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Swing State Project

Daily Kos Elections Weekly Open Thread: What races are you interested in? (September 19, 2014, 09:36 PM)


Sugar -- "Helpless"


Daily Kos Elections ad roundup: Mike Rounds continues to act very defensive on EB-5 (September 19, 2014, 05:43 PM)

Leading Off:

? SD-Sen: Either Republican Mike Rounds is a firm believer in rapid response, or he's worried about Democratic attacks on him. A few days ago, Every Voice Action accused Rounds of awarding EB-5 immigration visa cards to his corrupt allies in a $200,000 spot (David Montgomery of the Argus Leader has the background to the EB-5 matter here). Rounds has quickly struck back with a new ad. The narrator spends half the time decrying how outside groups are attacking Rounds, before pushing back. The narrator lays out what he says are the facts, arguing that EB-5 doesn't sell citizenship and no federal money was missing.

It's not the most effective pushback. For one thing, it's pretty hard to get voters to care about outside groups. Democrats spent much of 2010 going on about how rich anonymous groups were trying to buy the election, for all the good it did. Voters said they were bothered by the idea of wealthy groups airing attack ads, but they didn't care enough to change their votes over it. For another thing, the response to the charges themselves is weak. By repeating the original attacks, Rounds is almost certainly helping keep them in circulation rather than debunking them. It's rarely a good idea to take someone's accusation against you and just add an "I did not" in front of them, and hope that they go away.

This isn't the first time Rounds has quickly and somewhat clumsily pushed back on EB-5. In early September, Democratic opponent Rick Weiland also accused Rounds of being part of a corrupt scheme to sell EB-5s to the highest bidder: Rounds' very defensive-sounding response indicated that he was legitimately worried about the attack. Now, Rounds is doing it all over again. EB-5 may not be Rounds' Achilles Heel, but he's sure acting like it is.  


Worst secretary of state in the nation hits a federal bump in the road in Kansas (September 19, 2014, 03:04 PM)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach head shot
Goal Thermometer

It's been a bad week for Kansas's Kris Kobach?worst secretary of state in the nation.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled against him and ordered Democrat Chad Taylor off the ballot in the U.S. Senate race.

Now he's announced that overseas military ballots, which were supposed to go out on September 20, wouldn't be sent until September 27. Unfortunately for him, delaying those ballots requires federal approval, which he apparently doesn't have:

To get a waiver, Kobach must submit his case to the Defense Department's Federal Voter Assistance Program, which oversees enforcement of the MOVE Act. The FVAP office is then required under the law to consult with the Justice Department's Voting Section before approving it.

As of early Friday afternoon, the FVAP office told TPM that it had not received a waiver from Kansas or been consulted by Kobach's office about a waiver.

Finally, there's this:
KAN SoS office says 67 ballots with Chad Taylor's name on them were sent to overseas voters.  "Corrective action has already been taken."
? @dhellingkc
No word yet on how those ballots were accidentally sent, especially given the high-profile case was being decided on the very day they were sent. And no word on what "corrective action" has been taken.

The clock's ticking, Kobach. And so is your time in office.

Can you contribute $5 to help elect Jean Schodorf and send the worst secretary of state in the nation to the unemployment line?

If you are in Kansas, check out the Daily Kos Community Meet-up + Voter Outreach & Registration taking place Sunday, September 21.


A look at the Indiana and Missouri legislatures, with interactive maps and new election data (September 19, 2014, 01:27 PM)


Indiana State Senate

Today, Daily Kos Election's President-by-Legislative District project visits Indiana and Missouri, two Midwestern states that usually vote Republican for president but are willing to consider Democrats for downballot offices. President-by-LD is our ongoing project to provide election results by legislative and congressional district for every state in the nation. You can find our master list of data here.

The interactive maps in this post were created by Stephen Wolf. Each legislative chamber is mapped out and color-coded according to the presidential winner and the party that holds each district, along with some info on each legislator. You can find links to all the previously released maps here, which you may want to bookmark.

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. Note that the map displays use only the two-party vote to give you a more equivalent comparison between presidential and legislative results, but this post and Daily Kos Elections numbers include totals for third-party candidates, though the differences are minor.

Indiana Senate:

We have the results of Indiana's 2012 statewide contests calculated by state House, state Senate, and congressional district. This includes the races for president, U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public institution.

Republicans have controlled the Indiana state Senate for decades, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Republicans controlled redistricting heading into 2012 and they drew the lines to strengthen their already strong hand. Mitt Romney took Indiana 54-44, and netted 41 of the 50 state Senate seats. The median point in the chamber voted for Romney 57-41, six points more Republican than the state as a whole.

Republicans hold a 37-13 supermajority in the chamber. Four Democrats hail from Romney seats: The reddest Senate seat in Democratic hands is Southern Indiana's SD-48, which went for Romney 61-37. However, state Sen. Lindel Hume is retiring here. Note that in the Indiana Senate half the chamber is up each year, and several Senate races will be conducted under the new lines for the first time in 2014.

Please head over the fold for a look at the Indiana House, and both chambers of the Missouri legislature.


Worst secretary of state in the nation won't let up in Kansas (September 19, 2014, 10:24 AM)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach head shot
Goal Thermometer

Late yesterday afternoon, the Kansas Supreme Court dealt a blow to Kris Kobach?the worst secretary of state in the nation?by ruling that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chad Taylor's name must be removed from the ballot.

Even though the court's decision was a strong rebuke of Kobach's hyper-partisan meddling, he's not giving up just yet:

Minutes after the Kansas Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision overturning Kobach?s decision to keep Taylor on the ballot, Kobach declared the state?s Democratic Party must convene its state committee and choose another nominee by Sept. 26.
Last night, David Orel, who is a Democratic voter in the Kansas City area and a party to the suit wanting Taylor to stay on the ballot, filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing Kansas Democrats to name a new candidate. No coincidence that his son happens to be the regional field director for Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.

Rick Hasen, an election law expert from the University of California, Irvine and the Election Law Blog doesn't think Democrats need to move quickly:

?If Democrats refuse to name or no candidate agrees to serve, then what? It seems like it would be a tough First Amendment claim to FORCE a party to name a replacement,? Hasen wrote in an analysis. ?Perhaps if Democrats do nothing Kobach will realize there?s not much he can do and drop the issue.?
Nevertheless, Kris Kobach has announced a delay in printing the ballots:
By giving the party another week to name a candidate, Kobach also pushed back the deadline for printing and mailing ballots to an estimated 526 Kansas voters who are civilians living overseas or military personnel stationed outside of Kansas. That includes 57 active-duty military personnel who are deployed overseas.

Because those ballots will be mailed out late, Kobach said, the deadline for returning the ballots will also be pushed back beyond Election Day, Nov. 4.

The non-military ballots were also supposed to head to the printer on Saturday, September 20, a deadline which has now been pushed back to Sept. 27.

And so, for now, the Kris Kobach circus continues. He's also in a tight re-election race, with recent polling showing him in a dead-heat with Daily Kos-endorsed Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf.

Can you contribute $5 to help elect Jean Schodorf and send the worst secretary of state in the nation to the unemployment line?

If you are in Kansas, check out the Daily Kos Community Meet-up + Voter Outreach & Registration taking place Sunday, September 22nd.


How much error do today's polls have? (September 19, 2014, 10:00 AM)

Yesterday we talked some about what can cause polling errors. But let's cut to the chase: we really want to know how well today's polls can predict election outcomes in November.

This has an easy answer, for Senate polls at least: on average, the margin of a poll you see today will be wrong by about 7 points, in one direction or another, assuming 2014 is similar to 2012 and 2010. That means some polls will have a lot less error, and some will have a lot more?maybe even 20 points off.

The graph below shows the errors of all the Senate polls from 2012:

The y-axis shows the difference (absolute value) between the poll's margin and the result margin.

You can see there were plenty of polls, even less than ten days before the election, that missed the final margin by 10 points or more. The line is a local regression.

But what about 2010? Peek below the fold to see.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 9/19 (September 19, 2014, 09:00 AM)

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest banner
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.


Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: The state of play in the House grows clearer (by being unclear) (September 19, 2014, 08:30 AM)

Carol Shea-Porter
Two polls this week give Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) a narrow lead in a must-win rematch.
With the control of the chamber very much on the edge, it is no surprise that the battle for the majority of the U.S. Senate has received the bulk of the attention in the conversations about the 2014 election cycle.

But, as Summer gives way to Fall, there is starting to be a fair amount of U.S. House polling piling up in our Daily Kos Elections polling database. In the past week alone, a total of nearly a dozen different competitive House races have seen at least one poll.

What do they tell us? Not a whole heck of a lot, quite frankly. It is tough to declare them as universally good for the Democrats, or good for the Republicans. Indeed, if you had to give a characterization to the vast bulk of the House polling done to date, you would have to define it, more or less, by the term "as expected."

And that, in itself, is very telling.

To peruse all of the data since the last edition of the Wrap (spanning dates from Sep 16-18), including a nice cross-section of the aforementioned House polling, head below the fold and check out the 53 different polls that made the cut.


Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Chad Taylor is off the ballot, but the legal fight continues (September 19, 2014, 08:00 AM)

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) addresses a news conference as he discusses his opposition to a vote on START Treaty on Capitol Hill in Washington December 15, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXVRL1
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts
Leading Off:

? KS-Sen: A few months ago if anyone had suggested that Kansas would host the most nation's craziest general election they'd have been laughed out of the room, but that's exactly what's happening. While absentee Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is incredibly unpopular, he initially looked like he'd win re-election anyway against Democratic nominee Chad Taylor and wealthy independent Greg Orman. However, in early September, Taylor dropped out of the race in an effort to consolidate the anti-Roberts vote around Orman.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach has attempted to keep Taylor on the ballot, arguing that the letter in which Taylor announced his withdrawal from the race was insufficient to remove his name from the ballot because it did not state that Taylor would be ?incapable? of serving if elected. The decision went to the Kansas Supreme Court and on Thursday the justices ruled that "Taylor's letter effectively declares he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected," removing him from the ballot.

However, it's not at all clear what will happen next. In response to the ruling, Kobach announced that he was pushing back the deadline for mailing ballots from this weekend to Sept. 27, and he gave Democrats eight days to name a replacement. But this makes it hard to see how he can force Taylor's name to be replaced: Kobach can only go to court to litigate the Democratic Party's refusal to name a candidate after the eight days are over, which is to say on the 27th. The court itself explicitly avoided this question: "Nor do we need to act on Kobach's allegation that a ruling for Taylor would require the Dem Party State Committee to name his replacement."

There's a lot at stake here. While Orman's bid is not doomed if a Democrat stays on the ballot, he'd definitely prefer it if Kobach loses in court again. On Wednesday Fox News released a poll in which Orman led Roberts 48 percent to 42 percent in a two-way race. But when Taylor's name was read to respondents, it was Roberts who veered ahead 40 percent to 38 percent, with Taylor at 11. The dynamic was the same in an August poll taken by PPP.

In any case, with polls showing Roberts in trouble even if a Democrat's name is on the ballot, we're moving this race from Lean Republican to Tossup. This is a volatile situation and Kansas' dark red nature may very well save Roberts, but there's no doubt that he's in for a real fight.


Daily Kos Elections ad roundup: Democrats may be smelling blood in South Dakota's Senate race (September 18, 2014, 06:06 PM)

Leading Off:

? SD-Sen: There has been very little significant outside spending in this contest, but that may be starting to change. Every Voice Action is now attacking Republican Mike Rounds for allegedly being part of a corrupt scene to award EB-5 immigration cards to help his cronies. David Montgomery of the Argus Leader has the background to the EB-5 matter here.

A few weeks ago Democratic rival Rick Weiland hit Rounds on EB-5, and Rounds' defensive response suggests that the Republican thinks this is a real vulnerability. Polls have shown Rounds consistently ahead of Weiland but looking weaker than expected. It'll be worth seeing if other Democratic groups smell blood and start to get involved, and if Republicans feel they need to spend here to help Rounds across the finish line.


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