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Political Roundup for June 21st, 2017

In case you missed it yesterday, Republican Karen Handel worked out an unexpectedly strong win in GA-6, and Republican Ralph Norman had an unexpectedly close win in SC-5. Republicans and Democrats each held a seat in the SC State House as well. What does it say about politics that the Democrats did better in the seat Clinton lost by close to 20 points that they basically ignored than the one she lost by 1 that they poured over $30 Million in? Maybe that going all-in on a political nobody who looks like he’s just finishing up his freshman year of college isn’t a good idea? Or perhaps,(more seriously) that the higher the special election turnout, the worse the result for the already-fired-up Democrats, as SC-5 saw something like 1/3rd as many votes as GA-6 did. Regardless, expect a day of Democrats spinning about how GA-6 didn’t really matter and Republicans spinning about how GA-6 meant everything.

Now, on to the news:

President:

CBS-Poll: A CBS poll has Trump down to his lowest numbers yet at 36% approval. His handling of the Russia probe seems to be his weakest point so far, as he’s not doing too bad on the other major issues tested. Also, Americans believe Comey over Trump by about 2:1, and slightly favor believing that the probe is a grave matter of national security over it being a political hatchet job.

2020: Morning Consultant did a poll of the favorability #s of just about every candidate seriously suggested for the 2020-Dem Nomination. The vast majority of them are unknown right now, with the exceptions being Warren (Slightly Positive) and Biden (Very positive). The only notable exceptions here are Sanders and of course Clinton 2020, because as they say the third time’s the charm!

Holder: Eric Holder, probably best remembered as the AG Obama replaced with Loretta Lynch, is apparently “re-entering the political fray” and is talking about running for President in 2020. Because at this point I think the Democrats saw the 17-candidate pileup of the 2016-GOP race and said “Hold my kale-smoothie–watch this”.

Congress:

MI-Sen: Former Michigan Chief SC Justice Bob Young all but formally announced his intent to run against Debbie Stabenow for Senate in 2018 at a local Republican event. Young, who is Black, sounded off on a very Constitutional-originalist note, and stressed his record of reducing the size of the judiciary in Michigan. He joins fellow Republican Lana Epstein in the GOP primary for this 2nd-tier GOP Senate target next year.

NV-3: GOP State Senator Scott Hammond has announced that he is running for this Suburban Vegas district that the GOP lost last year. The current freshman Democratic Incumbent Jackie Rosen is already running for Senate (Because the early bird gets the Senate Seat I guess?), and the seat was narrowly carried by Trump, making it a top GOP target for 2018. Hammond was a famous advocate for Nevada’s charter school bills, and gets a free shot at this seat since his State Senate seat isn’t up until 2020.

Other:

CO-alot: Mike and Cynthia Coffman, probably the closest thing the county has had to a political power couple since the Clintons limped off the national stage last year, are getting a divorce. While it’s not quite known why they are getting divorced (and kind of rude to pry), the couple was widely seen as the GOP’s best potential candidates for statewide office. We’ve got no idea what this means for Cynthia’s rumored Governor bid, or Coffman’s house seat, but we’ll hopefully find out relatively soon.

HI-St-House: In what has become commonplace for America’s weakest political party, the Hawaii GOP has lost another one of its members to the Democrats, this time former State House Minority Leader Beth Fukomoto, who was ousted from her leadership post for calling Trump racist and a Bully at the Hawaii Women’s March back in January. This is amazingly not the first time the GOP has lost its chamber leader to the Democrats, but since the state house is now 76D-5R, let’s hope we can manage to hold onto our 6% of the seats there.

Immigration: The Atlantic of all places has a good article detailing how the Democrats went from being sort of pro-immigration with major reservations to being absolutely 100% no-exceptions pro-immigration, and how it probably cost them the presidency. Remember a time when Obama felt a “Flush of patriotic resentment” at the idea of Mexican immigrants waving around Mexican flags at demonstrations?

Political Division: Here’s some interesting, if arguably flawed data. The voter study group commissioned a poll detailing the political ideology of the average Trump & Clinton voter. To summarize, Clinton’s supporters are pretty ideologically homogeneous Liberals, whereas Trump’s were split between Economic Conservatives and Populists. Notably, this poll also suggests that Libertarianism as an ideology is basically dead in the water in the US right now, which will come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the political trends of both parties in the last 2.5 years or so.

GA-6 and SC-5 Liveblog #1

10:15 ET: AP has given Handel the check as well. Jon Ossoff joins New Coke and the Falcons’ 28-3 lead in Atlanta’s Hall of Busts.

10:10 ET: CNN has joined in with calling GA-6 for Handel (R).

10:02 ET- For what it’s worth, Ossoff took 73% of the mail-in (absentee) ballots in DeKalb.

9:56 ET: DDHQ just gave the check to former SoS Karen Handel (R) in GA-6 over former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) after a big absentee mail-in dump from KeKalb still left Ossoff trailing Handel 52.5%-47.5%.

9:55 ET: All of SC-5 is in, and the margin stayed 51%-48% Norman (R).

9:49 ET: Meanwhile, Handel up to 53.4% in the DDHQ count with over 205k votes in. Ossoff now down to 58% in DeKalb with only 1 precinct outstanding, while Handel is up to 61% in Cobb with 11 left. That doesn’t even mention Fulton, with a good deal outstanding and the edge for Handel.

9:47 ET: Wasserman says Ossoff would probably need “80%+” of the 27,138 mail ballots accepted as of yesterday.

9:34 ET: With a decisive turn toward Handel in the returns in GA-6, Democratic strategists are pinning their hopes on mail ballots. However, as longtime GOP operative Brad Dayspring put it,

Very hard – if not unprecedented- to make up >2% based on mail in a district with these demographics.

Basically, we’re still here and watching, but things are getting tough for Ossoff.

9:29 ET: DDHQ has almost 200k votes in, and they have Handel (R) crossing 53% in GA-6 with a new batch of Cobb County votes.

9:28 ET: The AP gives Norman (R) the check as well in SC-5. With 12 precincts left in York County, Norman leads Parnell 51%-48%.

9:17 ET: And DDHQ makes the call in SC-5 for former State Rep. Ralph Norman (R). We still have 26 precincts left in York County, where Parnell has slightly improved, but Norman still leads 51%-48%.

9:12 ET: While I was prepping dinner we had a few batches drop that were great for Handel in GA-6. First Ossoff has dropped to only 59% in DeKalb (he needs a hair better than 60%). Now Handel is also over-performing her benchmarks by about 3 points in both Fulton and Cobb Counties. We’re talking about 63 precincts here, and it all brings Handel up to almost 53% right now.

9:04 ET: Got so busy chasing SC-5 counties that I missed a drop of e-day votes from Cobb County in GA-6. Handel is hitting what she needs here at about 57%, but we are still dealing with a pretty small number of precincts thus far. Overall 51.4%-48.6% Handel.

8:58 ET: As soon as I type, we’re now up to 88% in. Norman only up 51%-48%, but Parnell’s last stronghold left in Lee County s fully in. Those 42 precincts left in York should keep Norman over the top.

8:54 ET: With almost 3/4th of the e-day vote in for SC-5, Norman is now leading 52%-47%. I’ll try to break down the counties more as we get to the end, but there is still a lot to report for Norman in York and another batch waiting for Parnell in Lee.

8:43 ET: A new batch of DeKalb County votes (5 whole precincts!) keeps Ossoff around 60% in that county. He probably needs to be doing better than that though to pull out a victory, based on the benchmarks floating around.

8:38 ET: 42% in in SC-5. Parnell now leads Norman by less than 700 votes, and much of what’s outstanding is GOP friendly (York, Cherokee, and Spartanburg stick out).

8:30 ET: In GA-6, we’re now at 51%-49% Handel (R) with a small batch of Fulton County precincts coming in.

8:26 ET: A quick tweetstorm on Democratic consultants.

8:18 ET: Back in SC-5, Dave Wasserman throws cold water on Parnell’s (D) overperformance:

To be clear, still not convinced Archie Parnell (D) will win #SC05. Race very close now, but tons of GOP-heavy areas yet to report.

Parnell does look set to over-perform Hillary Clinton at least, who lost by 19 here. With 30% reporting, he leads Norman (R) 52%-47% with strong results out of Fairfield and Lee Counties.

8:16 ET: AP still isn’t showing E-day votes. However, DDHQ’s count has Handel up narrowly again.

8:06 ET: Another vote dump in GA-6. First DeKalb results are unsurprisingly friendly to Ossoff, with DDHQ telling us that Ossoff won the early vote there by 20%. However, Handel leads in Cobb early votes (again, as expected). Ossoff now leads 50.3%-49.7% over Handel. Now gives us some election day precincts!!!

8:01 ET: As we continue the long wait for Georgia, SC-5 is now up to 8% reporting, with more from Sumter County and a new batch from Kershaw. Kershaw is much friendlier to Norman (R), narrowing the margin to 56%-43% Parnell (D) over Norman.

7:52 PM ET: Alright, now our trackers are converging a bit. AP has 9 precincts in now with Parnell at 61%, with all e-day votes from Sumter County.

7:44 PM ET: SC-5 is definitely coming in faster than GA-6. With a couple precincts and a few counties’ early votes in, Norman (R) maintains his lead 52%-47.5%. DDHQ is ahead of AP here, which makes it look like Parnell (D) is crushing with 70%.

7:38 PM ET: Alright, DDHQ is hooking us up with early votes out of Fulton County, where Ossoff hit 48% in the first round. In this batch, Handel is up 51.4%-48.6%. We expected Handel to do better in early votes though than Republicans did in the 1st round.

7:36 PM ET: The first substantive results come in from SC-5, where Parnell (D) leads Norman (R) 58%-41% with just under 600 early votes in.

7:29 PM ET: First results incoming from DDHQ in GA-6. OMG! 9 WHOLE VOTES!!!! (Ok, I’ll settle down).

7:21 PM ET: Two things to read while we wait (besides the preview, which you should have read already). 1) Greg Giroux’s 1st round breakdown and GA-6 summary. 2) Ryan Struyk’s suggested benchmarks by county for an Ossoff or Handel victory.

7:11 PM ET: Remember, a few polling places remain open until 7:30 thanks to an issue earlier in the day that limited those locations to paper ballots for a brief period of time.

7:05 PM ET: Obligatory link to our preview, if you have been living under a rock or something and didn’t read it yet.

7:01 PM ET: Welcome to tonight’s liveblog! Polls have just closed in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, the most expensive congressional election in United States history, and the less dramatic SC-5. Will former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff ride a wave of intense Democratic disgust with President Trump in this affluent, typically Republican Georgia seat? Stay tuned.

Results:

Political Roundup for June 20, 2017

T’was the morn before specials,
And all through the districts,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a – shoot, I didn’t think this one through for something to rhyme.

Anyway, it is special election day in the over-hyped GA-6 and likely snoozefest SC-5. Join us for our liveblog at 7 PM ET, and make sure to check our earlier preview here.

Senate

NV-Sen: By now you should have seen the news that freshman Rep. Jackie Rosen (D) will run for Senate against Sen. Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents this cycle. Read through our post to find some Great Mentioner action.

Yesterday before this news a PPP (D) poll dropped showing generic D leading Heller 46%-39% (for context, this sample voted Hillary over Trump and Johnson 46%-43%-3%).

Governor

MN-Gov, St Paul Mayor: The Philando Castile verdict threw a monkey wrench into local DFL politics. Literally the morning after the verdict dropped, Democrats held the St Paul city convention. That meant some activists were out late occupying I-94 and showed up the next morning for some electioneering. The two Democratic candidates for governor with the closest ties to St Paul, State Rep. Erin Murphy and St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, each dropped press releases on the subject. Murphy’s was more straight-forward, calling for changes in “use of force” laws, while Coleman’s was more political-speakish.

The decision also reverberates in the mayoral race, where candidates all condemned the verdict and one, embattled council member Dai Thao, actually brought a friend of Castile to speak for him. FWIW, no endorsement for mayor was dropped at the convention, with council member Melvin Carter leading the pack in balloting and a primary now on its way.

VA-Gov, VA-10: Our friend Miles Coleman at DDHQ explains why Corey Stewart’s Confederate revival campaign won in VA-10 in NoVa of all places with his trademark pretty maps. Stewart managed to consolidate some anti-Trump voters and benefited from low Republican primary turnout and a third wheel candidate sucking some of Gillespie’s oxygen from the room. For more on Stewart’s almost-upset, see this article in The Atlantic.

House

GA-6: A sampling of articles to read as E-day hits.

SC-5: Roll Call reminds us not to forget about today’s other special election, where a few national Dem leaders parachuted in but no money or real support for poor Archie Parnell (D). The article even catches one member of DCCC leadership not even knowing his name!

MN-3: Tonka Bay (pop. 1500) councilman Adam Jennings is the latest Democrat to file against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in this affluent seat in the historically Republican southwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Of course, if former State Sen. Terri Bonoff couldn’t do it riding a strong performance here from Hillary last cycle, hard to see how things change now.

WI-1: Ironworker Randy Bryce (D), who ran for local office in 2012, 2013, and 2014, is now running against Speaker Paul Ryan. While supporting candidates against the Speaker here is not as foolhardy as the hundreds of thousands of dollars thrown at Nancy Pelosi’s seat the last few years (see Dennis, John), Ryan still won with 55% in has last close-ish race in 2012, and he took over 60% the last two cycles. Still, credit where credit is due for this great web ad from Bryce. It opens with Ryan discussing tough options on health care and Bryce’s own mom’s struggles, and ends with Bryce offering to trade jobs with Ryan. Bravo for a good hit, though it’s only a web ad with his announcement.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has a primary from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Sanders organizer affiliated with Brand New Congress. I mainly linked this for the great reminder about how much Crowley’s career has been built through local party machines, which is worth a read if you have forgotten the details. The primary challenger herself seems over-hyped, but I always like to see good Democratic primaries and all that money pouring down the drain.

FL-18: 2016 Senate candidate (who lost to heir force Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Democratic primary) Pam Keith is now going to run against freshman Rep. Brian Mast in this central Florida district. She had a nice resume last time around, but Murphy’s path was well-cleared by his dad’s large donations to Democratic candidates and committees.

Redistricting

WI-Redistrict: Not only did the Supreme Court take on the long-winding Democratic challenge to Republican state legislative redistricting, but they stayed the previous order to change the seats before the 2018 midterms. This means we get to see SCOTUS watch a parade of lawyers try to define gerrymandering for them, which should be fun since Wisconsin is not really the most egregious case to pick out. While it’s not unheard of for the court to issue a stay and then rule against it later, issuing such an order does make it that much more likely SCOTUS will uphold the current maps for Wisconsin. For more detail, see this article.

Miscellaneous

UT-Dem: Your rival party within your state hates their sitting president and has large numbers of defectors briefly willing to consider another candidate. Of course I talk about how Democrats should see the state of the GOP in Utah, where many young and devout Mormons couldn’t stomach President Trump. What is the Democratic response? Double-down of course, electing a Sanderista named Daisy Thomas as their new chairwoman. Apparently sexual harassment allegations were buzzing during the proceedings regarding a former candidate for the job.

TX-SD-10: A really neat analysis of straight ticket voting in Texas’ only real swing state senate district, formerly held by 2014 gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D) and now held by state Sen. Konni Burton (R). The article notes that the random selection of SD-10 for off-year elections markedly changed its electorate from a tossup presidential one to something closer to lean D in gubernatorial years.

 

GA-6 & SC-5 Special Elections Preview

As you’re most likely aware, tomorrow is the runoff for two key House elections. Polls close at 7p ET in both Georgia and South Carolina and our liveblog will start at that time.

GA-6: By far the most hotly-contested special election of the year is for this R+2 (2016) seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. The seat covers the wealthy eastern quarter of Cobb County east of I-75, wealthy suburbs of Fulton County north of the Perimeter (which also have some isolated lower-middle-class minority pockets) and the northern quarter of DeKalb County, which is a mixture of upper-middle-class suburbs bisected by a corridor of poor, heavily Hispanic slumburbs along I-85. This was once Newt’s seat and the most Republican in Georgia (a prior version of this seat was a GOP vote sink as recently as the 90s) but it trended hard-left last year, and that has led Democrats to go all-in on this race in looking for a way to defeat Trump. Spending on this race has reached astronomical levels on both sides.

Jon Ossoff

Former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) took 48% in the first round. Ossoff quickly coalesced national liberal support and raised a ridiculous amount for this race from national liberal donors. In the first round, he ran a stridently anti-Trump campaign and sought to cast himself as the vanguard of the bold progressive “Resistance.” However, his incredibly thin resume, which consists of a low-level staffing job with five months of security clearance and running a small video production company, and his stridently anti-Trump liberal campaign limited his ability to take crossover support. Many Democrats saw his failure to win in the first round, despite coming closer than expected to 50%, as something of a disappointment. As Republicans took a majority of the first-round vote, Ossoff has made a quiet but significant change in tone for the second round, toning down his anti-Trump rhetoric and trying to strike a less partisan tone. Some commentators have gone as far as saying his most recent TV ads and debate appearances would have rhetoric more fitting of a moderate Republican.

Karen Handel

Ossoff’s rival in this contest is ex-SoS Karen Handel (R), who came in second in the primary, taking just shy of 20%. Handel is well-known from a long political career, including as Fulton County Exec, a term as SoS in the 2000s, and runs for Governor in 2010 and Senate in 2014. Handel is a fairly typical suburban conservative on both social and fiscal matters. While Democrats were firmly behind Ossoff in the first round, the GOP field was split, leading to the possibility that sour grapes among her rivals might prevent Handel, who is far from a hardcore Trumpist, from coalescing the GOP base. However, those predictions have not panned out, and Handel seems to be enjoying near-unanimous GOP support and a massive amount of outside cash. In a district that looks increasingly purple, polls have shown the two very close, though more have tilted toward Ossoff. To say that this race has become a partisan slugfest and nationally-watched test of partisan strength is an understatement, and it would be a shock if either Ossoff or Handel won by more than a 5-point margin. However, we at RRH feel obliged to take a firm stand on races as they approach their general election, and we have ever-so-slightly come down on the side of predicting an Ossoff victory. Thus, RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean D.

SC-5: The other special election today has gotten significantly less attention and money. SC-5 is the former seat of OMB director Mick Mulvaney (R) and covers the north-central part of the state. The biggest bulk of the population is in the Charlotte suburbs, but the seat also contains a swath of rural areas from Sumter to the outskirts of the Columbia and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016).

Ralph Norman

The clear front-runner for the seat is State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who narrowly prevailed in a closely-contested GOP primary and runoff. The 2006 nominee for this seat, Norman has high name recognition from his prior run against then-Rep. John Spratt (D), and self-funding ability from his construction business. Norman is a relatively generic Chamber-of-Commerce conservative, with some slight antiestablishment tendencies (he has said he may join the Freedom Caucus if elected). The strongly conservative and inelastic nature of the district and Norman’s mainstream Republican profile should be enough for him to prevail tomorrow barring a very unexpected event.

Archie Parnell

Former Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) is Norman’s rival. Parnell has received some minor buzz from national Democrats, but ultimately was a “C” list choice here when bigger names such as State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) decided not to run. Parnell has released an internal with him down by 10 points, which was enough to prompt some minor investments from the DCCC. However, Democrats have basically always seen this race as a far longer-shot than GA-6 or even last month’s Montana race, and Parnell seems unlikely to win or even make the race particularly close barring a seriously unexpected surge of liberal enthusiasm. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

There are also two legislative specials today in South Carolina, but they look unexciting. SC-LD-48 is an R+13 (2016) seat around Tega Cay in the Charlotte suburbs, left open by the previously mentioned Ralph Norman, who is the nominee for SC-5. Ex-York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant (R) is favored over retired nonprofit exec Bebs Barron-Chorak (D), though there may be a tiny chance of an upset with abnormal turnout patterns. SC-LD-70 is a D+20 (2016) majority-black seat covering rural areas between Columbia and Sumter and a small piece of southeastern Columbia proper. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D) is heavily favored over a GOP Some Dude.

Weekend Open Thread for June 16-18, 2017

First off, check back tomorrow morning for a preview and open thread for the UT-3 GOP convention. France has its legislative runoffs on Sunday. Only 4 out of 577 seats were decided in the first round last week, but President Emmanuel Macron’s corporate-liberal centrist En Marche (Let’s Go) party is projected to win around 3/4 of the seats in the runoffs.

Next, we are making the following ratings change ahead of next week’s elections: GA-6 goes to Lean D from Lean R. SC-5 remains at Safe R.

And now this week’s questions:

1. Do additional precautions need to be taken with regards to the security of members of Congress?

2. In general, do you see hyperbolic and emotional rhetoric in politics as a problem?

And because it’s the weekend, we’re thankful for the heroic and professional police officers who prevented a greater tragedy this week, unlike say, the one you see HERE.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!