● GA-06: On behalf of Fox 5 Atlanta, independent pollster Opinion Savvy gives Democrat Jon Ossoff two good pieces of news in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. The poll shows Ossoff easily advancing past the April 18 top two primary, but more importantly, Ossoff is competitive against each Republican they tested him against in the June 20 runoff; in fact, Ossoff posts small leads in three of the four matchups.
We'll take a look first at the April primary, which pits all the candidates on one ballot:
Investigative documentary maker Jon Ossoff (D): 40
Ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel (R): 20
Businessman Bob Gray (R): 10
State Sen. Judson Hill (R): 10
Ex-state Sen. Dan Moody (R): 8
None of the other 13(!) candidates take more than 2 percent of the vote. Now, here is how Ossoff performs against four different Republicans in hypothetical June matchups:
42-41 vs. Ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel
44-42 vs. businessman Bob Gray
44-45 vs. state Sen. Judson Hill
46-44 vs. ex-state Sen. Dan Moody
This is the first poll of the June general election we've seen. The survey does have one big note of caution for Team Blue: While Trump won this traditionally GOP suburban Atlanta seat just 48-47, the poll gives him a 53-46 approval rating, which indicates that the undecideds like him. However, the GOP is taking this race seriously, and Paul Ryan's allied super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, just dropped an additional $1.1 million in ads on Ossoff, taking their total investment here to $2.2 million.
CLF's first spots used footage from a decade ago of Ossoff dressed as Han Solo from when he was in college. However, they seem to have decided that this line of attack wasn't so effective, which would make it the second-worst Han Solo-related decision in history. Instead, their new ad goes where so many GOP ads have gone before (yes, that's a different franchise) and ties Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi.
The narrator argues that "Nancy Pelosi's friends are bankrolling Ossoff's campaign, because Ossoff will rubber stamp her liberal agenda." The commercial goes on to accuse Ossoff of wanting "higher taxes on the middle class, job-destroying regulations, [and] billions in new spending." It's not very exciting stuff, but the CLF is hoping that a conventional GOP line-of-attack will resonate in a seat full of voters who backed almost every Republican for decades who wasn't named Donald Trump.
● MO-Sen: Republican Rep. Ann Wagner has been mentioned as a potential opponent for Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill for years, but she's said little about her plans publicly. Two months ago, Wagner signed on to run the NRCC's fundraising after initially stepping down from the post, and we wondered if that meant she'd decided to stay in the House. However, the Missouri Scout reports that on the contrary, conservative zillionaire Rex Sinquefield recently hosted a fundraiser for Wagner, and an attendee insisted she was "all in" for a Senate bid.
Wagner, who has a reputation as a formidable fundraiser, herself remains as quiet as ever. Other Republicans have made noises about running here, and one of them may draw some blood in a primary if they can portray the congresswoman, a former RNC co-chair who later was George W. Bush's ambassador to Luxembourg, as an unacceptable part of the establishment.
● MI-Gov: Another Republican is talking about running for this open seat, but he seems pretty low on the pecking order. Larry Inman, a second-term state representative from northern Michigan, says he should know by September whether he'll want to form an exploratory committee. Inman himself seems aware of how tough a bid would be, telling the Traverse City Record Eagle that when people first started encouraging him to run, he though they were just being nice. Neither state Attorney General Bill Schuette nor Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has jumped in yet, but they're both likely to run and take up most of the oxygen in the GOP primary.
● WI-Gov: Republican Gov. Scott Walker sounds likely to seek a third term next year, and Democrats will be elated if they can finally beat him. The field to face Walker is only slowly coming together, but there may be a development soon. Joe Parisi, the executive of Madison's Dane County, expressed interest in running last year, and he recently told the Cap Times that he'll have a "definite decision" within a month.
● CA-34: Fundraising reports are in for the crowded April 4 special election for this safely blue Los Angeles seat covering the period from Jan. 1 to March 15, and there were some real surprises. All the candidates listed below are Democrats:
Los Angeles Planning Commissioner Robert Lee Ahn: $330,000 raised, $303,000 self-funded, $271,000 cash-on-hand
Nonprofit founder Maria Cabildo: $130,000 raised, $100,000 cash-on-hand
Former Obama White House staffer Alejandra Campoverdi: $156,000 raised, $123,000 cash-on-hand
Former Bernie Sanders staffer Arturo Carmona: $109,000 raised, $3,000 self-funded, $46,000 cash-on-hand
Labor activist Wendy Carrillo: $81,000 raised, $58,000 cash-on-hand
Former Los Angeles Board of Education member Yolie Flores: $128,000 raised, $55,000 cash-on-hand
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez: $245,000 raised, $275,000 cash-on-hand
Former Los Angeles City Council aide Sara Hernandez: $230,000 raised, $141,000 cash-on-hand
We've heard almost nothing about Robert Lee Ahn, but he managed to outraise each of his opponents and gave himself another $303,000. Gomez, who has the backing of the Democratic establishment, brought in more than the rest of the field, though Hernandez wasn't far behind. All the candidates will compete on one ballot next month; in the very likely event that no one secures a majority, there will be a June runoff.
● VA-10: National Democrats are reportedly trying to convince state Sen. Jennifer Wexton to challenge GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in this very anti-Trump Northern Virginia seat, but another Democrat reportedly is being encouraged to get in. The blog Blue Virginia reported a few weeks ago that Fairfax County Supervisor Kathy Smith has been approached by several labor groups. Smith has not said anything publicly about her plans, but she recently put out a statement telling Comstock to vote against Trump's proposed health care overall, declaring, "If she chooses to represent Trump, we will hold her accountable for her actions." This seat swung from 51-49 Romney all the way to 52-42 Clinton, but Comstock won an expensive re-election contest 53-47.
● Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits North Carolina, one of the worst gerrymanders anywhere. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new states; you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here.
Democrats lost control of both chambers of the legislature in 2010, and the new GOP majorities quickly did all they could to make sure Team Blue never returned to power. Last year, a federal court ruled that the Republicans illegally packed African American voters into several seats in order to strengthen Republicans elsewhere, and they ordered the state to redraw several legislative districts and hold new elections in 2017. However, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay, and they have not yet announced if or when they'll take up the case.
For now, it's unclear if the GOP's map will remain intact, or if there will be a new one in place this fall or next year. North Carolina does not allow its governor to veto redistricting whatsoever, so if the GOP legislature has to come up with new districts, there isn't anything Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper can do to stop them from devising the strongest gerrymander they think the court will tolerate.
The GOP currently holds a 35-15 Senate majority and a 74-46 edge in the House. The GOP can override Cooper's vetoes with three-fifths of the vote in each chamber, so Democrats need to net six Senate seats or three House districts to take away Team Red's supermajority. The North Carolina GOP legislature is one of the most reactionary in the nation, and Democrats would be delighted if they can stop them from passing more bills like the notorious anti-LGBT HB2. However, that won't be easy. While Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by a close 50.5-46.8 margin, he won 31 of the 50 Senate seats and 76 of the 120 House seats. All the districts in both chambers are up every two years.
If Democrats can win all the Clinton seats in the Senate and take just two Trump districts, they'd be able to strip the GOP of their supermajority there. However, four Republicans represent Clinton turf, while no Democrats hold Trump seats. The bluest GOP-held seat is SD-15, a Raleigh seat that swung from 53-46 Romney all the way to 52-44 Clinton, but where GOP state Sen. John Alexander won a second term 50-46.
If Democrats took those four Clinton seats, the two most likely Trump targets are SD-27 and SD-19. SD-27, which is located in the Greensboro area, swung from 54-45 Romney to a smaller 50-47 Trump, but Republican incumbent Trudy Wade won a third term 53-47. SD-19, which includes much of Cumberland County, went in the other direction, going from 49.8-49.4 Obama to 51-46 Trump. (Because Cumberland splits so many large precincts in a way that scoops African Americans into a neighboring seat, it's possible we're actually underestimating Trump's performance here.) Republican state Sen. Wesley Meredith, the Senate majority whip, won re-election 56-44. Two other GOP Senate seats, SD-18 and SD-9, also gave Trump a margin of victory of about 5 percent, and they could be targets; however, both Republican senators Chad Barefoot and Michael Lee won re-election last year by double digits.
Democrats may have a better shot in the state House, where they need to net three seats to deny the GOP a supermajority, at least on paper. Five Democrats represent Trump seats in this chamber, so Team Blue may need to play some defense here. The reddest Democratic-held seat is HD-22, which went from 56-44 Romney to 59-40 Trump; Democratic state Rep. William Brisson won the general without any opposition, though he only prevailed in the primary 53-47. Brisson is a conservative Democrat who often votes with Republicans on key bills, meaning Democrats might need to net more than three seats to break the supermajority in practice.
Three Republicans hold Clinton seats; the bluest is HD-104, a Charlotte-area district that dramatically swung from 56-43 Romney to 52-44 Clinton, but where Republican Andy Dulin won his first term 55-45. The other two Clinton/Republican seats are HD-36, which went from 54-45 Romney to 50-46 Clinton, and HD-105, which went from 57-42 Romney to 50-47 Clinton. HD-36's Nelson Dollar only won re-election 49-46, but HD-105's Scott Stone won his first full term 55-45.
It will be difficult enough for Democrats to take away the GOP supermajorities in either chamber under this map, and actually retaking either chamber is an even more daunting prospect. One way to illustrate how strong the GOP gerrymanders are is to sort each seat in each chamber by Trump's margin of victory over Clinton and see how the seat in the middle—known as the median seat—voted. Because North Carolina has an even number of seats, we average the Clinton and Trump percentages for the middle two seats to come up with the median. In the Senate, Trump won the median seat 58-40, while he carried the median House seat 54-42. For Democrats to retake either chamber, they'll need to win over several seats that Trump carried by double digits, a very intimidating prospect. With luck, this map won't be in effect much longer, but if the GOP has to draw up new boundaries, they'll do everything they can to maintain their huge advantages.
P.S: We have one small bit of housekeeping for our results by congressional district for North Carolina, where we have some updated numbers. The changes are all very small: NC-05 goes from 57.3-39.8 Trump to 57.4-39.8; NC-10 goes from 61.0-36.5 Trump to 61.0-36.4; and NC-11 goes from 63.3-33.9 Trump to 63.2-34.0.
● Special Elections: The write-in votes have been tabulated in Tuesday's strange special election for Pennsylvania's heavily Democratic HD-197, and Democrat Emilio Vazquez has won. The Democrats' original nominee was thrown off the ballot for not residing in the district, and it was too late to substitute Vazquez, leaving Republican Lucinda Little as the only candidate on the ballot in a Philadelphia seat that Obama carried with 97 percent of the vote. Democrats waged a write-in campaign for Vazquez and on Tuesday, write-in votes made up 93 percent of the vote, while Little took just 7 percent. On Friday, election authorities announced that almost all of the write-ins were for Vazquez.
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.