● Pres-by-CD: O-H-I-O! Our project to calculate the presidential election results by congressional district arrives in the Buckeye State. We have a chart of all 435 congressional districts here, which also includes results from 2012. That's the page you'll want to bookmark, since we're updating it continuously. We'll be pushing out new data on a rolling basis as the results are officially certified and the precinct-level election results we need for our calculations become available. (Ballotpedia has a list of state certification deadlines.)
Things in Ohio did not go well for Team Blue at all in November. While Barack Obama carried the state 51-48 in 2012, Donald Trump took it 52-44. The GOP-drawn congressional map gave Mitt Romney a win in 12 of Ohio's 16 congressional districts, and Trump took the exact same 12 seats: Republican congressmen hold those 12 districts, while Democrats represent the four seats that backed Obama and Hillary Clinton.
To our surprise, Clinton actually carried the 13th District, a Youngstown seat represented by Rep. Tim Ryan, by a 51-45 margin. Nancy Pelosi herself insisted that Trump had taken the 13th: While Ryan was waging his unsuccessful campaign against Pelosi for House minority leader, Pelosi literally laughed off Ryan's suggestion that he could make the Democratic Party more appealing in blue-collar areas and told the Huffington Post that Ryan "didn’t even carry his district for Hillary Clinton." Of course, Clinton's 51-45 victory here is still a huge drop from Obama's 62-35 win. Clinton decisively carried the other three Democratic-held seats.
Right now, none of the 12 GOP held districts look like particularly good targets for Team Blue. The one possible exception is the 1st District in the Cincinnati area, which Trump carried 51-45. Romney won the 1st, represented by Rep. Steve Chabot, 52-47, so at least it didn't move very far to the right. It's still not exactly a swing seat, but it might be a target in a good Democratic year.
However, two seats that Romney only narrowly won in 2012 were much redder this time around. Romney carried the Dayton-based 10th just 51-48, but Trump won it 51-44. GOP Rep. Mike Turner, a former Dayton mayor, has never faced a close race since he was elected in 2002, so this district wasn't exactly high on the Democrats' target list to begin with. The suburban Cleveland 14th District also shifted dramatically from 51-48 Romney to 54-42 Trump. Democrats didn't seriously target Republican Rep. Dave Joyce in either 2014 or 2016, and that probably won't change in future years.
It wasn't that long ago that Ohio Democrats could at least hold their own in the rural eastern portion of the state, but Trump absolutely cleaned up there. The 6th District, which is represented by Republican Rep. Bill Johnson, was already pretty red at 55-43 Romney, but Trump took it 69-27. In fact, the 6th leapfrogged the 8th District, which was represented by John Boehner until last year, to claim the title of reddest district in Ohio: The 8th backed Trump "just" 65-31.
● LA-Sen: Democrat Foster Campbell has a very uphill climb in the Dec. 10 runoff against Republican John Kennedy in this very conservative state, but at least fundraising isn't an issue for him. From Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, Campbell outraised Kennedy $2.5 million to $1.6 million, and the Democrat holds a $1.4 million to $856,000 cash-on-hand edge.
However, while Democrats nationwide hope that Campbell can give them a win in what's been a dispiriting year, a new poll from Southern Media & Opinion Research says that this race is still very much Kennedy's to lose. The survey, conducted for SMOR's "private subscribers," gives Kennedy a 52-38 lead. That's a bit better for Campbell than a mid-November survey from the GOP pollster Trafalgar Group that had Kennedy up 58-35, but it still ain't great. Outside groups also haven't spent much here for either side.
● NV-Sen, NV-Gov: Jon Ralston reports that wealthy businessman Stephen Cloobeck, a major Democratic donor, is considering a bid for Senate or possibly governor. Cloobeck's name is in fact the first we've seen mentioned as a potential candidate against GOP Sen. Dean Heller (who himself might run for governor), and Ralston adds that he could self-fund. A couple of notable Democrats are already looking at the open governor's race, including Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak and (reportedly) state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, so at the moment, Cloobeck would have a clearer shot if went after Heller.
● WI-Sen: GOP Rep. Sean Duffy has been mentioned as a possible 2018 challenger for Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin for a while. At the end of the 2016 cycle, Duffy and Sen. Ron Johnson ran a joint ad in Duffy's northern Wisconsin seat even though Duffy wasn't in any danger, which may have been partially an attempt to give Duffy some extra exposure ahead of a future statewide bid.
Duffy hasn't said much about his plans, but when the local NBC affiliate TMJ4 asked him if he was interested in facing Baldwin, he didn't say no. Duffy only said he hasn't "made any decisions on what I'm doing in 2018. I haven't gotten to 2017 yet. I'm enjoying my job representing central and northern Wisconsin." Another Republican, rich guy Eric Hovde, is openly considering running against Baldwin.
● MD-Gov: Democrats have a number of potential candidates who could run against GOP Gov. Larry Hogan in 2018, including several who've already expressed interest, but Politico adds a couple more names to the Great Mentioner's pile. They name-drop both former NAACP president Ben Jealous, who considered but ultimately declined a bid for Senate last cycle, and former state Del. Heather Mizeur. Mizeur finished third in the Democratic primary for governor in 2014, the year Hogan went on to beat the winner, then-Lt. Gov. (and now Rep.-elect) Anthony Brown.
Politico also reports that outgoing U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, whose name has long been in circulation, is in fact weighing a campaign, but says he's torn between pursuing the governorship and running to be the next chair of the DNC. But with the DNC election taking place in February, Perez does not have long to make up his mind.
● MI-Gov: Two prominent Republicans, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Attorney General Bill Schuette, have been gearing up to run to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. Rick Snyder for a while. Calley hasn't said much publicly about his plans, but Schuette recently said that, while he won't announce anything before 2017 begins, he thinks he'll "be real direct about things in due time."
One big difference between the two men is how they handled Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. While Schuette backed Jeb Bush in the primary, the Detroit News says that he was a high-profile Trump backer in the general election. By contrast, Calley unendorsed Trump in October after the 2005 Access Hollywood tape surfaced, though he now insists he voted for him the next month. If both men run, Schuette will likely try to argue that Calley failed the modern Republican Party's initiation ritual when the lieutenant governor didn't shoot the Trump Vodka when Brother Donald needed him to. (Schuette probably won't frame it exactly that way.)
A few other Republicans also haven't ruled out bids. Rep. Candice Miller was just elected as a public works commissioner in Macomb County. The Detroit News reports that, when Miller was asked about her 2018 plans, she offered only a, "Right now, I am just so focused on this job," which is the exact kind of thing politicians like to say when they don't want to look too eager to run for another office. State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who is close to local tea partiers, also says he's being encouraged and acknowledges a gubernatorial campaign is something he and his wife have discussed.
● MN-Gov, St. Paul, MN Mayor: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, a Democrat, has been considering a gubernatorial bid for a while, and a spokesperson recently said that he would announce his plans before the end of 2016. Coleman still hasn't said if he'll run to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, but he announced on Thursday that he won't run for a fourth term as mayor of Minnesota's second-largest city in 2017. Coleman would have had an awkward time running for both offices at once or launching a gubernatorial campaign just after winning re-election. There are a ton of Democrats looking at the governor's race, though only state Rep. Erin Murphy has declared that she's in.
A number of local politicians are looking to succeed Coleman in the mayor's office. Ex-City Councilor Melvin Carter III, who heads Minnesota's Office of Early Learning, and ex-school board member Tom Goldstein have formed campaigns for the 2017 race. Ex-City Councilor Pat Harris and City Councilor Amy Brendmoen also say they're interested, and there's plenty of time for more aspiring candidates to decide what to do. St. Paul uses a ranked-choice voting system, also known as instant run-off, in November rather than any sort of primary, a complicated system that the Pioneer Press explains. Minneapolis held an open mayoral race in 2013 using ranked-choice, and it was a crowded and unpredictable affair.
● CA-49: What a pathetic sore winner. Back in September, GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, who was facing a hotly competitive race for re-election for the first time since forever, threatened to sue his Democratic opponent, former Marine Colonel Doug Applegate, over attack ads that Applegate ran citing a devastating New York Times report that showed how Issa had used his time in office to get rich—very rich.
It was a sad-sack gambit that had almost no chance of success, since it's almost impossible for public figures to win defamation claims, and Applegate's spots were totally standard as far as negative ads go. But Issa actually went ahead and filed suit a day before the election, which he ultimately wound up winning by less than 1 percent of the vote, and now alleges he suffered a ridiculous $10 million in damages.
But for Issa, it's probably not about winning in court. After the race was called (three weeks after Election Day), Applegate immediately said he'd run again. Now, though, the wealthy Issa can force Applegate to spend money on lawyers to fight off these spurious allegations, a time-honored tactic used by scumbags ranging from the "Church" of Scientology to Donald Trump. Hopefully Applegate will be able to get the case dismissed quickly and with minimal expense so that he can proceed with kicking Issa's butt.
● GA-06: A new poll of the expected special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District for local TV station WSB finds former Secretary of State Karen Handel with a wide lead, but there are plenty of caveats. The survey, from Republican pollsters Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone, has Handel taking 22 percent of the vote, with state Rep. Betty Price at 10, state Sen. Judson Hill at 8, and state Sen. Brandon Beach at 4. So far, though, only Hill has said he's running; Handel and Beach have said they're considering, while Price, the wife of (presumptively) outgoing Rep. Tom Price, hasn't spoken publicly. (In an aside, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Price "seems unlikely to run if Handel commits" but doesn't say why or cite any sources.)
And note that all four of these politicians are Republicans; the poll didn't test any potential Democratic candidates, like state Rep. Taylor Bennett. WSB says they didn't include any Democrats because the district is "very heavily Republican," but that wasn't true this year: Donald Trump only carried the 6th by a 48-47 margin, a dramatic drop from Mitt Romney's 61-37 win here four years ago.
What's more, there are a butt-ton of undecided voters—fully 56 percent of the whole sample. So all this poll really tells us is that Handel, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for Senate two years ago, would start out with a bit of a name recognition advantage if she ran. We'll need some more time to see how the develops, and if Democrats are indeed able to land a credible recruit, that would render this poll largely moot.
● MN-08: Republican Stewart Mills had originally said he'd pursue a recount despite losing to Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan by 2,009 votes—a margin wide enough that Mills would have had to pay for the recount himself. That wouldn't have been a problem for the exceedingly wealthy Mills, but even he's realized the futility of trying to overcome such a huge gap and has now conceded the race, which Nolan won 50.2 to 49.6 even though Donald Trump carried this seat 54-39.
● NH-02: Republicans didn't field any strong candidates against Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster last month, but she only won by a modest 50-46 as Hillary Clinton was carrying her seat 49-46. It's far too early to know if Team Red will put up a stronger fight against Kuster in 2018, though at least one Republican is talking about running. State Rep. Joe Sweeney recently told WMUR that he's "in the very early portion of exploring a run." Sweeney, who was elected to the 400-person state House in 2012 while still an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire, at the very least recognizes that he'd need to start early if he wants to "build an organization that can rival her [Kuster's] fundraising prowess."
● DCCC: Reports emerged late on Thursday evening saying that New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney might run against New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for the chairmanship of the DCCC, which will now become an elected position following new reforms put in place by Nancy Pelosi. On Friday, though, Maloney said he wouldn't run and offered his support to Lujan, who appointed Maloney to lead an election post-mortem task force. At this point, in fact, it looks like Lujan, who was set to be appointed to another term before Pelosi decided on holding elections, will go unchallenged, since the vote for the post will be held on Monday.
● Demographics: There are probably better ways for the Democrats to get where they'd like to be faster than just waiting for the white Baby Boomers to die off, but if that's Plan B, it's still happening at a rapid clip. A new analysis by the University of New Hampshire finds that the white population of 17 states (representing 38 percent of the overall population) has slipped into the realm of "natural decrease." In other words, more deaths than births are occurring. That's up from only eight states in 2008, and four states in 2000.
There are two things at play here: one is declining fertility among younger whites; the other is that the Baby Boomer generation is increasingly moving into 65 plus status, where mortality starts going up significantly. The mix of states where this is happening is an interesting one: It's not just the stagnant usual suspects like Maine and West Virginia (the only two states where the entire population is experiencing "natural decrease," though that's probably a factor of just how white those two states are), and other elderly, white states like Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. It's also occurring in dynamic states with a lot of in-migration like Florida and Arizona, though that's largely because of their status as retirement magnets; in other words, frankly, people go there to die.
Those latter states, along with, say, California and Nevada (which are also seeing white "natural decrease"), are experiencing a lot of growth, but that's thanks to immigration, migration from other U.S. states, and "natural increase" among those states' large non-white populations. That would largely explain why Democratic fortunes are looking up, long-term, in those latter states.
● Senate: 2016 marked the first time in 26 straight presidential elections since the introduction of direct elections for every Senate seat in 1914 where literally every state voted for the same party for both offices. Stephen Wolf graphs the results for both offices to show just how strongly correlated they were. If this trend of few split-ticket outcomes persists in 2018, Democrats will be hard pressed to gain the net three Senate seats they need for a majority that year and will instead be defending many vulnerable seats.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.