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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Sat, 27 May 2017 19:26:16 +0000

Last Build Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 19:26:16 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Sat, 27 May 2017 13:01:20 +0000

Paul McCartney & Wings — “Live and Let Die”

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Daily Kos Elections Open Thread 5/26

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:00:59 +0000

Daily Kos Elections is taking an extended Memorial Day break. The Live Digest will be back on Tuesday May 30.

The Be-Sharps - Baby On Board

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Morning Digest: Despite assaulting a reporter, Republican Gianforte hangs on to win special election

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:01:00 +0000

Leading Off ● MT-AL: On Thursday night, wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte defeated Democratic folk musician Rob Quist in the special election to fill Montana's lone House seat, which became vacant when former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke left to become Donald Trump's interior secretary earlier this year. In a stunning turn of events, Gianforte was charged with criminal assault the night before the election after violently attacking a reporter, but he nevertheless wound up winning 50-44, with 6 percent going to Libertarian Mark Wicks. Campaign Action That, however, was 14 points closer than Trump's 20-point victory last fall, and it was in fact the tightest House race in Montana in 17 years, when Republicans won by 5 points in the 2000 elections. What's more, outside Republican groups, including the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent heavily—almost $6 million—to ensure Gianforte's victory. Democratic organizations, meanwhile, put in just $650,000 for Quist, though the candidate's own fundraising was exceptionally strong. (Quist said he'd raised $6 million for his campaign; Gianforte appears to have raised less, though he self-funded at least $1.5 million.) At this point, it's unclear how much—or even whether—Gianforte's election eve outburst affected the final margin, though with perhaps as much as two-thirds of the vote cast early, the impact was necessarily going to be limited. In the end, while Democrats once again wound up moving the needle back toward blue, it wasn't far enough to overcome Montana's strong red tilt. As we said at the outset when Daily Kos first endorsed Rob Quist, this was always going to be a very difficult contest to win. But it's no accident that Trump (or Steve Bannon) chose congressmen from historically Republican districts for his cabinet—they weren't going to give Democrats any easy pickup opportunities. Fortunately for Democrats, Trump did screw up at least one appointment, since Georgia's traditionally dark red 6th District has turned into a very competitive race. But even more importantly, the playing field for next year's midterms is much more favorable for Team Blue than it's been in the handful of special elections that have taken place this year. And in addition to sending grassroots enthusiasm through the roof, Trump has also inspired huge numbers of Democratic candidates to jump into House races across the country. We've been analyzing elections for a long time, and we haven't seen recruitment like this in a decade—when Democrats were in the midst of enjoying two successive wave elections. Republicans might be breathing a sigh of relief that their morally reprehensible candidate won on Thursday night, but they should still be worried about 2018. As for Gianforte, he still has to appear in court by June 7. Depending on the outcome of his legal proceedings, he could yet find himself vulnerable next year, whether in a primary or a general election. [...]



Daily Kos Montana special election open thread

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:51:37 +0000

Polls closed tonight in Montana at 10 PM ET, where voters are choosing a successor to former Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents the state’s lone congressional district and resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. The candidates are wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte, who lost a bid for governor last year, and Democrat Rob Quist, a popular folk musician. Gianforte stunned the political world when he physically attacked a reporter the day before Election Day and was charged with assault. However, a large proportion of votes (perhaps two-thirds or more) were cast before the incident. Trump won Montana by a 56-35 margin last fall. Win or lose, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court by June 7. Robert Yoon of Inside Elections has put together a helpful look at the key counties to watch as the returns come in. Results: Secretary of State | AP (statewide, by county) Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:54:12 AM +00:00 · David Nir With most precincts either fully or partially reporting in, the AP called the race for Gianforte a little while ago. He currently leads Quist 51-44. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:57:56 AM +00:00 · David Nir Some final thought as we close out the night. There’s no question that this result feels disappointing to a lot of people. But Gianforte’s 7-point margin means this race was fully 13 points closer than Trump’s 20-point victory last fall. In fact, this was the tightest House race in Montana in 17 years, when Republicans won by 5 points in the 2000 elections. What’s more, outside Republican groups, including the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent heavily—almost $6 million—to ensure Gianforte’s victory. Democratic organizations, meanwhile, put in just $650,000 for Quist, though the candidate’s own fundraising was exceptionally strong. (Quist said he’d raised $6 million for his campaign; Gianforte appears to have raised less, though he self-funded at least $1.5 million.) At this point, it’s unclear how much—or even whether—Gianforte’s violent election eve outburst affected the final margin, though with perhaps as much as two-thirds of the vote cast early, the impact was necessarily going to be limited. In the end, while Democrats once again wound up moving the needle back toward blue, it wasn’t far enough to overcome Montana’s strong red tilt. As we said at the outset when Daily Kos first endorsed Rob Quist, this was always going to be a very difficult contest to win. But it’s no accident that Trump (or Steve Bannon) chose congressmen from historically Republican districts for his cabinet—they weren’t going to give Democrats any easy pickup opportunities. Fortunately for Democrats, Trump did screw up at least one appointment, since Georgia’s traditionally dark red 6th District has turned into a very competitive race. But even more importantly, the playing field for next year’s midterms is much more favorable for Team Blue than it’s been in the handful of special elections that have taken place this year. And in addition to sending grassroots enthusiasm through the roof, Trump has also inspired huge numbers of Democratic candidates to jump into House races across the country. We've been analyzing elections for a long time, and we haven't seen recruitment like this in a decade—when Democrats were in the midst of enjoying two successive wave elections. Republicans might be breathing a sigh of relief that their morally reprehensible candidate won on Thursday night, but they should still be worried about 2018. As for Gianforte, he still has to appear in court by June 7. Depending on the outcome of his legal proceedings, he could yet find himself vulnerable next year, whether in a primary or a general election. Anyhow, thank you all f[...]



Daily Kos Montana special election liveblog thread #4

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:02:53 +0000

Polls closed tonight in Montana at 10 PM ET, where voters are choosing a successor to former Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents the state’s lone congressional district and resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. The candidates are wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte, who lost a bid for governor last year, and Democrat Rob Quist, a popular folk musician. Gianforte stunned the political world when he physically attacked a reporter the day before Election Day and was charged with assault. However, a large proportion of votes (perhaps two-thirds or more) were cast before the incident. Trump won Montana by a 56-35 margin last fall. Win or lose, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court by June 7. Robert Yoon of Inside Elections has put together a helpful look at the key counties to watch as the returns come in. Results: Secretary of State | AP (statewide, by county) Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:13:35 AM +00:00 · David Nir Both the AP and the SoS have Gianforte up 50-44, though as we’ve noted throughout the night, they have different ways of tallying precincts. The AP just does a traditional “precincts reporting” count that says 66% of all precincts have reported in. The SoS, meanwhile, differentiates between precincts that are “partially” in (47%) and “fully” in (34%). We are taking the “partially” to mean that only the early vote has been counted in those precincts. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:17:45 AM +00:00 · David Nir And one note (because this confused us, too!): When a precinct gets fully counted, the SoS moves it from the “partially” counted pile to the “fully” counted pile, so the “partially” counted number will at some point start to decrease. Put another way, if you add up the percentages of both piles, you can see what proportion of precincts we’ve gotten at least some data from. The SoS says that’s 81%, but the AP, through whatever formula they’re using, only says 66%. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:28:55 AM +00:00 · David Nir xJust passed over 300K voted in #MTAL with more to count. Total ballots cast in 2014 midterm was 373,831. Bonker levels of engagement.— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:34:43 AM +00:00 · David Nir The New York Times just called the race for Gianforte, who currently leads 51-44. The AP has not yet called the race, however. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:36:15 AM +00:00 · David Nir And now the AP has called it: xBOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Republican Greg Gianforte wins Montana's U.S. House special election after being charged with assaulting reporter.— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:53:14 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog concludes here. [...]



Daily Kos Montana special election liveblog thread #3

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:07:52 +0000

Polls closed tonight in Montana at 10 PM ET, where voters are choosing a successor to former Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents the state’s lone congressional district and resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. The candidates are wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte, who lost a bid for governor last year, and Democrat Rob Quist, a popular folk musician. Gianforte stunned the political world when he physically attacked a reporter the day before Election Day and was charged with assault. However, a large proportion of votes (perhaps two-thirds or more) were cast before the incident. Trump won Montana by a 56-35 margin last fall. Win or lose, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court by June 7. Robert Yoon of Inside Elections has put together a helpful look at the key counties to watch as the returns come in. Results: Secretary of State | AP (statewide, by county) Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:11:48 AM +00:00 · David Nir With 44% of precincts partially counted (likely meaning that only the early vote has been tallied) and just 5% fully counted, Gianforte now leads Quist 48-46. As we’ve noted, Gianforte is winning Montana’s biggest county, Yellowstone, by 20 points, even though he only won it by 1 point last year (while losing statewide by 4). There’s also quite a bit of rural red turf that hasn’t come in yet. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:31:42 AM +00:00 · David Nir The count is moving quite slowly. 47% of precincts are partially tallied and 15% fully. Gianforte is now leading 50-45. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:45:17 AM +00:00 · David Nir While we wait (ever so patiently) (okay, not really patiently at all) for the vote to be tallied, this is a true statement: xMontana has some pleasant county names. Silver Bow, Deer Lodge, Sweet Grass, Golden Valley, Big Horn, Powder River.— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:58:16 AM +00:00 · David Nir The AP's count is a few thousand votes ahead of the SoS’s, and they have Gianforte up 51-43 with what they say are 54% of precincts reporting. The AP is going with a traditional “precincts counted” tally, which is different from the state’s unusual (but helpful) approach of tallying up partially versus fully counted precincts separately. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 4:03:21 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Montana special election liveblog thread #2

Fri, 26 May 2017 02:32:26 +0000

Polls closed tonight in Montana at 10 PM ET, where voters are choosing a successor to former Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents the state’s lone congressional district and resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. The candidates are wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte, who lost a bid for governor last year, and Democrat Rob Quist, a popular folk musician. Gianforte stunned the political world when he physically attacked a reporter the day before Election Day and was charged with assault. However, a large proportion of votes (perhaps two-thirds or more) were cast before the incident. Trump won Montana by a 56-35 margin last fall. Win or lose, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court by June 7. Robert Yoon of Inside Elections has put together a helpful look at the key counties to watch as the returns come in. Results: Secretary of State | AP (statewide, by county) Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:35:52 AM +00:00 · David Nir If you’re just joining us, Quist and Gianforte have 47% apiece, with Quist ahead by less than 1,000 votes. 40% of precincts have reported early votes while just 2 of 681 are fully counted. Gianforte, however, leads in the early vote in Yellowstone County (Montana’s largest county and the home of Billings) by 20 points. This is bad news for Quist because Gianforte only won Yellowstone by a single point last year, when he lost his gubernatorial bid by 4. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:38:06 AM +00:00 · David Nir x191k votes in, 368k cast in last midterm House race. In all likelihood about half of total votes are in, give or take a bit— Kyle Kondik (@kkondik) May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:39:26 AM +00:00 · David Nir The New York Times has a very pretty interactive, live-updated precinct map. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:48:58 AM +00:00 · David Nir Now it’s Gianforte with a thousand-vote edge, though many of Montana’s most rural (and therefore reddest) counties have yet to report in. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:04:41 AM +00:00 · David Nir Votes are now trickling in fairly slowly, but Nathaniel Rakich has a good observation: xTurnout in these special elections has really been off the charts. We appear on pace for ~400K votes. 2014 general had 367,963. #MTAL— Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) May 26, 2017 And note that in 2014, the House seat was open (so theoretically more competitive), and there was also an open Senate seat on the ballot, too. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 3:08:21 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



Daily Kos Montana special election liveblog thread #1

Fri, 26 May 2017 01:59:50 +0000

Polls closed tonight in Montana at 10 PM ET, where voters are choosing a successor to former Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who represents the state’s lone congressional district and resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. The candidates are wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte, who lost a bid for governor last year, and Democrat Rob Quist, a popular folk musician. Gianforte stunned the political world when he physically attacked a reporter the day before Election Day and was charged with assault. However, a large proportion of votes (perhaps two-thirds or more) were cast before the incident. Trump won Montana by a 56-35 margin last fall. Win or lose, Gianforte is scheduled to appear in court by June 7. Robert Yoon of Inside Elections has put together a helpful look at the key counties to watch as the returns come in. Results: Secretary of State | AP (statewide, by county) Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:09:38 AM +00:00 · David Nir Just a few minutes after polls have closed and we already have our first numbers trickling in, but just 3 percent of precincts are reporting so far, according to the AP. A couple of notes: 1) In past elections, Montana has taken quite a long time to tally votes. 2) There’s reason to think that the first votes we see, which will likely be early and absentee votes, will favor Quist. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:15:48 AM +00:00 · David Nir The secretary of state’s office appears to be further along in the count than the AP, and the votes they’ve tallied so far do appear to be early votes, since they specify (at the moment) that 165 of 681 precincts are “partially” tallied. Quist is up 48-46 so far, with over 100,000 votes counted. Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:26:53 AM +00:00 · David Nir As Geoffrey Skelley notes, Yellowstone County (home of Billings) is Montana's biggest. Gianforte is currently up by 20 points there in the early vote. He only prevailed there by 1 point last year, en route to a 4-point statewide loss. As Skelley suggests, it’s very hard to see how Gianforte can’t win if he’s doing this well in the state’s largest county, barring a massive Election Day collapse (which of course cannot be ruled out). Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:31:23 AM +00:00 · David Nir Overall, with 40% of precincts partially reporting (and just 2 precincts fully reporting), Quist and Gianforte are just about tied at 47% apiece (Quist is ahead by around 1,000 votes). Friday, May 26, 2017 · 2:33:07 AM +00:00 · David Nir The liveblog continues here. [...]



A competitive primary for governor awaits Georgia Democrats

Thu, 25 May 2017 20:18:25 +0000

On Thursday, state Rep. Stacey Evans became the first noteworthy Democrat to announce that she would run to succeed termed-out Georgia GOP Gov. Nathan Deal. Evans, who hails from the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, won’t start out with much name recognition, but she may have the background and connections to run a serious campaign.

Evans was an attorney representing whistleblowers in a case against DaVita Healthcare Partners, and she used her share of the settlement to create a $500,000 scholarship for first-generation graduates at the University of Georgia law school. In office, Evans is known for trying to restore funding cuts to the HOPE scholarship program.

Evans is almost certain to have competition in the primary. While state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams hasn’t announced she will run yet, she has filed paperwork to set up a campaign. While the well-connected Abrams should have no trouble raising money, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein says that some Democrats are afraid she'd lose a general election.

One of the large divides in Georgia Democratic politics has been the question of whether the party should focus more on registering and turning out African American and Hispanic voters, or whether it should put of a priority into winning over Republicans and independents who aren’t happy with Donald Trump. Abrams has made voter registration a huge priority ,while Evans supporters reportedly feel she’d do a better job winning over voters who have backed Republicans for years. There’s also the possibility that many insiders feel that Abrams, who would be Georgia’s first black governor, would face a tougher time in a general election than Evans, who is white.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/25

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:57 +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, May 25, 2017 · 2:15:11 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Nassau County, NY Executive: On Wednesday evening, state Assemblyman Charles Lavine dropped out of the September Democratic primary and threw his support behind county Legislator Laura Curran, who has the endorsements of both the Nassau County Democratic Party and the Working Families Party. Curran still faces county Comptroller George Maragos in the primary, but she should be the clear favorite over Maragos, who only left the GOP last year. The GOP establishment has also chosen their candidate for this fall’s race to lead this large Long Island county. Last month, ex-state Sen. Jack Martins, who lost the 2016 race for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, earned the endorsement of the county Republican Executive Committee. GOP incumbent Ed Mangano was indicted last year on corruption charges, and while he still says he may run for re-election, he appears to have very little support in the county GOP. Thursday, May 25, 2017 · 2:48:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IN-Sen: While neither Luke Messer nor fellow GOP Rep. Todd Rokita has announced that they will challenge Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly this cycle, both men have given every indication that they’re planning to run, and they have even already begun exchanging blows in the press. However, the local political newsletter Howey Politics reports that three other Republicans are interested in getting in. State Attorney General Curtis Hill, who served as Elkhart County prosecutor from 2003 until his statewide win last year, hasn’t said anything publicly. However, Howey reports that Hill is making phone calls about a possible bid and staffing up. Howey also says that state Rep. Mike Braun is “reportedly making calls” about a possible bid, though he also hasn’t said anything publicly. Braun had a long business career before he won office in 2014, including a decades-long stint as owner of the distribution company Meyer Distributing, which has locations in 34 states. It’s possible that if Braun is interested, he has the connections to raise a serious amount of money and the ability to self-fund. Last cycle, state Sen. Mike Delph flirted with running for Indiana’s other Senate seat, but ultimately passed after anti-establishment groups like the Club for Growth consolidated behind Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s unsuccessful bid. Delph isn’t ruling out a campaign this time, telling Howey that he’ll “address 2018” after his daughter’s June 25 wedding. As for Messer and Rokita, we may not need to wait too long for their official decisions. Back in March, Messer said he was “probably a couple of months away from making a final decision,” which would put his announcement around… about now. As for Rokita, “sources close to” the congressman tell Howey they expect him to declare he’s running in the early summer. Thursday, May 25, 2017 · 3:14:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ID-Gov: Wealthy developer Tommy Ahlquist, a former doctor, started airing ads in March even though the GOP primary is about a year away, and he’s up with another spot. It’s a boring biographical commercial, but voters should get used to seeing them. Thursday, May 25, 2017 · 3:29:06 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer KS-Gov: Kansas Democrats hope that after years of termed-out Gov. Sam Brownback’s disastrous budget cuts, voters in this conservative state will be ready for a change. However, if wealthy independent Greg Orman runs for governor, he could make a tough campaign even tougher. Orman expressed interest in January, and while he hasn’t said much since then, KCUR’s J[...]



The New Hampshire GOPer who encouraged uninsured couples to practice abstinence may run for Congress

Thu, 25 May 2017 17:45:20 +0000

Last year, New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster defeated an underfunded Republican foe by a modest 50-45 as her seat went from 54-45 Obama to 49-46 Clinton. Republicans want to give Kuster a tougher challenge next year, and WMUR’s John DiStaso reports that they’re hoping that ex-state Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker will run after she gets off of active duty with the Navy in January. Blankenbeker planned to run last cycle, but she was called up for deployment first. Blankenbeker was a combat nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she won a heavily Democratic seat in the 400-person state House in a 2009 special. But as we noted two years ago, Blankenbeker may not be the dream candidate the GOP wants her to be. She speculated in 2011 that Osama Bin Laden may not have actually been killed. Later that year, she sent an email to her colleagues from her deployment describing how she “got to be the gunner which was fun. The .50cal is quite a gun! I was never ascared [sic] of the unions but they better not F#%k with me again!!! Just saying.” In 2012, she also argued that, “People with or without insurance have two affordable choices, one being abstinence and the other being condoms, both of which you can get over the counter.” When she was told that condoms were not a foolproof contraception method, Blankenbeker replied, “Abstinence works 100 percent of the time.” So yeah, this is the person the GOP has hoped would run for Congress for years. DiStaso also reports that former reporter and TV anchor Tiffany Eddy, who now works as communications director for the University System of New Hampshire, was mentioned briefly. Eddy responded by saying, “I’m flattered and honored, but it is not something that is on my radar right now.” That’s not a no. [...]



Greg Orman reportedly planning an independent bid for governor of Kansas

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:30:42 +0000

Kansas Democrats hope that after years of termed-out Gov. Sam Brownback’s disastrous budget cuts, voters in this conservative state will be ready for a change. However, if wealthy independent Greg Orman runs for governor, he could make a tough campaign even tougher. Orman expressed interest in January, and while he hasn’t said much since then, KCUR’s Jim McLean writes that “people close to” Orman say he’s going to run.

Back in 2014, Orman ran an independent bid for the U.S. Senate against GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. Polls showed Roberts with weak poll numbers, but with Democratic nominee Chad Taylor and Orman splitting the anti-Roberts vote, the incumbent looked secure. But two months before Election Day, Taylor dropped out of the race, giving Orman a clear shot at Roberts and an initially large lead in the polls. Orman maintained that he’d caucus with whichever party was in the majority, but that didn’t stop Democrats from flocking to him or Republicans from spending heavily against him.

Ultimately, the 2014 GOP wave helped Roberts pull off a 55-43 win. If Orman runs for governor, it’s very likely that he’d pull away more Democratic-leaning voters than Republicans, and this time, we probably couldn’t count on the Democratic nominee dropping out for him.

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Newly-elected Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill reportedly interested in bid against Joe Donnelly

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:01:50 +0000

While neither Luke Messer nor fellow GOP Rep. Todd Rokita has announced that they will challenge Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly this cycle, both men have given every indication that they’re planning to run, and they have even already begun exchanging blows in the press. However, the local political newsletter Howey Politics reports that three other Republicans are interested in getting in. State Attorney General Curtis Hill, who served as Elkhart County prosecutor from 2003 until his statewide win last year, hasn’t said anything publicly. However, Howey reports that Hill is making phone calls about a possible bid and staffing up.

Howey also says that state Rep. Mike Braun is “reportedly making calls” about a possible bid, though he also hasn’t said anything publicly. Braun had a long business career before he won office in 2014, including a decades-long stint as owner of the distribution company Meyer Distributing, which has locations in 34 states. It’s possible that if Braun is interested, he has the connections to raise a serious amount of money and the ability to self-fund.

Last cycle, state Sen. Mike Delph flirted with running for Indiana’s other Senate seat, but ultimately passed after anti-establishment groups like the Club for Growth consolidated behind Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s unsuccessful bid. Delph isn’t ruling out a campaign this time, telling Howey that he’ll “address 2018” after his daughter’s June 25 wedding.

As for Messer and Rokita, we may not need to wait too long for their official decisions. Back in March, Messer said he was “probably a couple of months away from making a final decision,” which would put his announcement around… about now. As for Rokita, “sources close to” the congressman tell Howey they expect him to declare he’s running in the early summer.

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Morning Digest: Montana Republican Greg Gianforte assaults reporter day before special election

Thu, 25 May 2017 12:01:01 +0000

Leading Off

MT-AL: On Wednesday evening, the day before Montana hosts a long-awaited special election for its lone seat in the House, Republican Greg Gianforte assaulted reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian after Jacobs attempted to ask Gianforte a question about the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of the GOP’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Jacobs tweeted that Gianforte “body slammed me and broke my glasses,” an account backed up by a team of reporters from Fox News who witnessed the encounter, which took place at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters:

During that conversation, another man—who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian—walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte's face and began asking if him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of "I'm sick and tired of this!"

The Guardian released audio of the incident, which also confirms Jacobs’ version of events:

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Horrifying: Audio of Montana Republican Greg Gianforte assaulting reporter Ben Jacobs

Thu, 25 May 2017 00:34:02 +0000

The Guardian has now posted audio of Montana Republican Greg Gianforte assaulting one of its reporters, Ben Jacobs, after Jacobs tried asking a question about the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal legislation at a Gianforte “meet-and-greet”:

Jacobs was taken to a local hospital. Police have arrived on scene and are questioning witnesses, but Gianforte has left the area. His campaign has, however, released a statement:

x

A transcript of the encounter is below:

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Self-described moderate Republican Raquel Regalado hopes to hold Ros-Lehtinen's seat for the GOP

Wed, 24 May 2017 19:53:02 +0000

On Tuesday, ex-Miami-Dade County school board member Raquel Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, announced that she would seek the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. This Miami-area seat backed Clinton 59-39, but Republicans still do well down the ballot, and Team Red may be able to hold on if they have a strong candidate. Regalado, a self-described moderate, is pitching herself as that candidate, and she may not be bluffing. Regalado hosts a well-known Spanish-language radio show, and her family is well known. However, her last bid for office did not go well. Regalado challenged Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a fellow Republican, last year, but lost 56-44. Regalado may have been hurt by news that she owed $4,000 in property taxes and fees, though Gimenez also worked hard to portray her as inexperienced. Regalado also hasn’t always followed the party line, with her endorsing Democrat Alex Sink over Republican Rick Scott in the 2010 race for governor, though she backed Scott in 2014; her father also made headlines by refusing to support Trump. The Regalados apostasies could harm her in a primary, but if she makes it to the general, she may be able to convince voters that she’s different from Trump. So far, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro is the only other notable Republican who has entered the race. And in what the Miami Herald’s David Smiley describes as an example of the Miami “Game of Thrones,” Barreiro’s wife is currently running against Regalado’s brother for a seat on the Miami City Commission. Several other Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, are considering, and Regalado herself drops a new name. Regalado says that she expects to face former Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall in the primary, which is the first thing we’ve heard about MacDougall’s interest in this seat. In 2014, MacDougall ran for the neighboring 26th District and lost the primary 47-25 to eventual winner Carlos Curbelo. [...]



The Georgia Republican who described the Obamas as 'uppity' won't run for governor

Wed, 24 May 2017 18:21:37 +0000

We don’t have Lynn Westmoreland to kick around any more. The former Republican congressman announced on Wednesday that he would not join the crowded primary for governor of Georgia. When Westmoreland announced one year ago that he would not run for re-election to the House it looked like he was preparing for a bid to succeed termed-out Gov. Nathan Deal, and Westmoreland launched a statewide “reconnect tour” at the end of 2016. However, Westmoreland sounded reluctant to run after all over the last few months, so his decision to stay out wasn’t a massive surprise.

If this is the end of Westmoreland’s political career, we won’t shed many tears. In 2006, Westmoreland co-sponsored a bill to require the display of the Ten Commandments in Congress, but was unable to name all 10 commandments on the Colbert Report. Two years later, Westmoreland described Barack and Michelle Obama as “part of an “elitist-class…that thinks that they’re uppity,” then claimed he didn’t know the word uppity had any racial connotations.

Westmoreland didn’t get much better with time. In 2015, he defended the presence of Confederate flags in federal cemeteries, declaring, “You can’t make an excuse for the things that happened. But a majority of people that actually died in the Civil War on the Confederate side did not own slaves. These were people who were fighting for their states. I don’t think they even had thoughts about slavery.”

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/24

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:51 +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, May 24, 2017 · 3:47:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer TX-30: Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who recently turned 81, raised just $1,000 during the first three months of 2017, setting off speculation that she wouldn’t seek another term in her safely blue Dallas seat. In April, unnamed people close to the congresswoman told The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers that she plans to seek one more term, and that an announcement would come within 10 days. However, those 10 days came and went without any announcement, and there hasn’t been any word from Johnson’s camp since then. Jeffers says that a Johnson campaign office is “in the works,” so she may in fact be planning to run in 2018. However, until Johnson makes an announcement, we’re going to keep her on the retirement watch list. Wednesday, May 24, 2017 · 4:02:20 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer New Orleans, LA Mayor: This fall’s race to succeed termed-out Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been slow to develop, but with a little less than two months to go before the July 14 filing deadline, potential candidates still have time to make up their minds. On Monday, Desiree Charbonnet, who recently resigned as a municipal court judge to prepare her campaign, announced that she would run. Charbonnet, who like almost everyone involved in New Orleans politics is a Democrat, comes from a prominent political family. Charbonnet has also received national attention on the bench for working to steer repeat offenders in drug and prostitution cases, as well as offenders with mental illnesses, towards treatment programs rather than sending them back into the criminal justice system. While Charbonnet has been elected citywide several times, most of New Orleans’ many judges don’t attract much attention from the public. However, Charbonnet has some connections that could help her get her name out. At her campaign kickoff, Charbonnet earned an endorsement from state Sen. Troy Carter, who initially considered running for mayor himself. Carter is reportedly close to Rep. Cedric Richmond, who represents most of New Orleans in Congress, and his support could be a sign that Richmond and his allies are on board with Charbonnet. (Richmond enthusiastically tweeted when Charbonnet resigned from the court last month ahead of her expected bid.) And as The Advocate’s Stephanie Grace noted, several influential political insiders attended Charbonnet’s kickoff event. So far, three other candidates are running. City Councilor LaToya Cantrell jumped in a few weeks ago, and she at least looks like an early frontrunner in the developing field. Both Charbonnet and Cantrell are African American Democratic women, and either would be the city’s first female mayor. However, as Grace noted, there are big differences between them. Charbonnet noted her family has “served the city for generations,” which may be a dig at Cantrell, who is originally from Los Angeles. And Cantrell, who first won elected office in 2012 by defeating a city council candidate backed by Richmond and Landrieu, is more of a political outsider than Charbonnet, though she has some well-connected people on her campaign. The other two declared candidates are ex-Judge Michael Bagneris and rich guy Frank Scurlock. Bagneris, a Democrat, challenged Landrieu in 2014 and lost 64-33, and it’s unclear if he has much support behind his second bid. Scurlock, who as of Ap[...]



When Democrats show up, Democrats win. This year, Democrats are showing up

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:05:06 +0000

Tuesday night, Democrats won two legislative special elections in Trump territory, flipping the seats from Republican control. The results were stunning and dramatic. In the case of New York’s 9th Assembly District, the margin shifted an astounding 39 points from last year’s presidential election! Less noticed were two special elections the same night where party control did not change hands. Yet these, too, are part of the story. In both cases, the margin shifted just around 1 point worse compared to Hillary Clinton’s margin. What difference does that make? Not much, until we look at the big picture. Let’s travel back in time a bit. In December 2015, Democrat Tonya Anderson lost a special election for the 43rd District in Georgia’s state Senate by a painfully slim 84-vote margin. Here at Daily Kos Elections, we reported that “the special election gods taketh away.” On the other hand, just last week, Democrats lost another special election for a Georgia state Senate seat, this time by a much larger 14 percentage points. But what was our headline? Republicans “shouldn’t be pleased.” What? Why the difference in interpretation? Anderson was expected to win with ease. The seat was overwhelmingly Democratic; Barack Obama had won it by a whopping 44 points in 2012. Indeed, in a 2016 rematch, Anderson won the seat with a massive 70-30 advantage. What happened in 2015? Nobody really knows, but our best guess was Democrats just didn’t bother to show up. Last week’s election, on the other hand, came in a district Obama lost by a gigantic 36-point margin, while Clinton lost it by 14 points. In previous years, we might have expected a Democrat to lose a special election by a massive amount, very likely worse than Clinton and probably even worse than Obama. But instead, the margin was the same as Clinton’s and much better than Obama’s. Democrats are showing up—and in a way they haven’t in years. Below, we’ll show you just what’s going on. [...]



Candidates slowly line up for this year's race to succeed New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Wed, 24 May 2017 16:09:19 +0000

This fall’s race to succeed termed-out Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been slow to develop, but with a little less than two months to go before the July 14 filing deadline, potential candidates still have time to make up their minds. On Monday, Desiree Charbonnet, who recently resigned as a municipal court judge to prepare her campaign, announced that she would run.

Charbonnet, who like almost everyone involved in New Orleans politics is a Democrat, comes from a prominent political family. Charbonnet has also received national attention on the bench for working to steer repeat offenders in drug and prostitution cases, as well as offenders with mental illnesses, towards treatment programs rather than sending them back into the criminal justice system.

While Charbonnet has been elected citywide several times, most of New Orleans’ many judges don’t attract much attention from the public. However, Charbonnet has some connections that could help her get her name out. At her campaign kickoff, Charbonnet earned an endorsement from state Sen. Troy Carter, who initially considered running for mayor himself. Carter is reportedly close to Rep. Cedric Richmond, who represents most of New Orleans in Congress, and his support could be a sign that Richmond and his allies are on board with Charbonnet. (Richmond enthusiastically tweeted when Charbonnet resigned from the court last month ahead of her expected bid.) And as The Advocate’s Stephanie Grace noted, several influential political insiders attended Charbonnet’s kickoff event.

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Morning Digest: Maine Supreme Court says new instant-runoff voting law violates state constitution

Wed, 24 May 2017 12:01:25 +0000

Leading Off ● ME-Ballot: On Tuesday, Maine's state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a 2016 ballot initiative that switched Maine's elections to instant-runoff voting for state and congressional races violates the state constitution. This ruling was a non-binding advisory opinion, meaning the court did not yet formally strike down the law that voters had approved 52-48 last year, but it casts serious doubt on the prospect of the legislature actually implementing instant runoff (sometimes called ranked-choice voting) as scheduled ahead for the 2018 elections.​ Campaign Action ​Had this provision gone into effect, Maine would have become the first state in the country to adopt instant-runoff voting for Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races. That system lets voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one initially attains a majority of first preferences, the last place candidate gets eliminated, and votes for that candidate shift to each voter's second preference. That process repeats until one candidate achieves a majority. However, the court found that this violated a state constitutional provision that says that the plurality winner is elected. Consequently, there's a good chance legislators will now repeal the law to avoid a near-certain lawsuit to block its implementation. While legislative proponents quickly pledged to introduce a state constitutional amendment, that would require two-thirds support in both legislative chambers before it could head to a statewide vote. Republicans mostly opposed the reform, and they hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, while many Democrats opposed instant-runoff voting as well, in part because it would empower independent candidates. In 9 of Maine's past 11 gubernatorial elections since 1974, the winner had only secured a plurality of the vote. The problems of the status quo became readily apparent in the 2010 Republican wave election when Trump-like tea party GOP Gov. Paul LePage won his first term by a mere 38-36 plurality over a fractured field of left-leaning opponents. Despite an obvious appetite for electoral-system reform and a strong independent streak, Maine voters lack the power to initiate constitutional amendments. Their only recourse appears to be the daunting task of voting in new legislators who will support instant-runoff voting. [...]



Democrats pick up two GOP-held legislative seats, the first flips of the Trump era. There'll be more

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:28:10 +0000

On Tuesday night, Democrats flipped not one but two state legislative seats in special elections—and both came in deep red territory. In New Hampshire, Democrat Edie DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Plache by a 52-48 margin in the state House’s 6th Carroll District, a seat Donald Trump won 51-44 last fall. Meanwhile, in the New York Assembly’s 9th District, Democrat Christine Pellegrino beat Republican Thomas Gargiulo 58-42, even though Trump romped to a 60-37 victory there in November.

This means that DesMarais moved the needle 11 points in the Democratic direction while Pellegrino did the same by an astounding 39 points. And while these are the first two seats to actually change hands since Trump’s election, Democrats have consistently outperformed the 2016 presidential results in special elections across the country.

Needless to say, if we can keep doing that, there will be many more victories to come. But this will only come to pass if we stay engaged and continue to do the hard work that these times demand of us. Winning is never automatic—far from it. There are plenty of special elections coming up fast on the calendar, including one on Thursday in Montana and one next month in Georgia, so let’s ride this momentum and get to it!

Please click here to make GOTV calls for Rob Quist in Montana, and click here to donate $3 to Jon Ossoff in Georgia.

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Independent poll gives Jon Ossoff the lead, but there are plenty of reasons to be cautious

Tue, 23 May 2017 20:41:23 +0000

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On behalf of WXIA-TV, SurveyUSA takes a look at the June 20 general for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, and they give Democrat Jon Ossoff an eye-popping 51-44 lead over Republican Karen Handel. We always advise readers to be cautious when presented with a surprising poll, and this time is no different. We’ll certainly see more polls over the next few weeks, and they’ll give us a better feel for whether Ossoff really has opened a clear lead, or if this contest remains as tight as its looked for weeks.

We’ve only seen a few polls since the April primary, and even Democrats haven’t been acting like Ossoff is that far ahead. In early May, both the Ossoff campaign and the Democratic group House Majority PAC released polls giving Ossoff a 1 or 2 point edge. The local Republican pollster Landmark Communications, polling on behalf of local news station WSB-TV, gave Handel a 49-47 lead a little while later.

A lot has certainly happened since Landmark’s poll was finished on May 4, including the House’s vote for Trumpcare, Trump firing FBI director James Comey, and numerous revelations about Trump and Russia. According to the HuffPost Pollster average, Trump’s already-weak numbers have taken a hit since then as well: On May 4, Trump posted a 43-52 disapproval rating, while on Tuesday, he was at 40-56. If Trump has seen anything like that kind of collapse in this suburban Atlanta seat, then it’s very plausible that Ossoff’s position has improved in the last few weeks. However, it’s far too early to know, and with both parties spending heavily here with a month to go, this seat remains very much a battleground.

The GOP is going to throw everything they have to save Trump from a huge embarrassment. Please chip in $3 today to help Jon Ossoff fight back.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/23

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:50 +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, May 23, 2017 · 3:35:59 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf ME Ballot: Maine’s state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in a non-binding advisory opinion that 2016’s voter-initiated law that switches elections to instant-runoff voting violates the state constitution. More details to come. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 · 4:01:45 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf ME-Ballot: On Tuesday, Maine’s state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a 2016 ballot initiative that switched Maine’s elections to instant-runoff voting for state and congressional races violates the state constitution. This ruling was a non-binding advisory opinion, meaning the court did not yet formally strike down the law that voters had approved 52-48 last year, but it casts serious doubt on the prospect of the legislature actually implementing instant runoff (sometimes called ranked-choice voting) as scheduled ahead for the 2018 elections. Had this provision gone into effect, Maine would have become the first state in the country to adopt instant-runoff voting for Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races. That system lets voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one initially attains a majority of first preferences, the last place candidate gets eliminated, and votes for that candidate shift to each voter’s second preference. That process repeats until one candidate achieves a majority. However, the court found that this violated a state constitutional provision that says that the plurality winner is elected. Consequently, legislators will most likely repeal the law to avoid a near-certain lawsuit to block its implementation. While legislative proponents quickly pledged to introduce a state constitutional amendment, that would require two-thirds support in both legislative chambers before it could head to a statewide vote. Republicans mostly opposed the reform and they hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, while many Democrats opposed instant-runoff voting as well, in part because it would empower independent candidates. In the 9 of Maine’s past 11 gubernatorial elections since 1974, the winner had only secured a plurality of the vote. The problems of the status quo became readily apparent in the 2010 Republican wave election when Trump-like tea party GOP Gov. Paul LePage won his first term by a mere 38-36 plurality over a fractured field of left-leaning opponents. Despite an obvious appetite for electoral-system reform and a strong independent streak, Maine voters lack the power to initiate constitutional amendments. Their only recourse appears to be the daunting task of voting in new legislators who will support instant-runoff voting. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 · 4:03:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation turns to Texas, a GOP-dominated state that did still noticeably move away from Donald Trump last year, and where a court order may force the GOP to redrawn the state House map soon. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 53-43 [...]



State Sen. Daylin Leach mulls a campaign against GOP Rep. Pat Meehan in swing Pennsylvania seat

Tue, 23 May 2017 19:49:05 +0000

Several Democrats are already running to face Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Pat Meehan in a suburban Philadelphia seat that swung from 50-49 Romney to 49-47 Clinton, but it’s unclear if any of them are capable of running a strong campaign. This week state Sen. Daylin Leach expressed interest in joining the Democratic primary, and said he hoped to decide by the first week of June.

Leach ran for Congress in the neighboring 13th District in 2014. Leach raised a credible amount of money but ended up taking third place with 17 percent of the vote in the four-way primary, losing to eventual winner Brendan Boyle. However, Leach actually lives in Meehan’s 7th District, something that many of his current would-be primary rivals can’t say.

A campaign against Meehan will not be cheap, and Leach’s connections and fundraising experience could be a huge help. However, it’s worth noting that Leach hails from Montgomery County, which makes up a little less than 20 percent of the seat, rather than Delaware County, where a little more than half of the 7th’s residents live. Leach represents about 17 percent of the 7th Congressional District in the legislature, including a portion of Delaware County, but he’d almost certainly begin the campaign with relatively little name recognition.

Leach also has a reputation as an outspoken liberal and he hasn’t been remotely shy about picking fights with Trump, with him tweeting in February, “Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don't you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!” Leach’s very anti-Trump attitude could be a big asset in a primary and help him raise money from Trump hating donors nationwide. However, Meehan loves to portray himself as a moderate, and if he faces Leach, he may be able to win over swing voters by depicting the contest as a battle between a centrist and a loud liberal.

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Longest serving governor in U.S. history to resign after confirmation as Trump's ambassador to China

Tue, 23 May 2017 18:11:45 +0000

Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad was finally confirmed on Monday to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to China, and he announced that he would resign on Wednesday. Branstad’s two non-consecutive tenures as governor from 1983 to 1999 and again from 2011 to 2017 add up to 8,169 days in office, or over 22 years, making him the longest-serving governor of any state in American history. GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will assume office following Branstad’s resignation, and the state’s first woman governor subsequently will face election to a full term in 2018. Reynolds has yet to formally clarify her intentions for 2018, but she is expected to run. If Reynolds does decide to run for election in her own right, she’ll have history on her side. Geoffrey Skelley of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics recently conducted an extensive analysis of how every governor since World War II who took office after a vacancy has fared if they ran in the next election. He finds that such unelected governors won their own terms on 39 of 62 occasions, a success rate of 63 percent. However, that proportion has risen considerably in recent decades, and all nine such incumbents who sought a full term since 2006 have won. Nonetheless, Skelley also found that incumbents who had previously won separate statewide elections fared better than those who hadn’t, which could be a detriment for Reynolds, who was merely a state senator before running on a ticket with Branstad in 2010 and 2014. While Reynolds starts out with some advantages, they aren’t deterring opponents from lining up to potentially challenge her. On the Republican side, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and white-nationalist extremist Rep. Steve King have previously said that they were considering the race. Iowa’s lurch to the right in 2016 hasn’t stopped a slew of Democrats from expressing interest in running as well. The pool of Democratic candidates already includes: former state party chair Andy McGuire; state Sen. Nate Boulton; state Rep. Todd Prichard; ex-Des Moines School Board President Jonathan Neiderbach; and Polk County Conservation Board Director Rich Leopold. Several others have also said they’re considering a campaign, including: John Norris, a well-connected former chief of staff to ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack; state Rep. Chris Hall; Davenport Alderman Mike Matson; and prominent wealthy businessman Fred Hubbell. [...]



Maine Supreme Court rules that new instant-runoff voting law violates the state constitution

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:06:35 +0000

On Tuesday, Maine’s state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a 2016 ballot initiative that switched Maine’s elections to instant-runoff voting for state and congressional races violates the state constitution. This ruling was a non-binding advisory opinion, meaning the court did not yet formally strike down the law that voters had approved 52-48 last year, but it casts serious doubt on the prospect of the legislature actually implementing instant runoff (sometimes called ranked-choice voting) as scheduled ahead for the 2018 elections. Had this provision gone into effect, Maine would have become the first state in the country to adopt instant-runoff voting for Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races. That system lets voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no one initially attains a majority of first preferences, the last place candidate gets eliminated, and votes for that candidate shift to each voter’s second preference. That process repeats until one candidate achieves a majority. However, the court found that this violated a state constitutional provision that says that the plurality winner is elected. Consequently, legislators will most likely repeal the law to avoid a near-certain lawsuit to block its implementation. While legislative proponents quickly pledged to introduce a state constitutional amendment, that would require two-thirds support in both legislative chambers before it could head to a statewide vote. Republicans mostly opposed the reform and they hold a one-seat majority in the state Senate, while many Democrats opposed instant-runoff voting as well, in part because it would empower independent candidates. In the 9 of Maine’s past 11 gubernatorial elections since 1974, the winner had only secured a plurality of the vote. The problems of the status quo became readily apparent in the 2010 Republican wave election when Trump-like tea party GOP Gov. Paul LePage won his first term by a mere 38-36 plurality over a fractured field of left-leaning opponents. Despite an obvious appetite for electoral-system reform and a strong independent streak, Maine voters lack the power to initiate constitutional amendments. Their only recourse appears to be the daunting task of voting in new legislators who will support instant-runoff voting. [...]



Clinton won several conservative districts in the Texas suburbs, but Republicans still hold them

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:05:01 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation turns to Texas, a GOP-dominated state that did still noticeably move away from Donald Trump last year, and where a court order may force the GOP to redraw the state House map soon. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 53-43 statewide, a large margin but quite a bit weaker than Mitt Romney’s 57-41 win against Barack Obama four years before—and the lowest share for a Republican in 20 years. The GOP has run the Texas state House since 2002 and the Senate since 1996, and they’re unlikely to lose either chamber anytime soon. The good news for Democrats is that in April, a federal court struck down the state House map that Republicans drew in 2013 as unconstitutional. However, it may be a while before the litigation concludes, and even if the GOP is forced to redraw the state House seats, the current map may still be in effect in 2018. (See Stephen Wolf’s post for more.) Republicans currently hold a 95-55 majority in the state House and a 20-11 edge in the state Senate. The entire state House is up every two years, while half of the Senate was up in 2016 and the remaining seats will be up in 2018. The GOP is a few seats short of a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers, but unlike in California and a few other states, a supermajority isn’t particularly valuable in Texas. The state Senate used to require two-thirds of its members to agree to advance a bill toward final passage, but Republican Dan Patrick, who as lieutenant governor controls the chamber’s workings, killed that rule in 2015. And with ultra-conservative Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in charge, the GOP legislature won’t be needing to override many vetoes. Still, Democrats may have the opportunity to make some real gains in the lower chamber next year, which could help Team Blue build up a bench and set them up for future gains if the Lone Star State becomes more hospitable to national Democrats. To help follow along, Stephen Wolf has created an interactive map of the state House where each seat is colored based on whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump won it, and whether the seat is held by a Republican or a Democrat. Donald Trump carried 85 of the 150 state House seats, losing 11 Romney seats while picking up no districts that Obama won. However, Trump’s problems didn’t do much for Democrats down the ballot, at least not in 2016. Of those 11 Romney/Clinton seats, Democrats hold just one of them. Last year, Democrat Victoria Neave narrowly unseated Republican state Rep. Kenneth Sheets 51-49 in HD-107, a Dallas County seat that swung from 52-47 Romney to 52-43 Clinton. Democrats hold all of the state’s 54 Obama/Clinton seats, but Neave is the one Democrat who represents a seat Romney carried. [...]



Want to know which House districts are headed in the Democrats' direction? This is your guide

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:00:58 +0000

Ed Royce, the Republican who represents California’s 39th congressional district in Orange County, may be the most vulnerable member of Congress that you’ve never heard of. And that’s despite holding the high-profile position of chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; he keeps a low profile and manages not to say intemperate, attention-grabbing things, to the extent that he sometimes get misidentified as a "moderate" (which is insane, since DW-Nominate recently identified him as the 411th most-liberal member of the House, adjacent to a lot of Freedom Caucus members). He’s been there 1993 without facing serious opposition at any point, kept secure by Orange County’s dark-red status as California’s anchor of conservatism. What’s threatening Royce this time is that Orange County’s stronghold status is crumbling before our eyes; Hillary Clinton was the first Democrat to win the county since FDR. Much of what’s driving that is the fact that Orange County, once a uniform slice of suburban white bread, is now much more diverse (42 percent non-Hispanic white, compared with 62 percent nationwide) and more educated (38 percent college-educated, compared with 31 percent nationwide) than the country at large. As we talked about a few weeks ago, both those demographic factors are more closely linked to voting Democratic than at any point in recent history. And Royce’s district has even more pronounced numbers (30 percent non-Hispanic white, 41 percent college-educated) than the broader county. This isn’t the usual way to talk about how vulnerable a Congress member is; the most common data point that someone in my shoes reaches for is what the presidential numbers were, in that district or state, in the last election. By that measure, Royce’s district, which Clinton won 52-43 in 2016 (and which was won by Romney, 51-47, in 2012) isn’t the bluest district held by a Republican; with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen having already bailed out on FL-27 (which Clinton won 59-39), the GOP incumbent with the bluest district is now FL-26’s Carlos Curbelo, at 57-41. Once we get closer to the election, we start talking more about fundraising, candidate strength, and finally district-level polling, if that’s ever available. But demographics is an important consideration as well: more than anything, it tells us where we're going, more so than where we are right now. More attention to demographic crosstabs in national polls that showed terrible numbers for Democrats among white non-college voters, for instance, might have been a useful warning light that something might have been off with those statewide polls (that failed to weight by education) that showed Clinton with significant (and incorrect) leads in Midwestern states. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2018 House battlefield, purely from a demographic standpoint without looking at presidential numbers. [...]



New Brennan Center report details just how strongly redistricting maps favor the GOP nationwide

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:20:38 +0000

The Brennan Center for Justice published a major new report last week that uses multiple statistical measures to examine how congressional maps around the country mete out partisan advantages to one party or the other. The study provides detailed mathematical evidence for what redistricting-watchers have long known: The redistricting plans passed in the wake of the 2010 census give Republicans a monumental and consistent advantage nationwide. Although these tests don’t necessarily determine the root causes of these advantages, states with single-party control over the redistricting process stand out as having the worst disparities between the popular vote and seat counts. (For instance, Donald Trump won Michigan by 0.2 percentage points, but Republicans hold 64 percent of the state’s congressional districts.) Indeed, Daily Kos Elections’ own past work has used hypothetical nonpartisan maps to demonstrate that intentional gerrymandering is likely responsible for the vast majority of this GOP edge. Other factors, such as the geographic “clustering” of Democrats into cities while Republicans are more efficiently spread out over wider territory, do also likely play a role. The Brennan report’s three statistical tests include a novel approach known as the “efficiency gap.” Proponents of this approach hope it will undergird a new effort asking the Supreme Court to start striking down partisan gerrymanders as unconstitutional, which it just might do in an upcoming Wisconsin case that’s likely headed before the high court this fall over the GOP’s state Assembly gerrymander shown at the top of this post. So how does the efficiency gap work? We’ll explain it and much more below. The efficiency gap aims to measure how many votes for each party are “wasted” in legislative or congressional races by counting up all the votes for a losing candidate and for a winning candidate that were in excess of the minimum needed to actually win that race. It then divides that total for each party by the statewide two-party vote total and compares the percentage of wasted votes between each party to produce an efficiency gap. Here’s a simplified example. While the efficiency gap tends to be most meaningful with larger numbers of districts, we’ll imagine a state with three congressional districts, since the math behind the concept is the same either way. The combined vote for each party’s three candidates across all three districts is exactly 150 votes for each side, or 300 total statewide—in other words, this is a perfectly divided state. However, in two of these hypothetical seats, Republicans win 60 votes to 40 for the Democrat, meaning they “wasted” 19 votes since it only would have taken 41 to win, for a total of 38 wasted votes. Meanwhile, one seat goes 70-30 for the Democrat, so 39 Democratic votes are wasted here. [...]



Morning Digest: Supreme Court blocks North Carolina GOP's racially discriminatory congressional map

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:01:08 +0000

Leading Off ● NC Redistricting: On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling issued last year that struck down the congressional map that North Carolina Republicans drew in 2011 on the grounds that lawmakers had engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, handing voting rights advocates a major victory and dealing a huge blow to what was arguably the most effective congressional gerrymander of the modern era.​ Campaign Action ​As shown here, Republican legislators used surgical precision to pack black voters into just two districts, the tentacular 1st and the snake-like 12th. The lower court found that these districts separated voters on the basis of race in violation of the constitution, a move that effectively prevented black voters from electing their preferred candidates in neighboring seats. Before Republican legislators put these new lines into place, the black population in both the 1st and the 12th constituted a plurality in each of those districts. During redistricting, the GOP increased those pluralities to majorities, claiming alternately that the Voting Rights Act forced them to do so (in the case of the 1st) or that they'd ignored race entirely and only considered partisan preferences in the 12th (something that is still permissible). The Supreme Court, however, rejected both arguments. Black voters in both districts had for years been able to elect their candidates of choice (black Democrats), so increasing the black population in these two seats wasn't necessary to ensure this state of affairs would continue. Indeed, in related cases, the Supreme Court has consistently rejected the notion that mapmakers are required to create districts with majority-black populations. As a result, because Republicans so flagrantly disregarded traditional redistricting criteria with respect to the 1st, and because they could have achieved their partisan objectives by different means with the 12th, the court held that race unconstitutionally predominated in the redistricting process. [...]



Democrats won critical supermajorities in California, but the GOP is determined to end them

Mon, 22 May 2017 21:55:01 +0000

Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits California, where legislative Democrats have just the right number of seats they need to maintain their vital supermajorities, but where the GOP is planning to go on the offensive. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here. California has been one of the nation’s most Democratic states for a while, and Donald Trump is doing nothing to change that. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried the Golden State 62-32, a stronger margin than even Barack Obama’s already dominant 60-37 win over Mitt Romney four years earlier. While Democrats were unable to dislodge any of California’s 14 GOP members of Congress, they were able to make critical gains in both legislative chambers. Team Blue picked up three Assembly seats, taking a 55-25 majority, while in the Senate, Democrats flipped a Southern California district, giving them 27 of the 40 seats in the chamber. The entire Assembly is up every two years. Odd-numbered Senate seats are up in presidential cycles, while even-numbered ones are up in midterm years. Under California law, two-thirds support in each chamber is needed to pass any tax increases. Democrats have one seat more than they need for a supermajority in the Assembly, while they have the exact number necessary in the Senate. Last month, Democrats used their narrow supermajorities to pass a gas-tax increase in order to fund a $52 billion transportation plan, a vote the GOP is determined to make one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats regret soon. Freshman state Sen. Josh Newman, who narrowly won a four-year term in Southern California’s SD-29 last year, backed the bill: Newman was the deciding vote after Democrat Steve Glazer, who represents a very blue Bay Area seat but won office with the support of big business by defeating a labor-backed candidate, voted no and termed-out GOP state Sen. Anthony Cannella voted yes. Conservative San Diego radio host Carl DeMaio, who lost a close 2012 bid for mayor and a tight 2014 congressional race, proceeded to launch a recall campaign against Newman. [...]



Both Democrats crush Republican frontrunner for this fall's crucial gubernatorial race in Virginia

Mon, 22 May 2017 20:50:56 +0000

A new internal poll of Virginia’s Democratic primary next month from Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam gives him his biggest lead to date, yet the overall picture is still cloudy. Northam's survey, from Garin-Hart-Yang, finds him up 50-33 on ex-Rep. Tom Perriello, an even bigger margin than a recent PPP poll conducted for a Northam ally that had him ahead 45-35.

However, in between these two pro-Northam polls, the Washington Post released a survey finding Perriello ahead by a tight 40-38 spread. There are just three weeks to go before the election, so whether the candidates are separated by 2, 10, or 17 points matters a great deal. With so little polling to go, it's very hard to say who might be right.

We have a bit more data to go on for the general election, including some fresh numbers from that same WaPo poll. Both Democrats crush the Republican frontrunner, former RNC chair Ed Gillespie, in similar fashion: Perriello leads him 50-37 and Northam's on top 49-38.

Term-limited Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe also enjoys a strong 49-25 job approval rating, so whether Northam and Perriello are both benefiting from McAuliffe's glow, or if they're all benefiting from disgust toward Donald Trump, Democrats have to be pleased with the way things are looking in the Old Dominion. The most recent prior survey of this race was courtesy Quinnipiac last month, and they, too, found the two Democrats ahead by comparable margins.

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P.G. Sittenfeld doesn't rule out a bid against Cincinnati-area GOP Rep. Steve Chabot

Mon, 22 May 2017 16:57:11 +0000

Last week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the DCCC was trying to recruit Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune for a bid against Ohio GOP Rep. Steve Chabot. WVXU’s Howard Wilkinson further reports that Cincinnati City Councilor P.G. Sittenfeld is also being “sounded out by the DCCC.” Sittenfeld did not deny he was interested, only saying it was “flattering that the national folks would be interested, but my focus is squarely on Cincinnati and specifically our current budget process,” and adding, “If anything ever changes, I'll be sure to let you know.” Trump carried this seat 51-45, about the same as Romney. Two years ago, Sittenfeld kicked off a bid against Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman, and raised a credible amount of money early on. However, once ex-Gov. Ted Strickland began making noises about running, Sittenfeld refused to defer to the national party’s favorite, even after his fundraising largely dried up. While Sittenfeld relentlessly argued that Strickland's evolution away from his once pro-NRA views was insincere, and he made more than a few not-so-subtle jabs at Strickland's age (74), he ended up losing the Democratic primary 65-22. While Sittenfeld’s upstart bid didn’t please Democrats at the time, Wilkinson writes that “he didn't seem to do himself any permanent damage with the Democratic party establishment,” especially since some Ohio Democrats believe that he would have done better against Portman than Strickland ended up doing. Another Cincinnati-area Democrat is also eyeing this race. In late March, state Rep. Alicia Reece expressed interest in running here, and high-level Democrats like Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings reportedly were interested in her potential bid. Reece reaffirmed her interest to WVXU and confirmed that she’s spoken to the DCCC, though she added she hasn’t “had any hard-core discussions about” it. Reece also said she might run for statewide office instead. Wilkinson writes that the DCCC believes that Reece, who is black, “might be able to fire up African-American voters in the district in a way that other candidates could not.” [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/22

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:00:56 +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, May 22, 2017 · 3:03:45 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: We have four specials on tap for Tuesday, and only half of them are for the New Hampshire House! Johnny Longtorso fills us in: New Hampshire House, Carroll-6: This is an open Republican seat located in Wolfeboro, northeast of Concord. The Democratic nominee is Edie DesMarais, the former director of a child care center. The Republican nominee is Matthew Plache, an attorney. This district went 51-44 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 56-43 for Mitt Romney in 2012. New Hampshire House, Hillsborough-44: This is an open Republican seat in Manchester. The Democratic nominee here is James Morin, who unsuccessfully ran for this seat in 2016. The Republican nominee is Mark McLean, a former one-term state representative. This seat went 52-43 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 51-48 for Mitt Romney in 2012. New York SD-30: This is an open Democratic seat centered in Harlem. The Democratic nominee is Brian Benjamin, a real estate developer. The Republican nominee is Dawn Simmons, an unsuccessful candidate in a special election for the city council back in February. Also on the ballot is perennial candidate Ruben Vargas, running on the Reform Party ticket. This seat went 94-4 for Hillary Clinton in 2016. New York AD-09: This is an open Republican seat on Long Island. The Democratic nominee is Christine Pellegrino, a teacher, and the Republican nominee is Thomas Gargiulo, a retired teacher. This seat went 60-37 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 55-43 for Mitt Romney in 2012. Monday, May 22, 2017 · 3:29:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MS-Sen: After coming close to toppling Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 GOP primary, state Sen. Chris McDaniel has been flirting with challenging Roger Wicker, Mississippi’s other Republican senator. McDaniel said back in March that he hopes to decide in October, but Wicker’s team is out with a late April poll from Public Opinion Strategies urging him not to bother. The survey gives Wicker a 55-30 lead, including a 47-37 edge with “strong Republicans favorable to the tea party.” As we’ve noted before, Wicker looks to be a much tougher opponent than Cochran was for McDaniel. While Cochran dithered about whether to seek re-election and began his eventual campaign with relatively little money, Wicker has already kicked off his bid for another term and had $2 million in the bank at the end of March. But more importantly, while Cochran was loathed by tea partiers, Wicker doesn’t seem to have made any real enemies in the GOP. The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender also argues that McDaniel squandered the chance to be a major figure in the state GOP after his narrow 2014 loss to Cochran. McDaniel spent months trying to overturn Cochran’s primary win (and as far as we know, he has yet to acknowledge he lost), and Pender writes that in the process, he “likely burn[ed] up some political capital along with financial capital.” McDaniel also [...]



Pediatrician Mai-Khanh Tran launches bid against longtime Orange County GOP Rep. Ed Royce

Mon, 22 May 2017 16:32:47 +0000

A few weeks ago, Politico reported that Mai-Khanh Tran, whom they described as "a "Wall Street analyst-turned-pediatrician,” was expected to run against longtime California GOP Rep. Ed Royce, and she recently told The Atlantic she was in. Tran was born in Vietnam and she was evacuated out of Saigon just before the city fell in 1975. Tran’s campaign skills are unknown, but if she can get her name out in this Southern California seat, which is located in the expensive Los Angeles media market, she may be able to contrast herself well against Royce. Tran has also made it clear that she’ll make Royce’s vote for Trumpcare a centerpiece in her campaign. So far, the only other announced Democrat is Cal State Fullerton chemistry professor Phil Janowicz, another novice candidate who currently manages an education consulting firm. Royce was first elected to the House in 1992, and he’s never taken less than 57 percent of the vote. Royce also ended March with a strong $2.9 million in the bank, and he has the ability to raise a lot more. However, this ancestrally red seat suburban seat, which is home to Fullerton and Yorba Linda, did not react well to Trump last cycle, shifting from 51-47 Romney to 51-43 Clinton. If Trump’s unpopularity causes problems for Orange County Republicans downballot next year, Royce could be in for a real fight. [...]



Three years after almost beating Thad Cochran, Chris McDaniel seems to have become an afterthought

Mon, 22 May 2017 15:31:15 +0000

After coming close to toppling Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 GOP primary, state Sen. Chris McDaniel has been flirting with challenging Roger Wicker, Mississippi’s other Republican senator. McDaniel said back in March that he hopes to decide in October, but Wicker’s team is out with a late April poll from Public Opinion Strategies urging him not to bother. The survey gives Wicker a 55-30 lead, including a 47-37 edge with “strong Republicans favorable to the tea party.” As we’ve noted before, Wicker looks to be a much tougher opponent than Cochran was for McDaniel. While Cochran dithered about whether to seek re-election and began his eventual campaign with relatively little money, Wicker has already kicked off his bid for another term and had $2 million in the bank at the end of March. But more importantly, while Cochran was loathed by tea partiers, Wicker doesn’t seem to have made any real enemies in the GOP. The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender also argues that McDaniel squandered the chance to be a major figure in the state GOP after his narrow 2014 loss to Cochran. McDaniel spent months trying to overturn Cochran’s primary win (and as far as we know, he has yet to acknowledge he lost), and Pender writes that in the process, he “likely burn[ed] up some political capital along with financial capital.” McDaniel also didn’t do much to try and extend his influence in state politics afterwards. The state senator did not play much of a roll in the 2015 state legislative primaries, and he “was about as effective and dynamic as his chair in the state Senate this legislative session.” Ouch. [...]



Huge win: Supreme Court upholds ruling striking down North Carolina GOP's racist congressional map

Mon, 22 May 2017 15:18:02 +0000

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling issued last year that struck down the congressional map that North Carolina Republicans drew in 2011 on the grounds that lawmakers had engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, handing voting rights advocates a major victory and dealing a huge blow to what was arguably the most effective congressional gerrymander of the modern era. As shown on the map at the top of this post (see here for a larger image), Republican legislators used surgical precision to pack black voters into just two districts, the tentacular 1st and the snake-like 12th. The lower court found that these districts targeted voters on the basis of race in violation of the constitution, a move that effectively prevented black voters from electing their preferred candidates in neighboring seats. Before Republican legislators put these new lines into place, the black population in both the 1st and the 12th constituted a plurality in each of those districts. During redistricting, the GOP increased those pluralities to majorities, claiming alternately that the Voting Rights Act forced them to do so (in the case of the 1st) or that they’d ignored race entirely and only considered partisan preferences in the 12th (something that is still permissible). The Supreme Court, however, rejected both arguments. Black voters in both districts had for years been able to elect their candidates of choice (black Democrats), so increasing the black population in these two seats wasn’t necessary to ensure this state of affairs would continue. Indeed, in related cases, the Supreme Court has consistently rejected the notion that mapmakers are required to create districts with majority-black populations. As a result, because Republicans so flagrantly disregarded traditional redistricting criteria with respect to the 1st, and because they could have achieved their partisan objectives by different means with the 12th, the court held that race unconstitutionally predominated in the redistricting process. As noted above, this now-invalidated congressional map was one of, if not the very most, aggressive partisan gerrymanders in modern history. North Carolina is a relatively evenly divided swing state—Donald Trump won it by just 3 points last year—yet these lines offered Republicans 10 safe districts while creating three lopsidedly Democratic seats. Amazingly, all 10 Republican districts hit a perfect sweet spot with GOP support between 55 and 60 percent, a level that is high enough to be secure yet spreads around Republican voters just carefully enough to ensure the maximum number of GOP seats possible. [...]



Morning Digest: Rob Quist blasts Trumpcare in closing ads for Montana's House special election

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:01:14 +0000

Leading Off ● MT-AL: We're in the final stretch run of the special election for Montana's lone congressional seat, and the TV ads are flying fast and furious. We'll start with Democrat Rob Quist, who has new spots on the same topic, one that's a minute long and the other 30 seconds. Quist narrates both, mentioning his own pre-existing medical condition (a "botched gall-bladder surgery") and those of others who are shown attending a picnic with him. He then castigates Republican Greg Gianforte for saying he was "thankful" for the GOP's healthcare repeal, which would allow insurers to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and adds that he thinks the wealthy Gianforte is grateful "because he gets another big tax break at our expense."​ Campaign Action ​The House Majority PAC is also jumping on the airwaves for the first time. The topic of their TV ad is the same, though this spot tries to frame Quist's well-publicized financial problems as a positive, saying that Quist "knows what [it's] like" to "struggle[] with big medical bills" "because it happened to him." The rest of the ad slams Gianforte in similar terms. According to Politico, though, HMP's buy is for just $25,000, which is very small, particularly given the huge sums raised for this race. Finally, the pro-GOP Congressional Leadership Fund, which has been spending heavily on Gianforte's behalf, has one more new ad. Once again, it hits Quist over his debts and liens and says he'd be a Pelosi lackey in Congress. Oddly, though, the spot starts with five full uninterrupted seconds of Quist playing a guitar and singing his campaign song before the narrator sneers, "Rob Quist is folksy." Is that supposed to be an insult in Montana? [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Sat, 20 May 2017 00:03:01 +0000

Chris Cornell — “You Know My Name”

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Evan McMullin's potential campaign for Jason Chaffetz's seat has the GOP seething

Fri, 19 May 2017 21:31:19 +0000

On Friday, Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced a schedule for a special election to replace Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, but state lawmakers are not happy about it. Under Cox’s plan, the candidate filing deadline is May 26—bizarrely, over a month before the date Chaffetz has said his resignation will become effective, June 30—and party primaries take place on Aug. 15, the same day as the state’s municipal primaries. The general election will happen on Nov. 7. However, legislators say that Republican Gov. Gary Herbert needs to call a special session to clarify Utah’s extremely vague special election laws. They argue that Herbert is taking unilateral action by setting his own rules for the special, and they’ve made noises about suing. However, unless Herbert backs down and calls a special session, or a lawsuit succeeds in forcing his hand, it looks like the dates are set. In any event, would-be office-seekers can’t count on the dates getting changed, and they now have just a week to decide whether they want to run. They’ll probably have to move even more quickly than that, though, because candidates have to submit 7,000 valid signatures to election officials no later than June 12, a fairly daunting task for a very short timeframe. Parties can still choose to hold nominating conventions (a Utah tradition), but candidates can bypass any such conventions by going the petition route. A few Republicans have already decided to run for what is usually a reliably red seat. State Sen. Deidre Henderson, a former Chaffetz campaign manager, made noises about running almost as soon as her former boss announced he wouldn’t seek another term last month, and she jumped in on Friday. Two other GOP legislators and state Rep. Brad Daw and state Sen. Margaret Dayton, have also announced they’re in, as is ex-state Rep. Chris Herrod, who ran a forgettable 2012 bid against GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch. Provo Mayor John Curtis also said on Thursday that he’ll decide within days. Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge also has been encouraging his son Tanner Ainge, who lives in Utah, to run, and the younger Ainge says he’s interested. However, the potential candidate with the most national name recognition may not run as a Republican. Last year, Trump defeated conservative independent and former GOP congressional aide Evan McMullin 47-24 here, with Hillary Clinton taking third place with 23 percent. Last month, McMullin expressed interest in running, but he didn’t say if he was looking at campaigning as a Republican or an independent. One thing is for sure, though: McMullin’s old bosses on Capitol Hill very much don’t want him joining their ranks under any circumstances. McMullin pissed off GOP members when he spoke to the Washington Post for a recent article and told the paper that at a June 2016 meeting, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Donald Trump was being paid off by the Russian government. After McCarthy and Speaker Paul R[...]



New Jersey GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur draws more potential Democratic challengers after Trumpcare vote

Fri, 19 May 2017 21:04:19 +0000

Despite his immense personal wealth and his southern New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District supporting Trump 51-45, Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur may have just painted an enormous target on his back for 2018 after he played a key role in helping the House GOP pass its health care bill early in May. Prominent attorney Katherine Hartman is considering challenging MacArthur as a Democrat and has already filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC to begin raising money. Hartman is a longtime civil rights attorney who once served as president of the Burlington County Bar Association, meaning she could have the right connections needed to fundraise for this incredibly expensive ancestrally GOP district. In addition to Hartman, the Burlington County Times also reports that New Jersey Hospital Association Director Betsy Ryan is considering running, while an unnamed Democratic source says the DCCC is interested in recruiting someone like Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt or Assemblyman Troy Singleton. However, there’s no direct word from any of those three Democrats about their interest. National security expert Andrew Kim had recently said he was considering running here and Democrats might even have a primary with multiple noteworthy candidates, which would be a big change of fortunes after MacArthur skated by against a weak perennial Democratic candidate in 2016. [...]



Voting Rights Roundup: Supreme Court won't revive North Carolina GOP's racist voter suppression law

Fri, 19 May 2017 18:14:20 +0000

Leading Off ● North Carolina: On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered a monumental victory for voting rights when it declined to hear an appeal from Republican North Carolina legislators seeking to reinstate one of the broadest restrictive voting laws since Jim Crow after an appeals court struck it down in last year. Passed almost immediately after the Supreme Court gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, this voter suppression law was so flagrantly and intentionally discriminatory that the appellate judges declared it targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.” Monday’s Supreme Court decision means that that ruling will now stand.​ Campaign Action Just how surgical? ​Republicans had literally ordered data on which voting methods black voters used more frequently than white voters, then eliminated those very methods. Some of the GOP’s other changes to the law included a harsh voter ID requirement that precluded types of ID that black voters were more likely to possess; cuts to early voting hours and locations; an end to same-day registration; the elimination of pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds who would turn 18 by the next election; and preventing voters from casting ballots if they showed up at the wrong precinct, even if they were in the right county. Republicans even sought to eliminate early voting on Sundays, specifically because predominantly black churches have historically conducted “souls to the polls” voter drives following services right before Election Day. Republicans defended their law by claiming that it didn’t target black voters because of their race but rather because they vote heavily Democratic—still a brazenly undemocratic argument. However, the appeals court’s ruling rejected these claims, holding that when party and race are so intertwined as they are throughout the South, targeting the party that black voters overwhelmingly support (and whites largely don’t) via methods that knowingly single out black voters still amounted to intentional racial discrimination and was thus illegal. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/19

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:49 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Friday, May 19, 2017 · 6:20:22 PM +00:00 · David Jarman PA-01: The District Attorney’s race in Philadelphia got the lion’s share of attention on Tuesday, as progressive civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner won a surprisingly large victory in the Democratic primary (which, in this dark-blue city, is tantamount to election). However, the other citywide elected position up that night — the city controller’s race — provided an even more surprising result; the three-term incumbent, Alan Butkovitz, lost by a convincing 17-point margin to a newcomer who hasn’t held office before, Rebecca Rhynhart. It’s a puzzling result, since Butkovitz wasn’t known for being dirty or embroiled in any scandal; it may just boil down to a desire for a fresh face who isn’t connected to the city’s traditional Democratic machine. The local party has been led for over 30 years by Bob Brady (who, in addition to his old-school party boss duties, also serves as U.S. Representative in PA-01 in his spare time). This result has a lot of people in Philly wondering whether the septuagenarian Brady is losing his grip on the ability to deliver the City of Brotherly Love’s votes. While the local party truly didn’t seem to have a horse in the DA primary, they definitely did with Butkovitz … and on top of that, four of the nine Court of Common Pleas judges with the party’s backing lost in Tuesday’s primary. That’s on top of a rash of previous problems in recent years, like the poor turnout in African-American wards in the 2016 presidential election (which may have contributed significantly to Hillary Clinton’s statewide loss) and the screwup in HD-197, where the chosen candidate turned out not to live in the district, forcing a (successful) write-in candidacy. One counterargument might be that the local party did get current mayor Jim Kenney through the 2015 mayoral primary. However, Brady was backing Anthony Williams prior to Kenney's entry, suggesting he also wasn’t able to clear the field for his then-preferred candidate (Kenney’s late entry was engineered by organized labor, who were dissatisfied with the other options). Friday, May 19, 2017 · 6:24:17 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf PA-Sen, PA-Gov: On Friday, four-term northwestern Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Mike Kelly announced that he would not run for governor against Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, but was still considering challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in 2018 and would reach a decision later this summer. A handful of prominent Republicans have already entered the race for governor or are considering doing so, but Republicans have had less luck landing a challenger of Kelly’s stature against Casey. So far, real-estate executive J[...]



Morning Digest: Boogeyman Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz will resign from Congress

Fri, 19 May 2017 12:00:58 +0000

Leading Off ● UT-03: On Thursday, Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced that he was resigning from the House, effective June 30. Chaffetz, who surprisingly announced last month that he would not seek re-election, did not reveal why he was stepping down. However, The Salt Lake City Tribune says there are rumors Chaffetz is talking with Fox News about a job. In any case, Democrats won't be sad to see the House Oversight chair go: Chaffetz infamously delighted in aggressively looking into Hillary Clinton's emails, but showed absolutely none of the same zeal in going after Donald Trump. Campaign Action Trump carried Chaffetz's 3rd District, which includes Provo and much of the southeast corner of Utah, with 47 percent of the vote, while conservative independent Evan McMullin edged Clinton 24-23 for second place. This seat has been reliably red for decades, and it's unlikely Democrats will make a serious play for it in the upcoming special election, though Utah's apathy towards Trump could conceivably make things interesting. However, it may take a long time before we know anything about the upcoming special election. As we've mentioned before, Utah law requires that "the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy." That is all it says: There's nothing about when the special needs to be called, how the parties will choose their nominees, or even if the parties are allowed to nominate anyone. And it doesn't sound like this ambiguous law will get fixed for a while. Earlier this week, the GOP state House caucus threatened to sue Republican Gov. Gary Herbert if he didn't call a special session to allow them to clarify the special election rules. State House Speaker Greg Hughes claims that the current law requires 328 days to hold the special election, while his caucus wants to shorten that to a more reasonable 180 days. Herbert says he wants the parties to pick their nominees through a primary, while GOP legislative leaders are considering having the nominees be chosen through conventions instead. We'll see if Chaffetz's departure speeds things along, or if this seat will be vacant until well into 2018. [...]



The latest bad news for Montana Republican Greg Gianforte: He donated to a white nationalist

Thu, 18 May 2017 21:26:30 +0000

Republican Greg Gianforte has been treated to a rash of ugly headlines in the final stretch of his campaign for Montana's lone congressional seat, and the latest is just gnarly: Last year, he donated to an unsuccessful state House candidate named Taylor Rose that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have identified as a white nationalist. In fact, Rose received support from a whole host of Republican leaders—after, the Missoulian notes, reports by the SPLC and ADL "gained traction on social media in Montana." Earlier this week, Gianforte came under fire for a $47,000 investment in a French-Swiss company that's been accused of making payments to local security forces protecting a factory in Syria that may have made their way to ISIS. Notably, Donald Trump's campaign mercilessly attacked Hillary Clinton last year because the Clinton Foundation had accepted a donation from this same company. Before that, it was Gianforte publicly distancing himself from the GOP's Obamacare repeal bill while embracing it in private. ("I'm thankful" for the legislation, he told lobbyists.) And before that came the news that Gianforte had $240,000 invested in Russian firms that are currently under U.S. sanction. Democrat Rob Quist has faced his own share of rough news, mostly related to his financial woes, including unpaid debts, tax bills, and liens. But despite Montana's strong red lean, Republicans still keep acting like next week's election is no sure thing. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just parachuted in with a new $200,000 TV buy (no copies of the ads are available yet), while the NRCC has launched two more spots. One hits Quist for his fiscal troubles and also accuses him of supporting "job-killing government regulations" and "higher taxes and more debt." The other is purely about Quist's debts, which Republicans obviously feel is a potent issue, given the number of ads they've devoted to the topic. But when it comes to funding his campaign, Quist's had no trouble at all. On Thursday, his campaign announced that it had raised $5 million to date, a truly insane sum for such a cheap state. Even more amazing, Quist had reported raising $3.3 million as of May 5 in a recent FEC report, which means that he pulled in a massive $1.7 million in just the last two weeks. We may just be in for a very interesting election. P.S. Note that Election Day is on Thursday, May 25, not Tuesday! [...]



Billionaire hedge fund guy gives $20 million to campaign of billionaire Republican governor

Thu, 18 May 2017 20:44:25 +0000

This just feels insane, for so many reasons: Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin just gave $20 million to the campaign of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois, a fellow billionaire who is running for a second term next year. Let's talk about why this is so nuts. A $20 million donation is legal? It is, unfortunately, because of Illinois' perverse finance regulations. Just how perverse? Get this: Illinois does theoretically cap campaign contributions, but those limits are lifted when one candidate in a race self-funds heavily—including for the self-funding candidate! That means Rauner was able to open the door for Griffin's monstrous gift by giving his own campaign tens of millions of dollars. This is lunacy. When you give someone that much money, you're trying to buy them, period. That's disgusting. Rauner, as noted, is incredibly rich (reportedly worth around $1 billion) and has already dumped $50 million of his own money into his re-election bid, on top of $45 million for his 2014 campaign. He can afford to spend as much as is humanly necessary. Why does he even need Griffin's money? And here's what may be the sickest part of all of this: Griffin, who's worth $8 billion according to Forbes, wouldn't shell out this kind of cash unless he thought he'd get a good return on investment. That means he thinks that whatever policies Rauner pursues would benefit Griffin's own bottom line by even more than $20 million, perhaps much more. He's a Wall Street guy, after all—he's not looking to merely break even. With such a massive concatenation of money on the Republican side, it makes sense that some Democrats, including labor unions, are starting to rally around yet another billionaire, J.B. Pritzker, who noted that Griffin also recently gave $100,000 to Donald Trump's inaugural committee. It's unfortunate that Illinois politics is turning into a battle of the billionaires, but there may not be any other way for Team Blue to avoid getting drowned in Rauner’s and Griffin's money. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 5/18

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:58 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Thursday, May 18, 2017 · 2:55:41 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Sen: On Wednesday, candidate filing closed in Alabama for this year’s special election for the final years of Jeff Sessions’ Senate term, and Al.com has a list of candidates here. Both parties will hold their primaries on Aug. 15, and in contests where no one takes a majority of the vote, there will be a runoff Sept. 26. The general election will be held Dec. 12, and the winner will be up for re-election in 2020. On the GOP side, there were a few very late developments before filing closed. State Rep. Ed Henry, who announced he would run hours after the special was moved from 2018 to 2017, ended up bowing out of the race and ripping up his qualifying papers. Henry did take some shots at appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who is running for the rest of Sessions’ term, on his way out. However, state Sen. Trip Pittman decided to launch a campaign just after state Senate leader Del Marsh revealed that he wouldn’t run. Pittman, a Gulf Coast politician who had already decided not to run for re-election to the legislature, argued that unlike the rest of the field, he’s a “successful businessman.” This is going to be a very expensive contest, and Pittman likely will need to be willing and able to do so serious self-funding if he wants to break through. Right now, it looks like there will be three major GOP candidates in the August primary. Strange, a former state attorney general who was appointed this year to the Senate by the disgraced now-former GOP Gov. Robert Bentley, has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and McConnell’s well-funded allied super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has pledged to spend heavily for him in the primary. However, Strange pissed off plenty of local Republicans over the last few months: Strange's attorney general’s office was investigating Bentley for covering up a sex scandal, and his decision to take a job from the governor infuriated plenty of people who felt the whole affair looked dirty. Strange didn’t help things by arguing that he may not actually be investigating Bentley, a charade he kept up until he was in D.C. Strange’s best-known primary opponent is likely ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore has a following with Alabama’s many social conservatives going back to 2003, when he was kicked off the bench for refusing to comply with a federal judge's order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state Supreme Court. Moore won back his old post in 2012, and last year, he was permanently suspended after he to[...]



As a corruption scandal hits Henry McMaster's allies, more Republicans mull primary bids against him

Thu, 18 May 2017 20:24:53 +0000

Earlier this year, longtime South Carolina Republican politician Henry McMaster, who was elected lieutenant governor in 2014, finally became governor after incumbent Nikki Haley resigned to become U.N. ambassador. However, while it looked for a brief time that McMaster would win the 2018 primary for a full term without much opposition, that’s not how things are shaping up so far. Ex-state Department of Health and Environmental Control chief Catherine Templeton jumped in the primary months ago and has raised a credible amount of money, while ex-state Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor has also expressed interest. State Sen. Katrina Shealy also recently talked about running, while new Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant isn’t saying no. A long-running political scandal involving McMaster’s longtime allies at the very powerful GOP consulting firm Richard Quinn & Associates has only gotten worse for them in recent days, which helps explain why the governor isn’t looking too strong. This week, state Rep. Rick Quinn, the son of RQ&A founder and owner Richard Quinn, was indicted for allegedly failing to report millions of dollars from unnamed groups that went to companies operated by himself and his father, and then using his elected position to influence policy to help those contributors. And as we’ve noted before, McMaster isn’t just a simple RQ&A client. In 2000, RQ&A helped him save his re-election campaign for state party chair by funneling money to the bankrupt party, which allowed McMaster to show how flush with cash the South Carolina GOP was. Days before the vote, the money was all wired back in secret—information that didn't come out until long after the election. McMaster already faces a tough primary next year. Before Haley was nominated by Trump to serve as U.N. ambassador, ex-state Department of Health and Environmental Control chief Catherine Templeton, who made a name for herself with conservatives by fighting unions across the country, made it clear she would run. After it became clear McMaster was about to become governor, Templeton seemed to be ready to back off, but she soon changed course and decided to run. During the first quarter of 2017, McMaster outraised Templeton $960,000 to $700,000, not an impressive showing for an incumbent, even an unelected one. Other Republicans seem to sense weakness from McMaster. Last month, ex-state Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor said he would decide in June or July whether to run, and two more politicians didn't rule out campaigns when the local blog First In The State News asked them. [...]



Jason Chaffetz is resigning from Congress, and no one knows how his seat will get filled

Thu, 18 May 2017 19:30:45 +0000

On Thursday, Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced that he was resigning from the House, effective June 30. Chaffetz, who surprisingly announced last month that he would not seek re-election, did not reveal why he was stepping down. However, The Salt Lake City Tribune says there are rumors Chaffetz is talking with Fox News about a job. In any case, Democrats won’t be sad to see the House Oversight chair go: Chaffetz infamously delighted in aggressively looking into Hillary Clinton's emails, but he showed showed absolutely none of the zeal in going after Donald Trump. Trump carried Chaffetz’s 3rd District, which includes Provo and much of the southeast corner of Utah, with 47 percent of the vote, while conservative independent Evan McMullin edged Clinton 24-23 for second place. This seat has been reliably red for decades, and it’s unlikely Democrats will make a serious play for it in the upcoming special election, though Utah’s apathy towards Trump could conceivably make things interesting. However, it may take a long time before we know anything about the upcoming special election. As we’ve mentioned before, Utah law requires that "the governor shall issue a proclamation calling an election to fill the vacancy." That is all it says: There's nothing about when the special needs to be called, how the parties will choose their nominees, or even if the parties are allowed to nominate anyone. And it doesn’t sound like this ambiguous law will get fixed for a while. Earlier this week, the GOP state House caucus threatened to sue Republican Gov. Gary Herbert if he didn’t call a special session to allow them to clarify the special election rules. State House Speaker Greg Hughes claims that the current law require 328 days to hold the special election, while his caucus wants to shorten that to a more reasonable 180 days. Herbert says he wants the parties to pick their nominees through a primary, while GOP legislative leaders are considering having the nominees be chosen through conventions instead. We’ll see if Chaffetz’s departure speeds things along, or if this seat will be vacant until well into 2018. [...]