● FL-05: Unless Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown can pull off a longshot legal victory and convince a federal court to preserve her current gerrymandered seat, she's going to be running for re-election in a district full of Tallahassee voters who don't know her. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger numerous times but until now, he's stayed quiet about his 2016 plans. However, the mayor's political advisor Kevin Cate says that Gillum is considering running for this safely blue seat.
Gillum is well-connected and if he gets in, he can definitely give Brown a hard time. Unlike many incumbents, Brown has very little money in the bank, while Gillum should be able to raise the moola he'd need. And while Brown's Jacksonville base contains far more registered Democrats than the Tallahassee area, Florida redistricting expert Matthew Isbel tells us that Tallahassee's Leon County and nearby Gadsden County would make up about 44 percent of the primary electorate in the new district. By contrast, Jacksonville would be expected to cast only about 37 percent of the primary vote.
However, it's far from guaranteed that Gillum will be the only Tallahassee candidate challenging Brown. Ex-state Sen. and 2012 2nd District nominee Al Lawson has also talked about running here and if he takes some votes from Gillum, that's very good news for Brown.
While Brown has her defenders, plenty of Democrats will be far from devastated if Gillum unseats her. GOP mapmakers threw as many African American voters as they could into Brown's old district in order to make it easier for Team Red to hold other Central Florida seats, an arrangement that benefited very few Democrats who weren't named Corrine Brown. Brown joined with Republicans to unsuccessfully fight to keep their map intact and protect her horrifically gerrymandered seat.
Brown's apostasies aren't limited to redistricting either. In September, Brown refused to vote for a Democratic proposal that would have extended federal benefits to same-sex veterans' spouses. By contrast, Gillum is frequently mentioned as a rising star in a swing state where Democrats need to build up their bench, and he'd benefit from a promotion to the House.
● LA-Sen: It's going to be very difficult for Team Blue to score a pickup in a federal race in a state as conservative as Louisiana, but Democrats have a few options for this open seat contest. LAPolitics' Jeremy Alford recently noted that Democrats were looking to recruit ex-U.S. Attorney Don Cazayoux, and he mentions a few other prospective names.
One possible candidate is state Sen. Greg Smith, who is capable of doing some self-funding. Smith just won re-election without opposition in a 55-43 Romney seat, so he does have some experience winning over the type of crossover voters Democrats would need. Another possibility is Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell. Campbell ran a forgettable 2007 gubernatorial campaign and briefly flirted with another bid this year. There's no word if Smith or Campbell are interested in running for David Vitter's open seat.
Alford also mentions Caroline Fayard, who he says is reportedly looking at running. Fayard comes from an influential political family, and she raised a respectable amount of money for her losing 2010 lieutenant governor campaign. Fayard considered running for a variety of offices in 2011 and 2012, but she ended up staying put.
Fayard's behavior after her 2010 defeat was concerning though. In early 2011, Fayard declared that she "hates Republicans" because they are "cruel" and "eat their young," a very reckless thing to say in a red state. She tried to do some damage control by declaring she didn't support President Obama, which only seemed like a good way to alienate Democratic voters too. If Fayard re-enters the spotlight, Democrats had better hope that she's used her time in private life to become a lot more disciplined.
● NC-Sen: Democratic state Sen. Joel Ford expressed some interest in challenging Republican Sen. Richard Burr but on Friday, Ford announced that he would run for re-election instead. The Dec. 21 filing deadline is just around the corner and it looks like the Democratic primary will remain a duel between ex-state House Whip Deborah Ross and Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey.
● PA-Sen: Several unions have endorsed Democrat Katie McGinty since she entered the race this summer, and she has another major labor group in her corner. The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents about 190,000 Pennsylvania workers, has thrown its support behind her last week.
● WI-Sen: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has consistently and badly trailed in the polls against Democrat Russ Feingold, but his new super PAC is trying to argue that this race is still very winnable. Let America Work is out with a poll showing Feingold leading only 45-44. However, Let America Work didn't identify which pollster carried out this survey, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence in their results.
● NY-24: While Colleen Deacon, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, enjoys the support of both her old boss and incoming Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, primary opponent Steve Williams also has a prominent New York Democrat in his corner. Long Island congressman and ex-DCCC head Steve Israel will headline a fundraiser for Williams, an attorney. Deacon, Williams, and college professor Eric Kingson are all hoping to challenge freshman Republican John Katko in a Syracuse seat that Obama won 57-41.
● Houston, TX Mayor: Democratic state Rep. Sylvester Turner and conservative businessman Bill King face off in the Dec. 12 runoff, and it's far from clear who has the edge in the battle to lead America's fourth largest city. Houston leans blue, and the city hasn't had a non-Democratic mayor in decades. However, poor off-year Democratic turnout could give King an opening.
Both sides are out with an internal poll and unsurprisingly, they don't agree who is ahead. Turner's camp commissioned an FM3 survey that shows him leading 47-40. The Houston Realty Business Coalition, which supports King, is out with a Causeway Solutions poll that gives their man a 48-43 edge. It's worth noting that the Causeway poll only sampled 300 voters, which is pretty small (Turner's poll had 604 respondents).
Turner also picked up a high-profile, but unsurprising, endorsement on Thursday. Termed-out Mayor Annise Parker officially threw her backing behind Turner, though she's made it clear for months that she does not want King to succeed her.
● Census: The Census Bureau recently released new data from its annual American Community Survey, which fills the gaps between decennial censuses and asks a lot of questions the standard census doesn't have room for. One great data set of particular interest to election watchers is the racial and ethnic demographics of the nation's congressional districts, which offers us information not just about demographic growth (and shrinkage) but can also provide clues about the partisan direction of various regions around the country.
We've assembled the latest data in an easy-to-read format on Google Docs. There you'll find complete racial and ethnic breakdowns for every congressional district according to the ACS's one-year estimates for 2014. And along the bottom, you'll see tabs showing estimates for 2013 and 2012 as well, which will give you a sense of how and where things have changed in recent years. In a separate post, we've also taken a look at which districts have seen the greatest gains and losses among whites, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and Stephen Wolf.