The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● SC Redistricting: Republicans in the South Carolina state House have released a new congressional map that differs considerably from a proposal their counterparts in the state Senate put out in November. Most surprisingly, while Senate Republicans sought to protect GOP Rep. Nancy Mace by making the 1st District redder, the House map actually makes it bluer. Under the present lines, the 1st voted for Donald Trump 52-46, but it would have given him a narrower 50-48 win in the House version, according to Dave's Redistricting App, while the Senate map would have extended Trump's spread to 54-45.
Don't expect the House version to become law, though. As Republican state Rep. Jay Jordan, the chair of the House's redistricting committee, explained, "They'll drop a bill, we'll drop a bill on the same issue and it'll look very different. It'll go through the process and by the time it comes out the other end we've worked something out more often than not."
But don't rely on Jordan's breezy assurances of an eventual compromise, either: A decade ago, bitter GOP infighting nearly resulted in congressional redistricting getting punted to the courts. Thanks to a split between the upper and lower chambers, dissident Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass a completely different map from the version their counterparts in the House had signed off on. The rebels eventually caved, but there's no telling what might unfold this time.
● MS Redistricting: A joint House and Senate committee in Mississippi's Republican-run legislature has unveiled a proposed congressional redistricting plan that would largely retain the status quo. The majority-Black 2nd District, which is currently protected under the Voting Rights Act, would be expanded to make up for population loss but would remain safely Democratic while the state's three other districts would all stay firmly red. If lawmakers manage to pass a map, it'll be their first time doing so since the 1990s; courts have had to draw new lines for the past two decades after legislators failed to do so.
● WI Redistricting: The parties to the lawsuit pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which took over the redistricting process after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed maps passed by the state's Republican-run legislature, have now submitted proposed congressional and legislative maps in response to a Wednesday deadline set by the justices. You can find all of the maps here. All plans are required to comply with the court's previous order that it would draw "least change" maps that would lock in the state's existing Republican gerrymanders. Further briefing will now follow, with oral arguments likely to start on Jan. 18.
● AL-Sen: While most of the focus in the May Republican primary has been on Rep. Mo Brooks and former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Boyd Britt, the GOP firm Medium Buying reports that the top spender by far has been Army veteran Mike Durant.
Medium says that Durant is dropping at least $1.2 million on TV and radio from Oct. 20 through Jan. 11, while Britt's allies at the Alabama Conservatives Fund are in second with $648,000 spent so far. Durant's latest commercial features him railing on Joe Biden's vaccine mandate before the candidate adds, without any deliberate irony, "No scare tactics on the China virus."
● IA-Sen: EMILY's List has endorsed former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who is the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic primary to take on Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
● PA-Sen: The GOP tracking firm Medium Buying says that TV doctor Mehmet Oz has already spent or reserved $3.56 million worth of ads far ahead of the May Republican primary, which is well over the $1.34 million that former Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands has deployed.
● MA-Gov: The Dorchester Reporter relayed earlier this month that outgoing Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who badly lost the November race for mayor, is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and Essaibi George did not rule out the idea when the paper followed up with her this week. "You've got to keep the doors of opportunity open," she said when asked, though she also didn't shoot down a second bid for mayor. "I haven't spent a ton of time thinking about next steps," added Essaibi George.
On the Republican side, unnamed sources tell the conservative NewBostonPost that Taunton Mayor Shaunna O'Connell has decided not to run, though she has yet to say anything publicly.
● MD-Gov: Former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat who left office in 2003, has endorsed author Wes Moore in next year's primary. Glendening is Maryland's only living former Democratic governor other than Martin O'Malley, who has not taken sides.
● NV-Gov: We have dueling polls that paint dramatically different pictures of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak's prospects in next year's general election. The Republican firm OnMessage Inc., which says it has no client, first dropped a mid-November survey that found two Republican contenders, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and former Sen. Dean Heller, decisively leading the incumbent by margins of 51-41 and 49-43, respectively.
The Democratic pollster ALG Research, though, quickly showed the Nevada Independent's John Ralston more recent numbers from the first week of December that showed Sisolak narrowly beating both these Republicans. This survey, which was done for an unidentified client, gave the governor a 47-45 edge against Lombardo and a comparable 47-44 lead over Heller.
The only other poll we've seen of the general election from a reliable source was a late September survey from the Mellman Group for the Independent (the firm normally does work for Democratic campaigns but has been employed by the nonpartisan site for years). Those numbers found Sisolak edging out Lombardo and Heller 45-44 and 46-43, which is very similar to what ALG shows now.
● CA-22: Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux tells GV Wire that he's considering running for this soon-to-be open seat, though the Republican doesn't sound enthusiastic about the idea. "My love is for the sheriff's office and who I serve," said Boudreaux. A fellow Republican, state Sen. Shannon Grove, also said she wouldn't enter the race.
● NJ-02: Democratic state party chair LeRoy Jones said last month that he wanted defeated state Senate President Steve Sweeney to run against Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, but Sweeney apparently has bigger things in mind. Multiple media reports say that the conservative Democrat told the New Jersey State Association of Pipe Trades on Tuesday that he'd be waging a 2025 bid for governor. Have fun with that.
● TX-07: Wealthy healthcare executive Tahir Javed said Tuesday that he was abandoning his day-old Democratic primary campaign against Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, a move that leaves her with no intra-party opposition. The Republican legislature made this Houston-area seat far more Democratic in order to shore up GOP incumbents in other districts, so Fletcher should have nothing to worry about in a general election for what is now a 64-34 Biden constituency.
● Special Elections: Here is our recap of Tuesday's events:
CT-HD-116: Democrat Treneé McGee kept this West Haven seat blue by turning back Republican Richard DePalma 52-43, with independent Portia Bias taking 4%, which was well under Hillary Clinton's 75-22 showing in 2016.
McGee's anti-abortion views notably infuriated plenty of local activists, though DePalma, who proclaimed, "I can't see how anybody can go and get pregnant by accident tonight," did nothing to appeal to alienated progressives. Bias, who is a former Democrat, identified as pro-choice, though she didn't focus on abortion rights during the campaign.
McGee's win gives Democrats a 96-54 majority, with a vacancy in one other Democratic-held seat.
IA-SD-01: Republican Dave Rowley beat Democrat Mark Lemke 76-24, which was a bit better for Team Red than Donald Trump's 72-27 performance in this western Iowa seat in 2020. (Trump won 71-25 in 2016.) The chamber returns to a 32-18 GOP majority.