Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk
• IL-Sen: Sen. Mark Kirk has the difficult task of running for re-election in Illinois next year as a Republican. He also has a day job on Capitol Hill that includes things like attending meetings of the Appropriations Committee and getting caught making cracks on mic that he wishes he hadn't made:
"I've been joking with Lindsey, cuz he doesn't have—did you see that?—have a rotating first lady. He's a bro with no ho. That's what we'd say on the South Side."
Kirk here is referring to Sen. Lindsey Graham's remarks the other day that he'll have a "rotating first lady" in the unlikely event he's elected president. Kirk, like Graham, is not married. The South Side
is a region of Chicago that is predominantly African American. Kirk, who is white, is pretending he's fit to channel black vernacular here. In April, Kirk declared
that he wanted to make sure "that the black community is not the one we drive faster through." This is a man with a serious problem.
• FL-Sen: Back in April, Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said he'd decide on a Senate bid "soon"; two months later, we're still awaiting his decision, though according to Politico, he's started staffing up.
Strangely, though, he's still keeping his sideline business active: a pair of hedge funds, one of which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, the other in Delaware. Grayson launched these funds after he lost his first re-election bid in 2010, and recently, he berated reporter Adam Smith as a "shitting robot" for asking about the optics of a would-be populist progressive running rich people's money in a notorious tax haven.
A colleague of Smith's, Kirby Wilson, has done some more digging and found some further oddities. Grayson claims he has no investors in the Cayman fund and says that documents filed with the SEC showing otherwise actually reflect his investors in the domestic entity. But if so, Wilson wonders, why would Grayson go to the trouble of forming the Cayman fund if he has "no investors, no investments, and no future plans to acquire any investors"?
Here's the weirdest part, though. Even though he returned to Congress in a different seat in 2012, Grayson not only hasn't shuttered his investment vehicles, but he says he'll continue to operate them even if he's elected to the Senate. It's difficult enough to manage the dual responsibilities of serving your constituents while running a statewide campaign. The idea of adding "hedge fund manager" to your list of titles—particularly if one of them is United States senator—is just hard to imagine.
• IN-Sen: Ex-Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh always seemed reluctant to retake his old seat (though he's an unpredictable enough guy that you never can be sure what he'll do) and it sounds like we can finally cross his name off the prospective candidate list. While Bayh hasn't said anything publicly, a source close to him tells The Hill that Bayh will instead be focusing on helping Hillary Clinton's White House bid.
Ex-Rep. Baron Hill is still the only notable Democrat running for this open Senate seat, but state Rep. Christina Hale is mulling a bid. However, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer are headlining a fundraiser for Hill later this month, a good sign that national Democrats think that Hill is the more electable candidate (and that they already knew about Bayh's plans). EMILY's List and the Human Rights Campaign are reportedly considering backing Hale, so she could have her own national support if she gets in. The Hill also tells us that John Dickerson, who ran a non-profit focused on developmental disabilities, is a potential Democratic candidate, though Dickerson has yet to say anything.
• NC-Sen: After spending the last two months publicly considering a bid against Republican Sen. Richard Burr, Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson has decided to seek re-election to the legislature instead. Jackson is young and has been getting the attention of local Democrats, so we probably haven't heard the last of him. However, his decision means that Team Blue will need to keep looking for a backup Senate candidate if ex-Sen. Kay Hagan declines. State Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue hasn't said no but he doesn't sound very excited, and the other possible contenders are only at Great Mentioner status.
• NV-Sen: At this point it would be a big surprise if Republican Rep. Joe Heck sat out the Senate race, but Heck himself is playing his cards close to his vest. The congressman said on Wednesday that his odds of running are "50-50 for now," and he only said that he'd decide "soon." Meanwhile, Heidi Gansert, who used to serve as chief-of-staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, has ruled out a bid.
• VT-Gov: After taking a few days to consider a second gubernatorial campaign, Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz announced that she wouldn't do it. Markowitz took third place in the very tight 2010 Democratic primary, trailing outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin by only 697 votes. Former state Sens. Doug Racine and Matt Dunne, who took a close second and fourth respectively, are among the many Green Mountain State Democrats thinking about running to succeed Shumlin.
• IA-03, 01: At the beginning of the year, ex-Democratic Gov. Chet Culver talked about running for either the swingy 3rd District or the bluer 1st, though he appeared to be leaning towards IA-01. But Culver seems to have turned his attention towards IA-03, where freshman Republican David Young has yet to draw a Democratic foe.
The National Journal's Lisa Hagen takes a look at Culver's plans, and there's a lot of skepticism from party activists. Culver lost his 2010 re-election bid by a brutal 53-43 margin (albeit against the popular Terry Branstad during a GOP wave), and labor is still angry with some of his actions as governor. Culver also hasn't done much to reach out to local Democrats. However, even his critics acknowledge that he has a strong fundraising base and that he wouldn't need to worry about name recognition.
• KS-01: Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp only turned back an underfunded primary challenge from the little-known Alan LaPolice by a 55-45 margin, and LaPolice has now announced that he'll seek a rematch. Physician Roger Marshall is already running, and there's a good chance that he and LaPolice will split the anti-Huelskamp vote and allow the incumbent to secure another term in this safely red western Kansas district. (Sadly, Marshall was not quoted muttering, "Fuck LaPolice!"). Huelskamp still has a bad relationship with agriculture interests and he could still be in real trouble if they spend big against him, but there's no guarantee they'll get involved here.
• MD-06: On Tuesday, Republican Del. David Vogt announced that he'll oppose Democratic incumbent John Delaney. Delaney had a very close call last year during the GOP wave, but he should have an easier time with presidential turnout in this Obama 55-43 district. But Delaney hasn't ruled out a Senate run, and an open seat may give Vogt a better shot.
• MI-01: Democrats are looking to target Republican Rep. Dan Benishek, who has consistently underperformed in this Romney 54-45 Northern Michigan seat. However, 2014 nominee Jerry Cannon hasn't made his plans clear at all, saying he'd decide by April and never following up, and the DCCC wasn't very happy with his last race. State Reps. Scott Dianda or John Kivela might be interesting candidates, but there's no sign that they're actually considering. However, via the local tipsheet MIRS, state Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson is attracting some attention as a potential contender. (This story is behind the paywall, but editor Kyle Melinn graciously made both it and the MI-11 item below available to us).
Johnson initially ruled out seeking this seat in March and he says that Cannon is still looking at it. But Johnson notably deflected MIRS' questions about his plans, and he's reportedly talked to both the DCCC and local activists about a run. Johnson lost a state House bid in 2012 in HD-103, but his relatively close 53-47 defeat in a district Romney carried 56-43 was notable, as was his $334,000 haul. There's also a chance that Benishek will face a credible primary challenge, though nothing's materialized yet.
• MI-11: Physician Anil Kumar invested plenty of his own money in his 2014 bid for this suburban Detroit seat, and he only narrowly lost the Democratic primary to national party favorite Bobby McKenzie. Team Blue is hoping they can give freshman Republican David Trott a real challenge before he can become entrenched, and Kumar's camp confirms that he's looking at running again. Romney won this district 52-47 so it looks flippable in a good Democratic year, but Trott is very wealthy and more-than-willing to spend his own money to win.
• NY-21: For reasons I won't pretend to understand, 2014 Democratic nominee Aaron Woolf says he's considering another bid against freshman Republican Elise Stefanik, and he expects to make up his mind by the end of the month. Woolf lost this ancestrally red swing-seat 55-34 last time, a horrible result even accounting for the GOP wave, and it's unlikely he'll do dramatically better even with New Yorker Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket. Former State Department official Mike Derrick also says he'll decide by the end of June, and local Democrats think he's serious about running.
• PA-06: This Romney 51-48 seat is one of those tough districts that Democrats will need to flip if they want any shot at a House majority anytime soon. Freshman Republican Ryan Costello pulled off a convincing win last year, but physician Joe Denham tells PoliticsPA that he's thinking about challenging him.
Denham became the first Democrat in decades to win a seat on the Board of Supervisors for West Whiteland Township (population 18,000), but he'll definitely have his work cut out for him in a seat that the Republican legislature worked hard to secure. Businessman Mike Parrish is also reportedly considering running, though he's been very quiet about his intentions. Local Democrats seemed enthusiastic about Parrish at the beginning of the year, while Denham admits he hasn't spoken to the DCCC yet.
• Akron Mayor: This year's contest attracted very little attention until a few months ago, but things have really gone off the rails here. Democratic Mayor Don Plusquellic looked safe to win an eighth four-year term, but he suddenly announced his resignation in early May, arguing that the Akron Beacon Journal was telling lies about his administration.
City Council President Garry Moneypenny became interim mayor and planned to run for a full term with Plusquellic's support. However, Moneypenny resigned after only a week on the job, admitting to a "too-personal encounter" with a city employee. The candidate filing deadline passed on Wednesday and needless to say, Moneypenny will not be on the mayoral ballot (nor will current interim Mayor Jeff Fusco). The Sept. 8 primary will pit six Democrats against one another, with the winner advancing to a November match with Republican attorney Ed Sipplen. The local media has identified Summit County Clerk of Courts Dan Horrigan as the Democratic frontrunner, though he won't have a clear path to victory.
The other notable Democrats are Councilor Frank Comunale, Councilor Mike Williams (who lost the 2011 primary to Plusquellic 57-43), and state Sen. Tom Sawyer. Sawyer reigned as mayor from 1984-1986 before being elected to Congress, where he was unseated by Tim Ryan in a 2002 primary. Sawyer managed to restart his career by winning a seat in the legislature, and now he's hoping to come full-circle. The awesomely-named Natural Hunka Kaboom and "mystery cowboy" Sage Lewis fill the roles as entertaining candidates who won't win. The Democratic nominee will be favored in November in this blue city, though Sipplen is hoping that the recent chaos will give him an opening.
• AZ Ballot: Both parties are waiting anxiously for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is constitutional, or if the GOP legislature can redraw the state's congressional lines. It's no secret that if the Republicans get the chance, they'll do whatever they can to make the Democratic-held AZ-01 and AZ-09 much redder and solidify their hold over AZ-02, and they've even hired a firm to start the process. But Reid Wilson at Morning Consult tells us that state Democrats are considering one option to at least delay things.
Team Blue is thinking about putting a measure on the November 2016 ballot that would require voters to ratify the new lines. Even if Arizonans side with the GOP, it could at least require the state to keep using the current congressional districts until the 2018 cycle. Because of low 2014 turnout, only 75,000 valid signatures would be needed to get a measure on the ballot, not too difficult for an organized campaign. But both sides are going to need to wait for the Supreme Court to make its ruling this month before they can proceed.
• San Antonio Mayor: The runoff between interim Mayor Ivy Taylor and ex-state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte is on Saturday, and it's still anyone's guess how it will end. Van de Putte has continued to dominate financially, posting a $399,000 to $122,000 spending edge from April 30 to June 3.
However, Bruce Davidson of the San Antonio Express-News writes that early voting looks good for Taylor. While both candidates are Democrats, Taylor's past opposition to a city nondiscrimination ordinance and her role in killing a streetcar project gives her a good base of support among Republicans. The conservative North Side is voting in disproportionate numbers, which isn't atypical for local elections.
However, Van de Putte's recent ad campaign that portrayed Taylor as weak on crime was largely aimed at convincing the incumbent's North Side Base to stay home, and it doesn't seem to have worked well enough. Van de Putte will need to do very well among Election Day voters, and possible bad weather could harm her chances. In any case, we'll find out soon enough who will lead America's seventh-largest city.
• Demographics: The race category on the Census that's the fastest-growing, and perhaps also the least-understood, is "two or more races." Pew Research has taken a deeper look at that segment of the population and found a lot of interesting information. One problem with the category is how porous it is: Many people are aware of having a mixed racial background, but still think of themselves as being one race in particular rather than multi-racial. In fact, 61 percent of persons with a multi-racial background don't identify with two or more races. Pew estimates that 1.4 percent of the nation's population overtly identifies as "two or more," but the number goes up to 6.9 percent of the nation's population when counting all people with multi-racial ancestries.
The most common combination, by far, may be a surprise to you: white and Native American, at 50 percent of all multi-racial persons. (In addition, black and Native American is second most-common, edging out white and black.) It may be a little less surprising when you think of Oklahoma, which is the state with the second-highest rate of multi-racial people (after Hawaii, which has a much smaller population). You can also see Oklahoma's influence when you look at Pew's table of the political preferences of various multi-racial groups. White/Native Americans are the only group that leans Republican, siding with the GOP at a 53-42 rate. White/black persons, by contrast, are Democratic by a 73-15 margin.
Pew also has a fascinating sidebar on the history of how the Census looked at multi-racial people. "Two or more" has been an option only since 2000. "Mulatto" was an option in the 19th century (with the 1890 Census even going so far as "quadroon" and "octoroon"), but most of the early 20th century stuck to, essentially, the "one-drop" rule. The article also discusses the evolution of the Hispanic and Asian categories in the later 20th century.
• International: We saw some exciting races last month in Alberta, where the left took power for the first time in 85 years, and in Britain, where the Conservatives defied the polls and won a majority. We have even more to see this year, and Stephen Wolf gives us a guide for upcoming international elections. One big contest to watch is in Canada, where Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper may finally lose power in October. Spain's December contest takes place at a time when anti-austerity parties are on the upswing.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, and Daniel Donner.