on this day 5/18 1896 – The U.S. Supreme court upheld the “separate but equal” policy in the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision. The ruling was overturned 58 years later with Brown vs. Board of Education.

1302 – The weaver Peter de Coningk led a massacre of the Flemish oligarchs.

1642 – Montreal, Canada, was founded.

1643 – Queen Anne, the widow of Louis XIII, was granted sole and absolute power as regent by the Paris parliament, overriding the late king’s will.

1652 – In Rhode Island, a law was passed that made slavery illegal in North America. It was the first law of its kind.

1792 – Russian troops invaded Poland.

1798 – The first Secretary of the U.S. Navy was appointed. He was Benjamin Stoddert.

1802 – Great Britain declared war on Napoleon’s France.

1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor by the French Senate.

1828 – Battle of Las Piedras ended the conflict between Uruguay and Brazil.

1896 – The U.S. Supreme court upheld the “separate but equal” policy in the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision. The ruling was overturned 58 years later with Brown vs. Board of Education.

1897 – A public reading of Bram Stoker’s new novel, “Dracula, or, The Un-dead,” was performed in London.

1904 – Brigand Raizuli kidnapped American Ion H. Perdicaris in Morocco.

1917 – The U.S. Congress passed the Selective Service act, which called up soldiers to fight in World War I.

1926 – Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, CA. She reappeared a month later with the claim that she had been kidnapped.

1931 – Japanese pilot Seiji Yoshihara crashed his plane in the Pacific Ocean while trying to be the first to cross the ocean nonstop. He was picked up seven hours later by a passing ship.

1933 – The Tennessee Valley Authority was created.

1934 – The U.S. Congress approved an act, known as the “Lindberg Act,” that called for the death penalty in interstate kidnapping cases.

1942 – New York ended night baseball games for the duration of World War II.

1944 – Monte Cassino, Europe’s oldest Monastic house, was finally captured by the Allies in Italy.

1949 – Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America was incorporated

1951 – The United Nations moved its headquarters to New York City.

1953 – The first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound, Jacqueline Cochran, piloted an F-86 Sabrejet over Californiaat an average speed of 652.337 miles-per-hour.

1974 – India became the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb.

1980 – Mt. Saint Helens erupted in Washington state. 57 people were killed and 3 billion in damage was done.

1983 – The U.S. Senate revised immigration laws and gave millions of illegal aliens legal status under an amnesty program.

1994 – Israel’s three decades of occupation in the Gaza Strip ended as Israeli troops completed their withdrawal and Palestinian authorities took over.

1998 – The U.S. federal government and 20 states filed a sweeping antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., saying the computer software company had a “choke hold” on competitors which denied consumer choices by controlling 90% of the software market.

1998 – U.S. federal officials arrested more than 130 people and seized $35 million. This was the end to an investigation of money laundering being done by a dozen Mexican banks and two drug-smuggling cartels.

2012 – Facebook Inc. held its initial public offering and began trading on the NASDAQ. The company was valued at $104 billion making it the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.

2014 – Russian President Putin signed a bill to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation.

Court strikes down Texas’ GOP-drawn congressional map for racial gerrymandering

TX Redistricting: Late on Friday, a federal district court finally issued its long-awaited ruling in the lawsuit over Texas’ Republican-drawn congressional map (shown here). The court delivered a major victory for voting rights when it struck down several districts for violating the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protections Clause, holding that they were intentionally racially discriminatory. This ruling could result in a new map being used in the 2018 elections that would contain additional districts where Latino voters could elect their candidate preference, and Democrats could consequently gain seats.

The court struck down several districts where Republicans had either diluted Latino voting strength so that Anglo candidates could win, or where Republicans had packed Latino voters to prevent them from electing their candidate choice in neighboring seats. A redrawn map could consequently see considerable changes to the invalidated 23rd District, which spans from El Paso to San Antonio, the 27th, which covers Corpus Christi and Victoria, and the 35th, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio, along with neighboring seats. Such adjustments could subsequently see a Latino Democrat oust Republican incumbents Will Hurd and Blake Farenthold in the 23rd and 27th, respectively.

The judges additionally faulted Republicans for abusing race when drawing districts in the greater Dallas area, but did not specifically indicate that they would require Republican legislators to draw a new district to elect a Latino candidate. Plaintiffs will undoubtedly press the court to impose such a requirement when they argue for the appropriate remedy. Indeed, Daily Kos Elections itself has previously demonstrated how Republicans could have drawn another seat that would elect Latino voters’ candidate choice in Dallas at the expense of an Anglo Republican, in addition to making the aforementioned GOP-held 23rd and 27th heavily Latino.

Crucially, the court’s finding that Republicans intentionally discriminated could be grounds for placing Texas back under Justice Department “preclearance” for voting law changes under the Voting Rights Act. Several predominantly Southern states with a history of discriminatory voting laws previously had to preclear any such changes until the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the VRA in 2013. While a Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department is unlikely to block new oppressive voting laws, a future Democratic administration could.

Absurdly, this case has been ongoing ever since 2011, and litigants completed their arguments all the way back in 2014. Plaintiffs had rightly been outraged that the court was dragging its feet on issuing its ruling. Republicans have gotten away with an illegal racial gerrymander for a majority of this decade, demonstrating how it pays to illegally gerrymander, since the court of course can’t invalidate the last three election results held under the existing map.

Republican legislators will assuredly appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court. However, given a string of recent victories against Republican racial gerrymandering, there is a strong likelihood that the court will uphold part or even all of this decision, meaning Texas could have a new congressional map for 2018. Should the courts impose a remedy that makes the 23rd and 27th districts capable of electing Latino voters’ candidate preference, Democrats could gain at least two additional seats next year thanks to redistricting.


DE-Sen:  Democratic Sen. Tom Carper will be 71 on Election Day and he hasn’t announced his 2018 plans yet, but he seems to be leaning towards seeking another term. Carper recently told the National Journal that he did consider retiring when he thought Hillary Clinton would win, but under Trump, “I am probably more energized right now than I’ve been in 16 years.” Carper did not commit to anything, though he says he’d run if he had to decide now. If Carper does leave the Senate, there are a number of Democrats who might eye his seat, but he’s unlikely to face any credible primary or general election opposition if he wants a fourth term.

IN-Sen: GOP Rep. Luke Messer has signaled that he plans to run against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly next year, though Messer recently insisted to Howey Politics that he’ll make a final decision in a couple of months. However, one of Messer’s colleagues is also coveting the same seat. Rep. Todd Rokita expressed interest a little while ago, and his political strategist makes it sound like he’s likely to go for it. Howey also reports that Rokita has been touting a mid-2016 poll that showed him “within 5 percent of Donnelly” to unnamed GOP insiders.

As we’ve noted before, Rokita doesn’t seem to have a great relationship with those GOP insiders, though. Last year, after Mike Pence ended his re-election campaign in order to serve as Trump’s running mate, Rokita entered the race to take his spot as Team Red’s gubernatorial nominee. Since the primary had passed, the 22-member state party central committee chose the new nominee, and Rokita reportedly won just two votes.

Other Republicans may also be eyeing this seat. Howey says that state Sen. Mike Delph, ex-Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke are all considering, though there’s no other information about their thinking. However, Winnecke did announce last week that he would run for re-election in 2019, and he hasn’t shown any interest in leaving before then. When the mayor was asked if he saw himself running for another office last week, Winnecke said that “I don’t see myself in terms of public service being anything else.”

Delph, who thought about running for the Senate in 2016, is a far-right politician who is not liked by the state GOP establishment. Ballard may be his exact opposite, and if he could do well in Democratic-leaning Indianapolis in a general, he’d be tough to beat. But Ballard’s relatively liberal social positions (he once served as grand marshal of Indianapolis’ LGBTQ parade) could hold him back in a primary. Ballard also left the door open to challenging Pence in the 2016 primary when the governor was still running for re-election, which could also cause him problems now that Pence is more powerful than ever.


AL-Gov: Republican state Auditor Jim Zeigler has been one of scandal-tarred Gov. Robert Bentley’s biggest intra-party critics, and he recently earned some attention when he filed a lawsuit to try and force the state to hold a special election for the United States Senate sooner than November of 2018. Zeigler has also been one of the loudest voices in the GOP to speak out against Bentley’s decision to appoint then-state Attorney General Luther Strange, whose office was investigating Bentley for allegedly using state resources to conceal an affair, to the Senate. Bentley is termed-out in 2018, though he may leave a lot earlier if the legislature removes him, and Zeigler confirms he’s interested in running to replace him. In fact, Zeigler is currently hawking his new book, unsubtly titled, “The Making of the People’s Governor 2018.”

Zeigler did not give any timeline for when he expects to decide, though he says that “people’s response” to his book will help him make up his mind. But if that book is any indication, he’s very likely to go for it: The tome’s description states that, “Several of the usual suspects ran for governor with no track records of having stood up against the abuses of the Bentley administration. But one candidate had stood up in the Bentley years and, in 2018, stood out from the rest.” Why, which candidate could that be?

Zeigler has run for office several times in the past, and earned the nickname “Mr. 49 percent” for narrowly falling short. Zeigler had a reputation for picking fights with powerful Alabamians, but in the 2014 auditor primary runoff, he got to face a very different type of politician. Zeigler’s opponent in that fateful race was none other than the one and only Dale Peterson, who ran the classic “thugs and criminals” ad during his unsuccessful 2010 bid for state agriculture commissioner; while Peterson only took third in the GOP primary, he became an internet star and inspired a very funny parody. But Peterson’s second campaign was nowhere near as fun as his first, and he lost the auditor runoff to Zeigler 65-35.

A number of other Alabama Republicans have talked about running for this office. We’ve heard interest from Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington; Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr.; Mark Johnston, who led a large Episcopal camp; state Senate President Del Marsh; and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who lost the 2010 runoff to Bentley, and twice-disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore also haven’t said no.

Several other GOP politicians haven’t said anything publicly, though they continue to be mentioned as possible contenders, including Secretary of State John Merrill; Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (who would assume the powers of the governor if the state House impeaches Bentley, and become governor if he resigns or is convicted by the state Senate); and state Treasurer Young Boozer. The Alabama Political Report also mentions Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, who was the guy who ultimately won that fateful race that Dale Peterson lost. If nothing else, McMillan got a small piece of eternal fame when Peterson created a second commercial for the runoff where he endorsed McMillan and fired his gun at someone who tried to steal a McMillan yard sign.

CA-Gov: Republicans may get a candidate for governor… just probably not one they’re especially excited about. Ex-Assemblyman David Hadley has formed an exploratory committee, and he says he’ll decide in the next two months. Hadley actually does have experience running in competitive races: In 2014, Hadley narrowly unseated Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi in a race for a Torrance seat, but he lost their expensive rematch 54-46. Businessman John Cox is already in, and he contributed $1 million to his campaign. But in a state this expensive, $1 million for a statewide campaign is sort of like a candidate in Vermont announcing that he’ll spend $14,000 of his own money. Republicans are still holding out hope that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will run, but he’s sent only mixed signals about his level of interest.

CO-Gov: It looks like we’ll only need to keep track of one Salazar at the most in next year’s open gubernatorial race. Democratic state Rep. Joe Salazar, who was a prominent Bernie Sanders’ supporter in Colorado, spent a few months flirting with running to succeed termed-out Gov. John Hickenlooper, but he’s announced that he will run for attorney general instead. Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is herself a possible candidate for governor, though she hasn’t said anything publicly. Ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, who doesn’t appear to be related to Joe Salazar, is one of several Democrats mulling a bid for the governor’s office.

GA-Gov: The GOP may have their first declared candidate soon. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that Secretary of State Brian Kemp will run, though they say it’s not clear when he will make an announcement. A number of other Peach State Republicans are considering.

MD-Gov: Last week, Maryland Matters reported that Alec Ross, a former State Department senior adviser for innovation, was considering seeking the Democratic nod to face GOP Gov. Larry Hogan. Ross confirmed his interest to Politico, and says he’ll decide “in the next month.” A number of other Old Line State Democrats have talked about challenging Hogan, who has polled well during the first half of his governorship.

NJ-Gov: A few days ago, Clinton-era Undersecretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson launched what his campaign says is a seven-figure cable and internet buy. Johnson’s minute-long ad emphasizes his humble origins and how his family almost lost their home during an economic downturn. Johnson then blames political insiders for not helping regular people. Johnson is a longshot in June’s Democratic primary against establishment favorite Phil Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive. However, Johnson is the only Murphy primary opponent who has raised enough money to qualify for the state’s two-for-one matching funds, and he may be the best positioned to benefit if the frontrunner stumbles.

NY-Gov: Pretty much from the moment that Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara as part of a large purge of Obama-era U.S. attorneys, speculation began that Bharara could challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in next year’s Democratic primary. However, unnamed people tell Politico that they’ve never heard Bharara show any interest in running for elected office. Bharara himself did take a shot at Cuomo on Twitter shortly after he was sacked, but running against the governor in what would be an incredibly expensive race is another thing altogether.

OH-Gov: On Monday, ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich announced that she would seek the Democratic nod to succeed termed-out GOP Gov. John Kasich. Pillich represented a competitive Cincinnati-area seat for three terms, and she won her last term in 2012 52-44 as Romney was carrying her district 51-48. Two years later, Pillich was Team Blue’s nominee against Treasurer Josh Mandel, who took a sabbatical from running for the Senate to seek re-election. Pillich’s 57-43 loss was better than the rest of the statewide ticket, which speaks volumes about how awful 2014 was for Ohio Democrats. Pillich joins state Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton in the primary.


NE-02: According to attorney Ann Ferlic Ashford, ex-Rep. Brad Ashford has ruled out seeking a rematch with Republican Rep. Don Bacon, who unseated him 49-48 last year. However, Ashford says she’s interested in picking up where her husband left off and challenging Bacon in this Omaha-based seat, which Trump carried 48-46. Ashford says she’ll decide on whether she’ll seek the Democratic nomination in the spring.

Ashford has identified as a Republican for most of her life, and her father, Randy Ferlic, served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents as a Republican. Ashford has only run for office once, losing a nonpartisan 2012 contest to succeed her father to GOP ex-Omaha Mayor Hal Daub by a 53-47 margin. This seat is likely to be a Democratic target next year, and there may be other Omaha Democrats interested in running.

SC-05: Filing closed on Monday for the special election to succeed Republican Mick Mulvaney, who resigned to become Trump’s budget chief. Trump carried this northern seat, which includes Rock Hill, by a 57-39 margin, and the GOP nominee should have little trouble holding it on June 20. The party primaries will be May 2, and there will be a May 16 runoff in contests where no one took a majority of the vote.

There were no last-minute surprises before the filing deadline. On the GOP side, the candidates are ex-state party head Chad Connelly; Sheri Few, a prominent state opponent of Common Core education standards who took a close third place in the 2014 primary for superintendent of education; attorney Tom Mullikin, the commander of the all-volunteer S.C. State Guard; ex-state Rep. Ralph Norman, who lost a 2006 bid for this seat to Democratic incumbent John Spratt; state House Speaker Pro Temp Tommy Pope; attorney Kris Wampler; and Ray Craig, who took 21 percent against Mulvaney in a quixotic 2016 primary race. On the Democratic side, former Goldman Sachs senior advisor Archie Parnell faces Les Murphy, a veteran who works with a local veterans’ non-profit, as well as one other candidate.


Atlanta, GA Mayor: We have our first poll of the non-partisan November race to succeed termed-out Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed. In a survey for WSB-TV, local GOP pollsters Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone have City Councilor Mary Norwood, who lost the 2009 runoff to Reed by 714 votes, taking first place with 29 percent. In the very likely event that no one takes a majority, there will be a runoff, and it’s a muddled field for second:

City Councilor Mary Norwood: 29

State Sen. Vincent Ford: 9

City Councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms: 9

City Council President Ceasar Mitchell: 8

Ex-City Council President Cathy Woolard: 6

City Councilor Kwanza Hall: 6

Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves: 4

Ex-Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman: 2

Ex-Atlanta Workforce Development Agency head Michael Sterling was not tested. Most of the candidates are Democrats, though Norwood identifies as an independent.


The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.

To advertise in the Morning Digest, please contact advertise@dailykos.com.

Foreclosure king Dave Trott may face a real fight in gerrymandered Michigan sea

MI-11: Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Trott won his second term 53-40 last year in a contest that attracted little outside attention while Trump was taking his suburban Detroit seat 50-45. Democrats would love to target Trott, who made his fortune through foreclosures, and he’s now got his first noteworthy opponent. Haley Stevens, who was chief of staff to President Obama’s Auto Task Force in 2009 when it was overseeing the financial rescue of Chrysler and General Motors, announced she was in on Thursday. Stevens is well-regarded by her old boss, businessman and ex-auto rescue czar Steven Rattner, and she may indeed have the connections to raise enough money to stand up to the very wealthy Trott.

This seat, which awkwardly loops around the Detroit area to take in Troy, Novi, and Livonia, has been in GOP hands for a long time, and the Republican legislature did all they could to draw it so it stayed that way. Trott himself won’t lack the resources to defend himself, and he’s wasted no time arguing that Stevens, who recently moved back to Michigan from Chicago, is a carpetbagger. Still, if Stevens has the resources to get her message out, she may finally be able to make Trott’s long and ugly business history stick.

And she won’t lack material. Perhaps most notoriously, Trott’s law firm foreclosed on a 101-year-old Detroit woman named Texana Hollis in 2011 after her son failed to pay her mortgage, which evicted her from her home. Hollis was able to reclaim her home of 60 years thanks to a campaign led by writer Mitch Albom, and she died a few years later.

This ugly story surfaced during Trott’s 2014 primary campaign against then-Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, but Bentivolio (a true accidental congressman if there ever was one) didn’t have the ability to run a serious race against Trott. Trott’s Democratic opponent that fall did try to make this an issue, but he also didn’t have much money available to broadcast it far and wide, and national Democrats triaged this race as the political climate got worse and worse; last year, Trott won without any real fireworks. While Trott’s foreclosure horror stories aren’t new news, there are undoubtedly plenty of local voters who have forgotten about them since 2014, or never learned about them at all. If Democrats can make a serious play for this seat and 2018 is a bad year for the GOP, Trott could very well be in for a rough ride.


CT-Gov: This week, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo became the latest Democrat to form an exploratory committee ahead of a potential bid for governor of Connecticut. Lembo has repeatedly clashed with retiring Gov. Dan Malloy, a fellow Democrat who has posted weak approval numbers. Last year, Lembo notably voted against a $22 million incentive package for the huge financial fund Bridgewater Associates, and the two have also come into conflict over the state’s hospital budget and other issues.

Lembo has made it clear that he won’t run if Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman seeks the governorship, but his announcement may be a sign he doesn’t expect her to. However, Lembo insisted on Thursday that his move doesn’t mean that Wyman won’t run, and he reiterated that he’d still defer to her. In Connecticut, potential candidates need to raise $250,000 in small donations to qualify for public financing, which the CT Mirror calls “a key measure of viability in gubernatorial politics.” This is a pretty time-consuming task, so it does make sense for people to start early even if they’re not 100 percent committed to running rather than risk starting their fundraising too late. If he makes his campaign official, Lembo will be the state’s first openly gay candidate for governor.

Lembo is the fourth noteworthy Connecticut Democrat to form an exploratory committee. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew began raising money before Malloy made his decision, while former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei and ex-Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris (who also says he’d defer to Wyman) made their moves this month. A number of other Democrats are considering, and we can add another to the list. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi recently acknowledged he was thinking about it; Marconi filed an exploratory committee for the open 2010 race, but didn’t end up running. Marconi describes himself as more “purple” politically than red or blue, which could be a drawback in a primary.

HI-Gov: Almost four years ago, then-state Sen. David Ige launched what looked like a very longshot Democratic primary bid against Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie. However, while Ige didn’t have much name recognition or money, Abercrombie had managed to upset pretty much every major faction in the state Democratic Party during his tenure, and Ige ended up defeating him by an astounding 67-31 margin. As Ige gets ready to seek re-election next year, it’s looking quite possible that he’ll at least need to be on guard in case another Hawaii Democrat tries to follow the Ige playbook to the governor’s office.

While Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa says he’s very likely to run for lieutenant governor, he gave a very interesting reason to Civil Beat for why he wants the job. Arakawa says that Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho “is going to run for the governor’s office, and he will be probably be the next governor,” and that Arakawa thinks he’ll work well as Carvalho’s lieutenant governor. Carvalho, who is termed-out of his current job, has yet to say anything publicly about his plans, and Arakawa doesn’t seem to have said why he thinks Carvalho will be such an electoral juggernaut.

So far, only one other notable Aloha State Democrat who has made any noises about challenging Ige. However, while state Sen. Josh Green expressed interest back in January, in recent months he’s sounded far more likely to run for lieutenant governor instead, and he came close to declaring earlier in April. Still, at the beginning of the year, Green did lay out some criticism of Ige that the governor’s eventual primary challenger may echo. Green faulted the incumbent for failing to meet his promise to install air conditioners in 1,000 public schools by the end of last year as one of his major concerns, as well as the state’s long struggles with housing costs and homelessness.

MA-Gov: Massachusetts Democrats have a tough job next year if they want to unseat Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, and the party’s top figures aren’t exactly spoiling for a fight. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a good relationship with Baker, and he didn’t rule out endorsing him on Tuesday.

And while other Bay State Democrats aren’t going that far, they’re not exactly sounding like a party that’s intent on beating the popular incumbent. Back in January, state Senate President Stan Rosenberg had nothing but praise for Baker’s state of state speech. A few weeks ago, Rep. Seth Moulton characterized Baker as a “good man” who is “doing a pretty good job of leading this state, while fellow Rep. Katherine Clark recently gave Baker’s tenure a “B+,” praising him as a “hard worker . . . a really nice guy.”

That’s a massive contrast to Maryland, another very blue state with a GOP governor who is up next year. A number of prominent Democrats have talked about challenging Gov. Larry Hogan, and other Democratic leaders aren’t going out of their way to gush over the governor. Hogan has posted good approval ratings, but unlike in Massachusetts, Maryland Democrats do seem interested in bringing him down to earth.

MN-Gov: This week, state Rep. Matt Dean became the second Minnesota Republican to kick off a bid for governor. Dean served as the chamber’s majority leader after Team Red took control in 2010, but in 2014 he lost the speakership race to Kurt Daudt, another prospective gubernatorial candidate. However, Dean did get to become chair of the powerful Health and Human Services Finance Committee.

Dean joins Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman in the race for the GOP nod. Minnesota parties hold conventions months before the primary, where candidates compete for the state party endorsement. It’s common for candidates to drop out of the race if someone else gets the party endorsement, though some do decide to skip the convention entirely and just run in the primary. Dean says he’ll abide by the party endorsement, while Huffman said he would as well… unless he feels he’s been unfairly attacked, in which case, he “reserve[s] the right to run in the primary.”

The GOP contest may be getting bigger soon. Back in 2014, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson lost the general election to Democratic incumbent Mark Dayton by a respectable 50-45 margin, and the local tipsheet Morning Take says he’ll announce his plans at the end of May. Rich Stanek, the sheriff of Hennepin County, and a number of other state legislators have also been flirting with running. Democrats have their own crowded contest brewing to succeed Dayton, who is retiring. State Auditor Rebecca Otto is one of the many declared Democratic contests, and Dean got to the state House in 2004 by unseating her 52-48.

NM-Gov: Former Univision executive Jeff Apodaca, whose father served as governor of New Mexico in the mid-1970s, has been mulling a bid of his own for a while, and we may not need to wait much longer. Local political analyst Joe Monahan writes that Apodaca is expected to kick off his Democratic primary bid in early May. If he runs, Apodaca will face Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state Sen. Joe Cervantes for the Democratic nod. Monahan has said that both Apodaca and Cervantes have moderate images.

Two other New Mexico officeholders have also talked about running in the primary. State Attorney General Hector Balderas said in early March that he expected to decide by the summer, but Monahan doesn’t expect him to get in. Monahan says the same thing about Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, but adds that Gonzales is currently calling for city voters to approve a 2-cents-per-ounce tax of sugary drinks, and that if the measure passes on Tuesday, it may encourage the mayor to run for governor.

TN-Gov: A few days ago, the communications director for Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett didn’t rule out the idea that his boss could seek the GOP nod next year. Burchett himself now says he is considering, though he says he has no timeline for deciding.

Burchett did acknowledge that fundraising could be problematic for him if he runs for governor, but told the local ABC affiliate that his grassroots platform could break through, because “I think my message is pretty clear. And I don’t need some New York advertising agency to help me talk to the regular folks, because I am the regular folks and I think that’s my appeal.” That’s… not something a lot of successful candidates say. If Burchett is popular enough in the Knoxville area, he might be able to win a primary with a plurality (unlike in much of the South, Tennessee has not primary runoff). Still, Burchett isn’t even the only possible candidate from Knox County: Rich guy Randy Boyd, who is running, has part of the local zoo named for him.


GA-06: Politico’s Scott Bland reports that Republican Karen Handel is not up on the airwaves following her distant second-place showing in last week’s all-party primary, but the NRCC is stepping into the breach. In a characteristically histrionic new ad for the committee, a narrator quakes: “Hollywood celebrities. Democrat Party bosses. Forcing D.C. liberal Jon Ossoff on Georgia. Ossoff’s support of Obamacare means higher insurance premiums and a trillion in new taxes.”

She concludes, “Jon Ossoff will fight for them,” as photos of Nancy Pelosi, plus the top half of Bernie Sanders’ face and what we think is the bottom half of Barack Obama’s face, appear on screen. Very odd cinematography. Anyhow, the second half of the spot pivots to praise Handel, calling her a “25-year resident” of the 6th District who balanced budgets without raising taxes and “fought voter fraud.”

Independent expenditure reports filed by the NRCC show that the size of the buy is $563,000. But this is a good opportunity to point out that this money won’t go as far as it would had Handel been spending it. That’s because, by law, candidates are entitled to more favorable advertising rates than outside groups.

As a result, though Republicans collectively outspent Democrats by a 61-39 margin prior to the primary, the GOP only wound up with a 52-48 advantage in the total number of ads that were actually aired—called share of voice—because most of the Democratic spending came directly from the Ossoff campaign. That’s an important thing to bear in mind whenever you see figures on ad buys, because not all dollars are equally valuable. What really counts is how many ads you can run.

MN-07: Despite only recently saying that he wouldn’t decide whether to seek re-election until next year, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson unambiguously told Roll Call on Thursday that he was running again. Peterson’s decision will be a relief to his party: Trump carried this rural northwest Minnesota seat 62-31, and it would be extremely hard to hold without him.

Still, the GOP is hoping they can unseat the longtime incumbent. Last cycle, Peterson only beat underfunded Republican Dave Hughes 52-47, and Hughes is running again. But Team Red may have a stronger candidate on tap, with state Rep. Tim Miller jumping in earlier this month. The GOP has only made one serious attempt to unseat Peterson in years, but the incumbent won 54-46 in 2014 even with the red wave crashing on the shores of the Red Lake Reservation (no, that metaphor doesn’t really work.) Peterson is an incredibly formidable incumbent, but Republicans know that once they finally win the 7th District, they’re likely to keep it for a long, long, long time.

NM-01: Two Democrats are currently seeking this 52-36 Clinton seat in Albuquerque, and there may be another contender before long. Joe Monahan writes that outgoing state Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland is expected to run after her term ends in a few days; according to her supporters, Haaland would be the first Native American woman to ever serve in the House.

SC-05: We have what seems to be the first major outside spending ahead of the May 2 GOP primary. Politico reports that a group called Hometown Freedom Action Network has dropped $113,000 on an ad campaign for state House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope. Their commercial praises Pope‘s background as a police officer and prosecutor before telling voters how he loves Trump and the NRA and hates abortion and Obamacare. Politico also notes that we really know very little about Hometown Freedom, a group only occasionally gets involved in GOP primaries. If no one takes a majority next week, there will be a runoff in on May 16.

VA-10: The DCCC and EMILY’s List reportedly wanted state Sen. Jennifer Wexton to challenge GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock, and Wexton jumped in last week. However, Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe publicly expressed interest after Wexton made her decision. On Thursday, two members of Virginia’s House delegation, Donald McEachin and Gerry Connolly, endorsed Wexton in what may be an attempt to deter McAuliffe from running. Connolly represents a neighboring Northern Virginia seat while McEachin is a DCCC vice chair whom the Washington Post reports worked to recruit Wexton. A few other Democrats were already running before Wexton entered the race.

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.

To advertise in the Morning Digest, please contact advertise@dailykos.com.