Never heard of Jack Morgan? Let’s get to know this chap:
Yeah, this is the guy Gillespie has tapped to turn his faltering campaign around.
Looking forward to Fraidycat Ed’s next big moves!
But Gillespie’s not the only frightened GOPer in Virginia, apparently.
- Take Republican Del. Joseph Yost, a three-term incumbent running for re-election in Southwest Virginia. He recently dropped his first direct mail piece—surprisingly early, in terms of Virginia’s normal House campaign cycle. You can take a look at it here, but the upshot is that Yost doesn’t seem to want folks to know that he’s a Republican.
- The only place a party label appears on the mailer is in the return address field, where the Republican Party of Virginia cleverly hid their legally required “paid for by” disclosure.
- Moreover, Yost takes pains to paint himself with a remarkably Democratic-sounding brush, touting policy priorities like “Public Education,” “Mental Health,” and fighting a pipeline slated to traverse his district. He even prominently touts an award he got once from the Virginia Education Association (an organization more closely associated with supporting Democrats).
- The most Republican-sounding thing in the whole mail piece is his support of “small businesses” and a mention that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce gave him an award once.
Clinton narrowly won Yost’s seat, but House District 12 hasn’t elected a Democratic legislator yet this decade.
So, on one hand, Gillespie is tacking hard right in a desperate attempt to shore up his GOP base, while on the other, Southwest Virginia Republicans don’t want voters to know they’re Republicans. Also, Democrats keep winning and over-performing in special elections.
These are Very Bad Signs for Republicans this cycle.
Statehouse Rock: Students are returning to school all across the country, but many legislatures have been out of session for months, and most will remain so until next year.
The State Innovation Exchange, a progressive state policy group, recently released a, um, report card evaluating certain legislative initiatives in various states across the country in 2017.
- Most of the focus is on good things Democrats do (or at least try to do—introducing progressive bills is great, but without a Democratic majority, things like paid family leave and expanding access to health care are unlikely to get past a committee, if such bills even get heard at all).
But considering how much power Republicans currently wield in state legislatures, the section of the report highlighting the “Conservative Agenda” is especially important.
- Classic Republican agenda items like “Voter Suppression,” “Immigration,” and “Attacks on Reproductive Rights” are all covered, but the most interesting segments of the report address much less well-known initiatives like pre-emption, Article V convention calls, and so-called “prosperity districts.”
- Pre-emption achieved some notoriety when North Carolina’s HB2 passed in 2016. More commonly known as “the bathroom bill,” this anti-LGBT law was, at its core, a pre-emption measure designed to prohibit localities from enacting local ordinances granting more rights to gay and transgender residents than permitted by state law (specifically, in this case, Charlotte, which had recently expanded rights and protections for the city’s transgender residents).
- Republicans like to pretend as though they advocate for “local control,” but in state legislatures this year, they actively worked to force the state government’s will on cities and towns. Six states (Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas) enacted laws preventing localities from doing things like raise the local minimum wage or expand rights or employment benefits for their residents.
What do all of those states have in common? They’re governed by Republicans!
- But pre-emption isn’t new. Republicans’ New Hotness in 2017 was a push to create so-called “prosperity districts.”
- This Koch-backed, ALEC-supported move surfaced in seven states this year and would create designated areas where environmental laws and other regulations conservatives construe as “inhibiting business” would be limited or eliminated entirely.
- None of these measures passed this year, but we should expect this push to create little libertarian business bubbles to surface and spread in sessions to come.
Who dat? This week’s data interlude adds Louisiana to the expanding list of states for which we’ve finished calculating the 2016 presidential results in all legislative districts. (Spoiler: It’s not pretty for Team Blue.) You can find our master list of states right here.
Have a great Labor Day, y’all, and don’t forget about all those folks fighting floodwaters. Me, I’m thinking about adopting a displaced kitten.
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