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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:10:06 +0000

Last Build Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:10:06 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



These 21 congressional districts flipped to Donald Trump after backing Barack Obama in 2012

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:00:31 +0000

Daily Kos Elections recently completed calculating the 2016 presidential election results by congressional district. With ticket-splitting rates at historic lows, and presidential results highly correlated with congressional results, these numbers serve as a strong predictor of future House election outcomes. As Democrats seek to gain the 24 seats they need for a majority and defend the 194 they currently hold, these 21 districts that flipped to Donald Trump after supporting President Obama in 2012 could become increasingly difficult for Team Blue to win in upcoming elections.

As shown on the map above (see here for a larger image), Nevada’s 3rd is the only one of these districts that isn’t located in the Northeast or Midwest, which were two regions where Trump performed considerably better than recent Republican nominees. Most of these seats are heavily white, disproportionately rural, and have much lower rates of adults holding college degrees than the national average. Those three demographics became much redder in 2016 compared to 2012, even as college-educated white voters voted more Democratic.

Trump did very well in many of these districts, even capturing five that President Obama had carried by more than 10 points, while Trump himself won seven of these Obama seats by double digits. Democrats might be fortunate that they only hold nine of these 21 districts, simply because it limits their exposure. Team Blue prevailed by just single-digit margins in six of these races, and three Democrats even hold seats that Trump won by more than 10 points. Accordingly, these nine Democrats could be especially vulnerable in 2018 if downballot voting aligns more strongly with the presidential outcome.

You can find a chart of all 21 districts that flipped from Obama to Trump below. Be sure to check out our previous maps and analysis of the presidential and congressional results for all the districts, and also our Congress guide spreadsheet, which compiles those results along with demographics and member information for every seat.

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These 15 congressional districts flipped to Hillary Clinton after backing Mitt Romney in 2012

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:00:36 +0000

Daily Kos Elections recently completed calculating the 2016 presidential election results by congressional district. With ticket-splitting rates at historic lows, and presidential results highly correlated with congressional results, these numbers serve as a strong predictor of future House election outcomes. Consequently, the 15 districts that flipped from voting for Mitt Romney in 2012 to supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 could become ripe targets for Democrats in upcoming elections if voters there continue to oppose Donald Trump.

As shown on the map above (see here for a larger image), these districts are almost all located in relatively suburban areas, predominantly in Sun Belt states like California and Texas, with just a few in the Midwest and Northeast. Nearly all of these districts have a very high share of college degree-holders, significant Latino populations, or both. Those two demographics were acutely hostile to Trump, with college-educated white voters in particular swinging sharply Democratic even as whites without a degree lurched toward Republicans in 2016.

Unfortunately for House Democrats, Trump’s unpopularity in these districts wasn’t enough to help them win a single one of them, even though Team Blue heavily targeted a handful of these seats in 2016. Nonetheless, Trump lost six of these districts by 5 to 10 points. The Republican incumbents who sit in these seats could find themselves in greater peril in 2018 or 2020, especially if Trump’s rule remains unpopular.

You can find a chart of all 15 districts that flipped from Romney to Clinton below. Be sure to check out our previous maps and analysis of the presidential and congressional results for all the districts, and also our Congress guide spreadsheet, which compiles those results along with demographics and member information for every seat.

Clinton's largest margin of victory in these districts came in Virginia's 10th, located in the D.C. suburbs. She prevailed there by 10 percent, which was an 11-point reversal from Obama’s 1-point loss in 2012. Democrats tried very hard to unseat Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, but she managed a 53-47 win.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/23

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:01:04 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news.

Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone

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Morning Digest: GOP poll gives Tammy Baldwin an early double-digit lead in Wisconsin Senate race

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:00:38 +0000

Leading Off

WI-Sen: The GOP pollster Magellan Strategies, on behalf of a group called "Committee to Defend the President" (wonder what their political leanings are?) is out with the first poll of next year's Wisconsin Senate race, and they give Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin a big early lead. Baldwin defeats Milwaukee County Sheriff, prominent Trump supporter, and very nominal Democrat David Clarke 49-35 in a hypothetical general election where Clarke is identified as the GOP candidate.

Campaign Action

Magellan says that while the poll was in the field, Rep. Sean Duffy announced he wouldn't run; in any case, Duffy trails 49-36. As fellow Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold learned the hard way last cycle, early leads often don't survive the campaign, but it's still better to be ahead at the beginning of the race than behind.

The poll gives Clarke a 23-20 favorable rating, and the memo argues he has some room to grow once he gets his name out. However, Baldwin has a 49-35 approval rating, quite a good score for a GOP poll. Clarke himself hasn't ruled out challenging Baldwin as a Republican, though he hasn't shown any sign he's seriously considering. However, a recent PPP survey gave Clarke a horrible 31-62 approval rating in Milwaukee County, and if he can't get a job with Trump, he could decide that running statewide next year is a lot easier than trying to win re-election. A number of other Republicans are eyeing this seat.

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GOP poll gives Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin a 14-point lead over Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:24:08 +0000

The GOP pollster Magellan Strategies, on behalf of a group called “Committee to Defend the President” (wonder what their political leanings are?) is out with the first poll of next year’s Wisconsin Senate race, and they give Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin an early lead. Baldwin defeats Milwaukee County Sheriff and very nominal Democrat David Clarke 49-35. Magellan says that while the poll was in the field, Rep. Sean Duffy announced he wouldn’t run; in any case, Duffy trails 49-36.

The poll gives Clarke a 23-20 favorable rating, and argues he has some room to grow once he gets his name out. However, Baldwin has a 49-35 approval rating, quite a good score for a GOP poll. Clarke himself hasn’t ruled out challenging Baldwin, though he hasn’t shown any sign he’s seriously considering. However, a recent PPP survey gave Clarke a horrible 31-62 approval rating in Milwaukee County, and if he can’t get a job with Trump, he could decide that running statewide next year is a lot easier than trying to win re-election.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/22

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:00:33 +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, Feb 22, 2017 · 12:06:31 PM EST · Jeff Singer AL-Gov: On Tuesday, CBS Sports reported that Tommy Tuberville, who served as head coach of the Auburn University football team from 1998 to 2008, was considering seeking the GOP nomination next year. Tuberville has now confirmed the report, telling the Montgomery Advertiser that he’s “doing a poll and if I have the support, I'd really consider doing it.” The CBS report said that Tuberville would likely decide in a week or two, though Tuberville himself doesn’t appear to have said that publicly. As we’ve noted before, Tuberville could have trouble in the GOP primary if he gets in. It’s pretty accepted that in the Yellowhammer State, University of Alabama fans far outnumber fans of Tuberville’s old Auburn Tigers. The rivalry between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers is a very serious matter, and it’s very possible that plenty of Bama supporters won’t back someone so identified with their hated foes. It also doesn’t help that Tuberville defeated Bama six years in a row and enjoyed trolling them every chance he got. And while Tuberville’s reign was mostly a success for Auburn, he resigned in 2008 after a bad season, including a 36-0 loss to Alabama, so not all Auburn fans may want him back either. There’s also the question of Tuberville’s ties to his old state. Tuberville was born and raised in Arkansas and since he left Auburn, he’s coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati; Tuberville only resigned as head coach at Cincinnati in December of last year. Alabama law requires the governor to be a state resident for seven years. The Advertiser says that Tuberville still resides at his home near Lake Martin, so he may still legally be allowed to run. However, while Tuberville may have remained an Alabama resident this whole time, it doesn’t seem to have been by choice. In 2015, realtor.com reported that Tuberville lowered his asking price for his Alabama home four times between 2009 and 2013, before taking it off the market. However, Tuberville tried selling it again in June of 2015. The Tuberville family still has ties to the state, with his son debuting as an Auburn player in late 2015. Still, even if potential primary rivals can’t get Tuberville knocked off the ballot, they could at least question his connections to the state he’s hoping to run, and drive another wedge between the coach and Bama fans who still hold a grudge against him. The state requires candidates to win a majority of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff, so Tuberville couldn't just rally Auburn fans to a plurality victory. P.S: This is probably the first time we’ve ever cited realtor.com in a story at Daily Kos Elections. Politics is weird sometimes. Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 · 12:37:04 PM EST · Jeff Singer AK-Gov: Next year’s race has been developing very slowly. Gov. Bill Walker, a former Republican who was elected as an independent with a Democratic running mate, has yet to announce if he’ll seek a second term, though he says he probably will. And even if Walker runs again, it’s not clear if he’ll remain an independent, and it’s also not certain that his 2014 Democratic allies will stick with him if he does. As we’ve mentioned before, Walker has spent his whole term fighting legislative Republicans who refuse to face up to Alaska's extraordinary budget crisis, brought on by falling oil prices. Walker has pushed for policies like reinstating the state income tax that are likely unpopular, but may be the only way to fix Alaska’s budget. Until now, we haven’t heard about any Republicans considering challenging Walker. However, the local blog Midnight Sun writes that there’s "a lot of chatter" about ex-GOP Lt. Gov. Loren [...]



Ex-Auburn coach mulls run for governor, but he tried selling off his Alabama home multiple times

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:13:13 +0000

On Tuesday, CBS Sports reported that Tommy Tuberville, who served as head coach of the Auburn University football team from 1998 to 2008, was considering seeking the GOP nomination for governor of Alabama. Tuberville has now confirmed the report, telling the Montgomery Advertiser that he’s “doing a poll and if I have the support, I'd really consider doing it.” The CBS report said that Tuberville would likely decide in a week or two, though Tuberville himself doesn’t appear to have said that publicly. As we’ve noted before, Tuberville could have trouble in the GOP primary if he gets in. It’s pretty accepted that in the Yellowhammer State, University of Alabama fans far outnumber fans of Tuberville’s old Auburn Tigers. The rivalry between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers is a very serious matter, and it’s very possible that plenty of Bama supporters won’t back someone so identified with their hated foes. It also doesn’t help that Tuberville defeated Bama six years in a row and enjoyed trolling them every chance he got. And while Tuberville’s reign was mostly a success for Auburn, he resigned in 2008 after a bad season, including a 36-0 loss to Alabama, so not all Auburn fans may want him back either. There’s also the question of Tuberville’s ties to his old state. Tuberville was born and raised in Arkansas and since he left Auburn, he’s coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati; Tuberville only resigned as head coach at Cincinnati in December of last year. Alabama law requires the governor to be a state resident for seven years. The Advertiser says that Tuberville still resides at his home near Lake Martin, so he may still legally be allowed to run. However, while Tuberville may have remained an Alabama resident this whole time, it doesn’t seem to have been by choice. In 2015, realtor.com reported that Tuberville lowered his asking price for his Alabama home four times between 2009 and 2013, before taking it off the market. However, Tuberville tried selling it again in June of 2015. The Tuberville family still has ties to the state, with his son debuting as an Auburn player in late 2015. Still, even if potential primary rivals can’t get Tuberville knocked off the ballot, they could at least question his connections to the state he’s hoping to run, and drive another wedge between the coach and Bama fans who still hold a grudge against him. The state requires candidates to win a majority of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff, so Tuberville couldn't just rally Auburn fans to a plurality victory. P.S: This is probably the first time we’ve ever cited realtor.com in a story at Daily Kos Elections. Politics is weird sometimes. [...]



These 25 congressional districts saw the biggest swing toward Donald Trump in 2016

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:00:53 +0000

Daily Kos Elections recently completed calculating the 2016 presidential election results by congressional district. With ticket-splitting rates at historic lows, and presidential results highly correlated with congressional results, these numbers serve as a strong predictor of future House election outcomes. Subsequently, the districts that saw Donald Trump improve on Mitt Romney’s 2012 margin by the greatest amount could become increasingly Republican in House races too. We’ll look at the top 25 of those seats below, all of which shifted toward Trump by at least 15 points. As shown on the map above (see here for a larger image), nearly all of these districts are located in the Midwest and Northeast. They’re almost all monolithically white, disproportionately rural, and rank far below average in terms of the share of adults with a college degree. Those three demographics combined swung heavily Republican in 2016, even as college-educated whites voted much more Democratic compared to 2012. Trump dominated in these seats, winning 20 of them by double digits, including six that had voted for Barack Obama in 2012. He won three more Obama districts by less than 5 points, while Clinton prevailed in just two seats. Fortunately for Democrats, they only hold eight of the districts that swung hardest toward Trump while the GOP controls 17; on the list of seats that moved most sharply toward Clinton, Republicans have much more exposure (coincidentally, also 17 seats). However, several of these Democrats only narrowly won in 2016, and if downballot trends catch up with presidential voting patterns, these eight Democrats could become even more vulnerable. You can find a chart of all 25 districts that saw the biggest swing toward Trump below. Be sure to check out our previous maps and analysis of the presidential and congressional results for all the districts, and also our Congress guide spreadsheet, which compiles those results along with demographics and member information for every seat. Southeastern Ohio’s 6th District saw the biggest swing to Trump of any seat, with his 43-point margin 30 points larger than Romney’s 13-percent edge. While Republican Rep. Bill Johnson had a close initial election in 2010, he won by a landslide in 2016. [...]



These 25 congressional districts saw the biggest swing toward Hillary Clinton in 2016

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:00:32 +0000

Daily Kos Elections recently completed calculating the 2016 presidential election results by congressional district. With ticket-splitting rates at historic lows, and presidential results highly correlated with congressional results, these numbers serve as a strong predictor of future House election outcomes. Accordingly, the districts that saw Hillary Clinton’s margin improve the most compared to Barack Obama’s 2012 margin could point toward future trends in House races. Below we’ll take a look at the 25 districts that swung hardest toward Clinton, all of which moved by at least 13 points. As shown on the map above (see here for a larger image), the vast majority of these 25 seats are heavily suburban, well-educated, diverse, and concentrated in Sun Belt states like California and Texas. Twenty of them ranked in the top fifth of all districts by the share of adults with a college degree, and college-educated white voters in particular voted much more strongly Democratic than whites without a degree did in 2016 when compared to past elections. Two of the remaining seats were majority Latino, and the last three were in Utah, where socially conservative Mormon voters who usually lean heavily Republican were exceptionally hostile to Trump. Overall, Clinton won 15 of these districts, although six of those were already dark blue. Trump won the other 10, including four of them by double digits. However, six districts flipped from Romney to Clinton, while another six saw the GOP margin shrink from greater than 20 percent to less than 10 points. Congressional Republicans hold 17 of these seats and Democrats just 8. However, all of those House Republicans performed much better than Trump did, and only two prevailed by less than 10 points. However, many of their seats could be particularly vulnerable if the 2016 presidential trend filters further downballot, or if they retire. You can find a chart of all 25 districts that saw the biggest swing toward Clinton below. Be sure to check out our previous maps and analysis of the presidential and congressional results for all the districts, and also our Congress guide spreadsheet, which compiles those results along with demographics and member information for every seat. A prefatory note on Utah is necessary. As a Mormon, Mitt Romney was unusually popular in the Beehive State for a Republican, while Donald Trump was even more uniquely despised by Republican voters there. Many of them abandoned Trump for conservative independent Evan McMullin, himself a Mormon, magnifying the state’s swing away from Republicans in 2016. In fact, McMullin even came in second over Clinton with 24.5 percent in the Provo-based 3rd District. That seat saw the biggest drop in the Republican margin over Democrats of any seat, with Trump’s 25 percent margin a giant 35 percent smaller than Romney’s 59-point victory in 2012. [...]



Morning Digest: Auburn's old football coach mulls a run for Alabama governor in Bama territory

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:00:35 +0000

Leading Off ● AL-Gov: On Tuesday, CBS Sports reported that Tommy Tuberville, who served as head coach of the Auburn University football team from 1998 to 2008, was considering seeking the GOP nomination to replace termed-out and scandal-tarred Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley. Tuberville hasn't said anything publicly, and the news that he's looking at a bid apparently caught the head of the state party by surprise. However, CBS' Dennis Dodd says that Tuberville will decide in the next week or two, and that a statewide poll is currently in progress that could help him make up his mind. A Tuberville candidacy would be pretty strange for a couple of reasons. College football is a very serious deal in the Deep South, and the rivalry between Auburn and the University of Alabama is no small thing. It's generally accepted that Alabama fans far outnumber Auburn fans in the state: A 2012 Public Policy Poll of GOP presidential primary voters found that respondents backed the Crimson Tide over the Auburn Tigers 58-28, while a 2014 analysis from the New York Times also found Auburn fans clustered around the town in the eastern part of the state, and Alabama dominating everywhere else. Alabama supporters likely haven't forgiven Tuberville for beating them for six years in a row, and if they still hold it against him, he could have a tough time advancing. The state requires candidates to win a majority of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff, so Tuberville couldn't just rally Auburn fans to a plurality victory. The state hasn't been completely unwilling to elect Auburn football alums: Fob James, who was a Tigers' star halfback in the 1950s, was elected governor in 1978 as a Democrat and in 1994 as a Republican. However, Tuberville famously enjoyed trolling Crimson Tide fans when he beat their team, so his crossover appeal may be much more limited. Tuberville also hasn't been a Yellowhammer State resident in a long time. Tuberville was born and raised in Arkansas, and since his Auburn gig ended in 2008, he's coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati; Tuberville only resigned as head coach at Cincinnati in December of last year. Tigers' fans may not care, but voters who see his Auburn past as a negative won't be so easy to persuade. Next year's GOP primary will likely be dominated by outgoing Gov. Bentley's sex scandal. Bentley is currently under investigation for allegedly using state resources to cover up an affair with a staffer, though it's far from clear if the GOP-dominated legislature will end up suspending him from office, removing him altogether, or doing nothing. No one has entered the race yet, though plenty of Republicans are looking at this contest. Democrats are hoping that Bentley's problems will give them an opening, but it won't be easy to win in one of the most conservative states in the nation. However, it still may be easier to imagine a Democratic governor of Alabama than an Auburn governor of Alabama. [...]



Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville reportedly considering a bid for governor of Alabama

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:02:54 +0000

On Tuesday, CBS Sports reported that Tommy Tuberville, who served as head coach of the Auburn University football team from 1998 to 2008, was considering seeking the GOP nomination to replace termed-out and scandal-tarred Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley. Tuberville hasn’t said anything publicly, and news that he's looking at a bid apparently caught the head of the state party by surprise. However, CBS’ Dennis Dodd says that Tuberville will decide in the next week or two, and that a statewide poll is currently in progress that could help him make up his mind. A Tuberville candidacy would be pretty unusual for a few reasons. College football is a very serious deal in the Deep South, and the rivalry between Auburn and the University of Alabama is no small thing. It’s generally accepted that Alabama fans far outnumber Auburn fans in the state. A 2012 Public Policy Poll of GOP presidential primary voters found that respondents backed the Crimson Tide over the Auburn Tigers 58-28; a 2014 analysis from the New York Times also found Auburn fans clustered around the town in the western eastern part of the state, while Alabama dominated everywhere else.  Alabama supporters likely haven’t forgiven Tuberville for beating them for six years in a row, and if they still hold it against him, he could have a tough time advancing. The state requires candidates to win a majority of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff, so Tuberville couldn’t just rally Auburn fans to a plurality victory. The state hasn’t been completely unwilling to elect Auburn football alumni; Fob James, who was a Tigers’ star halfback in the 1950s, was elected governor in 1978 as a Democrat and in 1994 as a Republican. However, Tuberville famously enjoyed trolling Crimson Tide fans when he beat their team, so his crossover appeal may be much more limited. Tuberville also hasn’t been a Yellowhammer State resident in a long time. Tuberville was born and raised in Arkansas, and since his Auburn gig ended in 2008, he’s coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati; Tuberville only resigned as head coach at Cincinnati in December of last year. Tigers’ fans may not care, but voters who see his Auburn past as a negative won’t be so easy to persuade. Next year’s GOP primary will likely be dominated by outgoing Gov. Bentley’s sex scandal. Bentley is currently under investigation for allegedly using state resources to cover up an affair with a staffer, though it’s far from clear if the GOP-dominated legislature will end up suspending him from office, removing him altogether, or doing nothing. No one has entered the race yet, though plenty of Republicans are looking at this contest. Democrats are hoping that Bentley’s problems will give them an opening, but it won’t be easy to win in one of the most conservative states in the nation. However, it still may be easier to imagine a Democratic governor of Alabama than an Auburn governor of Alabama. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/21

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:01:02 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 · 12:35:10 PM EST · Jeff Singer Nassau County, NY Executive: Last fall, Republican Ed Mangano, the executive of this populous Long Island county, was indicted on federal corruption charges. Mangano hasn’t announced if he’ll seek a third term this year, but it doesn’t help him that his trial has been scheduled for January of 2018. However, unnamed local Republicans told Newsday in January that they strongly doubt that Mangano has any chance to be renominated, and the county party committee may even be picking their countywide slate soon. The GOP’s nominating convention is also scheduled for May. No credible Republicans have entered the race, but Newsday reported last month that at least four Republicans seem to be eyeing this race. Bruce Blakeman, a longtime Long Island politician who lost the 2014 race for New York's 4th Congressional District 53-47 and currently serves as a Hempstead town councilor, “has given every indication that he is interested,” according to one unnamed GOP source. Ex-state Sen. Jack Martins, who lost a 2016 bid for the 3rd Congressional District 48-44 to Democrat Tom Suozzi (himself a former county executive), is reportedly considering, while some party members are supporting County Clerk Maureen O’Connell or Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin. None of those four politicians said anything at the time, and no one appears to have said anything over the last month. Back in 2001, Suozzi broke the GOP’s 30-year stranglehold over the Nassau County executive’s office, but he unexpectedly lost re-election to Mangano in 2009 and lost their rematch four years later. Democrats are hoping that Mangano’s problems will give them an opening, and last month, the county party endorsed Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran. However, Assemblyman Charles Levine and county Comptroller George Maragos, who was elected twice as a Republican and took a distant third place in the 2012 GOP U.S. Senate primary before switching parties, are still planning to run in the September Democratic primary. Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 · 12:47:07 PM EST · Jeff Singer FL-Gov: Until now, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has refused to acknowledge that he’s interested in seeking the Democratic nomination next year, though he’s also done nothing to tamp down on any speculation. But in an interview with Ebony Magazine, Gillum acknowledged he was interested. It’s unclear how interested, though, with Gillum declaring, “I believe in being courageous, but I don’t believe in suicide missions. I think there has to be a relevant place to make a difference and a pathway to get there.” A number of Democrats are eyeing this post and the GOP will put up a very tough fight to keep the governor’s office, so Gillum has good reason to be cautious about a bid. Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 · 1:03:56 PM EST · Jeff Singer Omaha, NE Mayor: Republican Jean Stothert unseated Democratic incumbent Jim Suttle in 2013, and Democrats are hoping that state Sen. Heath Mello can return the favor this spring. At the end of 2016, each candidate had raised more money than any previous Omaha mayoral candidate ever had by this point in the race; however, Stothert’s $890,000 warchest is much larger than Mello’s $427,000. All the candidates will compete in the April 4 non-partisan primary, and the top two contenders will advance to the May 9 general. It’s very unlikely that anyone but Stothert and Mello will advance, and the general election cannot be averted if someone takes a majority in the primary. However, th[...]



One reason why House Democrats can afford to oppose Trump: He lost badly in most of their districts

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:39 +0000

Now that Donald Trump occupies the White House, Democrats face the choice of whether to try to compromise with his reactionary agenda, or whether to emulate Republicans under Barack Obama and oppose the new administration in lockstep. To the dismay of many progressives, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sometimes sounds more inclined toward working with Trump on certain policies. However, there’s one crucial reason why House Democrats in particular have very little to lose by opposing Trump: He lost the overwhelming majority of their districts by a decisive margin.

This statistic is critical in our highly polarized era, when ticket-splitting rates are at historic lows. Democrats who hold seats where most voters vigorously opposed Trump have little to fear in future general elections if they are seen opposing him, especially when his national approval rating often polls in the low 40s. In fact, Democrats from these dark-blue districts who do cross the aisle to work with Trump could even be at risk of losing a primary challenge because of it.

Daily Kos Elections has calculated the 2016 presidential election outcome in all 435 congressional districts, which we’ve illustrated in the map at the top of this post that renders each district the same size. It reveals which party won each seat at both the presidential and congressional level (see here for a larger image or a traditional map). Thanks in large part to gerrymandering, House Democrats won just 194 seats in 2016, but 182 of those members hold seats that Hillary Clinton carried.

The graph below, called a histogram, groups every Democratic-won House seat by its 2016 presidential election margin. Clinton prevailed in half of the Democratic seats by a landslide 31-point margin or greater—all of those dark blue districts to the left of the “Median District” line. She carried 167 of those seats by at least 10 points, equivalent to a full 86 percent of all Democratic seats. With polls finding Trump deeply unpopular nationally, there is a strong likelihood that voters disapprove of him by even more in the vast majority of Democratic districts.

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One reason why House Republicans won't stand up to Trump: He won easily in most of their districts

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:00:41 +0000

From the moment Donald Trump secured the 2016 presidential nomination, throughout his Access Hollywood sexual-assault tape scandal, and even right up until today, Republican elected officials have overwhelmingly given him their full backing. There’s one incredibly important reason for why so many House Republicans in particular continue to stand by him: He carried the vast majority of the districts they represent by a very wide margin. This fact is a crucial piece of context for why House Republicans so steadfastly support Trump even when polls show his national approval rating in the low 40s and debacles like National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation unfold almost daily. Republican members of Congress are almost all far more concerned with primary challenges than general election defeats because Trump remains almost uniformly popular both with the Republican base and with the swing voters in their districts who would put them over the top against a Democratic opponent. Daily Kos Elections has calculated the 2016 presidential election outcome in all 435 congressional districts, which we’ve illustrated in the map at the top of this post that renders each district the same size. It reveals which party won each seat at both the presidential and congressional level (see here for a larger image or a traditional map). House Republicans won 241 seats in 2016, and Trump won 218 of those, meaning an outright majority of the House consists of Republicans in Trump districts. And in most of those 218 seats, Trump won handily, as we’ll explain further below. The chart below, known as a histogram, graphs every Republican-won House district according to its 2016 presidential election margin. Trump carried half of the Republican-won seats by almost a 20-point margin or greater—all those to the right of the line marked “Median District”—and he bested Clinton by at least 10 points in 179 Republican-held seats, or roughly three-fourths of the GOP caucus. So even if Trump’s approval rating is in the low 40s nationally, there’s a good bet it’s higher in these types of districts. [...]



For Democrats to win back the House in 2018, the first step is believing they can

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:00:25 +0000

Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present this guest post from longtime community member and political science doctoral candidate Jacob Smith. Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged Democrats to “‘take a chill pill’ and realize they are not going to win national power anytime soon.” While many Democrats are apt to disdain such pessimistic sentiments, these kinds of remarks are more than just talk—they’re potentially harmful to the party’s ability to win back a congressional majority in 2018. My academic research suggests that comments like Emanuel’s can turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy because if stronger candidates don’t believe that their party can win a majority, they may be less likely to even run in the first place. I’ve examined a phenomenon I call “minority party hardship” that helps explain how pessimism can affect electoral outcomes, though it doesn’t hinge on the tenor of public statements by party leaders. Rather, it looks at two conditions: political polarization in a given legislative body, and the probability of the minority party winning back that body. When we see conditions of high political polarization in a legislative body—that is to say, votes on most legislation break down along party lines, meaning the majority party has little interest in the opinions and votes of minority members—and a low probability of the minority party winning a majority in the next election, that yields a condition of high hardship. On the flipside, where partisan control of the chamber is up for grabs, and/or lower polarization makes bipartisan legislation more common, you end up with much lower hardship. (You can read my dissertation here for more technical details about this measure.) Under such conditions of high hardship, service in a legislative body isn’t a whole lot of fun for the minority, particularly in institutions like the U.S. House of Representatives, where the majority controls almost everything of consequence. Minority members in the House spend all day fighting losing battles against policy proposals put forth by the majority and are typically unable to advance their own preferred policies. Furthermore, House members need to spend considerable time raising money not just to win their own races, but for their party, too. The DCCC once even advised new incumbent House members to spend at least four hours a day, every day on the phone raising money, something that Democratic Rep. John Larson referred to as "the most painful thing.” Adding insult to injury, the majoritarian nature of the House can make this unpleasant endeavor feel almost pointless unless the minority is able to win 218 seats in the next election, since the minority continues to be unable to advance its legislative aims no matter how much money its members raise. [...]



Morning Digest: Don't wait around until 2018—there are tons of elections on the ballot this year

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:00:35 +0000

Leading Off ● 2017: Regularly scheduled federal elections only take place in even-numbered years, but roughly three-fourths of American cities elect local offices in odd-numbered years. Daily Kos Elections has compiled a 2017 election calendar with all the key dates for this year's major local contests, and we have a lot to watch. The most prominent races are the gubernatorial contests in New Jersey, where Democrats hope that termed-out incumbent Chris Christie's massive unpopularity will give them a pickup, and in Virginia, where both parties are planning to fight hard to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a swing state that's favored Team Blue recently. But we also have some big mayoral races we'll be watching. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio is still waiting to find out if he'll face a credible opponent in the September Democratic primary. In Minneapolis, incumbent Betsy Hodges faces several opponents, including a city councilor with an intimidating war chest. In Omaha, Democrats hope that state Sen. Heath Mello will deny GOP Mayor Jean Stothert a second term in May. There are plenty of other mayors who could be in for competitive races, and we also have crowded developing races to succeed departing incumbents in Albuquerque, Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis, and St. Paul. There's also still time for a surprise retirement or two elsewhere. That's not all that's on tap for 2017, though. We have several vacant congressional seats that will see special elections to fill them throughout the year, as well as some important legislative races. This Saturday in Delaware, the special election for the 10th Senate District will determine control of the state Senate: If Republican John Marino defeats Democrat Stephanie Hansen, the GOP will be able to block Democratic Gov. John Carney and Democrats in the state House from enacting their agenda. Democrats are fighting hard to keep the seat, with former Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Hansen last week. There are also a few key countywide races we'll be watching. In Nassau County, New York, Republican County Executive Ed Mangano was indicted on federal corruption charges last year, and while he hasn't announced if he'll seek a third term, plenty of politicians from both parties are eyeing his seat. We'll also be watching to see if New York Democrats manage to defeat deny 2014 GOP gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino a third term as Westchester County executive. 2017 will be a very exciting year across the nation, so check out our calendar to find out which important offices are on the ballot. [...]



Anti-Trump anger has prompted a surge in resistance to New York's GOP-enabling IDC 'Democrats'

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:47:48 +0000

How do you know that the IDC—the eight-member junta composed of turncoat Democrats who ensure GOP control of New York's state Senate—is finally feeling the heat? Because they're now engaged in rebranding so comically desperate, it's worthy of Arrested Development. At a town hall held earlier this month by one of the newest members of the IDC, which in real life is short for "Independent Democratic Conference," Brooklyn state Sen. Jesse Hamilton handed out flyers claiming the initials actually stand for "Immigrant Defense Coalition." You're guffawing, sure, but here's the real punch line: Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan, who only runs the Senate thanks to the support of his buddies in the IDC, stated flat out that the Senate is "not doing the DREAM Act," which would allow undocumented students to receive financial aid for college from the state. It's been a top priority of immigration advocates for years and would easily pass but for the GOP—and the IDC. Some "immigrant defense coalition" they are. Hamilton was inspired to this act of chutzpah because his meeting was besieged by anti-IDC protesters, who seem to finally be gaining some traction on a few different fronts. An organic resistance movement has sprung up since Election Day, and it’s got the entire IDC in its sights. Another new defector, Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta, was one such target at a recent constituent meeting of his own. What’s more, a top party operative in the borough publicly called Peralta out and suggested he might look for someone to challenge him in next year's primary. Various IDC members have responded by simply accusing mainline Democrats of being racist. Said a Peralta spokesman, "In Queens, when it comes to Latinos, this is the type of sugar cane plantation style politics that the Queens political machine will resort to keep dissent quiet." Hamilton himself hit a similar theme, claiming, "The people outside here protesting about Trump are the same people who won't send their kids to school with us or live next to a shelter. They're mad about Trump, but when it comes to diversity in their own backyard, they don't want it." It's an absurd charge, not least because the leader of the mainline Democrats—who would become majority leader if the party regained control of the Senate—is Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who is African-American. So are the members of the IDC racist because they're helping to keep Flanagan, a white guy, in power, instead of elevating a black woman? No one on the Democratic side is hurling that accusation, but they sure as hell could. [...]



Daily Kos 2017 elections calendar

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:41:34 +0000

While 2017 might be an off year, there are lots of important elections taking place nationwide, ranging from special elections for the House to mayoral races in many major cities. Below is our calendar of the year’s top races, which will be updated continuously as new contests are scheduled. Republican-held offices are bolded. A version of this calendar in spreadsheet form, with more details about specific election procedures, can be found here.

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Rebooted impeachment proceedings in Alabama could take down governor—and senator he appointed

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:32:55 +0000

Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is termed out of office in two years, but it’s anyone’s guess if his career will survive that long—or if his long-running sex scandal will take down the man he just appointed to the Senate, former state Attorney General Luther Strange. Bentley has been accused of using state resources to cover up an affair with a top staffer, Rebekah Mason, and Republican legislators have been talking about impeachment for some time. However, as the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman notes, Alabama’s 300,000-word-long constitution is not clear on how impeachment should proceed. Indeed, the legislature hasn't even considered impeaching anyone in over 100 years. But here’s something we do know for sure: If the state House does vote to impeach Bentley, he’d be immediately suspended from office unless and until the state Senate (which, like the lower chamber, is dominated by the GOP) acquits him. That means Bentley’s governorship could effectively be over by around Memorial Day. House Judiciary Committee Chair Mike Jones recently said that he expects impeachment proceedings (which had been paused at Strange’s request) to restart in time for the legislature to complete its investigation before it adjourns in mid-to-late May. A panel of lawmakers will then issue a recommendation on whether or not to impeach Bentley. However, as Lyman describes, things can get very complicated after that. A 60 percent supermajority of the 105-member House would then have to vote in favor of permitting a vote on the underlying recommendation. If that were to pass, only a simply majority would then have to actually approve an impeachment recommendation. It gets even trickier, though, if the impeachment panel issues a dissenting minority report, or if the investigation drags on past the end of the planned legislative session—though lawmakers can call themselves back to the capitol if they so desire. And as we alluded above, the state attorney general is also investigating Bentley, which could also slow things: Jones said last week he's waiting for the attorney general's office to give lawmakers permission before they restart their own investigation. (Adding a further layer to all this, the new attorney general, Steve Marshall, has appointed a special prosecutor on account of the fact that Marshall owes his new job to none other than Bentley.) [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest 2/20

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:00:43 +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, Feb 20, 2017 · 5:57:04 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MT-AL: GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke is likely to be confirmed to serve as Trump’s secretary of the interior just after the Senate returns from recess in early March. But until Zinke resigns, neither party can hold its convention to nominate their candidate for the upcoming special election. (There is no special election primary here.) On the GOP side, one state legislator has entered the race and one has withdrawn over the last few weeks. State Rep. Carl Glimm kicked off his bid a little while ago while state Senate President Scott Sales recently decided to drop out. A few other Republicans are running, with rich guy and 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte claiming he has enough support to be nominated at the convention. Monday, Feb 20, 2017 · 6:15:48 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MN-Gov: There are a ton of candidates on both sides who are looking at running to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton next year, and we can add another Republican to the list. While state Rep. Sarah Anderson hasn’t said anything publicly, an unnamed GOP operative tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that there’s “Anderson-for-governor chatter around the Capitol.” Anderson, who chairs the House State Government Finance Committee, recently drew some attention for holding some high-profile hearings, including one focused on state Auditor and declared Democratic candidate Rebecca Otto’s budget. However, state House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Anderson’s nominal boss, is one of the many Republicans considering getting in, which could make a bid tough for her. The Minnesota political tip-sheet Morning Take suggests that Anderson might instead succeed Daudt as speaker. Monday, Feb 20, 2017 · 6:26:49 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IA-01: This eastern Iowa seat has been a huge headache for Democrats over the last few years. While Obama carried it 56-43 in 2012, Trump pulled off a 49-45 win last year, while targeted GOP Rep. Rod Blum won a second term 54-46. However, Team Blue hopes that 2018 will be far less kind to Blum, and they seem to have one very interested potential candidate. State Rep. Abby Finkenauer tells Iowa Starting Line that she’s considering, and she sounds likely to go for it. Finkenauer didn’t declare she’s in, but she did say, “I’d say I’m to the point in the process where I’m ‘stepping up.’” Finkenauer also added that she’s “putting a team together, getting input from the hardworking Iowans within the district, and figuring out how to take this district back.” Finkenauer is the first notable Democrat we’ve heard interested in this seat. There’s still a large Democratic bench here, and it’s very possible there will be a competitive primary, but it’s unclear who else is interested. Monday, Feb 20, 2017 · 6:31:23 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AL-Gov, AL-Sen: Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley is termed out of office in two years, but it’s anyone’s guess if his career will survive that long—or if his long-running sex scandal will take down the man he just appointed to the Senate, former state Attorney General Luther Strange. Bentley has been accused of using state resources to cover up an affair with a top staffer, Rebekah Mason, and Republican legislators have been talking about impeachment for some time. However, as t[...]



Morning Digest: Another political abyss beckons to Mark Sanford, and he doesn't seem to care

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:00:35 +0000

Leading Off ● SC-01: In a must-read piece, Politico's Tim Alberta checks in with South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford, our favorite real estate developer-turned political neophyte-turned congressman-turned governor-turned national conservative hero-turned national punch line-turned censured but not impeached governor-turned disgraced former governor-turned comeback seeker-turned guy who was about to lose a safely red seat-turned guy who beat Stephen Colbert's sister-turned congressman-turned Trump skeptic. So how is Sanford doing these days? Well, the Politico Magazine article is titled "I'm a Dead Man Walking." After his 2013 special election win in the Charleston-based 1st District against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Sanford won his primary and re-election the next year without any major opposition. But in 2016, Sanford only beat then-state Rep. Jenny Horne 56-44 in the primary, even though Horne barely spent anything against him. Sanford himself barely dipped into his warchest, telling Alberta that he was saving his money for when he really needed it. And it seems Sanford's hour of need is coming up very soon. Wealthy businessman Ted Fienning, a Marine veteran who has already gotten the attention of the South Carolina GOP chattering class, confirms that he's going to run in next year's primary, and says he's going to self-fund $250,000. Sanford himself has a little more than $1 million on-hand. Fienning claims he's not going to focus on Sanford's 2009 sex scandal, though he pointedly told Alberta that Sanford "has made international news for terrible reasons." But while enough primary voters may have decided that Sanford's infamous Appalachian Trail Hike doesn't matter, his criticisms of Trump give Fienning some fresh ammo. Unlike so many 2016 Never Trump Republicans who have cozied up to The Donald since he won the GOP nod, Sanford told Alberta this very month that Trump "has fanned the flames of intolerance" and says he can't "look the other way" as Trump lies. Sanford himself doesn't seem to care about any electoral repercussions and even may have already decided that he's going to lose, declaring "I'm a dead man walking. If you've already been dead, you don't fear it as much. I've been dead politically." And Sanford may well be right that he's doomed. A recent Pew survey gave Trump an 84 percent job approval rating with GOP-leaning voters even as he limped to a negative 39-56 score with the public as a whole, so being a Donald skeptic really isn't a winning strategy in GOP politics. Trump himself has a habit of declaring war on his intra-party enemies, and Sanford may find himself in his crosshairs next year. South Carolina requires a primary runoff if no one takes a majority of the vote, so a crowded field of opponents may not even save the congressman. This district backed Trump 54-40, and it's likely to stay red regardless of who emerges as the GOP nominee. Sanford's whole electoral career, even before his scandal (he once brought two pigs onto the floor of the state House of Representatives, and they proceeded to defecate onto the carpet) feels like it was written by a political satirist who doesn't care about realism, and Sanford surviving 2018 may just fit right into this long absurd plot. And if Sanford does pull off a win, or perhaps even if he doesn't, voters outside the 1st District may see his name on a ballot again soon. While Sanford has ruled out running for the governorship again next year, he didn't say no to a primary challenge against Sen. Lindsey[...]



Voting Rights Roundup: New study confirms just how racially discriminatory voter ID laws truly are

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 13:59:33 +0000

Leading off ● Voter ID: We’ve always suspected it, but now new academic research confirms it: Strict voter ID laws do indeed disproportionately lower turnout among Latino, black, and Asian voters compared to whites, which of course benefits conservatives and the Republican Party. The authors of this new study found that strict ID laws—where registered voters must show a photo ID to have their vote count, and no exceptions are permitted—depressed Latino turnout rates the most, followed by black and Asian-American turnout, yet white turnout was largely unaffected. Campaign Action Those findings held true even when researchers accounted for a variety of other factors, and they were even more acute in primaries. That latter point is critical because many states and cities hold elections for important races such as city council seats, judgeships, and even state constitutional amendments at times other than November general elections. It also means voter ID can make even Democratic primary electorates whiter. In sum, these effects yield electorates that are whiter and more conservative—and consequently more Republican-leaning. The study’s authors attempted to improve upon previous research that had generally been inconclusive. Among other things, this newer study used data from as recently as 2014. That date is crucial because many states only passed strict voter ID laws after Republicans took power following the 2010 elections. In addition, states like Texas were only able to implement their strict ID laws once the Supreme Court gutted an essential provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. As more detailed 2016 data becomes available, future scholarship should be able to more definitively quantify just how racially discriminatory voter ID laws truly are. Republicans always claim voter ID laws are meant to stamp out voter fraud, but a large body of research has already proven just how incredibly rare such fraud is. In fact, one review of votes cast in 2016 so far found only four cases of so-called “impersonation” fraud in an election in which nearly 140 million Americans cast ballots. This latest research further demonstrates just how, well, fraudulent Republican justifications for voter ID really are. In the end, they’re nothing more than an effort to suppress Latino, black, and Asian-American voters from casting ballots. [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 00:29:15 +0000

Beastie Boys — “Body Movin’”

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Can the Daily Kos community help win back a seat? See the discussion on Maddow with David Nir

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:23:19 +0000

Daily Kos Political Director David Nir made an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the incredible opportunity for Democrat Jon Ossoff. He’s running in a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, the seat vacated by Rep. Tom Price—Trump’s point man for destroying Obamacare. Donald Trump only won the district by 1.5 points in the 2016 election and there is an opportunity to send shockwaves with a win in this district. The Daily Kos community has raised an astonishing $782,806 for Ossoff. 

Can you give $3 to Jon Ossoff today so that Democrats have a better shot at winning the House in 2018? Thanks!

Watch the discussion of Ossoff’s chances with David Nir on The Rachel Maddow show Thursday night:

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/17

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 14:00:32 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: This is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free zone Friday, Feb 17, 2017 · 11:44:42 AM EST · Jeff Singer GA-06: On Thursday night, Daily Kos Political Director David Nir made an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the incredible opportunity Democrats have in the upcoming special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. The Democratic Party has united around investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff, who's running for the district vacated by Republican Tom Price—Donald Trump's point man for destroying Obamacare. But Trump only won this traditionally conservative district in suburban Atlanta by a slim 48-47 margin last year, and progressives are fired up with unprecedented intensity to pull off a stunning upset and send shockwaves through the Republican Party. Watch the segment here or below:   x x YouTube Video Friday, Feb 17, 2017 · 12:18:41 PM EST · Jeff Singer AL-Sen, AL-Gov: How could Alabama wind up with a worse GOP senator than Luther Strange, who took an appointment from the governor his office was investigating? Meet Roy Moore, the twice-disgraced former chief justice of the state supreme court. Moore interviewed for the Senate appointment that ultimately went to Strange, and his spokesperson now says he’s been asked to run for the Senate in 2018 as well as for governor and state attorney general, and is “weighing his options for the future, but his main concern right now is the pending appeal to restore him to the Office he was elected to by the citizens of Alabama.” As his spokesperson alludes, Moore was suspended from office last year for defying federal court's orders on same-sex marriage. In 2003, Moore was removed from 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. It’s unclear how interested Moore is in a run against Strange, who won’t need to face primary voters until June of 2018, or for the other two offices. But Moore already has run for governor twice, though neither campaign went well. In 2006, Moore challenged Gov. Bob Riley in the primary and lost 67-33. Four years later, Moore ran to succeed the termed-out Riley and took just 19 percent in the primary, enough for a weak fourth-place finish. But in 2012, just after Moore flirted with a presidential bid, he ran for his old job on the court and took just over 50 percent against two opponents, allowing him to win without a runoff. Moore struggled in the general election but beat his Democratic foe 52-48. Moore’s bumpy electoral history suggests he’d have trouble in a GOP primary for any office, but that he may still have enough fans to make things interesting. Friday, Feb 17, 2017 · 12:37:51 PM EST · Jeff Singer MI-Sen: About a week ago, a tea party activist who was just elected to the Michigan GOP central committee said that it would be cool if singer Kid Rock, a vocal Trump supporter, ran against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. This was enough to generate plenty of “Kid Rock for Senate!” articles, even though there’s no word that either Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) or more senior Republicans were at all thinking about this. But one other loud-mouthed Trump loving musician, Ted Nugent, actually is expre[...]



Assad and Trump fan Dennis Kucinich isn't ruling out a bid for governor of Ohio

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:53:11 +0000

Whether we like it or not, ex-Rep. and two-time quixotic Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich may have another campaign in him. The Plain Dealer’s Henry J. Gomez reports that there’s “increasing chatter among party insiders” that Kucinich is looking at running for governor of Ohio next year, and Kucinich didn’t rule it out. In an email to Gomez, Kucinich only said “I'll certainly get back to you if I have anything to say which would be worth your time.”

While Kucinich portrays himself as a progressive hero, he’s emerged as a Trump defender in recent months. Kucinich, who has been a Fox commentator for years, praised Trump’s inauguration speech (you know, the “American carnage” one), and argued that U.S. intelligence agencies forced Michael Flynn to resign as Trump’s national security advisor. Kucinich has also repeatedly met and defended Syria’s murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The good news is that Kucinich may not have much oomph left. In 2012, Kucinich and fellow Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur were drawn into the same congressional district, and Kaptur won the primary by a convincing 56-40 margin. But a number of Ohio Democrats are looking at this contest, and it’s not impossible for Kucinich to ride his Cleveland-area base to a plurality win in a crowded primary.

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Another political abyss beckons to South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford, and he doesn't care

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:26:48 +0000

In a must-read piece, Politico’s Tim Alberta checks in with South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford, our favorite real estate developer-turned political neophyte-turned congressman-turned governor-turned national conservative hero-turned national punchline-turned censured but not impeached governor-turned disgraced former governor-turned comeback seeker-turned guy who was about to lose a safely red seat-turned guy who beat Stephen Colbert’s sister-turned congressman-turned Trump skeptic. So how is Sanford doing these days? Well, the Politico Magazine article is titled “I’m a Dead Man Walking.” After his 2013 special election win for the Charleston-based 1st District against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Sanford won his primary and re-election the next year without any major opposition. But in 2016, Sanford only beat then-state Rep. Jenny Horne 56-44 in the primary, even though Horne barely spent anything against him. Sanford himself barely dipped into his war chest, telling Alberta that he was saving his money for when he really needed it. And it seems Sanford’s hour of need is coming up very soon. Wealthy businessman Ted Fienning, a Marine veteran who has already gotten the attention of the South Carolina GOP chattering class, confirms that he’s going to run in next year’s primary, and says he’s going to self-fund $250,000. Sanford himself has a little more than $1 million on-hand. Fienning claims he’s not going to focus on Sanford’s 2009 sex scandal, though he pointedly told Alberta that Sanford “has made international news for terrible reasons.” But while enough primary voters may have decided that Sanford’s infamous Appalachian Trail Hike doesn’t matter, his criticisms of Trump give Fienning some fresh ammo. Unlike so many 2016 Never Trump Republicans who have cozied up to The Donald since he won the GOP nod, Sanford told Alberta that Trump “has fanned the flames of intolerance” and says he can’t “look the other way” as Trump lies. Sanford himself doesn’t seem to care about any electoral repercussions and even may have already decided that he’s going to lose, declaring “I’m a dead man walking. If you’ve already been dead, you don’t fear it as much. I’ve been dead politically.” And Sanford may well be right that he’s doomed. A recent Pew survey gave Trump an 84 percent job approval rating with GOP-leaning voters even as he limped to a negative 39-56 score with the public as a whole, so being a Donald skeptic really isn't a winning strategy in GOP politics. Trump himself has a habit of declaring war on his intra-party enemies, and Sanford may find himself in his crosshairs next year. South Carolina requires a primary runoff if no one takes a majority of the vote, so a crowded field of opponents may not even save the congressman. This district backed Trump 54-40, and it’s likely to stay red regardless of who emerges as the GOP nominee. Sanford’s whole electoral career, even before his scandal (he once brought two pigs onto the floor of the state House of Representatives, and they proceeded to defecate onto the carpet) feels like it was written by a political satirist who didn’t care about realism, and Sanford surviving 2018 may just fit right into this long absurd plot. And if Sanford does pull off a win, or perhaps even if he doesn’t, voters outside the[...]



Ted Nugent loudly flirts with a Senate bid against Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:39:58 +0000

About a week ago, a tea party activist who was just elected to the Michigan GOP central committee said that it would be cool if singer Kid Rock, a vocal Trump supporter, ran against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. This was enough to generate plenty of “Kid Rock for Senate!” articles, even though there’s no word that either Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) or more senior Republicans were at all thinking about this. But one other loudmouthed Trump-loving musician, Ted Nugent, actually is expressing interest in a Senate bid. Nugent recently posted on Facebook that if the local GOP didn’t get its act together, “I will come charging in as the ultimate we the pissed off people Mr. Fix It constitutional fire breathing candidate from hell!" When asked if he was serious, Nugent said, "I'm always very interested in making my country and the great state of Michigan great again." Nugent is currently a Texas resident, but the “Motor City Madman” was born in Michigan. Two years ago, the idea of Nugent, who has a long history of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic comments, running for the Senate would seem like a stunt but … well, Donald Trump won Michigan, and he’s sitting in the White House now. But Trump’s victory in the Wolverine State was narrow, and if the GOP faces the usual midterm doldrums that the party in power usually faces, the 2018 electorate probably won’t be keen to back someone like Trump. It’s also very unlikely that Nugent, who called for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to “be tried for treason and hung,” will have any crossover support. But then again, Nugent making it to the Senate would only be, at most, the second-most sadly absurd thing to happen in American politics over the last few years. [...]



Disgraced Alabama judge Roy Moore weighs 2018 bids for U.S. Senate and governor

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:20:05 +0000

How could Alabama wind up with a worse GOP senator than Luther Strange, who took an appointment from the governor his office was investigating? Meet Roy Moore, the twice-disgraced former chief justice of the state supreme court. Moore interviewed for the Senate appointment that ultimately went to Strange, and his spokesperson now says he’s been asked to run for the Senate in 2018 as well as for governor and state attorney general, and is “weighing his options for the future, but his main concern right now is the pending appeal to restore him to the Office he was elected to by the citizens of Alabama.” As his spokesperson alludes, Moore was suspended from office last year for defying federal court's orders on same-sex marriage. In 2003, Moore was removed from 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. It’s unclear how interested Moore is in a run against Strange, who won’t need to face primary voters until June of 2018, or for the other two offices. But Moore already has run for governor twice, though neither campaign went well. In 2006, Moore challenged Gov. Bob Riley in the primary and lost 67-33. Four years later, Moore ran to succeed the termed-out Riley and took just 19 percent in the primary, enough for a weak fourth-place finish. But in 2012, just after Moore flirted with a presidential bid, he ran for his old job on the court and took just over 50 percent against two opponents, allowing him to win without a runoff. Moore struggled in the general election but beat his Democratic foe 52-48. Moore’s bumpy electoral history suggests he’d have trouble in a GOP primary for any office, but that he may still have enough fans to make things interesting. [...]



Morning Digest: Sean Duffy won't challenge Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, but many others eye the race

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:00:43 +0000

Leading Off ● WI-Sen: On Thursday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy announced that he wouldn't challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year. Duffy's decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he took the time during his uncompetitive 2016 re-election campaign to run a joint ad with Sen. Ron Johnson that seemed to have been partially an attempt to give Duffy some extra exposure ahead of a future statewide bid. At least one other potential Senate candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, also said that he'd defer to Duffy if he got in. But Duffy may have decided that it wasn't worth giving up his secure hold on his rural district for a risky Senate bid, especially with Donald Trump's antics threatening to make 2018 a nasty year for Team Red. Indeed, as the University of Virginia's Kyle Kondik points out, quite a few other GOP House members have already passed on Senate bids. Of course, it's early in the cycle and things could change quickly. On the other hand, Duffy has a history of saying awful or just plain dumb things, so maybe Republicans really are better off without him. Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin last year, and the GOP plans to make Baldwin a top target. No one has entered the race yet, but there are plenty of Republicans eyeing this seat. Fitzgerald, whose brother Jeff Fitzgerald took a distant fourth place in the 2012 primary, recently reaffirmed that he'd consider getting in without Duffy. But Fitzgerald, who also may be wary of repeating his sibling's fate, warned that a crowded primary could hurt the party's eventual nominee. Fitzgerald's state Senate seat is also up in 2018, so he might not want to sacrifice his powerful post for a tough bid. A number of other Republicans have expressed interest. Wealthy businessman Eric Hovde, who took a close second in the 2012 primary, said in mid-November that he'd decide over the next six to nine months. Businessman and veteran Kevin Nicholson also recently said he was looking at a bid. State Sen. Leah Vukmir, who is also up for re-election in 2018, also has now confirmed that she's considering, though she said she had no timeline for when she'll decide, while state Rep. Dale Kooyenga hasn't said no. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has also been periodically mentioned, though she hasn't said anything publicly about her interest. There's also Trump fan and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who repeatedly runs for re-election as a Democrat but is really anything but. Clarke doesn't sound incredibly excited about running, but he declined to rule it out last month. A recent PPP survey gave Clarke a horrible approval rating at home, so he may just decide it's a better bet to finally make his alliance with the GOP official and challenge Baldwin rather than seek another term next year. [...]



Despite Democratic gains in Arizona, a state Senate majority remains an elusive target

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:03:09 +0000

Daily Kos Elections’ project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation comes to Arizona, a state where Hillary Clinton noticeably improved on Barack Obama’s 2012 performance even in defeat. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here. The Grand Canyon State backed Donald Trump 49-45, a smaller win than Mitt Romney’s 54-45 victory four years before. Arizona is divided into 30 legislative districts, and each one elects one senator and two state representatives every two years; the districts are exactly the same for both chambers. The GOP holds a 17-13 majority in the Senate and a 35-25 majority in the House, with Democrats netting one seat in each chamber. Arizona’s legislative and congressional districts are drawn by an independent redistricting commission, a body the Republican legislature has repeatedly tried to sue out of existence. Trump carried 16 of the legislative districts, losing two seats that Romney won. None of the 13 Senate Democrats sit in Trump districts, while just one Senate Republican has a Clinton seat. Republican Kate McGee won a promotion from the state House 51-49 even as her suburban Phoenix LD-28 swung from 53-45 Romney to 50-45 Clinton. The other Romney/Clinton seat is LD-18 south of Tempe, which went from 50-48 Romney to 52-42 Clinton. Last year, Democrat Sean Bowie won this seat 51-49, which became open after the Republican incumbent lost his primary. Democrats haven’t controlled the state Senate since the early 1990s, though a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans ran the chamber in the early 2000s when both sides controlled half the seats. If Democrats hold all 13 of their current seats, there is a path to forcing another tie: Unlike in most states, there is no lieutenant governor who could break a tie, so there would presumably be some sort of power sharing agreement again. Besides McGee’s LD-28, the Republican in the bluest seat is Steve Yarbrough in LD-17; this Chandler seat swung from 56-42 Romney to 49-45 Trump, though Yarbrough won by a convincing 57-43. But even if Democrats hold all their seats and unseat McGee and Yarbrough, getting the 16th seat they’ll need to outright control the chamber will be very difficult. Republican Kimberly Yee represents what on paper should be their next target, but her LD-20 backed Trump 51-43. That’s a drop from Romney’s 55-42 win but this suburban Phoenix seat is still quite red, and Yee won 50-36. Unfortunately, the turf only gets tougher from Democrats after that. Over in the House, three Republicans represent Clinton seats while no Democrats hold Trump turf. Both legislative districts that swung from Romney to Clinton have one Democratic and one Republican state representative each. The one Republican who holds an Obama/Clinton seat is Todd Clodfelter in the Tucson-based LD-10; his seat swung from 52-47 Obama to 53-42 Clinton, but Clodfelter narrowly regained his seat after losing in 2014. [...]



Sean Duffy won't challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, but many others eye the seat

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:56:29 +0000

On Thursday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy announced that he wouldn’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year. Duffy’s decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he took the time during his uncompetitive 2016 re-election campaign to run a joint ad with Sen. Ron Johnson that seemed to have been partially an attempt to give Duffy some extra exposure ahead of a future statewide bid. At least one other potential Senate candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, also said that he’d defer to Duffy if he got in.  But Duffy may have decided that it wasn’t worth giving up his secure hold on his rural district for a risky Senate bid, especially with Donald Trump’s antics threatening to make 2018 a nasty year for Team Red. Indeed, as the University of Virginia’s Kyle Kondik points out, quite a few other GOP House members have already passed on Senate bids. It’s early in the cycle and things could change quickly. On the other hand, Duffy has a history of saying awful or just plain dumb things, so maybe Republicans really are better off without him. Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin last year, and the GOP plans to make Baldwin a top target. No one has entered the race yet, but there are plenty of Republicans eyeing this seat. Fitzgerald, whose brother Jeff Fitzgerald took a distant fourth place in the 2012 primary, recently reaffirmed that he’d consider getting in without Duffy. But Fitzgerald, who also may be wary of repeating his sibling’s fate, warned that a crowded primary could hurt the party’s eventual nominee. Fitzgerald’s state Senate seat is also up in 2018, so he might not want to sacrifice his powerful post for a tough bid. A number of other Republicans have expressed interest. Wealthy businessman Eric Hovde, who took a close second in the 2012 primary, said in mid-November that he’d decide over the next six to nine months. Businessman and veteran Kevin Nicholson also recently said he was looking at a bid. State Sen. Leah Vukmir, who is also up for re-election in 2018, also has now confirmed that she’s considering, though she said she had no timeline for when she’ll decide, while state Rep. Dale Kooyenga hasn’​t said no. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has also been periodically mentioned, though she hasn’t said anything publicly about her interest.  There’s also Trump fan and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who repeatedly runs for re-election as a Democrat but is really anything but. Clarke doesn’t sound incredibly excited about running, but he declined to rule it out last month. A recent PPP survey gave Clarke a horrible approval rating at home, so he may just decide it’s a better bet to finally make his alliance with the GOP official and challenge Baldwin rather than seek another term next year. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/16

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:00:40 +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, Feb 16, 2017 · 4:54:41 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer WI-Sen: On Thursday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy announced that he wouldn’t challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year. Duffy’s decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he took the time during his uncompetitive 2016 re-election campaign to run a joint ad with Sen. Ron Johnson that seemed to have been partially an attempt to give Duffy some extra exposure ahead of a future statewide bid. At least one other potential Senate candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, also said that he’d defer to Duffy if he got in.  But Duffy may have decided that it wasn’t worth giving up his secure hold on his rural district for a risky Senate bid, especially with Donald Trump’s antics threatening to make 2018 a nasty year for Team Red. Indeed, as the University of Virginia’s Kyle Kondik points out, quite a few other GOP House members have already passed on Senate bids. It’s early in the cycle and things could change quickly. On the other hand, Duffy has a history of saying awful or just plain dumb things, so maybe Republicans really are better off without him. Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin last year, and the GOP plans to make Baldwin a top target. No one has entered the race yet, but there are plenty of Republicans eyeing this seat. Fitzgerald, whose brother Jeff Fitzgerald took a distant fourth place in the 2012 primary, recently reaffirmed that he’d consider getting in without Duffy. But Fitzgerald, who also may be wary of repeating his sibling’s fate, warned that a crowded primary could hurt the party’s eventual nominee. Fitzgerald’s state Senate seat is also up in 2018, so he might not want to sacrifice his powerful post for a tough bid. A number of other Republicans have expressed interest. Wealthy businessman Eric Hovde, who took a close second in the 2012 primary, said in mid-November that he’d decide over the next six to nine months. Businessman and veteran Kevin Nicholson also recently said he was looking at a bid. State Sen. Leah Vukmir, who is also up for re-election in 2018, also has now confirmed that she’s considering, though she said she had no timeline for when she’ll decide, while state Rep. Dale Kooyenga hasn’​t said no. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has also been periodically mentioned, though she hasn’t said anything publicly about her interest.  There’s also Trump fan and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who repeatedly runs for re-election as a Democrat but is really anything but. Clarke doesn’t sound incredibly excited about running, but he declined to rule it out last month. A recent PPP survey gave Clarke a horrible approval rating at home, so he may just decide it’s a better bet to finally make his alliance with the GOP official and challenge Baldwin rather than seek another term next year. [...]



Morning Digest: Well golly gee! Alabama's attorney general is investigating Gov. Bentley after all!

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:00:31 +0000

Leading Off ● AL-Gov, AL-Sen: On Wednesday, we learned two things that we long suspected: GOP Gov. Robert Bentley is still under investigation, and new Sen. Luther Strange may be even less ethical than the governor who just appointed him. On Monday, Bentley appointed prosecutor Steve Marshall to replace Strange as Alabama attorney general; two days later, Marshall announced that he was recusing himself from investigating Bentley for allegedly using state resources to cover up an affair with a staffer, Rebekah Mason. Just the day before, Marshall had refused to say if there even was an investigation; now we know there is. Bentley has been in hot water since March of last year, when audio recordings emerged of him engaged in explicit conversations with Mason, all but confirming the existence of an affair that had shockingly prompted Bentley's wife of 50 years to file for divorce in 2015. Those recordings in turn prompted some lawmakers, including fellow Republicans, to call for Bentley's impeachment. Those impeachment proceedings were moving slowly, but in November, they ground to a halt—thanks to Strange. Just before Election Day, Strange, who was still attorney general at the time, sent a letter to the state legislature, asking it to halt its inquiry into Bentley's activities "until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed." Lawmakers did as Strange asked, explaining at the time that the attorney general was conducting "a separate investigation of the governor." But things began to change after Donald Trump won and soon announced that he would nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. attorney general. It was up to Bentley to appoint Sessions' replacement, and Strange was one of the many Republicans who coveted the seat. In late November, Strange publicly said that he'd accept the position if Bentley offered it. But how could Strange take a job from the man he was investigating, especially since it would mean that Bentley would get to appoint a new attorney general? By pretending he might not really be investigating him! [...]



Huge: Democrats finally have a chance to take back the Washington Senate—and turn the state blue

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 23:44:57 +0000

Folks, we've got a big one here. In Washington's state Senate, there are 25 Democrats and 24 Republicans, but thanks to turncoat "Democrat" Tim Sheldon, Republicans have controlled the chamber since 2013. That ridiculous state of affairs—Washington is very blue, and both the governorship and state House are held by Democrats—might, however, finally be about to end. Last October, Republican state Sen. Andy Hill, who represented a Democratic-leaning district northeast of Seattle, died of lung cancer; former state Sen. Dino Rossi, a fellow Republican who's unsuccessfully run for statewide office many times, was appointed in his stead. Democrats had vigorously challenged Hill in 2014, but his personal popularity (plus the GOP wave) allowed him to hang on by a 53-47 margin. Now, though, there will be a special election this November, and Democrats have a very good chance at a pickup. This district, the 45th, voted for Hillary Clinton last year by an overwhelming 65-28 margin; four years earlier, it went for Barack Obama 58-40. When you add those numbers together with the intense progressive desire to strike back at Trump and the fact that control of the Senate—and with it, the entire state government—is at stake, you simply don't get a better opportunity. What's more, Democrats just recruited a very strong candidate, prosecutor Manka Dhingra, while Republicans still haven't figured out who they're running. Rossi hasn't made up his mind, though it sounds like he's viewing the position as a placeholder job. But no matter who picks up the baton for the GOP, they're going to have a hell of a time hanging on to a seat where Trump got just 28 percent of the vote. And if Democrats can win back the Senate, they'll be able to implement a host of progressive ideas that Republicans have stymied for years. It's no exaggeration to say that this race is going to be the top legislative contest of 2017, so strap in. [...]



Well golly gee! Alabama's attorney general is investigating the governor after all!

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 23:32:10 +0000

On Wednesday, we learned two things that we long suspected: Alabama GOP Gov. Robert Bentley is still under investigation, and new Sen. Luther Strange may be even less ethical than the governor who just appointed him. On Monday, Bentley appointed prosecutor Steve Marshall to replace Strange as Alabama attorney general; two days later, Marshall announced that he was recusing himself from investigating Bentley for allegedly using state resources to cover up an affair with a staffer, Rebekah Mason. Just the day before, Marshall had refused to say if there even was an investigation; now we know there is. Bentley has been in hot water since March of last year, when audio recordings emerged of him engaged in explicit conversations with Mason, all but confirming the existence of an affair that had shockingly prompted Bentley's wife of 50 years to file for divorce in 2015. Those recordings in turn prompted some lawmakers, including fellow Republicans, to call for Bentley's impeachment. Those impeachment proceedings were moving slowly, but in November, they ground to a halt—thanks to Strange. Just before Election Day, Strange, who was still attorney general at the time, sent a letter to the state legislature, asking it to halt its inquiry into Bentley's activities "until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed." Lawmakers did as Strange asked, explaining at the time that the attorney general was conducting "a separate investigation of the governor." But things began to change after Donald Trump won and soon announced that he would nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. attorney general. It was up to Bentley to appoint Sessions’ replacement, and Strange was one of the many Republicans who coveted the seat. In late November, Strange publicly said that he’d accept the position if Bentley offered it. But how could Strange take a job from the man he was investigating, especially since it would mean that Bentley would get to appoint a new attorney general? By pretending he might not really be investigating him! In late December, Strange belatedly insisted that he never actually said he was investigating the governor, and claimed he had only asked the legislature to suspend its impeachment proceedings because there were “some common players involved.” That made it all okay, right? Well, okay enough for top Alabama Republicans: Last week, Bentley did indeed name Strange to the Senate and soon picked Marshall to replace him as Alabama’s top prosecutor. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/15

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 14:00:52 +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, Feb 15, 2017 · 8:32:29 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-LD: Our project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation ventures to Connecticut, a blue state with two closely divided chambers. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here. The Nutmeg State backed Hillary Clinton 55-41, but the 2016 legislative elections were not particularly good for Team Blue. The GOP reduced the Democratic state House majority from 86-64 to 79-72, while they chipped their state Senate edge from 21-15 to an 18-18 tie. Democrats still control the upper chamber thanks to Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman’s tie-breaking vote, but it’s not a great place for Democrats to be in. All legislators serve two-year terms.    We’ll start by looking at the state Senate. Clinton carried 27 of the 36 seats, trading six Obama districts for three Romney seats. The median point in the chamber backed Clinton 54-41, almost the same as her statewide win. No Democrats sit in Trump seats, though Clinton only carried two blue seats by a margin of less than 2 percent. However, nine Republicans represent Clinton turf. The bluest GOP-held seat is SD-26, which includes Ridgefield and part of Westport; Clinton won 59-36 here, a big improvement from Romney’s 50-49 win in 2012, but Republican state Sen. Antonietta Boucher won a fifth term 60-40. Two Democratic senators lost their seats to Republicans last year, while the GOP won one open seat. Democratic incumbent Joseph Crisco lost his bid for a 13th term in SD-17 50.6-49.4 to Republican George Logan even as Clinton was winning this seat 53-44, though that’s a big drop from Obama’s 60-39 victory. In SD-13, second-term Democrat Dante Bartolomeo lost 51-49 to Republican Len Suzio while Clinton was winning 54-41, though that was also a drop from Obama’s 61-37 margin. SD-18 flipped from 56-42 Obama to a 67-vote Trump win, and Republican Heather Somers won the open seat 57-43. Republicans relentlessly tied Democratic candidates to unpopular Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy, which helps explain why they ran ahead of the presidential ticket in these seats, but the districts’ swings toward Trump didn’t help things either. Currently, one Democratic and one Republican seat are vacant, but both parties should be able to hold on in the Feb. 28 special elections. SD-32 backed Trump 57-39, making it his best seat in the state. SD-02 supported Clinton 83-14. Over in the state House, Clinton carried 105 of the 151 seats, trading 24 Obama districts for 10 Romney seats. The median district backed Clinton 54-42, a little to the right of her statewide win. A whooping 33 Republicans represent Clinton seats, with HD-150 being[...]



The field is set for the crowded April special election for Tom Price's suburban Atlanta House seat

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 22:15:49 +0000

Filing closed on Wednesday afternoon for the special election to fill Republican Tom Price's suburban Atlanta House seat, and the leading Democrat in the contest, investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff, got some good news. Just before the deadline, Ossoff's most serious Democrat opponent, former state Rep. Sally Harrell, dropped out of the race, citing Ossoff's superior fundraising. That's huge because, as we've noted, all candidates from all parties will run together on a single ballot on April 18, and in the likely event no one takes a majority, the top two vote-getters regardless of party will advance to a June 20 runoff. With Harrell out, Ossoff's odds of getting past the primary have increased, though four other Democrats did file, so the chances for a first-round knockout are long. However, none of the other contenders look especially serious. None of them are on ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising site, and only two have even submitted paperwork to the FEC. The most prominent of this batch is former state Sen. Ron Slotin, but he hasn't held office since 1996. In fact, that year, he left the legislature in order to challenge then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary and took all of six percent of the vote for his efforts. Meanwhile, 11 Republicans have formally entered the race, though several are Some Dudes. The most prominent candidates are: • former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who has twice unsuccessfully run statewide (once for governor, once for Senate); • state Sen. Judson Hill, who was the first Republican to announce and whose district is contained almost entirely within Georgia's 6th • businessman Bruce LeVell, who ran Trump's "diversity coalition" (we're still amused); • former state Sen. Dan Moody, a possible self-funder; and • businessman Bob Gray, another potential self-funder. Please give $3 to Jon Ossoff today!  [...]



Trump carried this Minnesota seat by 29 points, but the GOP won it by just 6 in a special election

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:40:55 +0000

So a funny thing happened on Tuesday night in Minnesota, which held a special election for a vacant seat in the state House. This district, known as 32B and located in the Minneapolis exurbs, voted for Donald Trump by an overwhelming 61-32 margin, but Republican Anne Neu beat Democrat Laurie Wagner just 53-47. Put another way, the GOP did 23 points worse on Tuesday than Trump did in November—and it’s hard to see how that’s a positive sign for them.

Now, a win’s still a win, and yeah, we lost. But this isn’t about “moral victories” or “narratives” or anything so gossamer. Rather, the results are interesting because they have us wondering whether we’ll see this kind of turn against Trump in other districts in the near future. Needless to say, if a seat that Trump won by, say, 10 points were to also shift against Republicans by 23 points, they’d be screwed.

This, though, is where the cautious analyst steps in notes that this is just a single data point, and it may not mean much. But as it happens, we actually have more than one data point we can look at. So far, since Trump’s Electoral College win on Nov. 8, there have been five legislative special elections around the country that have featured candidates from both major parties on the ballot (two in Iowa, two in Virginia, and the one in Minnesota). We’ve assembled them all here.

In four of those races, Democrats ran ahead of the 2016 presidential margin—by double digits in three cases. This is still a small sample size, but you’d rather be the party beating your benchmarks than the one falling behind them.

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Even as Clinton easily won Connecticut, the GOP made big gains in both chambers of the legislature

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:36:17 +0000

Daily Kos Elections’ project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation ventures to Connecticut, a blue state with two closely divided chambers. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here.

The Nutmeg State backed Hillary Clinton 55-41, but the 2016 legislative elections were not particularly good for Team Blue. The GOP reduced the Democratic state House majority from 86-64 to 79-72, while they chipped their state Senate edge from 21-15 to an 18-18 tie. Democrats still control the upper chamber thanks to Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman’s tie-breaking vote, but it’s not a great place for Democrats to be in. All legislators serve two-year terms.   

We’ll start by looking at the state Senate. Clinton carried 27 of the 36 seats, trading six Obama districts for three Romney seats. The median point in the chamber backed Clinton 54-41, almost the same as her statewide win. No Democrats sit in Trump seats, though Clinton only carried two blue seats by a margin of less than 2 percent. However, nine Republicans represent Clinton turf. The bluest GOP-held seat is SD-26, which includes Ridgefield and part of Westport; Clinton won 59-36 here, a big improvement from Romney’s 50-49 win in 2012, but Republican state Sen. Antonietta Boucher won a fifth term 60-40.

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Morning Digest: Nevada Democrats retook the legislature in 2016, and they may keep it for a while

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:00:33 +0000

Leading Off ● Pres-by-LD, NV State Senate, NV State Assembly: Our project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits Nevada, a rare Democratic bright spot in 2016. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here. Campaign Action Hillary Clinton carried the Silver State 48-46, a drop from Barack Obama's 52-46 win against Mitt Romney. However, Clinton's narrow victory, thanks no small part to the formidable get-out-the-vote machine built by Harry Reid, helped Team Blue avenge its embarrassing loss of both chambers of the state legislature two years earlier. That debacle came about when Democrats all but conceded the 2014 gubernatorial race against GOP incumbent Brian Sandoval, leaving uninspired Democratic voters to largely stay home; Team Red won a 27-15 majority in the Assembly and an 11-10 edge in the Senate. But 2016 saw a perfect reversal, with Democrats taking back a 27-15 Assembly majority and an 11-10 Senate edge. A few days after the election, one Republican, state Sen. Patricia Farley, announced that she'd become an independent and caucus with the Democrats, giving her new allies a 12-9 majority. The entire Assembly is up every two years, while half the Senate was up in 2016; the other half, including Farley, will be up in 2018. The Assembly results correlated very strongly with the presidential outcome. Two Democrats won Trump Assembly seats, while no Republicans represent Clinton turf. Democrat Skip Daly lost his Reno-area AD-31 by a painful 55-45 margin to Republican Jill Dickman during the 2014 GOP landslide, but he unseated Dickman last year by 38 votes even as Donald Trump was taking his seat 49-43 (Romney had narrowly won the district, 49.5-48.5). [...]



Alabama governor appoints new attorney general—who won't say if he's investigating governor

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:53:03 +0000

GOP Gov. Robert Bentley told decency to scram when he named state Attorney General Luther Strange to Jeff Sessions' Senate seat—even though Strange was apparently in the middle of investigating Bentley—and now he's completed the second move in his sordid two-step: On Monday, Bentley appointed Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall (no relation?) to fill Strange's post, which Marshall will get to hold for the remaining two years of Strange's term. Marshall pledged to recuse himself from any Bentley investigation, but at his swearing-in, he also kept up Strange's weird refusal to even say whether there even is a pending investigation. It's all so bizarre, because back in early November, Strange asked the state legislature to pause an impeachment inquiry into whether Bentley had improperly used state resources to conceal an affair with a staffer "until I am able to report to you that the necessary related work of my office has been completed." What the hell else could "necessary related work" mean if he weren't conducting his own investigation? Notably, it was only after Trump's victory (and the possibility of a Senate vacancy) that Strange began claiming that he'd never said he was investigating Bentley—in other words, he was trying to make it seem as though it wouldn't be hinky for a target of his own probe to remove him from pursuing that very same probe. But Strange never said there wasn't an investigation; he only claimed that he never said there was. And yet even that's not true, unless "necessary related work" means something different to Luther Strange than it does to the state legislature, as well as pretty much anyone else on the planet. Marshall is keeping up this ridiculous song-and-dance, saying, "Nowhere have I seen confirmation that Gov. Bentley is under investigation." Is there no one he can ask? But at least there's a canary we can keep an eye on now: If Marshall does recuse himself, then we'll know there's a "direct investigation," to use his phrasing. If he doesn't, then there's either no "direct" investigation (whatever that bit of parsing means), or he's just a stone-cold liar. But it wouldn't be especially easy for Marshall to bury any such investigation, even if he wanted to. Two Republican members of the state House are circulating a new petition to reboot the Bentley impeachment investigation, and notably, neither of them signed on to the original effort. But the optics of the Bentley-Strange-Marshall do-si-do are apparently troubling enough to spur new action, and that could mean real problems for the governor—and for Marshall, if he doesn't provide clarity on the situation soon. [...]



Nevada Democrats retook both legislative houses in 2016, and they may keep them for a while

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 19:35:43 +0000

Daily Kos Elections’ project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits Nevada, a rare Democratic bright spot in 2016. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here.

Hillary Clinton carried the Silver State 48-46, a drop from Barack Obama’s 52-46 win against Mitt Romney. However, Clinton’s narrow victory, thanks in no small part to the formidable get-out-the-vote machine built by retiring Sen. Harry Reid, helped Team Blue avenge its embarrassing loss of both chambers of the state legislature two years before. Democrats all but conceded the 2014 gubernatorial race against GOP incumbent Brian Sandoval, and uninspired Democratic voters largely stayed home; Team Red won a 27-15 majority in the Assembly, and an 11-10 edge in the Senate.

But 2016 was a complete reversal, with Democrats taking back a 27-15 Assembly majority and an 11-10 Senate edge. A few days later one Republican, state Sen. Patricia Farley, announced that she was becoming an independent and caucusing with the Democrats, giving her new allies a 12-9 majority. The entire Assembly is up every two years, while half the Senate was up in 2016 and the other half, including Farley, will be up in 2018.

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Want to see Flynn investigated? Then we need to win back the House. Want the House? Help Jon Ossoff

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:19:29 +0000

With retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s 25-day tenure as Trump’s national security advisor exploding in an extraordinary ball of fire on Monday night—a Valentine’s Eve Massacre, if you will—what are Republicans planning to do about Flynn’s ties to the Putin regime? Absolutely nothing, of course. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee who was frothing like a deranged chimp to probe every lie ever told about Hillary Clinton, has once again refused to take even a glimpse at the latest Trump scandal, even though our country’s safety has been compromised at the highest levels by a mole working for the Russians. “It’s taking care of itself,” blathered Chaffetz, a delusional hack praying for it all to go away until the GOP can get the tax cuts it’s been praying for. Well, nuts to that. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that congressional Democrats can do at the moment except scream bloody murder (which they ought to and are), but if we can win back the 24 seats we’d need to retake the House in 2018, then we’ll gain the ability to conduct our own investigations, complete with subpoena power—and no matter what Satanic magic Republicans try to use to make him disappear, we aren’t going to forget about Flynn. We’ve got to get there first, though, but we don’t have to wait until next year to get started. On April 18, voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in suburban Atlanta will head to the polls in a special election to replace Tom Price, who’s now Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary. This traditionally conservative district only gave Trump a 48-47 margin, which means that it’s winnable for Democrats if we can effectively put President Agent Orange on the ballot—and with the way things are going in Washington, we definitely can. That’s why Daily Kos has endorsed investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who served as an aide to Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson (and has their backing as well). Ossoff is running a vigorous campaign, and the Daily Kos community has—and this is a technical term—gone just bonkers in supporting him. Please send $3 to Jon Ossoff now so that we can get started on taking back the House! [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/14

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:00:31 +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, Feb 14, 2017 · 7:32:24 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Pres-by-LD, NV State Senate, NV State Assembly: Our project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits Nevada, a rare Democratic bright spot in 2016. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here. Hillary Clinton carried the Silver State 48-46, a drop from Barack Obama’s 52-46 win against Mitt Romney. However, Clinton’s narrow victory, thanks no small part to the formidable get-out-the-vote machine built by retiring Sen. Harry Reid, helped Team Blue avenge its embarrassing loss of both chambers of the state legislature two years before. Democrats all but conceded the 2014 gubernatorial race against GOP incumbent Brian Sandoval, and uninspired Democratic voters largely stayed home; Team Red won a 27-15 majority in the Assembly, and an 11-10 edge in the Senate. But 2016 was a complete reversal, with Democrats taking back a 27-15 Assembly majority and an 11-10 Senate edge. A few days later one Republican, state Sen. Patricia Farley, announced that she was becoming an independent and caucusing with the Democrats, giving her new allies a 12-9 majority. The entire Assembly is up every two years, while half the Senate was up in 2016 and the other half, including Farley, will be up in 2018. The Assembly results correlated very strongly with the presidential results. Two Democrats won Trump Assembly seats, while no Republicans represent Clinton turf. Democrat Skip Daly lost his Reno-area AD-31 by a brutal 55-45 margin to Republican Jill Dickman during the 2014 GOP landslide, but he unseated Dickman last year by 38 votes even as Donald Trump was taking his seat 49-43; Romney narrowly won AD-31 49.5-48.5. It was a similar story with Leslie Cohen, the other Democrat in a Trump district. In 2014, Cohen lost her seat to Republican Stephen Silberkraus 55-45, but last year, she unseated Silberkraus 50.4-49.6, a margin of 212 votes. Trump carried AD-29, located around Henderson, by a slim 47.0-46.4 margin, a swing to the right from Obama’s 50-48 win.  Remarkably, Cohen’s seat was the one Assembly district in the state to go from Obama to Trump, while no seats went from Romney to Clinton. However, there’s no doubt that the Assembly map, while drawn by a court, benefits Team Blue. One way to illustrate this is to sort each seat in each chamber by Trump's margin of victory over Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because Nevada has an even number of Assembly seats, we average the Clinton and Trump [...]



Morning Digest: Susan Collins and many others consider running to replace Paul LePage

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:00:33 +0000

Leading Off ● ME-Gov: The race to succeed the thankfully termed-out GOP Gov. Paul LePage is developing slowly, but we may have some developments soon. On the Democratic side, car dealer Adam Lee tells the Portland Press Herald's Scott Thistle that he's close to deciding. TV commercials for the car dealerships starring Lee have recently looked a little more candidate-like, with Lee telling the viewer, "Lee may be just different enough for you," though Lee denies that politics have anything to do with the message. Lee is a prominent Democratic donor and a board member on the state League of Conservation Voters and his late mother was a prominent Democratic advisor, so he may have the connections he'd need to do well. A number of other Democrats are also making noises about getting in. Businessman Adam Cote, who lost a 2008 open-seat House primary to now-Rep. Chellie Pingree, says he's "almost positive I will run". Ex-state Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond also says he'll decide in the next few months. State Attorney General Janet Mills, a prominent LePage opponent, also is publicly expressing interest. (In Maine, the attorney general is appointed by the legislature rather than elected by the voters.) In the past, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (who also holds an appointed position) has expressed interest, while Pingree, former state House Speaker Mark Eves, former state Rep. Adam Goode, and wealthy businessman Lucas St. Clair haven't ruled it out. On the GOP side, the big question seems to be what Sen. Susan Collins will do. Collins, who took third place in the 1994 race two years before winning her Senate seat, has continued to leave the door open to a bid, with her spokesperson reiterating that she'll "assess how best she can continue to serve the people of Maine." Mary Mayhew, the state health and human services commissioner and a LePage ally, has only publicly not ruled out a bid, but she's been a rumored candidate for a while. State party chair Rick Bennett, who took third place in the 2012 Senate primary, has expressed interest, while state Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason says he expects to decide in a few months. State Sen. Roger Katz and state House Minority Leader Josh Tardy have also expressed interest in the past, while Rep. Bruce Poliquin hasn't said no. The Press Herald also mentions ex-state Sen. Philip Harriman, though it's unclear how interested he is. A few independents have also talked about getting in, with businessman Shawn Moody saying he'll decide in a few weeks. Moody ran in 2010 and took just 5 percent in the general election, but since then, he's served on the board of trustees for the University of Maine System and Maine Community College System. Last fall, Maine voted to implement an instant-runoff system, meaning that independents no longer need to fear playing spoiler. H[...]



Newscaster whose girlfriend was murdered on air is running for Virginia state House as a Democrat

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 22:28:46 +0000

Wow. Local newscaster Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend, reporter Alison Parker, was murdered live on air by a gunman two years ago, has announced that he’s running for a seat in Virginia’s state House this fall as a Democrat. It’s an incredibly brave move for a man whose life was upended by an unspeakable tragedy—many of us would simply retreat from the public glare, and understandably so. But Hurst is running in the hopes that he can prevent others from enduring a similar fate: Born and raised near Philadelphia, Hurst has not held office before, and he knows that, because of the national attention that WDBJ and he received after the 2015 shooting, guns will be an issue in the race. [...] Returning to the topic of guns, Hurst said that he is a gun owner who wants “a healthy discussion of where we are with firearms, and trying to reduce gun violence is the only thing that I am interested in doing. … This is not about trying to change anybody’s way of life, but we can do more and do better to reduce gun suicides and gun homicides.” Specifically, he said that he wants to find ways to remove guns from people under emergency protective orders “until we can get them necessary help. And that’s something that in Virginia we don’t have any mechanism for.” Hurst emphasizes, though, that he’s not a single-issue candidate, and he has his considerable body of work as a reporter to point to for issues he’s investigated and is knowledgeable about, particularly on the environment. But Hurst knows that he brings a singular prominence to the topic of guns, and his unique stature will draw an unusual amount of attention for a legislative race. What’s more, it’s one Democrats can win. Virginia’s 12th state House District, which is represented by Republican Joseph Yost, voted for Hillary Clinton by a 48-44 margin, making it one of 17 seats in the chamber (out of 100 total) that’s held by the GOP but was carried by Clinton. That means this contest will be a top target for Team Blue, and they’ve just landed a top-tier candidate to help them flip it. We’ll be watching this one very closely. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 2/13

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:00:31 +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, Feb 13, 2017 · 3:57:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso reports in: Minnesota HD-32B: This is an open Republican seat located in Chisago County, on the northeastern end of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. The Democrats have nominated Laurie Warner, a former member of the Duluth City Council who was the Democratic nominee in this district in the past two cycles. The Republicans have nominated Anne Neu, who managed Chip Cravaack's successful 2010 House run. This seat went 61-32 for Donald Trump in 2016, while it backed Mitt Romney by a 55-43 margin in 2012. Monday, Feb 13, 2017 · 4:09:48 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AZ-Sen: Two months after losing the 2016 GOP primary to Sen. John McCain 51-40, ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward announced that she would challenge Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 primary. Flake made his share of intra-party enemies after criticizing Donald Trump during the presidential race, but Flake haters haven’t shown much interest in Ward, who ran an underfunded campaign last time. Ward is hoping to argue she can win, and she’s out with a poll from PMI showing her leading Flake 30-23. The memo says that a November PMI poll showed Flake up 31-29. PMI isn’t a pollster we see much from. But last July, PMI released a poll on behalf of Paul Nehlen, who was challenging Speaker Paul Ryan in the GOP primary for WI-01. PMI found Ryan up just 43-32; about a month later, Ryan won 84-16, not at all close to what PMI found. Monday, Feb 13, 2017 · 4:21:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MI-Sen: Republicans hope that Donald Trump’s narrow win in Michigan is a good omen for their chances against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow next year, but the GOP field is only slowly taking shape. Longtime Rep. Fred Upton hasn’t ruled out a bid, and ex-state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville recently told The Detroit Free Press that he’s also considering. Richardville, who was termed-out of the state Senate in 2014, echoed Trump’s rhetoric, declaring that he’d be more interested in running, "if that (Washington, D.C.) swamp is drained somewhat over the next 100 days.” Monday, Feb 13, 2017 · 4:49:49 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer PA-Sen: GOP Rep. Pat Meehan recently announced that he wouldn't challenge Democratic Sen. Bob Casey next year, but Team Red still hopes to give Casey a tough race in a state that Trump narrowly carried. Real estate developer Jeff Bartos, a GOP fundraiser, reportedly has met with national Republican officials, and he’s confirmed that he’s thinking about getting in. Bartos briefly[...]



Morning Digest: Texas Democrats hope an anti-Trump wave will carry them to victory in 2018

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:00:35 +0000

Leading Off ● TX-Sen, TX-Gov, TX-32: Donald Trump decisively carried Texas last fall, but his 52-43 win was the GOP's weakest performance in a presidential race in 20 years. The last time a Democrat was elected statewide was 1994, but local leaders are hoping that a 2018 backlash against Trump will at least give them a shot at several offices. Campaign Action According to the Texas Tribune, Team Blue's major focus is the Senate race. Reps. Beto O'Rourke and Joaquin Castro have both talked about challenging GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, and the consensus seems to be that O'Rourke is more likely to run. Cruz has the advantage of running for re-election in a red state, but the disadvantage of… well, being Ted Cruz. It's tough to see Cruz losing to a Democrat, but it's worth taking him on in case there's a blue wave next year; at the very least, a credible Democrat could inspire voters to turn out for other contests. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, meanwhile, will be extremely hard to beat, and there don't seem to be any well-known Democrats looking to face him. Ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who is Joaquin Castro's identical twin brother, is frequently talked about as a possible future statewide candidate, but he says he's "unlikely" to run for anything next year. That "unlikely" gives him a little room to change his mind, but the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development does seem to be waiting for another year. The Tribune says that state party Finance Chairman Mike Collier is the "most frequently floated gubernatorial candidate." Collier lost the comptroller race 58-38 in 2014 but impressed Democrats in defeat; the Tribune also says he's been touted as an opponent against the powerful and notorious Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.  Democrats are also hoping that they can beat Attorney General Ken Paxton or state Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. Paxton is currently awaiting trial for securities fraud, and prosecutors are arguing that he and his supporters are on a "crusade" to influence possible jurors. Miller meanwhile, is a grade-A asshole and conspiracy theorist. The Tribune says no Democrats have stepped up to challenge either man, and both Republicans still have a lot of room for error in a state this red. But if Team Blue could pull off a longshot win, it would go a long way to restocking the statewide Democratic bench.   Last cycle, Hillary Clinton carried three GOP-held House seats, and Democrats will want to try and target them. The Dallas-based 32nd District surprisingly swung from 57-42 Romney to 48.5-46.6 Clinton. However, the area remains very red downballot, and ex-NRCC chair Pete Sessions will have all the money he could possibly need to win. Dallas school board member Miguel Solis is the first Democrat we've heard me[...]



International Elections Digest: French left gets a lifeline as right's candidate is hit by scandal

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 18:30:35 +0000

Leading Off ● France – Socialist Party presidential primary (Jan. 22 & 29); president (April 23 & May 7) How can a presidential election featuring four left-of-center candidates yield any result other than a top-two runoff between the center-right and the far-right? The question haunted the French left for much of 2016. The events of the last month, however, offered an unexpected answer: an embezzlement scandal. Campaign Action François Fillon, who unexpectedly won a primary to become the candidate of the right-wing Republicans party in November, has been at the center of dizzying revelations ever since Le Canard Enchaîné, a satirical/investigative newspaper, reported that his wife had received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money as Fillon's parliamentary assistant. On top of that, the paper alleged that this position was an entirely bogus job. The scandal has since worsened as Fillon has been unable to document the work his wife was supposed to have performed: Indeed, a 2007 interview emerged in which his wife declared that she'd never worked for her husband. The media has also focused on similarly questionable payments made by the candidate's parliamentary office to his sons. As a result, in the space of 10 days, Fillon went from clear favorite to collapsing into third place in some polls, with support under 20 percent. And now he's facing calls within his own party to drop out. Fillon has resisted, but there's no set procedure for the Republicans to choose a replacement if Fillon does bail. The most commonly named potential alternative for Fillon is Alain Juppé, who is comparatively more moderate and finished as runner-up in the party's fall primary. Yet Juppé, who had dominated general election polls until his surprise loss to Fillon, insists he will not step in as a Plan B. Plan C has been marginalized as well. Last week, former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who came in third in the primary, was ordered to stand trial over charges that he violated campaign finance regulations during his failed re-election bid in 2012. [...]