● Redistricting: In a huge victory for voting rights advocates on Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that states may count all residents, rather than just eligible voters, when drawing election districts, preserving a practice that states have almost uniformly used for 50 years. Plaintiffs in the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, had argued that map-makers should only take voters into account, which would have shifted power to rural areas and away from cities, where there are larger concentrations of non-citizens, children, prisoners, all of whom cannot vote. Such a move would have benefitted Republicans, largely at the expense of minorities, particularly Latinos.
The court, however, firmly rejected the plaintiffs' claims, which ran counter to half a century of jurisprudence on the concept of "one person, one vote" that requires districts to have (with only small exceptions) equal populations. What's more, as a practical matter, relying on eligible voters counts would have been almost impossible as such data does not exist in a consistent, dependable format, since the Census doesn't gather such information.
The justices also declined to say whether states may (rather than must) use eligible voters in the future, reserving that question for another day. As Rick Hasen explains, that serves as a "deterrent" to states that might have considered doing so after the next round of redistricting, because any attempt to draw new maps based on eligible voter counts would guarantee another round of litigation, one that might end up just as unfavorably for them Evenwel.
1Q Fundraising: Be sure to check out our first quarter Senate fundraising chart, which we'll be updating as new numbers come in.
● AZ-Sen: Ann Kirkpatrick (D): $1 million raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand
● OH-Sen: Rob Portman (R-inc): $2.4 million raised, $13.5 million cash-on-hand
● FL-01: Matt Gaetz (R): $250,000 raised (in 10 days), $100,000 self-funded
● MN-02: Angie Craig (D): $400,000 raised
● FL-Sen: In a new ad, wealthy Republican businessman Carlos Beruff goes as Trumpy as you can go without actually being Donald Trump:
You know, I've had it. Politicians in Washington are useless. They waste our money, they make America weaker, and they refuse to secure our border. They're screwing up this country. I'm Carlos Beruff. I'm no politician. I'm a business guy running for the Senate. The other guys running are politicians lookin' for a promotion. Forget them! It's time to put America first. That's why I'm running for the Senate. I'm Carlos Beruff, and I approve this message.
Secure the border! Business guy! America first! You know, that last one might be a little more on the nose when it comes to emulating Trump than even Beruff realizes. The America First Committee was an isolationist group formed in 1940 to keep America out of World War II, and its most prominent spokesman was notorious anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh. Or maybe that association doesn't bother Beruff one bit.
The National Journal's Andrea Drusch says that Beruff is going big with a statewide buy across 10 media markets, though there's no word on exactly how much he's spending. Given his personal resources, though, it could be a lot.
● PA-Sen: In a rare move, the DSCC is backing one of their endorsees in a contested primary with not just words but deeds. According to Roll Call's Alex Roarty, the committee will spend $425,000 on TV ads to help Katie McGinty, a former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf, defeat ex-Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania's April 26 Democratic primary. The ad run is not your classic independent expenditure (which can be unlimited in size) but rather a coordinated expenditure, which Roarty says is limited to $1.9 million for the cycle. This approach allows the DSCC to work directly with McGinty, and indeed, the committee's ad reservations will replace McGinty's own.
While unusual, this sort of activity is not unheard of. In fact, the DSCC did the exact same thing in 2010—in the exact same race. Back then, it spent $541,000 trying to boost party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter, who was being challenged by none other than Sestak. The effort failed, as Sestak won 54-46; Sestak went on to narrowly lose to Republican Pat Toomey, who's now seeking re-election.
Is the DSCC likely to be more effective this time? It's very hard to know. The only independent poll taken all year, from Franklin & Marshall College, had Sestak up 31-14 over McGinty a few weeks ago, but a huge 46 percent of voters were undecided. (A third candidate, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, was at 7.) That suggests a wide-open race where outside intervention could make a real difference. But even if these ads do help McGinty, they could also boomerang: Sestak is already fundraising off this latest establishment effort to aid his opponent—a tactic we've seen Bernie Sanders, for instance, use very successfully.
This also raises, once again, the question of why the Democratic establishment is so eager to stop Sestak. As we've written before, part of it may be personal pique over his run against Specter, and part of it may be a belief that Sestak isn't capable of running a campaign professional enough to take down Toomey, despite his close defeat six years ago. You have to imagine that the latter rather than the former is motivating the DSCC, and that presumably it has private polling showing that McGinty can beat Toomey but Sestak cannot, because spending almost half a million bucks merely to settle a score would be shameful.
EMILY's List is also going full-blast for McGinty, running the first ad of a promised $1 million buy. The spot touts McGinty's humble upbringing ("Her dad was a Philly cop; mom worked in a restaurant"), then shows a still photo of her at the White House with Bill Clinton and Al Gore, when she served as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Clinton administration. (Oddly, Clinton's name isn't mentioned aloud.) The narrator then shifts to McGinty's focus on jobs, including her support for "equal pay for women."
● MO-Gov: A new piece in the New York Times tackling the issue of the "celebri-fication" of the Navy SEALs tees off on a target who'd much rather not see his name in a piece like this: Eric Greitens, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Missouri's gubernatorial race. For some years, ever since SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden, many SEALs have used their experiences to write books, hawk vitamins, and even appear in video games.
But this rampant commercialization has upset a lot of current and former special forces members, and some in particular are unhappy with what they see as Greitens exploiting his record in furtherance of his political aims. A group of SEAL veterans even released a video on the topic attacking Greitens, who accused businessman John Brunner, one of his three primary opponents, of being behind it. (Brunner has denied the charge.)
The question now, though, is whether someone like Brunner actually does decide to make a campaign issue of this. Going after a rival over his military service is often tricky, but it's not impossible. Just ask John Kerry, a man whose heroism was never in doubt until Karl Rove came along.
● ND-Gov: Over the weekend, North Dakota Republicans held their state convention, and as expected, delegates endorsed Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for governor. Stenehjem took 51 percent of the vote on the second ballot, while state Rep. Rick Becker, who earned 38 percent, dropped out following the balloting. However, a third candidate, wealthy businessman Doug Burgum, who received just 10 percent, has vowed to fight on until the June 14 primary. Becker said he was not inclined to endorse either alternative.
Democrats also held their convention and gave their backing to state Rep. Marvin Nelson. However, Republicans are the overwhelming favorites to hold the governorship, which Republican Jack Dalrymple is leaving at the end of this year.
● FL-02: Redistricting transformed what was a competitive North Florida seat into a district that Romney carried 65-34, and it's very hard to see Team Blue holding onto it this fall; even Sen. Bill Nelson lost this seat 53-44 in 2012 while he was winning statewide 55-42. However, state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who is termed-out, says she's considering running here.
If Rehwinkel Vasilinda somehow got to DC, she'd likely become the most conservative Democrat in Congress. Rehwinkel Vasilinda told the Tallahassee Democrat that she likes some of Donald Trump's policies and adds "[i]f he becomes a little bit presidential and a little more sedate … I might support him." However, local Democrats don't seem to be in any hurry to get behind what would be a long-shot bid: Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman predicted that "the Democratic Party is not going to support anyone who is a Trumpette." National Democrats want to expand the House playing field, but they'll almost certainly focus their attention elsewhere regardless of what Rehwinkel Vasilinda does.
● FL-23: Law professor Tim Canova has definitely unlocked some Sanders-esque fire in his challenge to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC: In the first quarter of the year (his first in the race), Canova reported raising a massive $557,000 from 15,300 donors, though he didn't say how much cash he has left. Wasserman Schultz hasn't announced her quarterly haul yet, though she had $468,000 on hand as of Dec. 31. Canova, who once served as a Bernie Sanders advisor, has been tapping into the same small-donor pool as the senator from Vermont, whose supporters are angry with Wasserman Schultz over what they perceive as favoritism she has shown toward Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.
However, it's worth noting that Clinton won nearly 70 percent of the vote in this South Florida district in last month's primary, and of course, Sanders won't be at the top of the ticket for August's congressional primary. So while money is important, Canova will have to reach out to a wider base of voters if he's to unseat the incumbent.
● NH-01: As expected, businessman Rich Ashooh has entered the GOP primary in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District, joining Rep. Frank Guinta and state Rep. Pam Tucker. That once again creates a three-way race, which gives Guinta, still smarting after getting smacked with a $15,000 FEC fine for taking an illegal $355,000 contribution from his parents in 2010, the chance to survive with a plurality vote. Democrats are choosing between ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and self-funding businessman Shawn O'Connor, though New Hampshire's primary is not until Sept. 13.
● NV-03: The DCCC has released an in-house robopoll of Nevada's open 3rd Congressional District, finding Democrat Jacky Rosen leading Republican Michael Roberson, the state Senate majority leader, by just a single point, 30 to 29. That means undecideds, at 41 percent of the sample, are a plurality, so the only thing you can say about this poll is that it shows the race a tossup—which is exactly the message the D-Trip would like to convey.
However, both sides are hosting primaries, so this might not be the matchup we see in November. Rosen, a synagogue president who already earned "Red to Blue" status from the DCCC, faces attorney Jesse Sbaih, who recently claimed that Harry Reid told him he could not win the race because he is Muslim. (Reid denied saying any such thing, and in fact his office called Sbaih a "liar.") Roberson, meanwhile, has to contend with a room full of nutters eager to stop him, chief among them perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian, who released a poll last week showing him up 37-7 on Roberson, with ultra-crazy Asssemblywoman Michele Fiore betwixt at 9.
● NY-19: New York's congressional primaries are not until June 28, but former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso is already running his first TV ad of the GOP race. It's a pretty standard, boring positive spot that talks about his supposed accomplishments in the legislature (cutting spending and taxes, of course). Faso's campaign says the ad is airing district-wide on cable but won't say how much they're spending on it. Given how early it is, it's probably not much. Faso faces businessman Andrew Heaney for the Republican nomination; Democrats are choosing between law professor Zephyr Teachout and Livingston Town Councilman Will Yandik.
● PA-06: Facing a challenge to her nominating petitions, Democrat Lindy Li has dropped out of the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District. Among other problems, a number of Li's signatures were stamped rather than signed by a notary (as required), rendering them invalid, and Li said she was forced to spend most of her campaign funds fighting the challenge, which was brought by businessman Mike Parrish.
Li, just 25 years old, says she plans to run for office again in the future, but for now, that now leaves Parrish as the only Democrat running to challenge freshman GOP Rep. Ryan Costello. And Parrish faces very long odds. Through the end of last year, Parrish had raised just $114,000 and had a mere $28,000 in the bank; Costello, by contrast, has raised almost $1.1 million, with $861,000 left to spend. This district went for Mitt Romney by a narrow 51-48 margin, but its location in the Philadelphia suburbs makes it an expensive one to campaign in. Parrish may have lucked out in avoiding a primary, but he'll need 10 times that luck to pull off an upset.
● RI-01: A drum, a drum, MacBeth doth run! One week after she switched parties and joined the GOP, state Rep. Karen MacBeth announced that she would challenge Democratic Rep. David Cicilline. Obama carried this seat 66-32, so this is very much a long-shot bid. Cicilline, who served as mayor of Providence before he was elected in 2010, had a tough 2012 general election campaign after voters learned that he left his city in poor financial shape when he took off for DC. Still, Cicilline beat a top-tier Republican with 53 percent of the vote, and it's unlikely that Team Red will be able to deal him the finishing blow four years later.
● Portland, OR Mayor: On behalf of KATU News, SurveyUSA takes a look at the May non-partisan primary. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler holds a big 38-8 lead over Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, with two Some Dudes tied for third place with 4 each. If Wheeler fails to take a majority of the vote next month, he'll be forced into a November runoff. However, Wheeler has a massive cash edge over Bailey, and he'll be hard to stop.
● International: If you haven't seen it yet, the April edition of our International Elections Digest is now out. In it, we discuss key state-level elections in Germany, where a new xenophobic, far-right party posted big wins, delivering a rebuke to Chancellor Angela Merkel on what has become her signature issue: offering a welcome reception to refugees. We also look at possible early elections in Australia, upcoming runoffs in Iran, and a truly crazy political situation in Brazil, which might result in the nullification of the 2014 presidential election results. Check out the complete roundup here.
● President-by-LD: Our ongoing project to calculate statewide election results according to congressional and legislative districts returns to Kentucky for a look at the 2015 statewide elections. This new data set joins our earlier calculations for the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 U.S. Senate contest, which you can find on our master list covering every state.
This fall, Democrats will be trying to defend their 53-47 majority in the state House, and it won't be easy. Romney carried 82 of the 100 seats while he was winning Kentucky 61-38, and Republican Matt Bevin took 73 of them while he was defeating Democrat Jack Conway 53-44 in last year's gubernatorial contest. However, Team Blue managed to hold onto two state House seats in special elections last month (HD-08 and HD-98), and they even flipped a GOP-held seat (HD-62). All three seats backed Bevin; while HD-08 only went for him 49-48, the governor carried HD-62 and HD-98 52-43 and 57-40 respectively. Democrats have a lot of work to do this fall, but it's a good sign for them that they're still winning in constituencies like this.
Last year was pretty devastating for Democrats; state Auditor Adam Edelen lost re-election, while Team Red picked up the state treasurer's office and held the commissioner of agriculture post. Democratic Secretary of State Alison Grimes did win a second term 51-49, while Andy Beshear defeated his GOP foe 50.1-49.9 in the attorney general contest. Grimes carried 50 of the 100 state House seats, while Beshear only took 46. (In 2014, when Grimes lost the U.S. Senate race to Mitch McConnell, she only won 18 seats.) The GOP holds the Kentucky Senate 27-11, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon. Grimes and Beshear each only took 15 seats even as they were winning statewide.
Republicans hold five of Kentucky's six congressional districts: Democrat John Yarmuth sits in the Louisville-based 3rd, which backed Obama 56-43. Unsurprisingly, Conway, Grimes, and Beshear all carried the 3rd, but they each also took the 6th District, which Romney won 56-42. Conway won this Lexington-area seat 49-46, while Grimes, and Beshear took it 58-42 and 54-46 respectively. Republican incumbent Andy Barr isn't a top-tier Democratic target though: Minister Nancy Jo Kemper is running here, but she has a lot to prove if she wants to put this seat on the map. The other four congressional districts backed the Republicans in each contest, though Grimes only lost the 2nd 52-48, a big improvement from Obama's 63-35 defeat there.
● Wisconsin Primary: Both parties will hold their presidential primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday, and we'll be liveblogging all the fireworks! Polls close at 9 PM ET in the Badger State, and we'll begin our liveblog then at Daily Kos Elections; we'll also be live-tweeting.
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.