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: 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: 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: Racist RNC committeeman hoping to embarrass GOP with congressional bid

RNC Committeeman Dave Agema

Apparently, RNC Committeeman Dave Agema hasn’t caused the GOP enough trouble yet

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MI-01: Several notable Republicans are considering a bid for this open Northern Michigan seat, and RNC Committeeman Dave Agema is the latest to express interest. Agema has a habit of drawing headlines, and not in a good way. Back in January, the RNC voted to censure the former state representative over his habit of reposting racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim content on Facebook.

Among many other things, Agema shared a post arguing that African Americans “are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.” Agema claims he didn’t necessarily agree with what he was sharing, though few people believe him. The RNC also demanded that Agema resign and encouraged the Michigan GOP to look for ways to get rid of him, but he remains at his post.

Agema’s old

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Morning Digest: Democrats flip dark red Oklahoma state House seat once held by Republican governor

Oklahoma Democratic state Rep. Cyndi Munson

Democratic state Rep.-elect Cyndi Munson

Leading Off:
OK State House: Something pretty crazy happened on Tuesday night in Oklahoma: Democrat Cyndi Munson defeated Republican Chip Carter 54-46 in a special election for a state House district that Mitt Romney carried by an overwhelming 61-39 margin in 2012. Republicans have held the seat for over 50 years, and Munson ran for it last year but lost by 13 points. So pretty nuts, huh?

And this isn’t some seat in the ancestrally Democratic region known as Little Dixie in Oklahoma’s southeast, where Democrats used to regularly win; rather, the 85th House District is in the northern suburbs of Oklahoma City. What’s more, it was once occupied by the state’s current governor, Republican Mary Fallin. But Democrats have long believed that the demographic trends in OKC have been heading in their direction, and that belief finally bore fruit.

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Morning Digest: Why Kelly Ayotte’s lead might be temporary

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) gives a thumbs down to the Obama administration as she addresses the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012 REUTERS/Mike Segar

New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte

Leading Off:
NH-Sen: The first worthwhile independent poll of New Hampshire’s Senate race in many months comes from Marist, which finds GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte leading Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan by a 50-42 margin. That’s a big shift from February, when Marist had Hassan up 48-44, but it’s also close to where a pair of Republican pollsters (Tarrance and Fabrizio Lee) have recently seen the race.

It’s temping to conclude that Hassan’s been hurt by her ongoing budget fight with Republicans in the legislature, who are dragging things out as long as possible to dirty up Hassan and keep her out of the Senate game. That’s true, but incomplete as explanations go, because Hassan still has a very positive job approval rating of 57-35. That’s down from her astronomical 70-24 score in February, but most pols would kill to have a

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Morning Digest: America’s most gerrymandered district is about to get flambéed

Florida's 5th Congressional District (2013-2017)

Florida’s current 5th Congressional District, in all its snake-like glory

Leading Off:
FL-05: While we know much less than we don’t know as far as the fate of Florida’s congressional map is concerned, one thing’s for sure: Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown is hosed. Long before the state Supreme Court’s decision this month that struck down the current district lines, Brown’s serpentine abomination of a district had drawn heaps of scorn, as well as derision from every Democrat not named Corrine Brown. That’s because the 5th takes in just about every black voter it can find along an absurd 200-mile corridor from Jacksonville to Orlando, “bleaching” neighboring districts and making them safer for Republicans.

Brown’s tried to hang on for dear life, though, and even joined with Republicans in an unsuccessful lawsuit to strike down the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” amendments Florida voters passed into law back in 2010.

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: What’s going on with Beau Biden?

Attorney General Beau Biden (D-DE) (L) and Vice Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) gesture on stage at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado August 27, 2008. U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is expected to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the convention on August 28.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie            (UNITED STATES)   US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008  (USA) - RTR21RH5

Possible Delaware gubernatorial candidate Beau Biden with his father Vice President Joe Biden

Leading Off:
DE-Gov: It’s still anyone’s guess if former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, will run for governor next year. Biden, a Democrat, took a job at the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer in January and is now expanding his work there, which is usually not something you do in preparation for a gubernatorial bid.

The firm’s co-founder says that Biden’s move “doesn’t change anything for him politically. He will make an excellent governor,” but Biden’s camp has said little about his political aspirations in months. Biden himself kept a very low profile even before leaving office early this year, and he doesn’t appear to be taking any steps to prepare for a campaign. There has also been speculation that Biden’s health hasn’t been good, and

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: A tea-partying ghost may haunt New Hampshire GOP again

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) gives a thumbs down to the Obama administration as she addresses the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012 REUTERS/Mike Segar

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte may need to watch out for an old primary rival

Leading Off:
NH-Sen: Back in 2010, tea partier Ovide Lamontagne very nearly joined the ranks of nutter Senate nominees Republicans wished they weren’t stuck with (like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle) when he almost upset Kelly Ayotte in that year’s GOP primary in New Hampshire. Ayotte, the undisputed establishment choice, scraped by with a super-thin 38-37 victory, then powered on to a huge 60-37 win against Democrat Paul Hodes in November. Given how badly Hodes performed, Lamontagne likely would have won anyway, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of causing trouble for his own party.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, James Pindell reported that Lamontagne “has not ruled out a primary challenge to Ayotte,” and boy would that be fun. Throughout her four-year tenure, Ayotte has generally behaved as though she recognizes the challenges of getting re-elected in a swing state, which means she’s made herself vulnerable on her right flank. (She’s earned conservative ire for supporting immigration reform, for instance, and lately she’s been trying to moderate her voting record on environmental issues.)

A Lamontagne-Ayotte fight would offer up some glorious cat fud, and it could only damage GOP chances of hold this seat next year, especially if popular Gov. Maggie Hassan runs for the Democrats. Team Blue can only hope.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Rahm softens his image by allegedly screaming his head off

Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel gestures after speaking to supporters during an election night party in Chicago February 22, 2011. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel will be the next mayor of Chicago, winning more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday to avoid a run-off. Emanuel will take the helm of the nation's third-largest city and President Barack Obama's hometown in May after Mayor Richard Daley, who has been in office for 22 years, retires.  REUTERS/Frank Polich (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR2IYWM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Leading Off:
Chicago Mayor: Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s supporters acknowledge that at times he can be… a little abrasive. Rahm himself recently ran a spot arguing that while he has his flaws, he uses his stubbornness to fight for Chicago. But there’s a fine line between being an asshole for justice and just a plain old asshole, and he may have crossed it on Wednesday.

The Mental Health Movement writes on their Facebook page that two of its members, Debbie Delgado and Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, criticized Rahm during a meeting for shuttering clinics. They describe a heated conversation, culminating with the mayor yelling “YOU’RE GONNA RESPECT ME!” Rahm’s spokesman acknowledges the meeting took place, but says things “ended very cordially.”

There’s no known recording of the alleged outburst, so we can’t verify what happened one way or another. It’s definitely not a good story for the incumbent though, who is already locked in a runoff with Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. While it won’t surprise any voters to learn that Rahm has a temper, there’s a big difference between him screaming at political operatives or congressional Republicans and him attacking people advocating for more mental health clinics.

Rahm is too well-funded and formidable to ever count out though, and he’s about to turn his Death Star on Garcia. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports that the mayor and his allies are about to launch a massive advertising barrage aimed at portraying Garcia as an ineffective longtime politician. The spots will also depict Rahm as someone who has been willing to make tough choices for the greater good. Rahm’s team executed a few late attacks on Garcia before the February primary, but it looks like Chicago viewers can expect wall-to-wall hits from now until April 7.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: A wounded Rahm tries to show he’s not bleeding ahead of runoff

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel puts on his jacket as he steps out of a phone bank, on election day in Chicago, Illinois, February 24, 2015. Emanuel is expected to easily take first place in Tuesday's municipal election, but polls show he may miss the 50

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Leading Off:
Chicago Mayor: If you’re a mayor locked in a competitive battle for re-election, one of the last things you want to hear is that your city’s bond ratings have been downgraded. But that’s just what Mayor Rahm Emanuel found out on Friday. Rahm is vulnerable in large part due to the perception that the local economy is weak, and this certainly isn’t going to help him in the April 7 runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Nevertheless, Rahm’s allies are trying to project strength going into April. Global Strategy Group, polling on behalf of the pro-Rahm super PAC Chicago Forward, gives the incumbent a 50-40 lead over Garcia. A few days ago, Rahm outpaced Garcia 45-34, and it seems a bit hard to believe that Rahm has picked up this much support so quickly. It’s also worth noting that back in January, Rahm’s campaign released a poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner showing him hitting 50 percent in the primary, something that obviously didn’t happen. Still, if Garcia’s team shows a tighter race, they should release those numbers to help convince outside groups that they have a path from 34 percent to victory.

And sure enough, one powerful group that remained on the sidelines during the primary is reassessing its strategy. The SEIU Local 1 has had its share of conflict with Rahm over the last four years, but the group has also praised the mayor’s stance on the minimum wage. SEIU Local 1 stayed neutral during the primary but they’re considering endorsing one of the two remaining contenders. The organization has plenty of money to spend and is very organized, and its support can make a big difference in April. We’ll see what they do, and if other Rahm skeptics start to smell blood and decide to get involved.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: DSCC tries to clear field for Harris, but others still looking


Leading Off:

CA-Sen: On Tuesday, Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris officially kicked off her campaign to succeed Barbara Boxer, and she quickly drew a favorable response from national Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a press release praising Harris; it also served as a message to her would-be opponents that they should stay out and avert a long primary that could suck up finite Democratic money.

So far though, a trio of her would-be Democratic opponents aren’t budging. Shortly after Harris’ announcement Rep. Loretta Sanchez released a statement reiterating that she is “seriously considering” a run. Sanchez has been looking at higher office for a long time and was interested in a 2010 gubernatorial bid before it became clear that Jerry Brown had the nomination locked up. The congresswoman has been seeking endorsements and securing financial commitments, and she seems very serious about going for a promotion this cycle. Sanchez is a member of what’s left of the Blue Dog Coalition and would definitely be a far less dependable progressive vote than Boxer has been.

Billionaire Tom Steyer also publicly confirmed for the first time that he’s interested in this seat. Steyer only said that he’ll decide “soon,” though his allies hint that he’ll make up his mind by the end of the week. Sources close to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also made it clear that he’s still considering a bid. There are several other Democratic candidates who are mulling over bids: dreaminonempty gives us a visual guide to who may run and who has said no above. There’s little doubt that Harris starts out as the frontrunner and she probably will scare many of these candidates out of running, but she won’t have a clear shot at this seat.

Ironically, this may not even be the seat Harris originally coveted. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt has some great back story on Lt. Gov.

Continue reading “Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: DSCC tries to clear field for Harris, but others still looking”

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Sen. Barbara Boxer retirement announcement sets off a wild race

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks, as Attorney General of California Kamala Harris (front L) stands nearby, at a news conference to announce the creation of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in Los Angeles May 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS) - RTR2MSZV

Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, two of the many prospective Democratic Senate candidates

Leading Off:
CA-Sen: On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer officially announced her retirement after four terms. Boxer’s departure was long expected, but it will nevertheless set off an unpredictable race to succeed her.

Under California election law, all the candidates will run on the same ballot in the June primary. The top-two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. In this very blue state most of the action is expected to be on the Democratic side, and it’s possible we could have a Democratic vs. Democratic general election. It’s also possible, if not likely, that top-two candidates could both be Republicans if too many Democrats split the vote.

There’s really no shortage of candidates who could run in this giant state. Boxer and her Democratic Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein have been in office since 1992, and ambitious candidates haven’t had much of an opportunity for advancement. Plenty of would-be contenders are eying the race, though some may wait until 2018 when Gov. Jerry Brown is termed-out and Feinstein is likely to retire as well.

Two Democrats have been getting the lion’s share of attention for this seat: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris. Either may run, but probably both of them won’t. The Washington Post has a few good reasons why.

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Sen. Barbara Boxer retirement announcement sets off a wild race

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaks, as Attorney General of California Kamala Harris (front L) stands nearby, at a news conference to announce the creation of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in Los Angeles May 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS) - RTR2MSZV

Attorney General Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, two of the many prospective Democratic Senate candidates

Leading Off:
CA-Sen: On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer officially announced her retirement after four terms. Boxer’s departure was long expected, but it will nevertheless set off an unpredictable race to succeed her.

Under California election law, all the candidates will run on the same ballot in the June primary. The top-two vote-getters, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. In this very blue state most of the action is expected to be on the Democratic side, and it’s possible we could have a Democratic vs. Democratic general election. It’s also possible, if not likely, that top-two candidates could both be Republicans if too many Democrats split the vote.

There’s really no shortage of candidates who could run in this giant state. Boxer and her Democratic Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein have been in office since 1992, and ambitious candidates haven’t had much of an opportunity for advancement. Plenty of would-be contenders are eying the race, though some may wait until 2018 when Gov. Jerry Brown is termed-out and Feinstein is likely to retire as well.

Two Democrats have been getting the lion’s share of attention for this seat: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris. Either may run, but probably both of them won’t. The Washington Post has a few good reasons why.

Continue reading “Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Sen. Barbara Boxer retirement announcement sets off a wild race”

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: A Republican retirement opens up a swing seat in Pennsylvania

Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick

Retiring Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick

Leading Off:

PA-08: Woohoo! We already have our first retirement in a competitive House district for the 2016 elections—and it’s good news for the blue team. GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had long promised to limit himself to four terms in Congress, and shortly after winning re-election last week, he reaffirmed his pledge. That opens up the swingy 8th District, which Barack Obama carried 53-46 in 2008 but lost by just one tenth of one percent in 2012, 49.4 to 49.3.

Republicans tried to shore up this suburban Philadelphia seat during the last round of redistricting, but they didn’t make dramatic changes; under the old lines, Obama won in 2008 by a slightly wider 54-45 spread. That means this district will be hotly contested in two years’ time, especially when Democrats can expect to receive a boost from presidential-year turnout.

So who can we expect to show up here? For Democrats, one intriguing option would be ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy (aka Patrick Murphy 1.0), who unseated Fitzpatrick in 2006 but lost to him in 2010. However, Murphy also lost a primary in the state attorney general’s race in 2012, so with two straight losses, he may prefer to stick with his current gig as an attorney/MSNBC commentator for a while, especially since he’s only 41.

Other possibilities include state Rep. Steve Santarsiero and 2014 candidate Shaughnessy Naughton. Naughton narrowly lost in the primary to Iraq vet Kevin Strouse, but Pennsylvania Democrats seem more excited about her future than his, especially after the 62-38 drubbing Strouse took at Fitzpatrick’s hands on election night. As for Republicans, their most prominent potential candidate is outgoing Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who just got turned out of office along with Gov. Tom Corbett. Other potential GOP candidates include: Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery, state Rep. Scott Petri, and Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who wouldn’t have to give up his seat in order to run.

This is definitely going to be a top-tier race, so stay tuned to Daily Kos Elections as we cover this and every other competitive contest around the nation throughout the 2016 election cycle.

2016 begins now: First competitive House seat opens up with GOP retirement in Philly suburbs

U.S. President George W. Bush signs S. 3850, The Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006, in the White House Oval Office, in Washington, September 29, 2006. Standing with President Bush, are bill sponsors Sen. Richard Shelby, (R-AL) (L), and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, (R-PA). The legislation removes the Securities and Exchange Commission from the process of approving certain rating agencies as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY REUTERS/Eric Draper/White House/Handout (UNITED STATES) - RTR1HVFE

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (at right), during his salad days

Woohoo! We already have our first retirement in a competitive House district for the 2016 elections—and it’s good news for the blue team. GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had long promised to limit himself to four terms in Congress, and shortly after winning re-election last week, he reaffirmed his pledge. That opens up the swingy 8th District, which Barack Obama carried 53-46 in 2008 but lost by just one tenth of one percent in 2012, 49.4 to 49.3.
Republicans tried to shore up this suburban Philadelphia seat during the last round of redistricting, but they didn’t make dramatic changes; under the old lines, Obama won in 2008 by a slightly wider 54-45 spread. That means this district will be hotly contested in two years’ time, especially when Democrats can expect to receive a boost from presidential-year turnout.

So who can we expect to show up here? For Democrats, one intriguing option would be ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy (aka Patrick Murphy 1.0—not to be confused with Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy, aka Patrick Murphy 2.0), who unseated Fitzpatrick in 2006 but lost to him in 2010. However, Murphy also lost a primary in the state attorney general’s race in 2012, so with two straight losses, he may prefer to stick with his current gig as an attorney/MSNBC commentator for a while, especially since he’s only 41.

Other possibilities include state Rep. Steve Santarsiero and 2014 candidate Shaughnessy Naughton. Naughton narrowly lost in the primary to Iraq vet Kevin Strouse, but Pennsylvania Democrats seem more excited about her future than his, especially after the 62-38 drubbing Strouse took at Fitzpatrick’s hands on election night. As for Republicans, their most prominent potential candidate is outgoing Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who just got turned out of office along with Gov. Tom Corbett.

This is definitely going to be a top-tier race, so stay tuned to Daily Kos Elections as we cover this and every other competitive contest around the nation throughout the 2016 election cycle.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: The RSC budget lurks like a depth charge for GOP Senate hopefuls

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Leading Off:
AR-Sen: Writing at Vox, Andrew Prokop astutely reminds us that GOP Rep. Tom Cotton voted last year for the ultra-dystopian Republican Study Committee budget—a bill so extreme that Democrats voted “present” to try to rope-a-dope the GOP into passing it. (It almost worked.) As Prokop points out, the RSC budget includes much harsher cuts than even the Ryan plan, centered around raising the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age to 70. Pryor’s gearing up to assault Cotton on entitlements, and the RSC vote gives him a whole lot of extra fodder.

Several other House members seeking promotion to the Senate are in the same boat. Rep. Cory Gardner (Colorado), Rep. Jack Kingston (Georgia), and Rep. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) were all “ayes” on the RSC plan. (On the “nay” side were Montana Rep. Steve Daines and West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.) Democrats Mark Udall, Michelle Nunn, and Mary Landrieu will only be too happy to join Pryor in beating up their Republican opponents over the RSC budget.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: No-post primary bounce for Tillis in North Carolina

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Leading Off:
NC-Sen: PPP’s first post-primary poll in North Carolina tells us we’re in for a weird election this year. For the first time, PPP included third-party candidate Sean Haugh, who just won an incredibly rare Libertarian primary over ultra-nutter Tim D’Anunnzio, and they find Haugh taking a huge 11 percent of the vote. Consequently, both major-party nominees are in the 30s, with Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leading Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis by a 38-36 spread. That’s the same as the 2-point edge she sported a month ago, so Tillis hasn’t gotten any kind of post-primary bounce.

Of course, as every poll-watcher knows, Haugh is almost certain to earn a smaller share of the vote on Election Day. But Libertarians have been playing a bigger role in recent years, often to the detriment of Republicans, and it’s not unreasonable to imagine Haugh could pull down 5 or 6 percent of the vote. In Montana’s 2012 Senate race, for instance, a Libertarian took 6.6 percent, far in excess of Jon Tester’s 3.7 percent margin of victory. And last year in the Virginia governor’s race, Libertarian Robert Sarvis captured 6.5 percent—again, much more than Terry McAullife’s final 2.5 percent win.

And PPP’s numbers do indeed demonstrate that Haugh is hurting Tillis more than Hagan. When Haugh’s supporters are re-allocated based on which candidate they lean towards, Tillis moves into a 41-41 tie with Hagan. That could make all the difference in a close race, as this one seems apt to be. What’s more, as Tom Jensen points out, the undecideds actually are a Dem-leaning group. They went 55-37 for Obama, which is unusual in a red state. So Tillis can’t simply expect to hoover these voters up—he’ll actually have some persuading to do. And given how far he lurched to the right to win the GOP primary, that may not be so easy.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Ollie Koppell launches campaign against turncoat Dem Jeff Klein

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Leading Off:

NY State Senate: Former New York City Councilman Oliver Koppell, who had been considering a primary challenge to turncoat Democratic state Sen. Jeff Klein for some time, made his bid official on Monday. Klein is the leader of a pack of renegade Democrats, known as the Independent Democratic Conference, that caucuses with the GOP, giving Republicans control of the state Senate even though they’re in the minority. Klein’s naked power-grab has thwarted a whole host of progressive legislation, such as the state-level DREAM Act, motivating the 73-year-old Koppell to ride out one final time on behalf of his party.

Koppell has a very tough race ahead of him, since Klein is a tremendous fundraiser and already has over $1.5 million in the bank. But Koppell can certainly win the September primary, and what’s more, he’ll pin down Klein, who is sure to prioritize saving his own neck ahead of the rest of the IDC. That’ll make it easier for mainstream Democrats to go after other members of the IDC, such as state Sen. Tony Avella, who could receive a challenge from former New York City Comptroller John Liu. But no matter what else unfolds, the fight for the soul of the New York Democratic Party is officially on.

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Texas and California are swapping citizens in near-equal numbers

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Demographics: The Census Bureau released a slew of data on state-to-state migration on Monday showing that Americans have become significantly less mobile than they used to be, with just 11.7 percent moving in the last year, near historic lows. That’s interesting in itself, but if you’re wondering where people are going, a new data visualization from analyst Chris Walker really makes the numbers pop.

Instead of a boring bar chart, Walker offers a dazzling pinwheel of webs between states. Walker’s version is interactive, and you should click through to play with it, but here’s a still to give you a taste:

Graph of migration data

If you want to drill down to a particular state, you can mouse over each state and see individual links to other states. For instance, contra conservatives claims, not everyone in California is moving to Texas. In fact, nearly as many Texans are moving to California as Californians are moving to Texas, and nearly as many Californians are moving to Washington as they are to Texas.

Atlantic Cities also has some more stationary images, like the one above, as well as a brief interview with Walker. (David Jarman)