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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