Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of April 18th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of April 18th, 2016)

The Week of April 18th


  • COMING UP...


“The ‘T’ in my name wasn’t for taxing, it was for ‘I told you so!’”

-New York state Senator-Elect Todd Kaminsky (D), referencing failed Republican attack ads that had been run against him, just before he announced at his Election Night party that Democrats had flipped New York's 9th Senate District. Polls had shown Kaminsky down by eight points just before his upset victory.

“I don't know that I would at any point be ready to say we are going to make any changes. I just don't see the need for it.”

-North Carolina Senate President pro temp Phil Berger (R), announcing that his party's cratering election prospects and his state's loss of hundreds of jobs showed insufficient "need" to repeal or amend the discriminatory anti-LGBT HB2 legislation he helped push through weeks ago.


New York Democrats Victorious in Special Elections

Triumphs Continue Trend of 2016 Cycle Successes

April 19, 2016 (

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post lauded tonight’s Democratic special election wins in the New York state Senate and Assembly. On Tuesday, New York Democrats Todd Kaminsky, Jamie Williams, and Alice Cancel were elected in Senate District 9 and Assembly Districts 59 and 65, respectively. These victories come on the heels of a series of special election successes in Maine and Kentucky and after strong Democratic performances in key regions in last fall’s legislative elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

“Congratulations to Senator-elect Kaminsky and new Assembly members Williams and Cancel on their victories in tonight’s specials,” said Post. “With these wins, Democrats continue a clear pattern of electoral successes that will continue into the fall – not just in state legislative contests, but all the way to the top of the ballot. Voters in New York and across the country want leaders who reflect the American ideals of opportunity and freedom, and when voters bring those demands to the ballot box, Democrats win.

“The DLCC was proud to help support tonight’s winners, who reflect not only the high quality of Democratic legislative candidates this year, but also the values Democrats represent,” Post continued. “Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump won his party’s primary tonight, but most New Yorkers abhor the extremist ideologies he embraces. These down-ballot wins for Democrats demonstrate New Yorkers’ appetite to keep Trump ‘values’ in check.”

Senate District 9 encompasses parts of Long Island and is a Democratic pick-up, as the seat had been held by Republican Dean Skelos, who was convicted of corruption last year. Assembly Districts 59 and 65 include southeastern Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, respectively.

This victory is just the latest in a series of Democratic successes in recent special and general state legislative elections. Last summer, Democrats won key special elections in previously-Republican suburban districts in PennsylvaniaGeorgia, and Oklahoma. Democrats went on to pick up seats in the Louisiana Senate, Virginia House, and New Jersey Assembly in last November’s general elections. On March 8, Democrats won three pivotal Kentucky House special elections, picking up a seat and increasing our majority. Also on March 8, Democrats flipped a Republican-leaning House seat in New Hampshire, where Democrats anticipate picking up majorities in both legislative chambers this fall. On March 29, Democrats won a key special election in the Maine Senate.

[Read more]

The story behind how McCrory got tangled in HB 2

Ned Barnett (Raleigh News & Observer)
April 18, 2016

Someone in Gov. Pat McCrory’s political camp saw the [Charlotte] ordinance coming back and saw an opportunity. McCrory should vigorously oppose it on the basis that it granted transgender women who were born male access to women’s bathrooms and raised a security threat to women and girls. That stand would help the former moderate Charlotte mayor gain strength with skeptical conservatives and evangelicals.

Meanwhile, McCrory’s strong opposition would put his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, in a no-win situation. He could join McCrory in opposing the ordinance, but that would cost him liberal support. Or Cooper could support it and risk turning off moderates.

McCrory went all-in on the bathroom aspect even before the Charlotte ordinance passed. He joined a lawsuit in Virginia in which he sided with local officials who are fighting a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of a 16-year-old student. The lawsuit backed by the Obama administration seeks to allow transgender students to use the school bathroom that conforms to their gender identity. Cooper declined to get involved in the Virginia case. That prompted a Nov. 24 news release from Republican Senate leader Phil Berger headlined: “Shame on AG for putting politics above student safety.”

After Charlotte passed the ordinance with the transgender protection provision, the McCrory campaign began pressing Cooper to take a stand on it. Cooper eventually said that existing law covers any bathroom dangers and that he saw no need for a new law to block the ordinance....

Those who thought they had backed Cooper into a corner didn’t realize that they were putting McCrory’s re-election chances into far greater jeopardy. In the haste and secrecy of the March special session, the get-Cooper bathroom gambit got combined with the Stam-Barefoot wish list. The mixture was explosive. It blew up into a national story, chilled the state’s appeal to businesses, entertainers and tourists and has McCrory backpedaling while declaring no retreat....

This is a situation in which Republican lawmakers and strategists thought they were being clever but did something as dumb as it will be costly.

[Read more]


April 26

Special Election - Connecticut HD-75
Special Election - Georgia HD-162 (runoff)
Special Election - Pennsylvania SD-09

May 7

Special Election - Texas HD-120
Special Election - Texas HD-139

May 10

Special Election - Massachusetts HD-10 (Essex)
Special Election - Massachusetts SD-01 (Suffolk and Middlesex)
Special Election - Massachusetts SD-01 (Plymouth and Norfolk)



KY: Senate Amendment defunding Planned Parenthood kills House veteran academic credit bill - The State‑Journal

MO: Don’t look now, but another state is trying to punish women for having abortions - Salon

ND: North Dakota to pay abortion clinic $245K - Associated Press

Health Care

AR: Health plan opponents won't budge, they say - Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LA: Medicaid expansion to save Louisiana $677 million over next 5 years - Times‑Picayune


NC: NC Supreme Court Rules Law Violated Rights of Veteran Teachers - Time Warner Cable News

ME: Maine business-backed $10-an-hour minimum wage bill falls short - Portland Press Herald


KS: Transgender restroom bill in Kansas alarms LGBT student advocates - Kansas City Star

NC: Companies continue HB2 pushback following McCrory’s executive order - Charlotte Observer


AZ: Supreme Court upholds Arizona legislative redistricting - Politico

NC: North Carolina legislative redistricting trial concludes - WRAL News

Voting Rights

AZ: 5 Points On How Dems Say Arizona Screwed Up Its Election - Talking Points Memo

VT: Bill Allowing Automatic Voter Registration Passes VT Legislature - MyChamplainValley


MI: Dems eye shot to retake Michigan House this fall - Detroit News

NY: Alice Cancel wins special election for Silver’s former seat - The Villager

NY: 59th A.D. Special Election: Williams Beats Ferretti Decisively - Kings County Politics

NY: Todd Kaminsky declares victory in race to replace Skelos - Albany Times-Union

OK: The Teacher Caucus': Pro-public education candidates to file Wednesday for state legislative races - Tulsa World

PA: Candidates in 9th state Senate race square off - Delaware County Times

UT: Utah Democratic Party Has Outraised and Outspent the Utah GOP - Utah Policy

VA: McAuliffe schedules special election to replace late Sen. John Miller - Richmond Times-Dispatch

US: Neutral in presidential race, Obama digs in for other Dems - Associated Press


Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee