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Leading Off:

AZ-Gov: We've written about this nonsense before, but I'm not surprised to see it coming up again now, with the elections behind us: GOP Gov. Jan Brewer is claiming once more that she might try to challenge Arizona's laws which forbid her from running for a third term. This notion is based on some alleged ambiguity over whether the rules apply to her, since was first elevated to her current post in 2009 when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano left to become head of the Department of Homeland Security and has only been elected governor once. But mostly it seems like a way for Brewer to stave off lame-duck-ness, if legislators think she might actually serve another term.

Assuming, though, that this fever-dream won't become reality, a lot of names are already surfacing for possible 2014 bids. For Republicans, the Arizona Republic's early list includes Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Treasurer Doug Ducey, Attorney General Tom Horne, state Sen. Steve Pierce, and Mesa businessman Wil Cardon (who got whomped in the GOP Senate primary earlier this year by Jeff Flake).

For Democrats, some top possibilities are state Rep. Chad Campbell, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, former Arizona Board of Regents Chairman Fred Duval, and attorney Felecia Rotellini (who ran against Horne for AG in 2010). One other longshot possibility for Team Blue: Rich Carmona, who just lost the Senate race. Everyone except Ducey and Duval is quoted in some manner, either not ruling out a run or saying they're "considering," though a Carmona spokesman says he wants to wait until all ballots are counted in this election before considering the next.


AK-Sen: It's hard not to feel like freshman Sen. Mark Begich is the Democrat with the biggest target painted on his back as we head into the 2014 election cycle: He won office in 2008 against an incredibly damaged incumbent in a very red state, which means his reelection chances probably start off at Tossup at best. So of course, Republicans are already lining up to run against him, and one GOP consultant even said to Roll Call that "it might be easier to ask which Republicans aren't considering taking on Begich." Indeed, at Netroots Nation in 2011, I asked Begich whom he might face and the list of names he rattled off was so long that I can scarcely remember a single one!

But fortunately, Kyle Trygstad's got a new list handy. He reports that Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller are already trying to line up support for potential bids, and adds that former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, and even Gov. Sean Parnell might be interested. All that said, Begich is an excellent campaigner who, like Montana's Jon Tester, appears to have done a good job carving out a distinct profile for himself back home. What's more, Begich won't face the pressure of the presidential race bearing down on him from the top of the ticket; indeed, in 2008, he had to deal with Sarah Palin. And one positive note is that Barack Obama appears to have taken a higher share of the vote in Alaska last week than any Democrat since Hubert Humphrey. This will definitely be a hard-fought race.

MA-Sen: I'm not really going to get into it at this point, since it's all too speculative, but Aaron Blake runs down what would happen if Sen. John Kerry were tapped as the next Secretary of Defense (or perhaps, Secretary of State). Massachusetts is one of the few states which requires special elections to fill Senate vacancies (as you'll recall from the original Scott Brown debacle), and the law also allows the governor to appoint a temporary replacement pending such an election. Blake has a list of possible candidates, if you're interested.

ME-Sen: Even Angus will have to finally make a decision: The Senate's leadership elections for the 113th Congress will be held on Wednesday, and independent Angus King—who has steadfastly refused to say which party he'll caucus with—now says he wants to be able to participate. (Previously he'd said he wouldn't make up his mind until after Thanksgiving, which makes me wonder if he wasn't even aware of when the leadership vote was scheduled for.) Anyhow, if Angus somehow wants to join the demoralized and deep-in-the-minority Republicans, he's welcome to do so: 54 is still greater than 46.


NE-Gov: As expected, state Sen. Mike Flood has formally declared his candidacy for the Nebraska governor's mansion, which will be open in 2014 because current Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited. Flood, the Speaker in the state's unicameral legislature, will face (at the very least) Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy—who has Heineman's backing—in the GOP primary, but there are a number of other potential candidates. On the Republican side, the Great Mentioner cites state Sen. Charlie Janssen, Attorney General Jon Bruning, and state Treasurer Don Stenberg. And while this would be an exceptionally tough race for Democrats, a few names are circulating as well, including state Sen. Steve Lathrop, who says he's considering a run; University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook and Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler are also possibilities.


AZ-01: Republican Jonathan Paton, whose race was called last week, has now finally conceded to Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.

AZ-02: There's still one uncalled race in Arizona, in the state's 2nd District, where Dem Rep. Ron Barber's lead over Republican Martha McSally now stands at 829 votes as of Tuesday evening, up from 512 the day before. Unlike almost all other overtime races, where one side's lead has steadily grown, Barber's edge has bounced around, and indeed, on election night, he was even trailing. Still, as the total number of outstanding ballots shrinks, you'd always rather be the guy in the lead.

But here's a dispiriting development: Republican attorneys in AZ-02 are going to court to try to prevent 130 provisional ballots cast in a heavily Latino precinct in Cochise County from being counted.

CA-07: Awesome! It's freshman orientation, Capitol Hill-style, which means all newly-elected soon-to-be members of the House are down in DC, learning the ins and outs of Congress, from an insider's perspective. And just which insider is leading these 80 or so bright-eyed newcomers through their orientation program? None other than GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, chair of the House Administration Committee, who is currently trailing Democrat Ami Bera by 1,779 votes in a race that still hasn't been called. Somehow I'm guessing Lungren might be a little distracted these next few days ...

Speaking of which, Bera continues to expand his lead over Lungen in suburban Sacramento. As of Tuesday evening, Bera's more than doubled his edge—now 3,824 votes—from the previous update. Approximately 80,000 votes remain to be counted across the county, slightly more than half of which should be in CA-07. Assuming there are roughly 50,000 votes left to be split between Bera and Lungren, Lungren's magic number is now 53.8 percent. The same math that is hurting GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray in San Diego is affecting Lungren, too. The number of votes left to be counted continues to drop, and the newly counted votes seem to be more Bera-friendly: The last batch of votes broke for Bera 54-46! Given this, we can all turn our attention to a new race: Who will concede first, Lungren or Bilbray?

FL-18: Jesus. So now the state of Florida is getting involved in the Patrick Murphy-Allen West race. The Florida Department of State, which oversees statewide elections, is sending three officials to St. Lucie County, which just conducted an unorthodox partial recount that saw 799 total votes disappear compared to earlier tallies. (Apparently, the proper term for this effort was a "retabulation," not a recount, which is an entirely different matter under state law.) In a statement, a DoS spokesperson said: "We are concerned whenever there is a question about the accuracy of results." Great.

And on top of that, a hundred West supporters have taken to protesting outside the St. Lucie elections board offices, carrying signs accusing god-knows-whom of "voter fraud" and berating elections chief Gertrude Walker as "Dirty Gertie." The Brooks Brothers riot this is not, though (video here).

Fortunately, though, an end might be in sight. On Nov. 20, the state's formal Election Canvassing Commission will meet to certify all election returns. If the election is certified for Murphy, that will narrow West's options. And Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports that some unnamed and unquoted "Republican officials" "privately acknowledge that West has few legal avenues to pursue and that, absent a major shift in the trajectory of the vote count, will soon come under pressure to concede." We need to get clarity on the actual vote, for sure. But there really doesn't seem to be any shot for West, though if anyone will drag this out needlessly, it's him.

LA-02: Here's another one of those "closer than expected" House elections, but with a twist. Freshman Dem Rep. Cedric Richmond won reelection with "only" 55 percent of the vote in Louisiana's dark blue 2nd Congressional District... but his nearest opponent took just 25 percent, so it's not like he was in any danger. For one thing, as you know, Louisiana conducts "jungle"-style elections that are very similar to the top-two primaries used in California and Washington: All candidates compete in a single general election (there's no primary), and if no one gets over 50 percent, the two top candidate, regardless of party, proceed to a December runoff. So Richmond was running in a field of five, and indeed, the second-place finisher, Gary Landrieu (a cousin of Sen. Mary Landrieu and NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu) is also a Democrat. (Mary and Mitch both endorsed the incumbent.)

The other issue, though, is redistricting. Louisiana lost a seat in reapportionment, and Republicans (who by-and-large controlled the line-drawing process, though LA politics is very weird) sought to pack as many Democrats as possible into a single district, the 2nd. The led them to create a district which stretched 100 miles from New Orleans all the way to Baton Rouge. (The old 2nd used to be entirely NOLA-centric.) It also left Richmond, who after all had served just a single term, with a seat where almost 40% of the constituents were new to him. That kind of phenomenon has played out in many races across the country, leading to lots of incumbents pulling in lower vote shares than you'd otherwise anticipate. I expect, though, that things will "get back to normal" next cycle.

MI-08: This could lead to a potentially interesting special election: The Great Mentioner is, of course, already talking about possible replacements for now-former CIA Director David Petraeus, and one name that's come up is Michigan GOP Rep. Mike Rogers. Rogers is chair of the House Intelligence Committee and is also a former FBI agent himself. If Rogers were to be tapped, that would open up a district which actually went for Barack Obama by a 52-46 margin over John McCain in 2008. (2012 numbers are not yet available.) Any thoughts on possible candidates on both sides who could succeed Rogers?

MI-11: Here's a neat little story on Dave Curson, the Democratic union official who defeated Republican Kerry Bentivolio in the special election for the final two months of ex-Rep. Thad McCotter's term, even as Bentivolio was beating another Democrat, Syed Taj, in the race for the full term that starts in January. One detail I liked: For his seven-week sojourn, Curson will occupy McCotter's "palatial suite in the Rayburn building," and fellow Michigan Rep. John Dingell will lend him some staff members for the duration. Curson also says he "doubts very much" that he'd run against Bentivolio in 2014, but isn't ruling it out.

Incidentally, Curson was sworn in on Tuesday, along with two other special election winners: Democrat Suzan DelBene in WA-01 and Republican Thomas Massie in KY-04. One other special election winner, Democrat Donald Payne, Jr. of NJ-10, will be sworn in later this week.

NH-01: Reid Wilson reports that Republican state Sen. Sharon Carson, who was just re-elected last week, is already interested in taking on Dem Rep.-elect Carol Shea-Porter in 2014.

Grab Bag:

Demographics: There's quite a lot of agreement that Texas is on a trajectory toward being a swing state, simply given the high rate of non-white growth there... we know it's a long-term project, though, but how long? Well, the Houston Chronicle set their numbers-crunchers to figuring that out, and the answer is: not as quickly as we'd like, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, somewhere around 2024.

That's when their straight-line extrapolation finds that Democratic presidential votes will reach parity with Republican ones, based on expecting current population and political participation trends to continue unimpeded; they see the Democrats getting 5% closer in 2016 and 2020, closing the current 15% gap by 2024. (Of course, any number of variables could change that, such as the GOP making better inroads among Latino voters, or the Dems getting better participation rates out of Latino voters.) (David Jarman)

DSCC: While Republicans seem to already know who's going to lead their Senate campaign committee (see NRSC item below), Democrats are still casting about for a successor to Washington Sen. Patty Murray, who led the DSCC during its victorious 2012 cycle. Of course, 2014 will be an utter bear: With Democrats almost entirely on defense, it'll make 2012 look like Super Mario Bros. hacked to give you unlimited lives and permanent fireballs. So yeah, there probably aren't a lot of eager takers for the job, though Politico's Maggie Haberman reports that Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet "was offered the post" and is apparently considering it. (Bennet turned down the same opportunity last cycle, though.)

Other possibles include Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), all of whom just won their second elections by resounding margins. Whoever gets the gig will mostly have to focus on fundraising, though recruiting may be important depending on whether certain members retire, like West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and South Dakota's Tim Johnson. The good news is that expectations have to be very low for whomever takes the job, so a tough showing next cycle probably won't damage anyone's career.

Governors: PPP is out with a helpful summary of where incumbent governors facing reelection stand, in terms of approval and matchups against generic opponents. This isn't new data, but it's from their last round of 2012 pre-election polling (where it got little attention in the face of the 2012 races), so it isn't stale either.

They break them down into three categories: the ones in a whole lot of trouble (four GOPers: Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, Maine's Paul LePage, Florida's Rick Scott, and Ohio's John Kasich), those looking favored for now (Michigan's Rick Snyder, Wisconsin's Scott Walker, and Iowa's Terry Branstad, plus Connecticut Dem Dan Malloy), and those looking pretty safe (Minnesota Dem Mark Dayton, Colorado Dem John Hickenlooper, and Nevada GOPer Brian Sandoval). And if you're jonesing for your next poll injection, they say they'll resume 2013/14 cycle polling after Thanksgiving. (David Jarman)

NRCC, NRSC: Looks like the GOP is just about done figuring out who will lead its two federal campaign committees next cycle. Oregon Rep. Greg Walden has circulated a letter asking his colleagues to support him as NRCC chair, which seems like a done deal. The only person who might have thwarted him was current chair Pete Sessions of Texas, who said back in September he might seek a third term on the job. But Sessions and Walden are apparently tight, and so it looks like bossman is clearing the way for his deputy to succeed him.

Meanwhile, on the NRSC front, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is reportedly pulling his name from consideration. That pretty much leaves freshman Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran as the only Republican who has expressed interest in the job, so he looks like a safe bet to succeed Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

Pres-by-CD: It's that time again! Soon we're going to start crunching the 2012 presidential election results for all 435 congressional districts. But, as always, this is a huge task, and we're going to need your help, which is why we're crowdsourcing the effort once again. So click on over and see how you can get involved. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, and it'll help us produce an important data set for political analysts as quickly as possible.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The State of Florida (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzager, bear83, Sylv

    better not bend over backwards to make sure Allen West is re-elected!! If a democrat wanted a re-vote, or re-tabulation or whatever, I guarantee state officials would not allow it.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:13:51 AM PST

  •  VA Gov Quinnipiac poll (7+ / 0-)

    Warner beats Bolling 53-33 and Cuccinelli 52-34.

    The Macker is ahead 38-36 and 41-37 respectively.

    Let all the Bush tax cuts expire

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:39:25 AM PST

  •  What is the state of the House races? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm trying to find a good big picture count of # of Dems, # of GOoPers, # of uncalled races, and of the latter if the GOoPer is leading in any of them.

    Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: Get your We are the 99% Yard Sign.

    by DemSign on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:42:41 AM PST

  •  Governor Rick Scott drops opposition to Obamacare (5+ / 0-)
    Florida Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care overhaul, is dropping his staunch opposition to the law.

    Scott said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that he now wants to negotiate with the federal government. He said it's time for Republicans to offer solutions to help families after they lost their bid to defeat President Barack Obama.

    "The election is over and President Obama won," Scott said. "I'm responsible for the families of Florida ... If I can get to yes, I want to get to yes"

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:43:28 AM PST

  •  Pres-by-CD (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marcus Graly, tzager, bumiputera, Sylv

    My wild guess:

    REP districts Obama very likely won:
    CA-21, CA-31, CO-06, IA-03, IL-13, NV-03, NJ-02, NY-19, PA-06, VA-02 (already confirmed), WI-07, WI-08

    REP districts Obama probably won:
    CA-10, FL-13, IL-06, NJ-03, NY-02, MN-03, PA-15

    REP districts Obama probably lost by less than 3%:

    CA-25, CA-49, FL-07, FL-27, MI-01, MI-06, MI-07, MI-08, MI-11, MN-02, NY-11, NY-22, NY-23, PA-07, PA-08, PA-16, VA-10, WA-03, WA-08, WI-01

    The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who never viewed the world - Alexander von Humboldt

    by germanliberal on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:44:38 AM PST

  •  Tom Horne has his share of problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DCCyclone, Sylv

    if SCOTUS overturns Section 5 of the VRA he will claim credit since he was making that argument.

    But the recent news about his apparent affair and being investigated by the FBI will certainly not help him.

    I was talking about this with some AZ players last night.  They don't think Horne would have a chance in a primary except in a very fragmented field.

    FULL DISCLOSURE -  I have known Tom Horne for almost 6 decades, since we were first in Cub Scouts together in Larchmont NY in the 1950s.  Long acquaintanceship does not equal support.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:44:47 AM PST

  •  One would hope that following Brown's win (0+ / 0-)

    in the MA special in 2010, the MA democratic party would learn from its mistakes and be able to run a much more effective campaign. I think there is a high likelihood that both Kerry will end up at either State or DoD. Apparently Holder is staying put at DOJ, at least for the time being. I dont know how long that will last though, depends on how much blowback the administration starts getting for the Petraeus FBI probe, if any.

  •  GOP cheering a Kerry apptmt, to take Senate seat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, Australian2

    The GOP appears to be the loudest champion of appointing MA Sen Kerry to a Cabinet position so they can re-take a Senate seat from Mass.  Really, really hope Obama does not make same mistake Clinton made when he appointed TEX Sen Lloyd Bentsen as Secty of Treasury - and lost that TX Senate seat to the GOP.  It's hard to believe that John Kerry has any abilities so unique that Obama needs to risk losing that Senate seat back to (recently defeated GOP Sen. Brown).  If Obama is willing to take that risk, he can look elsewhere for the gazillion dollars needed for the MA SEN special election.  I'm tapped out and would not contribute.  Brown would not lack for money as the Kock bros, Adelsen and other can write checks for $15 million in minutes to cover the race for the GOP.  

  •  Add AZ-Gov - (0+ / 0-)

         Here's Jan in this morning's paper ☛  Arizona Daily Star

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:23:39 AM PST

  •  Report: Pelosi to stay on as leader (4+ / 0-)

    Let all the Bush tax cuts expire

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:28:40 AM PST

  •  Report: King to caucus with Dems (5+ / 0-)


    Let all the Bush tax cuts expire

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:30:29 AM PST

  •  WTF is going on in NC-07 ??? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've got the impression that is the closest of the uncalled House races and is directly heading for a recount.

  •  Governor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    PPP claims they polled every state with a 2014 governor election with an incumbent, but they seem to have missed a few.  Minimally, Christie in NJ and Cuomo in NY are both up for re-election in 2014.

  •  If Kerry were appointed SoS or SoD (0+ / 0-)

    would Deval Patrick think of running for the Senate seat?  He's quite popular now, right?  That would pretty much insure the seat remained Democratic, while retaining D control of the MA Governor.

  •  Interesting dilemma (although not for Va. women) (0+ / 0-)

    of Virginia 2013 governor race. Mark Warner would seem to be a strong candidate to win, while Terry McAuliffe would barely have an edge. But then the senate seat could be in jeapardy. Given the nutty va. GOP I suppose a check on them is preferable, but if Warner seat lost that could be a deciding factor in controlling the senate in 2014.
    A new Quinnipiac poll in Virginia finds that if Sen. Mark Warner (D) wants his old job as governor back next year, he's the overwhelmingly favorite.

    Warner, who says he will decide whether to run for governor or remain in the U.S. Senate by Thanksgiving, beats Lt. Bill Gov. Bolling (R), 53% to 33%, and tops Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), 52% to 34%.

     If Terry McAuliffe (D) is the Democratic candidate, he edges Bolling, 38% to 36%, and Cuccinelli, 41% to 37%.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:25:27 AM PST

  •  As an AZ-02 resident, I have a couple of comments (0+ / 0-)

    on the AZ-02 report.

    ...Unlike almost all other overtime races, where one side's lead has steadily grown, Barber's edge has bounced around, and indeed, on election night, he was even trailing...
    What appears to some as "bouncing around" is purely an artifact of how the overhang of votes is reported.

    Votes are tabulated and reported by counties. AZ-02 comprises all of one county (Cochise) and part of another (Pima). Cochise is rural and reliably Republican. The Pima county part of AZ-02 is urban/suburban and leans Democratic. Pima contains over 80% of the AZ-02 electorate, Cochise less than 20%.

    The two counties don't coordinate their reporting. Both counties had a hangover of "early" ballots that were in fact voted very late, some on election day. Both counties had many "provisional ballots" that arose mostly as the result of a voter ID law pushed through by Republicans in this state. The total vote overhang is roughly in the same 80/20 proportion as the electorate.  Hint: The voter ID law was not written to target Republican voters. You can safely assume provisional ballots will favor Barber.

    Scenario: Cochise counts some (early) ballots and reports the count. National watchers report "Barber's edge is shrinking". Sometime later Pima reports new results from their counting of early ballots. "Barber's edge is growing."

    The ratcheting will continue, but after each round, expect Barber's lead to increase.  His lead is already greater than the margin that would trigger an automatic recount.  And Arizona law does not permit recount requests.

    I consider the cake baked already.  

    But here's a dispiriting development: Republican attorneys in AZ-02 are going to court to try to prevent 130 provisional ballots cast in a heavily Latino precinct in Cochise County from being counted.
    Going to court this early was a ridiculously dumb move on the part of the Republicans. It had zero chance of electing their candidate, even if it succeeded. Which it wouldn't. If they want to win by disenfranchising voters, why not wait until there is at least the possibility that doing so would elect their candidate?

    Actually, cooler heads prevailed yesterday and agreement was reached to delay that challenge until the final count, which could make the challenge moot. (Either their candidate wins---highly unlikely at this point. Or our candidate wins by a margin too large for those votes to matter. Which I predict will be the case.)

    Look for Ron Barber to return to Congress from AZ-02.  Giving the Democrats a 5-4 majority of the Arizona delegation.  

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