Under the old Senate map, the median seat backed Trump 58-40, but under the new one, he carried it 55-43—8 points to the right of his statewide win. That's still very bad for Democrats, but it's a bit less tough. However, while the old median point in the House favored Trump 54-42, the new one supported him 55-41, which is actually a bit worse. This means that, if Democrats want to take the barest of majorities, they're going to need to win at least some seats that backed Trump by double digits, which is a very tough task even in a good year.
To see how the Tar Heel State stacks up nationally, we've published a handy spreadsheet listing the median seat for every other state chamber where we have data. By this metric, North Carolina's state Senate has the ninth-strongest GOP lean in the country, while its state House ranks fourth—and first among potentially competitive chambers.
The more immediate task for Democrats is picking up enough seats to break the GOP's three-fifths supermajorities, which Republicans have used to override veto after veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and continue to pass their agenda. The GOP currently enjoys a 35-15 Senate majority and a 75-45 edge in the House, so Democrats need to net six Senate seats or four House seats to get to their goal.
Once again, we can compare the two maps by looking at Trump's 29th-best Senate seat and 71st-best House seat; this gives us an idea of the kind of seat Democrats need to capture to break the GOP's supermajorities. There was no real change in either chamber: Under both the old and new Senate maps, the 29th-best seat supported Trump 51-46; under the old House map, the 71st seat backed Trump 51-45, while he carried it 52-47 under the new lines—scarcely any better.
Nevertheless, while the new maps still aren't great for Democrats, they may still do better in 2018 thanks to them. A number of Republican legislators will be running in redrawn seats that are home to many voters who are new to them (and vice-versa), so they may not benefit as much from the advantages of incumbency. Senate Democrats are also all but guaranteed to pick up the redrawn 16th District, an open seat that backed Clinton 58-40. Therefore, as long as they defend all of their incumbents (the reddest Democratic-held Senate seat went for Clinton 52-46), they'll be able to concentrate on flipping five seats instead of six.
Redistricting has also required us to do perform a little housekeeping. Candidate filing closed in North Carolina a few months ago, so in our spreadsheets, we've assigned every state legislator who is seeking re-election to the district they're campaigning for. In the Senate, a pair of Republicans are running for the same seat in two instances, so we list them both as the incumbents. Conversely, any seats without an incumbent running for them are listed as such.
However, we still assigned a party to every open seat in order to reflect the GOP's current 35-15 Senate majority and 75-45 House majority. To figure out which party holds each open seat, we looked through the incumbents who are not running for re-election and assigned them each to an open seat for our legislative open seat tracker, which is the same approach we took for assigning retiring congressmen to Pennsylvania's new congressional map; each open seat is "held" by the party of its retiring incumbent. In a few cases, we had no choice but to assign certain incumbents to a new seat that doesn't overlap with the seat they hold now; in these situations, we gave those incumbents the seat closest to their current district that didn't otherwise have a legislator assigned to it.
Under this formula, we've wound up with three GOP-held Senate seats that Clinton won and no Democrats in Trump territory. In the House, five Democrats represent Trump seats and an equal number of Republicans hold Clinton districts. Under the old map, four Senate Republicans represented Clinton districts, while in the lower chamber, there were three Clinton Republicans and four Trump Democrats (a fifth House member, William Brisson, won in 2016 as a Democrat in a Trump seat, but switched parties last year).
For the rest of our presidential results by legislative district, you can find our master list of states here, and you can also find all our data from 2016 and past cycles here.
Be sure to keep our Senate fundraising roundup handy, since we update that as new numbers come in. We'll have a House money roundup in the coming days.
● AZ-Sen: Joe Arpaio (R): $500,000 raised, $250,000 cash-on-hand
● CA-Sen: Dianne Feinstein (D-inc): $1.2 million raised, $10.3 million cash-on-hand
● MT-Sen: Jon Tester (D): $2 million raised, $6.8 million cash-on-hand
● TN-Sen: Phil Bredesen (D): $1.8 million raised, additional $1.4 million self-funded; Marsha Blackburn (R): $2 million raised, $6 million cash-on-hand
● TX-Sen: Ted Cruz (R-inc): $3.2 million raised, $8.2 million cash-on-hand
● IN-Sen: Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita utterly despise one another, so it's no small thing that they teamed up several times at Sunday's debate to attack wealthy businessman Mike Braun, the third candidate in the May 8 GOP primary. The Indianapolis Star's Tony Cook writes that the two longtime rivals frequently agreed with one another on stage and instead focused their fire on Braun, arguing his company imported auto parts from overseas and taking him to task for voting in Democratic primaries until 2012. Rokita did still attack Messer a few times, but it sounds like both congressmen trained most of their fire on Braun.
We haven't seen any polls here in months, but the congressmen seem to be behaving like Braun is the front-runner right now. Braun, a former state representative, started the race with little-name recognition, but he began advertising last year and never let up. We're still waiting on campaign finance reports from all the candidates, but the wealthy Braun may very well have the resources to outspend Rokita and Messer on the air in the final weeks. We'll see if the other two begin focusing on Braun in their final TV ads, or if they continue to just attack their two rivals about equally.
● NV-Sen: Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is up with her first TV spot in her bid against GOP incumbent Dean Heller. Rosen describes working through college as a waitress and managing a mostly male software development team, as well as taking care of her parents when they got sick.
● WI-Sen: Warning: heavy use of puns ahead. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin's latest ad admits right up front that, "This is going to be a cheesy ad. A very cheesy ad ... But then again, this is Wisconsin!" and yep—this is an ad about about Holland's Family Cheese business in Thorp Wisconsin, run by the Penterman family.
The spot features the Pentermans' children introducing the segment with the aforementioned warning about cheesiness. Baldwin then appears on screen to say how she fought "federal bureaucrats [who] wanted to prohibit the use of wooden cheese boards, which help make tens of millions of pounds of cheese a year." Cheesemaker Marieke Penterman then praises the senator for standing up for local businesses by blocking the proposed regulation.
● WV-Sen: Mountain Families PAC, which has ties to the the Senate GOP establishment, recently began airing an ad to try to stop disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship from winning the Republican primary, and Politico now has a copy of the ad, which they report is part of a $700,000 buy. The commercial attacks "convicted criminal Don Blankenship" over how his mining company got caught pumping coal waste underground, which contaminated drinking water for thousands of West Virginians, while Blankenship installed a separate clean water line in his own mansion. The segment closes by asking, "Isn't there enough toxic sludge in Washington?"
● CO-Gov: Both Democrats and Republicans held statewide conventions (known locally as "assemblies") in Colorado on Saturday, though the most noteworthy developments came in the GOP race.
For Democrats, the vote played out largely as anticipated. Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy won the party endorsement with the support of 62 percent of delegates, while Rep. Jared Polis was a distant second with 33 percent, enough to get him to the primary ballot. (Polis had also collected signatures, so if he'd failed to hit the 30 percent threshold at the convention, he might have still made it to the primary.) Former state Sen. Mike Johnston and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, meanwhile, did not compete at the convention and instead chose to gather signatures. Election officials have verified that Johnston has enough valid signatures to make the primary ballot, while Lynne's petitions are still being processed.
On the GOP side, however, things were definitely a bit crazier, though state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the presumptive front-runner, won his party's endorsement by earning the support of 43 percent of delegates. That not only ensures him of a place on June's primary ballot but also gives him the top slot. And that can matter a great deal: Research by political scientists has demonstrated that appearing first on the ballot can add several percentage points to a candidate's vote totals, even in high profile races.
But while the outcome for Stapleton was expected, second place yielded a surprise, as former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez took 32 percent of the vote, just clearing the 30 percent threshold needed to advance to the primary. That, however, left some major players out in the cold, particularly state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who won a mere 6 percent. Coffman had chosen not to collect signatures, so along with businessman Barry Farah and Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, her campaign is now kaput.
Until last week, Stapleton had planned to collect signatures to make the ballot, but he'd also considered competing at the convention anyway in the hopes of blocking Coffman from winning enough support to move on. But on Tuesday, Stapleton took the unusual step of asking Colorado's secretary of state to toss the signatures his campaign had collected, charging that the company he'd hired, Kennedy Enterprises, had engaged in fraud. That left Stapleton with no choice but to make his case to convention delegates in order to keep his campaign alive, but he got some high-profile help at the last minute. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo and Rep. Ken Buck, who both have followings among party activists, both endorsed him in the days leading up to the assembly.
By contrast, things never seemed to go right for Coffman throughout her campaign. The attorney general spent months keeping the political world guessing about whether she would run for governor or seek re-election, and she only announced her plans in November. (While Stapleton only announced he was running in September, he telegraphed his plans long in advance.) Coffman then found herself having trouble raising money in the short amount of time she gave herself, amassing a meager $85,000 war chest at the end of last year. Coffman originally planned to collect signatures rather than go through the assembly, but she announced in February that she was switching course: Going the petition route can cost $250,000 in Colorado, money she simply didn't have.
But Coffman was always going to face as tough a time making inroads with the conservative delegates who dominate the convention as she had with donors. In particular, Coffman's stance on gay rights might place her in the American mainstream, but she was very much on the outs with right-wing activists: She'd taken part in a 2017 LGBT PrideFest event, and her office had appeared in a high-profile case before the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the state's decision to penalize a baker who had refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Coffman also described her position on abortion as "a libertarian view that a woman should have a right to have an abortion that is legally guaranteed by the Supreme Court decision," which only further upset social conservatives. At the convention, Coffman used her speech to attack Stapleton for his petition problems and a DUI from the 1990s, which got her booed. In the end, Coffman's feeble 6 percent support from delegates meant a dramatic end for a campaign that never made much sense to begin with.
But former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, whom we hadn't even mentioned before, had a very different experience. Lopez had just $23,000 in the bank in March, and his last campaign for public office went badly. In 2016, Lopez ran for the Senate, but his bid ended at the convention when little-known and under-funded candidate Darryl Glenn wowed the delegates with a speech and secured so much support that no one else competing at the assembly advanced.
But this time, it was Lopez who gave a strong speech that impressed delegates, some of whom admitted to knowing nothing about him when the day began. Lopez, who is the son of migrant farm workers, notably declared, "Like President Trump, I support legal immigration, not illegal immigration," and portrayed himself as a "different" type of Republican candidate. (Interestingly, that approach followed a pattern laid down two years earlier by Glenn, an African-American whose biggest applause line was, "All lives matter!") Lopez probably still has too little money and outside support to win in June, but we'll see if his strong showing affects the landscape.
As with Democrats, though, two notable GOP candidates, investment banker Doug Robinson and wealthy former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, eschewed the convention. Both are still waiting to hear if they filed enough signatures to make the ballot, which they'll find out no later than April 27.
● CT-Gov: While Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin formed an exploratory committee in December to prepare for a bid for governor, he announced on Monday that he would stay out of the August Democratic primary. Bronin had a bad relationship with labor, and he also struggled to make inroads in the crowded contest. It didn't help him that legislators who voted for the October bailout for Hartford now say they were misled about exactly what they were supporting, and some have threatened to cut off aid to the city.
● GA-Gov: Former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams is out with her first TV ads (here and here) ahead of the May 22 Democratic primary. The first spot begins by showing family photos while Abrams introduces herself: "Growing up, we didn't have much. But in my parents' house, Saturday was a service day—helping others." Abrams says she wants to give more Georgians the opportunity to succeed so that "all Georgia families are lifted up."
The second spot features a diverse group of men wearing suits who one by one say that Abrams understands "guys like me." They argue she's fighting against tax hikes on hard-working people like them and advocating for better health care and education, while they also praise her as someone who can work with both parties to get things done.
● MD-Gov: Former NAACP head Ben Jealous picked up the support of the Maryland State Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the state, for the June Democratic primary. Last year, the Baltimore Sun described the group, which has clashed repeatedly with GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, as one of the most coveted endorsements in the contest, and noted that they spent $2 million during the 2014 race.
● NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz has debuted two fifteen-second ads (here and here) ahead of the June 12 GOP primary, which his campaign says are part of a six-figure buy. The first spot hurriedly says Schwartz won't take money from "billionaires and their lobbyists," which probably explains why the production values look so cheap in both segments. The second ad says Nevada needs a governor who will create high-tech, high-paid jobs and build schools, not spend taxpayer money on a new stadium.
● NY-Gov: Despite intense maneuvering by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York's Working Families Party overwhelmingly endorsed his progressive primary challenger, activist and actress Cynthia Nixon, at a gathering on Saturday. Prior to the proceedings, with a Nixon endorsement looking likely, Cuomo pulled out of the running.
At the same time, two influential unions supportive of Cuomo, the Communications Workers of America and SEIU 32BJ (which represents property services workers, including doormen and office cleaners), announced they would leave the WFP. Some other dissident unions also reportedly have suggested they might form their own ballot line which they could then give to Cuomo, but any such talks sound highly preliminary, and 32BJ made a point of saying it was not involved in them.
While Nixon's WFP nod has no direct impact on the outcome of September's Democratic primary, if the unions still remaining in the WFP choose to expend real resources to aid her campaign, that could give her a major boost. In 2014, when Cuomo also faced a primary challenger running to his left, law professor Zephyr Teachout, the WFP declined to back her after a bitterly divided party convention, leaving Teachout without the kind of institutional support she desperately needed to pull off an upset—and which Nixon likewise needs.
One reason the WFP spurned Teachout had to do with ballot access. For political parties in New York to retain their ballot lines, their candidates need to win at least 50,000 votes on that line every time there's a gubernatorial election. Usually the WFP cross-endorses the Democratic nominee, and thanks to New York's system of so-called "fusion voting," whereby multiple parties can nominate the same candidate, hitting that threshold has never been a problem. But had Teachout won the WFP endorsement and lost the Democratic primary, it's possible she might not have received the necessary 50,000 votes that fall.
That's a risk that the WFP is evidently willing to take this time around with Nixon, who remains very much the longshot against Cuomo. But the WFP earned heaps of scorn for siding with Cuomo in 2014, and in the current political environment, siding with the notoriously centrist incumbent might have caused an even more tumultuous split in the party's ranks.
● PA-Gov, PA-Sen: A new poll from Muhlenberg College for the Morning Call finds Pennsylvania Democrats in strong shape across the board, much as Franklin & Marshall did late last month. In Muhlenberg's closest gubernatorial matchup, Gov. Tom Wolf leads state Sen. Scott Wagner 47-31; he holds even wider advantages of 47-27 against businessman Paul Mango and 46-26 versus attorney Laura Ellsworth. The big gaps are undoubtedly due in part to Wolf's name recognition advantage, but he also sports a positive 46-35 job approval rating.
The picture is similar for Sen. Bob Casey, who beats Rep. Lou Barletta 48-32 and state Rep. Jim Christiana 48-29 and has an approval score of 41-28. Trump, meanwhile, is deep underwater, with only 39 percent of voters approving of the job he's doing while 55 percent disapprove. That's a strong headwind for any GOP candidate but may just be insurmountable for Barletta, whom the Washington Examiner's David Drucker recently reported had been "all but written off" by his party.
There's one final piece of good news for Keystone State Democrats: On the generic congressional ballot, they lead Republicans by a wide 47-38 margin. Democrats could pick up as many as five GOP-held seats in Pennsylvania alone this year, as well as secure a sixth seat by winning an incumbent-vs.-incumbent battle in the 17th District, and these numbers suggest a sweep is within the realm of possibility.
● TN-Gov: A new ad for Republican Rep. Diane Black rather oddly starts out by noting—with a map, no less—that the country's "southern border is 760 miles from Tennessee." The message, apparently, is that Mexico is awful close, because the rest of the spot features Black herself describing how she'll crack down on the menace of immigration, but "760 miles" seems like a rather long haul. And that's only as the crow flies: The drive from Del Rio, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee (more or less the starting and ending points on Black's map) takes 13 hours and traverses 867 miles. Fear evidently knows no boundaries.
● FL-15: GOP state Reps. Neil Combee and Ross Spano are each reportedly planning to announce a run for retiring Rep. Dennis Ross' seat in the next few days. However, state Sen. Kelli Stargel and state Rep. Ben Albritton each say they'll stay out of the race. Florida Politics also lists Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin's name as "in the mix" for the late August primary, though we haven't heard anything else about his level of interest. The filing deadline is May 4.
● FL-18: Former State Department official Lauren Baer has earned the endorsement of Rep. Ted Deutch, making him the second South Florida Democrat in Congress (along with Rep. Lois Frankel) to back Baer's campaign. In the just-concluded first quarter of the year, Baer raised an impressive $456,000 from donors and finished with $708,000 cash-on-hand. Her opponent in the August primary, Navy veteran Pam Keith, brought in $105,000 and had just $50,000 in the bank. Freshman GOP Rep. Brian Mast, by contrast, collected a monster $777,000 and has $1.5 million in his campaign account.
● MD-06: Maryland's state Republican Party appears to be trying to ratfuck the 6th District Democratic primary by sending out mailers attacking state Del. Aruna Miller for supposedly being weak on crime, the opioid epidemic, and immigration. The state party isn't admitting its motivation for targeting Miller while ignoring the other Democrats in the field. However, a consultant for presumptive GOP nominee Amie Hoeber suggested Republicans would prefer to have the only woman nominee in the general election for this blue-leaning western Maryland district.
Miller is running in a primary field that includes two men—self-funding businessman David Trone and state Sen. Roger Manno—along with one woman—physician and novelist Nadia Hashimi, who has struggled to raise money. Miller has earned support from major Democratic-aligned groups like EMILY's List.
Republicans may believe they'd fare better in the general election running against Manno or Trone. However, this district backed Clinton by 56-40, and it's hard to see Republicans having a good shot against any of the top Democratic contenders in the 2018 political environment.
● MN-02, MN-03: Democrats in these two suburban Twin Cities swing seats held their endorsement conventions on Saturday, and unsurprisingly, they backed both former healthcare executive Angie Craig and businessman Dean Phillips, two candidates who are on the DCCC's Red-to-Blue list.
In the 2nd District, Craig is seeking a rematch with GOP Rep. Jason Lewis, who beat her 47-45 as Trump was carrying the seat by the same margin. Craig's main intra-party opponent, high school football coach Jeff Erdmann, dropped out of the race after he lost the party endorsement. While the candidate-filing deadline isn't until June, it's unlikely Craig will face any serious opposition in the August primary. This will be another expensive battle: At the end of March, Lewis held a $885,000 to $750,000 cash-on-hand edge.
In the neighboring 3rd District, Phillips, who is heavily involved with local philanthropic efforts (and is also a grandson of famous advice columnist Dear Abby) defeated Tonka Bay Councilor Adam Jennings. As of Monday evening, Jennings hasn't publicly said if he plans to continue on to the primary. In any case, now that Phillips has the support of both national and local Democrats, it's hard to see him being in any trouble come August.
National Democrats are targeting GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, who beat a well-funded Democratic opponent 57-43 even as Clinton was winning his seat 51-41. Paulsen remains a very strong fundraiser, and he held a $2 million to $700,000 cash-on-hand edge over Phillips at the end of March. For his part, Jennings had $151,000 on-hand, with most of his money coning from himself. However, Phillips will still have plenty of money to get his name out, and this is exactly the type of well-educated suburban seat Team Blue hopes will react badly to anything associated with Trump in November.
● MN-08: After a hard-fought battle at Saturday's convention, none of the five Democrats competing to succeed retiring Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th District emerged with their party's endorsement, and Team Blue will now move on toward a crowded August primary for this competitive seat. Candidates needed the support of 60 percent of the delegates to win the endorsement, and while capturing this prize doesn't guarantee anyone the nomination, several contenders had pledged to drop out if they didn't earn the party's official backing.
On the 10th and final ballot, former FBI analyst Leah Phifer led former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, who was Nolan's 2016 campaign manager, by a 48-42 margin, while the remaining 10 percent of delegates voted not to endorse anyone. At that point—10 hours into the proceedings—convention-goers opted to adjourn without naming a victor.
Several other candidates also competed at the convention. North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy and former local TV news anchor Michelle Lee were quickly eliminated on the very first ballot, after both failed to clear the necessary 5 percent to move on. State Rep. Jason Metsa lasted a little longer, but he got knocked out after taking just 18 percent on the third ballot, falling short of the 25 percent needed to continue at that point.
By Monday, Radinovich, Metsa, Lee, and Kennedy had all announced that they would continue on to the primary. Phifer, by contrast, said that she would take the next two weeks to decide if she'd do the same, though she sounds unlikely to, since she acknowledged her campaign had always been dependent on winning the party endorsement.
That's because she's likely to face much more intense opposition if she forges ahead to the primary. Phifer had kicked off a bid against Nolan last year before he retired, and the congressman and his allies reportedly wanted to do whatever they could to stop her from winning the party endorsement. Phifer's detractors have also worried that her opposition to local mining projects and her weak fundraising would harm Democrats' chances of holding this seat in the general election.
Phifer also ran into some static at the convention: The party's Latino Caucus protested her candidacy at the convention, since she'd previously worked for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government's notorious deportation force better known as ICE. Nolan also endorsed Radinovich at the convention when he emerged as Phifer's only remaining opponent, though he said afterwards that he wouldn't support anyone in the primary until the field becomes clear.
Republicans, meanwhile, have consolidated behind St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber in this rural seat in the northeastern part of the state, which swung from 52-46 Obama to 54-39 Trump. While some local Democrats hoped that one candidate could win the party endorsement and the others would just decide not to run in the primary, that's not happening. However, it's anyone's guess who will be favored in August.
Despite her success with activists, Phifer raised only $47,000 during the first three months of the year and ended March with $19,000 in the bank, so if she does stay in the race, she could have a tough time getting her message out to a larger electorate. However, Phifer did make a name for herself as the candidate most opposed to mining projects, which could help her stand out in a jammed race.
The other Democratic hopefuls only got into the race after Nolan announced he would retire in mid-February, so they haven't yet had a full quarter to raise money. In his limited time in the race, Metsa outraised the field with $133,000, and also had the most in the bank, $117,000. Radinovich took in $108,000 during this period and had $95,000 cash-on-hand. Lee took in just $29,000 for the quarter and had only $16,000 on-hand, though her long career on TV may afford her a measure of name-recognition. Kennedy, who raised just $6,000, and ended with less than $3,000 left over. For his part, Stauber raised $274,000 and ended March with $293,000 on-hand. (Update: This post incorrectly had Kennedy raising $62,000 and holding $27,000 on-hand.)
● NY-24: Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hasn't formally weighed in on the Democratic primary in the 24th District, but her Off the Sidelines PAC donated the maximum of $5,000 to Syracuse University professor Dana Balter's campaign during the first quarter. Balter has previously struggled with fundraising, although she raised $120,000 in the first three months of 2018 and finished March with $75,000 on hand. Primary rival Juanita Perez Williams, who was formerly the city of Syracuse's top attorney, only joined the race this month and thus has no fundraising report yet.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. John Katko will be able to stockpile his cash while the two Democrats compete in the June primary. Katko raised $213,000 and had a hefty $1.2 million in cash-on-hand at the beginning of April.
● WI-01: Over the last few days, both state Sen. David Craig and state Rep. Samantha Kerkman announced that they wouldn't run in the August GOP primary to succeed retiring Speaker Paul Ryan. The only major Republican left who has expressed interest in running is University of Wisconsin Board of Regents member Bryan Steil, a longtime friend of Ryan's. However, Wisconsin Politics lists former Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig as considering, though there's no other information about his level of interest. The filing deadline is June 1.
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