Morning Digest: Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne endorses Democrat for governor over David Vitter

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) (at right) endorses state Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) for governor (Nov. 5, 2015)

Jay Dardenne (at right) endorsing John Bel Edwards

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: The amazing Louisiana governor’s race just keeps getting amazing-er. On Thursday morning, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Republican who finished fourth in the primary with 15 percent, endorsed Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the Nov. 21 runoff. In announcing his support for Edwards, Dardenne was particularly scathing toward his fellow Republicans:

“The Republican brand has been damaged by the failed leadership of Bobby Jindal during this last term. David Vitter’s governorship will further damage that brand as I and others have pointed out during the campaign. I cannot and will not sit idly by and refuse to speak truth to power.”

Obviously this is a guy who doesn’t care about his electoral future, because he just signed his political death warrant by unleashing cannon fire on his own party. But Dardenne is

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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

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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

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Morning Digest: Republican Matt Bevin wins Kentucky governorship

Matt Bevin and Kim Davis

Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin (R), flanked by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband, Joe Davis

Leading Off:
Election Night 2015: Despite running the worst campaign imaginable, Republican businessman Matt Bevin has recaptured the Kentucky governor’s mansion for the GOP, defeating Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway. With the entire state reporting, Bevin crushed Conway by a 53-44 margin, while independent Drew Curtis took less than 4 percent. Conway’s performance was the worst by a Kentucky Democrat since 1863, and Bevin’s victory will make him just the second Republican governor the state’s had since 1971.

But given the sharp rightward trend in the Bluegrass State in recent years, Republicans always had an excellent chance to pick up this seat, particularly because popular Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was forced out by term limits. Bevin, however, did everything he could to piss away his chances. A

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Morning Digest: It’s Election Day in America—again!

Matt Bevin and Kim Davis

It’s judgement day for Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin

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Election Night: Tonight will be a very busy night. While the Kentucky gubernatorial race will take center stage, we have the battle for the Virginia state Senate, a redistricting amendment in Ohio that actually is too good to be true for Democrats, three Pennsylvania Supreme Court races that could very well decide if Team Blue can retake the state legislature in the next decade, and mayoral races galore.

To help keep track of everything, Jeff Singer has put together an hour-by-hour guide to this evening, arranged by each races’ poll closing time. Polls start to close in Kentucky at 6 PM ET, and we’ll be liveblogging the results every step of the way.

We also have a number of special elections tonight, and Johnny Longtorso has put together a post to give us the lowdown. The

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Morning Digest: Conservative pollster musters up a tie for Matt Bevin

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: Just days ahead of Kentucky’s gubernatorial election, GOP pollster Vox Populi released the first survey since June—and just the second one all year—that does not show Republican Matt Bevin losing to Democrat Jack Conway. Vox’s poll has the two leading candidates tied at 44 apiece, with independent Drew Curtis at 6.

Election junkies know that there’s been precious little polling out of the Bluegrass State, but Conway’s led in the last six surveys in a row—including in Bevin’s own internal. The only time anyone’s actually found Bevin ahead came over four months ago, when PPP, interestingly, put him up 40-38. That was a long time ago, though, and until now, no one had put up any numbers to contradict this string of a half-dozen polls.

But the question is, could Vox be right? It’s certainly possible. Last year, as

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Morning Digest: As Edwards weathers the storm, our Louisiana rating moves to ‘Lean Republican’

Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards

Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards has a real chance to paint the governor’s mansion blue

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: It wasn’t long ago that David Vitter was the undisputed frontrunner to become Louisiana’s next governor, sure to dominate his rivals—Republican and Democrat alike—in both the primary and the runoff. But the bayou is often full of political surprises, and things sure haven’t worked out the way Vitter planned and everyone else expected.

Vitter, of course, is infamous for appearing in the little black book of the notorious “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jean Palfrey, who operated a call girl ring in the nation’s capital back in the aughts. When busted in 2007, Vitter apologized for his “sin” but did not resign, because doing so would have allowed Louisiana’s Democratic governor at the time, Kathleen Blanco, to appoint a successor. Vitter also knew he had three years until his

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Morning Digest: With days to go in Kentucky, another poll shows Conway leading Bevin

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: SurveyUSA returns for one last look at the Nov. 3 general, and they find that Democrat Jack Conway holds a 45-40 lead over Republican Matt Bevin; left-leaning independent Drew Curtis takes 6. Democrats have been dramatically outspending the GOP here, and it seems to be having some effect. While Conway’s 36-32 favorable rating isn’t spectacular, it’s better than Bevin’s underwater 32-38 score.

One month ago, SurveyUSA gave Conway a similar 42-37 edge. Only a few other polls have been released here, and they’ve all found Conway ahead from anywhere between 2 and 5 points: Even Bevin’s own poll showed the Democrat ahead 44-41. The GOP isn’t giving up here though. The RGA is out with three separate ads as part of their overall $2.5 million investment for the final two weeks of the race. Shockingly, all three

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Morning Digest: Louisiana Democrat: “David Vitter wouldn’t last a day at West Point”


Democrat John Bel Edwards ad against Republican David Vitter

Leading Off:

LA-Gov: Neither Republican David Vitter nor Democrat John Bel Edwards has much time to prepare for the Nov. 21 general election, and both parties are wasting no time opening up a can of whoop ass on the other side. The nasty jungle primary left Vitter with terrible favorable ratings, especially once his opponents started asking questions about his 2007 prostitution scandal. However, Louisiana is a very conservative state and President Obama has never been popular, and Vitter and his allies are aggressively working to link Edwards to Obama. This election may come down to one question: Can Louisianans hate David Vitter more than they hate Barack Obama?

Edwards’ first general election spot warns viewers that Vitter “will spend millions of dollars lying about my record, my values, and my service to our country and our state.

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Morning Digest: Another poll gives Democrats a small edge in Kentucky with one week to go

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway

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KY-Gov: If Western Kentucky University’s new poll of the Bluegrass State’s gubernatorial showdown next week is right, then the RGA’s late decision to try to rescue Matt Bevin is not going very well at all. WKU finds Democrat Jack Conway with a 45-40 lead, while left-leaning independent Drew Curtis takes 7 percent of the vote. That leaves just 8 percent undecided, Bevin would have to capture three quarters of those who haven’t made up their mind just to catch up to Conway. Given that Curtis supporters are more likely to migrate in the Democratic direction, that’s a tall order indeed.

But as we well know, undecideds in a red state almost invariably lean Republican, as just about every pollster who tested the waters in Kentucky’s Senate race learned last year to the industry’s collective chagrin. That group included WKU, whose

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Morning Digest: GOP plan to travel back in time and kill Baby David Vitter almost succeeds

Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter

Louisiana Republican David Vitter

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: Whether Team Red likes it or not, Sen. David Vitter is their gubernatorial nominee. On Saturday, Louisiana voters went to the polls for the jungle primary and unsurprisingly, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards grabbed the first runoff spot with 40 percent of the vote. However, Vitter only beat Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a fellow Republican, 23-19 for the other runoff spot; GOP Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne took fourth place with 15 percent. The Vitter-Angelle battle was closer than most pollsters predicted: Only Market Research Insight showed Angelle within striking distance of Vitter in October.

Louisiana is a dark red state and Edwards won’t have an easy time winning on Nov. 21, but Vitter may have just what it takes to lose it all. The senator started 2015 with good favorable ratings, and it appeared that he’d put his

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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

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Morning Digest: It’s okay to do a little happy dance when you read this Sharron Angle news

Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle gestures during a televised Nevada Senate debate with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Las Vegas Public Broadcasting System studios in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 14, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA) - RTXTGFQ

Nevada Republican Sharron Angle

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NV-Sen: Jon Ralston reports that Sharron Angle, one of the worst GOP candidates of 2010, is considering another run for the Senate. Two legislators are circulating a letter urging her to get in, and Angle herself added a postscript admitting she is interested and telling would-be supporters, “Your financial support for this effort will make the decision much, much easier.”

Democrats would be beyond overjoyed if Angle somehow beat Rep. Joe Heck in the GOP primary, but that’s extremely unlikely. While Angle still has her supporters in the far-right, very few other Republicans have any interest in seeing her on another general election ballot after her last campaign. Indeed, as a March Daily Beast story shows, Angle has largely faded into obscurity since her loss to Sen. Harry Reid, and she’d have a very tough time raising money against the

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Morning Digest: RGA, in reversal, rushes in to save Matt Bevin with just two weeks to go

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin

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KY-Gov: Three weeks ago, the RGA unexpectedly stopped airing ads for Republican Matt Bevin. The group never publicly gave a reason, but it seems national Republicans felt that Bevin was running a weak campaign, and they didn’t want to send any more money his way until he shaped up. Bevin’s campaign doesn’t appear to have gotten any better: He’s still allowing Democrat Jack Conway to outspend him, and he almost missed his own fundraiser. But the RGA must see some sort of opening here, since they’re returning to Kentucky with a $1.6 million ad buy.

Unsurprisingly, the RGA’s first new ad is basically the same as every ad they’ve run in a red state since… oh, 2010. The narrator describes how awful things are (“Health care costs have skyrocketed, too many jobs have been lost…” you get the

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Morning Digest: Alabama Democrats to Artur Davis: Drop dead

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who delivered a nominating speech for U.S. President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, discusses his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the second session of the Republican

Ex-Democratic Rep. Artur Davis addressing the 2012 Republican National Convention

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Montgomery County, AL Commission: Artur Davis just can’t come home again. The Democratic-turned-Republican former congressman is trying to run for the Montgomery County Commission as a Democrat, but he needed to get the state party’s permission to do so. Under an Alabama Democratic Party law known as the Radney Rule, no one who has supported another party within the last four years may run as a Democrat. Davis, who memorably campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012 and mulled running for Congress in Northern Virginia as a Republican in 2013, asked the Executive Board of the State Democratic Executive Committee to waive the Radney Rule, but they rejected his proposal in a near-unanimous Friday vote.

Davis argued that since the party has accepted other party-switchers back into its ranks in recent years, they were obligated to

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Morning Digest: Alabama Democrats to Artur Davis: Drop dead

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who delivered a nominating speech for U.S. President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, discusses his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the second session of the Republican

Ex-Democratic Rep. Artur Davis addressing the 2012 Republican National Convention

Leading Off:
Montgomery County, AL Commission: Artur Davis just can’t come home again. The Democratic-turned-Republican former congressman is trying to run for the Montgomery County Commission as a Democrat, but he needed to get the state party’s permission to do so. Under an Alabama Democratic Party law known as the Radney Rule, no one who has supported another party within the last four years may run as a Democrat. Davis, who memorably campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012 and mulled running for Congress in Northern Virginia as a Republican in 2013, asked the Executive Board of the State Democratic Executive Committee to waive the Radney Rule, but they rejected his proposal in a near-unanimous Friday vote.

Davis argued that since the party has accepted other party-switchers back into its ranks in recent years, they were obligated to

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Morning Digest: Even Matt Bevin’s own poll shows him trailing in Kentucky

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin

Republican Matt Bevin

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: Ah, yes. We can now add Matt Bevin to the rarefied Hall of Shame for candidates who release internal polls showing them trailing their opponents. Bevin’s new survey, from Republican pollster Fabrizio Lee, finds him losing to Democrat Jack Conway by a 44-41 margin, with left-leaning independent Drew Curtis taking 11. This means that Bevin would have to scrape up all the remaining undecideds—all 4 percent of them—just to eke out a win.

Even sadder, Fabrizio’s poll included some axe-grindy message-testing questions along the lines of, “Would you rather vote for a Republican who opposes Obama’s policies or a Democrat who would be a rubber stamp for the president?” This kind of stuff might be helpful early in a campaign, but Election Day is just two weeks away. Does Bevin really think he can persuade voters to view Conway

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Morning Digest: PPP says, ‘Not so fast, Quinnipiac—Pennsylvania’s pretty competitive’

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) speak as they walk to the Senate Chamber to vote on legislation for funding the Department of Homeland Security on Capitol Hill in Washington March 2, 2015. Three days after lawmakers narrowly avoided a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security in a dispute over immigration reforms, the Senate voted 58-31 to send a

It’s another edition of our favorite series: Senators on escalators

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PA-Sen: Quinnipiac has painted a dire picture in Pennsylvania for Team Blue, with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey consistently leading his prospective Democratic foes by horrific margins. But with questions about the makeup of Quinnipiac’s samples, we’ve long thirsted for another pollster to go into the field in the Keystone State. And indeed, a new PPP survey finds a very different landscape: Toomey is ahead, yes, but he’s by no means unbeatable:

41-34 vs. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman
43-36 vs. former gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinty

41-38 vs. 2010 nominee Joe Sestak

PPP gives Toomey a weak 28-43 approval rating, very different from the 51-27 score Quinnipiac most recently found. Some of Toomey’s weakness is with Republican voters, who only approve of him by a 42-27 margin, but will likely come

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Morning Digest: GOP’s lament: Vitter’s winning the primary but losing the runoff

Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter

A new poll gives Louisiana Republican David Vitter a 16-point deficit against his likely Democratic foe

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: On behalf of the Lake Charles station KPLC and Raycom Media, Multi-Quest International (whom we’ve seen very little from over the years) surveys both the Oct. 24 jungle primary and the likely Nov. 21 runoff between Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter. Like every other pollster who has released numbers in the last few weeks, Multi-Quest has these two men easily taking the two runoff spots: Edwards and Vitter have 24 and 21 respectively, while Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle are stuck in the high-single digits.

The runoff numbers are a lot more interesting. Edwards posts an enormous 48-32 lead against Vitter among registered voters. This margin is even larger than a recent PPP survey for an anti-Vitter group that had the Democrat up

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Morning Digest: Ted Strickland keeps falling well short of his own fundraising goals

Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland

Leading Off:
OH-Sen: Democrat Ted Strickland has unveiled his quarterly fundraising total, and his haul remains unimpressive. Strickland brought in just $971,000, far less than GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s $2 million total during the same period. Portman holds an even scarier $11 million to $1.5 million cash on hand edge.

Portman has a well-earned reputation as a formidable fundraiser and he’s had a four-year head start on Strickland, so there was never any real question that the former governor would be outspent. Still, Strickland just can’t afford to be utterly buried on the airwaves next year if he wants to win. Recent polls from Quinnipiac and the Democratic group Harstad gave Strickland a 3-point lead, but he’s going to have a hard time holding onto that if he doesn’t have the resources to hit Portman or defend himself

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