The Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from the Daily Kos Elections team.
● Election Night: Loudoun Calling: The big night is just about here, with exciting races in store on Tuesday from coast to coast!
We have competitive contests for governor in Kentucky and Mississippi, while both parties are locked in an expensive battle over control of the Virginia legislature. Ohio voters will also decide the fate of an amendment to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, while Pennsylvania holds a competitive statewide race for the state Supreme Court. And there are many more important elections in major cities and counties across the country.
We'll be covering all of these races live on Tuesday night, starting when the first polls close at 6 PM ET. Join us at Daily Kos Elections and follow us on X (formerly Twitter) for blow-by-blow updates.
As you settle in for election night, Daily Kos Elections has put together a range of resources for all of the key races that you'll want to bookmark:
- Our hour-by-hour guide to the major contests nationwide.
- Our most recent episode of The Downballot previewing some of the biggest races to watch. (You can find a transcript here.)
- Our detailed look at all of the major elections on Tuesday that could impact voting rights.
- Our election night Big Board for all the top races, as well as our special tracker for all the key seats in the Virginia House and Senate, both of which we'll be updating live throughout the night.
We're also pleased to announce that the annual Daily Kos Elections prediction contest is back! Once again, the exceptional Green's Bakery is generously sponsoring fantastic prizes for the top four winners. For more details, including contest rules and our submission form, click here.
● MD-Sen: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger on Monday became the first member of Maryland's congressional delegation to endorse fellow Rep. David Trone in the May Democratic primary. The Baltimore Sun writes that Ruppersberger, who represents much of suburban Baltimore County, "is the first major Democratic official in the Baltimore area — or across the state — to endorse Trone." Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is backing Trone's main intraparty rival, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
Ruppersberger's announcement came days after the Maryland State Education Association, which has long been an important player in state politics, threw its support behind Trone. The 75,000-member MSEA, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, is the largest teachers union in the state.
● MI-Sen: Former Rep. Peter Meijer announced Monday that he'd seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, but both the NRSC and Michigan Republican Party responded to the news by expressing utter contempt for their new candidate.
"Peter Meijer isn't viable in a primary election," declared NRSC Executive Director Jason Thielman, "and there's worry that if Meijer were nominated, the base would not be enthused in the general election." Meijer, who was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, narrowly lost renomination last year to a Trump-backed foe, John Gibbs; Gibbs, in turn, badly lost the general election for the Grand Rapids-based 3rd District to Democrat Hillary Scholten.
While Republicans almost certainly would have been better off if Meijer, who first won office in 2020 by beating Scholten in a more conservative version of the 3rd, had prevailed against Gibbs, Thielman isn't the only one arguing he'd demoralize Republicans if he were to win the August primary. An unnamed Republican told Politico that internal polls showed Meijer considerably more popular with Democrats than with GOP voters, though no one has released any actual data to that effect.
And the NRSC's attacks don't come in a vacuum: The committee successfully recruited former Rep. Mike Rogers to run last month, and its chair, Steve Daines, praised him when he kicked off his campaign. But Rogers, too, has a history of criticizing Trump, so there may be something deeper to the NRSC's sharp words for Meijer.
In fact, both Politico and CNN report that the committee is also worried that Meijer's presence could make it easier for former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who has run as an ardent Trump ally, to win the GOP nod. Craig's hard-line views aren't the only reason that his intraparty critics want to stop him. He waged a disastrous bid for governor last cycle that culminated in him getting thrown off the primary ballot, and his new Senate campaign is picking up right where he left off: Craig took just 17 days to part ways with both his campaign manager and deputy manager.
The state GOP, which is led by election denier Kristina Karamo, also made it clear how much it despises Meijer with a tweet that went up immediately after the new candidate's launch. "Peter Meijer voted to impeach President Trump," the party's official account posted. "Remember that." However, the message was deleted just minutes later.
What replaced it was a statement declaring that the party "remains neutral and supportive of all Republican primary candidates." It continued, "Unfortunately, an over-zealous intern posted a negative comment regarding a candidate that does not reflect the position of MIGOP." Could it actually be that an intern of any level of zeal would have unfettered access to the state party's social media properties? As unlikely as that might seem, The Messenger's Matt Holt speculated that the near-bankrupt outfit might indeed be dependent on such labor.
Meijer, for his part, didn't mention Trump at all in a launch statement that argued he was the most electable Republican in the race. But the former one-term congressman, who is an Army veteran and heir to his family's eponymous supermarket chain, may already be trying to revise his anti-MAGA image.
Meijer submitted a court filing days before his announcement opposing a lawsuit arguing that Trump should be barred from the state ballot because the 14th Amendment disqualifies officeholders who have "engaged in insurrection or rebellion." Meijer sees things differently. "I filed an amicus brief today to support Mr. Trump being on the ballot," he said in a statement, "because our democracy relies on the ability of voters, not judges or partisan election officials, to determine their leaders." Rogers, who retired from Congress six years before Meijer's election, also has attacked Trump's critics in recent months.
There's been less drama on the Democratic side, where Rep. Elissa Slotkin holds a wide financial advantage over actor Hill Harper and the rest of the field. Harper, though, got some welcome news Monday when he received an endorsement from Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, who leads the most populous county in the state.
● AL-02: Two different Republicans, state Sen. Greg Albritton and former state Sen. Dick Brewbaker, declared Monday that they'd run for this redrawn constituency. The GOP primary also included attorney Caroleene Dobson, who announced Wednesday.
The new 2nd, which would have favored Joe Biden 56-43 in 2020, was drawn to ensure Black voters could elect their preferred candidate, and all three GOP candidates are white. (Rep. Barry Moore, who is also a white Republican, decided last month to oppose fellow incumbent Jerry Carl in the March primary for the conservative 1st rather than try to hold the 2nd.) Brewbaker, though, argued to AL.com in September that if the general election comes down to "straight-up racial polarization ... the Republicans can potentially hang onto the seat."
On the Democratic side, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed has confirmed he won't run. State Sen. Kirk Hatcher said last week that Reed would be endorsing him, though the mayor hasn't publicly thrown his support behind anyone yet.
● CO-04: House Minority Leader Mike Lynch tells Colorado Public Radio he's interested in running to replace his fellow Republican, retiring Rep. Ken Buck. Lynch texted that he and his wife were mulling "how my background as a West Point graduate, Army veteran, small business owner, and Colorado House Minority Leader could best be used to serve the people of my state and our nation."
CPR also mentions former state Sen. Tom Wiens as a possible candidate, though there's no word if he's considering well over a decade after his last run for office. Wiens took on Buck for the GOP's 2010 U.S. Senate nomination, but he dropped out well before the primary.
● MD-02: A spokesperson for Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger tells the Baltimore Sun that the 11-term incumbent still hasn't decided if he'll seek reelection with three months to go before the Feb. 9 filing deadline. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski began raising money in June for a potential campaign, though his team made it clear he'd only run if Ruppersberger retired. Joe Biden carried this seat, which is based in the northern Baltimore suburbs, 59-39.
● MD-03: Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who recently published a book about his experience during the Jan. 6 riot, told Axios late last month he was mulling a bid to replace retiring Rep. John Sarbanes in this safely blue seat. "[A]t this moment it's only an intriguing idea," Dunn tweeted Oct. 28, "And I haven't given much formal thought to it. I'm not against it but it's a hell of a decision that I'm not prepared to make now."
The Baltimore Sun, meanwhile, writes that Del. Terri Hill says she's decided to enter the Democratic primary, but there's no quote from her.
● MN-03: While Rep. Dean Phillips announced his longshot White House bid last month, his fellow Minnesota Democrats still aren't assuming the 3rd District will be an open seat next year. Secretary of State Steve Simon, who has expressed interest in running to replace Phillips, tells Minnesota Public Radio's Dana Ferguson, "I would give it serious consideration if Congressman Phillips were actually leaving Congress, but I'm not sure we really know that at this point, at least, I don't feel like I do."
State Sen. Kelly Morrison and state Rep. Zack Stephenson also haven't shown any obvious sign that they'd run for the 3rd until they're sure Phillips won't. But Ron Harris, a DNC member who launched his campaign here last month, reiterated to Ferguson, "We're going to run no matter what."
Phillips, for his part, took to social media Saturday and wrote of his presidential bid, "I'll be clear - if my campaign is not viable after March 5th, I'll wrap it up and endorse the likely nominee - Biden or otherwise." That self-imposed deadline falls about three months before Minnesota's downballot candidate filing deadline.