Politics

Daily Kos Election Live Digest: 3/18

DailyKos Elections - March 18, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 3:38:09 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Kansas City, MO Mayor: On behalf of the Kansas City Star, SurveyUSA takes a look at the April 2 nonpartisan primary. They give City Councilor Jolie Justus, a former state Senate Democratic leader, the lead with 15 percent of the vote. Justus picked up an endorsement from Mayor Sly James after this poll was concluded.

SurveyUSA finds a three-way tie for the second spot in the June 18 general election, with City Councilors Alissia Canady and Jermaine Reed and attorney Steve Miller at 10 percent each. Councilors Scott Taylor and Scott Wagner each are just behind with 6, while yet another city councilor, Quinton Lucas, takes 5.

This is the second poll we’ve seen of this contest. A late February survey from the GOP firm Remington Research had Justus leading Miller 18-15, while Councilors Lucas, Reed, Taylor, and Wagner were tied for third with 7 percent each.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 3:57:07 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

TX-10: Democrat Pritesh Gandhi, an assistant professor at Austin’s Dell Medical School, announced on Tuesday that he would take on GOP Rep. Michael McCaul. The incumbent already faces a challenge from 2018 Democratic nominee Mike Siegel, an Austin city attorney who held McCaul to a 51-47 win. This seat, which stretches from Austin east into the Houston area, backed Trump 52-43 and according to analyst Miles Coleman, Democrat Beto O’Rourke edged GOP Sen. Ted Cruz 49.6-49.5 here last year.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 4:00:10 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

AL-Sen: At a recent event, Republican Secretary of State John Merrill refused to rule out running for Senate against Democratic incumbent Doug Jones next year, but he didn't sound particularly likely to run himself when an audience member asked him to. Merrill responded by saying, "We are going to have some outstanding candidates that will run for that .... Don’t create a circular firing squad like we have done in the past." So far, Rep. Bradley Byrne is the only notable Republican in the race, and it's unclear whether he meets Merrill's standard of an "outstanding" candidate.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 4:04:24 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

GA-Sen: Democrat Stacey Abrams recently told the Washington Post that she expects to announce in early April whether she will run for Senate against Republican Sen. David Perdue. Abrams has previously said she's still considering whether to run for Senate next year, governor again in 2022, or even for president in 2020.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 4:05:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

TX-Sen: While Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro hasn’t confirmed a recent Texas Monthly report saying he was planning to challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn, his identical twin brother dropped a very huge hint that the congressman will be getting in. Presidential candidate Julian Castro retweeted the story and added, “Looks like I might have some company on the campaign trail soon."

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 4:26:12 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

KS-Sen: Despite having previously said he had ruled out a run to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts next year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has once again left the door open when the local Fox affiliate in Kansas City asked him if he would run. Pompeo said, "I’ve learned in life one needs to work hard, keep your head down, do your job as well as you can and then the next thing will come to you."

Meanwhile, McClatchy reports that Kansas political insiders from both parties are continuing to widely speculate that Pompeo may run for Senate in 2020 or governor in 2022. The former congressman also has $1 million in leftover campaign funds from his days in the House that he could use to jumpstart a bid for Senate.

Back when Pompeo supposedly had ruled out the 2020 Senate race last month, we said at the time that we were skeptical he really meant it, since Pompeo's declaration came only after an interviewer had to repeatedly push the secretary, who kept trying to dodge the question. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been reportedly pushing Pompeo to run so the GOP can avoid nominating a flawed general election candidate such as defeated 2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, and it's unlikely that McConnell will easily relent if he believes Pompeo is key to holding this red seat.

There's more than a year left until the 2020 filing deadline, so Pompeo could keep us waiting for a while before it's clear whether he'll run or not.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 4:44:05 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

KY-Gov: Former state Auditor Adam Edelen has unveiled his first TV ad ahead of the Democratic primary in May. The spot starts off with Edelen saying he has things in common with those who saw their dad get "laid off at the plant" or who once struggled to pay the rent. He bemoans how "big corporations buy politicians so they can get ahead," and Edelen claims he's the only candidate not taking corporate PAC money. Edelen advocates for expanding Medicaid, creating thousands of renewable energy jobs, and increasing wages more broadly.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 5:26:33 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Chicago, IL Mayor: Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot picked up an endorsement over the weekend from freshman Democratic Rep. Chuy Garcia, who was Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 general election opponent. Attorney Jerry Joyce, who took 7 percent in last month’s nonpartisan primary, also has backed Lightfoot over Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 6:08:07 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NC-09: Candidate filing closed Friday for the May 14 special election primaries for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, a contest that’s being held because the original race was marred by election fraud by GOP operatives, and the state has a list of contenders available here.

North Carolina requires a primary runoff for contests where no one takes at least 30 percent of the vote. The runoffs would take place on Sept. 10, and the general election would be Nov. 5. However, if no such runoffs are required, the general would be held on Sept. 10.

Marine veteran Dan McCready, who was Team Blue’s nominee in the 2018 contest, is running again, and he faces no primary opposition. Things are very different on the GOP side, though, where 10 candidates are running and there’s no obvious frontrunner. One Green and one Libertarian are also in.

Mark Harris, the 2018 Republican nominee, is backing Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing rather than running again himself. Rushing, who owns a firing range and firearms store, has ardently denied that Harris benefited from any election fraud and argued that it was Democrats who were the guilty party.

Rushing also earned himself some unusual attention when he posted a proposed deal with reporters to Facebook: Rushing said he’d “give an exclusive interview about my sexual history from loss of virginity to today to the reporter who can get Dan McCready to answer these three questions.” Those questions were about McCready’s support for abortion rights, the Green New Deal, and something difficult to parse about an alleged tip regarding the board’s election fraud investigation. Rushing seems to have been motivated to do this after Popular Information’s Judd Legum interviewed him about a truly bizarre 2015 lawsuit.

The only other current elected official in the race is state Sen. Dan Bishop, who will reportedly self-fund at least $250,000. Bishop is best known as the author of House Bill 2 in 2016, also known as the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.” The law, which required anyone using bathrooms at schools or public facilities to use the restroom associated with the gender on their birth certificate, caused a national backlash and led a number of businesses to cancel planned expansions into North Carolina, and it also contributed to GOP Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2016 defeat. Bishop’s career survived, though, and last year, he was re-elected 53-47 in a seat that Trump carried 50-47.

Two former elected officials are also in. Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, who was an early Charlotte tea party organizer, narrowly lost re-election to his historically Republican South Charlotte district last fall in what the News & Observer called a "surprise sweep by Democrats." Despite that recent defeat, Ridenhour is arguing he's the strongest GOP candidate against McCready, a fellow Marine veteran, saying that "it takes a Marine to beat a Marine."

We also have former state Sen. Fern Shubert, whose last few campaigns have gone badly. Shubert left the state Senate in 2004 to run for governor, but she ended up taking a meager 4 percent of the vote in the primary. Shubert lost a 2012 primary to return to the legislature and a 2014 primary for state auditor. She also seems obsessed with homosexuality, blaming same-sex marriage for "rising crime rates" and expressing terror over "homosexual recruitment."

Another contender is Leigh Thomas Brown, a former official at the National Association of Realtors. The NAR’s political arm is famous for spending plenty of money in congressional contests for candidates on both sides of the aisle, and the Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill relays that Brown is “said to be able to match” Bishop in fundraising. Brown ran for a state House seat in 2014 and lost the primary 62-38 to incumbent Larry Pittman.‏

Five other Republicans are in, but none of them look serious at this point. This includes attorney Chris Anglin, who was a registered Democrat until he launched a 2018 state Supreme Court bid as a Republican. Anglin’s campaign that spoiled Team Red’s scheme to keep an opponent of their gerrymanders, Democrat Anita Earls, off the court, and state Republicans remain just as furious with him.

This seat, which includes a portion of the city of Charlotte as well as its nearby suburbs, backed Trump 55-43, but McCready’s strong showing even in the face of GOP fraud shows it’s quite winnable. In mid-February, McCready’s allies at the DCCC also released an in-house poll giving him a 50-46 lead over a generic Republican.

McCready’s opponent, of course, won’t be Generic Republican, but Team Red may wish they could nominate this mythical creature rather than any of their 10 real choices. Indeed, local Republicans have been fretting what former Gov. Pat McCrory dubbed a group of candidates who only hold "second-tier positions.” Republicans almost always bemoan how bad their nominee is ahead of a House special election, but they usually at least wait until they have a nominee.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 6:31:56 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

NY-15: The New York Post reports that City Councilor Ritchie Torres intends to challenge Rep. Jose Serrano in the Democratic primary, and when asked what his interest was, Torres simply said, "Stay tuned." Serrano has held down this near-monolithically Democratic district in the Bronx since 1990, which has a large black and Latino population. As one of the most progressive members of the House, he has seemingly few apostasies that could make him vulnerable in the primary.

However, it's possible the 75-year-old incumbent could retire after spending more than 40 years in public office between Congress and the state legislature, in which case the 31-year-old Torres may be hoping to get a jump start ahead of what would likely be a crowded field. If Torres does run and wins, he would be the first gay Congress member to represent any part of New York City.

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 · 7:18:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Special Elections: There are two Midwestern special elections on tap for Tuesday:

IA-SD-30: This is a Democratic district located in Cedar Falls. This seat became vacant after former state Sen. Jeff Danielson resigned last month to become the central region director at the American Wind Energy Association. The candidates in this race were selected by the parties and the Democrat is Cedar Falls school board member Eric Giddens while the Republican is former state Rep. Walt Rogers.

Rogers has a long electoral history in this area. He had represented this area in the state House since 2010 before narrowly losing his seat to Dave Williams in 2018. He also ran for this state Senate seat in 2008, losing by 22 votes to Danielson. There is also a Libertarian candidate, Fred Perryman, on the ballot.

This race has generated a bit of national attention due to the presence of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls in Iowa. Nearly all the major candidates running have thrown some type of support behind Giddens, in the form of endorsements and sending staff to aid his campaign. This support could make a big difference in a light blue district that went for Hillary Clinton 48-45 and Barack Obama 53-46.

The outcome of this race may have significant implications for the Iowa Senate. Republicans currently have a 32-17 majority in the state Senate and 34 seats are needed for a supermajority. While this race won’t directly have an impact on the status of this chamber, a Democratic hold will be important to keep Republicans from the precipice of a supermajority.

MN-HD-11B: This is a Republican district located in east-central Minnesota. The vacancy was created by former state Rep. Jason Rarick’s election to the state Senate in another special election in February. The Democratic candidate is Tim Burkhardt, who ran against Rarick for this seat in 2018. The Republican is Pine County Farm Bureau president Nathan Nelson. This race originally featured a large field of candidates on the Republican side, however several candidates dropped out after Nelson received the backing of the state party.

This is a red district that went for Donald Trump 61-32 but only narrowly backed Mitt Romney 51-47. The Minnesota House is a newly flipped Democratic chamber, where the party enjoys a 75-59 majority.  

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: GOP former congresswoman who lost a seat Trump easily carried now wants to run again

DailyKos Elections - March 18, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

NY-22: Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney lost her bid for a second term last year 51-49 to Democrat Anthony Brindisi, and she's once again talking about seeking a rematch in New York's 22nd Congressional District. Tenney told the radio station WUTQ in late February that she was not ruling out another bid for this upstate New York seat, which includes Utica and Rome, and was "looking at all the options."

Campaign Action

Tenney also had some choice words about her successor, accusing Brindisi of "introducing my old bills" and using "mostly plagiarism" to copy her old letters to committee chairs and to the White House, though Luke Perry of Utica College notes that she "did not provide specific examples." Tenney oddly also used that very same interview to claim that, in addition to "literally copying what I did," Brindisi also had the "single-most left-wing voting record" when he served in the state Assembly.

Perry also notes that Tenney's Twitter handle, which she started using again this month after a three-month hiatus, still identifies her as a current member of Congress, but her old GOP colleagues may not be so keen to have her running again. Last year, Tenney earned an ignominious distinction: New York's 22nd backed Donald Trump by a wide 55-39 margin, making it the Trumpiest seat that a House Republican managed to lose in 2018. According to Bloomberg's Greg Giroux, Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro also carried this seat by a wide 56-36 margin as Tenney was losing, so she managed to alienate quite a few conservative voters.

Indeed, Tenney had a knack for attracting plenty of bad headlines for herself during the campaign. In just one of many examples, she hurled hoary anti-Italian slurs at Brindisi last year by saying his father had represented "some of the worst criminals in our community" who were members of "organized crime"—in other words, mafia figures. In September she doubled down on line of attack, a very bad strategy in a seat where one in seven residents are Italian-American.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/15

DailyKos Elections - March 15, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 3:43:27 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

HI-02: On Thursday, former Gov. Ben Cayetano endorsed Democratic state Sen. Kai Kahele’s bid to succeed Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who may or may not be running for re-election. Two other former governors, Neil Abercrombie and John Waihee, had previously backed Kahele.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 4:15:53 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

AL-Sen: The radical anti-tax Club for Growth is out with a poll from WPA Intelligence showing Rep. Mo Brooks demolishing 2017 nominee Roy Moore 52-32 in a hypothetical GOP primary, and it sounds like they’re hoping Brooks will jump in.

David McIntosh, the Club’s president, declared that their polling “clearly shows Mo Brooks is the best choice to defeat Roy Moore,” who lost this deep red seat to Democrat Doug Jones. McIntosh also insisted that their surveys show that “[o]ther candidates, including [Rep.] Bradley Byrne, would present a greater risk that Moore could win.” However, the Club’s release didn’t reveal how anyone but Brooks performed against Moore, who lost his last race after multiple women accused him of preying on them when they were teenagers.

Last month, it sounded like the Club was hoping to land Rep. Gary Palmer for this race. Back then, they released a GOP primary poll showing Palmer tied with Byrne, a Club adversary who currently has the GOP field to himself. However, while there have been media reports saying that Palmer is considering jumping in, we haven’t heard anything from the congressman himself. Notably, this new poll didn’t so much as mention Palmer: It’s not clear if the Club has decided he’s not running and is hoping to recruit Brooks instead, or if they’re just keeping their options open while looking for an alternative to Byrne or Moore.

Moore said earlier this month that he was “seriously considering” another try, but Brooks has presented some very mixed signals about his own interest. Brooks, who lost the 2017 primary to Moore, said a few weeks ago that he was "contemplating a Senate race" but that "[i]t would take some kind of seismic event" for him to actually run. However, an unnamed source close to Brooks told the Washington Examiner that the congressman is actually "very interested in the race” but would only run if he received Donald Trump's endorsement or at least a pledge that he would remain neutral in the primary.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 4:27:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Dallas, TX Mayor: EMILY’s List has endorsed Regina Montoya, an attorney and former Clinton administration official, in the crowded May 4 nonpartisan primary.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 5:59:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Denver, CO Mayor: Candidate filing closed Wednesday for Denver’s May 7 nonpartisan primary, and Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock faces five opponents. Hancock’s main foes are Jamie Giellis, who has been a key figure in redeveloping the River North Art District (RiNo); former state Sen. Penfield Tate III, a Democrat who left the legislature in 2003; and criminal justice activist Lisa Calderon. Either Giellis or Calderon would be the first woman to serve as mayor.

Denverite’s David Sachs has an overview of the contest. The main issue in the campaign is likely to be how Hancock has been handling the city’s rapid growth and its rising costs of living. The mayor is focusing on the city’s strong budget and the creation of the affordable housing fund, as well as a $15 minimum wage for city workers and contractors. However, Hancock’s foes charge that developers have too much power and that poor planning has displaced too many residents.

Hancock has raised $1.5 million so far, while Giellis has taken in $400,000. Tate has brought in $205,000, while Calderon has raised $78,000. If no one takes a majority in May, the general election would take place on June 4.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 6:45:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Philadelphia, PA Mayor: Candidate filing closed Wednesday for Philadelphia’s May 21 party primaries, and as usual, the Democratic contest is the one to watch. Mayor Jim Kenney is seeking a second term and he faces challenges from state Sen. Anthony Williams and former city Controller Alan Butkovitz. It takes just a plurality to win the Democratic nod, and the nominee should have very little to worry about in the November general election.

No mayor of Philadelphia has lost re-election since before the city adopted its current city charter in 1951, and it's not going to be easy for anyone to beat Kenney in next year's primary. It doesn’t help that neither Williams, who only entered the race just before the filing deadline, or Butkovitz have fared well in recent citywide races.

Both Kenney and Williams ran here in 2015 for what was an open seat, and while polls initially showed a tight race, Kenney won the primary 56-26. Two years later, Butkovitz lost renomination 58-41 in a shocker against first-time candidate Rebecca Rhynhart. Butkovitz's defeat may have had little to do with him and everything to do with his allies in the city's traditional Democratic machine, which had been falling into disarray for years.

Still, Kenney has some potential vulnerabilities. One of the mayor’s biggest accomplishments was successfully pushing a soda tax that was used to fund pre-K programs as well as investments in local parks, libraries, and recreation centers. The tax has infuriated the powerful beverage industry, though it’s not clear if they plan to spend against Kenney. The city council is also considering phasing out the soda tax, though it remains to be seen if there are enough councilors willing to vote for this legislation, much less override a Kenney veto.

An ongoing federal corruption investigation of a powerful Kenney ally could also cause the mayor some headaches. In late January, John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the head of the International Brotherhood of Electricians Local 98 and a major power player in Pennsylvania Democratic politics, was indicted on charges of bribery and fraud, and for allegedly using union dues for his own purposes. Kenney has denied any knowledge of Dougherty’s activities and noted that no one from his administration has been implicated in this matter, but the mayor’s detractors are hoping to use the story against him.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 7:36:47 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Raleigh, NC Mayor: Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, an independent who often supports Democratic candidates, announced on Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth two-year term this year.

McFarlane has always won re-election with ease, though her 58-42 win against Democrat Charles Francis in 2017 was considerably closer than her other campaigns. McFarlane also hasn’t had a good relationship with the city council in recent years, with a majority of the council often calling for more cautious growth policies than what McFarlane wanted. The disputes have often gotten nasty, and the mayor used her retirement announcement to decry how the “mean politics of Twitter” has “exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007,” declaring, “Raleigh politics could use a reset.”

Raleigh, which is North Carolina’s second-largest city, will host a nonpartisan primary on Oct. 8, and if no one takes a majority, the two candidates with the most votes would advance to the Nov. 5 general election. The filing deadline is July 19.

Francis, an attorney, has already announced that he’ll run again, and he’s likely to have company before too long. Former City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin, former Councilor David Cox, Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, and former Wake County Commissioner Caroline Sullivan all told The News & Observer that they were considering running here.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 7:39:38 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NC-03: VoteVets has endorsed Marine veteran Richard Bew in the April 3 Democratic primary.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 8:31:40 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NY-22: Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney lost her bid for a second term last year 51-49 to Democrat Anthony Brindisi, and she’s once again talking about seeking a rematch in New York’s 22nd Congressional District. Tenney told the radio station WUTQ in late February that she was not ruling out another bid for this upstate New York seat, which includes Utica and Rome, and was “looking at all the options.”

Tenney also had some choice words about her successor, accusing Brindisi of “introducing my old bills” and using “mostly plagiarism” to copy her old letters to committee chairs and to the White House, though Luke Perry of Utica College notes that she “did not provide specific examples.” Tenney oddly also used that very same interview to claim that, in addition to “literally copying what I did,” Brindisi also had the “single-most left wing voting record” when he served in the state Assembly.

Perry also notes that Tenney’s Twitter handle, which she started using again this month after a three-month hiatus, still identifies her as a current member of Congress, but her old GOP colleagues may not be so keen to have her running again. Last year, Tenney earned an ignominious distinction: New York's 22nd backed Donald Trump by a wide 55-39 margin, making it the Trumpiest seat that a House Republican managed to lose in 2018. According to Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux, Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro also carried this seat by a wide 56-36 margin as Tenney was losing, so she managed to alienate quite a few conservative voters.

Indeed, Tenney had a knack for attracting plenty of bad headlines for herself during the campaign. In just one of many examples, she hurled hoary anti-Italian slurs at Brindisi last year by saying his father had represented "some of the worst criminals in our community" who were members of "organized crime"—in other words, mafia figures. In September she doubled down on line of attack, a very bad strategy in a seat where one in seven residents are Italian-American.

If Tenney runs again, she’s face an old opponent in the primary. Teacher George Phillips, who was appointed to the Broome County Legislature in 2013 and stepped down months later, announced on Thursday that he was running for Congress again. Phillips unsuccessfully challenged Democratic incumbent Maurice Hinchey in 2008 and 2010, and both he and Tenney sought this seat in 2016 when it was last open. Tenney beat another candidate 41-34, while Phillips took third with 25 percent.

Broome County District Attorney Stephen Cornwell also announced in January that he had opened an exploratory committee for a potential bid here, but the FEC doesn’t show him having filed a fundraising committee yet.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 8:56:19 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

TX-Sen: An unnamed source “familiar with” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro’s thinking tells the Texas Monthly’s Carlos Sanchez that he “is all but certain” to challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn. This source added that Castro did not have a timeline for when he would announce a Senate bid. Matthew Jones, Castro’s campaign advisor, said that the congressman will “be making an announcement in the very near future” about his 2020 plans.

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 9:08:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez writes that when Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego decides whether or not to run for the Senate, he doesn’t want his announcement to “step on festivities surrounding the swearing-in of his ex-wife,” Phoenix Mayor-elect Kate Gallego. Kate Gallego was elected mayor in a special election on Tuesday, and she’ll be sworn in on March 21.

Ruben Gallego recently said he’d decide on a Senate bid by the end of March, though it might make sense for him to announce his plans in April at the start of a new fundraising quarter. The congressman has sounded eager to run for a long time, and Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman Felecia Rotellini says that he’s “told me he is preparing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.”

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 · 9:57:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NC-09: Candidate filing closed Friday for the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District, and the state has a list of candidates here. We’ll take a look at the field in our next Digest, but we wanted to highlight the last-minute entrance of a few Republicans, one who might emerge as a major candidate for Team Red, and the other who might turn out to be a major headache for them.

Leigh Thomas Brown, a former official at the National Association of Realtors, jumped in the contest on Friday. The NAR’s political arm is famous for spending plenty of money in congressional contests for candidates on both sides of the aisle, and the Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill relays that Brown is “said to be able to match” state Sen. Dan Bishop in fundraising. Brown ran for a state House seat in 2014 and lost the primary 62-38 to incumbent Larry Pittman.‏

Team Red also got an unwelcome additional candidate Friday when attorney Chris Anglin jumped in. Anglin was a registered Democrat until just before he entered the 2018 contest for state Supreme Court as a Republican, a move that spoiled Team Red’s scheme to keep an opponent of their gerrymanders, Democrat Anita Earls, off the court.

The GOP state legislature had recently changed the rules for electing Supreme Court justices that turned these once nonpartisan races into explicitly partisan contests. Furthermore, they eliminated the primary for 2018 only: Instead, a jumble of candidates from both parties would compete on a single general election ballot where all it took to win would be a plurality. Republicans calculated that Democrats would split the vote and allow the GOP candidate to claim victory, but Anglin’s campaign caused that plan to backfire. Instead, Earls was the only Democrat on the ballot while Supreme Justice Barbara Jackson and Anglin were both listed as Republicans.

The GOP passed a new law in response that would have stripped Anglin of his party affiliation on the ballot because he hadn't been a registered Republican for 90 days prior to launching his campaign. However, Anglin successfully sued to block that, and he remained on the ballot as a Republican. In November Earls defeated Jackson 49.6-34.1, while Anglin claimed 16.4 percent of the vote.

Anglin’s impact on this congressional race isn’t likely to be as bad for the GOP as his judicial campaign was, but he could very well make a difference. North Carolina requires a runoff in primary contests where no one takes at least 30 percent of the vote, and with 10 candidates, including Anglin, on the ballot, there’s a very good chance of that happening.

Marine veteran Dan McCready, who was the Democratic nominee in the 2018 race that was tainted by GOP election fraud, has his primary to himself, so he can focus entirely on the general election. However, it’s not clear when the general election would be. The primary will be May 14, and what happens next will depend on if a GOP runoff is needed. If there is a runoff, it would take place on Sept. 10, and the general election would be Nov. 5. If no such runoff is required, though, the general would be held on Sept. 10. McCready would probably benefit from the GOP contest going into overtime, and Anglin’s campaign could make that outcome more likely.

North Carolina GOP officials are quite pissed to see Anglin back. State party chair Robin Hayes said Friday that “Anglin is not a Republican” and that he “will not be allowed to access any GOP data, information, or infrastructure.” In response, Anglin threatened to sue if he’s denied access to party data provided to other GOP candidates. GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse, who remains as tactful as ever, tweeted back, “OMG you are a complete idiot” and told Anglin, “Go to [email protected]

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: North Carolina GOP senator could face primary despite flip-flopping to appease Trump

DailyKos Elections - March 15, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

NC-Sen: On Thursday, three weeks after Sen. Thom Tillis published an op-ed in the Washington Post declaring that he would vote for a resolution rolling back Donald Trump’s bogus emergency declaration because it was his “responsibility” to “preserve the separation of powers” and to “curb” “executive overreach,” the North Carolina Republican decided it wasn’t his responsibility after all. Instead, Tillis joined most of the GOP caucus in voting against the resolution.

Campaign Action

Tillis is up for re-election in 2020, and he pissed off plenty of conservatives at home when he temporarily said he was against the emergency declaration—so much so that he managed to stir talk of a primary challenge. In a Wednesday piece in The Hill, published the day before the vote, Rep. Mark Walker confirmed that he wants to run for the Senate at some point, and while he might wait until GOP Sen. Richard Burr retires in 2022, Walker he added that he “won’t rule out” taking on Tillis.

Tillis’ allies reportedly think that Walker could just be trying to get attention ahead of a 2022 bid, but even if they’re right, he’s hardly the senator's only potential primary foe. David McIntosh, the head of the radical anti-tax Club for Growth, said earlier this week that “Tillis is in danger of becoming a dead man walking” and predicted that either Walker or fellow Reps. Mark Meadows or Ted Budd would beat him.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/14

DailyKos Elections - March 14, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 3:39:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

CO-Sen: Politico reports that former diplomat Dan Baer has met with the DSCC about a possible bid against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. Baer, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, did not rule out running last month. Baer would be Colorado’s first gay senator.

Baer has only sought elected office once before. Last cycle, he sought Colorado’s 7th Congressional District after Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter entered the race for governor. However, Baer ended his House campaign after Perlmutter dropped out of the gubernatorial race to seek re-election, but that was only after Baer had raised a strong $365,000 during his lone quarter spent running.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 3:46:51 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

KY-Sen: The Courier-Journal writes that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is one of a few Democrats who has been mentioned as a possible candidate against GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell. Fischer, who leads the commonwealth's largest and bluest city, has not shown any obvious interest in entering this race.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 3:50:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

MT-Sen: Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has shown very little interest in running for the Senate, and he finally explicitly ruled it out this week. Bullock, who has been eyeing a White House bid, said that he “just wouldn’t enjoy” the Senate, adding that he’s “ruled it out.” We don't understand why he couldn't have been this blunt months ago, but be that as it may, we're choosing to take him at his word now. If he changes his mind at some later point, that'll be a big story—and you can count on us to cover it

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 3:54:32 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

TX-Sen: This week, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke confirmed he would seek the Democratic nomination for president rather than against GOP Sen. John Cornyn.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 4:10:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

OH-07: This week, a spokesperson for GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs confirmed that the congressman would run for a sixth term this cycle. The Plain Dealer writes that Gibbs’ announcement came in the midst of speculation that state Senate President Larry Obhof could run if Gibbs retired; however, Obhof told the paper that he wouldn’t run against the incumbent. This seat backed Trump 63-33, and Gibbs turned back a well-funded challenge from Democrat Ken Harbaugh by a 59-41 margin last year.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 4:18:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Kansas City, MO Mayor: On Thursday, City Councilor Jolie Justus picked up an endorsement from termed-out Mayor Sly James. Justus, a former state Senate Democratic leader who would be the city’s first gay mayor, is one of several candidates competing in the April 2 nonpartisan primary to succeed James.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 4:40:05 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Tampa, FL Mayor: Former police chief Jane Castor is out with a survey from Frederick Polls that gives her a 58-24 edge over wealthy retired banker David Straz in the April 23 general election. Castor led Straz 48-16 in the early March nonpartisan primary.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:07:09 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NH-Sen, NH-01: Earlier this week, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu refused to rule out challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, but he declined to say when he’d decide between this contest and running for re-election. Sununu insisted that he hasn’t “thought about it too much,” though the Concord Monitor’s Paul Steinhauser writes that it’s “doubtful” the governor would decide on anything before the legislative session ends in late June.

Senate Republicans are mostly on the defensive next year, but there’s good reason to think that Sununu could make this race competitive. Sununu won re-election 53-46 during last year’s Democratic wave, and a mid-February poll from YouGov for UMass Amherst found Shaheen leading Sununu just 45-42 in a hypothetical contest. The same sample gave Shaheen a 41-36 edge over former Sen. Kelly Ayotte in a hypothetical contest, though Ayotte hasn’t shown much public interest in running again.

A few other Republicans are also eyeing this race, though Sununu might be able to clear the field. WMUR writes that 2018 House nominee Eddie Edwards is considering a Senate bid, though there’s nothing from Edwards about his plans. Edwards lost last year's open-seat contest to Democrat Chris Pappas by a wide 54-45 margin, which was not a great showing for a district that very narrowly backed both Obama and Trump. Back in January, WMUR also reported that Edwards was eyeing a rematch with Pappas, and their newest report says he’s still considering another House campaign.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:10:24 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NH-Gov: Democrats will want to target this race whether or not GOP Gov. Chris Sununu runs for re-election or launches a Senate bid (see out NH-Sen, NH-01 item), and the National Journal’s Madelaine Pisani writes that state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes is “expected” to run either way. Feltes has said little in public about his plans, but he reportedly met with the DGA last month about a possible campaign.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:30:29 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

CO-Sen: The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia also reports that state Sen. Angela Williams is also considering entering the Democratic primary. Williams, who represents a safely blue Denver seat, doesn’t appear to have addressed the Senate race when asked. Instead, she told Garcia that she was focusing on getting her bills, which include a proposal to abolish the death penalty, passed. Williams would be the state’s first black senator.

Garcia also gives us some updates on a few other potential Democratic candidates. State Sen. Kerry Donovan, who represents a competitive seat in the Aspen area, has been publicly eyeing this seat for the last few weeks, and she told the paper that she won’t decide until they legislative session ends in early May.

Garcia also adds that freshman Rep. Joe Neguse “is getting pressure to run,” though there isn’t any more information about who is applying the pressure. Neguse, who represents a safely blue Boulder-area seat, has been mentioned as a possible candidate in several media reports, but he hasn’t said anything publicly about his interest. Neguse made history this year by becoming Colorado’s first black member of Congress.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:37:14 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

KY-Gov: A super PAC called Kentuckians for a Better Future that was formed last year to aid former state Auditor Adam Edelen is about to launch their TV ads of the May Democratic primary. Medium Buying reports that the size-of-the-buy is $50,000, and that the spot will start on Friday.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:49:46 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

MN-05: Some Minnesota Democrats have begun talking about a primary challenge to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, who's recently sparked controversy by repeatedly using language that invokes anti-Semitic tropes, but there are no obvious challengers on the horizon. The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes that some Democrats are “eyeing” state Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, who didn’t respond to requests for comment. Champion briefly ran for this safely blue Minneapolis seat last year but dropped out after about a week.

State Secretary of Transportation Margaret Anderson Kelliher is also mentioned in the article. A spokesperson said in response that Kelliher is “entirely focused” on her post, which isn’t a no. Last year Kelliher, a former state House speaker, lost the primary to Omar 48-30.

A few other local Democrats did explicitly say no to running. State Sen. Ron Latz said he considered “for all of a half a second” before deciding not to challenge Omar. Minneapolis City Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins also says she’s supporting Omar, even though Wilson writes that some of the congresswoman’s detractors “hope to entice” Jenkins into running.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 6:53:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

OH-13: Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan has been considering running for president for a while, and he said this week that he believed “the next few weeks we're going to make a decision one way or the other.” Ryan is notorious for talking about running for higher office but never going through with it, but since Ohio does allow him to run for president and for re-election at the same time, it's possible this time will be different. Ryan's Youngstown-area seat went from 63-35 Obama to 51-45 Clinton, but the GOP didn't field a credible candidate last year.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 7:35:37 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Deaths: Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh, a Democrat who served from 1963 until his defeat in 1980, died Thursday at the age of 91. Bayh is remembered for introducing what became the 25th Amendment, which clarified and updated the presidential line of succession, and the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. The senator also authored the Equal Rights Amendment and played a prominent role in establishing Title IX, which banned gender discrimination in school programs and activities that receive federal assistance.

Bayh got his start in politics by claiming a seat in the Indiana state House of Representatives in 1954, and four years later, he became its youngest speaker at the age of 30. Bayh ran for the U.S. Senate in 1962 against Republican incumbent Homer Capehart and won 50.3-49.7, a victory that Walter Cronkite dubbed the “political upset of the year.” Even President John F. Kennedy was impressed, calling Bayh and asking, “Birch, you old miracle maker. How the hell did you do it?”

Bayh had several more tough races in store for him. In 1968, as Richard Nixon was carrying Indiana 50-38, Bayh won re-election 52-48 against Republican state Rep. William Ruckelshaus, a future EPA administrator. National Republicans were in dire shape six years later after the Watergate scandal, and Bayh turned back Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar 51-46; Lugar got to the Senate two years later by decisively unseating Vance Hartke, Indiana’s other Democratic senator.

Bayh entered the very crowded 1976 Democratic presidential primary, but that campaign did not go well. Bayh, who was chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, had alienated anti-abortion forces when his committee refused to clear any proposed amendments to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bayh said on the campaign trail that he was “the only senator who held 15 months of hearings on abortion and I came to the conclusion I wanted to oppose abortion because really we are talking about life” but didn’t want to impose his beliefs through an amendment, which only seemed to inflame pro-choice voters. Bayh’s campaign ended after he performed badly in early primary states.

Bayh sought a fourth term in 1980 in what was an incredibly tough year for Democrats nationally. Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter 56-38 in Indiana and GOP Rep. and future Vice President Dan Quayle unseated Bayh 54-46. Bayh never sought elected office again but his son, Evan Bayh, went on to serve as Indiana’s governor and senator.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 8:16:42 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Chicago, IL Mayor: This week, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot picked up endorsements from Gery Chico and Paul Vallas, who took 6 and 5 percent of the vote in the February primary, respectively.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 8:47:41 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

Deaths: Former Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes, a Democrat who served from 1979 to 1987, died Wednesday at the age of 92. Hughes is remembered for helping restore trust in the state government after high profile scandals involving former Govs. Spiro Agnew and Marvin Mandel, and for legislation to protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution. The last years of Hughes’ governorship were dominated by a savings and loan industry crisis that hit the state hard and badly damaged his popularity and contributed to his loss in a 1986 Senate primary.

Hughes, who played as a pitcher in the minor league baseball team the Eastern Shore Baseball League, got his start in politics by winning a seat in the state House of Delegates in 1954. Hughes joined the state Senate four years later, and he distinguished himself as one of just two lawmakers from the Eastern Shore to vote for desegregation bills. In 1964, Hughes lost the general election for the 1st Congressional District, which was at the time located entirely on the Eastern Shore, 53-47 to GOP incumbent Rogers Morton, but he remained in the legislature.

In 1971, Democratic Gov. Marvin Mandel appointed Hughes the state’s first secretary of transportation. He served until 1977 when he announced he was resigning as a “matter of principle” because of an influential contributor was getting preferential treatment for a Baltimore subway contract. Hughes entered the primary for governor weeks later and began the 1978 race as a longshot, with one pundit dubbing him a “lost ball in high grass.”

Hughes faced Lt. Gov. Blair Lee III, who had been acting governor since the previous year when Mandel relinquished his own powers following a stroke. Mandel, who remained governor, was also facing a federal corruption investigation, and while most observers saw Lee as honest, he had trouble distancing himself from Mandel.

Hughes bid picked up steam just before the primary after The Baltimore Sun backed him with a rare front-page endorsement. Hughes, who ran on a platform of restoring the state’s integrity, ended up beating Lee 37-34, and he won the general election against former Sen. John Glenn Beall, Jr. 71-29.

Hughes was easily re-elected in 1982, but his numbers took a dive years later in the mist of the S&L crisis. Hughes, who was termed-out of office, entered the Democratic primary for an open GOP-held Senate seat against two U.S. House members, Barbara Mikulski and Michael Barnes. Mikulski defeated Barnes 50-31 while Hughes took third place with just 14 percent of the vote.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 8:52:14 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NC-09: On Thursday, state Sen. Dan Bishop joined the GOP special election primary for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Bishop is best known as the author of House Bill 2 in 2016, also known as the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.”

The law, which required anyone using bathrooms at schools or public facilities to use the restroom associated with the gender on their birth certificate, caused a national backlash and led a number of businesses to cancel planned expansions into North Carolina, and it also contributed to GOP Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2016 defeat. Bishop’s career survived, though, and last year, he was re-elected 53-47 in a seat that Trump carried 50-47.

WBTV reported last week that Bishop would self-fund at least $250,000, which he did not dispute days later. The filing deadline is on Friday.

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 · 9:45:48 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

NC-Sen: On Thursday, three weeks after Sen. Thom Tillis published an op-ed in the Washington Post declaring that he would vote for a resolution rolling back Donald Trump’s bogus emergency declaration because it was his “responsibility” to “preserve the separation of powers” and to “curb” “executive overreach,” the North Carolina Republican decided it wasn’t his responsibility after all. Instead, Tillis joined most of the GOP caucus in voting against the resolution.

Tillis is up for re-election in 2020, and he pissed off plenty of conservatives at home when he temporarily said he was against the emergency declaration—so much so that he managed to stir talk of a primary challenge. In a Wednesday piece in The Hill, published the day before the vote, Rep. Mark Walker confirmed that he wants to run for the Senate at some point, and while he might wait until GOP Sen. Richard Burr retires in 2022, Walker he added that he “won’t rule out” taking on Tillis.

Tillis’ allies reportedly think that Walker could just be trying to get attention ahead of a 2022 bid, but even if they’re right, he’s hardly the senator's only potential primary foe. David McIntosh, the head of the radical anti-tax Club for Growth, said earlier this week that “Tillis is in danger of becoming a dead man walking” and predicted that either Walker or fellow Reps. Mark Meadows or Ted Budd would beat him.

The Hill writes that Meadows, the head of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, told them he has “no plans” to run, which is every politician’s favorite way of not saying “no.” There is, however, no direct quote from Meadows, and we also haven’t heard anything from Budd, who won his seat in 2016 with the Club’s backing.

The Hill adds that businessman Garland Tucker is considering taking on Tillis in the primary, but he doesn’t appear to have said anything publicly. Tucker founded the multi-million dollar investment firm Triangle Capital Corporation, which was sold for almost $1 billion last year. However, that sale came months after TCC’s stock crashed, an event that the company’s CEO blamed on Tucker and other former managers.

It remains to be seen if Tillis’ vote on Thursday will convince some of his would-be primary challengers to back off, or if they’ll just see him as even weaker. Walker notably did not close the door on a campaign after Thursday’s vote, with his communications director saying that the congressman “is humbled to have the support and consideration of conservatives across North Carolina, but is not planning to primary Thom Tillis.”

And there’s good reason to think Tillis’s spinelessness won’t improve his standing with hardliners. He’s also inflamed some Republicans by authoring legislation to try to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from Trump—and wouldn’t you know it, he even wrote an op-ed titled “Why I want to protect Robert Mueller.” Tillis’ problems with the party base in fact stretch back many years, to his time as speaker of the state House, and he’s repeatedly been formally “censured” by local county GOP organizations on issues ranging from voter ID to immigration.

Team Blue is also hoping to target Tillis next year. National Democrats have yet to land a recruit, but now that Tillis has both irrevocably tied himself to Trump’s most extreme fantasies and demonstrated just how feeble he is, that job should get easier.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: With Gallego's win in Phoenix, women will lead two of America's five biggest cities

DailyKos Elections - March 14, 2019 - 7:00am
Leading Off

Phoenix, AZ Mayor, AZ-Sen: On Tuesday, Kate Gallego easily defeated fellow Democrat Daniel Valenzuela by a wide 58-42 margin to become Phoenix's new mayor, making her just the second woman ever elected to the post. And with Gallego's victory, two of America's five largest cities will soon be led by women following next month's runoff in Chicago, which features a faceoff between two women, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle.

Campaign Action

Gallego won a special election runoff for the rest of former Mayor Greg Stanton's term after Stanton resigned to successfully run for the House in 2018. Gallego had led Valenzuela 45-26 in the first round all the way back in November, so her victory doesn't come as a surprise. She'll face the voters again for the full four-year term in November of 2020.

The two Democrats were both former members of the City Council and had similar voting records, but they differed when it came to public financing of sports facilities. The issue sparked great controversy in the city, particularly after the city council committed $150 million to renovate the arena where the NBA's Phoenix Suns play in January—well after both Gallego and Valenzuela had resigned from the Council to run for mayor.

Valenzuela supported the deal, and he also helped broker a previous agreement that kept the Milwaukee Brewers' spring training facility in the city, which the Arizona Republic's Jessica Boehm described as "one of the most taxpayer-friendly in Arizona professional sports deals." Polling, however, showed the Suns' deal was deeply unpopular, and Gallego had opposed the arrangements with both teams, arguing that city resources should not go to supporting sports teams.

Gallego is also the former wife of current Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who was strongly in support of her candidacy. The congressman has long been weighing a potential Senate bid for 2020, but he had reportedly been unlikely to announce whether he would run before the mayoral race was over. Gallego himself told the Intercept he would decide by the end of this month, so we may be getting an announcement soon.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/13

DailyKos Elections - March 13, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 5:15:58 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

Phoenix, AZ Mayor, AZ-Sen: On Tuesday, Kate Gallego easily defeated fellow Democrat and former City Councilor Daniel Valenzuela by a wide 58-42 margin to win the special election runoff for the rest of former Mayor Greg Stanton's term after Stanton had resigned to successfully run for the House in 2018. Gallego, who is the second woman to ever be elected mayor, had led Valenzuela 45-26 in the first round, and her victory therefore doesn't come as a surprise. She’ll face the voters again for the full four-year term in April of 2021.

The two Democrats had similar voting records, but they differed when it came to public financing of sports facilities. In January, well after both Gallego and Valenzuela had resigned from the City Council to run for mayor, the city committed $150 million to renovate the Phoenix Suns' Talking Stick Resort Arena. Valenzuela supported the deal, and he also helped broker a previous agreement that kept the Milwaukee Brewers' spring training facility in the city, which the Arizona Republic's Jessica Boehm described as "one of the most taxpayer-friendly in Arizona professional sports deals." Gallego had opposed both deals, arguing that city resources should not go to supporting sports teams.

Gallego is also the former wife of current Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, who was strongly in support of her candidacy. The congressman has long been viewed as a potential Senate candidate for 2020, but he had reportedly been unlikely to announce whether he would run before the mayoral race was over; Rep. Gallego himself told the Intercept he would decide by the end of this month, so we may be getting an announcement soon.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 5:23:39 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

GA-Sen: Shortly after announcing that a 2020 presidential run was "on the table," Democrat Stacey Abrams reiterated that she'll decide in April what office she will run for next year, if any.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 5:34:40 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

NH-Sen: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu was once again asked whether he would rule out challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year, and he again refused to close the door, saying, "I don't rule anything out." Sununu had said back in 2017, before he won re-election last year, that he would "never run for the U.S. Senate," and his change of course is worth watching. New Hampshire Republicans don't have any other obvious contenders to challenge Shaheen after 2018's wave, and the popular governor would likely be by far the strongest candidate the GOP has who could take her on.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 5:38:41 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

TX-Sen: CNN reports that an unnamed source close to former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke says the congressman is set to announce he's running for president this week amid other reports that O'Rourke is planning to travel to Iowa. Consequently, those who had hoped O'Rourke would run for Senate against Republican incumbent John Cornyn in 2020 after his impressively close 2018 loss may soon be disappointed.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 5:48:33 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

IN-Gov, Where Are they Now?: Former Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly will be joining the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump as a partner starting next month. Donnelly recently didn't rule out running for governor against GOP incumbent Eric Holcomb in 2020, even though he showed little interest in the idea, but this latest move suggests he's not angling for a comeback next year following his 2018 re-election defeat.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 7:44:19 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

CA-49: Former San Clemente City Councilor Steve Knoblock has filed paperwork to run against Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, although he hasn't said anything publicly about whether he's actually mounting a campaign or is simply considering one. So far, San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott is the only Republican actively in the race.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 7:58:11 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

CA-50: Former GOP state Sen. Joel Anderson, who represented much of this inland San Diego County district in the state Senate until he was term-limited in 2018, declared on Tuesday that he wouldn't challenge embattled GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter and supports the indicted congressman "100 percent."

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 8:22:48 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

IL-14: Army veteran Anthony Catella is the latest Republican to jump into the primary to take on first-term Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood. Catella touted his experience as an election judge and a precinct committeeman, so he may have some connections in the local GOP. Meanwhile, state Rep. Allen Skillicorn recently confirmed he's seriously considering a campaign. In addition to Catella, the current field includes state Sen. Jim Oberweis and Navy veteran Matt Quigley.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 8:31:32 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

ME-02: Rep. Jared Golden is likely the most vulnerable New England Democrat in the House, and Roll Call has a few names of Republicans who could run against him, mentioning former state Sens. Eric Brakey and Nichi Farnham. Brakey was Team Red's 2018 Senate nominee against Democratic-aligned independent Sen. Angus King, and he lost badly in a contest that was never on the radar of competitiveness, including by a 50-41 margin in the 2nd District.

Meanwhile, Farnham lost re-election in 2012 after a single term in the state Senate, but she had previously been mayor of Bangor, which is one of the largest cities in this heavily rural district. There's no indication yet from either Republican about whether they're interested or not.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 9:00:48 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

Orange County, CA Supervisor: A nonpartisan special election for one of Orange County's five county supervisor districts, which is home to nearly as many residents as a whole congressional district, was too close to call on Tuesday between former Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, a Republican. Wagner led by 42-37 after initial votes were counted, a margin of roughly 3,000 votes, with none of the other five candidates—all Republicans—topping 7 percent. However, election officials said they had at least 9,000 more ballots to count as of Wednesday, plus an unknown number of mail ballots.

Observers of California's 2018 elections will recall how numerous Democrats did remarkably better in the final count compared to on Election Night, and it's quite possible this race could follow a similar trajectory if the remaining ballots favor Sanchez by a healthy amount. Notably, a Sanchez victory would give Democrats a second seat on a body that had no Democrats from 2006 until the 2018 elections.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 9:23:32 PM +00:00 · Matt Booker

Special elections: Here’s a recap of an active night of special election action, and as always, you can keep tabs on all the D-vs.-R races on our continually updated Big Board.

PA-HD-114: Democrat Bridget Kosierowski won this contest over embattled Republican candidate Frank Scavo. Kosierowski took 62 percent to Scavo’s 38. This was an important hold for the Democrats in an Obama-Trump district that Republicans had hoped to flip.

PA-HD-190: Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell will become the first Muslim woman ever elected to the Pennsylvania state House after winning this race. Johnson-Harrell led the way with 66 percent. Third-party candidates Amen Brown and Pamela Williams took 20 and 11 percent, respectively, while Republican Michael Harvey rounded out the voting with three percent.

Johnson-Harrell’s total was watered down by the presence of the two independent candidates, causing her to underperform Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s mammoth margins in this district. On the other hand, Harvey’s total for the GOP was right in line with the very low single digits posted by Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.

As a result of the two elections in Pennsylvania, the state House returns to the 110-93 advantage Republicans had after the 2018 election.

GA-HD-176: James Burchett topped fellow Republican Jason Shaw 59-41 in this runoff election. Burchett and Shaw were the top two finishers in this south Georgia district in the first round of voting back in February. This hold means Republicans maintain their 104-75 lead in the state House.  

ME-HD-24: Democrat Joe Perry will be returning to the state capital after winning this race. Perry, who was a state senator in this area from 2004-2010, posted a 64-36 win over Republican Thomas White. Democrats maintain a wide 88-56 advantage in the state House after this win, with half a dozen seats held by independents.

MS-HD-32, MS-HD-71, MS-HD-101: Two of the three officially nonpartisan races for the Mississippi state House were decided Tuesday night while one will head to a runoff. In District 32, Solomon Osbourne romped to a 79-21 win over Troy Brown. And in District 71, Ronnie Crudup took 63 percent in a three-way contest, while Edella Coleman took 24 percent and Stephanie Skipper took 12. Osbourne and Crudup will align themselves with the Democrats in the state House representing these strongly blue districts.

District 101 will be headed to a runoff on April 2. Kent McCarthy led the way with 39 percent. The battle for runner-up and a spot in the runoff was very tight, with Steven Utroska edging Andrew Waites 23.51-22.41 for second. Daniel Wade and Gary Crist each took 8 percent. This is extremely red turf and the eventual winner of this race will align with the GOP.

TN-SD-32: Republican Paul Rose easily won this suburban Memphis seat, defeating Democrat Eric Coleman 84-16. This margin represents a significant overperformance, even in this strongly Republican area where Trump took 68 percent and Romney received 71 percent. Republicans remain firmly in control of the state Senate by a 27-5 margin.

TX-HD-125: Democrat Ray Lopez is the winner of this runoff election. Lopez and Republican Fred Rangel were the candidates who advanced after the first round in February, when Democrats collectively won 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Rangel, the lone Republican. This time around, Lopez easily outpaced Rangel 58-42.

This race generated quite a bit of attention on both sides of the aisle. High-ranking Texas Republicans like Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn endorsed Rangel, while on the Democratic side, the state party injected $15,000 into the race to aid Lopez. For all the fanfare, this solidly blue districted remained just that.


All of the seats in the Texas House that became vacant after the November elections have now been filled, with Republicans holding an 83-67 advantage.

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 · 9:29:19 PM +00:00 · David Nir

NC-09: Former state Sen. Fern Shubert filed paperwork for the 9th District special election earlier this week and now she's confirmed she is in fact running. Shubert told the News & Observer, "I have a huge head start on name recognition and I'm a known quality," and, well, she's not wrong about the second bit, at least.

ThinkProgress' Josh Israel has had the distinct displeasure of taking a deep dive into Shubert's history, and she really is a piece of work. In particular, she seems obsessed with homosexuality, blaming same-sex marriage for "rising crime rates" and expressing terror over "homosexual recruitment." Israel archly notes that Shubert did not respond to a request for comment as to whether she still holds these views "now that marriage equality is the law of the land and crime rates have remained near historic lows."

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: North Carolina GOP frets over ‘second-tier’ field as feds drop new subpoenas

DailyKos Elections - March 13, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

NC-09: On Monday, CBS affiliate WBTV reported that the Justice Department has issued subpoenas for a federal grand jury investigation into the election fraud that marred last year's race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District.

Campaign Action

Among the targets are the state Board of Elections (which received a subpoena for the documents produced by its own investigation), the campaign for 2018 GOP nominee Mark Harris, and McCrae Dowless, the operative who orchestrated the fraud scheme to benefit Harris. State prosecutors have already indicted Dowless and several of his associates over their involvement in similar election fraud operations in the 2016 general election and 2018 primary, while their inquiry into the 2018 general election remains ongoing.

Meanwhile, in the upcoming do-over election to fill the vacant 8th District, former Republican state Sen. Fern Shubert has filed to run ahead of Friday's filing deadline, which the News & Observer describes as a "surprise" move. Shubert, who hasn't publicly confirmed that she's running, last won election to a Union County state Senate seat back in 2002, but she gave it up to run for governor in 2004. However, she finished a distant fifth place in the GOP primary and later lost primaries to regain her Senate seat in 2010 and for state auditor in 2012.

If Shubert runs, she would join a GOP primary field that already includes former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour and Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, but that field could swell even further. But as the decision date approaches, some would-be candidates are moving toward the sidelines: State Rep. Dean Arp has reportedly said he's unlikely to run.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/12

DailyKos Elections - March 12, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

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Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 · 4:10:01 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

GA-Sen: Democrats have been hoping that 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams will challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue next year, but she may have her eye on a bigger prize. Indeed, Abrams tweeted on Monday that she "never thought [she'd] be ready to run for [president] before 2028," but a 2020 run "is definitely on the table ...". Abrams didn't give any further indication of when she would decide on what to run for.

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 · 5:29:11 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

NC-09: On Monday, CBS affiliate WBTV reported that the Justice Department has issued subpoenas for a federal grand jury investigation into the election fraud that marred last year’s race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

Among the targets are the state Board of Elections (which received a subpoena for the documents produced by its own own investigation), the campaign for 2018 GOP nominee Mark Harris, and McCrae Dowless, the operative who orchestrated the fraud scheme to benefit Harris. State prosecutors have already indicted Dowless and several of his associates over their involvement in similar election fraud operations in the 2016 general election and 2018 primary, while their inquiry into the 2018 general election remains ongoing.

Meanwhile, in the upcoming do-over election to fill the vacant 8th District, former Republican state Sen. Fern Shubert has filed to run ahead of Friday's filing deadline, which the News & Observer describes as a “surprise” move. Shubert, who hasn't publicly confirmed that she's running, last won election to a Union County state Senate seat back in 2002, but she gave it up to run for governor in 2004. However, she finished a distant fifth place in the GOP primary and later lost primaries to regain her Senate seat in 2010 and for state auditor in 2012.

If Shubert runs, she would join a GOP primary field that already includes former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour and Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing, but that field could swell even further. But as the decision date approaches, some would-be candidates are moving toward the sidelines: State Rep. Dean Arp has reportedly said he's unlikely to run.

Of course, it wouldn't be a special election without Republicans publicly downplaying their chances—indeed, it's become quite a tradition. Unnamed operatives previously trashed Harris when they thought they might get stuck with him a second time, but even though he’s said he won’t run again, local Republicans are already fretting about their alternatives.

Indeed, former Gov. Pat McCrory recently told the National Journal that the GOP field consists of candidates who only hold "second-tier positions", while Rep. David Rouzer, who represents the neighboring 7th District, even went so far as to argue that Democrat Dan McCready “has the advantage of the incumbency” thanks to his existing name recognition.

McCready will almost certainly face little or no opposition in the Democratic primary, which would allow him stockpile his resources while the GOP fights it out in a potential September runoff if no candidate takes more than 30 percent in the first round. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 5, but if no runoffs are needed, it will take place on Sept. 10 (the date currently set for the runoffs).

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 · 5:29:34 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

NJ-03: Republican Assemblyman Ryan Peters was recently asked if he might challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim in 2020, and he didn't rule out the prospect. However, Peters said he was focused on his 2019 re-election race. So far, no noteworthy Republican has joined the contest yet.

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 · 5:30:26 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

OH-01: Jason Williams at the Cincinnati Enquirer relays that the DCCC has talked to retired Air Force combat pilot Nikki Foster about running as a Democrat to challenge Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in this Cincinnati-area district next year. Foster hasn't said anything publicly, but Williams writes that Democrats may be hoping to replicate the success they had with other women veterans running in 2018 who didn't have records that could be attacked. Foster previously challenged a GOP incumbent for state House last year and lost 61-39 in a seat Trump had carried by 60-35.

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 · 5:36:19 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

TX-24: After the Palo Pinto County Democratic Party posted on Facebook on Sunday about how Democrat Kim Olson planned to run for the 24th District in the northern Dallas-Ft. Worth suburbs against Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant, Olson has now confirmed that she is "seriously considering" the race. Olson, who is a retired Air Force colonel, was Team Blue's nominee for agriculture commissioner in 2018 and lost by a relatively respectable 51-46 margin against GOP incumbent Sid Miller.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: This Georgia Democrat is one of the lousiest in the House—and he may get a primary

DailyKos Elections - March 12, 2019 - 7:00am

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

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GA-13: Georgia Rep. David Scott has long been one of the lousiest Democrats in the House, and he may be in for a primary challenge in his safely blue suburban Atlanta seat. Michael Owens, who is stepping down as chair of the Cobb County Democratic Party later this month, said last week he was "strongly considering" a bid against Scott.

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Owens opposed Scott once before, in 2014, but he raised very little money and ultimately lost by a lopsided 82-18 margin. Owens took over as chair of the Cobb County Democrats in November 2016 ahead of a very successful cycle for Team Blue in this ancestrally red county, so if he runs again, he may earn more notice. The Democratic base has also grown much less tolerant of wayward members in recent years.

That’s bad news for Scott, who is as shabby as they come. In 2016, he endorsed Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson‘s bid for re-election, declaring of his home-state senator, "He’s my friend. He’s my partner. And I always look out for my partners." Later that year, Scott donated $1,000 to Utah Rep. Mia Love, a Republican who at the time was in a competitive contest. Both Republicans won and spent the next two years loyally voting to for Donald Trump’s agenda; Love finally went down in defeat in 2018, but Isakson isn’t up again until 2022.

It’s not just Scott’s damaging displays of "bipartisanship" that makes him so awful: He’s often a bad vote, too. He’s vocally sided with Republicans, for instance, to undermine regulations aimed at reining in predatory payday lenders and preventing auto dealers from charging higher interest rates to people of color.

Fortunately, Georgia’s 13th District, which includes suburban communities to the south and west of Atlanta, backed Hillary Clinton by a wide 71-26 margin, so there’s no reason local Democrats need to put up with this any longer.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/11

DailyKos Elections - March 11, 2019 - 8:42am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

Sign up here to receive the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest in your inbox each weekday.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 4:20:15 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

CA-50: Over the weekend, Navy veteran Alex Balkin dropped out of the race and endorsed 2018 Democratic nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 4:27:23 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

KY-Gov: Mike Pence headlined a fundraiser for GOP Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday and announced he was “bring[ing] the full and total endorsement of the 45th president of the United States of America” with him. Bevin faces a longshot primary challenge from state Rep. Robert Goforth on May 21.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 5:20:52 PM +00:00 · Matt Booker

Special elections: There are seven special elections across Maine, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee on Tuesday. The marquee races are taking place in Pennsylvania, which we list first below; the others follow in alphabetical order by state. The three races in Mississippi are officially nonpartisan.

PA-HD-114: This is a Democratic seat that covers area immediately north and west of Scranton. This election was triggered by the death of former state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich a month before the election. Kavulich was running unopposed and there wasn’t enough time to remove his name from the ballot. The candidates were selected by the parties: The Democrat is nurse Bridget Kosierowski and the Republican is former school board president Frank Scavo.

Scavo has been under fire over ugly anti-Muslim comments unearthed from his Facebook account, and after initially apologizing, he took on a more defiant tone and refused to resign as president of the Old Forge School Board. The board soon voted him out, and Scavo responded by calling his ousting “political bullying” and “a vendetta”.

Despite all of this, the race for this seat, which swung from 59-40 Obama to 52-45 Trump, may end up being very competitive.

PA-HD-190: This is a Democratic district in west Philadelphia. This seat became vacant after former state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown was convicted of bribery in October. Brown was the only candidate on the ballot for the November election but she resigned her seat shortly after.

The Democrat is Movita Johnson-Harrell, a former victims services supervisor at the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, and the Republican is Navy veteran Michael Harvey. Both were selected by their parties as candidates. If she wins, Johnson-Harrell would become the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania state House. Amen Brown of the Amen Brown Party and Pamela Williams of the Working Families Party are also candidates.

This district voted for Clinton 96-3 and Obama 97-2, making this one of the most Democratic districts in Pennsylvania.

ME-HD-124: This is a Democratic district in the Bangor area. This vacancy was created after the state legislature chose former state Rep. Aaron Frey to replace Gov. Janet Mills as state attorney general. The local party committees selected the candidates for this race: The Democrat is former state Sen. Joe Perry and the Republican is Thomas White, a 24 year-old recent graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy.

This district supported Hillary Clinton 55-37 and Barack Obama 60-38.

MS-HD-32: This is a Democratic district located in Greenwood. The seat came open after former state Rep. Willie Perkins became a chancery judge. Troy Brown, Solomon Osbourne, and Nicholas Onyshko are the candidates in this race.

This is a heavily blue district, voting for 2015 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Robert Gray 69-30.

MS-HD-71: This is a Democratic district located just south of Jackson. The vacancy was created after former state Rep. Adrienne Wooten became a circuit judge. The candidates are Edelia J. Carthan, Ronnie Crudup Jr. and Stephanie Skipper.

This is a heavily Democratic district that voted for Gray 62-35.

MS-HD-101: This is a Republican district located west of Hattiesburg. This seat was vacated after former state Rep. Brad Touchstone was elected Lamar County Court judge. The candidates are former National Guard Lt. Col Gary Crist and four businessmen: Kent McCarty, Steven Utroska, Daniel Wade, and Andrew Waites.

This is a deep red district that voted for GOP Gov. Phil Bryant 88-11 in 2015.

TN-SD-32: This is a Republican seat in the eastern suburbs of Memphis. This vacancy was created after former state Sen. Mark Norris was nominated to be a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Navy veteran Eric Coleman is the Democrat and businessman Paul Rose is the Republican.  

This is a strongly Republican district voting for Trump 68-28 and Romney 71-28.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 6:58:21 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

CO-Sen, CO-01: Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is seeking the Democratic nod for president rather than challenging GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, but he didn’t quite close the door on a Senate run. When Hickenlooper was asked if he might switch races if his presidential bid doesn’t go well, he responded, “I don't see it in my future,” which isn’t a no.

Still, it still seems very unlikely that Hickenlooper, who has said he’s “not cut out to be a senator” will enter the race no matter how his White House bid goes. A number of other Democrats are already running or considering, and The Durango Herald writes that Rep. Diana DeGette has been “mentioned” as a possible candidate. DeGette, who represents the safely blue 1st Congressional District in Denver, has not shown any public interest in running for higher office.

However, DeGette does face a credible primary challenge at home from former state House Speaker Crisanta Duran, and it’s always possible the congresswoman will decide that it’s a good time to seek a promotion rather than go through a tough battle to keep her current job. Indeed, DeGette herself doesn’t appear to have said if she’ll even seek re-election at all. When Duran kicked off her campaign in late February, DeGette’s team put out a statement saying the congresswoman was “focused on doing her job — and will let the politics take care of itself.”

DeGette has repeated the same thing publicly several times since then, and said she wasn’t ready to talk about her House primary. Last week, when DeGette was asked when she would be ready to talk about the primary, she just pointed to her work in Congress and added, “There’s a lot going on with my constituents and that’s just really what I’m going to be focusing on now.”

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 7:01:49 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

TN-Sen: Former Gov. Bill Haslam said earlier this year that he’d decide whether to run for this open seat sometime this month, but the radical anti-tax Club for Growth is making it very clear that they don’t want him competing in the GOP primary. The Club gave a preview of the attacks they’d deploy when they threw up a website over the weekend hitting Haslam over a long-running federal investigation into Pilot Flying J, his family’s truck stop chain.

The story begins in 2014, when Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam, who is the former governor’s brother, agreed that his company would pay a $92 million fine for improperly withholding $56 million in rebates it had pledged to give customers. Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield unpacked the scam by explaining that Pilot would “lure smaller trucking companies in” by offering discounts on diesel fuel purchases but later refused to pay out its promised rebates in full. "Pilot would say, 'Well, we'll shave six pennies off the gallon for you,'" according to Satterfield. "But [the companies] were actually being paid two cents or three cents. And of course they weren't told."

The company’s former president is one of over a dozen officials who have been convicted as part of the investigation, but so far, no members of the Haslam family have been charged. Bill Haslam, who has an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion, was Pilot’s president until 1999, long before the scam started in 2008. However, the former governor still makes money from Pilot, which could give his opponents fodder in a primary.

So far, though, no notable Republicans have jumped into the contest to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander, who announced he would retire three months ago. The Club is hoping to recruit Rep. Mark Green, whom Politico wrote in December was making calls about a potential Senate run before Alexander retired, but he hasn’t said anything publicly since then.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 7:19:19 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

GA-07: While former state Sen. David Shafer reportedly had considered seeking this competitive open seat, he announced over the weekend that he would run to lead the state Republican Party.

On the Democratic side, former Fulton County Commission chair John Eaves announced he would run here. Eaves, who moved to Gwinnett County in January, was last on the ballot in 2017 running for mayor of Atlanta (Georgia’s 7th District doesn’t include any of Fulton County or the city of Atlanta). Eaves, who entered the race well after most of his opponents, struggled to raise money, and he ended up taking just 1 percent of the vote in the very crowded nonpartisan primary.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 7:51:06 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

MA-06, MA-Sen: WGBH’s David Bernstein writes that Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton’s allies say that, while no final 2020 decision has been made, that they expect he’ll announce a presidential run in late April or early May. Massachusetts law would allow Moulton to seek re-election to the House while running for president, but it’s not clear if he’s interested in doing this. Former state Sen. Barbara L'Italien has expressed interest in challenging Moulton, who led a failed attempt to stop Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker, in the primary.

The report also doesn’t say anything about the possibility that Moulton might take on Sen. Ed Markey in the primary, an idea he didn’t rule out as recently as January. However, Moulton hasn’t shown any interest in that race since then, so it seems that contest has fallen off his radar.

Monday, Mar 11, 2019 · 7:54:26 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

GA-13: Georgia Rep. David Scott has long been one of the lousiest Democrats in the House, and he may be in for a primary challenge in his safely blue suburban Atlanta seat. Michael Owens, who is stepping down as chair of the Cobb County Democratic Party later this month, said last week he was “strongly considering” a bid against Scott.

Owens opposed Scott once before, in 2014, but he raised very little money and ultimately lost by a lopsided 82-18 margin. Owens took over as chair of the Cobb County Democrats in November of 2016 ahead of a very successful cycle for Team Blue in this ancestrally red county, so if he runs again, he may earn more notice. The Democratic base has also grown much less tolerant of wayward members in recent years.

That’s bad news for Scott, who is as shabby as they come. In 2016, he endorsed Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s bid for re-election, declaring of his home-state senator, “He's my friend. He's my partner. And I always look out for my partners.” Later that year, Scott donated $1,000 to Utah Rep. Mia Love, a Republican who at the time was in a competitive contest. Both Republicans won and spent the next two years loyally voting to for Donald Trump’s agenda; Love finally went down in defeat in 2018, but Isakson isn’t up again until 2022.

It’s not just Scott’s damaging displays of "bipartisanship" that makes him so awful: He’s often a bad vote, too. He's vocally sided with Republicans, for instance, to undermine regulations aimed at reining in predatory payday lenders and preventing auto dealers from charging higher interest rates to people of color. And earlier this year, he cosponsored the anti-abortion movement’s hyper-cynical “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” but appears to have later removed his name from the bill.

Fortunately, Georgia’s 13th District, which includes suburban communities to the south and west of Atlanta, backed Hillary Clinton by a wide 71-26 margin, so there’s no reason local Democrats need to put up with this any longer.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: Roy Moore says he's 'seriously considering' another run for Alabama Senate seat

DailyKos Elections - March 11, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

AL-Sen: On Friday, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told a conservative radio show that he was “seriously considering” seeking the GOP nod for another campaign against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Moore was Team Red’s nominee in the 2017 special and lost 50-48 after multiple women accused him of preying on them when they were teenagers. Moore never conceded defeat to Jones (nor has he conceded his 2006 and 2010 primary losses for governor) and continued to raise money for what he called an “election integrity program” months after that contest.

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Moore began making noises about running last month, with Jones all but daring him to jump in. Unsurprisingly, national Republicans had the opposite reaction, with the NRSC’s executive director telling the Washington Examiner, “The NRSC’s official stance is ABRM: anyone but Roy Moore.”

It’s tough to see Moore winning the GOP nod again after all that happened in 2017. It doesn’t help him that Alabama requires a runoff in primary contests where no one earns a majority of the vote, so he couldn’t just get through a crowded field to win with only a plurality of the vote.

However, a Moore-Jones rematch isn’t something we can rule out. Moore has long had a solid base of support among Alabama’s numerous social conservative voters, and that may not have changed even after the 2017 race. Moore has always claimed that the numerous women who accused him were part of a conspiracy against him, and plenty of his fans, including one in the White House, agreed with him.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/8

DailyKos Elections - March 8, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

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Friday, Mar 8, 2019 · 4:32:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

GA-06: Former Rep. Karen Handel’s old campaign strategist said back in January that she was mulling a comeback bid, and Handel herself confirmed on Wednesday that she was giving “very strong consideration” to running to reclaim the seat she lost last year to Democrat Lucy McBath.

If Handel runs, she’ll need to get through a GOP primary against state Sen. Brandon Beach, who announced he was running in late January. Several other Republicans have been mentioned as possible candidates, but no one else has stepped up yet. This district backed Trump 48-47, and Handel lost to McBath 50.5-49.5 as Democrat Stacey Abrams was carrying this suburban Atlanta seat 51-48 in the gubernatorial race.

Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: Former Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, who switched parties to join GOP in 2004, dies at 95

DailyKos Elections - March 8, 2019 - 7:00am

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

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Deaths: Former Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, who was elected to the House as a Democrat in 1980 and joined the GOP in 2004, died Thursday at the age of 95. Daily Kos Elections has put together an obituary looking at Hall’s long and eventful career, which continued until his 2014 GOP primary defeat against now-Rep. John Ratcliffe.

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Hall was long a Democrat, but he only joined the GOP after 23 years in the House. Hall recounted Hall recounted in 2013 that in January of 2004, when it was time for him to file for re-election, he was conflicted about what party to run with. Hall said he “sent two applications down (to the elections office); two checks for $25: one for the Republican, one for the Democrat,” and that he “sent a guy 30 minutes before the deadline to go in there and said, ‘I’ll call and tell you which I want to be.’”

Hall ended up choosing to go with the GOP, saying that he made the decision “at the last minute.” He recounted that he hadn’t even told his wife, Mary Ellen Hall, that he was switching parties until he’d done it, and she replied, “Hope you enjoy eating out and sleeping by yourself for about three weeks.” Hall’s new party was much happier with his decision, but GOP primary voters got tired of him and he ended up losing renomination in 2014. Check out our obituary for much more on his long career, featuring appearances from Sam Rayburn and Bonnie and Clyde.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/7

DailyKos Elections - March 7, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

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Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: Prosecutors just let this disgraced Illinois Republican off easy. We don't.

DailyKos Elections - March 7, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

Where Are They Now?: Not going to jail, it would seem. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors unexpectedly agreed to drop all criminal charges against former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock, contingent on the former Illinois congressman paying back taxes to the IRS and reimbursing his congressional campaign committee for $68,000. The committee itself also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for failing to properly report its expenses.

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Schock, who did not plead guilty to anything himself, entered into what's known as a "deferred prosecution" agreement." If Schock keeps his end of the agreement and avoids any further legal trouble over the next six months, prosecutors will abandon their case against him.

This generous arrangement, which the Journal Star says "isn't typical for federal court," is the latest twist in Schock's strange career. Schock was elected to a safely red House seat in downstate Illinois in 2008 at the age of 27, a win that made him the youngest member of Congress and a Republican rising star. He continued to attract plenty of attention over the next few years, especially when his six-pack abs graced a 2011 cover of Men's Health magazine under the caption "America's Fittest Congressman!"

Schock also loved to post photos of himself on Instagram—posing with singer Ariana Grande, jumping in the air while on a glacier, surfing (shirtless, naturally), and chugging a bottle of Mountain Dew (not shirtless). When not busy on social media, he contemplated running for higher office, and even flirted with running for governor in early 2013 for a few months.

But in February of 2015, Schock's glam life came to an abrupt halt. The Washington Post's Ben Terris arrived at Schock's Capitol Hill office to write about how the congressman had apparently decorated his workplace to look like a sumptuous salon from the TV show "Downton Abbey," which seemed like the type of innocent story the publicity-loving Republican would relish.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/6

DailyKos Elections - March 6, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

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Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: North Carolina GOP threatens to primary senator for opposing Trump's 'emergency'

DailyKos Elections - March 6, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

NC-Sen: North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has been an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, but he may be about to find out the hard way that in today’s Republican Party, any dissent whatsoever is enough to inspire a primary challenger.

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Tillis, who is running for re-election in a state that Trump carried only 50-46, announced a few days ago that he’d vote in favor of a resolution that would overturn the White House’s declaration of an emergency along the country’s southern border. That instantly made him some enemies at home, with several Tar Heel State Republican activists telling the News & Observer’s Brian Murphy that they’d welcome a primary campaign against the senator.

However, it’s easy to call for a primary challenger, but it’s quite another thing altogether to actually find someone willing and able to run a strong campaign against an incumbent. So far, no notable Republicans have said they’re even interested in mounting a crusade against Tillis. The only potential candidate mentioned in the article is Rep. Mark Walker, and he doesn’t seem to be chomping at the bit to run. Still, the congressman, who back in 2014 endorsed starting a “little war with Mexico,” didn’t rule out campaigning against Tillis when given the chance.

Walker, who said he considered Tillis a good friend, told Murphy, “Voting with the Democrats on something this important, I don’t see where that helps him.” When Murphy asked Walker if he might run, the congressman said he was “not suggesting that at all at this point,” which is hardly a no. Walker added that he believed that Tillis had “opened the door” to a challenger, but that ”I’m not going to sit here and tell you that that’s me.” With good friends like that, who needs good enemies?

Walker, who worked as a Baptist pastor before he was elected to office, does have some experience taking on the GOP establishment and winning. Walker ran for an open seat in the Greensboro area in 2014 and reached the GOP primary runoff with Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr. Berger was the son and namesake of Phil Berger, who was and remains the leader of the state Senate, and he held a big financial edge over Walker going into the contest.

The elder Berger even used his national influence to get the Republican State Leadership Committee—the entity tasked with helping GOP legislative candidates—to funnel $75,000 to a super PAC to help him out on his son’s campaign. However, it was Walker who pulled off a solid 60-40 win, and he hasn’t faced a serious primary or general election challenge since then. Walker, like so many former anti-establishment candidates, has become a member of the party leadership since then, with him being elected Republican Conference vice chair in November.

Categories: Politics

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/5

DailyKos Elections - March 5, 2019 - 8:00am

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 a place to discuss elections, not policy.

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Categories: Politics

Morning Digest: North Carolina schedules do-over election and GOP candidate issues bizarre challenge

DailyKos Elections - March 5, 2019 - 7:00am

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

Leading Off

NC-09: On Monday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections set the schedule for the special election for the 9th Congressional District, a contest that’s being held because the original race was marred by election fraud intended to help Republican Mark Harris. The candidate filing deadline will be on March 15, and party primaries will take place May 14.

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North Carolina requires a primary runoff for contests where no one takes at least 30 percent of the vote. The runoffs would take place on Sept. 10, and the general election would be Nov. 5. However, if no such runoffs are required, the general would be held on Sept. 10.

Note that this special election is taking place on a different schedule than the contest for the 3rd District. Board director Kim Strach said this is because the state wants to make sure election officials have time to deploy staff to Bladen and Robeson counties, which were at the center of the election fraud scandal last fall. (In the 3rd, primaries are set for April, with the general election in September unless there are no runoffs, in which case it would take place in July.)

Democrat Dan McCready, a Marine veteran and businessman, is running again, and he’s unlikely to face any serious opposition in the primary. However, the GOP will probably face a crowded contest for the nomination in this suburban Charlotte district. Two Republicans, former Charlotte City Councilor Kenny Smith and Union County party chair Dan Barry, both recently announced that they would not run, but more are on the way.

WBTV reports that state Sen. Dan Bishop is in and will self-fund $250,000, though Bishop has not yet announced he’s running.  Bishop is best known as the author of House Bill 2 in 2016, also known as the anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.” The law, which required anyone using bathrooms at schools or public facilities to use the restroom associated with the gender on their birth certificate, caused a national backlash and led a number of businesses to cancel planned expansions into North Carolina, and it also contributed to GOP Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2016 defeat. Bishop’s career survived, though, and last year, he was re-elected 53-47 in a seat that Trump carried 50-47.

Categories: Politics
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