Daily Kos Elections

Daily Kos's official elections portal.
  1. The Most District: Which district has the most veterans? Florida's 1st

    Daily Kos Elections’ “Most District” series flies over to Florida’s 1st congressional district for Memorial Day weekend: it’s the district that has the highest percentage of veterans. Eighteen percent of the civilian residents (18 years old or older) of this district, centered on Pensacola, are former service members.

    You might think that veterans are pretty equally distributed around the country; for instance, they might go back to where they lived before they served, after they get out of the military. However, that’s not the case: a lot of veterans simply stay where they are once they’re discharged, so they’re disproportionately located around military bases anyway. The advantages of doing so are easy to understand; their friends and social networks are still there, and they retain some benefits, like using Tricare at VA hospitals and shopping at the deeply discounted PX, that are much easier to use if you stay near a base. And Florida’s 1st has not one but two large military facilities: the Naval Air Station Pensacola, which is the primary training center for naval aviators, and Eglin Air Force Base, a test and evaluation center.

    On top of that, veterans tend to have better employment opportunities around bases. A lot of ex-military people proceed straight to working as a civilian employee of the military or for companies that contract with the military, so they wind up working on a base anyway. Even if they move to the private sector, in a field that’s related to skills they learned in the military, their professional networks are likely to keep them in a place that’s in close proximity to a military installation. For instance, following Florida’s 1st as the next most veteran-filled districts are Virginia’s 2nd in Virginia Beach, which has a large Navy presence (at 17 percent veterans) and Colorado’s 5th in Colorado Springs, which has a large Air Force presence (and 16.6 percent veterans).

    The other place where you tend to find a lot of veterans is retirement destinations. After all, our nation’s veterans are disproportionately senior citizens. There aren’t a lot of World War II veterans left, but that was one of the largest mobilizations this country has ever seen. And even the youngest Vietnam era veterans have mostly reached retirement age now, as the Baby Boomers are in their 60s and 70s.

    Florida, of course, is a prime retirement destination; if you separate out the top 10 congressional districts for highest median age or for highest percentage of senior citizens, most of them are found in Florida. The 1st, for instance, is 16.4 percent residents who are 65 or older, a higher percentage than the national average. (Also, Florida’s 11th congressional district, north of Tampa, has by far the highest percentage of seniors of any district in the nation: 33.8 percent of its population. It also has one of the highest rates of veterans—14.4 percent—even though there’s no military base there, only a vast array of planned retirement communities, most notably the sprawling hellscape of The Villages.)

  2. Daily Kos Elections Memorial Day Open Thread

    The Daily Kos Elections Live Digest will be back tomorrow!

    The Who-Getting In Tune

  3. Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread

    Paul McCartney & Wings — “Live and Let Die”

  4. Morning Digest: Despite assaulting a reporter, Republican Gianforte hangs on to win special election

    Leading Off

    MT-AL: On Thursday night, wealthy Republican businessman Greg Gianforte defeated Democratic folk musician Rob Quist in the special election to fill Montana's lone House seat, which became vacant when former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke left to become Donald Trump's interior secretary earlier this year. In a stunning turn of events, Gianforte was charged with criminal assault the night before the election after violently attacking a reporter, but he nevertheless wound up winning 50-44, with 6 percent going to Libertarian Mark Wicks.

    Campaign Action

    That, however, was 14 points closer than Trump's 20-point victory last fall, and it was in fact the tightest House race in Montana in 17 years, when Republicans won by 5 points in the 2000 elections. What's more, outside Republican groups, including the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent heavily—almost $6 million—to ensure Gianforte's victory.

    Democratic organizations, meanwhile, put in just $650,000 for Quist, though the candidate's own fundraising was exceptionally strong. (Quist said he'd raised $6 million for his campaign; Gianforte appears to have raised less, though he self-funded at least $1.5 million.) At this point, it's unclear how much—or even whether—Gianforte's election eve outburst affected the final margin, though with perhaps as much as two-thirds of the vote cast early, the impact was necessarily going to be limited.

    In the end, while Democrats once again wound up moving the needle back toward blue, it wasn't far enough to overcome Montana's strong red tilt. As we said at the outset when Daily Kos first endorsed Rob Quist, this was always going to be a very difficult contest to win. But it's no accident that Trump (or Steve Bannon) chose congressmen from historically Republican districts for his cabinet—they weren't going to give Democrats any easy pickup opportunities.

    Fortunately for Democrats, Trump did screw up at least one appointment, since Georgia's traditionally dark red 6th District has turned into a very competitive race. But even more importantly, the playing field for next year's midterms is much more favorable for Team Blue than it's been in the handful of special elections that have taken place this year.

    And in addition to sending grassroots enthusiasm through the roof, Trump has also inspired huge numbers of Democratic candidates to jump into House races across the country. We've been analyzing elections for a long time, and we haven't seen recruitment like this in a decade—when Democrats were in the midst of enjoying two successive wave elections. Republicans might be breathing a sigh of relief that their morally reprehensible candidate won on Thursday night, but they should still be worried about 2018.

    As for Gianforte, he still has to appear in court by June 7. Depending on the outcome of his legal proceedings, he could yet find himself vulnerable next year, whether in a primary or a general election.

  5. Daily Kos Elections Open Thread 5/26

    Daily Kos Elections is taking an extended Memorial Day break. The Live Digest will be back on Tuesday May 30.

    The Be-Sharps - Baby On Board