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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Battle for the House, August 2020

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

Nathan Gonzelez at Roll Call:
More than a decade ago, Democrats followed up a historic set of 2006 election results with more gains two years later. They’re poised to do the same thing this fall.

After losing a net of 40 seats and the House majority in 2018, Republicans convinced themselves that things couldn’t get any worse. But with less than three months to go before the elections, President Donald Trump has yet to regain his footing and Republicans are likely to sink deeper into the House minority.

As the current Congress convened, Republicans looking toward 2020 expected the parts of their base who sat out the midterms to surge back in districts Trump won in 2016 and turn Democrats in the class of 2018 into asterisks. But the cudgels they thought would rally voters to their side — Socialism! Impeachment! — did not have the power they expected them to have. Moderate voters have soured on the president’s response to the coronavirus and race-related issues. And new Democrats also proved to be extremely adept at fundraising, keeping voters awakened by Trump’s victory in 2016 engaged and willing to put their own money behind the Democratic majority.
Now, not only is the House majority all but completely out of reach for the GOP this fall, but several initial takeover targets are dropping completely off the list of competitive races, including Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens of Michigan.
A number of GOP pols are proving to be problematic for the party brand.

Melanie Zanona and Ally Mutnick at Politico:
House GOP leaders raced to disavow a Republican congressional candidate who made racist Facebook videos and embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory. But less than two months later, the party has done little to block Marjorie Taylor Greene from winning a seat in the House.
Now, Republicans could be days away from adding their most controversial member yet to the conference in a runoff election in Georgia on Tuesday — a scenario that some lawmakers say should have been entirely avoided.
Of the top three GOP leaders in the House, only House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has helped Greene’s opponent, neurosurgeon John Cowan, raise money and contributed to his campaign. Outside groups have not made any significant investments in the primary runoff for the solidly red seat, despite pleas from rank-and-file Republicans. And there hasn’t been a tweet from President Donald Trump that could signal to his supporters that they should oppose her.

POLITICO reported in June that Greene had posted hours of Facebook videos in which made a trove of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments — including an assertion that Black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party,” and that George Soros, a Jewish Democratic megadonor, is a Nazi.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in June — through his spokesman, Drew Florio — that he found those comments “appalling,” and he had “no tolerance for them.” But Florio said last week that McCarthy is remaining neutral and letting the primary process play out — a stance that likely does not signal urgency to donors or outside groups.
“This is the kind of race and kind of situation where you need those groups,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), who is actively supporting Cowan. “So often, they only get involved when they have someone that they are trying to get in. But I think it’s just as important they get involved when there’s someone they’re trying to get out.”
Steve Harrison at NPR:
With another round of mapmaking on the line, there are battles this year for statehouse control in places such as Wisconsin and Florida — and in surprising states like Kansas, where Democrats are trying to break a Republican supermajority in the legislature. Texas is also a target, as Democrats hope to win a House majority.
And then there is one of the biggest prizes: North Carolina.
The state is expected to get at least one new seat in Congress. The party that controls the North Carolina General Assembly will draw that map.
Republicans in North Carolina seized power in the state legislature in 2010, after Democrats had controlled both chambers for most of the last century.
The GOP then drew new gerrymandered maps, both for state legislative seats and the state's 13 congressional districts.
 "I was in the Christmas parade in [the nearby town of] Pleasant Garden," recalled Nicole Quick, a Democrat running for a state House seat there. "You're riding through downtown Pleasant Garden in this parade. There are a lot of Trump signs. There are a lot of NRA hats, all of that."
The organizations are spending millions of dollars on races like Quick's around the United States. Future Now has spent more than $100,000 in North Carolina. The NDRC has spent more than $420,000 so far in the state.