● GA-14: Republican leaders have finally gotten around to chastising QAnon nutball Marjorie Greene for her litany of racist and antisemitic rantings, but it doesn't seem like the GOP establishment plans to do a whole lot about her. A spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Greene's comments "appalling," and a trio of Georgia congressmen—Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, and Austin Scott—have now endorsed Greene's opponent in the Aug. 11 runoff, neurosurgeon John Cowan.
However, the NRCC isn't taking sides: Communications director Chris Pack would only say that the committee's chair, Rep. Tom Emmer, is "personally disgusted" by Greene's views. Meanwhile, several top extremists who previously backed Greene haven't withdrawn their support, including House Freedom Caucus chair Andy Biggs, former Freedom Caucus chief (and founding member) Jim Jordan, and Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, who—you guessed it—is also a member of the Freedom Caucus.
It's also notable that, while Greene's beliefs have long been well-known, most Republicans only saw fit to say anything after Politico unearthed hours of self-narrated videos Greene posted to Facebook this week. In those videos, Greene compares Black Lives Matter activists to the Nazis who marched on Charlottesville in 2017; dubs "white males" the "most mistreated group of people in the United States today"; and calls Holocaust survivor George Soros a "piece of crap," repeating the lie that Soros was a Nazi collaborator.
In response to a request for comment from Politico, Greene's campaign manager did not dispute the authenticity of the videos but instead said, "Thank[s] for the reminder about Soros. We forgot to put him in our newest ad. We're fixing that now."
As for Cowan, he hasn’t criticized Greene’s racism. Instead, he’s arguing he’s the better candidate with the slogan, “All of the conservative, none of the embarrassment.”
Please bookmark our litigation tracker for a complete compilation of the latest developments in every lawsuit regarding changes to election and voting procedures.
● California: California's Democratic-run Assembly has passed a bill out of committee that would mail every registered voter a ballot for the November general election. It would also extend the period for ballots to be returned for this year's election only: Under current law, they must be postmarked by Election Day and received within three days, but the legislation in question would extend the receipt deadline until 17 days later for 2020 only, likely the longest such deadline in the country. The state Senate has already passed the bill, and the full Assembly will reportedly take up the matter "this week."
● District of Columbia: The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections announced on Wednesday that it would mail ballots directly to every registered voter for the November general election, making D.C. the second jurisdiction after California to switch to mail voting in response to the pandemic. District officials sent absentee ballot applications to all voters ahead of the June 2 primary, but the strain of processing applications led to delays that prevented numerous voters from receiving their ballots in time to vote by mail. Officials aim to overcome this problem by skipping the request step.
● Georgia: Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that he will not send absentee ballot applications to Georgia's 6.9 million active registered voters for the general election this fall, despite the massive problems that plagued the state's primary last week.
Raffensperger had mailed applications to all voters prior to the primary in an attempt to limit crowding at polling places, but while the effort fell short, his new decision threatens to exacerbate the problem in November. The secretary instead announced that he would create an online portal for absentee requests, which will lead to fewer voters choosing to vote by mail.
● Kentucky: A federal court has rejected Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath's motion to intervene in a lawsuit by Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes that seeks to expand the number of polling places in populous counties in next Tuesday's primary, ruling that McGrath lacked standing to seek relief beyond what the plaintiffs had requested.
McGrath had sought to add additional demands to the lawsuit, including extending the deadline for requesting a ballot from June 15 to June 19; allowing third-party groups to assist voters with ballot requests over the phone; and extending the closing of in-person polling places from 6 PM to 9 PM on Election Day. McGrath hadn't indicated as of Wednesday whether she would appeal.
● Massachusetts: Massachusetts' Democratic-run state Senate has unanimously passed a bill to temporarily expand voting access in the Sept. 1 primary and November general election. The bill would:
- enable mail voting without an excuse in the primary (it's already allowed in November);
- implement early voting for the primary for the first time and expand it for November;
- mail all voters an application for a mail ballot;
- count mail ballots for November that are postmarked by Election Day and received within three days afterward;
- extend the deadline to request mail ballots to the Friday before Election Day; and
- create an online portal for requesting mail ballots.
Lawmakers did not vote on an amendment that would have skipped the ballot application step by sending ballots to all voters, with its sponsor withdrawing the proposal and criticizing Democratic Secretary of State Bill Galvin for his lack of support. Separate bills had been introduced earlier this year to implement a full vote-by-mail election this year, but those measures appear to be dead following the passage of the Senate's bill. The measure now goes back to the state House after the two chambers passed different versions.
● Minnesota: A Minnesota state court has approved a settlement of a lawsuit that will see the state drop its requirement that absentee voters have a witness sign their mail ballots for the August primary. Officials will also count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received within two days afterward; currently, they must be received by Election Day. In addition, if a ballot is missing a postmark, officials must "presume that it was mailed on or before Election Day unless the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates it was mailed after Election Day."
● New Mexico: Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is pushing the Democratic legislature to pass a bill sending every registered voter a mail ballot this November. Lawmakers will begin a special legislative session on Thursday and are working with Toulouse Oliver to draft her proposed legislation. Toulouse Oliver had wanted to implement a vote-by-mail primary, but the state Supreme Court prevented her from doing so without legislative authorization, and the legislature wasn't in session at the time.
Although the upcoming special session is taking place primarily to address a shortfall in the state budget, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also recently said that election-related proposals would be a priority.
● Virginia: A conservative group called True the Vote, which had backed a challenge brought by Republican voters seeking to bar Virginia officials from allowing all voters to request an absentee ballot for the state's June 23 primary, has withdrawn its lawsuit. Last month, the federal judge hearing the case rejected the plaintiffs' request, saying they had waited too long to bring their case.
● GA-Sen-B: The Senate Ethics Committee has announced that it's concluded its investigation into Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler's sales of millions in stock just before the markets tanked due to the coronavirus pandemic. The committee said it "did not find evidence" that Loeffler's conduct had violated federal law or Senate rules. Last month, the Department of Justice also dropped its own investigation into Loeffler's trades.
However, Loeffler's opponents in both parties have hammered her over the transactions, and her standing with voters has taken a serious hit: Recent polls suggest that Loeffler would not make a probable January runoff in the special election for her Senate seat, and her approval ratings are in the dumps.
● IA-Sen: The NRSC is out with a new ad that takes aim at Democratic nominee Theresa Greenfield’s past business dealings. The spot attempts to portray Greenfield as an uncaring businesswoman, with a narrator claiming that she “ran a real estate company that wanted to clear the way for a big-box store” and “threw out mom and pop businesses”.
But according to the Greenfield campaign, the renovation of the Apple Valley Shopping Center, the project in question, was “planned to improve and update the location - not to make room for a larger company.” Additionally, the campaign says the shopping center's new location is home to 10 small businesses.
● KY-Sen: While one of the ads Marine veteran Amy McGrath launched in the final days before Tuesday's Democratic primary has sought to acknowledge the nationwide protests against police violence, another new spot emphasizes a very different message.
This latest ad, which the GOP firm Medium Buying says is airing on broadcast television in the Cincinnati media market, features McGrath saying she's "so proud to be from Northern Kentucky," adding that her parents taught her "to believe in God" and "wave our flag with pride." The ad referencing the killing of George Floyd by police, by contrast, is apparently running only in Louisville, the site of two other recent deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.
Medium Buying says that McGrath's opponent, state Rep. Charles Booker, has not been airing broadcast ads on Cincinnati TV (which covers about 11% of Kentucky) but will do so starting Thursday. Medium also reports that McGrath's spending on television and radio in the final week now stands at $3.3 million while Booker has spent $786,000.
● ME-Sen: Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, says he will "probably stay out" of the race against Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who faces the most difficult re-election campaign of her career. King endorsed Collins in 2014, the last time she went before voters.
● MO-Gov: The Republican Governors Association recently transferred $600,000 to its Missouri arm, bringing the total it's put into the state to almost $1.2 million. That's not necessarily an indicator the RGA thinks Republican Gov. Mike Parson faces a competitive races, though: The organization regularly spends early to protect incumbents, and its spending decisions can be influenced by parochial interests. Polls have shown Parson with comfortable leads against his likely Democratic opponent, state Auditor Nicole Galloway.
● GA-07: EMILY's List has endorsed public policy professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, who recently won the Democratic nomination for Georgia's competitive 7th District in the Atlanta suburbs. She faces Republican physician Rich McCormick in this open-seat race.
● NY-15: New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres has gone up with a second TV ad ahead of Tuesday's Democratic primary that kicks off with a clip of Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising him, then features a narrator who says he "secured billions to approve affordable housing" and "stood up to Trump's family and their corrupt business practices." That's a reference to a high-profile investigation Torres spearheaded into Jared Kushner's real estate firm for falsifying paperwork and harassing rent-stabilized tenants out of their apartments with "weaponized construction."
● NY-16: A new poll for educator Jamaal Bowman from the firm Data for Progress finds Bowman with a sizable 52-36 lead on Rep. Eliot Engel with days to go before Tuesday's Democratic primary. Engel's campaign responded by claiming that its "internals show Engel up by 8" but did not make any data available. According to his most recent FEC filing, Engel paid $127,500 in three separate installments last month to Global Strategy Group for polling.
Engel also picked up late endorsements on Wednesday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Awkwardly, Schumer told reporters last week that he had not given his backing to Engel even though Engel's campaign website listed Schumer as an endorser.
● NY-17: The Greenburgh Town Democratic Committee has released a poll from Public Policy Polling of next week's primary in New York's open 17th Congressional District that finds attorney Mondaire Jones opening up a double-digit lead. Jones, who has the backing of many prominent progressive groups and politicians, takes 25% while former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas and wealthy self-funder Adam Schleifer are tied for second with 14, state Sen. David Carlucci is at 11, and Assemblyman David Buchwald earns 8% of the vote. Two other candidates are in the low single digits while 24% of voters are undecided.
The only other survey of the race, an independent poll by progressive firm Data for Progress released earlier this month, had Carlucci in front with 15 but a pileup close behind him, with Farkas and Schleifer both at 13 and Jones at 12 (Buchwald took just 6). The Greenburgh Democrats haven't made an endorsement, but following a vote of its members, the organization helped Jones, Farkas, Buchwald, and former NARAL board chair Allison Fine collect petitions to get on the ballot. The town of Greenburgh lies just outside Buchwald's legislative district.
● NY-27: After threatening for months that it would spend heavily to thwart Republican state Sen. Chris Jacobs, the extremist Club for Growth has instead said it will sit out Tuesday's dual elections in New York's 27th Congressional District. On that day, Jacobs will both seek to win a special election for this seat—vacant since Republican Rep. Chris Collins' resignation following a guilty plea on insider trading charges—and earn the GOP's nomination for the regularly scheduled election in November.
That posed a problem for the Club, which would have found itself opposing Donald Trump—who endorsed Jacobs—while simultaneously trying not to screw up the special election and hand victory to Democrat Nate McMurray yet still somehow help attorney Beth Parlato (its preferred choice) defeat Jacob in the primary. Evidently, pushing a "yes on Jacobs, no on Jacobs" message was a bridge too far.