Will the DCCC get its candidate in Oregon tonight?

The Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from the Daily Kos Elections team.

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Leading Off

● Election Night: The battle for a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court occupies center stage on Tuesday night, with former Democratic Rep. John Barrow hoping that his focus on abortion rights will help make conservative incumbent Andrew Pinson the first justice to lose in 102 years. But as Jeff Singer details in our coast-to-coast preview, it’s not the only contest with major implications.

Both parties are paying close attention to the Democratic primary for a key House seat in Oregon, where D.C. Democrats have weighed in heavily on behalf of their preferred candidate—and where Republicans appear to be boosting her opponent.

There’s also another expensive Democratic battle for a safely blue seat in the Portland area, while the Rose City’s district attorney is fighting for reelection four years after criminal justice reformers hailed his initial victory at the ballot box.

Singer has the details on all these races and more, including how redistricting and health concerns could send a moderate congressman’s primary into overtime. Polls close in Georgia at 7 PM ET. We’ll have an open thread to discuss the results at Daily Kos Elections.


● MI-Sen: A Glengariff Group poll from late April for the Detroit Regional Chamber business group finds Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin leading against three potential Republican opponents, though many voters remain undecided. Slotkin is up 40-37 over former Rep. Mike Rogers, while she beats both former Rep. Justin Amash and self-funding businessman Sandy Pensler by identical 41-34 margins. Few polls have been released in Michigan this year, but these latest results are consistent with the surveys we’ve previously seen.

● MN-Sen: Royce White, a former NBA player and far-right conspiracy theorist, won Saturday’s state Republican Party convention in an upset against banker Joe Fraser, securing the GOP’s endorsement and unlocking access to party resources. A spokesperson for Fraser said he hasn’t made up his mind about whether to continue running in the Aug. 13 primary.

White gained attention in 2020 as a Black Lives Matter supporter, but he’s since refashioned himself as a MAGA media figure. His previous electoral experience involved seeking the Republican nomination in the dark-blue 5th District last cycle, a primary he lost 48-37.

White and Fraser each raised very little money in the first quarter, and either would be a major underdog against Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has won by at least a 20-point margin in all three of her campaigns for the Senate. A recent SurveyUSA poll for local media stations shows her trouncing Fraser 48-34 even while the same respondents favor Joe Biden just 44-42 over Donald Trump. White was not included in the survey.

● WI-Sen: Ben Samuels at Haaretz reports that wealthy businessman Eric Hovde, who is the likely Republican nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, has used language often associated with antisemitic tropes during public appearances in recent years.

These include referring to a man who tried to swindle his great-grandfather as a “shyster,” a term he also applied to central bankers. Hovde additionally touted a conspiracy theory about the “Great Reset” conference at Davos in 2021 as the prelude to “socialism” and “one central world government.”

While Samuels notes that neither of these terms is antisemitic by itself, they’re regularly used in contexts that play into centuries-old conspiracy theories about Jews controlling global finance and governance. (The Anti-Defamation League explains in greater detail how the “Great Reset” theory has antisemitic underpinnings.) Hovde’s campaign claimed after publication that the “allegations are baseless and pure innuendo.”


● VT-Gov: Former Gov. Howard Dean announced Monday that he would not seek the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Gov. Phil Scott, a move that came a little more than a week after the incumbent confirmed he’d seek a fifth two-year term.

Dean told reporters that, while unreleased polls showed him within 10 points of beating Scott, victory would have required the type of “scorched earth” campaign he didn’t want to run. It remains to be seen whether any notable Democrat will challenge Scott, who has always won reelection with ease, ahead of the May 30 filing deadline.

● WA-Gov: The Northwest Progressive Institute has released new numbers from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that show Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson leading former GOP Rep. Dave Reichert 48-42 in a likely November general election matchup.

Ferguson enjoyed a similar 46-42 edge in PPP’s February poll. The only data we’ve seen during the intervening time was a March survey from the Republican pollster Echelon Insights for a group called Concerned Taxpayers of Washington State that placed Reichert leading by a 39-30 margin.

PPP also continues to find the two frontrunners far ahead in the Aug. 6 top-two primary despite some potentially favorable developments for each of their main intra-party foes. Ferguson and Reichert respectively take 35% and 28% as former Richland school board member Semi Bird, who won the state GOP endorsement last month, secures 11%. Just 4% goes to Democratic state Sen. Mark Mullet even though a well-funded super PAC began airing ads for him a few weeks ago.

WV-Gov: Unnamed sources close to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told MetroNews’ Brad McElhinny that the retiring senator is being encouraged to run for governor by Republicans seeking a moderate alternative to state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a far-right hardliner who won the GOP nomination last week. McElhinny added that Manchin “has made no decision, but also he has not dissuaded the conversations,” and the senator himself didn’t rule it out Monday.

Complicating matters, Democrats have already nominated Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who told McElhinny that he was aware of the talk surrounding Manchin but hasn’t spoken to him about the prospect. Williams noted, though, that Manchin has donated to his campaign and has “been a friend for over 40 years now.” The mayor would have to withdraw by Aug. 13 for Manchin to take his place by Aug. 19; otherwise, the senator could run only as an independent.

Williams has struggled to raise money, though, and supporters of a potential Manchin candidacy could wait a few weeks for new poll data before proceeding. Manchin, who previously served as governor and has won three Senate races—including a 2018 reelection campaign against Morrisey—would likely be a much stronger nominee. Still, he’d just as likely face a tough general election in what has now become a dark red state.

When asked by Axios’ Stephen Neukam about McElhinny’s story on Monday, the senator did not close the door on a bid.

“I don’t know,” Manchin said. “It’s whatever Steve decides. If something’s come up I don’t know about, we’ll find out.”

However, it may be a while before the senator gives us a definitive answer. Manchin spent much of the past year and a half leaving everyone in doubt about his plans by flirting with running for reelection, the governorship, and even the White House. Despite announcing in November that he wouldn’t seek reelection, he’s continued to send mixed messages. In March, the 76-year-old Manchin didn’t fully rule out running for reelection as an independent, an option that remains open to him until Aug. 1.


CO-04: Democrat Trisha Calvarese has released an internal poll from Keating Research that finds her trailing 3rd District GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert by a 46-36 margin in a hypothetical November general election for the 4th District. However, the survey is a month old, and the release did not include results for this year’s presidential contest. Donald Trump carried the 4th 58-39 in 2020.

Calvarese is running against Republican Greg Lopez in the June 25 special election to fill the remainder of former Republican Ken Buck’s term, but Lopez isn’t running in the GOP primary for the full term that is happening that same day. Boebert, who currently represents a district based in western Colorado, is running in a crowded primary that features several candidates with stronger ties to this eastern Colorado district.

● NJ-10: Secretary of State Tahesha Way on Monday instructed administrative law judges to reconsider signature challenges leveled at Newark Council President LaMonica McIver and former East Orange Councilwoman Brittany Claybrooks, who are each competing in the July 16 special Democratic primary. The New Jersey Globe writes that new hearings are anticipated later this week.

McIver initially submitted paperwork saying that her mother, Robin McIver, collected all 1,081 signatures the campaign turned in. Claybrooks, however, challenged the notion that one person could have performed this task in less than three days and asked Administrative Law Judge Kim Belin to remove the council president from the ballot for fraud.

A McIver aide named Hassan Abdus-Sabur told the Globe on Wednesday that, contrary to the campaign’s claims, he and other staffers had been “all out collecting signatures.” The site also obtained text messages in which Abdus-Sabur and other staffers discussed Claybrooks’ challenge. In one message, Adbus-Sabur said that he “collected over 50 signatures.”

Belin ruled Friday that McIver had qualified for the ballot, but Abdus-Sabur did not appear at a hearing she held and the texts were not included as evidence. In response, Way said that Belin’s ruling “fails to address the admissibility of the available witness’s testimony as to the authenticity of the text messages or the admissibility of the text messages.”

In a separate case, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee alleged that all of the petitions submitted by two of Claybrooks’ circulators should be thrown out because of fraud allegations. A different judge, Susana Espasa Guerrero, rejected these arguments after concluding there wasn’t enough evidence of fraud to invalidate those signatures even though the circulators in question also didn’t appear in court.

Way likewise felt that Guerrero’s ruling was insufficient, telling the judge on Monday that she must “make clear factual findings” whether there was fraud, especially concerning the two circulators in question.

● LA-05, LA-06: Speaker Mike Johnson sent a not-very-subtle message on Monday that he doesn’t want Rep. Garret Graves to challenge fellow GOP incumbent Julie Letlow by endorsing both of them—in separate districts.

Johnson explicitly backed Graves for the 6th District even though the revamped version of that seat is all but unwinnable for Republicans, while he endorsed Letlow’s reelection to the 5th District, which remains safely red.

The speaker put out this statement days after Graves announced he’d berunning for reelection in a district anchored in the Capital Region,” an area that’s mostly contained in the new 5th and 6th Districts. Letlow, for her part, said in a statement—issued after a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing the new map to be used this year—that she’d seek reelection.

Johnson, who serves Louisiana’s 4th District, also endorsed the other two members of the state’s GOP delegation, Majority Leader Steve Scalise in the 1st District and Rep. Clay Higgins in the 3rd. Both represent conservative constituencies and neither currently has any serious intra-party opposition.

WA-05: The Washington State Labor Council over the weekend issued a dual endorsement to Republican state Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber and former Spokane County Democratic Party chair Carmela Conroy in the Aug. 6 top-two primary for the conservative 5th District.

Maycumber is the lone Republican congressional candidate to receive an endorsement, albeit a shared one, from the WSLC, an AFL-CIO affiliate that calls itself the state’s “largest labor organization.” WSLC’s support, though, could help Maycumber appeal to Democratic voters if she winds up facing Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner in an all-Republican general election to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

● WA-06: State Sen. Emily Randall has earned the backing of the Washington State Labor Council in the August top-two primary to replace retiring Rep. Derek Kilmer, a fellow Democrat. Randall’s main intra-party foe this summer is Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who has Kilmer’s support.

Ballot Measures

● AZ Ballot, AZ-Sen: A new YouGov poll of Arizona for CBS gives both abortion rights supporters and Democratic Senate candidate Ruben Gallego some welcome news even as it shows Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in the state.

The survey finds a strong 65-21 majority saying they’d vote for “an amendment on the ballot to establish the constitutional right to an abortion in Arizona.” Abortion rights groups announced last month that they’d collected more than enough signatures to place such an amendment before voters, making it likely the measure will appear on the November ballot. It takes a simple majority to amend the state’s governing document.

YouGov meanwhile finds Gallego defeating his likely GOP foe, election conspiracy theorist Kari Lake, by a wide 49-36 margin even though these same respondents back Trump 52-47 in a two-way race and 44-40 when other options are included.

The result is considerably better for Gallego than the 46-43 edge that Siena College gave him in its recent poll for the New York Times. National Republicans, though, have not been acting like this race is anywhere near that close. AdImpact tweeted on Monday that, while Democratic groups have booked $40 million in fall TV time, Republicans have yet to reserve anything.

● CO Ballot: Election officials in Colorado announced Friday that an abortion rights amendment will appear on the November general election ballot. The proposal, known as Initiative 89, would both safeguard Colorado’s existing protections for abortion access and overturn a 1984 amendment that bans public funding for the procedure. The measure needs to win at least 55% of the vote to go into effect.

● FL Ballot, FL-Sen: A poll of Florida conducted by YouGov for CBS shows 60% of voters in favor of the abortion rights amendment that will be on the ballot in November, which is exactly the percentage required to amend the state’s constitution. Another 20% are opposed to Amendment 4, while the remaining 19% are undecided. Amendment 3, which would legalize marijuana, is ahead 56-30.

The poll meanwhile gives GOP Sen. Rick Scott a 45-37 lead over the Democratic frontrunner, former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Respondents favor Donald Trump 54-45 in a two-way race and 49-36 when third-party candidates are included.

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