Liz Cheney isn’t the most important thing about her primary loss. It’s about the Republican Party

As expected, Rep. Liz Cheney lost her primary by a large margin Tuesday night, purely for the sin of speaking out against Donald Trump’s coup attempt. That was enough to have her Republican In Good Standing card stripped despite her reliably conservative positions on everything else. It just can’t be said enough: The desire to overturn an election, or at least the willingness to flirt with it, is a requirement for status in the Republican Party in 2022.

It’s not just Cheney, though she is the most prominent case. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump in 2021. Just two will remain in Congress after this year, with four having lost primaries and four having decided to retire (before they could lose a primary).

Republicans want to put themselves in a position to overturn the 2024 election. Stop them by donating to Daily Kos-endorsed Democrats.

RELATED STORY: Top Republican candidates in some battleground states are running to overturn the next election

Top Republicans didn’t just fail to support an incumbent in a primary. They didn’t just actively support a primary challenger to an incumbent. They actively and publicly celebrated Cheney’s loss.

“Congratulations to @HagemanforWY on her MASSIVE primary victory to restore the PEOPLE of Wyoming’s voice,” Rep. Elise Stefanik tweeted, noting that she had joined Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in endorsing Harriet Hageman. Stefanik, of course, replaced Cheney as the third-ranking House Republican when Cheney’s ex-communication from the party really got rolling.

”Girl, BYE,” was all Rep. Lauren Boebert had to say. Similarly, Sen. Rand Paul capped his tweet celebrating Hageman’s win with a “Bye Liz.”

This level of venom is spurred not by broad policy disagreement but by Cheney’s disloyalty in refusing to embrace the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, or at least keep her mouth shut about her opposition to that. That’s it. That’s all. It’s a staggering statement about today’s Republican Party.

There’s a lot of debate among Democrats about how to assess Cheney. Is she a hero? Is she just meeting the minimum bar of not supporting coups? But Cheney isn’t the point. The point is that, among Republicans, Cheney’s courage in adhering to the idea that the outcome of elections should be respected stands out, and her willingness to keep talking and name names stands out still more. Yes, everyone in office should be where she is on the basic question of whether the winner of the presidential election should become president, but they’re not. Far from it.

Cheney: Two years ago. I won this primary with 73% of the vote. I could easily have done the same again. The path was clear. But it would've required that I go along with president trump's lie about the 2020 election.. That was a path I could not and would not take. pic.twitter.com/vRq0Fdz4x1

— Acyn (@Acyn) August 17, 2022

Team Trump continues to fuel conspiracy theories about FBI search of Mar-a-Lago

According to a Fox Business correspondent’s “scoop” Wednesday afternoon, “Donald Trump and his legal team will likely seek a court order to force the @FBI and @TheJusticeDept to turn over a physical copy of the search warrant, the affidavit, and a complete inventory of what was taken in the Mar-a-Lago raid.” That news, however, came well after one of Trump’s attorneys told Dinesh D’Souza that the FBI had already given her a copy of the warrant, with an attachment detailing what they were looking for. Trump has the warrant. The fact that he hasn’t shown it to the public is his decision, and it’s probably in equal measures to hide what it reveals about him and to feed conspiracy theories. 

And those conspiracy theories continue to flourish, fueled in large part by Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle. Trump is aggressively fundraising off the search of his property, which is no surprise since Trump aggressively fundraises off of everything that happens in his general vicinity. In this case, though, it’s not just about the money. It’s about spreading the message that he wants out there: This legal search approved by a federal judge was in fact a nefarious attack on freedom. And as usual, Trump has the entire Republican Party on board with his desired message.

RELATED STORY: Trump’s fanatical supporters ready to ‘lock and load’ for ‘civil war’ after Mar-a-Lago searched

Campaign Action

Appearing on CNN, Republican Sen. Tim Scott responded to questions about threats to the federal judge who signed the search warrant by “asking my friends on the other side, wait, don’t rush to judgment. This is, without question, a very daring and dangerous move on the Department of Justice’s side.” When CNN’s Dana Bash pressed him again on the threats coming from Republicans, Scott again blamed the Justice Department, saying, “every single member of our family, the American family, should be very concerned when you feel like there is a weaponization of the Department of Justice against any individual, much less the former president.”

There’s no acknowledgement here that there was a lawful process in which Trump was treated better than most people on whom search warrants are executed.

And Scott is more careful than many Republicans. His use of “weaponization,” though, was definitely use of an approved party talking point. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, similarly went with “weaponization” in a statement calling the search “a dark day in American history,” and calling for “an immediate investigation and accountability into Joe Biden and his Administration’s weaponizing this department against their political opponents—the likely 2024 Republican candidate for President of the United States.” As usual, Republicans accuse their opponents of what they’re already doing. Remember that Trump’s first impeachment was for attempting to use the power of the presidency to strong-arm Ukraine into smearing Joe Biden because Trump (correctly) saw him as a formidable challenger in 2020. Turning around and accusing Biden of mimicking Trump is to be expected, even though it was not Biden on a private phone call asking a world leader to “do us a favor” and withholding military aid to get that “favor.”

Like Stefanik, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is threatening an investigation—threats that Attorney General Merrick Garland, the entire Justice Department and FBI, and the judge who signed off on the warrant would absolutely have known were coming. 

Other Republicans have gone further.

“I’m concerned that they may have planted something,” Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, said on Fox News on Tuesday. “At this point, who knows? I don’t trust the government, and that’s a very frightening thing as an American. This is third world stuff. This is Cuba. This is not our country.”

No, this is you thinking the Biden administration operates the way Trump would like to.

Then there are the conspiracy theories about the date of the search—Aug. 8, the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation. “There are no coincidences when it comes to the Deep State. They could have done this raid a couple of days before or tomorrow, but they chose August 8 for a reason,” former Trump Treasury Department official Monica Crowley said on the War Room podcast.

Trump could clear some of this up by releasing the warrant, which he has. (The affidavit, which would have more detail, is under seal and, according to former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, Trump wouldn’t get it “unless and until there's a charge.”) But Trump does not want to clear this up. He wants his party once again united around defending him, and his supporters buzzing with conspiracy theories and rage. It’s better for him that way, and it doesn’t matter to him that it’s worse for the concept of equal justice under the law.

RELATED STORIES:

Republicans are right: Trump should show America the search warrant delivered to his house

GOP lawmakers out of their minds over search on their leader by Trump-appointed FBI director

Toilet trouble: Photos allegedly show Trump White House records destroyed in commode

Former president Donald Trump has regularly rebuffed claims that he flushed presidential records down the toilet during his impeachment-marred time in office, but on Monday, two pictures emerged to undercut that claim. 

The pictures were obtained by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and shared with Axios first. Haberman is promoting her upcoming book on the former president and his tumultuous time in office, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. 

The images depict two open toilets where small piles of ripped-up paper—replete with what looks very much like Trump’s all-caps scrawl in permanent marker—sit waterlogged at the bottom. One of the piles features the plainly visible name of New York Republican Elise Stefanik, one of Trump’s most fervent defenders in Congress. The other visible name is “Rogers,” which could be a reference to Reps. Hal Rogers of Kentucky or Mike Rogers of Alabama, both allies of the former president, but it is not clear. In the other photo, the writing is illegible. 

Campaign Action

White House sources told Haberman that the photo with the illegible writing was taken at the White House. The other photo was reportedly snapped during a trip overseas. A spokesperson for Trump, Taylor Budowich, slammed Haberman’s pending book and dubbed the release of the photos as a “desperate” bid to boost sales. Budowich also suggested Haberman staged the photos. 

It was in February when The New York Times first reported that White House staff sometimes found toilets clogged with wads of paper. The culprit was widely believed to be the former president, though he has resoundingly denied this and chalked up reports to “fake news.”

The destruction of records was a “periodic” occurrence, according to White House staffers interviewed by Haberman.

She told Axios: “That Mr. Trump was discarding documents this way was not widely known within the West Wing but some aides were aware of the habit, which he engaged in repeatedly.”

The Presidential Records Act demands officials preserve all records tied to their official duties, and that includes the president. 

RELATED STORY: Donald Trump tore up documents, ate documents, flushed documents down the toilet. Nothing to see here.

Morning Digest: Seven states host primaries today, including the biggest of them all

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

Subscribe to our podcast, The Downballot!

Leading Off

Primary Night: The Gregs of Rath: After a brief break, the primary season continues Tuesday with contests in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. As always, we've put together our preview of what to watch starting at 8 PM ET when the first polls close. You'll also want to bookmark our primary calendar, which includes the dates for primaries in all 50 states.

Democrats are going on the offensive in several California contests to try to help weaker Republicans pass more formidable opponents in the top-two primary. One of Team Blue's biggest targets is Rep. David Valadao, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump last year and now faces two intra-party foes in the Central Valley-based 22nd District.

House Majority PAC has dropped $280,000 to boost one of them, former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys, by ostensibly attacking him as "100% pro-Trump and proud," while also promoting Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas. Valadao's allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund, though, aren't sitting idly by, as they've deployed a larger $790,000 on messaging hoping to puncture Mathys by labeling him "soft on crime, dangerously liberal."

Orange County Democrat Asif Mahmood is trying a similar maneuver against Republican Rep. Young Kim over in the 40th District by airing ads to boost Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths, a Republican who has a terrible record in local congressional races. That's also prompted a furious backlash from the CLF, which is spending $880,000 to stop Raths from advancing. But there's been no such outside intervention to the south in the 49th District, where Democratic Rep. Mike Levin is taking action to make sure his GOP foe is Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez rather than 2020 rival Brian Maryott.

That's not all that's on tap. We'll be watching GOP primary contests in Mississippi and South Dakota, where Reps. Steven Palazzo and Dusty Johnson face potentially serious intra-party challenges. Both parties will also be picking their nominees for hotly contested general election contests, as well as in safe House seats. You can find more on all these races, as well as the other big elections on Tuesday's ballot, in our preview.

Election Night

California: While the Golden State's many competitive House top-two primaries will take center-stage on Tuesday, we also have several major local races to watch. Unless otherwise noted, all of these races are officially nonpartisan primaries where candidates need to win a majority of the vote in order to avoid a Nov. 8 general election.

We'll begin in the open seat race for mayor of Los Angeles, a contest that's largely been defined by a $34 million spending spree by billionaire developer Rick Caruso. However, while some progressives have feared that the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat's offensive could allow him to win outright, a recent poll from UC Berkeley for the Los Angeles Times shows Democratic Rep. Karen Bass in first with 38%. That survey has Caruso not far behind with 32%, while City Councilman Kevin de León, who ran for Senate in 2018 as a progressive Democrat, lags in third with just 6%.

Over to the north there's a competitive contest to succeed termed-out San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a Silicon Valley community where the major fault lines are usually between business-aligned politicians like Liccardo and candidates closer to labor. The top fundraiser has been Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, a longtime union ally who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2006 and now enjoys the backing of PACs funded by labor, police unions, and even the San Francisco 49ers.  Another prominent contender is Councilmember Matt Mahan, who is supported by Liccardo's PAC even though the mayor himself has yet to endorse. The field also includes two other council members, the labor-aligned Raul Peralez and the business-allied Dev Davis, but they have not received any outside aid. San Jose voters Tuesday will also decide on Measure B, which would move mayoral contests to presidential years starting in 2024.

There are also several competitive district attorney races to watch, including in San Jose's Santa Clara County. Three-term incumbent Jeff Rosen is arguing he's made needed criminal justice reforms, but public defender Sajid Khan is campaigning as the "true, real progressive DA" he says the community lacks. The contest also includes former prosecutor Daniel Chung, a self-described "moderate" who has a terrible relationship with his one-time boss Rosen. Over in Orange County, Republican District Attorney Todd Spitzer is hoping that multiple scandals won't prevent him from scoring an outright win against Democrat Peter Hardin and two other opponents.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has a tough race of his own as he tries to turn back a recall campaign, and several polls find voters ready to eject the criminal justice reformer. If a majority vote yes on the recall question, which is identified as Proposition H, Mayor London Breed would appoint a new district attorney until a special election is held this November. However, SF voters will also be presented with Proposition C, which would prevent Breed's pick from running in that contest and make it extremely difficult to get recall questions on future ballots.    

Back in Southern California we'll also be watching the race for Los Angeles County sheriff, where conservative Democratic incumbent Alex Villanueva is trying to win a majority of the vote against eight foes. Bolts Magazine has details on several more law enforcement contests across California as well.

Finally, we also have the special general election to succeed Republican Devin Nunes, who has amazingly not yet been fired as head of Trump's disastrous social media project, in the existing version of the 22nd Congressional District, a Central Valley seat Trump carried 52-46. The first round took place in April and saw former Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway lead Democrat Lourin Hubbard, who is an official at the California Department of Water Resources, 35-19 in all-party primary where Republican candidates outpaced Democrats 66-34. Neither Conway nor Hubbard are seeking a full term anywhere this year.

Senate

AL-Sen: While Rep. Mo Brooks surprised plenty of observers two weeks ago by advancing to the June 21 runoff with former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt, his allies at the Club for Growth aren't acting at all confident about his chances of actually winning round two. Politico reports that the Club on Thursday canceled more than $500,000 in advertising time meant to benefit Brooks, who trailed Britt 45-29 on May 24.

The congressman got some more disappointing news the following day when Army veteran Mike Durant, who took third with 23%, announced that he wouldn't support or even vote for either Britt or Brooks. While Durant claimed hours before polls closed on May 24 that he'd endorse Brooks over Britt, he now says, "Mo Brooks has been in politics for 40 years, and all he does is run his mouth." Durant also had harsh words for the frontrunner, arguing, "Katie Britt doesn't deserve to be a senator."

CO-Sen: Wealthy businessman Joe O'Dea has publicized a survey from Public Opinion Strategies that gives him a 38-14 lead over state Rep. Ron Hanks in the June 28 Republican primary to face Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet. O'Dea has also announced that he's spending $325,000 on a TV and radio campaign against Hanks, who ended March with all of $16,000 in the bank.

MO-Sen: While state Attorney General Eric Schmitt's allies at Save Missouri Values PAC have largely focused on attacking disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens ahead of the August GOP primary, the super PAC is now spending $510,000 on an offensive against a third candidate, Rep. Vicky Hartzler. The spot argues that Hartzler "voted to give amnesty to over 1.8 million illegal immigrants, and she even voted to use our tax dollars to fund lawyers for illegals who invaded our country."

Governors

KS-Gov: Wednesday was the filing deadline for Kansas’ Aug. 2 primaries, and the state has a list of contenders here.

While several Republicans initially showed interest in taking on incumbent Laura Kelly, who is is the only Democratic governor up for re-election this year in a state that Donald Trump carried, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has essentially had the field to himself ever since former Gov. Jeff Colyer dropped out in August. The RGA isn’t waiting for Schmidt to vanquish his little-known primary foe, as it’s already running a commercial promoting him as an alternative to Kelly.

MA-Gov: Attorney General Maura Healey won Saturday's Democratic Party convention with 71% of the delegates, while the balance went to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz. Chang-Díaz took considerably more than the 15% she needed in order to secure a spot on the September primary ballot for governor, but she faces a wide polling and financial deficit.

MD-Gov: The first independent poll of the July 19 Democratic primary comes from OpinionWorks on behalf of the University of Baltimore and the Baltimore Sun, and it finds state Comptroller Peter Franchot in the lead with 20%. Author Wes Moore is close behind with 15%, while former DNC chair Tom Perez and former Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker take 12% and 7%, respectively; a 31% plurality remains undecided.

While former U.S. Secretary of Education John King snagged just 4%, here, though, his own numbers show him in far better shape. He released an internal from 2020 Insight last month that showed Franchot at 17% as King and Moore took 16%; Perez took the same 12% that OpinionWorks gave him, while 27% were undecided.

OpinionWorks also gives us a rare look at the GOP primary and has former state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, who is backed by termed-out Gov. Larry Hogan, beating Trump-endorsed Del. Dan Cox 27-21; wealthy perennial candidate Robin Ficker is a distant third with 5%, while a hefty 42% of respondents didn't choose a candidate.

MI-Gov: The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday ruled against former Detroit police Chief James Craig and wealthy businessman Perry Johnson's attempts to get on the August Republican primary ballot after state election authorities disqualified them for fraudulent voter petition signatures, but neither of them is giving up hope of still capturing the GOP nod.

Craig acknowledged last month that he would consider a write-in campaign if his legal challenge failed, and he said Sunday on Fox, "It's not over. We are going to be evaluating next steps." While Craig doesn't appear to have addressed the possibility of a write-in campaign since the state's highest court gave him the thumbs down, he responded in the affirmative when asked, "Are they trying to steal your election?" Johnson, for his part, asked a federal judge the following day to halt the printing of primary ballots.

NY-Gov: Last week was the deadline for independent candidates to turn in the 45,000 signatures they'd need to make the November ballot, and disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not submit any petitions.

House

FL-07: Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine has announced that he'll stay out of the August Republican primary for this newly gerrymandered seat.

KS-03: Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids faces a rematch with former state GOP chair Amanda Adkins, who faces only minor opposition for renomination. Davids beat Adkins 54-44 in 2020 as Joe Biden pulled off an identical win in her suburban Kansas City seat, but Republican legislators passed a new gerrymander this year that slashes Biden’s margin to 51-47.

MD-04: Former Rep. Donna Edwards has earned an endorsement from AFSCME Maryland Council 3, which is the state's largest government employee's union, as well as AFSCME Council 67 and Local 2250 for the July 19 Democratic primary.

MI-10: Former Macomb County Judge Carl Marlinga has dropped an internal from Target Insyght that shows him leading two-time GOP Senate nominee John James 44-40 in a general election contest in this swing seat, which is similar to the 48-45 edge he posted in January. The firm also gives Marlinga a 40-16 advantage over Warren Council member Angela Rogensues in the August Democratic primary.

NC-13: The DCCC has released an in-house survey that shows Democrat Wiley Nickel with a 45-43 advantage over Republican Bo Hines. This poll was conducted May 18-19, which was immediately after both men won their respective May 17 primaries in this competitive district in Raleigh's southern suburbs; it's also the first we've seen from this contest.

NH-01: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday endorsed 2020 nominee Matt Mowers' second campaign to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. Mowers lost to Pappas 51-46 as Biden was carrying the district 52-46, and he faces several opponents in the August GOP primary for a seat that barely changed under the new court-ordered map.

NV-01: Former 4th District Rep. Cresent Hardy startled observers when he filed to take on Democratic incumbent Dina Titus right before filing closed March 18, but the Republican still doesn't appear to have gotten around to cluing in donors about his latest comeback attempt. Hardy, mystifyingly, waited until April 15 to even open a new fundraising account with the FEC, and he proceeded to haul in all of $9,000 through May 25 without spending a penny of it.  

Hardy faces intra-party opposition next Tuesday from conservative activist David Brog, Army veteran Mark Robertson, and former Trump campaign staffer Carolina Serrano, all of whom we can accurately say spent infinitely more than him. Titus herself is going up against activist Amy Vilela, who took third place with 9% in the 2018 primary for the 4th District.  

NY-19 (special), NY-23 (special): Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has officially set Aug. 23 special elections to succeed Democrat Antonio Delgado and Republican Tom Reed in the existing versions of the 19th and 23rd Congressional Districts, respectively. Both races will coincide with the primaries for the new congressional and state Senate districts. The 19th supported Biden 50-48, while the 23rd went for Trump 55-43.

In New York special elections, party leaders select nominees, rather than primary voters, and Democrats in the 23rd District picked Air Force veteran Max Della Pia over the weekend. Della Pia, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2018 primary, has also announced that he'll run for a full two-year term to succeed Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs in the new 23rd, which contains much of Reed's now-former constituency.

NY-23: Developer Carl Paladino launched his bid over the weekend to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs, and the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee immediately picked up an endorsement from the House’s third-ranking Republican, 21st District Rep. Elise Stefanik. Paladino won’t have a glide path to the nomination, though, as state party chair Nick Langworthy reportedly will also enter the August primary ahead of Friday’s filing deadline. Trump would have carried this seat in southwestern upstate New York 58-40.

Langworthy hasn’t said anything publicly about his plans, but Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler has abandoned his own nascent campaign to support him. Paladino himself told the Buffalo News he tried to deter the chair from running, but added, “He's all about himself and is using party resources to pass petitions so he can go down to Washington and act like a big shot.”

Both Paladino and Langworthy have longtime ties to Trump, and the two even made an unsuccessful attempt to recruit him to run for governor in 2014. Paladino was all-in for Trump’s White House bid in 2016, and he even dubbed none other than Stefanik a “fraud” for refusing to endorse the frontrunner. (Stefanik has since very much reinvented herself as an ardent Trumpist.) Langworthy himself also was all-in for Trump well before the rest of the GOP establishment fell into line.

Trump’s transition committee condemned Paladino in late 2016 after the then-Buffalo School Board member said he wanted Barack Obama to “catch[] mad cow disease” and for Michelle Obama to “return to being male” and be “let loose” in Zimbabwe; Trump and Paladino, though, have predictably remained buds. Langworthy, for his part, reportedly had Trump’s support in his successful bid to become state party chair.

OH-01: Democrat Greg Landsman has publicized a mid-May internal from Impact Research that shows him deadlocked 47-47 against Republican incumbent Steve Chabot. This is the first survey we've seen of the general election for a Cincinnati-based seat that would have supported Joe Biden 53-45.

TN-05: On Friday night, a state judge ordered music video producer Robby Starbuck back onto the August Republican primary ballot, though the Tennessee Journal predicted, "An appeal appears all but certain." Party leaders ejected Starbuck and two others in April for not meeting the party's definition of a "bona fide" Republican, but the judge ruled that the GOP's decision was invalid because it violated state open meeting law. The deadline to finalize the ballot is Friday.

TX-15: Army veteran Ruben Ramirez announced Monday that he would seek a recount for the May 24 Democratic runoff, a decision he made shortly after the state party's canvas found that he still trailed businesswoman Michelle Vallejo by 30 votes. The eventual nominee will go up against 2020 Republican nominee Monica De La Cruz, who won the Republican primary outright in March, in a Rio Grande Valley seat that Trump would have taken 51-48.

TX-28: Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar's lead over progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros increased from 177 votes immediately following their runoff two weeks ago to 281 with the final county-by-county canvass of votes that concluded on Friday. Cuellar again declared victory, but Cisneros said on Monday that she would seek a recount.

TX-34 (special): The Texas Tribune reports that Republican Maya Flores and her outside group allies have spent close to $1 million on TV ahead of the June 14 all-party primary for this 52-48 Biden seat. By contrast, Democrat Dan Sanchez and the DCCC are spending $100,000 on a joint digital buy, but they don't appear to be on TV yet. One other Democrat and Republican are also on the ballot, which could keep either Flores or Sanchez from winning the majority they'd need to avert a runoff.

Secretaries of State

MA-SoS: Boston NAACP head Tanisha Sullivan outpaced seven-term Secretary of State Bill Galvin 62-38 at Saturday's Democratic convention, but Galvin proved four years ago that he can very much win renomination after being rejected by party delegates. Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim snagged 55% of the convention vote back in 2018 after arguing that the incumbent had done a poor job advocating for needed voting rights reforms only to lose the primary to Galvin 67-32 months later.

Sullivan, who sports an endorsement from 6th District Rep. Seth Moulton, is adopting a similar argument against Galvin this time. The challenger used her convention speech to argue, "Despite record voter turnout in 2020, hear me on this, voters from some of our most vulnerable communities still saw the lowest voter turnout across Massachusetts, leaving behind far too many voices. I'm talking about the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and AAPI folks."

Galvin, though, insisted his presence was more vital than ever, saying, "I am now the senior Democratic election official in the United States and I intend to use that role to make sure that we're able to make sure that citizens throughout our country have the opportunity to vote."

Ad Roundup

Markwayne Mullin, self-professed Jan. 6 hero, tries to codify Big Lie and expunge Trump impeachment

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) is trying to codify the Big Lie and expunge the second impeachment of the former guy. The Hill obtained a copy of Mullin’s draft legislation, which asserts that the charge against Trump for incitement of insurrection  “contains a subjective account of that which transpired at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Because what the entire world witnessed on their television sets for hour upon hour on Jan. 6…  wasn’t as bad as it looked? This is a particularly interesting reimagining of history because Markwaye went to great pains to highlight his own heroics as the MAGA army of orcs attacked on January 6. He told Politico a few weeks later that he “first leapt into action, helping an officer barricade the door on the House floor that leads to Statuary Hall.”

“The idea was just to try to delay. I honestly didn’t believe we were going to keep them out of the chamber. I was 100 percent convinced that we were going to pile up at the door,” Mullin told Politico. “It is all about time,” he added. He described how he broke up wooden hand sanitizer stands to create some kind of weapon, giving a piece of wood to Texas freshman Rep. Troy Nehls. “We have a choice. I’m with you, brother,” Mullin said he told Nehls.

Then he described how he attempted to try to talk the invaders down. “You almost got shot. You almost died. Is it worth it?’” he said he asked them. Someone in the mob supposedly helped back “This is our House. This is our House. And we’re taking our House back.’” Mullin told Politico he shot back with “This is our House, too. That is not going to happen.”

But in retrospect, all those heroics must have been overblown, because it was just an overly zealous attempt to exercise free speech on the part of those Trump supporters. Or something. Mullin’s big argument in the legislation is that the impeachment arcticles “omits any discussion of the circumstances, unusual voting patterns, and voting anomalies of the 2020 Presidential election itself.” Mullin was among the Republicans who challenged the electoral vote count on Jan. 6, even after his action-figure heroics were called upon earlier in the day.

Mullin was expected to introduce the bill Wednesday. In an email to fellow Republican House members Tuesday, reported by the Daily Beast, Mullin’s office wrote, “The Democrats’ weaponization of impeachment against President Trump cannot go unanswered in the history books.” The bill decries the “rabid partisanship the Democrats displayed in exercising one of the most grave and consequential powers with which the House is charged.”

“Democrats used their second impeachment resolution to once again weaponize one of the most grave and consequential powers of the House,” Mullin said in a statement. “This was never about the Constitution; it was rooted in personal politics.”

“Liberals couldn’t see through their blind rage long enough to follow parliamentary procedure, and instead barreled through Congress in order to have one more bite at the apple with President Trump,” said Mullin.

You don’t have to look too hard to find Mullin’s motivation in pushing this bill—which, by the way, will not get anywhere near the House floor as long as Democrats hold the chamber. Mullin is running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Inhofe in June’s special election. Trump hasn’t endorsed yet in the crowded Republican primary.

Back in April, Mullin made the Mar-a-Lago pilgrimage to beg for his ruler’s favor. He and Trump “discussed the state of the economy and the upcoming election,” Mullin’s campaign said. Sure.

Not to be outdone by Mullin in the Trump genuflection contest, the perfectly odious Elise Stefanik jumped on board. “The American people know Democrats weaponized the power of impeachment against President Donald Trump to advance their own extreme political agenda,” she told Fox News Digital. “President Donald Trump was rightfully acquitted, and it is past time to expunge Democrats’ sham smear against not only President Trump’s name, but against millions of patriots across the country.”

Two years ago, they voted against impeachment. Now suddenly they’re deeply concerned for Ukraine

Following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s emotional appeal to Congress and President Joe Biden to help his country defend itself against Russia, top Republican leaders did the only thing they could think to do: use their cheering of Zelenskyy as cover to attack Biden.

Despite dressing their attacks on Biden in the language of support for Zelenskyy and Ukraine, Republicans didn’t exactly hide the real point. “The longer President Biden waits, trying to figure out excuses to not offend Putin, it's costing lives in Ukraine,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the day after Russia announced sanctions on Biden and a slate of other Democrats, but no Republicans, and just over two years after he and every other Republican, with the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney, voted against impeaching Donald Trump for withholding military aid from Ukraine to extort political favors.

RELATED: Trump's Ukraine extortion campaign didn't begin or end with 'I would like you to do us a favor'

When you're going straight to “excuses not to offend Putin,” you’re making it clear where your interests lie, and it’s not sincerely with the Ukrainian people. 

Scalise’s fellow House Republican leader Elise Stefanik led her statement on Zelenskyy’s address with an attack on Biden’s “weakness and delay.” This is a return to form for Stefanik, who started the month with a message to Ukraine that managed not to blame Biden for Putin’s invasion, after her initial response had been aimed at Biden. Stefanik didn’t just vote against impeaching Trump: She was a key part of his impeachment defense, rising in the ranks of Republicans on the basis of that performance. For Stefanik, the inquiry into Trump having withheld military aid as part of an effort to get Ukraine to tarnish his domestic political opponent was a prime opportunity to try to tarnish Trump’s domestic political opponent—Joe Biden, the same person she is now holding responsible for Vladimir Putin’s actions.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also went straight to Biden. McConnell had on Tuesday said Biden was guilty of “hesitancy and weakness,” and on Wednesday said, “the message to President Biden is that he needs to step up his game.” McConnell voted to acquit Trump of withholding military aid to extort Ukraine.

Republican attacks on Biden implied that the distance between their preferred policies and his were bigger than they really are. Most Republicans agree that a U.S.-imposed no-fly zone would be a bad idea. “It remains my view that putting — if that means putting U.S. troops or pilots in Ukraine, I think the answer is no,” McConnell said. He, like many other Republicans, is drawing the line for attacking Biden between the drones and other equipment Biden is sending and the airplanes McConnell claims to support. (McConnell would still find a way to attack Biden if Biden sent dozens of planes tomorrow.)

Biden is out here trying to walk the line between aiding Ukraine and avoiding World War III, and Republicans are simply looking for any excuse they can manufacture to attack him.

RELATED STORIES:

Russian oligarchs' yachts are being seized. What does Putin think he can seize from Jen Psaki?

Republicans suddenly claim to be the biggest allies of the nation they once denounced as corrupt

Cawthorn isn't alone as a Republican crapping on Ukraine. He just has bad timing

Rep. Elise Stefanik shifts her message on Russia-Ukraine, at least for nearly two minutes

Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was a key part of the Republican effort to fight Donald Trump’s first, Ukraine-related impeachment in the House, has a message for the people of Ukraine. It’s not an apology for her support of Trump’s extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an attempt to gain an election advantage over now-President Joe Biden. But—and this is big coming from Stefanik—her message sticks to Ukraine and Russia without overtly attacking Biden.

Last week, as Russia invaded Ukraine, Stefanik was part of a statement from House Republican leaders that blamed Biden for “appeasement,” and she released her own statement railing as much against Biden as against Putin. So her new video message (see below) to the people of Ukraine and to Zelenskyy is a real departure for her. Is that because, in speaking in theory to Zelenskyy, she wanted to avoid echoes of Trump withholding military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to get Zelenskyy to manufacture a scandal about Biden? Is it in some minor way a recognition that Biden’s approach—assembling a major international response with devastating sanctions on Russia—is looking more successful than Republicans were hoping? 

Either way, what Stefanik also isn’t doing is putting distance between herself and Trump. While her descriptions of Putin as “a gutless, bloodthirsty, authoritarian dictator” and a “war criminal” are a far cry from Trump’s descriptions of Putin as “smart” and “savvy” and “genius,” Stefanik is part of a broader Republican pattern of criticizing Putin while refusing to answer questions about Trump’s praise.

But Stefanik’s role in defending Trump’s attempted extortion of Ukraine makes her approach here particularly nauseating. This is someone who rose to prominence in her party by participating in stunts intended to disrupt the impeachment inquiry, and relentlessly tried to use the inquiry into Trump’s extortion effort to promote the very thing he had been getting at to begin with, dragging Biden and his son Hunter into her questioning at every opportunity. For her to act like she has had the welfare of the people of Ukraine at heart all along is staggeringly dishonest. But then, the entire Republican approach to this issue is staggeringly dishonest.

My message to the people of @Ukraine and @ZelenskyyUa: The United States of America stands firmly with you against Russia’s unprovoked and heinous attack on your country. pic.twitter.com/s4d96sWxb2

— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) March 1, 2022

To the people of Ukraine, the United States of America stands firmly with you against Russia’s unprovoked and heinous attacks on your country. Your bravery, sacrifice, and resistance against a gutless, bloodthirsty, authoritarian dictator is a beacon of hope for freedom and democracy around the world.

A beacon of hope, but I’m not going to say a word about my party’s leader calling those unprovoked and heinous attacks “savvy.”

As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I was honored to lead a bipartisan group of congressional members to Ukraine in 2018. I met with the wonderful Ukrainian people and experienced the beauty of your culture and country. Most importantly, I saw firsthand the importance of the security partnership between our two countries to counter Russian aggression, combat Vladimir Putin’s disinformation, and defend democracy and freedom. Today, I remain committed to strengthening that partnership by working with my colleagues to increase military support for the Ukrainian armed forces and establish strong and effective deterrents to counter Putin’s hostility.

It cannot be emphasized enough that these are the words of someone who defended Trump for withholding $400 million of military aid from Ukraine in an effort to gain political advantage at home. 

Additionally, we are working to sanction Putin and his corrupt oligarch cronies immediately and permanently terminate construction of the Nord Stream II pipeline, end Russian energy exports around the world, and provide additional military and financial support to Ukraine. I will not stop fighting until Ukraine receives the resources it deserves and Putin is cut off and isolated from the international community. As you continue your fight against the evil desires of the war criminal Vladimir Putin, all of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are in our prayers and we will stand behind you in support of this fight for your country. Never stop fighting for a sovereign, self-governing, and free Ukraine.

Trump’s cult of personality is like nothing else in our country’s history

Donald Trump really likes Andrew Jackson. “I'm a fan. I'm a big fan,” he declared about the seventh president at a 2017 event commemorating Jackson’s 250th birthday. Trump added that Jackson’s portrait “hangs proudly” up on the wall in the Oval Office—a place it had not been seen for quite some time until he put it there. Two weeks after Election Day in 2016, Trump’s campaign manager and out-and-out white nationalist Steve Bannon likened his boss’s politics to “Jackson’s populism.” After President Obama had set in motion a plan to have Jackson replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, The Man Who Lost An Election And Tried To Steal It nixed the effort, although President Biden has since revived it.

The tumultuous events surrounding Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney’s recent removal from the House Republican leadership provide an opportunity to compare and contrast Trump and Jackson in a very specific way—namely their influence on our system of political parties.

For better or worse—okay, in Trump’s case, there’s no question which one—both have had an overall impact on American politics exceeded by a very small number of presidents. Jackson cleaved his party in two on the basis of both ideology and support for his candidacy, while his latter-day counterpart turned his into a body defined by little other than personal loyalty to the leader—in other words, just another Trump Organization.

There are certainly strong parallels between the two—and that’s without even going into each one’s racism. (In addition to Jackson’s well-known and despicable anti-American Indian policies, he was also a virulent supporter of slavery who, as per historian Daniel Walker Howe, “expressed his loathing for the abolitionists vehemently, both in public and in private.”) In big picture terms, both were incredibly divisive personalities who defined an era—Jackson starting with his unsuccessful campaign of 1824 through 1837 when he left the White House after two terms, and Trump certainly since 2016—and who fundamentally transformed the party through which he became a national political figure.

In the 1824 presidential election, Jackson came in first in the Electoral College (and won the popular vote by about 10%), but could not garner an electoral majority as four different candidates won states. John Quincy Adams came in second, but won the support of the fourth place candidate, Henry Clay, and ultimately triumphed in the contingent election held in the House of Representatives. Adams, after being inaugurated, appointed Clay as his secretary of state—each of the last four presidents, including Adams, had served in that position. Jackson accused Adams and Clay of having conspired in a “corrupt bargain,” and slammed Clay in biblical terms: “The Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver. His end will be the same.”

Trump, on the other hand, claimed even before the 2016 election that put him in the White House despite losing the popular vote that it would be “rigged.” More recently, he has been promulgating The Big Lie about the 2020 election ever since last November. However, although both men challenged their defeats, Trump’s claims differ from those of Jackson, in that the former and his supporters literally made up wild and crazy events relating to a supposedly fraudulent voting process. One other difference: only one of them incited an insurrection to prevent the actual winner from becoming president.

The election of 1824, and Jackson’s reaction afterward, led to a fundamental shift in our country’s partisan alignment. By 1820, the so-called First Party System—in which the Democratic-Republicans and Federalists competed for power—had basically come to an end with the demise of the latter. President James Monroe ran unopposed in 1820, as the Federalists failed to put up a candidate, and these years were known as The Era of Good Feelings. All four of the major candidates in 1824 were Democratic-Republicans. After that year’s controversial election, Andrew Jackson led his followers into a new organization, which became known as the Democratic Party.

Although Jackson’s personality mattered greatly in this endeavor, there were also ideological grounds on which the old Democratic-Republicans split. He embraced the basic approach held by traditionalists within the older party, namely the Jeffersonian concept of small government that favored agrarian interests. Given the whole Liz Cheney debacle—which we’ll get to, don’t you worry—a real ideological difference seems sort of quaint, no?

The Adams-Clay alliance organized itself not just in opposition to Jackson as a person, but around their shared vision of a more active government—especially at the federal level—that aided the growth of industry and trade. They supported federal tariffs to protect domestic industries, as well as the aggressive building of canals and roads along with the continuation of the National Bank and other measures to promote economic growth—all of which Jacksonian Democrats opposed. The opponents of Jackson were briefly known as the National Republicans and then, after 1832, the Whigs, and their plan was embodied in Clay’s “American System.”

The point here is that the pro-Jackson and anti-Jackson factions developed into different parties built around real policy differences—separate from Old Hickory himself—that defined the Second Party System. Likewise, the next major realignment in the U.S. occurred when the Whigs broke apart in the years after 1850, which created the Third Party System. That shift was motivated by ideology and policy as well. It occurred largely because anti-slavery Whigs refused to stay together with pro-slavery Southern Whigs in a single party, and left in large numbers after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The anti-slavery forces came together in the new Republican Party.

We don’t yet know what the long-term impact of Donald Trump will be on our political parties and our democracy. Right now, however, there is clearly a divide—as seen in what happened with Liz Cheney. Whatever the final results of that divide turn out to be, recent events bear little resemblance to the divides either of the 1820s or the 1850s.

Rep. Cheney was drummed out of the Republican leadership for one reason, and one reason only: she continued to publicly rebuke Trump’s Big Lie—a lie that has now become a purity test for members of what can realistically be called the Trump Republican Party. There are no ideological or policy grounds that define or separate the pro- and anti-Trump factions among Republicans.

The fact that Cheney has been replaced as the House Republican Conference Chair by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik—whose voting record is significantly less supportive of Trump’s legislative agenda than Cheney’s—makes clear that this is in no way about policy. Cheney remains a hard-right conservative, as her remarks just before the vote on May 12 to remove her make clear: “After today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism.” Cheney may be toeing the fictitious party line about Joe Biden and socialism, but what matters here is that Stefanik supports The Big Lie, and that’s all that matters to the Party of Trump.

Elise Stefanik had a chance to avoid Four Pinocchios. All she had to do was admit she was wrong. instead she doubled down, even after we showed her false claim -- 140,000 suspect votes in Fulton County -- was based on a misreading of a Trump lawsuit. https://t.co/Ghu1XTBN7U

— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) May 7, 2021

Even when, at the last minute, Texas Rep. Chip Roy threw his ten-gallon hat into the ring to challenge Stefanik, it didn’t matter that he had voted for all the right conservative legislation and she hadn’t. Stefanik trounced him anyway: 134 votes to 46. Again, policy and ideology mattered not one iota. Only one issue did.

Key: Chip Roy, with a wildly conservative voting record, can't beat Elise Stefanik, with her comparatively moderate voting record because of one wrong vote. He didn't vote to overturn the 2020 election. IOW, core GOP ideology is The Big Lie. https://t.co/LvsDKsQ61W via @TPM

— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 14, 2021

The twice-impeached former president made clear after Jan. 6 that he was going to demand absolute obedience not to any particular set of policies but instead to him as an individual. Republicans made their choice. They could either give it to him or he was going to take his ball and go home. Their decision was purely about what conservatives thought would help them win, nothing else.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham—one of the most notorious flip-floppers on Trump’s fitness to serve—did tell the truth when he admitted why his party continues to bend the knee to the Orange Julius Caesar: “If you tried to run him out of the party, you'd take half the party with him." Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the most prominent anti-Trump Republicans, summed up his feelings by comparing Trump to a North Korean dictator: "It just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the Dear Leader or you get kicked out of the party."

To demonstrate the ideological hypocrisy of Cheney’s replacing even further, we now know that the House Republicans—whose conservatism supposedly requires them to reject such concepts as representation—mandated that a woman replace Cheney. As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post commented, they are doing so “because the party—though it supposedly abhors identity politics—needs a skirt to hide behind as it jettisons a strong, independent-minded female colleague.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a satirical ad from the House GOP leadership under the heading: “Help Wanted – Non-Threatening Female”

A few right-wing ideologues raised objections regarding this many-layered hypocrisy, but to no avail.

Word is, congressional Republicans are pushing amnesty-shill Elise Stefanik because they want a WOMAN in leadership. Sh!t-for-brains Republicans: NO GOP WOMAN CARES ABOUT IDENTITY POLITICS!

— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) May 12, 2021

Although Cheney has by far received the harshest punishment, the other nine House Republicans who voted to impeach the Insurrectionist-in-Chief for his crimes against our Constitution relating to the attempted coup of Jan. 6 have also been targeted by Trump partisans. They have faced censure votes and, in some cases, will likely draw primary opponents specifically running as more loyal to Trump.

Is the Republican Party going to split in two the way the Democratic-Republicans did after 1824 or the Whigs did after 1854? That’s not happening right now, although in the wake of the Cheney vote 150 prominent Republicans signed on to a “manifesto” titled “A call for American renewal.” The signatories include four former governors—ranging in ideology from tea party favorite Mark Sanford of South Carolina to centrist Bill Weld of Massachusetts—along with a former senator, 27 former House members, a former chair of the Republican National Committee, as well as some relatively high-ranking members of the Trump administration. Daily Kos’ Kerry Eleveld analyzed the statement in some depth here.

This group does not plan to form a new party yet, but rather, in the words of prominent Never Trumper George Conway, sees itself as “a coalition. …There is a need for people who have a conservative to moderate point-of-view and want to believe in the rule of law and … need a place to go and a place where they can organize and support candidates that are consistent with that." In other words, they are looking to create an organized anti-Trump faction within the Republican Party that can, eventually, take control of it. Good luck with that.

On a related note, a very recent study found that learning that Republicans were fighting amongst themselves over the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 victory had a significant impact among those who identify with the Republican Party, but not strongly. The favorability rating of the party expressed by such so-called “weak Republicans” fell by approximately 6% compared to that of a control group who were not given information about intra-Republican squabbling, as well as compared to another group that had been told of strife between Republicans and Democrats. Those weak Republicans’ impression of the Democratic Party improved by about the same amount. That’s even better than if they had become interested in a third party, in terms of improving Democrats’ chances of winning elections.

Republican President Ulysses S. Grant, after the disputed 1876 election that would elect his successor, proclaimed: “No man worthy of the office of President should be willing to hold it … placed there by fraud. Either party can afford to be disappointed by the result, but the country cannot afford to have the result tainted by suspicion of illegal or false returns.” Today’s head of the Republican Party clearly disagrees.

Trump is creating more of a naked cult of personality even than Jackson did. This is not to suggest that Jackson is "better" in some way than Trump. Rather, the contrast is that Jackson's cult of personality was connected to policy differences and a substantive disagreement over a vision for the country, while Trump's is essentially divorced from ideology, and based at this point on little other than fealty to The Big Lie. Likewise, Anti-Trumpists range from true moderates like Hogan and Weld to archconservatives like Cheney and Sanford, and harbor significant political disagreements. 

What Trump has wrought since the election, and especially since Jan. 6, bears little resemblance to previous political realignments or really anything that’s happened before. This kind of purely personality-driven divide is unprecedented in our country’s history.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of  The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

Morning Digest: Our new Minnesota data shows a divergent election for Biden and Senate 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

Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present new data from Minnesota breaking down the 2020 presidential results for every district in the state House and Senate—which, unusually, are held by opposite parties.

Democrats went into last year's election hoping to net the two seats they'd need to retake the upper chamber after four years in the minority, but despite winning more Senate votes statewide, Team Blue only flipped a single seat. More painfully still, Joe Biden carried 37 of the Senate's 67 seats, a comfortable majority similar in proportion to his share of the statewide vote, which he won 53-45.

Compounding the Democrats' poor showing, two of the party's sitting senators, Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni, announced weeks after the election that they would become independents, which earned the duo committee chairmanships from the GOP majority. This state of affairs has given Republicans and their new allies a 36-31 edge in the chamber.

Altogether, six Republicans sit in Biden seats. The bluest of this bunch is SD-26 in the Rochester area in the southern part of the state, where GOP state Sen. Carla Nelson hung on by a 51-49 maring even as Biden was carrying her constituency 54-44. By contrast, Kent Eken is the one Democratic member of the Senate who represents Trump turf: Eken won SD-04 in the northwest part of the state 55-45 while Trump took it 50-48. Tomassoni, for his part, holds a Trump seat, while Bakk's district went for Biden.

Campaign Action

It's also possible that, but for the presence of a third-party candidate on the ballot in the 27th District in the southern part of the state, Democrats would have won back the Senate. Veteran Democratic Sen. Dan Sparks lost to Republican Gene Dornink 49-44, but Tyler Becvar of the Legal Marijuana Now Party captured 7% of the vote, greater than the margin between the two leaders.

While the cannabis legalization movement is generally associated with the political left, many candidates who ostensibly ran under a pro-weed banner in Minnesota last year received Republican help or espoused right-wing views—including Becvar. But Sparks' seat would have been a very difficult hold regardless: Trump won it 55-43, so it's very possible some of those votes for Becvar would have gone to Dornink instead.

Democrats were able to maintain their majority in the Minnesota House, but their edge slipped from 75-59 to 70-64. Biden took 72 districts to Trump's 62, and though crossover voting benefited Republicans overall, the GOP's advantage wasn't as large as it was in the Senate on a proportional basis: Six House Republicans won Biden seats, while four Democrats took Trump districts.

The Democrat with the reddest turf is Paul Marquart, who earned his 10th term 53-47 even as Trump was romping to a 58-39 victory in his HD-04B. (In Minnesota, two state House districts are nested within one Senate district, and Marquart represents half of Eken's aforementioned 4th Senate District.) Marquart's Republican counterpart is Keith Franke, who had lost re-election in 2018 but reclaimed HD-54A by a 51-48 margin despite Biden's 54-43 victory in his suburban Twin Cities constituency.

Minnesota is one of just two states where the same party doesn't hold both houses of the legislature; the other is Alaska, where Republicans have nominal majorities in each chamber but the House is run by a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

This state of affairs makes it extremely unlikely that the Minnesota legislature and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz will agree on new congressional and legislative maps. This deadlock would mean that the courts would take over redistricting, which is exactly what happened a decade ago—and each of the last several decades.

Once new maps are implemented, each party will immediately have another chance to try to win both chambers. The entire House is on the ballot every two years, while the Senate is up in years ending in 0, 2, and 6, meaning that senators who won election in 2020 are currently serving two-year terms but will run for four-year terms next year. (This system, known as "2-4-4," is used in eight states.)

P.S. You can find all of our district-level data at this bookmarkable permalink.

Senate

GA-Sen: Rep. Buddy Carter appears to have gotten his hands on a cellphone number that his fellow Republicans have had a hard time getting ahold of: The southwest Georgia congressman says he's had "a number of conversations" with former NFL star Herschel Walker, who's been encouraged by Donald Trump to run for Senate but hasn't been in communication with top GOP operatives about his intentions.

Carter, however, says that Walker, who lives in Texas, told him that he'll make some sort of decision "around the first of the summer." (Since "summer" isn't a month, we'll mark that down as June 20, the summer solstice.) Like all Peach State Republicans, Carter is eagerly awaiting a final announcement from Walker, who's largely frozen the Senate field. Carter himself says he's already prepped a campaign team for his own Senate bid but that he's "waiting on Herschel" before entering the race.

PA-Sen: Republican Reps. Guy Reschenthaler and Mike Kelly have published a joint op-ed endorsing Army veteran Sean Parnell in his bid for the Senate, making them the first members of Congress from Pennsylvania to take sides in next year's GOP primary.

Governors

IL-Gov: Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman says he's considering a bid against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker next year and says a decision will come "later this summer" after the conclusion of the current legislative session. Barickman also suggested that the outcome of redistricting, which Democrats will control in Illinois, could affect his thinking.

MI-Gov: A new poll from Target Insyght for MIRS News finds Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer up 48-42 on outgoing Detroit police Chief James Craig, who is considering seeking the Republican nomination. The same survey (which is our first of the race) also finds Whitmer beating Army veteran John James by a wider 49-39 margin. James was the GOP's Senate nominee in both 2018 and 2020, though he hasn't yet publicly expressed any interest in a possible gubernatorial bid.

NY-Gov: Rep. Elise Stefanik easily won election as House GOP conference chair on Friday to replace the ousted Liz Cheney, defeating Texas Rep. Chip Roy 134-46 in a secret ballot. If Stefanik sticks to her word, we can cross her off the list of potential Republican gubernatorial candidates for next year since she said she wouldn't run for governor if she won the race for chair.

VA-Gov: Former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, who'd been threatening to run for governor as an independent, says he's less likely to do so now that the GOP has tapped finance executive Glenn Youngkin as its nominee. "If Amanda Chase or Pete Snyder won," he told CBS's Aaron Navarro, "I would have more heavily considered it." Riggleman has until the June 8 filing deadline for independents to decide.

House

FL-13: Democratic state Rep. Michele Rayner, who'd reportedly been considering a bid for Florida's open 13th District, now confirms that she is in fact looking at the race. Another Democrat, term-limited St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, has also made it clear that he's weighing a campaign; his earlier comments had us slotting him into the "hasn't ruled it out" category, which we regard as a notch below on the level-of-interest scale.

GA-10: State Rep. Timothy Barr has entered the race for Georgia's open 10th Congressional District, making him the second notable Republican to join after former Rep. Paul Broun.

Mayors

Atlanta, GA Mayor: Two more members of the Atlanta City Council, Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown, have announced that they're running in the November nonpartisan primary to succeed retiring incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Dickens is the co-founder of City Living Home Furnishings, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes as "a multi-million dollar retail business with two locations." Dickens sold the business two years before he was elected to the City Council in 2013 by unseating an incumbent.

Brown, for his part, has been a prominent progressive critic of Bottoms since he was elected in a 2019 special election, an accomplishment that made him the body's first Black LGBTQ member. Brown, though, has been under federal indictment since July on fraud charges, allegations he denies.

Two other contenders, City Council President Felicia Moore and attorney Sharon Gay, have been running since before Bottoms announced her departure earlier this month, and a big name is publicly expressing interest for the first time. Former Mayor Kasim Reed recently told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston that he is thinking about running for his old job again, though political insiders have been chattering about a potential comeback for a while.

Reed had no trouble winning re-election the last time he was on the ballot in 2013, but a corruption investigation that resulted in indictments for six members of his staff generated plenty of bad headlines during the end of his tenure. (Term limits prohibited Reed from seeking a third consecutive term in 2017, but he's free to run again now that he's not the incumbent.) Huddleston asked Reed whether he was under investigation, to which the former mayor replied, "The Justice Department under [former Attorney General] Bill Barr has looked into every aspect of my life for more than three years and took no action."

Finally, former Rep. Kwanza Hall confirmed his interest on Thursday and said he would "make my decision soon." Hall, who was a city councilman at the time, took seventh place in the last mayoral contest, but he went on to win a 2020 all-Democratic runoff for the final month of the late Rep. John Lewis' term in the 116th Congress.

New York City, NY Mayor: The Democratic firm Change Research's new survey of the June 22 Democratic primary finds Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leading 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang 19-16, with city Comptroller Scott Stringer at 9%. After the poll simulates the instant runoff process, Adams is left with a 53-47 edge over Yang. Change tells us that, while this was conducted as part of a larger survey for a client, the pollster paid for the horserace portion itself.

St. Petersburg, FL Mayor: St. Pete Polls' new survey of the August nonpartisan primary for Florida Politics finds City Councilwoman Darden Rice and former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch deadlocked 16-16, with former state Rep. Wengay Newton at 12%. All three leading contenders are Democrats, though Newton worked with Republicans on some issues in the legislature and backed former GOP Mayor Rick Baker's unsuccessful 2017 comeback campaign.

St. Pete Polls also finds Welch outpacing Rice 31-24 in a hypothetical November general.

Prosecutors

Manhattan, NY District Attorney: Former State Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg has earned the backing of the United Federation of Teachers, which is one of the major unions in New York City politics, in the eight-way June 22 Democratic primary. Bragg already had the support of two other influential labor groups: the healthcare workers union 1199 SEIU and 32BJ, which represents building and airport employees.

Redistricting

Redistricting: Our friends at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project are hosting a new contest that will be of interest to many Digest readers:

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project at the Electoral Innovation Lab is proud to announce the launch of its Great American Map Off, a contest challenging the public to draw redistricting plans for seven crucial states—Wisconsin, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, and New York—in anticipation of the 2021 redistricting cycle. Maps will be judged in the contest's four unique categories: partisan fairness, stealth gerrymander, competitiveness, and communities of interest. Participants can enter any or all categories, which are fully detailed within the contest rules on the group's website. The site also includes links for mapping tools and resources, including Representable, Dave's Redistricting, and All About Redistricting. The competition will formally open on May 15, 2021. All competitors should submit their prospective maps by the deadline of 11:59 PM ET on June 15, 2021. Prizes will be awarded.

Full details here. Let us know if you submit!

Cheney: ‘History is watching.’ House Republicans: Screw that, Trump is watching

Rep. Liz Cheney, for now the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, has decided she cares more about principles and how history will judge her than she does about the Trumpist orthodoxy of today’s Republican Party. For that, she’s about to be ousted from House Republican leadership and replaced by someone more loyal to Trump but less conservative on the issues, with a simple majority vote of the House Republicans coming as soon as next week.

Cheney refuses to participate in the lie that the election was stolen from Trump—the lie that spurred the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol—so Republicans are swiftly moving to strip her of her leadership role and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has been all in on the Big Lie. Rep. Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, has publicly backed Stefanik over Cheney, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is reportedly supporting Stefanik behind the scenes after becoming increasingly critical of Cheney in public. And, on Wednesday, Donald Trump himself loudly endorsed Stefanik.

Cheney is defiant, on Wednesday evening publishing a Washington Post op-ed defending her position and calling out McCarthy for having changed his. McCarthy, she accurately charged, has “changed his story” from his Jan. 13 statement that “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” she wrote, going on to call for Republicans to support criminal investigations of the Capitol insurrection, support a bipartisan January 6 commission with subpoena power, and “stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.”

Most Republican lawmakers, of course, will do nothing of the sort. Instead, Cheney’s House colleagues are set to vote her out next week, replacing her with Stefanik, who was elected as something of a moderate and has a much less conservative lifetime voting record than Cheney. The Club for Growth is not happy about that—though it also doesn’t seem to be defending Cheney—tweeting “Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority.”

Back in 2017, Stefanik opposed Trump on key issues, like his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, and voted against the tax law that was the major Republican legislative achievement of the Trump years. In late 2018, she took criticism from male Republicans for trying to help Republican women win primaries. But in 2019, she became one of Trump’s fiercest defenders during his first impeachment. It appears she had realized what would be her quickest path to leadership, and she has continued to remake herself in the Trumpy style, down to the LOTS OF CAPS in a Thursday morning tweet assailing Twitter, a private business, for “unconstitutional overreach” in having suspended her communications director.

To be clear, this is not a fight with a hero and a villain. It’s a fight between someone whose principles are largely punitive far-right ones that do include a basic respect for the democratic process and someone who apparently has no strong principles beyond her own advancement—if being a non-Trumpy Republican looks like the way to go, she’s that, and if Trump looks like the winning horse, she’s riding him. One of them is concerned that “History is watching. Our children are watching”—but is looking to create a Republican Party that is strong enough, in the long term, to hand over the maximum amount of power to the biggest corporations and promote endless war. The other is much less worried about history or policy than about getting the immediate promotion, thankyouverymuch. And today’s Republican Party is with the latter, less tied to any specific principle than to Trump—at least as long as he’s got the biggest megaphone and the most committed base—and definitely willing to jettison little things like election results or any pretense of non-racism to keep the Trump base motivated.