Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of November 3rd, 2016)

State of the States (Week of November 3rd, 2016)

State of the States - a product of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

For the Week of November 3rd



“I’m fearful that our state is continuing on a dangerous path...From cutting access to healthcare for our underprivileged children to slashing education funding, instead of progressing, we are backsliding at the expense of our future.”

Since saving the life of former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford after she and dozens of other people were shot by a gunman in 2011, Arizona state House candidate Daniel Hernandez (D) has been steadily fighting to improve the lives of Arizonans. Hernandez has served on the city of Tuscon's Commission on LGBT issues and has served five years on the board of the Sunnyside Unified School district. After surviving a recall attempt that targeted him for being gay, Hernandez has been president of the board for the past two years. Now a candidate for Arizona HD-02, Hernandez has been endorsed by Victory Fund and is one of DLCC's 2016 Essential Races. If elected, he would be the only openly LGBT lawmaker serving in the Arizona Legislature, providing representation and a voice for the state's LGBT population in the Capitol. Hernandez has highlighted gun violence prevention, LGBT equality, workers' and veterans' rights, and comprehensive immigration reform as some of his legislative priorities.

“In these unprecedented times, the next Legislature’s top priority must be to repair the divisions the last two years have created. Instead of tearing down the opposition, we should harness our Minnesota instinct to pull together and give more Minnesotans reason to be optimistic about their place in a better future.”

DLCC Board member and MN Democratic Leader Paul Thissen penned an op-ed earlier this week advocating for a Democratic majority in the state House. Leader Thissen expressed hope and outlined a positive vision for Minnesota's future as he asked voters to support Democratic state House candidates on November 8. Thissen highlighted failings of the GOP-led Legislature over the past two years, including extreme gridlock, the absence of a campaign finance reform package, the lack of serious solutions to the realities that squeeze family budgets, and the inability to create an economy that works for all Minnesotans. Republicans have relied on backroom deals, extreme partisanship, and decreased transparency to help special interests at the expense of families and taxpayers. In a Democratic-majority House, Thissen says Democrats will work to enact policies that help families secure their economic futures such as paid leave and affordable health care and "acknowledging and seriously addressing racial and gender inequity in [Minnesota] comomunities."


Republican hold on U.S. state legislatures could slip in election

Karen Pierog (Reuters)
October 26, 2016

The Republican Party's grip on U.S. state legislatures could loosen in next month's election as Democrats seek to link Republican candidates to the sinking fortunes of the party's White House candidate, Donald Trump.

Republicans, who have dominated control of legislatures since the mid-term election in 2010, currently hold the majority in 67 of the country's 98 partisan legislative chambers, while Democrats have 31. Nebraska's single chamber is nonpartisan.

More than 80 percent of the nation's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for grabs on Nov. 8 and the race between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is expected to influence races further down the ballot papers. (See related graphic

The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) estimates 18 legislative chambers in 12 states could switch party control, including in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin...

According to Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), which is working to elect Democratic state lawmakers, "Trump is quicksand for legislative Republicans."...

Post said Democratic candidates are offering voters "a crucial firewall against Republican overreach" in states dominated by Republicans, like North Carolina, where there has been a backlash against a law on use of public bathrooms that critics say discriminates against transgender people.

[Read More]

Trump, Clinton at top of ticket could sway Michigan house races

Emily Lawler (MLive)
November 1, 2016

The top of the ticket is top of mind as Michigan House Republicans aim to keep their margins while Democrats angle to flip nine seats and take the majority.

And as far away as those nine seats are from the Washington D.C. and the presidency, candidates for president are a factor this year.

"I think the top of the ticket is going to be a factor in every single race that is competitive. You just can't get around it, it dominates everything and we may be looking at a wave election in Michigan," said Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics...

But in other parts of the state, Trump could be a drag on Republican races. In Oakland County, for instance, Democrats are targeting a Republican-held seat in a region where Hillary Clinton is polling well...

"Any of the seats where Hillary Clinton is up in, that's a huge advantage for us," said Zemke.

And he's seeing it in places he didn't expect, like House District 61, which covers the Portage area and has a 55 percent Republican base. The seat is currently held by Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Kalamazoo, who is running against Democratic challenger John Fisher and Libertarian Ryan Winfield.

"I never thought we would be looking as good as we are in 61 right now," Zemke said.

He's also seeing higher-than-predicted Clinton support in House District 66, the seat Nesbitt is term-limited out of, and House District 91, where former Democratic Rep. Collene LaMonte lost by 53 votes to Republican Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, in 2014.

LaMonte said she's been out knocking doors since spring, and has heard a lot about the presidential race from citizens. She's hoping that buzz means an increased turnout.

"Hopefully with the presidential election and people being more willing to come out... we will see a better voter turnout and hopefully I'll see better results at the polls," LaMonte said.

And Zemke is looking at persuadable voters in the 91st district and across the state, who he thinks are coming to the Clinton camp.

"Quite frankly Donald Trump has just really doubled down on his base, and that turns off a lot of persuadable voters," Zemke said.

And he's thinking there could be a subset of Republican voters who, turned off by Trump, may choose to stay home.

[Read More]


Voter Registration Deadlines, State by State - The New York Times

When does early voting start in every state? - POLITICO

November 8 - Election Day (United States)



AL: Judge blocks Alabama abortion restrictions banning clinics near schools - Associated Press
AZ: For now, Arizona won't enforce new law defunding abortion providers -
CA: Appeals Court upholds California's abortion education law - Northern California Record
FL: Justices consider 24-hour waiting period for abortions - Tampa Bay Times
U.S.: Some States Are Trying To Force Women To Have Funerals For Fetuses - The Huffington Post


FL: Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund internet videos to support LGBT state candidates; pushes gun issues - Florida Politics
GA: Ruling Settles Georgia's Guns-in-Schools Debate - Governing
MI: Assault weapon ban bill 'dead on arrival,' Michigan Republican says - MLive
MN: Gabby Giffords' gun background check group buying TV ads in MN legislative races - Star Tribune

Health Care

AR: Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act tossed from the ballot, only one medical marijuana item remains (Updated) - Talk Business & Politics
FL: Poll shows medical marijuana amendment at 73% support - Florida Politics
FL: Medical marijuana advocates slam ‘scare tactics’ of Florida Sheriffs Association and Drug Free America - Florida Politics
MN: Mark Dayton, GOP eye special session on MN health costs - Twin Cities Pioneer Press
MO: Poll shows Missouri voters not fired up about raising nation's lowest cigarette tax - St. Louis Post-Dispatch


MA: Teachers unions file complaint over 'pay-to-play' allegations involving charter school supporters - MassLive
MD: Paid sick leave bill will pass, key senator tells business group - Maryland Reporter
PA: Pa. pension reform bill dies as legislative session nears end - York Dispatch
VA: Ballot question would enshrine state's right-to-work law in the Virginia Constitution - The Free Lance-Star


IA: Anti-LGBT Hate Group Funneling Money to Iowa GOP Candidates - Iowa Starting Line
NC: LGBT law, hurricane jostle close North Carolina governor's race - Associated Press
OK: Chamber: Business will suffer when ‘intolerant’ legislation discussed - KFOR
U.S.: Supreme Court takes up school bathroom rules for transgender students - The Washington Post

Voting Rights

AZ: Arizona Dems seek order blocking voter intimidation - Arizona Capitol Times
FL: Judge fears 25,000 voters won't be eligible for Nov. 8 election - Tampa Bay Times
LA: 'Obviously not a good decision' to keep a VIP voting machine - The Times-Picayune
MO: Missourians to decide whether voters need government-issued photo ID at polls - St. Louis Public Radio
NV: State denies early voting request from nine tribes - Reno Gaztte-Journal
NV: Nevada Democratic Party sues GOP, Trump over alleged voter intimidation - Las Vegas Sun
NC: NAACP Sues North Carolina Over Alleged Voter Purge Targeting Black Voters - Talking Points Memo
OH: Hundreds march to Board of Elections to cast ballots, protest dearth of early-voting locations -
OH: Ohio congressional redistricting reform advocates release draft ballot measure -
OH: U.S. Supreme Court rejects final challenge to Ohio voting laws - The Columbus Dispatch
OH: Federal judge orders Ohio Republicans, Trump's campaign to respond to voter-intimidation lawsuit -
TX: Texas civil rights advocates air concerns about voter ID issues - The Texas Tribune
WA: Wyman to clarify info in Spanish voter pamphlet after Dems threaten suit - The Seattle Times
WV: ACLU, U.S. attorney’s office to respond to Election Day complaints - Charleston Gazette-Mail
WI: DMV must track down voters - Journal Sentinel
WI: A 90-Year-Old Woman Who’s Voted Since 1948 Was Disenfranchised by Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law - The Nation
U.S.: Judge sets hearing date in voter intimidation case from N.J. -


AZ: Who got the biggest gains in Arizona voter registration? - The Arizona Republic
AZ: Early voting trends feed Democrats’ hope of splitting Senate - Arizona Capitol Times
CA: GOP dead zones: You won't find any Republicans to vote for in big areas of L.A. County - Los Angeles Times
CA: In rare move, President Obama endorses three California Democrats for Assembly - Los Angeles Times
CO: Dems take lead in returning ballots in first week - The Colorado Independent
CO: Both major parties crack million active voter threshold in Colorado, Dem lead widens - The Colorado Independent
CO: Another look: the must-win House seat in south Denver’s suburbs - The Colorado Independent
CO: A million dollars spent to influence a state Senate race? Outside groups don’t flinch - The Colorado Independent
CO: President Obama backs 3 Democrats in tight Colorado House races to help rally votes - The Denver Post
FL: Endorsement Watch: Hispanic Leadership Fund, National Association of Police organizations, others issue endorsements - Florida Politics
FL: Misleading pro-Democrat slate card actually recommends some Republicans - Miami Herald
FL: Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund internet videos to support LGBT state candidates; pushes gun issues - Florida Politics
FL: Democratic megadonor Soros spending big to turn out Florida Puerto Rican vote - POLITICO
FL: Obama cuts commercial for Jose Javier Rodriguez in Florida Senate race - Miami Herald
FL: Meet the LGBT Candidates of 2016: Orlando's Beth Tuura - The Advocate
GA: Obama endorses some Gwinnett legislative candidates - Gwinnett Daily Post
GA: Georgia’s 2016 early voting pace is up more than 6 percent over 2012 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
IA: Iowa’s Registered Voters Jump By Over 36,000, But Down From 2012 - Iowa Starting Line
IA: Iowa Senate majority hangs in the balance - The Des Moines Register
IA: Democrats seek gains in Iowa House - The Gazette
ID: A rundown of some of the competitive legislative races around the state… - Associated Press
KS: GOP mailers: Watch for new ISIS ‘neighbors’ in Kansas - The Wichita Eagle
ME: Saco House candidate accused of assault staying in race - Portland Press Herald
ME: Campaign cash flowing to State House races - Maine Sun Journal
ME: Cash and the path to Maine legislative control flow through these districts - Bangor Daily News
MI: Trump, Clinton at top of ticket could sway Michigan house races - MLive
MN: Gabby Giffords' gun background check group buying TV ads in MN legislative races - Star Tribune
MN: Money pours in to key legislative races with control of Capitol at stake - Star Tribune
MN: Why Democrats should lead the Minnesota House - Star Tribune
NC: Democrats jump to early voting lead in NC - News & Observer
NM: Many GOP candidates are skipping voter guides, forums this year -
NV: Control of Nevada Legislature could flip in this election - Las Vegas Sun
NY: SD-5: Gaughran Ad Ties Marcellino To Corruption Scandals - State of Politics
NY: Cuomo Continues Push for Democrats to Win State Senate at Event in Queens - NY1
NY: Grand Old Party faces end in N.Y. - Times Union
OH: 20 Ohio legislatives races to watch on Election Day - The Columbus Dispatch
OK: Early in-person voting begins Thursday - The Oklahoman
OK: Oklahoma legislator references Clinton's execution in Facebook post - NewsOK
RI: Pat Morgan is RI’s representative to ALEC - RI Future
RI: Defeated GOP candidate endorses Democrat Mattiello in Cranston House race - Providence Journal
SC: Gov. Haley helping governors, not in-state candidates, in final days - The Post and Courier
SC: Republican SC senator fined for campaign violations - The State
SD: Will Trump effect lift Democrats' legislative chances? - Argus Leader
SD: President Obama Endorses Red Dawn Foster For South Dakota State House - Native News Online
TX: In Texas House races, vulnerable Republicans bolster financial standing - The Texas Tribune
UT: Increased Democratic turnout spicing up Utah legislative races - The Salt Lake Tribune
WA: State Sen. Andy Hill dies of lung cancer - The Seattle Times
WY: Anonymous money spent to influence policy, elections in Wyoming - Casper Star Tribune
U.S.: One Week Before Election Day, Early Voting Is Nearly Twice as High as 2012 - NBC News
U.S.: Republican hold on U.S. state legislatures could slip in election - Reuters


Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee