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.
● Demographics: With deadlines to run for office in 2020 having begun to pass in several states, Daily Kos Elections is unveiling our 2020 general election candidate guide for every election for Senate, House, and governor. For every major-party candidate who is an incumbent seeking re-election or the presumptive nominee, or a prominent third-party challenger, the guide contains a number of different demographic statistics that we will be updating once new information becomes available as more filing deadlines pass and primaries take place.
Where available, those stats include a candidate's age, gender, race or ethnicity, religious affiliation, and LGBTQ status. Additionally, we've also included a name-pronunciation guide for incumbents and candidates in highly competitive races, along with Daily Kos Elections' calculations of the 2012 and 2016 presidential results in each district. Lastly, we plan to add our 2020 race ratings for each contest in a future update once we have published our initial prognostications later this year.
You can find data similar to this for the current members of Congress and a whole host of other statistics on each congressional district itself in our 116th Congress guide here.
● IA-01: Ashley Hinson (R): $430,000 raised, $734,000 cash-on-hand
● IA-03: Cindy Axne (D-inc): $620,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
● NC-02: Deborah Ross (D): $300,000 raised (in one month), $263,000 cash-on-hand
● NJ-04: Stephanie Schmid (D): $101,000 raised
● NY-24: Dana Balter (D): $205,000 raised
● TX-13: Josh Winegarner (R): $346,000 raised, $283,000 cash-on-hand
● TX-21: Wendy Davis (D): $900,000 raised
● AZ-Sen: The Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling is out with a survey giving retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat who faces no serious primary opposition, a 46-42 lead against appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally. Last month, a poll from the GOP firm OH Predictive Insights gave Kelly a similar 47-44 edge.
● KS-Sen: Apparently, we're going to need to wait until the June filing deadline before we can completely and utterly dismiss any possibility that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could launch a late bid for the GOP nod. Retiring Sen. Pat Roberts said that he spoke with Pompeo Tuesday about his decision not to run and suggested there was a very small chance he could change his mind. Roberts described Pompeo's denial of interest as "not Shermanesque, but it's darn close."
● UT-Gov: Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes launched his long-anticipated bid for the GOP nod on Wednesday, but contrary to an earlier report, he announced that he would not collect signatures to appear on the June primary ballot. Instead, Hughes said that he would compete at the late April GOP convention, where he needs to win the support of at least 40% of the delegates in order to advance to the primary.
Utah allows statewide candidates to reach the primary by turning in 28,000 valid signatures or by taking enough support at their party convention, though candidates have the option to try both methods. All of the other credible GOP candidates have said that they would collect signatures to make it to the ballot, though a few say they'll also take part in the party gathering. However, Rep. Rob Bishop recently said that he would only compete at the convention if he decided to run and planned to forgo the signature-gathering route.
As we've noted before, GOP party conventions in Utah tend to be dominated by anti-establishment delegates whose preferences can be very different from the statewide primary electorate. For instance, in the 2018 Senate race, none other than Mitt Romney actually lost at the convention, 51-49, among the 3,300 delegates who participated. Two months later, though, he crushed state Rep. Mike Kennedy 71-29 in a primary that featured a hundred times as many voters.
However, despite his four years as speaker, Hughes may be able to do well with the very conservative delegates who will be determining his fate in April. While most Utah Republicans opposed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential primaries, Hughes was an early backer; the following year, Trump himself labeled Hughes as "the original" supporter.
If Hughes makes it out of the convention, he'll have the resources to get his message out. The former speaker began raising money for his PAC months ago, and it reported having $476,000 in the bank in late October.
● WV-Gov: Quarterly campaign finance reports were due on Tuesday, and each of the three notable Democratic contenders ended 2019 with more money than any of the GOP candidates.
The top fundraiser in the May Democratic primary was Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, who entered the race in October. Salango raised $382,000 from donors and self-funded an additional $500,000, and he ended the year with $808,000 on-hand.
State Sen. Ron Stollings, who launched his campaign in late September, raised $147,000 during this time. Stollings transferred another $22,000 from his legislative campaign account and self-funded an additional $20,000, and he had $158,000 to spend. Community organizer Stephen Smith, who has been running for about a year, raised $121,000 and had $168,000 in the bank. Both Salango and Stollings describe themselves as moderates, while Smith is appealing to progressive voters.
On the GOP side, Gov. Jim Justice raised $410,000 and self-funded an additional $55,000. Justice burned through most of that money before the end of the year, though, and he had just $67,000 on-hand.
Former state Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher, who is Justice's main primary rival, took in just $52,000 from donors but self-funded a big $917,000 for the quarter. Like Justice, though, Thrasher spent most of this cash, though he ended December with a larger $106,000 war chest. Former Del. Mike Folk was far behind with $18,000 raised and an additional $10,000 self-funded, and he had $31,000 in the bank.
● FL-19: Florida Politics' Jacob Ogles reports that former Minnesota state Rep. Dan Severson's entire campaign team quit this week, a development Ogles suggests is linked to state Rep. Byron Donalds' campaign launch. Ogles writes that Severson and Donalds were both trying to win over the same group of socially conservative voters in the August GOP primary, and that several national groups told Severson that they were waiting to see if Donalds would run before making any endorsements.
● MI-05: This week, former state Rep. Tim Kelly told Michigan Radio that he planned to enter the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee soon.
● MN-02: This week, Marine veteran Tyler Kistner announced that he would seek the GOP nod to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Angie Craig. This seat in the southern Twin Cities suburbs narrowly supported both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, but the GOP so far has struggled to find a viable contender. The only other announced candidate is former Michigan state Rep. Rick Olson, a Republican who said last month that he would have voted to impeach Trump.
● NJ-02: On Wednesday, 2018 candidate Will Cunningham, a Democrat who serves as a staffer on the House Oversight Committee, announced that he was joining the June primary to take on party-switching GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew. Cunningham raised just $78,000 for his last campaign and took third place in the primary with 16% of the vote.
Several other Democrats are already running, but Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo announced this week that he wouldn't be one of them. Instead, Mazzeo threw his support behind Montclair State University professor Brigid Callahan Harrison.
● NY-21: On Wednesday, both GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik and 2018 Democratic nominee Tedra Cobb announced that they'd each raised a massive amount of money during the fourth quarter of 2019. Cobb took in $2.05 million and ended the year with $2.2 million in the bank, while Stefanik raised a larger $3.2 million and had $3.4 million on-hand.
This seat, which includes the farthest upstate reaches of New York, backed Trump 54-40, and Stefanik defeated Cobb by a similar 56-42 spread two years later. Cobb soon announced that she would seek a rematch, but this race didn't attract much outside attention until Stefanik infuriated progressives and delighted Trump and his fans with her antics during an impeachment hearing in November.
Stefanik sought to violate House Intelligence Committee rules by asking questions during time reserved for the committee's chair, Democrat Adam Schiff, and its top-ranking Republican, Devin Nunes. She then hopped on Twitter to lie about why she'd been cut off, falsely claiming that Schiff "REFUSES to let duly elected Members of Congress ask questions to the witness, simply because we are Republicans."
● TX-07: Army veteran Wesley Hunt is out with his first TV spot ahead of the March GOP primary to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Lizzie Fletcher. Hunt talks about his service in Iraq and goes on to say that the words "duty, honor, country" will be his "north star in Congress." The candidate himself doesn't mention Donald Trump, who narrowly lost this seat in 2016, but on-screen text at the very end of the spot calls Hunt a "Trump Conservative."
● WI-01: Afghanistan veteran Roger Polack announced Wednesday that he would seek the Democratic nod to take on freshman GOP Rep. Bryan Steil in this 53-42 Trump seat in southeastern Wisconsin. Polack, who served in an intelligence unit, also worked in the U.S. Treasury Department during both the Bush and Obama administrations.