The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from Daniel Donner, David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert and David Beard.
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● Election Night: The elections never stop! It may be springtime in an odd-numbered year, but Tuesday night is chock-full of elections across the country, with critical battles in four states.
- Another bitter GOP primary in Kentucky. Former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft has blasted Attorney General Daniel Cameron as a “soft establishment teddy bear,” while the Trump-endorsed Cameron has slammed Craft for a misleading ad featuring an empty chair at the dinner table.
- Control of the Pennsylvania House is on the line—again. A special election for a solidly blue district in the Philadelphia suburbs is suddenly competitive thanks to a local scandal, threatening the one-seat majority Democrats unexpectedly captured last year. To defend the seat, Democrats have spent seven figures and rolled out their big guns, including the very biggest of them all.
- The largest city with a Republican mayor could change hands. While Joe Biden narrowly carried Jacksonville, Florida, the GOP has held the mayor's office for all but four of the last 30 years. A victory in the Sunshine State's largest city would be a shot in the arm for Florida Democrats, who've been longing for good news.
Read more about these races—and many others on the ballot, including a key primary for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court—in Daily Kos Elections' comprehensive preview.
● FL-Sen: Brevard County School Board member Jennifer Jenkins confirms she's considering challenging Republican Sen. Rick Scott in a contest where Democrats don't yet have a viable contender. "I don't believe there should be an intense battle for the primary for this seat in order for Democrats to be successful," she told the Florida Phoenix, adding, "I will support anyone who is willing to take up the fight to ensure that Rick Scott is going to lose his election."
● MD-Sen: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Monday that he was supporting Angela Alsobrooks, his counterpart in Prince George's County, rather than entering the Democratic primary himself.
Olszewski made his move days after Alsobrooks picked up an endorsement from Rep. Kweisi Mfume, whose dark blue 7th Congressional District includes almost all of the city of Baltimore as well as about a quarter of suburban Baltimore County. (The two have been separate jurisdictions since 1851). Alsobrooks and her two intra-party rivals, Rep. David Trone and Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, all hail from the D.C. suburbs.
● UT-Sen: State House Speaker Brad Wilson tells ABC 4 that he'll decide whether to run for the Senate sometime in the fall after he's done playing host to the National Speakers Conference on Sept. 9. (Yes, that's a thing!) Wilson set up an exploratory committee last month for a potential Republican primary bid against Sen. Mitt Romney, who has yet to announce if he'll be seeking a second term.
● WA-Gov: Physician Raul Garcia has announced that he'll run as a Republican in next year's top-two primary to succeed retiring Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, a move that comes years after his briefly-touted 2020 effort went nowhere.
Garcia, who entered that race just before the filing deadline, earned endorsements from former Gov. Dan Evans, former Sen. Slade Gorton, and former state Attorney General Rob McKenna, prominent Republicans from yesteryear who saw him as a moderate alternative to the hardline GOP field. That show of force wasn't enough to win over voters, though, and Garcia ended up clocking in at just 5%; Inslee went on to win a third term against Loren Culp, who refused to recognize his 57-43 defeat.
● CA-30: Former State Department official Jirair Ratevosian has joined the busy top-two primary to succeed his fellow Democrat, Senate contender Adam Schiff, in this dark blue seat around Los Angeles. Ratevosian previously worked for Bay Area Rep. Barbara Lee, who is one of Schiff's intra-party rivals in the contest for the upper chamber.
● CA-47: Former Rep. Harley Rouda on Monday endorsed local Democratic activist Joanna Weiss a month after he dropped out of the top-two primary due to health concerns. Rouda used the announcement to highlight that another Democrat, state Sen. Dave Min, had been arrested for drunk driving weeks ago, with the former congressman arguing, "The stakes are too high to get this choice wrong."
● NY-03: Zak Malamed, who co-founded a group called The Next 50 dedicated to electing Democrats who are younger than 50, said Monday he would compete for the seat currently held by Republican Rep. George Santos. Malamed, who himself is 29, told HuffPost he identifies with the policies of the moderate New Democrat Coalition and backs universal healthcare while stopping short of Medicare for All. He joins a nomination contest that includes Nassau County legislator Josh Lafazan and former state Sen. Anna Kaplan, while plenty of others are also eyeing the race.
● NY-04: Attorney Sarah Hughes, who won a gold medal for figure skating in an upset at the 2002 Olympics, announced Monday that she was joining the Democratic primary to take on Republican Rep. Anthony D'Esposito. Hughes entered the race days after Laura Gillen, who lost to D'Esposito 52-48 last year, launched her rematch campaign. Joe Biden took this Long Island constituency 57-42, which makes it the bluest seat held by a Republican.
● NY-18: Multiple media outlets report that Alison Esposito, who was the GOP's 2022 nominee for lieutenant governor, is considering challenging Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan, though she has yet to say anything publicly. Biden carried this Hudson Valley seat 53-45 two years before the ticket of Lee Zeldin and Esposito beat the team of Gov. Kathy Hochul and Antonio Delgado 51-49, according to data calculated by Bloomberg's Greg Giroux. Ryan, for his part, won his first full term 51-49 after an expensive general election.
Esposito grew up in this constituency before embarking on a 25-year-career with the NYPD in Brooklyn well to the south. The Republican, who departed the force during the 2022 campaign, would have been the first gay person elected statewide had she and Zeldin prevailed.
● RI-01: Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien confirmed last week that he's still considering entering the packed special Democratic primary.
● VA-11: Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly said Monday that a person wielding a baseball bat arrived at his district office that morning asking for him before attacking two staffers. The congressman said that the pair was hospitalized with "non-life threatening injuries," and that the perpetrator has been apprehended.
Mayors and County Leaders
● Jacksonville, FL Mayor: St. Pete Polls, working on behalf of Florida Politics, shows Democrat Donna Deegan edging out Republican Daniel Davis 48-46 ahead of Tuesday's officially nonpartisan race. This is the only survey we've seen in over a month of the contest to succeed termed-out incumbent Lenny Curry in the largest city in America with a Republican mayor.
● Where Are They Now?: Federal prosecutors said Monday they would not seek to retry former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum or ally Sharon Lettman-Hicks on charges that they illegally siphoned off campaign money for their own uses. The move comes less than two weeks after a federal jury acquitted Gillum, who narrowly lost the 2018 election for governor as the Democratic nominee, on charges that he lied to the FBI during an investigation into local corruption, while failing to reach a verdict on the other 18 fraud counts. (Lettman-Hicks was only indicted in the latter matter.)
The lead prosecutor originally responded to the jury's announcement by saying "our intention right now at least off the cuff is that we're going to proceed forward with a second trial." However, the Tallahassee Democrat notes that those remarks came before the government learned that the jurors voted 10-2 in favor of acquitting Gillum on each of the remaining charges, which was a strong indication they'd have trouble prevailing if given a second chance.