Prosecutors allege that Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican senators fend off recall elections during 2011 and '12, according to documents unsealed Thursday.Note that these documents came out because a federal appellate judge is currently reviewing a decision by a district court judge to halt the so-called "John Doe" investigation into these very same campaign finance practices. So it seems there's a very good chance that there will be more to come, especially if the appeals court rules that the investigation can start up again.
In the documents, prosecutors lay out what they call a "criminal scheme" to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top deputies — R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl.
The governor and his close confidants helped raise money and control spending through 12 conservative groups during the recall elections, according to the prosecutors' filings.
• LA-Sen: I always feel a bit of glee when I hear about the latest Republican effort to reach out to millennials, because it always winds up looking like a fixie got tangled up in a Cosby sweater and crashed into an accordion. (I'm looking at you, Scott Greenberg.) The newest effort comes from Generation Opportunity, a Koch tentacle supposedly designed to appeal to younger voters that's running a new ad attacking Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.
It's a pretty silly spot, featuring a roughly college-aged woman pushing a Landrieu stand-in around in a supermarket shopping cart, as both she and the narrator complain that "Landrieu" is spending too much at the expenses of the yoots. Here's the thing, though: Even if this ad contains an appealing message (which I seriously doubt), is its target audience ever even going to see it? The buy is for $450,000 on TV and $100,000 online, but I'm going to guess that most younger people will be hitting fast-forward, if they even encounter it at all.
• MS-Sen: Brett Favre is best known for his legendary playing career with the Green Bay Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, but the former NFL quarterback is also a native Mississippian. So he's come back (looking very gray and shaggy) to cut an ad on behalf of Thad Cochran for the Chamber of Commerce, praising him for supporting education and securing aid for the state after Hurricane Katrina.
Cochran's also got some new ads himself. In one, the narrator tries to beat it into voters' heads that McDaniel's dystopian budget cutting fantasies would really hurt the state by depriving it of huge sums for education and highways, which would lead to higher property taxes and worse roads. It's Cochran's main argument, but it's one that, despite its soundness, has run headlong into tea party fervor.
A second spot is narrated (a bit stiffly) by Cochran himself, filled with platitudes about people having "the right to make their own decisions without unnecessary interference from the government."
• NH-Sen: A new Suffolk University poll finds Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen beating Republican Scott Brown (late of Massachusetts) by a 49-39 margin, a wee bit tighter than Suffolk's 52-39 spread back in early March, but not much. It's also right around the polling average, too. You have to wonder what Brown's plan is here.
• CT-Gov: Connecticut's Republican primary for governor is now down to just two names. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is the latest to bow out, citing a failure to raise enough money to qualify for the state's public financing program. (He only needed to pull in $250,000, so that's pretty feeble.) That follows Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti's decision to drop down to the lieutenant governor's race, though he may not even qualify for that ballot. And previously, former West Hartford Councilor Joe Visconti opted to give up on the GOP altogether, instead trying to run as an independent.
That leaves 2010 nominee Tom Foley, who has his party's official endorsement, and state Senate Minority John McKinney, the son of the late Rep. Stewart McKinney. Foley has held wide leads in all the polling, and he's the heavy favorite, not least thanks to his personal wealth. And in quitting the race, Boughton actually called on the GOP to unite around Foley, despite the bad blood between the two, so McKinney looks very much like a longshot. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy in November.
• CA-31: Republican Lesli Gooch, the third-place finisher in the June 3 top-two primary, has decided to ask for a recount. Gooch wound up 209 votes behind Democrat Pete Aguilar for the second slot, a difference of about 0.4 percent. But while that might sound relatively small, as recounts go, this margin's quite large. That makes it extremely unlikely to get overturned, especially since election officials have already conducted an audit and "found no anomalies." What's more, the Gooch campaign will have to pay for each day's recount ahead of time, so as the results fail to shift, they're going to have to think hard about whether to keep shelling out cash every morning.
• NY-21: Republican pollster Harper Polling, apparently on behalf of itself, surveyed Tuesday's GOP primary in New York's 21st District and found former White House aide Elise Stefanik beating investment banker Matt Doheny 45-37. The only other poll of the race was an ancient Doheny internal from January that gave him an outside 49-13 lead thanks to the name recognition he acquired from two previous failed bids.
But the establishment, wanting a new face, has lined up behind Stefanik, and American Crossroads has nuked Doheny with $750,000 in negative ads and mail. Another pro-Stefanik group called New York 2014 (backed by 2006 GOP gubernatorial nominee John Faso) has shelled out another $366,000 on her behalf. It looks like all this spending has had its intended effect.
• VA-07: We've officially reached the point where there are more polls after the fact in the VA-07 primary election than there were before. One new poll is from a previously unknown firm called Silver Bullet (seems like a good low-risk way to get started, by polling a race that already happened), which finds that there was a lot of movement from Eric Cantor to David Brat in the final two weeks. That could explain how the polls from two weeks before the primary were so far off: Among Brat voters, 26 percent switched from Cantor in the last two weeks, and 18 percent didn't decide until the final two weeks when they opted for Brat. (Some 56 percent had supported Brat for more than two weeks.)
The other poll is from McLaughlin himself, who has a reputation to salvage. His basic conclusion is that "Eric Cantor's national standing gave the race a lot of local interest among many more voters than just past Republican primary voters, including politically interested Independents and Democrats as well," creating a much bigger likely voter universe than the one they actually worked with.
For instance, nearly half of the people who voted in the Republican primary weren't regular GOP primary voters; 13 percent reported they were Democrats and 33 percent were independents. Eleven percent claimed they usually vote in Democratic primaries, while another 11 percent said it was their first time voting in any primary. And while 68 percent of the sample plans to vote for Brat in the general, just 17 percent plans to vote for Democrat Jack Trammell.
These results square pretty well with the conclusions from Daily Kos Elections analyst dreaminonempty, that there were 6,000 to 11,000 Obama voters who crossed over to vote for Brat. In other words, there were enough Obama supporters to make the race very close on their own, and, when combined with Republicans who broke for Brat, enough to create a sizable margin for Brat. McLaughlin's own assessment was 7,300 to 13,000 crossover votes, depending on the metric used. (David Jarman)
• SC-LG: In a rather strange turn of events, a Democrat has now become South Carolina's lieutenant governor, even though Republicans control the entire state government. The chain of events here is a little convoluted, but the short version is that Republican Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell resigned in order to become president of the College of Charleston.
The next in line for the job was state Senate President Pro Tem John Courson, another Republican, but he didn't want to give up his Senate seat, especially since the lieutenant governorship will be filled again in the November elections. So Democratic state Sen. Yancey McGill agreed to become lieutenant governor, and his fellow senators unanimously elevated him to the post. He becomes the first Democrat to hold the job in 20 years, though if state Sen. Vincent Sheheen can pull off an upset this fall in the governor's race, it's possible state Rep. Bakari Sellers could do the same in the number two slot as well.
• CO-Sen: Planned Parenthood accuses GOP Rep. Cory Gardner of trying to erase his record, pointing out (as we have) that he's still a cosponsor of a fetal personhood bill, but it describes the legislation in an overly complicated way.
• MT-Sen: A paralyzed Iraq vet named John Bennett unloads on GOP Rep. Steve Daines, saying he "never served" and therefore doesn't understand that "the Pentagon treated us like second-class soldiers" when the Montana National Guard deployed to Iraq. Bennett says "[o]nly a piece of plywood protected my Humvee," but explains that Democrat John Walsh "went to bat for us" so that "other Montanans don't have to spend the rest of their lives like this ever again," as he glances at his wheelchair.
• GA-Gov: GOP Gov. Nathan Deal claims Democrat Jason Carter voted against increasing in education funding while he expanded it. A similar second spot says Carter voted in favor of Deal's education budgets until this most recent one that supposedly expanded it, blaming "politics." Carter responds in similar fashion, saying that Deal's cut education every year except this year, an election year.
• MI-Gov: The DGA tries to turn GOP Gov. Rick Snyder's claim that he makes "tough choices" back on him, saying his cuts to education and tax hikes "on retirement" have been "tough" on kids and seniors. The narrator abruptly shifts gears (complete with record scratch) to say that Snyder's pay hikes for his top staffers wasn't a tough choice.
• WV-03: Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall blasts Republican Evan Jenkins for wanting to privatize Medicare, featuring a quote of Jenkins saying that "seniors should have some 'financial skin in the game' and think harder about going to the doctor."
• Congress: While congressional leadership races are a bit outside our scope here at Daily Kos Elections, Paul Kane's look back at four historic fights for whip is very much worth a read, since it will enhance your understanding of how we've gotten where we are. The most significant battle was Newt Gingrich's narrow upset of Ed Madigan in 1989, a race that only happened because George H.W. Bush tapped Minority Whip Dick Cheney for defense secretary after John Tower's nomination was rejected by Democrats. That of course set Gingrich up to eventually seize the speakership, but really, read the whole piece—there's much more there, and it's all fascinating.
We have Oklahoma's state House and state Senate broken down by the presidential race. Aside from a brief period from 1921 to 1922, Democrats held the majority in the House from statehood until the 2004 elections. However, it'll be a very long time before Team Blue has the chance to retake the chamber. Mitt Romney won Oklahoma 67-33 while carrying 93 out of 101 districts, and Republicans hold a 72-29 supermajority. Interestingly, former Republican House Speaker and current Senate candidate T.W. Shannon represents the most evenly divided seat: His Lawton City-area seat only went for Romney 51-49.
Democrats, though, still hold 20 seats Romney won, with the reddest being HD-01 at 76-24 Romney. As an upcoming map from Stephen Wolf will visualize, Democrats still retain a good deal of strength in the Little Dixie region of eastern Oklahoma, an ancestrally blue and culturally Southern part of the state. However, it's only a matter of time before Republicans make deeper inroads into this conservative area and put Democrats even further into the minority.
Republicans took their first-ever majority in the state Senate in 2008, and have since transformed it into a supermajority. Romney carried 44 out of 48 seats, and Republicans hold a 36-12 edge. Democrats still control six Romney seats, with the reddest being SD-26 at 74-26 Romney. There is only one real swing seat in the chamber, the Norman-area SD-16: Obama won it 51-49, and it's held by Democrat John Sparks.
We also have Illinois calculated by state House and state Senate. Republicans held the House for a few brief years in the 1980s and '90s, but the chamber is solidly Democratic now. Obama carried his home state 58-41 and took 75 out of 118 seats. Democrats hold a 71-47 edge, the exact number they need to override gubernatorial vetoes. Team Blue will be looking to preserve its delicate supermajority, especially with Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in real danger of losing re-election to Republican Bruce Rauner.
Republicans hold nine Obama seats, while Democrats have five Romney districts. The bluest seat represented by a Republican is HD-20 at Obama 53-46, which is also the only Chicago-area seat held by the GOP. The reddest seat served by a Democrat is HD-117 in the southern part of the state. The district went for Romney 60-40, but Democrat John Bradley is running without any opposition this year.
Each state Senate district is made up of two nested House seats. The Republicans held the state Senate from 1992 to 2002, but Democrats have since been firmly in the majority there as well. Former state Sen. Barack Obama carried 38 out of 59 seats in his 2012 presidential re-election bid, and Democrats hold an intimidating 40-19 edge there. Team Blue needs 36 seats to override a veto. Democrats hold all of Obama's seats plus two of Romney's, but neither Democrat in a red seat is up for reelection this year. Unsurprisingly, Obama's former Senate seat isn't going anywhere. SD-13, which has been represented by Kwame Raoul since Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, went for its old senator 89-10. (Jeff Singer)