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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:12:27 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 21:12:27 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 22:53:18 +0000

Wilson Pickett — “In the Midnight Hour”

Reminder: This is a Star Wars: The Last Jedi spoiler-free zone.

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Daily Kos Elections open thread: 12/15

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:01:53 +0000

Yo La Tengo — “Cherry Chapstick”


Programming note: There will be no Live Digest for the rest of the week. However, the Morning Digest will still be published on its regular schedule. You can sign up to receive it here.

Friday, Dec 15, 2017 · 5:03:08 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

This is a The Last Jedi spoiler-free zone.

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Morning Digest: Harassment scandal finally forces GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold to drop re-election bid

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:01:38 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

TX-27: On Thursday, GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold announced he would not seek re-election to his safely red Corpus Christi-area seat, though he would complete the rest of his term. Earlier this week, the Texas congressman decided to run for a fifth term even after Politico reported that he had used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with his former communications director Lauren Greene, and more former staffers came forward with ugly stories about his office. The House Ethics Committee had closed their investigation into Greene's allegations long ago, but they reopened it in the face of new evidence.

Things got even worse for the incumbent on Wednesday when Michael Rekola, another former Farenthold communications director, told CNN about the toxic environment Farenthold helped foster. Rekola described how Farenthold bullied him so much that he vomited daily and sought medical treatment and psychological counseling. Farenthold made offensive jokes at the expense of Rekola's fiancée, and the congressman frequently labeled his employees "fucktards." Farenthold acknowledged he had indeed referred to his aides this way, but insisted that it was "in jest, not in anger."

But this story was apparently the final straw for GOP House leaders. Speaker Paul Ryan had declined to call for Farenthold to resign at the beginning of the month, and his spokesperson even sounded dismissive of Greene's claims that her former boss harassed and improperly filed her. But Ryan reportedly privately recently asked the Texas Republican to retire, though not to resign.

Candidate filing closed on Monday in Texas, so not only is it too late for anyone new to run, but Farenthold's name will remain on the March primary ballot. Bech Bruun had resigned as chair of the Texas Water Board to run here, and he's now very much the favorite to win the GOP primary in this 60-37 Trump seat. Michael Cloud, the former chair of the Victoria County Republican Party, is also running, and he has the endorsement of ex-Rep. Ron Paul. However, Cloud hadn't raised much money when he was challenging Farenthold, and it's unlikely he'll be much of a threat to the better-connected Bruun.

As for Farenthold, his decision to retire, belated as it was, ends the unexpectedly long career of a truly accidental congressman.

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Daily Kos Elections open thread: 12/14

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:01:57 +0000

Alice in Chains — “Down in a Hole”


Programming note: There will be no Live Digest for the rest of the week. However, the Morning Digest will still be published on its regular schedule. You can sign up to receive it here.

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Morning Digest: Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton picks Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace Al Franken

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:01:20 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● MN-Sen-B: On Wednesday, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he would name his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to the Senate seat that will soon be vacated by Sen. Al Franken, who said last week that he would resign in the face of multiple sexual harassment allegations. Franken didn't offer a precise timetable for his departure, but he said that he'd leave office "in the coming weeks"; when he does, Minnesota will become just the sixth state ever (and only the fourth currently, along with California, New Hampshire, and Washington) to boast an all-woman Senate delegation. Campaign Action Smith also said she'd run for the final two years of Franken's term in 2018, and she's already consolidated support from much of the Democratic establishment. Following Dayton's announcement, she earned praise from her soon-to-be-fellow Sen. Amy Klobuchar, as well as Reps. Keith Ellison (who specifically endorsed her for next year's special election), Betty McCollum, Tim Walz, Rick Nolan, and Collin Peterson. That's every Democrat who currently represents Minnesota in Congress, suggesting Smith is unlikely to face a primary challenge. Her appointment isn't without concerns, though. When Smith's name was first floated a week ago, she reportedly was not interested in running in the special election that will be held next November. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, though, was reportedly unhappy at the prospect of Dayton picking a placeholder, preferring that he choose someone who'd capitalize on the advantages offered by a year of incumbency, and so therefore pushed him to pick a candidate who'd actually run in 2018. That candidate turned out to be … Tina Smith, suggesting that perhaps she had to be pushed into doing something she wasn't otherwise inclined to do. If so, that's unfortunate: You always want your office-seekers to actually want to seek office, and there's a large number of other Democratic women in Minnesota who've made it clear they are eager to run statewide, such as Attorney General Lori Swanson, who is still considering a bid for governor, or state Auditor Rebecca Otto, who actually is running for governor. And unlike a Swanson or an Otto, Smith has never been elected in her own right: The only time she ever appeared on a ballot was on a joint ticket with Dayton as his running-mate in 2014. Then there's the matter of who will succeed Smith. Under the state constitution, the job would now fall to the president of the state Senate, Michelle Fischbach—who's a Republican. That's a dangerous move, because god forbid something should happen to Dayton (who is 70 years old, has twice fainted in public, and was treated for prostate cancer earlier this year) during his final year in office, the GOP would wind up with complete control of the state's government for the first time in several decades. Even Dayton himself acknowledged that this scenario is "a valid concern." (Suffice it to say that Republicans would never put themselves at risk in such a way if the situation were reversed.) Fischbach is making life even more complicated by insisting she plans to keep her current job while simultaneously serving as lieutenant governor. Fischbach claims there's precedent for such an arrangement, despite the obvious separation-of-powers problem it presents, while Democrats say that a 1972 amendment to the constitution precludes Fischbach from holding both positions at once. Litigation seems likely. [...]



Daily Kos Elections open thread: 12/13

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:01:45 +0000

Television — “Marquee Moon”

Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:53:20 PM +00:00 · David Nir

Programming note: There will be no Live Digest for the rest of the week. However, the Morning Digest will still be published on its regular schedule. You can sign up to receive it here.

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Hahah! Pathetic Republican Senate honcho desperately begging Doug Jones to switch parties!

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:11:26 +0000

Oh my god this is the saddest piece of sad clinging to the bottom of the saddest sack there is:

x

My word! This is just never, ever, ever gonna happen. Doug Jones not only won statewide in Alabama as a Democrat, he did so as a Democrat who supports reproductive rights, believes in climate change, wants to pass the DREAM Act, and backs Obamacare. Cory Gardner is utterly delusional if he thinks a man like this is going to switch sides.

No, it’s time for the GOP to face reality: They backed a bigoted child molester who dragged their party down deeper into the gutter than the considerable depths they’d already reached in supporting Donald Trump, and the price they’ll pay is an ultra-narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate—not to mention the reputational hit they so richly deserve for putting party over country.

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Morning Digest: Doug Jones epic win in Alabama puts Senate in play for 2018

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:01:27 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AL-Sen: On Tuesday night, we saw something we scarcely could have imagined even months ago: a Democratic victory in Alabama's special election for the Senate. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, led Republican Roy Moore 49.9-48.4. Jones' win makes him the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama since Richard Shelby was re-elected in 1992, two years before he switched parties to the GOP. It's also the first statewide Democratic win since Lucy Baxley narrowly won a seat on the Public Service Commission in 2008. Campaign Action And once Jones takes office, the GOP will have just a 51-49 edge in the Senate. Democrats still face tough math to flip the chamber in 2018, but that math has gotten quite a bit less daunting now, and helpfully, Jones won't be up for re-election until 2020. To say this was a weird race would be the understatement of a lifetime. Moore, who was permanently suspended as chief justice of the state Supreme Court last year, had made plenty of enemies in his own party, but he seemed on track to win in this very conservative state until a month before Election Day. Most national Republicans gave up trying to aide Moore after the Washington Post first reported about Moore's past predatory behavior toward teen girls. Of course, that was only after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies considered several bonkers schemes to delay or outright cancel the special election, like something straight out of a banana republic. Well, except for one national Republican: Donald Trump loudly proclaimed his loyalty towards Moore in the final weeks of the race and gave him a full-throated endorsement. Democrats feared we'd see a repeat of the Access Hollywood tape from the 2016 election, when Republicans moved away from their nominee but slowly came crawling back in time for Election Day. However, even while some conservatives held their noses and backed Moore, it wasn't enough, especially in the face of strong turnout in heavily African-American areas. There's a whole lot more to say about this off-the-wall race, and we expect a few good books to come out of it. But we want to highlight what the New York Times' Alex Burns wrote on election eve: This election shook out as it did largely because Republican power-players in Alabama and Washington made the worst set of choices they possibly could. It began with Trump himself, who picked then-Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general instead of someone not currently in office who therefore wouldn't have had a seat to lose. Trump's decision (which we bet he especially regrets now) allowed then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who was under investigation for using state resources to cover up an affair with a senior staffer, to pick a replacement senator. And had Bentley picked anyone but Attorney General Luther Strange, who came off looking like an utter sketchball seeing as he was tasked with investigating Bentley, that new senator should have easily won renomination. (Well, anyone aside from Roy Moore. Duh.) As we've written before, things got worse for national Republicans from there, culminating in Moore's primary win and his loss on Tuesday. We've seen so many berserk races in just the last few years, but suffice it to say we've never seen one like this. [...]



How the GOP repeatedly own-goaled their way to defeat in Alabama

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:13:58 +0000

On Tuesday night, we saw something we scarcely could have imagined even months ago: a Democratic victory in Alabama’s special election for the Senate. With 98 percent reporting, Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, led Republican Roy Moore 49.5-48.8. Jones’s win makes him the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama since Richard Shelby was re-elected in 1992, two years before he switched parties to the GOP. It’s also the first statewide Democratic win since Lucy Baxley narrowly won a seat on the Public Service Commission in 2008. And once Jones takes office, the GOP will have just a 51-49 edge in the Senate. Democrats still face tough math to flip the chamber in 2018, but that math has gotten quite a bit less daunting now, and helpfully, Jones won’t be up for re-election until 2020. To say this was a weird race would be the understatement of a lifetime. Moore, who was permanently suspended as chief justice of the state Supreme Court last year, had made plenty of enemies in his own party, but he seemed on track to win in this very conservative state until a month before Election Day. Most national Republicans gave up trying to aide Moore after the Washington Post first reported about Moore’s past predatory behavior toward teen girls. Of course, that was only after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies considered several bonkers schemes to delay or outright cancel the special election, like something straight out of a banana republic. Well, except for one national Republican: Donald Trump loudly proclaimed his loyalty toward Moore in the final weeks of the race and gave him a full-throated endorsement. Democrats feared we’d see a repeat of the Access Hollywood tape from the 2016 election, when Republicans moved away from their nominee but slowly came crawling back in time for Election Day. However, even while some conservatives held their noses and backed Moore, it wasn’t enough, especially in the face of strong turnout in heavily African American areas. There’s a whole lot more to say about this off-the-wall race, and we expect a few good books to come out of it. But we want to highlight what the New York Times’s Alex Burns wrote on election eve: This election shook out as it did largely because Republican power-players in Alabama and Washington made the worst set of choices they possibly could. It began with Trump himself, who picked then-Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general instead of someone not currently in office who therefore wouldn’t have had a seat to lose. Trump’s decision (which we bet he especially regrets now) allowed then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who was under investigation for using state resources to cover up an affair with a senior staffer, to pick a replacement senator. And had Bentley picked anyone but Attorney General Luther Strange, who came off looking like an utter sketchball seeing as he was tasked with investigating Bentley, that new senator should have easily won renomination. (Well, anyone aside from Roy Moore. Duh.) As we’ve written before, things got worse for national Republicans from there, culminating in Moore’s primary win and his loss on Tuesday. We’ve seen so many berserk races in just the last few years, but suffice it to say we’ve never seen one like this. [...]



Doug Jones declared winner of Alabama Senate race! Donald Trump and child molester the big losers

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:25:50 +0000

Wow! It’s official! Democratic candidate Doug Jones has been declared the winner in the Alabama Senate race. Not only great news for our country and our Party, but a direct slap in the face to Donald Trump. Win, win, win.  November, 2018, here we come! Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:26:27 AM +00:00 · Barbara Morrill xBREAKING: Democrat Doug Jones wins election as U.S. senator from Alabama. @AP race call at 10:23 p.m. EST. #AlabamaElection #APracecall— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:32:09 AM +00:00 · Barbara Morrill xFun reminder from MSNBC: In 2014, Jeff Sessions won this seat with 97% of the vote -- because no Democrat ran against him. Imagine if we'd made the same grave error this time around.— Amanda Litman (@amandalitman) December 13, 2017 [...]



Daily Kos congratulates Alabama Sen.-elect Doug Jones; victory marks Dems’ 34th pickup of the cycle

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:26:48 +0000

WASHINGTON, D.C. Tonight, Daily Kos congratulated Democrat Doug Jones on his victory in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama. Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore 49.6-48.8 percent to continue this year’s string of Democratic successes at the ballot box. Daily Kos endorsed Jones, and the Daily Kos community donated over $213,000 to his campaign via more than 11,000 small-dollar, grassroots donations.

“Daily Kos is not only pleased to be part of Doug Jones’ victory tonight, but we’re also thrilled to support a total rebuke of Republican Roy Moore and his history of racism, anti-LGBT bigotry, and child predation,” said Daily Kos Political Director David Nir. “Jones’ mainstream views on reproductive rights, addressing climate change, protecting DREAMers, and improving Obamacare make him a crucial addition to the U.S. Senate, especially at time when Trump and the GOP stand in stark opposition to the majority of Americans on all these issues.

“Moreover, the fact that the RNC and other national-level Republicans shamefully stood by Moore even as more and more women came forward to report his sexual misconduct will forever taint the GOP,” Nir continued. “Just as the election of Doug Jones was both a political and moral victory for progressives, Republicans’ support of Roy Moore will be an albatross around their necks in 2018 and beyond.

“Tonight’s victory in Alabama is not only a stark condemnation of the Trump agenda, it’s also another data point in the irrefutable trend of Democratic strength this election cycle,” Nir concluded. “Alabama’s results confirm the dire situation facing Republicans this election cycle: GOP candidates are consistently performing poorly and are on track to lose races at all levels of the ballot in 2018.”

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Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #7

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:14:50 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votesunless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:18:04 AM +00:00 · David Nir Jones just took the lead! 49.3 to 49.1 with 86% of precincts reporting. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:20:28 AM +00:00 · David Nir Looking at the map, it seems that Shelby County is the only Moore County with a sizable number of precincts left, while there are still tons of precincts that haven't reported in Mobile, Montgomery, and Jefferson, where Jones leads. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:23:02 AM +00:00 · David Nir Now 88% reporting and Jones’ lead is growing, up to 49.6 to 48.8, around 10,000 votes. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:25:26 AM +00:00 · David Nir WOW. xBREAKING: Democrat Doug Jones wins election as U.S. senator from Alabama. @AP race call at 10:23 p.m. EST. #AlabamaElection #APracecall— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:38:08 AM +00:00 · David Nir This is easily the most epic election victory the Daily Kos Elections team has ever borne witness to. And note this stat: This is now the 34th seat that Democrats have flipped from red to blue this year. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #6

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 03:00:12 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votesunless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:04:34 AM +00:00 · David Nir With 81% of precincts reporting, it’s 50-49 Moore. There are still a considerable number of votes that haven’t been counted in two of Jones’ biggest counties (Jefferson and Montgomery), and also in Mobile, which is also good Jones turf but not quite as good. However, there are still a number of uncounted precincts scattered throughout the rest of the state as well. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:10:29 AM +00:00 · David Nir Tight as a tick: 85% reporting and Moore is now up 49.4 to 49.0. Hold on to your butts. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:11:00 AM +00:00 · David Nir We laughed: xRoy Moore better find himself a good Jewish recount lawyer— Nathaniel Meyersohn (@nmeyersohn) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:15:36 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #5

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:44:40 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votes unless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:47:17 AM +00:00 · David Nir With 67% reporting, Moore is now up 54-45. There’s still a lot of votes left to be counted in the two big counties that are very favorable to Jones (Montgomery and Jefferson), but obviously it’s getting harder to make up this gap. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:50:00 AM +00:00 · David Nir It’s now 52-47 Moore with 71% reporting, but Jones would need very big turnout in his strongholds to narrow this difference. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:56:02 AM +00:00 · David Nir Now 76% reporting and the margin has narrowed, down to a 51-48 Moore lead. About two-thirds of Montgomery and half of Jefferson (Jones’ two big counties) still have yet to report. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:59:13 AM +00:00 · David Nir Merrill is not someone who deserves the benefit of the doubt: This feels like it was an attempt at voter suppression by encouraging county clerks to under-prepare for a high-turnout election. x#ALSen Just got off the phone with .@JohnHMerrill about voter turnout. According to Alabama's Secretary of State, voter turnout was anticipated to be about 25%. Instead, he says it is currently at a little more than 50% and could surpass 1,000,000 votes statewide .@abc3340— Patrick Karl Thomas (@PatThomasNews) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 3:01:37 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #4

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:24:18 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votes unless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:26:19 AM +00:00 · David Nir With 46% reporting, Moore is up 52-47, which is where he’s been most of the night. Note, however, that a lot of turf that should be good for Jones still has not reported. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:27:18 AM +00:00 · David Nir And just a little meta-note here: We shouldn’t even be liveblogging tonight! There never should have been a close Senate election in Alabama in the first place. But because the GOP has screwed up so royally, and because Democrats nominated a heckuva candidate, here we are. And that alone is amazing, no matter what else happens tonight. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:37:03 AM +00:00 · David Nir Now we’re up to 62% of precincts reporting, and Moore’s lead is 53-46, with write-ins at 1.5%. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:45:38 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #3

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 02:04:33 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votes unless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:06:11 AM +00:00 · David Nir Moore is up 52-47 with 21% of precincts reporting. As we’ve noted before, it’s still too early to say whether the results we’ve seen before will be predictive of the rest of the evening’s returns. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:08:07 AM +00:00 · David Nir With the above in mind, it’s very much worth noting that Alabama’s “Black Belt,” a stretch of counties across the southern part of the state that is home to a predominantly black population, still has barely reported any results. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:16:33 AM +00:00 · David Nir We’re now at 32% reporting and Moore’s lead is holding steady at 52-47, with 1% going to write-ins. That could make all the difference in a very close race. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:20:28 AM +00:00 · David Nir Also very much worth noting: xImportant pt that comparing counties to how they voted in past doesn't tell us how turnout rate swung differently in different counties/different parts of state. https://t.co/4nCVUPAXjT— Taniel (@Taniel) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:22:36 AM +00:00 · David Nir This is exactly how we feel, too: xThe NYT needle is now telling me to add fabric softener.— Seth Masket (@smotus) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:24:51 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #2

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:31:48 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votes unless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:45:11 AM +00:00 · David Nir Polls closed almost three quarters of an hour ago but we’re still only up to 3% reporting, which is not enough to draw any meaningful conclusions about where tonight’s going to head. But while we wait, here are a couple of pieces of trivia: The last time Democrats won a statewide election in Alabama was 2008, when then-Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley won a term on the state’s Public Service Commission. The last time Democrats won a Senate race here was in 1992, when Richard Shelby won a second term. Two years later, after the 1994 wave that gave Republicans control of Congress, he switched to the GOP. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:46:31 AM +00:00 · David Nir Okay this means nothing but we laughed: xIt's literally ONE PRECINCT so this is meaningless, but Etowah County (home of Gadsden Mall) is reporting 91-9 for Jones. #ALSen— James Lambert (@hellofasandwich) December 13, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:57:56 AM +00:00 · David Nir We now have 10% of the precincts reporting and Moore holds a 54-44 lead. But Alabama’s political geography contains some very varied turf, so these early results are not necessarily predictive of how the rest of the night will go. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:00:56 AM +00:00 · David Nir Here’s exactly what we mean: A big dump of votes from Jefferson County just brought us up to 15% reporting—and narrowed Moore’s lead to just 50-49. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 2:05:04 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Alabama Senate special election liveblog thread #1

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:58:28 +0000

Polls close at 8 PM ET tonight in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones for the final three years of Jeff Sessions’ term. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in close to 10 years, but numerous reports of Moore’s past predatory behavior have made this race as unpredictable as they come. Recent polls have been all over the map, suggesting any outcome is possible. To help follow along as the results come in, David Jarman has created benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to narrowly win statewide. We’re liveblogging the results below, and you can also follow our coverage on Twitter. Note that while voters have the option to write in a name other than Moore or Jones, the state won’t tally write-in votes unless the total number of write-ins exceeds the margin of victory between the two official candidates. Results: Secretary of State | Associated Press | New York Times Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:05:13 AM +00:00 · Jeff Singer We expect to wait a while for first results. In August primary we were up to 16 percent reporting at about 9:15 ET. Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:06:07 AM +00:00 · Jeff Singer We have our first 200-some votes in.  Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:19:34 AM +00:00 · David Nir While we wait for more results, please enjoy this Twitter thread on all the GOP screwups that have brought them to this point: xIt took an extraordinarily unsuccessful series of choices, by Republican leaders, to make the Alabama race competitive even *before* the Moore scandal. Let’s review them in choose-your-adventure form.— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) December 12, 2017 Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017 · 1:33:24 AM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf The liveblog continues here. [...]



Ed Lee, the San Francisco mayor who was 'too legit too quit,' dies at 65

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:33:47 +0000

On Tuesday morning, Democratic San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died at the age of 65 hours after he collapsed from a heart attack. Lee's death came without any warning for the public, and Board of Supervisors President London Breed became acting mayor immediately.

Lee became San Francisco's first Asian American chief executive in early 2011 after Mayor Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor. Lee, who was serving as city administrator at the time, was chosen by the Board of Supervisors to replace Newsom, and he originally said he had no interest in running for a full term later that year. However, Chinese American civic leaders, former Mayor Willie Brown, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein successfully encouraged him to change his mind. Lee decisively won and produces a memorable web video where will.i.am and MC Hammer called him "too legit to quit," and he was easily re-elected in 2015.

Breed, who is now the city's first African American woman mayor, will serve at least until the 11-person Board of Supervisors votes for a new mayor. If a majority of the Board agrees on a candidate (whether it be Breed or someone else), that person will serve until a special election can be held in June 2018. However, if a majority can't settle on someone, Breed will remain acting mayor until the June special. (Update: This post originally said that there would only be a special election if the Board couldn’t agree of a new mayor.) Breed was one of several local politicians laying the groundwork to run in 2019 before Lee died. San Francisco politics is often defined by the battle between moderates (who would be considered liberals almost anywhere else in the United States) and progressives. Moderates took a majority of the Board after the last election, and Breed is generally seen as a moderate.

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The Daily Kos Elections county-by-county guide to watching Alabama's election results tonight

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:12:46 +0000

The day of reckoning us upon us, as Alabama votes in its Senate special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. Even the experts have literally no idea what the result will be, with the most recent round of polls showing results anywhere between a 10-point Jones lead and a 9-point Moore advantage. Several pollsters are even offering choose-your-own-adventure results where different turnout models lead to different candidates winning. But despite the huge spread, an average of all the polls shows a very tight race, with Moore ahead by less than 2 points. To help you with your results-watching tonight, Daily Kos Elections is offering our usual election night tool: benchmarks for the most important counties, which will give target numbers that Jones or Moore will have to meet in order to eke out a win statewide. The way that this works is that we use the 2016 presidential results, both statewide and in each county, as a baseline, then adjust upward or downward in each county by the same factor in a manner that would point to a narrow Jones win. (You can find a county map and more data on each county on Wikipedia.) In this case, we're modeling toward a 49-47 Jones win. (Keep in mind that I’m not necessarily predicting a 49-47 Jones win—though that does seem like a potentially credible outcome—just using that as a bare minimum victory threshold.) That reflects the fact that in 2016, 4 percent of Alabama’s votes went to third parties and the potential that a similar number of people will choose to cast write-in votes this year. Last year, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a 62-34 margin, so getting to 49-47 win for Jones means adding 15 points to each county’s 2016 results for Clinton and subtracting 15 from each county’s 2016 results for Trump. The first column in this table gives the name of each of the state’s counties, and the second column shows what percentage of the total number of votes statewide came from each county. (Note that, as usual, we’re restricting this to the counties that cast 2 percent or more of the total statewide votes. These 12 metropolitan counties reflect not quite two-thirds of the state’s total number of votes.) The third column shows each county’s 2016 breakdown, and the fourth column shows the adjusted number that, for instance, Jones would need to hit in each county en route to 49 percent statewide. COUNTY % of 2016 vote 2016 results (d/R) what jones needs diversity/education STATEWIDE 100.0 34/62 49/47 --- JEFFERSON 14.4 52/44 67/29 High/High MOBILE 8.1 42/55 57/40 Average/Low MADISON 7.7 38/55 53/40 Average/Very High SHELBY 4.8 23/72 38/57 Low/Very High MONTGOMERY 4.5 61/35 76/20 Very High/High BALDWIN 4.5 19/77 34/62 Low/Average TUSCALOOSA 3.9 38/58 53/43 Average/Average LEE 2.8 36/58 51/43 Average/High MORGAN 2.4 22/74 37/59 Low/Low CALHOUN 2.3 28/69 43/54 Low/Very Low ETOWAH 2.1 24/73 39/58 Low/Very Low HOUSTON 2.0 25/72 40/57 Average/Low [...]



Alabama Senate special election predictions thread

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:01:16 +0000

Folks, it’s time: Voters in the Yellowhammer State are heading to the polls to choose between accused child predator Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Recent polling has been all over the map, showing everything from decisive Moore leads to a stark Jones advantage. In this case, your guess may as well be as good as ours — or as good as any one of the pollsters who have tried their hand at gauging this incredible race. If you’ve got a prediction for tonight’s results, let’s hear it in the comments, or simply take our poll below.

But no matter what happens, we’ll be here liveblogging Tuesday's race at Daily Kos Elections starting at 8 PM ET when the polls close, and tweeting as well. Be sure to get comfy: In the August primary we didn’t have so much as 14 percent of precincts reporting until 9:11 ET.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/12

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:01:54 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017 · 4:22:28 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-Sen: The second candidate filing deadline of the 2018 election cycle passed on Monday in Texas, and the Texas Tribune has a comprehensive list of who filed in each race. The primary will be on March 6, and there will be a runoff on May 22 in races where no one took a majority of the vote. This is the last filing deadline until Jan. 27 in West Virginia. There are all sorts of caveats to watch out for as each state's filing deadline passes, which we round up here. After failing to win the White House in 2016, GOP Sen. Ted Cruz will seek another term. A year ago, several notable Texas Republicans didn't rule out challenging Cruz, who pissed off conservatives everywhere with his tepid-at-best support for Donald Trump in the general election. However, Cruz has spent 2017 considerably more loyal to the guy who beat him the previous year, and it looks unlikely he'll have much to worry about in the primary. Cruz's only notable intra-party rival is Bruce Jacobson, a Christian TV executive. However, it doesn't look like Jacobson has the connections to mount a serious bid in this ultra-expensive state, and there's no indication enough primary voters are tired of Cruz to give him much of an opening. On the Democratic side, Rep. Beto O'Rourke faces only minor opposition. O'Rourke won't have an easy time beating Cruz in this conservative state, especially when national Democrats are concentrating on numerous other Senate races. However, O'Rourke has been raising money off Democrats' revulsion for Cruz, and this contest is worth keeping an eye on in what's already been a crazy election cycle. Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017 · 4:32:37 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-Gov: GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has only minor primary opposition, and the well-funded incumbent is the heavy favorite in a state where Democrats haven't won a single statewide race since 1994. Team Blue still wanted a credible candidate to challenge Abbott to help turnout voters for other races, and so they could capitalize if this race becomes a lot more competitive than it looks right now. Ex-Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and businessman Andrew White jumped in this month, and for the first time in a very long time, Texas Democrats have a competitive primary for governor. The state party seems to prefer Valdez, who would be Texas' first Hispanic governor as well as the first open lesbian governor in the country. White, the son of the late Gov. Mark White, who served one term in the mid-1980s, is positioning himself as a business-friendly centrist.   Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017 · 4:52:16 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-02: GOP Rep. Ted Poe announced one month before the filing deadline that he would retire. This district, which includes part of Houston and some of its northern suburbs, was drawn to elect a Republican as part of the infamous DeLaymander of 2003, and Romney easily carried it 63-36. However, Trump won it by a considerably smaller 52-43 margin, and Team Blue hopes to put this race in play. Several Republicans filed to run here,[...]



Morning Digest: Final polls of today's Alabama Senate race are all over the map

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:01:25 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. LEading Off ● AL-Sen: We have a last batch of polls ahead of Tuesday's special election, and there's no agreement whatsoever about how things look: Trafalgar Group (R): Roy Moore (R): 51, Doug Jones (D): 46 Change Research: Moore 51, Jones 45 (Dec: 51-44 Moore) Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) for Fox News: Jones 50, Moore 40 (Nov: 50-42 Jones) Monmouth: 46-46 tie So… the only poll that matters… something something… Election Day?​ Campaign Action ​In all seriousness, as multiple political observers have noted, this race is an extremely tough one to poll. In addition to the many factors that make accurate polling a challenge even under the best of circumstances, few firms have much experience polling a general election in Alabama, and no one really knows what turnout will look like for a rare December special election. No one's also sure how voters in this conservative state are reacting to the numerous reports about Moore's predatory behavior, or how many voters will show up but write-in another name. And as cliché as it is to say this all comes down to turnout, Monmouth highlights how different assumptions about who will and won't show up can change who is ahead. Their "model with higher overall turnout, where voter demographics look more like the 2016 election" gives Jones a 48-45 lead, while their "standard midterm turnout model" has Moore up 48-44. But every pollster needs to use their judgment to make a final decision on what the electorate will look like, and Monmouth's "2017-based model," which is "based on patterns seen in last month's Virginia gubernatorial race - i.e. relatively higher turnout in Democratic strongholds," results in a tie. But no matter what happens, Daily Kos Elections will be here liveblogging Tuesday's race, starting at 8 PM ET when the polls close, and tweeting as well. Be sure to get comfy: In the August primary we didn't have so much as 14 percent of precincts reporting until 9:11 ET. [...]



Final Alabama Senate polls show everything from 6-point Moore edge to 10-point Jones lead

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:12:07 +0000

We have a last batch of polls ahead of Tuesday's Alabama Senate race, and there's no agreement whatsoever about how things look: Trafalgar Group (R): Roy Moore (R): 51, Doug Jones (D): 46 Change Research: Moore 51, Jones 45 (Dec: 51-44 Moore) Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) for Fox News: Jones 50, Moore 40 (Nov: 50-42 Jones) Monmouth: 46-46 tie So… the only poll that matters… something something… Election Day? In all seriousness, as multiple political observers have noted, this race is an extremely tough one to poll. In addition to the many factors that make accurate polling a challenge even under the best of circumstances, few firms have much experience polling a general election in Alabama, and no one really knows what turnout will look like for a rare December special election. No one's also sure how voters in this conservative state are reacting to the numerous reports about Moore's predatory behavior, or how many voters will show up but write-in another name. And as clique as it is to say this all comes down to turnout, Monmouth highlights how different assumptions about who will and won't show up can change who is ahead. Their "model with higher overall turnout, where voter demographics look more like the 2016 election" gives Jones a 48-45 lead, while their "standard midterm turnout model" has Moore up 48-44. But every pollster needs to use their judgment to make a final decision on what the electorate will look like, and Monmouth's "2017-based model," which is "based on patterns seen in last month's Virginia gubernatorial race - i.e. relatively higher turnout in Democratic strongholds," results in a tie. But no matter what happens, Daily Kos Elections will be here liveblogging Tuesday's race, starting at 8 PM ET when the polls close, and tweeting as well. Be sure to get comfy: In the August primary we didn’t have so much as 14 percent of precincts reporting until 9:11 ET. [...]



Supreme Court agrees to hear potentially landmark Maryland case over partisan gerrymandering

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:37:03 +0000

On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Republicans who are challenging Maryland’s Democratic-drawn congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Since the 1980s, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that partisan gerrymandering could theoretically violate the Constitution, but it has never actually invalidated any particular map on such grounds, saying it lacks a standard to decide when to do so. A court victory for the plaintiffs in this case, known as Benisek v. Lamone, could therefore establish such a standard, setting a far-reaching precedent that could finally begin to place limits on the epidemic of gerrymandering that has swept the nation. Republicans were in charge of redistricting in vastly more states following the 2010 census that Democrats, but Maryland was one of the rare places where Democrats had control over the process. Shown at the top of this post, Maryland's map gets routinely described as one of the worst partisan gerrymanders in the country. However, while it certainly was crafted to benefit Democrats, its tortured lines aren’t actually designed to gain a maximum partisan advantage. Nevertheless, while Maryland Democrats didn’t push their map to the limits, they still unquestionably engaged in partisan gerrymandering by turning the 6th District from red to blue. In an important 2004 case on this topic called Vieth v. Jubelirer, Justice Anthony Kennedy, as the deciding vote, refused to strike down the map at issue on the grounds that it represented an unfair partisan gerrymander. (The liberal justices all would have invalidated the map; the conservatives would have kept it.) However, Kennedy effectively opened the door for future challengers if they could ever come up with a new standard for evaluating such claims—a standard that would have to satisfy the court’s perennial swing justice. The Supreme Court heard arguments in October in a widely publicized case against a GOP gerrymander in Wisconsin called Gill v. Whitford. These two cases could thus both reach a resolution sometime next year. However, while plaintiffs in both cases have carefully calibrated their arguments to appeal to Kennedy, they’re each taking distinct approaches. These differing legal theories could be pivotal to each case’s chance of success and could lead to dramatically different outcomes if they wind up getting applied to maps nationwide. [...]



Extremist minister E.W. Jackson joins the loony GOP primary for Senate in Virginia

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:36:58 +0000

Ultra-conservative minister E.W. Jackson jumped into the race for Senate on Monday, setting up a contested GOP primary for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine next year. Jackson was a fringe candidate who took just 5 percent in the 2012 Senate primary, but thanks to a fire and brimstone speech before Republican convention-goers in 2013, the ultra-conservatives who dominated the convention chose him as their nominee for lieutenant governor that year. Jackson has had a long history of making statements that range from offensive to just downright bizarre. Although he is black himself, Jackson once recorded a video message to "black Christians" where he claimed Planned Parenthood "has been far, far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was," and that the "Democrat Party [sic] and Planned Parenthood are partners in this genocide." Jackson has also compared homosexuality to pedophilia, called LGBT people "sick," and accused Democrats of being "anti-God." Weirdly, he even once suggested that yoga leads to Satan. Predictably, such a nutty candidate went on to lose the 2013 election in a 55-45 rout to Democrat Ralph Northam even though Republicans fared much better elsewhere on the ticket that year. Jackson would almost certainly prove to be a catastrophic nominee for Republicans if he wins the nomination. While Kaine is heavily favored to win re-election in this light-blue state, Republicans fear someone like Jackson could hurt the party in more competitive races for the House in the Old Dominion. Of course, Jackson's biggest primary rival is hardly any saner. Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart has been running for months, and he nearly won the GOP nomination for governor earlier this year in a shocking upset after running hard on a platform of neo-Confederate apologia. That thinly veiled racism may play well with the GOP base in the era of Trump, but Virginia voters punished down-ballot Republicans in elections last month that saw gubernatorial standard-bearer Ed Gillespie lose badly after leaning hard into Stewart-style racism. Establishment Republicans haven't yet given up hope on avoiding a disastrous nominee after state Del. Nick Freitas also recently joined the GOP primary. Freitas is an Iraq War veteran who has served in the legislature since the 2015 elections. However, it's unclear how he plans to prevail against Stewart and Jackson, particularly since he claims he doesn't plan on attacking his fellow primary contenders. While Republican leaders smartly chose to hold a primary over a convention after the 2013 debacle, Stewart's near upset in this year's gubernatorial contest shows that alone is no guarantee of the establishment getting its preferred nominee in place. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/11

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:01:47 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Monday, Dec 11, 2017 · 4:02:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AZ-08: On Monday, GOP Gov. Doug Ducey scheduled the dates for the special election to succeed ex-Rep. Trent Franks. The parties will hold their primaries Feb. 27, and the general election for this 58-37 Trump seat will be April 24. Monday, Dec 11, 2017 · 4:26:58 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WI-01: Democrat Randy Bryce, an ironworker who has raised well over $1 million for his challenge to Speaker Paul Ryan, is out with a poll from Global Strategy Group giving Ryan a 46-40 edge. A previous GSG poll for Bryce gave Ryan a larger 46-37 edge in August, while a recent poll from PPP for the Democratic group Patriot Majority USA had Ryan up 46-39. This southern Wisconsin seat went from 52-47 Romney to 53-42 Trump. Monday, Dec 11, 2017 · 4:44:19 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CT-Gov: New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart has spent the year refusing to rule out a bid for the GOP nomination, but saying she wouldn't consider until she was re-elected in November. Well, Stewart was re-elected 56-44 in November, and on Friday, she confirmed she was thinking about running to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy. Stewart said she would decide over the next month, and could instead run for another statewide office. Stewart, the daughter of former Mayor Timothy Stewart, attracted attention in 2013 when she won her first term at the age of 26 in what is normally a heavily Democratic city (Obama carried it 76-23, and Clinton won it 69-27). Stewart, who describes herself as fiscally conservative and moderate-to-liberal when it comes to social issues, has a good relationship with local labor groups, and she's won union endorsements during her re-election bids. However, social conservatives aren't so enamored with her. The Connecticut Family Institute still blasts her for supporting distributing condoms in schools years ago, saying she "crossed a line we won’t soon forget." Some state Republicans were not happy when she took a selfie with Barack Obama when he visited New Britain in 2014, and she also drew their criticism when she held a fundraiser with a GOP state senator who had endorsed a gun-safety measure. A number of other Republicans are raising money to run for governor, but there's no clear frontrunner. Monday, Dec 11, 2017 · 4:46:07 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf Demographics: Daily Kos Elections' David Jarman takes a look at which members of the House represent congressional districts where the dominant racial or ethnic group differs from their own. While most members represent districts where their own group is the largest, there are 29 districts with a white majority or plurality and a representative who is a person of color. Meanwhile, there are 21 Latino-majority districts with a non-Latino representative, one majority-black district with a white member, and two plurality-Asian districts with white members. Monday, Dec 11, 2017 · 4:50:49 PM +0[...]



Morning Digest: Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks resigns after asking staffers to bear his children

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:01:19 +0000

LEADING OFF ● AZ-08: The strangest political story in a very strange year just got even stranger. Just a day after GOP Rep. Trent Franks announced he'd resign because he'd asked two female staffers to serve as surrogate mothers for him and his wife, the AP reported that Franks had repeatedly pushed one aide to carry his child and had offered her $5 million to do so. It gets even worse: Politico says that the women in Franks' office thought their boss "was asking to have sexual relations with them" because they were unsure whether he was "asking about impregnating [them] through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization." There's more still. One staffer says that Franks "tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they're in love with someone," and another says that her access to the congressman was cut off after she rebuffed his advances. Franks had originally said he'd leave office at the end of January, but just before these latest revelations were published, he announced he'd be quitting immediately. It's all so disturbing, and good riddance. But perversely, it also helps shed light on the most mysterious episode of Franks' career (which, believe it or not, is not this one). In 2011, Franks was preparing to run for what was then an open Senate seat, and indeed, his own consultant confirmed to reporter Dave Catanese that he was going to kick off a bid, complete with date and time of announcement. But just the day before, Franks shockingly pulled the plug without explanation, and we've never had an inkling why—until now. According to Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, Franks' "after-hours activities caught up to him," with one unnamed operative claiming there was a "file" on Franks that was shared with him to deter him from running. Another said that Franks "wrote creepy text messages a decade ago" to another politico. As is invariably the case, once a creep, always a creep. Did we say good riddance? Of course, that now means there's yet another vacancy to fill in Congress, and folks are already lining up. This seat, which includes some of Phoenix's conservative suburbs, backed Romney 62-37 and Trump 58-37, so most of the action will be in the GOP primary. On Thursday evening, ex-state Corporate Commissioner Bob Stump announced he was in. Stump, was elected twice statewide to the utility regulation agency, and as far as we can tell, he's not related to the late GOP congressman with the same name. However, Stump was at the center of a controversy that, while considerably more safe-for-work than the Franks drama, did get his name in a few papers. In 2016, the Attorney General's Office seized Stump's phone during an investigation of former Commissioner Gary Pierce in search of evidence that Pierce had engaged in inappropriate political activity. Meanwhile, a watchdog group called Checks and Balances Project requested thousands of deleted texts from Stump's phone, arguing the texts could show if he had illegally helped two Republicans running for the commission coordinate with independent groups. The attorney general's office didn't find those relevant texts, and a judge ruled that, while it was possible a more thorough search could uncover those messages, the AG's search was good enough. Stump left the co[...]



How many House members represent districts of different ethnicities than their own? Turns out, a lot

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 18:00:10 +0000

It’s getting to be an old story: Thanks to the nexus of gerrymandering and people’s tendency to self-sort into homogeneous communities, swing districts are going the way of the dodo, and the House is increasingly balkanized into districts where the general election is a foregone conclusion. As a result, this story goes, House members tend to look a lot like their constituents: Districts with an African-American majority usually elect a black representative, while districts that are mostly white and evangelical tend to elect a fellow white evangelical.

It turns out, though, that that story isn’t really true—there are a lot of congressional districts (CDs for short) where that doesn’t happen. But where are they? In other words, which are the districts where, say, there’s a white majority and an Asian-American representative, or one with a Latino majority and an African-American representative? There are more than this simple tale might lead you to think.

And in fact, the number has gone up considerably in the last decade. Nearly 10 years ago, I first asked this question while writing for Swing State Project; there were 12 districts with a white majority or plurality represented by someone non-white, while there were 17 districts with a Latino majority or plurality represented by someone not Latino. Those numbers have since gone up to 29 districts with a white majority or plurality represented by a person of color, and 21 districts with a Latino majority with a non-Latino representative. In addition, there’s one majority-black district represented by a white person and two plurality-Asian districts represented by white people, similar numbers to what we saw a decade ago.

In a way, that’s a sign of progress, at least where we're seeing more non-white people represent white-majority districts. The growth in the number of Latino-majority districts represented by a non-Latino, meanwhile, has more to do with the simple increase in the number of districts that have tipped to a Latino majority in the past 10 years. Some of them still have the same representative they’ve had for many years, while many others still don’t have the level of Latino voter turnout that matches the Latino share of the population.

What follows is the list of these districts, categorized according to which race or ethnicity has majority or plurality in each district.

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Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 22:43:49 +0000

Clarence Carter — “Patches”

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Blake Farenthold picks up a primary foe as second woman argues office was hostile work environment

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 22:02:56 +0000

On Thursday, Bech Bruun resigned as chair of the Texas Water Development Board, and he filed to challenge GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold in the primary for his safely red Corpus Christi-area seat the next day. Bruun hadn't shown any public interest in this race until one week ago, hours after Politico reported that Farenthold had used $84,000 in taxpayer money in 2015 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by his former communications director Lauren Greene. Details about the lawsuit have been publicly known since late 2014, but the House GOP leadership hadn't been publicly bothered by them for years. Even after Politico's story broke earlier this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan not only declined to call for Farenthold to step down from his safely red seat, but his spokesperson even sounding dismissive of the Greene’s claims that her former boss harassed and improperly fired her. But on Thursday evening, the mood changed when NRCC chair Steve Stivers declared that "Blake Farenthold has some thinking to do about whether he wants to run for reelection or not." That's still a very, very weaksauce statement compared to his Democratic counterpart Ben Ray Luján, who immediately and publicly told Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen to resign after a former Kihuen campaign aide accused him of sexual harassment, but it goes further than the GOP leadership had ever gone before against Farenthold. On Friday, a second Farenthold staffer, Elizabeth Peace, also publicly charged the congressman with letting his office to become a hostile work environment. Farenthold "allowed the hostility in his office to continue,” said Peace. “He allowed us to work in a place that was just emotionally damaging, and that should never be allowed in any office.” She went on: “While he didn't sexually harass me, his comments were inappropriate and his unwillingness to immediately take action to allow us to work in a safe environment is inappropriate." Also on Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it would re-examine Greene's allegations against Farenthold. Texas' candidate filing deadline is on Monday, so we'll see very soon if Farenthold forges ahead with his re-election campaign. But if he does, he could be in for a rough ride. Last year, after details about Greene's lawsuit were known but had been out of the headlines for months, Farenthold only beat a little-known and underfunded primary foe 56-44; Bruun, by contrast, seems to have the connections to put up a considerably stronger fight. And unlike in 2016, Farenthold can't just keep quiet and hope ugly stories about him just vanish from the front pages. In addition, there will be a runoff in May if no one takes a majority in the March primary, so Farenthold can't just coast to victory on a plurality of the vote. [...]



Trent Franks reportedly offered aide $5 million to serve as surrogate mother, resigns immediately

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 21:54:11 +0000

The strangest political story in a very strange year just got even stranger. Just a day after GOP Rep. Trent Franks announced he'd resign because he'd asked two female staffers to serve as surrogate mothers for him and his wife, the AP reported that the Arizona congressman had repeatedly pushed one aide to carry his child and had offered her $5 million to do so. It gets even worse: Politico says that the women in Franks' office thought their boss "was asking to have sexual relations with them" because they were unsure whether he was "asking about impregnating [them] through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization." There's more still. One staffer says that Franks "tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone," and another says that her access to the congressman was cut off after she rebuffed his advances. Franks had originally said he'd leave office at the end of January, but just before these latest revelations were published, he announced he'd be quitting immediately. It's all so disturbing, and good riddance. But perversely, it also helps shed light on the most mysterious episode of Franks' career (which, believe it or not, is not this one). In 2011, Franks was preparing to run for what was then an open Senate seat, and indeed, his own consultant confirmed to reporter Dave Catanese that he was going to kick off a bid, complete with date and time of announcement. But just the day before, Franks shockingly pulled the plug without explanation, and we've never had an inkling why—until now. According to Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, Franks' "after-hours activities caught up to him," with one unnamed operative claiming there was a "file" on Franks that was shared with him to deter him from running. Another said that Franks "wrote creepy text messages a decade ago" to another politico. As is invariably the case, once a creep, always a creep. Did we say good riddance? Of course, that now means there's yet another vacancy to fill in Congress, and folks are already lining up. [...]



Voting Rights Roundup: Redistricting reform could be on the ballot in several states in 2018

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:51:09 +0000

Leading Off ● Redistricting Reform: At Daily Kos Elections, we have long advocated for ballot initiatives to implement nonpartisan redistricting at the state level to combat gerrymandering, which states like California have successfully done in the past. Very helpfully, the Brennan Center has published a roundup of which states have active efforts to put redistricting reform on the ballot in 2018, which we’ve highlighted in the map at the top of this post. Below we list each state, with links to our most recent coverage of each effort. In parentheses, we've also included which party would control redistricting if it took place today. Colorado—congressional and legislative (divided government) Michigan—congressional and legislative (Republican) Missouri—legislative (bipartisan commission) Ohio—congressional (Republican) South Dakota—legislative (Republican) Utah—congressional and legislative (Republican) Of these efforts, we haven't previously discussed Missouri and South Dakota. A group called Clean Missouri is organizing the push in the Show Me State, and they want to implement independent redistricting for the state legislature as part of an initiative that would also institute a broader set of ethics and campaign finance reforms. Unfortunately, the proposal doesn't cover congressional redistricting thanks to a constitutional limit on the scope of a single initiative. Under current law, the two major parties appoint members of a bipartisan commission that draws new legislative districts each decade. The proposed reforms would instead have the state auditor draw up a pool of applicants from which a nonpartisan state demographer would be selected. That person would then be tasked with drawing the maps, subject to the commission's approval. The demographer would be explicitly directed to use a statistical model known as the “efficiency gap” that’s design to gauge partisan fairness, which we have previously explained in detail. While the maps would not be designed to yield outcomes perfectly proportional to the popular vote, they would aim to treat both parties the same. For instance, if the GOP could win 65 percent of seats with 55 percent of the vote and Democrats could also win 65 percent of districts with 55 percent of votes, then the maps wouldn't give one party an asymmetric advantage over the other. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/8

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 14:01:54 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Friday, Dec 8, 2017 · 4:56:20 PM +00:00 · David Nir ME-02: Last month, Mainers overwhelmingly voted to expand Medicaid in their state, passing a ballot measure that would do so by a wide 59-41 margin. However, according to new calculations from Daily Kos Elections, levels of support varied considerably between the state's two congressional districts. In the 1st District, which is the more liberal of the two and includes the city of Portland, 65 percent of voters backed the measure while just 35 percent opposed it. But in the rural 2nd District, which covers the northern part of the state and flipped from 53-44 Obama to 51-41 Trump last year, expansion passed by a much tighter 52-48 spread. Still, that's probably not good news for Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whom Democrats are hoping to target in 2018. Earlier this year, Poliquin voted in favor of the GOP's plan to repeal Obamacare; just a few months later, his constituents voted to expand Obamacare. The question is what will matter more come November: Poliquin's personal appeal (he won a competitive re-election in 2016 55-45), or his stance on the issues. Even in bad years or bad states for Democrats, we've seen voters support progressive measures at the ballot box, such as increasing the minimum wage or liberalizing marijuana laws, while still voting up and down the ballot for Republican office-holders. But given progressive furor over the GOP's attempts to repeal healthcare in particular, 2018 could wind up looking different. Friday, Dec 8, 2017 · 5:02:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ID-Gov: State Rep. Paulette Jordan, who is the only Native American serving in the legislature, announced on Thursday that she would seek the Democratic nomination for this open seat. Jordan narrowly unseated a GOP incumbent during the 2014 GOP wave and won re-election 51-49 as Trump was carrying her North Idaho seat 46-40, making her just one of just five Idaho Democratic legislators who represents a Trump district. Wealthy businessman A.J. Balukoff, who lost the 2014 general election to GOP incumbent Butch Otter 54-39, has filed to run again, and he's said he'll announce after the December holidays. Friday, Dec 8, 2017 · 5:13:03 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-03: It looks like we'll only have one Democrat named Chris Kennedy to think about this cycle. Grand Junction City Councilor Chris Kennedy dropped out of the primary to take on GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, citing " family health issues." Kennedy only raised $1,000 during the third quarter, so he never seemed like a serious candidate. State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush has been running here for a while, and Karl Hanlon, who serves as chief legal counsel for the city of Glenwood Springs, jumped in recently. This western Colorad[...]



Morning Digest: Al Franken resigns, setting off 2018 special election for his Senate seat

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:01:34 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● MN-Sen-B: On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced he would resigning "in the coming weeks." Franken's decision came a day after two more women accused him of sexual harassment, and most of the Democratic caucus called for him to leave. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a new senator who will serve at least until a special election is held in November of 2018, and the seat will be up again for a full six-year term in 2020. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is also up for a regularly-scheduled election next fall as well. From now on, any updates about Klobuchar's race will be designated with the tag MN-Sen-A (though we don't expect her to have much trouble winning a third term), while stories about this special election will be filed under MN-Sen-B.​ Campaign Action ​It's not clear when exactly Franken will officially leave, but it sounds like we won't need to wait long to find out who will be succeeding him. Just after Franken made his announcement, Dayton said that he had "not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy," but added, "I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days." Politico reported on Wednesday night that Dayton was "expected" to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who would likely not run in the special election. Many potential Democratic candidates will be waiting to see whom Dayton picks and whether that person runs in 2018 before making a decision, but the GOP doesn't need to be so cautious. Minnesota Democrats have done well in statewide races for a long time, but the state can be quite volatile. Notably, Barack Obama's comfortable 53-45 win in 2012 shrunk to just a 46-45 edge for Hillary Clinton last year, the GOP's best showing in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan lost to native son Walter Mondale by fewer than 4,000 votes in his 1984 landslide. 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Democrats, but national Republicans will be happy to give Team Blue another seat to defend. So who might go for it? Former Sen. Norm Coleman, who narrowly lost to Franken in a famous 2008 recount, said he wouldn't run on Thursday, and attention quickly turned to ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty, who waged a failed presidential bid in 2012 after leaving the governor's office, has reportedly shown lots of interest behind the scenes in running for his old job next year to replace the retiring Dayton, but Republican strategists openly hope that he'll run the Senate instead. Notably, Pawlenty wanted to run for this seat all the way back in 2002. However, the Bush White House preferred Coleman as their nominee, and Pawlenty decided to switch to the governor's race after Vice President Dick Cheney called him and urged him to stay out of the Senate contest. Pawlenty narrowly won re-election during the 2006 Democratic wave, so he has experience with tough contests. However, as we've noted before, Pawlen[...]



GOP Rep. Trent Franks resigning over 'discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates'

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:48:52 +0000

On Thursday, GOP Rep. Trent Franks unexpectedly announced he will resign from Congress. Multiple media outlets said he was leaving because of "inappropriate behavior,” but Franks’ actual statement was just jaw-dropping. Franks wrote he had learned the House Ethics Committee was looking into “my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable.” Franks has represented Arizona's conservative 8th District in suburban Phoenix since 2003, and he's been a pain for the GOP leadership the entire time. During his first year in office, Franks had to be begged by the Bush administration to vote for the GOP's Medicare overhaul; after that one reluctant tango with the establishment, he went over to the dark side and joined the nihilist Freedom Caucus. Ever since, Franks has been a mouthpiece for some of the worst ideas of the far-right. Franks said in 2010 that "[f]ar more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery," declared the next year that same-sex marriage was "a threat to the nation's survival," and mused in 2013 that the instances of rape causing pregnancy are "very low." Franks also was very unbothered by the Russian government's meddling in the 2016 elections, saying, "The bottom line is if they succeeded, if Russia succeeded in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should have done," before claiming his comments were misconstrued. Franks' seat includes a portion of the city of Phoenix as well as the nearby suburbs of Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise. The seat moved from 62-37 Romney to 58-37 Trump, so this won't be a Democratic pickup opportunity barring some extraordinary circumstances. (Then again, we've seen a lot of extraordinary things this year.) Both parties will choose their nominees though primaries ahead of the special election that will be necessary to fill this vacancy. P.S. Trent Franks does hold one very important footnote in Daily Kos Elections history. In 2011, Franks' own consultant told reporter Dave Catanese that Franks would run for the Senate. But in a stunning turn of events, Franks reversed course at the last possible second and sought re-election instead. That's the source of the Franks Rule (which we only just formally named now), by which we don't regard someone as a candidate for higher office until they say they're a candidate for higher office, no matter how otherwise likely they seem to run. That's not the best legacy after 15 years in Congress, but Franks will need to take it. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/7

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:01:46 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 · 4:48:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ME-Sen: Apparently, GOP Gov. Paul LePage will always be a potential 2018 Senate candidate in someone's eyes. Over the last year, LePage has definitively said he won't challenge incumbent Angus King, only to backtrack before once again saying he won't run. Just a month ago, LePage said, "If I run for U.S. Senate, I will be a single man," which would be definitive coming from almost anyone else. However, Donald Trump apparently wants to end LePage's marriage, since the Washington Post reports he's pushing LePage to run against King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. LePage hasn't said anything yet in response to this report, and there's no indication he's changed his mind. Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 · 5:01:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer PA-16: Former Warwick superintendent John George's campaign for the Democratic nomination to face GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker seemed to be going nowhere, and this week, he announced he was dropping out. Nonprofit consultant Christina Hartman, who lost to Smucker 54-43 last year, is running again, and nonprofit director Jess King is also in the mix. This seat, which includes Lancaster County and some of Philadelphia's suburbs, backed Trump 51-44, and a Democratic win would be truly historic. No Democrat has held a Lancaster-based seat ever, though it has elected its share of members of the Anti-Masonic Party and Whigs. Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 · 5:05:38 PM +00:00 · David Nir xFranken: “Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.” Updated story: https://t.co/RCHqhJgeLd— Capital Journal (@WSJPolitics) December 7, 2017 Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 · 5:15:08 PM +00:00 · David Nir TN-Sen: Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen launched a campaign for Tennessee’s open Senate seat on Thursday. More to come. Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 · 6:08:54 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CT-Gov: Just before Thanksgiving, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin expressed interest in seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and he formed an exploratory committee this week. Because of Connecticut's complicated fin[...]



Former Gov. Phil Bredesen joins Tennessee Senate race, giving Democrats a star recruit

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:17:35 +0000

On Thursday, former Gov. Phil Bredesen announced he would run for Tennessee's open Senate seat, giving D.C. Democrats a star recruit with a famous name and a history winning statewide. Indeed, Bredesen is the last Democrat to win statewide in Tennessee, period, when he carried all 95 of the state's counties in his 2006 re-election bid. But that was also the last time that Bredesen, now 74, appeared on a ballot, and Tennessee, which even then was quite red, has shifted even further to the right since then. In fact, Republican presidential candidates have done better in each successive election dating back to 1996, culminating in Donald Trump's giant 61-35 victory last year. Even if 2018 continues to shape up as a good year for Democrats, that's a lot of cushion for the GOP. And it's reasonable to wonder whether someone who's been out of the game as long as Bredesen has will be able to run an effective campaign. Last cycle, we saw three Democrats who'd been elected statewide fail in comeback bids for the Senate: Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Ted Strickland in Ohio, and Evan Bayh in Indiana. All were hailed as top recruits when they entered their respective races, and many pundits saw Bayh as a "game-changer" who was uniquely capable of putting the race in play for Democrats, if not the outright favorite. We were cautious about Bayh, though, and we're taking the same approach with Bredesen. That same caution means we also have to take note of former statewide elected officials who faced long layoffs but then did successfully return to the fray. In 2012, for instance, former Maine Gov. Angus King won a seat in the Senate despite having last run for office in 1998. And in North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp pulled off a much more remarkable Senate victory, 12 years after losing a bid for governor and 16 years after winning a second term as state attorney general, so we know return engagements like this can in fact work out. But first, Bredesen will have to deal with a primary, much as Strickland did. Army veteran James Mackler has been running here for much of the year, long before GOP Sen. Bob Corker's retirement turned this into an open-seat race, and he immediately made it clear that he's not leaving on account of Bredesen's entry: Mackler said the best way for Democrats to win this contest is to present "a clear contrast between an Iraq war combat veteran that volunteers to serve his country against a career politician who only serves special interests." (That's a reference to the eventual GOP nominee, not a jab at Bredesen.) However, one other potential rival did clear out of the way: While Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke had also considered running, he endorsed Bredesen instead. The former governor starts off with near-universal name recognition and will have vastly more money, so he's the heavy favorite to win the nomination, but a primary should be a good thing: If he wins, it'll hopefully help him shake off any rust, and if he loses, well, then this definitely wasn't meant to be. (Then again, we said the same thing about Stricklan[...]



Republicans hope ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty will run in special election for Minnesota Senate seat

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 22:16:40 +0000

On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced he would resigning "in the coming weeks." Franken's decision came a day after two more women accused him of sexual harassment, and most of the Democratic caucus called for him to leave. Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton will appoint a new senator who will serve at least until a special election is held in November of 2018, and the seat will be up again for a full six-year term in 2020. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is also up for a regularly-scheduled election next fall as well. From now on, any updates about Klobuchar's race will be designated with the tag MN-Sen-A (though we don't expect her to have much trouble winning a third term), while stories about this special election will be filed under MN-Sen-B.

It's not clear when exactly Franken will officially leave, but it sounds like we won't need to wait long to find out who will be succeeding him. Just after Franken made his announcement, Dayton said that he had "not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy,” but added, “I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days." Politico reported on Wednesday night that Dayton was "expected" to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who would likely not run in the special election.

Many potential Democratic candidates will be waiting to see whom Dayton picks and whether that person runs in 2018 before making a decision, but the GOP doesn't need to be so cautious. Minnesota Democrats have done well in statewide races for a long time, but the state can be quite volatile. Notably, Barack Obama’s comfortable 53-45 win in 2012 shrunk to just a 46-45 edge for Hillary Clinton last year, the GOP's best showing in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan lost to native son Walter Mondale by fewer than 4,000 votes in his 1984 landslide. 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for Democrats, but national Republicans will be happy to give Team Blue another seat to defend.

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This Week in Statehouse Action: 'Tis the Session edition

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 21:20:13 +0000

Every day feels like one of those advent calendars with a piece of candy behind each door, except there’s no candy and we get sexual misconduct allegations instead. Bah, humbug. Silenced Night: A Democratic lawmaker in Florida has filed a formal complaint against embattled Republican Sen. Jack Latvala that alleges the senator intimidated a woman who accused him of groping. Campaign Action Latvala claimed he knew the name of one of his (at least) six accusers and essentially outed her when he made public statements describing her. The woman, a Senate staffer, came forward publicly after Latvala compromised her anonymity and expressed her worry that Latvala’s tactic would negatively impact “other victims who desperately want to overcome their fear and speak out.” Latvala, who’s running for governor, may face expulsion from the Senate (which requires a vote of 26 of the chamber’s 40 members) as a result of this complaint and the sexual harassment complaint that gave rise to it. O Texascreeps: The Daily Beast has harrowing accounts of harassment by two Democratic—one current, one former—lawmakers in Texas. Here We Come A-ssailing: Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg has relinquished his leadership position while an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against his husband, Bryon Hefner, runs its course. According to the Boston Globe, Hefner preyed on men working in the capitol and boasted about his spouse’s influence while doing so. Carol of the Hells: Washington Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller is denying allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from his time as a professor at Central Washington University. He also describes expected action by the Democratic-majority legislature to combat sexual harassment as “an overreaction.” Wreck the Laws: Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are working to gut the ability of victims of workplace discrimination—sexual harassment-related and otherwise—to recover money from their employers/discriminators. Well, still working, really. In 2012, GOP legislators and Gov. Scott Walker repealed a 2009 law passed by Democrats that allowed victims of sexual harassment and other discrimination seek compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages from their employers. Now Republicans are crafting legislation that would limit discrimination claims by “pre-empting” city and local ordinances. Because of that 2012 repeal, these ordinances are the only way workers can win damages for being demeaned, groped, etc. Under current state law, harassed women and people of color can only recover lost wages, attorneys’ fees, and an order (that’s probably SUPER STERN) that the business stop the mistreatment RIGHT NOW OR ELSE … um, won’t get punished again. Republicans are pushing this pre-emption legislation in the name of “standardizing rules for businesses,” because making things easier for companies is more important than protecting victims, I guess[...]



Pennsylvania's GOP House gerrymander is going on trial. Here's how a nonpartisan map could look

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 18:46:32 +0000

We're taking a look at the impact of Republican gerrymanders on the 2016 and 2018 congressional elections. Read why in our introductory post, and click here for the full series. On Dec. 11, Pennsylvania’s Republican-drawn congressional map will go on trial in a lawsuit alleging that the GOP unconstitutionally discriminated against Democratic voters based on their partisan affiliation—in other words, they gerrymandered. And unlike a lot of slow-moving litigation over redistricting, the state Supreme Court ordered an expedited timeframe for the lower-level court hearing the case to complete its proceedings so that the case can be resolved in time for the 2018 elections. Crucially, if the courts strike down the GOP’s congressional map, Pennsylvania could wind up with an entirely nonpartisan replacement. Republicans still hold the state legislature, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf could veto any alternative the GOP proposes, which would lead the court to draw new lines itself. And unlike power-hungry lawmakers, judges would rely on strictly nonpartisan criteria in coming up with a remedial plan. In this article, we’ll examine what such a nonpartisan map could look like, and why it could lead to major Democratic gains in 2018. Republicans controlled congressional redistricting in Pennsylvania for the last two decades, and the map they drew in 2011 (shown at the top of this post) is one of the most brutally effective gerrymanders of the modern era (see here for a larger version). Thanks to successive wave elections in 2006 and 2008, Democrats managed to win a majority of seats in the state’s delegation, though they gave back all of those gains in 2010, when it was the GOP’s turn to enjoy a huge wave. Following those elections, Republicans determined to cement their majority in the most recent round of redistricting. Despite the fact that Pennsylvania is an evenly divided swing state, Republicans locked in a 13-to-5 advantage in the state’s congressional delegation, which hasn’t budged over the last three election cycles. That even included 2012, when Barack Obama carried the state by 5 points—and Democratic House candidates won more votes statewide than the GOP—and 2016, when Donald Trump won the Keystone State by less than a point. Due to this gross partisan imbalance, Democratic voters have sought relief at the courthouse. [...]



Morning Digest: Independent Greg Orman could hurt Kansas Democrats' chances to succeed Sam Brownback

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:01:20 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● KS-Gov: Beleaguered Kansas Republicans are about to get a major gift in their struggle to succeed hated Gov. Sam Brownback in next year's election. Businessman Greg Orman launched an exploratory committee on Tuesday to run for governor as an independent, allowing him to begin fundraising. Orman, who is wealthy, attracted plenty of attention when he ran for Senate as a moderate independent in 2014 against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Orman became the de facto Democratic candidate in that race after Team Blue's nominee dropped out of the race in order to present a united front against the unpopular Roberts. Although Orman lost the 2014 Senate contest by 53-43, that result came amid that year's GOP midterm wave, making it a relatively good performance in a state that hasn't elected a senator since the 1930s who wasn't a Republican. Consequently, Orman has the connections and experience to run a much more formidable race than most independents would. Kansas Republicans have been engaged in a decades-long civil war between relative moderates and hardliners, a battle that has only intensified now that Brownback's extreme tax cuts have led to very unpopular spending cuts to education and other services. Democratic candidates and centrist Republicans have scored major gains in legislative races against hardliners in recent years, which would normally be a reason for optimism in next year's gubernatorial contest. Brownback is even so toxic that he has tried to bail for the low-profile gig of Trump’s ambassador for religious liberty, but even Senate Republicans have stalled on his nomination, meaning he’ll likely still be in office to weigh down the state GOP next year anyway. Unfortunately, Orman's past campaign will almost certainly make Republicans more closely associate him with the Democratic Party. His moderate positions, as well as memories of his 2014 bid against Roberts, will also make him more likely to split off support that could otherwise go to Democrats than Republicans, particularly if the GOP nominates another conservative hardliner like Brownback. [...]



Two major contenders finally join the Democratic primary to take on Texas' GOP Gov. Greg Abbott

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 21:18:43 +0000

Texas Democrats have been lacking for a major challenger to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott next year, but they gained two of them on Wednesday as the Dec. 11 filing deadline swiftly approaches. The first candidate is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who will now have to step down as sheriff thanks to Texas' resign-to-run law for local officeholders. The other Democratic contender is businessman Andrew White, who is the son of the late Democratic Gov. Mark White. A contest between the two Democrats will present primary voters with a stark contrast over ideology, party establishment ties, and race. Valdez won her first term as sheriff in 2004 back when Republicans were still very competitive in Dallas County, but the region has swung sharply toward Democrats since then, and she has had little trouble winning reelection ever since. Texas is a big state where it isn't easy for Democrats to build a bench of prominent contenders, but Valdez may start out with some decent name recognition statewide since she comes from the one of the two biggest metropolitan areas in the Lone Star State. Valdez would also become the first open lesbian in the country to win a gubernatorial election if she were to prevail. Meanwhile, White cuts a very different profile as someone who runs an investment firm. He described his political views as those of a "very conservative Democrat, or I'm a moderate Republican, or I don't care what you call me." White has praised his father's decision to raise taxes in order to save key services like public education during a budget crisis in the 1980s, but his announcement video emphasized how he tries to appeal to "both sides" of an issue. White has said he wants to win over the sort of pro-business conservatives who aren't fully on board with the GOP's reactionary social policies. While such a centrist economic policy platform could help appeal to this type of Republican, it could also be a major detriment in a primary and even deter turnout among regular Democrats. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/6

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 14:01:49 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 · 4:50:11 PM +00:00 · David Nir MN-Sen: In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, six Democratic women senators called on Sen. Al Franken to resign on Wednesday morning: Patty Murray (Washington), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire), and Kamala Harris (California). These calls came not long after Politico reported that a seventh woman had accused Franken of inappropriate behavior. The unnamed former congressional staffer says that Franken forcibly attempted to kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. The woman says she evaded the kiss, after which she says Franken told her, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 · 5:32:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-Gov: Back in May, eccentric rich businessman "Alligator Ron" Bergeron said he would decide if he would seek the GOP nomination "somewhere around August." We're well past "somewhere around August," but Alligator Ron said this week he was still considering and would now decide in February. Bergeron has been a member of the state Wildlife Commission, but last week, GOP Gov. Rick Scott announced he would not reappoint him. Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 · 5:34:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Atlanta, GA Mayor: On Tuesday, Atlanta held its nonpartisan runoff to succeed termed-out Mayor Kasim Reed, and Democratic City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms appears to have won in a squeaker. With all precincts reporting, Bottoms has a 50.4-49.6 lead over independent City Councilor Mary Norwood, a margin of 759 votes. Bottoms has declared victory, but Norwood said on election night that she would wait for military and provisional ballots to be counted on Thursday and would seek a recount. Eight years ago, Reed defeated Norwood in the runoff by 714 votes. Georgia allows a recount if the margin between the candidates is 1 percent or less, so Norwood is well within her rights to request one. However, it's unclear what she'll do if she's still trailing after the recount ends. Just before Thanksgiving, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released audio of Norwood speaking at a June gathering of young Republicans arguing that Reed and his allies stole the 2009 election from her. Norwood didn't offer a shred of evidence for her claims when the AJC asked her about them. Instead, Norwood claimed she'd been "really careful about not putting all of this out there for years, because I didn't [...]



Greensboro philanthropist Kathy Manning will challenge GOP Rep. Ted Budd in a reach seat

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:02:13 +0000

Republican Rep. Ted Budd won his first term with ease last cycle after Democrats failed to field a strong nominee, but Team Blue may have landed a credible nominee this time. Kathy Manning, a former immigration lawyer and Greensboro philanthropist, announced Thursday that she would challenge Budd for North Carolina's 13th Congressional District, which went from 53-47 Romney to 53-44 Trump. Manning, who described herself as a "business-oriented moderate," has been active in a number of local Greensboro civic organizations, including as the chief fundraiser for the new performing arts center.

This seat, which includes part of Greensboro, High Point, and several communities north of Charlotte, is a tough target. However, Manning may have the resources and connections to make things interesting in a good year. Budd also has never had to work hard to win over swing voters. Budd, who owned a local gun range, ran for office for the first time last year and gained traction in the primary when the powerful anti-tax group the Club for Growth spent $500,000 on ads to support him. Budd ended up winning the 17-way (yes, really) primary with 20 percent of the vote, while his nearest opponent took 10 percent.

Budd had $225,000 in the bank at the end of September, not exactly a formidable sum for a competitive race. Budd hails from a wealthy family, but it's not clear how much personal money he's able or willing to put down if things get tough: During his 2016 bid, Budd self-funded only $50,000, though this proved to be enough to win.

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Independent Greg Orman takes steps to run for Kansas governor in a major blow to Democratic chances

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:11:35 +0000

Beleaguered Kansas Republicans are about to get a major gift in their struggle to succeed hated Gov. Sam Brownback in next year's election. Businessman Greg Orman launched an exploratory committee on Tuesday to run for governor as an independent, allowing him to begin fundraising. Orman, who is wealthy, attracted plenty of attention when he ran for Senate as a moderate independent in 2014 against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Orman became the de facto Democratic candidate in that race after Team Blue's nominee dropped out of the race in order to present a united front against the unpopular Roberts. Although Orman lost the 2014 Senate contest by 53-43, that result came amid that year's GOP midterm wave, making it a relatively good performance in a state that hasn't elected a senator since the 1930s who wasn't a Republican. Consequently, Orman has the connections and experience to run a much more formidable race than most independents would. Kansas Republicans have been engaged in a decades-long civil war between relative moderates and hardliners, a battle that has only intensified now that Brownback's extreme tax cuts have led to very unpopular spending cuts to education and other services. Democratic candidates and centrist Republicans have scored major gains in legislative races against hardliners in recent years, which would normally be a reason for optimism in next year’s gubernatorial contest. Unfortunately, Orman's past campaign will almost certainly make Republicans more closely associate him with the Democratic Party. His moderate positions, as well as memories of his 2014 bid against Roberts, will also make him more likely to split off support that could otherwise go to Democrats than Republicans, particularly if the GOP nominates another conservative hardliner like Brownback. [...]



Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms has a 759-vote lead for mayor of Atlanta, but recount looms

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:37:50 +0000

On Tuesday, Atlanta held its nonpartisan runoff to succeed termed-out Mayor Kasim Reed, and Democratic City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms appears to have won in a squeaker. With all precincts reporting, Bottoms has a 50.4-49.6 lead over independent City Councilor Mary Norwood, a margin of 759 votes. Bottoms has declared victory, but Norwood said on election night that she would wait for military and provisional ballots to be counted on Thursday and would seek a recount. Eight years ago, Reed defeated Norwood in the runoff by 714 votes. Georgia allows a recount if the margin between the candidates is 1 percent or less, so Norwood is well within her rights to request one. However, it's unclear what she'll do if she's still trailing after the recount ends. Just before Thanksgiving, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released audio of Norwood speaking at a June gathering of young Republicans arguing that Reed and his allies stole the 2009 election from her. Norwood didn't offer a shred of evidence for her claims when the AJC asked her about them. Instead, Norwood claimed she'd been "really careful about not putting all of this out there for years, because I didn't think this would be helpful "for Atlanta's reputation, and added in a statement that had she contested the election results "it would have further divided the city." Given her refusal to admit she lost by 714 votes in 2009, we'll have to watch and see if she accepts she lost by around the same number this time. If Norwood had won, she would have become Atlanta's first white mayor since the 1970s, and its first non-Democratic chief executive since 1879. Bottoms, who had Reed's endorsement, led Norwood 26-21 in the November primary, but there were plenty of signs that this would be another tight race. Notably, Bottoms and the other black primary candidates took a combined 51 percent of the vote last month, while white contenders took 48 percent. Atlanta has been predominantly black for decades, but the white share of the population has been increasing in recent years. Most of the defeated primary candidates endorsed Norwood for the runoff, while she also picked up a potentially vital endorsement from ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin, a prominent black Democrat. However, all of this may not have made much of a difference in the end. As data expert Matthew Isbell's maps demonstrate, the precincts that gave a majority of their support to black candidates in the primary gave Bottoms an almost-identical margin of victory on Tuesday, and vice-versa for precincts that favored white candidates going heavily for Norwood. Norwood did make up ground over the last month, but it seems like she didn't do quite as well as she needed to when as was said and done. Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 · 10:27[...]



Morning Digest: The 2018 election cycle officially kicks off with Illinois' filing deadline

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:01:18 +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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● IL-Gov: Monday brought us our first candidate filing deadline of the 2018 election cycle, as campaigns in Illinois were required to submit petitions in order to appear on ballot for next year's primary, which will take place on March 20. We've put together a calendar of every state's filing deadlines, primaries, and (where applicable) runoffs, which you'll want to bookmark and keep handy. You can find a list of candidates who have filed in Illinois for each race here. Campaign Action At Daily Kos Elections, we spend a good deal of time writing about who might or might not run for office, and filing deadlines give us a chance to take stock of where each important race stands now that their fields are set. As the deadline passes in each state, we'll review every notable Senate, gubernatorial, and House contest and give our take on the lay of the land. However, there are a few caveats to take into account. Most importantly, a race isn't necessarily set in stone after the deadline. Illinois, in fact, regularly offers good examples of this. Because candidates have to collect a certain number of signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot, they can and do get thrown off if they don't file enough valid petitions (and often, these petitions are challenged by opponents). We regularly see this sort of thing happen in Pennsylvania, New York, and Colorado, among other states, but many others don't require signatures to get on the ballot, so these kinds of issues don't arise in most places. Sometimes we face a very different problem: Candidates will file properly and on time, but their names won't appear on official candidate lists provided by election officials for days after the deadline. It's therefore important to recognize that bureaucratic slowness might explain the absence of a particular candidate's name on a particular state's list, rather than a shock last-minute retirement. Two of the most problematic states in this regard are New Jersey and West Virginia, but this issue can crop up anywhere. And even after a deadline passes, candidate fields can change. Candidates can drop out, or be removed from the ballot for other reasons, such as a failure to meet residency requirements. Sometimes, a new candidate can even get swapped in after a deadline, if a nominee quits and state law provides a mechanism for substituting a replacement. We'll continue to provide updates on all such fluctuations. [...]



The night the lights went on in Georgia: Democratic win breaks GOP state Senate supermajority

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 04:22:42 +0000

Democrats scored another big win on Tuesday, this time in a seat they’d already flipped from red to blue. Clear as mud? I’ll explain.  Georgia’s 6th Senate District became open last fall when the Republican representing it resigned to run for governor. A broad field of candidates ran to replace him: three Democrats and five Republicans. One of those Democrats, Jaha Howard, lost to the incumbent Republican by just 4 points in 2016, and he appeared to be a top contender in the special election—until some disturbing information came to light in October. Specifically, Howard was found to have authored a long and disturbing series of anti-LGBT and misogynistic social media posts. He belatedly apologized for and deleted the posts, but these misogynistic and homophobic rantings are unacceptable for any elected official, especially a Democrat. Thankfully, another strong candidate and progressive Democrat was already running in SD-06, which went for Hillary Clinton by a 55-40 margin. Jen Jordan is a first-time candidate, but she’s no stranger to fighting for progressive causes. As an attorney, she stood up in court for victims of sexual assault and predatory lenders, and she fought on the front lines against the GOP’s war on voting. Jordan is also a staunch advocate for public education, LGBTQ rights, raising the minimum wage, and expanding access to heath care. Jordan’s 63-37 percent win is important, but this race was about far more than just one Senate seat. Next year, Democrats will try to win Georgia’s governorship for the first time in two decades, but if we’re successful at the top of the ticket, the last thing we’d want is to leave the GOP with a legislative supermajority that they could use to pass conservative bills and override Democratic vetoes at will. Jordan’s win will therefore be a boon to the entire state if we can win in 2018. Contribute $3 to help elect Stacey Abrams as Georgia’s governor so Jordan can help sustain her vetoes! [...]



Daily Kos Elections open results thread: Georgia runoffs on our minds

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:01:53 +0000

Georgia voters head to the polls for several runoff elections, and there are two in particular we’re keeping an eye on. Polls close at 7 PM ET.

In the nonpartisan race to succeed termed-out Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Democratic City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms faces fellow Councilor Mary Norwood, an independent. If Norwood wins, she would become the city’s first white mayor since the early 1970s, as well as its first non-Democratic mayor in generations. Bottoms led Norwood 26-21 in the November primary, but several defeated primary candidates are backing Norwood, and limited polling shows a close race.

In addition, there’s a battle in the 6th State Senate District, a Republican district in the metro Atlanta area that already turned blue last month when two Democrats, attorney Jen Jordan and dentist Jaha Howard, took the most votes in the all-party primary to lock out the GOP and advance to a runoff. Tonight’s race will determine which Democrat gets to represent this seat, and the stakes are high: Daily Kos has joined with other progressive groups and a wide swath of Democratic leaders in supporting Jordan over Howard, who was exposed for repeatedly expressing overtly homophobic and misogynist views on social media. Jordan edged Howard 24-23 in the primary.

Results: AP

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