The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.
● CO-05: GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn was already facing an intra-party challenge from state Sen. Owen Hill in this heavily Republican Colorado Springs-area seat, and on Friday, he unexpectedly picked up another. El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who lost the 2016 Colorado U.S. Senate race by a relatively close 50-44 margin to Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet, sent a text message to prominent Colorado Republicans telling them he "will be jumping into the Congressional District 5 race within a few weeks."
If Lamborn gets to face both Hill and Glenn in the primary he may benefit, since they could split the anti-incumbent vote. However, because of Colorado's unusual convention rules, it's very possible that Lamborn will only get to take on one of them—or even that Lamborn won't even make it to the primary ballot.
In the Centennial State, parties hold conventions months before the primary, and a candidate needs to win at least 30 percent of the delegates to advance. Alternatively, candidates can collect signatures to advance to the primary ballot regardless of what happens at the convention, but this is an expensive and time consuming task that many campaigns just decide to skip. A voter-approved 2016 law also now allows a party central committee to vote to just forgo a primary altogether and pick their nominee at a convention.
Lamborn himself bet his 2016 renomination on a decent showing at the convention, and it almost cost him his seat. That year, convention delegates favored ex-congressional staffer Calandra Vargas over Lamborn 58 percent to 35; if Lamborn had slipped below 30 percent, he would have lost the GOP nomination then and there. Lamborn beat Vargas 68-32 in the primary a few months later.
By contrast, a strong showing at a different party convention last year helped propel Glenn to conservative stardom. Glenn spent more than a year running for the Senate and attracting little money or attention. However, Glenn galvanized delegates with a convention speech. Glenn, who is black, notably earned huge applause when he declared, "All lives matter!" Glenn took 70 percent of the vote and prevented most of his opponents from advancing.
Three other Republicans did decide to collect signatures and they made it to the primary ballot. However, Glenn's convention win drew the attention of Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, who both endorsed him. And while Glenn didn't have the resources to advertise on television (or even to hire a single paid staffer), the Senate Conservatives Fund ran some ads for him. Glenn won his primary 38-25, but national Republicans did little to help the underfunded candidate in the general. Glenn did get to give a speech to the Republican National Convention where he modified his old applause line and declared, "Someone with a nice tan needs to say this: 'All lives matter.'"
It's quite possible that after his 2016 scare, Lamborn will decide to collect signatures to advance to the primary if the party allows it. Still, while Lamborn decisively won his 2016 primary against the underfunded Vargas, he only defeated retired Air Force General Bentley Rayburn, who also didn't have much money to spend, 53-47 in the 2014 primary.
One thing we've been wondering for years is why Lamborn is so disliked by such a large segment of the party. As we wrote on the eve of his 2016 primary, Lamborn hasn't had any scandals, and he has a reliably conservative record in this safely red seat. It may just be personal: Back in 2006, retiring Rep. Joel Hefley accused Lamborn of running the "most sleazy, dishonest campaign I've seen in a long, long time" after Lamborn defeated one of his former aides, and the bad blood never really went away. 2018 may shape up to be Lamborn's toughest test yet.
● PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D-inc): $2.6 million raised, $5.5 million cash-on-hand; Jeff Bartos (R): $1.1 million raised, $1 million cash-on-hand
● CA-39: Mai-Khanh Tran (D): $270,000 raised (since early June)
● CA-45: Katie Porter (D): $310,000 raised
● CA-49: Mike Levin (D): $333,000 raised
● CO-05: Owen Hill (R): $225,000 raised, $195,000 cash-on-hand
● KS-03: Andrea Ramsey (D): $205,000 raised (in 18 days)
● MI-11: Haley Stevens (D): $320,000 raised (in two months)
● PA-06: Chrissy Houlahan (D): $382,000 raised, $50,000 self-funded, $383,000 cash-on-hand
● VA-10: Lindsey Davis Stover (D): $300,000 raised (in 70 days)
● MO-Sen: Rep. Ann Wagner's recent decision not to run for Senate next year has already set off dominoes in the Republican primary battle for the nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, with many top Republicans likely to turn to state Attorney General Josh Hawley. However, Kurt Erickson at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that state Rep. Paul Curtman is expected to announce he's forming an exploratory committee next week, though there's no word from Curtman himself. Curtman chairs the state House Ways and Means Committee, which could give him some solid fundraising connections.
Over at Morning Consult, Eli Yokley reports that unnamed sources close to state Treasurer Eric Schmitt say he's considering running, though Schmitt himself has not commented publicly yet. Yokley relays that other anonymous Republicans have said Rep. Jason Smith is also thinking about it, but Smith has yet to say so himself. One Republican consultant oddly enough mentioned Gov. Eric Greitens, who only first won office last November, but a Greitens adviser said they were watching out for what Hawley does instead.
● NV-Sen: On Friday, EMILY's List announced its endorsement of Rep. Jacky Rosen in next year's Democratic primary for Senate in Nevada. Fellow Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is still publicly considering her own Senate campaign, but EMILY's List hasn't shied away from participating in primaries in the past even when there were two pro-choice women running.
EMILY's backing follows the major endorsements Rosen previously received from the DSCC and key state Democrats almost immediately after kicking off her candidacy on Thursday. Taken together, this shock-and-awe endorsement strategy is likely intended to dissuade Titus from running to begin with by signaling that the national party establishment is firmly behind Rosen.
● PA-Sen: Republican Rep. Lou Barletta has previously said he was thinking about challenging Democratic Sen. Bob Casey next year, and in a recent media appearance, he gave us his timeframe by saying, "Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, I'll have a decision whether I'm going to run or not." A handful of other Republicans are already in the running, although none of them has Barletta's prominence. The current GOP field includes state Rep. Jim Christiana, state Rep. Rick Saccone, wealthy businessman Paul Addis, and real estate developer Jeff Bartos.
● UT-Sen: GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch raised $1 million over the last three months, a haul that doesn't exactly scream retirement. Hatch himself still insists that he's undecided, saying that he totally intends to run, but that his wife "is not real enthusiastic about it, which causes me to pause a little bit." Hatch also says that he suspects he'll need to make his decision by the end of the year. Can't say we're glad to hear a politician make it sound like it's his wife's fault if he doesn't run again.
● AL-Gov: We hadn't mentioned Evangelical minister Scott Dawson, the founder of the appropriately named Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, in our previous write-ups of the huge developing GOP primary field. However, Dawson raised a credible $178,000 during his first month in the race, trailing only Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle in June contributions, and he has that same amount in the bank. Dawson's ministry has a budget of $3.6 million, so it seems like he has some good connections.
We recently ran down the June financial reports for most of the GOP field, and we have the information for the remaining contenders. State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, who has had a long career in Alabama politics, raised $31,000 for the month and has $38,000 on-hand. Businessman Josh Jones, meanwhile, said he'd loan his campaign $250,000, and he did; his $237,000 war chest is comparable to his rivals. However, Jones raised less than $7,000 from donors, so he's either going to need to need to start dialing for dough or writing himself a lot more checks if he wants to remain competitive.
● CT-Gov: We recently reported on second quarter fundraising totals for several Connecticut gubernatorial candidates, but thanks to an email from a keen-eyed reader, it has come to our attention that the original Hartford Courant article we relied on had poorly reported on those numbers for three candidates by conflating quarterly totals with those for the whole year. Here are the correct numbers:
Dan Drew (D): $71,000 raised, $177,000 cycle-to-date
Mark Boughton (R): $71,000 raised, $162,000 cycle-to-date
Tim Herbst (R): $65,000 raised, $149,000 cycle-to-date
We've also included the cycle-to-date figures because Connecticut's public financing system requires participating candidates to raise $250,000 in sums of $100 or less to qualify for public funds. A few of other candidates also have info available:
Chris Mattei (D): $118,000 raised (in 10 weeks)
David Walker (R): Between $72,000 and $75,000 raised
Peter Lumaj (R): $73,000 raised, $280,000 cycle-to-date
● FL-Gov: Democrat Andrew Gillum has often been dubbed a "rising star" ever since winning election as Tallahassee's mayor in 2014 at the age of just 35, but his campaign for governor is looking anything but lustrous. Problems began to crystallize a few months ago, when local law enforcement officials announced they were investigating whether Gillum's office broke the law when mayoral staff used a taxpayer-funded email system to send messages about political rather than government matters.
More recently, Gillum acknowledged speaking with the FBI about an investigation into Tallahassee's Community Redevelopment Agency, which provides public aid to development projects. Gillum says that FBI officials have told him he's "not the focus of an investigation" into the CRA, but negative headlines surrounding these two stories appear to have caused Gillum's fundraising to evaporate: His campaign reported receiving monetary donations totaling just $25,000 in the month of June and nothing at all in May.
On Friday, matters grew worse, as both Gillum's campaign manager and finance director left the campaign, with no replacements in sight. Taken together, these developments portray a candidacy that's in poor shape. The investigations are particularly difficult problems to get out from under, since they'll last as long as they're going to last, and it's already proved almost impossible for Gillum to raise any money while they're ongoing. It'll be similarly hard to find new staffers.
What's more, the Democratic field for Florida's open governorship features two other credible contenders, businessman Chris King and former Rep. Gwen Graham, as well as a few other big names who could still get in, so donors, activists, and endorsers all have alternatives. Florida's primary isn't for more than a year from now, but in a super-giant, super-expensive state like this one, it's going to get late early around here.
● IA-Gov: Democrat John Norris, a former state party chairman and chief of staff to ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack, set up a campaign committee last month, and he confirmed on Friday that he was in. As we noted in June, Norris has never held elective office but he is very well-connected in Iowa state politics, and he's reportedly close to former Sen. Tom Harkin's donor base, meaning he could have some serious fundraising potential. A ton of other Democrats are running here, and if no one takes more than 35 percent of the vote in the primary, the nomination will be decided at a state party convention.
● ME-Gov: A who's who of Maine Democrats have previously expressed interest in running for governor next year to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Paul LePage, but former state Sen. Justin Alfond is no longer among them. Alfond, who previously served as both majority and minority leader in the state Senate before being term-limited last year, announced on Friday that he would not run. The current Democratic field includes businessman Adam Cote and activist Betsy Sweet, but several others have previously said they're thinking about it, including state Attorney General Janet Mills and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.
● WI-Gov: Wisconsin Democrats have so far had no luck landing a prominent candidate to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year. However, state education superintendent Tony Evers is the latest to say he's thinking about it for Team Blue, revealing in a recent interview that he's "had lots of conversations" and is being urged to run.
Evers has served in his current post since mid-2009 and won his third term with nearly 70 percent over a GOP-backed candidate in April, so he has experience winning statewide in this swingy state without the benefit of a presidential campaign to drive up Democratic turnout. However, Evers' nonpartisan office is a very different beast from a partisan gubernatorial race, and many of the same Republican-leaning voters who have favored him in nonpartisan contests could be automatically inclined to oppose him with a (D) next to his name. Nonetheless, Evers' background could give him a strong position from which to criticize Walker over past education budget cuts.
So far, no noteworthy candidates from either party have formally declared yet, but the Wisconsin State Journal reports that Walker is widely expected to launch his bid for a third term soon after passing the state budget. Meanwhile, the list of Democrats who've said they're considering it includes state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, who has already filed the paperwork to run; Madison Mayor Paul Soglin; former state party chair Matt Flynn; Assemblyman Dana Wachs; and businessman Andy Gronik.
● CA-07: While this suburban Sacramento seat swung from 51-47 Obama to 52-41 Clinton last year, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera won his third term by a narrow 51-49 margin. Bera is an incredibly strong fundraiser, but he faced some big obstacles in 2016. Labor groups were furious with Bera over a key vote in the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Bera also got some bad headlines when his father was sentenced to prison for trying to illegally funnel money to Bera's campaign. Investigators concluded that there was no evidence that the congressman knew about the scheme, but that didn't stop Republicans from running ads portraying him as complicit. Those problems may fade by 2018, but at least one Republican is hoping that Bera's close call last year will set him up for more trouble.
A few days ago, businessman and Marine veteran Andrew Grant announced that he would run. Grant, who served in the Bush-era Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Department of Defense, has never run for office. However, he serves as CEO at the Northern California World Trade Center, so he may have the connections he'll need to raise money for what was one of the most expensive House races in the country over the last three cycles. The NRCC enthusiastically sung Grant's praises to the Sacramento Bee, so it seems like he has their blessing.
● CA-21: Three-term Republican Rep. David Valadao has been an incredibly frustrating target for Team Blue in California's 21st District, a Central Valley seat that stretches from the Fresno suburbs into Bakersfield. Poor Democratic midterm turnout and the 2014 GOP wave helped power Valadao to a 58-42 win over a touted opponent, and Valadao beat attorney Emilio Huerta 57-43 last year even as Clinton was winning the district 55-40. Huerta is running again, but Team Blue may have other options.
An unnamed Democratic source recently floated several names to the National Journal, and they name four whom the National Journal says are "likely to jump in the race." So far, none of this quartet has said anything publicly, and it would be a huge surprise if all four ran. The prospective candidates are Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales; ex-Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea; Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez; and Assemblyman Rudy Salas.
Gonzales considered running here last cycle, but he instead launched a successful city council race. Perea, who should not be confused with his son, ex-Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, ran for mayor of Fresno last year. Democrats were hoping to score their first win in this non-partisan race in decades, but Perea lost to Republican Lee Brand 51-49. While this seat includes a portion of Fresno County, it does not include any of the city.
Perez was mentioned as a possible 2014 candidate, but she decided to run in a special election for a local state Senate seat instead. While Team Blue spent heavily here, Democratic turnout was abysmal (a very common problem for Central Valley Democrats when there isn't a presidential race on the ballot), and Perez lost 54-46 to Republican Andy Vidak.
Salas is one of the leaders of the informal moderate Democratic caucus in the Assembly, and he pissed off the Democratic leadership when he voted against a gas and vehicle registration tax to fund infrastructure and road repairs. In response, Salas lost his chairmanship of the Business and Professions Committee. However, while Salas does have a few big things going for him. Salas represents about half of the 21st District in the Assembly, and in 2014, he won re-election 55-45 even as Valadao and Vidak were decisively winning their own re-election campaigns in this area, though Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown carried Salas' AD-32 by a similar margin.
Salas likely benefited from incumbency, an advantage he wouldn't have if he decided to challenge Valadao. Still, while Salas' votes may frustrate Democrats, they could benefit from having a Central Valley Democrat who has won despite weak midterm Democratic turnout.
● GA-07: Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Georgia State University professor of public management and policy and a former state Senate budget director, is the latest Democrat to enter the race against GOP Rep. Rob Woodall in this suburban Atlanta seat. Bourdeaux entered the race with the support of neighboring Rep. Hank Johnson and Andrew Young, who served as a close confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. before serving as mayor of Atlanta and the Carter administration's U.N. ambassador. This seat swung from 60-38 Romney to a smaller, but still tough, 51-45 Trump.
● IN-09: For this one, you just gotta click for the pics. Tod Curtis is an orthodontist from Bedford, Indiana, who also has degrees in biology and computer science and recently announced a challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth in the state's 9th Congressional District. But just as importantly, Curtis has a copy of every Nintendo game ever made and an incredible themed storage space to hold his entire collection. Seriously, check it out.
As Vice.com's Nicholas Deleon puts it, though, Curtis isn't showing off his video game nerd-dom "to win illusory internet points" but rather wants to illustrate the importance of sending scientists to Congress. Curtis, who is 45, also notes that "[g]amers are typically a younger generation," which offers him an interesting hook for reaching out to a cohort that can be difficult for most politicians to connect with.
Whether he'll get the chance to take on Hollingsworth, though, is another question, as prominent civil rights attorney Dan Canon also recently entered the race. Either man would face very long odds in the general election, though: While the carpetbagging Hollingsworth won by a comparatively small 54-40 margin last year, Trump carried the 9th District by an imposing 61-34 spread.
● MI-06: Political science professor Paul Clements is back for a third straight try against GOP Rep. Fred Upton, to whom he lost in both 2014 and 2016. Somewhat surprisingly, Clements lost by a bigger margin in his second race (59-36) than in his first (56-40), even though he initially ran during a huge GOP wave year and raised considerably more money during his encore, thanks in part to a prominent endorsement from Bernie Sanders.
However, Michigan's 6th District, which is located in the southwestern corner of the state along the Indiana border, is one of those now-classic Midwestern seats that swung sharply toward Trump: Mitt Romney only narrowly carried it, 50-49, but Trump won it 51-43. That makes Clements' slide somewhat more understandable.
But as the Kalamazoo Gazette's Malachi Barrett asks, what, if anything, is going to be different this time? Clements himself pins his hopes on a Democratic wave and also that fact that Upton was responsible for the sham amendment that gave Upton and many of his colleagues the cover they needed to flip from "no" to "yes" on the GOP's healthcare repeal and resurrect it from the grave. Upton will still be very difficult to dislodge, though, and if national Democrats decide to target this race, they may look for an alternative candidate.
● MN-03: Tonka Bay Councilmember Adam Jennings recently became the latest noteworthy Democrat to launch his bid for Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, calling himself "fiscally moderate, socially progressive," just like this affluent Minneapolis suburbs district itself. Jennings is a retired lieutenant in the National Guard and has a professional background in business administration and finance. However, Tonka Bay has a population of just roughly 1,600, and Jennings only recently began his first term on the council, so he's likely starting out with very little name recognition in the broader 3rd District.
Jennings joins a Democratic primary that already includes prominent businessman Dean Phillips, who was reportedly recruited to run by local party leaders. Both men are vying for the nomination to take on Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen in this swingy seat, which favored Clinton 51-41 but Obama just 50-49.
● NJ-11: On Friday, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett launched his candidacy for the 11th Congressional District in suburban North Jersey, becoming the latest Democrat to join the race against longtime Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. Passaic County only makes up roughly 18 percent of the Morris County-centric 11th, but the Observer's Salvador Rizzo previously described Bartlett as having a reputation as a tough campaigner. Bartlett is a Harvard-educated lawyer who defeated a Republican to win his current office in 2012 and last won re-election in 2015, so he has experience running in competitive races.
Bartlett joins former federal prosecutor and Navy veteran Mikie Sherrill in the Democratic primary. The DCCC has reportedly been recruiting Assemblyman John McKeon to run, but the latter has previously been coy about his intentions before this November's legislative elections are over.
New Jersey's legendary Frelinghuysen family has held the 11th and previous versions of this seat for most of the last half-century. However, the extremely well-educated district swung from 52-47 Romney to just 49-48 Trump last year, and Democrats are optimistic that the incumbent's support for Trumpcare gives them an opening next year.
● NV-03, NV-04: With freshman Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen giving up her swingy 3rd District, which is located in the southern Las Vegas suburbs, we get our second open seat race here in a row. A week ago, the Nevada Independent reported that professional golfer Natalie Gulbis, an ardent Trump supporter, was being recruited by the NRCC to run here. Gulbis recently confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she is indeed considering.
Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, a Republican who lost the 2015 non-partisan mayoral race to independent incumbent Carolyn Goodman 55-42, also tells the paper he's interested. However, Anthony also says he could run in the 4th District, which includes Las Vegas' northern suburbs. The 4th backed Clinton 50-45 while the 3rd supported Trump 48-47, but the 4th is held by freshman Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen. It will almost certainly be tougher to win a general election against Kihuen than an open seat, though the 4th will likely attract fewer Republican primary candidates.
Kihuen unseated first-term Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy last year 49-45, and while Hardy didn't rule out a rematch in December, he's said little since then. However, Hardy may be looking to return to Congress in a different seat. The Review-Journal, citing unnamed GOP sources, reports that Hardy has been eyeing the 3rd for months. Hardy's decision could influence another Republican. State Sen. Scott Hammond recently filed to run in the 3rd, but in March, he said he was interested in running for the 4th. At the time, Hammond sounded reluctant to run for the 4th if Hardy did, too, so it's possible he may switch races if Hardy goes for the open seat. 2016 3rd District GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian (who was the 2012 4th District nominee) has also been flirting with another go for the 3rd, though he's also mulling a primary run against Sen. Dean Heller.
● VA-02: Freshman GOP Rep. Scott Taylor has earned a second Democratic challenger, just a day after the first one announced. Navy veteran Garry Hubbard, a retired construction company owner, now joins Virginia Beach Democratic Party chair Dave Belote, who is also a former service member, in pursuing this potentially vulnerable seat that Donald Trump won 49-45. Hubbard is a first-time candidate, while Belote lost a state Senate race in 2015.
It's also possible that a third, more experienced alternative could get in. The Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman says that state Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who somewhat infamously won a special election in a blue-tilting district three years ago by just nine votes, "appears close to jumping in." Despite that ultra-narrow scrape, Lewis would be a solid get for Team Blue (he won re-election without a problem the following year). However, Wasserman doesn't offer any source for his report, and we haven't heard even a whisper of Lewis' name, so we'll wait to learn more before we get excited.
Roll Call's Eric Garcia also raises a separate issue: Democrats in the 2nd District have yet to decide whether to hold a traditional primary or a smaller affair, such as a "firehouse primary" or a convention. It's difficult to say which type of contest might favor which sort of candidate, though, since Virginia Democrats tend to have few contested nomination battles for prominent races.
● Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits Illinois, where a two-year long budget standoff between the Democratic legislature and GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner came to an end on Thursday when the legislature voted to override Rauner's veto and pass a spending plan. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here.
Illinois was one of the very few states where Democrats were able to draw the legislative and congressional maps after the 2010 census. However, while Team Blue holds strong majorities in both chambers of the legislature, they've been locked in a long and bloody struggle with Rauner, who unseated Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014. Democrats ended the 2014 cycle with a 71-47 majority in the state House, which was exactly the three-fifths majority they needed to override Rauner's vetoes. Democrats also held a 39-20 Senate edge, three more than they needed to override vetoes. Team Blue couldn't afford any defections in the House if they wanted to pass a budget without GOP help, but they got one.
In 2016, state Rep. Ken Dunkin provided the key vote that prevented his fellow Democrats from reversing Rauner's cuts to key social services. Speaker Mike Madigan declared war on Dunkin, who represented a safely blue Chicago seat, and Barack Obama himself even recorded an ad for Juliana Stratton, Dunkin's primary foe. Rauner and his allies spent heavily to boost Dunkin in the Democratic primary, but Stratton won 68-32. However, Team Blue lost seats even as Hillary Clinton was beating Donald Trump 56-39 in the state. While Democrats still held a 37-22 Senate supermajority, their smaller 67-51 House edge meant that they needed at least four Republicans to help override a Rauner veto.
Illinois' long budget mess continued for months into 2017, with the state's credit rating in real danger of getting downgraded to junk status. On Thursday, the legislature finally voted to override Rauner's veto and pass its first budget in two years. Ultimately, the critical override votes got exactly the minimum amount of support they needed in each chamber. (The House actually voted to override the vetoes of three bills; in this post we'll be referring to the most important of them, SB-09, which raised income taxes.) Illinois' financial situation is still far from solved, and Rauner and his allies are hoping that voters will react badly to the legislature's decision to raise taxes as Rauner runs for re-election next year.
The wealthy Rauner spent heavily in the 2016 legislative races, and we're likely to see more action there in 2018 as well. However, it's unclear exactly where the battleground districts will be. While Clinton's 56-39 statewide victory was very similar to Obama's 58-41 win over Mitt Romney, there were plenty of swings in each direction. Clinton outpaced Obama in the Chicago suburbs, but downstate Illinois, the vast area outside the Chicago metro area, went the other way.
We'll start with a look at the Senate, where half the members are up in presidential years, and the rest are up in midterm cycles. Clinton carried 42 of the 59 seats, four more than Obama took in 2012. Six seats flipped from Romney to Clinton, while only two went from Obama to Trump. Both of those Obama/Trump seats are in Democratic hands, though only one of them was up last year. Democratic state Sen. William Haine, whose St. Louis-area SD-56 flipped from 50-48 Obama to 52-42 Trump, did not even face GOP opposition in 2016. State Sen. Andy Manar, another Democrat from downstate Illinois, last won in 2014 by a 56-44 margin; his SD-48 went from 50-48 Obama to 56-39 Trump. No Senate Democrats hold Romney/Trump seats. Both Democrats voted for the veto override, and Haine even attended despite ill health.
All six Romney/Clinton Senate seats are held by Republicans, while Neil Anderson is the one Republican in an Obama/Clinton seat. The least Trump-y GOP-held seat is SD-24, located in DuPage County in suburban Chicago. This seat swung from 52-46 Romney to 53-40 Clinton; Republican Chris Nybo was last on the ballot in 2014, when he won 60-40. Anderson's Rock Island-area SD-36 moved in the other direction, going from 60-39 Obama to just 49-45 Clinton. Anderson also will next be up in 2018. The one Senate Republican to vote for the override was Dale Righter, who actually represents Trump's single best seat. Righter's SD-55 went from 66-32 Romney to 74-20 Trump, though Righter won't need to face primary voters until 2020.
One Republican who actually did win while his seat was swinging against Trump was Daily Kos Elections favorite Jim Oberweis. Oberweis, a wealthy dairy magnate, infamously lost five straight congressional and statewide races in the first decade of the 2000s, earning himself the nickname "the Milk Dud." Oberweis finally scored a win in 2012 when he won SD-25, a suburban Chicago seat that backed Romney 53-45. Oberweis then proceeded to launch a longshot bid against Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin in 2014, and he predictably lost 54-43. But last year Oberweis defended his seat 55-45 even as Clinton was winning it 48-45.
We'll now take a look at the state House. Clinton won 76 of the 118 seats, trading seven Obama seats for eight Romney districts. Thirteen Republicans hail from Clinton turf, while four Democrats represent Trump seats. Of that quartet of Democrats, two hold Romney/Trump seats. Democratic state Rep. Brandon Phelps won his downstate HD-118 58-42 last year even as his seat shifted from an already tough 58-40 Romney to a brutal 68-28 Trump.
Fellow downstate Democratic incumbent Jerry Costello Jr. didn't face any opposition in HD-116, which went from 57-41 Romney to 66-29 Trump. On Thursday, Phelps voted to override the veto, while Costello opposed it. The two Democrats in Obama/Trump seats also split their votes, with Daniel Beiser voting yes and Katie Stewart voting no. No Democrats hold any of the Romney/Clinton seats.
Of the 13 Republicans in Clinton seats, only four hold Obama/Clinton districts. Of the eight Obama/Trump seats, six are held by the GOP. The Republican with the least Trump-y seat is Peter Breen in HD-48. According to our calculations, Romney won this DuPage County seat by 10 votes, but Clinton won it 55-38. However, Breen defended his district 57-43, and he voted against the override. One of the big questions of 2018 will be whether districts like this that were repelled by Trump continue to favor the GOP downballot, or if he'll do them more damage from the White House.