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Daily Kos Elections



Daily Kos's official elections portal.



Published: Sun, 21 Jan 2018 03:24:22 +0000

Last Build Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2018 03:24:22 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 01:55:49 +0000

Porcupine Tree — “Dark Matter”

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Voting Rights Roundup: Pennsylvania Supreme Court poised to strike down GOP's House gerrymander

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:28:03 +0000

Leading Off ● Pennsylvania: On Wednesday, Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a major case that has challenged the GOP's congressional gerrymander as a violation of the state constitution, and a plurality of the justices seem to be leaning toward striking down the map. Although the judges appeared to concede that map-makers may take some level of partisan consideration into account, they strongly implied Republicans' extreme gerrymandering crossed the line. What remains uncertain is what standard these judges might rely on to determine when such maps take partisanship too far. Nevertheless, the odds of a favorable ruling for plaintiffs ahead of the 2018 election cycle appear strong.​ Campaign Action ​Importantly, Democrats hold a five-to-two majority on the state court, whose members are elected in partisan elections. That gives plaintiffs a good chance of success, though of course there are no guarantees. If the court does strike down the map, Republican legislators would likely have the chance to draw a new one, but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf would be able to veto it. That would force the court to draw its own, nonpartisan map, which would likely yield major gains for Democrats and a much more equitable distribution of seats in this closely divided swing state. (Republicans currently hold a 13 to five advantage.) Consequently, redrawn boundaries could offer a big boost to Democrats in their quest to retake the House this fall. And most critically, because the plaintiffs are relying solely on the state constitution's guarantees of equal protection and freedom of association, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court would have very little ability to stay or override the state court's interpretation of Pennsylvania's own constitution. If the plaintiffs do indeed prevail, as looks likely, Pennsylvania could be well on its way toward eliminating one of the worst Republican gerrymanders in the country. Meanwhile, plaintiffs in a separate federal case who recently lost at the district court level have now appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the state-level case stands a much better chance of victory and a quicker resolution. [...]



Republican says opponent's 'associates' trespassed at his home. The cops say nope, never happened

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:27:20 +0000

Uh, is Ryan Costello cracking under the pressure? The sophomore Republican, who represents Pennsylvania’s swingy 6th District in suburban Philadelphia, popped on Facebook the other day to accuse two "associates" of his leading challenger, Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, of trespassing on his property to take photos of his home and "intimidate" his wife. The only problem is that the police investigated and determined there had been "no crime committed," calling the matter "closed."

Apparently, a couple of canvassers for Planned Parenthood did stop by the Costello household and were asked to leave by the congressman's wife, which they did. But when reporter Holly Otterbein explained this non-mystery to Costello, he bizarrely declared, "I think that just makes it all the more weird and creepy, to be honest with you." No, no it doesn't, but it does make him seem all the more weird and creepy.

And it certainly wouldn't be the first time we've seen a politician unused to tough races—Costello skated by against weak opponents in his first two elections for Congress—start to go wobbly when faced with a serious challenge, which Houlahan is poised to provide. In describing his 2004 re-election campaign, then-Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning infamously accused his Democratic opponent of being responsible for "little green doctors pounding on my back." (Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher, barely escaped his chartreuse medical tormenters with a 51-49 win that fall; he died last year.)

A bit closer to Costello's imaginings was a 2012 incident when the late Rep. Bill Young, who represented a seat in the Tampa, Florida area, claimed that he and his wife had been stalked and their home broken into twice. Young, who for the first time in ages had to contend with a credible challenger that cycle, blamed it all on Occupy Wall Street, saying, "The Occupiers are after me." However, police in that case also determined there had been no intrusions, explaining that an alarm had gone off after "a storm blew open a garage door with a faulty lock."

A storm is blowing this year, too, and it looks like Costello's hair is getting a bit mussed. He might want to get himself a hat—and a zipper for his lips.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/19

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:00:33 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Friday, Jan 19, 2018 · 4:54:43 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf NC Redistricting: As expected, the Supreme Court has stayed a recent lower court ruling that struck down North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional map as an illegal partisan gerrymander. While the court has not yet decided when or even if to hear the GOP’s appeal, this ruling means the existing congressional gerrymander will remain in effect for the 2018 midterms. The Supreme Court will likely either hear the appeal during its 2018-2019 term, or it could eventually send the case back to the lower court for reconsideration if the high court ends up establishing a national precedent against gerrymandering in upcoming cases concerning Maryland and Wisconsin. Although this development is unsurprising, it is nevertheless deeply disappointing given how North Carolina Republicans had explicitly defended their map as a nakedly partisan gerrymander designed to elect 10 Republicans and just three Democrats in this evenly divided swing state. Furthermore, it means that Republicans will have gotten away with unconstitutional gerrymanders for an infuriating four out of five election cycles this decade. And when the courts are that slow to remedy the violation of voters’ constitutional rights, GOP legislators will continue to draw illegal gerrymanders in the future when they can get away with them for at least one election cycle or more. Friday, Jan 19, 2018 · 5:12:02 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer OH-Sen: On Friday, author J.D. Vance announced for the second time this cycle that he would not seek the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Vance rose to fame in 2016 after writing the bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy about his experience growing up poor in working-class Appalachia, and his promoters argued that he had the Rust Belt cred to negate Brown's populist profile. Vance said in September that he'd sit the race out, but after presumptive GOP nominee Josh Mandel dropped out of the race two weeks ago, Vance's consultant said he was reconsidering. Politico even reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had spoken to Vance about running and "has told associates that he would prioritize the race if Vance jumps in." However, Rep. Jim Renacci quickly announced he would run here, and the National Journal's Josh Kraushaar wrote that McConnell was fine with Renacci. Vance's people still insisted he was very interested, but it seems that Renacci's campaign took the wind out of his sails. If Vance had run, he would have had a hellish time getting through the GOP primary. During the 2016 election, Vance was very anti-Trump on Twitter. On October, he asked, "What percentage of the American population has @realDonaldTrump sexually assaulted?" and later tweeted, "Trump makes people I care about afraid. Immigrants, Muslims, etc. Because of this I find him reprehensible." Renacci is running as a Trump ally, and if Vance had jumped in, the wealthy congressman wouldn't have had to work hard to make his opponent toxic to primary voters. Vance has talked about seeking office in the future when the timing is better for his family, but as long as the GOP base remains enamored with Trump, it's very tough to see him ever winning a primary. The May primary remains a duel between Renacci and businessman Mike Gibbons. Gibbons has said he'd self-fund $5 million of his own money, but there's little question he's the clear underdog. On Friday, Renacci also unveiled endorsements from the rest of Ohio's GOP House delegation. The candidate filing deadline isn't [...]



Morning Digest: Trump visits Pennsylvania to rescue flailing candidate as Democrat goes up on TV

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:00:04 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● PA-18: According to Bloomberg, private Republican polls of the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania's 18th District have Republican Rick Saccone with a lead over Democrat Conor Lamb in just "the single digits," and the New York Times confirms that, in fact, both parties' internals show the same thing. That helps explain why Donald Trump just graced Saccone with a visit to the area, though given the intense disgust Trump generates among many slices of the electorate, the move could very well backfire. Campaign Action Meanwhile, on the very same day, Democrat Conor Lamb released his first TV ad for the March 13 special election. The first half of the spot focuses on Lamb's biography, with a narrator detailing his local roots, his background as a Marine and federal prosecutor, and the fact that he "still loves to shoot," as a photo of Lamb firing a rifle at a range appears on screen. The second part focuses on his priorities, saying he'll fight for "jobs, health care, and Social Security," then emphasizes his bipartisanship, calling him "the only candidate who said that Democrats and Republicans need new leaders in Congress" and adding that he'll "work with anyone to get the job done." In a district that voted 58-39 for Trump, he'll need plenty of Republican support to have a chance. The National Journal's Ally Mutnick reports that Lamb is spending $100,000 to air the ad for a week, but he's still getting badly outspent by outside GOP groups, which have already poured $700,000 into the race with more on the way. Fortunately, Lamb's fundraising has far outpaced Saccone's: According to the New York Times, Lamb brought in $550,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, and he only earned the Democratic nomination on Nov. 19. Saccone's finances, by contrast, are a disaster. The same Times report says that Saccone had only raised $200,000 "as of the end of the year," meaning that that figure refers to his fundraising for all of 2017. And that's extremely pathetic, because Saccone kicked off a bid for the Senate all the way back in February, and he can use any unspent money from that race for this one—if he even has any. It's hard to know, though, how much he even raised for his Senate campaign because his FEC reports from that failed effort are a mess. For instance, in the third quarter of the year, he told the FEC that he'd raised less over the entire cycle to date than he had that quarter, which is literally impossible. But considering that his initial candidate filing came out looking like a ransom note, we can't say we're surprised. (Seriously, go ahead and click that link. And don't call the cops.) [...]



This Week in Statehouse Action: Clean House Bill of Health edition

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 23:45:00 +0000

Federal government facing a shutdown? Ugh, nauseating. But no matter, because this is your home for statehouse action, and as of this week, 35 legislatures are meeting and voting on stuff and holding hearings and generally doing that whole governing thing. (Okay, they don’t all do that governing thing so well all the time, but Republicans in D.C. are making even the worst of them seem pretty doggone functional right now.) If you’ve got shutdown fever, everyone knows that the only prescription is more cowbell $240 worth of pudding … special elections! Campaign Action A Case of the Tuesdays: If it’s a Tuesday, odds are pretty decent that there’s a state legislative special election happening somewhere in these United States (fun fact: only 25 states fill state legislative vacancies through special elections!), and this week was no exception. Six special elections were held on Tuesday, January 16, although two of those races went uncontested—a Republican seat in the South Carolina House and a Democratic seat in the Wisconsin Assembly. The remaining four were all Republican open seats, and Democrats performed well in all of them—including Iowa House District 6, where the Republican spent $117,000 (yes, that’s a huge amount of money in an Iowa state House race) just to keep a seat Trump won in 2016 by over 30 points. The Democrat in Iowa HD-06 improved on Clinton’s performance by 22 points, a common thread among all the contested elections on Tuesday: Democratic performance in these four races improved over 2016 by an average of 21 points. But that’s just four races; of the 70 contested special elections held last year, Democrats over-performed 2016 presidential numbers by an average of 10 points (and flipped 15 seats from red to blue). But okay, sure, losing well in deep-red districts is fine, but winning is better. Fun fact! Winning IS better! Democrats pulled off the first election upset of 2018 on Tuesday, where Democrat (and reality TV show Wife Swap alum) Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow 55-44 percent to flip a northwestern Wisconsin state Senate seat the GOP has held since 2000. Tuesday’s shocking win could put the Wisconsin Senate majority in play this fall (which is now 18 Republicans to 14 Democrats, with one vacancy). [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/18

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:00:02 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 · 3:42:49 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf (Editor’s note: Due to a formatting error, the item below was partly cut off in yesterday’s Digest. We are reprinting it in full below.) IL-03: In a very rare move, two sitting members of the House endorsed a challenger to a colleague from their own party on Wednesday when Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez gave their backing to businesswoman Marie Newman, who is running against Chicago-area Rep. Dan Lipinski in the March Democratic primary. What's more, both Schakowsky and Gutierrez are also from Illinois, and Gutierrez's district even abuts Lipinski's (though demographically they are very different). Schakowsky was completely blunt about why she's supporting Newman, repeatedly calling out Lipinski by name at a press conference on Capitol Hill: Marie supports the Affordable Care Act and believes health care is a right; Dan Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against the ACA. Marie supports the Dreamers and comprehensive immigration reform; Dan Lipinski voted to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border, voted against the DREAM Act, and said Donald Trump will be the champion of immigration reform. Marie Newman is an unequivocal supporter of a women's right to make her own health care decisions while Dan Lipinski championed over 50 bills to restrict a woman's right to choose and repeatedly voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Right on! Gutierrez likewise harped on Lipinski for his hostility to DREAMers. Again, though, what's remarkable is not what was said but who's saying it. Lipinski must have worked pretty hard not to make friends with members of his own delegation, but there's something more at play here. As Gutierrez noted, "This is a very special, and I think dangerous, time in America." The old go-along, get-along rules of protecting fellow incumbents might just be a casualty of our present circumstances, though unlike most other norms, this would be a good one to chuck. For Newman, the fact that these two members of Congress have now rallied to her side could inspire others to do the same. This stamp of approval means that other potential supporters and donors who until now had been sitting this one out have serious cause to take a second look at this race and consider getting behind Newman themselves, and that would be a big deal for her campaign. Thursday, Jan 18, 2018 · 4:09:36 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CO-Gov: Campaign finance reports are in for the final quarter of 2017 for this open seat race, and both sides have crowded primaries in late June. We'll start with a look at the Democrats: Businessman Noel Ginsburg: $35,000 raised, additional $190,000 self-funded, $224,000 cash-on-hand Former state Sen. Mike Johnston: $256,000 raised, $732,000 cash-on-hand Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy: $277,000 raised, $286,000 cash-on-hand Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne: $240,000 raised, additional $60,000 self-funded, $452,000 cash-on-hand Rep. Jared Polis: $52,000 raised, additional $750,000 self-funded, $367,000 cash-on-hand A bit surprisingly, Johnston continues to have by far the most cash-on-hand. However, the wealthy Polis certainly won't need to worry about being outspent. And while all of these candidates have a respectable amount of money available, Colorado's unusual primary system could prevent some of them from reaching the ballot. Now to the GOP: State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman: $86,000 raised, $15,000 transferred from previous[...]



Republicans, panicking over another special election on red turf, send in Trump to save the day

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:13:56 +0000

There’s another special election for the House coming up fast on March 13, but even though it’s once again taking place in a dark red district, Republicans are freaking out—so much so that they’re sending Donald Trump out there today to prop up their utterly sad-sack candidate, state Rep. Rick Saccone, to whom Trump has pledged his “total support.” Democrats, by contrast, couldn’t be more pleased with their nominee, former federal prosecutor and Marine veteran Conor Lamb, whose family is well-known for its longtime involvement in local politics. In the Marines, Lamb successfully prosecuted a fellow officer for trying to cover up a high-profile rape, and in the U.S. attorney’s office, he’s taken on the opioid epidemic. At 33, he’s also a fresh face, a tireless campaigner, and an ideal fit for his district, which is why Daily Kos is proud to endorse him. Republicans shouldn’t be sweating at all, though. Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District is a heavily gerrymandered seat on the outskirts of Pittsburgh that voted for Trump by a wide 58-39 margin, and the special election here is one they should win without a second thought. (This is the seat, by the way, that became vacant when Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he had pressured his mistress to have an abortion.) But thanks to the GOP’s lousy candidate, intense Democratic enthusiasm for Lamb, and widespread disgust with Trump, what should have been a snoozer has turned into a hotly competitive contest. So much so that Republicans are sounding the alarm klaxons, just as they repeatedly had to do last year in similar races across the country. And just how panicked are they? Two outside groups have already spent $700,000 on TV ads to boost Saccone, and a third is about to spend much more. Some local Republicans are already looking for an alternative candidate for the regularly scheduled November election, meaning they’re planning for a Saccone loss! Saccone only raised $200,000 during all of 2017, which included a desultory Senate bid that he abandoned when this race came along, and even the White House’s own political director has “expressed displeasure” with Saccone’s fundraising. Faced with this unfolding mess, Republicans decided they’d have to parachute Mike Pence into the district next month. But that evidently wasn’t enough, because, as we noted above, they forced Trump to schlep into town today. Will Trump really help, though? Certainly there are tons of Trump voters in this district, but as we’ve seen elsewhere (most recently in last month’s special Senate election in Alabama), the GOP base just isn’t turning out in big numbers these days. What’s more, there’s always the risk of major backlash whenever Trump rears his head. Indeed, as one Republican strategist recently observed, “There's enough out there with Saccone to make him so wacky that Republicans—particularly moderate Republicans in the suburban areas—say this isn’t my cup of tea.” That was a big part of the recipe for Doug Jones’s victory over Roy Moore, and Trump’s appearance only risks reminding these sorts of voters about all that wacky tea that Saccone enjoys brewing up. Make no mistake: A victory here would still be a major upset—but it’s definitely possible. And not only would a win reduce the number of seats Democrats need to take back the House from 24 to 23, it would send shockwaves through the political world and send Republicans into a full-blown meltdown. Wouldn’t you like to help make that happen? You can! Donate $3 today to Conor Lamb to help him beat Trump stooge Rick Saccone, and turn western Pennsylvania blue! [...]



Virginia GOP descends into chaos over choosing a House nominee, showing again why conventions suck

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 21:47:40 +0000

When Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte announced in November that he wouldn't seek a 14th term in his very red Shenandoah Valley seat, local Republican leaders had a choice. They could have decided to pick their nominee through a traditional state-run primary, where the date would have been set far in advance, where as many interested voters could participate as possible, and where the rules would be clear. Instead, they’ve chosen to hold a party convention, where absolutely none of these things are true, and one major candidate is now accusing the GOP of trying to “rig” the process against him.

We'll start with that last bit first, which feels like it should be a passage of a Robert Caro book. Del. Ben Cline arguably is the frontrunner in the eight-person field to succeed Goodlatte, but he got some bad news this month. It wasn’t the announcement that the 6th District Republican Party Committee had voted to conduct a convention instead of a primary, since that move was both widely expected and Cline was happy with it. However, party leaders also decided that there would only be one round of voting, meaning that the candidate earning a bare plurality of delegate support would win the GOP nomination outright.

Usually, party conventions (in Virginia and elsewhere) require a candidate to earn a majority of the delegates' support to win, which typically requires multiple rounds of balloting where the lowest vote-getters drop off and their supporters pick again from the remaining field. Cline was not happy with this unorthodox change. In fact, he went ballistic.

Cline charged that party leaders were attempting "to rig the convention to help their chosen candidate because they do not believe their candidate of choice is strong enough to win a majority of delegates under the standard Convention rules." Cline also argued that the convention delegates themselves needed to be the ones to set the convention rules, and the former state party's general counsel even agreed with him. But right now, it's entirely unclear as to when this very important rules decision will be made, or who will be the one to make it.

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Morning Digest: New York Democrat Kathy Hochul not ruling out a comeback bid for her old House seat

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:00:05 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● NY-27: On Tuesday, the New York Post (sorry, sorry) reported that unnamed sources say that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo might be looking to replace his current lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren when he presumably seeks a third term this November. But even if she gets bumped, Hochul might not get left out in the cold: The same Post report, citing a "source close to Hochul" says that none other than Nancy Pelosi has "personally appealed" to her to run against GOP Rep. Chris Collins in the conservative upstate seat Hochul used to hold.​ Campaign Action ​It’s unclear whether either of these two moves might come to pass, though. In response to the Post’s story, Hochul told The Buffalo News that her “choice is to continue on as lieutenant governor and to run for re-election with the governor and not be distracted by individuals who would like me to consider beating Chris Collins this year.” Sounds like she doesn’t want to run for Congress, huh? Not so fast: Hochul also twice refused to say if Cuomo had asked her to run with him again and wouldn’t rule out a bid against Collins either, instead saying, “I know that’s an option. I’ve been approached and I’ve been firm in my position all along that if it’s something I wanted to do, I assure you I’d know how to do it. I would be running. I would have the resources and we’d have a path.” It’s possible that Hochul is simply trying to stay in Cuomo’s good graces while not foreclosing plan B. The story of the possible running-mate swap emerged after New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who last year had formed a campaign committee that would have allowed him to challenge Cuomo in the Democratic primary, said he'd instead explore a run against Hochul. Both Williams and Warren are black, so if Cuomo were to make such a move, it'd be a pretty obvious attempt to cut the legs out from under Williams by playing racial politics 101—and it’s exactly the kind of counterpunch Cuomo revels in throwing. Notably, Cuomo’s own people haven’t done anything to tamp down on the speculation, with a Cuomo spokesperson saying on Tuesday that she would leave it to Hochul to “make that announcement” as to whether she’ll run for re-election. Well, it seems Hochul has announced what she wants to happen, and it’s up to Cuomo to decide what will happen. For her part, Warren said Tuesday that she hadn’t been contacted by the governor’s team, but would “not comment on speculation from Albany.” [...]



Democratic challenger to anti-choice congressman receives huge endorsement from two House members

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:06:37 +0000

In a very rare move, two sitting members of the House endorsed a challenger to a colleague from their own party on Wednesday when Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez gave their backing to businesswoman Marie Newman, who is running against Chicago-area Rep. Dan Lipinski in the March Democratic primary. What's more, both Schakowsky and Gutierrez are also from Illinois, and Gutierrez's district even abuts Lipinski's (though demographically they are very different).

Schakowsky was completely blunt about why she's supporting Newman, repeatedly calling out Lipinski by name at a press conference on Capitol Hill:

Marie supports the Affordable Care Act and believes health care is a right; Dan Lipinski was the only Illinois Democrat to vote against the ACA. Marie supports the Dreamers and comprehensive immigration reform; Dan Lipinski voted to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border, voted against the DREAM Act, and said Donald Trump will be the champion of immigration reform. Marie Newman is an unequivocal supporter of a women's right to make her own health care decisions while Dan Lipinski championed over 50 bills to restrict a woman's right to choose and repeatedly voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Right on! Gutierrez likewise harped on Lipinski for his hostility to DREAMers. Again, though, what's remarkable is not what was said but who's saying it. Lipinski must have worked pretty hard not to make friends with members of his own delegation, but there's something more at play here. As Gutierrez noted, "This is a very special, and I think dangerous, time in America." The old go-along, get-along rules of protecting fellow incumbents might just be a casualty of our present circumstances, though unlike most other norms, this would be a good once to chuck.

And for Newman, the fact that these two members of Congress have now rallied to her side could inspire others to do the same. This stamp of approval means that other potential supporters and donors who until now had been sitting this one out have serious cause to take a second look at this race and consider getting behind Newman themselves, and that would be a big deal for her campaign.

You can help Marie Newman now by donating $3 to her campaign so that she can send the anti-choice Lipinski packing!

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New York's lieutenant governor not ruling out a challenge to ethically embattled Rep. Chris Collins

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 23:40:13 +0000

On Tuesday, the New York Post (sorry, sorry) reported that unnamed sources say that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo might be looking to replace his current lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, when he presumably seeks a third term this November. But even if she gets bumped, Hochul might not get left out in the cold: The same Post report, citing a "source close to Hochul" says that none other than Nancy Pelosi has "personally appealed" to her to run against GOP Rep. Chris Collins in the conservative upstate seat Hochul used to hold. It’s unclear whether either of these two moves might come to pass, though. In response to the Post’s story, Hochul told The Buffalo News that her “choice is to continue on as lieutenant governor and to run for re-election with the governor and not be distracted by individuals who would like me to consider beating Chris Collins this year.” Sounds like she doesn’t want to run for Congress, huh? Not so fast: Hochul also twice refused to say if Cuomo had asked her to run with him again and wouldn’t rule out a bid against Collins either, instead saying, “I know that’s an option. I’ve been approached and I’ve been firm in my position all along that if it’s something I wanted to do, I assure you I’d know how to do it. I would be running. I would have the resources and we’d have a path.” It’s possible that Hochul is simply trying to stay in Cuomo’s good graces while not foreclosing plan B. The story of the possible running-mate swap emerged after New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who last year had formed a campaign committee that would have allowed him to challenge Cuomo in the Democratic primary, said he'd instead explore a run against Hochul. Both Williams and Warren are black, so if Cuomo were to make such a move, it'd be a pretty obvious attempt to cut the legs out from under Williams by playing racial politics 101—and it’s exactly the kind of counterpunch Cuomo revels in throwing. Notably, Cuomo’s own people haven’t done anything to tamp down on the speculation, with a Cuomo spokesperson saying on Tuesday that she would leave it to Hochul to “make that announcement” as to whether she’ll run for re-election. Well, it seems Hochul has announced what she wants to happen, and it’s up to Cuomo to decide what will happen. For her part, Warren said Tuesday that she hadn’t been contacted by the governor’s team, but would “not comment on speculation from Albany.” If Hochul does end up running against Collins, she’s in for a tough and familiar fight. Hochul won an already-conservative House seat (then numbered the 26th) in the Buffalo area in a 2011 special election, but lost it the following year after a court-drawn map made it even redder. Still, she ran far ahead of the top of the ticket, falling to Collins by just a 51-49 margin even as Mitt Romney carried the new 27th 55-43. But like the rest of upstate New York, the 27th has gotten even worse for Team Blue since then, and Donald Trump won it by a stark 60-35 margin. However, Collins has some major personal problems that could put this seat in play regardless. In particular, he's currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that he engaged in insider trading by sharing nonpublic information about an Australian biotech firm he had a $17 million investment in. (In what may have been a bit of karma, Collins' entire investment was wiped out last year after the company's lone drug failed in clinical trials, though he’s still worth tens of millions of dollars.) Hochul was as a fairly conservative Democrat in Congress and even earned the NRA's endorsement when she sought re-election, which helps explain how she[...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/17

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:00:35 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 · 4:35:45 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IL-17: This seat, which includes part of Rockford and the Quad Cities, swung from 58-41 Obama to 47.4-46.7 Trump, and the GOP made some noises about challenging Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos. However, Team Red chances at flipping this district pretty much went up in smoke on Tuesday when businessman Mark Kleine announced he was dropping out of the March primary. Kleine had raised a credible $373,000 during his first quarter in the race and self-funded another $135,000, but he said as he was departing the race that he could never contribute enough of his own money to "satisfy the experts," adding, "At what point do we say enough is enough. How many millions of dollars does it really take to run for office?" Kleine concluded by declaring, "I’ve learned this is an industry that celebrates wasteful spending, encourages inflated campaign budgets and has no regard for operational oversight just to ‘win the race’ but more importantly for others to prosper," which is certainly very Vulcan of him. Kleine's departure leaves Bill Fawell as the only candidate in the GOP primary. Fawell said on Tuesday that he hasn't raised enough money to require him to report his fundraising to the FEC, which pretty much says it all we need to know about his chances. It would have always been difficult for the GOP to knock off Bustos in a seat that only barely went for Trump, but in a year where they're mostly on the defensive, one of their few offensive opportunities is now history. Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 · 5:01:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer OH-12: On Wednesday, former state Rep. Jay Goyal announced he wouldn't seek the Democratic nod for this open suburban Columbus seat. Neighboring Rep. Joyce Beatty had publicly urged Goyal to run, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther reportedly was interested in backing him. The filing deadline is Feb. 7. So far, the most notable Democrat who has entered the race is former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, who badly lost the 2015 mayoral race to Ginther and narrowly lost renomination in 2016 to a Ginther-backed opponent. There will be a special election on Aug. 7 to complete the final months of former Rep. Pat Tiberi's term, and the primary for both the special and the regular term are in May. Trump won 53-42 here. Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 · 6:22:07 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer IL-Gov: Campaign finance reports for the final quarter of 2017 are in. Gov. Bruce Rauner faces a tough re-election campaign in this very blue state, but he has to get through his March 20 primary first. State Rep. Jeanne Ives entered the race after Rauner pissed off prominent conservatives and signed a law allowing public funding for abortions earlier this year, and she raised $434,000 in her first few weeks in the race. Ives also had some money in her state House account she transferred to her new campaign, and she ended 2017 with $662,000 on-hand. Ives has exponentially less money at her disposal than Rauner, who had $55.6 million to spend and can throw down as much as he feels like. And for some reason, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin continues to subsidize his fellow billionaire. Griffin gave Rauner $20 million in the spring, and he provided $2.5 million of the $2.9 million that Rauner raised in the last quarter of 2017. [...]



Democrats start 2018 off right, continuing to kick butt in special elections—including a major flip!

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:39:24 +0000

Special Elections: Look out! Democrats just chalked up a fronking yuge upset in Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Johnny Longtorso: Iowa HD-06: This was a hold for the Republicans. Republican Jacob Bossman defeated Democrat Rita DeJong by a 56-44 margin. This seat went 62-33 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 54-44 for Mitt Romney in 2012. South Carolina HD-99: This was also a Republican hold. Republican Nancy Mace defeated Democrat Cindy Boatwright by a 57-43 margin. This seat went 58-35 for Trump in 2016 and 66-32 for Romney in 2012. Wisconsin SD-10: Democrats continued their string of special election pickups with this seat. Democrat Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow by a 55-45 margin. This seat went 55-38 for Trump in 2016 and 52-46 for Romney in 2012. Wisconsin AD-58: Republicans held on to this one. Republican Rick Gundrum defeated Democrat Dennis Degenhardt by a 57-43 margin. This seat went 67-28 for Trump in 2016 and 68-31 for Romney in 2012. A few thoughts here: 1) All four of these races took place on deep red turf, and even in the three elections Democrats lost, they once again outperformed recent presidential results by large margins, continuing a trend that began immediately after Donald Trump won office in 2016. Indeed, in that big Wisconsin Senate race in the 10th District, Schachtner outperformed Trump’s margin-of-victory by a giant 28 points—despite getting outspent at least two-to-one. 2) The Wisconsin result also shrunk the GOP's majority to 18-14, with one vacancy. That helps inch the chamber closer to flippable territory for 2018. What's more, that other vacant district, the 1st, is also held by Republicans and has similar stats in the last two presidential races to the 10th. Ordinarily, you wouldn't expect a seat like that to be competitive, but see point #1. 3) This is now the 15th legislative seat Democrats have flipped in a special election in the Trump era, and the 34th overall when you include the regularly scheduled elections that took place in Virginia and New Jersey in November. The portents look good indeed. [...]



Eight years after his last campaign, Ned Lamont launches second bid for governor of Connecticut

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:02:56 +0000

On Wednesday, wealthy businessman Ned Lamont announced that he would run to succeed retiring Gov. Dan Malloy, a fellow Democrat. While Democrats usually do well in federal races in Connecticut, Malloy is incredibly unpopular, and Republicans are optimistic they flip the governor's office. Lamont too is arguing that the status quo is unacceptable, declaring, "It’s been a little frustrating sitting with my feet on my desk in Fairfield County watching a state budget crisis and businesses stepping out the door."

Lamont has been largely out of the public eye for most of the decade, but there was a time when he was one of the most famous Democrats in America. In 2006, Lamont captured the imagination of progressives across the nation when he launched a primary bid against Sen. Joe Lieberman, an ardent supporter of the Iraq War. Lamont ended up beating Lieberman 52-48, but Lieberman turned right around and ran in the general election as the first and last nominee of the Connecticut for Lieberman party. Lieberman earned the support of most Republican voters and enough Democrats and independents to prevail 50-40.

Lamont ran for governor in 2010, and he faced off against Dan Malloy in the primary. Lamont spent months as the frontrunner, but Malloy had the support of much of the state Democratic establishment, and he scored points by attacking Lamont for layoffs at his company. While late polls showed Malloy closing in, it was still a big surprise when he defeated Lamont by a decisive 57-43 margin.

Several other Democrats are raising money to run in the August primary, and there's no clear frontrunner. While Lamont may not have much name recognition left after so long off the ballot, he has a few potential assets that the rest of the field doesn't have. Lamont has access to plenty of money, and he may be able to outspend his rivals. And since Lamont, unlike the rest of the field, actually ran against Malloy, he may be able to convincingly appeal to Democratic voters who want change. However, Lamont's surprisingly bad 2010 loss does demonstrate that he's far from unbeatable in a primary.

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Maine's primary for governor is in five months, and no one knows what the rules will be

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:38:47 +0000

Campaign finance reports for Maine covering all of 2017 are all in, giving us our first good look at all the candidate's financial strength in the very crowded race for governor. The Bangor Daily News' Michael Shepherd rounds up all the reports, and he helpfully provides an interactive graph that not only tells us how much each contender raised and had in the bank on Dec. 31, but also how much each candidate self-funded. More of this kind of thing, please! This is a very complicated race, and before we get to the numbers, we have a few things to note. The most important is that the June primaries may be conducted under an instant runoff voting (IRV) system: Voters would be allowed to rank their top choices, and if no candidate takes a majority initially, the last-place candidate gets eliminated and has their votes reassigned to their voters’ next preferences. This process repeats until a candidate obtains a majority of votes. However, we won’t know whether this system will be used in June or if it will just take a plurality of the vote to win the primary until early February. Why all the confusion? In 2016, Maine voters backed a ballot measure to institute IRV for all state and congressional races. However, the legislature never liked this idea, and they were happy the state Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion last May saying that IRV couldn't be used for general elections for governor or state legislature, though it would have left the primaries (and federal races) alone. The legislature responded by passing a law to effectively repeal IRV for everything. Supporters of IRV are now collecting signatures to get a measure on the June 2018 primary ballot to overturn the legislature's repeal bill, and those signatures are due by early February. If IRV supporters have enough valid signatures, the legislature's law will be suspended until voters have their say, so the primaries would be done under IRV while voters also decide whether they want to keep that system in a simultaneous referendum. If there aren't enough signatures, it'll just take a plurality to win each party's nomination. There's one other big thing we need to hit. Several candidates are trying to qualify for taxpayer-funded Clean Election money. These candidates need to collect $5 donations from 3,200 Mainers by early April. But right now, they can raise "seed money" from any U.S. citizen in $100 increments; the most they can raise in seed money is $200,000. Candidates who quality can get up to $1 million for the primary from the program, and up to $2 million if they make it to the general election. Now to the numbers. [...]



Morning Digest: Why are some Michigan Democrats tepid on Gretchen Whitmer's campaign for governor?

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:00:03 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● MI-Gov: Back in November, The Detroit News reported that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was looking far and wide for a candidate to oppose Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader who is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary for governor. Things don't seem to have changed much in the ensuing two months, with Bridge Magazine now writing that Duggan, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, and prominent Detroit pastor Wendell Anthony all asked Sen. Gary Peters to run. Bridge, a publication of a nonpartisan think-tank called Center for Michigan, also says that Democratic operatives tried to recruit Rep. Dan Kildee, who thought about running in early 2017.​ Campaign Action ​Both men, however, said no, and spokespersons for Kildee and Peters each made it clear to Bridge that neither would be changing their minds. Duggan himself, meanwhile, has definitively said he won't run, and his own aide only said in response to the story that he "has had positive meetings with Gretchen Whitmer as well as other potential candidates." So why are Duggan and friends apparently so averse to having Whitmer as their nominee? It's been hard to understand their reluctance, but Bridge writes that "anxiety has increased about her campaign momentum, fundraising, and name recognition," and a few Democrats, all off the record, say they fear that Whitmer isn't going to inspire voters to show up. However, another party leader suggests that internal party tensions are to blame, saying, "There's well-intentioned institutional Democrats, insurgent Berniecrats, and other traditional stakeholders. And it's all colliding with fears of gender bias in getting someone to enter this race." [...]



On, Wisconsin: Democrats flip first red-to-blue seat of 2018 in epic Badger State upset

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 03:40:49 +0000

Democrats have just pulled off the first election upset of 2018. In northwestern Wisconsin’s Senate District 10, Democrat (and reality TV show Wife Swap alum) Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow 55-45 percent to flip a seat the GOP has held since 2000. Tuesday’s shocking upset arguably puts the Wisconsin Senate majority in play this fall (which is now 18 Republicans to 14 Democrats, with one vacancy). This supposedly safe Republican seat became open when GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf accepted an appointment to Scott Walker's cabinet late last year. Despite the fact that SD-10 went 55-38 for Trump in 2016 and 52-46 for Romney in 2012, Democrats were cautiously optimistic about their chances here. Wisconsin Democrats cited internal polling (from last year) showing the race was competitive, and progressive investments in this contest indicated that this hopefulness extended beyond the Democratic caucus. Greater Wisconsin spent $30,000 in support of Schachtner, and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee spent $10,000 on online advertising. Campaign Action Conservative spending, on the other hand, reflected GOP nervousness about keeping this red seat. Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin spent at least $50,000 on radio and digital ads, and the Republican State Leadership Committee and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce spent a combined $78,000 on issue ads. Additionally, Jarchow is currently a member of the state Assembly, which allowed him to lend his existing war chest ($271,000 raised in 2017) to his special election effort. (Schachter, for her part, raised a laudable $183,000 in the short amount of time available to her to fundraise for the seat, and she clearly put that cash to good use.) Public polling from last year indicated that generic Democrats are favored in Wisconsin legislative elections (44-41 percent), and the 33 Democratic red-to-blue flips in special and general elections in 2017 indicated that Democrats could be in for a pleasant surprise in Tuesday’s contest. But the greater takeaway from the Wisconsin SD-10 special election is an alarm klaxon for Republicans at every level of the ballot, even those running in gerrymandered districts and drastically outspending their Democratic challengers: The reckoning has arrived, and no one is safe. [...]



Why are some Michigan Dems lukewarm on Gretchen Whitmer's campaign for governor? The answer is hazy

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:55:57 +0000

Back in November, The Detroit News reported that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was looking far and wide for a candidate to oppose Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader who is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary for governor. Things don't seem to have changed much in the ensuing two months, with Bridge Magazine now writing that Duggan, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, and prominent Detroit pastor Wendell Anthony all asked Sen. Gary Peters to run. Bridge, a publication of a nonpartisan think-tank called Center for Michigan, also says that Democratic operatives tried to recruit Rep. Dan Kildee, who thought about running in early 2017. Both men, however, said no, and spokespersons for Kildee and Peters each made it clear to Bridge that neither would be changing their minds. Duggan himself, meanwhile, has definitively said he won't run, and his own aide only said in response to the story that he "has had positive meetings with Gretchen Whitmer as well as other potential candidates.” So why are Duggan and friends apparently so averse to having Whitmer as their nominee? It’s been hard to understand their reluctance, but Bridge writes that "anxiety has increased about her campaign momentum, fundraising, and name recognition,” and a few Democrats, all off the record, say they fear that Whitmer isn't going to inspire voters to show up. However, another party leader suggests that internal party tensions are to blame, saying, "There’s well-intentioned institutional Democrats, insurgent Berniecrats, and other traditional stakeholders. And it’s all colliding with fears of gender bias in getting someone to enter this race." Bridge also notes that it's not at all uncommon for Michigan Democrats to wage these internecine fights. In 2002, some power-brokers attempted to find an alternative to Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, who ended up winning the governorship 51-47. Eight years later, there was another unsuccessful attempt to stop Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who badly lost the general. The Detroit News also says that in 2014, former United Autoworkers President Bob King wanted an alternative candidate to presumptive nominee Mark Schauer. The person King unsuccessfully tried to lure into the race was ... Gretchen Whitmer. It's often very tough to gauge how good or bad a candidate is, especially when we still have a long way to go before the primary. It was only a few months ago that plenty of Democrats openly worried that Virginia gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam was running a dull and unfocused campaign, but Northam ended up winning decisively. In this case, it's likely that Whitmer, who has never run statewide before, does have little statewide name recognition, but that would be true of most candidates. What’s more, Whitmer hasn't started spending on paid voter contact yet, and it looks like she'll have the money to get her name out. It's a lot harder to tell how "inspiring" Whitmer is or isn't. (Again, see Northam, Gov. Ralph.) However, there's little question that anger at Trump has inspired Democrats across the nation to turn out regardless of who their candidates are. And at a time when the #metoo movement has become a major focus in America, having a woman as Team Blue's nominee could indeed be quite inspiring. Whitmer does face a couple of other candidates in the primary, though evidently former Detroit Health Commissioner Abdul El-Sayed and wealthy businessman Shri Thanedar don’t seem to have great appeal to Duggan & co. Republicans, meanwhile, are focused on a battle between stat[...]



Four Republican lawmakers call on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to resign after blackmail scandal

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:07:55 +0000

How much longer can Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens last? Following an explosive report last week that Greitens had sought to silence a woman he'd had an extra-marital affair with by threatening her with a photo he'd taken of her while she was bound, blindfolded, and naked, four fellow Republicans in the state legislature have now called on him to resign. Notably, one of them, longtime state Rep. Nate Walker, was an early backer of Greitens when he ran for governor. According to the New York Times, Greitens had in fact spent the weekend "telephoning scores of legislators" to try to shore up his support, but obviously that effort was to no avail.

And there's really no way out. Greitens has cancelled all public events, and a lawyer for the ex-husband of the woman Greitens was involved with says he's handed over to law enforcement officials as much as five hours of previously undisclosed recordings of the ex-wife detailing her encounters with the governor. What's more, a new survey from Republican pollster Remington Research conducted for the newsletter Missouri Scout shows that his favorability rating has plunged to a negative 32-47, from 42-41 just a week earlier. The "good news," such as it is, is that 43 percent of voters think he should remain in office compared to 37 percent who say he should go.

But what really matters is what state lawmakers do next. Greitens has spent his entire first year in office feuding with Republican legislators, leaving him virtually friendless in the capitol. Even Walker, who was one of the few Republican elected officials who supported him in the 2016 gubernatorial primary, fell out with Greitens last year when the governor ousted the state’s education commissioner. Greitens has stubbornly refused to leave so far, but if he doesn't voluntarily walk the plank soon, don't be surprised if we start hearing talk of impeachment. If Greitens departs, GOP Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would serve as governor until Greitens’ term ends in early 2021.

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Tim Pawlenty rules out bid in Minnesota Senate special election

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:09:49 +0000

On Tuesday, ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty went on Fox and said he would not seek the GOP nomination for this November's special election. Pawlenty did repeatedly say that he was still interested in public service and that there were many ways to do it, which may be a sign he's still thinking about a comeback bid for governor.

Pawlenty was reportedly the national GOP's top choice to challenge Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat who was appointed to this seat after Al Franken resigned. It's unclear who, if anyone, is their second choice. There were reports last week that Rep. Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost the 2010 race for governor, was Plan B, but Emmer's chief of staff said he was happy where he was. That's not a no, and Emmer may face more pressure to run now that Pawlenty is out of the running. The only noteworthy Republican who has entered the race yet is state Sen. Karin Housley.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/16

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:00:35 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 · 4:53:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AZ-Sen: The GOP firm Data Orbital takes a look at the late August primary for this open seat, and they give Rep. Martha McSally a 31-22 lead over disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; former state Sen. Kelli Ward is just behind with 19 percent. The only other survey we've seen of the three-way primary came last week from GOP pollster OH Predictive Insights on behalf of the local ABC affiliate, and they gave McSally a much-smaller 31-29 lead over Arpaio, with Ward at 25. McSally, who is the favorite of the GOP establishment, is likely to be the only candidate with the resources to seriously advertise on TV, and if she's already running at least even with the very well-known Arpaio before she's aired any ads, that's good news for her. Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 · 5:21:36 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MN-Sen-B, MN-Gov: So, what's Tim Pawlenty up to? No one seems to have any idea. A few days ago, an unnamed GOP donor told the Washington Post that the former governor "told me unequivocally he's not going to run for the Senate." An unnamed "Minnesota GOP insider who is close to Pawlenty" has confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune that T-Paw indeed said that two weeks ago, but says it's possible he's reconsidered since then. The insider didn't say why Pawlenty might be having second thoughts, though they did say they weren't sure where he stood on a Senate bid now. The source also said that it's still possible that Pawlenty will run for governor this year instead, a contest he was looking at before this special election was scheduled. Pawlenty himself has remained quiet for weeks, only saying in mid-December that he wasn't ruling out a Senate bid. Pawlenty is the national GOP's top choice to run against appointed Democratic Sen. Tina Smith, and it's not clear whom their backup opportunity is. In any case, these games don't seem to be doing anyone any favors, except for maybe Tina Smith. Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 · 5:34:46 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer PA-Sen: GOP Sen. Pat Toomey has endorsed Rep. Lou Barletta's campaign to take on Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. Barletta very much seems to have the insider track in the May primary: The only other candidate who had much money at the end of September was self-funding businessman Paul Addis, but Addis' anti-Trump rhetoric probably won't play well with Republican voters. Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018 · 5:41:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-27: Back in May, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, a former Republican who used to serve as mayor of Miami, expressed interest in running as an independent for this open seat. We'd heard nothing from Suarez since then until [...]



Morning Digest: False missile alert already a real campaign problem for Hawaii Gov. David Ige

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:00:09 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

HI-Gov: On Saturday, a stunning set of failures led to the state of Hawaii to issue an emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile attack, and the debacle almost immediately became a campaign issue. First-term Gov. David Ige was already facing a very serious challenge in the Democratic primary from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and now he's facing extraordinary scrutiny over the incident. The trauma the event instantly generated for residents will not soon be forgotten: As one Hawaii political scientist, Colin Moore, put it, "Everyone is going to want to talk about their story—that morning when they were terrified, and why it took the governor so long to respond."

Campaign Action

Indeed, Hanabusa immediately began criticizing Ige, focusing on the extraordinary fact that it took officials 38 minutes to retract their false alarm, specifically blaming the governor and saying the fiasco could harm the state's all-important tourism industry. In response, an Ige spokesperson complained, "It is unfortunate that she is using yesterday's event to draw attention to herself while offering no solution." It's more than just a war of words, though: One local pollster noted that Hanabusa appeared on TV to reassure the public before Ige himself did, reinforcing questions about his "lack of leadership."

While Hanabusa probably wouldn't want to turn an issue like this into an attack ad—voters likely wouldn't take kindly to stark reminders of such a frightening event—she also doesn't have to. Pretty much everyone in Hawaii politics is piling on Ige right now, and as the New York Times notes, he faces the prospect of a lengthy series of public investigations on both the state and federal level. There's a good chance this story will dominate right through the August primary, and if it does, that can only be bad news for Ige.

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Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/15

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:00:39 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Monday, Jan 15, 2018 · 4:29:05 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Where Are They Now?: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and former GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle are both trying to stop teenagers from eating Tide Pods. No, that's not from some game of Mad Libs, this is the reality we live in. You may have heard of the Tide Pod Challenge, where teenagers are biting into toxic laundry detergent pods. Tide understandably does not want to be linked with a phenomena that's sending participants to the hospital, and they recruited Gronkowski reminding viewers that they should, "Use Tide Pods for washing not eating." So what's this have to do with Buerkle, who narrowly won a Syracuse-area seat in 2010 in a shocker during the tea party wave and lost it two years later? In 2013, even as Buerkle was considering another bout against Democrat Dan Maffei, Obama appointed Buerkle to a seat on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Buerkle has been acting chair since early 2017, and Trump picked her to lead the commission full time. Florida's Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in particular was not happy with Buerkle, who opposes government standards to limit carbon monoxide emissions in portable power generators, and he grilled her on the issue at her September confirmation hearing. Buerkle's nomination cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation along party lines but never made it to the full Senate, and Trump had to renominate her this month. However, Buerkle remains acting chair, and the commission has been reviewing how to make Tide Pods tougher to puncture. We here at Daily Kos Elections are no fans of Buerkle, who was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative in the House, and whose nomination to lead the commission was met with plenty of justifiable anger from consumer watchdog groups. But she's right on this one: Don't eat Tide Pods. Monday, Jan 15, 2018 · 5:13:46 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer Deaths: Former California Sen. John Tunney, a Democrat whose charmed political career quickly took a massive plunge that culminated in his 1976 loss, died Friday at the age of 83. Tunney was the son of famous boxer Gene Tunney, a former heavy weight champion. The younger Tunney was close to the Kennedy family before he got his own start in politics, working on John F. Kennedy’s 1958 re-election campaign to the Senate and rooming with future Sen. Ted Kennedy at the University of Virginia Law School. Tunney won his first election to the House in 1964, when he unseated GOP Rep. Patrick Minor Martin 53-47 in a Riverside County seat. Tunney decided to challenge freshman GOP Sen. George Murphy in 1970. Murphy had unseated appointed Democratic Sen. Pierre Salinger during the 1964 Democratic wave. However, the former song-and-dance man was seen as weak going into his re-election campaign due in large part to his age and poor health, and over $20,000 salary he had been paid as a senator to serve as a movie company's public relations consultant. Tunney beat Rep. George Brown 42-33 in the [...]



Morning Digest: Rep. Martha McSally joins Arizona Senate race as the savior of GOP establishment

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:00:13 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AZ-Sen: On Friday, GOP Rep, Martha McSally kicked off her long-expected bid for Arizona's open Senate seat. The GOP Senate leadership hasn't done much to hide that they prefer McSally, who represents a competitive seat around Tucson, to any of their alternatives, and it's not hard to see why. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward is a lousy fundraiser, while Joe Arpaio badly lost re-election as Maricopa County sheriff in 2016, and plenty of Republicans are convinced his new Senate campaign is really just a scam to help him raise money for his many legal bills.​ Campaign Action ​However, McSally is trying to avoid being caricatured as a dreaded establishment candidate. While McSally didn't endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign and called for him to quit the race after he was caught bragging on tape about sexual assault, she's been a reliable Trump ally over the last year. McSally's campaign kickoff video featured a clip of Trump exclaiming, "My friend, Martha McSally, she's the real deal. … She's tough," followed by the candidate saying, "Like our president, I'm tired of P.C. politicians and their B.S. excuse." That may be enough to get her through the late summer primary against disorganized opponents, though it could certainly be a liability in a general election in a state Trump carried just 48-45. However, Democrats certainly won't be taking McSally for granted. The congresswoman has a reputation for being a strong fundraiser, and she wasted no time reminding voters that she was the Air Force's first female combat pilot. The GOP nominee will likely take on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who currently faces no significant opposition in the Democratic primary. And McSally further tried to solidify her pro-Trump credentials hours after her campaign kickoff. When MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake asked the congresswoman to comment on Donald Trump reportedly asking why America should accept immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti, she didn't even quarter-heartedly call Trump's comments "unfortunate" or something like that. Instead, she said: "Well, let me just say I've spoken a little salty behind closed doors as well so I'm not going to throw the first stone on using any language. I guess there was a dispute as to what was actually said, and look, I don't think we should be having any comments about specific countries personally, but the issue I think that he's trying to get to is we got to reform our immigration system. That this lottery system doesn't make any sense." And indeed, McSally isn’t lying about having “spoken a little salty behind closed doors,” since last spring when Republicans were trying to pass their horribly unpopular healthcare bill, McSally encouraged her colleagues to “get this fucking thing done!” A real profile in political courage, for all the wrong reasons. [...]



The most vulnerable House members of 2018, in two charts

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 20:15:08 +0000

It’s not too presumptuous to start talking about a “wave election” for this November’s midterm. For one thing, wave elections aren’t even that unusual in midterm elections; going back to the Civil War, the average loss for the party that controls the White House in a midterm is 32 seats. The presidential party invariably thinks “but this time it’s going to be different!” And then, invariably, partisans for the party in power get complacent or get their feelings hurt, members of the party out of power get enraged and feel their very existence is threatened, and swing voters freak out that the party that they just voted for is either failing to fulfill its promises, or is fulfilling its promises too aggressively. It’s a phenomenon political scientists call thermostatic public opinion. But we’re also seeing all sorts of flashing red lights on the instrument panel. Retirements in the House—especially among Republican members, who can probably sense things are going to go not so well this November—are starting to pile up. In fact, they’re coming at an unusually high rate; with the retirements of Darrell Issa and Ed Royce this week, we’re already up to 30 GOP retirements, and most states haven’t hit their filing deadlines yet. Generic ballot House polling shows Democrats opening up a wide advantage; different aggregators will give you different results, but most see a low-double-digit lead. FiveThirtyEight, for instance, currently sees a 10 point advantage for the Democrats, though some recent polls have seen spikes as high as 17 percent. And the recent track record for Democrats in special elections last year, both for House seats and state legislative seats, is also consistent with a generic ballot lead in the low teens, based on how much vote shares have swung since previous elections. So, you might be wondering, which Republicans are most likely to lose? There isn’t a lot of information, unfortunately, that tells us much about individual races. There are a handful of recent Public Policy Polling polls of key races, though many of those polls only test our good friend “Generic Democrat.” (Unlike some previous recent years, there’s no shortage of Democrats willing to challenge GOP incumbents. There’s a lot of uncertainty because of that surplus, in fact; in many races, we simply don’t know yet which of the various talented Democratic candidates will emerge from the primary.) What we can do, though, is turn to the Daily Kos Elections House Vulnerability Index, which combines data from previous elections to assess which seats are in the greatest danger in the next election. [...]



Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:19:51 +0000

The Gregory Brothers — “You’re Tearing Me Apart”

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Voting Rights Roundup: Court strikes down North Carolina GOP's congressional gerrymander yet again

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:01:47 +0000

Leading Off ● North Carolina: In a historic victory against partisan gerrymandering, a federal court unanimously struck down North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional map on Tuesday for discriminating against Democratic voters in violation of the First and 14th Amendments, as well as the Constitution's Elections Clause. That makes this the first time ever that a federal court has invalidated a congressional map over excessive partisanship, and it could lead to enormous changes in how redistricting is conducted in North Carolina and nationwide.​ Campaign Action ​In an effort to ensure that new maps will be in place for the 2018 elections, the three-judge panel hearing this case has given the GOP-dominated state legislature two weeks to redraw the lines, but Republicans have appealed to the Supreme Court and asked for an emergency stay of the lower court's decision. However, if this ruling survives appeal and leads to a less partisan map, it would strike a huge blow against one of the worst gerrymanders ever drawn, which left Democrats with just three of 13 seats in what is an evenly divided swing state. Indeed, as we have demonstrated, Democrats could potentially gain anywhere from two to five more seats with a nonpartisan map. This new ruling is so momentous because, for the past three decades, the Supreme Court has maintained that drawing maps for the benefit of one political party could violate the Constitution but has never before agreed to strike down any particular map, saying the judiciary lacks a standard for determining when gerrymandering crosses the line into a constitutional harm. To address this concern, the North Carolina court established its own standard. To prove the GOP’s map was unconstitutional, said the judges, plaintiffs had to demonstrate three things: 1.) that the map was enacted with discriminatory partisan intent; 2.) that the map had a discriminatory effect that produced an asymmetric and durable partisan advantage for the map-making party; and 3.) that the map couldn’t be defended as a byproduct of nonpartisan redistricting criteria like geographic compactness. Plaintiffs relied on a broad array of evidence to satisfy these three requirements, including multiple statistical tests to measure the partisan advantage the current map gave the GOP. They also used thousands of alternative computer-generated maps to demonstrate how this advantage couldn’t have been obtained had Republican mapmakers relied solely on neutral redistricting criteria. However, the biggest smoking gun was the literal admission by state Rep. David Lewis, who chaired the state House redistricting committee, that the GOP really did engage in partisan gerrymandering when Lewis oversaw redrawing the map in 2016: [...]



Rep. Martha McSally embraces Trump as she kicks off bid for Arizona Senate seat

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:15:01 +0000

On Friday, GOP Rep, Martha McSally kicked off her long-expected bid for Arizona's open Senate seat. The GOP Senate leadership hasn't done much to hide that they prefer McSally, who represents a competitive seat around Tucson, to any of their alternatives, and it's not hard to see why. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward is a lousy fundraiser, while Joe Arpaio badly lost re-election as Maricopa County sheriff in 2016, and plenty of Republicans are convinced his new Senate campaign is really just a scam to help him raise money for his many legal bills. However, McSally is trying to avoid being caricatured as a dreaded establishment candidate. While McSally didn't endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign and called for him to quit the race after he was caught bragging on tape about sexual assault, she's been a reliable Trump ally over the last year. McSally's campaign kickoff video featured a clip of Trump exclaiming, "My friend, Martha McSally, she’s the real deal. … She’s tough," followed by the candidate saying, "Like our president, I’m tired of P.C. politicians and their B.S. excuse." That may enough to get her through the late summer primary against disorganized opponents, though it could certainly be a liability in a general election in a state Trump carried just 48-45. However, Democrats certainly won't be taking McSally for granted. The congresswoman has a reputation for being a strong fundraiser, and she wasted no time reminding voters that she was the Air Force's first female combat pilot. The GOP nominee will likely take on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who currently faces no significant opposition in the Democratic primary. Friday, Jan 12, 2018 · 6:30:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer And McSally tried to solidify her pro-Trump credentials hours after her campaign kickoff. When MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake asked the congresswoman to comment on Donald Trump reportedly asking why America should accept immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti, she didn't even quarter-heartedly call Trump's comments "unfortunate" or something like that. Instead, she said: "Well, let me just say I've spoken a little salty behind closed doors as well so I'm not going to throw the first stone on using any language. I guess there was a dispute as to what was actually said, and look, I don't think we should be having any comments about specific countries personally, but the issue I think that he's trying to get to is we got to reform our immigration system. That this lottery system doesn't make any sense." Not exactly a profile in political courage, is she? [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/12

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:00:33 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Friday, Jan 12, 2018 · 4:14:13 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AZ-Sen: On Friday, GOP Rep, Martha McSally kicked off her long-expected bid for Arizona's open Senate seat. The GOP Senate leadership hasn't done much to hide that they prefer McSally, who represents a competitive seat around Tucson, to any of their alternatives, and it's not hard to see why. Former state Sen. Kelli Ward is a lousy fundraiser, while Joe Arpaio badly lost re-election as Maricopa County sheriff in 2016, and plenty of Republicans are convinced his new Senate campaign is really just a scam to help him raise money for his many legal bills. However, McSally is trying to avoid being caricatured as a dreaded establishment candidate. While McSally didn't endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign and called for him to quit the race after he was caught bragging on tape about sexual assault, she's been a reliable Trump ally over the last year. McSally's campaign kickoff video featured a clip of Trump exclaiming, "My friend, Martha McSally, she’s the real deal. … She’s tough," followed by the candidate saying, "Like our president, I’m tired of P.C. politicians and their B.S. excuse." That may enough to get her through the late summer primary against disorganized opponents, though it could certainly be a liability in a general election in a state Trump carried just 48-45. However, Democrats certainly won't be taking McSally for granted. The congresswoman has a reputation for being a strong fundraiser, and she wasted no time reminding voters that she was the Air Force's first female combat pilot. The GOP nominee will likely take on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who currently faces no significant opposition in the Democratic primary. Friday, Jan 12, 2018 · 4:23:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer MO-Sen: On behalf of the Democratic group The Majority Institute (formerly known as Project New America), PPP is out with a poll giving Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill a 45-44 edge over GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley. However, the horse race question was asked after a few other questions, including whether voters would prefer as their senator "someone who is independent and puts Missouri first, or someone who is loyal to Donald Trump and wants to promote his agenda?" (by a 64-28 margin, respondents pick option one). Those questions very well could have primed voters to respond more favorably to McCaskill than they otherwise might have. Friday, Jan 12, 2018 · 4:33:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer FL-Gov: After spending a few months flirting with an independent bid, wealthy left-leaning attorney John[...]



Morning Digest: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens accused of blackmailing woman with compromising photo

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:00:03 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● MO-Gov: In a stunning broadcast Wednesday night, local Missouri TV news station KMOV reported that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens had engaged in an extra-marital affair in March of 2015 with a woman whom he'd met because she cut his hair, then blackmailed her into silence by taking a photo of her nude, bound, and blindfolded. The explosive allegations came to light because the woman's now-ex-husband said that law enforcement and media outlets had recently approached him about the matter and explained that he wanted to "get in front" of the story. The ex-husband had recorded his wife confessing the affair to him and provided a copy of the recording to KMOV. Campaign Action In response, Greitens admitted to the affair but denied that he had blackmailed or even photographed the woman, who has declined to be interviewed and whose name has been withheld by KMOV as a result. Greitens was elected governor in 2016 after winning a four-way GOP primary and defeating Democrat Chris Koster by a 51-46 margin. He first publicly expressed interest in running in February of 2015, about a month before his alleged affair. Until this scandal, Greitens, a 43-year-old former Navy SEAL, had appeared to be a GOP rising star and seemed to have presidential ambitions, even traveling to Iowa to meet with activists last year. Now his political future looks grave. Greitens has spent his first year in office at war with his fellow Republicans in the legislature, leaving him with few friends and many enemies during this crisis. As one anonymous Missouri lawmaker put it to reporter Dave Catanese, "Eric Greitens spent a year calling every Republican in the state corrupt. I'll be shocked if any of them stand up for him as an alleged blackmailing psychopath." It's reminiscent of the problems that beset two other, very different former governors: Oregon's John Kitzhaber and New York's Eliot Spitzer. Both had failed to cultivate and even antagonized fellow Democrats, and when scandals came home to roost, there was no one willing to stand up for them. But the Greitens matter is far worse: Spitzer had engaged the services of prostitutes, while Kitzhaber was accused of being complicit in allowing his fiancée to use her access to the governor for financial gain; both quickly resigned. But while the political backdrop might be similar, the charges against Greitens are much more serious. One Republican state legislator, Rep. Kevin Engler, issued a barely veiled call for Greitens to resign, saying he should do the “right thing,” while another, Sen. Rob Schaff, even tweeted, "Stick a fork in him." Republican leaders in both chambers of the legislature, meanwhile, released similar statements calling the allegations "shocking" and "concerning" and demanded candor from the governor. A bipartisan group of lawmakers went further, calling on state Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is running for Senate, to investigate, but Hawley’s office said it lacks jurisdiction. However, St. Louis C[...]



Darrell Issa's team doesn't deny report he's looking to stay in House in a safer seat

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 23:29:59 +0000

Whether we like it or not, we may have Darrell Issa to kick around some more. The notorious GOP congressman announced Wednesday that he wouldn't seek re-election in California’s 49th Congressional District, but multiple sources told The Hill that he's been talking to colleagues about running in the 50th District to the east.  Issa only won re-election in 2016 50.3-49.7 as his seat swung from 52-46 Romney to 51-43 Clinton, but the 50th went from 60-37 Romney to a still-red 55-40 Trump. If Issa could make the switcheroo work, he could prolong his time in the House for quite a while. At least one Republican doesn't like the sound of this plan, and it's the guy who already represents the 50th. Rep. Duncan Hunter told The Hill, "If I was to blow up in the air, then he would be running for it. If I was to blow up, then he would run for the seat," adding, "If I blow up, yes. Why wouldn’t he run for my seat if I was to blow up in the air?" That's a very… vivid image, but Hunter's career could indeed be on the verge of blowing up in the air soon. Hunter is under FBI investigation for allegedly misusing campaign money, including a $600 flight for his family's pet rabbit. Hunter maintains that he's running for re-election, but his problems don't show any signs of going away. On Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a federal grand jury will hear evidence this month about Hunter's case. For their part, team Issa is sending some mixed signals about how interested their boss is in running for the 50th in inland San Diego County. When the Union-Tribune asked Issa's spokesperson Calvin Moore about this, he replied, "Good lord you guys are persistent! Can’t even take a day off from speculating what might be next for Darrell?" That's far from a no, and Moore didn't respond to follow up inquiries. Dave Gilliard, Issa's campaign consultant, did say he didn't believe Issa was "making those calls, no... I don't think he's given any thought to any other district at this point," which isn't quite a no either. The filing deadline is in mid-March, so we won't have to put up with these games forever. [...]



Whoops: Illinois governor forced to yank ad featuring Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 23:11:36 +0000

One immediate bit of fallout from the Eric Greitens story came not in Missouri but in next-door Illinois, where GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner has for months been airing an obnoxious ad in which fellow Republican governors from neighboring states sarcastically "thank" Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (Rauner's top Democratic enemy) for creating new jobs in their states by raising taxes in his. Rauner liked the spot so much that he spent $1.3 million to air it more than 3,100 times, but unfortunately for him, one of its stars is … Eric Greitens. As a result, Rauner has yanked the ad, but obviously, a lot of voters have now seen it—and with the two states sharing several overlapping media markets, those same folks are now hearing plenty about Greitens. Rauner has a new ad, though, which he released just before the Greitens story exploded, and which he has to hope will allow him to step out of the pile of manure he unwittingly sank his foot into. The spot takes aim at the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker, even though the primary still isn't for another couple of months. The minute-long ad consists entirely of a recording of a phone call between Pritzker and disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in November of 2008, taped as part of a wiretap by the FBI, which was investigating Blagojevich at the time. During the call, Blagojevich can be heard suggesting he could appoint Pritzker to the position of state attorney general, to which Pritzker responds, "Ooh, that's interesting." Obviously, no such appointment was ever made (the attorney general's office never became vacant), and in any event, Pritzker made it clear in that same set of phone calls that he was interested in the job of state treasurer instead (which he also never got because that, too, didn't open up, and isn't mentioned in the ad). Blago soon thereafter was removed from office and sentenced to 14 years in prison, cementing him as the ultimate exemplar of political corruption in a state already notorious for it. As we noted when audio of these calls became public last year, Pritzker never suggested anything untoward. Blagojevich at one point asked for a campaign donation, but Pritzker demurred (though he'd donated to Blago in the past). And had the FBI had any suspicions about Pritzker, they would have looked into them long ago. Ultimately, we could only conclude that this exchange represented "unappealing transactional politics rather than actual wrongdoing." However, we also acknowledged that Rauner would "undoubtedly jump on this new opportunity to tie" Pritzker to Blago, and now he has. Obviously there's no way for Pritzker to directly push back against this ad, so he's doing the only thing that makes sense: going on the attack himself. Pritzker's put out two new spots of his own, the first of which hammers Rauner for concealing outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease at a veterans home in the city of Quincy, which led to the deaths of 13 residents. In the second, narrated by Pritzker himself, Pritzker snipes at Rauner for attacking him, then touts his own progressive priorities, including a plan to make Illinois "the first state in the nation to have a publ[...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/11

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:00:37 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Thursday, Jan 11, 2018 · 5:32:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer ND-Sen: After over a year of keeping his party in suspense, GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer announced on Thursday that he would run for re-election to the House rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Cramer, who was first elected to North Dakota's only House seat in 2012, said just last week that he was "trending" towards a bid after Donald Trump encouraged him to get in. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also tried to recruit him. Cramer also bragged he had "lead in every poll I've seen," though he declined to release any numbers. But for all his bravado, Cramer only said on Thursday he decided staying in the House was the best thing for his family and the state. Heitkamp will still be a top target in a state that backed Trump 63-27. State Sen. Tom Campbell, a wealthy potato farmer, has been running for months, and he's already spent $500,000 on ads. It's also possible that ex-Rep. Rick Berg, whom Heitkamp narrowly beat in 2012, could seek a rematch. But while North Dakota is a rough state for Team Blue, Heitkamp is a very strong candidate who defied the odds and defeated Berg in a contest that once seemed hopeless. The emerging consensus after Cramer made his announcement was that this was bad news for the GOP's chances in this race. It's certainly not a good sign for the GOP that the guy they tried recruiting said no, especially after he obsessively had polls showing him winning. But interestingly, Politico reports that the GOP had spent much of 2017 trying to recruit someone other than Cramer or Campbell. While Cramer began last year as the top GOP choice against Heitkamp, his star dimmed after he made several offensive remarks. Most infamously, Cramer declared during the winter that female Democratic members of Congress who wore white to Trump's address to the chamber were donning  "bad-looking white pantsuits in solidarity with Hillary Clinton to celebrate her loss." When Cramer was told they were wearing white in recognition of women's suffrage, he dug in and said not only did he not "buy their argument," but they "should be celebrating the fact that there were women members of Congress sitting in a joint session." Berg had lost to Heitkamp in large part because of how his campaign clumsily tried to win over women, and this certainly gave Team Red a bad case of déjà vu. However, while Campbell announced he would run in August and began spending on ads to introduce himself to voters, GOP leaders apparently weren't happy with him, either. Politico writes that it was only after several potential recruits, including state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and businesswoman Tammy Miller, said no, that they turned back to Cramer rather than just settle [...]



Missouri's Republican governor admits to affair, is accused of blackmailing woman with nude photo

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:38:55 +0000

In a stunning broadcast Wednesday night, local Missouri TV news station KMOV reported that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens had engaged in an extra-marital affair in March of 2015 with a woman whom he'd met because she cut his hair, then blackmailed her into silence by taking a photo of her nude, bound, and blindfolded. The explosive allegations came to light because the woman's now-ex-husband said that law enforcement and media outlets had recently approached him about the matter and explained that he wanted to "get in front" of the story. The ex-husband had recorded his wife confessing the affair to him and provided a copy of the recording to KMOV. In response, Greitens admitted to the affair but denied that he had blackmailed or even photographed the woman, who has declined to be interviewed and whose name has been withheld by KMOV as a result. Greitens was elected governor in 2016 after winning a four-way GOP primary and defeating Democrat Chris Koster by a 51-46 margin. He first publicly expressed interest in running in February of 2015, about a month before his alleged affair. Until this scandal, Greitens, a 43-year-old former Navy SEAL, had appeared to be a GOP rising star and seemed to have presidential ambitions, even traveling to Iowa to meet with activists last year. Now his political future looks grave. Greitens has spent his first year in office at war with his fellow Republicans in the legislature, leaving him with few friends and many enemies during this crisis. As one anonymous Missouri lawmaker put it to reporter Dave Catanese, "Eric Greitens spent a year calling every Republican in the state corrupt. I'll be shocked if any of them stand up for him as an alleged blackmailing psychopath." It's reminiscent of the problems that beset two other, very different former governors: Oregon's John Kitzhaber and New York's Eliot Spitzer. Both had failed to cultivate and even antagonized fellow Democrats, and when scandals came home to roost, there was no one willing to stand up for them. But the Greitens matter is far worse: Spitzer had engaged the services of prostitutes, while Kitzhaber was accused of being complicit in allowing his fiancée to use her access to the governor for financial gain; both quickly resigned. But while the political backdrop might be similar, the charges against Greitens are much more serious. Indeed, one Republican state legislator has already asked state Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the matter, while another issued a barely veiled call for Greitens to resign. A third, state Sen. Rob Schaff, even tweeted, "Stick a fork in him." Republican leaders in both chambers of the legislature, meanwhile, released similar statements calling the allegations "shocking" and "concerning" and demanded candor from the governor. If Greitens is forced to leave office, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a fellow Republican, would take his place and would serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in 2020. [...]



Wealthy and Trumpesque Rep. Jim Renacci leaves race for governor of Ohio to challenge Sherrod Brown

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 18:07:27 +0000

On Thursday, GOP Rep. Jim Renacci announced he was leaving the open seat race for governor of Ohio and would challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown instead. Renacci began making noises about switching races almost immediately after presumptive Senate nominee Josh Mandel dropped out of the contest last week, and Renacci reportedly made his choice after talking to Donald Trump's political advisors. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has been trying to encourage Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance to challenge Brown, the National Journal's Josh Kraushaar says McConnell is fine with Renacci. Renacci is a wealthy businessman who won what was a competitive seat in the Canton area during the 2010 GOP wave. Renacci, whom Roll Call estimated had a net worth of $31.6 million, had primarily been self-funding his bid for governor. The congressman is close to Trump allies, and he was pitching himself as a Trumpesque outsider who was taking on the establishment. Renacci had barely registered in the few gubernatorial primaries we'd seen, though he may have been able to spend his way into contention against frontrunner Mike DeWine.  Early this week, Renacci declared he would likely switch races if Trump asked him to, so we should expect him to continue his MiniTrump plan. That may not be a bad strategy in a state that swung hard toward Trump in 2016, though if Trump's toxic even in Ohio in November, it won't be hard for Brown to tie Renacci to the White House. Renacci will have some company in the May primary from another wealthy businessman. Mike Gibbons, who has been running with little fanfare for months, said recently he was willing to spent $5 million of his own money to win. However, it doesn't sound like power players in Ohio or D.C. are impressed with Gibbons. [...]



Rep. Kevin Cramer turns down Donald Trump and says no to bid against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:34:02 +0000

After over a year of keeping his party in suspense, GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer announced on Thursday that he would run for re-election to the House rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Cramer, who was first elected to North Dakota's only House seat in 2012, said just last week that he was "trending" towards a bid after Donald Trump encouraged him to get in. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also tried to recruit him. Cramer also bragged he had "lead in every poll I've seen," though he declined to release any numbers. But for all his bravado, Cramer only said on Thursday he decided staying in the House was the best thing for his family and the state. Heitkamp will still be a top target in a state that backed Trump 63-27. State Sen. Tom Campbell, a wealthy potato farmer, has been running for months, and he's already spent $500,000 on ads. It's also possible that ex-Rep. Rick Berg, whom Heitkamp narrowly beat in 2012, could seek a rematch. But while North Dakota is a rough state for Team Blue, Heitkamp is a very strong candidate who defied the odds and defeated Berg in a contest that once seemed hopeless. The emerging consensus after Cramer made his announcement was that this was bad news for the GOP's chances in this race. It's certainly not a good sign for the GOP that the guy they tried recruiting said no, especially after he obsessively had polls showing him winning. But interestingly, Politico reports that the GOP had spent much of 2017 trying to recruit someone other than Cramer or Campbell. While Cramer began last year as the top GOP choice against Heitkamp, his star dimmed after he made several offensive remarks. Most infamously, Cramer declared during the winter that female Democratic members of Congress who wore white to Trump's address to the chamber were donning  "bad-looking white pantsuits in solidarity with Hillary Clinton to celebrate her loss." When Cramer was told they were wearing white in recognition of women's suffrage, he dug in and said not only did he not "buy their argument," but they "should be celebrating the fact that there were women members of Congress sitting in a joint session." Berg had lost to Heitkamp in large part because of how his campaign clumsily tried to win over women, and this certainly gave Team Red a bad case of déjà vu. However, while Campbell announced he would run in August and began spending on ads to introduce himself to voters, GOP leaders apparently weren't happy with him, either. Politico writes that it was only after several potential recruits, including state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and businesswoman Tammy Miller, said no, that they turned back to Cramer rather than just settle on Campbell. There's no word on why they preferred Cramer to Campbell, who on paper seems like a viable candidate. And indeed, there are plenty of other reasons why it would have made sense for Republicans to prefer any other North Dakota Republican (with the possible exception of Berg) to Cramer. In 2014, Cramer actually faced a credible Democratic challenge from then-state Sen. George B. Sinner, the son o[...]



Morning Digest: Darrell Issa, longtime Democratic tormentor, quits rather than face 2018

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 13:00:05 +0000

Leading Off ● CA-49: On Wednesday, longtime GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the wealthiest member of Congress, unexpectedly announced he would retire. His departure is not entirely surprising, though: Issa won re-election last cycle by just a 50.3-49.7 margin, making his the closest House race in the country, and a big part of the reason was because California's 49th District, based in the affluent and well-educated northern San Diego suburbs, reacted to Donald Trump very poorly. Voters there had supported Mitt Romney 52-46 in 2012 but gave Hillary Clinton a 51-43 win in 2016. As a result, the 49th was already a top Democratic target for 2018, and it will remain so following this latest development. Campaign Action Issa was first elected in 2000, and until 2016, he'd never faced a close re-election fight. But Issa long ago earned the ire of progressives across the nation, dating back to when he bankrolled the successful effort to recall California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Issa had planned to run in the crowded recall campaign himself, but after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped in and sucked up the oxygen on the GOP side, Issa tearfully announced he wouldn't join the race. But while Issa may not have wanted to stick around in Congress, he made the most of his post by using his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee—and millions in taxpayer dollars—to launch bogus investigation after bogus investigation against the Obama administration (chief among them the interminable Benghazi probe), bragging he wanted "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks." Issa's rap sheet in fact goes on for days—click here for the full readout. In 2016, though, political changes in Issa's district and his notorious reputation finally caused him trouble at home. While retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate entered the race against him with little fanfare and started with little money, Issa only wound up edging him 51-46 in the June top-two primary, often a predictor of November's results. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/10

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:00:36 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 · 3:55:36 PM +00:00 · David Nir CA-49: Whoa. Another Clinton-district Republican reportedly leaving, and a big one: xISSA RETIRING, per local media. https://t.co/4GZ1PbONz1 This rumor has been bouncing around all morning….— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 10, 2018 Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 · 4:51:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer CA-49: Whoa. On Wednesday, longtime GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the wealthiest member of Congress, unexpectedly announced he would retire. His departure is not entirely surprising, though: Issa won re-election last cycle by just a 50.3-49.7 margin, making his the closest House race in the country, and a big part of the reason was because California's 49th District, based in the affluent and well-educated northern San Diego suburbs, reacted to Donald Trump very poorly. Voters there had supported Mitt Romney 52-46 in 2012 but gave Hillary Clinton a 51-43 win in 2016. As a result, the 49th was already a top Democratic target for 2018, and it will remain so following this latest development. Issa was first elected in 2000, and until 2016, he’d never faced a close re-election fight. But Issa long ago earned the ire of progressives across the nation, dating back to when he bankrolled the successful effort to recall California Gov. Grey Davis in 2003. Issa had planned to run in the crowded recall campaign himself, but after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped in and sucked up the oxygen on the GOP side, Issa tearfully announced he wouldn't join the race. But while Issa may not have wanted to stick around in Congress, he made the most of his post by using his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee—and millions in taxpayer dollars—to launch bogus investigation after bogus investigation against the Obama administration, bragging he wanted "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks." Issa’s rap sheet in fact goes on for days—click here for the full readout. In 2016, though, political changes in Issa's district and his notorious reputation finally caused him trouble at home. While retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate entered the race against him with little fanfare and started with little money, Issa only wound up edging him 51-46 in the June top-two primary, often a predictor of November’s results. With Issa looking unexpectedly vulnerable, national Democratic groups consolidated behind Applegate, and Issa-haters everywhere gladly co[...]



Democrat concedes tied Virginia race rather than seek second recount; Republican elected speaker

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 20:10:13 +0000

On Wednesday, Democrat Shelly Simonds, who lost a tiebreaker last week for a crucial state House race in Virginia's 94th District that ended in a draw following a disputed recount, announced that she'd concede to Republican Del. David Yancey rather than seek a second recount, despite being entitled to one under the law.

In a statement, Simonds said she'd run again in 2019 and insisted, "People will remember how we fought," but the vast majority of folks will only remember who won. Many Simonds' supporters, on the other hand, will be dismayed that she didn't avail herself of every last option available to her, especially since only a single vote would have had to shift in order to reach a different outcome.

Meanwhile, in the 28th District, a federal appeals court rejected a Democratic request that it overturn a lower court ruling refusing to prevent Republican Bob Thomas from getting sworn in at the state Capitol on Wednesday, the first day of the new legislative session. In that race, in which Thomas defeated Democrat Joshua Cole by 73 votes, at least 147 voters cast ballots in the wrong district, and Democrats are still hoping that a judge will order a new election.

But with Republicans holding fast to these two overtime victories, the GOP retained its slim 51-49 majority in the House, following a historic loss of 15 seats in November. That enabled them on Wednesday to elect Republican Del. Kirk Cox as speaker, a role he will likely retain even if the partisan composition of this narrowly divided chamber shifts in Democrats' favor at some point in the next two years.

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What the huge ruling striking down the GOP's gerrymander means for North Carolina—and the country

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 18:16:12 +0000

In a historic victory against partisan gerrymandering, a federal court unanimously struck down North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional map on Tuesday for discriminating against Democratic voters in violation of the First and 14th Amendments. That makes this the first time ever that a federal court has invalidated a congressional map on such grounds, and it could lead to enormous changes in how redistricting is conducted in North Carolina and nationwide. In an effort to ensure new maps will be in place for the 2018 elections, the three-judge panel hearing this case has given the GOP-dominated state legislature two weeks to redraw the lines, but Republicans say they plan to appeal to the Supreme Court. However, if this ruling survives appeal and leads to a less partisan map, it would strike a huge blow against one of the worst gerrymanders ever drawn, which left Democrats with just 3 of 13 seats in what is an evenly divided swing state. Indeed, as we have demonstrated, Democrats could gain several more seats with a nonpartisan map. The ruling is so momentous because, for the past three decades, the Supreme Court has maintained that drawing maps for the benefit of one political party could violate the Constitution but has never before agreed to strike down any particular map, saying the judiciary lacks a standard for determining when gerrymandering crosses the line into a constitutional harm. To address this concern, the North Carolina court established its own standard. To prove the GOP’s map was unconstitutional, said the judges, plaintiffs had to demonstrate three things: 1) that the map was enacted with discriminatory partisan intent; 2) that the map had a discriminatory effect that produced an asymmetric and durable partisan advantage for the map-making party; and 3) that the map couldn’t be defended as a byproduct of nonpartisan redistricting criteria like geographic compactness. Plaintiffs relied on a broad array of evidence to satisfy these three requirements, including multiple statistical tests to measure the partisan advantage the current map gave the GOP and thousands of alternative computer-generated maps to demonstrate how this advantage couldn’t have been obtained had Republican mapmakers relied solely on neutral redistricting criteria. However, the biggest smoking gun was the literal admission by state Rep. David Lewis, who chaired the state House redistricting committee, that the GOP really did engage in partisan gerrymandering when Lewis oversaw redrawing the map in 2016: [...]



Notorious GOP Rep. Darrell Issa retiring in competitive seat in San Diego area

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 16:51:36 +0000

Whoa. On Wednesday, longtime GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the wealthiest member of Congress, unexpectedly announced he would retire. His departure is not entirely surprising, though: Issa won re-election last cycle by just a 50.3-49.7 margin, making his the closest House race in the country, and a big part of the reason was because California's 49th District, based in the affluent and well-educated northern San Diego suburbs, reacted to Donald Trump very poorly. Voters there had supported Mitt Romney 52-46 in 2012 but gave Hillary Clinton a 51-43 win in 2016. As a result, the 49th was already a top Democratic target for 2018, and it will remain so following this latest development. Issa was first elected in 2000, and until 2016, he’d never faced a close re-election fight. But Issa long ago earned the ire of progressives across the nation, dating back to when he bankrolled the successful effort to recall California Gov. Grey Davis in 2003. Issa had planned to run in the crowded recall campaign himself, but after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped in and sucked up the oxygen on the GOP side, Issa tearfully announced he wouldn't join the race. But while Issa may not have wanted to stick around in Congress, he made the most of his post by using his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee—and millions in taxpayer dollars—to launch bogus investigation after bogus investigation against the Obama administration, bragging he wanted "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks." Issa’s rap sheet in fact goes on for days—click here for the full readout. In 2016, though, political changes in Issa's district and his notorious reputation finally caused him trouble at home. While retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate entered the race against him with little fanfare and started with little money, Issa only wound up edging him 51-46 in the June top-two primary, often a predictor of November’s results. With Issa looking unexpectedly vulnerable, national Democratic groups consolidated behind Applegate, and Issa-haters everywhere gladly contributed to his campaign. Issa did not react kindly, even suing Applegate in an effort to intimidate him into taking an attack ad down. (Weirdly, Issa's complaint took the time to reference the fact that we here at Daily Kos Elections wrote up this ad. So … thanks for reading?) Applegate, true to his Marine Corps heritage, didn’t back down, and after the election, a judge ordered Issa to pay $45,000 in legal fees to his opponent. After Issa’s narrow escape, Democrats very much planned to make him a target again. Applegate quickly jumped in for another try, as did environmental attorney Mike Levin, real estate investor Paul Kerr, and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign policy adviser Sara Jacobs. [...]



What do 2017's special elections forecast for 2018? The House is very much in reach for Democrats

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 16:30:01 +0000

With our new Special Elections Index, we have shown that special elections do indeed tell us a lot about upcoming congressional elections. At least, they can show us when really good or really bad years are coming.

If we had had the Special Elections Index, we would have been warned in early 2010 that the Democratic goose was already marinating. And we probably would have been more apprehensive of Nov. 2016 than the polls led us to be.

But we don’t want to mislead you with undue certainty: We can peer into the future, but the view is hazy, as indicated by the large range of values for this fall’s national popular vote for the House, highlighted in green above. Not to mention the current occupant of the White House is uninformed, illogical, and capricious, meaning he has the potential to upend the electoral environment and mangle any correlations we can make. Almost a year’s worth of this roller coaster ride remains before the 2018 elections.

But should the political world continue to function in its currently only-mostly-insane way, this cycles’s special elections portend very good things for Democrats next year. 2018 has a good chance of being as good—or even better—than 2008, the strongest year for Democrats in the last decade, as seen in the figure above.

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Morning Digest: Can Joe Arpaio's Senate campaign make more as a flop than as a hit?

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 13:00:13 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● AZ-Sen: Well, well, well. After a lifetime of claiming he might run for higher office but never once going through with it, disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio finally pulled the trigger on a statewide bid with his announcement that he'd seek Arizona's open Senate seat this year. But there's still plenty of reason to believe that this time is little different from the five separate elections in which Arpaio flirted with a bid for governor—that is to say, it's a way to line Arpaio's pockets—and the most compelling evidence comes from the man himself. Campaign Action In an email to supporters on Tuesday morning, the 85-year-old Arpaio averred that his financial situation is modest, claiming that he's merely "a retired public servant living on a retired public servant's salary." A tough life! Won't you please spare a dime? Indeed, his bank account may be looking a bit slimmer after his long fight against criminal contempt of court charges, for which he was alarmingly pardoned by Donald Trump last year. But the best summary comes from The Hill reporter Scott Wong: When he asked an Arizona source, "Hey, is this Arpaio thing serious?" he was told, "It is a serious fundraising scam." Of course, most retirees don't earn a "salary" at all, or even a pension, if that's what Arpaio means. He's also not exactly a "retiree," either: After two decades cementing his reputation as one of America's most venal and abusive lawmen, Arpaio got destroyed by Democrat Paul Penzone by a 56-44 margin in 2016, even as Trump carried Maricopa County 48-45. That's a hell of a lot of baggage to schlep into a Senate race. Still, Arpaio retains his fervent, immigrant-hating fans among the GOP base—including Trump himself—and his name recognition is close to universal, so he definitely could win the Republican nomination even if he just phones in (or email$ in) his campaign. The instant conventional wisdom says that his entry would hurt former state Sen. Kelli Ward the most, since she'd pursue the same contingent of furious Trump-lovers. Likewise, this school of thought holds, it ought to help the more establishment Rep. Martha McSally, who's reportedly been planning to run for months and just sent out invitations to a series of "special announcements" that will take place in major cities around the state on Friday. But as the New York Times' Alex Burns notes, the same argument was supposed to help now-former Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, who also faced two, ah, "exotic" opponents in his own primary. If anything, Arpaio is likely to create real problems for McSally: Ward's candidacy is apt to shrivel now, while Arpaio wo[...]



Oh wow: Court strikes down North Carolina's GOP-drawn congressional map as partisan gerrymander!

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 23:04:50 +0000

In a massive victory for Democrats, a federal court hearing a challenge to North Carolina's Republican-drawn congressional map struck it down on Tuesday evening as a partisan gerrymander designed to benefit the GOP in violation of the constitution. The ramifications of this ruling are enormous: If current district lines are replaced with a nonpartisan map, Democrats could gain anywhere from two to five seats, according to an analysis by Stephen Wolf, as shown at the top of this post.

The case could also give further ammunition to plaintiffs seeking to invalidate gerrymandered maps elsewhere on the same grounds. Republicans will inevitably appeal to the Supreme Court, which is adjudicating two other similar cases, so the outcome may yet change. It’s important to note that the Supreme Court has never before sustained a challenge to a map on the basis that it impermissibly benefits one political party over another, but it recently signaled a new openness toward doing so, so there’s a real chance this ruling could stand. And if new lines are put in place for this year’s midterm elections, that would go a long way toward helping Democrats win back the House.

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Special elections are correlated with House election results—and that's good news for Democrats

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 20:00:34 +0000

Historically, special elections for state legislatures have tended to fly under the radar except among the more dedicated elections geeks, such as reside here at Daily Kos Elections. But as is our wont, we’ve been paying close attention to them, and we’ve seen a clear trend of Democratic overperformance this cycle. We’ve even developed a Special Elections Index to quantify that overperformance.

But there’s always the nagging question: What do special elections really mean, if anything? After all, they’re typically low-turnout affairs, in many cases for tiny districts, and limited to a subset of states (many states fill vacancies by appointment). Could they possibly be broadly representative of anything?

Now we know the surprising answer: Yes, absolutely.

The graph above shows the Special Elections Index along with the national popular vote for the House. They are similar in pattern, albeit with some notable exceptions for years with fewer data points (1998, for instance). Indeed, we can make several decent correlations between the two, and those correlations point to very good things for Democrats heading into the 2018 midterms.

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Disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio actually launches a Senate bid, but it might still be a sham

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 19:19:53 +0000

Well, well, well. After a lifetime of claiming he might run for higher office but never once going through with it, disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio finally pulled the trigger on a statewide bid with his announcement that he'd seek Arizona's open Senate seat this year. But there's still plenty of reason to believe that this time is a little different from the five separate elections in which Arpaio flirted with a bid for governor—that is to say, it's a way to line Arpaio's pockets—and the most compelling evidence comes from the man himself. In an email to supporters on Tuesday morning, the 85-year-old Arpaio averred that his financial situation is modest, claiming that he's merely "a retired public servant living on a retired public servant's salary." A tough life! Won't you please spare a dime? Indeed, his bank account may be looking a bit slimmer after his long fight against criminal contempt of court charges, for which he was alarmingly pardoned by Donald Trump last year. But the best summary comes from The Hill reporter Scott Wong: xMe: "Hey, is this Arpaio thing serious?"Arizona source: "It is a serious fundraising scam."— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) January 9, 2018 Of course, most retirees don't earn a "salary" at all, or even a pension, if that's what Arpaio means. He's also not exactly a "retiree," either: After two decades cementing his reputation as one of America's most venal and abusive lawmen, Arpaio got destroyed by Democrat Paul Penzone by a 56-44 margin in 2016, even as Trump carried Maricopa County 48-45. That's a hell of a lot of baggage to schlep into a Senate race. Still, Arpaio retains his fervent, immigrant-hating fans among the GOP base—including Trump himself—and his name recognition is close to universal, so he definitely could win the Republican nomination even if he just phones in (or email$ in) his campaign. The instant conventional wisdom says that his entry would hurt former state Sen. Kelli Ward the most, since she'd pursue the same contingent of furious Trump-lovers. Likewise, this school of thought holds, it ought to help the more establishment Rep. Martha McSally, who's reportedly been planning to run for months and just sent out invitations to a series of "special announcements" that will take place in major cities around the state on Friday. [...]



Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 1/9

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:00:37 +0000

Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections Live Digest, your liveblog of all of today's campaign news. Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread. Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday. Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 · 4:38:52 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer AK-Gov: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy recently relaunched his campaign for the GOP nomination, and he announced on Monday he had resigned from office to focus on his bid. Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 · 4:54:26 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer KS-Gov: Kansas is going to be stuck with one-and-a-half governors for at least a bit longer. On Monday, the White House announced that it was renominating GOP Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as its "Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom." Trump first nominated Brownback for this post all the way back in July, but since the Senate didn't confirm him by the end of 2017, the confirmation process needed to start all over again. Democrats have opposed Brownback over his anti-gay views, and his old colleagues in the Senate GOP don't seem to be in any hurry to push him through. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer is one of several Republicans running for this open seat this year, and he has the most to lose from all this confusion. If Brownback's (first) nomination had gone smoothly, Colyer would have had about a year to serve as governor before the August primary, which could have given him a leg up on his competitors. Instead, Brownback has given some of his powers to Colyer, but created an awkward situation where Republican legislators have outright admitted they're not sure who is in charge. However, it was Brownback who delivered the 2018 State of the State address on Tuesday and declared he was still governor. Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 · 5:11:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer NM-02: Andrew Salas, the former commander of the New Mexico National Guard, announced this week he was exiting the GOP primary for this open seat, saying he had "recently I received a new assignment that will continue to take me out of New Mexico during the homestretch of the campaign." Several other Republicans are competing for this 50-40 Trump seat in the southern corner of the state, but former state party chair Monty Newman and state Rep. Yvette Herrell were the only candidates who had much money at the end of September. Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 · 5:25:52 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer PA-09: Two Republicans have taken their names out of consideration for this safely red Altoona-area seat. Businessman Michael DelGrosso, who almost beat Rep. Bill Shuster in 2004, briefly considered running [...]



Morning Digest: GOP Rep. Ed Royce announces shock retirement, giving Democrats a top pickup chance

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 13:00:10 +0000

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Leading Off ● CA-39: In a huge surprise, veteran GOP Rep. Ed Royce, who is termed-out as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced on Monday he would not seek re-election. Royce has represented Southern California in the House since 1992, and he's never taken less than 57 percent of the vote. However, Royce's ancestrally red seat, which includes Fullerton and Yorba Linda, did not react well to Trump in 2016, swinging from a 51-47 win for Mitt Romney all the way to 51-43 showing for Hillary Clinton.​ Campaign Action ​Sensing vulnerability, several noteworthy Democrats had already entered the race here, but Royce had amassed a huge $3.5 million war-chest at the end of September and until now had given every indication he was planning to fight it out. In fact, in mid-September, a Royce aide even responded to speculation his boss would bail by saying Royce was "100% running for re-election." Funny how plans can change when the political climate turns bad for your party. Republicans still do well in Orange County down the ballot, and they won't give this seat up without a fight. However, Team Red's chances of holding this diverse and well-educated seat are almost certainly a whole lot worse without Royce, unless the top-two primary saves the GOP again. Under California law, all candidates from all parties will compete on one ballot in June, and the two contenders with the most votes will advance to the general election, regardless of party. It's therefore distressingly possible that the many Democrats running here will fracture the left-leaning primary vote just enough to allow two Republicans to take first and second place and turn a promising pickup opportunity into an automatic GOP hold. Infamously, this this very disaster unfolded in the nearby 31st District in 2012: Two Republicans advanced to the general election in a seat that ended up backing Obama 57-41, depriving voters of a real choice. Democrats will have to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. [...]



Introducing the Special Elections Index: This year is the best environment for Democrats in decades

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:20:01 +0000

The electoral environment this year is like no other in recent memory. Of course, a lot of things in this country seem to be unlike anything in recent memory. But politically speaking, Democrats are far more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans, and liberals are more politically engaged than conservatives. And Democrats are recruiting like gangbusters while Republicans are running for the exits.

In special elections, Democrats have been overperforming the presidential results from both 2012 and 2016 in election after election. In 2017, Democrats flipped 14 Republican-held state legislative districts in special elections—and the Alabama Senate seat (!)—while Republicans flipped just three.

So Democrats are doing well right now, but just how well? What’s our baseline? It’s better than the past few years for sure, but is this how well Democrats were doing back in 2006, or 2008, the last times we saw big Democratic wave elections?

Now we can answer that question, courtesy of our new Special Elections Index seen above. And the answer is big: Democrats haven’t performed this well in special elections since the late 1980s.

What exactly is the Special Elections Index, and what can it tell us about the 2018 midterms? Quite a lot, it turns out.

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