Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of October 27th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of October 27th, 2016)

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

For the Week of October 27th



“We are thrilled that President Obama is endorsing our candidates in some of the most competitive races across the country…His endorsements highlight how crucial state legislative elections are to building on the progress the President has achieved and to continuing to move our nation forward.”

DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post expressed the significance of President Obama’s endorsement of over 150 state legislative candidates from across the country. With Democrats already preparing for victories up and down the ballot as voter registration spikes and Democratic voter contact efforts continue to break records, the implosion of Donald Trump’s campaign and its detrimental effects on down-ballot Republicans only boosts Democratic prospects this November. With less than two weeks until Election Day, President Obama’s endorsements and support from outside groups come at the perfect time to make a difference in key races. Hundreds of these contests could be decided by fewer than 500 votes, the president’s endorsement is expected to make a significant impact as Democrats fight to recapture chamber majorities and work toward securing key statehouse majorities before the next round of redistricting in 2021. President Obama’s state legislative endorsements span the country, from Maine to Georgia to Washington and beyond. You can see a partial list of endorsees here.

“The presence of Donald Trump at the top of the ticket encouraged many to step forward, and Donald Trump’s horrifying rhetoric and history toward women reminds all of us why electing women to positions of power is so important.”

DLCC National Communications Director Carolyn Fiddler examines Donald Trump’s impact on down-ballot races and the importance of a having candidates that represent the voices of all Americans. Fiddler notes that the “Trump Effect” will not only boost Democratic candidates, but also benefit women candidates this November. While the GOP nominee’s insult-driven, misogynistic campaign has hindered his fellow down-ballot Republicans, Democrats have benefited by tying their GOP opponents to their party’s standard bearer. With some Republican candidates refusing to condemn Trump (or staying silent on the issue), Democrats are able to cast Trump and his fellow candidates as the embodiment of everything they say the GOP gets wrong on women. As Trump ushers in a potential Democratic wave and Hillary Clinton works to recruit and promote other women on the ticket, more women appear set to take office in November. Weill over 1,700 Democratic women are running for state legislative office this cycle.


Obama Assists 150 State Candidates, Targeting G.O.P.’s Grip on Legislatures

Monica Davey & Michael D. Shear (The New York Times)
October 23, 2016

For half a dozen years, Republicans have swept into statehouses across the nation, winning more legislative chambers than at any time in history and pushing states to the right on issues such as abortion, voting rights, labor unions and gender identity.

But with Donald J. Trump’s stumbles raising alarms for Republicans down the ballot, Democrats hope that a resounding win at the presidential level will translate to significant gains in capitals in Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and beyond. President Obama, who has endured gridlock in Washington as Republicans in the states took direct aim at his vision and legacy, is stepping in to assist more than 150 state legislative candidates, by far his biggest effort to bolster local Democrats since he took office.

“You are going to see a level of engagement down to the state representative level that I don’t think you’ve seen too many presidents engage in,” said David Simas, the director of the White House’s Office of Political Strategy and Outreach...

Mr. Simas, the White House political strategy director, said Mr. Obama was motivated in part by a deepening frustration with conservative legislation passed in statehouses. In North Carolina, lawmakers restricted bathroom use by transgender people. Republican-led states across the country have passed hundreds of restrictive abortion laws. Many Republican-led legislatures have sought to toughen voter identification laws. And the Republicans’ sweep into power has led to redrawn political maps, often creating tougher challenges for Democrats.

Even after Mr. Obama leaves the White House, officials said, he will lend support to Eric H. Holder Jr., his former attorney general, who is leading a new group aimed at helping Democrats win redistricting fights in 2020. Democrats hope to avoid a repeat of 2010, when Republicans’ control of legislatures put them in a position to reshape districts in their favor for a decade...

Democrats anticipate a different Trump effect. They have begun demanding that Republican opponents take stances on Mr. Trump and address his lewd remarks about women and allegations that he sexually assaulted women.

“Do these Republicans step away from him and hold on to their socially conservative base, or do they double down on Trump and stay with him?” said Jessica Post, the executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

[Read More]

Obama endorses all the way down ballot

Edward-Isaac Dovere (POLITICO)
October 23, 2016

President Barack Obama will make a late splash into races for state senate and assembly over the next week, endorsing roughly 150 candidates across 20 states.

He’ll also back a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The endorsements — which will come along with a variety of robocalls, social media posts, mailers, photos of Obama with the candidates taken as he’s been traveling to campaign in recent weeks, and even a few radio ads — are Obama’s biggest investment in state races ever by far, and come as he gears up to make redistricting reform at the state level the political priority of his post-presidency...

Democrats are hoping for an anti-Donald Trump wave to give them more of a defense against 2018 midterms that most expect will be tough for the party if Hillary Clinton wins. With Obama’s approval rating climbing — to 57 percent in the Gallup poll out Saturday — they’re hoping that hitching themselves to the president will make the difference. He’s also expected to hit close to 60 endorsements for House races this week, taping commercials and robocalls for many of them...

Although Election Day is just over two weeks away, the White House and allies argue that this is actually the prime moment to get involved.

“In a lot of these super-down-ballot races, focus often doesn’t shift down the ballot until very late in the cycle,” said Carolyn Fiddler, communications director for the DLCC, who pointed out that many of these races will be decided by fewer than 500 votes. “Given where this campaign has gone from the national level on down, this is going to be a really good way to push a lot of these folks over the line.”

[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)



KS: Kansas cites slavery-era ruling in abortion case, then backpedals - Associated Press
MS: Planned Parenthood wins suit to block Mississippi law - Associated Press
SC: S.C. considered requiring husband's signature for abortion - The Post & Courier
VA: A small victory, but Virginia's abortion wars rage on - The Washington Post


CA: What makes Prop. 63 different than the gun control laws passed over summer, and how that's split gun control supporters - The Los Angeles Times
MI: Bill to ban assault weapons proposed by Michigan Democrats - MLive
U.S.: Guns and Ammo Restrictions on the Ballot in 4 States - Governing

Health Care

AR: Arkansas medical marijuana proponents launch TV ad  - Associated Press
CO: When It Comes To Spending, The ColoradoCare Fight Has Been Lopsided - Colorado Public Radio
FL: Internal poll: Amendment 2 has 74 percent support  - Miami Herald
FL: Group sues over some Broward ballots missing marijuana question  - Sun Sentinel
MN: Dayton Asks Lawmakers for Update on Possible Special Session to Address Health Care Costs  - KSTP


AL: Alabama minimum wage case - POLITICO
AL: Breaking down the 14 amendments before AL voters on Nov. 8 - News Channel 10
IA: Branstad’s Minimum Wage Comments Raise Stakes for Statehouse Races - Iowa Starting Line


GA: LGBT community says Georgia should avoid discriminatory laws - Atlanta Business Chronicle
IA: Anti-LGBT Hate Group Funneling Money To Iowa GOP Candidates - Iowa Starting Line
LA: Could Louisiana's fight over LGBT rights be bad for New Orleans business? - The Times Picayune
ME: Maine legislator says he received homophobic message in mail - Bangor Daily News
NC: N.C. Hit With $250 Million Job Loss Over Anti-LGBT Law - The Advocate
ND: LGBT anti-discrimination resolution approved in Bismarck - Bismarck Tribune
SC: Write-in candidate running to block first openly gay SC legislator - The Greenville News
TX: Texas small businesses to Dan Patrick: Back off promise to pass transgender bathroom bill - The Dallas Morning News
TX: LGBT News Roundup: Patrick Renews Push for Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill - Texas Observer
UT: LGBT groups file lawsuit against Utah challenging ‘No Promo Homo’ law - Fox 13 Salt Lake City

Voting Rights

AZ: US Justice Department attorney to monitor Arizona election  - Arizona Capitol Times
FL: Three groups accuse Florida of violating federal 'motor voter' law - Miami Herald
FL: Federal judge rejects request by Democrats to speed voter verification - Miami Herald
IA: Constitutional Amendment Proposed to Restore Felon Voting Rights - Iowa Public Radio
IN: Indiana Dems Criticize Sec. of State for Alleging Voter Fraud - Indiana Public Media
ME: Question 5 advocates try to allay confusion about ranked-choice voting - The Portland Press Herald
OH: Ohio voters improperly removed from rolls can vote in November election, court rules -
OH: Ohio Politics Now: Democrats ask U.S. Supreme Court to halt GOP voter provisions - The Columbus Dispatch
SD: South Dakota voters have choices to reshape state government - Associated Press
TX: In some Texas counties, long lines complicate early voting - The Texas Tribune
WI: Federal Judge Approves Expanded Voter ID Education Efforts - Wisconsin Public Radio
WV: Cabell clerk ordered to honor online registrations - Charleston Gazette-Mail
WY: Wyoming is requiring citizenship proof from naturalized voters - Casper Star Tribune
VA: U.S. judge orders Virginia to extend voter registration through Friday - Reuters
U.S.: As ID Laws Fall, Voters See New Barriers Rise - The New York Times


AR: More than 70K people have early voted in Arkansas - Associated Press
CO: Rachel Zenzinger files complaint with Jeffco DA over "China trip" mailer - The Denver Post
CO: State Rep. Tim Leonard facing possible jail time - The Colorado Independent
CO: Democrats take lead in early ballot returns in Colorado, bucking 2014 midterm trend - The Denver Post
CO: Battle for the Capitol: What’s at stake if Colorado’s Legislature flips? - The Colorado Independent
CO: Early Colorado returns: Dem and GOP strategists see a blue wave crashing - The Colorado Independent
CT: Voter Registration Tops 2 Million in Connecticut - CT News Junkie
CT: Candidates Vie For Bristol's Only Open Legislative Seat - Hartford Courant
FL: Buesing demands that TV stations stop running attack ad - Tampa Bay Times
FL: Obama endorses 13 Florida legislative candidates, including several in Miami-Dade races - Tampa Bay Times
FL: Rivera loses endorsement in face of ‘deceptive’ campaign - Miami Herald
FL: Surge of post-Hurricane Matthew voters breaks 100,000 mark - Miami Herald
FL: Tampa Democrat's lawsuit could disqualify State Rep. Dan Raulerson over filing error - Miami Herald
HI: Democratic hopeful aims to unseat Hawaii's only GOP senator - McClatchyDC
ID: Rep. Scott’s foes energized by harassment claims - The Spokesman-Review
ID: New fundraising group backing Idaho Democrats in key races - Associated Press
IA: Control of Iowa Senate hinges on key 2016 races - The Gazette
IA: Branstad’s Minimum Wage Comments Raise Stakes for Statehouse Races - Iowa Starting Line
IA: Anti-LGBT Hate Group Funneling Money To Iowa GOP Candidates - Iowa Starting Line
KS: Kansas House leader calls Hitler’s words ‘profound’ in Facebook post - The Wichita Eagle
KS: Kansas lawmaker denounces black protester, suggests she 'go back ... home' - The Topeka Capitol-Journal
KY: Outside spending shows which House districts are in play for super PACs ahead of elections - CN|2
KY: RPK hit with cease and desist letter after targeting Rep. Short; refuses to drop attacks - CN|2
MA: State Senate candidate arrested by Marshals, flown to Virginia to testify - State House News Service
MA: Voters Cast Ballot On State's First Ever Day Of Early Voting - WBUR
ME: Democrats accuse Republican senators of misusing state and campaign funds - Portland Press Herald
ME: Maine legislator says he received homophobic message in mail - Bangor Daily News
MT: Down-ticket race spending ramps up - Helena Independent Record
NC: Thousands line up for first day of NC early voting - News & Observer
ND: Old social media posts haunst state Legislature candidate - Bismarck Tribune
NJ: Kyrillos won't seek re-election after 30 years as N.J. lawmaker -
NV: Obama doing robo-calls to help Nevada legislative candidates - Las Vegas Sun
NY: Mangano’s arrest could affect upcoming elections into 2017 - Newsday
NY: Senate Dem Candidates Pounce On Corruption Arrests (Updated) - NY State of Politics
NY: Cuomo Pushes For ‘Good Democrats’ In The Senate - NY State of Politics
OH: Democrats seek to win in 16th Ohio Senate District amid Franklin County troubles for Trump - The Columbus Dispatch
OK: House candidate's mailer draws rebuke from Hispanic community - NewsOK
OK: State Representative Calls Out Oklahoma's 'Radical Islamic Terrorism' During Interim Study - KGOU
PA: Pa. House members rally for Trump - The Inquirer
SC: Absentee votes up 15-20% in SC - The State
TN: Mike Carter to run for Tennessee House Majority Leader - The Tennessean
TX: Dukes resignation scrambles Austin state House race - The Texas Tribune
TX: Democrats hoping to pick up a few Texas House seats - The Texas Tribune
TX: Rematches might see two Texas House districts flip again - The Texas Tribune
TX: Early voting is breaking records in Texas’ 10 biggest counties - The Texas Tribune
WA: New Elway poll: Inslee is 12 points ahead, a Democratic "wave" building? - Seattlepi
WI: Most Absentee Ballots Coming From Wisconsin’s Democratic Counties - Associated Press
WV: A look at the most hotly contested races for WV Senate seats - Charleston Gazette-Mail
U.S.: Democratic Party Has More State Legislative Candidates than Republican Party Does, for First Time Since 2008 - Ballot Access News
U.S.: Obama Assists 150 State Candidates, Targeting G.O.P.'s Grip on Legislatures - The New York Times
U.S.: The Surprising Way the Trump Campaign Is Helping Democratic Women - New York Magazine
U.S.: Republican hold on U.S. state legislatures could slip in election - Reuters
U.S.: Dem women poised for record gains in Trump backlash - POLITICO
U.S.: Donald Trump Is Trailing So Badly, This National Super PAC Sent Money Way Down The Ballot - The Huffington Post


Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee