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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:51:09 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 14:51:09 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 23:22:35 +0000

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats — “I Need Never Get Old”

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Here's the winner of the 2016 Daily Kos Elections prediction contest, sponsored by Greensbabka.com!

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 19:13:57 +0000

With winners now called in every contested race this year—we were waiting on the results in California’s 49th Congressional District, the last 2016 race to be decided—we’re finally ready to announce the winner of the 2016 Daily Kos Elections prediction contest, which was graciously sponsored by Green’s Babka: zachccohen! Out of a maximum possible 31 points, Zach scored the highest at 26.

The top five were rounded out by jf7692a, pinhickdrew, Mannerheim39, and zwag, who scored 24 each and are listed here in order of their tiebreak scores. You can find the full results, including your guesses, here.

As you may recall, we asked you to pick the winners of all the contests we regarded as Tossups shortly before Election Day—six for Senate, six for governorships, and 19 for the House. You earned one point for each correct answer. The median score was 15. We also included a tiebreaker question for NY-22’s three-way House race that asked you to guess the actual vote totals for all three candidates. The closest guess on the tiebreaker came from askhastings, whose net error was just 3.5 points off the actual totals.

We received a whopping 1,183 entries from Daily Kos community members in total—by far the most of any Daily Kos Elections prediction contest to date! (Remember, if you entered more than once, only your final entry counted.) Thanks again to everyone who participated in this year's contest, and special thanks to our sponsor, Green’s Babka! We’ll be in touch with the winners. And congratulations, Zach!

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Voting Rights Roundup: Citing bogus 'fraud,' Michigan GOP rushes to pass a strict new voter ID law

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:34:33 +0000

Leading Off

Michigan: Without warning last week, Michigan Republicans began talking about introducing a strict voter ID law, and now the state House has passed the measure over Democratic opposition. Odds are it will easily clear the state Senate as well, since Republicans also dominate the upper chamber. And in a deeply cynical move, Republicans made sure that Democrats can't overturn the law at the ballot box via an ordinary “veto referendum” by attaching a token appropriation to the bill. Legislation that includes appropriations can only be overturned by an amendment to the state constitution, which takes twice as many signatures to get on the ballot.

Michigan’s current voter ID law lets voters without the appropriate ID fill out an affidavit swearing to their identity. However, this new bill would force them to cast a provisional ballot and would only count such ballots if voters provide sufficient ID within 10 days. Just as with voter ID laws elsewhere, this measure would significantly burden hundreds of thousands of registered voters who currently lack a valid ID, and it could even outright disenfranchise thousands who can’t obtain ID without undue hardship.

Is there any hope of stopping the bill? Well, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder previously vetoed bills that would have required proof of citizenship and demanded voter ID for absentee ballots in 2012. However, now that he isn’t facing re-election or the need to satisfy the Justice Department after the Supreme Court gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Snyder might be less restrained this time.

Republican legislators have justified this stricter voter ID requirement by claiming it’s needed to fight fraud, despite the fact that such fraud is practically nonexistent. In a bitter twist of irony, Michigan Republicans just recently persuaded a federal court to order a halt to a statewide recount of the 2016 presidential election. The reasoning Republicans used in court? There was no evidence of any fraud.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/9

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:00:18 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Friday, Dec 9, 2016 · 5:40:49 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-CD: We land in Illinois for our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.) Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump 56-39 in the Land of Lincoln, not much different than Barack Obama’s 58-41 win over Mitt Romney four years ago. But below the surface, several congressional districts swung wildly in one direction or another. Clinton carried 11 of the state’s 18 districts, while Obama took 12. The 6th District, an affluent suburban Chicago seat represented by GOP Rep. Peter Roskam, was the one seat she took that Obama had lost. While Romney carried the 6th by a hefty 53-45, Clinton won it 50-43. However, Roskam defeated an unheralded Democratic opponent 59-41. Maybe Trump can make Roskam vulnerable in a future cycle, but the well-connected incumbent won’t be easy to beat. Trump won two seats that had backed Obama four years before. The 12th District, located in the St. Louis suburbs, dramatically swerved from 50-48 Obama to 55-40 Trump. National Democrats aired some ads against freshman Republican Rep. Mike Bost in the final days of the contest, but he won 54-40. The 17th District, located along the Iowa border, went from 58-41 Obama to 47.4-46.7 Trump. Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos, who beat her Some Dude GOP opponent 60-40, hasn’t ruled out a 2018 gubernatorial bid: If Bustos leaves, this district could be a top GOP target. There were some other notable results in Illinois. Clinton carried the 10th District, which takes up the suburbs north of Chicago, 62-33, an improvement on Obama’s 58-41. This area has been friendly to Republicans downballot, but Clinton’s strong performance was too much for Republican incumbent Bob Dold! to withstand. Dold lost to Democrat Brad Schneider 53-47 in their third bout: Schneider narrowly unseated Dold in 2012, and Dold returned the favor in 2014. It’s possible the GOP will target this seat again in 2018, but this area isn’t getting any redder. The 14th District, located on the outskirts of the Chicago suburbs, still went for Trump 49-45, but that’s a big drop from Romney’s 54-44 win here. Democrats haven’t shown any interest in targeting GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren, but this area may be competitive enough to get their attention in a good year. The 13th, which includes parts of Springfield and Champaign, went from 48.9-48.6 Romney to 50-44 Trump. That’s a big swing, but at least it didn’t shift as far to the right as the neighboring 12th did. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Chicago area 3rd District and its conservative Democratic congressman, Dan Lipinski. The 3rd backed Clinton 55-40, not too different from Obama’s 56-43 win here. However, Lipinski has always voted like a Democrat in red territory; in 2014, Lipinski filled out a candidate questionnaire from the conservative Illinois Family Institute and said he supported an amendment to the constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriage. The 3rd can do better. Friday, Dec 9, 2016 · 7:43:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-CD: We’re also out with results for each of Oregon’s five congressional districts. Clinton carried the Beaver State 52-41, a small drop from Obama’s 55-42 win. Clinton won the same fo[...]



Morning Digest: New Pew report shows how middle-class areas swung away from Democrats in 2016

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off

Demographics: Pew's landmark study from a year ago that looked at the changing composition of the middle class over the decades has become an interesting lens through which we can look at the 2016 presidential election. Pew's definition of middle class was "between two-thirds of and twice the national median size-adjusted household income," and, despite the conventional wisdom that declines in the manufacturing sector were wreaking havoc in one-time manufacturing-centered communities, the metro areas with the largest percentage of residents still in the middle class leaned heavily toward those mid-sized Rust Belt cities. (For instance, the top three percentage-wise—Wausau, Janesville, and Sheboygan—were all in Wisconsin.)

So now, Pew has matched up the list of metro areas by middle class percentage with the 2016 election results, and, as you probably anticipated given the "Rust Belt" descriptor, the places with the largest "middle class" communities are some of those that swung the hardest in the GOP direction. The question remains, though, whether they swung precisely because of their middle-classness, or because of other variables (those communities' heavy whiteness, or perhaps just tactical factors like the Clinton campaign's lack of investment in the upper Midwest for most of the campaign). Conversely, Hillary Clinton held ground or even gained in many metro areas that are disproportionately lower-class (which tend to be smaller Sun Belt cities with a large Hispanic population) or upper-class (which includes some of the largest cities).

Of the 57 predominantly middle class metros that Pew breaks out, Donald Trump defended all 27 of the ones won by the GOP in 2008, but Clinton lost 18 of the 30 that the Democrats won that year. Those experiencing the biggest swing to the GOP in the 2008-16 period are Johnstown, PA; Muskegon, MI; Michigan City, IN; Wausau, WI; and Monroe, MI.

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Minnesota's 2016 elections show both the promise and limits of nonpartisan redistricting reform

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:14:32 +0000

Minnesota is one of the rare states whose congressional and legislative districts were drawn in a nonpartisan way. Republicans controlled the legislature while Democrats held the governorship after the 2010 census, and the two sides were unable to reach a compromise on new maps. As a result, a court had to step in and draw the lines, and it did so without regard for the kind of partisan considerations that lawmakers would have put front and center. Consequently, an impressive five of the state’s eight congressional districts saw competitive races in 2016, a much higher proportion than we typically see elsewhere.

However, nonpartisan redistricting isn’t a perfect answer to gerrymandering, and as we’ll explain below, Minnesota illustrates how even a nonpartisan approach can give one party a majority of seats even if it receives fewer votes than the other party statewide.

Make no mistake, gerrymandering is a serious problem. After Republicans drew roughly 55 percent of congressional districts and Democrats just 10 percent in the most recent round of redistricting, Mitt Romney won a majority of congressional districts, even though President Obama won by nearly 4 percent nationally in 2012. Daily Kos Elections previously proposed nonpartisan congressional maps similar to Minnesota’s for every other state, and our analysis strongly suggests that gerrymandering cost Democrats control of the U.S. House in 2012. However, gerrymandering isn’t the entire root of the problem because geography matters, too.

That’s because Democrats are typically more geographically concentrated than Republicans. Cities like Minneapolis vote overwhelmingly Democratic, while rural areas and suburbs have a substantial yet more more modest Republican lean. Nonpartisan redistricting traditionally favors geographically compact districts, which means that such an approach can result in a handful of dark blue districts while a majority of seats favor Republicans by more modest margins.

And while gerrymandering is the graver problem, geography really does significantly hurt Democrats in certain states like Minnesota. Even though Donald Trump lost by 1.5 percent statewide, he still managed to carry five of the state's eight congressional districts—a majority—even with a non-gerrymandered map.

So let’s take a look at just how problematic it can be to have such a mismatch between which party wins the most votes and which wins the most districts.

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Alaska just passed automatic voter registration at the ballot box. A ton of other states can, too.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:13:59 +0000

Five states (plus Washington, D.C.) recently passed laws or instituted new procedures to implement automatic voter registration, but when Alaska became the sixth such state last month, it was the first to do so at the ballot box. This success offers an important way forward for progressives, because Republicans have been almost implacably hostile to the concept of registering more voters. And with the GOP now dominating state governments at a rate not seen since the Civil War era, activists need to find creative ways to get around Republican obstructionism. But the good news is that many states could use ballot initiatives to overcome GOP opposition and implement automatic registration just like Alaska did. A little history: In 2015, Oregon became the first state in the union to start automatically registering every eligible voter who interacts with a variety of state agencies, such as the department of motor vehicles, unless they affirmatively opt out. This approach doesn’t touch every unregistered voter, but it’s gone a long way toward expanding the registered voter pool. In fact, Oregon saw nearly 250,000 automatic voter registrations ahead of the 2016 elections, and more than 100,000 people registered that way turned out to vote. Those are big numbers in a state with a voting-age population of about 3 million, but the potential reach of such laws could go much further. By some estimates, national automatic registration could add roughly 50 million voters to the rolls, and top Democratic leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have endorsed it. Of course, Republican lawmakers stridently oppose automatic registration in a transparent effort to make voting more difficult. And their reasons are as cynical as they come: Eligible non-voters tend to have more progressive views than registered voters, so Republicans see higher turnout as a threat to their power, democracy be damned. As you can see in the map at the top of this post, though, citizens can circumvent GOP intransigence in a whole lot of states. In fact, the 20 states shaded in green are home to 98 million people—almost a third of the entire country—and that includes battleground states like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Nevada. These states alone would add millions of voters to the rolls if they implemented automatic registration. Many of our peer democracies today automatically register everyone who is eligible, and even now, North Dakota doesn’t have voter registration. All that eligible voters have to do there is prove their residency and affirm their citizenship—and voter fraud in North Dakota is still practically nonexistent. When the incoming Trump administration has signaled its support for a new wave of voter suppression laws, automatic registration could go a long way toward make voting easier and would be an unquestionable boon for democracy. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/8

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:00:17 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Thursday, Dec 8, 2016 · 7:10:33 PM +00:00 · David Jarman Demographics: Pew’s landmark study from a year ago that looked at the changing composition of the middle class over the decades becomes an interesting lens through which we can look at the 2016 presidential election. Pew’s definition of middle class was “between two-thirds of and twice the national median size-adjusted household income,” and, despite the conventional wisdom that declines in the manufacturing sector were wreaking havoc in one-time manufacturing-centered communities, the metro areas with the largest percentage of residents still in the middle class leaned heavily toward those mid-sized Rust Belt cities. (For instance, the top three percentage-wise, Wausau, Janesville, and Sheboygan, were all in Wisconsin.) So now, Pew has matched up the list of metro areas by middle class percentage with the 2016 election results, and, as you probably anticipated given the “Rust Belt" descriptor, the places with the largest “middle class” communities are some of the ones that swung the hardest in the GOP direction. The question remains, though, whether they swung precisely because of their middle-classness, or because of other variables (those communities’ heavy whiteness, or perhaps just tactical factors like the Clinton campaign’s lack of investment in the upper Midwest for most of the campaign). Conversely, Hillary Clinton held ground or even gained in many metro areas that are disproportionately lower-class (which tend to be smaller Sun Belt cities with a large Hispanic population) or upper-class (which includes some of the largest cities). Of the 57 predominantly middle class metros that Pew breaks out, Donald Trump defended all 27 of the ones won by the GOP in 2008, but Clinton lost 18 of the 30 that the Dems won in 2008. The ones listed as experiencing the biggest swing to the GOP in the 2008-16 period are Johnstown, PA; Muskegon, MI; Michigan City, IN; Wausau, WI; and Monroe, MI. Thursday, Dec 8, 2016 · 9:07:59 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer VA-Gov: While GOP Rep. Rob Wittman announced about a year ago that he would run for governor in 2017, his heart never really seemed in it. Wittman raised very little money during the first half of 2016, and he recently told a local NPR affiliate that he might stay in the House after all. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Wittman announced on Thursday that he was dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Three major Republicans are currently running in next year’s primary: ex-RNC head and 2014 Senate nominee Ed Gillespie; state Sen. Frank Wagner; and Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, an original Trump belieber. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam faces no notable opposition for the Democratic nod. Thursday, Dec 8, 2016 · 9:15:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IN-Sen: Freshman Sen. Joe Donnelly is one of the most vulnerable Democrats up in 2018, and he may have a GOP challenger soon. Rep. Luke Messer hasn’t said much about his plans, but unnamed sources close to the congressman tell The Hill that Messer is “preparing to run,” though he probably won’t announce until 2017. If Messer gets in, he may not have the GOP primary to himself, though. Rep.-elect Jim Banks didn’t rule out his own campaign when asked, and Team Red has a deep bench in Indiana. [...]



Morning Digest: Our least favorite Republican from 2012 is running against Sherrod Brown again

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off

OH-Sen: As expected, Republican Josh Mandel, whose formal title is Ohio state treasurer but whose real job is running against Sherrod Brown every six years, has kicked off another bid for Senate. Mandel is a hyper-ambitious, mendacious piece of shit, but we aren't going to do a deep recap of his previous run since we know we'll have plenty of opportunities to discuss what a jagoff he is in the future. And here's one sign: He immediately earned the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a nihilist group founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that supports the most radical candidates it can possibly find and has even earned the ire of fellow Republicans for supporting challenges to sitting senators.

But while Mandel had no serious intra-party opposition back in 2012, this time, he very well might. Rap. Pat Tiberi, who was reportedly weighing a bid of his own, has now confirmed on the record that he's "pretty serious" in considering the race. And he's not the only congressman hovering over the contest. Rep. Jim Renacci now says he's "looking at options" for a "potential statewide run," and when asked specifically if he was eyeing the open governor's race, he refused to specify. (Tiberi represents a seat in the Columbus suburbs, Renacci one in the Cleveland suburbs.)

That said, a three-way primary battle between three sitting office-holders seems unlikely, though it's certainly happened before. (Georgia's 2014 GOP Senate primary featured just that.) Brown would certainly love to see Republicans whale on Mandel, and so would we.

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The most mendacious Republican Senate candidate from 2012 is back for another try

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:00:26 +0000

As expected, Republican Josh Mandel, whose formal title is Ohio state treasurer but whose real job is running against Sherrod Brown every six years, has kicked off another bid for Senate. Mandel is a hyper-ambitious, mendacious piece of shit, but we aren't going to do a deep recap of his previous run since we know we'll have plenty of opportunities to discuss what a jagoff he is in the future. And here's one sign: He immediately earned the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a nihilist group founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that supports the most radical candidates it can possibly find and has even earned the ire of fellow Republicans for supporting challenges to sitting senators.

But while Mandel had no serious intra-party opposition back in 2012, this time, he very well might. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who was reportedly weighing a bid of his own, has now confirmed on the record that he's "pretty serious" in considering the race. And he's not the only congressman hovering over the contest. Rep. Jim Renacci now says he's "looking at options" for a "potential statewide run," and when asked specifically if he was eyeing the open governor's race, he refused to specify.

That said, a three-way primary battle between three sitting office-holders seems unlikely, though it's certainly happened before. (Georgia's 2014 GOP Senate primary featured just that.) Brown would certainly love to see Republicans whale on Mandel, and so would we.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/7

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:00:32 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 · 5:08:10 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IA-Gov: On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Donald Trump confirmed that Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad had accepted Trump’s nomination to serve as ambassador to China. Branstad is the longest-serving governor in American history: Branstad was Iowa’s chief executive from 1983 to 1999, and he returned to the governor’s office in 2011. Branstad toyed with running for a seventh term in 2018, but if he’s confirmed by the Senate, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will assume the governorship heading into the new cycle; Reynolds would also become Iowa’s first female governor. A number of Republicans including Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, were considering running for what would have been an open seat if Branstad had just retired. But if Reynolds becomes governor and runs for a full term in 2018, other prospective GOP candidates will need to think long and hard if they want to challenge an incumbent in a primary. Just before Branstad’s nomination was publicly announced, Corbett acknowledged to the Des Moines Register that Reynolds “was always going to have an advantage in an open primary with his support, and I’m sure that advantage is enhanced if ultimately she’s the incumbent,” though he didn’t explicitly rule out running against her. However, one familiar Iowa Republican is making noises about running for governor even if he has to get past Reynolds. Rep. Steve King, who was one of the more openly-racist Republicans in national politics before Trump parachuted in, told The Hill on Wednesday, “The thought is in my mind. Immediately, it locks in there. But I don't want to send any message that I'm making plans actively.” King spent months flirting with a possible Senate bid in 2013 only to stay put, and apparently, he’s got another Hamlet act or two in him. The Hawkeye State has long been one of America’s premier swing states, but Trump carried it by a punishing 51-42 margin last month. Democrats will want to target the untested Reynolds, but not many prominent politicians have expressed interest in running yet. Last month, ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is leaving the Department of Agriculture in January, said that he had “on no plans to run again,” which is not a no. Vilsack recently reiterated that, while he doesn’t think he’ll run for office ever again, he’s still not closing the door on the idea completely.  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 · 6:57:45 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Sen: Last month, GOP state Attorney General Luther Strange said he planned to run in the special election to succeed Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general. On Tuesday, Strange announced that he is raising money for a Senate bid and is “officially announcing my intention to seek the Senate seat left open by Jeff Sessions' nomination to be our nation's next attorney general.” Strange was also mentioned as a possible 2018 governor candidate, but we can take him off that list now. Assuming Sessions is confirmed by his colleagues, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint his successor. Bentley can schedule the special election to fill the final years of Sessions' term for 2017 or 2018. Strange recently said that, while he’s not seeking an appointment from Bentley, he would accept one if offered. That’s pretty sick considering that Strange is currently investigating Bentley in connection with allegations that Bentley used state resources to conceal an affair with a staffe[...]



Tom Udall says no to 2018 governor bid

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:06:30 +0000

On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Tom Udall announced that he would not run for governor of New Mexico in 2018. Udall may have been able to clear the primary field if he got in, and perhaps even scared off some viable Republicans, but that won’t be happening now.

A few other politicians from both parties have expressed interest in running to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Susana Martinez. On the Democratic side, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham sounded interested in running even if she had to face Udall. Lujan Grisham recently said she knew she’d have to decide by the end of 2017, though her potential primary rivals may not wait that long. Attorney General Hector Balderas hasn’t said much publicly, though one of his former political strategists said he was interested in higher office.

On the GOP side, Rep. Steve Pearce and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez have both talked about getting in. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has also been name-dropped several times, though he doesn’t appear to have said anything one way or another about his 2018 plans. Berry, who pledged to only serve two terms, isn’t running for a third term as mayor in 2017, so he will at least have the time to run statewide if he wants to.

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GOP Gov. Terry Branstad shakes up Iowa politics by accepting nomination for ambassador to China

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:11:15 +0000

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Donald Trump confirmed that Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad had accepted Trump’s nomination to serve as ambassador to China. Branstad is the longest-serving governor in American history: Branstad was Iowa’s chief executive from 1983 to 1999, and he returned to the governor’s office in 2011. Branstad toyed with running for a seventh term in 2018, but if he’s confirmed by the Senate, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will assume the governorship heading into the new cycle; Reynolds would also become Iowa’s first female governor. A number of Republicans including Reynolds, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, were considering running for what would have been an open seat if Branstad had just retired. But if Reynolds becomes governor and runs for a full term in 2018, other prospective GOP candidates will need to think long and hard if they want to challenge an incumbent in a primary. Just before Branstad’s nomination was publicly announced, Corbett acknowledged to the Des Moines Register that Reynolds “was always going to have an advantage in an open primary with his support, and I’m sure that advantage is enhanced if ultimately she’s the incumbent,” though he didn’t explicitly rule out running against her. However, one familiar Iowa Republican is making noises about running for governor even if he has to get past Reynolds. Rep. Steve King, who was one of the more openly-racist Republicans in national politics before Trump parachuted in, told The Hill on Wednesday, “The thought is in my mind. Immediately, it locks in there. But I don't want to send any message that I'm making plans actively.” King spent months flirting with a possible Senate bid in 2013 only to stay put, and apparently, he’s got another Hamlet act or two in him. The Hawkeye State has long been one of America’s premier swing states, but Trump carried it by a punishing 51-42 margin last month. Democrats will want to target the untested Reynolds, but not many prominent politicians have expressed interest in running yet. Last month, ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is leaving the Department of Agriculture in January, said that he had “on no plans to run again,” which is not a no. Vilsack recently reiterated that, while he doesn’t think he’ll run for office ever again, he’s still not closing the door on the idea completely.  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 · 9:08:42 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Northey has announced that he will not run against Reynolds, and he encouraged other Iowa Republicans to support her in 2018.  [...]



Morning Digest: Sen. Tom Carper could retire in 2018, and here's who might try to replace him

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off Campaign Action ● DE-Sen: Democratic Sen. Tom Carper has served continuously in Delaware politics for 40 years, ever since he first won election as state treasurer in 1976. After that, he won a seat in the House in 1982, then became governor in 1992, and finally got elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating incumbent Republican Bill Roth in a 56-44 landslide. But though he's twice won re-election with two-thirds of the vote, Carper hasn't yet made up his mind about whether to seek a fourth term in 2018; according to a statement from his office, the senator will make a decision "in the new year." Should Carper opt to retire, the race to succeed him could be interesting. Most, if not all, of the action would be on the Democratic side, and progressives would be eager to replace the very centrist Carper with someone more liberal, though who that might be is an open question. Outgoing Gov. Jack Markell, who was term-limited, is just 56, and could be interested in a return to office. Markell would probably have the best chance to clear the field, though other First State Democrats could decide that a rare open Senate seat is worth fighting him over. There are plenty of other Democrats who may be interested. Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester, who will represent the entire state in the House, hasn't even been sworn in yet, but she could nevertheless conceivably run (she certainly would not be the first House freshman to do so). State Attorney General Matt Denn was mentioned as a possible 2016 gubernatorial candidate before deferring to Rep. John Carney, and he could take a look at an open Senate seat. There's also a non-zero chance that Joe Biden, who clearly isn't quite ready to retire from politics, could seek to return to his longtime home in the Senate. But Carney, who will become governor in January, almost certainly won't start looking for a new job in D.C. As for Republicans, they've been shut out on the federal level in Delaware for some time. Hillary Clinton carried the First State 53-42, and the last time the GOP won a Senate race there was in 1994, when Roth was re-elected for a fifth term. However, Republican Ken Simpler prevailed in a bid for state treasurer fairly decisively during the Republican wave two years ago and could try to go for broke in what would be another midterm election. [...]



Delaware Sen. Tom Carper could retire in 2018, and here's who might try to replace him

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:48:26 +0000

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper has served continuously in Delaware politics for 40 years, ever since he first won election as state treasurer in 1976. After that, he won a seat in the House in 1982, then became governor in 1992, and finally got elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating incumbent Republican Bill Roth in a 56-44 landslide. But though he's twice won re-election with two-thirds of the vote, Carper hasn't yet made up his mind about whether to seek a fourth term in 2018; according to a statement from his office, the senator will make a decision "in the new year."

Should Carper opt to retire, the race to succeed him could be interesting. Most, if not all, of the action would be on the Democratic side, and progressives would be eager to replace the very centrist Carper with someone more liberal, though who that might be is an open question. Outgoing Gov. Jack Markell, who was term-limited, is just 56, and could be interested in a return to office. Markell would probably have the best chance to clear the field, though other First State Democrats could decide that a rare open Senate seat is worth fighting him over.

There are plenty of other Democrats who may be interested. While Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was just elected as Delaware’s only House member, hasn't even been sworn in yet, she could nevertheless conceivably run (she certainly would not be the first House freshman to do so). State Attorney General Matt Denn was mentioned as a possible 2016 gubernatorial candidate before deferring to Rep. John Carney, and he could take a look at an open Senate seat. There’s also a non-zero chance that Joe Biden, who clearly isn’t quite ready to retire from politics, could seek to return to his longtime home in the Senate. But Carney, who will become governor in January, almost certainly won’t start looking for a new job in D.C.

As for Republicans, they've been shut out on the federal level in Delaware for some time. Hillary Clinton carried the First State 53-42, and the last time the GOP won a Senate race there was in 1994, when Roth was re-elected for a fifth term. However, Republican Ken Simpler prevailed in a bid for state treasurer fairly decisively during the Republican wave two years ago and could try to go for broke in what would be another midterm election.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/6

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:00:15 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 · 7:22:07 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer LA-Sen: On behalf of Tulane University, Lucid takes a look at the Dec. 10 runoff, and gives Republican John Kennedy a 60-40 lead over Democrat Foster Campbell. Weirdly, this Lucid poll was conducted Nov. 8 to Nov. 18 but only released this week; an 11-day field period is also very long, and it’s also odd that they started polling the day of the jungle primary. Lucid also doesn’t appear to have allowed respondents to say they were undecided. (Jeff Singer, Tulane Political Science BA, Class of 2012.) However, it’s probably too much for Campbell to hope that this survey is just dramatically underestimating him. A mid-November survey from the GOP pollster Trafalgar Group had Kennedy up 58-35, while a Southern Media & Opinion Research poll for their “private subscribers” had the Republican leading “just” 52-38. Still, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is still appearing in a runoff ad for Campbell. Edwards talks to the camera and pledges that Campbell “will stand with the new president when he’s right for Louisiana, but has the courage to say ‘no’ when he’s wrong.” Edwards also says that Campbell could be the deciding vote against Social Security and Medicare cuts. Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 · 7:33:24 PM +00:00 · David Nir DCCC: As expected, New Mexico Rep. Ben Raj Lujan was elected to lead the DCCC for a second term without any opposition on Monday. Until now, the committee's head had always been picked by party leadership, and Nancy Pelosi tapped Lujan to serve again last month. But after her own successful re-election as minority leader, Pelosi instituted new reforms that made the D-Trip an elected post. However, no one stepped up to challenge Lujan, though we could see contested elections for the job in future cycles. Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 · 7:39:24 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer LA-03: The all-GOP runoff is almost here, and an outside group is taking to the airwaves on behalf of former police officer Clay Higgins. The super PAC is called “Make Louisiana Great Again,” so you can probably guess exactly what kind of ad they’re running. The narrator says that “state records exposed” Higgins’ opponent, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, for having “voted in Hillary’s presidential primary.” Angelle was a Democrat until 2010, so it’s not exactly a huge revelation that he voted in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary (which Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama, so it’s not even really “her” presidential primary).  The rest of the spot argues that “[l]ike Crooked Hillary, Angelle gamed the system” to make himself rich, before promoting Higgins as someone who will “drain the swamp.” Mercifully, while the commercial basically apes Donald Trump’s Twitter account, the narrator doesn’t attempt a Trump impersonation to make his point. Make Louisiana Great Again has spent $152,000 on media placement. Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 · 8:02:51 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov: A number of candidates from both parties are mulling a bid for governor in 2018, when Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper will be termed out. State Sen. Michael Merrifield added his name to the list on Saturday, telling an assembly of Democrats that he’s “looking at options,” including a run for governor in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. If Merrifield gets in, gun safety will likely be a major is[...]



Morning Digest: Facing reality, Pat McCrory finally concedes North Carolina governor's race

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 13:00:17 +0000

Leading Off ● NC-Gov: On Monday afternoon, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory finally conceded defeat to Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper led by 4,480 votes on election night and now is up by just over 10,000 ballots cast, or 0.22 percent. After a recount in heavily Democratic Durham County proved fruitless for McCrory, he finally threw in the towel, bringing to a close one of the most contentious races in the country in 2016. It also saw the ugliest possible finish, all thanks to the GOP. Although Cooper's election night lead always looked solid, McCrory nonetheless filed countless protests with various state and county elections boards challenging the validity of hundreds of votes and baselessly alleging fraud, particularly in Durham. However, these challenges utterly lacked evidence, and even Republican election officials repeatedly ruled against the governor. Winning these spurious protests wasn't the point, though, since they were never going to overturn Cooper's lead. Rather, they were focused squarely on delegitimizing the results. Democrats and nonpartisan observers alike began to fear that McCrory might use the specter of bogus voter fraud to claim the election was rigged and legally contest it before the GOP-held legislature. That would have allowed Republicans to crown McCrory the winner even if he'd lost the popular vote. Fortunately, that ugly scenario didn't come to fruition, but Republicans will likely use McCrory's cries of wolf to justify further voter suppression laws. And while they didn't have the stomach to undo the results of the gubernatorial election, Republicans might try to erase another by packing the state Supreme Court, which saw Democrats take a 4-3 majority thanks to another win last month. It never ends with these guys. Whatever happens, though, Cooper's win is a huge one for Democrats, and one of the few bright spots on what was otherwise a dismal Election Day. North Carolina is the ninth-largest state, and fast-growing one, too. Tar Heel Republicans had tried to drive this purple state in a radically conservative direction and have now paid a price for their extremism. While the legislature remains firmly in GOP hands, Cooper’s presence in the governor mansion will make a huge difference going forward. [...]



A second candidate enters the race for Xavier Becerra's House seat

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 01:20:22 +0000

When a safe, long-held House seat finally opens up, there's almost always a massive flurry of potential successors whose names float up, and the situation in California's 34th Congressional District is playing out exactly as you'd expect. Right after Gov. Jerry Brown announced he'd tap Rep. Xavier Becerra, who has represented this dark blue, majority-Hispanic seat in downtown Los Angeles since 1993, to replace Kamala Harris as state attorney general, former Assembly Speaker John Perez immediately jumped into the race, and now he's got company. On Monday, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez became the second Democrat to join the contest, and plenty more could follow. Here's a rundown: • Los Angeles City Councilor Gil Cedillo (an aide says he's "exploring all of his options") • Los Angeles Board of Education member Mónica García (reportedly being recruited by EMILY's List) • Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina • Ex-Los Angeles City Councilor Nick Pacheco But several more have said no. Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar was one of the better-known potential contenders, but he's opted against a bid. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said of Becerra, "I look forward to working with him side-by-side to defend California's progress every day for the next two years," so he's taken himself out of the running, too. And Assemblyman Michael Santiago offered almost the exact same phrasing, saying, "I look forward to serving side-by-side with him in my continued role in the state legislature." State Sen. Holly Mitchell has also ruled out the contest and threw her backing to Perez, who has racked up quite a string of early endorsements. Half a dozen sitting members of Congress have come out for Perez, including Reps. Julia Brownley, Ted Lieu, Jared Huffman, Karen Bass, Scott Peters, and Judy Chu, as have a number of other notable elected officials. While these kinds of endorsements don't move votes, they do signal establishment support, which can mean quite a bit when it comes to raising money and motivating groups capable of turning out actual voters (like unions). And in a special election, with its compressed timeframe and small electorate, that kind of help can really matter. That's of particular importance to Perez, who doesn't have a lot of local name recognition, according to a new PPP poll commissioned by local Democratic operative Michael Trujillo. Trujillo tells us that he paid for this poll out of his own personal interest and adds that doesn't have a rooting interest in this race, though he notes that he's worked for Huizar in the past. Speaking of Huizar, the survey was taken before he declined, but he'd have started out in front, with 22 percent, with Garcia at 14, Gomez taking 10, Pacheco at 5, and Perez with just 3. Of course, that still leaves a ton of undecideds—46 percent—and with Huizar out, that means the race is even less settled. But in a head-to-head with Garcia, Perez would trail 38-23. (Other matchups weren't tested.) And right now, it's just a two-way race between Perez and Gomez, with a lot of game left to play. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/5

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:00:17 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Monday, Dec 5, 2016 · 4:25:58 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf Voting: Stephen Wolf takes a look at the most important recent news concerning voting rights and election law changes in the inaugural Daily Kos Elections weekly voting rights roundup. Major developments include key redistricting court cases in Wisconsin and North Carolina that could lead to national Supreme Court precedents curtailing gerrymandering, North Carolina’s ongoing gubernatorial election saga, a proposed Michigan voter ID law, changes to voter registration, and more. Monday, Dec 5, 2016 · 5:12:31 PM +00:00 · David Nir NC-Gov: Thank god. xBREAKING: @PatMcCroryNC concedes election to @RoyCooperNC in video message, says he'll support transition: https://t.co/p56o3Xd0fQ #ncpol— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) December 5, 2016   Monday, Dec 5, 2016 · 7:41:47 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf NC-Gov: Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has finally conceded defeat to Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper led by 4,480 votes on election night and now leads by just over 10,000, or 0.22 percent. After a recount in heavily Democratic Durham County proved fruitless for McCrory, he finally threw in the towel. The governor’s concession brings to a close one of the utmost contentious races in the country in 2016. Although Cooper’s election night lead always looked like it would be difficult to overcome, McCrory had nonetheless filed countless protests with various state and county elections boards challenging the validity of hundreds of votes and alleging fraud, particularly in Durham. However, these challenges were without evidence, and county boards of election had repeatedly ruled against McCrory, even though by law they are comprised of two members of the governor’s party and just one from the opposition. Those protests were simply never enough to come close to overturning Cooper’s lead, but were instead focused squarely on delegitimizing the results. There were fears McCrory might use the specter of bogus voter fraud to claim the election was rigged and legally contest it, which could have allowed the Republican-dominated legislature to declare McCrory the winner. Fortunately, that ugly scenario didn’t come to fruition, but Republicans will likely use McCrory’s recent bout of crying wolf to justify an upcoming voter suppression law. The conclusion of the North Carolina governor’s race brings the 2016 gubernatorial elections to a close. Republicans now control 33 governor’s offices across the nation, and Democrats just 16, while an independent holds one, giving Republicans their largest number in generations. Monday, Dec 5, 2016 · 7:50:33 PM +00:00 · David Nir CA-07: After a third straight tight election, Republicans will likely take another run at unseating Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in 2018, but it sounds like they'll have to find someone else to carry their banner. Asked whether he'd try again, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who lost to Bera 51-49, seemed pretty emphatic, saying,[...]



North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory finally concedes defeat to Democrat Roy Cooper

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:37:03 +0000

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has finally conceded defeat to Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. Cooper led by 4,480 votes on election night and now leads by just over 10,000, or 0.22 percent. After a recount in heavily Democratic Durham County proved fruitless for McCrory, he finally threw in the towel. The governor’s concession brings to a close one of the utmost contentious races in the country in 2016. Under McCrory’s leadership, North Carolina had seen a radical experimentation in ultra-conservative policies. After he assumed office in 2013, Republicans slashed taxes for the wealthy while raising them for the middle class, decimated public education, mishandled environmental disasters, and dealt a crushing blow to North Carolina’s then-burgeoning film industry. These policies had left McCrory unpopular with the electorate ever since the 2013 legislative session. Most infamously of all, McCrory passed the so-called “bathrooms bill” that forced transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate, regardless of their gender identity. Combined with other provisions that discriminated against LGBT people, women, and workers, the law sparked national outrage and boycotts of North Carolina that saw the state lose thousands of jobs and landmark sporting events that were a staple of the local economy, turning McCrory into an embarrassment to the state. The governor also put North Carolina on the front lines of the battle over voting rights. Almost immediately after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, McCrory signed America’s most sweeping voter suppression law in half a century, which included a strict voter ID requirement, the end of same-day registration, and other restrictions. Republicans literally ordered data on which voting methods African Americans used more and eliminated them. This law was so extreme that a federal court said it “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision” when it struck it down in July. [...]



Austria's 'Stronger Together' candidate beat the far right—because they have no Electoral College

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:43:00 +0000

On Sunday, center-left independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, who was backed by the Green Party, defeated far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer in Austria’s Dec. 4 presidential runoff by a 53-47 margin. After the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in June and Donald Trump won the American presidential election in November, there were international fears that Hofer would prevail and become the Europe’s first far-right head of state since World War II. Fortunately, unlike the U.S., Austria is sensible enough to have an electoral system where the candidate who wins more votes gets elected, instead of using an Electoral College that can and often does elect the loser. And Austria's election had more than a few parallels to the American presidential election. Foremost among them, we’ve seen the same recent rising tide of xenophobic right-wing populism on the upswing throughout Europe, just like in the United States. And there as here, it’s come mainly as a backlash to immigration and multiculturalism. Hofer, in fact, campaigned on a stridently Islamophobic anti-immigrant platform, a centerpiece of which was hostility to the European Union. Van der Bellen, on the other hand, advocated a pro-EU position and campaigned using the tagline “Only Together Are We Austria,” as you can see in the poster above—very reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan. Austria uses a parliamentary system, meaning the president is mostly a figurehead, but the position is not without power. Indeed, Hofer had pledged to use the president’s authority in unprecedented ways if elected. In particular, he was eager to force early elections for parliament, the country’s true power center, because Hofer’s Freedom Party was poised to surge to first place according to recent polls. Thankfully, that potential future has now been averted. There are other similarities as well. The far-right dominated in rural areas, working-class suburbs, and with men, while the center-left did well with women and in well-educated cities with more exposure to immigration and multiculturalism. Sound familiar? But the outcome differed from our own because Austria doesn’t give voters in more rural or non-minority working-class areas disproportionate power like our Electoral College does. While they may have plenty of flaws of their own, Austria and practically the entire rest of the democratic world get one thing right when it comes to presidential elections: It’s simply better for democracy when the candidate who wins more votes wins the election instead of the runner-up. [...]



Morning Digest: Clinton carried Tim Ryan's eastern Ohio congressional district after all

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off ● Pres-by-CD: O-H-I-O! Our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district arrives in the Buckeye State. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.) Things in Ohio did not go well for Team Blue at all in November. While Barack Obama carried the state 51-48 in 2012, Donald Trump took it 52-44. The GOP-drawn congressional map gave Mitt Romney a win in 12 of Ohio's 16 congressional districts, and Trump took the exact same 12 seats: Republican congressmen hold those 12 districts, while Democrats represent the four seats that backed Obama and Hillary Clinton. To our surprise, Clinton actually carried the 13th District, a Youngstown seat represented by Rep. Tim Ryan, by a 51-45 margin. Nancy Pelosi herself insisted that Trump had taken the 13th: While Ryan was waging his unsuccessful campaign against Pelosi for House minority leader, Pelosi literally laughed off Ryan's suggestion that he could make the Democratic Party more appealing in blue-collar areas and told the Huffington Post that Ryan "didn’t even carry his district for Hillary Clinton." Of course, Clinton's 51-45 victory here is still a huge drop from Obama's 62-35 win. Clinton decisively carried the other three Democratic-held seats. Right now, none of the 12 GOP held districts look like particularly good targets for Team Blue. The one possible exception is the 1st District in the Cincinnati area, which Trump carried 51-45. Romney won the 1st, represented by Rep. Steve Chabot, 52-47, so at least it didn't move very far to the right. It's still not exactly a swing seat, but it might be a target in a good Democratic year.  However, two seats that Romney only narrowly won in 2012 were much redder this time around. Romney carried the Dayton-based 10th just 51-48, but Trump won it 51-44. GOP Rep. Mike Turner, a former Dayton mayor, has never faced a close race since he was elected in 2002, so this district wasn't exactly high on the Democrats' target list to begin with. The suburban Cleveland 14th District also shifted dramatically from 51-48 Romney to 54-42 Trump. Democrats didn't seriously target Republican Rep. Dave Joyce in either 2014 or 2016, and that probably won't change in future years. It wasn't that long ago that Ohio Democrats could at least hold their own in the rural eastern portion of the state, but Trump absolutely cleaned up there. The 6th District, which is represented by Republican Rep. Bill Johnson, was already pretty red at 55-43 Romney, but Trump took it 69-27. In fact, the 6th leapfrogged the 8th District, which was represented by John Boehner until last year, to claim the title of reddest district in Ohio: The 8th backed Trump "just" 65-31. [...]



Join our tour of the worst Republican gerrymanders, with Ohio's 9th District!

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 02:59:13 +0000

We're taking a tour of the most outrageous Republican gerrymanders in the nation. Read why in our introductory post, and click here for the full series.

Ohio’s 9th Congressional District previously centered on Toledo, but after the 2010 Census, Republicans gerrymandered it again to include distant western Cleveland, making it just barely contiguous along the Lake Erie shore. That threw Toledo-based Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Cleveland-based Rep. Dennis Kucinich together, and Kaptur defeated him in the 2012 Democratic primary by 56-40. The current Democratic vote-sink backed President Obama by 68-31, which helped Mitt Romney win the four districts to its south and west. Rep. Kaptur has been in office since 1983 and easily won 69-31 in 2016, even as Hillary Clinton was much weaker in northern Ohio than Obama.

This district was part of a broader Republican gerrymander that gave their party a staggering 12 of 16 congressional districts in the last three election cycles, even when Obama narrowly carried the state 51-48 in 2012. We drew nonpartisan proposals for every state, and our map created a compact Toledo-based seat, a wholly western Cleveland district, and even constructed a third seat situated between the two. The Toledo and West Cleveland districts would have voted for Obama by 17 and 14 points respectively, while the district in between would have backed Obama by 5 percent. That means Ohio’s 9th district alone might have cost Democrats one or two extra seats on average.

Tell us what you think the district looks like in the comments!

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Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:03:27 +0000

 Talking Heads — “Psycho Killer”

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Voting Rights Roundup: Federal judges strike a major blow against partisan redistricting

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:26:17 +0000

Leading Off ● Wisconsin: Foes of partisan gerrymandering scored a monumental victory late last month when a three-judge federal panel struck down the Republican-drawn map of the Wisconsin state Assembly as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. State Senate districts could also be affected since they each consist of three nested Assembly districts. Wisconsin is among the most heavily gerrymandered states in the country, and Democrats won the statewide popular vote for the legislature in 2012, but these maps helped give Republicans a majority of seats. Critically, however, this new ruling could reverberate well beyond Wisconsin because the case now sets the stage for a future Supreme Court decision that could set major limits on partisan gerrymandering nationwide. An earlier Supreme Court ruling called Vieth v. Jubelirer previously held that partisan gerrymandering could be unconstitutional. But in that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy, as the deciding vote, refused to strike down the particular map in question for lack of a manageable standard to determine when impermissible partisan gerrymandering takes place. The plaintiffs in Wisconsin proposed one such standard called the "efficiency gap" that examines at how many votes get "wasted" in each election. If one party routinely wins landslide victories in a few seats while the other party wins much more modest yet secure margins in the vast majority of seats, that could signify a gerrymander that has gone so far as to infringe upon the rights of voters to free speech and equal protection. Republicans will certainly appeal this ruling directly to the Supreme Court, and with Donald Trump's upcoming nominee likely to side with the other three arch-conservative justice, Kennedy will once again in all probability act as the swing vote. Whether the plaintiffs will be able to convince him that their efficiency gap test satisfies his precedent in Vieth is the key unknown. If they succeed, we could be entering a new era where courts around the country start imposing new restrictions on partisan gerrymandering. When Republicans have gerrymandered 55 percent of congressional districts and most state legislatures nationwide, that could have far-reaching consequences indeed. [...]



Join our tour of the worst Republican gerrymanders, with Louisiana's 6th District!

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 03:00:15 +0000

We're taking a tour of the most outrageous Republican gerrymanders in the nation. Read why in our introductory post, and click here for the full series.

Republicans gained control over redistricting in Louisiana in 2011 for the first time since Reconstruction, and swiftly gerrymandered the map to their advantage. The 6th District had previously been a compact Baton Rouge seat that Democrats held from 2008 to 2009, but Republicans excised the heavily black and Democratic core of the city into the already heavily Democratic 2nd District, making the redder 6th vote for Mitt Romney by a lopsided 66-32 margin. Republican Rep. Garret Graves easily won his second term in 2016 over token Democratic opposition by an enormous 78-24 spread.

This map was part of a larger Republican gerrymander that helped them maintain a 5-to-1 edge over Democrats since 2012. We proposed a set of nonpartisan maps for every state, and without gerrymandering, the 6th District might have shed its outlying fringes and gained the core of Baton Rouge plus the city of Lafayette. That would have turned it into Louisiana’s predominantly black Voting Rights Act-mandated district and made it strongly Democratic at 58-41 Obama. That means that Republicans took what could have been a safely Democratic majority-minority district and gerrymandered it into one that is safe for a white Republican.

Tell us what you think the district looks like in the comments!

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/2

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:00:16 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Friday, Dec 2, 2016 · 3:31:05 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf Senate: 2016 marked the first time in 26 straight presidential elections since the introduction of direct elections for every Senate seat in 1914 where literally every state voted for the same party for both offices. Stephen Wolf graphs the results for both offices to show just how strongly correlated they were. If this trend of few split-ticket outcomes persists in 2018, Democrats will be hard pressed to gain the net three Senate seats they need for a majority that year and will instead be defending many vulnerable seats. Friday, Dec 2, 2016 · 7:43:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer LA-Sen: Democrat Foster Campbell has a very uphill climb in the Dec. 10 runoff against Republican John Kennedy in this very conservative state, but at least fundraising isn’t an issue for him. From Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, Campbell outraised Kennedy $2.5 million to $1.6 million, and the Democrat holds a $1.4 million to $856,000 cash-on-hand edge.  However, while Democrats nationwide hope that Campbell can give them a win in what’s been a dispiriting year, a new poll from Southern Media & Opinion Research says that this race is still very much Kennedy’s to lose. The survey, conducted for SMOR’s “private subscribers,” gives Kennedy a 52-38 lead. That’s a bit better for Campbell than a mid-November survey from the GOP pollster Trafalgar Group that had Kennedy up 58-35, but it still ain’t great. Outside groups haven’t spent much here either. Friday, Dec 2, 2016 · 7:51:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WI-Sen: GOP Rep. Sean Duffy has been mentioned as a possible 2018 challenger for Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin for a while. At the end of the 2016 cycle, Duffy and Sen. Ron Johnson ran a joint ad in Duffy’s northern Wisconsin seat even though Duffy wasn’t in any danger, which may have been partially an attempt to give Duffy some extra exposure ahead of a future statewide bid.  Duffy hasn’t said much about his plans, but when the local NBC affiliate TMJ4 asked him if he was interested in facing Baldwin, he didn’t say no. Duffy only said he hasn’t “made any decisions on what I'm doing in 2018. I haven't gotten to 2017 yet. I'm enjoying my job representing central and northern Wisconsin.” Another Republican, rich guy Eric Hovde, is openly considering running against Baldwin. Friday, Dec 2, 2016 · 8:09:39 PM +00:00 · David Nir DCCC: Reports emerged late on Thursday evening saying that New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney might run against New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for the chairmanship of the DCCC, which will now become an elected position following new reforms put in place by Nancy Pelosi. On Friday, though, Maloney said he wouldn't run and offered his support to Lujan, who appointed Maloney to lead an election post-mortem task force. At this point, in fact, it looks like Lujan, who was set to be appointed to another term before Pelosi decided on holding elections, will go unchallenged, since the vote for the post will be held on Monday. Friday, Dec 2, 2016 · 8:13:05 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MN-Gov, St. Paul, MN Mayor: St. Paul Mayor Ch[...]



Morning Digest: In a surprise, Jerry Brown taps Xavier Becerra as California's next attorney general

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:00:15 +0000

Leading Off:

CA-34, CA-AG: In a huge shocker, California Gov. Jerry Brown said on Thursday that he'd name Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra as the state's next attorney general, filling the vacancy soon to be created by Kamala Harris, who won election to the Senate last month. Becerra is the fourth highest-ranking Democrat in the House and also the most senior Latino in the chamber, and he'd never been discussed as a possible replacement for Harris, hence everyone's surprise.

But with House Democrats in the minority for the foreseeable future, and with the party's top three leaders all winning another term this week, Becerra's move makes sense. And while he could run for a full term as attorney general in 2018, he could also use the highly visible post as a springboard for another office such as Senate or governor somewhere down the line.

Meanwhile, there will also be a special election to fill Becerra's dark blue seat, which is located in Los Angeles and is majority Hispanic. As you'd expect for a safe district like this one, there was an immediate flood of speculation about Democrats who might run here, and one has already jumped in. Former Assembly Speaker John Perez announced shortly after the Becerra news broke and immediately rolled out several high-profile endorsers, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rep. Karen Bass. He also earned the support of state Controller Betty Yee, who edged Perez by one hundredth of one percent in the top-two primary for the controller's job two years ago.

But the election won't be held for another four or five months, so once the dust settles a little bit, we'll discuss other potential entrants.

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Zero states split their tickets for president and Senate for the first time in American history

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 20:23:30 +0000

Americans in every state began directly electing their senators in 1914 following the passage of the 17th Amendment. The next 25 presidential elections, from 1916 to 2012, always saw at least some states vote for candidates of different parties for president and Senate. That long streak finally came to an end in 2016, when every single state voted for the same party for both the presidency and the Senate. Democrats won 12 Senate seats, all in states that Hillary Clinton carried, and Republicans won 21 Senate contests, all in states where Donald Trump prevailed. Republicans are also strongly favored to win a December runoff in one more Trump state, Louisiana.

You can see this remarkable set of results in sharp relief in the graph below:

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Not only were the outcomes strongly correlated, but so were the actual margins between the parties themselves, as the gray diagonal trendline indicates above. (For stats nerds, the R² value was 0.85, quite a strong correlation.) The horizontal axis shows the Democratic margin against Republicans in the presidential race, while the vertical axis shows the same for the Senate, meaning Clinton and Senate Democrats won those races in the upper-right quadrant, while Trump and Senate Republicans prevailed in those in the lower-left.

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Have you moved away from your home state? It may make a big difference in how you vote

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 02:00:15 +0000

You may have missed it in the overwhelming swirl of information in the month leading up to the election, but back in mid-October, I wrote a whole article highlighting a minor detail from one poll’s crosstabs (from Public Religion Research Institute) that I found very compelling. And it’s one that, in retrospect, may have had more explanatory power than any of us thought, at the time.

White voters who still live in the community in which they were raised are supporting Trump over Clinton by 26 percentage points (57% vs. 31%, respectively). Trump also has an advantage over Clinton among white voters who live within a 2-hour drive from their hometown (50% vs. 41%, respectively). However, among white voters who live farther away from their hometown, Clinton leads Trump (46% vs. 40%, respectively).

Now that we’ve seen the post-election map, those places where people are most likeliest to have stayed in the same place where they were raised, are also the places that seemed to trend the hardest in Trump’s direction: rural areas across the Midwest where the population is slowly falling, populated almost exclusively by white people, most of whom aren't college-educated.

Many pundits have focused on the white working-class aspect of these places. But there’s another dimension that goes beyond the racialized economic concerns of the residents of these places, that instead wonders about the larger mindset of those who grew up in and then left those places, versus the mindset of those who chose to stay. There’s, of course, a chicken-and-egg problem here, in that education plays a key role in mobility; if you seek higher education, you’re likely to need to leave your small town, and then to get a job that takes advantage of your higher education, you’re likely to end up in a metro area.

But as Josh Barro pointed out, there may simply be a big personality difference between those who stay and those who leave, whether it’s optimism vs. pessimism, or openness vs. intolerance, or having some agency over one’s life instead of simply stewing in your resentments—which, if you think about it, is really what the big themes of this year's election were, more so than any specific set of policies.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/1

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:00:17 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Thursday, Dec 1, 2016 · 6:15:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-CD: Our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district stops in Connecticut and Minnesota. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.)  Hillary Clinton carried Connecticut 55-41, a small drop from Barack Obama’s 58-41 win in 2012. However, while Clinton swept all five of the Nutmeg State’s congressional districts, two of them were a lot tighter than they were four years ago. While Obama won the 2nd District, located in the eastern part of the state, 56-43, Clinton won it just 49-46. Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney easily dispatched an unheralded Republican opponent 63-34, but the GOP may try to put up a tougher fight in the future.  There was a similar shift in the 5th, which includes Danbury, New Britain, and most of Waterbury. Obama carried the seat 54-45, but Clinton won it only 50-46. Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty beat Republican Clay Cope, a first selectman from the small town of Sherman who had little money or outside help, by a clear 58-42. Donald Trump also did much better than Mitt Romney 1st and 3rd Districts, though both seats are still quite blue. Clinton carried the 1st, which includes Hartford, 59-36, while Obama took it 63-36. Clinton won the 3rd, which includes New Haven, by a 56-40 margin, a drop from Obama’s 63-36.  The 4th District, which includes Bridgeport and several of Connecticut’s affluent New York City suburbs, was the one seat where Clinton did better than Obama in 2012: She took it 60-37, while Obama won it 55-40. The 4th was in Republican hands until Democratic Rep. Jim Himes beat incumbent Chris Shays in 2008, but the GOP shouldn’t plan on getting it back anytime soon. We turn next to Minnesota, which had more ticket splitting than any state we’ve seen so far in 2016. Three Democrats sit in seats Trump carried by double digits, while one Republican holds a seat that Clinton decisively carried. Of the other four seats, two Republicans sit in Trump seats and two Democrats hold safely blue districts. Obama carried Minnesota 53-45 in 2012 and took six of the eight congressional districts (though two were very close). Clinton won the Land of 10,000 Lakes 47-45 and carried just three of the state’s congressional districts. We’ll take a look at the Democratic-held Trump seats first. The 1st, which includes all of Minnesota’s southern border, violently swung from 50-48 Obama to 53-38 Trump. The shift almost threw Democratic Rep. Tim Walz out of office. During the 2014 GOP wave, Walz turned back a weak challenge from Republican Jim Hagedorn 54-46; last month, Walz beat Hagedorn, who still had little money or ou[...]



Join our tour of the worst Republican gerrymanders, starting with Pennsylvania's 7th District!

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 22:30:12 +0000

At Daily Kos Elections, one of our foremost concerns is gerrymandering. Yes, it’s true that both sides try to draw maps in their favor, but following the 2010 census and the GOP wave election that same year, Republican map-makers gained control of the process in an overwhelming number of states. That advantage allowed Republicans to create some true monstrosities, cementing their hold on Congress and in legislatures nationwide. But there’s nothing that brings gerrymandering home quite like showing the hideous creations that emerge from the obscure process of redistricting, so we’re embarking on a tour of some of the very worst Republican gerrymanders in the nation. We start in in the Philadelphia suburbs with the beast you see above: Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, which just might take the prize for the most gerrymandered district of all 435 in the House of Representatives. Republican Rep. Pat Meehan first won this seat in 2010 when it leaned slightly in the Democratic direction (and didn’t look so surrealist), but Republicans swiftly redrew it to their advantage during redistricting. Mitt Romney carried the district by 50-49, and even though Hillary Clinton did better than Barack Obama in this well-educated district and likely won it, Meehan easily prevailed 60-40 over an underfunded Democratic nominee in 2016. The 7th is part of an overall Republican gerrymander of the Keystone State that’s allowed them to hold 13 of the state’s 18 seats since 2012, even though Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by 5 points four years ago and Donald Trump just barely carried the state this year. And what makes the 7th so gerrymandered isn’t just its crazy shape, but its impact too. We proposed a set of nonpartisan congressional maps for every state, and without gerrymandering, a reasonable version of Pennsylvania’s 7th District could have voted for Obama by a 61-38 landslide. That means Republicans took what should have been a safely Democratic seat and squeezed in every available Republican voter they could to make it successfully lean red. Tell us what you think the district looks like in the comments! [...]



Morning Digest: Court orders North Carolina to redraw its legislative seats and hold 2017 elections

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:00:17 +0000

Leading Off: ● NC Redistricting: On Tuesday evening, a federal district court ordered the North Carolina legislature to redraw its state legislative districts by March 15, 2017, following a ruling earlier in 2016 that struck down 28 of 170 districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The court held in August that Republicans had impermissibly used race to pack African-American voters into a few seats like the state Senate's 21st District (shown here) in order to effectively dilute their strength in neighboring districts like the 19th. New district maps will be used in a November 2017 special election in the affected districts if this court ruling survives a likely Supreme Court review.  North Carolina is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Republicans so aggressively manipulated the process that they won veto-proof legislative majorities in 2012 even when Democratic candidates won more votes statewide. They maintained those veto-proof majorities in 2016 even as Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper appears to have ousted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory from office. Federal courts previously struck down the state's gerrymanders for Congress and even local governments in addition to the legislature in 2016. Republicans legislators will unfortunately be able to draw new replacement gerrymanders. However, they likely won't be able to use racial gerrymandering to win quite as many seats as before, and their state House majority of 74-46 is only two seats above the three-fifths minimum of 72 needed to override vetoes. These special elections will be key because they could lead to Democrats gaining enough seats to sustain a Gov. Cooper's vetoes, finally giving the party a check against North Carolina Republicans' reactionary agenda. Republican legislators will certainly appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. However, given Justice Anthony Kennedy's recent rulings against just this very sort of naked racial gerrymandering, there is a good chance that he will side with the four liberals in favor of the plaintiffs and require that these maps be redrawn. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/30

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:00:15 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016 · 4:39:10 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf NC Redistricting: A federal district court has ordered that North Carolina’s legislature must redraw its state legislative districts by March 15, 2017, following a ruling earlier in 2016 that struck down 28 of 170 districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The court held in August that Republicans had impermissibly used race to pack African-American voters into a few seats like the state Senate’s 21st District (shown here) in order to effectively dilute their strength in neighboring districts like the 19th. New district maps will be used in a November 2017 special election in the affected districts if this court ruling survives a likely Supreme Court review.  North Carolina is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Republicans so aggressively manipulated the process that they won veto-proof legislative majorities in 2012 even when Democratic candidates won more votes statewide. They maintained those veto-proof majorities in 2016 even as Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper appears to have ousted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory from office. Federal courts previously struck down the state’s gerrymanders for Congress and even local governments in addition to the legislature in 2016. Republicans legislators will unfortunately be able to draw new replacement gerrymanders. However, they likely won’t be able to use racial gerrymandering to win quite as many seats as before, and their state House majority of 74-46 is only two seats above the three-fifths minimum of 72 needed to override vetoes. These special elections will be key because they could lead to Democrats gaining enough seats to sustain a Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, finally giving the party a check against North Carolina Republicans’ reactionary agenda. Republican legislators will certainly appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. However, given Justice Anthony Kennedy’s recent rulings against just this very sort of naked racial gerrymandering, there is a good chance that he will side with the four liberals in favor of the plaintiffs and require that these maps be redrawn. Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016 · 8:38:46 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-CD: Our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district arrives in Utah, a safely red state that was a bit more chaotic than usual in 2016. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.)  While Donald Trump carried the Beehive State, he took just 45.5 percent of the vote, the worst showing for a GOP presidential nominee in two decades. Hillary Clin[...]



For the first time in over two decades, seniors moved toward Democrats

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 20:00:15 +0000

While much has rightly been made over the urban/rural and education splits in the presidential election, age has not been discussed as much. That may be because while the results are somewhat surprising, they don’t fit into any of our preconceived notions about how the 2016 election went. The popular imagining of our political divide is a young, diverse group of 20- and 30-somethings on one side and a bunch of angry white grandparents on the other side. But the exit polls don’t quite match up with this. So while you’re home for Thanksgiving, don’t blame your grandparents’ generation for Trump winning; blame your parents’ generation.

The age group that moved the most toward Clinton compared to the 2012 election results were actually seniors, age 65 and up:

Presidential Election Results by Age Group
2016 2012 2008
Overall D+1 D+4 D+7
18-29 D+18 D+23 D+34
30-44 D+8 D+7 D+6
45-64 R+9 R+4 D+1
65+ R+8 R+12 R+8

As you can see, two age groups have trended toward Republicans since 2008 and two have held steady. The 34 point margin that young people gave Obama in 2008 was likely never sustainable, but Clinton suffered further drops from Obama’s 2012 margin, all of which was due to increased third party voting (Trump and Romney both got 37 percent of the 18-29 vote, but third parties received 8 percent this year, up from 3 percent in 2012). 

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Republicans now control every Southern state legislature for the first time in American history

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 16:00:11 +0000

After the Civil War, federal troops occupied the defeated South and helped enforce civil rights laws, enabling Republicans to win power in many Southern states thanks to the overwhelming votes of newly enfranchised black men. While they controlled many former rebel states during Reconstruction, other Southern states like Kentucky that hadn’t seceded stubbornly resisted the Republican Party. After Reconstruction ended and those troops withdrew, white-supremacist reactionary Democrats retook power in nearly every Southern state, and even the modern pro-civil rights party held every Southern state legislative chamber as recently as 1992. While the two parties’ voter coalitions and their positions on civil rights have changed massively in the last century and a half, one thing remained constant: Republicans had never held every Southern legislature at once. That streak ended in 2016, when Republicans won control over the Kentucky state House for the first election since 1920, giving them control of both chambers at once there for the first time in state history. Democrats had lost power in Kentucky during part of the Civil War, when pro-Confederate forces tried to form a rival secessionist government, but it was to the Unionists instead of the Republicans. With Kentucky, Republicans now control both legislative chambers in every Southern state, roughly those that span from the Virginias to Texas. Although the Census Bureau still defines the Democratic-controlled ex-slave states of Delaware and Maryland as Southern, their cultural affinities have drifted much closer to the Northeast in the post-World War II era. Donald Trump won all of these Southern states except Virginia, while Republicans have also aggressively gerrymandered the vast majority of their state legislatures. However, Kentucky’s lower chamber was a rare Democratic-drawn map, helping the party cling to power until 2016. [...]



Morning Digest: New Jersey Democrats stick with Menendez—but could go down with the ship

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:00:16 +0000

Leading Off: ● NJ-Sen: Sen. Bob Menendez may be under indictment on multiple counts of corruption, but a spokesperson says he "intends to run for re-election"—and New Jersey Democrats don't seem to want it any other way. The Record canvassed a trio of congressmembers, all of whom are sticking with the incumbent: Bill Pascrell ("I don't see any slippage at all"); Bonnie Watson Coleman ("He's still a strong leader"); and Donald Norcross ("doing an excellent job"). The head of the state Sierra Club is also on Team Menendez. But while New Jersey politicians are known for displaying loyalty in the face of corruption, it could come at a price. Menendez has spent the last year-and-a-half appealing his indictment with little success, and he faces a trial date in September of next year. If he's found guilty, Democrats would have to scramble to find a mid-campaign replacement, and even if he's not, he could wind up even more damaged than he already is. Luckily for Menendez, though, Republicans so far haven't shown much interest in tackling him. The Record mentions wealthy GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur as a possibility, but he hasn't said anything, nor has anyone else. However, Republicans and even some Democrats might be waiting until next year's gubernatorial race plays out before making any moves on the Senate side. Menendez also benefits from the fact that New Jersey hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972, and the NRSC will be preoccupied with many other races in 2018. But Garden State Democrats nearly fumbled a race in 2002, when another senator with a reputation for shabby ethics, Bob Torricelli, nearly took the party down with him until he agreed to step aside for former Sen. Frank Lautenberg at the last minute. Ironically—or perhaps perfectly, for Jersey—the only person who's actually even hinted he might run against Menendez is … Torricelli. [...]



Court orders North Carolina to redraw its legislative districts and hold 2017 special elections

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 02:11:53 +0000

A federal district court has ordered that North Carolina’s legislature must redraw its state legislative districts by March 15, 2017, following a ruling earlier in 2016 that struck down 28 of 170 districts as unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The court held in August that Republicans had impermissibly used race to pack African-American voters into a few seats like the state Senate’s 21st District (shown above) in order to effectively dilute their strength in neighboring districts like the 19th. New district maps will be used in a November 2017 special election if this court ruling survives a likely Supreme Court review.  North Carolina is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, as the above district map illustrates. Republicans so aggressively manipulated the process that they won veto-proof legislative majorities in 2012 even when Democratic candidates won more votes statewide. They maintained those veto-proof majorities in 2016 even as Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper appears to have ousted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory from office. Federal courts previously struck down the state’s gerrymanders for Congress and even local governments in addition to the legislature in 2016. Republicans will unfortunately be able to legislatively draw new replacement gerrymanders. However, they likely won’t be able to use racial gerrymandering to win quite as many seats as before, and their state House majority of 74-46 is only two seats above the three-fifths minimum of 72 needed to override vetoes. These special elections will be key because they could lead to Democrats gaining enough seats to sustain a Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, finally giving the party a check against North Carolina Republicans’ reactionary agenda. Republican legislators will certainly appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. However, given Justice Anthony Kennedy’s recent rulings against just this very sort of naked racial gerrymandering, there is a good chance he will side with the four liberals in favor of the plaintiffs and require that these maps be redrawn. [...]



California Democrats just gained the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass key legislative reforms

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 22:44:10 +0000

After three weeks of counting votes, Democrat Josh Newman finally prevailed in California’s pivotal 29th District state Senate race in suburban Orange County. With 27 of 40 state Senate seats and 55 of 80 state Assembly seats, Democrats will now have over two-thirds of seats in both chambers, regaining the coveted legislative supermajority they held from 2012 to 2014. This threshold is crucial for legislation because California requires a two-thirds vote for any tax increase thanks to 1978's infamous Proposition 13.

With Republicans steadfastly opposed to even the most common sense of increases, progressives previously had to take any sort of new taxes straight to the voters via ballot initiatives. However, now Democrats will theoretically have enough support on their own to raise new revenue directly. They are discussing using it to fund vitally needed transportation infrastructure, major health-care programs, and even making the tax system itself fairer and more progressive.

While 2016 was a disaster for Democrats in much of the country, Hillary Clinton’s 30-point landslide in California was the largest margin there for any Democratic presidential candidate since 1936, making it a rare bright spot. Her coattails were likely instrumental to helping the party downballot in state Senate races like the 29th District, since she was also the first Democrat to win Orange County since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936. With Democrats now having the ability to advance key tax reforms, we could soon see a tide of more progressive policies in the state that is home to one-in-eight Americans.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/29

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:00:16 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016 · 9:32:12 PM +00:00 · David Nir GA-06: It's hard not to feel a pit in your stomach at the news that Donald Trump has picked GOP Rep. Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services: Price is the fiercest enemy of Obamacare in Congress, and as Sarah Kliff observes, his appointment signals that Trump is "dead serious about dismantling" the Affordable Care Act. So horrific is the news—millions will lose their health insurance, including, Paul Krugman estimates, some 5.5 million Trump voters—that we can't even bring ourselves to say there's any kind of silver lining here. But assuming Price's nomination goes through, there will be special election, and it could be notable. That's because the man promoting Price proved to be extraordinarily unpopular in the congressman's own district. Mitt Romney won Georgia's 6th, in suburban Atlanta, by a dominant 61-37 margin, making it the kind of dark red seat Democrats would typically have no shot at. But the 6th is also one of the best-educated and wealthiest districts in the country: 60 percent of residents have bachelor's degrees, the sixth-highest in the nation, and the median household income is almost $84,000, the 33rd best. As a result, the district turned sharply against Trump, giving him just a 48-47 win over Hillary Clinton—a 23-point collapse. And presidential results like that, at least in the pre-Trump era, typically signify a swingy district that could go either way downballot. But is that what we've got here? It's hard to say. Price easily won re-election (albeit against a Some Dude) by a 62-38 margin, suggesting that he didn't face much of an undertow due to Trump—and that was with Trump actually on the ballot. In a special election, disgusted Republican voters might just breathe a sigh of relief and go right back to their old habits without a second thought. However, that 62 percent showing was also the weakest of Price's career, and it came against an opponent who literally raised zero dollars. Republicans could very well wind up with a candidate identified closely with Trump, and if Democrats can put forward someone serious, they could frame the election as a referendum on the president. Of course, these are big "ifs," and Team Blue doesn't have much of a bench here, while Republicans do. But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Greg Bluestein cites unnamed "Democrats" who "vow to field a promising recruit," and he mentions state Reps. Scott Holcomb and Taylor Bennett as possibilities. (Bennett just lost re-election by a narrow 51-49 margin.) Bluestein also names no fewer than a dozen potential GOP candidates, including Price's wife, state Rep. Betty Price, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel. So far, t[...]



Trump's presidency is shaping up to be a kakistocracy: government by the worst possible people

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:00:20 +0000

Many of the words our language uses to describe forms of government come from Greek: democracy, autocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, and so on. There’s also another Greek term that you might not have encountered before called kakistocracy, or rule by the worst possible people. Trump has only been the president-elect a mere two weeks, but he has already sparked outcry over promising key appointments to white nationalists, unqualified sycophants, and those with troubling ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. With congressional Republican leaders acquiescing to Trump’s nominees, America is poised to have a government run by the worst sorts imaginable. Trump’s very first appointment was Steve Bannon as his chief political strategist. Before joining Trump’s campaign, Bannon ran the alt-right hate site Breitbart, which spreads far-right xenophobia while masquerading as news. He is an anti-Semite and white supremacist, and Bannon has boasted of how he wants to create an international alliance with far-right parties across the world. Neo-Nazis and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised Bannon’s selection. He has never served in government before, but will now be the chief adviser to one of the most powerful men in the world, proving Trump’s racism wasn’t just campaign talk. If picking a quasi-fascist for chief adviser weren't bad enough, Trump announced he would nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. In 1986, a Republican-controlled Senate refused to confirm him to a federal judgeship over his racism. The senator is an avowed opponent of recent criminal justice reform efforts. Sessions is also an outspoken critic of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and as a U.S. attorney he prosecuted black voters for attempting to exercise their right to vote. If he runs the Justice Department, he will turn it from the chief enforcer of civil and voting rights laws into the instrument of their demise, helping to usher us into a 21st Century era of Jim Crow. [...]



The special election to replace Trump's new HHS pick could be a competitive one

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 21:34:38 +0000

It's hard not to feel a pit in your stomach at the news that Donald Trump has picked GOP Rep. Tom Price to run the Department of Health and Human Services: Price is the fiercest enemy of Obamacare in Congress, and as Sarah Kliff observes, his appointment signals that Trump is "dead serious about dismantling" the Affordable Care Act. So horrific is the news—millions will lose their health insurance, including, Paul Krugman estimates, some 5.5 million Trump voters—that we can't even bring ourselves to say there's any kind of silver lining here. But assuming Price's nomination goes through, there will be special election, and it could be notable.

That's because the man promoting Price proved to be extraordinarily unpopular in the congressman's own district. Mitt Romney won Georgia's 6th, in suburban Atlanta, by a dominant 61-37 margin, making it the kind of dark red seat Democrats would typically have no shot at. But the 6th is also one of the best-educated and wealthiest districts in the country: 60 percent of residents have bachelor's degrees, the sixth-highest in the nation, and the median household income is almost $84,000, the 33rd best.

As a result, the district turned sharply against Trump, giving him just a 48-47 win over Hillary Clinton—a 23-point collapse. And presidential results like that, at least in the pre-Trump era, typically signify a swingy district that could go either way downballot.

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This tool lets you see how just three counties could have flipped the presidential election

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 21:13:07 +0000

This awesome interactive tool from data scientist and mathematician Kevin Wilson lets you reassign counties from one state to any other state. As you can see above, even just a few minor changes could radically alter the balance of power in a given state, and consequently the Electoral College, too. Wilson took the presidential election results and population statistics for each county and has his widget automatically add or subtract them if you move them between states so that you can calculate the Electoral College outcome, while the map lines also show the changes at both the statewide or county level.

In this hypothetical, I moved just three counties between neighboring states. I gave Lake County, Illinois, to Wisconsin, along with Lucas County, Ohio, to Michigan, and finally Camden County, New Jersey, to Pennsylvania. Those three changes would have caused all three states that gained counties to flip from voting for Donald Trump to supporting Hillary Clinton, and in the process she would have instead won an Electoral College majority of 279 to 259 (Wilson’s tool doesn’t account for Maine and Nebraska splitting their votes by congressional district).

This exercise helps show just how absurd and arbitrary today’s Electoral College biases are, and how relatively modest changes in historical boundaries could have sparked large consequences today. You aren’t just limited to modest changes either, since you could see how crazy moves like giving Los Angeles County, California, to Texas would flip the Lone Star State, or how Trump would have carried Virginia if West Virginia had never seceded. Check out Wilson’s tool to see for yourself.

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Nerd Alert! This spreadsheet contains every presidential election by state from 1828 to 2016

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 14:00:16 +0000

Here at Daily Kos Elections, you might say we have a love of data. It isn’t just a sometimes food, and we gobble up as much as we can. So to share our passion for cookies—er, I mean data—we took the historical election results from the invaluable Dave Leip's Atlas and created this spreadsheet of the presidential election result by state for every election from 1828 to 2016. That period starts with the Democratic Party’s founding under Andrew Jackson and was when nearly every state finally started holding popular votes open to all white men to pick their Electoral College electors. The spreadsheet itself displays the vote shares for major parties and notable independents with the winning candidate shaded, while it also contains the raw vote counts themselves further to the right. We also added another feature adapted from the Cook Political Report called the “Partisan Voter Index,” which you will see to the immediate right of the vote shares for each year. Our PVI measures the difference between the Democratic candidate’s two-party vote share in a state and their national result. So for instance, when Obama won 52 percent of the two-party vote in 2012, but just 49 percent in North Carolina, that state was R+3. At the bottom of the sheet, we have also shown the results by the nation’s four major geographic regions: the Midwest, the Northeast, the South, and the West. We took the Census Bureau’s regional definitions and moved Delaware and Maryland to the North, given their more contemporary connection with that region. Hillary Clinton prevailed in the national popular vote by 48-47 and easily won the North by 55-40 and the West by 53-39, but Donald Trump carried the Midwest by 49-45 and the South by 53-43. The 2016 results aren’t yet final, but we’ll periodically update them as official numbers come in. So dive on in and feast upon this wealth of historical data. [...]



One silver lining to Trump's win: Democrats could win key governors' races for 2020s redistricting

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:27:00 +0000

Donald Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton also saw Republicans win more power at the state level than in any election since 1928. However, there is one possible silver lining for the party that doesn’t occupy the White House. A whopping 36 states elect their governors in 2018, and crucially, that includes nearly all of the states that are important for the next round of redistricting that will take place after the 2020 census. If the next election cycle follows the pattern of the last three midterms and sees the president’s party suffer steep downballot losses, Democrats could be in a prime position to improve their standing at just the right time. The map at the top of this post highlights the states with key gubernatorial races as far as redistricting is concerned, along with the year those contests will be held (most are in 2018). These states will also hold legislative elections, which are vitally important as well, but existing Republican gerrymanders make it very difficult for Democrats to win legislative majorities and block future gerrymanders. That often makes winning statewide races for governor the easier option. Importantly, in the last two elections, Democratic presidential candidates have won many of the states that currently have Republican governors: Clinton carried Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, while Barack Obama also won Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. That gives Team Blue a lot of targets. Conversely, Louisiana is the only Democratic-held state Mitt Romney won, while Trump also carried Democratic-controlled Pennsylvania. And thanks to term limits, many of the seats Republicans have to defend will be open, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio. Democrats, meanwhile, are guarding open seats in just Colorado, Minnesota, and Virginia. If Democrats hope to level the playing field next decade, winning more gubernatorial elections in the upcoming 2018 midterm is paramount. [...]



Morning Digest: Atlanta's Republican suburbs turn sharply against Trump

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 13:00:17 +0000

Leading Off: ● Pres-by-CD: We're rolling out five states from our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district: Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, and Virginia. (Well, four states and one commonwealth.) We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.)  We'll start in Georgia, a state Donald Trump carried 51-46 four years after Mitt Romney took it 53-46. Trump won the same 10 congressional districts that Romney carried, while Clinton took the same four Obama seats. Republicans represent each of those 10 Romney/Trump seats, while Team Blue holds the other four districts. However, one safely red seat in suburban Atlanta swung dramatically the left in 2016 and could be a Democratic target soon. Romney carried the 6th District, represented by Republican Rep. Tom Price, 61-37, but Trump took it just 48-47, and indeed, the 6th is the type of very well-educated suburban seat where analysts expected Trump to be a poor fit heading into the election. Price himself was easily re-elected 62-38 against an unheralded Democratic opponent. However, Price may be leaving the House soon, since the congressman has been mentioned as both a potential secretary of Health and Human Services and a possible 2018 candidate for governor. But whether or not Price stays to defend this district, national Democrats should try to target this one. [...]



Nikki Haley's pending U.N. ambassadorship could mix up the race to succeed her

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 21:45:55 +0000

In a very strange move last week, Donald Trump said he would name South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his ambassador the United Nations. It's unexpected because Haley was openly hostile to Trump throughout his campaign, and it's weird because she has no foreign policy experience (though that's probably a plus in Trumpworld), and now she'll be on the hook for every international incident Trump causes. For an ambitious, young politician (Haley's just 44), it's a fraught choice, to the say the least. But all that is really outside our ambit. Here at Daily Kos Elections, we're chiefly concerned about what will happen to the Palmetto State's governorship, not its governor. Assuming Haley's dubious promotion does indeed go through, Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, a fellow Republican, would succeed her. McMaster had previously expressed interest in running on his own in 2018, when Haley would have been term-limited, but now he'll likely have the chance to do so as the incumbent. And that could change the calculus for a whole bunch of South Carolina Republicans. State Sen. Tom Davis, who'd been mentioned as a potential candidate, now says that "[i]f somebody was going to run, I think that their plans are the same now," but he also acknowledged that McMaster has "impeccable Republican credentials," in the words of The State. Davis says he's still considering a bid, though, and will "assess" his options in the spring. Davis might not have a good read on the situation, though. The first Republican to announce a bid, state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, already sounds likely to bail, saying of McMaster, "I want to do anything I can to work with him for the betterment of this state." Despite these comments, Pope still seems to be weighing a run, but at age 54, he can afford to wait. A third candidate who'd been contemplating a run, former Department of Health and Environmental Control chief Catherine Templeton, offered a contradictory statement of her own. Templeton said she intends to announce her plans in January and added that McMaster's pending elevation "does not change that because I want to serve the state in whatever capacity makes the most sense." The "whatever capacity" bit makes it sound like Templeton is open to other options, one of which could be serving as McMaster's lieutenant governor. State law is unclear as to whether McMaster would in fact be able to appoint a number two of his own choosing, but Templeton refused to say whether she'd discussed the subject with McMaster. One contender, though, who might not be dissuaded by coming events is Sen. Tim Scott. A couple of weeks ago, Scott's office put out a statement in which he did not rule out a gubernatorial bid, and now Scott himself is coyly acknowledging such a possibility, telling Politico, "I don't know about all that" with a[...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/28

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:00:16 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Monday, Nov 28, 2016 · 4:29:32 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-CD: We're rolling out five states from our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district: Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, and Virginia. (Well, four states and one commonwealth.) We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we'll be updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.)  We’ll start in Georgia, a state Trump carried 51-46 four years after Romney took it 53-46. Trump won the same 10 congressional districts that Romney carried, while Clinton took the same four Obama seats. Republicans represent each of those 10 Romney/ Trump seats, while Team Blue holds the other four districts. However, one safely red seat in suburban Atlanta dramatically swung to the left in 2016, and could be a Democratic target soon. Romney carried the 6th District, represented by Republican Rep. Tom Price, 61-37, but Trump took it just 48-47. The 6th is the type of very well-educated suburban seat where Trump was a poor fit. Price himself was easily re-elected 62-38 against an unheralded Democratic opponent. However, Price may be leaving the House soon, since the congressman has been mentioned as both a potential secretary of Health and Human Services and a possible 2018 candidate for governor. But whether or not Price stays to defend this district, national Democrats should try to put this one in play. There was also a swing towards Team Blue in the nearby 7th District, though it wasn’t as massive. Romney took this seat, which is represented by GOP Rep. Rob Woodall, 60-38, but Trump won it by a smaller 51-45 margin. Woodall easily won a fourth term 60-40 against a perennial candidate, and there’s no sign that he’s planning to retire anytime soon. The seat, which is dominated by Gwinnett County, still probably won’t be at the top of Democratic target lists, but Team Blue will need to put some unlikely seats in play if they want to flip the House anytime soon. Most of Georgia’s other 12 districts look completely safe for the party that holds them. The 2nd, represented by Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop, did get a bit redder: Obama carried this southwest Georgia seat 59-41, but Clinton won it by a smaller 55-43. That’s still pretty blue, but it[...]



Hawaii just became the first state to elect a 100 percent one-party state Senate since 1979

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 21:58:52 +0000

Despite good results for Republicans across the country, Hawaii was Hillary Clinton’s best state nationally, voting for her by a resounding 62-32 margin over Donald Trump. Its governor, both senators, and both House members all are Democrats who won lopsided victories over their last Republican opponent. Furthermore, it has only ever voted Republican for president in the 1972 and 1984 Nixon and Reagan landslides. Astoundingly, it’s the only state in the country where Republicans have never controlled the state House of Representatives. That last streak shows no signs of abating, since Democrats have won both legislative chambers every two years since 1962. In 2016, they just won literally every seat in the 25-member state Senate for the first time since Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959. Not since the dying days of the Solid South has any party won every single seat in any American state legislative chamber. The last time it happened was when Louisiana Democrats swept every state Senate district in 1979, but they later lost two to the Republicans at the next election in 1983. In 2010, 2012, and 2014, Republican state Sen. Sam Slom was the only member of his party to win a single seat in the Hawaii state Senate. However, in 2016 he finally lost to former Democratic Honolulu City Councillor Stanley Chang by a 53-47 margin after 20 years of representing the 9th District on Oahu’s southeastern shore. As one supporter facetiously quipped when Chang canvassed his neighborhood, now that they have every seat, Hawaii Democrats finally “can get a lot of things done.” For more info on 2016 state legislative outcomes, see our rundown of the partisan balance in all 50 states. [...]



One key reason why Republicans dominate in state legislatures: They drew most of the districts

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 18:47:18 +0000

Republicans control 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers. They hold both chambers in 32 states, which contain 61 percent of the U.S. population. Democrats meanwhile hold just 31 chambers and both of them in only 13 states, amounting to a mere 28 percent of the population. Why are Republicans so dominant at the state legislative level even after an election where Democrats narrowly won the presidential popular vote? Although there are many reasons, gerrymandering is one of the most important ones. As the above map illustrates, the redistricting process in 48 state legislative chambers was designed to favor Republicans, including both chambers in 23 states amounting to 50 percent of the population. Mapmakers intended to favor Democrats in just 23 chambers and only both of them in 10 states with a mere 15 percent of the population. That means Republicans had the opportunity to gerrymander three times as much as Democrats did. This gap was even worse for congressional redistricting, where Republicans gerrymandered over five times as much as Democrats did. Republicans now hold practically more power at the state level than at any time since the Civil War, and it isn’t difficult to understand why when they have drawn most of the maps. If Democrats are to make up ground in the critical fight for control of state legislatures, they absolutely must prevent another debacle like this past decade, where Republicans got to gerrymander most of the country and thwart the will of the majority of voters in state after state. [...]