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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:37:56 +0000

Last Build Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:37:56 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Voting Rights Roundup: Court strikes down Texas GOP's congressional map, but doesn't go far enough

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:14:44 +0000

Leading Off ● Texas: Late on Tuesday, as Donald Trump was busy defending white supremacists, a federal court in San Antonio struck down Texas’ congressional map on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers who drew it had engaged in intentional racial discrimination in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. The court ordered lawmakers to swiftly lay out their plans to redraw the map, which is shown at the top of this post (click here for a larger version). The new districts will take effect for the 2018 midterm elections if this ruling survives a likely appeal to the Supreme Court. If the high court ultimately sustains this ruling, Democrats and Latinos could gain one congressional seat, but that’s a major disappointment compared to the two or even three seats that plaintiffs had hoped for. Specifically, the court invalidated Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s 27th District, which is based in Corpus Christi and branches northwest toward Austin and northeast toward the Houston area, and Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s 35th District, which connects San Antonio and Austin via a narrow tendril. Regarding the 27th, The judges ruled that removing Corpus Christi’s Nueces County from a Latino-majority district during redistricting in 2011 had deprived Latino voters there of the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice (most likely a Latino Democrat). Meanwhile, the court held that the narrowly Latino-majority 35th District was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander whose configuration did not satisfy any compelling government interest. Indeed, said the judges, the district merely functioned to pack in Democratic voters to make the surrounding seats safe for white Republicans. What’s more, it was not even capable of consistently electing the preferred candidate of Latino voters since white Democrats from Austin have always had considerably higher turnout rates in Democratic primaries. Unfortunately, the court did not strike down Republican Rep. Will Hurd’s 23rd District, a huge beast that stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, something that multiple redistricting experts had expected to happen. Republicans intentionally diluted Latino voting strength in this district by adding low-turnout Latino populations and high-turnout white voters, giving the district a nominal Latino-majority population while ensuring that the actual electorate was majority-white. The fact that the court has left this district untouched is a major blow to Democratic hopes, but the swingy seat may nonetheless be winnable if 2018 turns out to be a good year for Democrats. In addition, the court declined to strike down any districts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area even though plaintiffs—and an analysis by Daily Kos Elections—have repeatedly demonstrated that Republicans could have easily drawn another district in the region that would allow Latinos to elect their candidate of choice. While such an outcome was less likely than the prospect of the court ordering changes to the 23rd, its failure to materialize is nonetheless another disappointing aspect of this ruling. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/18

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:01:13 +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, Aug 18, 2017 · 3:15:01 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf ND-Sen: State Sen. Tom Campbell just recently became the first prominent Republican to join next year’s race against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, but he is already out with his second TV ad. The segment features a shot of Trump before Campbell advocates: ”cut spending, build the wall, bold tax reform, and term limits.” Campbell’s spot introduces him as a “conservative farmer” and “not a career politician,” conspicuously omitting that he has served in the state senate since 2012. Friday, Aug 18, 2017 · 3:33:03 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AK-Gov: Former GOP state Senate President Ben Stevens revealed in an interview on Thursday that he is considering running for governor against independent incumbent Bill Walker next year. Like his father, the late Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the younger Stevens was also the subject of a federal investigation into political corruption last decade. While Ben Stevens was never convicted like his father was in 2008, or even charged with a crime, the details of the investigation surely don’t make him look good. While he was serving in the legislature, Stevens was paid over $240,000 for “consulting” for Veco, which the Alaska Dispatch News described as a “politically active oil-field services company at the center of the investigation and whose executives testified in subsequent corruption trials.” Stevens never accounted for for what he did to earn that money, and a Veco executive testified in another legislator’s trial that it was a bribe, but Stevens went uncharged and didn’t seek re-election to the state Senate in 2006. While Sen. Ted Stevens was a four decades-long political institution in Alaska, he narrowly lost his own bid for re-election in 2008 to Democrat Mark Begich after the incumbent was convicted a mere week before the election on several counts of lying on Senate ethics forms. That conviction was later overturned, and Stevens died in a plane crash in 2010. However, it’s unclear if the lingering odor of corruption surrounding both members of the Stevens family will prove to be a major hinderance if Ben Stevens runs for office again. Friday, Aug 18, 2017 · 3:39:22 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf CA-10: Former Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno, a Democrat, had previously said she was considering a campaign for California’s 10th District. She recently filed to run with the FEC, but Madueno has yet to formally announce whether she’s running or if this is just an “exploratory” phase. This Modesto-based seat favored Hillary Clinton 49-46, but Republican Rep. Jeff Denham narrowly won his fourth term by 52-48 in a heated race last year. Friday, Aug 18, 2017 · 5:53:57 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf FL-Gov, FL-18: Back in December, former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy hadn’t ruled out running for governor or his old 18th Congressional District again in 2018, but on Friday he confirmed to CNN what had long appeared likely: He won’t be running for office next year. Murphy gave up his Palm Beach and Treasure Coast-area House seat to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio last year, but lost by 52-44. His options for federal office in 2018 were limited, since Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is seeking re-election and freshman GOP Rep. Brian Mast appears heavily favored after Trump won the 18th District by 53-44. However, the 34-year-old Murphy didn’t rule out running for office again in some future ele[...]



Morning Digest: Trump comes just shy of endorsing a primary challenge to Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:01:25 +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

AZ-Sen: In between offering passionate defenses of Nazis, Donald Trump found some time to weigh in on another favorite topic: Jeff Flake. Trump has always hated Arizona's junior senator because Flake has had the temerity to occasionally criticize him, which to the permanently rageful Trump means Flake has to be destroyed. To that end, Trump inserted himself directly into Flake's re-election campaign on Thursday, tweeting, "Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!"

Campaign Action

"Flake Jeff Flake." *smacks forehead* Why didn't we think of that! The real flake, though, may be Trump himself. A report a day earlier in the Washington Times said that Trump was going to endorse state Treasurer Jeff DeWit at a rally next week in Phoenix. That could yet happen, but Politico reports that DeWit allies were "surprised" by Trump's tweet. (How are they not used to this kind of shit already, though?)

But while Trump's remarks fell somewhat short of an outright endorsement of Ward, whom most Republicans consider a very weak challenger, backing DeWit would be a bit awkward, too, because he hasn't actually announced a campaign yet. And maybe he never will: DeWit "laughed off" the Washington Times story, according to the Arizona Republic. And he certainly doesn't sound eager to serve in the Senate, saying, "What I like about being treasurer of Arizona is I see my family every night because it's a 30-minute drive to get home."

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This week in statehouse action: racist is as racist does edition

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:57:50 +0000

Campaign Action Mama always told me life was like a box of Confederate sympathizers. (No, of course she didn’t. My mother’s advice was generally excellent, judiciously dispensed, and never cliché-based.) The horrific violence perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend is still fresh in our minds, and we’ll be dealing with its aftermath for a long time. But one of the consequences of that abhorrent display of neo-Nazi hate involves confronting the many monuments to treasonous losers of a war fought to defend slavery. Some 1,500 statues and other memorials intended to honor soldiers and leaders of the Confederacy are scattered all across the country—some in states that didn’t even exist during the Civil War. A movement to remove these reminders of a failed insurrection to defend an indefensible institution has progressed slowly in recent years (about 60 have come down or been renamed so far), but now it seems to be accelerating. Stone Love: Just look at North Carolina, where Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has already declared his intent to remove all monuments to the Confederacy on state property—a noble goal, to be sure, but he’s got one thing standing in his way. It’s the thing that always stands in his way: the GOP-controlled state legislature. In 2015, statehouse Republicans passed (and then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed) a law prohibiting the removal of such monuments. Republican lawmakers sent the bill to McCrory’s desk just 10 days after South Carolina’s governor signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the capitol—and barely more than a month after Confederate flag-waving, self-professed Hitler-loving racist murdered nine black churchgoers in cold blood.  Until the measure is repealed, North Carolina’s Republican legislative supermajorities control whether Confederate monuments will go or stay. Three guesses as to which way they’ll vote, and the first two don’t count. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/17

Thu, 17 Aug 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. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 3:16:47 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-30: On Wednesday, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announced that she would seek another term in her safely Democratic Dallas seat. Johnson, who is 81, has been the subject of retirement rumors for years, bur she's never had trouble winning renomination. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 3:39:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ID-01: Armed with the power of the Star Forge, state Rep. Luke Malek announced this week that he was joining the Sith campaign to conquer the Republic… whoops, we were thinking of someone else. Armed with the power of the vice-chairmanship of the Idaho House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Luke Malek announced this week that he was joining the GOP campaign to conquer the Republic to succeed tea partying Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Raul Labrador in this safely red western Idaho seat. Malek is the third notable Republican to enter the race. Malek will face ex-state Sen. Russ Fulcher, who has Labrador's support, and attorney David Leroy, a former lieutenant governor who lost a very tight 1986 gubernatorial general election. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 4:02:25 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Gov: On Thursday, state Public Service Commission chair Twinkle Cavanaugh announced that she would seek the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor rather than run for the top job. Cavanaugh never officially announced she was running for governor, but she had self-funded $500,000 into her statewide account. But Cavanaugh said on Thursday that she decided that she would rather work with Kay Ivey, who became governor earlier this year when her predecessor resigned in disgrace, than run against her. Ivey herself hasn't announced her plans, but she's reportedly been telling business leaders and legislators that she'll seek a full term next year. A number of Republicans have already jumped in the race for governor rather than defer to Ivey, but we'll see if some of them follow Cavanaugh's lead and drop out if and when Ivey announces she's running. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 4:10:06 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IL-Gov: Rep. Robin Kelly, who represents part of Chicago, endorsed state Sen. Daniel Biss on Thursday in the crowded Democratic primary to face GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner. Kelly didn't rule out a bid of her own back in November, but she never showed any more interest after that. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 4:19:07 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-07: Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter reportedly has been reconsidering his plans to retire from the House, and we may not need to wait long for his decision. An source close to Perlmutter tell Marshall Zelinger of the Denver NBC affiliate 9NEWS that Perlmutter will likely announce his plans by Monday. Four notable Democrats are already running to succeed Perlmutter in this 51-39 Clinton suburban Denver seat, but none of them sound committed to running against the incumbent if it comes down to it. Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 · 4:34:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Deaths: Ex-Rep. Vern Ehlers, a Michigan Republican who represented the Grand Rapids area in the House, died Tuesday at the age of 83. Ehlers was a nuclear physicist and physicals professor at Grand Rapids' Calvin College before he entered politics. In 1993, after GOP Rep. Paul Henry died in office, then-state Sen. Ehlers ran in the special election to succeed him. Ehlers won the GOP primary 33-25, and he never faced a close primary or general afterwards. Ehlers, who was the first research physicist to ever serve in Congress, eventually became chair of the House Administration Committee, and he had a reputation as a moderate. Ehlers decided to retire in 2010 and backed ex-Kent County Commissioner Steve Heacock in the primary. However, while this district had elected sever[...]



Morning Digest: Court ruling striking down Texas GOP's congressional map still disappoints Democrats

Thu, 17 Aug 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 ● TX Redistricting: Late on Tuesday, a federal court in San Antonio struck down Texas' congressional map on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers who drew it had engaged in intentional racial discrimination in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. The court ordered lawmakers to swiftly lay out their plans to redraw the map. The new districts will take effect for the 2018 midterm elections if this ruling survives a likely appeal to the Supreme Court.​ Campaign Action ​Meanwhile, Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott didn't sound too keen on calling a special session over redistricting, stating that he feels "confident the Supreme Court will overturn [the ruling]." If he doesn't do so ahead of the court's Friday deadline, the court itself could redraw the map after its upcoming Sept. 5 hearing. ​​If the Supreme Court ultimately sustains this ruling, Democrats and Latinos could gain one congressional seat. However, that's a major disappointment compared to the two or even three seats that plaintiffs had hoped for. Specifically, the court invalidated Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold's 27th District, which is based in Corpus Christi and branches northwest toward Austin and northeast toward the Houston area, and Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett's 35th District, which connects San Antonio and Austin via a narrow tendril. However, the court did not strike down Republican Rep. Will Hurd's 23rd District, a huge beast that stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, something that multiple redistricting experts had expected to happen. The court also declined to strike down any districts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area even though plaintiffs—and an analysis by Daily Kos Elections—have repeatedly demonstrated that Republicans could have easily drawn another district in the region that would allow Latinos to elect their candidate of choice. In a new post, Stephen Wolf takes a detailed look at what could happen next in Texas. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/16

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:01:06 +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, Aug 16, 2017 · 4:00:43 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX Redistricting: Late on Tuesday, a federal court in San Antonio struck down Texas’ congressional map on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers who drew it had engaged in intentional racial discrimination in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. The court ordered lawmaker to swiftly lay out their plans to redraw the map. The new districts will take effect for the 2018 midterm elections if this ruling survives a likely appeal to the Supreme Court. Republican legislators will most likely call a special session ahead of the court’s Friday deadline, lest the court redraw the map itself following its upcoming Sept. 5 hearing.   If the high court ultimately sustains this ruling, Democrats and Latinos could gain one congressional seat. However, that’s a major disappointment compared to the two or even three seats that plaintiffs had hoped for. Specifically, the court invalidated Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s 27th District, which is based in Corpus Christi and branches northwest toward Austin and northeast toward the Houston area, and Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s 35th District, which connects San Antonio and Austin via a narrow tendril.  However, the court did not strike down Republican Rep. Will Hurd’s 23rd District, a huge beast that stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, something that multiple redistricting experts had expected to happen. The court also declined to strike down any districts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area even though plaintiffs—and an analysis by Daily Kos Elections—have repeatedly demonstrated that Republicans could have easily drawn another district in the region that would allow Latinos to elect their candidate of choice. In a new post, Stephen Wolf takes a detailed look at what could happen next in Texas. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 4:37:47 PM +00:00 · David Jarman Seattle, WA mayor: Tuesday was vote certification day, two weeks after the Top 2 primary for the Seattle mayoral race, and with all votes finally counted, there weren’t significant changes from the first day’s results. Ex-U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and urban planner Cary Moon will advance, finishing with 28 and 18 percent respectively. The more establishmentarian Durkan fell from 32 on Election Day, consistent with the usual pattern of the further-left candidate gaining ground as Seattle election results are slowly counted — though the effect was somewhat blunted because the left-ish vote gains were split between Moon and third-place finisher Nikkita Oliver. Oliver finished at 17 percent, 1,170 votes behind Moon, not close enough to trigger a recount. Moon has been trying to tie herself to Oliver as the votes were counted (presumably hoping to win over Oliver’s voters), but on Tuesday, Oliver made it clear she won’t be endorsing either candidate soon, and in particular, wasn't having it with Moon, singling out her wealth and self-funding as cause for skepticism. There’s also a significant demographic split between the voters for Moon (who, like Durkan, is white) and Oliver (who is African-American) — maps show that while Durkan performed well throughout the city, Moon’s votes were clustered in mostly-white, upper-middle-class parts of the city while Oliver’s votes were clustered in poorer, younger, and more diverse parts of the city — so it’s not immediately clear what happens to Oliver’s voters. In addition, it’s looking like Durkan is consolidating labor behind her for November; two unions that hadn’t endorsed anyone before the primary, ILWU (the Longshoremen) and the Building & Construction Trades Council, are now [...]



After badly losing a GOP Senate primary, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks faces a fight to stay in the House

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:17:43 +0000

On Tuesday evening, Rep. Mo Brooks took just 20 percent of the vote in Alabama's GOP Senate primary, while ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange took 39 and 33 percent, respectively. Brooks quickly announced that he would run for re-election to his Huntsville-area 5th District next year, but while the GOP nominee should have little trouble in this 65-31 Trump seat, Brooks may be in for another tough primary battle. Brooks did carry his northern Alabama seat on Tuesday, but his margins were not impressive. According to our calculations, Brooks took 41 percent of the vote in the 5th District, while opponents Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange grabbed 28 and 27 percent, respectively. Brooks' showing at home was far better than his statewide performance, but 41 percent is not a great performance for a four-term congressman. A credible opponent may be able to convince primary voters to dump Brooks, and he may already have one. Businessman Clayton Hinchman, an Army Ranger who lost his right leg in Iraq, entered the race a little while ago, and he has an important ally. As the Washington Examiner's David Drucker noted in July, 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. Until Tuesday, Brooks was running against Strange, who had the support of McConnell and the SLF. It's likely that McConnellworld was helping Hinchman in part to distract Brooks during the final weeks before Election Day. Now that Brooks' role in the Senate race is over, it's unclear if McConnell and his allies will turn their attention elsewhere, or if they decide to make an example of Brooks by driving him out of Congress. However, a Tuesday night tweet from Josh Holmes, a former McConnell chief of staff who remains close to the majority leader, hints that Brooks' battle with the McConnell network isn't over. If McConnell decides to continue his war on Brooks, he already has a ready-made line-of-attack. During the Senate race, SLF ran ad after ad featuring clips of Brooks disparaging Donald Trump during last year's presidential primary. Brooks was backing Ted Cruz, but the SLF made it sound like Brooks was siding with Nancy Pelosi over Trump, and the congressman never found a good way to fight back. Brooks' meh performance at home on Tuesday hardly indicates he's doomed, though. As we've seen before, it's easier to convince primary voters to deny an incumbent a promotion than to convince them to fire him. In March of last year, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lost the presidential primary at home to Trump by a brutal 46-27 margin. But Rubio decided to run for re-election, and in late August, he turned back a primary challenge from wealthy businessman Carlos Beruff 72-18. And while McConnell's allies may help Hinchman raise money, it's very unlikely that they'll direct much outside money to a House race in a year where there will be a ton of competitive Senate races to get involved in. But if Hinchman has the resources he'll need to get his name out, Brooks could still be in for another rough ride. [...]



Wealthy state Sen. Tom Campbell kicks off Senate bid against North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 18:08:47 +0000

On Wednesday, state Sen. Tom Campbell became the first major North Dakota Republican to enter the race against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Campbell reportedly is wealthy, and a campaign consultant suggested back in April that if he ran, Campbell could immediately drop $2 million into his fledgling Senate bid. North Dakota is a very conservative state, and Heitkamp will be a top GOP target next year. Heitkamp has not yet announced if she'll seek a second term, but her fundraising strongly indicates that she's in.

At the beginning of this cycle, Rep. Kevin Cramer, who represents the entire state in the House, was the top choice of national Republicans. Campbell himself reportedly said that while he would run for Congress, he would campaign for whichever seat Cramer wasn't running for.

However, Cramer spent the first half of 2017 making embarrassing statement after embarrassing statement, most notably criticizing female congressional Democrats for their attire, and national Republicans reportedly decided months ago that Campbell would make a better candidate. Cramer himself still has yet to announce his 2018 plans, and it's unclear if Campbell jumped in the race believing that Cramer wasn't running, or the state senator just decided he wasn't going to defer to him anymore.

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Court strikes down Texas GOP's congressional gerrymander, but Democratic victory is limited

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:48:58 +0000

Late on Tuesday, as Donald Trump was busy defending white supremacists, a federal court in San Antonio struck down Texas’ congressional map on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers who drew it had engaged in intentional racial discrimination in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. The court ordered lawmakers to swiftly lay out their plans to redraw the map, which is shown at the top of this post (click here for a larger version). The new districts will take effect for the 2018 midterm elections if this ruling survives a likely appeal to the Supreme Court. If the high court ultimately sustains this ruling, Democrats and Latinos could gain one congressional seat, but that’s a major disappointment compared to the two or even three seats that plaintiffs had hoped for. Specifically, the court invalidated Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s 27th District, which is based in Corpus Christi and branches northwest toward Austin and northeast toward the Houston area, and Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s 35th District, which connects San Antonio and Austin via a narrow tendril. Regarding the 27th, The judges ruled that removing Corpus Christi’s Nueces County from a Latino-majority district during redistricting in 2011 had deprived Latino voters there of the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice (most likely a Latino Democrat). Meanwhile, the court held that the narrowly Latino-majority 35th District was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander whose configuration did not satisfy any compelling government interest. Indeed, said the judges, the district merely functioned to pack in Democratic voters to make the surrounding seats safe for white Republicans. What’s more, it was not even capable of consistently electing the preferred candidate of Latino voters since white Democrats from Austin have always had considerably higher turnout rates in Democratic primaries. Unfortunately, the court did not strike down Republican Rep. Will Hurd’s 23rd District, a huge beast that stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, something that multiple redistricting experts had expected to happen. Republicans intentionally diluted Latino voting strength in this district by adding low-turnout Latino populations and high-turnout white voters, giving the district a nominal Latino-majority population while ensuring that the actual electorate was majority-white. The fact that the court has left this district untouched is a major blow to Democratic hopes, but the swingy seat may nonetheless be winnable if 2018 turns out to be a good year for Democrats. In addition, the court declined to strike down any districts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area even though plaintiffs—and an analysis by Daily Kos Elections—have repeatedly demonstrated that Republicans could have easily drawn another district in the region that would allow Latinos to elect their candidate of choice. While such an outcome was less likely than the prospect of the court ordering changes to the 23rd, its failure to materialize is nonetheless another disappointing aspect of this ruling. [...]



Morning Digest: Roy Moore and Luther Strange advance to GOP runoff in Alabama

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:01:06 +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-Sen: On Tuesday night, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore edged Sen. Luther Strange 39-33 in the GOP primary for the special election for the final three years of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' term, meaning the two will advance to a Sept. 26 runoff. Rep. Mo Brooks finished a distant third with just 20 percent of the vote. The eventual Republican nominee will face off in December against former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who crushed businessman Robert Kennedy 66-18 in the Democratic primary and avoided a runoff by taking an outright majority.

Strange, who had served as Alabama's attorney general, was elevated to the Senate in February to fill the vacancy created when Sessions joined Trump's cabinet. The sketchy circumstances of Strange's appointment by then-Gov. Robert Bentley only served to reinforce widely (and rightly) held beliefs about the deep corruption in Alabama politics: Strange's own office had been investigating allegations that Bentley had used state resources to cover up an affair, but Strange blithely sought and accepted the coveted Senate job despite the deep impropriety. Indeed, Strange even tried to pretend as though he wasn't investigating Bentley—a ruse that he dropped once he got to Washington, and not long before Bentley resigned in disgrace under threat of impeachment.

Strange's scuzzy selection brought widespread condemnation from Alabama Republicans and may have helped inspire Moore, Brooks, and a handful of minor figures to run against him. But it didn't deter one very important person: Mitch McConnell, who went all-out to make sure this junior-most member of his caucus would avoid getting shown the door after just a few months in office.

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Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate and UT-03 GOP primary liveblog #2

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 01:47:10 +0000

Tonight, voters in Alabama and Utah will go to the polls in party primaries for two special elections this fall. In Alabama, appointed Sen. Luther Strange is trying to fend off two major GOP primary foes, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks. If no one takes a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff on Sept. 26 between the top two vote-getters. In Utah's 3rd Congressional District, three Republicans are competing to succeed former House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz, who resigned earlier this year: Provo Mayor John Curtis, ex-state Rep. Chris Herrod, and businessman Tanner Ainge. It only takes a plurality to win the GOP nomination here. Both seats are heavily Republican, though special elections have been anything but predictable in the Trump era. Our guide to both contests can be found here. Polls close at 8 PM ET in Alabama and at 10 PM ET in Utah. Election officials in Utah warn that as many as 15,000 ballots may not be counted for another day or two, so we do not recommend staying up late watching that race. We’ll also be covering the returns closely on Twitter. Results: AL-Sen: AP (statewide, by county) | UT-03: AP (districtwide, by county) Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:51:16 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser AL-Sen (D) and AL-Sen (R): A little less than two hours into the counting, and we are right at half of the precincts reporting. On the Democratic side, the AP has already called the primary for Doug Jones, who sidestepped a real potential low turnout/name rec catastrophe by easily defeating Robert Kennedy (!) by a 61-19 margin, to date. Meanwhile, on the GOP side, the die looks largely cast, though no official calls have been made. With half of the vote tallied, former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore leads with 41 percent of the vote, well ahead of appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who sits at 31 percent of the vote. Rep. Mo Brooks, at present, is a distant third with 20 percent of the vote, though a lot of his home base (Huntsville’s Madison County) is still not counted. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:58:50 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser AL-Sen (R): An interesting data point to add some context to the kind of challenge that appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange will face in a presumptive GOP runoff with Roy Moore: xStrange down 9.7 pts, largest primary deficit an incumbent has overcome in runoff was 8.0 pts by Charles Culberson (D-TX) in 1922. #ALSen— Geoffrey Skelley (@geoffreyvs) August 16, 2017 Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 2:01:49 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser AL-Sen (R): The AP has called the Republican primary, or at least have confirmed that the race will go to a runoff. As expected, the pairing for the runoff will be appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. And, with exquisite timing, as the polls have just closed in UT-03! Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 2:11:18 AM +00:00 · Steve Singiser With Alabama’s U.S. Senate primary decided (such as it is—given the runoff on the GOP side), we are going to call it a night here at DK Elections. As we noted earlier, a substantial number of UT-03 votes are not going to be counted tonight, so we won’t be hanging out for an incomplete count. So, anyone interested in finding out who emerges as the Republican nominee in this special election to repla[...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate and UT-03 GOP primary liveblog #1

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 23:58:09 +0000

Tonight, voters in Alabama and Utah will go to the polls in party primaries for two special elections this fall. In Alabama, appointed Sen. Luther Strange is trying to fend off two major GOP primary foes, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks. If no one takes a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff on Sept. 26 between the top two vote-getters. In Utah's 3rd Congressional District, three Republicans are competing to succeed former House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz, who resigned earlier this year: Provo Mayor John Curtis, ex-state Rep. Chris Herrod, and businessman Tanner Ainge. It only takes a plurality to win the GOP nomination here. Both seats are heavily Republican, though special elections have been anything but predictable in the Trump era. Our guide to both contests can be found here. Polls close at 8 PM ET in Alabama and at 10 PM ET in Utah. Election officials in Utah warn that as many as 15,000 ballots may not be counted for another day or two, so we do not recommend staying up late watching that race. We’ll also be covering the returns closely on Twitter. Results: AL-Sen: AP (statewide, by county) | UT-03: AP (districtwide, by county) Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 12:11:43 AM +00:00 · David Nir The first few votes are trickling in. Nothing to blog home about yet, though. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:11:05 AM +00:00 · David Nir Alright! After sitting around for over an hour, we finally have a decent chunk of votes reporting—14% of all precincts. On the GOP side, Moore leads Strange 39-32, with Brooks a distant 21. However, the vote so far could very well be unrepresentative of the state as a whole (meaning that candidates’ pockets of strength might not be reporting evenly), so hang on before declaring Brooks doomed. Meanwhile, Jones has a huge 64-18 lead over Kennedy—a big relief, because we were worried we could see a Distinguished Gentleman situation play out thanks to Kennedy sharing a famous name with RFK. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:20:09 AM +00:00 · David Nir 27% reporting on both sides now, but little change: Moore 40, Strange 31, Brooks 20. Still a blowout for Jones. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:23:31 AM +00:00 · David Nir At this point, things are looking pretty awful for Brooks. He can turn around and seek re-election to the House in AL-05, but folks with ties to Mitch McConnell (who has heavily supported Strange) have been backing a primary challenger to Brooks, so running again might not be all that fun. It’s possible, though, that with Brooks out of the way, McConnellworld will no longer make much of an effort to keep supporting that challenger, Army vet Clayton Hinchman. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:32:35 AM +00:00 · David Nir By the way, assuming Jones wins the nomination outright tonight but Strange and Moore advance to a runoff, those who voted in the Democratic primary will not be able to vote in the GOP runoff, thanks to a new law barring such “crossover” voting. Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 · 1:44:21 AM +00:00 · David Nir The AP has called the Democratic primary for Doug E. Fresh Jones, who currently leads Robert “No Not That” Kennedy 62-19 with 48% of precincts reporting. For Republicans, it’s all but certain we’ll see a runoff between Strange and Moore, but there are no calls y[...]



Maine attraction: Northeastern state's closely divided statehouse a key 2018 battleground

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:34:53 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Maine, where the GOP holds a one-seat majority in the state Senate, and Democrats have a small edge in the state House. 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. The Democrats controlled both the House and Senate from 2003 until the 2010 GOP wave, when Team Red flipped the governorship and the legislature. Democrats took back both chambers in 2012, but in 2014, LePage won a second term and Republicans once again took control of the Senate. Democrats maintained a small edge in the House in 2014, and they managed to keep it in 2016 even as Maine sharply lurched right, going from a decisive 56-41 statewide win for Obama to a tight 48-45 scrape for Clinton. Republicans currently hold an 18-17 majority in the Senate, while Democrats have a 75-71 edge in the House, where five additional members do not identify with either party. (The Maine House also has three additional non-voting members who each represent a local Native American tribe.) The entire Senate and House are up every two years. Legislators in both chambers are termed-out of office after serving four consecutive terms, but the clock resets once they’ve been out of office for one full term. LePage is termed out next year as well, so 2018 could bring a sea change in Maine politics in one direction or the other.  Until recently, Maine drew its state legislative seats on an unusual timetable, waiting a full election cycle after the Census to put new lines in place. As a result, the state’s current districts were only first put to use in 2014, rather than in 2012 as they would have been elsewhere. However, a 2011 voter-approved law adjusted the calendar to bring the timing in line with most of rest of the country. Accordingly, Maine will draw its new seats for 2022 in 2021 and every ten years after that. In 2013, both chambers overwhelmingly approved the current maps, and LePage signed them into law. Now, to the numbers. We'll start with a look at the Senate, where Clinton carried 18 of 35 seats. Five Republicans hold Clinton districts, while four Democrats represent Trump turf. Remarkably, Trump's second-best seat in the entire state, SD-02, is held by freshman Democrat Michael Carpenter; last year, Carpenter won this seat, which is dominated by Aroostook County in the northern part of the state, 52-48, even as SD-02 backed Trump 62-32. Democrat William Diamond, who has served off-and-on in the Senate for decades, also holds a very Trumpy seat. He won his second consecutive term 62-38 even as his Cumberland County district went for Trump 51-42. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/15

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:01:14 +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, Aug 15, 2017 · 2:51:20 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf WI-Sen: Businessman Kevin Nicholson is so far the only noteworthy Republican to have joined next year’s race against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and the first-time candidate earned an endorsement from the Club for Growth on Tuesday. As a former president of the College Democrats of America, Nicholson’s conversion to become a conservative Republican has still left some potential rivals with skepticism. However, the support of the hardline anti-tax Club should help assuage some of those fears that Nicholson is ideologically impure. Even if this endorsement doesn’t win over his intra-party critics, the Club has a record of putting its money where its mouth is in the form of spending big on campaign ads. Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017 · 3:03:19 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf IA-Gov: At some point, we’re just going to have to start reporting on which Democrats aren’t running for Iowa governor next year. On Monday, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn became the latest Democrat to launch a campaign to challenge Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds next year. Wilburn served on the council in Iowa City from 2000 to 2011, and he was chosen as mayor from 2006 to 2007, making him the first African American to hold that position. He’s currently the associate program director and diversity officer at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We really weren’t kidding when we said a boatload of Democrats are in the running; the current field also includes former state party chair Andy McGuire, well-connected businessman and donor Fred Hubbell, ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack’s former chief of staff John Norris, former Des Moines School Board President Jonathan Neiderbach, state Sen. Nate Boulton, and state Rep. Todd Prichard, while union leader Cathy Glasson has formed an exploratory committee. With so many candidates in the running, there’s a good chance that nobody exceeds the 35 percent of the vote in the primary needed to win the nomination outright. If that happens, there will be a party convention to determine the nominee, which could further scramble the race. Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017 · 3:16:10 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf FL-07: On Monday, Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio gave his endorsement to state Rep. Mike Miller in the GOP primary for the nomination to take on first-term Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy in this suburban Orlando-area seat, which favored Clinton 51-44 but backed Obama by just a handful of votes. Miller currently faces businessman Scott Sturgill in the primary, while state Sen. David Simmons has repeatedly indicated that he is also likely to run for Republicans. Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017 · 3:47:59 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf KS-02: Former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who was the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, launched his campaign for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday, giving the party a solid recruit for the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Davis lost by just 50-46 statewide when he challenged Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 GOP wave, but he actually won by 51-45 in the 2nd District, which includes Topeka and rural eastern Kansas outside of the Kansas City area. The 2nd voted for Trump by a brutal 56-37 margin, meaning it won’t be easy for a Democrat to win. However, Brownback’s horrifically unpopular policy experiment in radical conservatism has badly damaged the Republican brand in Kansas, at least at the s[...]



Democrat Paul Davis, who narrowly lost the 2014 Kansas governor race, will run for House in 2018

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:55:29 +0000

Former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who was the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, launched his campaign for Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday, giving the party a solid recruit for the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Davis lost by just 50-46 statewide when he challenged Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in the 2014 GOP wave, but he actually won by 51-45 in the 2nd District, which includes Topeka and rural eastern Kansas outside of the Kansas City area.

The 2nd voted for Trump by a brutal 56-37 margin, meaning it won’t be easy for a Democrat to win. However, Brownback’s horrifically unpopular policy experiment in radical conservatism has badly damaged the Republican brand in Kansas, at least at the state level. Following Democrats’ shocking performance in last April’s 4th District special election, where they held the GOP to just a 52-46 victory in a seat that had backed Trump by an even redder 60-33, Team Blue may have a better chance of victory in a bluer seat like the 2nd.

Voters tend to be more open to splitting their tickets in state races than in federal ones, so Davis will have to convince many Trump-voting Republicans to cross over and vote for a Democrat for federal office. That may be easier said than done, since Republican attacks against Davis that try to tie him to national Democratic Party leaders could have more potency than when he was attempting to oust an unpopular governor. Indeed, Davis himself said he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker if elected, an indication that the San Francisco congresswoman could be a liability in this red seat. However, this seat did flip to Democrats as recently as the 2006 wave election, and given how 2018 is shaping up to be another Democratic-favoring midterm under an unpopular Republican president, it’s possible that lightning could strike twice here.

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Alabama primary preview: Notorious ex-Judge Roy Moore has the GOP worried in Senate race

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:15:15 +0000

On Tuesday, voters in Alabama and Utah will go to the polls in party primaries for two special elections this fall. In Alabama, appointed Sen. Luther Strange is trying to fend off two major GOP primary foes; if no one takes a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff on Sept. 26 between the top two vote-getters. In Utah's 3rd Congressional District, three Republicans are competing to succeed ex-House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz, who resigned earlier this year. It only takes a plurality to win the GOP nomination here.

Below we run down the key details on both races. Polls close at 8 PM ET in Alabama and at 10 PM ET in Utah. We'll be liveblogging the Alabama portion of the evening at Daily Kos Elections and tweeting as well. Election officials in Utah warn that as many as 15,000 ballots may not be counted for another day or two, so we do not recommend staying up late watching that race.

AL-Sen (R & D): After Donald Trump picked longtime GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions to become his now-beleaguered attorney general, then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed state Attorney General Luther Strange to Sessions’ seat. Bentley's decision was particularly controversial because Strange's office was investigating Bentley for covering up a sex scandal, and Strange’s decision to take a job from the governor infuriated plenty of people who felt the whole affair looked dirty. Strange made the affair look even sketchier by suggesting that he’d never said his office was actually investigating Bentley (it was)—a charade he kept up until he was in D.C. Bentley ended up resigning in disgrace a few months later under threat of impeachment.

Strange faces two major foes on Tuesday: former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks, who represents a district in northern Alabama. Moore has an intense following among Alabama's many social conservatives whose hearts he earned forever when he was kicked off the bench in 2003 for refusing to comply with a federal judge's order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from his court’s grounds.

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Morning Digest: Embattled Rep. Bob Brady could face multiple foes in the 2018 Democratic primary

Tue, 15 Aug 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 ● PA-01, PA-06, PA-07: Nonprofit director Omar Woodard, who appears well-connected in the world of Philadelphia Democratic politics, has been considering challenging longtime 1st District Rep. Bob Brady in next year's primary. At an event last Thursday, Woodard said he expects to announce his decision by early October and that it's a question of whether he can afford to quit his job while campaigning and raise $1 million. However, Woodard isn't the only Democrat who might end up running against Brady. Financial planner Lindy Li also said she will run for the House, but isn't willing to reveal which district she has chosen yet. Li had planned on running against Republican Rep. Pat Meehan in the 7th District in 2016, but ultimately challenged GOP Rep. Ryan Costello in the suburban 6th District last cycle instead. She raised over $600,000, but dropped out before the primary after her Democratic opponent challenged her ballot nominating petitions as invalid. Li had $181,000 in leftover cash-on-hand at the end of June, and the 26-year-old Princeton graduate would likely be able to raise considerable funds if she runs for House again. While Brady faces a growing storm over an unfolding scandal relating to allegedly bribing an opponent into dropping out of the 2012 primary, he could benefit from divided opposition allowing him to win renomination with a mere plurality. However, Brady's spokesperson claims Li told them just last month that she would be supporting him, and it's possible that Li could end up running for one of the nearby GOP-held suburban seats again instead. The Philadelphia-based 1st District favored Hillary Clinton in a landslide, meaning the Democratic primary winner will almost certainly prevail next year. However, the heavily gerrymandered 6th and 7th are much more evenly divided seats, having flipped from narrowly voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 to favoring Hillary Clinton by just 48.2-47.6 and 49-47, respectively. [...]



Virginia Republicans won't condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville tragedy

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 18:29:37 +0000

Like Donald Trump, Virginia state Del. Bob Marshall and U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart are upset about the violent consequences of Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. And like Donald Trump (until a full two days had passed), these Republicans seek to shift blame from the white supremacy and alt-right hate that produced the violence.  Corey Stewart, who nearly rode his pro-Confederacy fervor to a gubernatorial nomination in June, echoed Trump’s accusation of “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” by calling on politicians and the media to “condemn both sides,” including supposed “left-wing agitators,” in reaction to Saturday’s violence.  Bob Marshall issued a statement on Sunday afternoon intended to address the Saturday’s terrible events, except, much like the president at that point, he failed to address the real villains of the violence in Charlottesville. Marshall’s missive, titled “All Men Are Created Equal,” discusses God and the rights granted by the First Amendment “to assemble peaceably and to petition for redress of political grievance,” but at no point does Marshall call out the white supremacists whose hate resulted in violence and directly led to the death of a young woman and the injury of over a two dozen more protesters (not to mention the deaths of two police officers on the scene specifically because of said violence).  Instead, Marshall seems to assign blame to “authorities” involved in Saturday’s events. In his email to press and supporters, he asserts that “[a]uthorities must exercise vigilance … to exercise prudence to prevent occasions of violence” before calling on Trump’s Department of Justice to investigate “the events in Charlottesville” to “asses responsibility for the initiation of the violence” and “address the adequacy of the public preparation and response by Virginia authorities.” Not only does Marshall fail to acknowledge the murder of a young woman by one of the pro-white supremacist marchers, he also seems to lay the blame for the violence that occurred at the feet of police officers at the scene and a supposed lack of preparedness by Charlottesville’s (incidentally Democratic) mayor and city government. Marshall is not a white supremacist, but he has spent his entire tenure in Virginia’s General Assembly attempting to undermine and curtail the rights of the LGBT community—a political stance widely supported by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups and a sentiment reportedly on full display at Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally. So, while Marshall’s failure to condemn the white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville on Saturday is horrifying, it’s less than shocking in light of the philosophical common ground he shares with hate groups. Marshall may not have much longer to peddle his own LGBT hate in Virginia’s capitol. He’s up for reelection on November 7, and he faces a formidable challenger in Danica Roem—who happens to be a transgender woman.  You can read Marshall’s entire email here, or below.  [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/14

Mon, 14 Aug 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. Monday, Aug 14, 2017 · 2:37:30 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Gov: Republican Gov. Kay Ivey took office four months ago after disgraced ex-Gov. Robert Bentley resigned over a scandal, but she still hasn’t declared whether she’ll run for a full term next year. However, Yellowhammer News recently reported that Ivey has been telling business leaders and key legislators that she will indeed run, although her spokesperson only confirmed that she “is considering her options … and plans to decide [in] the near future.” Several other prominent Republicans are already running. Monday, Aug 14, 2017 · 3:04:26 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf OR-Gov: Secretary of State Dennis Richardson last year became the first Republican to win a statewide race in Oregon in over a decade, but his name has already come up as a possible challenger to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in 2018. Richardson recently refused to rule out the prospect, saying that state Rep. Knute Buehler “would make a fine governor,” but that he’s “excited to see who else will be entering the race” and that he’ll “make no promises about the future.” Richardson was the GOP nominee against Democratic then-Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2014 and lost by 50-44 after a last-minute scandal erupted that ended with Kitzhaber’s resignation in early 2015. Buehler is the only prominent Republican to have already kicked off a campaign, but the Bend Bulletin reports that fellow state Rep. Bill Post also didn’t say no to a bid when asked. Meanwhile, Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer filed the paperwork for an exploratory committee back in June, and she now says she’ll make a decision “soon.” Monday, Aug 14, 2017 · 3:42:34 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AZ-09: Following a recent report that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is planning on running for Senate next year, a few names have already come up for potential Democratic candidates to succeed her in in the House if she does seek higher office. Dennis Welch at AZ Family reports that insiders told him former state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell is being recruited to run, though there’s no word from the former Democratic caucus leader himself. Welch also relays that former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said he had spoken with current Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton about the latter’s interest in a House bid, and Stanton reportedly confirmed he would run if the seat opened up, although he still hasn’t clarified things publicly yet. This suburban Phoenix and Tempe-based seat backed Hillary Clinton 55-38, but Obama carried it just 51-47. While Democrats would likely start off favored to hold it without Sinema, the GOP does at least have a credible candidate with retired Navy physician Steve Ferrara, who raised $253,000 from April through June. Monday, Aug 14, 2017 · 4:31:46 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Primaries: Tuesday brings us the special election primaries for Alabama's U.S. Senate seat and UT-03, and Jeff Singer gives us a preview of what[...]



Morning Digest: Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema will reportedly challenge Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake

Mon, 14 Aug 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 ● AZ-Sen, AZ-09: On Friday, local NBC-affiliate KPNX reported that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is planning on running for Senate against Republican incumbent Jeff Flake, while Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a fellow Democrat who has reportedly been considering a Senate bid of his own, will instead run to replace Sinema in the House. Neither Sinema nor Stanton has formally declared yet, and Sinema responded only by issuing a statement that she is "seriously considering" running, but that's still the most direct she has been about her interest in the race.​ Campaign Action ​Sinema would be a top recruit for Democrats in this light-red state, where the party has a relatively thin bench of prominent elected officials for a statewide race, and she has long been seen as one of the likelier potential Democratic contestants against Flake. Sinema has already been fundraising like someone thinking about running for Senate, having brought in $633,000 in the second quarter and finishing the month of June with $3.2 million in the bank, which was even more than Flake's $3 million in cash-on-hand. This hefty fundraising comes even as Sinema won her last race by 61-39 and doesn't appear vulnerable if she were to seek re-election in 2018. If Sinema does end up running, it may be because Flake has eviscerated his public standing in the Grand Canyon State by pissing off both swing voters and the far-right element of the party base that has long viewed him with skepticism. As one of the Senate's relatively hardcore libertarians on fiscal issues, Flake voted for all of the GOP's recent health care bills, which have been extremely unpopular and would prove especially harmful to states like Arizona that expanded Medicaid. Indeed, one recent PPP poll found Flake's approval rating at an atrocious 18 percent with 62 percent disapproving, and it showed him losing to a generic Democratic candidate by 47-31. [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Sat, 12 Aug 2017 02:00:43 +0000

Steven Wilson — No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun

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Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema will reportedly challenge vunlerable GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in Arizona

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:38:20 +0000

On Friday, local NBC-affiliate KPNX reported that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is planning on running for Senate in Arizona against Republican incumbent Jeff Flake, while Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a fellow Democrat who has reportedly been considering a Senate bid of his own, will instead run to replace Sinema in the House. Neither Sinema nor Stanton has formally declared yet, and Sinema responded only by issuing a statement that she is “seriously considering” running, but that’s still the most direct she has been about her interest in the race. Sinema would be a top recruit for Democrats in this light-red state, where the party has a relatively thin bench of prominent elected officials for a statewide race, and she has long been seen as one of the likelier potential Democratic contestants against Flake. Sinema’s has already been fundraising like someone thinking about running for Senate, having brought in $633,000 in the second quarter and finishing the month of June with $3.2 million in the bank, which was even more than Flake’s $3 million in cash-on-hand. This hefty fundraising comes even as Sinema won her last race by 61-39 and doesn’t appear vulnerable if she were to seek re-election in 2018. If Sinema does end up running, it may be because Flake has eviscerated his public standing in the Grand Canyon State by pissing off both swing voters and the far-right element of the party base that has long viewed him with skepticism. As one of the Senate’s relatively hardcore libertarians on fiscal issues, Flake voted for all of the GOP’s recent health care bills, which have been extremely unpopular and would prove especially harmful to states like Arizona that expanded Medicaid. Indeed, one recent PPP poll found Flake’s approval rating at an atrocious 18 percent with 62 percent disapproving, and it showed him losing to a generic Democratic candidate by 47-31. On the other hand, Flake’s vocal opposition to Trump has landed him in hot water with the party base, which still adores Trump in Arizona. This hostility to the party’s current leader culminated with Flake secretly writing a book where he lambasted the party for making a deal with the devil and abandoning the movement-conservative principles of those like former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in order to win power with someone unorthodox like Trump. Flake is notably far less hawkish on immigration than Trump, but Arizona Republicans are notorious for favoring harsh anti-immigrant laws. Consequently, that same PPP poll placed Flake’s approval at just 22 percent with 57 disapproving among Republicans. Flake’s visible apostasies have incurred the ire of many prominent hardliners in the GOP, and he currently faces a primary challenge from former state Sen. Kelli Ward, but Ward has her own flaws and raised just $183,000 in the second quarter. However, she held longtime Sen. John McCain to just a 51-40 win in the 2016 primary, and Flake is much less entrenched than McCain was. Previous reports indicated that Trump himself is keen on finding a challenger to Flake, but some Republicans weren’t sold on Ward. However, billionaire GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer recently dropped $300,000 on a super PAC to support Ward in the primary. The Mercer family spent $700,000 supporting Ward’s 2016 campaign, and their influence with other major donors could open up the doors for even more money. There’s still about a year to go until Arizona’s 2018 primary, and F[...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/11

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 13:01:05 +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, Aug 11, 2017 · 2:27:32 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: Alabama-based pollster Cygnal returns for what may be their final poll of Tuesday’s upcoming Senate special election GOP primary. The pollster gives Roy Moore a plurality of 31 percent, while Luther Strange takes 23 percent, and Mo Brooks earns just 18 percent and fails to make the September runoff. In a hypothetical second round, Cygnal says Moore would beat Strange 45-34. These numbers are a reversal from Cygnal’s late-July poll, where Strange led Moore 33-26 in the first round, but that survey also had Brooks getting eliminated with a similar 16 percent. These latest numbers fit a trend from other pollsters where Moore and Strange take first and second place, respectively, while a hypothetical runoff between them is still far from settled. Meanwhile, Democrats have their own potentially problematic primary to deal with. The party has one rather serious candidate, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones. However, multiple polls have shown him struggling against businessman Robert Kennedy, Jr., an almost completely unknown candidate who just happens to share a name with the famous Kennedy family scion despite no relation. To ensure that Jones wins the nomination, or at least prevents Kennedy from winning Tuesday’s primary outright without a runoff, several prominent Alabama and national Democrats have come to the rescue to endorse Jones. That list includes Rep. Terri Sewell, who is Alabama’s lone Democratic member of Congress, former Vice President Joe Biden, plus legendary civil rights leader and Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Friday, Aug 11, 2017 · 3:37:36 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AZ-Sen, AZ-09: On Friday, local NBC-affiliate KPNX reported that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is planning on running for Senate against Republican incumbent Jeff Flake, while Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a fellow Democrat who has reportedly been considering a Senate bid of his own, will instead run to replace Sinema in the House. Neither Sinema nor Stanton has formally declared yet, and Sinema responded only by issuing a statement that she is “seriously considering” running, but that’s still the most direct she has been about her interest in the race. Sinema would be a top recruit for Democrats in this light-red state, where the party has a relatively thin bench of prominent elected officials for a statewide race, and she has long been seen as one of the likelier potential Democratic contestants against Flake. Sinema’s has already been fundraising like someone thinking about running for Senate, having brought in $633,000 in the second quarter and finishing the month of June with $3.2 million in the bank, which was even more than Flake’s $3 million in cash-on-hand. This hefty fundraising comes even as Sinema won her last race by 61-39 and doesn’t appear vulnerable if she were to seek re-election in 2018. If Sinema does end up running, it may be because Flake has eviscerated his public standing in the Grand Canyon State by pissing off both swing voters and the far-right element of the party base that has long viewed him with skepticism. As one of the Senate’s relatively hardcore libertarians on fiscal issues, Flake voted for all of the GOP’s recent health ca[...]



Morning Digest: Jimmy Carter backs Stacey Abrams in Democratic primary for Georgia governor

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:01:06 +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

GA-Gov: Former President Jimmy Carter, Georgia's native son, recently weighed in on next year's Democratic primary contest for governor by informally throwing his backing to former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Although Carter didn't exactly use the phrase "endorse," he introduced Abrams at a charitable fundraiser by saying "she's going to be—possibly, and hopefully for me—our next governor of Georgia." As we've said before, if you say you hope someone wins an election, that's an endorsement even if you don't use the E-word. Abrams faces fellow state Rep. Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary.

Campaign Action

Meanwhile, the GOP primary apparently wasn't crowded enough already. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Clay Tippins, a retired Navy SEAL and an executive at the global consulting firm Capgemini, is considering jumping in. Tippins has not said anything publicly, but a source close to him tells the paper that he's expected to decide in the next few weeks. The AJC's Greg Bluestein notes that it's unclear if Tippins is able or willing to do significant self-funding. Tippins does have at least one political connection, though: His uncle is state Sen. Lindsey Tippins.

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This week in statehouse action: How I learned to stop legislating and love the bomb edition

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:56:34 +0000

While we’re all sitting around waiting for Donald Trump to start a nuclear war to protect our precious bodily fluids from sapping or impurification or whatever, we might as well wile away our remaining time together enjoying some good news in state politics.  Rejoice, it’s Statehouse Action! Campaign Action Good news, everyone! I know I talk about Democrats winning special elections in this space quite a lot, but they keep doing it, and what kind of Statehouse Action harbinger would I be if I didn’t share the glad tidings? This time the win came in Iowa, in a district Democrats could well have lost. Rural House District 82 trended heavily for the GOP after going for Obama 50-48 in 2012: Four years later, the 82nd gave Trump a massive 58-37 percent win. Yet Democrat (and large animal veterinarian) Phil Miller won Tuesday’s special election 54-44, improving on Clinton’s performance in the district just last fall by 30 points. Snatching away a district Republicans should have easily won is super satisfying, but it might not even be as satisfying as the backfiring of a disgusting GOP stratagem. Last month, the Republican in this race attempted to smear Miller with vile ads attacking the Democrat for his vote to uphold the rights of transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. (And, as if the transphobic ads weren’t disgusting enough on their own, the Republican ran them just a month after a transgender teen from this district committed suicide.) More good news, if not quite AS good: Two other special elections were held on Tuesday night in bright-red Missouri. The Democratic candidates didn’t win the contests for House District 50 and Senate District 28, but they continued the persistent trend of Democratic over-performance in almost every contested congressional and state legislative special election held since November. The Republican in the 50th eked out a 52-48 win after Trump trounced Clinton here by 21 (58-37 percent, specifically); Democrat Michela Skelton outperformed Clinton by 17 percent. The Republican (a sitting state lawmaker) in the 29th fared far better in terms margin of victory Tuesday, but GOP performance here slid from 76 to 68 percent as Democrat Al Skalicky outperformed Clinton by 19 percent. In short, Democrats keep winning and overperforming, and Republicans not only haven’t flipped a single contested Democratic seat this cycle, but they’re also barely holding on to seats they should have no trouble winning. Enough old business. On to new business while we still have time. [...]



Watch: Daily Kos Elections editors hold Q&A session at Netroots Nation

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:03:48 +0000

On Thursday morning, the editors of Daily Kos Elections hosted a Q&A session at Netroots Nation in Atlanta, where they answered questions from the audience (and folks watching via livestream) on races around the country and key themes heading into the 2018 midterms. You can watch below to see if anyone stumped the panel:

C-SPAN also carried the event. Thanks again to our hosts at Netroots Nation!

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Democrats have filed to run in 191 GOP-held House seats. Republicans? In just 66 Democratic seats

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:31:10 +0000

We’ve all felt it: the burgeoning resistance to Donald Trump and his Republican Party. We’ve seen it in the mass protests that have stiffened the spines of Democrats in Congress; we’ve seen it in the ceaseless waves of phone calls to senators that have helped thwart Trump’s agenda; and we’ve seen it in special elections across the country, where Democrats have outperformed historical voting patterns again and again.

But what about the 2018 midterms? Is there a way we can quantify this enthusiasm?

Indeed there is. Thanks to an excellent and simple new site called Project 435 from activist Dan Johnson, we can now see how many House districts Democrats have filed to run in with the Federal Elections Commission—and the number is big: We’re only in August of 2017 and already Democrats have filed to run in 385 seats out of 435 total.

Helpfully, Project 435 also shows us which Republican-held districts still need Democrats, broken down by state. If you know someone who lives in one of these 50 districts and might make a good candidate—hell, maybe that someone is yourself!—you should encourage them to run. Most of these seats are very red turf, but it’s important to field candidates everywhere we can.

For one, you never know what kind of disaster might befall a Republican candidate. For another, we as a party should always give voters the option of supporting a Democrat, even if it’s in seats we have little chance of winning. Organizing always begins at the local level, and if we want to strengthen and rebuild our party, that has to start from the bottom up. Just imagine if we could fill an entire nationwide slate.

To put these numbers in context, we can also look at how far along Republicans are with candidate filings. The short answer: way behind. GOP candidates have only filed in 307 districts, meaning that 128 Democratic seats are, as of now, uncontested.

Note that these totals—the 385 seats for Democrats and 307 for Republicans—include incumbents, so when you drill down further, the disparity is even starker, since Republicans of course hold the majority in the House. Of the 241 seats held by the GOP, Democrats have filed in 191, or 79 percent. Republicans, by contrast, have only done the same in 66 out of 194 Democratic seats—just 34 percent. In other words, the GOP has a much smaller list to fill but is less than a third of the distance that Democrats are toward completing their own, much larger dance card.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/10

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:01:05 +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, Aug 10, 2017 · 3:17:29 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: With little time to spare until next Tuesday’s Republican primary, appointed Sen. Luther Strange rolled out a new ad where the senator speaks straight to camera to highlight Trump’s recent endorsement of his campaign. Strange features the Trump endorsement tweet itself and also once again emphasizes his support from key Republican-oriented groups like the NRA. Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 · 3:26:31 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Gov: Alabama’s powerful state Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, had previously not ruled out a run for governor next year, but those plans grew complicated after newly elevated GOP Gov. Kay Ivey succeeded disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley following the latter’s resignation earlier this year. Consequently, Marsh announced on Wednesday that he would instead seek re-election to the state Senate. However, several other prominent Republicans are already challenging Ivey in the primary, and the incumbent still has yet to decide whether to seek a full term. Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 · 5:32:37 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: On behalf of local Fox affiliate Fox 10, Strategic Research recently polled both parties’ primaries ahead of next Tuesday’s Senate special election. On the Republican side, this survey has Roy Moore leading with 35 percent, Luther Strange at 29 percent, and Mo Brooks way back at 19 percent, which would lead to Moore and Strange facing each other in a September runoff. These numbers fit a general trend whereby Brooks has been struggling in third place and trying to avoid elimination, while Moore’s steadfast base of religious conservatives helps him attain a plurality but not enough support to win outright without a runoff. Alabama is an extremely tough state for Democrats at the federal level, but Team Blue does have at least one serious contender in the event that the stars align. However, Strategic Research finds former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones losing by 40-30 against Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a completely unheralded candidate who just happens to share a name with the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy despite no relation to the Kennedy dynasty (indeed, the Alabama Senate candidate is African American). Fortunately for Jones, several other candidates combined for roughly 29 percent of the vote in this poll, which would mean Kennedy wouldn’t win the nomination without a September runoff. However, this isn’t the first sign of Kennedy’s threat to win the nomination, and Jones will have to work to introduce himself to enough voters to prevent the primary electorate from simply nominating the familiar name. Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 · 5:40:34 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf IN-Sen: Bac[...]



Morning Digest: Daily Kos Elections editors holding Q&A this morning—livestream available

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:01:19 +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

Netroots Nation: This morning at 10:30 AM ET at Netroots Nation in Atlanta, the editors of Daily Kos Elections will host an in-depth Q&A session covering the 2017 special elections, this November's general elections, the 2018 midterm landscape, and everything in between. There will be no speeches or presentations: just your questions (and our answers) on any race in the nation you care about.

A livestream of our panel will be available at facebook.com/NetrootsNation/, and we'll be taking questions from both our in-person and online audiences. If you're watching the livestream, please tweet your questions to @DKElections. You can also RSVP for the event here. We look forward to seeing you—and hearing from you!

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/9

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:01:07 +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, Aug 9, 2017 · 3:03:27 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso brings us up to speed on the results of three Midwestern specials: Iowa HD-82: Democrats held on to this seat, with Phil Miller defeating Republican Travis Harris 54-44. Libertarian Joshua Miller and independent Edward Hee III each received 1 percent of the vote. This seat swung heavily to the Republicans in 2016, voting for Donald Trump by a 58-37 margin in 2016 after backing Barack Obama 50-48 in 2012. Missouri SD-28: This was an easy Republican hold; Sandy Crawford defeated Democrat Al Skalicky by a 68-32 margin. Daily Kos Election's preliminary results have Trump winning this district 76-20, while Mitt Romney carried it 68-30 in 2012. Missouri HD-50: This one ended up being close; Republican Sara Walsh defeated Democrat Michela Skelton by just 52-48 to keep this seat in her party's hands. Daily Kos Election's preliminary results have Trump winning this district 58-37, while Romney took it 60-38 in 2012. The Iowa win is quite heartening to Democrats. So far, the GOP has picked up just one legislative seat anywhere in a Trump-era special election, and that was in a conservative Louisiana state House seat where Democrats didn't field a candidate. The GOP currently holds a 59-41 majority in the Iowa House, and if Democrats want to take the chamber, they'll need to win plenty of seats that swung from Obama to Trump. Miller's win on Tuesday is a strong sign that those kinds of must-win seats aren't out of reach without a Democratic incumbent on the ballot. Wednesday, Aug 9, 2017 · 3:13:58 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: With less than a week to go until next week’s Senate special election GOP primary in Alabama, appointed Sen. Luther Strange is calling out the big guns. Donald Trump himself issued an endorsement of Strange via Twitter on Tuesday evening, stating that “Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama.” Strange already has benefitted immensely from the steadfast backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and heavy spending from McConnell’s allied super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund. Meanwhile, Rep. Mo Brooks, whom recent polls have shown failing to make the runoff after next Tuesday’s primary, feebly argued that “Mitch McConnell and the swamp somehow misled the president into endorsing Luther Strange.” Both candidates have done their best to bear hug Trump in this contest, with Strange and his allies repeatedly hammering Brooks over opposing Trump in last year’s presidential primary. Indeed, Brooks newest ad blasts “swamp king” McConnell for spending millions to help his “lapdog, Luther strange, hijack our Alabama primary.” Brooks then touts his conservatism and record of strongly supporting Trump before lambasting McConnell’s failure to repeal Obamacare. Wednesday, Aug 9, 2017 · 3:17:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IL-14: On Wednesday, Democrat Lauren Underwood, a nurse who served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of[...]



A crowded Democratic field begins to form for Massachusetts Niki Tsongas' House seat

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 20:05:35 +0000

On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas announced that she would not seek re-election in Massachusetts 3rd District, a seat that backed Obama 57-41 and Clinton 58-35. This district, which includes Lawrence, Lowell, and a portion of central Massachusetts, is usually reliably Democratic, though it's been open to backing Republicans down-ballot. In 2012, as Elizabeth Warren was unseating GOP Sen. Scott Brown 54-46, she lost the 3rd 51-49. In the special election for Massachusetts' other Senate seat the next year, Democrat Ed Markey also narrowly lost the seat 51-49 as he was winning statewide 55-45. In 2014, Republican Charlie Baker also carried this district 52-43 as he was winning the governorship 48-47. Tsongas herself has always won re-election by double digits and Team Red is going to have a very tough time winning here if Trump remains a drag on his party next year, but it's possible the GOP will field a stronger-than-usual candidate. It took very little time for several Democrats to express interest, and we could see something like a 2007 primary reunion tour. State Sen. Eileen Donoghue told the Boston Herald she hasn't decided what to do, though she added that, "Being in the Senate and being part of Senate leadership has also been tremendous. I absolutely love what I do." Back in 2007, Tsongas beat Donoghue 36-31 in the primary; Tsongas proceeded to win the general election by a relatively tight 51-45. Ex-state Sen. Barry Finegold, who lost the 2014 primary for treasurer, also put out a statement saying he was considering. Unnamed insiders also tell the Boston Globe that they think state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, who was a prominent Bernie Sanders supporter during the 2016 presidential campaign, is interested. In the 2007 primary, Eldridge and Finegold took third and fourth place with 14 and 13 percent, respectively. [...]



New Quinnipiac poll finds Democrat Ralph Northam ahead in Virginia's 2017 race for governor

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:07:01 +0000

Quinnipiac recently returned to poll Virginia, and their latest survey has good news for Team Blue in this fall’s state races. Democrat Ralph Northam beats Republican Ed Gillespie by 44-38 for governor, which is relatively similar to Quinnipiac’s June poll, which gave Northam a 47-39 lead. Two factors that are likely bolstering Northam are term-limited Democratic Gov. Terry Mcauliffe's popularity, with 47 percent approving and just 37 percent disapproving, and the poll respondents’ utter dislike of Donald Trump, who has an abysmal 36 approval rating with 61 percent disapproving.

This survey adds to just a handful of other polls since the June 13 primary, which have ranged from a tied race to a similar Northam lead. While Northam might seem like a slight favorite at the moment, there are still three months to go until Election Day, and he can’t take anything for granted. Indeed, even this Quinnipiac survey revealed 39 percent of voters had yet to form an opinion of either Northam or Gillespie, giving both candidates the opportunity to negatively define their foe.

On a final note, Quinnipiac found voters prefer a Democratic-run state legislature to a GOP one by a 49-38 margin. While Democrats are facing a brutal Republican gerrymander that left Team Blue with just 33 of 100 state House seats, these numbers could portend major Democratic gains this November when the entire state House is up.

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Rep. Todd Rokita joins the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 15:48:19 +0000

Republican Rep. Todd Rokita finally made his long-anticipated Senate campaign official when he declared on Wednesday that he would seek the GOP nomination to face Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Rokita has represented Indiana’s dark-red 4th Congressional District, located west of Indianapolis, since his initial 2010 victory, and he previously served two terms as Indiana secretary of state. The congressman has already been fundraising like a candidate about to run a competitive race after he raised a hefty $1 million from April through June and finished that three-month period with an auspicious $2.4 million in cash-on-hand. Rokita’s entry into the race sets up a battle royale primary with fellow Republican Rep. Luke Messer, and both candidates have already been slinging mud at each other for a while. Rokita has been criticizing Messer’s wife, Jennifer Messer, for making $20,000 a month doing legal work for the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers (population: 90,000), arguing that the Messers are profiting from their political connections. Rokita has also accused Messer of not actually living in Indiana, to which Messer responded by accusing Rokita of spreading lies about him and his family for months. Back in May, Rokita alleged that Messer planted a story in Politico that reported how Rokita had used $100,000 in campaign funds on a private plane, which looked somewhat unseemly despite not violating ethics rules. When Messer joined the race in late July, Rokita released a GS Strategy Group poll that gave him a 28-20 lead, while Messer’s team had previously shown a survey that had them tied 23-23, demonstrating that this primary is still wide open. State Rep. Mike Braun also recently joined the Republican primary, but he’s likely starting with much lower name recognition than the two congressmen. However, the wealthy businessman did say he was willing to self-fund enough to run a competitive race. Braun’s best bet may be if Rokita and Messer end up nuking each other into mutual destruction, allowing him to prevail over the split field. Indiana is likely one of the best chances Republicans have to gain a Senate seat next year thanks to Trump’s dominant 56-37 victory in the Hoosier State, and the GOP contestants are understandably willing to go all-out to secure the nomination. However, Donnelly won’t mind it a bit if Messer and Rokita spend the next several months bludgeoning each other while the incumbent builds up his war chest. [...]



Morning Digest: True-believer Danny Tarkanian will run in GOP primary vs. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:01:05 +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 ● NV-Sen, NV-03: Can Democrats be this lucky? Businessman Danny Tarkanian, a deeply flawed perennial candidate who has lost five races as a Republican in the Silver State, had been considering another bid for the 3rd Congressional District, but he announced on Tuesday that he'll mount a primary challenge from the right against GOP Sen. Dean Heller. Heller is likely the most vulnerable Republican senator facing re-election next year since he's the only one whose state voted for Hillary Clinton, and Heller already has a major Democratic opponent in the form of Rep. Jacky Rosen.​ Campaign Action ​Tarkanian may have notoriously failed to win public office yet, but his unrelenting conservatism and famous name—his father, Jerry Tarkanian, was the legendary UNLV basketball coach—keep helping him snatch the GOP nomination. Tarkanian's most recent election saw him run for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District in the Las Vegas suburbs in 2016. Little Tark beat then-state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, the party establishment's preference, in the Republican primary, but Tarkanian went on to lose 47-46 to Rosen herself even as Trump flipped that seat and won it 48-47. Tarkanian's previous failures include losing a race for the 4th Congressional District in 2012 and the Senate in 2010. One reason Tarkanian would be such a weak candidate if he ousts Heller to secure the nomination is his record of failure in his business career. Tarkanian and his family had guaranteed bad loans in a venture to build an "equestrian destination resort." He then had to declare bankruptcy in 2012 after being hit with a $17 million judgment and ended up settling the matter for $525,000. Democrats mercilessly attacked Tarkanian as a shady businessman last year on top of using his several failed runs for office to portray him as a desperate power-seeker. Team Blue would likely be pleased if next year's Senate contest turns into a rematch of Tarkanian and Rosen on even bluer turf. [...]



Democrats just won YET ANOTHER election that should have been a cakewalk for the GOP

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 04:05:16 +0000

Democrats just won their fourteenth special election since Donald Trump’s election—this time in Iowa. And frankly, they shouldn’t have. Republicans should have flipped House District 82 with their hands tied behind their proverbial backs. This district not only went heavily for Donald Trump last November (58 percent), but it’s been trending away from Democrats over the past few election cycles. Obama took HD82 with 50 percent in 2012. In Tuesday’s special election, Democrat (and large animal veterinarian) Phil Miller defeated his Republican opponent 54-44 percent. This hotly contested race took an ugly turn last month when the Republican started airing ads attacking Miller for his vote as school board president to preserve a policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify. Miller voted to uphold the policy (in accordance with both state and federal law). The spot was transphobic and terrible, but that’s not even the worst part. The Republican began airing the ads just a month after a local transgender teen committed suicide. So it’s nice to see such a disgusting tactic backfire on the GOP. If tonight and last year’s North Carolina gubernatorial contest taught us anything, it’s that anti-transgender potty policing doesn’t win elections. Not to give short shrift to a Democrat’s 30-point over-performance in a swing state, but Miller’s big win isn’t the only news of the night. Two more special elections were held in Missouri. Both House District 50 and Senate District 28 are solidly Republican seats: HD50 went for Trump 58-37 percent, and SD28 gave Trump 76 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 20. Neither of these seats was legitimately considered competitive, and Republicans kept them in the red column. Nevertheless, the Democrats in these races performed astoundingly well. In HD50, the Democratic candidate garnered 48 percent, over-performing Clinton’s numbers by 17. In SD28, the 32 percent the Democrat brought in had her outperforming Democratic presidential numbers last fall by 19 percent. Neither of these contests should have been close (and, to be fair, SD28 wasn’t). But the GOP win percentage in HD50 shifted from 21 percent to a mere four percent in just nine months—not a good look for a party hoping to hold on to swing districts in future elections. Both the Democratic win in Iowa and the over-performances in Missouri provide additional data points supporting the irrefutable trend of Democratic success in special elections held since Trump’s election. Democrats have not only wrested four seats from Republicans, but they’ve also outperformed Democratic presidential numbers from just last fall in 24 out of 31 contested congressional and state legislative elections. Tuesday’s results bring Democrats’ improved performance average to 13 percent—sure to be an unlucky number for Republicans if they can’t improve their electoral fortunes this cycle. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/8

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:01:04 +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, Aug 8, 2017 · 2:51:00 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: Sen. Luther Strange’s latest ad in Alabama’s Senate special election Republican primary continues his camp’s line of attack against Rep. Mo Brooks for opposing Trump in his own words during last year’s presidential primary. The spot plays clips of Brooks saying “I don’t think you can trust Donald Trump with anything he says” and calling out Trump for his “callous insults” and “belittling” rhetoric. Strange then accuses Brooks of still harboring opposition to Trump by playing a more recent clip where Brooks states “I have never taken back any of the words or comments I made …” supposedly in reference to Trump. Meanwhile, Politico reports that Strange’s allies at the Senate Leadership Fund, which has ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and has spent heavily on Strange’s behalf, have begun shifting their focus from hammering Books to attacking former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. That shift in focus likely indicates that they’re confident about Strange snagging one of the two runoff spots after next Tuesday’s primary, which would be consistent with the handful of publicly released polls of this race. Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017 · 3:43:40 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AL-Sen: Roy Moore himself is firing back against Luther Strange’s allies at the Senate Leadership Fund with his own latest ad. Moore’s cheap-looking spot attacks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his “D.C. slime machine” for spending millions to lie about Moore. It then pivots to argue that Moore will stand up for conservative ideals, fears God, and “believes what we believe,” an unsubtle attempt to appeal to Alabama’s large bloc of religious conservative voters. Moore closes by advocating voters “drain the swamp” in Washington. Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017 · 4:57:14 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun became the latest Republican to join the race against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly next year after he kicked off his campaign on Monday. Braun has had an extensive business career that includes owning the distribution company Meyer Distributing, and he recently told Indy Politics that he is willing to spend enough of his own money to be competitive against his GOP primary rivals. Braun will need all the help he can get to boost his name recognition in a primary that already includes well-funded Rep. Luke Messer and will likely also see fellow Rep. Todd Rokita launch his own campaign soon. Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017 · 5:49:26 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf NV-Sen, NV-03: Can[...]



Jeff Colyer is seeking a full term as governor of Kansas, but he's not scaring off GOP primary foes

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 18:58:01 +0000

Assuming that GOP incumbent Sam Brownback is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as ambassador for religious freedom, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer would become Kansas' new chief executive. Colyer sounded very interested in running for governor next year even before Brownback's nomination was announced, and on Tuesday, Colyer confirmed that he would seek the GOP nod for a full term. However, even a Gov. Colyer wouldn't have a smooth path through the primary. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is leading Trump's bogus "Election Integrity Commission," kicked off his bid for governor before Brownback hit the eject button, and he's made it clear that he's not dropping out for Colyer.  Businessman Wink Hartman and ex-state Sen. Jim Barnett, who badly lost the 2006 general, also refused to halt their campaigns. And just a day before Colyer made his announcement, state Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer also announced that he would run for the Republican nomination. As the Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske recently wrote, Colyer's main problem seems to be that he doesn't really intimidate anyone in the Republican Party. Colyer was Brownback's running mate during both his successful 2010 and 2014 bids, but few voters pay much attention to the second name on the ticket, and lieutenant governors rarely attract much public interest. Kraske also writes that Colyer has a reputation as an awkward campaigner. It doesn't help that Brownback is extremely unpopular in this very red state. The current governor's reactionary tax cuts have devastated Kansas' economy, and the GOP-dominated legislature recently voted to override Brownback's veto to repeal them. Colyer himself hasn't established much of an independent image, and with even a significant number of Republicans angry with the status quo, that's a huge liability for him. Once Brownback leaves, Colyer will have a chance to introduce himself to voters. However, it may take months for Brownback's confirmation to wind its way through the Senate, and unless he decides to resign early, Lt. Gov. Colyer will need to wait a while before he can get the public's attention. Colyer is a wealthy former plastic surgeon, and he should have the resources to get his message out. Still, he has a lot to prove if he's going to win what's shaping up to be a tough primary next year. Democrats are also hoping that Brownback's awful legacy will tarnish the eventual GOP nominee, no matter who it is. [...]



New poll shows Maine Sen. Susan Collins losing in a hypothetical GOP primary for governor in 2018

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 18:28:14 +0000

Longtime Republican Sen. Susan Collins has been the metaphorical elephant in the room in Maine’s gubernatorial race for much of this cycle, since Collins has previously said she won’t make a decision on whether to run until the fall, even though her candidacy is widely seen as a significant possibility.  Former state Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew isn’t waiting on Collins, though, since she kicked off her campaign two months ago. Politico relays that a new PPP poll somewhat surprisingly finds Mayhew with a 44-33 lead over Collins in a hypothetical Republican primary. Collins has routinely been one of the country’s most popular incumbents, and she won significant crossover support from Democrats in her last few re-election battles. However, her steadfast opposition to the GOP’s health care bill has likely angered the Republican primary base, creating an opening for an insurgent challenger to attack her for insufficient conservatism in the closed primary. However, one enormous question mark in this race is what role Maine’s new instant-runoff voting system will play after voters passed it at the ballot box in 2016. While the system will likely face lawsuits over its implementation for state-level general elections, it’s more likely than not to take effect for primaries and federal general elections. This new electoral system could make it harder for Collins to win the Republican primary simply based on her universal name recognition if it becomes a more crowded affair. However, it could also give Collins even greater latitude to eschew the GOP primary altogether by running as an independent, since typically GOP-leaning voters who favor Collins wouldn’t have to worry about an independent candidacy playing spoiler and handing Democrats a victory with a mere plurality. Of course, Collins has had opportunities to leave the GOP before in a state that’s long been unusually open to voting for independents, but has nonetheless remained within the party. If Collins does run for governor next year, she may find that her years of vocal strategic opposition to conservative hardliners has seriously endangered her ability to win the Republican primary in pursuit of winning over swing voters in this light-blue state. [...]



Hardliner Danny Tarkanian will mount GOP primary challenge to vulnerable Nevada Sen. Dean Heller

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:56:03 +0000

NV-Sen, NV-03: Can Democrats be this lucky? Businessman Danny Tarkanian, a deeply flawed perennial candidate who has lost five races as a Republican in the Silver State, had been considering another bid for the 3rd Congressional District, but he announced on Tuesday that he’ll mount a primary challenge from the right against GOP Sen. Dean Heller. Heller is likely the most vulnerable Republican senator facing re-election next year since he’s the only one whose state voted for Clinton, and Heller already has a major Democratic opponent in the form of Rep. Jacky Rosen. Tarkanian may have notoriously failed to win public office yet, but his unrelenting conservatism and famous name—his father, Jerry Tarkanian, was the legendary UNLV basketball coach—keep helping him snatch the GOP nomination. Tarkanian’s most recent election saw him run for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District in the Las Vegas suburbs in 2016. Little Tark beat then-state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, the party establishment’s preference, in the Republican primary, but Tarkanian went on to lose 47-46 to Rosen herself even as Trump flipped that seat and won it 48-47. Tarkanian’s previous failures include losing a race for the 4th Congressional District in 2012 and the Senate in 2010. One reason Tarkanian would be such a weak candidate if he ousts Heller to secure the nomination is his record of failure in his business career. Tarkanian and his family had guaranteed bad loans in a venture to build an “equestrian destination resort.” He then had to declare bankruptcy in 2012 after being hit with a $17 million judgment and ended up settling the matter for $525,000. Democrats mercilessly attacked Tarkanian as a shady businessman last year on top of using his several failed runs for office to portray him as a desperate power-seeker. Team Blue would likely be pleased if next year’s Senate contest turns into a rematch of Tarkanian and Rosen on even bluer turf. However, the Republican primary is another matter entirely. Heller found himself between a rock and a hard place during the GOP’s deeply unpopular effort to pass a health care bill. Heller attempted to distance himself from some of the harshest aspects of the GOP’s proposal—namely slashing Medicaid in a state that had expanded it—but in the end he tried to have it both ways by voting for some versions of the bill and opposing others. With the bill having failed—at least for now—Heller has engendered hostility on both his left and right flanks. Indeed, a recent PPP survey found Heller deeply underwater with just 22 percent approving and 55 percent disapproving. While Heller’s standing may improve as health care fades from the news, his opponents won’t be keen on dropping the politically potent issue. Another recent poll by Strategic National tested a GOP primary matchup between Heller and Tarkanian and found the incumbent only had a 38-34 lead, while Heller’s approval rating was also upside down with Republicans[...]



Morning Digest: Trump-praising Democrat could hurt party's chance to win race for Florida governor

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:01:06 +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 ● FL-Gov: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has long been considering a bid for governor next year, but he's been coy about his intentions for just as long. The self-described "radical centrist," who won office identifying as a Democrat, had nevertheless toyed earlier this year with the idea of running as an independent or even a Republican, going so far as to say, "I actually like the Republican Party, and I like a lot of Republican ideas." However, the window for 2018 candidates to change their party affiliation has now closed, meaning Levine won't be able to run as a Republican, but could still do so as an independent.​ Campaign Action ​We still don't know for sure whether he'll go for it, but Levine is certainly fundraising like he's running for higher office. Reportedly worth $100 million, the mayor raised $225,000 from donors in July and gave his own campaign another $275,000, bringing his total self-funding to $2.6 million this cycle. That pace already puts Levine at the front of the pack financially, ahead of every top-tier Democrat who's announced already, a group that includes former Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and real estate company owner Chris King. But Levine's prospect of winning the nomination, or at least damaging the ultimate nominee, should raise alarms for Team Blue. Levine not only has a reputation for acting like Donald Trump, he even seems to like the man occupying the White House—an astounding thing for a candidate who's hoping to run in a Democratic primary. On the behavioral front, Levine is known for lashing out at opponents on social media, and his grasp on international norms is weak: At at a forum on Cuba earlier this year, he wondered aloud, "Why aren't we discussing the invasion of the island?" (A spokesman later swore he was joking.) So it fits that Levine recently went on Fox News with the thuggish Brian Kilmeade to declare, "So far, I think the president's done a very good job." How many Democrats in the state of Florida could possibly agree? While Levine seems to think his supposed authenticity will be a plus with voters, he's painting himself into a corner with his openness to Trump and Republican policies. Unfortunately, with the Democratic field still raising money somewhat slowly, Levine's ability to pump huge sums into the race makes him a real threat to secure the nomination. More dangerously, running an independent campaign could deal serious damage to Democrats, since Levine's extensive history of involvement with the party likely means he would take more votes from the left than the right despite his newfound admiration of Trump. [...]



Tennessee Democrats will have a primary for governor between multiple prominent contenders

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 19:00:38 +0000

On Sunday, Democratic state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh announced he is running for governor next year, meaning Tennessee Democrats will have a real primary on their hands between Fitzhugh and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who joined the race in February. Fitzhugh hails from a rural West Tennessee legislative district that backed Trump 59-40 and Romney by 52-47, making him one of the rare party leaders in the U.S. whose legislative seat backed the other party’s presidential nominee. Despite holding a red seat, he has aligned himself more with traditional Democratic groups like organized labor, in contrast to the more pro-business Dean, who pushed for more charter schools while mayor. Fitzhugh will first have to overcome one major obstacle if he wants to win the nomination: fundraising. He held just $12,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of June and will essentially be starting from scratch, while Dean had already raised $1.2 million in the first half of 2017. Furthermore, Fitzhugh won’t be able to raise funds while the legislature is in session, a restriction that Dean won’t face. As the CEO of a small local bank chain, Fitzhugh might be able to self fund a decent amount. If Fitzhugh does secure the nomination, he’ll be undertaking an uphill battle in this deep-red state. In an unusual twist, he could even end up facing a general election with his Republican counterpart in the state House, Speaker Beth Harwell, who ironically hails from a suburban Nashville seat that Clinton won. [...]



Trump-praising Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is mulling running for Florida governor as a Democrat

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 18:55:13 +0000

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has long been considering a bid for governor next year, but he’s been coy about his intentions for just as long. The self-described “radical centrist,” who won office identifying as a Democrat, had nevertheless toyed earlier this year with the idea of running as an independent or even a Republican, going so far as to say, “I actually like the Republican Party, and I like a lot of Republican ideas.” However, the window for 2018 candidates to change their party affiliation has now closed, meaning Levine won’t be able to run as a Republican, but could still do so as an independent. We still don’t know for sure whether he’ll go for it, but Levine is certainly fundraising like he’s running for higher office. Reportedly worth $100 million, the mayor raised $225,000 from donors in July and gave his own campaign another $275,000, bringing his total self-funding to $2.6 million this cycle. That pace already puts Levine at the front of the pack financially, ahead of every top-tier Democrat who’s announced already, a group that includes former Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and real estate company owner Chris King. But Levine’s prospect of winning the nomination, or at least damaging the ultimate nominee, should raise alarms for Team Blue. Levine not only has a reputation for acting like Donald Trump, he even seems to like the man occupying the White House—an astounding thing for a candidate who’s hoping to run in a Democratic primary. On the behavioral front, Levine is known for lashing out at opponents on social media, and his grasp on international norms is week: At at a forum on Cuba earlier this year, he wondered aloud, “Why aren’t we discussing the invasion of the island?” (A spokesman later swore he was joking.) So it fits that Levine recently went on Fox News with the thuggish Brian Kilmeade to declare, “So far, I think the president’s done a very good job.” How many Democrats in the state of Florida could possibly agree? While Levine seems to think his supposed authenticity will be a plus with voters, he’s painting himself into a corner with his openness to Trump and Republican policies. Unfortunately, with the Democratic field still raising money somewhat slowly, Levine’s ability to pump huge sums into the race makes him a real threat to secure the nomination. More dangerously, running an independent campaign could deal serious damage to Democrats, since Levine’s extensive history of involvement with the party likely means he would take more votes from the left than the right despite his newfound admiration of Trump. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/7

Mon, 07 Aug 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, Aug 7, 2017 · 2:26:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: We have three Midwestern specials on Tuesday. Via Johnny Longtorso: Iowa HD-82: This is race in the southeast of the state to succeed Democrat Curt Hanson, who died in June. The candidates are Democrat Phil Miller, a veterinarian; Republican Travis Harris, a former school board president; Libertarian Joshua Miller, a candidate for a neighboring House district in 2016; and independent Edward Hee III. This seat swung heavily to the Republicans in 2016, voting for Donald Trump by a 58-37 margin in 2016 after backing Barack Obama 50-48 in 2012. If the GOP flips this district, it would be their first legislative pickup of the Trump era in a contested special election: Democrats ceded a conservative Louisiana House seat back in March when they didn't field a candidate. Missouri SD-28: This is an open Republican seat southeast of Kansas City. The candidates here are Democrat Al Skalicky, a retired teacher, and Republican state Rep. Sandy Crawford. Daily Kos Election's preliminary results have Trump winning this district 76-20, while Mitt Romney carried it 68-30 in 2012. Missouri HD-50: This is an open Republican seat just outside of Columbia. The candidates for this seat are Democrat Michela Skelton, an attorney (and yes, a distant relative of former Rep. Ike Skelton), and Republican Sara Walsh, a state party committeewoman and delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Daily Kos Election's preliminary results have Trump winning this district 58-37, while Romney took it 60-38 in 2012. Monday, Aug 7, 2017 · 2:29:34 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf MN-Sen: Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar appears to be a strong favorite to win a third term in this light-blue state, but Republicans will at least have a seemingly serious candidate to oppose her in 2018. State Rep. Jim Newberger recently kicked off his campaign against Klobuchar, making him the first noteworthy Republican in the race. Newberger says he’ll abide by the party nominating convention process if other Republicans also run. While Donald Trump just narrowly lost Minnesota, the popular incumbent is a prodigious fundraiser. Newberger will need a lot to go right next year, but he’ll at least give the GOP a chance if the stars align. Monday, Aug 7, 2017 · 2:51:53 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf MN-Gov: The GOP already has a crowded field in the contest to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, but it could still grow larger after two more Republicans have made noise about running recently. Former state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said last week that she’s “thinking about” launching a campaign, but won’t make a decision until the f[...]



Morning Digest: Minneapolis mayor faces tough re-election amid controversies over police shootings

Mon, 07 Aug 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 ● Minneapolis, MN Mayor: Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has a tough re-election campaign ahead of her this fall, and one of her biggest vulnerabilities is how the city is policed. It's been a painful topic in Minneapolis for years, and it only grew more so last month, when local police drew international attention after an officer fatally shot Justine Damond, an Australian-American woman who'd reported a possible assault near her home. Campaign Action ​Unlike many victims in other high-profile police shootings of unarmed individuals, who so often are black, Damond was white. That's prompted a different reaction this time, explains an in-depth report in the Washington Post: Large numbers of white people are suddenly joining with black activists to demand police reform. While it may seem dismaying that it took the death of a white woman to motivate these newcomers, the black leaders who have long been advocating for this cause say they welcome their reinforcements. One succinctly put it, "[W]e need their voices. We need their white power. We need their white privilege …. They will not be ignored, and nobody is going to try." As a result, Hodges is facing greater scrutiny—and greater hostility—than ever before. There have been tensions between Hodges and the police throughout her tenure, but her critics have long argued that she hasn't done enough to challenge law enforcement. Hodges was particularly criticized for her inept handling of the death of Jamar Clark, a black man who was fatally shot by police in 2015. After Damond's death, Hodges took a more aggressive approach, asking for and receiving the resignation of Police Chief Janee Harteau. However, Harteau's departure hasn't calmed things for the mayor, especially with a high-profile election just months away. [...]



International Elections Digest: Poland steps back from the brink, but democracy's future remains dim

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 18:01:20 +0000

Leading Off ● Poland In 2015, Poland's right-wing populist Law and Justice Party (abbreviated "PiS" in Polish) narrowly won an outright majority in parliament, which no party had ever managed since the collapse of communism in the early 1990s. Party chair Jarosław Kaczynski is neither prime minister nor president, but he controls PiS with an iron fist, making him Poland's leader in all but name. Following the example of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's increasingly authoritarian government in nearby Hungary, Kaczynski and PiS swiftly set about eliminating the rule of law in order to end liberal democracy and entrench themselves in power. Campaign Action This ongoing crisis boiled over in July when PiS tried to pass three major laws to neuter the independence of the judicial branch, which sparked widespread protests and condemnation from European Union officials—but so far little direct action by the E.U. itself. But in a surprising development, President Andrzej Duda vetoed two of these measures, while acceding to the third. While Duda is an independent, he was elected as a member of PiS two years ago and until now has generally toed the party line while in office. The two vetoed measures would have allowed the country's minister of justice to fire any Supreme Court judges. They would have also given the governing majority the ability to control nominations for all judges, which are currently chosen by an independent institution. Since the justice minister already functions as Poland's chief prosecutor, these measures would have eviscerated any semblance of judicial independence in Poland. However, these vetoes by no means represent any kind of crushing blow to PiS's scheme to destroy Polish democracy. The third bill, which Duda did sign, gives PiS the power to control the composition of lower courts, which will in turn determine which cases become available for the Supreme Court judges to take up on appeal. Furthermore, Poland has a separate court, distinct from its Supreme Court, that adjudicates questions of constitutionality. PiS sabotaged that body long ago, stacking the Constitutional Tribunal with friendly partisans immediately after 2015's elections while also curtailing the court's powers. [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 21:56:12 +0000

D.L. Menard — "The Back Door”

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Voting Rights Roundup: Court nixes special elections for redrawn North Carolina legislative maps

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 23:55:13 +0000

Leading Off ● North Carolina: On Monday, a federal district court declined to order special elections this year for a slew of North Carolina legislative districts that will have to be redrawn after the Supreme Court struck down the Republican-drawn maps as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in June. This ruling is unwelcome news for voting rights advocates and Democrats, who had sought to hold new elections before next year’s legislative session, especially since these illegal maps have been in place for most of this decade. Campaign Action However, the judges did order an expedited timetable for re-redistricting that will still ensure new maps are in place in advance of the regularly scheduled elections in November of 2018, rejecting Republicans’ preferred deadline of Nov. 15 of this year. The court directed the GOP-dominated legislature to produce new maps by Sept. 1, although the judges also held out the possibility of a Sept. 15 deadline if Republicans act in good faith to seek out public input. Either way, completing redistricting as soon as possible will give candidates more time to decide if they want to run in 2018 before the filing deadline late this year. Following the court’s ruling, GOP legislators returned for a special session this week and held a public hearing on new maps Friday. Meanwhile, Republican state Rep. David Lewis, who is spearheading the GOP’s redistricting efforts, indicated his committee would adopt criteria for new maps on Aug. 10 and could vote on the new districts on Aug. 24 or 25. Of course, despite the court’s hopes, Republican legislators will undoubtedly ignore public comments and proceed to draw a replacement gerrymander that they’ll claim relies strictly on partisanship, not race. We know this because Lewis explicitly made this exact claim when the GOP had to redraw North Carolina’s congressional map in 2016 thanks to similar illegal racial gerrymandering. Republicans have even hired the same consultant for the upcoming legislative redistricting, Thomas Hofeller, who drew their now-invalidated congressional and legislative maps in 2011. [...]



Police shootings are dominating the Minneapolis mayor's race—and might take down the incumbent

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 22:27:04 +0000

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has a tough re-election campaign ahead of her this fall, and one of her biggest vulnerabilities is how the city is policed. It’s been a painful topic in Minneapolis for years, and it only grew more so last month, when local police drew international attention after an officer fatally shot Justine Damond, an Australian-American woman who’d reported a possible assault near her home. Unlike many victims in other high-profile police shootings of unarmed individuals, who so often are black, Damond was white. That’s prompted a different reaction this time, explains an in-depth report in the Washington Post: Large numbers of white people are suddenly joining with black activists to demand police reform. While it may seem dismaying that it took the death of a white woman to motivate these newcomers, the black leaders who have long been advocating for this cause say they welcome their reinforcements. One succinctly put it, “[W]e need their voices. We need their white power. We need their white privilege …. They will not be ignored, and nobody is going to try.” As a result, Hodges is facing greater scrutiny—and greater hostility—than ever before. There have been tensions between Hodges and the police throughout her tenure, but her critics have long argued that she hasn't done enough to challenge law enforcement. Hodges was particularly criticized for her inept handling of the death of Jamar Clark, a black man who was fatally shot by police in 2015. After Damond's death, Hodges took a more aggressive approach, asking for and receiving the resignation of Police Chief Janee Harteau. However, Harteau's departure hasn't calmed things for the mayor, especially with a high-profile election just months away. In November, Hodges and her opponents will compete on one non-partisan ballot, though most of the contenders (including Hodges) identify as Democrats. Voters will be allowed to rank their top three choices, and if no one takes a majority of first-place votes, second and third choices are redistributed from the candidates with the fewest votes to the remaining candidates. The process continues until someone clears 50 percent, so Hodges can’t survive with a mere plurality. Hodges also doesn't enjoy one of the usual benefits of incumbency: money. At the end of last year, Hodges trailed one of her main opponents, City Councilor Jacob Frey, $178,000 to $60,000 in cash-on-hand, and her financial situation hasn't improved during the first seven months of 2017. As of July 25, Frey held a $293,000 to $58,000 edge over the mayor. Meanwhile, Tom Hoch, the former CEO of the Hennepin Theater Trust, has been doing some self-funding, and he's been airing ads for over a month. At the end of July, Hoch had a war c[...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 8/4

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 13:01:10 +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, Aug 4, 2017 · 8:05:34 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Sen: The conservative blog RRH Elections is out with an in-house poll of the Aug. 15 GOP primary, and they show both Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and appointed Sen. Luther Strange advancing to the September runoff. Moore leads with 31 percent, while Strange has a 29-18 lead over Rep. Mo Brooks for the second runoff spot. Unsurprisingly, no one is close to taking the majority they would need to avoid a second round and win the GOP nod outright. This is only the third poll we've seen of this race, but it matches what we've seen. Cygnal, on behalf of several unnamed "businesses and associations, had Strange in first with 33, while Moore led Brooks 26-16 for second in late July. A few days later, the local Republican pollster Strategy Research released a survey for Raycom News Network that had Strange at 35, Moore 33, and Brooks all the way back at 16. Brooks has been on the receiving end of ad after ad from Strange and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's allied super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, which have argued that Brooks has opposed Trump too many times in the past. The SLF recently started attacking Moore, who doesn't have much money to defend himself. Brooks did get some good news on Thursday, when he received an endorsement from the Senate Conservatives Fund. In past cycles, SCF has spent serious money in GOP primaries to boost anti-establishment candidate. However, time is running out, and if these polls are anywhere close to the mark, Brooks may just be too damaged to rally in the final days. RRH is also the first group to release a runoff survey, and they find Moore leading Strange 34-32. They also test Brooks in one-on-ones against both leaders, and find the congressman trailing by at least 20 points. Friday, Aug 4, 2017 · 9:01:26 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ND-Sen, ND-AL: GOP state Rep. Rick Becker has been flirting with a Senate bid for a while, and he told Say Anything that his timeline could go into next month. Rep. Kevin Cramer, who represents the entire state in the House, has been taking his sweet time to decide if he'll challenge Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, but Becker insists that his own "decision isn’t hinged on what Cramer does." Becker also says he hasn't ruled out running for the House if Cramer leaves. Becker, a libertarian-flavored Republican whose signature issue is curtailing the use of surveillance drones by police, ran for governor last year. However, Becker dropped out before th[...]