Daily Kos Elections

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  1. Republican president won't support Republican governor's appointment of Republican senator

    Have you ever wondered what Donald Trump thinks is worse than a child molester? As it turns out, it’s the Republican governor of Mississippi appointing a Republican official to replace a retiring Republican senator—because she was once a Democrat. In Mississippi … which is roughly the equivalent of being a moderate on the NRA’s board of directors:

    White House officials this week told Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant that President Donald Trump did not plan to campaign for or endorse Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith if she was appointed to the state’s open Senate seat, saying they were worried that the former Democrat would lose.

    Yep, this is the bridge too far.

    Of course the real concern here is that Chris McDaniel, who has already announced his candidacy in the special election to replace soon-to-resign Sen. Thad Cochran, will split the vote with Hyde-Smith and wind up in a runoff with a Democratic contender. And why would Republicans be afraid of that? Because even they recognize that McDaniel is a far-right nutter—the charmer who was involved in pictures being taken of Cochran’s bedridden wife in a nursing home during his last (unsuccessful) bid for this seat, a race he still hasn’t conceded, four years later.

    And the prospect of losing a senate seat in Mississippi, after losing one in Alabama late last year, would be more than the collective Republican heart could take:

    Administration officials do not want Trump to embarrass himself by weighing in for a candidate who is seriously hobbled.

    If only Hyde-Smith were a child molester or a Nazi. She’d have a first-class seat on the Trump train!

  2. Top GOP leaders will consider bill to impeach Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices over redistricting

    Campaign Action

    In an astonishing development, Pennsylvania’s Republican state House speaker, Mike Turzai, is now saying his party will actively consider impeaching four state Supreme Court justices who struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander. On Tuesday, a dozen Republican state legislators filed legislation on Tuesday to carry out this undemocratic power grab, but rather than reject it out-of-hand, Turzai is allowing it to move forward.

    Impeachment remains an unlikely outcome: Republicans hold the bare minimum two-thirds majority in the state Senate to remove the justices, so it would only take a single Republican senator to block an impeachment effort. But a simple majority in the House is all that’s needed to refer impeachment to the upper chamber, and democracy shouldn’t have to rely on whether a Republican legislator is willing to buck his own party.

    And even if this effort doesn’t succed, it’s still an ominous sign that Republican leaders are even contemplating such an attack on the rule of law instead of immediately denouncing it. The justices did nothing but lawfully interpret the state constitution’s guarantee of “free and equal” elections in striking down one of the most extreme partisan gerrymanders in the modern era and replacing it with a much fairer map—an outcome that can only boost civic participation and strengthen democracy in the Keystone State.

    Judges in a democracy should never be impeached for their jurisprudence. Doing so sends a chilling message that undermines the very principle of judicial independence. Even if Republicans don’t ultimately act on this disturbing threat, it only serves to normalize the concept of removing judges in the future who issue rulings that Republicans dislike—and it’s yet another escalation of widespread Republican attacks on state-level judicial independence over the past decade.

    If you live in Pennsylvania, please click here to send letters to your representatives in the legislature demanding that they oppose this shameful assault on democracy.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:41:38 PM +00:00 · David Nir



    PA State Rep. Cris Dush, who is leading call for impeachment of four Democratic Supreme Court justices, says he has assurances from PA House Speaker and chair of state government committee that they will allow a vote on legislation

    — Sam Levine (@srl) March 21, 2018

  3. Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 3/21

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

    Please note: The Live Digest is a 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primary-free space. It’s also an elections-only zone. If you'd like to discuss policy, please visit the latest Daily Kos Elections policy open thread.

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    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:22:01 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-04: Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia decisively defeated nonprofit director Sol Flores 66-22 to win the Democratic primary for this safely blue Chicago seat.

    Garcia was the favorite from the moment that veteran Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced he would retire and wanted the commissioner to succeed him. Garcia was already well-known from his 2015 bid against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: While Garcia lost citywide 56-44, he performed very well in this area. A number of other local politicians also entered the race, but facing a series of polls showing Garcia with a dominant lead, they almost all dropped out and backed the frontrunner. Garcia also had the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    Flores, who had the support of EMILY's List, decided to stick it out. She also made waves with a powerful ad on her tough childhood, describing how she learned to protect herself from a "man living with us would come into my bedroom when I was asleep and lift my nightgown." Flores still fell far short, but we may not have seen the last of her.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:28:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-05: Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley didn't come anywhere close to losing his primary for this safely blue Chicago seat, but his performance was still surprisingly weak. Quigley, who has served in the House since 2009, took just 63 percent of the vote, while commercial real estate tenant advocate Sameena Mustafa took 24 percent. We'll see next cycle if Quigley attracts a stronger primary foe after this.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:43:22 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    ND-Sen: The Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity is dropping $450,000 on TV and digital ads against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. The TV spot attacks Heitkamp for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands in donations from special interests and giving them billions in appropriations, while it also hits her for opposing Trump's tax cut law.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:49:03 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-06: Clean energy businessman Sean Casten narrowly defeated local planning commissioner Kelly Mazeski 30-26 in the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Peter Roskam; Carole Cheney, a former chief of staff to neighboring Rep. Bill Foster, took third with 17.

    Roskam has been accustomed to easy re-election campaigns, but Democrats got interested in targeting him after his suburban Chicago seat swung from 53-45 Romney to 50-43 Clinton. Mazeski, who had the support of EMILY's List, dramatically outspent the entire field in the first two months of 2018 (what the FEC calls the "pre-primary period"), deploying $514,000 to Casten's $191,000. However, Casten had much more money left over for the homestretch. Both candidates had self-funded a large portion of their campaign, with Casten providing $630,000 of the $900,000 he brought in before March 1.

    While this well-educated seat swung hard against Trump, Roskam will not be an easy target. Roskam is a very strong fundraiser, and he had almost $1.8 million on-hand at the end of February. However, national Democrats are going to take a big interest in a seat this anti-Trump.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:53:09 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    WV-Sen: Disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship is out with another ad attacking state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the Republican primary. His minute-long spot consists almost entirely of CBS News coverage of how the opioid epidemic has hit West Virginia harder than practically any other state, and it features a CBS interview of Morrisey where the attorney general squirms when confronted with his potential conflicts of interest related to his and his wife's lobbying work on behalf of pharmaceutical companies he’s supposed to be prosecuting.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:03:32 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-07: Democratic Rep. Danny Davis has been in the news for initially excusing Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitism before eventually saying he condemned it, but the story didn't do him much harm at the ballot box. Davis beat teacher Anthony Clark, whose campaign had little money or support, 74-26. This Chicago seat is safely blue.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:10:50 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-10: For the first time in years, this seat will not be an expensive battleground. Technical consultant Doug Bennett, a staunch social conservative who hasn't raised much money, narrowly outpaced former Republican Jewish Coalition regional director Jeremy Wynes 36-35 in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider. This district, which includes the affluent suburbs north of Chicago, has favored Democrats for president for a while, but been considerably friendlier to moderate-sounding Republicans down the ballot. However, Trump's 62-33 defeat alone probably took the seat off the big board, and Schneider likely will have even less to worry about with Bennett as his foe.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:22:47 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-13: Fundraising consultant Betsy Dirksen Londrigan defeated attorney Erik Jones 46-22 to win the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Rodney Davis. Perennial candidate David Gill, who beat the Democratic establishment favorite in 2012 and went on to narrowly lose the open seat race to Davis, took a distant third with 14.

    Londrigan had the support of both Sen. Dick Durbin, whom she'd worked for in the past, and EMILY's List. Londrigan aired ads during the primary focusing on healthcare that described how her son almost died from a rare infection; we're likely to see her use this theme against Davis, who backed the House version of Trumpcare.

    This seat, which includes part of Springfield, Bloomington, and Champaign, went from an extremely narrow 48.9-48.6 Romney win to 50-44 Trump, but Democrats are hoping it will be in play again. But Davis turned back a touted Democratic foe 59-41 during the 2014 GOP wave, and he likely will be a tough target. Davis ended February with $1 million on-hand.  

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:31:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-14: Nurse Lauren Underwood, a former senior adviser at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, decisively won the Democratic primary 57-13 against Montgomery Village President Matt Brolley. Underwood, who had the support of EMILY's List, will take on GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren in a seat in Chicago's western exurbs that moved from 54-44 Romney to 49-45 Trump.

    Hultgren hasn't faced a serious challenge since redistricting made his seat considerably more conservative, and he had only a modest $484,000 on-hand at the end of February. Underwood initially had trouble raising money, but her fundraising noticeably picked up during the first two months of the new year.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:50:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-AG: State Sen. Kwame Raoul, who has been mentioned as a rising star in Illinois Democratic politics for years, defeated former Gov. Pat Quinn 30-27 in the primary for attorney general; Sharon Fairley, the former head of the Chicago Police oversight agency, was a distant third with 13. Raoul will be the clear favorite in the general election against attorney Erika Harold, a former Miss America whom Gov. Bruce Rauner recruited to run.

    Raoul, who was appointed to the state Senate in 2004 to succeed none other than Barack Obama, had the support of much of the Cook County Democratic establishment and several unions. However, while Quinn was unpopular during much of his governorship and had a particularly turbulent relationship with labor, he had universal name recognition, which was a big asset in an eight-way contest. Raoul went after Quinn, who lost re-election to Rauner in 2014, as a "failed governor," and he became the latest Quinn opponent to use footage of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington blasting him.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 5:22:24 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    CO-Gov: Wealthy businessman Barry Farah announced a last-minute campaign for the Republican nomination right after the signature petition filing deadline passed on Tuesday. Farah had little time to gather signatures to get on the primary ballot, so he'll be competing at the April 14 party convention, where he'll need to obtain at least 30 percent support from the delegates to be able to make it to the primary. Farah said he decided to run after hard-right former Rep. Tom Tancredo dropped out of the race, and he indicated he would run as a staunch conservative with the hope of exciting the party base.

    Farah joins a GOP field that includes state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, former investment banker Doug Robinson, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, and self-funding businessman Victor Mitchell. Stapleton, Mitchell, and Robinson are all petitioning to get on the ballot, while Coffman is counting on a strong convention showing to advance.

    Meanwhile, Mitchell is up with his first TV ad as part of a 45-day $1 million ad buy on TV and radio. The commercial starts off with Mitchell asking viewers, "Do you know me? Not many do," which is ... certainly one way to start an ad when you're a little-known candidate. He continues by claiming he led the successful fight against 2011 ballot measure that would increase taxes, and argues he’ll make a good governor as a conservative outsider instead of a career politician.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 5:53:43 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    GA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is out with his first TV ad in the Republican primary, which is part of an overall $4.4 million buy for an unspecified duration. Cagle pitches himself as a problem-solving conservative leader who can get things done, and he boasts of cracking down on "illegal immigration" and so-called "sanctuary cities."

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 6:00:01 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    House: We're looking for help with a new crowdsourcing project to come up with short geographic descriptions of all 435 congressional districts. The idea is that these descriptions would allow someone unfamiliar with a given state's congressional lines to get a rough sense of where each district is situated. With the assistance of the Daily Kos Elections community, we've just completed this exercise for Pennsylvania's new map. For instance, we've labeled the new PA-01 as "Suburban Philadelphia (Bucks County)", while the trickier-to-define new PA-14 is "Rural southwest PA, southwest Pittsburgh exurbs."

    If you'd like help come up with descriptions for the nation's 417 other districts, please open up this Google doc and start contributing in column D ("Geography"). A few tips: 1) Try to use only the names of (relatively) major cities and counties, and well-known areas (such as California's Central Valley); 2) For districts in the biggest cities (such as New York), important neighborhood names can be used; 3) Please be respectful of others' contributions and be thoughtful when editing the suggestions of others; and 4) Keep your descriptions as short as possible.

    If this effort succeeds, we'll add these descriptions to our collection of data sets and publicize their availability. We're grateful for any help you can offer!

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 6:15:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-01: Candidate filing closed on Tuesday for U.S. House candidates for Pennsylvania's May 15 primary, and the state has a list of people who filed here.

    Court-ordered redistricting scrambled the playing fields for many of the Keystone State's House races, but the new 1st District, which includes all of Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia and a small portion of nearby Montgomery, is almost the same as the old 8th District. Clinton carried this seat 49-47, and GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick still faces the same three Democrats he faced before redistricting. Wealthy lawyer Scott Wallace, Navy veteran and JAG attorney Rachel Reddick, and environmentalist Steve Bacher are the three candidates competing in the Democratic primary.

    Wallace is a grandson of Henry Wallace, who was Franklin Roosevelt's second vice president and ran for president in 1948 under the banner of the left-wing Progressive Party. Until he decided to run for Congress, Wallace chaired the investment fund the Wallace Global Fund, which was named in honor of his grandfather; the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote back in December that it has listed net assets of $170 million and "finances efforts to reduce the role of money in politics and reverse global warming, among other causes." Wallace has the support of all the elected Democrats serving in the Bucks County government, as well as the county party.

    Reddick got into the race last year, and she ended December with $80,000 in the bank. Reddick recently picked up endorsements from VoteVets and EMILY's List, and she released a poll last week giving her a 27-20 lead over Wallace. Bacher, who took 7, doesn't seem to have either the national or local political support that either of his rivals enjoy.

    Fitzpatrick only won this seat last cycle, but he won't be easy to beat. Fitzpatrick is the younger brother of Mike Fitzpatrick, who retired from this seat in 2016, and Brian Fitzpatrick won the race to replace him 54-46 as Trump was only narrowly carrying the old 8th District. Fitzpatrick has emulated his brother and carefully cultivated a moderate image, and he had a strong $1.1 million in the bank at the end of December.

    The congressman faces attorney Dean Malik, a Marine veteran and former Bucks County prosecutor who is arguing that Fitzpatrick has failed Trump. Democrats would be delighted if Malik forced Fitzpatrick to the right or at least made him spend some money, but Malik doesn't look like a very serious opponent. While Malik announced he would run in October, he only opened a fundraising committee two months later.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 6:35:23 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-02: Redistricting left Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle with a safely blue seat in northern Philadelphia that contains only about half of his old 13th District. Boyle faces a primary challenge against Michele Lawrence, a minister and former bank executive who had planned to run against Rep. Bob Brady before Brady retired and his old 1st District was dismantled by redistricting.

    However, while Boyle does have some enemies in the Philadelphia Democratic Party, he is close to plenty of party elites and labor (especially building trades unions) as well. It's also unclear if Lawrence, who lives in the 3rd District, will be able to mount a serious bid against him. This race is worth keeping an eye on, but right now, it looks unlikely that Boyle will lose.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 6:49:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-03: Redistricting largely left freshman Rep. Dwight Evans' safely blue seat alone. The new 3rd, which includes West Philadelphia and much of downtown, contains about 80 percent of Evans' old 2nd District. Evans' only primary foe is Kevin Johnson, a minister who heads a prominent workforce development group. Johnson had planned to run to replace retiring Rep. Bob Brady until his seat was taken apart by redistricting, and he decided to try his luck here.

    Evans only had $103,000 on-hand at the end of December, so he may be in danger of being outspent. However, Evans is close to Gov. Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and he was a power player in Northwest Philadelphia for years before he was elected to the House.

    For his part, Johnson used to lead a very politically influential church, but he didn't exactly leave the pulpit on a high note in 2014. Bright Hope congregants said they were angry that Johnson wouldn't give them answers about his salary and other church financial affairs. Johnson also planned to run for mayor in 2015, and when congregants reminded him of his 2007 pledge to avoid city politics, he reportedly gave them an unsatisfactory, "I changed my mind." Johnson ended up staying out of that race, and he founded his own church. Johnson may be connected enough to mount a campaign, but it's tough to see Evans losing.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 7:13:26 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-04: This new congressional district includes most of Montgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs, and at 58-38 Clinton, the Democratic nominee should have little trouble winning it. Four Democrats ended up filing to run here.

    State Rep. Madeleine Dean has the support of former Gov. Ed Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Dean spent much of the cycle running for lieutenant governor, and she had the most cash-on-hand when she decided to drop out to run for Congress, so she may have a financial edge over the rest of the field. State Rep. Mary Jo Daley and Shira Goodman, who serves as executive director of the gun-safety group CeaseFirePA, also are in.

    But in a surprise, former Rep. Joe Hoeffel entered the race in late March. Hoeffel represented much of Montgomery in the House from 1999 until he left to unsuccessfully run for the Senate in 2004. Hoeffel won a seat on the county commission in 2007, and while he badly lost a 2010 primary for governor, he carried the county 50-24. However, Hoeffel decided not to run again in 2011, and he hasn't been in the public eye much since then.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:06:02 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    KS-Gov: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced on Wednesday that he picked wealthy oilman Wink Hartman as his running mate for his GOP gubernatorial primary campaign. Hartman was previously running for governor himself until he dropped out in February by saying he "could be the spoiler in this race for the conservative values we hold so dear" if he stayed in. But Hartman's decision to sign onto team Kobach is somewhat surprising given that he slammed the Kobach in August for "not doing his current job, he's not going to do his next job, and he keeps auditioning for new positions wherever he can find them."

    That scorching rhetoric is damn accurate for one of the nation's foremost voter suppression warriors, but this ticket may be as much a marriage of expediency as anything else. Kobach's mediocre fundraising left him with just $261,000 on-hand at the start of the year, but Hartman had self-funded a considerable amount to leave himself with $1.5 million on-hand at the end of December. Their newfound alliance gives Kobach access to that campaign cash, and while Hartman didn't say how much more he'd self-fund to help the ticket, he indicated it could be substantial.

    Meanwhile, Kobach is out with a new JMC Analytics poll that shows him in first place in the infrequently polled primary. The survey gave Kobach a 31-18 lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer, who ascended to the office in January when Trump appointed former Gov. Sam Brownback to an obscure ambassadorship. The poll also gave former state Sen. Jim Barnett 10 percent and state Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer just 4 percent.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:08:33 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-05: Republican Rep. Pat Meehan announced he would retire in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, and the GOP's hopes of holding his seat pretty much went up in smoke after they saw the new map. While Meehan's old and very gerrymandered 7th District, which was likened to Goofy kicking Donald Duck, backed Clinton just 49-47, the new 5th supported her 63-34. Fourteen Democrats ended up filing for the seat, which includes all of Delaware County and small portions of Philadelphia and Montgomery. To say there is no clear frontrunner would be an understatement.

    Several Democrats who had been running against Meehan decided to run here. Attorney Dan Muroff, who took fourth place with 10 percent of the vote in a 2016 primary for the old Philadelphia-based 2nd District, and bioengineer Molly Sheehan both did some self-significant funding in 2017. Each of them had around $185,000 on-hand at the end of 2017, which does at least give them a head start over their rivals.

    Former CIA officer Shelly Chauncey got into the race against Meehan just as his troubles were starting to become public, and at the time, an unnamed Delaware County political insider told the Philadelphia Inquirer that "one or two" major donors were supporting her. However, it's unclear how much support she'll have now that this race has changed dramatically. Former federal prosecutor Ashley Lunkenheimer reported raising $70,000 during her first days in the race, and her mother is prominent in local business and civic circles.

    A few local elected officials in Delaware County are also in, but some look more viable than others. Thaddeus Kirkland is the mayor of Chester, a city of 34,000 people. But state Rep. Margo Davidson is running despite being charged with crashing her taxpayer-funded car twice this year while driving while her license was suspended. Davidson also angered progressives with votes for abortion restrictions and school vouchers, and she only won her 2016 primary 54-46.

    State Rep. Greg Vitali initially dropped out of the race complaining about how much fundraising he'd have to do, but he jumped back in a little while later. Vitali's decision helped ruin his longtime friendship with teacher Larry Arata, who had planned to run for Vitali's state House seat and decided to keep running for this congressional district after Vitali reversed course. Vitali also seems unpopular with legislative leaders, who last year denied him a sought-after top spot on an environmental committee.

    All these candidates live in Delaware (though Muroff used to be a Philadelphia ward leader), which could help give one Philadelphia candidate a big opening. Rich Lazer was Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's right-hand man, and the former deputy mayor is a close ally of several local unions. Philly only makes up about 16 percent of this seat to Delaware's 80 percent, but there's definitely a path to victory for Lazer if he does well in the city while the many Delaware candidates split the vote there.

    However, financial planner Lindy Li also lived in Philadelphia, and she may have the resources to compete. Li had sought two different seats in the suburbs in the 2016 cycle, and while she failed to make the ballot, she still had $181,000 in her campaign account at the end of 2017. Four other Democrats are in, and while they don't look like they have the name-recognition or resources to compete, anything could happen in a race this packed.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:18:57 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    NV-Gov: Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak has debuted his first ad of the Democratic primary for governor, which is reportedly part of a "six-figure" buy for TV and digital. The TV spot features Sisolak on camera talking about how he'll never back down from taking on bullies like Donald Trump. He blasts Trump for wanting to take away Nevadans' health care, breaking up families via deportations, and siding with the NRA instead of Nevada families.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:23:20 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-06: GOP Rep. Ryan Costello did indeed file petitions to run again, but even party leaders admit they're not sure if he'll be their nominee in November. Costello had planned on defending a very gerrymandered seat that had narrowly backed Clinton. But his new seat, which includes all of Chester County and the city of Reading in the Philadelphia suburbs, supported her 53-43. Costello was already facing a tough challenge from Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, a businesswoman and retired Air Force officer, and he's certainly been acting like he expects to lose.

    While Costello has been quiet about running again, he has loudly whined that the state Supreme Court justices who threw out the old map should be impeached, and called the new map "1,000 percent partisan," a Democratic gerrymander in "disguise," and "racist." If Costello won the May primary (he faces just a little-known opponent) and decided to drop out at least 85 days before the November general election, party leaders would be able to select a new nominee. But given how defeatist he's been acting, they'd have a tough time finding someone who is willing and able to put up a strong fight against Houlahan. And even if Costello does stay in the race, he's not exactly giving his party much reason for optimism.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:27:32 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    NV-Gov: Meanwhile, state Attorney General Adam Laxalt will air his first Republican primary TV ad during Nevada's NCAA basketball game. The segment is a minute-long biographical spot that takes the very unusual step of starting off by detailing Laxalt's struggles with alcoholism as a teenager and how he overcame them. It highlights his later success serving in the Navy as a JAG officer during the Iraq War. The ad closes by touting his record as attorney general and saying he'll provide the "strong, independent leadership" Nevada needs.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:42:12 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    NY-Gov: Following actress and activist Cynthia Nixon's entry into the Democratic primary against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former state Sen. Terry Gipson announced he was dropping his own long-shot bid after struggling to gain any traction. Meanwhile, former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner once again reiterated she is still considering her own primary campaign against Cuomo, an option she has been publicly entertaining for many months. However, Miner also said she had been in touch with Nixon and was glad the latter was running, which doesn't exactly make Miner sound like someone who is itching to launch her own campaign.

    Nevertheless, Cuomo will be an incredibly formidable opponent. On Tuesday, he earned the endorsement of New York's junior Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has gained national prominence as one of the more outspokenly progressive members of the Senate in recent years.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:55:25 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-07: GOP Rep. Charlie Dent decided to retire last year from the old 15th District, which had backed Trump 52-44, and redistricting made Team Blue's prosepcts considerably better. The new 7th District, which is based in the Lehigh Valley, narrowly backed Clinton 49-48.

    The GOP will still work hard to defend this seat, and they may already have a good idea who their candidate will be. Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein, who won a gold medal in cycling at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was one of several Republicans running for the old 15th, but most of his rivals ended up running elsewhere or not running at all.

    The one other Republican who filed was Dean Browning, a former Lehigh commissioner. Browning has served as chief financial officer at the aircraft management company New World Aviation and on the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority, so he may have some useful connections. However, things have gone pretty badly for Browning in recent years. Browning lost renomination to the county commission in 2011, and lost a 2013 primary for county executive 56-44. Two years later, Browning narrowly lost another GOP primary to return to the commission. Last year, Browning withdrew his renomination to the Airport Authority in part due to opposition from some members of the Lehigh County Commission.

    There are three main candidates on the Democratic side. Pastor Greg Edwards and former Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild were running for the old 15th, and longtime Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli jumped in after the new maps were released. Edwards has been running as a proud progressive, and he got some headlines recently when he said the DCCC tried to convince him to drop out of the race and run for the state Senate. The DCCC insisted they had asked about his and Wild's interest in other races just because redistricting had created so much chaos, but Edwards said that it felt that national Democrats were trying to shove out the one person of color.

    Morganelli is very much not running as a proud progressive. Morganelli gave GOP Sen. Pat Toomey some useful help during the tight 2016 Senate race, and he's praised Trump multiple times. However, Morganelli is well known in Northampton, which makes up 42 percent of this seat, and he's not exactly a Democratic pariah. Morganelli recently picked up an endorsement from state Sen. Lisa Boscola, who said he had "a progressive record when it comes to empowering women," and he has some local labor support. And while Morganelli's 2016 primary campaign for attorney general (his fourth bid for the office) ended with him taking a distant third place in the primary, he did very well in this area.

    For her part, Wild recently earned an endorsement from former federal prosecutor Joe Khan, who played a key role in beginning the investigation that resulted in the conviction of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski earlier this month. Khan praised Wild for her role in the investigation, and for putting in place ethical safeguards. Wild also has the backing of EMILY's List. Four other Democrats, including Easton City Councilor Roger Ruggles, are in, but none of them look like serious candidates; Ruggles even said he'd avoid expensive advertising like glossy mailers.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 8:56:00 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    OH-Gov: State Attorney General Mike DeWine's campaign announced it would air an ad attacking Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in the GOP primary, matched by the same scope as a recent $760,000 buy Taylor's allies recently made to attack him. DeWine's spot features a narrator calling Taylor unqualified as negative news headlines roll by that call Taylor unfit, a slacker, and essentially incompetent at the various positions she has held in state government. The final third of the ad touts DeWine's endorsements from the state party and Ohio Right to Life.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:02:29 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    WY-Gov: As expected, business executive Sam Galeotos announced on Wednesday he would launch a Republican primary campaign for governor. Galeotos hasn't run for office before, but he has the support of former state party chair Matt Micheli. He joins a GOP primary that includes state Treasurer Mark Gordon, prominent attorney Harriet Hageman, and physician Taylor Haynes.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:12:41 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-08: Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright's new 8th District, which is based in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, went from 55-43 Obama to 53-44 Trump, not too different from his old 15th District. Cartwright was already facing a challenge from John Chrin, a wealthy former JP Morgan managing director, and former federal prosecutor Joe Peters decided to jump in afterwards.

    It's unclear if national Republicans will spend much effort against Cartwright in a year where they're mostly on the defensive, and both Republican candidates have some potential liabilities. Chrin infamously kicked off his bid against Cartwright last year while still living in the extremely wealthy community of Short Hills, which just so happens to be in New Jersey. Chrin's Pennsylvania home is also in the new 7th District.

    The good news for Chrin is that he does have family roots in the Keystone State: He grew up in Northampton County, and his step-grandfather's company, Charles Chrin Co., owns a landfill and several real estate holdings there. The bad news for Chrin is that all of Northampton is now in the new 7th District. But what Chrin does have is money: At the end of December, Chrin had $915,000 in the bank, though most of that was from his own wallet. For his part, Cartwright had close to $1.5 million on-hand.

    Peters was running for the old and safely red 11th District before redistricting changed things around, and he decided to go after Cartwright. While Peters lives in the new 12th District, he is a Scranton native and a former officer on its police force, so he does have better ties to the area than Chrin. However, he only began fundraising in January, so he may have a tough time fighting off Chrin in May.

    Peters' two campaigns for statewide office also haven't gone so well. Back in 2004, Peters lost the general election for state auditor 52-45. After the 2012 election, Peters was brought on to serve as Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane's communications director. Peters resigned in 2014 after a report broke alleging that Kane had put a stop to a sting operation. Peters later was a witness in the investigation into grand jury leaks that ultimately led to Kane's indictment. Kane ended up not seeking a second term (and was later sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail) and Peters ran in the GOP primary to succeed her, but he lost 64-36. However, Peters did well in this area while losing everywhere else.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:25:37 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-09: This seat, which includes the coal country northwest of the Philadelphia area, backed Trump 65-31, and the GOP nominee should have little trouble winning it. Former state Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser had been running for the old 11th District before the map was redrawn, and he decided to compete here. Meuser, who has done some self-funding, had $471,000 in the bank at the end of December, and he's already started running ads. Meuser ran for Congress a decade ago in what was then numbered the 10th District, and he narrowly lost the primary to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Carney.

    Two other Republicans filed to run here. Scott Uehlinger, a former CIA officer who has written columns for right-wing sites and hosts a podcast, was seeking the old 15th, but he had just $10,000 on-hand at the end of the year. Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage jumped into the race last week, but he may have a tough time getting organized with so little time to go.

    Democrats do have a noteworthy candidate for a very tough race. Denny Wolff, a dairy farmer who served as the state's agriculture secretary from 2003 to 2009, was also running for the old and very red 11th. Wolff had a $154,000 war chest at the end of December, with about half his cash coming from himself.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:37:19 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    TX-27: We thought we'd soon be done with Blake Farenthold, but it looks like we might be done even sooner than that. The Republican congressman, who announced in December that he'd retire in the face of sexual harassment allegations by a former staffer, is now reportedly considering resigning in order to avoid an investigation by the House Ethics Committee into his behavior.

    That would trigger yet another special election, though it's possible it would get consolidated with the November general elections. That's what happened in 2006 when Texan Tom DeLay resigned his seat (prompting the famous "Snelly Gibbr" special election), though he waited two months after his early April announcement before he actually quit.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:41:33 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-10: GOP Rep. Scott Perry's new seat, which includes Harrisburg and York, backed Trump 52-43. That's still pretty red, but it's a lot less conservative than what the Freedom Caucus member is accustomed to. Perry began the year with just $374,000 in the bank, and he continued it by going on Fox and speculating, without the slightest bit of evidence, that the October Las Vegas massacre may have been carried out by ISIS, and suggesting that evidence supporting his claims were being covered up.

    Five Democrats ended up filing against Perry. Nonprofit consultant Christina Hartman had lost to Republican Rep. Lloyd Smucker in the old 16th District in 2016, and she had $219,000 in the bank at the end of 2017 for a planned rematch. But redistricting made Smucker's new seat, now numbered the 11th, considerably more red. Hartman decided to challenge Perry instead, even though the new 10th District doesn't overlap at all with the seat she had been seeking. It's unclear if any of the other four Democrats have the resources or connections to mount a serious bid, though public Health scientist Eric Ding said he raised $50,000 during his first week in the race.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 9:58:35 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-11: GOP Rep. Lloyd Smucker now gets to run in a Lancaster County seat that backed Trump 61-35 instead of one that supported him just 51-44, but he unexpectedly picked up a very familiar primary foe.

    Wealthy businessman Chet Beiler lost an open seat race to Smucker last cycle in the old 11th District by a 54-46 margin, and he launched a last-minute rematch. Beiler, who is Smucker's second cousin, spent almost $550,000 of his own money last time. Each cousin aired ads trying to portray the other as a liberal in what quickly became a nasty campaign, and they both attacked the other's honesty. Smucker likely is the clear favorite again especially now that he's the incumbent, but he may be in for another ugly family spat.

    No Democrat has ever won a House seat based in Lancaster County, the only district in the country where that still holds true, it's going to be very tough to break that streak. But nonprofit director Jess King, who was running against Smucker before redistricting made this seat tougher, ended 2017 with $146,000 on-hand, and she might be able to put up a fight if lightning finally strikes for Lancaster Democrats.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:07:10 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-12: GOP Rep. Tom Marino still has a safely red seat in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, and about two thirds of his old 10th District is in the new 12th. Marino was facing a primary challenge from Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko before, but McLinko ended December with just $36,000 in the bank to Marino's $198,000. Bradford makes up less than 10 percent of the seat, so it's also unlikely many voters know McLinko.

    However, Marino does have one possible Achilles Heel. Back in October, Marino withdrew his nomination to become Donald Trump's drug czar after a devastating report in the Washington Post about legislation Marino had pushed through Congress at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry to deliberately hobble the DEA's ability to crack down on the black market flood of prescription narcotics. McLinko has gone after Marino on this, arguing that the congressman "made the opioid crisis worse." It's probably a telling sign that no one other than McLinko decided to challenge Marino after this story, but if this report did do Marino damage at home, McLinko could benefit.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:10:38 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    MS-Sen-B: On Wednesday, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant announced he will appoint state Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace longtime GOP Sen. Thad Cochran when the latter resigns on April 1 due to declining health. Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly wanted Bryant to appoint himself to the seat, but the governor had quickly made clear he had no interest in doing so, while Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was likely far more interested in running for governor in 2019 than going to Washington.

    Hyde-Smith will thus become the first woman to ever represent Mississippi in either house of Congress, leaving just Vermont as the only state to never send a woman to Congress. However, whether she will be able to win the special election later this year to serve out the last two years of Cochran's term is very much an open question.

    Politico relayed how the White House told Bryant that Trump didn't plan to endorse or campaign for Hyde-Smith, with the administration reportedly expressing concern over her past as a Democrat. Indeed, while Hyde-Smith won the first of her two terms as state agriculture commissioner in 2011 as a Republican, she had served almost the entirety of her preceding 12-year tenure in the state senate as a Democrat until switching parties at the end of 2010.

    It isn't that uncommon to see deeply conservative Deep South Republicans having previously been Democrats years ago—longtime Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and current Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal both made the switch while serving in Congress in the mid-1990s. However, Hyde-Smith's more recent conversion could end up being a major liability in the special election against state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a hard-right rival who just narrowly lost the 2014 primary runoff to Cochran.

    Indeed, national Republicans had already been deeply concerned McDaniel could end up beating Bryant’s appointee in the Nov. 6 special election, where all candidates will run on a single nonpartisan ballot and the top-two finishers will advance to a Nov. 27 runoff if no one takes a majority, which appears likely. They worry McDaniel's ties to neo-Confederate groups and history of misogynistic comments could endanger their hold on what should be a safely GOP seat, or at the very least create a headache for Senate GOP leaders if he wins. However, McConnell is reportedly more accepting of Hyde-Smith's appointment than Trump.

    Hyde-Smith's Democratic past and Trump's lack of support seem like they could play right into McDaniel's hands, but he may not end up being her only Republican challenger. Veteran GOP strategist Andy Taggart recently tweeted he could run in order to thwart McDaniel, but it's unclear if he might still do so now that Bryant's choice of Hyde-Smith is a done deal.

    A nasty battle among Republicans that leaves Democrats facing a damaged McDaniel would almost certainly give Team Blue their best chance of a historic upset in November. It would likely still take the stars aligning just as they did in last year's Alabama Senate special election, but Trump's sizable 58-40 victory here was still considerably smaller than his 62-34 edge in Alabama. Mike Espy, who served as Bill Clinton's agriculture secretary and became Mississippi's first black member Congress since Reconstruction in the 1980s, launched his campaign earlier this month, although it's possible other Democrats could be eying the contest thanks to the brewing intra-GOP fight.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:16:57 PM +00:00 · Stephen Wolf

    MI-Gov: In a move about as surprising as the sun rising each morning and setting each evening, term-limited Gov. Rick Snyder has finally endorsed Lt. Gov. Brian Calley in the Republican primary to succeed him.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:17:16 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    CA-50: This is not a good look. In a new interview, Democrat Josh Butner, a former Navy SEAL, declared, "It should be a requirement to have served to even run." That earned him a hot response from other local Democrats, many of whom felt that Butner was insisting that candidates for public office first serve in the military. Butner's main intra-party rival, former Labor Department official Ammar Campa-Najjar, noted that it simply isn't possible for many people, including the disabled and, until 2011, anyone who was openly gay. Another critic sniped, "[T]his isn't ancient Sparta."

    In a subsequent statement, Butner tried to clarify, saying, "When I referred to service, I mean some form of National Service," such as the Peace Corps. Campa-Najjar, however, isn't buying this explanation and released his own statement quoting four different veterans who say they don't think military service should be a requirement to seek office.

    And as the San Diego Union-Tribune archly noted, even if some unspecified form of national service were mandatory for anyone running for Congress, two current members of the House who've endorsed Butner (Mark Takano and Scott Peters) wouldn't be eligible for their current jobs. Butner has so far declined to answer questions on that score. Both he and Campa-Najjar are hoping to unseat GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, whose ethics troubles could put this traditionally red seat in play.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:30:42 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-13: GOP Rep. Bill Shuster decided to retire before redistricting redrew the maps, and several GOP candidates jumped in. This rural seat, which includes the Altoona area and much of the state's border with Maryland, remains as red as ever at 71-26 Trump, but several candidates who had planned to run dropped out. Altogether, eight Republicans filed.

    Two state legislators are seeking this seat. State Sen. John Eichelberger, a longtime Altoona politician, entered the race to succeed Shuster in January, and redistricting didn't change much for him. State Rep. Stephen Bloom had been running for a different red seat before the map was redrawn, and he decided to campaign here afterwards. The good news for Bloom is he had $200,000 in the bank at the end of December, which gives him a big financial head start over his foes. The bad news is that only about a third of his Cumberland County legislative seat wound up in the 13th, so he won't start with much name recognition.

    One candidate who might have name recognition is businessman Art Halvorson, who challenged Shuster three times in two cycles. Halvorson took on Shuster in 2014 and lost the primary 53-35, with businessman and alpaca farmer Travis Schooley (who is also running for the new 13th) taking the balance. Halvorson tried again in 2016, and while he was once again was badly outspent, he only lost to Shuster 50.6-49.4, a margin of 1,227 votes. But Halvorson did win the Democratic nomination that same day through an unsolicited write-in campaign, and he decided to run as Team Blue's candidate while saying he'd caucus with the GOP if he won.

    That was always a hard sell, and it got harder after Halvorson was charged with a misdemeanor during his general election bid for allegedly grabbing a Shuster campaign worker's wrist, an incident that Halvorson denies ever happened. Halvorson lost 63-37 as Trump was carrying the seat 70-27; after the election, Halvorson was found guilty of harassment and fined $25 (no, we didn't leave out a zero). Most of Halvorson's past primary support likely came from people who just saw him as a good way to get rid of Shuster rather than people who really liked him for him, but he could benefit from residual name identification.

    It's also possible one of the other candidates could break through. John Joyce, who operates a dermatology clinic in the Altoona area and has served on local medicine-related boards, jumped in on Monday. Retired Col. Vincent Mastriano, real estate businessman Bernard Washabaugh might also be worth watching.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:47:57 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-14: State Rep. Rick Saccone still hasn't conceded defeat to Democrat Conor Lamb in the special election for the old 18th District, but he's running for this new seat located in the rural southwest and Pittsburgh exurbs. Saccone's only primary opponent is state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, whom he beat at a party convention last year to win the nomination for the special.

    National Republicans spent months gripping that Saccone was running a bad campaign against Lamb, and after he did lose, they publicly portrayed him as one of the worst politicians ever. (Even his mustache didn't escape criticism.) While this seat is so red that Saccone probably couldn't lose it, his detractors certainly don't want him on Capitol Hill after they wasted millions trying to save his sorry stache in a 58-39 Trump seat.

    However, it's unclear if regular GOP primary voters also hate Saccone, or if they have a better view of the guy so many of them recently voted for (this seat includes 57 percent of the seat Saccone lost last week), and that Trump did a rally for. Like Saccone, Reschenthaler only represents a tiny portion of this seat in the legislature, but unlike Saccone, he didn't just lose a high-profile special. It seems tough to see Saccone winning, but hey, he did defy the odds just last week!

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:50:31 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-15: GOP Rep. Glenn Thompson faces no primary opposition in this rural north-central seat, and that's all he'd need to worry about in a district Trump won 70-27.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 10:56:53 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-16: GOP Rep. Mike Kelly's new Erie-area seat went from 52-47 Romney to 58-38 Trump, and while that's more competitive than his old 3rd District, it's still red turf. Still, Kelly might be vulnerable in a good Democratic year (Obama carried the seat 50-49 in 2008), and he picked up an interesting opponent from yesteryear.

    All the way back in 1996, attorney Ron DiNicola lost to GOP freshman Rep. Phil English 50.7-49.3 in what was then known as the 21st District. DiNicola, a retired Marine who was boxing legend Muhammad Ali's attorney for decades (and received campaign help from Ali in 1996), serves as chair of a nonprofit that's working to create a community college in Erie County. Two other Democrats have filed, but DiNicola looks like the clear primary frontrunner.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:11:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-17: We'll have a rare incumbent vs. incumbent general election in this suburban Pittsburgh seat, which moved from 52-47 Romney to 49-47 Trump. In the red corner is three-term Rep. Keith Rothfus, who represents 56 percent of the new 17th District. In the blue corner is Rep.-elect Conor Lamb, who made waves last week when he won an expensive special election for a 58-39 Trump seat. Lamb's soon-to-be constituency makes up just 20 percent of this district, but he's certainly not struggling for name recognition after his upset win. Both the old 18th and the new 17th are entirely in the Pittsburgh media market, so local voters also got to see plenty of Lamb's ads before they could vote for him.

    This is likely to be a very expensive race. Rothfus had $1.2 million in the bank at the end of 2017, and while Lamb likely used most of his money during the special, he should have little trouble bringing in more. Lamb ran a very strong campaign earlier this month in a very red district, and if he can do it again, he'll be tough to stop in this swing seat. However, Rothfus does have incumbency on his side, and he should be a much stronger foe than Rick Saccone. Two other Democrats are running in the primary, but they're unlikely to gain much traction against Lamb.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:18:59 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    IA-03: Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, who failed to submit a sufficient number of valid signatures to get on the June Democratic primary ballot, may yet have a way of altering her fate. However, she'd need the cooperation of local party leaders, and it's not clear that they're willing to go along. Greenfield, you'll recall, threw out her entire first batch of signatures after her now-fired campaign manager admitted to forging some of them, then engaged in a mad one-day dash to collect an entire new set just before last Friday's filing deadline that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

    All hope was not lost, though, as state Attorney General Tom Miller pointed to a provision in Iowa law that could potentially allow Democrats to call a special party convention and place Greenfield's name on the ballot in spite of her snafu. However, though he said his office would look into whether the law applied in this instance, he ultimately declined to issue a formal legal opinion on the matter.

    That leaves Iowa Democrats in a sticky spot. The party's 3rd District Central Committee has scheduled a meeting for Monday to discuss the matter, but the organization's chair, Bill Brauch, warned that without a favorable opinion from the attorney general, the committee could face a lawsuit if it puts Greenfield on the ballot, an expense he sounds unwilling to pay. Greenfield says she's awaiting the outcome of the meeting, but Brauch suggested the gathering might get canceled altogether. Brauch also said that, if his committee does not take action to aid Greenfield, her only remaining option would be to run in the primary as a write-in candidate, something Greenfield says she is not ready to discuss.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:19:34 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-18: Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle faces a little-known primary foe in this safely blue Pittsburgh seat, and the GOP declined to field anyone.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:24:54 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    PA-04: But Hoeffel did release a poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research that was conducted days before he announced he would run. The survey gave Hoeffel a 25-17 lead over Dean, while Daley and Goodman took 9 and 5 percent, respectively.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:41:18 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    IL-Gov: One day after GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner beat state Rep. Jeanne Ives 51.4-48.6, to win renomination, the Illinois Republican Party has already come together and… ok, you know where this is going. Ives did concede defeat (unlike a few other people we could name), but she isn't exactly in a hurry to throw her support behind the wounded governor.

    On Wednesday, Ives went on a radio show hosted by her ally Dan Proft and said, "Gov. Rauner can talk to himself in the mirror and look at himself and decide whether or not he’s proud of what he’s done all around, from his governorship to the way that he ran his campaign," adding, "I really don’t care to say anything to the governor at this point, quite frankly." Still, Ives did reiterate that she would vote for Rauner.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:45:58 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    FL-27: Ugh. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who recently entered the race for Florida's open 27th District, is rightly getting ripped by her rivals for the Democratic nomination over the $21,500 she's donated to Florida Republicans over the last decade—including to retiring GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents this very district. But the worst part is Shalala's entirely unacceptable response:

    "In the same way that Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen won election after election with strong bipartisan support, our campaign is proud to welcome the votes and contributions of Americans from all parties who want to send Secretary Shalala to Congress to stop the Trump agenda," the campaign said.

    Say what? Giving money to Republicans (who support god knows what) is like accepting money from Republicans who want to oppose Trump? Uh, no. That's not remotely how any of this works. And what's so maddening is that we've been down exactly this road before. A decade ago, when Democrats were poised to give Ros-Lehtinen her first strong challenge in ages, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz—then the co-chair of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program—refused to support Annette Taddeo, declaring, "I can't say enough good things about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen."

    It was an appalling spectacle, and we devoted a lot of energy to highlighting and criticizing it. This sort of behavior is only less acceptable in the age of Trump, especially since this district voted for Hillary Clinton by a 59-39 margin. It deserves a true progressive, not someone who models her campaign after a Republican's.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:46:39 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NY-25: Understandably, Democrats aren't in a hurry to announce any campaigns to succeed Louise Slaughter, who died on Friday, but the looming April 12 filing deadline doesn’t give them too much time to decide. State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle told Politico's Jimmy Vielkind that he would think about it over the weekend after Slaughter's Friday memorial service.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:56:22 PM +00:00 · Jeff Singer

    NJ-02: Now five different Republicans have won at least one all-important county organization line. Former FBI agent Robert Turkavage took the line in Cumberland County, which makes up about 12 percent of the June primary electorate.

    Turkavage, whom we hadn't mentioned before, ran as an independent in the 2012 Senate race and took 0.1 percent of the vote. Turkavage tried to run as a Republican for the other Senate seat two years later, but he was caught in a traffic jam as he tried to reach the state elections office to file just before the deadline. He called the office and asked if they could keep the office open for him; they couldn't. So yeah GOP, please nominate this guy to succeed Frank LoBiondo.

    However, some order might come to the chaotic primary over the weekend. Atlantic County, which has about 40 percent of the GOP electorate, is scheduled to award their organization line on Saturday.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 11:57:39 PM +00:00 · David Nir

    Senate: On behalf of the progressive group Protect Our Care, PPP has conducted new polls of five battleground Senate races, coinciding with the eighth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act this week. All of the results are very good for Democrats:

    • AZ-Sen: Kyrsten Sinema (D): 46, Martha McSally (R): 41
    • NV-Sen: Jacky Rosen (D): 44, Dean Heller (R-inc): 39
    • PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D-inc): 54, Lou Barletta (R): 36
    • TN-Sen: Phil Bredesen (D): 46, Marsha Blackburn (R): 41
    • WI-Sen: Tammy Baldwin (D-inc): 51, Leah Vukmir (R): 39; Baldwin: 51, Kevin Nicholson (R): 38

    This is the first time PPP has publicly released data on any of these races, except for Nevada, which they tested a long time ago: Back in June, they gave Rosen a smaller 42-41 edge. Much has changed since then, so any trendline is shaky at best, but at least things are moving in the right direction.

  4. Morning Digest: Illinois incumbents Rauner and Lipinski narrowly hang on against primary challengers

    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.

    Illinois: Illinois held its primaries Tuesday, and you can find the results here. We'll have a comprehensive rundown in our next Digest.

    Leading Off

    IL-Gov, IL-03: Two very different, but equally embattled, Illinois incumbents just barely survived close intra-party challenges on Tuesday night. In the GOP primary for governor, billionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner beat back state Rep. Jeanne Ives by just a 52-48 margin; Rauner will face a very uphill battle against venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, who decisively won the Democratic nod. Meanwhile in the 3rd Congressional District, located in Chicago and its southern suburbs, Blue Dog Rep. Dan Lipinski fended off businesswoman Marie Newman 51-49 in the Democratic primary.

    Rauner's always uneasy relationship with hardcore conservatives utterly fell apart last fall, when he signed into law a bill passed by the Democratic legislature that expanded public funding for abortion services. Almost immediately, critics on the governor's right flank started talking about ousting him in the primary, though given Rauner's immense wealth and universal name recognition, such an effort always seemed far-fetched.

    State Rep. Jeanne Ives was undeterred, though, and she stepped forward to take on Rauner. Early polling showed her at a huge disadvantage, but she received a $2.5 million infusion from GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein earlier this year (Illinois has no campaign contribution limits) and used that cash to run nakedly racist and transphobic TV ads that appealed to the GOP id. Ives also got an unexpected last-second assist from the Democratic Governors Association, which ran ads in the final week pretending to call her out as "too conservative" in a barely disguised effort to boost her with, well, conservatives.

    It was almost enough, but not quite: Rauner used his limitless war chest to pound Ives on the airwaves and just barely hung on. The Republican nomination might be quite the booby prize, though. In November, Rauner will face fellow billionaire J.B. Pritzker, who similarly spent his way to victory in the Democratic primary, taking 46 versus 26 for state Sen. Daniel Biss and 24 for businessman Chris Kennedy. While Pritzker has his flaws, Rauner is deeply unpopular after three-plus years in office, and polls show him getting crushed in this dark blue state. This will be an ugly, high-dollar slugfest right until the end, but Democrats hold the advantage.

    Lipinski likewise had fallen out with the progressive base thanks to a career-long litany of sins that includes putting together an ardently anti-choice record (he's co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus), voting against the Affordable Care Act, and refusing to endorse Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012—despite the fact that his district is solidly blue. It had been a decade since Lipinski was last vigorously opposed in a primary, but with progressive energy at a new high thanks to Donald Trump, Newman, a political newcomer, took the plunge.

  5. Daily Kos Elections Illinois primary liveblog thread #5

    Polls closed at 8 PM ET (7 PM local time) for primary night in Illinois. We have plenty of exciting races to watch, and our guide to the key contests can be found here.

    The main event will be the race for governor, where Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to fend off a far-right challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives, and where three major Democrats (J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy, and Daniel Biss) are competing to face him. There are also a number of competitive House primaries including in the 3rd District, where Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski is facing his first serious challenge in a decade from businesswoman Marie Newman.

    It only takes a simple plurality to win nomination in Illinois. We’ll also be covering the returns closely on Twitter.

    Results: AP (summary, by county) | New York Times | Chicago Sun-Times

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:08:36 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: 


    BREAKING: Major counting problems in DuPage County. Officials bringing many machines to Wheaton due to hardware problem. @ChuckGoudieABC7

    — Ross Weidner (@RossWeidner) March 21, 2018

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:12:13 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    IL-13 (D): The AP has called this race for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who comfortably won over Erik Jones. Londrigan will face Republican incumbent Rodney Davis in November.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:13:31 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    IL-14 (D): We’ve got another call here — the AP has called this race for Lauren Underwood, who will face Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in November.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:22:04 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    Folks, we’re wrapping things up for the night. The biggest question marks for the night remain in IL-06 (D) and IL-10 (R), but the writing is more or less on the wall everywhere else. Thanks for staying up with us, and stay tuned for more updates in the morning!

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:33:00 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    IL-06 (D): One more update here before we call it quits — with a new batch up votes reporting (64%), Kelly Mazeski now leads Sean Casten by just 29.2 to 26.5.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:34:18 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    IL-Gov (R): And that’s all she wrote, folks. The AP has called this race for incumbent Bruce Rauner, who has narrowly fended off a challenge from conservative Jeanne Ives.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 3:53:49 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    IL-AG (D): Some more closure — Kwame Raoul beats ex-Gov. Pat Quinn: 


    Sen. Kwame Raoul says he just received a "very gracious congratulations" from Gov. Pat Quinn in their bid for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.

    — Monique Garcia (@moniquegarcia) March 21, 2018

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 4:31:22 AM +00:00 · James Lambert

    This time, we’re really shutting this thing down. Thanks for burning the midnight oil with us.

    Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 · 5:23:41 AM +00:00 · James Lambert


    BREAKING: Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois wins in Democratic primary. @AP race call at 12:17 a.m. CDT. #Election2018 #APRaceCall

    — The Associated Press (@AP) March 21, 2018