The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● PA-10: GOP Rep. Scott Perry won re-election just 51-49 last year and faces a serious challenge in Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District from Democratic state Auditor Eugene DePasquale, but let's just say this burgeoning threat hasn't exactly motivated Perry to get his shit together.
Perry just reported raising $150,000 from April 1 to June 30, which is terrifically bad for a vulnerable incumbent, and finished the second quarter of the year with just $300,000 in the bank. Bizarrely, though, Perry filed two fundraising reports: a "pre-special" election filing covering the period of April 1 to May 4, and a "post-special" report for the remainder of the quarter. You can be forgiven for forgetting about the special election Perry went through earlier this year because there wasn't one.
There was a special in the state's neighboring 12th District on May 21, which Republican Fred Keller and Democrat Marc Friedenberg had to file two FEC reports for. That contest, which Keller won, had no impact on candidates for Pennsylvania's 17 other congressional districts, though. For instance, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle, who represents the 18th District, correctly filed precisely one quarterly fundraising report.
We have no idea why Perry's staffers decided to create unnecessary work for themselves by filing these two reports, nor why none of them caught the error in the nearly two months since they filed their first report. But given how little cash Perry's reported raising in the last three months, it's safe to assume he's not hiring the best campaign staff money can buy.
● GA-Sen: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that businessman Matt Lieberman, the son of former Connecticut for Lieberman Sen. Joe Lieberman, is considering seeking the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Sen. David Perdue. The younger Lieberman has not said anything publicly about his plans, and the paper says it doesn't know when he expects to decide.
The paper writes that Lieberman "was the founder of one of the nation's first homelessness voucher programs" back in Connecticut, and he moved to Atlanta in 2005. Lieberman went on to start two tech startups as well as write a 2018 novel called "Lucius" that the AJC describes as a story focused "on race and friendship in the South."
● KS-Sen: GOP Rep. Roger Marshall recently said he'd use the August congressional recess to contemplate a Senate bid, but it doesn't sound like he'll announce his plans soon after that. The Hutchinson News asked Marshall about his timeline for deciding and he replied, "I know it's not this summer." Marshall added, "I just can't imagine campaigning for a whole year," though he went on to say he was leaning towards seeking a promotion. Marshall previously admitted that a campaign by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would very much impact whether or not he runs.
● TX-Sen: The Texas Tribune's Patrick Svitek writes that a group of progressive state Democratic operatives are trying to recruit nonprofit head Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez to challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn. Tzintzún Ramirez has not said anything publicly, but Svitek writes that "people who have been in touch with her believe she is thinking about the race and has not ruled out a run."
Tzintzún Ramirez is the founder of Jolt, a nonprofit that works to register and turn out young Texas Latino voters. Tzintzún Ramirez also spent 12 years leading the Workers Defense Project, and Svitek says she helped "turn it into a group nationally known for its labor and immigrant advocacy."
● IN-Gov, IN-05: GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb announced over the weekend that he would seek re-election next year along with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. While Crouch had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the open 5th Congressional District, there was no indication that she was looking to leave Holcomb's ticket to run for Congress.
● NC-Gov: Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hauled in $4.5 million during the first six months of 2019, and he had $5.6 million cash-on-hand. GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who announced he was in last week, has not yet revealed how much his exploratory committee raised. North Carolina's candidate reporting deadline is July 26.
● WA-Gov: Washington Democrats are in a holding pattern as they wait to hear if Gov. Jay Inslee will run for re-election, and it very much sounds like the governor is leaning towards seeking a third term should his presidential bid fail. Inslee told Politico last week, "The presumption is if I was not chosen to help the country I'd maintain trying to help the state of Washington as governor." The state's filing deadline isn't until May 15.
● CA-49: GOP businesswoman Mara Fortin announced a bid against freshman Democratic Rep. Mike Levin one month ago, but it looks like she's already thrown in the towel. Fortin hasn't said anything publicly, but the California Target Book's Rob Pyers notes that she's refunded all of her contributions and deleted all of her campaign's social media accounts.
● CA-50: Last week, indicted GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter launched an Islamophobic mail piece against 2018 Democratic nominee Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running again. Hunter used these very tactics during his 2018 campaign, and it's no surprise that he's turning to them again. However, Campa-Najjar argues that Hunter is sending out this mail to try to raise money for his legal defense ahead of his September trial rather than to damage the Democrat at the ballot box. Indeed, these mailers, which misspell Israel as "Isreal," also contain a fundraising request.
● FL-03: GOP Rep. Ted Yoho said last month that he was indeed thinking about seeking a fifth term this cycle despite his long-standing pledge to leave D.C. after eight years in Congress. Yoho declared, "My team and I are focused on being the best representative possible for District 3 for the next two years. My wife and I will re-evaluate and make a formal announcement in the future about our decision."
Yoho's fundraising doesn't give us much of a clue about which way he's leaning. The incumbent raised a tiny $14,000 for the second quarter of 2019, but that's actually slightly more than the amount he brought in at this point in the last election cycle. This seat, which includes Gainesville and the surrounding rural areas, backed Trump 56-40.
● IA-02: Republican state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks recently resigned from the state party committee, and she revealed in her resignation letter that she would "at least like to explore" the possibility of running for retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack's House seat. The state senator wrote that a potential campaign would conflict with serving on the party central committee, meaning this could be a sign that she's giving serious thought to a campaign.
Miller-Meeks had previously expressed interest for this seat when Loebsack announced his retirement. She previously lost three races against Loebsack to represent this district and its predecessor version, including by 5% deficits in the Republican wave years of both 2014 and 2010, before she finally won a state Senate seat last year.
● IL-06: Rep. Adam Kinzinger recently became the latest notable Republican to endorse former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, but all of this establishment support isn't helping her bring in serious money for her bid against freshman Democratic Rep. Sean Casten. Sanguinetti, who announced in April, raised all of $98,000 during her opening fundraising quarter—and then had to self-fund another $5,600 just to get her over the $100K mark.
That haul is a bad total almost anywhere, but it's especially unimpressive for a competitive seat located in the very expensive Chicago media market. Sanguinetti has the support of her old boss, billionaire former Gov. Bruce Rauner, but her weak initial take suggests that his old network isn't on board with her. However, Rauner and his wife each contributed the maximum allowed $5,600 to Sanguinetti … which means they personally accounted for more than 10% of her fundraising.
● NY-03: DNC member Robert Zimmerman recently confirmed that he was considering challenging Rep. Tom Suozzi in the Democratic primary. Newsday writes that Zimmerman has been on what he's dubbed an "education tour" around this Long Island district since April, and he says he'll decide this summer.
● NY-15: On Monday, New York City Councilor Ritchie Torres put out a video announcing his run for this safely blue open seat in the Bronx.
Torres had been laying the groundwork in March for a primary bid against longtime Rep. José Serrano, and he'd opened up an FEC account and scheduled a fundraiser. That anticipated Democratic primary battle never happened, though. Serrano, citing Parkinson's disease, announced in late March that he would retire. Torres spent the last three months strongly hinting that he would run, and he even outright said he was in back in May, though he soon said he was only "extremely probable" to enter the contest.
● WI-08: On Sunday, Democratic state Rep. Amanda Stuck announced she will run against Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, making her the first Democrat to join the contest. Although this northeastern Wisconsin district only went for Mitt Romney by a modest margin in 2012, it backed Trump by a daunting 56-39 in 2016, and Gallagher has won both of his 2016 and 2018 races by no less than 25% each. Given how white voters without a college degree make up a disproportionately large share of the electorate here and Gallagher has no obvious flaws for such a red district, Stuck will have her work cut out for her if she's to prevail in such a tough seat.
● Baltimore, MD Mayor: Reversing course, Democrat Jack Young told the Baltimore Sun last week that he is now considering seeking a full term as mayor of Baltimore in 2020.
Young was elected from his post as City Council president to replace scandal-plagued former Mayor Catherine Pugh in May. At the time, he said he would only serve out the remainder of her term and not make a bid for his own four years in office, part of an agreement he made with City Council Vice President Sharon Middleton. The plan was for Middleton to replace Young as Council president and, at the completion of Young's term, the pair would then run for their previous positions.
However, Councilman Brandon Scott, who has been floated as a possible mayoral candidate, unanimously won a Council vote to succeed Young as president, upending Young's arrangement with Middleton. Young openly acknowledged that this turnabout led to his reconsideration, saying that "Sharon and I had an agreement. And then this thing with Brandon, it threw off the plan."
However, should Young choose to run, there are already some candidates lined up to challenge him in the Democratic primary, most notably former state Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah. Vignarajah ran for Baltimore City state's attorney in 2018, taking 23% while finishing last in a three-way contest.
The field could yet grow, as a number of candidates are reportedly eyeing bids of their own ahead of the January 2020 filing deadline. Heading the roster is Ben Jealous, the Democrats' 2018 gubernatorial nominee and now a consultant for electronic cigarette maker Juul—a career choice that has opened the former NAACP president to criticism as vaping rates among teens skyrocket.
Importantly, a simple plurality is all that's required to secure the Democratic nomination, meaning that in a large field, a winner could scratch out a victory with a relatively small share of the vote. But regardless, whoever wins the April 28 primary will be a virtual lock to prevail in the Nov. 3 general election in this deep-blue city.
● Nashville, TN Mayor: Early voting began Friday for Nashville's nonpartisan Aug. 1 primary, and Democratic Mayor David Briley has the most money going into the final weeks. However, Metro Councilor John Cooper, who has mostly been self-funding his campaign, outspent each of the other candidates during the second quarter of 2019.
Briley raised $443,000 during the last three months while Cooper, the brother of local Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, raised $265,000 from donors after he entered the race in mid-April. However, Cooper self-funded an additional $555,000, and he outspent the mayor $678,000 to $419,000. Briley still held a $440,000 to $142,000 cash-on-hand lead at the end of June, though.
Two other candidates raised a notable amount of money. Democratic state Rep. John Ray Clemmons took in $118,000 and self-funded another $50,000, and he spent $157,000 over the last three months; Clemmons had $120,000 left to spend. Retired Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain, a conservative who lost the 2018 special election to Briley 54-23, took in $112,000 and spent $178,000, and she had $50,000 left for the homestretch.
Briley has the support of former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is himself a former Nashville mayor, and he also is backed by the prominent Nashville Business Coalition. Cooper has been endorsed by his brother, who represents all of Nashville in the U.S. House, as well as the Fraternal Order of the Police. Cooper also has taken donations from several charter school supporters as well as from Republican David Fox, who lost the 2015 general election. Clemmons has received several contributions from local unions, while Swain has the support of notable Tennessee Republicans like Rep. Mark Green and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Diane Black.
All the candidates will face off next month, and there will be a runoff on a later date if no one takes a majority.