Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control

Wikimedia Commons photo of the Pennsylvania state capitol building taken by Ad Meskens

Pennsylvania state capitol building


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PA Supreme Court: In what was by far the most important victory of the night, Democrats swept three seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, giving them a five to two majority; previously, Republicans had controlled the bench three to two, with two vacancies. This victory isn’t simply about ensuring a more just court, though undoubtedly the cause of fairness will benefit greatly. It will also have an enormous impact on the next round of legislative redistricting.

That’s because the Supreme Court selects the tie-breaking vote for the commission that draws up the maps for Pennsylvania’s state House and Senate. In the prior two rounds of redistricting, the Republican-dominated court chose the tiebreaker, but now Democrats will have that power come 2021 (justices are elected to 10-year terms). As a result, Democrats will have the chance to undo the Republican gerrymanders that

Continue reading “Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control”

Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control

Wikimedia Commons photo of the Pennsylvania state capitol building taken by Ad Meskens

Pennsylvania state capitol building


Leading Off:

PA Supreme Court: In what was by far the most important victory of the night, Democrats swept three seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, giving them a five to two majority; previously, Republicans had controlled the bench three to two, with two vacancies. This victory isn’t simply about ensuring a more just court, though undoubtedly the cause of fairness will benefit greatly. It will also have an enormous impact on the next round of legislative redistricting.

That’s because the Supreme Court selects the tie-breaking vote for the commission that draws up the maps for Pennsylvania’s state House and Senate. In the prior two rounds of redistricting, the Republican-dominated court chose the tiebreaker, but now Democrats will have that power come 2021 (justices are elected to 10-year terms). As a result, Democrats will have the chance to undo the Republican gerrymanders that

Continue reading “Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control”

Morning Digest: Our massive House fundraising chart is here

Democratic Colorado congressional candidate Morgan Carroll

Colorado Democrat Morgan Carroll is off to a fast fundraising start

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Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections’ massive third quarter House fundraising chart is now available. We have listings for over 250 candidates ranging from longshots to top-tier battles, with plenty of hotly contested primaries thrown in as well. You won’t find a more comprehensive—and more succinct—roundup anywhere else.

There are a few candidate hauls worth noting. Colorado’s swingy 6th District played host to a very expensive contest last year, and 2016 will be no different. Democrat Morgan Carroll brought in a strong $377,000 during her inaugural quarter, and she has $308,000 on hand. However, despite his many gaffes, there’s no doubt that Republican incumbent Mike Coffman is a very good fundraiser. Coffman raised $476,000, and he has $860,000 on hand.

Democrat Lon Johnson entered the race for Michigan’s 1st District with high expectations, and he

Continue reading “Morning Digest: Our massive House fundraising chart is here”

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Poll for union has Pryor up, but in low 40s

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AR-Sen: Mark Brantley of the alt-weekly Arkansas Times has gotten his hands on a late July poll from Clark Research, taken on behalf of AFSCME, that’s mostly about the minimum wage but leads off with some questions on some horserace matters. Dem Sen. Mark Pryor leads GOP Rep. Tom Cotton in the Senate race by a 43-35 margin, and since we have access to the actual questionnaire, we can see that leaners were apparently not pushed. Pryor sports a decent 47-34 favorability rating, but no incumbent likes to be in the low 40s, even with this many undecideds, especially in a poll by an ostensible ally. Cotton, meanwhile, has room to grow: He has 28-22 favorables, meaning half the state still doesn’t know who he is.

On a related note, a new University of Minnesota study finds that 88 senators ran in a general election after not facing a major party opponent the previous cycle, which is exactly what happened to Pryor in 2008, when the GOP failed to put up any candidate at all. (Kind of amazing, right?) The kicker is that all 88 have won their next race, so if Pryor were to lose next year, he’d be the first ever to do so in this situation.

P.S. As in Louisiana (see LA-Sen item below), Magellan also has a re-elects-only poll of Arkansas that bizarrely doesn’t include Cotton at all.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Brian Schweitzer won’t run for Senate in Montana

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MT-Sen: Over the weekend, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced that he would not run for Senate, making Democratic chances at holding Montana’s open seat much tougher. Polling had shown Schweitzer as indisputably the strongest possible Democrat; now recruiters will turn their attention to folks like state Auditor Monica Lindeen or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, both of whom have reiterated that they are still looking at the race. Other possible names include state Rep. Franke Wilmer, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock, Lt. Gov. John Walsh, state Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat, and former state Sen. Mike Halligan.

Republicans were also waiting on Schweitzer’s decision, and now their preferred candidate, freshman Rep. Steve Daines, has an easier path to the Senate if he wants to give it a shot. A recent PPP poll showed him with double-digit leads over both Juneau and Lindeen, and just a hair under 50 percent, so Daines will undoubtedly come under a lot of pressure to get in.

If he does, that could open a free-for-all for his House seat, and stronger Democrats might be more tempted to make a go of that race rather than face Daines for Senate. Republicans might also clear the Senate field for him, as state Rep. Champ Edmunds (one of two Republicans already running, along with ex-state Sen. Corey Stapleton) has said he’ll drop down to the House contest if Daines seeks a promotion.

So once again, political observers resume waiting, this time for Daines. In the meantime, we’re changing our rating on this race from Tossup to Lean R. Our prior rating was predicated on a Schweitzer candidacy, since he would have made the contest a close one thanks to his singular profile. With him out of the picture, even without knowing the candidates, our belief is that an open seat race in a state as red as Montana favors the GOP by default. (A good comparison at the other end of the spectrum might be Michigan, which has a decent Republican bench but favors the Democrats simply because of its blue tilt.) Of course, this could all change, especially if Daines declines, but for now, we believe Republicans have the edge.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Battle of Montana ex-governors looks like a tossup, per PPP

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MT-Sen: PPP’s new Montana Senate poll, their first since Max Baucus announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, actually doesn’t look too different from their prior survey, from all the way back in February. That’s because PPP had the foresight to test ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer as a potential alternative for Baucus even then (though at the time, it looked more likely that Schweitzer would replace Baucus via primary rather than retirement). And once again, Schweitzer finds himself in a tossup, more or less, with the two strongest Republicans, ex-Gov. Marc Racicot and freshman Rep. Steve Daines.

If Schweitzer doesn’t run, though, and the GOP lands a top-tier recruit, Democrats would start off in a deep hole, whether they nominate state Auditor Monica Lindeen or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. As is their wont, PPP tested a whole battery of possible scenarios, including matchups with two lesser Republican lights, state Rep. Champ Edmunds and ex-state Sen. Corey Stapleton. In the chart below, Democrats are listed along the top and Republicans vertically; the head-to-head results in each box are color-coded according to party, with Democrats on top:

 Schweitzer   Juneau   Lindeen 
 Racicot   46 
 47 
 37 
 52 
 35 
 52 
 Daines   48 
 45 
 38 
 48 
 37 
 49 
 Stapleton   52 
 38 
 42 
 38 
 39 
 37 
 Edmunds   52 
 37 
 41 
 34 
 39 
 34 

Edmunds and Stapleton are the only declared candidates, though, as most of the field—Democrat and Republican alike—stands idle, pending a decision from Schweitzer. It’s very possible that Schweitzer, who, with his 54-40 favorability rating, was the most popular candidate tested, could very well dissuade someone like Daines from running. But thanks to Montana’s red tilt, even a generic Republican could give Schweitzer a tough race.

So which Republican will it be? Racicot hasn’t publicly said anything, but Daines at least is mulling the race. In a hypothetical kitchen sink primary, Racicot leads Daines 47-28, while the others are in single digits. It’s exceedingly unlikely that both will run: If the GOP can recruit Racicot (who has been out of politics for over decade), Daines would almost surely step aside. On the other hand, without Racicot, Daines would likely feel a lot of pressure to run, but he’s just started his congressional career and represents a safe seat. Would he really want to give all that up?

Democrats of course hope he won’t, and even more badly, hope Schweitzer will run. For now, though, we all wait.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Battle of Montana ex-governors looks like a tossup, per PPP

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MT-Sen: PPP’s new Montana Senate poll, their first since Max Baucus announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, actually doesn’t look too different from their prior survey, from all the way back in February. That’s because PPP had the foresight to test ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer as a potential alternative for Baucus even then (though at the time, it looked more likely that Schweitzer would replace Baucus via primary rather than retirement). And once again, Schweitzer finds himself in a tossup, more or less, with the two strongest Republicans, ex-Gov. Marc Racicot and freshman Rep. Steve Daines.

If Schweitzer doesn’t run, though, and the GOP lands a top-tier recruit, Democrats would start off in a deep hole, whether they nominate state Auditor Monica Lindeen or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. As is their wont, PPP tested a whole battery of possible scenarios, including matchups with two lesser Republican lights, state Rep. Champ Edmunds and ex-state Sen. Corey Stapleton. In the chart below, Democrats are listed along the top and Republicans vertically; the head-to-head results in each box are color-coded according to party, with Democrats on top:

 Schweitzer   Juneau   Lindeen 
 Racicot   46 
 47 
 37 
 52 
 35 
 52 
 Daines   48 
 45 
 38 
 48 
 37 
 49 
 Stapleton   52 
 38 
 42 
 38 
 39 
 37 
 Edmunds   52 
 37 
 41 
 34 
 39 
 34 

Edmunds and Stapleton are the only declared candidates, though, as most of the field—Democrat and Republican alike—stands idle, pending a decision from Schweitzer. It’s very possible that Schweitzer, who, with his 54-40 favorability rating, was the most popular candidate tested, could very well dissuade someone like Daines from running. But thanks to Montana’s red tilt, even a generic Republican could give Schweitzer a tough race.

So which Republican will it be? Racicot hasn’t publicly said anything, but Daines at least is mulling the race. In a hypothetical kitchen sink primary, Racicot leads Daines 47-28, while the others are in single digits. It’s exceedingly unlikely that both will run: If the GOP can recruit Racicot (who has been out of politics for over decade), Daines would almost surely step aside. On the other hand, without Racicot, Daines would likely feel a lot of pressure to run, but he’s just started his congressional career and represents a safe seat. Would he really want to give all that up?

Democrats of course hope he won’t, and even more badly, hope Schweitzer will run. For now, though, we all wait.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Battle of Montana ex-governors looks like a tossup, per PPP

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Leading Off:

MT-Sen: PPP’s new Montana Senate poll, their first since Max Baucus announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, actually doesn’t look too different from their prior survey, from all the way back in February. That’s because PPP had the foresight to test ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer as a potential alternative for Baucus even then (though at the time, it looked more likely that Schweitzer would replace Baucus via primary rather than retirement). And once again, Schweitzer finds himself in a tossup, more or less, with the two strongest Republicans, ex-Gov. Marc Racicot and freshman Rep. Steve Daines.

If Schweitzer doesn’t run, though, and the GOP lands a top-tier recruit, Democrats would start off in a deep hole, whether they nominate state Auditor Monica Lindeen or state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. As is their wont, PPP tested a whole battery of possible scenarios, including matchups with two lesser Republican lights, state Rep. Champ Edmunds and ex-state Sen. Corey Stapleton. In the chart below, Democrats are listed along the top and Republicans vertically; the head-to-head results in each box are color-coded according to party, with Democrats on top:

 Schweitzer   Juneau   Lindeen 
 Racicot   46 
 47 
 37 
 52 
 35 
 52 
 Daines   48 
 45 
 38 
 48 
 37 
 49 
 Stapleton   52 
 38 
 42 
 38 
 39 
 37 
 Edmunds   52 
 37 
 41 
 34 
 39 
 34 

Edmunds and Stapleton are the only declared candidates, though, as most of the field—Democrat and Republican alike—stands idle, pending a decision from Schweitzer. It’s very possible that Schweitzer, who, with his 54-40 favorability rating, was the most popular candidate tested, could very well dissuade someone like Daines from running. But thanks to Montana’s red tilt, even a generic Republican could give Schweitzer a tough race.

So which Republican will it be? Racicot hasn’t publicly said anything, but Daines at least is mulling the race. In a hypothetical kitchen sink primary, Racicot leads Daines 47-28, while the others are in single digits. It’s exceedingly unlikely that both will run: If the GOP can recruit Racicot (who has been out of politics for over decade), Daines would almost surely step aside. On the other hand, without Racicot, Daines would likely feel a lot of pressure to run, but he’s just started his congressional career and represents a safe seat. Would he really want to give all that up?

Democrats of course hope he won’t, and even more badly, hope Schweitzer will run. For now, though, we all wait.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?

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WATN?: Some of you may recall Charlie Justice, the former Florida state senator who was highly touted as a recruit against GOP Rep. Bill Young in 2010 but ran a total dud of a campaign and quickly faded off the radar. Well, remarkably, he’s back! Despite getting badly outspent, Justice won a seat on the Pinellas County Commission last month, knocking off a Republican incumbent. So how did he do it? Let’s just say his opponent was very worried about getting robbed of her precious bodily essences:

Like Janet Long, the Democratic candidate for District 1, Justice’s campaign has received a boost from Pinellas dentists, many of whom are irate over the commission’s 4-3 vote last year to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water. Bostock voted with the majority; Justice has promised to bring back fluoridation as one of the first acts of his tenure. In conversations and speeches, he routinely says that Bostock’s record, particularly on fluoride, is too conservative for a commission that has historically been dominated by moderate Republicans.

Nice to see the good guys win, for once: Justice and Long have both already been sworn in, and the commission has already reinstated fluoridation. Group Captain Lionel Mandrake for Commissioner—he’s what what you might call a water man!

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?

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Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.

Leading Off:

WATN?: Some of you may recall Charlie Justice, the former Florida state senator who was highly touted as a recruit against GOP Rep. Bill Young in 2010 but ran a total dud of a campaign and quickly faded off the radar. Well, remarkably, he’s back! Despite getting badly outspent, Justice won a seat on the Pinellas County Commission last month, knocking off a Republican incumbent. So how did he do it? Let’s just say his opponent was very worried about getting robbed of her precious bodily essences:

Like Janet Long, the Democratic candidate for District 1, Justice’s campaign has received a boost from Pinellas dentists, many of whom are irate over the commission’s 4-3 vote last year to stop adding fluoride to the drinking water. Bostock voted with the majority; Justice has promised to bring back fluoridation as one of the first acts of his tenure. In conversations and speeches, he routinely says that Bostock’s record, particularly on fluoride, is too conservative for a commission that has historically been dominated by moderate Republicans.

Nice to see the good guys win, for once: Justice and Long have both already been sworn in, and the commission has already reinstated fluoridation. Group Captain Lionel Mandrake for Commissioner—he’s what what you might call a water man!

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Patrick Murphy is victorious as Allen West finally concedes

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FL-18: Amazing! After all that mishugas involving recounts and re-recounts and multiple trips to court, GOP Rep. Allen West has finally conceded to Democrat Patrick Murphy. Of all the big Democratic wins on election night, this to me is one of the sweetest. Sure, West is crazy, but crazy has a lot of adherents in this country, especially in an almost perfectly divided district like this one. What’s more, West raised an insane $17 million, and while a much of that was due to his extremely high burn rate, that still left him with a fortune to spend.

Meanwhile, a lot of Beltway types were very dismissive toward Murphy, a young first-time candidate they were all too willing to view the same way West did, as some kind of entitled upstart. He never was. I admit that when we first heard about him—then a 28-year-old accountant—we had him figured for a proverbial Some Dude and even took to calling him “no, not that” Patrick Murphy to distinguish from the much better-known former congressman from Pennsylvania. But Murphy quickly wowed us with his fundraising, and he turned out to be a strong campaigner.

What’s more, when redistricting gave West the opportunity to move up the coast and seek reelection in the redder 18th instead of his native 22nd, Murphy made an enormously daring move and pursued West on to this tougher turf. Not only did that give Democrats a credible candidate to keep holding West’s feet to the fire, but it avoided an expensive primary with fellow Dem Lois Frankel in the 22nd (who went on to win her own open-seat race). And while Murphy, as you may know, was a Republican not long before seeking office, he turned out to be a strong progressive, showing quite a lot of backbone in a swing district like this.

Murphy, now 29, will become one of the youngest members of Congress, so here’s to many, many more years to come. Again, an amazing victory! And Congressman-elect (man do I love saying that!) Murphy even took the time to stop by Daily Kos on Tuesday morning to offer his thanks to the community here. What a mensch!