubernatorial primary, Stewart referred to Gillespie as a "cuckservative" without any prompting on Reddit, and his allies also altered real news headlines on Facebook to attack Gillespie. Stewart also scored some points by belatedly siding with the Confederacy. When Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia, voted to remove its statue of Robert E. Lee, Stewart infamously tweeted in April that "[n]othing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don't matter." (Stewart is originally from Minnesota, which, incidentally, is where Kaine was born as well.) Back in the 1960s, this kind of rhetoric may have been an asset in a Virginia campaign, but it probably won't be anymore. Stewart's underfunded campaign came close to toppling Gillespie last month, but as the National Journal's Andrea Drusch recently pointed out, Stewart may face one big stumbling block in a Senate primary he didn't have last time. While Gillespie and his allies ignored Stewart on the airwaves, national Republicans have been far more active in Senate races to try to prevent unelectable candidates from breaking through. If Team Red wants to target Kaine, don't be surprised if the well-funded Senate Leadership Fund gets involved to boost another candidate or tear down Stewart. However, it's unclear who else will step up and challenge Kaine. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and ex-HP head Carly Fiorina, who ran for the Senate in California in 2010 and for president in 2016, have both expressed interest, but neither of them looks incredibly formidable either. The Washington Post writes that there has been speculation that Del. Jimmie Massie, who is not seeking re-election to his suburban Richmond seat, may be interested as well. At the beginning of the cycle there was also talk that Rep. Barbara Comstock could run, but she seems focused on defending her competitive Northern Virginia seat instead. [...]



Oklahoma, where the wins come creeping down the plain

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 21:53:32 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation visits Oklahoma, a heavily Republican state where Democrats just picked up two conservative seats in special elections on Tuesday. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here. Democrats haven’t won Oklahoma’s electoral votes since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide, and Al Gore’s 60-38 loss was the last time a Democratic presidential nominee won a single county in the state. Team Blue maintained control of the Oklahoma legislature decades after the state stopped supporting Democratic presidential candidates, but the state House flipped in 2004 and the Senate went red four years later. The GOP has a firm hold over both chambers, but surprisingly, Democrats have scored some pickups in special elections over the last few years. In September of 2015, Democrat Cyndi Munson pulled off a 54-46 win in HD-85 in the Oklahoma City suburbs, a seat that backed Mitt Romney 61-39. In January of 2016, Democrat J.J. Dossett won SD-34 in the Tulsa area 56-44, a big turnaround from Romney’s 70-30 win. In November, Munson won 54-46 as her seat backed Trump by a smaller 49-43 margin. Dossett, whose seat backed Trump 68-26, does not face voters again until 2018. Despite those twin pickups, Trump’s 65-29 victory made it tough for Team Blue to make any gains in November. The GOP netted three state Senate seats and emerged with a 42 to six supermajority, while Team Red netted four seats in the lower chamber and won a 75-26 edge. In the Senate, where half the chamber is up every two years, Trump carried 44 seats, losing only the same four districts that Romney had lost four years before. In the state House, which is up every two years, Trump won 90 of the 101 seats; Trump lost three Romney seats while flipping no Obama districts. Despite Team Blue’s bad showing in November, Democrats again performed well in 2017’s special elections. In a May special for HD-28, a seat located on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, Republican Zack Taylor won just 50-48 in a district that had gone from 69-31 Romney to 73-23 Trump. And on Tuesday, Democrats scored one pickup in each chamber. In HD-75, located in the Tulsa area, Democrat Karen Gaddis won 52-48 a few months after the seat went from 64-36 Romney to 58-36 Trump. In the Oklahoma City-area SD-44, Democrat Michael Brooks-Jimenez pulled off a 55-45 victory in a district that moved from 61-39 Romney to 56-37 Trump. [...]



Trump worshiping Republican Corey Stewart promises 'vicious and ruthless campaign against Tim Kaine'

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 17:57:00 +0000

After coming shockingly close to upsetting Ed Gillespie in last month's GOP gubernatorial primary, Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart announced on Thursday that he would challenge Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine next year. Kaine hasn't emerged as a major Republican target so far, and if Stewart emerges from next year's primary, they may just abandon this race altogether. Trump lost Virginia 50-44 and he certainly hasn't gotten any more popular here, but Stewart has bragged that he was "Trump before Trump was Trump." Stewart kicked off his new campaign by pledging to "run a very vicious and ruthless campaign against Tim Kaine and I’m going to win," and he's probably not kidding about that first part. During the gubernatorial primary, Stewart referred to Gillespie as a "cuckservative" without any prompting on Reddit, and his allies also altered real news headlines on Facebook to attack Gillespie. Stewart also scored some points by belatedly siding with the Confederacy. When Charlottesville, the home of the University of Virginia, voted to remove its statue of Robert E. Lee, Stewart infamously tweeted in April that “[n]othing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don't matter.” (Stewart, like Kaine, is originally from Minnesota.) Back in the 1960s, this kind of rhetoric may have been an asset in a Virginia campaign, but it probably won't be anymore. Stewart's underfunded campaign came close to toppling Gillespie last month, but as the National Journal's Andrea Drusch recently pointed out, Stewart may face one big stumbling block in a Senate primary he didn't have last time. While Gillespie and his allies ignored Stewart on the airwaves, national Republicans have been far more active in Senate races to try and prevent unelectable candidates from breaking in. If Team Red wants to target Kaine, don't be surprised if the well-funded Senate Leadership Fund gets involved to boost another candidate or tear down Stewart. However, it’s unclear who else will step up and challenge Kaine. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and ex-HP head Carly Fiorina, who ran for the Senate in California in 2010 and for president in 2016, have both expressed interest, but neither of them looks incredibly formidable either. The Washington Post writes that there has been speculation that Del. Jimmie Massie, who is not seeking re-election to his suburban Richmond seat, may be interested as well. At the beginning of the cycle there was also talk that Rep. Barbara Comstock could run, but she seems focused on defending her competitive Northern Virginia seat instead. [...]



Disgraced coal exec Don Blankenship confirms interest in Senate bid as Republican or an independent

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 16:09:16 +0000

In response to reports that he's interested in a bid against West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, disgraced former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship confirmed to a local radio station that he is looking at a campaign. Blankenship said a run against Manchin was " always a possibility," and said that if he did jump in, he may run as a Republican or an independent. Blankenship himself said that he assumes that Manchin " would love to see me get in the race because he would probably think I would be more easily beatable than the others," and he's probably not wrong. As we recently noted, Blankenship recently finished a year-long prison sentence for a misdemeanor for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. The government was hoping to convict Blankenship for far more serious felony charges over the deaths of 29 of Blankenship's employees in the 2010 Upper Big Branch explosion, but they were unsuccessful. A May 2016 Public Policy Polling survey gave Blankenship a horrible 10-55 unfavorable rating, and found that 60 percent of respondents agreed that Blankenship's prison sentence was too short. Blankenship said on Thursday that " more than anything I’m just still trying to figure out how to get the truth out about UBB," but it looks like he'd have an incredibly tough task bringing West Virginians over to his point of view. Right now two Republican office-holders, Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, are competing for the GOP nod. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/13

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 13:01:16 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 · 4:04:16 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WV-Sen: In response to reports that he's interested in a bid against West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, disgraced former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship confirmed to a local radio station that he is looking at a campaign. Blankenship said a run against Manchin was " always a possibility," and said that if he did jump in, he may run as a Republican or an independent. Blankenship himself said that he assumes that Manchin " would love to see me get in the race because he would probably think I would be more easily beatable than the others," and he's probably not wrong. As we recently noted, Blankenship recently finished a year-long prison sentence for a misdemeanor for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. The government was hoping to convict Blankenship for far more serious felony charges over the deaths of 29 of Blankenship's employees in the 2010 Upper Big Branch explosion, but they were unsuccessful. A May 2016 Public Policy Polling survey gave Blankenship a horrible 10-55 unfavorable rating, and found that 60 percent of respondents agreed that Blankenship's prison sentence was too short. Blankenship said on Thursday that " more than anything I’m just still trying to figure out how to get the truth out about UBB," but it looks like he'd have an incredibly tough task bringing West Virginians over to his point of view. Right now two Republican office-holders, Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, are competing for the GOP nod. Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 · 4:16:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-16: El Paso school board chair Dori Fenenbock set up an exploratory committee for a possible bid for this safely blue seat in May, and she's raised a credible $272,000 for the Democratic primary in that time. Fenenbock says she's still deciding what to do, but that's certainly a lot of money to raise for a race you're not sure you're going to get into. Fenenbock's consultant also says that she will make her bid to succeed Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke official in August. County Judge Veronica Escobar is also talking about running for this open El Paso seat.    Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 · 5:03:56 PM +00:00 · David Jarman Seattle mayor: There’s a final push of labor endorsements in the Seattle mayoral race, ahead of the August 1 primary (with mail-in ballots about to hit the mailboxes). The biggest prize is probably the backing of the King County Labor Council (the umbrella group that covers local AFL-CIO affiliates), who split their endorsement b[...]



Morning Digest: Democrats flip two legislative seats in special elections in ruby-red Oklahoma

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:01:22 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard. Leading Off ● OK-State House, OK State Senate: Democrats scored two big special election wins in Oklahoma on Tuesday, flipping HD-75 and SD-44 from red to blue. State Rep.-elect Karen Gaddis improved on Clinton’s performance in this district by 27 percent to win this House seat 52-48, and state Sen.-elect Michael Brooks-Jimenez outperformed Clinton by 28 percent to win his Senate special 55-45.​ Campaign Action ​These two Democratic upsets in historically Republican districts bring Democrats’ tally of special election pickups of the cycle from two to four (pickups one and two were in the New Hampshire House and New York Assembly in May). Additionally, Tuesday’s wins bring the total number of special elections in which Democrats outperformed Clinton’s 2016 numbers to 19 out of 26 contested legislative and congressional contests. The GOP faces a problem larger than just seats changing hands (Republicans haven’t flipped any Democratic seats in contested specials yet this cycle). Even when Republicans manage to hold on to seats in these special elections, they’re repeatedly scrambling to cling to historically red seats and eking out tiny wins in previously uncompetitive districts. If these trends continue—and the latest data suggests they're far from abating—Republicans are going to have a difficult time in legislative elections across the country this cycle, and maybe even risk losing their majority in the U.S. House. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/12

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 13:01:09 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 · 2:33:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov: It's been a while since we've heard anything about Attorney General Cynthia Coffman's interest in seeking the GOP nod in this open seat race. However, Coffman recently confirmed to the Denver Post that she is still considering, though she only said she has "a personal timeline" for when she will decide. A number of Republicans are already in, and state political observers expect state Treasurer Walker Stapleton to join the field as well. Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 · 2:37:53 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer NM-Gov: While Lt. Gov. John Sanchez originally expressed interest in seeking the GOP nomination for governor, he's turned his attention toward a potential bid against Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich in recent months. Unsurprisingly, Sanchez endorsed Rep. Steve Pearce's gubernatorial bid on Tuesday. Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 · 2:47:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WI-Gov: Mahlon Mitchell, the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, told CBS reporter David Ade on Tuesday that he was considering seeking the Democratic nod to take on GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Mitchell was Team Blue's nominee for lieutenant governor in the 2012 recall race, and he lost to GOP incumbent Rebecca Kleefisch 53-47. So far, businessman Andy Gronik is the only notable Democrat who has entered the race, but several others are considering. Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 · 3:01:04 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MO-02: Earlier this month, GOP Rep. Ann Wagner surprisingly announced that she would seek re-election this this suburban St. Louis seat rather than run for the U.S. Senate. Missouri's 2nd District went from 57-41 Romney to a smaller 53-42 Trump, but it's still very tough turf for Democrats, and the well-connected Wagner will have all the resources she'll need to defend herself. However, she did pick up a Democratic foe on Wednesday when attorney Cort VanOstran, a professor at the Washington University School of Law, announced that he would challenge her. Attorney Kelli Dunaway also kicked off a bid this week. A few other Democrats also expressed interest in running when it looked like this would be an open seat. This is going to be a very challenging race for Team Blue even if a strong Democratic candidate emerges from the primary, but this well-educated suburban seat could be a target in a wave year. Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 · 3:21:02 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-01: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz only won his safely red Pensacola-area seat last year, but it's possible he'll be leaving it behind for bigger things soon. Florida Politics' Peter Schorsch relays that there's chatter "buzzing from the Panhandle to the Potomac" that Gaetz could run for state attorney general next year. Gaetz didn't exactly quash the[...]



Reviled coal businessman Don Blankenship reportedly mulling a Senate bid against Joe Manchin

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:22:57 +0000

Now this would be something. MetroNews' Hoppy Kercheval writes that Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, is considering getting in the GOP primary to challenge West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. There's no quote from Blankenship, but Kercheval says that Blankenship blames Manchin for what he considers a politically motivated prosecution against him. Blankenship recently finished a year-long prison sentence for a misdemeanor for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws. The government was hoping to convict Blankenship for far more serious felony charges over the deaths of 29 of Blankenship's employees in the 2010 Upper Big Branch explosion, but they were unsuccessful. Manchin would certainly be pleased if Blankenship somehow won the GOP nod. A May 2016 poll from Public Policy Polling survey found that only 10 percent of West Virginians had a favorable opinion of Blankenship, while 55 saw him in a negative light. And while Kercheval writes that Blankenship is hoping to tell his side of the story of the Upper Big Branch disaster, it may be a tough sell. One year ago, 60 percent of respondents said that Blankenship's prison sentence was too short, while only 9 percent thought it was too long. Another West Virginia Republican isn't ruling out a bid, and he's also not someone that the GOP establishment would like. Businessman John Raese recently told Kercheval that "I never say never" when it comes to a Senate run. Raese certainly isn't lying about never saying never to running for something, since he's lost four Senate races and one gubernatorial campaign without ever winning elected office. We'd call him the Danny Tarkanian of West Virginia, but Raese has been playing this game for far longer than Little Tark. Raese actually came pretty close to beating Democrat Jay Rockefeller in 1984, losing just 52-48 to the outgoing governor. Raese lost the gubernatorial primary by 6 points four year later, and he was off the ballot for the next 18 years. Raese tried again in the new millennium and got trounced 64-34 by Democrat Robert Byrd in the 2006 Senate race. Byrd died in 2010 and Raese challenged Manchin, then the state's popular governor, in the special election for his seat. For a time the polls showed Raese competitive with, or even leading, Manchin. However, despite the year's GOP wave, Manchin won by a solid 53-43. Raese tried again in 2012 but both parties largely ignored the race, and Raese lost 61-36. Two GOP office holders, Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, are both challenging Manchin. Both have their flaws, but they'd both be better for Team Red than Raese, and far better than Blankenship. [...]



Virginia needs Ralph Northam as its next governor. Here's why

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:00:18 +0000

The first general election test of Democratic energy this year is in Virginia, where voters will elect all 100 members of the House of Delegates, as well as their attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor on Nov. 7. Each of these contests is important in its own way, but electing Democrat Ralph Northam as Virginia’s next governor is crucial not only to moving the commonwealth forward, but also to setting the stage for Democratic comebacks all across the country in 2018. Daily Kos is proud to endorse a progressive champion in this bellwether election. Gubernatorial elections in Virginia have a unique quirk, in that they’re always races for an open seat. Virginia’s governors cannot serve consecutive terms, so Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe can’t run for re-election. Northam, the current lieutenant governor, stepped forward more than a year ago to declare his candidacy. Northam faced a late primary challenge from former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, a contest that proved a boon for the entire Democratic Party. Turnout was astronomical, demonstrating to the Virginia GOP and the rest of the country that Democrats in the state are energized and motivated to replace McAuliffe with another member of his own party. The race remained positive throughout, and class-act Perriello immediately endorsed Northam, affirming a deeply “united” Democratic effort to win in November. The Republican gubernatorial primary, on the other hand, was a messy and ugly affair. Notorious Confederate apologist Corey Stewart came shockingly close to upsetting establishment favorite Ed Gillespie, and GOP turnout was abysmal relative to Democrats’ huge numbers. But Gillespie eked out the win, and now he limps toward November with big policy proposals like loosening Virginia’s restrictions on dangerous fireworks.  [...]



McConnell's allies begins campaign to portray far-right Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks as Trump heretic

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:14:20 +0000

The Senate Leadership Fund, a well-funded super PAC close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has made it clear that they’ll spend whatever they need to spend to help appointed Alabama Sen. Luther Strange win this year's GOP primary, and their first spot goes right after Rep. Mo Brooks. Brooks is a leading member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus and it should be all but impossible to run to his right, but SLF may have the perfect wedge issue. Just before last year's Super Tuesday presidential primaries, Brooks, who was backing Ted Cruz, went on MSNBC and bashed rival Donald Trump. Brooks declared, " I don’t think you can trust Donald Trump with anything he says," and, "I think what you’re going to see 12 to 18 months from now is a lot of people who have supported Donald Trump, they’re going to regret having done so, 12 to 18 months, but right now they’re enamored with the personality." And wouldn't you know it, that footage is featured prominently in the SLF's ad. After the viewer sees Brooks doubting that Trump can be trusted, Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi appear onscreen as the narrator argues, "They all attack Donald Trump. Trying to stop him." After that Brooks clip plays again, the narrator insists that Brooks "even refused to endorse Donald Trump for president." After Brooks is shown suggesting that many of Trump's supporters will regret it, the narrator argues that Brooks sided with "Them" as Pelosi and Warren flash by again. Brooks actually was siding with Cruz, but that's not something the audience is supposed to know. The first round of the GOP primary is Aug. 15, and in the likely event that no one takes a majority of the vote, there will be a September runoff. There has been zero public polling here, though al.com's John Sharp recently wrote that unreleased campaign polls show Strange narrowly leading Brooks for the second place spot. In first is Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore is a hero to Alabama religious conservatives for defying the U.S. Supreme Court's orders to recognize same-sex marriage, but he has a bad relationship with the political establishment and will likely have problems raising cash. If the unreleased polls are right, Brooks poses a far more immediate threat to Strange than Moore, which is why the SLF is training their fire on him right now. Strange has been a loyal ally of McConnell's since he got to D.C. earlier this year while Brooks and Moore would likely be a Ted Cruz-sided pain in the ass, which explains why the GOP leadership is so eager to help Strange stay in office. [...]



Morning Digest: Montana Republicans keep searching for Senate option, may settle on state auditor

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 12:01:15 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard. Leading Off Campaign Action ● MT-Sen: National Republicans were disappointed when ex-Rep. Ryan Zinke took a Trump cabinet post rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, and they weren't happy when Attorney General Tim Fox also announced that he would stay out of the Senate race. Their attention has since turned to Matt Rosendale, who was elected state auditor just last year. Roll Call's Simone Pathé reports that Rosendale is "expected" to decide within the month, and an unnamed person close to Rosendale insists he's "95 percent there." However, Republicans aren't unanimous in how they feel about him. On the one hand, Rosendale was born in Maryland and still has the accent to prove it. As a counterpoint, his defenders note that Rosendale lived in Montana for years before first seeking office in 2010. Some Republicans also think that Rosendale could help neutralize Tester's everyday Montanan image, noting that the auditor shares the same buzzcut that Tester has emphasized in his campaign ads. But Rosendale's fundraising ability may also be an issue. During his 2014 House race, where he took a close third place to Zinke in the GOP primary, Rosendale loaned his campaign $1.3 million, but raised only $187,000 from donors. Still, though a few other Republicans are already running or considering, no one seems to be standing out yet, so despite his weaknesses Rosendale would have the chance to become his party's frontrunner. [...]



Don't look now, but Democrats just flipped two more seats from red to blue Tuesday night

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 03:23:16 +0000

Turns out Donald Trump was right about one thing during his campaign — “We’re going to win so much.” ...except he probably didn’t mean Democrats winning and overperforming in a ton of special elections since his election. Campaign Action Tuesday night Democrats flipped two historically Republican legislative districts in Oklahoma—House District 75 and Senate District 44. Both seats had been in GOP hands since before they were both redrawn in the last round of redistricting in a state that Trump won last fall with 65 percent of the vote.  Last November, Democrat Karen Gaddis pulled just 40 percent of the vote in House District 75, while Clinton won just 36 percent. Tuesday, Gaddis won with 52 percent.  In the last election in Senate District 44 (2014), the Democrat earned just 42 percent of the vote, and Clinton won just 37 percent here in 2016. Tuesday, Democrat Michael Brooks-Jimenez won with almost 55 percent.  The massive swings towards Democrats in these districts track with the double-digit growth in Democratic performance in the majority of special elections at both the congressional and state legislative level since Trump’s election last November. The greatest of these swings—48 percent!—was also in Oklahoma in May. Tuesday’s Democratic pickups are the third and fourth of the cycle, respectively. Democrats flipped a state House seat in New Hampshire and a state Assembly seat in New York in May. In both elections, the Democrat not only won, but also overperformed Clinton’s numbers last fall by 11 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Additionally, Democrats have held key seats in the Iowa, Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, and South Carolina legislatures and have over-performed in 19 out of the 26 two-party legislative and congressional special elections held since Trump’s election in November. So not only are Democrats winning by flipping seats from GOP to Democratic hands, but even when Republicans manage to hold on to seats in these special elections, they’re scrambling to cling to historically red seats and eking out tiny wins in previously uncompetitive districts. Republicans can’t afford “wins” like these if they hope to hold on to state House seats in Virginia this fall and their U.S. House majority in 2018. Want to stay updated on key legislative elections like these around the country? Sign up for our weekly newsletter, This Week In Statehouse Action! [...]



Democrat Christina Hartman is back for a rematch against GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker in Pennsylvania

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 20:19:00 +0000

Will Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker find himself in a jam next year? Democrat Christina Hartman is hoping so after she announced on Tuesday that she would seek a rematch against the first-term incumbent next year. Hartman works as consultant to nonprofits and was Team Blue’s unsuccessful nominee for what was a then-open seat in 2016. While she lost 54-43, Hartman raised a substantial amount of money in her first bid for public office, while she also received some DCCC support and an endorsement from Daily Kos itself.

Located in Lancaster County and the outer Philadelphia metro area, the 16th District and its predecessor versions have been in GOP hands for many generations, making Hartman’s 2016 performance relatively strong for such a historically GOP seat. Trump won this district 51-44 and Romney by a similar 52-46, but it did actually favor Obama by 50-49 in 2008. If Democrats enjoy a favorable national environment next year, a strong campaign against a new incumbent could put this light-red seat into play once more.

Hartman doesn’t have the Democratic primary to herself, however. Non-profit director Jessica King jumped into the race late in June, while former Warwick schools superintendent John George is also running.

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Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter drops out of governor's race and will not seek re-election to House

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:24:42 +0000

On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced that he was dropping out of the primary for governor of Colorado, and that he would not turn around and seek re-election to the House. Perlmutter’s decision to exit the gubernatorial race came as a huge surprise. Perlmutter said that after his colleague, wealthy Rep. Jared Polis, entered the race a month ago, Perlmutter wondered if he still had the “fire in the belly” to run a strong race.

Perlmutter also said that after GOP House Whip Steve Scalise was shot last month, he also questioned whether he should stay in the governor’s race. An unnamed person close to Perlmutter also told the Associated Press’ Nick Riccardi that Perlmutter had decided he didn’t enjoy campaigning any more, and didn’t even want to run for the House again. Perlmutter hinted this in his Tuesday announcement, saying he “thought I could do it all. I'm telling you, in front of all of you, I can't.” After word of Perlmutter’s decision leaked on Monday, speculation immediately began that he could challenge GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020, but it really doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards.

Perlmutter’s decision still leaves Centennial State Democrats with a large primary field to replace termed-out Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Ex-state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, ex-state Sen. Mike Johnston, businessman Noel Ginsburg, and Polis are all running, and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is reportedly considering joining the race. 

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/11

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 13:01:15 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 · 5:10:25 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf IA-01: Former U.S. Labor Department staffer Thomas Heckroth kicked off his campaign on Monday, joining the Democratic field to take on two-term GOP Rep. Rod Blum in this northeastern Iowa seat. Heckroth does not seem to have run for office before. However, he previously worked on ex-Sen. Tom Harkin’s staff, and his father is a former state senator, which could give him some useful connections. Heckroth will first have to get past state Rep. Abby Finkenauer and a few other Democrats if he wants the party’s nomination to take on Blum. This seat swung hard toward Donald Trump in 2016, favoring him 49-45 after having gone for Obama by 56-43 in 2012. Blum defeated two touted Democratic foes in his last two elections, but the 1st District is the type of light-red seat that Democrats likely need to make competitive next year to win the House. Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 · 5:21:45 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf MN-08: Although St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber recently launched his campaign, ostensibly giving the GOP a top-tier recruit to take on Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, rich businessman Stewart Mills says he’s still considering whether to make his third straight bid for Team Red. Mills faced Nolan in two exorbitantly expensive matchups in 2014 and 2016 only to fall short by a slim margin both times. However, Mills doesn’t sound overly eager to run again, asserting that he might wait as late as next February before deciding whether to run or not. He also intimated that his decision would be heavily dependent on which way the political winds are blowing nationally. Nolan is likely one of the most endangered incumbents after his Iron Range 8th District in northeastern Minnesota lurched from 52-46 Obama all the way to 53-39 Trump. Regardless of whom the GOP nominates, Nolan can likely expect to face fierce opposition next fall in this historically working-class district. Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 · 5:22:30 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov, CO-07: On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced that he was dropping out of the primary for governor of Colorado, and that he would not turn around and seek re-election to the House. Perlmutter’s decision to exit the gubernatorial race came as a huge surprise. Perlmutter said that after his colleague, wealthy Rep. Jared Polis, entered the race a month ago, Perlmutter wondered if he still had the “fire in the belly” to run a strong race. Perlmutter also said that after GOP House Whip Steve Scalise was shot last month, he also ques[...]



Morning Digest: GOP Rep. Steve Pearce embarks on what may be 'kamikaze' run for New Mexico governor

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:01:11 +0000

Leading Off ● NM-Gov: On Monday, GOP Rep. Steve Pearce announced that he would run to succeed termed-out New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. Pearce, who represents the southern part of the state, is the first prominent Republican to enter the race. He could also very well be the last: As local political reporter Joe Monahan puts it, Pearce "will need perfect flying conditions to pull off the upset," or else his bid "is going to look like a kamikaze mission." The latter outcomes seems a lot more likely. Campaign Action The once-popular Martinez has seen her poll numbers crater in recent years, and Trump is unlikely to be anything but a liability in a state that backed Clinton 48-40. Unless something changes, the eventual GOP nominee is going to need to convince voters unhappy with both the state and national Republican Party that they should elect another Republican. Pearce also may not exactly be the best messenger in what has become a Democratic-leaning state in federal elections. Back in 2008, Pearce gave up his House seat to run for an open U.S. Senate seat, and he got crushed by Democrat Tom Udall 61-39, running quite a bit behind John McCain's tough 57-42 statewide loss. Pearce won back his district two years later, but the already-conservative congressman seems to have gotten even worse since returning to D.C. Most infamously, Peace, a member of the nihilistic House Freedom Caucus, released a 2014 memoir that featured a passage where the congressman, citing the Bible, wrote, "The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice." He simultaneously insisted that "submission is not a matter of superior versus inferior," but good luck explaining that one. [...]