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.
● MN-Gov, MN-AG, MN-05: The world of Minnesota politics went topsy-turvy, then sideways, and finally upside-down over the weekend and continuing on through Monday, and we won't know which way is up until the candidate filing deadline on Tuesday at 5 o'clock local time. Here, however, is what we know at the moment.
The drama began on Saturday at the convention of the state Democratic Party, known locally as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, or DFL. On that day, delegates voted to endorse state Rep. Erin Murphy for Minnesota's open governorship, handing her victory by acclamation on the seventh ballot after Rep. Tim Walz, who had led narrowly in the first round, withdrew. With the DFL's backing, Murphy will now gain access to an array of party resources, including voter files and field offices.
Earlier in the voting, on the third ballot, state Auditor Rebecca Otto had been eliminated from contention, prompting her to clasp hands on the convention floor with Walz as the two jointly urged delegates not to endorse any candidate. Unsurprisingly, their calls went unheeded—who attends a party convention to not endorse anyone? Otto, like Murphy, had reportedly pledged not to forge ahead to the Aug. 14 primary if she didn't earn the DFL endorsement; while she briefly reconsidered her course of action, she announced on Monday that she would indeed drop out.
That seemingly should have set up a one-on-one contest between Murphy and Walz, who had always planned to compete in the primary no matter what. But thanks to an earlier plot twist, the governor's race got all shook up on Monday when state Attorney General Lori Swanson, who had considered a bid much earlier in the cycle but long ago said no, unexpectedly changed her mind and entered at the last moment.
That decision came about because Swanson, despite being the incumbent, had failed to secure the DFL endorsement for attorney general in the first round of voting at the convention on Saturday (which took place prior to the gubernatorial balloting). Swanson only narrowly edged little-known attorney Matt Pelikan 52-47, leading her to withdraw after just one round of voting and prompting delegates to endorse Pelikan, who'd criticized Swanson from the left, particularly her "A+" rating from the NRA.
In another wrinkle, Swanson announced that her running-mate would be none other than Rep. Rick Nolan, who had also weighed a campaign for governor but ultimately opted against it—and then decided to retire from Congress, saying he'd lost his "energy and enthusiasm for the job." Admittedly, the commute to the state capitol in St. Paul is shorter than the schlep to D.C., but rather awkwardly, Nolan had previously endorsed another candidate in the contest: Tim Walz.
Swanson’s late entry might have inspired outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton to weigh in, because hours after her announcement, he gave his backing to Murphy. Swanson's decision to abandon her re-election bid could also cause a major cascade effect in the attorney general’s race. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison is reportedly considering a bid for Swanson’s post, and while he hasn't confirmed this on the record, we'll know his decision very soon, thanks to Tuesday's filing deadline.
But these last-minute gyrations will put a squeeze on anyone who might want to succeed Ellison in his safely blue House seat in Minneapolis: Would-be contenders simply have to file paperwork now and see what happens—just like the rest of us.
● Primary Day: SuperCalifragilisticMississippiAlaDakotious: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's our Super Tuesday primary preview!
Yes, for downballot nerds like ourselves, this is Super Tuesday. The most anticipated races are the top-two primaries in California's 39th, 48th, and 49th Congressional Districts, where Democrats are spending heavily to avoid getting locked out of the general election. But we have plenty of other contests to watch in Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. You can find all the action in our preview.
The polls first close at 8 PM ET in Alabama, Mississippi, and New Jersey. They close at 9 PM ET in New Mexico and the portion of South Dakota in the central time zone; at 10 PM ET in Iowa, Montana, and the remainder of South Dakota; and 11 PM ET in California.
We hope you'll join us at Daily Kos Elections on Tuesday for our liveblog of all of the races on the docket. You can also follow us on Twitter, where we'll be live-tweeting the results. And check out our calendar for a look at primary nights to come.
● AZ-Sen: Candidate filing closed Wednesday for Arizona's Aug. 28 primaries, and the state has a list of candidates here. Filing also closed on Friday in Alaska, Kansas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, and it closes on Tuesday in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. (We'll be running down the state of play in each of these states in future Digests.) This means that as of Wednesday, candidate filing will only still be open in 16 of the nation's 435 House seats.
GOP Rep. Jeff Flake is retiring after one term, and we're expecting a very competitive general election to succeed him. The GOP establishment is rooting for Rep. Martha McSally in the primary, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that national Republicans are prepared to get involved to help her.
Also in the running are former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who lost the 2016 primary to Sen. John McCain 51-40, and disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Both Ward and Arpaio are drawing from the same pool of anti-establishment voters, and they could end up making it easier for McSally to get through. Each of them also have little money and little outside support, so they could have a tough time countering attacks from the well-funded McSally and her allies.
Things are much more calm on the Democratic side. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema only faces opposition from attorney Deedra Abboud, who had just over $16,000 in the bank at the end of March.
● ND-Sen: Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer is going up with a six-figure TV ad buy opposing Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp on the congressional GOP's new tax law. Cramer claims the bill will supposedly cut taxes for "90 percent" of Americans, and he contends Heitkamp wants to raise taxes by repealing it. Amazingly enough, Cramer concedes at one point that, "We all like Heidi," before politely asserting "she's wrong" on taxes. It's as if the GOP has overreacted to 2012 nominee Rick Berg's failed campaign ads that made nasty personal attacks against Heitkamp and are now taking an entirely opposite approach.
● OH-Sen: Republican Rep. Jim Renacci is putting $160,000 behind his first TV ad of the general election. Renacci's spot starts off with him decrying a recent ad from Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown that had attacked him over failure to pay his taxes, while Brown's ad partly appears on-screen. He then bemoans "Sherrod 'Full-of-Bull' Brown" for supposedly raising taxes and breaking a term-limits pledge. Channeling the vulgarity and brashness of Donald Trump, Renacci closes by goading Brown to "look in the camera and do it yourself" the next time he wants to "spread [his] bull" around.
● UT-Sen: Mitt Romney's first Republican primary ad features him speaking to the camera to proclaim he's a "deficit hawk." Romney notes the $21 trillion size of the federal debt and claims interest payments will soon double in size, arguing he wants to avoid that.
● WI-Sen: State Sen. Leah Vukmir is out with an American Viewpoint poll of the August GOP primary giving businessman Kevin Nicholson a narrow 32-30 lead. Most of the polling we've seen has been from WPA Intelligence for the Nicholson campaign, and they've consistently dropped polls giving him large leads: Their most recent release was an early April poll that gave him a 45-27 advantage.
● AZ-Gov: GOP Gov. Doug Ducey is seeking a second term. Ducey's only primary foe is former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who took a distant fourth place in the 2014 primary with just 11 percent of the vote and badly lost a 2016 House primary. Bennett recently attracted some attention when he vowed not to appoint Cindy McCain to the Senate if John McCain's seat opens up under his watch. Bennett is trying to qualify for $840,000 in public financing by collecting 4,000 individual contributions of $5, but he'll be the clear underdog whether or not he succeeds.
The Democratic race pits Arizona State University professor David Garcia, who narrowly lost the 2014 general election for state schools superintendent, against state Sen. Steve Farley and activist Kelly Fryer. Garcia recently released a primary poll giving him the lead with 32 percent, while his opponents each took 11.
The general election hasn't nearly as much attention as the Senate race, and there hasn't been any polling here in a long time. However, Ducey's allies at the Republican Governors Association reserved $3.4 million in fall TV time back in February, a sign that they don't think he's a shoo-in.
● FL-Gov: Nausea alert: Billionaire developer Jeff Greene has filed to run in the Democratic primary for governor, although he has yet to publicly say whether he will indeed mount a campaign. Greene ran in the 2010 Senate primary and lost by 58-31 to then-Rep. Kendrick Meek, but his campaign was best summed up in a Talking Points Memo headline that read: "Jeff Greene And His Reef-Destroying, Vomit-Caked, No Good, Very Bad Yacht." Greene's 2010 campaign ran aground over reports detailing his allegedly shady business practices and partying to excess. Greene sued the Tampa Bay Times over the reports, and the two sides finally settled in 2016 for an undisclosed sum.
Greene also has said that his Florida home is two doors down from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago lair. While Greene spoke out against his neighbor before the election, the New York Times also identified him as a Mar-a-Lago member in early January. Let’s just say that a Mar-a-Lago badge is unlikely to endear Greene Democratic primary voters.
However, for all his flaws, Greene has one thing going for him: money. That alone makes his potential candidacy a wildcard in a contest that hasn't seen any particular candidate stand head and shoulders above their rivals, and there are still nearly three months to go until the Aug. 28 primary.
Things could soon change now that former Rep. Gwen Graham is reportedly set to launch her first TV ad this week, with Politico relaying that it will be a $1.1 million buy. So far, multi-millionaire Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has largely had the airwaves to himself thanks to millions in self-funding, which has helped him attain modest leads in recent polls; that advantage could dissipate once his rivals also begin heavily airing TV ads of their own.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is going up with a $1 million ad buy on behalf of state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Their commercial praises Putnam for his supposed fiscal responsibility, claiming he'll keep taxes low, fight traffic congestion, and ensure kids have a quality education.
● GA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are still battling for the GOP nomination ahead of the July 24 primary runoff, and they've both recently released internal polls of the race. Kemp's survey from Public Opinion Strategies has him trailing Cagle by just 46-45, which would be a marked improvement for him from Cagle's 39-26 edge in the first round.
By contrast, Cagle's poll from McLaughlin & Associates has him up by a more comfortable 52-42 margin. However, as we've often noted, McLaughlin has a well-deserved reputation for wildly inaccurate polls, such as their infamous 2014 GOP primary survey that had former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor prevailing by 62-28 when he actually ended up losing by 56-44 to now-Rep. Dave Brat. And oh yeah, McLaughlin was the pollster for Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban, a radical-right anti-Semite who has undermined democracy in his country, during this spring's election.
● HI-Gov: Former state Sen. Clayton Hee announced Monday that he was dropping out of the Democratic primary for governor. Hee had polled a distant third in two public surveys, both of which showed Rep. Colleen Hanabusa ahead of Gov. David Ige.
Hanabusa's campaign also released a poll a little more than a week ago from QMark Research that gave her a wide 52-23 lead over Ige, while Hee took just 6. The poll, which was done April 21 to May 7, was released not long after Merriman Research Group gave her a smaller 37-31 edge over the governor. A March Mason-Dixon poll had Hanabusa ahead 47-27.
● ME-Gov: Final fundraising reports ahead of the June 12 primary are available for the entire race through the end of May. On the Republican side, state Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason led the way thanks to $700,000 from Maine's robust public financing system, plus the $36,000 he had raised to qualify for public funds. He finished the period with $82,000 on hand. Businessman Shawn Moody raised $686,000, though most of that was self-funded, and he had a huge $330,000 left over. Former state cabinet official Mary Mayhew raised $360,000 and had $54,000 on hand, while state House Minority Leader Ken Fredette didn't file a report as of Friday.
On the Democratic side, businessman Adam Cote led the field, raising $968,000 and finishing the final stretch with $97,000 on hand after heavy spending. Activist Betsy Sweet took in the second-most money thanks to being the only one to participate in public funding, which supplied her with $700,000 plus the $99,000 she had raised to qualify for public funds. That left her with $250,000, the most of any Democrat.
Meanwhile, state Attorney Janet Mills raised a competitive $718,000 and began June with $168,000 left over. Further back was former state House Speaker Mark Eves, who raised $343,000 and had $92,000 in the bank. Finally, former state Rep. Diane Russell, state Sen. Mark Dion, and former Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion all failed to crack six figures.
Ads have also been flying as the primary approaches, and Cote recently went up with a spot that opposes Mills on gun safety. He calls her out for receiving the NRA's endorsement three times back when she was a state legislator last decade, while he advocates for a ban on "bump stocks and high-capacity magazines."
● NH-Gov: On Monday, Sen. Maggie Hassan endorsed former state Sen. Molly Kelly's campaign for the Democratic nomination. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster previously backed Kelly, who faces former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand in the September primary to take on GOP Gov. Chris Sununu.
● NV-Gov: Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani's latest ad is a deeply personal spot responding to a highly charged attack from a group supporting rival County Commissioner Steve Sisolak ahead of the June 12 Democratic primary. The ad features Giunchigliani talking to the camera to relay the story of an eight-year-old girl who was sexually abused for a year and whose sister was kidnapped and raped over a three-day period; Giunchigliani then reveals the eight-year-old girl was her.
Giunchigliani closes her ad by lambasting Sisolak for an ad launched by his allies at the Clark County Education Association that accused her of protecting teachers who commit sexual offenses. Without mentioning the particulars of that attack, she decries the ad's insinuation that she "would let child molesters go free," arguing she passed five "tough laws" against sexual assault when she was in the legislature.
Meanwhile, Giunchigliani's supporters at the state chapter of the National Education Association are adding $500,000 to their TV ad buy, bringing their spending to roughly $1.5 million on her behalf. The NEA says they were encouraged by a recent Benenson Strategy Group poll for EMILY's List that had Giunchigliani trailing Sisolak by a narrow 38-35 margin.
● SC-Gov: Target-Insyght has released another poll of the June 12 GOP primary in South Carolina, which has Gov. Henry McMaster leading by 37-25 against former state cabinet official Catherine Templeton. The survey has businessman John Warren not far behind with 20 percent, while Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant earns just 5 percent.
This release follows an April poll where McMaster had a much wider 46-22 edge over Templeton, and these latest numbers would likely mean no candidate is positioned to take the majority needed to avoid a June 26 runoff. Frustratingly, Target-Insyght chose not to release the Democratic primary portion of their poll because of how half the respondents were undecided, even though that in itself is still noteworthy.
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Tom Rice has endorsed McMaster, while we also have fundraising reports available for all candidates covering April 1 to late May. On the GOP side, McMaster raised $300,000 and had $770,000 in the bank, while Templeton held her own with $250,000 raised and $1 million in cash-on-hand. Warren has been a contender in this race thanks to his ample self-funding of $3 million so far, leaving him with $740,000 on hand after considerable spending. However, Bryant has trailed his rivals in the money chase despite self-funding $514,000, and he had just $42,000 left over.
On the Democratic side, state Rep. James Smith dominated the field, raising $165,000 and having $456,000 in cash-on-hand. Meanwhile, businessman Phil Noble brought in just $57,000 and finished May with only $60,000 in the bank. Lastly, attorney Marguerite Willis raised a mere $40,000 but had $279,000 left over after having self-funded $479,000 earlier in the race.
● SD-Gov: Rep. Kristi Noem went up with a spot in the final days of the GOP primary accusing Attorney General Marty Jackley of retaliating against a former Division of Criminal Investigation agent named Laura Kaiser who reported being sexually harassed at work by a member of her team. The spot features Kaiser telling the audience that Jackley shouldn't be in a position of power "when he can't be trusted to follow the law." The on-screen text informs the audience that Kaiser was demoted, transferred, and lost her job after she reported being harassed, and that a jury awarded her $1.5 million.
● VT-Gov: Candidate filing closed Thursday for Vermont's Aug. 14 primary, and the state has a list of candidates here.
We're not expecting much drama in the Green Mountain State this year. GOP Gov. Phil Scott is seeking a second two-year term, and we rate the general election as Safe Republican. Scott's most prominent Democratic foe is former Vermont Electric Cooperative CEO Christine Hallquist, who would be the country's first trans governor.
● AZ-01: Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran won this seat 51-43 in 2016 against a scandal-tarred Republican even as Trump was carrying this district 48-47, and three Republicans are competing to face him in a seat that includes part of northern Arizona and some of Tucson's suburbs.
State Sen. Steve Smith may be best known for raising $219,000 through crowd funding in a years-long attempt to build a border fence, a campaign he abandoned in 2015. Smith's fundraising for his congressional campaign has gone better, but not by much: While Smith has been running for over a year, he had a meh $245,000 on-hand at the end of March.
That's only a bit more than the $201,000 that Air Force veteran Wendy Rogers had to spend after just a little more than two months in the race. However, Rogers' electoral history is not great. She ran here in 2016 and took third place in the primary with 22 percent, and she previously lost races in the neighboring 9th District in 2012 and 2014. The third candidate is farmer Tiffany Shedd, who had $251,000 on hand thanks in part to self-funding. O'Halleran had an $885,000 war chest.
It's not clear if national Republicans will make a serious play against O'Halleran in this swing seat. However, his allies at House Majority PAC have reserved $1.17 million in fall TV time for the Phoenix media market, and it's likely that this is the seat they plan to spend it in.
● AZ-02: GOP Rep. Martha McSally's decision to run for the Senate wasn't such great news for House Republicans, who are now defending an open Tucson-area seat that swung from 50-48 Romney to 50-45 Clinton. Four Republicans are running, but the only one who looks serious is Lea Marquez Peterson, who leads the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Marquez Peterson began raising money months before McSally announced her Senate bid, and she ended March with a $428,000 war chest.
On the other side, both the DCCC and EMILY's List are supporting former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who represented the neighboring 1st District until she unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2016. Kirkpatrick's main primary foe looks like former state Rep. Matt Heinz, who lost the 2016 race to McSally 57-43. Kirkpatrick held an $822,000 to $429,000 cash-on-hand lead over Heinz at the end of March, while Heinz released a poll a month ago giving himself a 27-23 primary lead. Four other Democrats are in, including former Army official Mary Matiella and former state Rep. Bruce Wheeler, but they've each raised very little.
While this race looks like one of Team Blue's best pickup opportunities in the nation, both parties are preparing for a big fight. The NRCC has reserved close to $2 million in the Tucson media market for fall TV time, while the Democratic group House Majority PAC has invested just shy of $500,000 here.
● AZ-06: On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee announced both GOP Rep. David Schweikert and chief of staff Oliver Schwab were under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics. The complaint they’re looking into alleges that Schweikert's campaign has paid Schwab considerably more than congressional staffers are allowed to earn in outside income. Committee rules forbid them from saying how they'll proceed against the congressman until Nov. 14, several days after the general election.
Schweikert hasn't looked vulnerable in this suburban Phoenix seat, and this story may not change that. Still, it's worth noting that this district moved from 60-39 Romney to a much smaller 52-42 Trump. Schweikert's main Democratic foe looks like Arizona State University nursing professor Heather Ross, who had $72,000 on hand at the end of March; Schweikert had $370,000 to spend.
● AZ-07: Sophomore Rep. Ruben Gallego faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Catherine Miranda in this safely blue Phoenix seat. Miranda infamously endorsed Republican Doug Ducey when he successfully ran for governor in 2014 and voted to ban abortion at 20 weeks, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and even signed a "pro-life pledge." The good news is that Miranda had just $9,000 in the bank at the end of March, while Gallego had $660,000 to spend.
● AZ-09: Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is leaving this seat behind to run for the Senate. This district, which includes a portion of Phoenix as well as parts of nearby Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, and Scottsdale, went from 51-47 Obama all the way to 55-38 Clinton, and Team Blue is favored to keep it. Democrats quickly consolidated behind Greg Stanton, who resigned as mayor of Phoenix to run here, and he had a hefty $882,000 war chest at the end of March.
On the GOP side, retired Navy physician Steve Ferrara ended the first quarter with a credible $528,000 in the bank. His main primary foe is former conservative radio host Seth Leibsohn, who had only $58,000 in the bank.
● MI-01, MI-06, MI-11: On Friday, the state Board of Canvassers ruled against seven House candidates whom the secretary of state said had failed to turn in enough petitions to make the August primary ballot. Democrat Paul Clements initially said he was ending his campaign for the 6th District, but he soon announced he would sue to make the ballot; fellow Democrat Eponine Garrod says she's out of the race. Over in the 11th District, Democrat Dan Haberman has suspended his campaign.
Finally, 1st District Democrat Matthew Morgan has confirmed that he'll sue to get on the primary ballot and mount a write-in campaign to win the nomination if necessary. Morgan, who was the only Democrat who filed to challenge freshman GOP Rep. Jack Bergman, put a P.O. box rather than his home address at the top of his petitions, which the state's Bureau of Elections said renders them unacceptable.
● PA-01: Monmouth has launched their nationwide House polling for this cycle, and their initial offering comes from Pennsylvania's 1st District, home to Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Their survey has Fitzpatrick up by 49-42 against Democratic nominee Scott Wallace, although that result has a voter screen that includes only 80 percent of registered voters by limiting it to those who recently registered or have voted in at least one election since 2010, which could exclude registered voters who plan to vote this year for the first time in several elections.
Interestingly, Monmouth provided two likely voter screens that showed a much closer race, but both of them unfortunately didn't include at least 300 respondents, which we consider the minimum for inclusion in the Digest. Nevertheless, polls of registered voters could begin looking much different once pollsters more widely begin switching from registered voters to likely voter models, which could boost Democrats' standing in a year where they have so far been much more fired up to vote than in the past two midterms under a Democratic president.
● TX-23: We now have the size of the buy for a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad praising Republican Rep. Will Hurd on immigration: $300,000.
● VA-05: On Saturday, the 5th District Republican Committee picked distillery owner and former Air Force intelligence officer Denver Riggleman to be the GOP nominee to succeed Rep. Tom Garrett, who unexpectedly decided to retire. Riggleman ended up defeating Republican National Committee member Cynthia Dunbar, who lost a convention for the neighboring 6th District weeks ago, on the fourth and final ballot. Riggleman will face journalist Leslie Cockburn for a seat that went from 53-46 Romney to 53-42 Trump.
Riggleman's only prior campaign was an aborted run for governor last year. He pitched himself as an aggravated outsider and focused his anger at the utility giant Dominion Energy, which had tried to route a natural gas pipeline through his property. However, Riggleman dropped out of the contest after a few months of weak fundraising, declaring that he'd sadly learned that "money seems to be the most important part of a campaign."
A congressional race is certainly less expensive than a campaign for governor, and Riggleman should get some more fundraising help now that he's Team Red's nominee. However, if Riggleman still has trouble bringing in cash, it could give Democrats more of an opening here.
● WA-08: House Majority PAC has released an internal poll from GBA Strategies showing three Democrats in a competitive race with likely Republican standard-bearer Dino Rossi. The portion surveying the Aug. 7 top-two primary has Rossi far out in front with 41 percent, followed by his three notable Democratic foes: Pediatrician Kim Schrier takes second with 17 percent, followed by former CDC official Shannon Hader at 11 and attorney Jason Rittereiser at 7.
Unusually, the pollster split its overall sample up into three weighted subsamples to test each Democrat against Rossi one-on-one, which is the bare minimum of 300 respondents necessary for us to include in the Digest, and it doesn't give us an exactly apples-to-apples comparison. Nevertheless, Rossi leads both Schrier and Hader by 51-45, while he bests Rittereiser by a slightly wider 52-43.
If this poll is accurate, Rossi's lead may have a lot to do with his greater name recognition, thanks to his three statewide runs for governor and Senate and time in the legislature, while his prospective Democratic foes have largely started off as unknowns among the wider electorate. The most important factor supporting this possibility is the fact that this survey has Democrats leading by 48-42 in a generic ballot test. The fact that Rossi outperforms an unnamed Republican by 9 to 10 points is a testament to his strengths as a candidate, but also suggests that Democrats have room to grow—and that Rossi has room to fall, if someone knocks him down.
● Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso runs down Tuesday's action:
California AD-39: This is an open Democratic seat in the San Fernando Valley. Raul Bocanegra resigned due to sexual harassment allegations. The Democratic nominee is Luz Maria Rivas, a teacher and founder of an educational nonprofit. The Republican nominee is Ricardo Benitez, a contractor. This seat went 75-20 for Hillary Clinton and 74-24 for Barack Obama.
California AD-45: This is an open Democratic seat, also in the San Fernando Valley. Matt Dababneh resigned due to sexual harassment allegations. The Democratic nominee is attorney Jesse Gabriel, while the Republican nominee is college student Justin Clark. This seat went 67-27 for Clinton and 63-34 for Obama.
Missouri SD-17: This is an open Republican seat northeast of Kansas City. Ryan Silvey resigned following his appointment to the Missouri Public Service Commission. The candidates here are Democrat Lauren Arthur and Republican Kevin Corlew; both are state representatives. This seat went 49-45 for Donald Trump in 2016 and 51-47 for Mitt Romney in 2012.
We also have a high-stakes recall campaign in California's SD-29 in Orange County against Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman. Newman's narrow 2016 50.4-49.6 win against Republican Ling-Ling Chang gave Democrats the seat they needed for a two-thirds supermajority, which allowed them to pas tax increases and put constitutional amendments on the ballot without GOP support. Republicans saw their chance to recall Newman and retake a vital seat after he voted in favor of a gas-tax increase in order to fund a $52 billion transportation plan. This district backed Clinton 53-41 after favoring Romney 49.1-48.7.
Voters will be given a two-part question. First, they'll be asked if they want to recall Newman. Afterwards, they'll be asked to select a replacement candidate: Three Democrats and three Republicans are running to replace Newman, but Chang is the main contender. If a majority vote no on the recall question, Newman stays in office. However, if a majority votes to recall him, the replacement candidate with the most votes takes his seat for the final two-and-a-half years of his term.