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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:36:13 +0000

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:36:13 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:23:14 +0000

Prince — “Nothing Compares 2 U”


We have some very exciting news: Daily Kos Elections is hiring! We're looking for an Assistant Elections Analyst to join our small and nimble team. This is an entry-level position and no prior experience is required. The person who fills this role will assist our department in almost every area of our work and will have the chance to make a mark on the 2018 midterms—and elections for years to come. If you're interested, or know someone who might be, click here for full details, including instructions on how to apply.

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Notorious GOP megadonor Foster Friess launches surprise bid for governor of Wyoming

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 22:17:15 +0000

In a complete surprise, conservative megadonor Foster Friess announced on Friday that he would run in the August GOP primary for governor of Wyoming. Friess had spent months talking about challenging Sen. John Barrasso, despite having described him as "one of my heroes," but he'd given no hint that he was interested in succeeding termed-out Republican Gov. Matt Mead. Politico reports that Friess only began informing party leaders he would seek the governorship the very day he declared for the race. Friess, who pledged to serve just one term, also endorsed his would-have-been rival Barrasso. Friess rose to prominence in 2012 when he spent millions on a super PAC backing Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, which was basically the only thing keeping Santorum afloat for months. He also generated a firestorm over birth control during that campaign when he explained, "Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." Santorum only half-heartedly distanced himself from Friess by calling his comments a "stupid joke" and "not reflective of me," though the two remained friendly. Friess has continued to bankroll Republican candidates and causes—now including his own. Friess' decision to run will shake up what's been a pretty low-key primary, though it's hard to know exactly what impact he'll have. Wyoming is a small state where personal campaigning is still very valuable, so even if Friess outspends his rivals, his money may not be as useful as it would be in places where politicians mainly communicate with voters through advertising. It's also worth noting that Friess, who isn't originally from Wyoming, resides in the affluent resort community of Jackson Hole, which is quite different from the rest of the state and is its best-known liberal bastion. Friess has also devoted himself more to national politics than to state-level affairs, and it's unclear how local GOP voters perceive him—or if they're even aware of him. We likewise don't know what sort of ties Friess has to the state GOP power players he appears to have caught off guard. But Friess did spent months talking about challenging his "hero" Barrasso, who is in good standing with party regulars, so he may have made some enemies already. Friess' very strange flirtations with a Senate bid may also indicate that, money aside, he may not have the right mindset for a serious campaign for governor. Friess weirdly wrote an email last year to the Casper Star-Tribune that simultaneously praised Barrasso while also saying he was thinking about running against the senator—and yet repeatedly misspelled the incumbent's name as "Barrosso." That quirky behavior could certainly cause Friess problems on the campaign trail. Even in an era that’s seen a steep decline in local media, local newspaper coverage in Wyoming still carries unusual weight with voters, even in GOP primaries, something that now-Rep. Liz Cheney learned the hard way during her abortive 2014 Senate run. This isn't to say that Friess can't win, especially in a crowded primary. However, while he will shine a big spotlight on a race most of the national media has all but ignored, we just don't know how he'll play at home. We’ll also need to see how the other candidates respond to this very unexpected development. State Treasurer Mark Gordon is the only statewide elected official in the race, and he appears to be the early frontrunner. However, a few other candidates are also in the hunt: businessman Sam Galeotos, prominent attorney Harriet Hageman, and physician Taylor Haynes (who lost the 2014 primary to Mead 54-32) are also in the hunt. A few other local politicians have also expressed interest in running ahead of the June 1 filing deadline. And though Wyoming was Trump's best state, it twice elected Democrat Dave Freudenthal to the governorship in the previous decade, and the party has consolidated behind former state House Minority Leader Mary Throne. [...]



Voting Rights Roundup: New Jersey just passed automatic voter registration. These states could too

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:58:08 +0000

Leading Off ● New Jersey: On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed automatic voter registration into law, making New Jersey the 11th state (plus the District of Columbia) to approve this reform. Eligible voters who do business with the state Motor Vehicle Commission will be automatically registered, unless they opt out. Consequently, this law could add hundreds of thousands of new voters to the rolls, make voting more accessible, and help keep records more secure and up-to-date.​ Campaign Action ​Importantly, this law also gives the secretary of state the option to expand automatic registration to other state agencies that can verify voter eligibility, although only the Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to implement automatic registration. Expanding the policy to other agencies is key for reaching the sizable minority of eligible voters who don't drive, such as the elderly, disabled, and those who rely on public transportation. Now that New Jersey has passed automatic registration, roughly one quarter of Americans will live in states that have the policy. But there's still a long way to go to enact automatic registration in the rest of the country, given how Republicans are increasingly opposed to the idea. However, Democrats have the power to pass or expand automatic registration without needing any Republican support four states—Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Massachusetts—but only the last of these states is even seriously considering a bill to do so this year. But there’s a way reformers can push automatic registration even in states where Republicans are recalcitrant. As shown on the map at the top of this post, many states give voting rights advocates a way to circumvent hostile legislators entirely: ballot initiatives. In 2016, Alaska became the first state to approve an initiative on automatic registration, and Nevadans will vote on it this November. Activists are also trying to put a voting rights amendment that includes automatic registration on the ballot in Michigan. Hopefully, more states will pass automatic registration, whether it be via the legislature or ballot measures. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/20

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:00:04 +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, Apr 20, 2018 · 3:08:43 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-48: On Thursday, wealthy businessman Stelian Onufrei announced that he was dropping out of the crowded June top-two primary and endorsing former Orange County Chair Scott Baugh over Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, another fellow Republican. Onufrei, whose name will still be on the ballot, had pledged to spend $500,000 of his own money when he entered the race over the summer. Onufrei had already deployed $200,000 by March 31, but he never seemed to get much traction. Still, Onufrei's departure from the race (or at least the departure of the remaining $300,000 he said he'd spend), could make it easier for Baugh to grab the second spot in the general election and lock Democrats out. A new outside group also seems to have the same idea. New OC Future, which is run by two GOP strategists, has begun a cable ad buy attacking Rohrabacher for disregarding his long ago support for term limits and remaining in Congress for 30 years. The narrator argues that Rohrabacher is only out for the money, and accuses him of funneling over $1 million in campaign dollars to his wife. On the Democratic side, tech executive Rachel Payne is out with a poll from Brilliant Corners arguing she has a good chance to be Rohrabacher's opponent in November. The survey gives the congressman the lead in the top-two primary with 34 percent of the vote, while Payne edges real estate company owner and fellow Democrat Harley Rouda 9-6 for the second place spot; Democrat Hans Keirstead takes 5, while Baugh is at 4. But a potential problem for Payne is that she doesn't have nearly as much money as her rivals. Payne ended March with $90,000 on-hand, while Keirstead had $642,000 and Rouda had $1.1 million, respectively. Another Democrat, businessman Omar Siddiqui, also had $861,000 on-hand. Payne, who is the only Democrat who hasn't done any self-funding, may be able to stand out as the only woman in the crowded field, but she may still have a tough time getting her name out. It also doesn't help that Payne won't be the only Democratic woman on the ballot; Laura Oatman dropped out a little while ago, but it was too late for her to remove her name. On the GOP side, Rohrabacher led Baugh $901,000 to $745,000 in cash-on-hand, so Baugh may have the resources he'll need to take some more Republican votes from the incumbent.   Friday, Apr 20, 2018 · 3:15:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MD-06: The influential Maryland State Education Association has endorsed state Del. Aruna Miller in the June Democratic primary for this open seat. Friday, Apr 20, 2018 · 3:40:43 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-18: We didn't know wealthy physician Mark Freeman, who took third place in the 2016 primary with 16 percent of the vote, was challenging GOP Rep. Brian Mast for renomination, but this um … blunt … new Freeman ad sure made that clear! Stop whatever you're doing and watch it. We insist. And it's apparently airing on TV. Freeman just stands on a pier and stares directly at the camera and loudly declares, "I'm Mark Freeman. A true conservative. Running against Brian Mast. In the Republican primary. In Congressional District 18." It takes Freeman half the ad to convey that very basic bit of information. Freeman continues by pledging "with all my heart to uphold the Second Amendment. And President Trump." We're not sure how you uphold a person, but Freeman adds he'll do it "as a true conservative." Freeman had less than $2,000 in the bank at the end of March, but he self-funded $1.6 million during his 2016 campaign, [...]



Cuomo's belated restoration of felon voting rights is welcome, but he's motivated by pure cynicism

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:00:25 +0000

In a surprise move, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he would issue an executive order to restore the voting rights of most of New York’s 35,000 citizens who are currently disenfranchised because they are on parole for a felony conviction. This is a welcome development that will help curtail a policy that is rooted in white supremacy. However, it will still leave tens of thousands of incarcerated citizens without voting rights. Furthermore, by excluding parolees who have committed certain crimes, this solution gives the governor undeserved discretion over who gets to the right to vote. And given that Cuomo’s been in office for over seven years, it’s only natural to wonder why he waited so long to use his executive powers. It’s hard to see this decision as anything other than a transparent reaction to the fact that Cuomo now faces a serious primary challenge from the left from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, who has harshly criticized the governor’s record on voting rights. Indeed, for years, Cuomo has been a master of cynically doing the bare minimum to placate the left while forever thwarting more substantive reforms. In a true display of chutzpah, Cuomo tried to blame Republicans in the state for blocking a bill to reform the state’s felony disenfranchisement laws. But Cuomo almost single-handedly ensured that those very same Republicans would remain in power by signing off on their extreme gerrymander at the start of the decade and by propping up a faction of renegade Democrats known as the IDC who for years have allowed the GOP to retain control of the Senate. Cuomo has tried his best to appear as if he's a champion of voting rights, but his actions have repeatedly stymied efforts to improve democracy by passing early voting, automatic and same-day voter registration, and an end to gerrymandering. But only now that he and his IDC allies face a threat to their political careers has Cuomo finally begun to take steps toward expanding voting rights. Restoring voting rights to citizens who have served their time is the right thing to do, but if Cuomo wins a third term this fall, expect him to suddenly forget how to do the right thing anymore. [...]



State rules that Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson doesn't make GOP ballot for governor of Colorado

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:51:37 +0000

On Friday, GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that, while former state Rep. Victor Mitchell had collected enough valid signatures to make the June GOP primary ballot for governor of Colorado, investment banker Doug Robinson had fallen short. Robinson, a nephew of Mitt Romney, immediately announced that he would challenge the decision in court. As we've written before, signature gathering is a very expensive and cutthroat process in Colorado. Candidates need 1,500 valid signatures from each of Colorado's seven congressional districts, a time-consuming effort that can cost an estimated $250,000. To make things even more complicated, a voter can only sign one petition for each race: if a voter signs petitions for multiple contenders, it only counts in favor of the first candidate to turn in their signatures. That means that Republican candidates are often fighting for the very small poll of GOP voters in the very blue 1st District and 2nd Districts, and Williams said that it was in the Boulder-based 2nd where Robinson had fallen 22 signatures short of what he needed. If Robinson can't convince the courts that he had enough valid petitions, he's out of luck. Colorado does allow candidates to also make the ballot by getting enough support at the state party convention, but Robinson chose not to compete there earlier this month. However, he may have reason to be optimistic that he'll prevail in court. Back in 2016, Williams initially said that three of the four candidates who had turned in petitions couldn't make it onto the ballot, but judges gradually ruled that they each had enough valid signatures. For now at least, there will be three Republicans on the primary ballot. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton also had his own problems with his petitions, but he made the ballot after he won the state party convention. Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez also took enough support at the convention to make it to the ballot, though he has very little money or name recognition. There's also Mitchell, a former state representative who is self-funding his bid. Stapleton begins the race as the GOP frontrunner no matter what happens to Robinson. [...]



The GOP establishment fears another bad candidate could cost them an Ohio special election

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:18:49 +0000

State Sen. Troy Balderson has picked up an endorsement for the May 8 GOP primary from former Rep. Pat Tiberi, who represented Ohio's 12th Congressional District until he resigned at the beginning of the year to lead an industry lobbying group. But Tiberi, who still had a massive $5.78 million in Friends of Tiberi, his old campaign account, at the end of March, isn't stopping there. Friends of Tiberi is spending $147,000 on an ad staring the former congressman praising Balderson as "a conservative fighter" who shares "the same values and wonderful story that make our country great." This is the second major outside group that's aired ads for Balderson: Defending Main Street, a super PAC set up to stop anti-establishment candidates from winning GOP primaries, recently began a $240,000 ad campaign to support him. Defending Main Street is the political arm of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which Tiberi was involved with in the House. Tiberi's decision to get involved here may be about a whole lot more than just him liking Balderson. The nihilistic House Freedom Caucus's allied House Freedom Action group has begun spending for Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan, and some establishment Republicans tell the Columbus Dispatch that they're afraid that she could win the primary. One Republican privately told the paper that they're worried an ultra-conservative nominee like Leneghan could cost them the August special election in this 53-42 Trump seat. (The primary for both the special election and the regular two-year term will be on May 8.) Another Republican also said that GOP donors were unhappy that they had no idea which non-Leneghan candidate they should back, and frustrated that NRCC chair Steve Stivers was essentially helping Leneghan by refusing to take sides or give them any sort of guidance. Tiberi, who was a close ally of the House leadership, could make it easier to stop Leneghan by declaring that Balderson is the candidate to back. State Sen. Kevin Bacon and Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien are both competing with Balderson for establishment support. And national Republicans may have good reason to fear that Leneghan will be a weak nominee. Back in 2012, Leneghan was issued a formal reprimand by her colleagues after Kelly Imler, who was Liberty Township's only front-line female firefighter, recounted Leneghan telling her, "You’re the girl, the girl firefighter, the token female." Another firefighter also said that Leneghan had made "snide comments about Imler being a single woman and sleeping in the same engine house as ‘all those male firefighters." [...]



As GOP tries to stop Don Blankenship from winning Senate primary, Democrats come in to aid him

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:00:59 +0000

National Republicans are airing ads for the May 8 GOP primary against notorious West Virginia coal baron Don Blankenship, whom they fear is unelectable against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, and now, a Democratic group is trying to help Blankenship get nominated.

A new super PAC called Duty and Country has launched what Politico says is a $380,000 ad buy that targets each of Blankenship's main rivals, Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, while conspicuously not mentioning Blankenship. The group shares the same address as Senate Majority PAC, and its treasurer is former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, who prosecuted Blankenship over the deaths of 29 workers in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion.

Their anti-Jenkins ad argues that when he was head of the state medical association, he "pushed West Virginian doctors to use an insurance company that overcharged for services" because he got money from the deal. Their spot against Morrisey hits the attorney general as "a millionaire New Yorker and former lobbyist" who doesn't understand West Virginia. The narrator encourages Morrisey to run for senator of New York instead. Jenkins and Morrisey have been on the receiving end of plenty of negative ads from each other and from Blankenship, but we believe this is the first time they've been attacked over these stories on TV.

Blankenship is also out with yet another commercial that ties himself to Donald Trump as closely as possible, mentioning all the Trump priorities he supports. Trump himself is not aboard the U.S.S. Blankenship, and a few weeks ago, he invited Jenkins and Morrisey to a rally while snubbing the third candidate.

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Morning Digest: Daily Kos Elections presents its first quarter House fundraising roundup

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:00:36 +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 ● Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections is once again pleased to bring you our quarterly House fundraising roundup chart, with data on every major race for the first quarter of 2018. In total, we cover an astounding 669 candidates in 202 different contests, a reflection both of the progressive enthusiasm that has prompted so many Democrats to run this year as well as the proliferation of open Republican seats due to a record-shattering number of GOP retirements.​ Campaign Action ​As we discuss House races in the coming days, we'll pause here and there to investigate which candidates are bringing in the sort of money they need to win, and which ones aren't. And one thing we like to look at isn't necessarily who's outraising whom but rather which contenders will have the resources to get their message out and which ones won't. It's not uncommon for candidates to win primaries or even general elections despite getting outspent. But it is unusual is for them to win without having the money to hire a skilled staff, air television and digital ads, send mailers, build a field operation, and pay for all the other things it takes to run a credible race. And of course, it costs more to run ads in some media markets than others, so what might look like a decent fundraising haul in South Dakota may be underwhelming in South Florida. It's also worth noting that a candidate's financial picture can change rapidly—and unexpectedly. That's been particularly true this cycle, where a number of unheralded Democrats in difficult districts have put together credible hauls seemingly out of nowhere. By the same token, nominees often see a fundraising boost after they win their primaries, but only two states have held their primaries so far, so there are plenty more to come. Money, of course, isn't everything in politics. If it were, then rich self-funders would win all the time (thankfully, they don't). But it's still necessary, and these quarterly fundraising reports give us a good window into who is capable of running a serious campaign and who isn't. P.S. You can find our companion Senate fundraising chart here. Note that Senate candidates (rather incredibly) still file reports on paper, which the FEC must then scan in—a process that takes some time. Therefore, we're still collecting data, most of which comes from media reports. [...]



This Week in Statehouse Action: Blame It On The Rain edition

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:59:11 +0000

April showers, etc. But capricious springtime weather isn’t keeping your local lawmaker down. But with only 27 legislatures in session this week (and four of those adjourning sine die), could action in statehouses be a little bit of … a washout? Ha! Never. After all, rain makes things swell and grow. Like ego and hubris. Don’t Rain On My Parade: Missouri Republicans continue to splash about in disarray as Gov. Eric Greitens triples down on definitely not resigning from office as he fights: Campaign Action A felony invasion of privacy charge; Allegations of criminal action from his Republican attorney general; and A state House committee investigation that’s already brought to light potentially criminal sex acts and is still investigating other possible criminal activity. The latest on that felony: Just this Thursday, a judge refused to dismiss the charge against the governor (Greitens claims prosecutors withheld key evidence). The trial is set to begin in mid-May. Greitens isn’t getting much help from the home team. GOP Attorney General (and U.S. Senate candidate) Josh Hawley called on his fellow Republican to resign last week after a state House committee investigation released a detailed account of some non-consensual and violent acts between Greitens and a woman with whom he’d been having an affair. Greitens responded by demanding Hawley recuse himself from investigating Greitens—a request Hawley’s office essentially laughed off as having “no merit at all.” Greitens then filed a lawsuit against Hawley, alleging that Hawley’s call for the governor to resign created a conflict of interest and calling for any further investigations into Greitens and his misdeeds be conducted by a special prosecutor. Greitens also asked the judge to gran a temporary restraining order against Hawley to prevent further investigations in the meantime. Hawley clapped back by upping the ante: A day after Greitens filed this lawsuit, Hawley announced that he had evidence that the governor had—quite probably illegally—used donor and email lists from his nonprofit organization to fundraise for his gubernatorial campaign. But don’t imagine Hawley’s doing this because of his upstanding morals. He needs to put some distance between himself and Greitens to make it harder for supporters of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to link the two. As this GOP slapfight unfolds, top state GOP lawmakers have finally started calling on Greitens to GTFO. After Hawley publicly claimed to have evidence of Greitens’ criminal misuse of his nonprofits donor lists, GOP state House Speaker Todd Richardson, joined by the House majority leader and the speaker pro tem, called on Greitens to resign. Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard took it a step further, saying that the legislature should “immediately start impeachment proceedings” if Greitens didn’t hustle up and step down. Thing is, talk is cheap. [...]



Republican appointed to succeed lawmaker killed by drunk driver failed to disclose his own DUIs

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 20:54:26 +0000

The Indianapolis Star reported on Thursday that in 2003, when Luke Messer was persuading local Indiana GOP leaders to appoint him to replace a state representative who had been killed by a drunk driver, Messer kept his own two DUIs a secret. Messer got the job, which he used to launch a political career that would lead to his election to the House in 2012. Messer is now running in the three-way May 8 primary to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Both DUIs, which happened when Messer was in his 20s, eventually became public, though he wasn't the one who revealed either of them. In 2009, around the time that Messer was unsuccessfully challenging then-Rep. Dan Burton in the primary, an anonymous person mailed court documents to the media about his 1995 conviction. Three years later, Messer's Democratic foe brought a previously-unknown 1990 charge to light.

However, several of the local party leaders who picked Messer for the state House seat in 2003 told the Star that they didn't know about either DUI until the paper contacted them for the story. Several of them said they were not happy he hadn't told them 15 years ago, and that he probably wouldn’t have been selected had they known.

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Daily Kos Elections 1Q 2018 House fundraising reports roundup

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:23:46 +0000

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from Jan. 1 to March 31, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on April 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for House candidates in all key races this cycle. (Click here for our companion chart for the Senate.) That includes, among others:

  • Races we expect to be competitive in this year's general elections
  • Open seats in otherwise safe districts with contested primaries
  • Under-the-radar contests where a candidate raised or self-funded an unexpectedly high sum
  • Incumbents who face (or might face) a credible primary challenge

As always, all numbers are in thousands. The chart, and an explanation of each column, can be found below.

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When is a Democrat worse than a Republican? When her record looks just like a Republican's

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:47:52 +0000

Take a look at New Mexico state Rep. Debbie Rodella's greatest hits and see if you can guess which party she belongs to: Just over a year ago, she killed proposals to implement automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration by voting to let these bills die in committee. In 2013, she voted against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. And she’s repeatedly used her position as chair of a key committee to protect payday lenders from reform measures—even as she’s received sizable contributions from the industry. If you guessed that Rodella’s a Republican—despite that being a perfectly reasonable assessment—you’d be quite wrong. Rodella is, in fact, a Democrat who was first elected to the New Mexico state House in 1992, and she hasn’t faced a primary challenger in over a decade. But progressives in the state are increasingly aware of Rodella’s betrayals, and this cycle, a candidate who represents real Democratic values is taking her on. Daily Kos is thrilled to endorse Democrat Susan Herrera in New Mexico House District 41. The contrast couldn’t be clearer. Herrera began her extensive career in non-profits and government as a legislative staffer, eventually becoming director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. After relocating to New Mexico 28 years ago, she then founded and ran two regional education-focused nonprofits, and education continues to be one of her policy passions. Of course, Herrera supports the voting rights initiatives Rodella blocked last year, and she supports meaningful reforms of the payday lending industry. Herrera is also passionate about protecting New Mexico’s natural resources, and with her support for universal background checks, a ban on gun sales to those convicted of domestic violence, and other gun safety policies, she’s hoping she’ll earn an “F” from the NRA. Rodella, on the other hand, has repeatedly earned perfect scores from the NRA. And in addition to her opposition to gun safety measures, voting rights, and predatory lending reform, Rodella has also opposed bills to limit air pollution and support the renewable energy industry, making her the worst Democrat in the state House on environmental issues last year, according to a New Mexico conservation nonprofit. New Mexico HD-41 has supported true Democrats at the top of the ballot by wide margins in recent elections: Hillary Clinton won this district 65-24, and Barack Obama carried it 74-22 in 2012. New Mexicans have the opportunity to elect a Democrat who shares the progressive values of the party, rather than one whose votes repeatedly belie the “D” next to her name. It’s time to replace Rodella. Please contribute $3 to help elect Democrat Susan Herrera to the New Mexico House! [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/19

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:00:05 +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, Apr 19, 2018 · 4:05:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MN-08: On Wednesday, former FBI analyst Leah Phifer dropped out of the August Democratic primary. Phifer was the top vote-getter at Saturday's party convention, and she led former state Rep. Joe Radinovich by a 48-42 margin with delegates on the tenth and final ballot. However, neither of them had the support of 60 percent they needed to win the party endorsement, and Phifer said on Wednesday that she wouldn't continue her campaign without it. Phifer's departure is a relief to outgoing Rep. Rick Nolan and his allies, who worked against her at the convention. Phifer was challenging Nolan for the party endorsement before he decided to retire in February, and some party leaders also worried that her opposition to local mining projects and her weak fundraising would harm Democrats' chances of holding this seat in the general election. Four Democrats are still in the running, though it's possible that someone will decide to jump in before the June 5 filing deadline. Only two of the candidates, Radinovich and state Rep. Jason Metsa, raised more than $100,000 during their first months in the race; Metsa led Radinovich $117,000 to $95,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of March. Both are Nolan allies, and Radinovich was the congressman's campaign manager during his tight 2016 re-election bid. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy and former local TV news anchor Michelle Lee are also still running, but neither of them has much money or activist support. Each candidate took only 5 percent of the delegates at the convention, while Lee led Kennedy $16,000 to $3,000 in cash-on-hand. (A previous Digest incorrectly had Kennedy holding $27,000 on-hand.) However, it's possible that Lee's long TV career will help her with primary voters. The winner will likely take on St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber, who faces little opposition for the GOP nod. Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 · 4:09:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer PA-04: Former Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who used to represent much of Montgomery County in Congress before she left to unsuccessfully run for governor in 2014, has endorsed state Rep. Madeleine Dean in the May 15 Democratic primary. Thursday, Apr 19, 2018 · 4:26:30 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer SC-Gov: Campaign finance reports covering the first three months of 2018 were due last week. On the GOP side, Gov. Henry McMaster outraised former state cabinet official Catherine Templeton, who looks like his chief rival in the June primary, $741,000 to $558,000. The two were raising a very similar amount of cash through much of 2017, and McMaster still has a relatively small $3 million to $2.5 million cash-on-hand edge against her. Insiders have suggested that wealthy businessman John Warren could bring in enough money to match either McMaster or Templeton, but so far, he's not doing it. Warren raised $160,000 from donors and self-funded another $550,000, leaving him with $266,000 in the bank. Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant only raised $22,000 and had $183,000 in the bank, while former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill had all of $423 on-hand. If no one takes a majority of the vote on June 12, there would be a runoff two weeks later. On the Democratic side, state Rep. James Smith, the establishment favorite, raised $403,000 and[...]



Morning Digest: New poll finds Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in a tight race, but caution is warranted

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 12:00:36 +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-Sen, TX-Gov: Quinnipiac made waves on Wednesday when they released a survey—the school’s first ever of Texas—giving GOP Sen. Ted Cruz just a 47-44 lead over Democratic nominee Beto O'Rourke. They also found GOP Gov. Greg Abbott with a 49-40 edge against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, while businessman Andrew White, the other candidate in the May 22 Democratic primary runoff, trails 48-41. So, what to make of one of the best poll results for Texas Democrats in ages?​ Campaign Action ​Well, as we've been writing for years, if a poll feels too good to be true, it probably is, just as the inverse is often the case. Perhaps the biggest red flag is that Donald Trump posts a 43-52 disapproval rating, which is almost identical to the 41-52 score Quinnipiac found him at nationally earlier this month; the HuffPost Pollster average also gives Trump a similar 42-53 nationwide score. Trump carried Texas by a 52-43 margin in 2016, so it seems very unlikely that Texas voters now disapprove of him just about as much as the entire country does. But we can't just compare Quinnipiac's horserace numbers to the average, because other public polling has been scant in the Senate race and nonexistent in the gubernatorial contest. All we have are a December WPA Intelligence poll for Cruz that had him ahead 52-34 and a January PPP survey for the progressive group End Citizens United, which has endorsed O’Rourke, that also found Cruz in front, albeit by a smaller 45-37 spread. At this point, we should be skeptical of the notion that Cruz is on the brink of defeat, or that Abbott is in real danger. If nothing else, we always caution that you should never let one poll determine your view of a race, even if—in fact, especially if—there’s just one poll out there. That hardly means that we should throw a poll like this out, of course. Democrats are more energized than they’ve been in years, and if that enthusiasm continues, it’ll go a long way towards producing a favorable midterm electorate. O'Rourke also has done a strong job of rallying anti-Cruz donors nationwide, so much so that his eye-popping first-quarter haul of $6.7 million was more than double Cruz’s $3.2 million take. Of course, Cruz will still have plenty of resources to defend himself with, and his well-funded conservative allies will have his back, but O'Rourke will be able to get his message out in a way Democratic Senate candidates in Texas haven't been able to in a very long time. So even if Quinnipiac’s numbers are on the rosy side, Cruz still faces a serious challenge—as Daily Kos Elections’ David Beard argued he could from the moment O’Rourke launched his campaign a year ago. [...]



The Daily Kos Elections guide to Texas polling for pessimistic optimists

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 23:01:39 +0000

Quinnipiac made waves on Wednesday when they released a survey—the school’s first ever of Texas—giving GOP Sen. Ted Cruz just a 47-44 lead over Democratic nominee Beto O'Rourke. They also found GOP Gov. Greg Abbott with a 49-40 edge against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, while businessman Andrew White, the other candidate in the May 22 Democratic primary runoff, trails 48-41. So, what to make of one of the best poll results for Texas Democrats in ages? Well, as we've been writing for years, if a poll feels too good to be true, it probably is, just as the inverse is often the case. Perhaps the biggest red flag is that Donald Trump posts a 43-52 disapproval rating, which is almost identical to the 41-52 score Quinnipiac found him at nationally earlier this month; the HuffPost Pollster average also gives Trump a similar 42-53 nationwide score. Trump carried Texas by a 52-43 margin in 2016, so it seems very unlikely that Texas voters now disapprove of him just about as much as the entire country does. But we can't just compare Quinnipiac's horserace numbers to the average, because other public polling has been scant in the Senate race and nonexistent in the gubernatorial contest. All we have are a December WPA Intelligence poll for Cruz that had him ahead 52-34 and a January PPP survey for the progressive group End Citizens United, which has endorsed O’Rourke, that also found Cruz in front, albeit by a smaller 45-37 spread. At this point, we should be skeptical of the notion that Cruz is on the brink of defeat, or that Abbott is in real danger. If nothing else, we always caution that you should never let one poll determine your view of a race, even if—in fact, especially if—there’s just one poll out there. Of course, that hardly means that we should throw a poll like this out. Democrats are more energized than they’ve been in years, and if that enthusiasm continues, it’ll go a long way towards producing a favorable midterm electorate. O'Rourke also has done a strong job of rallying anti-Cruz donors nationwide, so much so that his eye-popping first-quarter haul of $6.7 million was more than double Cruz’s $3.2 million take. Of course, Cruz will still have plenty of resources to defend himself with, and his well-funded conservative allies will have his back. But O'Rourke will be able to get his message out in a way Democratic Senate candidates in Texas haven't been able to in a very long time. So even if Quinnipiac’s numbers are on the rosy side, Cruz still faces a serious challenge—as Daily Kos Elections’ David Beard argued he could from the moment O’Rourke launched his campaign a year ago. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/18

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 13:00:09 +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, Apr 18, 2018 · 3:54:59 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ND-Sen: Candidate filing closed last week for North Dakota's June 12 primaries, and the state has a list of candidates here. It took a while for this race to develop, but there were no last-minute surprises. Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer each face little primary opposition ahead of what will be a very competitive contest. Polling in North Dakota is usually hard to come by, and we could be in the dark here once again. Heitkamp held a large $5.3 million to $1.9 million cash-on-hand lead at the end of March, but national Republicans are going to do whatever they can to give Cramer the resources he needs. Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 · 4:05:22 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf CA-Sen: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who is a progressive mega-donor, has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon and didn't rule out funding a super PAC to help him defeat Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. De Leon's $672,000 in cash-on-hand at the beginning of April paled in comparison to Feinstein's $10.3 million war chest, which she built with a hefty $5 million loan to herself, but Steyer could help level the playing field in this incredibly expensive state if he ends up following through and spending millions to boost De Leon. Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 · 4:06:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ND-AL: GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is leaving this seat, which includes the entire state, to run for the Senate, and both parties have consolidated behind a candidate. On the GOP side, state Sen. Kelly Armstrong, who resigned as state party chair to run, recently won the party endorsement. While fellow state Sen. Tom Campbell filed to run against him, he announced last week that he was dropping out of the race. The other Republicans filed, but neither of them reported raising any money by March 31. On the Democratic side, former state Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider faces no opposition. North Dakota backed Trump 63-27 and the GOP is favored to keep the seat. Still, the state can be unpredictable, and Schneider could have a chance if he runs a strong campaign. However, money won't be an issue for Armstrong, who is very close to the state's oil industry. Armstrong outraised Schneider $357,000 to $128,000 during their first quarter of the race, and the Republican loaned himself an additional $100,000. At the end of March, Armstrong held a $236,000 to $126,000 cash-on-hand edge. Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 · 4:21:51 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CT-Gov: On Wednesday, state Sen. Toni Boucher announced that she would run for re-election rather than seek the GOP nomination. Boucher had formed an exploratory committee back in July, but she never seemed to catch fire. Four years ago, Boucher also created an exploratory committee but decided not to run. Boucher was the last notable potential candidate on either side who had created an exploratory committee but had not yet committed to running. Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 · 4:39:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MT-Sen: State Auditor Matt Rosendale's allies at the Club for Growth have released a poll from WPA Intelligence giving him a 40-17 lead over former Judge Russ Fagg in [...]



Morning Digest: Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent announces he'll resign and not just retire

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:33 +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 ● PA-15 (old): Republican Rep. Charlie Dent previously announced he wouldn't run for re-election back in September, but he now he says he'll resign in May, meaning there will have to be a special election to fill the last few months of his term in the old 15th District. However, it's unclear just when exactly that special will be held. State law mandates it take place at least 60 days after the vacancy arises, which would mean no earlier than July. But Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf could simply wait to hold it concurrently with the regular Nov. 6 election for the full two-year term, which would eliminate the cost of holding a standalone special election. Wolf said he'll make a scheduling decision once he receives an official resignation notice.​ Campaign Action ​Making matters more complicated, this special election would have to take place under the old GOP-gerrymandered version of the Lehigh Valley-based 15th District instead of the region's newly redrawn and renumbered 7th District, even though the state Supreme Court struck down the GOP's map and drew its own version in February. That's because the special would fill a district that is already in use, and holding one under the new lines would've given some voters two representatives while others had none. Both parties would hold conventions to pick their old 15th District nominees, which could end up just being whoever wins the new 7th District primaries on May 15. The old 15th backed Trump by 52-44, but the new 7th voted for Clinton by 49-48. Consequently, Democrats may have good reason for wanting to delay the special election until November, since Republicans could gain an unfair boost in the new 7th District if they got to benefit from several months of incumbency by narrowly winning a special election for the old 15th District, which was unconstitutionally gerrymandered. By contrast, holding the two elections concurrently would leave no incumbent from either party running in the new 7th District, just as was the case before Dent announced his resignation. [...]



Latest Republican congressman bails for golden parachute, leaving us to clean up Trump's mess

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:27:22 +0000

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent joined fellow Republicans Pat Tiberi and Jason Chaffetz in washing his hands of the mess his party’s made and leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces. Dent announced that he’ll resign “in the coming weeks,” following in the footsteps of Tiberi, who bailed in January, and Chaffetz, who up and quit last June. These Republicans aren’t joining the Trump administration, caught up in a sexual misconduct scandal, or having health problems, which are all conventional reasons for leaving office early. Nope. They’re just bored of their responsibilities as elected members of Congress and are looking for a quick and easy way out. Chaffetz was the first out the door to become a contributor for Fox News. Tiberi took a cushy job with the Ohio Business Roundtable. And Dent has been in talks to become a TV pundit, too—an easier and higher-paying job than representing the people of Pennsylvania. Of course, they all could have waited until January of 2019 to do these things, but that would have meant putting their constituents needs’ ahead of their own. A record-setting number of Republicans are retiring this year, but at least the rest of the lot are taking the importance of their office seriously enough to see out their term. These three, though—who asked voters to place their trust in them for two years until the next election—are bailing because they don’t want to bother anymore. They leave their constituents without representation for months and leave their state with the bill for a special election. But that doesn’t matter because they’re not enjoying Washington. Instead, they’re taking their proverbial ball and going home to play a more lucrative game. Is it more embarrassing that Chaffetz couldn’t make it six months before quitting, or that Dent faced, at most, 75 more days of Congress being in session and decided he couldn’t bear it? Yes, Trump is a disaster and the GOP house caucus is a shitshow, but whose fault is that? Maybe instead of walking away from his duties, Dent could have spent his remaining time in office trying to fix things and holding Trump accountable. But of course that might endanger his comfortable golden parachute. And if we’ve learned anything about these three, it’s that their personal comfort comes first. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/17

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:00:13 +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, Apr 17, 2018 · 2:39:13 PM +00:00 · David Nir PA-15 (old): GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, who was already going to retire at the end of this term, now says he’ll resign in May. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 4:46:17 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf AZ-Sen: GOP pollster Magellan Strategies has released a new poll of the Aug. 28 Republican primary for Senate, which they said is for no particular client. The survey gives Rep. Martha McSally a 36-26 edge over former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, while former state Sen. Kelli Ward earns 25 percent. Magellan has not previously published a poll of this race, but this survey is in line with two January polls from Republican firms Data Orbital and OH Predictive Insights, which also had McSally modestly leading Arpaio with Ward in a close third place. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 5:00:06 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-10: Venture capitalist Josh Harder, who is one of several Democrats competing in the June top-two primary, is out with his first spot. Harder describes how his brother was born 10 weeks premature and his family would have gone bankrupt without health insurance. Harder declares that everyone in the district should have the same access to healthcare that his brother needed. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 5:03:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-39: The Orange County Labor Federation has thrown its support behind Navy veteran Gil Cisneros in the June top-two primary. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 5:04:19 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-45: The California Labor Federation has endorsed Democrat Dave Min, a UC Irvine professor, in the June top-two primary. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 5:07:19 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf FL-Sen: Republican Gov. Rick Scott is already out with his first TV ad now that he's officially a Senate candidate. The commercial features Scott speaking in front of a whiteboard with a map of the U.S., which Scott draws on to claim that every zip code in America supposedly backs term limits for Congress, with the only exception being politicians in Washington, D.C. The governor says he’ll support term limits if elected. Scott, who is worth more than $100 million and willing to generously self-fund, is laying down a considerable $2 million to air the spot. While this is his first ad as a candidate, Scott has previously been running "issue" ads that praised his job performance as governor under the guise of urging voters to contact their legislators to keep state taxes down, something that federal campaign finance regulations allowed him to do so long as he wasn't urging voters to vote for or against a candidate. Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 · 5:12:54 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-48: Stem cell researcher Hans Keirstead, who is one of several Democrats taking on GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, is up with his first TV ad ahead of the June top-two primary: His campaign says the spot has $152,000 behind it for its first week. Keirstead tells the audience his "radical idea" is to "[u]se science and facts to fix out broken healthcare system." Keirstead pledges to fight for Medicare for all, and declares that Trump's agenda "is dangero[...]



Morning Digest: North Carolina's new backdoor legislative gerrymanders still give the GOP a big edge

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 12:00:36 +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 ● Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation returns to North Carolina, where a court order resulted in many legislative seats being redrawn for the 2018 cycle. Unfortunately, despite Democrats' hopes, the new maps still give the GOP a huge advantage.​ Campaign Action ​Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that had struck down 28 of North Carolina's 170 state legislative districts on the grounds that Republicans had violated the Constitution by diminishing the power of black voters when they drew these maps in 2011. However, the GOP legislature still got first crack at drawing remedial maps, and they took the opportunity to shore up a number of Republican districts—something they otherwise were not permitted to do, since the state constitution prohibits mid-decade redistricting. A Democratic challenge to this backdoor gerrymander ran aground in the courts, leaving Republicans with maps they can still be quite happy about. As a result, breaking the GOP's veto-proof three-fifths supermajorities in either chamber is still going to be a major challenge for Democrats, much less actually gaining control of the legislature. The easiest way to show how much the new lines favor the GOP compared to the old ones is to look at how many seats both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won. Trump carried the state by a close 50.5-46.8 margin, and under the old maps, he won 31 of the 50 Senate seats and 76 of the 120 House seats. Under the new boundaries, Trump carried 32 Senate seats and 75 House districts, a net difference of exactly zero seats. All members of both houses are up every two years. However, Senate Republicans probably have more to lose than their counterparts in the lower chamber this year. One way to look a little deeper is to sort each seat in each chamber by Trump's margin of victory over Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because North Carolina has an even number of seats, we average the presidential margin for the middle two seats to come up with the median. [...]



New York's Working Families Party endorses Cynthia Nixon, progressive challenger to Andrew Cuomo

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:50:19 +0000

Despite intense maneuvering by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York's Working Families Party overwhelmingly endorsed his progressive primary challenger, activist and actress Cynthia Nixon, at a gathering on Saturday. Prior the proceedings, with a Nixon endorsement looking likely, Cuomo pulled out of the running.

At the same time, two influential unions supportive of Cuomo, the Communications Workers of America and SEIU 32BJ (which represents property services workers, including doormen and office cleaners), announced they would leave the WFP. Some other dissident unions also reportedly have suggested they might form their own ballot line which they could then give to Cuomo, but any such talks sound highly preliminary, and 32BJ made a point of saying it was not involved in them.

While Nixon's WFP nod has no direct impact on the outcome of September's Democratic primary, if the unions still remaining in the WFP choose to expend real resources to aid her campaign, that could give her a major boost. In 2014, when Cuomo also faced a primary challenger running to his left, law professor Zephyr Teachout, the WFP declined to back her after a bitterly divided party convention, leaving Teachout without the kind of institutional support she desperately needed to pull off an upset—and which Nixon likewise needs.

One reason the WFP spurned Teachout had to do with ballot access. For political parties in New York to retain their ballot lines, their candidates need to win at least 50,000 votes on that line every time there's a gubernatorial election. Usually the WFP cross-endorses the Democratic nominee, and thanks to New York's system of so-called "fusion voting," whereby multiple parties can nominate the same candidate, hitting that threshold has never been a problem. But had Teachout won the WFP endorsement and lost the Democratic primary, it's possible she might not have received the necessary 50,000 votes that fall.

That's a risk that the WFP is evidently willing to take this time around with Nixon, who remains very much the longshot against Cuomo. But the WFP earned heaps of scorn for siding with Cuomo in 2014, and in the current political environment, siding with the notoriously centrist incumbent might have caused an even more tumultuous split in the party's ranks.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/16

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 13:00:09 +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, Apr 16, 2018 · 4:46:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IN-Sen: Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita utterly despise one another, so it's no small thing that they teamed up several times at Sunday's debate to attack wealthy businessman Mike Braun, the third candidate in the May 8 GOP primary. The Indianapolis Star's Tony Cook writes that the two longtime rivals frequently agreed with one another on stage and instead focused their fire on Braun, arguing his company imported auto parts from overseas and taking him to task for voting in Democratic primaries until 2012. Rokita did still attack Messer a few times, but it sounds like both congressmen trained most of their fire on Braun. We haven't seen any polls here in months, but the congressmen seem to be behaving like Braun is the frontrunner right now. Braun, a former state representative, started the race with little-name recognition, but he began advertising last year and never let up. We're still waiting on campaign finance reports from all the candidates, but the wealthy Braun may very well have the resources to outspend Rokita and Messer on the air in the final weeks. We'll see if the other two begin focusing on Braun in their final TV ads, or if they continue to just attack their two rivals about equally. Monday, Apr 16, 2018 · 4:53:47 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MD-Gov: Former NAACP head Ben Jealous picked up the support of the Maryland State Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the state, for the June Democratic primary. Last year, the Baltimore Sun described the group, which has clashed repeatedly with GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, as one of the most coveted endorsements in the contest, and noted that they spent $2 million during the 2014 race. Monday, Apr 16, 2018 · 5:04:33 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov: Both Democrats and Republicans held statewide conventions (known locally as “assemblies”) in Colorado on Saturday, though the most noteworthy developments came in the GOP race. For Democrats, the vote played out largely as anticipated. Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy won the party endorsement with the support of 62 percent of delegates, while Rep. Jared Polis was a distant second with 33 percent, enough to get him to the primary ballot. (Polis had also collected signatures, so if he'd failed to hit the 30 percent threshold at the convention, he might have still made it to the primary.) Former state Sen. Mike Johnston and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, meanwhile, did not compete at the convention and instead chose to gather signatures. Election officials have verified that Johnston has enough valid signatures to make the primary ballot, while Lynne’s petitions are still being processed. On the GOP side, however, things were definitely a bit crazier, though state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the presumptive frontrunner, won his party’s endorsement by earning the support of 43 percent of delegates. That not only ensures him of a place on June’s primary ballot but also gives him the top slot. And that can matter a great deal: Rese[...]



Thanks to backdoor GOP gerrymander, North Carolina's new maps are almost as bad as the old ones

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 21:47:48 +0000

Daily Kos Elections's project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation returns to North Carolina, where a court order resulted in many legislative seats being redrawn for the 2018 cycle. Unfortunately, despite Democrats’ hopes, the new maps still give the GOP a huge advantage. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that had struck down 28 of North Carolina's 170 state legislative districts on the grounds that Republicans had violated the Constitution by diminishing the power of black voters when they drew these maps in 2011. However, the GOP legislature still got first crack at drawing remedial maps, and they took the opportunity to shore up a number of Republican districts—something they otherwise were not permitted to do, since the state constitution prohibits mid-decade redistricting. A Democratic challenge to this backdoor gerrymander ran aground in the courts, leaving Republicans with maps they can still be quite happy with. As a result, breaking the GOP's veto-proof three-fifths supermajorities in either chamber is still going to be a major challenge for Democrats, much less actually gaining control of the legislature. The easiest way to show how much the new lines favor the GOP compared to the old ones is to look at how many seats both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won. Trump carried the state by a close 50.5-46.8 margin, and under the old maps, he won 31 of the 50 Senate seats and 76 of the 120 House seats. Under the new boundaries, Trump carried 32 Senate seats and 75 House districts, a net difference of exactly zero seats. All members of both houses are up every two years. However, Senate Republicans probably have more to lose than their counterparts in the lower chamber this year. One way to look a little deeper is to sort each seat in each chamber by Trump's margin of victory over Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because North Carolina has an even number of seats, we average the presidential margin for the middle two seats to come up with the median. Under the old Senate map, the median seat backed Trump 58-40, but under the new one, he carried it 55-43—8 points to the right of his statewide win. That's still very bad for Democrats, but it's a bit less tough. However, while the old median point in the House favored Trump 54-42, the new one supported him 55-41, which is actually a bit worse. This means that, if Democrats want to take the barest of majorities, they're going to need to win at least some seats that backed Trump by double digits, which is a very tough task even in a good year. [...]



A crowded Democratic primary to succeed Rick Nolan awaits after no one wins party endorsement

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 20:10:06 +0000

After a hard-fought battle at Saturday’s convention, none of the five Democrats competing to succeed retiring Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District emerged with their party’s endorsement, and Team Blue will now move on toward a crowded August primary for this competitive seat. Candidates needed the support of 60 percent of the delegates to win the endorsement, and while capturing this prize doesn’t guarantee anyone the nomination, several contenders had pledged to drop out if they didn’t earn the party’s official backing.

On the 10th and final ballot, former FBI analyst Leah Phifer led former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, who was Nolan's 2016 campaign manager, by a 48-42 margin, while the remaining 10 percent of delegates voted not to endorse anyone. At that point—10 hours into the proceedings—convention-goers opted to adjourn without naming a victor.

Several other candidates also competed at the convention. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy and former local TV news anchor Michelle Lee were quickly eliminated on the very first ballot, after both failed to clear the necessary 5 percent to move on. State Rep. Jason Metsa lasted a little longer, but he got knocked out after taking just 18 percent on the third ballot, falling short of the 25 percent needed to continue at that point.

By Monday, Radinovich, Metsa, Lee, and Kennedy had all announced that they would continue on to the primary. Phifer, by contrast, said that she would take the next two weeks to decide if she'd do the same, though she sounds unlikely to, since she acknowledged her campaign had always been dependent on winning the party endorsement.

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Trump may have won Pennsylvania, but new polling shows Democrats poised for a sweep this year

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 18:28:03 +0000

A new poll from Muhlenberg College for the Morning Call finds Pennsylvania Democrats in strong shape across the board this year, much as Franklin & Marshall did late last month. In Muhlenberg's closest gubernatorial matchup, Gov. Tom Wolf leads state Sen. Scott Wagner 47-31; he holds even wider advantages of 47-27 against businessman Paul Mango and 46-26 versus attorney Laura Ellsworth. The big gaps are undoubtedly due in part to Wolf's name recognition advantage, but he also sports a positive 46-35 job approval rating.

The picture is similar for Sen. Bob Casey, who beats Rep. Lou Barletta 48-32 and state Rep. Jim Christiana 48-29 and has an approval score of 41-28. Trump, meanwhile, is deep underwater, with only 39 percent of voters approving of the job he's doing while 55 percent disapprove. That's a strong headwind for any GOP candidate but may just be insurmountable for Barletta, whom the Washington Examiner's David Drucker recently reported had been "all but written off" by his party.

There's one final piece of good news for Keystone State Democrats: On the generic congressional ballot, they lead Republicans by a wide 47-38 margin. Democrats could pick up as many as five GOP-held seats in Pennsylvania alone this year, as well as secure a sixth seat by winning an incumbent-vs.-incumbent battle in the 17th District, and these numbers suggest a sweep is within the realm of possibility.

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GOP frontrunner Walker Stapleton saves campaign for governor of Colorado at party convention

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 17:09:44 +0000

Both Democrats and Republicans held statewide conventions (known locally as “assemblies”) in Colorado on Saturday, though the most noteworthy developments came in the GOP race for governor.

For Democrats, the vote played out largely as anticipated. Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy won the party endorsement with the support of 62 percent of delegates, while Rep. Jared Polis was a distant second with 33 percent, enough to get him to the primary ballot. (Polis had also collected signatures, so if he'd failed to hit the 30 percent threshold at the convention, he might have still made it to the primary.) Former state Sen. Mike Johnston and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, meanwhile, did not compete at the convention and instead chose to gather signatures. Election officials have verified that Johnston has enough valid signatures to make the primary ballot, while Lynne’s petitions are still being processed.

On the GOP side, however, things were definitely a bit crazier, though state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the presumptive frontrunner, won his party’s endorsement by earning the support of 43 percent of delegates. That not only ensures him of a place on June’s primary ballot but also gives him the top slot. And that can matter a great deal: Research by political scientists has demonstrated that appearing first on the ballot can add several percentage points to a candidate’s vote totals, even in high profile races.

But while the outcome for Stapleton was expected, second place yielded a surprise, as former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez took 32 percent of the vote, just clearing the 30 percent threshold needed to advance to the primary. That, however, left some major players out in the cold, particularly state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who won a mere 6 percent. Coffman had chosen not to collect signatures, so along with businessman Barry Farah and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, her campaign is now kaput.

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Morning Digest: National Republicans continue to pour money into Arizona House special election

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 12:00:36 +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 ● AZ-08: A new poll from GOP pollsters OH Predictive Insights for ABC15 Arizona finds Republican Debbie Lesko with a comfortable 53-43 lead on Democrat Hiral Tipirneni ahead of the April 24 special election for Arizona's vacant 8th Congressional District, but outside GOP groups keep dumping in more money.​ Campaign Action ​The NRCC is the latest to pour it on. The committee's independent expenditure arm just dropped another $250,000 on ads attacking Tipirneni, bringing their total outlay to $383,000. None of their ads appear to have surfaced online, but the NRCC proper is teaming with Lesko to air what's known as a "hybrid" ad (more on how those work here), and we do have a copy of that. The spot slams "Democrats in Washington" for various sins (like "forced taxpayer-funded healthcare for illegal aliens") without mentioning Tipirneni by name, then concludes with a very wooden Lesko staring into the camera and saying she'll "block socialized healthcare." In addition, the Congressional Leadership Fund has spent a bit over $100,000 here, while the RNC, which doesn't usually get involved in House races, has also shelled out some $400,000. In total, Republican groups have spent just shy of $900,000 on this race—a small fraction of $10 million-plus they lit on fire in the Pennsylvania 18th District special election, but still a considerable sum for a dark red seat that, even in this volatile environment, should be safe for them. Tipirneni, meanwhile, hit a stumble of her own this week. ABC15 Arizona (the same station that sponsored the poll above) reported that Tipirneni, a former emergency room physician, stopped practicing medicine in 2007 a few months after settling a malpractice lawsuit. Tipirneni says the suit was unconnected to her decision to change careers; rather, she says the deaths her mother and nephew from cancer inspired her to become what she calls a "cancer research advocate." [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 22:00:35 +0000

Swirl 360 — “Hey Now Now”

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Pennsylvania GOP replaces bipartisan redistricting reform bill with plot to gerrymander after 2020

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 21:10:38 +0000

Pennsylvania Republicans just won't give up in their fight to keep on gerrymandering, and their latest actions can only be described as legislating by ambush. The GOP took a bill that would create an independent redistricting commission, which legislative leaders had blocked from getting a vote even though a bipartisan majority of state House members supported it, and replaced it—without warning or debate—with an amendment that would give Republican legislators complete control over redistricting.​​ This power grab would create a six-member redistricting commission made up of members appointed by the legislature. Under this proposal, a party holding a majority in both chambers—as the GOP does now—would be able to select four of the panel’s members. The amendment does specify that five votes are needed to pass a map, but in the event of a deadlock, the legislature itself can pass the commission’s draft maps. The commission therefore is little more than a fig leaf, but the real kicker is this: The amendment would remove the governor from the redistricting process entirely, denying him or her the opportunity to veto any maps. This is an obvious effort to target Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who’s favored to win re-election this fall and would thus be in a position to block any future GOP gerrymanders if Republicans keep control of the legislature in 2021—which they may very well do, thanks to their existing ill-gotten gerrymanders. And of course, they’re fighting to retain their authority of those maps as well, since the amendment similarly usurps control over legislative redistricting from the state’s existing bipartisan commission. That commission has an even number of Democrats and Republicans, while the state Supreme Court appoints a tiebreaker when the parties inevitably can't agree on a fifth member. When Republicans controlled the high court after both the 2000 and 2010 censuses, the justices chose a tiebreaking member who signed off on the GOP’s preferred gerrymanders. But now the court is home to an anti-gerrymandering Democratic majority that’s poised to remain in place through at least 2022, so Republicans have decided the court should no longer play any role. Can you give $3 to help Democrats retake Pennsylvania’s legislature and stop future GOP gerrymanders? [...]



Voting Rights Roundup: Washington, D.C. could give 16-year-olds the right to vote

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 20:36:25 +0000

Leading Off ● Washington, D.C.: Our nation's capital may soon become the first major jurisdiction in America to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 after a majority of the city council expressed its support for a proposal to do so. This bill would lower the voting age in both local and presidential elections, which would make D.C. the first place in the country to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections. In 2013, Takoma Park, Maryland became the first American city to lower the voting age in local elections, and a few others have followed suit, but no major city has yet joined them.​ Campaign Action ​Lowering the voting age is an overlooked tool in the fight for voting rights, but it's an important one that could have a major impact if more cities and states begin to adopt it. Setting the voting age at 16 could lead to higher turnout among those voters as they grow older, since voting is a habit-forming behavior. Many teenagers move away from their parents' home when they first become eligible to vote at age 18, and many often don't register and cast a ballot when they're busy dealing with major life changes. However, at age 16, most teenagers still live with their parents, and a vigorous high school civics education could lead to higher participation if these teenagers are able to register through their school and then cast a ballot. Indeed, Austria lowered its voting age to 16 back in 2008 and found that 16- and 17-year-olds turned out at higher rates than 18- to 20-year-olds in subsequent elections. Several other democracies like Brazil have also lowered their voting age to 16. By itself, D.C.’s move won't have much political impact, since the city is overwhelmingly Democratic and is disenfranchised in congressional elections. But if this reform spreads across the country, it could enable a wave of young citizens to make their voices count in the future. And the timing couldn’t be more apposite. Following the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, we’ve seen a surge in activism from teenagers advocating for new gun-safety laws, even though they aren't yet eligible to vote. Just as lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 helped end the draft during the Vietnam War, setting it at 16 could help America finally enact sensible gun laws that make our schools safer. [...]



New Jersey is poised to pass automatic voter registration now that Democrats are back in power

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:39:37 +0000

On Thursday, New Jersey's Democratic-run state legislature passed a bill to automatically register eligible voters when they obtain or renew their driver's license or state ID card, unless they opt out. This bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is expected to sign it after campaigning in favor of the issue. Automatic registration will make voting more accessible and help keep voting rolls more accurate and up-to-date.

Importantly, this new system could potentially reach beyond the state Motor Vehicle Commission, since it also gives the secretary of state the option to expand automatic registration to other state agencies that have the ability to verify whether citizens are eligible to vote. Only the Motor Vehicle Commission will actually be required to implement automatic registration, though an eventual expansion seems likely. That will be critical for reaching voters who don't drive, such as the elderly, disabled, and those who rely on public transportation.

With New Jersey poised to become the latest state to enact automatic registration, it's a reminder of just how important it is for voting rights advocates to elect progressive Democrats to office. New Jersey's Democratic legislature had previously passed automatic registration in 2016, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the measure. However, after Murphy’s victory in last November's election gave Democrats unified control over state government, Democrats are now preparing to pass several more bills to expand voting rights.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/13

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 13:00:06 +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, Apr 13, 2018 · 3:38:26 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MS-Sen-B: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce not only has endorsed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (who was sworn in earlier this month) well ahead of the November nonpartisan primary, they've already launched a six-figure TV ad campaign for her. The Chamber is a key member of the national GOP establishment, which has been reluctant to get on board with Hyde-Smith. Last month, multiple media outlets reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies were adopting a wait and see attitude toward Hyde-Smith, whom they didn't know, while the White House was also nervous about her prospects against intra-party rival state Sen. Chris McDaniel. However, it's possible that the Chamber's move means that other big GOP power players will get on board with her, if only to stop McDaniel. It's also worth noting that there's no love lost between the Chamber and McDaniel, whom they spent heavily against during the close 2014 Senate primary. The Chamber's spot begins by saying that, right after Hyde-Smith was announced as the new senator, she "went home to wrangle a stray cow on her family farm." The narrator then praises her as a strong conservative who "fought against greedy trial lawyers, and helped deliver the lowest unemployment in Mississippi history." He concludes by saying the reason Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith is that she's a strong conservative who will fight for the state" till the cows come home." Friday, Apr 13, 2018 · 4:00:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer NH-Gov: EMILY's List has endorsed former state Sen. Molly Kelly in the September Democratic primary to take on GOP Gov. Chris Sununu. Friday, Apr 13, 2018 · 4:09:30 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer RI-Gov: The National Journal reports that Rhode Island Forward, a group linked to the Republican National Governors Association, has reserved $1.5 million in TV time for the final month of the general election. While the Ocean State is very blue in federal races, polls have found that Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is not very popular. Friday, Apr 13, 2018 · 4:31:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-Gov: Rep. Ron DeSantis has Donald Trump's support in the late August GOP primary, but he's alienated the sugar industry much close to home, and their allies are now going after him. A few weeks ago, a group called the National Liberty Federation began airing TV and radio ads attacking him, and Politico's Matt Dixon writes that the group is chaired by Everett Wilkinson, a conservative activist who has been involved in defending U.S. Sugar. Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and Trump confidant, is also involved with the NLF, and U.S. Sugar is one of his clients. While NFL is an "issue advocacy" group that doesn't need to [...]



Morning Digest: The possible field to succeed Paul Ryan in the House begins to take shape

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:00:05 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● WI-01: House Speaker Paul Ryan's Wednesday retirement announcement dropped like a bombshell, but it didn't take long for local Republicans to recover from the shock and start expressing interest in Ryan's now-open suburban Milwaukee seat. The filing deadline isn't until June 1, however, and the primary will be in early August, so there's still plenty of time for the field to develop—on both sides. Wisconsin's 1st District moved from 52-47 Romney (whose running-mate that year was Ryan) to 53-42 Trump, but Ryan's departure should give Democrats a larger opening.​ Campaign Action ​State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was mentioned as a possible candidate almost immediately, and he said he would decide on a bid by Friday. However, Vos' timing is poor: Just this week, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he was among several lawmakers from across the country who had taken a free trip with lobbyists to London last summer. Ohio state House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced he was resigning this week in the midst of an FBI investigation that reportedly includes an inquiry into this trip, though Vos himself denies he's been contacted by the feds about it. Still, not good. A number of other Republicans are also possible candidates, though Vos' decision could have an impact on who runs. Attorney Bryan Steil, a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and a longtime Ryan friend, said Wednesday that he was giving the race "serious consideration." State Rep. Samantha Kerkman also said she was interested and would decide in a couple of days. The Wisconsin State Journal adds that state Sen. David Craig, who is a former Ryan aide, is "rumored" to be interested. The Huffington Post also writes that senior House GOP aides have "floated" the name of Andy Speth, Ryan's deputy chief of staff, but there's no word on his interest. A local GOP operative also speculated that state Sen. Leah Vukmir could abandon her Senate bid and run here instead, but there's likewise no sign she's considering this. However, one big name we can cross off the list is Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair who briefly (and haplessly) served as Trump's chief of staff before getting fired after just half a year on the job. Priebus definitively said on Thursday he was a no. [...]



Missouri is probably stuck with Eric Greitens for a while longer

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 22:36:57 +0000

The Missouri state House released its investigative report on Wednesday that, among other things, featured a woman describing in detail how Gov. Eric Greitens restrained, exposed, and photographed her without her consent and coerced her into giving him oral sex. Plenty of Greitens' fellow Republicans want him gone, but it may take a while before the state is free of him. Just before the report was released, the governor gave a press conference declaring that it was all a "political witch hunt," so don't expect him to go quietly. Greitens' trial for felony invasion of privacy charges is set to begin May 14, and as Carolyn Fiddler writes in our latest This Week in Statehouse Action, legislators may wait for a conviction before they try to impeach him. In any case, the leadership plans to call a special session after the regular session’s adjournment on May 18 to consider the matter. If Greitens resigns or if forced out, Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will become governor, and he will serve until Greitens' term ends in early 2021. While Greitens had a horrible relationship with the legislature even before his scandal became public, GOP members still seem to want to wait until they have enough political and legal cover to oust the nominal leader of their party. However, a few notable Show Me State Republicans have made it clear they want him gone now. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe became the highest-ranking state Republican to call for him to resign. Businessman David Humphreys, who was a top donor to Greitens 2016 campaign, also told him to get lost. Attorney General and Senate candidate Josh Hawley and Rep. Wagner also called for him to quit, and while Rep. Vicky Hartzler didn't explicitly tell him to resign, she said alleged behavior isn't "befit for a leader in Missouri or anywhere else for that matter." And believe it or not, there may be even more shoes left to drop. The state House is also investigating whether Greitens campaign improperly obtained a list of donors from The Mission Continues, a charity for veterans that Greitens founded and ran until stepping down the year before he began his run for governor. On Wednesday, transcripts from the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight's meetings revealed that they would publish their report on this at some point in the future, but it's not clear when. [...]



Republican House candidate says if there's 'one more terrorist attack,' he'll win GOP nomination

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 22:24:39 +0000

Ah, lovely: We've got ourselves a Republican candidate for Congress who's openly rooting for a violent terror attack on American soil. Here's a new recording of South Dakota state Sen. Neal Tapio, one of several Republicans running for his state's open congressional seat, describing what he sees as his path to victory in the GOP primary:

"And then all that has to happen is that there will be one more terrorist attack between now and then and I will be the, just by the Trump effect, I will be the candidate. That's the way I look at it."

Of course, Tapio has in mind Islamist terrorism—white nationalist terror directed at, say, people of color or abortion clinics probably wouldn't float his boat quite so jauntily. Indeed, in a screamingly unapologetic response on Facebook, Tapio shrieked:

Where the hell do you think this hateful and deadly ideology comes from? Does it come simply by accident? Or from a few extremists who "misinterpret" the true Islam?

Give me a break.

To suggest I am advocating for a terror attack is a disgusting smear and you should be ashamed of yourself. Anyone that would even suggest that is a vile and disgusting individual not worthy of being taken seriously.

Then what exactly did he mean when he said "all that has to happen is that there will be one more terrorist attack" and he'll win the Republican nomination? We're just dying to know.

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Paul Ryan may not want to be speaker anymore, but plenty of Republicans covet his seat in Congress

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 22:04:16 +0000

House Speaker Paul Ryan's Wednesday retirement announcement dropped like a bombshell, but it didn't take long for local Republicans to recover from the shock and start expressing interest in Ryan’s now-open suburban Milwaukee seat. The filing deadline isn't until June 1, however, and the primary will be in early August, so there’s still plenty of time for the field to develop—on both sides. Wisconsin’s 1st District moved from 52-47 Romney (whose running-mate that year was Ryan) to 53-42 Trump, but Ryan's departure should give Democrats a larger opening. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was mentioned as a possible candidate almost immediately, and he said he would decide on a bid by Friday. However, Vos’ timing is poor: Just this week, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he was among several lawmakers from across the country who had taken a free trip with lobbyists to London last summer. Ohio state House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced he was resigning this week in the midst of an FBI investigation that reportedly includes an inquiry into this trip, though Vos himself denies he's been contacted by the feds about it. Still, not good. A number of other Republicans are also possible candidates, though Vos' decision could have an impact on who runs. Attorney Bryan Steil, a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and a longtime Ryan friend, said Wednesday that he was giving the race "serious consideration." State Rep. Samantha Kerkman also said she was interested and would decide in a couple of days. The Wisconsin State Journal adds that state Sen. David Craig, who is a former Ryan aide, is "rumored" to be interested. [...]



This Week in Statehouse Action: The Cruelest Month edition

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 21:34:45 +0000

Maybe T.S. Eliot had it right—perhaps April truly is the cruelest month. Or maybe it’s Smarch ... Anyway, one doesn’t have to look hard to find cruelty in some statehouses. Or even just evil. Take, for instance, Missouri. Show Me The Meaning Of Being a Crony: Republican legislators in Missouri still have yet to kick Gov. Eric Greitens to the curb, although tbh he doesn’t have many friends right now. Campaign Action And for damn good reason. On Wednesday evening, a report dropped from the legislative committee that Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson formed in February to “investigate allegations against Gov. Eric R. Greitens” after the governor’s indictment on felony charges. This bombshell document details the governor’s horrific conduct with a woman described in some press reports call his “mistress” but we now know to be his victim. For those just joining, a wee bit of background: Greitens faces felony invasion of privacy charges stemming from an incident in 2015 when he allegedly restrained his partly nude then-girlfriend (Greitens is married) and took photos of her without her consent. Greitens then reportedly used those photos to blackmail the woman into remaining silent about their affair as he ran for governor. The GOP House speaker convened a committee of five Republicans and two Democrats to investigate various allegations against Greitens as a potential precursor to impeachment proceedings. This investigation spawned the report that dropped yesterday, et voila! Here we are. So it turns out that the incident resulting in the blackmail photos was far more horrific than previous press accounts had indicated. The investigating committee, finding the woman a “credible witness,” described in detail the means by which Greitens allegedly restrained, exposed, and photographed her without her consent. This man is the governor of Missouri. The report also recounts events that the woman says happened immediately after Greitens took the photos and freed her from her restraints. As she wept “uncontrollably,” says the report, Greitens pushed her to the floor and coerced her into giving him oral sex “under duress” before permitting her to leave his home. This man is the governor of Missouri. The woman also disclosed additional encounters with Greitens, including multiple instances where he reportedly hit her. This man is the governor of Missouri. An hour before this damning report dropped, Greitens held a pre-emptive press conference, during which this garbage human read a prepared statement castigating the report’s findings as “lies” and claiming that the allegations against him were “outlandish,” “false,” and the result of a “political witch hunt.” Greitens also accused the lawmakers on the investigating committee of publishing “an incomplete document made in secret”—never mind that he declined requests to testify and provide documents. Greitens, by the by, continues to ignore calls for his resignation. [...]



New PPP poll shows Florida Sen. Bill Nelson leading Republican Gov. Rick Scott

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:31:29 +0000

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has released new internal polling from PPP of both the Democratic primary and the general election for Florida's open gubernatorial race, as well as some numbers for the Senate matchup between Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott.

While of course Levine is principally interested in the data for his own race, it’s those Senate results that will be most pleasing to Democrats, since Nelson is up 50-44 on Scott, who just joined the contest earlier this week. Nelson is better-liked than Scott, with a 47-37 favorability rating compared to 47-46 for his opponent. Notably, though, Trump doesn't fare especially poorly here, with a score of 46-48. In a way, that's actually good news for Nelson: If he's up 6 points even if opinions on Trump are just about equally divided, then it means he doesn't have to count on Trump being totally toxic in order to prevail.

Levine has led the pack in fundraising and has also tapped some of his immense personal wealth, allowing him to blitz the airwaves early. It's therefore no surprise to see that he's out in front for the Democratic nomination, taking 29 percent while former Rep. Gwen Graham is in second place with 21. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, meanwhile, is well behind at 8, and businessman Chris King takes just 4 percent. However, it's a long way until the Aug. 28 primary, and a 36 percent plurality of voters are still undecided.

Levine also pitted himself and Graham against the two main Republican candidates, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who's more of the establishment type, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, a member of the nihilistic Freedom Caucus who has the Club for Growth's backing. The matchups are all pretty tightly clustered, which makes sense, given that all of these candidates remain largely unknown to most voters:

  • Levine: 42, DeSantis: 37
  • Levine: 41, Putnam: 37
  • Graham: 40, DeSantis: 36
  • Graham: 37, Putnam: 36

Again, though, lots of voters have yet to make up their minds, and there’s a whole lot of campaigning still to come.

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Afraid he'd lose, Scott Walker tried to cancel two special elections. Now we can utterly terrify him

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 15:06:35 +0000

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is scared as hell. Walker started getting a little antsy back at the end of December about the obvious trend of Democratic success in special elections when he quietly came up with a super-genius idea: He simply wasn’t going to hold them anymore. You read that right. Rather than risk losing special elections for two legislative seats—which became vacant because he appointed their representatives to cushy jobs—he’d instead let them remain empty and leave their residents without representation in the state capitol for nearly a year It’s no excuse for giving democracy the middle finger, but Walker wasn’t wrong to be worried. In January, Democrats flipped a historically and solidly Republican state Senate seat in a special election, leading Walker to freak out more than a little bit—publicly, too. Of course, that loss ensured he’d only stick even more firmly to his whole “no more specials” plan. But Democrats, being the only remaining political party in America that still believes in the rule of law, were not having any of that. They sued to force Walker to follow state law and call the special elections to fill the legislative seats he wanted to leave vacant. The governor’s nakedly anti-democratic ploy was thoroughly smacked down by a state court judge—a Walker appointee, no less. You’d think that might have settled the matter, but not so much. Walker’s cronies in the legislature sprung into action with plans to push through emergency legislation that would LITERALLY OUTLAW special elections. You read that right again. Don’t want to lose special elections? Just cancel ‘em. For good. Satisfyingly, this Putin-esque effort also got smacked down by the courts, not once, but twice. A humiliated Walker had no choice but to finally call the special elections to fill the vacant seats in Assembly District 42 and Senate District 1, and they’re being held on June 12. But with his paranoiac attacks on democracy, Walker’s now only made it even more likely that Republicans will lose. And that’s why Daily Kos is pleased to endorse Ann Groves Lloyd and Caleb Frostman, two Democrats running in the elections that so terrify Walker. Can you send them $3? [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/12

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:00:09 +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, Apr 12, 2018 · 2:50:45 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov: Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who ran an aborted campaign for the GOP nomination earlier this cycle, endorsed state Treasure Walker Stapleton on Wednesday. Tancredo, who has made his name as an anti-immigration zealot, has a base of support with GOP activists in Colorado, and his support could give Stapleton a boost at this Saturday's party assembly (also known as the party convention). Stapleton needs the support of at least 30 percent of the delegates if he wants to be on the June primary ballot, and while it looks like he'll meet this threshold, conventions are too unpredictable for anyone to be sure. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and a few lesser-known candidates are also depending on a good showing on Saturday to make the ballot, while wealthy businessman Victor Mitchell and former investment banker Doug Robinson decided to collect signatures so they could skip the assembly. Stapleton also turned in signatures, but he had them thrown out this week and accused the company he'd hired of engaging in fraud. Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 · 3:11:09 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer OH-Sen: Businessman Mike Gibbons, who is very much the underdog against Rep. Jim Renacci in the May 8 GOP primary, is out with a new TV ad. It's a pretty conventional spot featuring Gibbons telling an audience that he's a businessman and not a politician (Pro Tip: If you're asking people to elect you, you're a politician. End of story). He also denounces earmarks and says that no one "Who comes to this country, illegally, should have some special path to being a citizen." And are we the only ones who find it awkward when a commercial features the candidate talking to a crowd and they don't applaud at the end? Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 · 3:24:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IA-Gov: Gov. Kim Reynolds now faces no opposition in the June GOP primary, but she's taking to the airwaves early anyway with her first TV spot. Reynolds narrates and says she and her husband "used to take wave goodbye in the driveway as we took turns leaving for work and watching the girls," explaining he worked days and she worked nights. Reynolds describes her story as the Iowa story, and says it's why she's cutting taxes and "paving the way for new, good paying jobs." Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 · 4:19:33 PM +00:00 · David Nir FL-Gov, FL-Sen: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has released new internal polling from PPP of both the Democratic primary and the general election for Florida's open gubernatorial race, as well as [...]



Morning Digest: Paul Ryan announces retirement as GOP chances of keeping the House look dicey

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:30:03 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● WI-01: On Wednesday morning, in a move that had been telegraphed for some time yet was still momentous, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would retire at the end of this term. Ryan's exit not only could put his own seat in play, it has the potential to seriously alter an already volatile electoral landscape for both Democrats and—especially—Republicans.​ Campaign Action ​Ryan first won Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in southeastern Wisconsin in 1998 after working for several years as an aide to various members of Congress, including Sam Brownback. Ryan succeeded GOP Rep. Mark Neumann, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate that year, and easily won both the primary and general elections. Once in office, he never faced a serious challenge for re-election and always won by double digits, particularly after his seat was redrawn to become redder ahead of 2002. Ryan rose to prominence in 2010, the year Republicans took back the House, by pushing a plan to radically slash both taxes and spending, particularly Medicare. A credulous press regarded him as a sincere intellectual, even though his proposals were based on fraudulent math—a Paul Krugman column memorably dubbed him “the Flimflam Man.” His aim of gutting entitlements endeared him to the conservative establishment, though, and helped win him a spot as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. (Even though the ticket lost, state law allowed Ryan to simultaneously run for his House seat.) Eventually, he rose to the pinnacle of House leadership. But in mid-December, following passage of the GOP's bill cutting taxes on the wealthy, reports began surfacing that Ryan's speakership (and with it, his congressional career) appeared to be nearing its end. While some Republicans refused to believe it—Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker claimed Ryan told him he was "not going anywhere"—Ryan's ascension to the speakership in the wake of John Boehner's surprise resignation in 2015 was marked above all else by extreme reluctance. Ryan had to be forcibly drafted by his colleagues after Boehner's heir-apparent, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, abruptly withdrew his own name from consideration. Ryan only accepted the job after demanding that the unruly Freedom Caucus give him their support, and after publicly insisting he wouldn't curtail his weekend visits to his family in Janesville, a pledge he apparently kept. Yet all that family time didn't stop Ryan raising truly prodigious sums for his party, including $54 million this cycle alone. That prolific fundraising is something the GOP might soon miss. Even if Ryan maintains his hectic schedule, now that he's stepping down, he's unlikely to be the same draw f[...]



Paul Ryan's gone, but what does that mean for Republicans, Democrats, and 2018?

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 23:14:17 +0000

On Wednesday morning, in a move that had been telegraphed for some time yet was still momentous, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would retire at the end of this term. Ryan's exit not only could put his own seat in play, it has the potential to seriously alter an already volatile electoral landscape for both Democrats and—especially—Republicans. Ryan first won southeastern Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 1998 after working for several years as an aide to various members of Congress, including Sam Brownback. Ryan succeeded GOP Rep. Mark Neumann, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate that year, and easily won both the primary and general elections. Once in office, he never faced a serious challenge for re-election and always won by double digits. Ryan rose to prominence in 2010, the year Republicans took back the House, by pushing a plan to radically slash both taxes and spending, particularly Medicare. A credulous press regarded him as a sincere intellectual, even though his proposals were based on fraudulent math—a Paul Krugman column memorably dubbed him “the Flimflam Man.” His aim of gutting entitlements endeared him to the conservative establishment, though, and helped win him a spot as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. (Even though the ticket lost, state law allowed Ryan to simultaneously run for his House seat.) Eventually, he rose to the pinnacle of House leadership. But in mid-December, following passage of the GOP's bill cutting taxes on the wealthy, reports began surfacing that Ryan's speakership (and with it, his congressional career) appeared to be nearing its end. While some Republicans refused to believe it—Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker claimed Ryan told him he was "not going anywhere"—Ryan's ascension to the speakership in the wake of John Boehner's surprise resignation in 2015 was marked above all else by extreme reluctance. Ryan had to be forcibly drafted by his colleagues after Boehner's heir-apparent, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, abruptly withdrew his own name from consideration. Ryan only accepted the job after demanding that the unruly Freedom Caucus give him their support, and after publicly insisting he wouldn't curtail his weekend visits to his family in Janesville, a pledge he apparently kept. Yet all that family time didn't stop Ryan raising truly prodigious sums for his party, including $54 million this cycle alone. That prolific fundraising is something the GOP might soon miss. Even if Ryan maintains his hectic schedule, now that he's stepping down, he's unlikely to be the same draw for wealthy conservative interests that he once was. Ryan's exodus could also damage Republican morale and recruitment and might even lead to more retirements. After all, who wants to charge into battle when your own general has decided to abandon the field? (NRCC chair Steve Stivers bravely concurred that Republicans would see “under 10” m[...]



Florida's new resign-to-run law pushes two Democrats to drop congressional bids

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:41:02 +0000

On Wednesday, both Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell and state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez dropped out of the crowded and expensive August Democratic primary for Florida’s open 27th Congressional District. Had they continued their campaigns, they would have both been impacted by the state’s newly amended resign-to-run law. The new law, which was passed the legislature overwhelmingly and was signed by GOP Gov. Rick Scott last month, now requires any state-level elected officials who are seeking federal office to submit their resignations at least 10 business days before they file to run if the two positions’ terms overlap. (The old law exempted candidates for federal office.) Candidates need to submit an irrevocable resignation at least 10 days before the qualifying deadline for the federal post they’re running for, and that resignation takes effect either at the start of the term for their new office or whenever local law requires their replacement to be sworn in for their old office. (Note that this law conveniently doesn’t impact termed-out officials like Scott, who is now running for the Senate.) Importantly, even though resignations required under the law may be post-dated, they have the legal effect of creating an immediate vacancy—one that, for state legislative seats, must be filled at the next election. Javier Rodriguez's resignation would therefor have hurt state Senate Democrats, since they'd have needed to defend his competitive seat this year rather than in 2020, when it's next scheduled to be up. Javier Rodriguez, who voted for the new law, doesn't appear to have directly addressed the matter in a new interview with Politico, but he did say he wanted to stay in the Senate because he believed Democrats now have a better shot of winning a majority some time in the next few years than they did when he decided to run for Congress last year. Russell did acknowledge that resign-to-run was a factor in his decision, though, saying that his old political foe Marc Sarnoff could have been appointed in his place. However, another Democratic candidate for this congressional seat is taking a different approach. Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez has filed a lawsuit against the modified resign-to-run law, arguing that Scott and the Republicans are impermissibly trying to apply it retroactively. If Rosen Gonzalez doesn’t prevail in court, though, and doesn't resign, the law says that the governor can strip her off her current post. The filing deadline to run for Congress in Florida is May 4, making the resign-to-run deadline April 20. [...]



Right on Paul Ryan's heels, another House Republican bails—and his Florida seat could be winnable

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 17:43:12 +0000

On Wednesday, GOP Rep. Dennis Ross announced that he would not seek a fifth term. Ross' move came just after news that House Speaker Paul Ryan would also retire, though the Florida Man says he learned of Ryan's departure as he was telling his own staff about his decision. Florida's 15th Congressional District, which includes some of Tampa's suburbs as well as the city Lakeland, voted for Donald Trump by a 53-43 margin, but it went for Mitt Romney by a narrower 52-47 four years earlier, so it could be competitive in a strong Democratic year—as 2018 is shaping up to be. Ross spent years in the state legislature before launching a congressional campaign in 2010 to succeed Adam Putnam, who left that year to run for state agriculture commissioner and is now a GOP candidate for governor. Ross, who was known to many national observers as the other (and less-famous) Dennis Ross, had plenty of support from the party establishment, and he easily won his primary. However, the general election was a bit more difficult. While Democrat Lori Edwards had trouble raising money, she was helped when Polk County Supervisor Randy Wilkinson, who had planned to run in the GOP primary, decided to campaign as a tea party independent. But 2010 was simply a horrible year for Democrats, and though Wilkinson took 11 percent of the vote, Ross beat Edwards 48-41. Ross never had another competitive campaign, and while he rose to become senior deputy majority whip, he never attracted much attention in the House. Now, the dude known as the other Dennis Ross also gets to be remembered as the other Republican who retired on April 11, making him the record-smashing 39th member of the House GOP caucus to bail this year. [...]



Good riddance to Paul Ryan—but he likely would have lost years ago if not for GOP gerrymandering

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 15:57:36 +0000

House Speaker Paul Ryan is retiring after never facing a close election in Wisconsin’s 1st District, but there’s one critical reason why he’s never come close to losing before: gerrymandering. Following the 2010 census, Wisconsin Republicans gerrymandered the state’s congressional map to lock in five seats for themselves and just three for Democrats, even though Barack Obama had carried the state by a 56-42 margin two years earlier. Campaign Action But what if instead Wisconsin’s map had been drawn without partisan preferences taken into account, on either side? At the top of this post you can see what one such nonpartisan map might look like. Under a plan like this, Wisconsin would instead be home to an equal number of Republican and Democratic seats, plus two districts competitive for both parties—one of which would have been Ryan’s. The actual 1st District voted for Mitt Romney by a 52-47 margin in 2012, but this nonpartisan version flipped the script and went 52-47 for Obama. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin also carried this seat that same year, meaning there’s a good chance Ryan would have lost under district lines like this. But of course, Ryan did get to enjoy a map drawn for his benefit, rendering his continued career in Congress the product of GOP gerrymandering run amok, with Wisconsin as ground zero. In fact, Badger State Republicans drew the lines so aggressively that they maintained majorities among their congressional delegation and in the legislature in 2012 even though Democratic candidates won more votes—and the GOP has had little trouble holding onto power ever since. Indeed, Republican gerrymandering in Wisconsin is so egregious that redistricting reformers chose to make an example of it, with a lawsuit challenging the map for the state Assembly that has now made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Indeed, the justices may soon strike down this map in a landmark case that could finally impose limits on partisan gerrymandering for the first time. But regardless of what they do, we need to stop these gross violations of the democratic process—the kind that entrenches Paul Ryans safely in office instead of allowing voters to express their will. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 4/11

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:00:03 +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, Apr 11, 2018 · 1:39:45 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WI-01:  xFrom @SpeakerRyan spox @BrendanBuck: “This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term.."— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) April 11, 2018 Ryan’s seat went from 52-47 Romney to 53-42 Trump. The candidate filing deadline isn’t until June 1, and the primary is Aug. 14. Much more to come. Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 · 2:16:20 PM +00:00 · David Nir FL-15: There goes another one! xRep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla, informed staff this morning he is retiring. https://t.co/GM24cxSbmp— Alex Leary (@learyreports) April 11, 2018 This district went 53-43 for Trump but was a closer 52-47 for Romney. Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 · 4:32:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-15: On Wednesday, GOP Rep. Dennis Ross announced that he would not seek a fifth term. Ross' move came just after news that Speaker Paul Ryan would also retire broke, though the Florida Man says he learned of Ryan's departure as he was telling his own staff about his decision. Florida's 15th Congressional District, which includes some of Tampa's suburbs as well as Lakeland, went from 52-47 Romney to 53-43 Trump, and it could be competitive in a strong Democratic year. Ross spent years in the legislature before he launched his 2010 campaign to succeed Adam Putnam, who was leaving to run for state agriculture commission and is now a GOP candidate for governor. Ross, who was known to many national observers as the other and less-famous Dennis Ross, had plenty of support from the party establishment, and he easily won his primary. However, the general election was a bit more difficult. While Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards had trouble raising money, she was helped when Polk County Supervisor Randy Wilkinson, who had planned to run in the GOP primary, decided to campaign as a tea party independent. But 2010 was simply a horrible year for Democrats, and while Wilkinson took 11 percent of the vote, Ross beat Edwards 48-41. Ross never had another competitive campaign, and while he rose to become senior deputy majority whip, he never attracted much attention in the House. Now, the dude known as the other Dennis Ross also gets to be remembered as the other Republican who retired on April 11. Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 · 4:40:3[...]



Morning Digest: Walker Stapleton might not make the GOP primary ballot for Colorado governor's race

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:00:36 +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 ● CO-Gov: On Tuesday, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton took the unusual step of asking Colorado’s secretary of state to toss the signatures his campaign had collected in order to make the June GOP primary ballot, declaring that the company he'd hired, Kennedy Enterprises, had engaged in fraud. Stapleton, who’d been his party’s presumptive frontrunner, will now compete in this Saturday's state party convention (also known as the party assembly), where he'll need to earn the support of at least 30 percent of the delegates to continue on to the primary. If Stapleton doesn't hit this threshold, his campaign is over. Campaign Action Until now, Stapleton's campaign had assumed that they would amass enough petitions to make the primary ballot without going through the assembly, but they'd considered competing at the convention anyway to try to keep Stapleton’s main rival, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, from winning enough support to move on. That's because, unlike Stapleton, Coffman decided that she’d rest her hopes of advancing to the primary solely by way of the convention and would not gather any signatures. (Coffman’s decision was likely borne out of necessity: Republican consultants say it costs some $250,000 to petition your way onto the ballot these days, money her campaign simply didn’t have.) But Stapleton now needs to devote his efforts to making sure he has enough backing to advance rather than on stopping Coffman from doing so. Yet despite this setback, he may be in good shape heading into the weekend. Back in March, a number of counties held nonbinding caucuses, and Stapleton's allies were encouraged by his strong showing. Coffman, by contrast, performed weakly in those caucuses, which is what had led Stapleton’s supporters to think they might be able to put an end to Coffman’s campaign at the convention. [...]



Florida & Iowa special elections results open thread

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 23:00:03 +0000

We’ve got a pair of special elections on tap for you tonight. As always, Johnny Longtorso has the skinny: Florida SD-31: This is an open Democratic seat in Palm Beach County, vacated by Jeff Clemens, who was at the time the incoming minority leader, after he admitted to having an affair with a lobbyist. The Democrats have nominated state Rep. Lori Berman, while the Republicans have nominated Tami Donnally, the vice chair of the Palm Beach County Republican Party and a 2016 Trump delegate. This seat went 61-36 for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and according to Florida data expert Matthew Isbell, Barack Obama won it 64-35 in 2012. Iowa SD-25: This is an open Republican seat north of Des Moines. Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix resigned after evidence surfaced of him kissing a female lobbyist; Dix had previously been criticized over the handling of a sexual misconduct and wrongful termination case brought by a state Senate staffer, which was settled for $1.75 million. The Democratic nominee is Tracy Freese, the chair of the Grundy County Democratic Committee. The Republican nominee is former state Rep. Annette Sweeney. This seat went 60-34 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 54-45 for Mitt Romney in 2012. Polls have closed in Florida, and will close in Iowa at 10pm ET. Feel free to use this as an open thread to track the results. RESULTS: Florida | Iowa Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 · 12:56:37 AM +00:00 · James Lambert Democrat Lori Berman has held Florida SD-31 by a whopping 75-25 margin, which is a 25% swing over Clinton’s margin in 2016. Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 · 3:13:56 AM +00:00 · James Lambert Republicans have held Iowa SD-25 by a 56-44 margin. This is a 14% swing in the Democratic direction over Hillary Clinton’s performance in 2016. [...]



Oof: Democrat pre-games for black caucus debate at Popeyes because he 'loves spicy chicken'

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 22:30:54 +0000

Oh god. In an utterly clueless move, businessman Shri Thanedar put up a post on Facebook on Saturday to inform his supporters that he was preparing for a gubernatorial debate hosted by the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus by pre-gaming at … Popeyes. And when asked about the post in a radio interview the next day, it really didn't help matters when he explained, "I love spicy chicken." Thanedar later removed the post, but only because, he claimed, the event was over. Oy. It's a little startling that any Democrat in 2018 would pull a move so painfully reminiscent of Trump's infamous Cinco de Mayo "taco bowl" tweet, but part of the problem may be that Thanedar's introduction to Democratic politics is, according to a new report, a recent phenomenon. Several different Democratic consultants in Michigan spoke on the record to the Intercept and all told similar versions of the same story: When Thanedar, who is personally wealthy, approached them about a possible gubernatorial bid last year, he was agnostic about which party banner he might run under, saying he could run as a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent—"whichever side we thought he had the best chance to win on," in the words of one operative. Thanedar was likewise squirrely about his political views: One consultant says he "admit[ted] he was pro-life" while another concluded he was "adamantly pro-choice." Thanedar himself doesn't dispute that he "remained noncommittal" but says he did so because he didn't want to "share any information … until such time as I announced my candidacy." He also claims that these consultants are now trying to "discredit him," apparently because he didn't hire them. While there can be merit to launching a surprise campaign, the idea that Thanedar had to keep his politics secret from the people he wanted to pay to help him for strategic reasons "beggars belief," as one of the consultants put it. You can't keep secrets like this from your own advisors—how could they prepare for your campaign otherwise? In any case, given his recent faux pas, it sure seems like he could use some better advice from whoever it is he did wind up hiring. [...]