SLF head Steven Law on Tuesday trashed the NRSC over news that it had sent out a fundraising email under Walker's name that, unless the donor changed the default setting, would send 99% of the contribution to the committee. "Good committees raise enough so that they don't have to steal from their candidates," Law tweeted.
NRSC communications head Chris Hartline pushed back, "The NRSC is coordinating closely with Herschel's campaign on digital fundraising. We're raising money directly into his campaign and into the building to spend in GA (we've been on the air since last week)." He continued, "SLF still isn't up on the air. We look forward to you guys joining us." Hartline, whose group has deployed $700,000 so far, was hardly appeased by SLF's $14 million offensive, responding, "NRSC's been up on the air in Georgia since last week."
Pollster Curt Anderson, who serves as a Scott adviser, also used the platform to bemoan, "Watched Monday Night Football here in Georgia last night, and the evening news. Schumer's superpacs running tons of ads attacking Walker. McConnell's superpac running zero ads attacking Warnock. Have they given up?" Law followed up, "Your TV buy was barely 350 GRP [gross ratings points] in ATL. But don't worry little buddy—we're used to covering for you."
● CA-09: Democratic Rep. Josh Harder has fended off San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti in a Stockton area seat that’s largely new to him. Harder leads his Republican rival 56-44 with 79% of the Associated Press’ estimated vote tabulated in this 55-43 Biden district.
● CA-21: While Democratic Rep. Jim Costa has struggled in past midterms, he’s clearly defeated Republican Michael Maher in this 59-39 Biden constituency in the Fresno area. Costa leads 55-45 with 84% of the estimated vote in.
● Ballot Measures: Over the last decade, voter-initiated ballot measures have been a key tool for strengthening fair elections and adopting progressive policies over the opposition of GOP lawmakers, which is why Republicans in numerous states have responded by trying to restrict the initiative process itself. Voters in Arizona and Arkansas this year voted on multiple GOP-supported measures aimed at making it harder for voters to pass laws at the ballot box, some of which passed while others were defeated.
In Arizona, voters by a 64-36 margin rejected Proposition 128, which would have enabled the GOP legislature to amend or fully repeal any voter-initiated law if any single part was ruled unconstitutional, even if the rest of the law remained valid. Existing Arizona law only allows legislators to alter or repeal voter-initiated laws if voters subsequently approve of the changes or if a three-fourths supermajority of lawmakers approves amendments that "further the purpose" of the original initiative, making changes or repeal much harder.
However, Arizona voters passed Proposition 129 by a 55-45 margin to impose a single-subject limit on future citizen initiatives—but not measures advanced by the legislature. Conservative-dominated courts in other states such as Florida have aggressively used their single subject limits to block democracy reforms and other progressive measures, and conservatives tightly control Arizona's Supreme Court after Republicans under Gov. Doug Ducey packed the court by adding two seats in 2016.
Lastly in Arizona, the Associated Press has called a win for Proposition 132, which leads 51-49. This measure would require a 60% supermajority of voter support to pass any future constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by voters or lawmakers if those amendments raise taxes or impose new ones (but not those that lower taxes). Until now Arizona only required simple majorities to pass amendments, while only a handful of other states require supermajorities for some or all types of measures.
Meanwhile in Arkansas, voters rejected by a 59-41 margin GOP-backed Issue 2, which would have required a 60% voter approval instead of a simple majority to pass future ballot initiatives, including both amendments and statutes, and also amendments put on the ballot by lawmakers, but not legislatively approved statutes. Arkansas voters in 2020 rejected a different GOP effort to make it disproportionately harder for progressives to pass initiatives than for conservatives, and Issue 2's defeat boosts the odds of success for an expected future effort to reform redistricting and eliminate the GOP's new gerrymanders.
● Long Beach, CA Mayor: Rex Richardson secured victory Tuesday when his City Council colleague and fellow Democrat, Suzie Price, conceded, a win that will make Richardson Long Beach's first Black mayor. Richardson leads 55-45 with 81,000 votes counted in the contest to succeed Democrat Robert Garcia, who left to successfully campaign for California's 42nd District.
Richardson touted endorsements from Garcia, the state Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood, and several unions. Price, meanwhile, had the backing of the local police union and the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
● Los Angeles County, CA Sheriff: There will literally be a new sheriff in town for America's most-populous county now that conservative incumbent Alex Villanueva has conceded to former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. The challenger leads 60-40 with 70% of the Associated Press' estimated vote in for this officially nonpartisan race.
Villanueva made history in 2018 when he became the first Democrat to hold this office in 138 years, but while he still identifies as "a Democrat of the party of JFK and FDR," he's established a very different image in office. Villanueva instead has become a Fox News regular who, among many other things, has raged against the "woke left." The sheriff's department also has been at the center of numerous scandals, including allegations that deputies have organized themselves into violent gangs. Luna, for his part, changed his voter registration from Republican to no party preference in 2018 before becoming a Democrat two years later.
Luna's win came the same night that voters overwhelmingly passed Measure A, which allows four of the five members of the county Board of Supervisors to oust a sheriff. The Board placed the measure on the ballot after four years of confrontations with Villanueva, whose office carried out a search on Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in September.
The sheriff's opponents immediately blasted the move as mere retaliation against Kuehl, and state Attorney General Rob Bonta ordered Villanueva's department to "cease its investigative activity and refrain from any actions in furtherance of these investigations, including public statements or court filings related to the investigations."
● San Francisco, CA District Attorney: The San Francisco Chronicle has called the instant-runoff special election for appointed incumbent Brooke Jenkins, who fended off a challenge from the left from former police commissioner John Hamasaki. With 292,000 votes tabulated Jenkins leads 46-37 among first-choice preferences, while she maintained a similar 54-46 margin in the third and final round of tabulations.
Jenkins helped lead the successful recall campaign against District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June, and Mayor London Breed appointed her the following month to replace Boudin. Jenkins will be up for a full four-term in 2024 rather than 2023 because voters this month have approved a ballot measure moving citywide elections to presidential years in order to boost voter participation.
● Oakland County, MI County Commission: Democrats in this voter-rich suburban Detroit community last week won a 13 to 6 supermajority on the Oakland County Commission, a body where they only overcame GOP gerrymandering to win their first majority in half a century in 2018.
That one-seat edge came months before longtime Republican County Executive L. Brooks Patterson died in office; the commissioners, after much wrangling, voted along party lines to appoint Dave Coulter as the first Democrat to lead Oakland County since the executive office was created in 1974. Coulter won a full term in 2020, and the Board of Commissioners passed a map last year with GOP support that dropped the number of members from 21 to 19.
● OH-Sen: Sen. Sherrod Brown made it clear Tuesday that he'd be seeking a fourth term in Ohio, where he's been the only state Democrat to prevail in any partisan statewide election over the last decade. The incumbent will be a top GOP target in 2024, and a few potential candidates have already made noises about taking him on.
State Sen. Matt Dolan, who poured $10.6 million of his own money this year into an unsuccessful bid for the state's other Senate seat, confirmed his interest recently. "If we as Republicans make it about policies, economic policies that we would enact, and what will make America strong, and if we have the right person I think we'll have an advantage," said Dolan, a Trump skeptic who wound up taking third with 23% in the primary. "But it's advantage to Sherrod Brown if we are running on anything than that."
The Columbus Dispatch's Thomas Suddes previously wrote in a September column that Secretary of State Frank LaRose "is among those gearing up to challenge Brown." LaRose, who won re-election last week 60-39, does not appear to have said anything publicly about his interest yet, though.
Andrew Tobias of Cleveland.com also relays that wealthy businessman Bernie Moreno and Attorney General Dave Yost are thinking about it as well. Moreno dropped out of this year's Senate primary after spending millions of his own money, saying, "After talking to President Trump we both agreed this race has too many Trump candidates and could cost the MAGA movement a conservative seat." Yost, for his part, claimed re-election 60-40 this month.
● UT-Sen: Incumbent Mitt Romney has not committed to seeking a second term, but there's been talk for months about who might wage a primary bid against the only Senate Republican who voted twice to convict Trump.
Politico reported earlier this year that Attorney General Sean Reyes would "make a final decision and likely announce his intentions" that May. The announcement has yet to arrive six months later, but the Deseret News said this week that Reyes "is still actively pursuing a campaign." Romney himself acted unintimidated when the Reyes news first surfaced, telling Politico, "[W]ere I to decide to run again, the best news I could get would be that Sean Reyes was my opponent."
● WV-Sen, WV-Gov, WV-02: Republican Rep. Alex Mooney on Tuesday announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has not yet said if he'll seek re-election in what's become a dark red state, a move that underscores that the 2024 Senate cycle is already underway whether we like it or not.
Mooney is the first major challenger in the nation to kick off a Senate campaign, but his head start may not clear the primary field. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who lost to Manchin 50-46 in 2018, said last week he was "looking very closely at" a rematch. However, he responded to Mooney's kickoff by acknowledging that he'd also been encouraged to run for governor, for Mooney's open 2nd District, and for re-election in addition to the Senate, and that he would "give all of these options appropriate and due consideration."
Gov. Jim Justice, who will be termed-out in 2024, also didn't rule out a challenge to his one-time ally Manchin, saying, "I guess it's possible ... Who knows?" Justice, who defected from the Democratic Party to the GOP at a 2017 Trump rally, reiterated last week, "I do love the people of West Virginia, and I am looking really, really, really hard at some kind of national office. Who knows."
Manchin, for his part, responded to Mooney's kickoff, "I haven't made a complete decision as of yet … I've never made a decision based on any opposition." The senator may keep us guessing for quite some time if history is any guide: While he announced in July of 2017 he'd be seeking re-election, his fellow Democrats had to scramble to deter him from a last-minute retirement the following January. Trump took the Mountain State 69-30, and Manchin is almost certainly the one Democrat who would stand any chance here.
Mooney, for his part, has been talked about as a likely Manchin foe for years, and the senator made an unsuccessful attempt to beat him in this May's primary. West Virginia lost one of its three House seats after the 2020 Census, and Mooney and fellow Rep. David McKinley both slugged it out in the new 2nd District in the northern half of the state.
Trump and the deep-pocketed Club for Growth both consolidated behind Mooney while Manchin starred in a commercial imploring Republicans to renominate McKinley. McKinley and his allies also tried to frame the contest as a battle between a seventh-generation West Virginian and Mooney, a former Maryland state senator who only moved to the state in 2013 ahead of his first congressional bid.
McKinley additionally made sure voters knew that his colleague-turned-rival was facing two investigations by the Office of Congressional Ethics for allegedly spending campaign funds on personal expenses and possibly obstructing the probe, and he even aired an ad showing a digitally altered image of Mooney in a prison jumpsuit. None of this was enough, though, to stop Mooney from winning 54-36 even though he represented considerably less of the new district than McKinley did.
The Office of Congressional Ethics announced weeks later that it had referred two Mooney probes to the House Ethics Committee. The document said there was "substantial reason to believe" Mooney had accepted a free family vacation to Aruba from a direct-mail firm his campaign has paid tens of thousands of dollars to in recent years and also having congressional staffers walk his dog and take his laundry to the cleaners. There have been no new public developments since then, though, and Mooney easily won re-election last week in his dark red House seat.
● DE-Gov: Democratic Gov. John Carney can't seek a third term in 2024, and First State political observers have spent years chattering about who will run to succeed him. Meredith Newman of the Delaware News Journal writes, "There's been longtime speculation among Delaware politicos that Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer" could compete to succeed their fellow Democrat.
● IN-Gov, IN-Sen: Sen. Mike Braun told News 8 right after Election Day that he'd announce "likely by Dec. 1" whether he'd seek re-election in 2024 or enter the race to succeed his fellow Republican, termed-out Gov. Eric Holcomb.
● NRCC: House Republicans on Tuesday unanimously chose North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson to chair the NRCC a day after Illinois Rep. Darin LaHood dropped out of the contest. Hudson won his place in the House in 2012 by unseating Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell after Republicans passed a very aggressive new gerrymander; Hudson's only competitive fight took place after litigation prompted Republicans to enact a tamer gerrymander for the 2020 elections, where he turned back Democrat Patricia Timmons-Goodson 53-47 after an expensive contest.
● Chicago, IL Mayor: Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson earned another notable labor endorsement this week when SEIU Healthcare Illinois backed him against Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the February nonpartisan primary. Johnson already had the support of SEIU Local 73, which represents public sector workers, and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Perhaps the biggest question looming over the contest ahead of the Nov. 28 filing deadline is what former Gov. Pat Quinn will do, but he says he'll make his plans known Thursday. Quinn made a surprise appearance earlier in the week at a Lightfoot event touting one of her programs, and she used the occasion to commend him. The former governor, though, told the Chicago Sun-Times not to "read anything" into his presence "other than celebrating something good for the West Side, where I live."
● Denver, CO Mayor: State Sen. Chris Hansen announced Monday that he would compete in the April nonpartisan primary to succeed Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who cannot seek a fourth term in this dark blue city.
Hansen, a Democrat who has served in the legislature since 2017, touted himself as a progressive, though he acknowledged that he wasn't the most progressive contender in the running. "I think on the political spectrum, there are definitely some candidates already in the race who are well to my left, so to speak," the state senator told 9News' Marshall Zelinger, though he didn't name any rival in particular.
The packed field already includes two other Democratic elected officials: Debbie Ortega, who won a spot on the City Council all the way back in 1987 and has held an at-large seat since 2011, and state Rep. Leslie Herod, whose 2016 victory made her the first gay Black woman to serve in the legislature.
Also in the running are former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough, who served as Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper's chief of staff when he was mayor in the 2000s; criminal justice activist Lisa Calderon, who took third place with 19% when she challenged Hancock in 2019; anti-gang activist Terrance Roberts; Ean Tafoya, an environmental activist who badly lost a 2015 race for City Council; and self-funder Andy Rougeot, who is the one Republican in the campaign. Brough, Calderon, Herod, and Ortega would each be the first woman to lead Colorado's capital city.
Zelinger notes that this is the first election cycle where candidates will be able to accept public campaign contributions from the Fair Elections Fund, which he explains "provides a nine times match for a contribution of $5 to $50, once a mayoral candidate receives 250 unique contributions" from city residents. All of the notable contenders other than Rougeot, who has contributed $250,000 of his own money to his bid, are participating in the program, and Hansen says he'll join in as well.
● Philadelphia, PA Mayor: Former City Councilman Allan Domb, a real estate tycoon nicknamed the "condo king," announced Tuesday that he was joining the packed May 16 Democratic primary to succeed termed-out Mayor Jim Kenney. Domb has self-funded past campaigns, and the Philadelphia Inquirer back in September called him the wealthiest potential contender.
Domb, like many of his opponents, has framed himself as a needed change from Kenney, who infamously responded to the shooting that wounded two police officers this Fourth of July by saying he'd "be happy when I'm not mayor." Domb, who called for Kenney's resignation over the summer, launched his campaign by saying the city needs "strong leadership, a champion, and someone who wants the job and never gives up on the city."
The Inquirer's Sean Collins Walsh describes Domb as someone who "has more than 400 properties in the city that are worth well over $400 million" and a "centrist Democrat." Walsh explains that Domb "has championed changes to the city's highest-in-the-nation wage tax aimed at helping low-income residents, and opposed a tax on new construction that was approved by Council in 2021."
The Democratic field is set to grow again Wednesday when businessman Jeff Brown, who owns 12 locations of the ShopRite grocery store chain, reportedly will launch his campaign. KYW also relays that City Councilwoman Helen Gym is "expected to announce later this month." The contest already includes former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and former City Council members Cherelle Parker, Derek Green, and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez: It takes a simple plurality to win the Democratic nod in this dark blue city.
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