Kevin McCarthy must face consequences for promoting Trump’s Big Lie

Donald Trump still has a hammer lock on the Republican Party. That was amply demonstrated in the days after all but seven Senate Republicans voted to acquit Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Of those who joined the bipartisan rebuke of Trump’s conduct and voted to convict, Sen. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy have been censured by their state parties, while the other five face calls for their censure.

Yet an even clearer and starker indication of the hold Trump still has on the GOP came much earlier, on Jan. 28, when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with him. The topic? How to take back the House in 2022. This came on the heels of McCarthy voting to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, hours after the insurrection—thus not only giving succor to the insurrection, but to the false claims of election fraud that triggered it.

It is impossible to overstate just how outrageous this was. The leader of the House Republicans, the second most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill, saw fit to publicly kiss the ring of a man who spent months attempting to steal a second term—an effort which culminated in a deadly insurrection that came frighteningly close to claiming the lives of members of both chambers of Congress (and the vice president). And yet, as near as can be determined, McCarthy has faced almost no blowback for it, nor for effectively promoting the Big Lie by voting to object.

To be sure, Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have gotten well-deserved scorn, and even calls for their expulsion, for their “leadership” in the effort to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Sen. Lindsey Graham has crassly declared that the GOP needs Trump’s help to win. He has been pilloried in the reality-based community for this, and rightly so. But it is one thing for backbench senators to subvert the will of the American people. It is quite another for the leader of the House Republicans to do so.

The leadership of the Republican Party in situ, January 28, 2021. pic.twitter.com/40lYItNPpw

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 28, 2021

McCarthy objected to Biden’s victory, and then embraced Trump, despite knowing full well that Trump had told the biggest lie in a political career shot through with them. The fact that McCarthy hasn’t had his feet held to the fire for either of these outrages can only be described as political malpractice of the highest order. It’s long past time to correct that oversight.

Minutes after the insurrection died down and the Capitol had been finally secured, Dave “I’ve seen enough” Wasserman, House editor of Cook Political Report, tweeted that McCarthy had acknowledged what the nation already knew: Trump had lost the election.

A few weeks after the election, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged Trump's clear loss to me and I asked him if the president's refusal to concede would lead the country down a dangerous road. His response: "Maybe."

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) January 6, 2021

Wasserman doubled down the next day, noting that McCarthy objected to the certification of Biden’s victory even after repeatedly acknowledging to Wasserman that Biden had won. Then, five days after the insurrection, Wasserman revealed that McCarthy had previously told him that if Trump made good on his repeated threats to reject any result other than his reelection, he knew he’d have to enter the fray.

True story: the day before the election, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told me that if Trump refused to concede, he and McConnell would eventually have to come out and issue a joint statement acknowledging the result. In the end, McCarthy left McConnell twisting in the wind.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) January 11, 2021

McCarthy knew that Trump was blowing smoke when he claimed the election had been stolen. And yet, McCarthy remained silent even in the face of reports of election officials being harassed, trolled, and threatened due to these claims. He remained silent even as an employee at Dominion Voting Systems was forced into hiding after being targeted with vicious smears and threats.

When I first saw these reports, my thoughts turned to Frank DiPascali, who helped Bernie Madoff run his Ponzi scheme from 1986 until Madoff’s arrest in December 2008. Though he died before he could be sentenced, DiPascali pleaded guilty to his role in the racket, nine months after Madoff’s scheme imploded. He admitted that he had known since at least the early 1990s that Madoff wasn’t trading. And yet, not only did DiPascali squander numerous chances to come clean over the previous two decades, but he actually helped Madoff further the scheme. For instance, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, when Madoff realized he was on the brink of collapse, DiPascali persuaded Madoff to use the remaining balance in Madoff’s now-infamous Chase account to cut $350 million in checks to relatives and favored investors.

McCarthy’s behavior in the months after the election isn’t much different from DiPascali’s behavior in the last two decades of Madoff’s fraud. Based on Wasserman’s accounts, McCarthy knew the Big Lie was, well, a lie—and he didn’t do a damn thing about it. He didn’t speak out publicly, nor did he tell Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the rest of the Sedition Caucus to call off their plans to object.

We won't forget what you said on 11/5/2020 and your complicity in the insurrection @GOPLeader: "Trump won this election, so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes... join together and let’s stop this.” pic.twitter.com/bLOieBxlh2

— Alfred Spellman (@AlfredSpellman) January 20, 2021

This was a time where the leader of the House Republicans had a chance to, you know, lead. In this case, it was a chance that McCarthy was morally, and almost certainly legally and constitutionally, required to take. He blew that chance eight ways to Sunday. In so doing, McCarthy did something that, on paper, takes a lot of effort: For a time, he made McConnell look like a paragon of integrity.

What in the world could McCarthy have been thinking, you might ask? Well, one answer can be found in a profile that The New York Times ran on him in January, days after Trump was impeached for a second time. McCarthy was getting a lot of blowback from Republican constituents back home in California’s 23rd district, based in Bakersfield and the Central Valley, for not being supportive enough of Trump. When McCarthy publicly stated that Trump bore responsibility for the attack during the certification of the Electoral College votes, hours after the Capitol had been secured, it ruffled a lot of feathers among his Republican constituents. According to The Times, at least one local tea party activist, who ran against McCarthy in 2016, is giving serious thought to primarying McCarthy again in 2022. Before Trump, it would have been unthinkable for a party leader in the House to face a substantive primary challenge.

McCarthy may have taken a trip to Florida to smooth things over back home in Bakersfield, but he seems to have forgotten that he is not only the congressman for CA-23, he is also the leader of the House Republicans. As such, he would have the inside track to becoming speaker if the GOP retakes the House. If McCarthy has any ambitions of peeling off swing voters and suburbanites in 2022, being seen publicly with a man who stirred up a deadly insurrection can only be described as an unforced error. It’s particularly outrageous when combined with the fact that he knew Trump had lost and said nothing for months.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blames *you* as he tries to clear up his statements on whether Trump bears responsibility for the January 6th attack on the Capitol or not. “I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility," Rep. McCarthy says. pic.twitter.com/aBeGBsA9sJ

— The Recount (@therecount) January 24, 2021

Recall that in 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught a lot of scorn from the right for ripping up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech. Self-promoting conservative law professor (and Fox News pundit) Jonathan Turley went as far as to call for Pelosi to step down saying that she forgot she was representing the whole House.

McCarthy’s meeting with Trump is far, far worse. There is something wrong if merely ripping a copy of a speech draws more hackles than meeting with a president who spread pernicious lies about an election being stolen, then incited a deadly insurrection to overturn his defeat. By meeting with Trump, McCarthy thumbed his nose at the many police officers who were injured, including one who died in the line of duty and two others who died by suicide soon after. He thumbed his nose at those who were harassed, trolled, and threatened as a result of the Big Lie that he knew it was a lie. That’s hardly behavior becoming of someone with ambitions of representing the whole House.

McCarthy will never resign, of course. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make him answer for his misdeeds. According to the latest Cook Partisan Voting Index, there are only four districts in California with ratings of R+10 or worse. McCarthy sits in one of them; with a PVI of R+14, on paper, it’s the reddest district in the state. There’s no denying it: This district is one of the few red smudges left in a state that has turned an unrecognizable shade of blue. But the trendline suggests that if done right, a Democrat can at least keep McCarthy tied down.

Bakersfield is undergoing considerable demographic change, for one thing. Once dominated by the descendants of people who fled Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas during the Dust Bowl, figures from the 2010 census showed Bakersfield was 45% Latino and 38% non-Hispanic white. According to The New York Times’ profile from January, Bakersfield is now majority Latino. This shift suggests that the city’s Latino population is growing too rapidly for neighboring CA-21, which has long served most of the Latinos in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor.

Add that to the fact that McCarthy’s district as a whole is currently just barely majority white, at 50.5%. Wasserman suggested earlier this month that CA-23 could potentially become whiter and more Republican in redistricting. But that seems hard to believe if Bakersfield is already majority Latino, or close to it. While Wasserman argues that it’s very likely the state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission will create two Latino-majority districts in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor, mathematically it’s hard to see how the 23rd would not absorb more Latino voters if its central city is already majority-Latino. Coupled with the right candidate, policies, and outreach, this shift can only help Democrats.

The vote margins between McCarthy and his challenger are a FIFTH of McConnell’s. CA-23’s demographics (+30% Latino) are similar to CA-25, whereas Kentucky is 87% white. CA-23 can be flipped by investing in Latino working class enfranchisement and turnout.#GetThatMangone https://t.co/Uc22ihrsS2

— Ricardo Gutiérrez (@icaito) June 17, 2020

Beyond demographic shifts and redistricting, Trump actually underperformed in a McCarthy’s district, which the Grey Lady describes as an area with “bobbing oil pump jacks (that) dot the landscape like a page out of West Texas,” with a strong historical bent of social conservatism. In other words, classic MAGA territory. According to the latest numbers crunched by the folks at Daily Kos Elections, while Mitt Romney won this district over Obama 61-36 in 2012, Trump only won it 58-36 in 2016 and 57-41 in 2020. Contrast that with IA-04, the former balliwick of Steve King, now held by Randy Feenstra. It swung from a 53-45 win for Romney to a 61-33 win for Trump in 2016 and 63-36 in 2020. Or OH-05, Jim Jordan’s domain. It swung from a 56-42 win for Romney to a 64-31 win for Trump in 2016 and 67-32 in 2020. What’s more, in 2020, McCarthy sits in the only district in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor, long one of the more conservative parts of the state, where Trump won by double digits.

Moreover, McCarthy’s own winning percentages have been tailing off. After winning his first five terms with 70% or more of the vote, his totals have actually dwindled since Trump: 69% in 2016, 63% in 2018, and 61% in 2020. It’s no coincidence that McCarthy’s vote totals have tailed off as his Democratic challengers have spent more money. His 2016 challenger only raised $35,300 for the entire cycle. By comparison, his 2018 challenger raised $106,000; an improvement, but still nothing to write home about. His 2020 challenger, Kim Mangone, raised $1.6 million … not what you’d expect for a Democrat in an R+14 district. 

If the blue team plays it right, McCarthy could potentially face a reckoning back home for first remaining silent the wake of the Big Lie, and then kissing Trump’s hand after said lie triggered an insurrection. There’s already at least one Democrat running against him: naval veteran and ironworker Bruno Amato.

Looking at his website, Amato doesn’t have the look of the sacrificial lambs and Some Dudes that typically surface in districts that are R+10 or worse. Moreover, it’s not often that you see Democrats already stepping up to run in districts this red.

Amato has a lot of work ahead of him, as will any other Democrat challenging McCarthy. This is a tough, tough district. But given the prospect that he’ll be running in a district that will be a bit more Latino than its predecessor, there’s a chance that he’ll be in a position to give McCarthy heartburn.

But we can do even better than that. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney should tie McCarthy’s duplicity about the Big Lie around the GOP like an anchor. For the last two cycles, the Republicans have tried to position the Democrats as a radical socialist mob. It would more than even the score to point out that the leader of the House Republicans remained silent about the Big Lie despite knowing that it was a lie, even after that lie stirred up an actual mob. That he did so to put out fires back home is no excuse, and Maloney and his team ought to remind the nation that this is not the kind of behavior we should expect from the likely speaker of a Republican-led House. If swing voters and suburbanites recoil from McCarthy over his embrace of Trump, it will all but assure that the GOP stays in the minority.

One way or another, McCarthy must answer for behaving beneath the dignity of someone who has ambitions of becoming speaker. We can make McCarthy do some heavy lifting in his own district, tie his duplicity around the entire House Republican Conference, or some combination of the two. Either way, McCarthy must learn that when you have ambitions of representing the whole House, you cannot forsake your oath in the name of keeping the wolves from your door back home.

‘Lies, lies, lies’: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech about Trump and fellow Republicans goes viral

In the days since a group of pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., sending elected officials into temporary hiding and the nation into a period of shock and horror, a number of Republicans have spoken out against Donald Trump. Whether they’ve criticized his endless insistence that he actually won the 2020 presidential election (he didn’t), called for Trump to resign, both long-standing critics and newly vocalized GOP members are speaking out against Trump.

In a moving, personal video, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger succinctly described Trump as a “failed leader” and someone who “will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.” Direct jabs aside, however, Schwarzenegger also dove deep into serious matters and discussed intergenerational trauma, personal examples from his youth in Austria, and directed a very important message to not only Trump but the Republicans who enabled him. He also wished “great success” to President-elect Joe Biden for when he takes office in less than a month. Let’s check out the video below.

First, in reference to Trump, Schwarzenegger states, “President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.” Obviously, the extra layer of zing here is that Twitter (as well as a handful of other social media platforms) recently permanently suspended Trump from their platforms.

On a personal note, Schwarzenegger discussed growing up in the long-term wake of Kristallnacht (also known as the Night of Broken Glass). Schwarzenegger described Kristallnacht as “a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys,” and said the insurgent’s attack on the Capitol last Wednesday was “the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol. They shattered the ideas we took for granted [and] trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”

Schwarzenegger talked about how intergenerational trauma (though he didn’t use that term) can affect an entire society. In his case, Schwarzenegger described being a child and watching his father come home drunk once or twice a week, hitting and scaring his mother. He said it felt normal because he knew it happened at neighbors' houses, too. Why? According to Schwarzenegger, this behavior tied to collective guilt and horror after World War II, saying these men were “in emotional pain for what they saw or did.” In his words, he grew up “surrounded by broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history."

“It all started with lies, lies, lies, and intolerance,” Schwarzenegger stated. “Being from Europe I’ve seen firsthand how bad things can spin out of control.”

In terms of his fellow Republicans, Schwarzenegger called out those who “enabled” Trump’s “lies and his treachery.” He also quoted former President Teddy Roosevelt to them, saying, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.”

“To those who think they can overturn the United States constitution, know this: You will never win,” he stated, asking for the people responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol to be held accountable. 

Here’s the video on Twitter, which has garnered more than 6 million views at the time of writing. It’s about seven minutes long, but honestly, is worth the full watch.

My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week's attack on the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/blOy35LWJ5

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 10, 2021

You can watch the full video on his YouTube channel below.

There are currently 159 House members, and 24 senators who are on record supporting impeachment & removal. Regardless of where your members of Congress stand, please send them a letter.

California Republican Party says it won’t take down illegal ‘ballot boxes’ despite state orders

On Monday, it came to light that the California Republican Party was placing what they called "official ballot drop off boxes" in locations deemed to be Republican-friendly (such as, no kidding, "gun stores") in apparent efforts to make it easier for Republican voters to vote than not-Republican voters.

There are two problems with this. First: It's not legal. California law allows voters to designate a person to drop their ballot off at an official location rather than going themselves; it does not allow the "designated person" to be an unattended cardboard box. (And yes, some of the "official ballot drop off boxes" are merely "simple cardboard boxes with no locking security mechanism.")

The second problem is, yes, ballot security. Voters may not be aware that these very much not official "drop off boxes" are managed by unknown Republican operatives, and there's no guarantee the ballots collected in such boxes won't "accidentally" be, to use a recent Trumpian example, dumped into a river. (I kid. Here in California we don't have rivers. They could be dumped into storm drains, though, which would be problematic because all the aspiring sewer actors do not need more lines to practice.) There's nothing to say the ballots the Republican Party claims to be collecting won't be sorted through, perhaps to weed out non-Republican looking names, or otherwise disposed of. That's why California ballot-harvesting laws require a designee.

California officials have now warned the state Republican Party that what they're doing is illegal and may even result in prison time. The Republican Party has responded in the expected way: They don't care, and won't be complying with state demands to remove the boxes.

More specifically, the California Republican Party intends to continue the operation while daring state officials to do anything about it. Party spokesperson Hector Barajas noted that a 2018 state law prohibits election officials from rejecting a ballot solely because it was returned without the required designee signature or relationship to the voter, signaling that the party intends to collect ballots however they want, handle and turn them in however they want, and dare election officials to throw those votes away. Election officials will almost certainly not do that, so here we are.

It's another case of the party's all-encompassing insistence that laws don't matter if bending the law would benefit the party. See also: Dinesh D'Whateverguy, and literally every member of Donald Trump's inner circles, past and present, indicted and not, and the Republican gutting of the Federal Election Commission, and the nullification of election-related impeachment charges against Dear Leader, and take your pick.

And yes, everyone involved is aware of the dichotomy of the Republican Party going to furious lengths to restrict voting access in Texas and other Republican-led states while bending restrictions that they believe are harmful to their own voters. It's not irony, it's fascism.

What California voters need to know right now, however: Do not use those boxes. Don't. California is mailing ballots to all voters; follow the instructions provided to the letter and mail them back. Do not put your ballot in a cardboard box, or a burlap sack, or into the mouth of a large wooden horse that has appeared, overnight, in the empty parking lot of an abandoned mall. Just mail them in, or turn them in where the state itself tells you to.

There's no guarantee that the local Chuckles' Gun Club and Shoebox Votin' Booth will be handling your vote, as America decides between authoritarian rule and democracy, with anything resembling care. The Republican Party is playing fast and loose with the votes of their own most loyal supporters, and that is not something you want to get involved in.

Kamala Harris Is The Biggest Gift Biden Could Have Given To Trump 

Sen. Kamala Harris used to be a Joe Biden critic, and now, willing to run on his ticket all for her own ambitions and also knowing that she is ONLY being picked because she is a black female.

On Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden chose Harris as his running mate for the 2020 Democratic ticket. With all the attacks she laid on him during the primary, he looked past that and chose her, eh?

Democratic Party politicians are the lowest of the low who have no morals or principles – and if they do, they are willing to trade on them in a heartbeat.

MORE NEWS: Kamala Harris Once Stood By Biden Accusers – ‘I Believe Them’

As a Trump supporter, I could not be happier about this pick. She has a horrible record. Not to mention that Biden is going to win California no matter what.

Trump-Pence will win in a landslide.

WEIRD AND INTERESTING CHOICE

Biden choosing Harris is an interesting choice since. She couldn’t even finish the Democratic race for the nomination.

This woman allegedly has so much baggage. I don’t live in California and know a lot about her. She was Willy Brown’s alleged mistress, so Democrats can’t say anything about Trump’s supposed womanizing any longer. They won’t dare find another woman to use.

Also, as California Attorney General, she stomped hard on Blacks and also deliberately withheld evidence that might have freed a man from prison. Weird indeed.

I’m not seeing Rust Belt swing states swinging behind Kamala-as-President. And, if they think this is going to guarantee massive Black voter turnout, they are sniffing [pardon the pun] glue.

MORE NEWS: Michael Moore Floats Conspiracy Theory About ‘Rehearsal’ For Coup Against Trump

ON THE OTHER HAND, TRUMP’S A SHOE-IN

I feel our country dodged a bullet when then-candidate Donald J. Trump was elected. I wanted to break into St. Mary’s Church, downtown, and ring the bells in the middle of the night, except I would not want to damage the church by breaking in.

Disregard personality and you have a courageous fighter who has a backbone, tenacity and keeps marching onward helping our country become stronger, more stable (less dependent on foreign ties), with more manufacturing work right back here in River City.

It is disgusting that our politicians and American corporations have allowed thousands, if not millions, of our jobs to go to Communist China. I cannot think of a single other politician who could have plowed onward while constantly being shot with hurtful accusations of racism, sexism, impeachment, hatred, and threats of all kinds. Trump worked for much better trade deals with Mexico, Canada, and China.

MORE NEWS: Flashback: Biden VP Pick Kamala Harris Blasted Him for Racist Past

He pulled us out of WHO, which seems to be a fraudulent self-serving organization.. He has insisted our immigration laws be enforced, which, by the way, will actually decrease suffering and separations. Just lately he fired the CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority for trying to fire American IT workers and outsource those jobs. The man was paid over eight million dollars, which is obscene and Trump limited that position to $500,000.

Trump is working for our own people and country. He knows nonsense and rip-offs when he sees them. He has a genuine love for this country as do thousands of immigrants who are thrilled to be here to freely build a prosperous life.

Trump is the only president in my 51 years that I have sent a Christmas card to thank him for working so hard.

WAYNE’S RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The post Kamala Harris Is The Biggest Gift Biden Could Have Given To Trump  appeared first on The Political Insider.

Morning Digest: After blocking liberal bills, conservative Dem lawmakers lose New Mexico primaries

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

NM State Senate: Conservative Democrats in the New Mexico State Senate have blocked some important pieces of legislation, but progressives scored several key wins in Tuesday's primaries. Five incumbents lost to progressive challengers: Richard Martinez, Gabe Ramos, and Clemente Sanchez, who lost renomination to opponents who each took more than 60% of the vote; Senate Finance Committee chair John Arthur Smith, who lost 55-45; and finally Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, the highest-ranking Democratic senator in the chamber, who lost 49-44.

Campaign Action

Republicans may make a play for some of these seats in the fall. Smith's SD-35 in the southwestern corner of the state backed Donald Trump 50-41, while Sanchez and Ramos' districts were very closely divided in the 2016 presidential contest. The other two constituencies, though, were overwhelmingly Democratic, and it would be a huge surprise if Team Blue's 26-16 majority is threatened.

Despite the partisan makeup of the chamber, though, conservatives have stopped progressive legislation supported by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state House, where the party also holds a sizable majority. Conservative Democrats have been blamed for weakening legislation to increase the minimum wage and of blocking efforts to legalize marijuana.  

Perhaps worst of all, though, is the conservatives' actions on abortion rights. Last year, the House passed a bill to repeal a 1969 law that made it a felony to perform an abortion in most cases. However, all five of the aforementioned Senate Democrats, as well as three others, joined with the GOP minority to kill the legislation. The current anti-abortion law is unenforceable thanks to Roe v. Wade, but there's the terrifying possibility that a U.S. Supreme Court decision could make provisions like this one more than just a legal relic.

However, Tuesday's results, as well as a successful showing in November, could give progressives the chance to finally shape the agenda in New Mexico.

Election Changes

Please bookmark our litigation tracker for a complete compilation of the latest developments in every lawsuit regarding changes to election and voting procedures.

California: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an order allowing county election officials to reduce the number of in-person voting sites for the November general election, but in exchange, they must provide at least three days of early voting. Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla also said that there would be at least one in-person polling place for every 10,000 residents.

Meanwhile, a committee in California's Democratic-run state Senate has approved a bill requiring counties to send ballots to all voters for the November election. Newsom previously issued an order instituting the same mandate, but that order has been challenged by two Republican lawsuits that claim Newsom usurped the legislature's powers. If lawmakers pass legislation similar to Newsom's order, that could help insulate the state's vote-by-mail plans from further legal attack.

Michigan: A new federal lawsuit brought by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA on behalf of a pair of civic organizations and three voters is seeking to have the state of Michigan pay for return postage on absentee ballots and accept all ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within 14 days, both for the state's Aug. 4 primary and the November general election.

Currently, ballots must be received by election officials no later than Election Day in order to count. Plaintiffs argue that their unusually long proposed receipt deadline is justified because state law does not require election results to be certified until 14 days after Election Day.

Ohio: Ohio's Republican-led state House is preparing to advance a bill that would eliminate three days of early voting right before Election Day and end the state's practice of sending absentee ballot applications to all active voters. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and an organization representing election officials both expressed their opposition to the measure, saying it would lead to longer lines at polling places.

The bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Cindy Abrams, claims that cutting early voting would "clarify existing law" and that no longer mailing ballot applications would "save the state money." According to cleveland.com, Ohio spent $1.1 million to send out applications in 2016, the previous presidential election year. The state's most recent annual budget was $78.8 billion.

The legislation's claimed goal is to establish a set of emergency procedures that would allow for an all-mail election during the pendency of a public health crisis like the current pandemic. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine would have to issue a recommendation that the election be conducted by mail at least 60 days before Election Day, and the legislature would have to approve any such recommendation.

However, the state would not send ballots or even ballot applications to voters. Instead, the secretary of state would send postcards to voters explaining how they can request absentee ballots—similar to the heavily criticized procedures the state deployed for its canceled-then-rescheduled primaries earlier this year.

Pennsylvania: On Tuesday, a state court judge ruled that officials in Bucks County could count mail ballots cast in Pennsylvania's June 2 primary so long as they were postmarked by June 1 and are received by June 9. Bucks was not included in a Monday order by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that granted a similar extension to six other counties.

However, one of those counties, Delaware, sought and received further relief in the courts. Officials there had said they would be unable to send out 400 to 500 mail ballots in time for voters to return them and therefore planned not to send them at all. However, after a different state judge ruled that any such ballots could be counted as long as they are received by June 12—regardless of when they are postmarked—Delaware officials decided to send them out. The ruling is potentially subject to challenge since it allows voters to cast ballots after Election Day.

Vermont: Vermont's Democratic-run state Senate has passed a bill that would remove Republican Gov. Phil Scott's power to block Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos from ordering that the November general election be conducted by mail, a plan Condos has long sought to implement. The state House, which is also controlled by Democrats, reportedly will also approve the measure. Scott has said he does not oppose the effort to remove him from the decision-making process.

Senate

CO-Sen: Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is out with his first TV spot ahead of the June 30 Democratic primary. Romanoff talks about his work improving mental healthcare and declares, "But it shouldn't take a crisis to teach us our healthcare system is broken." Romanoff concludes by saying that "when you're fighting for your life, you shouldn't worry about how to pay for it."

GA-Sen-A: The GOP firm Cygnal is out with a survey of Tuesday's Democratic primary to face Republican Sen. David Perdue that shows investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff very close to the majority of the vote he needs to avoid an August runoff. Cygnal, which conducted a general election poll for the Georgia House GOP Caucus about a month ago, tells us this poll was done for "an interested party," and the firm said it was not involved in this primary.

Cygnal finds Ossoff taking 49% of the vote, while former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson leads 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico 16-8 for second. The only other poll we've seen of this contest was a March University of Georgia survey that had Ossoff at 31%, while Tomlinson edged Amico 16-15. Cygnal also showed Ossoff beating Tomlinson 58-24 in a hypothetical runoff.

MN-Sen: Candidate filing closed Tuesday for Minnesota's Aug. 11 primaries, and the state has a list of contenders available here.

Appointed Democratic Sen. Tina Smith won the 2018 special election 53-42, and she's now seeking her first full term. Donald Trump and the rest of the party establishment have consolidated behind former Rep. Jason Lewis, who lost his re-election last cycle 53-47 to Democrat Angie Craig and faces minimal intra-party opposition in August.

Lewis, a former conservative radio host who has a long record of racist and misogynist tirades, hasn't attracted much outside help so far, though. Smith ended March with a wide $4.6 million to $714,000 cash-on-hand lead, and no major outside groups on either side have booked airtime here. Trump came surprisingly close to winning Minnesota in 2016, but he'll almost certainly need to flip the state this time for Lewis to have a shot. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Likely Democratic.  

MT-Sen: The Democratic group Majority Forward's new ad declares that GOP Sen. Steve Daines "voted for a $500 billion dollar slush fund to bail out big corporations, even Wall Street, on top of trillions in special tax breaks Daines voted to give them already." The narrator continues, "But Daines voted against paid leave for Montanans and refused to support relief for our hospitals and nurses."

NC-Sen, NC-Gov: The GOP firm Harper Polling is out with another survey for the conservative Civitas Institute, and it gives GOP Sen. Thom Tillis a small 38-36 edge against Democrat Cal Cunningham. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also leads Republican Dan Forest 49-37, while the sample favors Donald Trump 47-44. Back in mid-April, Harper showed Tillis and Cooper ahead 38-34 and 50-33, respectively, while Trump held a 49-42 advantage.

House

HI-02: Democratic state Sen. Kai Kahele, who launched his campaign early last year as a challenge to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, now finds himself on a glide path to Congress after Tuesday's candidate filing deadline passed with no serious alternatives entering the race for Hawaii's safely blue 2nd Congressional District.

Gabbard's endless string of apostasies—from cozying up to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to bashing Barack Obama for refusing to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism"—had made her a favorite of Fox News and anathema to progressives. However, she remained popular at home, making her a daunting target for any would-be rivals.

But Kahele, a combat pilot with the Air National Guard who's flown missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, was undeterred. He kicked off a bid in January of 2019, just after Gabbard embarked on a vanity run for president. That created an opening for Kahele, who was able to meet voters across the district while Gabbard was spending time in New Hampshire diners, underscoring a common complaint that Gabbard was more interested in boosting her national profile than in addressing problems at home.

Under Hawaii law, Gabbard was able to both pursue the presidency and seek re-election at the same time, though she long kept the political world guessing as to what she'd ultimately do. Finally, in October, she announced she wouldn't run for a fifth term, though it wasn't until after Tuesday's filing deadline that Kahele could be sure she wouldn't have a last-minute change of heart. (Gabbard of course eventually bailed on her presidential ambitions, too.)

Most surprisingly, in the long stretch from Gabbard's retirement announcement until now, not a single notable Hawaii Democrat joined Kahele in running for what had become an open seat, and few even considered it. Kahele's early start may have played a role, since he'd been able to amass a sizable war chest by the time Gabbard called it quits. He'd also earned support from several key figures in the state's political establishment, a movement that crescendoed in the spring when Hawaii's entire congressional delegation—minus Gabbard, of course—endorsed him.

While several other candidates did enter the race, none have even filed a single fundraising report with the FEC, making Kahele the prohibitive favorite to win the Aug. 8 primary. Assuming he does, he'll also be a lock for the November general election, given that Hillary Clinton carried the 2nd District by a 61-30 margin.

Victory in the fall would make Kahele just the second Native Hawaiian to represent the state in Congress after the late Sen. Dan Akaka. He'd also be he first from Hawaii's more rural Neighbor Islands, the term for every island apart from Oahu, which is home to the capital of Honolulu—and to every U.S. senator and representative the state has ever had.

IA-04: While state Sen. Randy Feenstra is no less extreme than the notorious figure he beat in Tuesday's primary, he does a much better job of saying the quiet parts quietly than soon-to-be-former Rep. Steve King. As such, that makes him what passes for a bog-standard Republican these days: build the wall, ban sanctuary cities, ban abortion, ban gay marriage, and swear undying fealty to Donald Trump—Feenstra's on board with the whole program.

And that in turn makes him a sure fit for Iowa's conservative 4th Congressional District, a heavily Republican area that's only grown more so in the Trump era. King's ability to generate funds for Democrats just by opening his mouth, plus a perception at home that he'd grown more interested in buffing his reputation with international members of the far-right than the concerns of his district, nearly cost him his career against Democrat J.D. Scholten in 2018, when he survived by just a 50-47 margin. That backdrop gave Scholten an opening once again, however slight.

But as the GOP's new nominee, Feenstra, won't trail the top of the ticket, where Trump is sure to dominate. Daily Kos is Elections is therefore changing our rating on this race from Likely Republican to Safe Republican.

MN-01: Republican Jim Hagedorn defeated Army veteran Dan Feehan 50.1-49.7 in a 2018 open seat contest, and Feehan is back for a rematch. Feehan, who faces no primary opposition, ended March with a wide $1.1 million to $787,000 million advantage, and outside groups on both sides have booked TV time in this area.

Despite his tiny win last cycle, though, Hagedorn has the edge this time. This southern Minnesota seat swung from 50-48 Obama to 53-38 Trump, so Feehan will likely need to win over a significant number of Trump voters to win this time. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Republican.

MN-02: Democrat Angie Craig unseated Republican Rep. Jason Lewis 53-47 in 2018 to flip a suburban Twin Cities seat that both Barack Obama and Donald Trump narrowly carried, and Republicans don't seem to have a strong candidate to try to take it back. The only Republican in the running is Marine veteran Tyler Kistner, who ended March with a wide $2 million to $100,000 cash-on-hand deficit in a contest we rate as Likely Democratic.

MN-03: Democrat Dean Phillips unseated GOP incumbent Erik Paulsen 56-44 after an expensive race, but the new incumbent doesn't appear to be in any danger this time.

The only notable Republican in the race is healthcare executive Kendall Qualls, who trailed Phillips $346,000 to $242,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of March. While Phillips didn't have a large war chest for an incumbent, the district's shift to the left will make it hard for Qualls to gain traction: This suburban Twin Cities seat moved from 50-49 Obama to 51-41 Clinton, and Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Safe Democratic.

MN-05: Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been one of the most high-profile members of the freshman Democratic class, faces four opponents in the primary for this safely blue Minneapolis seat. Omar's most high-profile foe is attorney Antone Melton-Meaux, who has argued that Omar "appears to be more focused on her own celebrity than on serving the district." Omar ended March with a wide $1.3 million to $200,000 cash-on-hand lead over Melton-Meaux.

MN-07: Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson has held this rural western Minnesota seat for 30 years even as it has become more and more Republican, and he faces his greatest test this fall. The GOP establishment, including Donald Trump, has consolidated behind former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach in this 62-31 Trump seat. A few other Republicans are running including self-funding physician Noel Collis and 2016/2018 nominee Dave Hughes, but it's unlikely they'll be able to stop Fischbach.

Peterson, who chairs the important House Agriculture Committee, ended March with a wide $1.1 million to $312,000 cash-on-hand lead over Fischbach. However, this seat gave Trump the highest vote share of any House district that Democrats currently hold, and with Trump almost certain to easily carry this seat again, it's likely that Republicans will invest plenty of money in their campaign to unseat the longtime incumbent. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as a Tossup.

MN-08: Republican Pete Stauber flipped this seat 51-45 last cycle, and the new incumbent looks secure this time. The Democrats are fielding diabetes research advocate Quinn Nystrom, who is a former member of the Baxter City Council. Stauber ended March with a wide $849,000 to $103,000 cash-on-hand lead in a northeast Minnesota seat that swung from 52-46 Obama to 54-39 Trump, and Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Safe Republican.

NJ-05: Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich, who is challenging Rep. Josh Gottheimer in the July 7 Democratic primary, is out with a survey from Data for Progress that shows her losing 64-17. Kreibich argues that she makes gains when voters learn about her, though she still trails when respondents are exposed to positive and negative messaging about both contenders.  

NY-16: Veteran Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, on his first visit back to his district in months, was caught on camera Tuesday pleading with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for the chance to speak at a press conference, telling Diaz twice, "If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care."

While Engel was referring to his lack of a speaking slot at the event, which was convened after a night of looting along the Fordham Road retail corridor, the gaffe was quickly refracted as a commentary on Engel's feelings about his race and his constituents. Engel tried to explain away the remarks, saying, "In the context of running for re-election, I thought it was important for people to know where I stand, that's why I asked to speak," but his leading opponent, educator Jamaal Bowman, immediately seized on the blunder to call the 16-term incumbent out of touch and said he raised $150,000 in the 24 hours following the incident.

Last month, Engel was the subject of an unflattering profile in the Atlantic highlighting the fact that he had holed up in his DC-area home for the duration of the pandemic, not even returning to New York when the state's first coronavirus epicenter was identified in the city of New Rochelle, which is in his district. (Many other members of New York's delegation, including several fellow committee chairs, had managed to split time between Washington and their home turf.)

Bowman's campaign had in part centered around Engel's alleged absenteeism even before the pandemic, immediately making Tuesday's hot mic comments part of a pre-existing narrative about the race. But Bowman only has three more weeks to make his case ahead of the June 23 primary for the safely blue 16th District, and Engel had a roughly five-to-one cash advantage as of the end of March. However, the financial picture—and the race itself—might now look very different going forward.

P.S. Oddly, the event Engel was attending wasn't even in his district: It was held at an intersection on the border of the 13th and 15th Districts. 13th District Rep. Adriano Espaillat was in attendance, as were a long list of other local politicians. It's understandable, then, why Diaz told Engel, "I cannot have all the electeds talk because we will never get out of here" and snapped back, "Don't do that to me—everybody has a primary" when Engel tried to plead his case.

NY-17: In his second TV spot for the June 23 Democratic primary, attorney Mondaire Jones tells the audience, "I'm grateful to the grocery store workers and delivery people who help us get through this crisis. Don't they deserve affordable healthcare? Doesn't everyone?" Jones talks about growing up on food stamps and declares, "No one should lose their healthcare because they've lost their job." Jones concludes by saying he's the one Democrat in the contest who backs Medicare for All.

NY-27: On Tuesday, Donald Trump implored his Twitter followers to vote for state Sen. Chris Jacobs on June 23. Trump had already endorsed Jacobs in February for the special general election to succeed disgraced Rep. Chris Collins, though the political calendar looked different at the time. Back then, the special was set for late April while the regular primary was in June, but the coronavirus pandemic led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to consolidate the two contests.

Jacobs' primary opponents have insisted that Trump's earlier endorsement only applied to the special, but that's a tougher argument to make now. Trump himself didn't refer to either the special or the primary, though, he simply tweeted, "Chris has my Complete and Total Endorsement! Vote for Chris on June 23!"

TX-10: 2018 Democratic nominee Mike Siegel picked up an endorsement this week from freshman Rep. Veronica Escobar. Siegel faces physician Pritesh Gandhi in the July 14 Democratic primary runoff to take on veteran GOP Rep. Michael McCaul.

Election Result Recaps

Baltimore, MD Mayor: With 80,000 votes counted, former Mayor Sheila Dixon leads City Council President Brandon Scott 30-25 in the Democratic primary for mayor. It's not clear how many votes remain to be counted, though the head of the city's board of elections says that it will resume tabulating mail-in ballots on Thursday. Whoever emerges with the Democratic nomination should have no trouble winning the general election in this very blue city.

Ferguson, MO Mayor: Ferguson elected its first-ever black mayor, as well as its first woman leader, on Tuesday when City Councilwoman Ella Jones defeated colleague Heather Robinett 54-46. Voters in this St. Louis suburb also made history by electing a black majority to the local school board.

Ferguson attracted global attention in 2014 after a white police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, sparking focus for Black Lives Matter. One big fact stood out amidst the city's botched handling of the protests that followed Brown's death: While Ferguson is two-thirds black and heavily Democratic, this municipality of 21,000 was led by a white Republican mayor, James Knowles. Five of Ferguson's six city councilmembers were also white, as were six of the seven local school board members. In large part because local elections didn't take place the same day as state or federal ones, very low turnout produced a majority-white electorate.

However, reformers made gains the next year when Jones and another black candidate won seats on the City Council in a contest that attracted much higher turnout than normal. Another African American joined the body the next year, which gave it a black majority for the first time. In 2017, though, Jones challenged Knowles for re-election and lost 56-44. But Knowles, who has been in office since 2011, was termed-out this year, and Jones won a three-year term to succeed him.

IA-Sen: Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield won the Democratic nomination to face GOP Sen. Joni Ernst by defeating retired Navy Vice Adm. Michael Franken 48-25. Greenfield had the support of national Democratic groups like Senate Majority PAC, which spent close to $7 million on her behalf, and EMILY's List.

Greenfield will be in for a difficult race against Ernst in a state that moved hard to the right in 2014 and 2016, but as SMP's big primary investment demonstrates, this is a contest that outside groups are taking very seriously. The DSCC and SMP have booked $20.4 million to unseat Ernst, while the senator's allies at the NRSC and the Senate Leadership Fund have reserved a total of $15.2 million to defend her. The only survey we've seen here all year, an early May poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, had Ernst ahead just 43-42. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Republican.

IA-02: State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who was the party's nominee here in 2008, 2010, and 2014, won the GOP nod for this competitive seat once again by beating former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling 48-37. Miller-Meeks will take on former state Sen. Rita Hart, who had no Democratic primary opposition, in the contest to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack.

This southeastern Iowa seat swung from 56-43 Obama to 49-45 Trump, and it will be one of the House GOP's top targets. However, this terrain has been more difficult for Team Red downballot. Loebsack turned back Miller-Meeks 52-47 during the 2014 GOP wave, and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Fred Hubbell, who had Hart on his ticket as his nominee for lieutenant governor, carried the district 51-47 as he was narrowly losing statewide. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Democratic.

IN-01: In a surprise, North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan defeated Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott 34-29 in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Pete Visclosky in this safely blue seat. Mrvan will take on Republican Mark Leyva, who has run here during 10 of the last 12 election cycles and never come close to winning.

McDermott, a self-described moderate who considered challenging Visclosky before the incumbent retired, looked like the frontrunner for this northwest Indiana seat. The mayor deployed the most cash, and he also received a $525,000 boost from third-party groups—mostly from VoteVets and an organization called Democratic Progress, whose treasurer works for a super PAC that backs independent candidates. Another candidate, state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, also benefited from outside support.

Mrvan, meanwhile, raised very little money, though some allied PACs dropped about $110,000 to help him. However, Mrvan had the support of Visclosky and the local branch of the United Steelworkers of America, which is a prominent force in a district with a large steel industry. Mrvan may have benefited from some family name recognition: His father and namesake is local state Sen. Frank Mrvan, who was first elected in 1978 and has served in the legislature almost continuously since then.

IN-05: State Sen. Victoria Spartz won a truly ugly GOP primary to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Susan Brooks in this open seat by defeating businesswoman Beth Henderson 41-18. Spartz will take on former state Rep. Christina Hale, who beat 2018 nominee Dee Thornton 39-28 in a race that didn't attract much outside attention.

Spartz used her personal resources to decisively outspend all of her opponents, while her allies at the anti-tax Club for Growth ran ads attacking Henderson and another candidate, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Henderson, who was backed by Sen. Mike Braun, in turn launched a xenophobic and misogynist ad against the Ukrainian-born Spartz.

This suburban Indianapolis seat was safely red turf until the Trump era, but Democrats are hoping to score a pickup here this fall. This district moved from 58-41 Romney to 53-41 Trump, and former Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly narrowly prevailed here 48.4-47.9 in 2018 even though he lost 51-45 statewide. So far, no major outside groups on either side have booked TV time in the Indianapolis media market, which covers the entire district, though there's still plenty of time for that to change. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Republican.

MD-07: Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who recently returned to the House after a 24-year absence, beat former state party chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings 78-9 in the primary for this safely blue Baltimore seat. Mfume defeated Rockeymoore Cummings 43-17 back in February in the special primary to succeed her late husband, Rep. Elijah Cummings.

MT-Gov: Rep. Greg Gianforte won the GOP primary by defeating Attorney General Tim Fox 53-27, while Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney beat businesswoman Whitney Williams 55-45 to secure the Democratic nod. Gianforte and Cooney will face off in the fall in the contest to succeed termed-out Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who is Team Blue's nominee for the Senate.

Republicans last won the governorship in Montana in 2000, but that losing streak may finally come to an end in 2020 thanks to the state's increasingly red trend. Gianforte, who threw down $1.5 million of his own money for the primary, also may be able to decisively outspend Cooney. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Republican.

However, while Gianforte is the favorite in the fall, he's hardly invincible. The now-congressman was the party's nominee back in 2016, and Democrats ran a barrage of ads portraying the former New Jersey resident as a greedy outsider eager to deny the public access to waterways for fishing and swimming that were located near his "riverfront mansion"—so much so that he in fact went to court. Gianforte ultimately lost to Bullock 50-46 even though Trump carried Montana by a dominant 56-35 margin.

Undeterred by his loss, Gianforte ran in a special election for Montana's lone House seat when Rep. Ryan Zinke temporarily got beamed up to Trump's cabinet. Gianforte made international news the night before Election Day by body-slamming reporter Ben Jacobs after he asked Gianforte a question about Obamacare. Gianforte filed a statement with the police afterwards in which he claimed that Jacobs had provoked the attack—an utter lie, and a particularly shameful one since several witnesses were present and the incident was also captured on audiotape.

Gianforte ended up winning 50-44, but since most voters had already cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, it's not clear how much damage this story did or didn't do to the Republican's political fortunes. A few months after the election, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault. The congressman paid a $385 fine and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service as well as another 20 hours of training for anger management. However, Gianforte was never charged with lying to the police. He and Jacobs also reached a settlement in which Gianforte accepted responsibility for his actions and agreed to donate $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists, heading off a lawsuit by Jacobs.

Gianforte faced an expensive re-election contest last cycle against Democrat Kathleen Williams, who ran ads going after the incumbent for his attack on Jacobs. However, one high-profile Republican was very much not bothered by Gianforte's transgressions. Donald Trump ventured to Montana in October and told a rally, "Greg is smart and, by the way, never wrestle him." In case that was too subtle, Trump pantomimed throwing someone to the ground and added, "Any guy that can do a body slam—he's my guy." Gianforte went on to beat Williams by a modest 51-46 margin.

MT-AL: State Auditor Matt Rosendale, who was the GOP's nominee for Senate last cycle, defeated Secretary of State Corey Stapleton 48-33 in the primary for this open seat. Rosendale, who had Donald Trump's endorsement, will take on 2018 Democratic nominee Kathleen Williams, who defeated state Rep. Tom Winter by a lopsided 89-11 margin.

Williams held GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, who gave up this seat to run for governor, to a 51-46 win last cycle. However, while Rosendale's 50-47 loss against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester shows he can be defeated in this red state, he'll probably be harder for Williams to attack than the notorious Gianforte was. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Likely Republican.

NM-02: 2018 GOP nominee Yvette Herrell beat businesswoman Claire Chase 45-32, which earned Herrell a rematch against freshman Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small. This was a truly ugly primary, with both candidates calling one another enemies of Trump; Herrell was even accused of spreading rumors about Chase's first marriage.  

This southern New Mexico seat backed Donald Trump 50-40, but Herrell lost it to Torres Small 51-49 two years later. Team Blue was eager to face Herrell again following that defeat, and the Democratic group Patriot Majority even ran ads during the final weeks of the primary designed to help Herrell against Chase. A GOP establishment-flavored group called Defending Main Street tried to counter with anti-Herrell ads, but it was too little, too late.

Still, while Democrats have the opponent they want, Herrell could still win in a seat this red. Torres Small is a very strong fundraiser, though, and she proved in 2018 that she's able to secure crossover votes. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as a Tossup.

NM-03: Attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez won the Democratic primary to succeed Senate nominee Ben Ray Luján in this reliably blue seat by beating former CIA agent Valerie Plame 42-25.

This was a very expensive contest and Plame, who was at the center of a national firestorm that lasted for years during the presidency of George W. Bush after her name was publicly leaked, decisively outspent Leger Fernandez. However, several outside groups, including EMILY's List, spent heavily on ads touting Leger Fernandez's local roots in northern New Mexico.

P.S. Tuesday's primary results mean that all of New Mexico's House seats will almost certainly be represented next year by women of color, which would be a first in American history for a state with more than two districts. Leger Fernandez is Latina, while 1st District Rep. Deb Haaland, who holds a safely blue seat, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo Native American people. Over in the 2nd District, Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, while GOP nominee Yvette Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

PA-01: In a surprise, GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick held off underfunded businessman Andrew Meehan, who was challenging the "anti-Trump, Trump hating RINO" congressman for renomination, just 57-43. On the Democratic side, Christina Finello, who has worked as a Bucks County housing department official, beat businessman Skylar Hurwitz 77-23.

While much of the party base seems quite angry at Fitzpatrick, who has always portrayed himself as a moderate, it remains to be seen if Democrats can exploit his problems. Finello, who became the party's frontrunner after the two most prominent contenders dropped out, raised a total of just around $210,000 through mid-May, and we'll need to see if she can do better now that she's the nominee. Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, is a very strong fundraiser who will have all the money he needs to defend himself.  

This seat, which is centered around Bucks County north of Philadelphia, narrowly backed both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but Fitzpatrick won an expensive contest 51-49 during the 2018 Democratic wave. With the cash battle so lopsided, at least for now, Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Likely Republican.

PA-07: Businesswoman Lisa Scheller defeated 2018 primary runner-up Dean Browning, who is also a former member of the Lehigh County Commission, 52-48 in the GOP primary to face freshman Democratic Rep. Susan Wild. Scheller, who has self-funded much of her campaign, decisively outspent Browning, and she also had the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Scheller picked up an endorsement in the final days of the contest from Donald Trump, a tweet that may have made all the difference in this close race.

This Lehigh Valley district shifted from 53-46 Obama to just 49-48 Clinton, but Wild decisively won an open seat race last cycle after national Republicans abandoned their nominee. Scheller may prove to be a better contender, but Wild has over $1.5 million to defend herself in a race we rate as Lean Democratic.

PA-08: Former Trump administration official Jim Bognet beat former police officer Teddy Daniels 28-25 in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright; Army veteran Earl Granville, who had House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's endorsement, finished just behind with 24%.

This seat in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area swung from 55-43 Obama to 53-44 Trump, but Cartwright turned back a self-funding opponent last cycle by a convincing 55-45 margin. However, the incumbent could be in considerably more danger with Trump at the top of the ballot. Bognet, for his part, has made sure to emulate the GOP leader by running racist ad after racist ad declaring that he'll punish China for having "sent us the Wuhan flu."

Bognet raised only about $300,000 from when he entered the race in January through mid-May, though he may attract considerably more attention now that he's the GOP nominee. Democrats are already preparing for an expensive race in any case: House Majority PAC has reserved $1.8 million in fall TV time in the Wilkes-Barre media market, which contains most of this seat, though Republicans have yet to book time. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Lean Democratic.

PA-10: With 38,000 votes counted, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale leads attorney Tom Brier 63-37 in the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Scott Perry. The Associated Press has not yet called the race, and The Patriot-News reported Wednesday that there are still 40,000 ballots to be counted in Dauphin and Cumberland Counties, while most votes are in for DePasquale's York County base. (This district includes 80% of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County.)

Brier is leading 66-35 in Dauphin County, while he has a bare majority in Cumberland County, so he'll likely pick up ground as more votes come in. Gov. Tom Wolf's recent executive order requires any mail ballots in Dauphin County that are received by June 9 to be counted as long as they were postmarked by Election Day, so we may not have a resolution here until next week.

Special Elections: Here's a recap of Tuesday's two Massachusetts special elections, including a Democratic flip:

MA-HD-3rd Bristol: Democrat Carol Doherty defeated Republican Kelly Dooner 57-43 to flip this seat for Team Blue. Though this district backed Hillary Clinton 52-42 and Barack Obama 58-40, former GOP state Rep. Shaunna O'Connell routinely won re-election, making Doherty's win a significant downballot shift for this district.

This victory continues Democrats' streak of flips in the Bay State; two weeks ago, Democrats flipped two state Senate districts that were similarly blue at the federal level.

MA-HD-37th Middlesex: Democrat Danilo Sena easily beat Republican Catherine Clark 74-26 to hold this seat for his party. Sena's win was large even for this strongly Democratic district, running well ahead of Clinton's 62-31 win and Obama's 57-41 win here.

The composition of this chamber is 127-31 (with one independent member) with one other seat vacant.

Morning Digest: Flipping the Senate is within reach as three key race ratings shift toward Democrats

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

Race Ratings: As the battle for control of the Senate grows more competitive, Daily Kos Elections is moving a trio of contests in the Democrats’ direction, though all three Republican incumbents very much remain in the fight. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s race moves from Likely to Lean Republican, while Maine Sen. Susan Collins' and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis’ seats have gone from Lean Republican to Tossup.

With these changes, we now rate three Republican-held seats as Tossups (the two above plus Arizona) and one as Lean Democratic (Colorado). If Democrats can sweep these races and retake the White House, they'll win back control of the Senate even in the likely event that Alabama Sen. Doug Jones loses his bid for re-election.

Campaign Action

Iowa (Likely Republican to Lean Republican). At the start of the cycle, it wasn’t clear whether Joni Ernst would be a serious target, but of late, both parties have begun treating the Hawkeye State as a major battleground. Ernst’s allies at the NRSC and the Senate Leadership Fund have reserved a total of $15.2 million in ad time, while the DSCC and the Senate Majority PAC have booked $20.4 million to unseat her. Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield, who has the support of national Democrats in the June 2 primary, has also proven to be a strong fundraiser, though Ernst still had considerably more money to spend at the end of March.

Still, while Ernst is in for a tougher race than she may have anticipated even a few months ago, she remains the favorite thanks to Iowa’s swing to the right over the last few years. Though the Hawkeye State had been competitive turf for generations, Ernst won by a surprisingly lopsided 52-44 margin in 2014, and Donald Trump did even better there two years later. Iowa did shift back towards Democrats last cycle when Democrats unseated two Republican House incumbents, but Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds still won a full term 50-48 in a bad year for her party.

Maine (Lean Republican to Tossup): Susan Collins has pulled off lopsided wins during all three of her re-election contests, and she remained very popular in her home state of Maine as recently as a couple of years ago. However, the incumbent’s numbers took a dive after she provided the decisive vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, something that she seemed to acknowledge last summer.

We’ve only seen two polls this year, but they both showed Collins narrowly losing to state House Speaker Sara Gideon, who has the backing of national Democrats in the July primary and swamped Collins on the money front in the most recent quarter. Maine only narrowly backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Collins has a strong shot of winning a fifth term if Trump can come close again. But Collins, whose once-moderate veneer helped her win many Democratic votes in years past, is unused to having her fate tied to the top of the ticket and can no longer count on crossover support now that her extremism has been exposed.

North Carolina (Lean Republican to Tossup): Thom Tillis is another GOP incumbent who seemed to have the edge just a few months ago, but things have improved for Democrats since Cal Cunningham won his primary in early March. Cunningham decisively outraised Tillis over the following weeks, and multiple polls have shown Tillis trailing. North Carolina did back Trump 50-46, but if this swing state ends up in Joe Biden’s column this fall, Tillis will have a tough time hanging on.

Election Changes

Please bookmark our statewide 2020 primary calendar and our calendar of key downballot races, both of which we're updating continually as changes are finalized.

California: Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an order directing that all California voters be sent a mail-in ballot for the November general election, though in-person voting will still remain an option. Leaders in the Democratic-run legislature plan to pass a bill that would do the same thing, but they had asked Newsom to issue this order so that election officials could begin making the necessary preparations immediately.

Delaware: Democratic Gov. John Carney has postponed Delaware's presidential primary a second time, from June 2 to July 7. The delay will give the state more time to send absentee ballots applications to all registered Democrats and Republicans who have not yet requested one, a move that Carney also just announced. Carney's order also postpones all school board elections, which previously were moved from May 12 to June 16, until July 21.

Louisiana: Voting rights advocates, including the NAACP, have filed a federal lawsuit asking that Louisiana's requirement that voters present an excuse in order to vote absentee be waived for all elections that take place during the coronavirus pandemic. The suit also seeks to waive the requirement that absentee voters obtain a witness' signature for their ballots. In addition, plaintiffs want the early voting period extended from seven days to 14.

Michigan: Michigan officials have accepted a federal judge's original plan for easing ballot access requirements for congressional and judicial candidates despite an appeals court ruling that overturned that plan. As a result, the filing deadline for such candidates was extended from April 21 to May 8, the number of signatures required was halved, and candidates were allowed to collect and file signatures electronically.

Minnesota: Democrats in the Minnesota House have given up on a plan to conduct the state's elections by mail after the Republican-run state Senate refused to consider it. Instead, both chambers passed a compromise bill that appropriates federal funds to promote absentee voting, help process an expected surge of mail ballots, and open more polling places to reduce crowding.

Senate

MI-Sen: Advertising Analytics reports that Republican John James has launched a new $800,000 buy that will last for two weeks. The commercial touts James' time in the Army and in business and does not mention Democratic incumbent Gary Peters.

House

IN-01: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus' BOLD PAC has spent about $150,000 on mailers supporting state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon in the June 2 Democratic primary.

Candelaria Reardon is one of several candidates competing to succeed retiring Rep. Pete Visclosky in this reliably blue seat in the northwestern corner of the state, and there's no clear frontrunner at this point. Attorney and environmental advocate Sabrina Haake, who has self-funded most of her campaign, ended March with a $237,000 to $161,000 cash-on-hand lead over Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, who considered challenging the incumbent before Visclosky decided not to seek re-election.

Candelaria Reardon wasn't far behind with $146,000 available, while 2018 Secretary of State nominee Jim Harper had $81,000 to spend. North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan, who has Visclosky's endorsement, had just $43,000 on-hand, while businesswoman Melissa Borom did not report raising anything.

NJ-03: Defending Main Street, a super PAC that backs establishment Republicans in primaries, has spent $100,000 on mailers boosting former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs and opposing wealthy businessman David Richter in the July GOP primary.

While Republicans reportedly recruited Gibbs to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, her fundraising has been very disappointing in this very expensive district. Gibbs outraised Richter $71,000 to $19,000 during the first quarter of 2020, but Richter self-funded another $100,000 and ended March with a large $462,000 to $112,000 cash-on-hand lead.

Kim hauled in $760,000 during this time and had a hefty $2.7 million available. However, despite the GOP's fundraising woes, this is still tough turf for Democrats: This seat, which includes the Philadelphia suburbs and central Jersey Shore, swung from 52-47 Obama to 51-45 Trump.

TX-03: Attorney Lulu Seikaly picked up an endorsement on Friday from Rep. Marc Veasey, who serves as a regional DCCC vice chair, in the July Democratic runoff to take on freshman GOP Rep. Van Taylor.

Morning Digest: Justin Amash’s presidential bid opens up potentially competitive Michigan House seat

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

MI-03: On Tuesday evening, Republican-turned-independent Rep. Justin Amash announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president as a member of the Libertarian Party. Michigan doesn't allow candidates to run for president and for Congress at the same time, and Amash soon confirmed that he was giving up his seat in the Grand Rapids area. Amash, who left the GOP last year, also said that he'd be informing the House clerk that he's now a Libertarian, which would give the party its first-ever member of Congress.

The Libertarian Party is scheduled to award its presidential nomination in late May, so Amash will soon know if he'll be its standard bearer. However, he does have a backup option if delegates reject him: While Michigan's filing deadline for major party candidates is May 8, everyone else has until July 16 to turn in their paperwork.

Campaign Action

For now, though, we have an open seat race in an area that's been friendly to the GOP for a long time. Gerald Ford himself represented Grand Rapids for decades, and the current 3rd District went from 53-46 Romney to 52-42 Trump. However, Democrats may still have an opening if 2020 turns out to be a favorable year. 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette took the seat by a very slim 48.6-48.2 margin while he was losing statewide 53-44, while GOP Senate nominee John James carried the district by a modest 51-47 that same year while he was going down 52-46.

Several candidates were already running against Amash, and while the deadline to run in the August primary isn't until next month, it's unlikely the field will expand. Congressional candidates need to turn in 1,200 valid signatures to make the ballot this year, and social distancing makes that task especially difficult. The main GOP candidates are Army veteran and wealthy businessman Peter Meijer and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, while attorney Hillary Scholten has the Democratic side to herself.

Amash's decision to leave Congress will mark the end of a 10-year career defined by fights with GOP leaders. Amash first ran for the House in 2010 as a first-term state representative who had already established a reputation for libertarian principles: Notably, Amash was the only state lawmaker to oppose 59 different bills, and he posted explanations for each negative vote on his Facebook page. Amash was one of several Republicans to campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers, and he earned the support of the anti-tax Club for Growth and local conservative powerplayers Dick and Betsy DeVos. Amash won the primary 40-26, and he had no trouble in November.

Amash brought to D.C. his habit of voting no on any bills that didn't pass his personal purity test, as well as a reputation for being difficult to work with. In late 2012, Amash was one of three GOP House members who were removed from their committees for, as one unnamed member put it, being "the most egregious a—holes" in the caucus. Amash refused to vote for John Boehner in the following year's speakership election, and he opposed him again two years later. Amash had more success with the GOP's emerging tea party wing, though, and he was one of the founding members of the nihilist House Freedom Caucus.

Amash's establishment enemies backed wealthy businessman Brian Ellis in the 2014 primary in what turned into an expensive and nasty race. Ellis attempted to portray Amash as weak on abortion issues and even labeled Amash, who is of Palestinian and Syrian descent, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress," while the Club for Growth spent heavily to defend the incumbent. Amash won 57-43, though, and he was never again seriously threatened.

Amash's final break with the GOP came from his frustration with Donald Trump. Amash was the rare Republican who never fell into line with the administration, and he openly started musing about a third-party or independent presidential bid in March of last year.

Two months later, Amash took to social media and wrote that, after reading the Mueller Report he believed that Trump "has engaged in impeachable conduct." That attracted a typically belligerent response from Trump, and a number of candidates soon entered the GOP primary against Amash as his old allies almost all abandoned him. Amash announced on July 4 that he was leaving the GOP to become an independent, and he voted to impeach Trump at the end of last year.

Election Changes

Please bookmark our statewide 2020 primary calendar and our calendar of key downballot races, both of which we're updating continually as changes are finalized.

California: The Board of Supervisors in Los Angeles County, which is the largest county in the nation, has voted to mail a ballot to every voter for the November general election. The county is home to more than 10 million people and has more than 5.5 million registered voters. While voting by mail is very popular in California, it's been less so in Los Angeles: 45% of L.A. voters cast ballots by mail in 2018, compared to 72% in the rest of the state.

New York: Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has sued the New York State Board of Elections, asking that New York's June 23 Democratic primary for president be reinstated. Earlier this week, the board canceled the presidential primary (but downballot primaries remain scheduled that day).

Rhode Island: Democratic Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says every voter will be sent an absentee ballot application for Rhode Island's June 2 presidential primary. The effort does not appear to apply to the state's downballot primaries, which will not take place until Sept. 8.

South Carolina: Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has postponed a number of local elections that were set to take place on May 5 and May 12. New dates have not yet been set.

Texas: A group of Texas voters, supported by the National Redistricting Foundation, have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the state's practice of allowing all voters 65 or older to cast absentee ballots without an excuse while requiring an excuse for anyone younger violates the Constitution. Specifically, the suit charges that the law in question violates the 26th Amendment, which guarantees that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age." Six other conservative states have similar provisions in place, all but one of which is also located in the South.

Two other cases on the issue of Texas' excuse requirement are still pending. In one, filed in state court, a judge ruled that all voters can cite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to request an absentee ballot, though Republicans have said they will appeal. A second similar case in federal court awaits a ruling.

Separately, commissioners in Harris County have allocated $12 million in new election funds, which would allow the county to mail ballots to every voter for the November general election. Harris is home to Houston and is the largest county in the state, with more than 2.3 million registered voters.

Senate

CO-Sen: On Tuesday, Denver District Court Judge Christopher Baumann ruled against placing climate activist Diana Bray in on the June Democratic primary ballot. Bray had only turned in just over 2,700 of the necessary 10,500 signatures, and Baumann argued that she had not demonstrated a "significant modicum of support" from the state's voters.

KS-Sen: Rep. Roger Marshall's allies at Keep Kansas Great PAC recently ran a spot against former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach ahead of the August GOP primary, and Advertising Analytics reports that the size of the buy was at least $35,000.

NC-Sen, NC-Gov: SurveyUSA is out with a poll for WRAL-TV that has some good news for Team Blue. Democrat Cal Cunningham posts a small 41-39 lead over GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, while Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper leads Republican Dan Forest by a massive 57-30. This sample also shows Joe Biden leading Donald Trump 50-45.

April polls have consistently shown Cooper, who has received strong marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, leading Forest by double digits, but there's less agreement on the state of the Senate race. The conservative Civitas Institute released numbers two weeks ago from the GOP firm Harper Polling that showed Tillis ahead 38-34, while the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found Cunningham ahead 47-40 around that same time.

Senate: On Tuesday, the DSCC announced its first wave of TV and digital ad reservations for the fall. The Democratic group's initial bookings consists of $30.6 million in four GOP-held Senate seats:

Arizona (Martha McSally): $6.4 Million Iowa (Joni Ernst): $7.3 Million Montana (Steve Daines): $5.2 Million North Carolina (Thom Tillis): $11.7 Million

The DSCC's reservations come weeks after its allies at Senate Majority PAC, as well as the GOP organizations NRSC and Senate Leadership Fund, made their own first wave of bookings.

All four groups made their largest reservations in North Carolina, a race that could very well decide control of the U.S. Senate in 2020. What's more surprising, though, is that all four organizations also booked millions for Iowa, which has long looked like a reach target for Democrats. The state swung hard to the right in 2014 and 2016, and while Democrats did considerably better last cycle, GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds still won a close contest for a full term.

We haven't seen a single poll of the Senate race since December, so we don't have a good sense for how vulnerable incumbent Joni Ernst is. However, this quartet of well-funded groups is at least acting like this race is very much in play.

House

CA-25: Democrat Christy Smith is out with what Politico describes as her "closing TV spot" ahead of the May 12 special election. The narrator goes after Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis and argues that Republican Mike Garcia "attacks anyone who doesn't agree with Trump." The commercial then shows a clip of Garcia saying that "everyone should have to figure out how to fend for themselves." The rest of the spot praises Smith's work during the pandemic.

GA-09: State Rep. Matt Gurtler picked up an endorsement this week from the radical anti-tax Club for Growth ahead of the crowded June GOP primary for this safely red seat. Gurtler has spent his two terms in the legislature fighting with party leaders, which makes him an ideal candidate for the Club.

IA-04: State Sen. Randy Feenstra is out with a poll from American Viewpoint that shows him trailing white supremacist Rep. Steve King by a modest 41-34 in the June 2 GOP primary; another 8% opt for another candidate. While Feenstra is down, the memo says that this is a big shift in his favor from late January, when a previously-unreleased poll found King up 53-22. We haven't seen any other surveys of the contest for this rural western Iowa seat all year.

Feenstra is using his huge financial edge over King to air a spot contrasting the two candidates. The narrator declares, "Steve King couldn't protect our farmers, and couldn't defend President Trump from impeachment." He continues, "King lost his congressional committees, can't do his job, can't protect us." The rest of the commercial praises Feenstra as an effective and pro-Trump conservative.  

Election Result Recaps

MD-07: The almost all-mail general election for the final months of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' term took place on Tuesday, and former Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume won 73-27 in a seat that Hillary Clinton carried 76-20. Mfume represented a previous version of this Baltimore-based seat from 1987 until he resigned in 1996 to lead the NAACP. However, former Rep. Rick Nolan still holds the record for the longest gap in congressional service: The Minnesota Democrat retired in 1981 and returned 32 years later in 2013.

Mfume does have one more contest in his near future, but it doesn't look very competitive. The primary for the full two-year term is on June 2, and Mfume faces former state party chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is Elijah Cummings' widow, state Sen. Jill Carter, and Del. Jay Jalisi. This group faced off in the February special election primary, which ended with Mfume decisively defeating Rockeymoore Cummings 43-17; Carter and Jalisi took 16% and 2%, respectively.

P.S. In a tweet encouraging people to vote on Tuesday, Rockeymoore Cummings wrote, "A lot of people have asked me if you can write my name in. The answer is yes." Only about 1% of voters ended up writing in another candidate's name, though, and it's not clear how many of them selected Rockeymoore Cummings.

Ohio: After an abrupt cancellation, Ohio's primaries, originally scheduled for March 17, took place on Tuesday. The election took place almost entirely by mail, and only voters with disabilities or those who lacked a home address were allowed to vote in person. Ballots will still be accepted through May 8 as long as they were postmarked by Monday, so the margin may shift in some races.

OH-01: Former healthcare executive Kate Schroder defeated retired Air Force pilot Nikki Foster by a decisive 68-32 margin in the Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Steve Chabot. This seat in the Cincinnati area was heavily gerrymandered to keep Chabot from losing again after he had lost re-election in a bluer previous version of this district in 2008 (Chabot returned two years later). However, Donald Trump only carried the current 1st District by a modest 51-45 margin, and Chabot himself won an expensive re-election campaign 51-47 in 2018.

Chabot's campaign was also thrown into turmoil last summer when the FEC sent a letter asking why the congressman's first-quarter fundraising report was belatedly amended to show $124,000 in receipts that hadn't previously been accounted for. From there, a bizarre series of events unfolded.

First, Chabot's longtime consultant, Jamie Schwartz, allegedly disappeared after he shuttered his firm, called the Fountain Square Group. Then Schwartz's father, Jim Schwartz, told reporters that despite appearing as Chabot's treasurer on his FEC filings for many years, he had in fact never served in that capacity. Chabot's team was certainly bewildered, because it issued a statement saying, "As far as the campaign was aware, James Schwartz, Sr. has been the treasurer since 2011." Evidently there's a whole lot the campaign wasn't aware of.

The elder Schwartz also claimed of his son, "I couldn't tell you where he's at" because "he's doing a lot of running around right now." Well, apparently, he'd run right into the arms of the feds. In December, local news station Fox19 reported that Jamie Schwartz had turned himself in to the U.S. Attorney's office, which, Fox19 said, has been investigating the matter "for a while."

Adding to the weirdness, it turned out that Chabot had paid Schwartz's now-defunct consultancy $57,000 in July and August for "unknown" purposes. Yes, that's literally the word Chabot's third-quarter FEC report used to describe payments to the Fountain Square Group no fewer than five times. (Remember how we were saying the campaign seems to miss quite a bit?)

We still don't know what those payments were for, or what the deal was with the original $124,000 in mystery money that triggered this whole saga. Chabot himself has refused to offer any details, insisting only that he's been the victim of an unspecified "financial crime." There haven't been any public developments since December, but until there's a resolution, this story always has the potential to resurface at exactly the wrong time for Chabot.

OH-03: Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty won renomination in this safely blue Columbus seat by defeating Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser, 68-32.

Harper, who is 36 and a first-time candidate, had contrasted herself against Beatty, who is 69 and has held elected office for two decades, by calling for generational change. However, while Harper raised a credible amount of money, she was always at a big disadvantage against the well-funded incumbent. Beatty also had considerably more cash left to use than Harper when the race was unexpectedly extended, and the incumbent kept up her spending advantage over the final weeks.

OH State House, Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt, who lost renomination in a 2012 upset against now-Rep. Brad Wenstrup, looks to be on-track to return to her old stomping grounds in the Ohio state House.

Schmidt ended Tuesday evening with a 44-42 lead―a margin of 287 votes―in the GOP primary for House District 65, which is based in Clermont County to the east of Cincinnati. There are close to 3,000 absentee ballots left to tally countywide (HD-65 makes up just over 60% of the county), so it may be a little while before we have a resolution. This seat backed Donald Trump 66-29, so the GOP nominee should have little trouble in November.

Meet The Woman Challenging Nancy Pelosi Who May Just Take Her Seat

By David Kamioner | February 13, 2020

Running and beating Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California may seem like an impossible task, a David versus Goliath mission. But the GOP sports a 34 year old entrepreneur that has the right stuff for the job.

DeAnna Lorraine was born and raised in California and went to Cal State at Chico, where she studied marketing and organizational communications.

For the last ten years she has owned her own personal counseling firm and has had a thorough private sector education in the free market and the challenges facing small businesses everywhere. Her particular job has also given her a unique perspective on the current status of the American family. That’s why her first priority is making sure government does all it can, within common sense limits, to “restore the family unit.”

Lorraine comments, “Even though I’m running as a Republican, so many of the issues we are dealing with cross political lines and affect all Americans – like rising homelessness, broken families, and fatherless homes. Our country is in a crisis of broken families and fatherless homes right now and we need to restore these crucial elements, because strong families create a strong America.”

And of her Goliath-like opponent? Well, DeAnna Lorraine is not reticent.

“Pelosi has been at the head of disastrous federal policies that have done a great deal to result in the continuing destruction of the city of San Francisco….Her priorities are all wrong. While we here in the 12th district deal with the problems of homelessness and broken families that are a product of her failed policies, she focuses on a doomed impeachment. In fact, last year her office sent out 380 press releases. Not one dealt with the ongoing economic crises here in her own backyard.”

Lorraine comments that, “Pelosi has engaged in a downright betrayal of Americans and the Constitution.” The challenger also says that stopping the scourge of illegal immigration is one of her top tasks, noting that “violent illegal immigrants have taken lives in this state and are a tremendous burden on the taxpayers of California. We’ve got to do better in protecting our families from this problem.”

Those who discount Lorraine’s chances, taking into account her climb is certainly uphill, forget Agincourt, the Battle of Britain, and Valley Forge.

Sometimes the goods guys, even though serious underdogs, can win the battle. Her campaign website is www.DeAnnaForCongress.com.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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The post Meet The Woman Challenging Nancy Pelosi Who May Just Take Her Seat appeared first on The Political Insider.

Bernie Sanders Thrives On Young Voters Not Educated On The History And Consequences Of Socialism

All of you young people need to remember that when you vote for people who want to give what we have away, loan forgiveness, Medicare for All, increased welfare, open borders, etc., all come at a price for someone.

Sooner or later, YOU are the ones who will have to pay for it all. Congress and the President cannot give anything away without first taking it from someone else. That someone else is YOU. Think about the things you are voting for and the costs.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is looking for young voters who haven’t been taught the history and consequences of socialism. If they think forgiving their school loan debt will improve their financial situation, wait until retirement.

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Be very scared of people who cannot tell you how they are going to pay for something and if they say tax the rich listen to those of us who know. The rich will leave. There are plenty of Caribbean islands willing to take every one of our rich people and not tax them at all. You only need to look to states like NY and CA to understand the problems with many of these programs.

Many billionaires in NY have moved their residency to places like FL. Also, providing illegals with driver’s license has screwed hundreds of thousands of NY residents because now the Federal Gov’t, and rightfully so, have said they will no longer accept the NY state driver’s license and other things like global entry. This stuff has real impacts – like 30,000 truckers no longer being able to speed through the US border in Canada.

Free SUNY tuition has made those schools impossible to get into for anyone who wanted an affordable education but had slightly more than the amount you need for free education. Every day, working-class people are being screwed over. Look at the homeless problem in CA. Bernie doesn’t have any solutions for any of this stuff that will work.

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We now live in a ‘Post-Democrat Party Era.’ Perhaps their voters may not realize this yet, but the outside world has seen their demise openly on display this week.

  • Iowa Caucus chaos;
  • Pres. Trump acquittal;
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi temper tantrum;
  • Michael Bloomberg buying the DNC to change his Nevada rules;
  • Expulsion of CIA insiders from the National Security Council;
  • Democrat House members who refused to stand for Tuskegee airman;
  • Mean-spirited Democrats who refused to clap for a grammar school girl;
  • 20 to 30% of Trump rallies are made up of registered Democrats;
  • Trump raises $100 million war chest during impeachment,
  • Gallup now polls Trump higher than Obama, etc.

This is a complete collapse of the Democrat Party. The DNC’s (and their corporate handlers) only option now is to take over the nomination regardless if it heaps great contempt upon the Democrat voters.

The DNC has already said they do not want Bernie Sanders, but they allowed him to run on their party platform. Bernie is pulling the wool over some, but I hope the masses will realize there is no such thing as a free lunch. His plan will raise taxes to an ungodly amount. Is that free?

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Here’s something that I have been wondering. If America is so broken, how come, Bernie, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and the others didn’t fix it while they were already in office? How come they can’t fix America unless they are elected President?

Name one thing Bernie has done during his time in office, because I can name at least 10 Trump promised to deliver on and did in just three years.

Take a long serious look at these Democratic politicians, whom many have been in politics for a long time, and ask yourselves these questions. What contributions have they made that improved the lives of Americans, what have they done with their time in serving the American people, and is one of them capable of doing half of what Pres. Trump has already done in improving our lives and serving the American people.

It’s only fair that the people with the least life experience, inherit the mess they voted for. The sad thing is, Sanders won’t be around to answer for the mess he’s left them with.

What Others Are Reading At WayneDupree.com

 

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Schiff Ends Impeachment Trial Arguments By Bizarrely Saying Trump Could Sell Alaska To Russia

By PoliZette Staff | February 4, 2020

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) made his closing statements in Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on Monday, and things took an odd turn when he claimed the president might end up selling Alaska to Russia if he is not impeached.

Schiff argued that if non-criminal acts are not impeachable, Trump would be able to sell off U.S. states to foreign powers, according to The Blaze.

The California Democrat slammed the argument that only criminal actions that meet the constitutional standards of “high crimes and misdemeanors” are impeachable, saying that if this were the case, “a whole range of utterly unacceptable conduct in a president would now beyond reach.”

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“Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war,” Schiff said. “Because those things are not necessarily criminal, this argument would allow that he could not be impeached for such abuses of power.”

This of course is not the first time that Schiff has tried to use a fictional narrative to take Trump down. Last year, Schiff created his own “parody” version of Trump’s infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president that he read out during a committee hearing, literally making up words that were said instead of truthfully reading out the transcript.

Schiff wasn’t the only Democrat to make odd arguments on Monday. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) stated that only guilty people refuse to cooperate with investigations against them, which means that Trump must be guilty.

“Once he got caught, President Trump engaged in categorical and indiscriminate obstruction of any investigation into his wrongdoing,” Demings said. “He ordered every government agency and every official to defy the House’s impeachment inquiry. And he did so for a simple reason: To conceal evidence of his wrongdoing from Congress and the American people.”

“The president’s obstruction was unlawful and unprecedented, but it also confirmed his guilt,” she added. “Innocent people don’t try to hide every document and witness especially those that would clear them. That’s what guilty people do. That’s what guilty people do. Innocent people do everything they can to clear their name and provide evidence that shows that they are innocent.”

Someone should remind Demings that we have a phrase called “innocent until proven guilty” in this country that is a staple of our legal system. The burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt, not on the defendant to prove innocence.

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Schiff and his fellow Democrats failed to prove that Trump is guilty, and they can’t stand the fact that their efforts to impeach him are dead in the water. They can hurl as many outlandish accusations at Trump as they want to, but they are only making themselves look bad at this point. Democrats have wasted the time and taxpayer money, and most Americans see right through them.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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The post Schiff Ends Impeachment Trial Arguments By Bizarrely Saying Trump Could Sell Alaska To Russia appeared first on The Political Insider.