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Swing State Project

Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/15 (April 15, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Fourth straight poll shows Pryor up as Cotton seeks debates (April 15, 2014, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? AR-Sen: Well whaddya know. We now have four straight polls showing Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor leading GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, after a long streak of surveys that featured Cotton ahead. The latest is from Anzalone Liszt Grove, on behalf of the DSCC, which puts Pryor ahead 48-45. As we suggested last week when a pro-minimum wage hike group put out a poll showing Pryor up 10, it would be easy enough for Republicans to publish some contradictory numbers of their own. They haven't.

Instead, Cotton is asking Pryor for a series of five debates to be held around the state ... and the standard political rule of thumb says that the candidate requesting debates is not the candidate who's winning. This certainly isn't always true?former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed a slate of 10 debates en route to a 17-point victory in 2009, for instance. But Pryor responded coolly to Cotton's offer, and the phenomenon feels truthy enough that Cotton risks feeding the narrative that he's behind right now.


Election Diary Rescue 2014: Week 14 (April 14, 2014, 04:00 PM)

DKos Miner 14
The following diaries are examples of this week's Election Diary Rescue. This post features a collection of 36 diaries.

(KY-Sen) Update:Mitch McConnell asks"who do you want to lead the Senate"on FB. Commenters release the kraken by Onomastic - Diarist covers a story about Mitch McConnell (R) asking a question on facebook about leadership, in his race for the Kentucky Senate seat with Alison Lundergan Grimes (D).

(LA-05) Congressman caught cheating on camera fires girlfriend, announces re-election bid by Jed Lewison. Given that Vance McAllister is from Louisiana, the state that re-elected diaper-boy David Vitter to the US Senate, it just might work.

(PA-Gov) PA GOV: One Pennsylvania & an Introduction by Allyson Schwartz - New Kossack and Gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz gives us lots of info on herself and her positions.  Head on over and give her some love.

Kansas: Kris Kobach's 2-Tiered Voting Plan Back Under Fire by tmservo433 - Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's 2-tier voting program is being challenged by the ACLU for trying to restrict Kansans who use a national voter registration form to only being able to vote in national races (no state or local). Read about extreme voter suppression efforts in the heartland here.


This is the 13th weekly edition of Election Diary Rescue. It covers rescued down-ticket election diaries published from Sunday 3/30/14 through Saturday 4/5/14. We hope you enjoy the following gems dug up by our dedicated team of miners.

Diaries: (36)
Senate: (12) posts (6) states
House: (2) posts (2) states
State and more: (16)
Issues: (1)
General: (5)


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/14 (April 14, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Excellent pro-Begich ad shows Democrats how to run on Obamacare (April 14, 2014, 08:00 AM)

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Leading Off:

? AK-Sen: The excellent ads supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's re-election bid keep coming, though the latest is not from Begich himself but rather Put Alaska First, a super PAC supporting him. (PAF, by the way, is chiefly funded by the Senate Majority PAC.) Simply put, this is how Democrats in red states?or really, Democrats anywhere?should be running on Obamacare:

In the ad, born-and-raised Alaskan Lisa Keller?"a mother, a runner, a breast cancer survivor"?jogs through a snowbound Anchorage, explaining she was "lucky" because she "beat cancer." "But," she continues, "the insurance companies still denied me health insurance, just because of a pre-existing condition." However, she adds, "I now have health insurance again, because of Mark Begich. Because he fought the insurance companies so that we no longer have to."

You can't offer a message simpler and more heartening than that. This is precisely the kind of sympathetic story that Americans for Prosperity wished it could tell, except this one happens to be completely true and gets to the very core of what's best about the Affordable Care Act. You want to run on repealing Obamacare? You're literally running on repealing Lisa Keller's health insurance. The stakes couldn't be clearer.


How gerrymandering has helped turn legislative elections into coronations (April 13, 2014, 05:59 PM)

District map of North Carolina's 21st State Senate district, part of the gerrymander of their state legislature
Outline map (in grey) of the 21st district in the North Carolina state Senate

Ever since the 2012 elections, one of the great political/election nerd debates has raged over the topic of whether the Republican majority in the House (which came despite the fact that voters nationally had cast more votes for Democratic candidates than Republican ones) was owed to gerrymandering, or owed to natural geographic sorting.

If you missed out on that debate, the basic arguments are as follows:

  • The "It's All About Gerrymandering" Team: More voters preferred Democrats, but the 2010 Republican midterm sweep gave the GOP control over enough state legislatures to generate electoral district maps to freeze out the Democrats. Therefore, states that are basically politically competitive, or even Democratic-leaning, wind up sending heavily Republican delegations to Congress, as well as cementing their state legislative majorities with similar gerrymanders.
  • The "It's All About Geographic Sorting" Team: Groups of similar ethnicities tend to cluster together, creating extremely Democratic pockets, particularly in some of the larger urbanized states where the screams about gerrymandering were the loudest. The Republican majority is owed to this tendency of African-American and Latino voters to reside in clusters, and not to any nefarious use of creative mapmaking.

Last summer, I explored this debate at the congressional level, and came to what I still believe is the obvious conclusion?both arguments help to explain the political lay of the land. Geographic clustering is real, has been around for decades, and does explain why the "national vote" for the House is ... for all intents and purposes ... irrelevant. But gerrymandering did save some seats for the GOP, just as it shored up others that could be vulnerable with even a slight Democratic tailwind. One would have to be a GOP cheerleader extraordinaire to suggest otherwise.

Downballot, however, there is an even darker component to this debate. There is a legitimate subversion of electoral democracy taking place at the state legislative level, where we have increasingly seen what should be cycles of competitive elections being downgraded to mere coronations, with scores of seats going with little or even no opposition.

Here, I believe, gerrymandering absolutely does play a role. Follow me past the jump for the explanation.


Watching the watchmen: A state-by-state look at 2014's attorney general elections (April 13, 2014, 04:29 PM)

This year, 31 states will hold elections for attorney general. The post has always been important: As the state's top lawyer, the attorney general has a good deal of influence over a number of policy issues and is frequently a springboard to higher office. However, in recent years a number of attorney generals have made national headlines over how they handled their state's same sex marriage ban. With various office holders split largely (but not entirely) along party lines on whether they defend the existing bans or not, the job has become even more high profile and arguably vital than usual.

What follows is a guide to 2014's elections for attorney general. The above map by Stephen Wolf provides an overview of the year's races. Nine states have a Democratic incumbent running for re-election (or very likely to), while five states have retiring Democrats. Thirteen Republicans are running for re-election, while four Republican incumbents are leaving office. This does not include states where the job is appointed (such as Maine and Tennessee). The Republicans had a good year in 2010, the last time most of these states were up, when they picked up five states. Now the Democrats have the chance to return the favor, although Team Blue has its own vulnerabilities.

Head below the fold for a race-by-race look at this year's contests.


Louisiana's 'kissing congressman' exposes rank hypocrisy by the party that protected David Vitter (April 11, 2014, 01:39 PM)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is embarrassed by sexual scandal. At least, now he is.

Hoo boy. Rep. Vance McAllister has probably had better weeks, hasn't he?

It got worse on Thursday, as the top luminaries within the GOP in his home state of Louisiana have broken out the pointiest of sharp sticks with which to assail their colleague. The latest to call for McAllister's ouster was none other than two-term state Governor (and presidential wannabe) Bobby Jindal:

?Congressman McAllister?s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign,? Jindal said in a statement released by his office Thursday afternoon. ?He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress.?
Jindal's statement came less than a day after the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party also called for McAllister's resignation.

All of this becomes a bit smirk worthy, of course, to anyone with a sense of recent history as it relates to Louisiana Republicans and sexual scandal. Like ... oh, I dunno ... this guy:

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, whose telephone number was disclosed by the so-called "D.C. Madam" accused of running a prostitution ring, says he is sorry for a "serious sin" and that he has already made peace with his wife.

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said Monday in a printed statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there ? with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

Please read below the fold for more on this story.


This exceptional new ad from Alaska shows how Democrats everywhere should be running on Obamacare (April 11, 2014, 10:14 AM)

The excellent ads supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's re-election bid keep coming, though the latest is not from Begich himself but rather Put Alaska First, a super PAC supporting him. (PAF, by the way, is chiefly funded by the Senate Majority PAC.) Simply put, this is how Democrats in red states?or really, Democrats anywhere?should be running on Obamacare:

In the ad, born-and-raised Alaskan Lisa Keller?"a mother, a runner, a breast cancer survivor"?jogs through a snowbound Anchorage, explaining she was "lucky" because she "beat cancer." "But," she continues, "the insurance companies still denied me health insurance, just because of a pre-existing condition." However, she adds, "I now have health insurance again, because of Mark Begich. Because he fought the insurance companies so that we no longer have to."

You can't offer a message simpler and more heartening than that. This is precisely the kind of sympathetic story that Americans for Prosperity wished it could tell, except this one happens to be completely true and gets to the very core of what's best about the Affordable Care Act. You want to run on repealing Obamacare? You're literally running on repealing Lisa Keller's health insurance. The stakes couldn't be clearer.


Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 4/11 (April 11, 2014, 09:00 AM)

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7:12 AM PT: AK-Sen: The excellent ads supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's re-election bid keep coming, though the latest is not from Begich himself but rather Put Alaska First, a super PAC supporting him. (PAF, by the way, is chiefly funded by the Senate Majority PAC.) Simply put, this is how Democrats in red states?or really, Democrats anywhere?should be running on Obamacare:

In the ad, born-and-raised Alaskan Lisa Keller?"a mother, a runner, a breast cancer survivor"?jogs through a snowbound Anchorage, explaining she was "lucky" because she "beat cancer." "But," she continues, "the insurance companies still denied me health insurance, just because of a pre-existing condition." However, she adds, "I now have health insurance again, because of Mark Begich. Because he fought the insurance companies so that we no longer have to."

You can't offer a message simpler and more heartening than that. This is precisely the kind of sympathetic story that Americans for Prosperity wished it could tell, except this one happens to be completely true and gets to the very core of what's best about the Affordable Care Act. You want to run on repealing Obamacare? You're literally running on repealing Lisa Keller's health insurance. The stakes couldn't be clearer.

7:45 AM PT: WATN?: John Rowland already spent 10 months in prison serving out a federal corruption conviction, so what's another 50?years, that is? That's how long Rowland, a former Republican governor of Connecticut, could find himself in the clink on new charges that he conspired to hide his involvement in two different congressional campaigns over the past two of election cycles.

One of those candidates, Lisa Wilson-Foley (who lost her bid for Connecticut's 5th Congressional District in 2012) already pleaded guilty to the scheme last month, along with her husband Brian. The two admitted to funneling cash to Rowland through Brian Foley's nursing home chain and could face a year in behind bars under their plea agreement.

Rowland is also accused of trying to set up a similar arrangement with 2010 candidate Mark Greenberg, creating a comically named sham entity called "The Animal Center." Greenberg, who sought the same seat Wilson-Foley later did, rebuffed Rowland, and when you get a look at the kinds of entreaties Rowland was sending him, it's not hard to understand why:

In May 2010, according to the indictment, Rowland stepped up pressure on Greenberg to hire him, sending an email: "I'm not as unpopular as your campaign manager would lead you to believe !! especiaily , [sic] in the 5tr district. I can get you elected .... Ifyou are interested[.]"
Amazing that the Foleys were so much dumber.

8:15 AM PT: AZ-Gov: A mystery 501(c)(4) out of Iowa called the Legacy Foundation Action Fund is trying to give Mesa Mayor Scott Smith a political purple nurple with a flight of TV and radio ads linking him to Barack Obama. Smith, a Republican with something of a moderate/iconoclastic streak, is seeking the GOP nomination for governor. He's also president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a group whose various alleged positions are slammed in the advertisements, including support for Obamacare, cap-and-trade, and gun safety laws.

Smith, of course, is unhappy about the ads, and he's accusing state Treasurer Doug Ducey, a gubernatorial rival, of being behind them. The evidence is thin, though, not least because the Legacy Foundation does not have to disclose its donors, and Ducey denies the charge. But Fred DuVal, the likely Democratic nominee, has to like this development, as polling has shown Smith would be his toughest opponent?plus a messy GOP primary can only help.


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