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Daily Kos Elections Tuesday open thread: MA-05 general and legislative specials in KY and TX (December 10, 2013, 06:00 PM)
This week we have the general election in Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District. Democratic State Sen. Karen Clark is heavy favored in this very blue area.
Over in Kentucky, we have two special general elections in Democratic held seats. In HD-07, which includes parts of Owensboro and nearby areas, Democratic nominee and Alliance Coal community affairs director Kim Humphrey faces Republican Suzanne Miles, a former Congressional aide. The seat became open when former Rep. John Arnold resigned after female aides accused him of sexual harassment. This district was very closely contested when it was last up in 2012: Arnold, who had served since 1995 and was not yet publicly tainted by scandal, held it by a grand total of five votes. Democrats currently have a 54-45 edge in the House and would likely be very relieved to keep this seat as they fight to maintain their majority next year.
The Lexington based SD-13 became open after former Sen. Kathy Stein was appointed to a judgeship. What should be an easy Democratic hold has been complicated by the independent candidacy of Richard Moloney, who served as a Democrat on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council. Lawyer and Democratic nominee Reggie Thomas and Moloney are both running ads on TV while Republican nominee and minister Michael Johnson has raised little money. SouthernINDem has more on both races.
Finally, in Texas we have a general election in Austin's HD-50. Democrat Celia Israel should be favored in a seat we estimate went for Obama 58-39.
For information about the candidates, closing times, and future elections, see our calendar here.
The remarkable record of Steve Stockman (December 10, 2013, 11:30 AM)
Rep. Steve Stockman at the 2013 Liberty Political Action Conference
Enter Rep. Steve Stockman. Seemingly out of thin air?and at the very last minute?Stockman filed to challenge Cornyn in the Republican primary instead of running for re-election.
While he's no Ted Cruz (who is?), Cornyn has committed no obvious apostasies like former Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, famously turfed out in last year's primary by Richard Mourdock. Nor is he an aging pork barreler like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. So what's Stockman thinking? Well, he may have seen recent polls that showed Cornyn decidedly vulnerable to a primary challenge. But more importantly, Cornyn does look like a creature of the far-left... from where Stockman is standing.
Just take a look at the positions Stockman has staked over the years and the remarkable rhetoric he's used to defend them.
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/10 (December 10, 2013, 09:00 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Big John Cornyn gets big mouth primary challenger (December 10, 2013, 08:00 AM)
? TX-Sen, TX-36: Everything's bigger in Texas, including the hilarity. Monday was the 2014 filing deadline for the Lone Star State, and it passed uneventfully?until the very last minute, when big news hit: John Cornyn won't be getting a free pass in the Republican Senate primary. In fact, he's getting a challenge from a well-known name, no less, Rep. Steve Stockman. Now, between his lack of money and his frequent foot-mouth insertions (admittedly more feature than bug), Stockman isn't likely to fare well against the well-connected Cornyn, but nevertheless, this race just went from 0 to 60 in a hurry.
Stockman has pulled his TX-36 filing in order to run for Senate (since it sounds like he wouldn't be able to run, legally, for both at the same time). With that in mind, we have an unexpected open seat in the Houston-area suburban 36th, although that's too red a seat to entertain as a Democratic pickup possibility. (It gave a brutal 26 percent to Obama in 2012.) Interestingly, there are several Republicans who have filed in the 36th anyway, before learning of Stockman's last minute shenanigans; the better-known one, ex-Liberty Co. judge Phil Fitzgerald comes to the race with his own set of baggage (federal charges related to FEMA-related fraud were recently dropped against him).
Cornyn's biggest asset is that he's sitting on more than $7 million cash on hand; without outside support, and a lot of it, Stockman isn't going to be able to make a dent in Texas' numerous and expensive media markets. Nevertheless, a PPP poll from last month shows what Stockman's main asset is: the fact that 49 percent of GOP primary voters would prefer someone "more conservative," as opposed to just 33 percent who are cool with Cornyn. Stockman also lashed himself to Ted Cruz in his announcement, claiming other GOPers (like Cornyn) didn't adequately support Cruz's shutdown gambit. Cruz has explicitly not endorsed Cornyn, though an actual endorsement for Stockman doesn't seem likely either.
If for some reason Stockman does make it through the primary, this could potentially be an interesting general election, though, unfortunately, no name-brand Dems are in the field. The best-known is probably wealthy dentist David Alameel, who spent huge amounts of money in 2012 to get only 10 percent in the Democratic primary in newly-created TX-33 last year, though attorney Maxey Scherr is also running. Stockman, though, is capable of almost anything. In light of his potential to pull an upset, we're putting this contest on the big board as a Race to Watch. (David Jarman)
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/9 (December 9, 2013, 09:00 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: It's gotten tougher, but the sky hasn't fallen for Colorado Dems (December 9, 2013, 08:00 AM)
? CO-Gov: We finally have our long-desired PPP poll of Colorado, and the numbers are a bit better for Democrats than Quinnipiac recently found, albeit not awesome. To offer the clearest comparison, we've put together charts of both polls, along with PPP's April trendlines, to best show Gov. John Hickenlooper matches up with his Republican opposition:
More important, though, are those April trendlines. Yes, it's a long time ago, but that's exactly the point. In the first part of the year, Colorado Republicans (Secretary of State Scott Gessler among them) were reluctant to even speak ill of Hickenlooper. Since then, Democratic fortunes have gone south, which many have attributed to alleged liberal over-reach by the legislature. The GOP steadily grew emboldened, even more so following their success in two recall elections in September. And Hick's job approval has indeed declined, from 53-44 then to 45-48 now, while Barack Obama's has fallen similarly (48-50 to 43-54).
But despite this, the roof hasn't caved in. In fact, in the horserace head-to-heads, Hick has dropped all of 3 points against his two likeliest opponents. The reality is that despite the struggles of Colorado Democrats, and despite the dark shadow cast by the screwed-up Obamacare rollout, Republicans still aren't popular. Just compare the HuffPo Pollster averages of Democratic Party favorability (sucky) versus Republican Party favorability (disastrous). Many pundits lately have enjoyed talking about the headwinds Democrats face, but it's important to remember that the GOP isn't starting in a good place.
And they could wind up in an even worse place, if Republican voters nominate Tom Tancredo, which they very well may. Right now, the polarizing, anti-immigrant zealot leads in the primary with 34 percent, with the establishment choice Gessler at 15, Brophy at 9, and Kopp at just 3. As you can see from the general election matchups, Tancredo performs the worst, sending the incumbent to his highest totals. Hickenlooper beat Tancredo (running as a third-party candidate) in 2010, and undoubtedly, he'd like to face him again. If that happens, Republican hopes of capitalizing on Democratic woes would take a serious blow.
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/6 (December 6, 2013, 09:00 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Top House Republican wants NRCC to cut off gay candidates (December 6, 2013, 08:00 AM)
? NRCC: Wow. This is some seriously nasty shit. Politico reports that senior Republican Rep. Randy Forbes has been waging a "lengthy crusade" to convince the NRCC not to support two prominent GOP House recruits, former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, simply because they are gay. Yeah, you read that right. So let's unpack this bigotry.
First off, on a purely electoral level, Forbes is a raving idiot, because both DeMaio and Tisei could definitely win?yet he'd rather forego two pickup opportunities because he's personally squicked out by gay people. That's so insane I can't even. But then, of course, there's the whole GOP rebranding fail, for the eleventy millionth time. "Top House Republican doesn't want teh gay in his caucus" certainly sends an open and inclusive message, does it not? Whether it's minorities, women, or LGBT Americans, Republicans really keep doing an excellent job with their outreach.
There's also an internal subtext to this story, too. House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon looks likely to retire, and Forbes is angling for his post. So presumably some of his opponents shared this story with Politico to try to sabotage him, though Forbes hasn't denied anything. In fact, he reiterated his discomfort, saying, "There would be a different situation if they tried to force other members to give money" to DeMaio or Tisei.
So will any of this actually hurt Forbes? No one in his party denounced him; the furthest anyone went was NRCC chief Greg Walden, who said the committee would support candidates regardless of sexual orientation. So you really have to wonder how guys like Tisei and DeMaio feel, not only about getting dumped on by a top party leader, but about the fact that Forbes is walking away apparently unpunished for his prejudice. Then again, it's not like gay Republicans don't already know what their party is really like.
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/5 (December 5, 2013, 09:00 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Just how far have 2013 Democrats been running behind Obama? (December 5, 2013, 08:00 AM)
? Turnout: Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende has a new piece worth reading about the falloff in Democratic performance we've seen nationwide this year, a topic we've discussed often after two Democratic state senators in Colorado lost recall elections in September despite sitting in seats that Barack Obama carried with 58 to 59 percent of the vote. Relying extensively on Daily Kos Elections' district-level data, Trende analyzes 170 contested races at the statewide, federal, and legislative level that took place in 2013. On average, Democrats ran about 6 points behind the president, with just 27 exceeding his numbers and 47 doing 10 points worse.
So what does this mean for next year's elections? As Trende acknowledges, maybe nothing. Not only can a lot change, of course, but it's also possible that odd-numbered years are even worse for Democrats than midterm years. And even if a lot of Democrats do run well behind Obama, as long as they're in safe districts, it doesn't matter?it's vulnerable incumbents who need to be concerned. (And the hallmark of a strong candidate is the ability to put distance between him or herself and the national party, like Jon Tester or Heidi Heitkamp.) But if these trends hold broadly, then 2014 could be very problematic.
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