ICYMI: House GOP is sick of Marjorie, and RFK Jr.’s latest mess causes controversy

House GOP is so over Marjorie Taylor Greene's antics

She might need to dust off her copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” because at the moment, she’s not doing either.

Trump thinks he ended the abortion conversation. Biden's just getting started

Biden sums it up in just three words: Trump did this.

RFK Jr. campaign consultant confirms it: He’s a spoiler for Trump

More bad news from the second-most backpedaling presidential candidate.

Cartoon: Eclipse

A perfect break from your regularly scheduled outrage.

Right-wing fraudsters fined $1.25M for racist election robocall scheme

These two have hit the big leagues of dirtbaggery.

Abandoned GOP minority outreach center gets a sexy makeover

Frankly, it seems a much better use of the space.

House speaker delays doomed-to-fail impeachment trial

Poor Mike Johnson. Even his best-laid plans don’t work.

‘A disaster’: Vulnerable Arizona Republicans panic over abortion ruling

What a difference two years and a bunch of elections make.

Why the DCCC is using 'hybrid ads' to boost its favored candidate in Oregon

Democrats are using an unusual strategy pioneered by George W. Bush. Yes, that George W. Bush.

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ICYMI: GOP’s star witness exposed as Russian mole, and DeSantis faces book ban backlash

GOP continues bogus ‘investigation’ after star witness turns out to be Russian mole

This is a perfect example of why everyone called before this inquiry should demand to testify publicly.

Seriously, are any GOP Senate recruits actually from the states they're running in?

Do voters prefer candidates who actually live in the state they want to represent? Republicans are pushing the boundaries to find out.

Cartoon: Mike Luckovich on the emperor's new sneakers

We had to see this one, and now you do too. We’re sorry in advance.  

Kari Lake wants to downplay her stolen-election fever dreams. We can't let her

Oh, bless her delusional little heart.

Ron DeSantis pretends he isn't at fault for book ban he signed into law

The Florida governor is going to great lengths to revise recent history.

Alabama Supreme Court ruling could end IVF treatments in state

Read the details of this absolutely bonkers ruling.

Democrats have an opening as Trump rolls over for Putin

A path to taking down Putin and Trump. A win-win!

GOP senators demand impeachment trial as government shutdown looms

Ted Cruz paused from his podcasting job to take aim at Mitch McConnell in the latest GOP saga.

Turns out the GOP does have a few ideas—and they're all terrible

Is this really how they expect to attract voters? 

Biden personally instructs his campaign to go after the ‘crazy s—’ Trump says

Joe Biden’s had enough of the weak sauce the media has been dishing on a clearly deteriorating Donald Trump. 

Biden is forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loan debt

Approximately 153,000 people are about to have their year made by President Joe Biden’s student debt relief. Click to see if you or a loved one might qualify.

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Morning Digest: Why the GOP’s big new Senate recruit is a longshot

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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Leading Off

MD-Sen: Out of nowhere, former Gov. Larry Hogan announced a bid for Maryland's open Senate seat right before Friday's candidate filing deadline. But despite his personal popularity, he faces enormous obstacles in winning a state that last elected a Republican senator in 1980.

Hogan's entry was unexpected because he rejected entreaties from GOP leaders to run for Senate in 2022 and trashed the idea of running just last year, after Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin announced his retirement.

"The thing that surprised me the most was that my wife said, 'Why don't you run for the Senate?'" Hogan told NewsNation. "I told her she was crazy. I mean, I didn't have any interest in being a senator."

Hogan even derided the very idea of serving in Congress in that same interview. "The Senate is an entirely different job," he said. "You're one of 100 people arguing all day. Not a lot gets done in the Senate, and most former governors that I know that go into the Senate aren't thrilled with the job."

It's likely Hogan won't get the chance to experience that same disenchantment. Former governors who managed to defy their home state's political leanings have rarely met with success when seeking the Senate. The last decade or so is replete with examples: Montana's Steve Bullock, Tennessee's Phil Bredesen, and Hawaii's Linda Lingle all won multiple terms in states that normally back the opposite party but all failed when they sought to become United States senators.

It's not hard to understand why. It's much easier to gain separation from national party politics in state office, something Hogan achieved by presenting himself as a relative moderate and frequent critic of Donald Trump. But that's considerably harder to pull off in the context of a Senate race, when your opponents can readily link you to unpopular D.C. figures whose caucus you're looking to join.

Hogan was also last on the ballot in 2018, long before the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision upended American politics. Today, he'll face a difficult time answering for his views and actions on abortion: The ex-governor calls himself "pro-life," and in 2022, with the Dobbs ruling looming, he vetoed a bill to expand abortion access in the state. (Lawmakers overrode him.)

That will pose a special problem for him in Maryland, where an amendment to enshrine the right to an abortion will appear on the ballot in November. One poll showed 78% of voters backing the proposal.

A hypothetical poll of a Hogan Senate bid conducted last year also points to the challenge he'll face. The survey, taken by Democratic pollster Victoria Research on behalf of a pair of political firms, found Hogan trailing Democratic Rep. David Trone by a 49-34 margin, showing just how close Democrats are to locking down this seat.

The same survey had Hogan leading a second Democrat, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, 42-36, but even then, he was far from a majority. (The self-funding Trone likely performed so much better due to his heavy spending on TV ads, while Alsobrooks has advertised minimally.)

Hogan's decision to run will, however, likely force Democrats to sweat a race they'd much rather not have to worry about at all. But yet another hurdle looms: the May 14 GOP primary. While Hogan is by far the best-known candidate in the Republican primary, which had until now largely attracted no-names, he's loathed by the MAGA brigades and could be vulnerable if a Trumpist alternative catches fire.

Indeed, in 2022, Hogan's hand-picked candidate in the race to replace him, Kelly Schultz, lost the primary to hard-right extremist Dan Cox 52-43. Cox had some help from Democrats, who much preferred to face him in the general election, which Democrat Wes Moore won in a 65-32 blowout. Hogan is far better known than Schultz ever was, but there are still no guarantees for him.


CA-Sen: A super PAC backing Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff is taking a page from the candidate's playbook and running ads ostensibly "attacking" Republican Steve Garvey as "too conservative for California." Standing Strong PAC's goal, just like Schiff's, is to elevate Garvey to the second slot in the March 5 primary, since it'd be easier for Schiff to beat him in the general election compared to another Democrat. Politico says this new effort is backed "by an initial six-figure buy."

MT-Sen: Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale finally launched his long-awaited second bid for Senate on Friday, though he was immediately greeted with an endorsement for businessman Tim Sheehy by Donald Trump. The two will face off in the June 4 GOP primary for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who defeated Rosendale 50-47 in 2018. Democrats would prefer to take on the far-right Rosendale and have been spending heavily to boost his fortunes in the primary.

NJ-Sen: Democratic Rep. Andy Kim won the endorsement of the Democratic Party in New Jersey's populous Monmouth County on Saturday, defeating former financier Tammy Murphy by a wide 57-39 margin among delegates. While Murphy has secured the backing of several other county Democratic organizations, Monmouth was the first to put the matter to a vote rather than allowing party leaders to hand-pick a candidate.

The victory ensures that Kim will receive preferential placement on primary ballots in Monmouth, which typically casts about 6% of the vote in statewide Democratic primaries. Kim has called for eliminating these special spots on the ballot, known as the "county line," but told the New Jersey Globe's Joey Fox in September, "I'll work within the system we have" to secure the Democratic nomination for Senate.

Fox called the developments in Monmouth "hugely consequential" and noted that two other smaller counties, Burlington and Hunterdon, will soon award their endorsements using similar procedures. Several other counties will also hold open conventions, according to a guide published by the Globe.

On the Republican side, former News 12 reporter Alex Zdan, who covered Democratic Sen. Bob Menedez's first corruption trial in 2017, kicked off a bid on Friday. However, even if Zdan wins the GOP primary, there's little chance he'd face the spectacularly wounded Menendez: Following his most recent federal indictment on corruption charges, the incumbent has yet to announce whether he'll seek reelection and has scored in the single digits in every poll of the Democratic contest. He also did not compete for the endorsement in Monmouth County.


GA-13: Army veteran Marcus Flowers, who ran against Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in 2022, announced he'd challenge Rep. David Scott in the May 21 Democratic primary on Friday. While Flowers never stood a chance against Greene in northwestern Georgia's rural, heavily white 14th District—he got blown out 66-34—he was able to raise an enormous $16 million thanks to his opponent's notoriety.

If he can continue cultivating that same network despite lacking an easy villain to run against, Flowers could conceivably threaten the 78-year-old Scott, who has faced questions about his health. Scott must also contend with a redrawn 13th District that is mostly new to him. That seat, however, is based in the Atlanta suburbs and shares nothing in common with the district Flowers sought last cycle.

NJ-03: Assemblyman Herb Conaway won the backing of the Monmouth County Democratic Party in a blowout on Saturday, ensuring he'll enjoy favorable placement on the ballot in the June 4 primary. Conaway defeated Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, who represented the same district in the legislature, by an 85-15 margin among delegates. However, Monmouth makes up just 22% of New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District; the balance is in Burlington and Mercer counties, which have yet to issue endorsements.

And Murphy picked up two key endorsements of her own in her bid to succeed Rep. Andy Kim. The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, which the New Jersey Globe's David Wildstein describes as one of the state's "most politically potent" unions, gave Murphy its support on Friday, while EMILY's List followed suit the next day.

NY-01: CNN anchor and No Labels co-founder John Avlon has stepped down from the network and plans to run for New York's 1st Congressional District, reports Puck News' Dylan Byers. It's not clear, however, what party banner Avlon might run under, or whether he'd pursue a bid as an independent. The closely divided 1st District, based in eastern Long Island, is currently represented by first-term Republican Nick LaLota. Several Democrats are already running, though chemist Nancy Goroff, who unsuccessfully sought this seat in 2020, has far outraised the rest of the field.

TN-02: Former state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, who had been considering a challenge to Rep. Tim Burchett in the Aug. 1 GOP primary, has opted against a bid. Burchett was one of eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy as House speaker in October, and as Politico's Ally Mutnick reports, the deposed speaker's allies "were hoping to back a challenger" and considered Matlock a possibility. There's still time for an alternative to emerge, though, as Tennessee's filing deadline is not until April 4.

WA-04: In a piece discussing Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' Thursday retirement announcement, the Seattle Times' Jim Brunner suggests that Rep. Dan Newhouse might be the next House Republican from the state of Washington to call it quits. Brunner reports that there's "been rampant speculation in state Republican circles that Newhouse may be the next to announce his retirement" and says that the congressman did not answer when asked if he'd run for another term.

Newhouse was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and is one of only two still left in Congress (the other is California Rep. David Valadao). Newhouse survived the top-two primary last cycle thanks in part to a badly divided field of unhappy Republicans: The incumbent took just 25.5% to Democrat Doug White's 25.1%, while his nearest GOP detractor, Donald Trump-endorsed former police chief Loren Culp, finished just behind with 22%.

Newhouse has only drawn a single intra-party challenger this time, former NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler, who ran last time but ended up in fourth place with just 12%. Sessler has raised very little for his second go-round, but Newhouse's own fundraising has been modest: He brought in just $154,000 in the fourth quarter of last year and reported $331,000 in the bank.

Washington's 4th District, which is based in the central part of the state, is also the state's most conservative, supporting Trump by a 57-40 margin. If Newhouse quits, it will almost certainly stay in Republican hands.

WI-08: Without warning, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher announced his retirement on Saturday, following a week in which fellow Republicans hammered him mercilessly for voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Though Gallagher is just 39 years old and serving his fourth term, he claimed to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Lawrence Andrea that the toxic environment in the House had not prompted him to quit.

"I feel, honestly, like people get it, and they can accept the fact that they don't have to agree with you 100%," said Gallagher, despite the fact that members of his own party savaged him for his impeachment vote.

In an op-ed, Gallagher said he opposed the effort to oust Mayorkas because he feared it would "pry open the Pandora's box of perpetual impeachment," but his words carried little weight with his caucus. ("'They impeached Trump, but if we impeach them back they'll impeach us again!'" Georgia Rep. Mike Collins mocked.)

The ruckus had already caused one far-right Republican consultant, Alex Bruesewitz, to say he was considering a challenge to Gallagher in the Aug. 13 primary, but more established politicos are now certain to enter the fray. Whoever secures the GOP nomination will be the heavy favorite in the 8th District, a conservative seat based in northeastern Wisconsin that backed Donald Trump by a 57-41 margin in 2020.

That wasn't always the case, though. When Gallagher, a Marine Corps veteran, first ran for Congress following GOP Rep. Reid Ribble's retirement ahead of the 2016 elections, the 8th had gone for Mitt Romney by just a 51-48 margin in 2012. But as in so many other rural white areas, the bottom dropped out for Democrats when Trump was on the ballot: He carried the district 56-39 over Hillary Clinton, and Gallagher, who'd easily won the Republican nod, crushed Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson 63-37.

Gallagher cruised to reelection in each of his subsequent campaigns and did not even face a Democratic opponent in 2022. Whoever wins the GOP nomination in the race to succeed him should similarly have little trouble in November.


LA Redistricting: A federal judge has struck down Louisiana's legislative maps for violating the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Black voters and has ordered the state to produce remedial plans. The court said it would set a deadline for new maps after receiving further submissions from the parties but said it would give the Republican-run legislature "a reasonable period of time" to act.

Much like another federal court found in a different lawsuit, the judge presiding over this case determined that lawmakers had diluted Black voting strength by dividing up Black populations between districts instead of drawing seats where Black voters would have an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. New maps would likely lead to the election of more Democrats, which could in turn break the effective supermajority control that the GOP often wields in both chambers.

Prosecutors & Sheriffs

Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff: Maricopa County's Republican-run Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 along party lines to name Russ Skinner as sheriff, following Democrat Paul Penzone's resignation last month. But while state law required the board to pick an appointee from the same party, Republican supervisors in effect circumvented that rule.

Skinner had been registered as a Republican since 1987 and only switched his party registration to Democratic the day after Penzone announced his intention to step down a year before the end of his second term. While Arizona's process for filling vacancies in the state legislature gives the former official's political party a key role in screening candidates for the county board's consideration, the process for replacing Penzone as sheriff had no such restriction.

The appointment could have big implications for the 2024 elections in this county of 4.6 million people. Maricopa, which covers the Phoenix metropolitan area, is home to three-fifths of Arizona's population and is the fourth-largest county nationwide. Like the state itself, it's also a former longtime Republican bastion that has been moving to the left in the Donald Trump era, flipping to Joe Biden in 2020.

Following his appointment, Skinner said he had "no intention of switching back" to the GOP and was unsure about whether to run for a full term, but Democratic Supervisor Steve Gallardo had wanted to appoint a Democrat who could be an "effective candidate" for this fall's race. Several candidates had announced they were running before the appointment. The lone Democrat is former Phoenix police officer Tyler Kamp, while the four Republicans include 2020 nominee Jerry Sheridan and 2020 primary loser Mike Crawford. More candidates could join ahead of the April filing deadline.

Grab Bag

Arizona: Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has signed a bill that moves Arizona's primary from Aug. 6 to July 30 in order to alleviate pressure on elected officials who now expect more frequent recounts due to a separate law passed in 2022. The state's candidate filing deadline would also move up a week. Both of these changes are now reflected on our bookmarkable 2024 elections calendar.

The legislation, which was crafted as a compromise between the parties, also includes several other provisions, including some designed to speed up the counting of ballots. One measure demanded by Republicans reduces the time voters have to correct problems with their mail-in ballots from five business days to five calendar days. Many parts of the new law are temporary, including the adjustments to the election calendar, which will revert back to its prior schedule after this year.

Abortion debate creates ‘new era’ for state supreme court races in 2024

The 2024 elections will be dominated by the presidential contest and the battle for control of Congress, but another series of races is shaping up to be just as consequential.

Crucial battles over abortion, gerrymandering, voting rights and other issues will take center stage in next year’s elections for state supreme court seats — 80 of them in 33 states.

The races have emerged as some of the most hotly contested and costliest contests on the ballot since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion. The decision shifted the abortion debate to states, creating a “new era” in state supreme court elections, said Douglas Keith, senior counsel in the judiciary program at the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks spending in judicial races.

“We have seen attention on state supreme court elections like never before and money in these races like never before,” Keith said.

Heated court races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2023 handed victories to Democrats and saw tens of millions of dollars in TV ads, offering a preview of 2024. They're also prompting groups to consider investing in states they would not previously have considered.


At least 38 lawsuits have been filed challenging abortion bans in 23 states, according to the Brennan Center. Many of those are expected to end up before state supreme courts.

The ACLU is watching cases challenging abortion restrictions in Wyoming, Kentucky, Ohio, Utah, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Georgia and Montana.

“After Roe v. Wade was overturned, we had to turn to state courts and state constitutions as the critical backstop to protecting access to abortion,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “And the stakes are unbelievably high in each of these cases in each of these states.”

The ACLU was among major spenders on behalf of Democrats in this year's state supreme court contests in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Another big player in recent court races has been the Republican State Leadership Committee, which has said its focus is mainly on redistricting, or the drawing of political district boundaries. The group called state supreme courts the “last line of defense against far-left national groups,” but didn't say how much it intends to spend on next year's races or which states it's focusing on.

In Ohio, Democrats are expected to cast state supreme court races as an extension of the November election in which voters enshrined the right to abortion in the state constitution. The state has more than 30 abortion restrictions in place that could be challenged now that the amendment has passed.

“The state supreme court is going to be the ultimate arbiter of the meaning of the new constitutional amendment that the people voted for and organized around,” said Jessie Hill, law professor at Case Western Reserve University and a consultant for Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights. “That is a huge amount of power.”

With three seats up for a vote and a current Republican majority of 4-3, Democrats have an opportunity to flip the majority of the court while Republicans will try to expand their control. Hill said the “very high-stakes election” will serve as another test of the salience of the abortion issue in turning out voters.

“We saw an incredible number of voters come out to vote on that amendment and an incredible amount of investment in those campaigns,” Hill added. “I think we’ll see a similar attention and investment in Ohio come next year.”

Redistricting also is likely to be a main focus in the state's supreme court races, given the court will have realigned politically since it issued a series of rulings finding Ohio’s congressional and legislative maps unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans, said David Niven, political science professor at the University of Cincinnati. He expects millions of dollars to be spent on those campaigns.

“There’s often little conversation about these races, but they are just so utterly consequential in very tangible, practical ways that touch voters’ everyday lives,” he said.


Pending legislative and congressional redistricting cases also could play a role in North Carolina.

Republicans in North Carolina are looking to expand their majority two years after the court flipped from Democratic control in the 2022 election. That flip to a 5-2 GOP majority led to dramatic reversals in 2023 on rulings made by the previous court, which had struck down a 2018 photo voter identification law as well as district maps for the General Assembly and the state’s congressional delegation.

Groups on both sides also are expected to focus on Michigan, where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the state Supreme Court. Candidates run without political affiliations listed on the ballot, though they’re nominated by political parties.

Two incumbents — one Democrat, one Republican — will be up for election in 2024. The court recently kept former President Donald Trump on the state's ballot, denying a liberal group's request to kick him off. It is currently weighing a high-profile case over a Republican legislative maneuver that gutted a minimum wage hike backed by voters.


In Wisconsin, abortion played a dominant role in the 2023 court race, with Democrats flipping the court to a 4-3 majority in a campaign that shattered previous national records for spending in state supreme court elections.

Liberal-leaning Justice Janet Protasiewicz defeated former Justice Dan Kelly, who previously worked for Republicans and had support from the state’s leading anti-abortion groups.

Protasiewicz was targeted with impeachment threats this year over comments she made on the campaign trail about redistricting as Republicans argued she had prejudged what then was an expected case on the state's heavily gerrymandered state legislative districts. Experts say the controversy is an example of how more money and attention have changed the dynamics of many state supreme court races to be increasingly partisan.

Democrats in Pennsylvania added to their majority on the court after a race with tens of millions of dollars in spending. Democrat Dan McCaffery won after positioning himself as a strong defender of abortion rights.


It remains to be seen whether abortion rights will play a factor in states where party control isn't at stake. That includes Arkansas, where the court is expected to maintain its 4-3 conservative majority. The seats up next year include the chief justice position, which has drawn three sitting justices.

A fight over abortion could wind up before the court, with a group trying to put a measure on the ballot next year that would scale back a state ban on the procedure that took effect once Roe was overturned.

Abortion rights supporters also aren't writing off longshot states such as Texas and its all-Republican high court, which rejected the request from a pregnant woman whose fetus had a fatal condition to be exempted from the state's strict abortion ban.

In Montana, Republicans have spent huge sums to try to push the court in a more conservative direction. The liberal-leaning court is expected to hear cases related to restrictions on transgender youth and abortion. A landmark climate change case also is pending before the court, which will have two of its seven seats up for election.

Jeremiah Lynch, a former federal magistrate running for the open chief justice position, has cast himself as a defender of the court's independence and has warned voters to expect a barrage of negative advertising. Cory Swanson, a county attorney also running for the post, announced his bid on a conservative talk show and recently vowed to weed out any “radicalized” applicants for law clerks in response to antisemitism on college campuses.

In West Virginia, where conservatives have a current 5-4 majority on the court and two seats will be up for grabs, GOP chair Elgine McArdle said Republicans aim to focus more on judicial races than in years past.

“One area the state party has never really engaged much in is nonpartisan races, including the judicial races," McArdle said. “That won’t be the case this time around.”

Blake Masters is seeking a comeback. Are Republicans really sure they want him to?

Blake Masters, a Big Lie enthusiast who ran arguably the worst Senate campaign of 2022 in a cycle chock-full of terrible Republican candidates, announced Thursday that he'd run to succeed retiring Rep. Debbie Lesko in Arizona's 8th District.

Multiple media publications reported in late August that Masters planned to campaign for Arizona's other Senate seat, but he put all that on hold after Donald Trump made it clear he'd be back one of Blake's fellow Arizona losers, Kari Lake, instead. Masters' calculations shifted further last week after Lesko unexpectedly announced that she wouldn't seek reelection in the reliably red 8th in Phoenix's western suburbs.

But Masters will face yet another high-profile 2022 failure on his road to the GOP nomination. Abe Hamadeh, a fellow election denier who narrowly lost last year's general election for attorney general, launched his own campaign to replace Lesko hours after she called it quits, and he was quick to portray his former ticketmate as an outsider.

"It is sad to see the establishment tricking @bgmasters into driving up all the way from Tucson and getting in the race," Hamadeh said in a tweet that included a photo of Masters campaigning alongside Mike Pence last year.

Campaign Action

Masters does indeed live 100 miles away in southern Arizona, though Hamadeh also resides outside the 8th, making his home in GOP Rep. David Schweikert's neighboring 1st District. Lesko herself is supporting state House Speaker Ben Toma, who is one of her constituents, though he hasn't actually announced he's running yet. Lake, for her part, is backing Hamadeh.

A pair of polls surfaced the day before Masters launched his new effort, but they disagree who has the edge in the August primary. A Data Orbital survey sponsored by Masters showed him beating Hamadeh 33-18, with Toma at just 7%. But National Public Affairs, a Republican firm that says it commissioned its own survey, has Hamadeh defeating Masters 31-24 as Toma grabs 11%.

Masters won the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly last year after receiving Trump's endorsement and benefiting from heavy spending by his old boss and mentor, Peter Thiel. Reuters, though, reported back in April that Thiel doesn't plan to contribute to any candidates this cycle, a development that could spell trouble for his one-time protégé. (It's not clear, though, whether Thiel was ruling out redeploying his super PAC.) But the Club for Growth may come to Masters' aid, as Politico reported last week that it was encouraging him to run following Lesko's surprise announcement.

Masters ultimately lost to Kelly 51-47 statewide, though Bloomberg's Greg Giroux says the Republican carried the 8th 52-46. However, that 6-point margin was less than half of Trump's 56-43 performance, a shortfall almost certainly due to Masters' preternaturally weak campaign.

That bid was defined by poor fundraising and some truly strange gaffes. To take just one example, he called Ted Kaczynski a "subversive thinker that's underrated" before belatedly acknowledging that it's "probably not great to be talking about the Unabomber while campaigning.” Indeed, the University of Virginia’s J. Miles Coleman aptly summed him up last year when he said that Masters “comes across as a 4chan guy.” (If you're not familiar with 4chan, you're one of the lucky ones.)

However, not everyone is convinced Masters' new effort will be like his first. Time's Eric Cortellessa wrote in June that unnamed state Republicans were "impressed with Masters’ introspection" since his defeat, saying that he'd "made clear to party insiders his desire to seek public office again and has recognized a need to soften his image." It remains to be seen, though, what this type of softening entails, or if Masters will even bother to stick with it now that his top priority is winning the primary.

An exclusive focus on wooing MAGA voters could be a mistake, though: When Lesko first won office in a 2018 special election, she did so by just a 52-48 margin, and she didn't have anything like Masters' baggage. (Like, what the hell was this?) A Masters candidacy could therefore create an unlikely opening for Democrats. So far, former Defense Department official Greg Whitten is the only Democrat to report raising any money, and he's brought in just $58,000 so far, but with an open seat and a notorious opponent potentially in the offing, he'll now have the chance to prove himself.

Chief justice temporarily blocks Title 42 end, indicates further action from court could come soon

Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s planned lifting of the anti-asylum Title 42 order, granting a so-called emergency appeal from a slate of Republican attorneys general. “So-called emergency appeal,” because the appeals court panel that had last week denied the GOP request noted that the group of 19 attorneys general had waited too long to file their request.

The Biden administration had planned to lift the debunked public health order that’s used the pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their rights Tuesday evening, following a lower court order. Roberts instructed the administration to respond by this evening, indicating more action could be imminent. Legal expert Mark Joseph Stern noted that Roberts’ administrative stay “does not hint at the eventual outcome.”

RELATED STORY: D.C. Court of Appeals panel rejects GOP effort trying to keep anti-asylum policy in place

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Republicans have simultaneously claimed that the Biden administration has an “open borders” policy while insisting that the Title 42 policy—which was implemented against the advice of public health experts by noted white supremacist Stephen Miller and Mike Pence at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020—must stay in place indefinitely. They have also insisted this public health order remain as they’ve consistently challenged other pandemic-related orders by the administration.

“The Biden administration, for its part, has insisted it is prepared to lift Title 42, saying the restoration of regular immigration procedures, such expedited deportations, will allow the U.S. to gradually reduce migrant arrivals and the high rate of repeat crossings recorded during the pandemic,” CBS News reported.

That last part is crucial: Title 42 in fact led to an increase in apprehensions, because desperate people blocked from their asylum rights and expelled have had no choice but to try again. It’s a failed policy, and its lifting would put our country back on the side of respecting U.S. and international asylum law. In a statement, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that as required by Roberts’ order, “the Title 42 public health order will remain in effect at this time and individuals who attempt to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to be expelled to Mexico.”

“While this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts,” Mayorkas continued. “We urge Congress to use this time to provide the funds we have requested for border security and management and advance the comprehensive immigration measures President Biden proposed on his first day in office.”

House Republicans set to take power in the next Congress have indicated they’re serious about leading on immigration policy … by pushing a harebrained idea to impeach Mayorkas. Over what crimes? They haven’t figured that part out yet.

Vice President Kamala Harris similarly noted the need for lawmakers to lead on comprehensive immigration measures, and she called out for Republicans for failing to come to the table. They obsess on the issue of immigration only when it’s election season (my words, not hers). For example, a proposed framework that would have passed permanent relief for young immigrants in exchange for harsh border measures recently failed, derailed by Republicans’ “border first” excuses even though there was border stuff in there.

"I think that there is so much that needs to happen to address the issue," the vice president told NPR. "And sadly, what we have seen in particular, I am sad to say, from Republicans in Congress is an unwillingness to engage in any meaningful reform that could actually fix a lot of what we are witnessing.”


Biden admin set to lift anti-asylum Title 42 order next week, but GOP appeal may now delay that

'Arbitrary and capricious': In victory for asylum-seekers, judge orders end to Miller pandemic order

Testimony confirms Title 42 was never about public health, it was about deporting asylum-seekers

Experts Warn of Major Post-Title 42 Border Surge

By Cameron Arcand (The Center Square)

As Title 42 – a COVID-19 policy that allowed border authorities to turn away asylum seekers – ends next week, Arizona officials are concerned about the consequences of allowing more people to remain in the United States after crossing the southern border illegally.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the order would no longer be in effect on Dec. 21, as it was originally intended to be a way to remove migrants based on fear of COVID-19 spread.

RELATED: Record Number of Border Apprehensions, Gotaways in November

There are concerns that an even greater influx of migrants will strain authorities and border communities. Many Trump-era border policies were removed by President Joe Biden, but this is one of the few policies that’s remained.

Jobe Dickinson, president of the Border Security Alliance, said in a statement that Title 42 is a necessary “mitigation strategy” that was “heavily relied upon for nearly 3 years.”

“With the forthcoming termination of this policy, the Border Security Alliance believes there could be another surge of illegal immigrants who will take advantage of our flawed border policies,” Dickinson said. “We urge policy makers to work to fix the current and anticipated surge immediately by going back to a ‘Remain in Mexico’ program for asylum seekers.”

RELATED: Republicans Call for Impeachment of Biden’s DHS Chief Over Border Invasion

Meanwhile, the state government is in an ongoing battle with the Biden administration over the state’s decision to use shipping containers as barriers in the Yuma sector of the border.

“The number one public safety risk and environmental harm has come from inaction by the federal government to secure our border,” Anni Foster, general counsel of the Arizona governor’s office, said in a recent letter to the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

There were over 2.3 million border encounters at the southern border in the fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection data. In Arizona alone, there were over 500,000 border encounters, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

RELATED: Texas Gov. Abbott Calls for Investigation into Groups Assisting With Illegal Entry into US

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

The post Experts Warn of Major Post-Title 42 Border Surge appeared first on The Political Insider.

McConnell launches mad hunt for whoever whiffed Trump’s impeachment then backed his loser candidates

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knows who's to blame for Senate Republicans' midterm drubbing, and he is definitely not it.

“Look at Arizona, look at New Hampshire, and the challenging situation in Georgia as well,” McConnell said Tuesday, ticking through a list of once-promising GOP losses at his weekly press conference. “You have to have quality candidates to win competitive Senate races.”

McConnell stopped short of calling out Donald Trump by name, because god forbid he show some actual leadership. But every GOP candidate in those states—Blake Masters in Arizona, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, and Herschel Walker in Georgia—had Trump's endorsement. In fact, Trump's heavy-handed backing was instrumental to the candidacies of both Masters and Walker.

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McConnell did, however, admit that he was basically powerless in the face of Trump.

“Our ability to control the primary outcome was quite limited in ‘22 because of the support of the former president proved to be very decisive in these primaries,” McConnell lamented.

Of course, McConnell bears as much responsibility as Trump for the Senate GOP’s pathetic cycle. In New Hampshire, McConnell tried desperately to recruit the state's highly popular GOP governor, Chris Sununu, to take on Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. But after speaking with several members of the Senate GOP caucus, Sununu took a hard pass on jumping on that sorry do-nothing bandwagon. Instead, he ran for and secured a fourth term as governor.

The Senate GOP's Sununu misadventure highlighted the fact that Trump obviously wasn't the only hurdle to recruiting quality candidates. McConnell also tried to convince term-limited GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to run for Senate to no avail. So let’s just be honest that the Senate GOP's lack of appeal to reasonably capable people certainly isn't on Trump—it's on McConnell.

Beyond his recruiting failures, McConnell also gave Walker his full-throated endorsement in the Georgia race.

"Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate," McConnell said in an October statement to Politico. "I look forward to working with Herschel in Washington to get the job done."

Walker not only failed to help Republicans take back the Senate, he didn’t exactly deliver as a uniter either.

Back at the post-election press conference, McConnell reflected on similar losses by fatally flawed Republican candidates in 2010 and 2012, saying the GOP had “unfortunately revisited that situation in 2022.”

Gee, Senator, if only there had been a way to avoid "that situation" again. If only Trump had, for instance, orchestrated a wildly unpopular insurrection against the U.S. government, leaving himself open to a career-ending impeachment.

The truth is, if McConnell hadn't miscalculated every step of this midterm cycle, perhaps he'd be poised right now to become the longest-serving Senate Majority Leader in U.S. history. Instead, he's devoting press conferences to excuse peddling for the GOP's anemic election showing.

If McConnell's still looking around for culprits, might be time to take a look in the mirror.

Related Articles:

GOP disarray: Trump blasts Mitch, Bowers calls out GOP ‘fascism,’ Colorado senator switches to Dems

While Joe Biden and fellow Democrats are getting things done, the GOP is increasingly in disarray as it embraces the MAGAverse and the cult of Trump. In fact, so much is going on that it might be time for periodic roundups of the internal fissures within the GOP.

Democrats still face an uphill battle in the November midterms, but the tide is turning in our favor. So let’s start with the dust-up between Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Last week, McConnell conceded that the House has a better chance of flipping than the Senate. During a stop in Kentucky, McConnell told reporters:

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said. “Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” he added, without mentioning any names.

But it was clear that he was referring to Trump-backed candidates in key swing states who are all trailing their Democratic opponents in recent polls—Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Herschel Walker in Georgia, and Blake Masters in Arizona. McConnell is backing pro-impeachment incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, while Trump is supporting her 2020 election denier rival, Kelly Tshibaka, in Alaska’s Senate race.  

That didn’t sit well with the master of the MAGAverse. Over the weekend, Trump posted this on his Truth Social platform:

Why do Republican Senators allow a broken down hack politician, Mitch McConnell, to openly disparage hard working Republican candidates for the United States Senate. This is such an affront to honor and to leadership. He should spend more time (and money!) helping them get elected, and less time helping his crazy wife and family get rich on China!

Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife, served as secretary of Transportation during Trump’s four-year term, but resigned shortly after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. 

Immediately after the insurrection, McConnell took to the Senate floor to say that Tump is “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” of Jan. 6. However, he spinelessly voted to acquit Trump at his second impeachment trial a few weeks later.

As for Chao, whose family emigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was a child, there have been questions raised as to whether she aided her father’s shipping company through her government positions. The U.S. Transportation Department's Inspector General's office investigated Chao for potential violations of ethics rules and misuse of her position, and published its findings in March. Chao's father, James S.C. Chao, founded a shipping company, now called the Foremost Group, which her sister Angela now heads. The firm does significant business in China.

McConnell’s criticism of Trump was relatively mild compared with what Arizona’s ousted House Speaker Rusty Bowers had to say about Trump and his party in an extraordinary interview with The Guardian. Bowers, a staunch conservative, testified in a public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection about the pressure he faced to overturn Arizona’s presidential election result that gave Joe Biden a narrow win.

Earlier this month, Trump got his revenge when Bowers lost a Republican primary race to challenger David Farnsworth, who claimed that the 2020 election had been satanically snatched from Trump by the “devil himself.”

Bowers detailed to The Guardian how Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and John Eastman pressured him to have the state legislature use an arcane Arizona law to switch the election outcome to Trump. He resisted the bullying. ”The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on and do it ourselves—that to me is fascism,” Bowers said.

With the primary loss behind him, Bowers, who is a Mormon, felt unhindered in letting loose on Trump and the GOP. “The constitution is hanging by a thread,” he told The Guardian. “The funny thing is, I always thought it would be the other guys. And it’s my side. That just rips at my heart: that we would be the people who would surrender the constitution in order to win an election. That just blows my mind.”

Bowers said he remains optimistic that the GOP will one day find its way back on to the rails, but said that things are likely to get much worse before they get better. He said the Arizona GOP seems to be lost at the moment. “They’ve invented a new way. It’s a party that doesn’t have any thought. It’s all emotional, it’s all revenge. It’s all anger. That’s all it is,” Bowers said.

And in Colorado, one GOP state senator went even further when he announced Monday that he couldn’t remain a Republican any longer and was defecting to the Democrats. State Sen. Kevin Priola wrote in a two-page letter that there is “too much at stake right now for Republicans to be in charge.” He added: “Simply put, we need Democrats in charge.”

Priola cited two main reasons for switching parties: Many Republicans peddling false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and the party’s efforts to block legislation that would fight climate change even as Coloradans endure worsening wildfires and drought.

Priola has served in the Colorado legislature as a Republican since 2009, first as a representative and then, starting in 2017, as a senator. Term limits bar him from seeking reelection in 2024. His defection increases the Democratic state Senate majority ahead of the November elections.

“I haven’t changed much in 30 years; but my party has,” Priola wrote. “Coloradans cannot afford for their leaders to give credence to election conspiracies and climate denialism,” he wrote, adding: “Our planet and our democracy depend on it.”

The Downballot: The Kansas abortion earthquake, with Quinn Yeargain (transcript)

Kansas rocked the political world on Tuesday night, rejecting an attempt to amend the state constitution to strip away the right to an abortion in a massive landslide. In this week's edition of The Downballot, we pick apart the vote with law professor Quinn Yeargain, an expert on state constitutions. Yeargain explains how the amendment came to be on the ballot, what might've caused the huge spike in voter turnout, and what lessons Democrats should take away from the election (hint: abortion rights are popular, so lean into them).

Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also recap Tuesday's other key races, including Trump picks prevailing in Senate races in Arizona and Missouri (if you allow that "ERIC" nonsense); a pro-impeachment House Republican going down to defeat in a Michigan seat Democrats are now better-positioned to flip in November; and the return of the notorious Kris Kobach, who narrowly won the GOP nod for Kansas attorney general and could once again jeopardize his party's chances in a race Republicans have no business losing.

Please subscribe to The Downballot on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

David Beard:

Hello and welcome. I'm David Beard, contributing editor for Daily Kos Elections.

David Nir:

And I'm David Nir, political director of Daily Kos. The Downballot is a weekly podcast dedicated to the many elections that take place below the presidency from Senate to city council. You can subscribe to The Downballot wherever you listen to podcasts, and we'd be grateful if you would leave us a five-star rating and review on Apple podcasts.

David Beard:

Primary season is back in full force this week and we have a ton to cover. So what are we going through today?

David Nir:

Oh man, do we ever. We are going to be wrapping up results in Kansas, Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. And of course, we are going to be spending a lot of time talking about that state constitutional amendment vote that went down in massive flames on Tuesday night. We're going to be talking about that with law professor Quinn Yeargain, a long-time Daily Kos Elections community member and an expert on state constitutions. So, so much to dive into. Let's get started.

David Nir:

We have a ton of elections to catch up on from Tuesday night. Number one, of course, on everyone's lips is the Kansas constitutional amendment that would have stripped the right to an abortion from the state constitution. It went down to defeat in flames by a huge double-digit margin, about 18 points. We are going to get into that one in great depth with our guest on this show coming up in the second part of this program, but there is one other Kansas race, though, that we do want to mention. That's the Republican primary for state attorney general. That position is open this year and the GOP primary was won by Kris Kobach, the former secretary of state, who you'll remember from his disastrous 2018 bid for governor. He was so awful that he played a key role in allowing Democrat Laura Kelly to flip that seat. Kelly is up for reelection this year.

David Nir:

Kobach also ran for Senate in 2020 and Republicans were so worried that he could jeopardize that race, too, that they spent millions of dollars to successfully stop him from getting the nomination. Outside Republican groups really didn't try to stop Kobach this year and there's a chance that his sheer and unique awfulness will put this race into play. He faces Democrat Chris Mann in November.

David Beard:

And Kobach, of course, has near-universal name recognition among Republican primary voters after such contested races over the past four years. So the fact that he only got 42% of the Republican primary vote here shows that there are a ton of Republicans who did not want him to be the nominee and who could potentially vote for the Democrat in November.

David Nir:

Over to Arizona. We also had a bunch of hot races there. In the GOP primary for governor, it still has no call from the Associated Press, but former TV anchor Kari Lake, who is Donald Trump's pick, leads Karrin Taylor Robson by about 2% of the vote. In a great irony, Robson won the vote that was tallied on the earlier side while Lake dominated among the vote that came in on Election Day. Lake is an extreme Big Lie conspiracy theorist who is exactly the sort of Republican who would scream about the results shifting after Election Day, except, of course, they've shifted in her favor this time. She is looking like the likely nominee at this point and she will take on Democrat Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state, who won her primary easily. This is for an open seat held by term-limited Republican governor Doug Ducey.

David Nir:

Of course, Arizona also has an extremely high-profile race for Senate where Blake Masters won with 39% of the vote. He is the candidate backed by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, and also Donald Trump. He will face Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly, who, of course, won the special election to flip this seat two years ago. Kelly has absolutely dominated in fundraising. Polls show him with small leads. Of course, Republicans are going to do everything they can to try to take this seat back, but right now it looks like Kelly has a small edge.

David Beard:

Then up in Michigan, there were a number of really important races that took place on Tuesday. We'll start at the top with the governor's race, where conservative commentator Tudor Dixon comfortably won the GOP nomination for governor with 41% of the vote and she'll be facing Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer, who will seek a second term. Of course, this race was shaken up after two leading candidates where dropped from the Republican primary ballot after fraud was discovered in their election petitions, which left, really, a total lack of a frontrunner and real lack of clarity. Of course, Tudor Dixon started to come to the front and then Trump endorsed her, which very much solidified her position as the frontrunner and so she'll face Whitmer this November.

David Beard:

Then there were two congressional incumbents who were defeated in Michigan on primary night. We'll start in the 3rd District where John Gibbs defeated GOP incumbent Peter Meijer, who, of course, was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Donald Trump's impeachment, which painted a very large target on his back, of course, by Trump and many others in the Trumpist wing of the party. It ended up being very close. Gibbs won by 52 to 48 margin. I think the expectation was that Gibbs would win a little more comfortably than that, but of course margin doesn't matter when you've advanced to the general election. Gibbs will go on to face Hillary Scholten in November in a seat that Biden won by 9 points, so should be highly competitive.

David Beard:

Then in the 11th District, two democratic incumbents were paired together after redistricting and representative Haley Stevens defeated Andy Levin in this matchup, winning by about 60% to 40%. Stevens and Levin each won their parts of the district fairly comfortably, but Stevens really dominated in the part of the district neither of them had represented before, which led to her comfortable victory.

David Nir:

One really unfortunate thing about this outcome is that Levin was a rather well-liked member of Congress, especially among progressives and labor and a lot of folks, not just commentators like ourselves, but other members of Congress really felt that he should have run in the open 10th District. That is certainly a much more difficult district. It is very narrowly divided, whereas the 11th is comfortably blue-leaning. Of course, Levin, if he had run in the 10th, might nonetheless have lost in November, but he at least would've had a stronger chance of returning to Congress. The fact that he got blown out 60 to 40 is really an unsurprising result that I think a lot of folks had anticipated.

David Nir:

Moving over to Missouri, we had a hotly contested GOP primary for the state's open Senate seat, but it turned into a landslide there. State Attorney General Eric Schmitt won with 46% of the vote. He beat Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who took just 22% and disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens' finish with just 19%. This, of course, is the race where the day before the election, Donald Trump oh so cleverly decided to endorse ERIC in all caps so that way he wouldn't have to decide between Eric Schmitt, who the GOP establishment greatly preferred, and Eric Greitens, who, because he is an alleged abuser, Donald Trump preferred. Trump did totally hate Vicky Hartzler, reportedly, because she refused to back off her criticisms of Trump's behavior around Jan. 6. So Trump gets his Eric, and Schmitt will now face off against Democrat Trudy Busch Valentine. This is a seat that Republicans are overwhelmingly favored to hold.

David Beard:

Lastly, we'll wrap up in Washington state where we have partial results. Of course, Washington state is almost entirely vote by mail and as a result, many of the ballots will come in the days to follow, obviously, as long as they've been postmarked by Election Day, but we do have a significant chunk of results and so we can look at the results in the two Congressional races where GOP representatives who voted to impeach Donald Trump were facing Trumpist challengers who were trying to knock them out of the top two slot. Of course, in Washington state, everyone runs on one primary ballot and the top two finishers in the primary advance to the general election. And it's looking like as of now, with the results that we have, both Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 3rd District and Dan Newhouse in the 4th District will be able to advance to the general election in the top two slot for November.

David Beard:

Right now, in the 3rd District, we've got Marie Perez, who is the main Democrat leading with 32% of the vote. We've got Herrera Beutler in second place with about 25% of the vote and Joe Kent, who is the Trump-endorsed candidate, on 20% of the vote and that's with about 57% estimated in. And then in the 4th District, Dan Newhouse is leading with 27% of the vote. He's the incumbent Republican. Doug White, the main Democrat, has 26% of the vote. He's in the second spot. And Loren Culp, who was the, again, Trumpist-endorsed challenger, has 22%, so in third place. And really, in both of these cases, the Trumpist candidates were hurt strongly by the clown car effect, for lack of a better term. There were four Republicans running against Herrera Beutler and they combined for over 35% of the vote, which would've comfortably led Herrera Beutler's 25%. And over in the 4th District, there were six Republicans challenging Dan Newhouse and the one Democrat and they combined for over 40% of the vote. Had one challenger been able to consolidate the Republican anti-Newhouse and anti-Herrera Beutler vote, there's a good chance they would've been able to advance and certainly, in the 3rd District, they would've advanced against the Democrat.

David Beard:

It's conceivable you would've ended up with Newhouse versus Trumpist candidate in the 4th District because that's much more a Republican district, but either way, it looks like both Newhouse and Herrera Beutler will likely advance and then will likely comfortably win their elections in November.

David Nir:

That means as a result, we might see as few as three of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment on the November ballot. The only other one with a guaranteed spot is David Valadao in California's 21st District. Liz Cheney still has her primary coming up, but she is looking very likely to lose. Valadao could also certainly lose the general election as well. So if Newhouse and Herrera Beutler hold on, they might be the only two pro-impeachment Republicans to make it into the 118th Congress.

David Nir:

That does it for our weekly hits. Coming up, we are going to be talking with state constitutional expert Quinn Yeargain about the amazing results out of Kansas and also interesting and quirky features of state constitutions nationwide. Please stay with us.

David Nir:

I am extremely excited to introduce our guest on today's show. Quinn Yeargain is an assistant professor of law at the Widener University Commonwealth Law School and they're also an expert on state constitutions and a longtime Daily Kos Elections/Swing State Project community member, so it's amazing to see someone who I originally knew in the comments section truly make good in this field. Quinn, thank you so much for joining us.

Quinn Yeargain:

It's fantastic to be here. And I'll just say I think I've been around since 2009 and a number of comments helped inspire some of my very, very first academic works. It's really been a wonderful community and I'm so glad to come back in this capacity.

David Nir:

That is truly fantastic to hear about that inspiration and what makes it all the more perfect is that the area of expertise that you have developed in state constitutions and state politics is exactly what we have to talk about on this episode. On Tuesday night, we, of course, saw Kansas voters reject an attempt to amend their state constitution by a massive landslide, 59-41 margin. This amendment would have said that the Kansas Constitution does not recognize any right to an abortion. And the most amazing thing about this, to me anyway, is that Republicans did this to themselves. They handed themselves this opportunity for this enormous defeat because they're the ones who put this amendment on the ballot in the first place. So Quinn, why don't you walk us through the background about how exactly we got here?

Quinn Yeargain:

Yeah. Kansas is a place that rather strangely, maybe, has had a pretty good string of Democratic governors in the last 15 years or so. And so as a result, for a while, a majority of the Kansas Supreme Court has been Democratic appointees. And so a few years ago, the Kansas legislature passed a pretty strict abortion ban on some second-trimester abortions, specifically dilation and extraction abortions. And several Kansas doctors challenged that in state court, arguing for the very, very first time to the Kansas Supreme Court that the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights actually is more expansive than the U.S. Constitution and contains an explicit and stronger protection of abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution does.

The Kansas Supreme Court was almost entertained by this argument because they pointed out nobody really litigates state constitutional provisions. Anytime that anybody's making an allegation that something violates a right or a liberty or something like that, they rely on the federal constitution, so this was the first time that they'd ever had the opportunity to actually rule on this. And in a 6-1 ruling that Kansas Supreme Court said, "Yes, there is a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution," they used something akin to strict scrutiny, which is really, really critical of government regulation of particular rights to strike down this particular law.

But the effects of this, actually, weren't really all that clear. Kansas has had a Democratic governor again since 2019 with Laura Kelly and so the legislature hasn't had an opportunity to really try a whole lot to outlaw abortion. They have a veto-proof majority right now. It's not clear if it's actually a veto-proof majority to enact new abortion regulations and so the actual long-term impact of this ruling is not really all that clear. So in 2021, they proposed an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that said that there's no right to an abortion or government-funded abortions in the Kansas Constitution. And then they decided to schedule it in a way that coincided with the Republican primary, or all primaries in Kansas, in the hopes that it would ultimately benefit their side to have that, so they called a special election and happened to have it coincide with the primary election, then obviously, went down in flames and defeat.

David Nir:

You mentioned that Republicans put the amendment on the ballot, but they took that action in 2021. Do you know why it took so long, basically almost a year and a half, before it could actually come up for a vote?

Quinn Yeargain:

So they could schedule a special election for any time that they want, I believe, and so this is more my guess than a statement of fact, but I think that they decided that it would probably be to their advantage to do it when there was a contested Republican primary. At this point in 2021, I think it looked like there was going to be a contested Republican primary for governor. And in that event, high Republican turnout probably would've been really helpful. Obviously, that didn't end up being the case and Derek Schmidt won his nomination pretty much unopposed, seriously unopposed anyway, so it didn't end up panning out for that reason. But even in Kansas, when there's no real big contest, you're still going to get more Republicans turning out, especially in a primary election, than you are Democrats.

David Nir:

And yeah, on that note, it is pretty clear that they were hoping for generally low turnout in a summertime primary, perhaps juiced by this gubernatorial primary that really never came to pass, but we saw that backfire spectacularly. Just to put this in perspective, as of right now, more than 900,000 voters showed up on Tuesday. And many of them, as Beard noted on Twitter, only voted for the amendment. They didn't vote in other races. By comparison, in the 2018 general election, which saw an extremely heated race for governor, you had about 1 million voters, so we're talking turnout of almost 90% for a summertime primary compared to a general election. What do you make of that?

Quinn Yeargain:

I saw somebody on Twitter say that this is what happens when the dog catches the car. For years, Republicans have been pushing to overturn Roe v. Wade, to criminalize abortion and I don't think that they've really grappled with the electoral consequences of actually getting what it is that they've been organizing for the last 50 years. And you have this thing that is not wanted by the vast majority of Americans, the exact percentage, obviously, depending on how you ask the question, but Americans generally supporting Roe v. Wade and a lot of voters haven't really had to grapple with what do their votes mean when it does actually determine whether abortion is legal in their state or not. And that's where I think a lot of this comes from, that voters understood even with the bullshit way in which this amendment was written, which was terribly unclear, I think voters grasp that, "Okay. If this amendment passes, then the legislature is pretty much free to do whatever it wants to regulate or much more likely outlaw abortion altogether."

And I think that in that kind of context, when you don't have to sort through the issues, a candidate's platform, anything like that, you don't have to think really critically. It's really one thing that you care about on the ballot and that's what you have to show up and do. The stakes are really clear. It's really understandable. Voters get that and I think that it made it really easy for people to get involved. I think it also helps that when you're seen as doing this backhanded sneaky move of scheduling the election at a weird time, I think it's really easy for it to backfire and I think that it absolutely did that here. I think it's the exact same dynamic that in South Dakota two months ago, when, again, legislature put an amendment on the ballot in the primary election, voters came out in droves to oppose it. I think it's the exact same dynamic.

David Nir:

I did appreciate when Republicans on Twitter, as soon as it became clear they were going to go down to defeat, started complaining that the badly written ballot language, which was written by Republicans, as the reason that voters voted against the amendment, so that was a nice bit from after the election. But before the election, you actually went and predicted that the amendment would fail on Twitter in part, because, and I quote, "The surprisingly close outcome of similar amendments in more conservative states." And you also predicted it would be a margin of 8 to 10 points, which it, of course, ended up being even larger than that but that was fairly close, considering the close polling that had taken place before. So what led you to make that prediction?

Quinn Yeargain:

Well, what really inspired it was I saw a tweet that summarized a press briefing that the Kansas Secretary of State's Office had with reporters when they said that turnout was exceeding their wildest expectations and they'd previously disclosed a few days ago that they were anticipating high turnout. And so to hear that, that they're anticipating really, really, really high turnout that's higher than what they were anticipating anyway, which is already going to be high, that made me have the realization, that the dynamic that I just talked about. When you are trying to sneak something through and voters get wind of what's going on, I think that dynamic can flip on you where it can supercharge turnout in the exact opposite direction. It makes it easy for voters to turn out because like I said, there's one thing that they really care about on the ballot. It's easy for them to do it.

And if you look at the range with which states have ratified similar amendments, it’s all over the map. You have Alabama and Louisiana ratifying amendments like this with really, really high double-digit margins but then in Tennessee and West Virginia, only by single digits and it's pretty close. And the real difference is that in Tennessee and West Virginia, there were state-supporting court holdings on point that were the law in those states that said that there is an independent state constitutional right to an abortion. So by voting yes in those two states, voters were actually changing the status quo. But in Alabama and Louisiana, those constitutions have never been held to imply any sort of separate right to an abortion.

And Kyle Kondik had shared this really interesting article that came out last year on the status quo bias in ballot initiatives and that when push comes to shove, if an amendment or an initiative is going to change the status quo dramatically, “no” probably has something of a built-in advantage because voters aren't going to do something if they don't fully understand the consequences. All that stuff came together and I think that Kansas is a state that seems uniquely primed to not want something like this, despite its socially conservative reputation, because it's also a heavily suburban state. And if you supercharged suburban turnout, which seems like that's exactly what happened, then that suggested to me that it would lose by a fairly wide margin. I think that pretty much everybody's wrong assumption was that they were too conservative about how supportive of abortion rights they thought Kansans would be, which is a fun sentence that you didn't really think you'd get to say in 2022.

David Nir:

Speaking of that status quo bias, we've talked on this show about two other states where abortion will also be on the ballot this fall: Michigan, where activists are trying to enshrine abortion rights affirmatively into the state constitution, and then Kentucky, where an amendment similar to the one that just went down in flames in Kansas is going to be on the ballot. Now, Kentucky is a much more conservative state even than Kansas is. Trump won it by 26 points; he won Kansas by about 15 points. And also, Kentucky, based on your research as I understand it, does not have a similar State Supreme Court ruling that has said there is a right to an abortion, so you don't have that status quo bias in place. So what, if anything, do you think the Kansas vote says about the chances of defeating the similar amendment in Kentucky?

Quinn Yeargain:

I think it's tough. I mean, obviously, Kentucky is a much more conservative place, I think, maybe not in terms of always how it's voted in the past, obviously, at the state level, but in terms of the values that a lot of its voters have. 

It's a much more socially conservative place. I think that there are also fewer places that you'd logically anticipate might otherwise vote for Republicans, but would vote against something like this. I mean, you're really putting a lot of stock in the three Kentucky counties that are sort of the Cincinnati suburbs, really having sort of a hard left shift that they kind of had in 2019, but not as much and not as dramatically as Kansas. It all comes down to what the Kentucky courts do in the next few months.

As you know, a couple weeks ago, a Kentucky court blocked the state's abortion ban on state constitutional grounds. That ruling was later stayed, but it could well be the case that the Kentucky Supreme Court steps in at some point to issue some ruling. I'm pretty doubtful that they would come in and say, yes, there is a separate constitutional right to abortion in the Kentucky Constitution. It's a pretty conservative court. That would be pretty surprising to me. I guess if I really had to predict an outcome, I would say it probably narrowly passes, but I'm not confident enough in that. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some kind of backlash, but anticipating a double-digit win like in Kansas seems too optimistic.

David Beard:

Now, there're a ton of states that won't allow initiatives on abortion moving forward because of the variety of ways in which states govern and have rules around that. Folks are going to have to look to Democrats to protect abortion rights. Now, Trump, as Nir mentioned, won Kansas by 15 points, but the no vote prevailed by 18 points. So that's a massive, massive 33-point swing and it means that a hugely significant number of Kansas voters voted for Donald Trump and then voted against that amendment.

But of course, as we've seen in a lot of instances, voting on an amendment or an issue does not necessarily translate to voters voting for the party associated with that position on that issue. What can Democrats learn? What can progressives learn thinking through this and how to use this to motivate, to pull votes for Democrats in these states where you're not going to have an amendment to vote on for abortion rights?

Quinn Yeargain:

I think that the message kind of has to be that abortion is on the ballot, even where it isn't explicitly. I think that the idea that the sort of generic congressional ballot would have this kind of vacillation that it's had back to Democrats where I think it's tied in 538's tracker as of today, to me that's not something that really is all that common in midterm elections. Not to mention the fact that Biden's approval is obviously still really bad and Democrats are doing much better than you anticipate given that as well as general pessimism relating to the economy. And that suggests to me that there's some sort of fundamental shift in this country, that voters really do actually care about this in a way that maybe they're not actually showing to pollsters.

And I think that, especially in swing states—it’s probably less likely to be successful in really conservative states—Democrats have to lean into this message. I think at this point it is about base mobilization. It's obviously about persuasion too, but abortion is an issue where you can both motivate and persuade. I think that making the stakes really clear to voters that if you vote for a Republican, for governor, for legislature, they'll ban abortion. There's not a question about that. They'll ban abortion. And to the extent that they're saying, “Oh no, we won't,” a lot of them are on record saying that's exactly what they want to do.

There are these really draconian laws that maybe they never thought would ever come into effect, maybe where they were just test cases to get them the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. It doesn't matter because they can be the law now. So I think that in a way that they've never really had to in the past, Republicans really have to stand on their record on abortion. And it's not a record that I think a lot of voters are going to be sympathetic to once they learn a little bit more about it.

I think that rather than buying into the nonsense advice of just playing to pocketbook issues or something like that, they need to lean into something like this. Abortion is a pocketbook issue. Tell someone who is not of very much money in a very conservative state, that's bordered by other conservative states, who has to either take a flight or drive hundreds of miles to get an abortion, that's a pocketbook issue. And I think they're framing it in sort of that kind of economic justice way, I think that could be successful. I also think that again, this is something that you can both motivate and mobilize on. And so in the end, I think that this is a winning issue for Democrats.

David Beard:

Obviously, abortion is going to be the number one issue for the election going forward, at least for large segments of the population, but there are quite a few other ballot initiatives taking place in other states. And we want to keep an eye on those too. So what are some of the most interesting issues that are going to be going directly before voters this year?

Quinn Yeargain:

Well, in pretty much every state, there's something interesting on the ballot somewhere. Maybe it's interesting to just a really narrow sliver of the population and me on top of that, but it's interesting to someone somewhere. I think that one of the biggest things that is happening this year is Alabama is voting on what you might call a new constitution. Alabama has long had the longest constitution, not just of any state, but of any country or subnational entity anywhere in the world and it's bulky, it's overburdened, and they're voting on a new one this year. Hooray, it's going to be shorter. But even with all of the racist provisions cut out and all of the superseded provisions cut out, it's still going to be the longest constitution anywhere in the world. So maybe not that impactful on practice.

In terms of some attacks on direct democracy, there're two in Arizona that I think are significant to point out. Arizona does not have a single subject requirement for its initiated statutes and constitutional amendments. Single subject requirements are hardly ever applied in any sort of consistent way. And a lot of courts use them to strike down a lot of progressive initiatives. Florida, horrible offender on this. Arizona doesn't have one, but there is one on the ballot this year to add one.

They're also trying to raise the threshold required for initiated amendments in both Arizona and Arkansas to 60%. There hasn't been a huge effort in Arkansas to use the initiative process, but it's been used some in the last few years. There are some changes to the structure of state government. There's an amendment on the ballot in Arizona to create a lieutenant governor. There's also one in West Virginia that would bar any state court from exercising jurisdiction over impeachments. Hypothetically, should that ever be relevant again, definitely not based on the time that the state legislature launched a coup of the state Supreme Court in 2018, and some of the court stepped in to stop some of that.

And there're also some efforts in a couple states that would allow the legislature to call itself into special session. That's a really small, specific thing to point out, but in a lot of states, legislatures actually can't convene themselves unless the governor calls them at a session, and that affects a lot of things, like how long governor's appointments serve or appointees serve, administrative rules and regulations, and really limits the ability to legislature to check the governor. This is happening in a lot of states where there's been pushback to public health measures in particular. And if the legislature's out of session, it can't undo the governor's public health measures. So those are on the ballot in Arkansas, Idaho, and Kentucky.

There could be some election law changes. There's an early voting constitutional amendment in Connecticut finally, and there's going to be a top five primary election amendment on the ballot in Nevada this year. We mentioned some of the other abortion amendments. There's also going to be two, one in California, one in Vermont, that will add abortion protections to the state constitution. Neither of those currently has that. And then there's other various and assorted fun things: an affirmative right to health care in Oregon, something that is relevant given how frequently Senate Republicans have fled the state in Oregon. An amendment that would ban absentee lawmakers from running for reelection. Medicaid expansion in South Dakota and right to work in Tennessee.

David Beard:

So you mentioned the initiative to create a lieutenant governor position in Arizona. Many states now have lieutenant governors, but that wasn't always the case. It's one of the more interesting creations of American politics since the creation of the country, and you've done a lot of research into that. So tell us about sort of the evolution of lieutenant governors, and if you think there's a best way to handle this position out of the many, many ways states do so.

Quinn Yeargain:

Yeah. There're a lot of very specific things that I've chosen to focus on or obsess over in the last few years and lieutenant governors are one of them just because it's kind of a fun role. It's only relevant in a handful of cases, really just for stepping in when the governor vacates for whatever reason. That's just kind of a fun idea to me that there's a position specifically just for that.

In many cases in many states, that's literally all that it does. It doesn't have any other constitutional responsibilities. And most states did not have lieutenant governors. I mean, most states did not even have popularly elected governors in 1776 when a lot of state constitutions were drafted or even in 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was ratified. That happened over time, but they didn't have lieutenant governors either. In most states, the president of the state Senate became governor if there was a vacancy and this triggered a lot of very silly questions like, well, the state Senate president is a temporary job technically. What if somebody else is elected state Senate president? What happens then if they're the acting governor?

Most state courts answering this question said, well, then the position of acting governor switches to the new Senate president, which is really weird and really chaotic. There's also the question, if the state Senate president is acting as governor, do they actually become governor? And the answer is no, they don't. Well, okay. Do they then stay as state Senate president? And in some cases, the answer is yes. And so all sorts of really weird questions resulting in really unsatisfactory succession procedures, ultimately, and they very, very slowly produce this gigantic increase in the number of lieutenant governors.

One of the weirdest things to me is that this was an innovation from the North in Southern constitutions during reconstruction. Southern constitutions were quite anti-democratic, unsurprisingly, before the Civil War. And so they didn't have lieutenant governors in most cases. When northerners came down and a lot of them were at these state constitutional conventions, they created lieutenant governors, sometimes copied and pasted from their home constitutions. The Democrats in these states hated lieutenant governors with a burning passion. They specifically amended their constitutions and got rid of lieutenant governors and unloaded them with a burning weird passion. And it was only when a lot of these states again had problems with succession that they were recreated and they've ultimately been recreated in every state that they've been abolished in.

So it's just one of these weird things that the history of it is extremely specific, has a lot of really weird stories, and it's just one of these facets of modern state government that we don't really think about all that much. In terms of a model procedure, I think that team ticket elections are better than not just because I can't really imagine in most cases that voters are really making a conscious decision of, “Okay, I'm going to elect a Democrat as governor and a Republican as lieutenant governor. So if the Democrat governor vacates, then a Republican becomes governor.” I'm not sure that's a choice that voters are making a lot of the time.

I think they're just—you have somebody like John Bel Edwards in Louisiana that voters really like, and there's nobody comparably like that at the lieutenant governor level running in that race. So I think team ticket elections are better. I think that the idea of having separate primaries is kind of weird. It's been called a shotgun wedding and I prefer to think of it as a double blind experiment where voters are choosing a running mate for a gubernatorial nominee they don't know.

And you can't really do that because if you're trying to balance something out, you can't if you don't know what you're trying to balance. Some of the arguments in opposition to creating team ticket elections when this first happened in the 50s and 60s was, well, it's just going to encourage gubernatorial nominees to pick somebody who's going to balance the ticket. And it's like, yeah, that's the whole point. That's exactly why you do that to ensure some sort of geographic diversity and now some sort of racial diversity or gender diversity or ideological diversity. So I think the idea of separate primaries is not good. Where I don't—and this is I realize far more specific than the question you were asking—where I don't have a clear answer myself is whether there should be a rule that gubernatorial candidates have to pick a running mate before the primary, or if they can do it after the primary.

David Nir:

So Quinn, one other area that your work touches on, particularly with regard to state constitutions, is of course redistricting. And there was an unusual situation that together we explored at Daily Kos Elections and yourself, regarding Montana, which somehow is going to finish out the year 2022 without adopting new legislative maps, even though of course every other state has produced new legislative maps because we got census data last year from the 2020 census. So what did you uncover with Montana? Why are they so weird? Why don't they have new maps?

Quinn Yeargain:

This is the dumbest shit. So when the Montana Constitution was amended in the 1970s, it created a redistricting commission to draw state legislative and congressional maps. This is a bipartisan commission that's selected from the majority and minority parties and the state legislature. And then they picked a theoretically independent fifth member. And so the way that it basically works is different for each of those two responsibilities that it has.

So congressional maps, super easy. It gets the census data. It draws the maps and it files them with the secretary of state, easy. With state legislative maps, there are a couple of things that are intersecting in really weird ways. The kicker is that the legislature has to have the opportunity to provide feedback on the maps. This feedback is totally gratuitous and the commission doesn't have to take it into account, but it still has to provide it. So the basic confines are as follows: The commission gets the data from the Census Bureau. It has to hold at least one public hearing. And then at the next regular session of the legislature, whatever the next regular session is, it gives its map proposal to the legislature, gets its feedback on the proposal, makes any modifications it wants to, and then files them with the secretary of state.

Now at no step in that process did I say anything that explicitly, like to people who are listening really carefully, necessarily requires that this happened on an off cycle. The problem though is that the Montana legislature's regular session is once every two years in odd-numbered years. So if the redistricting commission doesn't get the data from the Census Bureau until the legislature's regular session is over, then it has to wait until the next regular session to give the legislature its proposed map.

To provide a specific example, last year, the states got their data from the Census Bureau in August 2021. The only regular session that the Montana legislature will have from 2021 through the end of 2022 ended in spring of 2021. So it was too late to do anything. So it has to wait until spring of 2023 to give its legislature that proposed map, get any gratuitous feedback that the legislature wants to provide—which it can totally ignore—make any revisions, and then file them with the secretary of state for some sort of election in 2024.

David Nir:

Now, the maps that Montana is going to use this year are badly malapportioned. Some districts have too many people, some districts have too few people. This would seem to violate the well-settled constitutional provision of one person, one vote, particularly because we have new and better census data. Could someone have sued to force Montana to make new maps earlier?

Quinn Yeargain:

They totally could have. It's really kind of astounding that nobody did. This was litigated in Maine, for example, with respect to congressional districts, which Maine was theoretically operating on a similar cycle as Montana until 2011, 2013. And it's astounding that nobody sued because what do you really have to lose? If you're Democrats in Montana, why not do it? You're in a permanent ... Probably a permanent minority for a while, unless the state radically changes. Why not upend everything and force new elections with new maps this year, rather than relying on these malapportioned maps?

I think the real challenge is it's obviously too late to sue now, and it's not necessarily clear if in the aggregate, the map is unconstitutional. The typical standard used by the Supreme Court basically says that if there's 10% population deviation between the largest district and the smallest district, it's probably okay. And if it's greater than 10% deviation, it's probably not. With relevant context, adding color as necessary. But there is at least a plausible case that this was unconstitutional, that it is unconstitutional. That at a bare minimum, the elections taking place this year are unconstitutional, but obviously nothing happened. But I think that's my perpetual frustration. There is a lot of stuff that happens that arguably violates one person, one vote or basic principles of settled election law that just go totally uncontested. Like the fact that the Nebraska special congressional election last month happened under the new district boundaries instead of the old district boundaries. Illegal, clearly illegal, but nobody sued. I don't know why. If I were barred in Montana, I would sue on their behalf, but I'm not.

David Nir:

Now, as we've mentioned, state constitutions can be quite unusual documents. They can vary a lot. So is there any particular provision or amendment that you found in your research that is really, really strange or out there?

Quinn Yeargain:

So there're two that I think are particularly interesting or funny. One of the ones is from 1934, when the state of Louisiana added a map to its constitution. One of the amendments was about highway routes that it was paving. And rather than specify where the highway routes were, they drew a map and added it into the constitution to say this is where the highway routes should go. And it's 1934. So it's not a great map with a lot of detail. And that's how the routes had to be drawn, with this map that was in the constitution.

And I first saw this, not even when I was looking at specific amendments, I was looking at a dated Louisiana Constitution from some year. And I saw a map in there and I thought there's no way. That doesn't make any sense. But indeed, I went back, looked at the specific amendment and indeed it appended a map to the Louisiana Constitution.

David Nir:

I have to ask, why couldn't they just pass a law or regular statute saying build the roads here. Why did they have to amend their constitution to do that?

Quinn Yeargain:

I think asking why didn't the Louisiana legislature simply pass a law instead of a constitutional amendment is a great question that I really wish that they had asked themselves between the years of 1920 and 1970. There was one year, for example, when there were enough amendments added to the Louisiana Constitution that it added a whole 65 pages to its constitution. Longer than most state constitutions anyway, but it added that year alone, 34 amendments added 47,000 words. So it's a great question. A great question.

David Nir:

But one with no answer.

Quinn Yeargain:

One with no answer. The second amendment that I came across that I just ... I really thought I misunderstood it at first as an amendment to the Colorado Constitution in the 1970s that said that before any nuclear device is put into the ground and detonated, it has to have been put to the voters and gotten their approval. And my first gut reaction to that was what are you talking about? Like what on Earth are you talking about? Are you talking about the U.S. government getting permission from voters before it ... Does it test? Are you talking about the Soviets, like petitioning for an initiative measure before they bomb Pueblo? What are you talking about? And it's not about that at all. It's actually about using nuclear devices to shake loose gas that's in mineral formations in the state so that it can extract the gas, which has been done a few times apparently, and was not well received by Colorado voters understandably.

So they pass an amendment barring the detonation of nuclear devices. It's still in the Colorado Constitution. If you live there, I think it's article 25 or 26 of the Colorado Constitution. It's still there. So it's still the case. So I guess any would-be nuclear powers up there—if Kim Jong-un is listening, you have to get the voters’ approval before launching a nuclear attack in Colorado.

David Nir:

I would love to see that litigated in court one day. We have been talking with Quinn Yeargin, who is an assistant professor of law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School, long time DKE and SSP community member. Quinn, it has been fantastic having you on the program and I hope we can have you back to talk about some more of these state elections soon.

Quinn Yeargain:

Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.

David Nir:

That's all from us this week. Thanks to Quinn Yeargain for joining us. The Downballot comes out every Thursday, everywhere you listen to podcasts. You can reach us by email at thedownballot@dailycoast.com. If you haven't already, please like and subscribe to The Downballot and leave us a five-star rating and review. Thanks to our producer, Cara Zelaya, and editor, Tim Einenkel. We'll be back next week with a new episode.