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, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● CO-05: On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court ejected six-term Rep. Doug Lamborn from June’s GOP primary ballot for the very red 5th Congressional District. The court ruled that Lamborn's campaign had hired a circulator to collect petitions who did not meet the state's residency requirements, which meant that the signatures he collected were "invalid and may not be considered." With those signatures thrown out, the court said that Lamborn did not have the 1,000 valid petitions he needed. Lamborn's campaign says they plan to challenge the ruling in federal court.
Lamborn's attorney argues that it's unconstitutional not to count otherwise-valid signatures because of the collector's residency, and indeed, federal courts have generally been sympathetic to such claims, including the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado. This precedent suggests this attempt to get Lamborn back on the ballot would have a good chance of succeeding
But if this doesn’t work, Lamborn’s career may just be kaput. While Colorado allows candidates to qualify for the ballot if they win the support of at least 30 percent of the delegates at the state party convention, the convention already happened weeks ago, and Lamborn didn't compete there. It also appears to be too late for Lamborn to run a write-in campaign. State law requires write-in candidates to file an "affidavit of intent" with the secretary of state's office 67 days before the primary … and that deadline was Friday. So unless Lamborn stealthily submitted such an affidavit while his court case was pending (something he does not appear to have done), this option is foreclosed to him, though in theory he could still run as a write-in in the general election.
Two local elected officials were already challenging Lamborn in the primary, and unlike the congressman, they will be on the ballot. State Sen. Owen Hill was the guy who won the party endorsement at the convention that Lamborn skipped, while El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn was the 2016 Senate nominee. This Colorado Springs-area seat backed Donald Trump 57-33 Trump, and the GOP is favored to keep it no matter what happens with Lamborn.
Be sure to keep our Senate fundraising roundup handy, since we update that as new numbers come in. You can also find our complete House roundup here.
● IN-Sen: Todd Rokita (R): $424,000 raised, $1.9 million cash-on-hand; Mike Braun (R): $95,000 raised, additional $2.2 million self-funded, $2.4 million cash-on-hand
● MS-Sen-B: Chris McDaniel (R): $100,000 raised, additional $55,000 self-funded, $141,000 cash-on-hand
● MT-Sen: Troy Downing (R): $89,000 raised, additional $350,000 self-funded, $98,000 cash-on-hand
● VA-Sen: Corey Stewart (R): $220,000 raised, $141,000 cash-on-hand; E.W. Jackson (R): $130,000 raised, $35,000 cash-on-hand
● WV-Sen: Evan Jenkins (R): $320,000 raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand; Patrick Morrisey (R): $394,000 raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand
● MO-Sen: Democratic firm TJP Strategies has conducted a poll on behalf of the Missouri Scout, and the results are encouraging for Team Blue. The survey has Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill leading by 48-44 against state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is the likely Republican nominee. While this is narrowly McCaskill's best result to-date in publicly available polling this cycle, past polling showing Hawley with a slight edge has been dominated by just a single pollster: GOP firm Remington Research, whom the Missouri Scout had previously relied on until now.
● MT-Sen: What does a Republican do when they're struggling to get recognition in a crowded June 5 primary field? If you're businessman and veteran Troy Downing, it turns out you campaign with Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump's national security advisor; Flynn of course resigned in disgrace and later pleaded guilty to a felony as part of a deal to cooperate with special counsel Robert Muller's investigation into the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections.
● UT-Sen: Utah Republicans held their state party convention over the weekend, and state Rep. Mike Kennedy pulled off a 51-49 upset over Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination for Senate. However, this is far from the death knell of Romney's candidacy: Kennedy failed to win the 60 percent support needed for a party endorsement, and both candidates will advance to a June 26 primary. Furthermore, this outcome shouldn't be surprising for longtime observers of Utah's convention process.
Conventions in Utah have long been dominated by activists who are far more ideologically extreme than their party's electorate at large, and conservative insurgents like Kennedy have typically done far better at the convention than when they are forced into a primary against a more establishment-flavored alternative like Romney. Indeed, incumbent GOP Gov. Gary Herbert lost the party convention by 55-44 in his 2016 re-election bid, but he went on to win a 72-28 landslide in the primary against conservative challenger Jonathan Johnson, who was the chairman of Overstock.com.
Previously, candidates had to compete at the convention to make it to a primary, but Utah legislators changed the law in recent years to allow candidates to petition their way onto the ballot by collecting signatures like in most other states. Consequently, Romney was guaranteed a spot on the ballot after he also filed signatures, but he was hoping to knock out Kennedy at the convention if he had won 60 percent there. While Romney will now face a primary in his recently adopted state, don't sleep on a shocking upset here based solely off the convention outcome.
● WV-Sen: You might easily be mistaken in thinking disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship was running in an election against Obama or Hillary Clinton instead of the Republican primary for Senate, and his latest TV ad is yet another in a line of Orwellian "up is down" commercials. The segment tries to defend Trump on colluding with Russia by claiming it's really Obama who colluded with Russia. Blankenship then brings up a phony scandal to say, "We don't need to investigate our president. We need to arrest Hillary."
● AR-Gov: Hendrix College has conducted a new poll of Arkansas' GOP gubernatorial primary for Talk Business, and the survey has Gov. Asa Hutchinson up by 58-31 over Fox News contributor and gun-range owner Jan Morgan. While Hutchinson has a sizable lead, this result isn't exactly intimidating for a red-state governor who doesn't appear to have committed any major departures from conservative orthodoxy that would give primary voters much reason to dump him after just one term.
● AZ-Gov: Former Secretary of State Ken Bennett has launched a late Republican primary challenge against Gov. Doug Ducey over the latter's proposal to raise teacher pay by 19 percent over three years without raising taxes; teachers' unions recently rejected that proposal as fiscally unsustainable and called for greater school funding instead, deciding to go on strike this Thursday over the issue. Bennett has similarly called the plan unaffordable, and it could hand him a potent line of attack if Doucey continues to draw criticism on education issues.
However, Bennett's recent electoral history doesn't instill much confidence in his ability to beat an incumbent who has generally been a staunch conservative. Bennett chose not to seek re-election in 2014 in order to run for governor that year, but he took a distant fourth place with just 11 percent behind Ducey's 37 percent. In 2016, Bennett sought the GOP nomination for the Democratic-held 1st Congressional District, but he once again came in fourth place with only 17 percent.
Bennet says he'll participate in Arizona's public financing system, which would cap how much he could spend but at least give him $840,000 to help get his message out ahead of the primary. However, Bennett would have to earn 4,000 individual contributions of $5 to $160 to qualify for those funds, meaning he could have few resources until shortly before the Aug. 28 primary even if he ultimately receives public funding. Furthermore, Bennett will have just over five weeks before the May 30 filing deadline to get 6,300 valid signatures just to make it onto the ballot, which is no sure thing.
● CA-Gov: While California won't hold its top-two primary until June 5, the vote-by-mail period begins May 7. A huge portion of voters will cast their ballots by mail, so candidates don't have much time left to start advertising before people start voting. That helps explain why Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, whom polls consistently show taking first place, is now going up with his first TV spot.
The narrator begins with a quote from the Los Angeles Times praising Newsom as "ahead of the pack from gay marriage to gun control." She continues by saying the former San Francisco mayor was "the first mayor to recognize marriage equality," and the first to "provide health care to every resident" and "take on the National Rifle Association—and win." She also reminds the audience that he has the support of Sen. Kamala Harris.
● FL-Gov: State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has finally put his
fully operational death star large war chest to use and has launched a $630,000 TV ad buy ahead of the GOP primary. Putnam's minute-long commercial starts off with footage of him in a stable talking to the camera about his family's long history in Florida agriculture, while he touts his conservative values and decries "liberal elites" who supposedly don't value hard work. The second half of the ad features Putnam at a campaign event where he makes a speech filled with standard conservative platitudes.
● GA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has debuted two more ads ahead of the May 22 Republican primary. The first one shows him talking about his efforts to improve education and how building a better workforce is a priority.
The second spot features Cagle speaking to the camera interspersed with images of mothers and young children; Cagle takes credit for passing a law that lets struggling mothers place their children "with a trusted friend or church member ... not just government" as an alternative to state foster care. What Cagle doesn't mention is that this system has little oversight—and he even torpedoed a previous version of the proposal in 2017 by trying to include an amendment to let adoption agencies refuse same-sex parents.
● ID-Gov: Physician and developer Tommy Ahlquist is out with a pretty dull ad ahead of the May 15 GOP primary that promotes him as a strong conservative. But what Ahlquist lacks in quality, he more than makes up for in quantity. The Idaho Statesman Reports that Ahlquist has spent a grand total of $1.5 million on TV ads since he first took to the airwaves last May: His allies at Idaho First PAC have deployed another $811,000.
By contrast, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who went up with his first spot in January, has spent $632,000 on TV. But that's a whole lot more than the $153,000 that Rep. Raul Labrador has used. Protect Freedom PAC, which is operated by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has spent an additional $50,000. There has been very little polling here.
On the Democratic side, 2014 nominee A.J. Balukoff has spent $786,000 on TV ads, while former state Rep. Paulette Jordan has yet to run any. Balukoff is also out with another commercial where he pledges to "stand up to out of state public interests" to protect Idaho's public lands.
● MN-Gov: To absolutely no one's surprise, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has announced that he'll continue on to the August GOP primary whether or not he wins the party endorsement in June. 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson has done well in straw polls both before and since Pawlenty jumped in the race, and he looks like the front-runner to take the party endorsement. But Pawlenty, who has no shortage of money and name-recognition, will still be hard to stop in a primary.
● NV-Gov: Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has debuted her first TV ad ahead of the June 12 Democratic primary. The segment calls her "Chris G" and highlights her record on education, noting she is a special-education teacher, helped bring universal kindergarten to Nevada, and passed a cap on local property taxes. The spot also argues she will fight for increased school funding and reduced class sizes "as a progressive governor" if she's elected.
● RI-Gov: Former Secretary of State Matt Brown has refused to rule out running in the Democratic primary after WPRI got wind of a poll testing him in the race against Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo. Brown had previously filed paperwork for a campaign while publicly considering whether to run as a left-leaning independent, and he has remained coy about his intentions. Meanwhile, former Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently said it's "very unlikely" he'll try to return to the governor's office, which isn't quite a no, but Chafee said he expects to support the Democratic ticket.
On the other side of the aisle, right-leaning businessman Ken Block told WPRI that he's now considering whether to mount his third attempt to become governor, but he gave no indication of a timeline. Block took 6 percent under the Moderate Party banner in 2010, but he ran as a Republican in 2014 and lost that primary by a more respectable 55-45 against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who narrowly lost the general election to Raimondo and is seeking a rematch. However, Block refused to clarify whether or not he would run as a Republican if he joins the race.
● SC-Gov: Rep. Jim Clyburn, who is the third-ranked Democrat in the House and South Carolina's sole Democratic member of Congress, has endorsed state Rep. James Smith in the June 12 Democratic primary for governor.
● WY-Gov: Conservative megadonor Foster Friess took everyone, including state GOP politicos, completely by surprise on Friday when he announced he was joining the August primary for governor of Wyoming. The Casper Star-Tribune's Arno Rosenfeld was at the state convention where Friess made his plans known, and his report gave us all a taste for what kind of campaign Friess will run.
Friess used a state party convention luncheon to call for a return to "civility" in American politics. He then suggested that Barack Obama had funneled money intended to mitigate global warming to cousins in a foreign country Friess didn't know how to pronounce, adding, "Zoowanatou ... it's some little country I've never been."
Friess also addressed the importance of arming the Kurdish military force in Iraq, or as he called them, "my Pershmerga pals." Friess' best buddies are actually called the "Peshmerga", but it's not exactly a surprise he messed up their name: This is the guy who sent an email to the Casper Star-Tribune where he simultaneously praised Sen. John Barrasso, said he was thinking about running against Sen. John Barrasso, and repeatedly misspelled his idol/would-be opponent's name as "Barrosso." And unlike "Zoowanatou," the Peshmerga actually do exist, though the governor of Wyoming has very little say in whether the United States arms them or not.
But Friess didn't seem to have much of an opinion about some of the things the governor of Wyoming actually does have a say in. Friess said he didn't have a clear position on addressing the deficit that state public schools were facing, though he said it was possible that the state should spend less on administrators and more on teachers, and added Wyoming should consider emulating Finland and paying instructors more.
But Friess explained that he still needed to learn a lot more about the issues facing the state because his hometown paper, the Jackson Hole News&Guide, had not done a good job informing its readers. Friess argues the paper "is very left-wing so they give a perspective on what some of the issues are — but we hear about the grizzlies, we hear about the coal issue." But know that Friess is making a big sacrifice by getting involved in state politics: He said the campaign would have "some unpleasantness — I love my golf."
While Friess brings a lot of money to the table, as well as a good deal of national press, he doesn't exactly seem prepared to run a serious campaign. Rosenfeld writes that Friess has not been active in state GOP politics, and he also doesn't seem to have a campaign put together. When Friess was asked at the state party convention on Friday if he'd hired a campaign staff, he said he had assistants and a scheduler to help with his philanthropic and political activities. And when a reporter went on to ask if he'd hired a campaign manager, Friess offered the reporter the job. We assume he was joking, but we can't be sure.
Friess also notably did not show up for the convention’s second day of proceedings, even though his primary rivals did so. And while he said he'd launch a listening tour soon, Rosenfeld writes that he "has otherwise shown little appetite for the retail politics—door knocking, working county contacts, etc.—that typically undermine victorious candidates in the Cowboy State." (Rosenfeld probably meant “undergird.”) This is going to be a very strange primary.
But with several other Republicans running in August, it's always possible a strange candidate could secure enough support to win with a small portion of the vote. And of course, we haven't forgotten what happened the last time a golf-happy, Obama-conspiracy spouting, media-bashing rich guy baffled the party establishment and ran for major office.
● MA-07: Over the weekend, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh endorsed Rep. Mike Capuano over Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley in the September primary for this safely blue seat. Political observers have expected for months that Walsh would back Capuano, who endorsed him during the tight 2013 mayoral campaign. Both men are also close to local labor leaders.
Pressley launched her campaign in early 2018, and she raised a credible $364,000 during her opening quarter. However, Capuano pulled in $507,000 during that same time, and he had a big $1.16 million to $260,000 cash-on-hand lead at the end of March.
● MI-09: On Monday, state Sen. Steve Bieda announced that he was dropping out of the Democratic primary for this open House seat. Bieda will instead run for Macomb County clerk to replace Karen Spranger, a Republican who was ousted by a judge for not meeting the residency requirements after a tumultuous year in office.
● MN-01: Both parties held their endorsement conventions on Saturday in this open southern Minnesota seat. On the Democratic side, former Defense Department official Dan Feehan won on the second ballot.
All the major candidates had promised before the convention to drop out if someone else earned the endorsement (or in local parlance, to abide by the endorsement), and sure enough, attorney Joe Sullivan, Army Reserves veteran Rich Wright, and former state Sen. Vicki Jensen all threw their support behind Feehan. There are no other notable Democrats still running against Feehan, and it looks unlikely that any will jump in ahead of the June 5 filing deadline.
Feehan was the only one of the Democrats who had brought in a credible amount of money: He had $348,000 in the bank at the end of March, while Wright was in second place with just $69,000. The GOP has already made it clear that they plan to portray Feehan, who grew up in the area but only recently moved back after years in the Army and in the Defense Department, as an outsider.
However, Team Red will still have a contested August primary to sort through first. Former U.S. Treasury official Jim Hagedorn, whose father represented this area for four terms until he lost re-election in 1982, decisively beat state Sen. Carla Nelson 76-21 at the GOP convention. But Nelson made it clear months ago that she'd continue on to the primary no matter what, and she quickly reiterated she was doing just that.
Winning the party endorsement is a big deal in Minnesota primaries, but it's not the be-all, end-all. In 2014, Hagedorn temporarily dropped out of the race after a rival candidate prevailed at the convention, but he got back in and won the primary a few months later.
That year, Hagedorn lost to Democratic Rep. Tim Walz 54-46 in a race that national Republicans had given up on months ago. Both sides also paid little attention to their 2016 rematch, so it was a big surprise when Walz only beat Hagedorn 50.3-49.6 as the seat was swinging from 50-48 Obama to 53-38 Trump. Hagedorn quickly announced he would run again even before Walz decided to seek the governorship. Some notable Republicans like NRCC deputy Tom Emmer backed Hagedorn for this cycle, but not everyone was willing to ignore his many flaws.
Notably, the conservative Washington Examiner published an op-ed titled, "Jim Hagedorn: The worst Republican candidate in America?" Author Philip Wegmann highlighted Hagedorn's losing record (he also unsuccessfully sought the GOP nod in 2010) and history of misogynist comments, birther ramblings, and comments about "ungrateful" and "dead Indians." Some local Republicans were also not happy when they learned that Hagedorn and state party chair Jennifer Carnahan were dating (the two announced over the weekend that they were engaged).
National Republicans reportedly urged Nelson to run, even though a successful campaign for Congress would have put the GOP's one-seat majority in the state Senate in jeopardy. Nelson went for it even though some local Republicans urged her to stay in the legislature, but her fundraising hasn't been particularly strong so far. At the end of March, Hagedorn held a $330,000 to $216,000 cash-on-hand edge.
● MS-03: Michael Guest, who serves district attorney for Madison and Rankin Counties, is up with what we believe is the first TV ad of the June GOP primary. The ad stars a woman identified as Jeanette, who describes how a man attempted to kidnap her at knife-point. She praises Guest for taking up her case and fighting for her.
Team Red has a crowded primary to replace retiring Rep. Gregg Harper in this 61-37 Trump seat, and it looks likely that no one will take the majority they'd need to avert a runoff. However, about half the GOP field has considerably more money than the other half.
Whit Hughes, who served as the president of the Baptist Health Foundation and as Haley Barbour's finance chairman during his successful 2003 race for governor, raised $304,000 during the first quarter of the race, a little more than the $281,000 that Guest brought in. Investment company owner Perry Parker raised a smaller $102,000, but he loaned himself another $240,000. At the end of March, Parker led the field with $273,000 in the bank, while Guest edged Hughes $216,000 to $206,000.
Morgan Dunn, a healthcare service provider managing director, had $103,000 in the bank, thanks in large part to self-funding, while state Sen. Sally Doty only had $54,000 to spend. Education consultant Katherine Tate did not report raising any money, nor has Democratic state Rep. Michael Evans.
● MT-AL: Former nonprofit director Grant Kier is up with his first TV ahead of the June Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte. The spot features lots of picturesque shots of Montana, and Kier explains it's everyone's responsibility to protect it for future generations. Kier talks about his work doing that, and declares that Trump and Gianforte are putting it all at risk. Kier also pledges to fight Trump on climate change and healthcare, and to protect women's health care choices.
● NM-01: Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is out with a PPP survey of the June Democratic primary for this open seat. It gives former state party chair Deb Haaland and retired University of New Mexico law school professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez each 15 percent of the vote, while Davis is just behind with 11; former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez takes 7. But even if Davis is within striking range, he's not going to have an easy time getting more support with just $61,000 on-hand.
Haaland, who would be the first Native American woman to ever serve in Congress, has a stronger $347,000 war chest, and she's up with her first TV spot. The ad features Haaland climbing a mountain as she tells the audience she "doesn't look like most people in Congress, and my life is different, too." Haaland continues by saying she put herself through college and law school as a single mom, and she's also 30 years sober. She says that "struggle made me fierce," and she pledges to fight for clean energy jobs, Medicare-for-all, and no more corporate money in politics. As Haaland stares out at Albuquerque, she declares, "Trump won't hand us a thing if we ask politely."
Local political observer Joe Monahan writes that Haaland's campaign put $35,000 behind the ad for the first week, and that Sedillo Lopez will soon begin her own ad campaign for the same amount. Sedillo Lopez ended March with $457,000 on-hand, the largest bank account of any of the candidates. Monahan also writes that, while Rep. and gubernatorial front-runner Michelle Lujan Grisham hasn't publicly taken sides, she's "firmly in Sedillo Lopez's corner," while old allies of Hillary Clinton favor Haaland. Haaland also took the most support at the state party convention in March, which gives her the top spot on the primary ballot.
For his part, Martinez had $277,000 to spend. Businessman Paul Moya and former deputy Bernalillo County assessor Damian Lara, who have mainly been self-funding their bids, had $156,000 and $139,000 on-hand, respectively.
● OH-12: State Sen. Troy Balderson seems to be emerging as the GOP establishment favorite ahead of the May 8 primary, and he's out with a poll from Public Opinion Strategies arguing he's the front-runner. They give him a 17-11 lead over Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan, who is backed by the far-right Freedom Caucus. Economist Tim Kane and state Sen. Kevin Bacon each take 10, while Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien is at 7. The poll finds 41 percent undecided with just two weeks to go before Election Day.
Meanwhile, Bacon is taking to the airwaves with a new ad. Bacon declares that, while he's proud of his conservative record in the legislature, "my real legacy will be my daughters." He continues by saying he wants them to "grow up to be able to defend themselves" as he shows one of his daughters his gun, before he goes on about how he's endorsed by Ohio Right to Life and argues he has "the most conservative record of any candidate running."
● PA-05: On Monday, journalist David Wertime dropped out of the crowded May 15 Democratic primary.
● TX-05: Former state Rep. Kenneth Sheets, who took fourth place in the March GOP primary with 12 percent of the vote, has endorsed state Rep. Lance Gooden for the May 22 runoff. Gooden, who led fundraiser Bunni Pounds 30-22 in round one, also has the support of fifth-place finisher Jason Wright, who took 11 percent, and three minor candidates who earned a combined 8 percent of the vote.
● UT-03: We’re going to have a rematch in Utah’s dark red 3rd Congressional District. GOP Rep. John Curtis, who beat out former state Rep. Chris Herrod for the Republican nomination in last year’s special election for Jason Chaffetz’s seat, outpaced Herrod 59-41 at Saturday's party convention, just shy of the 60 percent that the incumbent needed to win the nomination outright. That means the two will once again face off in the GOP primary, which takes place June 26. Curtis beat Herrod 43-33 in their matchup in August, then went on to easily win the special election in November.
Curtis very much looks like the frontrunner against Herrod once again, but an ongoing story could give him some problems. Five women recently filed a lawsuit alleging that former Provo police chief John King sexually harassed them, and also charged that city officials, including then-Mayor Curtis, failed to uncover similar incidents in King's past before they hired him in 2013.
King wound up resigning in 2017, and Curtis claimed the police chief was leaving to take care of his "sick mother." Curtis even planned a going-away party for him, but just before the festivities began, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that King wasn’t quitting for family reasons but had in fact been dismissed over sexual assault allegations. And that was something Curtis was apparently well aware of, because one woman, who’d been a volunteer at the police department, said she’d called Curtis to tell him that King had raped her on four separate occasions.
City officials are disputing the charges, and Curtis says he would not "knowingly do anything to shield any individual who acted inappropriately with respect to sexual harassment." The party for King, however, went ahead anyway.
● VA-05: Even though the Democratic convention to pick a nominee in Virginia's 5th District is not until May 5, the outcome now appears to be a foregone conclusion because journalist Leslie Cockburn has won the largest number of delegates at preliminary local caucuses. According to unofficial results published by the 5th District Democratic Committee, 140 delegates are pledged to Cockburn, while Marine veteran Roger Dean Huffstetler is far behind with 55 and attorney Andrew Sneathern has 54.
It's a shameful state of affairs, though, because a mere 250 insiders will wind up choosing the party's nominee, rather than the thousands of ordinary folks who could have participated in a primary. One woman who caucused in Charlottesville pretty much said it all in a comment to the Daily Progress: "Normally, my husband and I would both vote in a primary, and we had to choose because we have a toddler and it's in the middle of nap time." This is a travesty, not democracy.
Assuming something extraordinary doesn't transpire in the next two weeks to derail Cockburn's bid, she'll go on to face freshman GOP Rep. Tom Garrett in November. Cockburn raised $192,000 in the first quarter of 2018, which was more than Garrett, who took in a feeble $126,000. Cockburn had also done some self-funding earlier in the campaign and has $301,000 in the bank, while Garrett has just $143,000 in cash-on-hand, by far the lowest sum for a vulnerable Republican incumbent.
● WI-01: On Sunday, University of Wisconsin Regent Bryan Steil announced that he would seek the GOP nomination to succeed Speaker Paul Ryan. The party establishment appears to have consolidated behind Steil, a longtime Ryan friend who was once his personal driver. Steil hails from a prominent Janesville political family, and he serves as general counsel to a company that produces polyethylene film.
Right now, it looks like Steil will be hard to stop in the August primary. Steil's most prominent opponent is Kenosha County Supervisor Jeff Wamboldt, who admits to having few ties to the local GOP and bemoaned that "it was "too bad that we have to put labels on ourselves like Republican or Democrat." Also in the running is Paul Nehlen, who lost to Ryan 82-18 in 2016 and was recently kicked off Twitter for his racist and anti-Semitic posts. But the filing deadline isn't until June 1, so there's still time for someone stronger to jump in.
● Congress: Daily Kos Elections has created a new spreadsheet to help keep track of the incumbents and major-party nominees running for House and Senate races this year. We have compiled demographic stats so you can see where women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates could win seats, along with a name pronunciation guide for those of you who primarily read their news rather than watch it on TV or listen to the radio. In general, we aimed to only include candidates who are incumbents or their party's likely nominee in a potentially competitive race, and we will update this document as filing deadlines and primaries conclude.
Meanwhile, you can bookmark this page to access all our vast collection of spreadsheets in one place.
● NRCC: The DCCC has made it clear that they'll pick favorites in California's June top-two primary to try to prevent two Republicans from advancing to the general election, but their counterparts at the NRCC are behaving quite differently.
The GOP House committee added both former Assemblywoman Young Kim and Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson in the 39th District to On the Radar, the lowest level of their Young Guns program for top House candidates; the DCCC recently backed Navy veteran Gil Cisneros there. The NRCC did pass over former state Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, whom they reportedly tried to convince to drop out last month, and a few local city councilors.
Over in the 49th District, the NRCC added three candidates: Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey; San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar; and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez. The DCCC has not publicly picked sides here.
The GOP also added former House staffer Elizabeth Heng, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Jim Costa in the 16th District, to On the Radar. Costa only narrowly won in 2014, and he barely outraised Heng $120,000 to $118,000 in the first quarter of 2018. But Costa had a massive $1.1 million to $105,000 cash-on-hand edge at the end of March, and it's going to be hard to oust him in 58-36 Clinton seat in what's shaping up to be a bad year for the GOP.
● Special Elections: There are so many legislative special elections taking place on Tuesday—11 total, all in New York—that Johnny Longtorso has rounded them up into post. (Why the huge number? Because Gov. Andrew Cuomo delayed them for typically cynical reasons.) Four of these seats are held by Democrats and five by Republicans, with the race for the 37th State Senate District in Westchester as the marquee contest.
Democrats are favored to keep this seat, and if they also win another dark blue vacant district in the Bronx, they'll hold a nominal 32 to 31 majority over the GOP, now that the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference has formally dissolved and (for the moment) rejoined the mainline Democrats. However, that doesn't account for Simcha Felder, a state senator from a heavily Orthodox Jewish seat in Brooklyn who was elected as a Democrat but has outright caucused with the GOP ever since he first took office in 2013. Felder says he won't announce his plans until after Tuesday's results are in, though rather oddly, he encouraged the IDC to return to the fold last year.
This being New York, there's of course an additional complication. Under current Senate procedure, it takes a three-fifths supermajority of 38 senators to change the rules that determine which party actually wields power. However, Democrats point out that it only takes a simple majority to pass a motion to suspend the rules, and once that's been done, their position is that the rule requiring a supermajority to change the rules is itself non-operative—meaning such changes would in fact only need a 32-member majority. Should a dispute arise over this, there's a good bet it'll wind up in court.
● Deaths: Former Washington Democratic Rep. Al Swift died on Friday at the age of 82. Swift worked in radio journalism after graduating from college and also as a staffer for then-Democratic Rep. Lloyd Meeds; when Meeds retired in 1978, Swift ran for his Snohomish County-based 2nd District and narrowly won in a bit of an upset. He would continue to easily win re-election until announcing his retirement early in the 1994 cycle to campaign against a state term-limits initiative, and Republican Rep. Jack Metcalf won the race to succeed him as that year's GOP wave swept hard over Washington.
In Congress, Swift played the leading role in passing the 1993 National Voter Registration Act under Bill Clinton. Commonly called the "Motor Voter" law, the NVRA required a variety of state-level agencies to vastly expand voter registration opportunities, allowing eligible voters across the country to register when getting their drivers' licenses or applying for public assistance. It also prevents states from excessively purging their voter rolls without due cause, something that voting rights opponents have advocated in recent years as a clandestine way to suppress eligible voters.
Swift wasn't just known for his national work on voting rights legislation. He also helped pass the Northwest Power Act, which boosted conservation and renewable hydroelectric energy efforts in the Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the House, he worked to deregulate the telecommunications industry and on environmental causes.