Daily Kos Elections

Daily Kos's official elections portal.
  1. Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

    Emitt Rhodes — “You Should Be Ashamed”

  2. Voting Rights Roundup: Pennsylvania redistricting case could give Democrats much fairer map for 2018

    Leading Off

    Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court recently dealt Republican gerrymandering a major setback when it agreed to take jurisdiction over a lawsuit that argues that the state's congressional map is a partisan gerrymander in violation of the state constitution. With Democrats holding a majority on the court, there is a strong chance Pennsylvania could have new congressional districts in time for the 2018 midterms. However, Republicans aren't giving up without a fight.

    Campaign Action

    State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican, engaged in a desperate attempt to drag things out further by trying to get the case moved to federal court on the grounds that the plaintiffs’ demands would supposedly interfere with the 18th Congressional District special election taking place on March 13. That plan quickly fell apart and rightly so, since the plaintiffs' entire case rests exclusively upon state constitutional grounds and would not impose new districts until the November 2018 elections.

    Moving the case to federal court likely would have delayed its resolution until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the landmark Whitford v. Gill case over partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, which may not happen until June. That would have left Pennsylvania with too little time to produce a new map for 2018. But with the matter back in state court, an appellate-level court will conduct a trial starting Dec. 11 and has until no later than Dec. 31 to report its findings and conclusions to the state Supreme Court, which is seeking to expedite the case so that it can conclude in time for the midterm elections.

    Although this state-level lawsuit stands by far the best chance of success, it isn't the only one targeting the Pennsylvania GOP's congressional map. There are now two federal lawsuits challenging the GOP's district lines, though they're each making different arguments. The first case was filed in early October, and in an unusual move, plaintiffs there have argued that the map's partisanship violates the Constitution's Elections Clause, something the Supreme Court has never before ruled on. That case is nonetheless slated to proceed to trial on Dec. 5.

    The second federal lawsuit was just filed on Nov. 9 and relies more on a Whitford-style claim that excessive partisanship violates the First and 14th Amendments. Although this reasoning has yet to persuade swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, it's on much firmer ground given past precedent and Kennedy's own opinions. Nevertheless, both of these federal cases could end up becoming moot, since the state-level case will likely reach a resolution much sooner. On the whole, Pennsylvania stands a good chance of having fairer districts in 2018.

  3. Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 11/17

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

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

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

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 4:48:24 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    MI-Sen, MI-06: On Friday, GOP Rep. Fred Upton announced that he would seek re-election to the House rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow next year. Upton, who has represented the Kalamazoo area since 1987, had spent months mulling a bid for the upper chamber. Over the summer, a "source close" to the congressman even told MIRS News that they were 90 percent sure that he would run, which is another good reminder why you shouldn't count someone as a candidate until they actually announce they're running, no matter how likely their bid appears to be.

    A few Republicans entered the Senate race while Upton was still debating his plans. Businessman and veteran John James actually led Upton 24-19 in a recent hypnotically GOP primary poll, and former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Young, Jr. has been in for a while. However, neither Republican had much cash at the end of September, though donors may take another look at them now that Upton's finally a no. Venture capitalist Sandy Pensler has also expressed interest. Other Republicans may also come out of the woodwork now as well.

    As for Upton, he may still have to work hard to win re-election. While his 6th District went from 50-49 Romney to 51-43 Trump, a few Democrats have entered the race against him. Upton has always won re-election by double digits, but if 2018 is a good Democratic year, he could have a much more eventful campaign than usual.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 5:24:34 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NJ-Sen: Flame off. Ex-Sen. Bob Torricelli had been making noises about running to replace Sen. Robert Menendez for years, but hours after Menendez's bribery trial ended in a mistrial, he announced he would not be launching a comeback against his fellow Democrat. "The Torch" dropped his re-election bid in 2002 following a series of seamy revelations that he'd accepted lavish gifts from businessman David Chang, so he never exactly was an ideal candidate for this seat. Torricelli insisted on Thursday that he was never interested in challenging Menendez in a primary and would support him if he runs for re-election next year.

    While Menendez's numbers took a tumble during his trial, New Jersey's powerful Democrat leaders have lined up behind him. Notably, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has committed to supporting Menendez while South Jersey political boss George Norcross and his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross, are both in his corner as well. Tellingly, no noteworthy Democrats have shown any interest in challenging Menendez in a primary. Menendez himself has not announced if he'll seek re-election, but his adviser Michael Soliman said an announcement is "in the coming weeks" and that "all things indicate to him running for re-election."

    Menendez's problems may give the GOP an opening in this blue state, but it's not clear who is considering challenging him. Outgoing Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli hasn't ruled it out, though he added that "[a]ny future run for statewide office, however, depends on whether or not the NJGOP is open to rebranding itself." Ciattarelli ran for governor this year and lost the primary 47-31 to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 5:40:36 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-15: On Friday, state Rep. Justin Simmons announced he was dropping his bid for the GOP nomination in this open Lehigh Valley seat. Simmons launched a primary campaign against Rep. Charlie Dent days before Dent announced he was retiring, with Simmons positioning himself as the true-red Trump fan in the contest. But just before he left the race, Dent released several friendly messages Simmons sent him last year, including a request for help with a fundraiser and an August text asking, "Do you think there's any chance the party can replace Trump on the top of the ticket?" Things didn't get much better for Simmons afterwards. Two days before he dropped out, Morning Call published a story revealing that Simmons had missed just shy of 500 votes since he arrives in the legislature in 2011.

    State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein, and Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries are all competing for the GOP nod for this 52-44 Trump seat. Additionally, former CIA officer Scott Uehlinger, who was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, quietly announced at some point that he was running here. Uehlinger has written columns for right-wing sites and hosts a podcast.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 5:59:28 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    MI-Gov: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has said time after time that he won't seek the Democratic nomination for this open seat, but according to The Detroit News' Daniel Howes, Duggan is looking for someone to challenge primary frontrunner Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader. It's not clear what Duggan's beef with Whitmer is, but Howes writes that the mayor recently urged wealthy attorney Mark Bernstein to reconsider his plans not to run. Howes doesn't say how Bernstein responded, but Bernstein endorsed Whitmer back in July, so it would be quite awkward for him to change course and run against her.

    Howes also writes that, with Matt Simoncini stepping down as CEO of the manufacturing company Lear Corporation, there's speculation he's interested in seeking the Democratic nod for governor. Simoncini, who is reportedly close to Duggan, was recently asked about a bid and said "I don’t see that in the cards," adding, "It’s just a life plan." That's not quite a no, but it doesn't sound like he's chomping at the bit to run.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 6:07:52 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill may be the sleaziest guy running in a Democratic primary that could include Jerry Springer. After broadcaster and model Leann Tweeden accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of forcibly kissing her and groping her in 2006, O'Neill published a Facebook note that began, "Now that the dogs of war are calling for the head of Senator Al Franken I believe it is time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males," and described how he had been "sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females." And yes, O'Neill confirmed he had written the post.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 6:12:12 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    And in case his Facebook post wasn't bad enough, O'Neill went on to defend Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore. O'Neill told Cleveland.com that Moore, whom multiple women have accused of predatory behavior, "apparently seems to be a challenged individual when it comes to morality. I think that's very, very clear. He's been convicted of nothing and he's never had the opportunity to defend himself and that violates due process in America. The media is about to determine the election of a United States Senate campaign."

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 6:30:52 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    IL-06: Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Cheri Bustos have endorsed fellow Democrat Kelly Mazeski, who serves on the Barrington Hills Planning Commission, in the race against Republican Rep. Peter Roskam in this swingy seat in the Chicago suburbs. Mazeski faces several other notable Democrats in the primary, and she had the most cash-on-hand of any Democrat at the end of the third quarter, with $343,000 in the bank.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 6:38:11 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    VA-02: Retired Air Force Col. Dave Belote dropped out of the race to take on GOP Rep. Scott Taylor on Thursday, but it sounds like national Democrats already have a new candidate. Rep. Donald McEachin, who represents a neighboring seat and serves as a DCCC regional vice chair, told the National Journal's Ally Mutnick that he was excited that retired Navy Cmdr. Elaine Luria would run. Luria, who has not said anything publicly yet, retired in the spring and also runs a few local paint-your-own mermaid studios. As McEachin notes, the military is a huge presence in this Hampton Roads seat, so Luria's career in the Navy could be a big asset; Taylor himself is a retired Navy SEAL.

    McEachin also told Mutnick that state Sen. Lynwood Lewis had decided not to run. Virginia Republicans hold a slim 21-19 majority in the state Senate, so if Lewis ran and won a seat in the House, there would have been an expensive contest to replace him (Lewis himself won his 2014 special election by all of nine votes.) Taylor's 2nd District, which includes all of Virginia Beach and part of Norfolk, is quite competitive. The seat backed Trump 49-45, and according to Miles Coleman, Democrat Ralph Northam carried it 51-47 in this month's gubernatorial race.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 8:22:51 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    IL-03: Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who represents the state of New York but is nationally prominent, has announced her endorsement of marketing consultant Marie Newman in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District. Newman, whom Daily Kos itself has also previously endorsed, is waging a progressive primary challenge against Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, who often votes with Republicans on key issues like restricting reproductive rights. Gillibrand's endorsement is notable in that she is opposing the re-election of a fellow sitting Democratic member of Congress.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 8:34:47 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    TX-02: Businessman Rick Walker, who serves as CEO of a firm that assists other companies in securing certification for being environmentally friendly, is the latest Republican to join the race for retiring GOP Rep. Ted Poe's open seat. Walker doesn't appear to have run for office before, and it's unclear if he has what it takes to run a strong race. State Rep. Kevin Roberts is the only other Republican running in the primary so far, but others may join the contest for this suburban Houston district, which lurched leftward from 63-36 Romney to just 52-43 Trump last year.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 9:19:31 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    OH-Gov: Things just went from bad to worse for O'Neill, whose campaign manager resigned in light of the candidate's reprehensible Facebook post. Of course, O'Neill himself may not be in the campaign for much longer. State Democratic Party chair David Pepper revealed that O'Neill had told him just this past Thursday that he would drop out of the race if Richard Cordray joins the Democratic primary. Cordray just recently announced his resignation as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau several months before his tenure was set to end, which appears to be a sign that he will run for governor, but Cordray hasn't said anything about it publicly yet.

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 9:30:14 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    And now O’Neill has told WKYC TV reporter Monica Robins that he’ll likely drop out of the governor’s race next Friday. No time like the present, buddy ...

    Friday, Nov 17, 2017 · 10:09:27 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    AL-Sen: Change Research is the latest pollster to find Democrat Doug Jones surging into a lead in next month's Senate special election following Republican Roy Moore's pedophilia scandal. The firm says Jones leads by 46-43, which represents an improvement for him compared Moore's 44-40 edge in their previous survey, which was in the field from Nov. 9 through Nov. 11 immediately as the scandal was breaking. Pollsters have widely found that the revelations against Moore appear to have hurt him badly, though they disagree over just where things stand. Given the difficulty of polling in such a shifting environment, it's hard to know if Jones really has taken a lead and whether those wavering Moore supporters will ultimately hold their noses and vote for him.

    One prominent Moore supporter did just that on Friday, when Republican Gov. Kay Ivey said the following:

    "I'm going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I'll vote for," Ivey said. "I believe in the Republican Party, what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions. So that's what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore."

    ...

    She was asked if she believed Moore's accusers.

    "I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them," Ivey said. "The timing is a little curious. But at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them."

    It represents breathtaking moral bankruptcy for Ivey to back a candidate she admits she believes is a pedophile simply because they'll further her party's quest for power, but this is the same sort of partisanship-over-everything attitude that put Donald Trump in the White House. The state party and many prominent Alabama are standing by Moore, but it remains to be seen whether that will convince enough wavering GOP voters to return to the fold like they did with Trump’s election.

  4. Morning Digest: Bob Menendez's trial ends in a mistrial a year away from Election Day

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

    Leading Off

    NJ-Sen: On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial ended with the judge declaring a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict. It's unclear if the government will seek a new trial, though GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Menendez. Menendez has been under indictment since April of 2015 on charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements. Prosecutors allege that Menendez used his office to benefit a friend of his, wealthy eye surgeon Salomon Melgen, who had provided Menendez with lavish gifts, including private air travel.

    Menendez has maintained his innocence and made it clear for years that he plans to seek re-election in 2018. Menendez remained as feisty as ever after the trial ended, with him accusing the FBI and Department of Justice of being unable to "understand that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up to be a United States senator and be honest." New Jersey's powerful Democratic leaders have been supporting his campaign this whole time, and that hasn't changed. On Thursday, just after the mistrial was declared, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy made it clear that he'd support Menendez if he runs again.

    For the last two years, Democrats have worried that Menendez would be found guilty and resign while Republican Gov. Chris Christie was still in office, which would allow Christie to appoint a Republican senator in his place. But Murphy will replace Christie in January, and it looks very unlikely that anything could compel Menendez to step down before then. However, if Menendez is the Democratic nominee next year, he could cause his party problems even without a conviction hanging over his head. A recent Quinnipiac poll gave Menendez a negative 31-49 approval rating, while Suffolk gave him a bad 23-47 favorable rating last month.

    New Jersey is a blue state, but Menendez may have just taken enough damage to put him in danger even in a good Democratic year. Even if Menendez runs and wins, Democrats won't be happy if they need to spend heavily in this expensive state to save him while other incumbents need help. However, it may be just too much to hope that Menendez loses renomination. New Jersey is a state where party leaders still have a great deal of influence in primaries, and as long as Democratic leaders stay with the senator, he won't be easy to beat. It also won't be easy for an outsider to raise the vast sums of money needed to get their name out here. We'll see how things develop, but no matter what happens next, Menendez may be in for some turbulence next year at the ballot box.

  5. This Week in Statehouse Action: November and Everything After edition

    On one hand, the Virginia elections were, like, a week and a half ago. (That comes out to approximately three months in Trump Time.)

    On the other, with recounts and lawsuits pending in enough races to push Virginia Democrats from their current post-election tally of 49 seats in the House of Delegates to a 50-50 power-sharing arrangement—or even an outright majority in the 100-seat chamber—there’s still quite a lot of statehouse action afoot here. (More on this later.)

    Also, everyone and their cat is trying to claim credit for the big wins in Virginia. “Victory has a thousand fathers” or whatever, and pretty much all of the dozens of “outside” groups on the ground can credibly claim a slice of credit for Nov. 7’s successes.

    Campaign Action

    But what nobody’s talking about is how the existing Democratic Party apparatus—especially the Virginia House Democratic Caucus—facilitated these victories.

    • Virginia’s election laws provide great flexibility in terms of allowing outside groups to share information with campaigns and committees, and the extant party infrastructure helped new organizations avoid duplicating efforts and allowed everyone involved to maximize resources (while reporting all investments and transactions—helpfully easily searchable via the Virginia Public Access Project).

    But since Virginia’s election laws are as rare as they are permissive, the myriad groups jockeying to lay a hand on the Old Dominion trophy will have to adjust their tactics to have similar success in other state legislative elections in 2018.

    Okay, back to the ongoing action in Virginia.

    Rage Against the Voting Machine: Three districts are preventing either political party from feeling satisfied with its numbers in the Virginia House of Delegates. Recounts or legal action are likely or underway in House Districts 28, 40, and 94.