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At least, that's what the Wall Street Journal is saying. Apparently, the GOP is unhappy with nominee Woody Jenkins, despite his solid right-wing credentials (with endorsements from the Club for Growth and Family Research Council), and they're debating how strongly to back their special-election nominee in an R+6.5 district.

Still, there is little enthusiasm for Mr. Jenkins among congressional Republicans, who view him as a second-tier candidate in what should be an easy victory for the party. The National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republicans' campaign arm, is weighing what resources to invest in the race.

Their Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has a more than 7-to-1 cash advantage, according to the most recent FEC reports. The DCCC had $38 million on hand as of mid-March, while the NRCC had $5.1 million. Similarly, Mr. Cazayoux has so far raised more than double the amount of his opponent. The DCCC has embraced his candidacy and will likely invest in the race if it unfolds as competitively.

A Republican aide said the NRCC will meet with Mr. Jenkins's campaign this week to discuss strategy and to outline financial benchmarks that the campaign will have to meet to receive the campaign committee's support. They are currently polling in the district as well. "We are aware of the challenges we face," said a House Republican aide, noting that a Jenkins victory "is doable, but it's difficult."

Wait...their candidate has to meet certain "financial benchmarks", for them to even consider swooping in and saving him from defeat in a strongly Republican district which hasn't elected a Democrat since the 1970s? It's surprising enough that this race is so competitive in the first place; are they serious about abandoning Jenkins if he doesn't kick his fundraising up a notch?

I suppose that's understandable in a way; the NRCC hasn't been reaching its own "financial benchmarks", so it is hardly in a position to compensate for Jenkins' lousy fundraising.

Still, I can't see how hoarding what little monies they have left would be worth the PR hit they would take for the future if they lost here. Hell, losing a district like this would seriously damage their fundraising ability going forward. Nobody likes backing a sure loser, and a loss here would indicate to one and all just how bad an investment it is to donate to the NRCC.

James at Swing State Project has an interesting take on this:

Now, I find it pretty hard to believe that the NRCC would give up on an R+6.5 Southern open seat so easily, even with Jenkins' shady ties to former KKK leader David Duke figuring prominently in just about every post-runoff news article on this race.    But if the GOP wants to game the expectations that winning this district -- one that hasn't elected a Democrat to Congress since the early 1970s -- is an uphill fight for them, well, that's their choice to make.

Like James, I can't really believe that the NRCC is seriously considering abandoning this district altogether. But the mere fact that they're trying to lower expectations here is instructive. Their polling hasn't been good, and Cazayoux's fundraising has far outstripped Jenkins'.

That this race is competitive at all speaks to a number of factors; Cazayoux has run a good race, Jenkins has proven a controversial candidate (ties to David Duke will do that to you sometimes), the general political environment is favorable for Democrats, and it's possible that an influx of Katrina refugees to the Baton Rouge area has made the district slightly more Democratic.

While the Republicans say that winning the race with Jenkins is "doable, but difficult", I still think it's tougher for us to win than it is for them, even in the current favorable environment. That said, it certainly seems like there's real cause for concern for them, and reason enough for us to be (very cautiously) optimistic.

Strangely enough, John Boehner had a good line about Republican woes here, again from the Journal article:

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said the election forecast for Republicans isn't as gloomy as some expect, although he acknowledged that Republicans are unlikely to close the cash gap with Democrats. "You can put all the lipstick on a pig you want, but we're not doing well" financially, he said Thursday.

Lipstick on a pig, indeed.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:31 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I thought that LA was supposed to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, SecondComing, FXDCI

    be safe for Republicans this year.  What's next, Utah?

    Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. --Molly Ivins

    by sap on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:33:36 AM PDT

    •  The LA Republican Party is doing better (7+ / 0-)

      than the National Republican Party, mostly because people really didn't like Blanco at all. She did not do a good job during Katrina. Also, we just elected Bobby Jindal, who is fairly popular here.

      It's not so much that the state is going blue as much as the fact that the dem candidate here is much, much better than Woody, who is a crazy. Dems are just running better candidates than republicans in LA right now.

  •  They're waiting for Ari Fleischer to save them (0+ / 0-)

    You know, "Freedom Swatch"?  The group bankrolled by that Vegas casino owner?

  •  I'm from New Orleans (13+ / 0-)

    and Jenkins is NUTS.

    The Tony Perkins snake handlers control the Republican Party in Louisiana. There was a better candidate, but the crazies HAD to have Woody. I think this is a pickup for the dems.

  •  It should be noted that (3+ / 0-)

    the last Democrat elected in the district (John Rarick) was more conservative than Henson Moore.

    So it's been at least 40 years since a reliable Democrat has been elected here.

    Jenkins might just lose everything except Livingston Parish if things go really badly.

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:35:44 AM PDT

    •  Is Livingston nutball territory? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      Or just strongly GOP?

      •  Strongly GOP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera
        Point Coupee, where Cazayoux is from is the strongly Democrat part of the district

        "Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education." - Rutherford B. Hayes

        by rdxtion on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:46:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A brief summary of Livingston (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mcfly, Crisitunity

        I think Livingston grew a lot due to white flight.

        But here's a summary of how it voted in gubernatorial elections.

        1. Jindal 67%
        1. Jindal 57, Blanco 43
        1. Foster 80, Jefferson 9
        1. Foster 86, Fields 14
        1. Duke 61, Edwards 39

        Cazayoux won 89.6-10.4 in Livingston over Michael Jackson.

        Overall, 67% of Louisiana voters are white, 29% are black. In the Democratic party, 54% are white and 43% are black.

        In Livingston Parish, 94% of voters are white, and 92% of Democrats are white. Making it the whitest parish in the state, in regards to the Democratic party registration.

        It definately says a lot about a parish when Jindal had have a great showing in 2007 to top David Duke's Livingston margin from 1991.

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:54:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  yup (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      this district -- one that hasn't elected a Democrat to Congress since the early 1970s --

      the last Democrat elected in the district (John Rarick) was more conservative than Henson Moore.

      That's correct. Rarick was primaried out by a more moderate Democrat, who then lost the General.

      Rarick went on to run for the presidential nomination of George Wallace's rump 3rd party, the AIP. I don't think he won, though.

      Both Rarick and Henson Moore are still alive. I wonder how many Congressional districts have three living former Representatives who served multiple terms apiece.

      A Republican is a person who says we need to rebuild Iraq but not New Orleans. - Temple Stark

      by Christopher Walker on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:47:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More Rarick stuff (2+ / 0-)

        He ran for President in 1976, and lost to Lester Maddox for the AIP nod. Then he lost to Livingston and someone whose name I can't recall in LA-1. The LA-1 winner (A Dem) resigned because of vote fraud accusations, and promptly lost a primary for a special election.

        Rarick went on to support David Duke (granted, Rarick was the only Congressman to go on the record in 1968 in supporting Wallace).

        Jeff LaCaze ended up losing due to vote machine pecularities and due to a revote where he lost decisively.

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:56:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  is VITTER going to resign? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, Phoenix Woman

    LA repubs have more then just a LA-06 problem....

    they have a senator who's name appeared in the private LIST of a DC Hooker ring.

    just a tiny while ago NY got a new governor becasue the FEDS decided to investigate Spitzers hooker usage....

    VITTER deserves to be treated in kind... but he wont, because Spitzers hookers were a danger to our government and the entire free world BUT vitter is just a horny dude with a diaper.

    "THE SURGE IS WORKING" is the 2008 replacement for "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"

    by KnotIookin on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:37:00 AM PDT

  •  So Cazayoux's got more $, better poll #.... (4+ / 0-)

    ...and his party's Congressional Committee is loaded to the gills with coin.

    Oh, yeah.  Sounds like a pickup to me!

  •  A win here would be epic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    I know the Hastert seat was a huge get for the Dems, but at the end of the day the seat was still in Illinois.

    There hasn't been a positive Democratic story to come out of Louisiana in about half a decade.

    Simply put, if we take this seat it's going to be EPIC.

    How's Barack stacking up against McCain? Find out at Obama-nate the Map!

    by Skulnick on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:42:27 AM PDT

    •  The numbers look good so far (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      Better polls, far more money, no known scandals (knock on wood).  

    •  I wouldn't read a Cazayoux win (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brittain33

      as an epic shift in Louisiana politics.  Cazayoux will probably win because (1) he is a conservative Dem in a conservative district (he'll take conservative positions on social issues); and (2) Jenkins is just a completely unacceptable candidate even to mainstream Repubs.  When he ran against Landrieu for Senate, it was the same kind of scenario.  He was just completely unpalatable to the establishment Repubs like the business community, and Landrieu was seen as a conservative Dem who was business friendly (and especially friendly to the oil and gas industry).  In that race, business and mainstream Repubs largely got behind Landrieu precisely because, as a conservative and business friendly Dem, she was an ok alternative.  I suspect the same thing will happen here, and I suspect that, had the Repub candidate not been Jenkins, who is considered crazy even by most Repubs, Cazayoux would have a much more difficult time. (Jenkins' opponent in the primary was a virtual unknown and I suspect that Jenkins won largely on name recognition.) Chalk this one up to the Repubs' inability to field an acceptable candidate for this seat.  It may not be an omen for Louisiana in November, especially with a pretty popular Repub governor who is still in his honeymoon phase.  

  •  Make the big fish SWEAT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing

    I think we should target the bigger fish in the GOP, because they will suck up the cash from all the other races. Republicans will eat their own to save their own necks, and even to keep from coming close to losing. We need to get the ones who are close to the cookie jar to raid it and leave the others to die in the tsunami.

    "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

    by racerx on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:44:54 AM PDT

  •  Some background (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Makesmeralph

    The Repub who used to hold this seat, Richard Baker (a turncoat Dem--he switched parties in 1986 while still serving in the state legislature) only faced one serious challenge in his 20-year career in this district.  Marjorie McKeithen, daughter of former governor John McKeithen, nearly defeated him.

    This seat has a Dem majority, as I understand it--but has a pretty strong social conservative tilt.

    Support our troops--end waterboarding!

    by Christian Dem in NC on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:49:00 AM PDT

    •  you say turncoat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brittain33

      but LA has a special culture when it comes to switching parties. People here do it ALL THE TIME. The main candidates for governor against Jindal were Boasso (former republican) and Georges (same, but ran as independent). Likewise, Kennedy, the R senate candidate, is a former dem.

  •  When are Democrats going to stop giving up? (3+ / 0-)

    Fight them EVERYWHERE.  +6.5?  That's NOTHING.  Hell, what's Wyoming?  Wyoming has a DEMOCRATIC Governor.

    We can WIN.

    WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
       But one ten thousand of those men in England
       That do no work to-day!

    KING. What's he that wishes so?
       My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
       If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
       To do our country loss; and if to live,
       The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
       God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

  •  Fund-raising benchmarks... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poliscizac

    Not so odd to be concerned about fund-raising when you consider that fund-raising provides some measure of a candidate's support in the district.  If you can't get people in your district to back you financially, can you get them to vote for you?

    Good candidates aren't always the fund-raising leaders, but they should get some support from the locals.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:56:00 AM PDT

  •  Is it worth winning? (0+ / 0-)

    If Cazayoux is just going to vote the wrong way on many important issues, is it worth winning the race just to add one more organizational vote?

    If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

    by Paleo on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:56:56 AM PDT

    •  Yes...Yes and triple Yes (5+ / 0-)

      A 50 state functioning democratic party cannot be uniformly ideological and it should look like America. Certain minimum beliefs are in order such as proper role of government in providing basic services etc but I don't want a party in which we are all of the same pot, that is what Gingrich gave the GOP and it only worked for a while until everyone saw them as uncompromising puritans. I happen to have a soft spot for those who can articulate their positions w/o making you feel less of a person and vice versa...to me Obama encompassess that approach as close as possible, evem though on many national issues we disagree (e.g. abortion, housing bailout, affirmative action etc). That is what made the Democratic party great and it should be the motto.

    •  Yes (5+ / 0-)

      Cazayoux (from his site)

      I am running for Congress because I think we need a new direction in Iraq. It's important that we bring our troops home responsibly and with honor.

      Jenkins (from his site)

      Woody supports the war on terror and President Bush's policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposes a fixed timetable for withdrawal.

    •  More than just an organizational vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poliscizac, RevJoe

      The most conservative Democrat in the House votes more progressively overall than the most liberal Republican by a mile.

      And Jenkins, if elected, would not be the most liberal Republican. He would be among the worst of the worst, right down there with Bachmann and Sali and Schmidt.

      I'd say a 55% blue dog is worth it over a 5% fringe-fringe wingnut.

      Plus we would get the public relations bonus of winning a supposedly red seat (in the South, no less!), going into the election. Foster's Illinois win will have ramifications beyond IL-14, leaking Democratmentum into other pickup opportunities in Illinois and elsewhere in the Midwest.  LA-6, if we can get it, would have similar consequences in the South.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 11:17:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If he wins does he get Super Del status? (0+ / 0-)

    And if yes does anyone know who he supports?

  •  Cazayoux will win this race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly

    The district is more democratic than Rodney Alexander's but less so than Charles Boustany's. Jenkins is a well honed right winger but his ideological leanings have turned off a lot of business minded Breaux-Bush voters. Cazayoux is more conservative than Chris John but he is tailor made for this district which has a sizeable rural part where he will win handily. I would project Cazayoux 53-47 give or take 2 points. If elected, expect him to be somewhere between Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis (who is more conservative than half the GOP house) and Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall.

    By Jan 2009, expect a Dem house of about 240-195 but more Cazayoux-type members in the caucus. Also, expect either Roy Blunt or John Boehner (more likely the former) to be ousted by the GOP.  

  •  And in Boehner's case, (0+ / 0-)

    it is more like bronzer on a pig

    There once was a man named mccain, who had the whole white house to gain, but he was quite a hobbyist of boning his lobbyist, so much for his 08 campaign. SC

    by christomento on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 11:00:51 AM PDT

  •  Donate. Volunteer. (0+ / 0-)

    Make it happen.

  •  We can win it, but can we hold onto it? (0+ / 0-)

    Was just wondering ... can Cazayoux hold onto this seat in November?  Valid question since so much of the old Dem base was washed out by Katrina.

    Either way, November should be a barnburner.

    Support our troops--end waterboarding!

    by Christian Dem in NC on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 11:11:35 AM PDT

    •  Democratic turnout in November will be high (0+ / 0-)

      I would expect the Democrats to do better in November than in May.

      As for the old Dem base getting washed out by Katrina, that was New Orleans, not Baton Rouge. We got many of those who fled New Orleans.

    •  We'll find out in November. (0+ / 0-)

      His chances have to be better if he wins the special election.

      Worst possible outcome, they have to spend money retaking it, that they can't spend in other competitive districts like AL-2 or GA-8.

      "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 11:48:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Louisiana (0+ / 0-)

      Louisiana tends to stand behind its incumbents once they get into office. Cazayoux will be able to start sending home benefits fairly soon.

    •  Yes he can (0+ / 0-)

      You've got your districts confused - Baton Rouge didn't lose voters - it gained a LOT of voters.  New Orleans and SW Louisiana lost a lot of voters.  Baton Rouge is quite a bit inland and wasn't badly affected by the hurricane season of 2005.

  •  I'm very excited (0+ / 0-)

    imagine, going into this election with a 235-200 majority!

    Sure Cazayoux isn't exactly the most progressive Democrat, but he's a Democrat and this is Louisiana where we're not supposed to win.

    •  I want the Republicans under 200. (0+ / 0-)

      I know they'll be there soon enough, but the psychological defeat will taste sweeter in summer.

      Our caucus is already bigger than anything Gingrich or Delay had from 1994-2006. And yet, the media still report the edge as "historically narrow."

      •  Well it is historically narrow (0+ / 0-)

        Democrats have had as many as 290 seats in the last century, but what was never reported or discussed was that the Republican majority of 1994-2007 was also very narrow. The widest it ever was, was 232-203 between 1995-1997 and 2005-2007. After tomorrow, we'll likely be at 234-201.

        •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

          I think the paradigm has changed now that parties are aligned more by ideology than geography and you don't have the Democrats containing liberals and conservative ex-confederates. A narrow margin with a consistent caucus is a lot more useful than a wide margin like Carter had to work with where some of the most conservative members of the Congress were in the Democratic caucus.

          Then again, look at the district we're all discussing here.

          •  Well unless I'm wrong (0+ / 0-)

            this district isn't one the Democrats had during Carter's Presidency...so there's an interesting fact.

            If we win here, we need to make some light of the fact a Democrat is representing Baton Rouge for the first time since Nixon's Presidency.  

  •  I worked the GOTV last Saturday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brittain33, mcfly, 23Progressive

    It was fun, and I think Cazayoux is going to pull this off.

    See my diary about it!

  •  Send Don Cazayoux some love (0+ / 0-)

    With a little help from us he can scare the republicans out of this race and put it away.

  •  Cazayoux got more Democratic votes... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crisitunity, LA rupert

    ...than Jenkins got Republican votes. I think the overall turnout was 35 thousand Democrats and 25 thousand Republicans. So that's very encouraging.

    A couple of things to keep in mind:

    • there are far more registered Democrats in the district than there are registered Republicans (297 thousand registered Dems in the district and 122 thousand Republicans).
    • Democratic turnout was only half that of Republican turnout (20% vs. 12%).
    • Lastly, it was a closed primary.

    JenKKKins puts all that in his pipe, smokes it and then dreams about all the Democratic voters who couldn't vote for him in the closed runoff who will flock to the polls in the special.

    Reality: I have to believe there are a greater number of moderate Republicans who cannot stand Woody JenKKKins and will happily cast their vote for Cazayoux in the special.

    In short, Cazayoux looks really good.

  •  Huh? Mixed metaphors, anyone? (0+ / 0-)

    "You can put all the lipstick on a pig you want, but we're not doing well" financially, he said Thursday.

    Unless Boehner plans on taking the pig to a really expensive restaurant, what does this have to do with anything? Or perhaps he's thinking of the long-term relationship with the pig ... which would account for the excessive amounts of lipstick he's planning to apply ...

    Or perhaps he's talking about his drag career, and one can only imagine how badly that must be going!

    McCain: "I think that clearly my fortunes have a lot to do with what's happening in Iraq" ... Buh-bye!

    by RevJoe on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 11:55:41 AM PDT

  •  Why on Earth.. (0+ / 0-)

    .. would they pick a candidate with connections to David Freaking Duke?!

    John Sidney McCain III is more afraid of "Peace" than "War" and he's asking for your vote.

    by SecondComing on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 12:41:54 PM PDT

  •  If we win this and LA-04 in November (0+ / 0-)

    Every out-state district in the state will have flipped parties since 2003. LA-1 and LA-2 can't move, but:

    LA-3: Dem pick-up when Billy Tauzin retired in 2004
    LA-4: Democrats have a strong candidate in a district about as competitive as this one, where Republican Jim McCrery's retiring
    LA-5: Democrat Rodney Alexander picked this seat up when the Republican goofball ran for Senate in 2002, only to switch to the Republicans in 2004
    LA-6: Baker to Cazayoux
    LA-7: Republicans won Chris John's district while he was running for Senate in 2004.

  •  I've Said It Before on Other Threads (0+ / 0-)

    This year match up is as important, or perhaps even more important than PVI.  The IL 14 race is exhibit A.  Where we have match ups with good candidates, and particularly with good candidates on their second try like Massa and Burner, the PVI becomes secondary.  I would like to see a diary focusing on the top ten or twenty match ups for November.

  •  I looked Jenkins up on Wikipedia (0+ / 0-)

    and saw he was a Dem for his first 22 years in the state legislature.  Just when I was about to think, "This guy used to be a Dem??????" I saw that he'd been a Young Republican in college.

    If he gets this seat, Louisiana will have (in the words of John Breaux) two confused politicians who put loyalty at the bottom of their list of priorities.

    Support our troops--end waterboarding!

    by Christian Dem in NC on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 01:21:14 PM PDT

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