Friday, December 21, 2018

The 12 Days of Session edition (parts 1 & 2)

For those of you who observe and are keeping track, Christmas is a mere five days hence.
Is your shopping done? Gifts wrapped? Packages shipped? Booze bought?
(Remember, stuff’s closed on Tuesday. Stock up.)
Yes, even this close to a pagan holiday cleverly co-opted by Christians, there’s still statehouse action galore.
So, yeah, I guess it’s time to start singing that classic holiday tune: The 12 Days of Session.
What, you don’t know it?
Here, I’ll hum a few bars, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
On the 12th day of session, my legislator gave to me ...
12, the number of seats Minnesota House Democrats needed to flip to win the chamber (they flipped 18): In any other week, this item would have gotten something along the lines of a “#Demsindisarra … wait no the other thing” header, but this will have to do.
11, the time of night Michigan Republicans passed a bill to restrict ballot measures: Late Wednesday night, the Michigan House approved a measure that effectively gerrymanders the signature-gathering process for ballot measures.
  • Currently, citizens must gather hundreds of thousands of signatures to get a measure on the ballot (the total varies based on the type of measure and the number of votes cast for governor in the most recent election—over the past decade, this figure has ranged from 157,827 to over 380,126 signatures).
    • Because of high turnout in this year’s gubernatorial contest, the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot for the next four years will be bigger than ever.
  • Currently, these signatures can come from any voter anywhere in the state.
  • But the law House Republicans just passed in the lame duck session requires that no more than 15 percent of the signatures come from any one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts.
    • That’s not only a garbage requirement intended to make signature-gathering harder by preventing canvassers from racking up totals in accessible and densely populated urban areas, but it also effectively gerrymanders the ballot measure process by creating arbitrary caps based on Michigan's extremely GOP-skewing congressional map.
10, the day of April GOP Gov. Matt Bevin signed this terrible legislation: On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the controversial law the GOP-controlled legislature rammed through during the final days of this year’s legislative session that would have gutted teachers’ pensions.
  • The anti-pension measure was attached to a completely unrelated bill about sewage treatment on the 57th day of Kentucky’s 60-day legislative session.
    • As a sewage bill, it had received public hearings and the necessary floor readings.
    • As a pension-attacking Trojan horse, it had not.
  • Because the anti-pension measure did not receive the required three readings on three separate days on the House floor, the court ruled it in violation of the state constitution, which specifically requires those three pesky readings.
  • This doesn’t mean that the GOP-controlled legislature won’t try to pass the measure again—properly, this time.
    • But if the thousands of education supporters who mobilized against the proposal last time it came up are any indication, lawmakers will do so in the face of serious public opposition.9, the total the numbers two and seven in North Dakota House District 27 add up to: Sure, Election Day was over a month ago, but that’s no reason to not give props to North Dakota Rep.-elect Ruth Buffalo.
      • She’s the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the state’s legislature, which is extremely important all by itself.
      • But more deliciously, Buffalo ousted the Republican lawmaker behind the legislation aimed at disenfranchising the state’s Native voters by requiring a new kind of ID to cast ballots in this year’s election.
        • Notably, the new law backfired.
          • Daily Kos was one of several organizations who helped raise tons of money to support getting Native Americans the new IDs they needed to vote.
      • In the end, turnout in counties that are home to three of the state’s largest Native populations increased dramatically over the 2014 midterms—it was up 105 percent in Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
9, the total the numbers two and seven in North Dakota House District 27 add up to: Sure, Election Day was over a month ago, but that’s no reason to not give props to North Dakota Rep.-elect Ruth Buffalo.
  • She’s the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the state’s legislature, which is extremely important all by itself.
  • But more deliciously, Buffalo ousted the Republican lawmaker behind the legislation aimed at disenfranchising the state’s Native voters by requiring a new kind of ID to cast ballots in this year’s election.
    • Notably, the new law backfired.
      • Daily Kos was one of several organizations who helped raise tons of money to support getting Native Americans the new IDs they needed to vote.
  • In the end, turnout in counties that are home to three of the state’s largest Native populations increased dramatically over the 2014 midterms—it was up 105 percent in Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
8, the day of January Floridians convicted of felonies were supposed to get their right to vote back: In November, 64.5 percent of Floridians voted to end a terrible and racist practice: permanent denial of the right to vote to anyone convicted of a felony.
Republicans in Florida dgaf.
  • The current state government—run by Republicans—has put implementation of the new constitutional amendment “on hold” until the new governor—also a Republican—is sworn in.
    • GOP lawmakers want to see if they can mess with the amendment before it restores voting rights to (among others) the 23 percent of Florida’s black adults who were convicted of felonies and have completed their sentences.
    • Gov.-elect DeSantis claims that the (GOP-controlled) legislature must approve “implementing language” before the amendment takes effect.
  • Amendment 4 is self-executing—it needs no legislative action.
7, the Kansas Senate district represented by a GOP party-switcherKansas state Senator Barbara Bollier announced Wednesday that she’s leaving the Republican Party and will caucus with Democrats henceforth.
  • Bollier had already earned her now-former colleagues’ ire when she endorsed the Democratic candidate for governor, as well as some Democratic legislative candidates, earlier this year.
    • She credits the Kansas GOP’s anti-LGBT platform and Donald Trump with pushing her to make the jump.
  • Bollier will be up for re-election in 2020.
6, Ann Arbor’s rank in Michigan cities according to population size: Two years ago, Ann Arbor began an animal control program that used sterilization to bring down exploding deer populations.
  • Michigan lawmakers voted Wednesday to take that option away from localities and force hunting on them as the only way to cull herds.
  • Ann Arbor used hunting to reduce its deer population, too, but in densely populated areas, capturing, sterilizing, and returning the deer seemed like a better option than letting people shoot guns near lots of other people.
    • This “offended” some legislators, who maybe thought they don’t already have enough deer to shoot (they do), or veterinarians were taking jobs away from hunters, or something.
    • One lawmaker even saw it as a sort of … cultural exchange program.
      • GOP Rep. Triston Cole, who sponsored the bill prohibiting deer sterilization programs, regards this as “a wonderful opportunity for urban residents to learn about quality deer management and the benefits of hunting to the entire state.”
5 special legislative session daaaaaaaaaays: So, remember that terrible teacher pension-gutting measure Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed on April 10 that was ruled unconstitutional and thrown out on its proverbial ear last week?
  • Bevin tried to call a five-day special session on Monday night to force a new version through the legislature before the end of the year.
  • But leadership in the GOP-controlled legislature couldn’t get it together.
    • Hell, Bevin didn’t even send a new bill to lawmakers for review until Monday night.
    • He confessed on Tuesday that he hadn’t read the full legislation himself, which was allegedly just a version of the original anti-pension measure with a few bits removed to make it more palatable to the court it would inevitably be challenged in.
  • After convening for just two days (costing taxpayers $130,000 in the process), Republicans couldn’t muster the votes needed to move forward, so they threw up their hands and went home.
4, the total the numbers two and two in House Bill 2002 add up to: A Republican lawmaker in Arizona is still pretty pissed at all the educators and their supporters who descended on the capitol last April with the temerity to protest inadequate funding for public education.
  • Rep. Mark Finchem has introduced legislation that would “prohibit teachers in taxpayer-supported schools from engaging in political ideological or religious advocacy in the classrooms.”
  • The thing is, this bill seeks to address a nonexistent problem.
  • But more problematic is the part of the legislation that seeks to subjectively censor teachers’ instruction that may involve current events.
    • The bill prohibits teachers from addressing "any controversial issue that is not germane to the topic of the course or academic subject being taught."
    • The bill further defines a "controversial issue" as one that is a point in a political party platform at the local, state, or federal level, but it offers no guidance as to who or what determines “germaneness” or how this would be enforced (snitches get Cs?).
Yeah, my JD’s a little dusty but I don’t see this one working out too well
3 times is enemy action: First, North Carolina Republicans vented their sore-loserness at a Democrat getting himself elected governor by stripping him of key powers they didn’t mind a Republican governor having. 
Second, Wisconsin Republicans immediately moved to follow North Carolina’s example when a Democrat ousted GOP Gov. Scott Walker two years later.
Third, Michigan swiftly followed suit.
So where are those efforts now?
  • In North Carolina, Republicans are prepared to deploy the last gasp of their veto-proof supermajority (they won’t have the required number of votes in the coming legislative session to override vetoes) to try, one last time, to revamp the state's election board.
    • Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, however, looks like he’s going to make life hard for the GOP.
      • He’s slowed his veto roll and may delay rejecting the bill until after the legislature adjourns on Friday, which would force lawmakers to reconvene during after Christmas but before the new year to override it.
      • Many members have trips and other difficult-to-change plans during that time, making corralling the numbers required to override the veto a challenging undertaking.
  • In Wisconsin, after a soon-to-be-unemployed Scott Walker signed into law several bills usurping his Democratic successor’s power, Republicans can’t even agree on how to defend the GOP power-grab.
    • Some like to talk about the powers that they magnanimously did not take away from the incoming governor.
    • Others try to pivot to less-controversial aspects of the new laws.
    • And some just lie, like GOP Senate President Roger Roth did when he insisted on TV last weekend that “there will be more legislative oversight in a lot of areas, but no power was taken away from the governor or attorney general.”
Fun fact! Power was expressly taken away from both the governor and the attorney general.
  • The power stolen by the GOP-controlled legislature from the incoming Democratic administration includes curtailing the governor’s power to
    • guide economic development,
    • halt litigation on the state’s behalf, and
    • make administrative rules implementing new laws.
      • The new laws also limit the state attorney general’s power to defend legal challenges to state laws.
  • Meanwhile, in Michigan, lawmakers are frantically trying to wrap up their lame duck session on Thursday, and some of the Republicans’ power-grabby bills may not make it to the outgoing GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.
2 more Republican defectors in Kansas: Last week, the 7th Day of Session was dedicated to a party-switching GOP senator in Kansas.
  • This week, two more Republicans joined her in moving to the Democratic caucus.
    • State Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton are abandoning the Republican Party.
      • Sykes feels she can “better serve [her] state and constituents as a member of the Democratic Party.”
      • Clayton switched after hearing legislative leaders discuss abandoning a plan to boost public school funding, describing the strategy as “moves to support chaos in public policy.”
  • After these party switches and Sen. Barbara Bollier’s flip last week, the Kansas Senate will be 28 R/11 D/1 I, and the House will be 84 R/41 D.
And the nation’s first majority-women legislature: With the appointment of two women to fill open Democratic seats in the state Assembly, Nevada has become the first state with a legislature made up of mostly women (32 out of 63 total Assembly and Senate seats).
  • Also, one of the newly appointed assemblywomen will be the only Asian-American Pacific Islander community member in the legislature.
Welp, there are your 12 days. Congrats!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Votebusters edition

Once upon a midterm dreary, while I pundited, weak and weary
Over many a dense and curious spreadsheet of election lore—
While I analyzed, data mapping, suddenly I was handicapping
Though my energy fast was sapping, sapping out of every pore
Just 12 days, I muttered, surely this I can endure—
Then the midterms are done for.
Let’s red majorities dismember—it’s very nearly sweet November
Seems just yesterday was September when through every poll we tore 
And the facts have all the seeming of chambers of which I’m dreaming
And the majorities of which I’m scheming, Dems will win several more
Could it be time for silver linings and Republican rule done for?
Quoth the Fiddler, five or more!
Happy (almost) Halloween, y’all!
It’s really pretty handy how this holiday falls at this point in the election cycle.
Everyone’s already super freaked out over one thing or another—whether it’s polls narrowing or getting the crap kicked out of you in fundraising, fear seems to be a feeling both sides of the aisle have in common right now.
But state politics isn't scared of you, me, or anything, and if you ignore it, it might tp your house.
I Put A $pell On You: Daily Kos has rolled out its final endorsements of the election cycle, and they’re in 12 statehouse races across five legislative chambers.
  • Kayser Enneking, Florida SD-08
  • Janet Cruz, Florida SD-18
  • Mari Manoogian, Michigan HD-40
  • Padma Kuppa, Michigan HD-41
  • Alberta Griffin, Michigan HD-61
  • Julie von Haefen, North Carolina HD-36
  • Christy Clark, North Carolina HD-98
  • Danielle Otten, Pennsylvania HD-155
  • Jennifer O’Mara, Pennsylvania HD-165
  • Kristin Seale, Pennsylvania HD-168
  • Kriss Marion, Wisconsin SD-17
  • Lee Snodgrass, Wisconsin SD-19
As of this writing, the endorsements have already raised over $100,000 in just two days.
  • Even divided among 12 candidates, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
You may or may not have noticed that each of these chambers is rated Lean or Likely R—making the money raised for these candidates a potential game-changer as Democrats fund extra field shifts or that last digital ad buy as they work to flip these chambers.
  • Hundreds of state legislative seats are won (or lost, depending on your point of view) by 500 votes or fewer each cycle.
  • The return on investment in chronically underfunded statehouse campaigns is already ridiculously high, and a late cash infusion can make all the difference as Democrats work to eke out just a few more votes.
    • And if you have any doubts about the value of those few extra votes … well, just ask Virginia’s Shelly Simonds.Thriller: There’s a potential nailbiter of a race in Minnesota that’s flown mostly under the radar this cycle, but it bears keeping a close eye on through election day.
      • While the Minnesota state Senate, as a chamber, isn’t up this year, one special election will determine which party controls it.
        • Currently, it’s tied 33-33, a circumstance created when Senate President Michelle Fischbach resigned to serve as lieutenant governor (a vacancy created when Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Al Franken’s U.S. Senate seat).
      • Senate District 13 went for Trump 64-30, and Republicans weren’t terribly concerned about keeping control of both the seat and the chamber this fall.
      Recent reports indicate that may no longer be the case.
      • The race, which should be an easy hold for the GOP, is attracting bananas outside spending on both sides—to the tune of $240,000 as of this week.
      • Now Democrat Joe Perske is accusing a GOP group of filing a frivolous campaign finance complaint as a smear tactic.
        • At issue? The fact that Perske is repurposing signs from an earlier campaign for Congress by cutting off or covering over the parts specifically referencing the U.S. House race, as well as an appearance on a radio show where Perske was features as the “Democrat of the Day” (17 minutes of airtime as an unreported in-kind donation).
      Yeah, a radio hit and recycling aren’t exactly crimes of electoral turpitude, but whatever.
      • The upshot? Republicans seem awfully spooked about losing a district they shouldn’t be losing a wink of sleep over.
      Ghostbeavers: When you’re trying desperately to unseat an incumbent Democrat in the Maine Senate, who ya gonna call?
      A mail vendor with terrible design aesthetics and poor fact-checking skills, apparently.
      • Republican Jim LaBrecque, who’s challenging Sen. Geoff Gratwick in this Bangor-area seat that went for Clinton 49-43, sent a … cluttered mailer to nearly 19,000 voters that both advertised an upcoming appearance with outgoing GOP governor and possible real-life grown-up Eric Cartman Paul LePage (LePage’s office has not confirmed the appearance) and provides an itemized list of Gratwick’s supposed transgressions.
      • Apparently armed with Microsoft Word skillz and a little bit of ClipArt, LaBrecque decided to use every bit of real estate on this terrible mailer to attempt to impugn his opponent for past misdeeds.
        • The alleged “crimes” the Republican lays out are described misleadingly, to say the least—everything from going negative on a political opponent (as one often does when running for office) and a clerical error on a campaign finance report (for which Gratwick paid the fine) to introducing “emergency legislation” that may or may not have qualified as “emergencies” (something lawmakers do routinely).
      • But the top-line issue on the mailer is Gratwick’s “criminal conduct” leading to his conviction of a “Class E crime.”
      Well, that’s a misdemeanor, Gratwick paid a fine, and his real crime was trying to save baby beavers.
      • The accusation stems from a well-publicized event in 2001, when Gratwick led the charge to save a family of beavers that, to the delight of many in the area, had taken up residence in a local pond.
        • After improperly posting “No Trespassing” signs on property that’s technically open to the public, he removed—unlawfully, as it turned out—two traps set out to catch the beavers.
        • The trapper was, understandably, displeased at the loss of his traps.
        • Gratwick paid his $238, and everyone moved on with their lives.
      • LaBrecque says Gratwick’s actions show a “pattern of behavior.”
        • The Republican’s mailer, by the by, had improper “paid for by” disclosure language, and his campaign could be facing a fine as a result. Womp womp.
Read the rest of this week's edition here.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Don't Hate The Rating, Hate The Game edition

Hey, you.
Yeah, you. Person who reads this collection of statehouse news and jokes of questionable quality each week.
It’s not exactly news that Election Day is right around the corner.
But you know that means, right?
  • First, let’s get one little thing out of the way first. I’m going to be talking about chamber majorities won/lost/kept, not legislative seats.
    • Because counting the number of state legislative seats won or lost by each party nationwide is a meaningless metric.
      • Winning more seats in a chamber is a good thing, but it only matters insofar as it gets you closer to a majority in that chamber.
      • But total number of seats across the country? Garbage. Anyone who tries to get you to care about that number is wasting your time.
And I value your time. Frankly, I’m shocked (but appreciative!) that you sliced a chunk of it out of your busy day to give to this.
Is one party holding a greater number of legislative seats than the other a general indicator of partisan health at the state level? Sure.
  • But it’s a lousy measure of real party power—especially when you take into account that, while Democrats hold somewhere around 1,000 fewer state legislative seats than Republicans across all the states, they only need to flip 17 seats from the GOP to win majority control of eight legislative chambers.
So, since chamber control is the only measure of power at the state legislative level that matters, here’s where we are now:
  • Republicans hold majority control of 66 chambers (excluding Nebraska, which is technically nonpartisan), while Democrats control the other 32.
  • Of the 98 partisan chambers across the country, 87 are on the ballot this fall.
  • Of those, only 22 can be fairly regarded as competitive. my legitimately expert opinion, anyway.
First, some stage setting.
  • Midterms have been “historically” lousy elections for Democrats at the state legislative level.
    • But historically really should mean longer ago than the previous two midterms, IMO.
    • Because, yeah, it’s not news that Democrats lost majorities in a ton of chambers in 2010 and backslid even further in 2014 (partly as a consequence of the post-2010 redistricting that, thanks to that cycle’s statehouse results, was overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans).
    • But the midterms during George W. Bush’s presidency weren’t bad for Democrats. Team Blue picked up majority control or ties in handful of chambers in both 2002 and 2006.
    • And now a Republican is president again. And not just any Republican—a political lightning rod with low approval ratings in key states.
  • But presidential approval isn’t the ballgame, not by a long shot. Rather, it’s the stage on which these elections play out.
    • And Democrats aren’t 100 percent on offense this cycle, either.
      • In particular, they’re defending skin-of-their-teeth majorities in the Connecticut Senate and the Delaware Senate, as well as a governing coalition in the Alaska House.
  • But generally this cycle? It’s much better to be a Democrat that a Republican.
Tired of reading already? Okay. My money’s on Democrats picking up five chambers on Nov. 6.
Still with me?
Great, let’s do this.
(If you’d like to see a full list of chambers that I consider “Safe” for the party that controls them, as well as those that aren’t up for election this year, please click here.)
  • Arizona Senate (13D/17R): Democrats only need to flip two seats to tie the chamber, three to control it outright. Democrats have left just one seat uncontested (full stats on that for all chambers right here), while Republicans have given five Democrats walks on Nov. 6. Latino turnout will likely determine whether this is the year Democrats finally take this white whale or if it’s yet another Oh Dang We Were So Close year.
  • Connecticut Senate (18D/18R; effective Democratic control): Retirements on both sides and comparably successful recruitment between the parties help make this anyone’s game. Hopefully outgoing Gov. Dan Malloy’s unpopularity doesn’t poison the well too badly for Democrats. (Note: Ties are currently broken by the Democratic lieutenant governor, so if it remains tied, the outcome of this year’s open-seat race will loom large.)
  • Iowa House (41D/58R): A bunch of GOP retirements and a truckload (25!) of uncontested Dem seats help put this chamber in play. Democratic fundraising and ground game are reportedly strong here, and Republicans have two years of crappy unified governance (gutting unions, nearly banning abortioncutting taxesto Kansas-like levels) to defend.
  • Minnesota House (56D/77R/1 vacancy): Local and national operatives with respected track records are almost hilariously bullish on Democratic prospects here, and Democrats at every other level of the ballot are polling quite strongly. There’s no reason to think this enthusiasm won’t translate down-ballot.
Lean D
  • Alaska House (17D/21R/2I; effective Democratic control): A slew of Republican retirements and two years of relative success as a majority coalition give Democrats a better shot at holding control than how things appear on paper, so to speak. (Three Republicans currently caucus with the Democrats.)
  • Colorado Senate (16D/18R/1I): Democrats are effectively one seat away from chamber control, but that doesn’t make this a gimme majority this year. Republicans want to keep this Senate as much as Democrats want to take it from them, and outside spending is high on both sides.
  • Delaware Senate (11D/10R): Democrats are probably fine here this year, but this chamber margin is a bit too close for comfort in this blue state, especially with three Dem retirements and comparable recruitment on both sides.
  • New Hampshire House (167D/212R/2 other/19 vacant): This chamber is prone to wild swings in partisan composition each cycle, and Democrats have a leg up here in terms of recruitment and open seats.
Lean R
  • Arizona House (25D/35R): Democrats out-recruited Republicans here this cycle, and with House districts identical to Senate districts (the former elect two representatives each), success in the upper chamber is likely to translate to the lower chamber.
  • Florida Senate (16D/22R/2 vacancies): Democrats are defending fewer seats here relative to Republicans (Florida Senate elections are staggered), and they won the recruiting game, too. If Democrats don’t flip this chamber on Nov. 6, watch for them to take it in 2020.
  • Michigan House (46D/63R/1vacancy): An uphill climb for sure, but term limits have forced a lot of incumbent Republicans out, resulting in a slew of open seats. Additionally, according to the guy who drew Michigan’s gerrymandered legislative maps, the GOP’s House majority is dependent on the Republicans at the top of the ticket winning 47 percent of the vote statewide—something current polls indicate Team Red may struggle to do.
  • New Hampshire Senate (10D/14R): Three seats might not sound like a lot, but in a chamber this small, it’s tough (as Democrats learned when they sought but failed to flip it in 2016). Don’t be shocked if the Democrats win this House and this chamber stays in Republican hands.
  • Wisconsin Senate (15D/18R): Again, flipping two seats looks easy on paper—until you see the GOP’s gerrymandered map. But Democrats are running strong challengers in two key districts, so I’m not writing this one off.
Also worth mentioning: North Carolina.
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Lawmakers of Summer edition

Cripes, y’all. Summer’s almost gone.
(Okay, no, not technically, but amusement parks are about to close on weekdays and pools are shutting down after this weekend and we’re no longer supposed to wear white for some reason, so in the lay, non-astronomical sense, I think we’re all agreed that summer spiritually ends with Labor Day.)
(Which is, like, here.)
But before we all take off for the holiday that heralds the last hurrah of the season, let’s check in on what’s happening in the states. Because, while most legislatures aren’t in session in the summers, that doesn’t mean statehouse action takes a vacation.
Summer Fights: First, let’s pay a visit to North Carolina.
Because, thanks to the GOP-controlled legislature and its never-ending series of power-grabs and general assaults on democracy, there’s ALWAYS something happening in North Carolina.
  • Two weeks ago in this space (my vacation was lovely, thank you), I wrote about a court fight over the GOP’s super-brazen (even for them) attempt to change the rules in the state’s Supreme Court race mid-game, so to speak.
Two weeks was, like, forever ago, so let me catch you up:
  • Last year, Republicans passed legislation specifically designed to impact the 2018 elections by allowing any candidate running for office to change his or her party affiliation right up to the time they officially file as a candidate.
    • Oops:
      • Just before the filing deadline, a third candidate got into the state Supreme Court race, which had previously just had one Democrat—Anita Earls—and one Republican—Barbara Jackson—running.
      • That candidate—Raleigh attorney Chris Anglin—filed to run as a Republican, sparking GOP fears that he’d siphon votes away from Jackson, splitting the party’s vote and easing Earls’ path to the bench.
      • Until June 7 of this year, this fresh Republican face in the race was a registered Democrat.
  • The state Republican Party vowed to treat Anglin as “the enemy he is.” Both Anglin and state Democrats aver that no shenanigans are afoot here; rather, Anglin is just a concerned citizen who wanted to run as a “constitutional Republican.” (Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, but whatevs, cool, you do you.)
  • GOP lawmakers went further in their response to his candidacy: The state Senate majority leader filed a fun ex post facto bill this week that would have prevented Anglin from being listed on the ballot as a Republican.
    • While Anglin’s not mentioned by name in the bill, it applies only to judicial elections, and it only allowed candidates to display their party affiliation on the ballot if they were a member of that party 90 days prior to filing to run.
  • The bill passed along party lines, of course.
  • And it was immediately challenged in court, of course.
    • A Wake County judge swiftly issued an injunction to prevent the state from printing ballots unless the candidates are identified on them by their preferred party, and the court ultimately ruled in favor of Anglin appearing on the ballot as a candidate of his party of choice.
  • This week, the state Court of Appeals declined Republicans’ request to stay the lower court’s ruling.
  • And, for once, GOP lawmakers gave up.
I mean, yeah. Republicans literally tried to change the rules mid-game.
Summer Pain: Also in North Carolina, the fight over a series of tremendously impactful series of amendments to the state constitution continues.
Yup, the Republicans’ lawyer basically argued that lawmakers have a right to mislead voters.
  • Never mind that the GOP is asking voters to make fundamental shift to the balance of power among branches of government, obstruct ballot box access, and dramatically undermine the state’s tax base, resulting in inevitable cuts to schools and other essential government duties.
  • Last week, a state court blocked two of the proposed amendments because of their deceptive wording.
    • Specifically, the one concerning stripping the governor’s power to appoint the elections board and giving it to the legislature, and the one giving the legislature control over who the governor can select to fill judicial vacancies.
  • The GOP-controlled legislature both immediately appealed and convened a special session to hastily rewrite those amendments.
    • Shockingly, they’re still misleading.
Okay, not shockingly.
Fun fact! Ballot printing is supposed to begin Saturday.
Read the rest of this week's edition here.
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