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Swing State Project

New York Times poll shows close Senate races in four southern states (April 23, 2014, 11:15 AM)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) is flanked by Senator John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (R) as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, February 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES
The Republican dream of a Red Senate is in peril
New Senate numbers from a survey conducted for The New York Times by The Kaiser Foundation of registered voters in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina from April 8-15, 2014 with a margin of error of 4 percent ((pdf):
Arkansas
Mark Pryor 46
Tom Cotton 36

Kentucky
Mitch McConnell 44
Allison Lundergan Grimes 43

Louisiana (multiway primary)
Mary Landrieu 42
Bill Cassidy 18
Paul Hollis 5
Rob Mannes 4

North Carolina
Kay Hagan 42
Thom Tillis 40

These sorts of numbers underscore what kos wrote last week when he showed why it won't be as easy as Republicans think for them to win control of the Senate. In all likelihood, they need to win each of these four races to achieve their dream of a Red Senate, but these polls show them trailing in 3 of the 4 contests and with a Republican incumbent up by only one point in the fourth while falling well below the 50 percent threshold.

Another interesting finding from the poll is that the Democratic Party appears to be in better shape than one might expect it to be in the south:

The poll also found that Democratic governors fared better than Republican ones. Gov. Mike Beebe, Democrat of Arkansas, whom term limits prevent from running again, enjoys a 68 percent approval rating. The race this year is effectively tied, with the former Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson drawing 41 percent and the former Democratic congressman Mike Ross winning 40 percent. In Kentucky, 56 percent of voters favored the job performance of Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who cannot run for re-election next year. In Louisiana, only 40 percent approved of the job that Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is doing, while in North Carolina, the view of the performance of Gov. Pat McCrory, who is not up for re-election until 2016, was split, with 43 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving.
Obviously these numbers come from just a single poll and if you're going to draw firm conclusions about the races you should take a broader look at the data. The good news there, however, is that Democrats are leading in 3 of the 4 states: Arkansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina with an extremely close race in Louisiana, assuming Landrieu can't avoid a runoff.

8:57 AM PT: The New York Times is (predictably) facing criticism for the polls because they look good for Democrats. As usually, the main criticism is about whether they obtained a good sample. Their defense is here, but a key thing to remember is that it's not just the NYT polls showing close races: The multi-poll averages linked at the end of the post also show tight contests.


New Daily Kos Elections interactive legislative maps of Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey (April 23, 2014, 10:00 AM)

This week we have interactive state legislative district maps for Washington, New Mexico, and New Jersey. Each legislative chamber is mapped out using the presidential election results calculated by Daily Kos Elections, the legislative election results, and some info on each legislator. For maps of 21 other states' legislative chambers see the first, second, third, and fourth in this series.

Districts in solid blue were carried by Obama and are represented by a Democrat, while those in solid red were won by Mitt Romney and are held by a Republican. Lighter red districts voted for Obama and a Republican legislator, while those in lighter blue went for Romney and a Democratic legislator. All vacant seats are assigned to the party that last won them. Note that the map displays use only the two-party vote to give you a more equivalent comparison between presidential and legislative results, but the diary and Daily Kos Elections' numbers include totals for third party candidates, though the differences are minor.


Washington State Senate

A bipartisan commission drew Washington?s state legislative districts with an equal partisan split, but Democratic member Tim Ceis voted for the Republican plan that predictably benefited that party a modest amount. While Obama carried 34, Republicans hold nine. The GOP controls all 15 Romney districts. To make matters worse two renegade Democrats, SD-35's Tim Sheldon and SD-48's Rodney Tom (whose districts are colored in yellow), caucus with the 24 Republicans. This gives Team Red an effective majority of 26 over the remaining 23 Democrats. Sheldon is likely safe from losing to a real Democrat since the state's top-two system has all candidates run on the same primary ballot with top two vote winners advancing regardless of party. Sheldon also represents a swing district giving him some more room for error.

On the bright side, Rodney Tom is retiring in 2014. His seat went for Obama 62-36 and Democrats are favored to take it back, meaning the party would need to gain just one more seat for outright control of the chamber. While only half the seats are up each cycle, Republicans will be defending a lot of their 2010 gains this year, giving Democrats an excellent shot at retaking the Senate. However, the map still leans Republican with the median district voting for Obama just 54-43, putting it four points to the right of the state.


Washington State House of Representatives Position 1

Washington State House of Representatives Position 2

Along with just Idaho, Washington uses the same district map for both legislative chambers yet conducts two separate races for the lower house in each one. Obama won 68 seats to Romney's 30. Republicans hold 15 Obama seats while just two Romney seats elected Democrats, but Team Blue has a healthy 55 to 43 majority. The median seats are again the same as the Senate at 54-43 Obama, making it four percent more Republican than the state overall.

Head below the fold to see maps for New Mexico and New Jersey.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/23 (April 23, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Working Families Party candidate would take a bite out of Cuomo (April 23, 2014, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? NY-Gov: Siena's latest poll, as per usual, finds Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo crushing his likely GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, 58-28, down just a touch from his 61-26 lead last month. However, in an interesting new twist, Siena also asked a variant on this question that included a hypothetical (but nameless) candidate for the Working Families Party. In that scenario, Cuomo drops to just 39 percent support, while Astorino and "generic WFPer" each take 24. (One cautionary note: Siena asked these head-to-heads after a huge battery of issue questions. That's never a good idea.)

Could something like this happen, though? Liberal discontent with Cuomo has run hot his entire tenure, and indeed, the WFP has considered the possibility of supporting an alternative candidate. (A non-endorsement isn't possible, since the party needs to win 50,000 votes on in order to ensure it keeps its ballot line.)

But it's a very difficult choice either way, as Blake Zeff observes. On the one hand, going to war with Cuomo would probably inspire him to try to destroy the WFP any way he can. On the other, meekly siding with Cuomo again would undermine the party's credibility as a force pushing Democrats in a more progressive direction.

Still, while Cuomo has mostly been immune to pressure from his left, there are nevertheless considerations for him as well: If he still harbors presidential ambitions (however delusional), a weak win marred by a serious liberal split wouldn't look good. But whether it's accommodation, rapprochement, or open warfare, a major decision looms for the Working Families Party.


Daily Kos Elections FL-19 GOP primary liveblog (April 22, 2014, 06:00 PM)

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Polls close at 7 PM ET in Florida. Four candidates are competing for the Republican nomination in the Fort Myers area 19th Congressional district to replace disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel. The candidates are state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, businessman Curt Clawson, former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, and Some Dude Michael Dreikorn. Romney won this district 61-39, and the winner tonight should have no problem winning the June 24 general election.  

Results: AP: Districtwide | By County

4:07 PM PT: Polls have closed in FL-19 and we'll be bringing you the results as they come in.

4:14 PM PT: We have some early votes and they look very good for Clawson. He leads Kreegel 44-33, with Benacquisto way back at 17 percent. About 14,000 votes have been counted.

4:22 PM PT: So far all the votes are coming from Collier, which makes up much less of the vote than Lee. As Matthew Isbell reminds us in his excellent primary preview, Radel got third place in Collier but still won nomination in 2012.

4:26 PM PT: Lee County is coming in and while Clawson's lead isn't as large as it is in Collier it looks good for him. He leads Benacquisto 34-30 in Lee.

4:29 PM PT: Over 75 percent of Lee is reporting according to the AP. This gives Clawson an overall lead of 36 percent, with Benacquisto at 27 and Kreegel at 25. With most of Collier out, continues to look good for Clawson.

4:42 PM PT: Appears Collier has taken an early ganja break tonight.

4:44 PM PT: Some extra early votes from Collier are in. Clawson continues to lead 38-26.

4:47 PM PT: Most of Lee in and Clawson continues to lead by double digits. Unless there's a massive shock in Collier, he's got this.

4:52 PM PT: The AP has called it for Clawson. With most votes in he leads Benacquisto 38-26.


Pot, Pebble and pay: How Republicans helped Democrats hold Alaska Senate seat (April 22, 2014, 02:56 PM)

A male sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) catches its breath after stranding itself in very shallow water, Hanson Creek, Lake Aleknagik, Bristol Bay, Alaska
Male sockeye salmon makes his way upstream in Bristol Bay. Republicans want to mine them out of existence.
Ballot initiatives regarding the minimum wage, salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay, and pot legalization were originally expected to take place during Alaska's August primaries. However, due to the slow pace of legislative process, those initiatives are now slated for Alaska's general election in November.

Given that all three of those issues are primed to goose key progressive base turnout (lower-income workers, environmentalists and young voters, respectively), it was shocking to see them on November's ballot. With freshman Democratic Sen. Mark Begich locked in a neck-and-neck battle for reelection, Republicans should've done everything in their power to hold those initiatives in August, leaving Begich to fend for himself in the general. So what the heck happened? I reached out to an in-the-know Alaska source for more info, and I got a bucketful of great intel, all below the fold.


Republicans continue their assault on criminal defense attorneys with revolting new campaign ad (April 22, 2014, 11:26 AM)

The Republican Governors Association "goes there" with my absolute least-favorite attack ad topic of all time: criticizing criminal defense attorneys for their work representing clients. In a new spot, the RGA lambastes Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who is running to unseat Gov. Nikki Haley in South Carolina, as "trial lawyer" who "made money off criminals" and "got a sex offender out of jail time."

I'm never one for Marquess of Queensberry rules when it comes to campaign trail fights. Politics is messy, after all. But these kinds of ads are a direct assault on the very notion of an adversarial system of justice, one of the foundations of our democracy. Making criminal defense seem like a scuzzy, dishonorable, fiendish line of work will just lead to fewer (and worse) criminal defense attorneys, which is the last thing we need.

The RGA obviously doesn't give a damn about that, though, and this kind of attack, sadly, may very well have been poll-tested as effective. Similar slurs, for instance, derailed Debo Adegbile's nomination to head up the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Then again, this is the same gang that brought us the absurd Schauer/shower ads in Michigan that criticized a Democrat for supporting laws passed by Republicans, so perhaps not. We can only hope.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/22 (April 22, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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8:41 AM PT: FL-19: Abby Livingston at Roll Call has a good summary of all the TV ad spending (both from campaigns and outside groups) in today's special GOP primary to replace ex-Rep. Trey Radel. At the front of the pack with $1.75 million?almost all of it his own money?is businessman Curt Clawson, who has also led in the two public polls of the race.


Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: New GOP ad slams the very idea of criminal defense lawyers (April 22, 2014, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? SC-Gov: The RGA "goes there" with my absolute least-favorite attack ad topic of all time: criticizing criminal defense attorneys for their work representing clients. In a new spot, the RGA lambastes Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen as "trial lawyer" who "made money off criminals" and "got a sex offender out of jail time."

I'm never one for Marquess of Queensberry rules, but these kinds of ads are a direct assault on the very notion of an adversarial system of justice, one of the foundations of our democracy. Making criminal defense seem like a scuzzy, dishonorable, fiendish line of work will just lead to fewer (and worse) criminal defense attorneys, which is the last thing we need.

The RGA obviously doesn't give a damn about that, though, and this kind of attack, sadly, may very well have been poll-tested as effective. Then again, this is the same gang that brought us the idiotic Schauer/shower ads in Michigan, so perhaps not. We can only hope.


Election Diary Rescue 2014: Week 15 (April 21, 2014, 04:01 PM)

DKos Miner 14
The following diaries are examples of this week's Election Diary Rescue. This post features a collection of 31 diaries.

(NH-Sen) Sununu: Scott Brown 'Virtually Born' In New Hampshire. Huh? by Retroactive Genius - Scott 'Beefcake' Brown (R) never had any credibility as a potential Senator for The Granite State. Now, in a bid to strengthen his credentials as a redneck Surrealist, Brown has called on the toad-like misogynist John Sununu to shred any credibility remaining and then urinate on it from a great height.

(OH-08) Teabagger challenger accuses Boehner of "Electile Dysfunction" by peterfallow - In the "you can't make this shit up," Boehner's primary challenger, J.D. Winteregg has made a video accusing Boehner of suffering electile dysfunction.

(OR-Jackson County Sheriff) Dirty Politics, Southern Oregon Style by IvoryWine - Diarist is treasurer for Bob Sergi's campaign for Sheriff of Jackson County, Oregon. The dirty tactics from the incumbent are flying, here's the lowdown.

KS- 4,800 Cherokee County Voters removed from rolls illegally.. by tmservo433 - In Kansas, former Cherokee County Clerk Crystal Gatewood and the Kansas Secretary of State office are pointing fingers at each other over the improper removal of 4,800 voters from the rolls of active voters. Also the registrations of nearly 15,700 prospective voters, enough to decide a close statewide race, remained on hold because they hadn't yet complied with the proof-of-citizenship requirement.


This is the 15th weekly edition of Election Diary Rescue. It covers rescued down-ticket election diaries published from Sunday 4/6/14 through Saturday 4/12/14. We hope you enjoy the following gems dug up by our dedicated team of miners.

Diaries: (31)
Senate: (12) posts (7) states
House: (5) posts (4) states (4) districts
State and more: (10)
General: (4)


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