The Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from the Daily Kos Elections team.
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● Redistricting: Alabama isn't the only state on the verge of redrawing its congressional map to boost Black representation following last week's shock Supreme Court ruling. Similar litigation in Louisiana and Georgia means both states are likely to follow suit soon. That would result in a new Black-majority district in each, but what would they look like?
- Splitting up NOLA and the capital: Republican lawmakers placed Baton Rouge and New Orleans in the same district, packing a large number of Black voters into the same seat. NAACP-backed plaintiffs instead propose having each city anchor its own district, both of which would be home to an African American majority.
- The city with one of the nation's largest Black populations: Atlanta, known for decades as "the Black mecca of the South," could readily accommodate a fourth Black district in its western suburbs, according to a group of voters supported by a Democratic organization. As the Voting Rights Act ordains, such a district would likely allow Black voters to elect their preferred candidate—very probably a Black Democrat.
- A distinction without a difference? Lawsuits in both states are about to crank up again thanks to the Supreme Court's decision, but Republicans will try to argue that their cases differ from Alabama's. The Louisiana plaintiffs aren't having it, noting in a letter to the justices that defendants previously claimed that the two disputes involved "identical" issues.
Read more about these cases at Daily Kos Elections and find our detailed illustrations of possible new maps for both states, along with interactive versions.
● There have been sooo many hot takes about the 2022 midterms, which is why we're joined on this week's episode of "The Downballot" by Michael Frias and Hillary Anderson of the progressive data firm Catalist to discuss their data-intensive report on what actually happened. They explain how they marry precinct-level election results with detailed voter files to go far beyond what the polls can tell us. Among the findings: Highly competitive races were much more favorable to Democrats than less-contested ones; Republicans paid a "MAGA tax" by nominating extreme candidates; and non-college white women shifted toward Democrats by notable margins compared to 2020.
Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also do a deep, deep dive on the many implications of the Supreme Court's shock redistricting ruling in Alabama last week. The Davids explain why the nay-sayers are wrong to minimize the impact of the decision, which will very likely lead to new districts where Black voters can elect their preferred candidates not only in Alabama but also Louisiana, Georgia, and maybe even Texas. They also discuss what those new districts might look like, and how we know.
Subscribe to "The Downballot" on Apple Podcasts to make sure you never miss a show—new episodes every Thursday! You'll find a transcript of this week's episode right here by noon Eastern time.
● MI-Sen: Democratic primary frontrunner Elissa Slotkin earned an endorsement Wednesday from fellow Rep. Haley Stevens, who is the first member of the state's delegation to take sides in this contest. Also in Slotkin's corner is Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, who leads the second-most populous county in the state.
● MT-Sen, PA-Sen: The National Journal writes that two wealthy businessmen whom the NRSC is trying to recruit, Montana's Tim Sheehy and Pennsylvania's David McCormick, are "expected to jump in around the second quarter FEC filing deadline on July 15."
● MT-Gov: Freshman state Rep. Tanner Smith declared Tuesday that he'd challenge Gov. Greg Gianforte in next year's GOP primary, though he didn't reveal why he thinks conservatives should dump the incumbent. Gianforte has not yet announced if he'll seek a second term, though there's no indication that the governor is looking to call it quits.
Smith, who owns a construction company, won his seat in the northwestern part of the state after voicing his anger over local recreational marijuana dispensaries and pledging to place more regulations on the burgeoning industry. However, he failed to pass any of his four bills during the recent legislative session, including a proposal to double the required distance between new dispensaries and buildings like schools and churches.
● CA-45: Immigration attorney Jimmy Pham, who describes himself as a "moderate liberal," this week became the latest Democrat to enter the top-two primary to face GOP Rep. Michelle Steel. Pham, who is a member of Westminster's traffic commission, ran for the city council last year and lost 44-33.
● IL-17: Former state Rep. Dan Brady revealed Tuesday that he was considering seeking the GOP nod to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Eric Sorensen, though he also said he was interested in returning to the legislature. Brady, who said he'd be considering "[o]ver the next few weeks," served two decades in the state House before running for secretary of state last year, but that campaign ended in a 54-44 defeat to Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.
The only Republican who has launched a bid against Sorensen so far is businessman Ray Estrada, who responded to Brady's interest by declaring, "I'm not running to be someone or cling to power like many tired, old politicians." Sorensen won this constituency in the north-central part of the state 52-48 two years after it favored Joe Biden 53-45.
● RI-01: Katherine Gregg of the Providence Journal asked state House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi if there was anything behind rumors that he's had a change of heart and has decided to enter the special September Democratic primary "as early as next week," and he very much refused to shoot down the idea.
Shekarchi, who said in March that he wouldn't run, first offered responses like, "I enjoy being in the House, all the same reasons [that] existed when I made my decision before, nothing has really changed." Gregg, though, recognized that this was not a no and kept asking if he'd ruled out a campaign, and the speaker finally answered, "I never like to rule anything out. You know how I am." Potential candidates have until June 30 to file.
● ME State House: Republican Abden Simmons flipped Maine House District 45 in Tuesday's special election by defeating Democrat Wendy Pieh 52-48; according to data from Dave's Redistricting App, Donald Trump won 52-45 here in 2020. The Bangor Daily News writes that Simmons' victory gives his party its first win in a competitive special election since 2015. Democrats maintain an 82-68 advantage in the 151-person chamber, and the paper says that "liberal-leaning independents" hold the other two seats.