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.
● VA-07, VA-05: Amazing: For the second year in a row, Republican Del. Nick Freitas has failed to turn in the required paperwork to appear on the November ballot, throwing his campaign for Virginia's 7th Congressional District into doubt. According to reporter Brandon Jarvis, the first to break this story, Republican Bob Good, who just knocked off Rep. Denver Riggleman at the GOP's convention in the 5th District on Saturday, has also botched the same filing.
The Virginia Republican Party has asked the state's Board of Elections to grant an extension of the filing deadline, which was June 9. The GOP says that it should be postponed two weeks because Gov. Ralph Northam postponed the state's primary—which would have also been held on June 9—to June 23 but did not shift any of the associated deadlines. The board is set to meet on July 7 and could consider this request then.
This turn of events is brutally familiar for Freitas, whose campaign didn't file the necessary forms for his re-election bid for the House of Delegates last year. After some unsuccessful shenanigans failed to persuade the Board of Elections to put him on the ballot, Freitas waged a write-in campaign and defeated his Democratic opponent 56-42.
This time, however, Freitas is not the only Republican running, and his repeated screw-ups could spur delegates to the GOP's July 18 convention to consider an alternative, such as fellow Del. John McGuire, who unsurprisingly has been hammering Freitas over his latest snafu. And a write-in campaign would be a far dicier proposition this time around: The 7th District is not only much bluer than Freitas' legislative district, but whomever Republicans nominate will also have to contend with Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a tough campaigner and powerhouse fundraiser.
The situation in the 5th District is somewhat different, as Good has already been selected as the GOP's nominee, so Republicans are stuck with him (unless Riggleman files a lawsuit over what he decried as a tainted convention process and somehow wins). While the 5th is a difficult target for Democrats, several are vying for their party's nomination, which will be decided in the June 23 primary, and the winner's odds would only improve if Good wound up having to run as a write-in.
Please bookmark our litigation tracker for a complete compilation of the latest developments in every lawsuit regarding changes to election and voting procedures.
● California: A state trial court has temporarily blocked Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent executive order setting requirements for counties to provide reduced in-person voting, a move that was intended to augment another recent executive order to mail ballots to all registered voters for November. The ruling came after Republican legislators challenged Newsom's orders as overstepping his authority and encroaching upon the legislature's power, though it does not resolve the underlying merits of their claim; the court set another hearing for June 26 on whether to keep blocking Newsom's order.
However, this legal challenge could become moot in the coming weeks if the Democratic-run legislature enacts the same changes via legislation, since the GOP's arguments both in this lawsuit and in separate litigation challenging the vote-by-mail order rely on the unilateral nature of Newsom's actions, not the legality of the changes by themselves. State Senate Democrats passed a bill last Thursday to adopt statewide vote-by-mail for November, and the Assembly is expected to follow suit. The bill also extends the deadline by which mail ballots that are postmarked by Election Day must be received in order to count. Currently, officials must receive ballots within three days of Election Day, but this bill would extend that window to 17 days for 2020 only.
● Iowa: Iowa's Republican-run legislature has adjourned after passing a bill that restricts the secretary of state, currently Republican Paul Pate, from mailing out unsolicited applications for absentee ballots to all voters, as Pate did ahead of this month's primary.
The bill requires Pate to seek approval for emergency election changes from Iowa's Legislative Council, a so-called "steering committee" composed of 11 Republicans and nine Democrats who are empowered to act on behalf of the legislature when it isn't in session. This change is a compromise compared to what state Senate Republicans initially passed, which would have entirely barred Pate from sending out unsolicited request forms.
● AL-Sen: Donald Trump will reportedly hold a rally for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville "days before" his July 14 runoff with former Sen. Jeff Sessions. Trump endorsed Tuberville in March, and his antipathy toward Sessions is well-known, but to drive the point home, his rally will take place in the city of Mobile—Sessions' hometown. Polling has generally shown Tuberville well ahead of Sessions for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, and even Sessions' own recent survey had Tuberville up 49-43.
● IA-Sen: A new poll from Selzer & Co., taken on behalf of the Des Moines Register, finds Democrat Theresa Greenfield leading Republican Sen. Joni Ernst 46-43, confirming two other recent surveys from Democratic pollsters. In early June, Public Policy Polling had Greenfield up 45-43 on Ernst, while Civiqs put her ahead 48-45 (PPP polled for EMILY's List, which has endorsed Greenfield, while Civiqs was commissioned by Daily Kos).
All three polls also offer similar views of the presidential race: Selzer found Trump ahead just 44-43, while PPP gave Trump a tiny 48-47 edge and Civiqs had it tied at 46.
Following the Selzer poll's release on Saturday evening, Greenfield's campaign said it had raised more than $200,000 by mid-day on Monday. Between April 1 and May 13, Greenfield reported raising $1.5 million, while Ernst brought in $1.2 million during that timeframe.
● KY-Sen: A new poll from YouGov Blue for state Rep. Charles Booker shows Marine veteran Amy McGrath with a 49-39 lead in Kentucky's Democratic primary for Senate next week, much closer than a previously unreleased Booker internal from TargetSmart taken in late April that had McGrath ahead 62-11.
As of June 3, McGrath had outspent Booker $22 million to just $508,000, and she'll reportedly deploy her huge financial advantage even further in the final week of the race with a TV ad buy topping $1 million. However, Booker, who is African American, has been a highly visible presence at protests of police violence in the wake of killings of two Black Louisville residents, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, by law enforcement. McGrath, who is white, has apparently not attended any protests.
While's he's received a late round of favorable press coverage, though, even Booker's own poll shows a difficult path to victory: Only 6% of respondents are undecided (5% support another Marine veteran, Mike Brohier), so Booker would have to win over some voters who've already made up their minds. In addition, the survey had a small sample size of 314, just above the minimum 300 we require for inclusion in the Digest.
● MT-Sen: Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is airing his first TV ad in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Steve Daines this fall. Bullock narrates the spot himself and emphasizes his bipartisan credentials, saying, "As governor, I've worked to do what's right for all Montanans, not just one party or point of view." He adds that if he's elected to the Senate, "I won't answer to party bosses, and won't take a dime from corporate PACs. I'll work with both parties to do what's right for Montana." Politico's Steven Shepard reports the buy is for approximately $200,000.
● NH-Sen: Filing in New Hampshire closed on Friday, and the state has published a list of all candidates you can find here. We'll run through the races for Senate, governor, and both House seats, each in their respective section of the Digest, starting with the Senate contest. Note that while Granite Staters are accustomed to hosting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, they won't pick downballot nominees until Sept. 8—one of the last primaries in the nation.
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a heavy favorite for a third term: National Republicans don't appear to consider her a target, and none of the major outside groups have reserved fall TV time, even though swing-state New Hampshire can get expensive early. The GOP's two most notable candidates are wealthy attorney Corky Messner, who has self-funded $2 million so far and recently earned Donald Trump's endorsement, and retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, who has claimed to have the NRSC's support—a claim the committee has in the past declined to confirm (and you can bet they won't gainsay Trump now).
While Shaheen was fortunate to hold off former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown by a tight 51-48 margin during the 2014 GOP wave, limited polling has shown her with wide leads over both of her likeliest opponents this time out. Outside of Alabama and Michigan, Senate Republicans are mostly playing defense in 2020, which is why we rate this race Likely Democratic.
● MO-Gov: A poll from Republican pollster Remington Research on behalf of the newsletter Missouri Scout finds Republican Gov. Mike Parson with a 50-41 lead on his presumptive Democratic opponent, state Auditor Nicole Galloway. That's the closest Remington, which regularly polls this race, has ever found the contest, though Parson is still at the 50% mark, and the undecideds in this red state almost certainly lean Republican. The survey also finds Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden 51-43, considerably closer than Trump's 56-38 margin four years ago.
● NH-Gov: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is seeking a third two-year term, but two noteworthy Democrats are hoping to deny him: state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes and Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who has generally sought to position himself as the more vocally progressive of the two. Feltes has outraised Volinsky by a wide margin, though Sununu has outstripped them both (note, however, that the most recent fundraising reports are now more than six months old).
The only poll this year, from the erratic University of New Hampshire, gave Sununu a big advantage over both Democrats, but the Republican Governors Association has nevertheless reserved $3.6 million in television time for the general election. We rate the race Likely Republican.
The one wrinkle here is that an unexpected candidate filed to run in the GOP primary, so it's possible that Republicans could wind up with a situation where they have Nobody on the November ballot.
● GA-07: Public policy professor Carolyn Bourdeaux declared victory on Monday in the Democratic primary in Georgia's 7th Congressional District as the latest returns showed her with 52.5% of the vote, above the 50% mark necessary to avoid an August runoff. Bourdeaux's campaign estimates that about 10,000 votes remain to be counted, but the rest of the field would need to win about 70% of the outstanding vote to force a second round, which is exceedingly unlikely.
Mindful of that reality, the current third-place candidate, former DNC official Nabilah Islam, conceded on Sunday and exhorted the other contenders to rally around Bourdeaux. In 2018, Bourdeaux unexpectedly came within 419 votes of knocking off GOP Rep. Rob Woodall, who announced his retirement just months later. Assuming she advances to the general election, Bourdeaux will face Republican physician Rich McCormick in a traditionally red district in the Atlanta suburbs that has been rapidly trending blue. Daily Kos Elections rates this race a Tossup.
● KY-04: The Club for Growth, which is backing Republican Rep. Thomas Massie in his primary next week, finds the congressman with a punishing 77-11 lead on attorney Todd McMurtry in a new survey from WPA Intelligence. That's similar to the 70-13 advantage WPA showed in a late April poll for the Club. Massie found himself on the receiving end of a Donald Trump Twitter tirade after the congressman delayed a $2 trillion coronavirus economic bill in March, but it doesn't seem to have hurt his standing at home.
● NH-01, NH-02: Four Republicans have filed to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas in what's traditionally been one of the swingiest congressional districts in the nation, but only two have reported raising any money: former Trump aide Matt Mowers and former state party vice chair Matt Mayberry. Unsurprisingly, Trump has given his backing to Mowers, but whoever wins the GOP nod will start out the underdog to Pappas, who has a big financial head start. Though the 1st District has spent much of the last decade slotted into the "Tossup" category, we currently rate this year's race as Lean Democratic.
The 2nd District, meanwhile, is a lost cause for Republicans. Though the GOP held it from 1995 to 2007 and then retook it during the 2010 wave, Democrat Annie Kuster won it back in 2012 and hasn't relinquished her grip ever since. Her leading opponent appears to be former state Rep. Steve Negron, whom Kuster beat 56-42 last cycle.
● NJ-02: Political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison has launched her first TV ad ahead of the July 7 Democratic primary in New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District. The spot, which is also running on digital platforms, is narrated by Harrison's most prominent Garden State supporter, Sen. Cory Booker, who reminds viewers that "South Jersey has never sent a woman to Congress, ever" and exhorts them to "change that" by electing Harrison. Harrison is facing off against mental health advocate Amy Kennedy for the right to take on party-switching GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew in November.
● NV-04: The AP has now called the Republican primary in Nevada's 4th Congressional District for former Assemblyman Jim Marchant, almost a week after the election—the sort of delay we will all need to get accustomed to thanks to the surge in mail voting prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. Marchant currently leads businessman Samuel Peters 34-29, little changed from his 34-30 advantage on election night. Marchant will now face Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in a contest we rate as Likely Democratic.
● PA-01: Bucks County housing official Christina Finello, who recently won the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District, has released a survey from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling showing Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick with a narrow 40-38 edge. Fitzpatrick sports a slightly underwater 35-37 job approval score while Finello's approval rating is 18-12, with some 71% of voters unfamiliar with her.
Most concerning for Fitzpatrick, though, are the presidential numbers: PPP finds Joe Biden with a huge 56-40 lead on Donald Trump, a massive blue surge compared to Hillary Clinton's narrow 49-47 win here four years ago. But the spread is plausible: The 1st District is affluent and well-educated suburban turf that voted to re-elect Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf 59-40 in 2018, according to Bloomberg's Greg Giroux. While Fitzpatrick enjoys an enormous financial advantage at the moment, he could be steering into headwinds no amount of money can overcome.