Daily Kos Elections

Daily Kos's official elections portal.
  1. Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 7/19

    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, Jul 19, 2019 · 3:39:09 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-03: Businesswoman Marie Newman is seeking a rematch against anti-abortion Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, but this time, she’s not Lipinski’s only challenger.

    Activist Rush Darwish kicked off his campaign in May and hauled in $135,000 for the quarter, and he ended June with $133,000 in the bank. That’s considerably less money than the $327,000 that Newman brought in over the past three months, and she also had a stronger $352,000 war chest. However, Darwish may still have enough resources to get his name out and split the anti-Lipinski vote enough to allow the incumbent to win with just a plurality. Another Democrat, attorney Abe Matthew, is also running, but he raised only $29,000 and self-funded another $49,000, and he had $72,000 to spend.

    Lipinski fended off Newman 51-49 last year in an expensive campaign, and he’s still rebuilding his once-formidable war chest. Lipinski ended this quarter with $713,000 in the bank, which is a little more than half of what he had available at this point in 2017. However, Lipinski also is raising money at a much faster pace now than he did last time, which could be a sign that he’s taking this race more seriously. The congressman hauled in $363,000 for the quarter compared to $205,000 two years ago.

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 3:41:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    TX-32: Republican Demetrick Pennie, who works as a Dallas Police sergeant, filed paperwork back in May to run for this seat, but he won’t be on the 2022 ballot. Pennie’s campaign quickly sent a message to the FEC saying he “he has decided to change his run for Congressional office to year 2022.”

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 3:51:55 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    TN-Sen: Donald Trump endorsed outgoing Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty earlier this month, but orthopedic surgeon Manny Sethi says he’s still continuing his campaign for the GOP nod. On Wednesday, Sethi put up a Facebook post where he claimed that the state and national party establishment, including the NRSC, had tried to dissuade him from running in the first place and later attempted to convince him to drop out in favor of Hagerty. Sethi went on to frame the upcoming GOP primary as a battle between himself and a “consummate Washington insider, someone handpicked by the entire GOP establishment.”

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 4:16:29 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    Houston, TX Mayor: Campaign finance reports are out for the first six months of 2019, and Houston is in for another expensive mayoral race this year.

    Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner raised $1.7 million during the period, and he has $3.2 million in the bank. Businessman Bill King, a conservative independent who narrowly lost to Turner in 2015, took in $685,000 and self-funded another $100,000, and he has $318,000 on-hand.

    Wealthy trial lawyer Tony Buzbee has continued to pump millions into his campaign. Buzbee, who has pledged to self-fund his entire race, lent himself an additional $5.5 million this year on top of the $2 million he invested in 2018. Buzbee, who successfully defended then-GOP Gov. Rick Perry, refuses to identify himself with any party, and he's hosted fundraisers with Donald Trump as well as Hillary Clinton.

    Buzbee began a very early TV ad campaign attacking Turner, and the Houston Chronicle writes that he’ll have spent $1.8 million from December through August. The only other candidate who has gone on the air so far is Turner, who ran a single ad touting his work helping the city recover after Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. No one has released any polls here, so we don’t have a good sense for how much Buzbee’s ad campaign is helping him.

    City Councilor Dwight Boykins, a Democrat and a former Turner ally, entered the race last month with the support of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, which has been at the center of a high-profile pension feud with Turner. Boykins took in a total of $140,000 during 2019, and he has $70,000 in the bank. Another candidate, former City Councilmember Sue Lovell, jumped in earlier this month after the reporting period ended.

    Houston's candidate filing deadline isn't until Aug. 26, so there's still time for more candidates to get in. All the contenders will compete on one non-partisan ballot on Nov. 5, and if no one takes a majority, there would be a runoff Dec. 14.

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 4:46:11 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    CO-06: Colorado Republican Party CEO Steve House, who served as party chair from 2015 through 2017, told Colorado Politics that he was considering challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Jason Crow and would decide by the end of July. This suburban Denver seat backed Hillary Clinton 50-41, and Crow unseated GOP incumbent Mike Coffman last year by a wide 54-43 margin.

    House hasn’t enjoyed many political successes in the last few years beginning with his 2014 campaign for governor, which ended when he failed to advance past the state convention. House became party chair the following year but quickly got into an ugly public confrontation with then-state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, whom he accused of trying to oust him. House remained in charge, though, and he considered another gubernatorial run in late 2016. However, House ended up deciding to both stay out of the race and step down as party chair.

    House went on to head the state GOP’s independent expenditure operations during the disastrous 2018 cycle. This year, after Rep. Ken Buck took over as state party chair, House became the Colorado GOP’s first CEO, a volunteer post that runs much of their day-to-day operations.

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 6:50:03 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    Memphis, TN Mayor: Candidate filing closed Thursday for Memphis’ Oct. 3 election and Mayor Jim Strickland faces nine opponents in the nonpartisan contest. That’s potentially very good news for the incumbent because it only takes a simple plurality to win the mayor’s office: Strickland himself prevailed in the 2015 contest by unseating incumbent A C Wharton 41-22 in a 10-way race, a victory that made him this predominantly black city’s first white mayor in 24 years. (Voters backed a 2018 referendum to introduce an instant-runoff system, but state election officials soon ruled that it could not be implemented.)

    Strickland’s two most prominent opponents are former Mayor Willie Herenton and Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer. Herenton made history in 1991 when he became the city’s first black mayor, and he went on to serve for almost 28 years. Herenton resigned in 2009 as a federal grand jury was investigating a real estate deal he was involved in, but he was never charged with anything. Herenton challenged Rep. Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary the following year, but he lost by a lopsided 79-21 margin. Herenton began his comeback bid last year, and he’s earned the endorsement of the Memphis Police Association for the first time in his career.

    Sawyer, by contrast, was a prominent local activist when she won a spot on the county commission last year. Sawyer was best known for successfully urging city officials to remove Confederate monuments, and she said that her life was threatened during these protests. Sawyer also learned that she was one of several activists that the Memphis Police Department was spying on, a practice the police director argued was “simply good police work.” Sawyer also accused cops of yelling at her at protests and following her home. Sawyer would be the first black woman to serve as mayor, as well as the city’s first-ever woman leader.

    Both Herenton and Sawyer are arguing that the local status quo, including Memphis’ high homicide rate, are unacceptable and that change is needed, an argument that Strickland used against Wharton four years before. Strickland’s pitch to voters is that things are improving, and that the city has “momentum.”

    Strickland begins the campaign with a massive financial advantage over the field. The mayor ended June with $918,000 on-hand, while Herenton and Sawyer had $62,000 and $45,000 available, respectively.

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 7:32:15 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    IL-11: Arguing that her district needs "a more vocal leader," Will County Board member Rachel Ventura says she'll challenge Rep. Bill Foster in next year's Democratic primary.

    Ventura first won her seat on the board last year with the backing of Our Revolution, a group founded by Bernie Sanders supporters, and says she expects the organization's support this time as well. Ventura specifically criticized Foster for "inaction on major issues like climate change, meaningful health care reform, wealth inequality and campaign finance reforms" and claims he "blew off" a meeting to discuss single-payer healthcare in June.

    Foster has one of the more moderate voting records among House Democrats, but he's always been firmly within the party's mainstream and has never before earned a primary challenge. He's also a well-connected member of the Democratic establishment and personally wealthy, with a net worth of about $9 million. Ventura herself called her campaign an "uphill battle," and she's not wrong.

    But whoever wins the nomination should have an easy time in the general election: Hillary Clinton carried this suburban Chicago district 59-35, and Republicans haven't put up a serious challenger here in years.

    Friday, Jul 19, 2019 · 7:33:44 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IA-04: State Sen. Randy Feenstra’s GOP primary bid against white supremacist Rep. Steve King picked up an endorsement on Thursday from prominent Iowa social conservative Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats, who leads an evangelical group called The Family Leader, used to be a King ally. However, he denounced the incumbent in January after King asked a New York Times reporter, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?'”

    King’s comments, which came just months after he only won his general election by a 50-47 margin in what’s usually a safely red seat, also convinced congressional GOP leaders that it was time to drop him. National Republicans had spent over a decade tolerating King’s vehement racism and alliances with international white supremacists, but they stripped him of all his committee assignments in January. King remains committee-less six months later, and he’s also nearly cash-less. The incumbent has been a weak fundraiser for years, but the $18,000 war chest he had at the end of June was terrible even for him.

    Feenstra isn’t the only Republican campaigning against King, but he has by far the most money. Feenstra raised $138,000 during the second quarter of 2019, and he had $337,000 to spend at the end of June. Two other candidates, Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor and Army veteran Bret Richards each had less than $50,000 to spend, though they both still had more cash-on-hand than King.

    However, Taylor and Richards, as well as anyone else who enters the GOP primary before next March’s filing deadline, could still help the incumbent if they can take some anti-King votes away from Feenstra. In Iowa, a candidate needs to win at least 35% of the vote to win the primary outright, and it’s very possible King could take a plurality with a split field. If no one hits this threshold, though, the nomination would be decided at a party convention.

  2. Morning Digest: Despite presidential race, House Democrats still raising money at astonishing rate

    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

    Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present our second quarterly fundraising charts of the 2020 election cycle for both the House and the Senate!

    Campaign Action

    We've included every race we expect to be competitive in next year's general elections as well as open seats in otherwise safe districts that feature primaries. We also list contests where incumbents potentially face a credible primary challenge, members of Congress who might retire or run for higher office, and under-the-radar contests where a candidate raised or self-funded an unexpectedly large sum.

    The big takeaway is that, despite some Democratic fears (and GOP hopes) that Team Blue's crowded presidential primary would divert donors from the congressional battlefield, the House class of 2018 is continuing to raise money at a pace that would have been unthinkable little more than two years ago.

    Two of the most astonishing hauls, in fact, came from members who unseated GOP incumbents just last fall: California Rep. Katie Porter hauled in just shy of $1 million for the quarter, while New York Rep. Max Rose raised about $800,000. An additional 28 Democrats who flipped seats last year also raised over $500,000 during the quarter.

    Last year, Democratic challengers managed to outraise many Republican incumbents―often quite dramatically. The reverse, however, has not been the case this cycle. It's still early, and the GOP does have some solid fundraisers, but so far, none of them are outpacing Democratic incumbents.

    Case in point: Two Republican challengers, Wesley Hunt in Texas and Tom Kean Jr. in New Jersey, did take in over $500,000 from donors during the quarter. Democratic incumbents, however, outraised both of them: Rep. Lizzie Fletcher outpaced Hunt $564,000 to $514,000, while Rep. Tom Malinowski led Kean $560,000 to $505,000.

  3. The North Carolina GOP gets a contested primary for governor, and not everyone's happy about it

    On Thursday, Republican state Rep. Holly Grange announced that she would challenge Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Grange’s nascent campaign has been a source of tension for North Carolina Republicans for a while. PoliticsNC wrote back in April about rumors that GOP Sen. Thom Tillis' team was trying to recruit her to try and prevent Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who recently confirmed he would run, from taking the GOP nod.

    While Forest has much of the party establishment on his side, his far-right social conservative rhetoric may end up being a big liability for the entire 2020 GOP statewide ticket, including Tillis. However, Forest’s intra-party detractors are holding out hope that Grange is a more electable option.

    Rep. Mark Meadows, the head of the nihilist House Freedom Caucus and a Forest supporter, made it clear this week that he believed Tillis was out to get his man. Meadows declared, “What will do more damage to Sen. Tillis is his encouragement of trying to get someone to run against Dan Forest and his active involvement, or his so-called active involvement, in that.” Meadows continued, “That will do more to create concern among Republican primary voters than perhaps any race right now.”

  4. Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 Senate fundraising reports roundup

    Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for every senator seeking re-election this cycle, as well as every notable challenger. (Click here for our companion chart for the House.)

    As always, all numbers are in thousands. The chart, and an explanation of each column, can be found below.

  5. Daily Kos Elections 2Q 2019 House fundraising reports roundup

    Quarterly fundraising reports for federal candidates, covering the period from April 1 to June 30, were due at the Federal Elections Commission on July 15 at midnight Eastern Time. Below is our chart of fundraising numbers for House candidates in all key races this cycle. (Click here for our companion chart for the Senate.) That includes, among others:

    • Races we expect to be competitive in next year's general elections
    • Open seats in otherwise safe districts that feature primaries
    • Under-the-radar contests where a candidate raised or self-funded an unexpectedly high sum
    • Incumbents who potentially face a credible primary challenge
    • Incumbents who might retire or run for higher office

    As always, all numbers are in thousands. The chart, and an explanation of each column, can be found below. (Click here for our chart listing fundraising data for every House incumbent.)