Morning Digest: New Jersey’s first lady enters Senate race, setting up a major showdown

The Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from the Daily Kos Elections team.

Subscribe to The Downballot, our weekly podcast

Leading Off

NJ-Sen: Former financier Tammy Murphy, who had reportedly been preparing a Senate bid, kicked off her campaign on Wednesday, and she's already earned some important establishment support. But Murphy, the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy, was also greeted by a new poll that shows her trailing her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Andy Kim.

That survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Kim campaign, finds the congressman beating Murphy 40-21 among primary voters, with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez scraping together just 5%. While Menendez has recently sounded as though he wants to run again, his share of the vote is one of the lowest we've ever seen for an incumbent—apart from a similar PPP poll taken last month that also had him at 5%.

Menendez also sports an atrocious favorability rating, with just 10% of respondents saying they have a positive view of the senator, compared to 68% who see him negatively. Murphy and Kim, by contrast, are both well-liked though not universally known, with scores of 50-9 and 45-5, respectively. If Menendez does seek reelection after all, he could plumb new depths at the ballot box, especially since his trial on federal corruption charges is set for May 6—just a month before the primary.

Whatever Menendez decides, the battle for his seat is likely to come down to Murphy and Kim. In a new interview with the New Jersey Globe, Murphy suggested that she doesn't have many ideological differences with Kim ("I suspect that Andy and I stand for a lot of the same policies"), but the two cut very different profiles politically.

Kim, who is the son of Korean immigrants and went on to work at the State Department, first won office in 2018 with the support of Joe Biden and Barack Obama but has portrayed himself as an outsider in this race—and is largely getting treated like one. Murphy, a former banker at Goldman Sachs, is a consummate insider.

And insiders have almost always had the advantage when seeking office in the Garden State, due in large part to its unique approach to ballot design. In 19 of the state's 21 counties, leaders of both parties can award special placement on the ballot to their preferred candidates, known as the "county line." These candidates appear together in a single column of the ballot, often the first one, that has a name on every line (you can see an example in column 1 of this sample ballot). Other hopefuls are relegated to more distant columns amid a sea of blank space.

Research has shown that the county line can confer a major benefit—often an enormous one: One forthcoming study finds that candidates with the line run on average 38 points ahead of those without it. Immediately after launching her bid, Murphy secured the county line in populous Hudson County, which also happens to be Menendez's home base. (Menendez slammed Hudson leaders in response. "At the end of the day, I don't need the party line to win in Hudson," he insisted, while also warning, "I know where all the skeletons in closets are.")

She also won the backing of the party chair in Somerset County, which doesn't guarantee she'll get the line there but is a strong signal that it'll go to her. Other counties are likely to follow suit. (Politico reported last month that "the state party establishment" was "miffed" by Kim's decision to jump into the race prior to the state's legislative elections, which concluded last week.) Kim, though, could potentially earn the line in the South Jersey counties that make up his district, even though he's said he thinks the practice should be abolished.

But the county line might not play as potent a role in this contest as it so often does in others. In many races further down the ballot, candidates tend to be little-known. In those less salient elections, voters have less incentive to go hunting across and down their ballot to find alternatives who lack official party blessing. In this high-profile showdown for the Senate, though, both Kim and Murphy will head into the primary with wide name recognition, and their supporters will know to look for those names wherever they might appear.

The Downballot

We talk about North Carolina non-stop on "The Downballot," so it's only natural that our guest on this week's episode is Anderson Clayton, the new chair of the state Democratic Party. Clayton made headlines when she became the youngest state party chair anywhere in the country at the age of 25, and the story of how she got there is an inspiring one. But what she's doing—and plans to do—is even more compelling. Her focus is on rebuilding the party infrastructure from the county level up, with the aim of reconnecting with rural Black voters who've too often been sidelined and making young voters feel like they have a political home. Plus: her long-term plan to win back the state Supreme Court.

Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard, meanwhile, turn to the avalanche of political developments that have followed last week's off-year elections, with big new candidate announcements in New Jersey's Senate race and Virginia's 2025 contest for governor. They also finally get to discuss the unusual Democratic primary unfolding in the nation's newest Black-majority House seat in Alabama. And then there are all the retirements to recap! So, so many retirements.

Subscribe to "The Downballot" on Apple Podcasts to make sure you never miss a show—new episodes every Thursday! You'll find a transcript of this week's episode right here by noon Eastern time.

Governors

NJ-Gov, NJ-05: Politico reports that Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer has launched a "six-figure" digital ad buy that could serve as a prelude to a 2025 campaign for governor, which he's previously said he's considering. Gottheimer has no notable GOP challenger for 2024 in his 56-43 Biden district, but he did have an enormous $15.8 million in his campaign account at the end of September. It's unclear how much of that he could transfer to a state campaign, but spending it on what is nominally his House race is one way he could use those funds to increase his name recognition ahead of 2025.

VA-Gov: Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who launched her campaign for governor earlier this week, just secured an endorsement from the last Democrat who held the post, Ralph Northam.

House

AK-AL: Following Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom's Tuesday announcement that she will challenge Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola next year, national Republican groups have already signaled that they view her favorably. The NRCC's press secretary called Dahlstrom "a top-tier recruit," while the president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is the House GOP's main allied super PAC, called her candidacy a "recruiting coup" and a "[g]ame changer in Alaska."

Dahlstrom is competing to be the GOP's standard-bearer with businessman Nick Begich, who unsuccessfully ran for this seat last year. All candidates regardless of party will run on the same primary ballot, and the top four finishers will advance to a general election using ranked-choice voting.

IL-07: The Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday that the city's Board of Ethics found "probable cause" that city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin committed ethics violations by firing two aides who had accused her of abusing her powers. The Tribune writes that the board may not make a final decision for months, which could result in a fine, though the matter threatens to derail her challenge to longtime Rep. Danny Davis just four months before the March 19 Democratic primary in this dark blue district.

The allegations against Conyears-Ervin surfaced earlier this year when the city released a 2020 letter where two of her former top aides—Ashley Evans and Tiffany Harper—accused the treasurer of misusing government money and personnel. The pair claimed Conyears-Ervin hired an unqualified employee "for personal services;" used official resources for electoral matters, including sending money to religious organizations that supported her; and threatened to retaliate against any subordinates who wouldn't help her. Evans and Harper later received a total of $100,000 in a 2021 settlement after arguing they were fired in just such an act of illegal retaliation.

While that settlement was public knowledge, then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was a Conyears-Ervin ally, spent years trying to keep this letter from becoming public. However, new Mayor Brandon Johnson, a fellow Democrat who defeated Lightfoot and other challengers in elections earlier this year, released the letter earlier this month.

ME-02: Mortgage broker Rob Cross, who announced a campaign in April but reported raising just $20,000 in the third quarter of the year, has dropped out of the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Jared Golden. National Republicans won't be displeased, though: Just before the end of the quarter, they landed state Rep. Austin Thierault, who is reportedly their preferred choice.

NJ-03: State Senate Majority Whip Troy Singleton, a Democrat, has announced he won't run here to succeed Democratic Senate candidate Andy Kim next year.

NY-18: In a recent Digest, we incorrectly described a poll commissioned by the Congressional Leadership Fund, the top Republican super PAC involved in House races. That survey, conducted by the Republican pollster Cyngal, did not test Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan against Republican challenger Alison Esposito. Rather, it pitted Ryan against an unnamed Republican candidate. Such matchups do not reflect what voters will see when they cast their ballots and are therefore of limited analytical value.

For that reason, Daily Kos Elections seldom reports such polls, since they do not meet our standard for inclusion. We regret the error.

VA-05: Del. John McGuire, a Republican who just won a solidly red seat in the state Senate last week, has announced that he'll wage a primary challenge against far-right Rep. Bob Good in the 5th District. Although Good is a hard-liner and was one of the eight Republicans who voted to remove Kevin McCarthy from the speakership last month, McGuire appears to be challenging him from the right. In announcing his campaign, McGuire attacked Good for having insufficient fealty to Trump; the incumbent endorsed Ron DeSantis for president earlier this year.

VA-07: Semafor reported Wednesday that former National Security Council adviser Eugene Vindman, who is a retired Army colonel, will join the Democratic primary to succeed Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and has already set up a fundraising page, though he had yet to officially declare he was running.

Vindman gained national attention in 2019 when he and his identical twin brother, former National Security Council official Alexander Vindman, helped blow the whistle on Donald Trump's attempt to extort Ukraine's government into undermining Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Alexander Vindman testified before Congress about Trump's abuse of power, which helped lead to his first impeachment by the House that year.

Eugene Vindman and his brother were both born in Ukraine in 1975 when it was under Soviet control, but they immigrated to the United States as young children and later served as career military officers. While the Washington Post described Vindman as a "newcomer to Virginia politics," his role in Trump's impeachment, along with growing hostility from congressional Republicans to providing funding for Ukraine's resistance against Russia's invasion, could give him the prominence needed to run a strong race.

VA-10: Del. Dan Helmer became the latest Democrat to announce he's running in the crowded primary to succeed retiring Rep. Jennifer Wexton next year. Helmer served as the campaign chair for the state House's Democratic caucus this year, which saw his party regain a majority last week.

Helmer ran for the previous version of the 10th District in 2018 but took a distant fourth place in the primary behind Wexton, who went on to oust Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock that fall. However, his political career bounced back the next year when he flipped a GOP-held state House seat, and Helmer won a third term by 59-41 last week.

Meanwhile, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall, a Democrat, has announced she won't run for Congress next year following her reelection victory last week. Several other Democrats had previously announced they were running, including former state House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, state Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Del. David Reid, and former state Education Secretary Atif Qarni.

Ballot Measures

NE Ballot: Abortion rights supporters have launched a ballot initiative effort to put a constitutional amendment before voters next year that would protect abortion rights in a state where Republicans this year enacted a ban on the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy. To get onto the ballot, supporters will need to gather signatures from 10% of registered voters, which is roughly 125,000 at present. However, the exact requirement won't be known until the July 5, 2024 filing deadline because it's based on the registration numbers at the time.

Importantly, supporters will also need to gather signatures from 5% of registered voters in at least two-fifths of the state's 93 counties. This requirement significantly hinders progressives—but not conservatives—because the “bluest” two-fifths of counties include ones that Donald Trump won by landslide margins of up to 78-19. However, abortion rights advocates were able to overcome a similar requirement this year in Ohio, where voters approved an abortion rights amendment by 57-43 earlier this month.

Legislatures

MI State House: Michigan Democrats, who just won control of the state House last year for the first time in more than a decade, have now lost their majority—and it will likely be some time before they get it back.

That's because two incumbents are about to depart after winning mayoral races in their hometowns in last week's local elections. As a result, the chamber will be tied at 54 seats for each party, and the prospect of quick special elections to fill the two vacancies appears to have faded, according to a new report from Bridge Michigan's Jonathan Oosting.

While Democrats would have liked to hold primaries in January and then general elections on Feb. 27, when the state will conduct its presidential primary, state House Speaker Joe Tate said this week that such a timetable would not be "feasible." It's not clear what the schedule will ultimately look like, though Tate says he's discussing a "spring timeframe" with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whose responsibility it is to call the elections.

Whenever those specials do finally happen, both Democratic seats should remain blue. According to Dave's Redistricting App, Joe Biden carried Kevin Coleman's 25th District 59-40 and won Lori Stone's 13th District 64-35. One thing that won't happen in the interim, said Tate, is any sort of power-sharing agreement, pointing out that the chamber's rules for addressing ties only apply when there's a 55-55 split and all seats are filled.

NJ State Assembly: The New Jersey Globe reports that Democrat Anna Katz has ousted GOP Assemblyman Brandon Umbra in the 8th Legislative District following the counting of provisional ballots and mail ballots that were postmarked by Election Day but didn't arrive until days later. With Katz's victory, Assembly Democrats have flipped six seats and expanded their majority to 52-28.

VA State House: The race for Virginia's 82nd District in the state House may go to a recount after final tallies cut Republican Rep. Kim Taylor's lead over Democrat Kimberly Pope Adams to 74 votes. Including write-ins, the difference between the two candidates stands at 0.27%, which is below the 0.5% threshold that would allow Adams to request a recount paid for by the state. Adams, however, has not yet decided whether to ask for one, and despite the seemingly small margin, a recount would be unlikely to change the outcome.

In the 41st District, meanwhile, the spread between Republican Chris Obenshain and Democrat Lily Franklin tightened considerably, but the final margin of 0.74% left the race just outside of state-paid recount territory. That prompted Franklin to concede, though the result was much closer than most analysts had expected, particularly given Obenshain's name recognition as the cousin of state Sen. Mark Obenshain.

If the result in the 82nd District holds, Democrats would have a 51-49 majority in the House to go along with their 21-19 advantage in the state Senate when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Prosecutors and Sheriffs

Loudoun County, VA Commonwealth's Attorney: Final results of last week's elections confirm that Democrat Buta Biberaj, the top prosecutor in Virginia's third-largest county, has lost her bid for a second term to Republican Bob Anderson, who reclaimed the post he last held two decades ago. Anderson's 300-vote margin, equal to 0.2% of the vote, would have allowed Biberaj to seek a recount, but she said on Wednesday that she would not.

Biberaj had been attacked by conservatives for her reformist approach to certain criminal prosecutions, as many progressive prosecutors have. However, she had also come under fire for her day-to-day management of her office and had clashed with Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors, which is controlled by Democrats. Those conflicts helped spur a primary challenge from defense attorney Elizabeth Lancaster, who earned an endorsement from the Washington Post (an influential outlet in the area) and held the incumbent to a 55-45 win.

Biberaj was also likely hampered by the timing of her election and the lack of party labels on the ballot. Loudoun, which is home to more than 400,000 people in the highly educated Washington, D.C., suburbs, has been a key driver of Virginia's transformation from a red state to a blue one. Just two decades ago, it twice voted for George W. Bush by double digits. By 2020, however, it was supporting Joe Biden by a 62-37 margin. In off years, though, it's usually been much more favorable to Republicans.

Morning Digest: Alabama poised to have two Black Congress members for first time thanks to new map

The Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from the Daily Kos Elections team.

Subscribe to The Downballot, our weekly podcast

Leading Off

AL Redistricting: A federal court on Thursday chose a new congressional map to impose in Alabama for the 2024 elections, finally creating a second district where Black voters can elect their preferred candidate. You can see the new map here, and click here for an interactive version.

The court had previously found that the map Republicans enacted in 2021 violated the Voting Rights Act, though the map was still used in last year's elections while the GOP appealed. Consequently, a Black Democrat will likely replace a white Republican after 2024, which would give Alabama two Black House members (out of seven total) for the first time in its history, roughly matching the 27% of its population that is Black.

Compared with the previous map, the new map significantly reconfigures the 1st and 2nd districts in southern Alabama to turn the latter district from a majority-white, safely Republican constituency into one that is 49% Black and just 44% white. To do so, the new map gives the 2nd the rest of Montgomery and most of Mobile—two cities that both have large Black populations—while the 2nd sheds the heavily white rural areas along the Florida border and exurbs north of Montgomery. (Changes to the other five districts were relatively limited.)

Consequently, the redesigned 2nd District would have favored Joe Biden 56-43 in 2020, making it a likely Democratic flip in 2024. Current 2nd District Rep. Barry Moore, a Republican who is a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, is now at significant risk of losing his seat, though Moore recently indicated he could bail on the 2nd District and instead run against fellow GOP Rep. Jerry Carl in the primary for the 1st. However, Moore would likely be starting at a disadvantage there since our calculations indicate Carl currently represents 59% of the new district compared to Moore's 41%.

The new map is the culmination of multiyear litigation that saw the lower court strike down the GOP's 2021 map last year because it packed Black voters into the heavily Democratic 7th District while dispersing them elsewhere to ensure that the other six districts would remain heavily white and safely Republican. The Supreme Court put that ruling on hold for the 2022 elections while Republicans appealed, but it subsequently upheld the lower court's ruling in a landmark decision this past June, preserving a key protection of the Voting Rights Act.

Following the Supreme Court's ruling, the lower court gave the Republican-controlled legislature a second chance to draw a compliant map, instructing them to draw two districts that were either majority-Black or "something quite close to it." But in July, Republicans brazenly defied the courts, enacting a new map with just one majority-Black district and another that was only 39.9% Black—well short of a majority and therefore safely Republican.

Last month, the lower court blocked this new Republican map, and the Supreme Court also rejected the GOP's last-ditch attempt to keep it in place. Republican Secretary of State Wes Allen subsequently dropped the state's appeal to the high court earlier this week. This ensures the new map adopted by the lower court will be used in 2024, though state Republicans could still sue to invalidate the court-imposed map later this decade.

election recaps

Memphis, TN Mayor: Downtown Memphis Commission CEO Paul Young defeated Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner 28-23 Thursday to succeed their fellow Democrat, termed-out Mayor Jim Strickland, in a 17-way contest where it took only a simple plurality to win. Young, who outspent each of his opponents, was long involved in city government but had never before run for office, and he argued he'd be the most prepared mayor in history while also representing change.

The winning candidate, who is the son of two well-known pastors, also focused on turning out younger voters. Young, when questioned why he'd voted in two GOP primaries since 2016, argued this was "strategic crossover voting to ensure that we have good people on both sides of the ledger." "I'm a Democrat," he said at one debate, "but I'm gonna get the job done."

3Q Fundraising

  • AZ-Sen: Ruben Gallego (D): $3 million raised, $5 million cash on hand
  • NV-Sen: Jacky Rosen (D-inc): $2.7 million raised, $8.8 million cash on hand
  • PA-Sen: Bob Casey (D-inc): $3.2 million raised, $7.3 million cash on hand
  • WI-Sen: Tammy Baldwin (D-inc): $3.1 million raised, $7 million cash on hand
  • CA-27: George Whitesides (D): $400,000 raised, additional $300,000 self-funded, $1.7 million cash on hand
  • CA-41: Will Rollins (D): $830,000 raised
  • CO-03: Adam Frisch (D): $3.4 million raised, $4.3 million cash on hand
  • NY-17: Mondaire Jones (D): $1.15 million raised, $840,000 cash on hand
  • WI-03: Rebecca Cooke (D): $400,000 raised

Senate

CA-Sen: Politico relays that Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff have all made it clear they'd continue to run for the Senate even if their fellow Democrat, appointed incumbent Laphonza Butler, sought a full term.

NJ-Sen: Rep. Andy Kim's allies at End Citizens United are out with an internal from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that shows the congressman beating First Lady Tammy Murphy 42-19 in a hypothetical Democratic primary, with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez taking all of 5%. The firm also finds Kim, who remains the only major declared candidate, defeating the incumbent 63-10 in a one-on-one fight. This is the only primary poll we've seen other than a Data for Progress survey that showed Kim beating fellow Rep. Mikie Sherrill 27-20 in a crowded contest, but that survey was largely conducted after Sherrill said she wouldn't run.

Another Democratic House member, Rep. Frank Pallone, sounds unlikely to seek a promotion, though he didn't quite rule it out to Politico. Pallone, who has served in the lower chamber since 1988, instead says he wants to regain the top post on the Energy and Commerce panel under a new Democratic majority. He said of the Senate chatter, "I’m flattered by the suggestions."

The story also adds that Rep. Josh Gottheimer is continuing to prepare his likely 2025 gubernatorial bid and isn't "planning to change course and run for Senate," though he hasn't said this publicly. (See our NJ-11, NJ-Gov item below for more on both Gottheimer and Sherrill's 2025 deliberations.)

WV-Sen: The Tarrance Group's late-September poll for the Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC tied to Mitch McConnell, shows GOP Gov. Jim Justice leading Sen. Joe Manchin 49-43 in a hypothetical general election scenario where the senator runs as an independent rather than as a Democrat. The memo did not mention Rep. Alex Mooney, who is waging an uphill primary battle against Justice.

Governors

MS-Gov: The conservative Magnolia Tribune has released a survey from Mason-Dixon that shows GOP Gov. Tate Reeves leading Democrat Brandon Presley 51-43, which is only a little smaller than the 52-41 advantage that Siena College found in late August. Mason-Dixon does not appear to have asked respondents about independent Gwendolyn Gray, whose presence on the ballot could conceivably prevent anyone from taking the majority needed to avert a Nov. 28 runoff; Siena, though, found just 1% opting for "someone else."

House

AZ-01: Former TV news anchor Marlene Galán-Woods has publicized an endorsement from former Gov. Janet Napolitano, who served from 2003 to 2009, in the Democratic primary to face GOP incumbent David Schweikert.

MI-08: Saginaw police officer Martin Blank, who served as an Army trauma surgeon in Afghanistan, on Thursday became the first notable Republican to launch a bid against Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee. Joe Biden would have carried this seat, which is based in the Flint and Tri-Cities areas, 50-48, but Kildee won an expensive race 53-43 two years later.

Blank has twice run for the state legislature, but he came nowhere close to securing the nomination either time. He lost his 2020 bid for the state House 50-31 against Timothy Beson, who went on to win the seat. Black campaigned for the upper chamber last year in a four-way primary, but he finished dead last with 18%. (Annette Glenn won that nomination contest with 41% only to lose to Democrat Kristen McDonald Rivet in the fall.)

MN-03: DNC member Ron Harris tells Punchbowl News he's considering running for the seat currently held by Rep. Dean Phillips, and he didn't rule out challenging the would-be Biden primary foe. Harris sounds more interested in running for an open seat, however, even though Minnesota's June filing deadline means that Phillips wouldn't need to choose between humoring his longshot presidential dreams and seeking reelection. "As Dean considers a run for President, I'm exploring a run for Congress to ensure this district stays in Democratic hands," Harris tweeted Thursday.

Harris, who is currently the DNC's Midwestern Caucus chair, previously served as Minneapolis' chief resilience officer from 2019 until last year. (Minnesota's largest city is located entirely in Rep. Ilhan Omar's 5th District.) Harris would be the first Black person to represent the 3rd, a seat in the western Minneapolis suburbs that favored Biden 60-39.

NJ-11, NJ-Gov: Politico relays chatter that New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill could retire this cycle to prepare for a potential 2025 bid to succeed her fellow Democrat, termed-out Gov. Phil Murphy, though there's no word from the congresswoman about her thinking. The current version of Sherrill's 11th District, which includes New York City's western suburbs and exurbs, would have backed Joe Biden 58-41, and Democrats would be favored to keep it no matter what.

The congresswoman would be free to seek a fourth term in the House in 2024 and even remain in Congress should she lose a bid for governor, but Sherrill could decide instead that she'd prefer to focus on a statewide campaign. Indeed, Politico previously reported in July that another Democrat who flipped a seat during the 2018 blue wave, Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, has decided against running for reelection so she can commit all of her time towards her own 2025 gubernatorial bid: Spanberger herself says she'll reveal her plans after the Nov. 7 legislative elections. (New Jersey also holds its state House and Senate contests that day.)

If Sherrill were to run for governor, she'd be in for an expensive primary battle. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop launched his campaign all the way back in April, and he announced Thursday that he'd raised enough money to receive all $7.3 million from the state's matching funds program, which provides $2 in state funds for every dollar raised. Anyone participating in the program can only spend $7.3 million during the primary, though super PACs like the pro-Fulop Coalition for Progress, which had $6.5 million available at the end of June, can deploy as much as they want.

Sherrill also isn't the only Democratic House member who might try to be the next inhabit of Drumthwacket, the governor's delightfully named official residence. An advisor for Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a prominent centrist who represents a neighboring seat to the north, confirmed the congressman's interest back in July to the New Jersey Globe. However, Politico relays that unnamed "Democrats close to Gottheimer" anticipate he'll also seek reelection next year to the 5th District, which favored Biden 56-43.

Plenty of other Democrats have also been talked about as potential candidates to replace Murphy in this blue state, and we'll take a closer look at the many potential contenders after the Nov. 7 elections. On the GOP side, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announced he was in days after he lost the 2021 general election to Murphy by a surprisingly narrow 51-48 spread.

VA-10: Axios' Hans Nichols reports that former National Security Council advisor Eugene Vindman, the whistleblower who attracted national attention in the leadup to Donald Trump's first impeachment, is considering running to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Jennifer Wexton. Vindman didn't deny anything to Nichols when asked at an event for the Democratic group VoteVets, saying instead, "I'm focused on Ukraine funding. I'm focused on war crimes now. That's all I'm focused on."

Nick Minock of the local ABC affiliate 7News, meanwhile, writes that Loudoun County Supervisor Juli Briskman discussed campaigning for the Democratic nod after Wexton announced that she wouldn't run following her diagnosis with Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy. Briskman, who was photographed flipping off Donald Trump's motorcade while biking in 2017, divulged last week that she was being treated for breast cancer, and she said doctors are optimistic about her prospects. The supervisor, who is up for reelection on Nov. 7, did not respond to 7News' inquiry about her 2024 plans.

Minock also mentions state Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Del. Elizabeth Guzman, and former Attorney General Mark Herring as possible Democratic candidates. Nichols additionally names Jessica Post, who announced last week that she would step down as president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee after this year's races; like the aforementioned trio, Post does not appear to have said anything publicly about participating in this contest. But Del. Danica Roem, who is seeking a promotion to the state Senate, told 7News she wouldn't run herself; Roem previously ruled out a bid for the neighboring 7th District.

On the GOP side, attorney Mike Clancy on Thursday became the first declared candidate for this 58-40 Biden seat. Clancy, whom Minock describes as a "business executive with a global technology company," ran here last year and self-funded the majority of his campaign's $400,000 budget, but he didn't come close to winning the party-run "firehouse primary."

Minock also supplies a few names of possible GOP contenders:

  • 2020 nominee Aliscia Andrews
  • Loudoun County Supervisor Caleb Kershner
  • 2022 candidate Caleb Max
  • state Sen. Jill Vogel

Kershner is up for reelection next month, while Vogel is retiring from the legislature.

Ad Roundup

The Republican House majority is the most fragile they’ve had in a very long time

Republicans may soon find out that the only thing worse than losing the House is winning it. That’s because the foundation on which the GOP’s new majority rests is as shaky as they come—and that’s no mere opinion. It’s an unassailable fact, borne out by hard data.

The 222 seats Republicans will control in the coming Congress is the same number that Democrats held in the outgoing one. But not only do Republicans lack anyone remotely resembling Nancy Pelosi—one of the most accomplished legislative leaders in American history—a critical portion of their caucus represents districts that Joe Biden would have carried.

This batch of 18 “crossover” seats (so called because they voted for different parties for president and the House) is small by historical standards but looms very large indeed when set against the miniscule five-seat advantage Republicans enjoy in the chamber. How Pelosi accomplished so much with so little will be studied by a generation of scholars, but one key factor was doubtless the fact that only seven of her members sat in districts Donald Trump had won following the 2020 elections. (There will still be five Democrats in Trump seats come 2023.)

Campaign Action

And it’s not just the quantity of crossover seats but their quality, as well. We can rank-order every district by its presidential vote (a more useful metric than the results of House elections, which can be affected by varying candidate quality, competitiveness, and uncontested seats) to see which seat gave Pelosi that crucial 218th vote. It turns out to have been the previous version of Michigan’s 8th District around Lansing, which backed Trump by less than a single point and is represented by a reliable Democrat, Elissa Slotkin.

Needless to say, Kevin McCarthy—or any Republican who might have the misfortune to take his place—won’t have anything resembling that good fortune.

Quite the contrary: The seat tipping the GOP over the edge will be upstate New York’s redrawn 17th District, which would’ve gone for Biden by a vastly larger 10-point spread. And Republican Mike Lawler (who beat DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney) is already concerned with his immediate political survival—which means, in a blue district like this one, distancing himself from the Marjorie Taylor Greene lunatic brigade.

In 2016, Lawler served as a Trump delegate at the Republican convention, but just days after the midterms, Lawler told CNN that he’d “like to see the party move forward” from the GOP’s overlord and expressed a lack of interest in pursuing the witch-hunts and impeachments his far-right colleagues are frothing for. “I think the top priority is to deal with inflation and the cost of living,” he said. “I don’t want to go from one issue to the next without dealing with the issues that got me elected in the first place.”

It will be quite something to watch when the Greenes and Boeberts and assorted other miscreants grow enraged at the likes of Lawler, but he’ll by no means be the only House Republican prioritizing self-preservation over party unity. And what makes the case of Lawler and his fellow travelers so destabilizing is that their districts are much further to the left than those of similarity situated majority-makers in any recent Congress where Republicans have been in control.

We can say this with certainty. At Daily Kos Elections, we have a deep archive of robust data going back many years, allowing us to analyze the political lean of the 218th seat over time. Below we list the tipping-point districts for every Congress dating back to 2008, along with the results of the most recent presidential election in all of them:

During the last period of Republican control following the 2010 elections, you can see that these districts have generally been clustered right around dead even according to presidential margin: Trump +0.1 in 2016, Mitt Romney +1.1 in 2014, and Barack Obama +0.1 in 2012. 2010 might look like something of an outlier, but don’t forget that Obama won the national popular vote by 7 points. Compared to the nation as a whole, then, that version of Iowa’s 4th was only a touch bluer, as you can see in the column on the far right of the table above; in subsequent years, the GOP’s 218th seat was actually to the right of the country overall.

(By the by, Democrats now hold the current versions of Virginia’s 10th and Minnesota’s 2nd. They also won the successor to Iowa’s 4th in 2018 but lost it by less than a percentage point this year.)

To put Lawler’s district in the same context, it’s almost 6 points left of center. That makes it much more liberal than any pivot-point seat Boehner ever had to contend with, and Lawler knows it. That also goes for all the other Republicans in similar districts—or at least, if they don’t grasp this reality now, they will after they’ve lost re-election in 2024.

Pelosi, by contrast, has regularly handled similar situations and even tougher ones: After the 2008 elections, with the majority-making seat 10 points to the nation’s right, Democrats nevertheless managed to pass a massive stimulus package, a major Wall Street reform bill, and, of course, Obamacare. Republicans don’t even have a legislative agenda, let alone the ability to pass anything so far-reaching.

And this, of course, assumes that McCarthy or another Republican can even put together enough votes to win the speakership in the first place, which is far from assured. But even if he manages to, he’ll find that his authority rests on an exceptionally rickety base—one that both the pragmatists and the crazies will have no hesitation blowing up.

Raphael Warnock needs all the support he can get to help our Democratic majority in the Senate. Chip in $5 today to his runoff campaign.

Morning Digest: Primary season marches on with another big night across the South

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.

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Leading Off

Primary Night: You Kemp Lose If You Don't Play: We have another big primary night in store on Tuesday as voters in Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia head to the polls. That's not all, though, as Texas is holding runoffs for races where no one earned a majority of the vote in the March 1 primary. On top of that, both Democrats and Republicans in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District will pick nominees for an Aug. 9 special election to succeed Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died in February. And as always, we've put together our preview of what to watch.  

Perhaps the biggest race on the calendar is the Democratic runoff for Texas' 28th Congressional District where Henry Cuellar, who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House, is trying to fend off progressive attorney Jessica Cisneros. The Lone Star State is also hosting the GOP runoff for attorney general between incumbent Ken Paxton, who has spent almost seven years under indictment with no trial date in sight, and Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

Meanwhile, although Donald Trump's efforts to torpedo Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp seems to be about to spectacularly flame out, he may have more success going after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr, two other statewide Republicans who declined to enable the Big Lie. Over in the 7th District in the Atlanta area, we have an incumbent vs. incumbent Democratic primary between Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath, though this one may need to be resolved in a runoff. There's plenty more to watch in all five states, and you can find more in our preview.

Our live coverage will begin at 7 PM ET at Daily Kos Elections when polls close in Georgia. You can also follow us on Twitter for blow-by-blow updates, and you'll want to bookmark our primary calendar, which includes the dates for primaries in all 50 states.

Senate

AZ-Sen: The Democratic firm Blueprint Polling has conducted a poll testing hypothetical general election matchups in Arizona that finds Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly with double-digit leads over three of his prospective Republican foes; there's no word as to who, if anyone, is their client. Kelly beats businessman Jim Lamon 48-34, outpaces state Attorney General Mark Brnovich 50-33, and prevails 49-32 over former Thiel Capital chief operating officer Blake Masters. These numbers are the best we've seen for Kelly by anyone this cycle, though few pollsters have released surveys here so far.

NC-Sen: The Democratic-affiliated Senate Majority PAC has launched a new TV ad supporting former Democratic state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley as part of a $1.4 million buy over the next three weeks, which is notable after SMP previously omitted North Carolina when it revealed its fall ad reservations back in April. The ad hits back against unmentioned GOP attacks by trying to portray Beasley as tough-on-crime and noting that she even applied the death penalty in a case where a man killed a child.

Meanwhile, a new East Carolina University poll finds GOP Rep. Ted Budd holding a 47-39 lead over Beasley after the two won their respective parties' primaries last week.

OH-Sen: Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan has debuted his first ad following his primary win earlier this month, and it continues his focus on bringing well-paying blue collar jobs to Ohio. The spot attacks GOP nominee J.D. Vance over a past statement where he said we may have to just accept that "a 55-year-old worker in Dayton, Ohio who spent his entire life in manufacturing ... may not be able to find a good paying job for the rest of his working life."

UT-Sen: A new Dan Jones & Associates poll of the June 28 Republican primary on behalf of the Deseret News and Hinckley Institute of Politics shows GOP Sen. Mike Lee ahead by 49-19 over former state Rep. Becky Edwards, while businesswoman Ally Isom takes just 6%. Both Edwards and Isom are challenging the incumbent for being too extreme.

Governors

GA-Gov, GA-Sen, GA-AG, GA-SoS: The GOP firm Landmark Communications has conducted its final poll ahead of Tuesday's Republican primaries, and there was no indication who, if anyone, was their client. The survey finds Gov. Brian Kemp poised for a 60-30 blowout win over former Sen. David Perdue, while former NFL star Herschel Walker sports an even larger 60-12 edge over banking executive Latham Saddler in the Senate race.

Further downballot in the primary for attorney general, incumbent Chris Carr is ahead by 49-24 over Big Lie proponent John Gordon, while the secretary of state's race sees incumbent Brad Raffensperger trailing by 39-38 against Rep. Jody Hice, who has Trump's endorsement and is also campaigning on the Big Lie. However, with 9% going to former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle and 2% to another candidate, Hice's lead isn't large enough to avoid a June 21 runoff.

MA-Gov: Massachusetts Republicans held their state party convention on Saturday, and former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who has Trump's backing and lost by a wide margin as the GOP's 2018 Senate nominee, won the party endorsement 71-29 over businessman Chris Doughty, who has pitched himself as a moderate. Diehl will still have to face off with Doughty in the September primary, however, because Doughty cleared the 15% threshold needed to advance to the primary ballot.

MI-Gov: Billionaire Dick DeVos has announced that he and his family are endorsing conservative radio host Tudor Dixon and that they intend "to provide support for her financially" in the GOP primary for governor this August. The DeVos family is very well connected in state GOP politics, with Dick DeVos having been the 2006 nominee for governor; his wife Betsy DeVos served as education secretary in the Trump administration and previously chaired the state party. The Detroit News noted that the DeVos family was Michigan's top donor in the 2018 election, having given more than $11 million that cycle according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network nonprofit.

Dixon faces a crowded August primary where former Detroit Police Chief James has appeared to be the frontrunner since last summer. There have been signs in recent months that Craig's lead is vulnerable, and Dixon had previously won endorsements from Reps. Bill Huizenga and Lisa McClain, along with praise from Trump that stopped just short of an endorsement, but that support has so far failed to translate to the polls. The only recent poll we have here from a reliable firm was a Glengariff Group survey that gave Craig a 23-8 lead over chiropractor Garrett Soldano, while Dixon took just 2%. However, with only 17% of Republicans in that poll having heard of her, Dixon's support may increase if she can effectively get her message out.

NM-Gov: A new Research & Polling Inc. survey of the June 7 GOP primary for the Albuquerque Journal finds former TV meteorologist and 2020 Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti leading by 45-17 over state Rep. Rebecca Dow, with retired Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Greg Zanetti taking 9% and Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block earning 8%. Marchetti's advantage in this latest poll is similar to a SurveyUSA poll from earlier this month that showed him up 44-12 over Block while Zanetti and Dow were close behind in third and fourth, respectively.

PA-Gov: Put Pennsylvania First, a PAC supported by the Democratic Governors Association, Planned Parenthood, and other Democratic-affiliated groups, has announced it is putting $6 million behind a campaign that includes $3 million for TV ads and $1 million for digital ads, with the rest going to voter outreach. The TV spot warns how the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and attacks newly minted GOP nominee Doug Mastriano for supporting a total ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.

WI-Gov: Republicans at the state GOP convention on Saturday opted not to endorse a candidate after former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch won the support of just 55% of delegates, which was shy of the 60% needed to earn the state party's backing. While party endorsement conventions in Wisconsin only began in the 2010 cycle and aren't nearly as important as in neighboring Minnesota, where rivals of endorsed candidates will often drop out instead of fight on to the primary, the Associated Press noted that winning the Wisconsin GOP's endorsement would have allowed the party to spend as much as it wanted on the victor.

House

CA-40: Physician Asif Mahmood is the latest in a string of Democrats this year who are trying to pick their opponents, but in a bit of a twist, he's also trying to prevent an incumbent from reaching the general election.

Mahmood is airing a new ad that calls out Republican Greg Raths for his hostility to abortion rights, calling him "too right-wing for Orange County"—exactly the kind of message that would excite conservative voters, of course, and one aimed at boosting Raths past Rep. Young Kim in next month's top-two primary. Kim also opposes abortion rights but Mahmood would unquestionably rather face the more vocally MAGA-fied Raths in November.

For Mahmood to be successful, Kim would have to come in third in the primary, a fate that's never befallen an incumbent in the decade since California adopted its current top-two system. However, Kim's incumbency is as thin as it gets: Thanks to redistricting, she represents just 20% of the redrawn 40th District. Raths, meanwhile, ran against Rep. Katie Porter last cycle in the old 45th District, which makes up almost two-thirds of the new 40th, though he lost 53-47.

IL-06: A new internal poll from Garin-Hart-Yang for Rep. Sean Casten finds the congressman leading his rival in next month's primary, fellow Rep. Marie Newman, by a 36-27 margin, with 2% going to perennial candidate Charles Hughes and, presumably, 35% undecided. GHY's memo also says that "the race was even" when it last polled in January, though actual toplines for that older survey are not included. The only other poll of the contest was a Newman internal from February that had the two incumbents tied at 37 apiece.

MO-07: Former state Sen. Jay Wasson has released a new poll of the Aug. 2 Republican primary for Missouri's open 7th District, conducted by American Viewpoint, that shows him leading state Sen. Mike Moon 21-17, with state Sen. Eric Burlison at 15 and all other candidates in single digits; 31% were undecided. We've seen just one other survey here, from Republican pollster Remington Research on behalf of the tipsheet Missouri Scout all the way back in January, that had Burlison leading Moon 21-12, with Wasson at 9.

NY-10: New York's radically reconfigured 10th District in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn has already attracted a trio of prominent Democratic contenders, but a whole bunch more are considering the race for this newly open and safely blue seat. The potential candidates who've publicly stated their interest include:

  • state Sen. Simcha Felder, who spent many years caucusing with Republicans
  • former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who represented a different part of Brooklyn in the 1970s and is now 80 years old
  • Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon
  • attorney Dawn Smalls, who took 4% in the 2019 special election for New York City public advocate

Several others are reportedly interested:

  • attorney Daniel Goldman, who was chief Democratic counsel for Donald Trump's first impeachment
  • City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, who filed paperwork with the FEC
  • former City Comptroller Scott Stringer, though he's reportedly planning to seek an open state Senate seat in Manhattan
  • former City Councilman David Yassky, according to Councilwoman Gale Brewer

Already running are former Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and Hudson Valley Rep. Mondaire Jones. Assemblyman Robert Carroll, however, is a no. The 10th District is open because the state's new court-drawn map moved Rep. Jerry Nadler's Upper West Side base into the 12th District, where he'll face off against fellow Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary.

NY-12: Attorney Suraj Patel, who was waging a third straight primary challenge against Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney after coming up just shy in 2020, says he's continuing his campaign despite the fact that he'll now be going up against Rep. Jerry Nadler, too. Another candidate who'd been taking on Maloney, community organizer Rana Abdelhamid, does not appear to have commented on her plans since the state's new court-drawn map was adopted over the weekend.

NY-17, NY-03: State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who'd been running for New York's open 3rd Congressional District, announced on Monday that she would instead challenge DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney in the 17th.

Biaggi, who represents a slice of Westchester and the Bronx in the legislature, was originally drawn into the 3rd District in the map she and her colleagues passed in February. However, the new court-imposed boundaries returned the 3rd to an all-Long Island configuration similar to the way it had looked for the previous decade. That left Biaggi well outside the new 3rd, facing off against a squadron of Long Island natives across the sound.

However, Biaggi doesn't have any obvious ties to the 17th District, either. She lives in the Westchester town of Pelham on the Bronx border, and even the northernmost tip of her Senate district is still well south of the 17th, which includes northern Westchester, all of Rockland and Putnam counties, and the southern reaches of Dutchess County.

But Maloney's been roundly lambasted, including by several House colleagues, for his own debatable connections to the 17th. Maloney immediately announced after the court-appointed special master published a draft map last week that he'd abandon the 18th to instead run one district to the south, despite representing just a quarter of the 17th and 71% of the 18th. He justified the decision by arguing his home is in the 17th, but in switching districts, he not only left the 18th more vulnerable, he forced fellow Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones out of the 17th, even though he represented 73% of the district. (Jones is instead seeking an open seat in New York City.)

Biaggi specifically cited Maloney's move in explaining her decision to run, saying, "What hurt the party was having the head of the campaign arm not stay in his district, not maximize the number of seats New York can have to hold the majority." She also has experience defeating well-funded senior party leaders: In 2018, she unseated powerful state Sen. Jeff Klein, who for years had allowed Republicans to maintain control of the Senate through an alliance with his caucus of renegade Democrats known as the IDC, or Independent Democratic Conference. Biaggi now has three months to find out whether she can play the role of political giant-slayer once more.

NY-18: Shortly after draft maps were released last week, Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis said that he was considering a bid for New York's 18th District, which is open because of the DCCC's Sean Patrick Maloney's selfish decision to seek the 17th instead. However, Skoufis hasn't said anything since the map was finalized.

NY-19 (special): Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that Rep. Antonio Delgado would be sworn in as her new lieutenant governor on Wednesday, allowing her to consolidate the special election for Delgado's House seat with the Aug. 23 primary for U.S. House and state Senate races. A new state law says that the governor has 10 days after a congressional vacancy to schedule a special election, which must take place 70 to 80 days thereafter. That gives Hochul a maximum window of 90 days, which is why Delgado has delayed his departure from Congress, even though his appointment was announced several weeks ago.

NY-23 (special): Democratic county chairs in New York's 23rd Congressional District have selected Air Force veteran Max Della Pia to run in the upcoming special election to replace former GOP Rep. Tom Reed. Republicans have yet to pick their nominee for the special, which will take place under the old district lines. Della Pia, who earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan, says he will also run in November for the new 23rd District. The old district voted for Donald Trump 55-43; the new version would have backed him 58-40.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has yet to schedule the special, though it will likely be consolidated with the Aug. 23 primary for U.S. House and state Senate races. But while Reed announced that he would resign effective immediately on May 10, state officials say they have yet to receive a letter from the congressman informing them of a vacancy. Reed may be delaying transmission of such a letter for the same reason Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado has likewise not yet vacated his seat—see our NY-19 item just above. It's less clear, however, why Reed might wish to make election administration easier for Hochul, a Democrat, though he has sometimes dissented from GOP orthodoxy.

OR-06: We now know how much it costs to bend a top Democratic super PAC to your will: $5 million.

As we learned late on Friday night, cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried donated $6 million to the House Majority PAC on April 4, just days before HMP began spending $1 million to boost first-time candidate Carrick Flynn in the Democratic primary for Oregon's brand-new 6th Congressional District.

The move infuriated countless Democrats, who demanded to know why HMP, which had never before involved itself in a primary like this in its decade-long existence, had chosen this race to break with past practice. It particularly enraged the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which was backing state Rep. Andrea Salinas and had given the PAC more than $6 million since 2012 in order to defeat Republicans, not fellow Democrats.

The group's only explanation was transparent bullshit: "House Majority PAC is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House majority in 2022," a spokesperson said, "and we believe supporting Carrick Flynn is a step towards accomplishing that goal." No one believed that, prompting widespread speculation, as a campaign manager for a rival campaign put it, "that promises have been made."

HMP's financial report for the month of April, however, was not due at the FEC until May 20—three days after the primary. That's why we're only now finding out exactly what that promise appears to have been.

Bankman-Fried himself spent far more heavily on Flynn through his own super PAC, Protect Our Future, which ultimately shelled out an astonishing $11.4 million directly—some of which even went to attack Salinas—as well as nearly a million dollars more indirectly. Bankman-Fried's interest in Flynn was never clear, however. Supporters claimed that Bankman-Fried was drawn to Flynn because of a shared interest in pandemic preparedness, but Bankman-Fried was publicly silent about the race until just days prior to the election, and Flynn didn't campaign on the issue.

(Flynn had denied knowing Bankman-Fried, but his wife had once worked at the same organization as his benefactor, and Flynn acknowledged he was friends with Bankman-Fried's brother, Gabriel, who's heavily involved in the family's political giving. Campaigns and super PACs, by law, are not allowed to coordinate their activities.)

What's even less clear is why Bankman-Fried would bother making his arrangement with House Majority PAC in the first place. Given his apparently limitless resources, he could have easily sent another million bucks to Protect Our Future had he wanted to. Instead, he spent six times that amount to net just a $1 million boost for his preferred candidate. You don't need to be a titan of finance to know how appalling that rate of return is, unless your actual aim is to prove you can make a major arm of the Democratic Party do your bidding.

In the short term, at least, Bankman-Fried's efforts on behalf of Flynn—and HMP's decision to sell out on his behalf—were a debacle. Salinas doubled up Flynn, winning the nomination 36-18, and Flynn's final cost-per-vote will likely exceed $1,000—another terrible return on investment. HMP will also have some serious relationship-mending to do, especially with the CHC.

But even though Bankman-Fried failed to buy a congressional election, he was able to buy the most important super PAC devoted to winning House races for Democrats. For a system already awash in dark money, it's a dark sign for the future.

PA-12: On Friday evening, the Associated Press called the extremely close Democratic primary in Pennsylvania's open 12th District for state Rep. Summer Lee, who defeated Steve Irwin, a former head of the state Securities Commission, by a 41.8 to 41.1 margin. Lee, who presented herself as the more progressive option, would be the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. Lee will be the heavy favorite in this Pittsburgh-based district, which would have voted for Joe Biden 59-40, against Plum Borough Councilman Mike Doyle, a Republican who happens to share the same name as the retiring Democratic incumbent.

VA-10: Navy veteran Hung Cao won the GOP nomination for Virginia's 10th Congressional District in a major upset on Saturday, defeating the better-known and better-funded Jeanine Lawson, a member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, by a 52-34 margin in the seventh and final round of an instant runoff. Rather than rely on a traditional state-run primary, Republicans used a party-run "firehouse primary" that saw a total turnout of about 15,000 voters. By contrast, the last contested primary in this district in a midterm year saw 53,000 people turn out to vote in the Democratic nominating contest in 2018, which then-state Sen. Jennifer Wexton won easily.

Wexton went on to oust Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock by a wide 56-44 margin that November in a northern Virginia district that's rapidly moved to the left in recent years and won re-election by a similar spread. Under the new lines, the 10th would have voted for Joe Biden 58-40, according to Dave's Redistricting App, which is very similar to the president's performance in the previous version of this seat. However, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin lost the 10th just 52-47 in his successful bid for governor last year, per OurCampaigns.

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