The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.
● Pres-by-CD: Daily Kos Elections’ project to calculate the results of the 2020 presidential election for all 435 congressional districts makes its next stop in Georgia, which Democrats not only won for the first time since 1992 but which of course is also hosting two crucial runoffs that will determine control of the Senate. Because of this special situation, we’re bringing you results for the presidential race and both Senate races as they played out on Nov. 3.
We have our usual county-by-county breakdowns for president and for the regular Senate race between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. But because the special Senate election featured 20 candidates on the ballot, we’ve sliced the data in a couple of different ways. Our first spreadsheet features the vote shares for the three main candidates: Democrat Raphael Warnock, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and Republican Rep. Doug Collins, who collectively won 79% of the vote in the first round. We’ve also compiled a second spreadsheet that consolidates the total vote for Democrats, Republicans, and third-party candidates.
Joe Biden’s astonishing win was powered by an ongoing surge in the Atlanta suburbs, where large numbers of voters have been demonstrating their distaste for Donald Trump ever since the 2016 elections.
Despite a deliberate GOP gerrymander, both the 6th and 7th Districts saw some of the biggest swings in the country four years ago, a trend that continued this year as Biden flipped both seats. The 6th, which supported Mitt Romney 61-37 in 2012, went for Trump just 48-47 last time and Biden 55-44 in November. Freshman Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath easily won a rematch with the woman she ousted in the midterms, Republican Karen Handel, winning 55-45.
As for the 7th, it had been the most diverse district still held by a Republican, and it’s undergone a similar transformation: After going 60-38 for Romney, Trump won it by a much narrower 51-45 spread in 2016, and Biden carried it 52-46. It also gave Democrats their lone House pickup that wasn’t aided by redistricting, as Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux beat back Republican Rich McCormick 51-49 to pick up the seat left open by retiring GOP Rep. Rob Woodall, who nearly lost to Bourdeaux in 2018.
Perhaps most interesting of all, Biden’s third-best improvement came even further out in Atlanta’s northwestern suburbs, deep into Republican turf in the 11th District. This seat, held by Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk, narrowed from 67-31 Romney to 60-35 Trump, then made a similar jump again this year, voting for Trump 57-42. That’s still a long ways from competitive (Loudermilk won re-election 60-40), but the pattern should worry the GOP.
In fact, Biden improved on Clinton’s performance in all 14 of Georgia’s congressional districts on every metric: his margin against Trump, his own vote share, and his raw vote totals (though Trump’s vote totals also increased across the board). Democrats, however, may not get to enjoy the fruits of the Peach State’s metamorphosis for much longer, since Republicans will exert total control over the next round of redistricting and are certain to impose another heavily gerrymandered map on voters.
The Senate results, meanwhile, help shed some light on the areas that the runoff campaigns might target. Both races followed the same pattern as the presidential contest: The majority Black 5th District in the heart of Atlanta yielded the best results for Democrats, while the rural 9th in the state’s northeast corner—which is represented by Collins—gave Republicans their best numbers. And in most cases, Democratic Senate candidates ran just 1 to 2 points behind Biden.
There were, however, some gaps, the most notable of which came, perhaps surprisingly, in the 6th. Ossoff’s 51-46 win there was about 6 points back of Biden’s 11-point margin, despite the fact that Ossoff rather famously lost a close special election in 2017 in the district. The same thing played out in the special election, where Democrats combined for 52% of the vote and Republicans 46.
It’s possible that a sizable chunk of traditionally Republican voters here were receptive to Biden’s appeal as the answer to Trump but still retained their loyalties further down the ballot—at least, selectively. The most optimistic sign for Ossoff and Warnock is that there was almost no daylight between Biden and McBath, indicating that many of the voters who backed Trump and Republican Senate candidates are in fact open to supporting Democrats in congressional races.
As for the also-ran Collins, his best district was, unsurprisingly, his own, the 9th, where he beat Loeffler 45-28, making it the only seat he carried. Loeffler won the other seven Trump districts and made her top showing in the rural 14th in the northwestern part of the state, which was won by pro-QAnon Republican Marjorie Greene. Warnock prevailed in the six Biden districts, as did Ossoff.
We also have a detailed map of the presidential results for you to explore, and if you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to bookmark our complete data set for all 50 states, which we’re updating continuously.
● GA-Sen-A, GA-Sen-B: Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger absolutely torched GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on Tuesday for demanding voter registration data they already have, snarking in an official press release that they should “call their campaign offices” to remedy their “embarrassing” blunder. It’s hard to excerpt just part of the smackdown, but enjoy this:
“Though I’ve told the Republican Party to stop focusing on me and instead direct their energies to winning the Senate runoffs, clearly they haven’t listened,” said Secretary Raffensperger. “As embarrassing as it is for Sens. Perdue and Loeffler not to know that the data they want is already publicly available from the Secretary of State, it’s even worse that they’re not aware their own campaigns already have the data they’re looking for. Early voting has already started but it’s not too late for them to call their offices and get their campaigns in order.”
Even more amazing, Raffensperger included a quote from a nameless source he claims is an NRSC official, who said of Loeffler and Perdue, “They have those lists.” Yes, you read that right: The Senate GOP’s campaign arm is using a press release issued by a state election official to anonymously attack their own Senate candidates. Just bizarre.
Back in the slightly more normal world, we of course have some more new ads:
- Early voting started on Monday, so Raphael Warnock urges viewers to “make voting part of your holiday plans” as he fights a losing battle with hopelessly tangled Christmas lights.
- Another Warnock spot features a series of Black voters explaining the importance of supporting Warnock. An older woman says that Warnock “will work with Joe Biden to get us the help we need” while a young man says, “Raphael Warnock’s story is our story.”
- A Warnock narrator slams Loeffler, “the richest member of Congress,” for using “a special tax break” to help pay for a private jet to ferry her to the Senate. A related ad contrasts Loeffler’s gilded life with Warnock’s humbler origins, noting that he “grew up in public housing” and supports protections for those with pre-existing conditions while Loeffler wants to eliminate them.
- End Citizens United has a pair of similar spots, one targeted at Perdue and one at Loeffler, that attack them for opposing COVID relief.
- And an ad from a group called the Progress Action Fund hits both Loeffler and Perdue, claiming they “invested in body bags” after Congress was briefed on the coronavirus pandemic early this year.
Finally, Michael Tesler at FiveThirtyEight offers an interesting analysis of a pair of older Warnock ads that prominently featured him with cute dogs and went viral online. But they’re about more than just charming hounds: Tesler believes they “are carefully crafted attempts to neutralize racial stereotypes” and cites, among others, political science professor Hakeem Jefferson, who said the spots are “meant to deracialize Warnock with this cute ‘white people friendly’ doggy.”
Indeed, notes Tesler, dog ownership is more than twice as common among white Americans as with Blacks, and his own polling has found that respondents assume that Black people are more likely to own “scarier” breeds, like pit bulls and Rottweilers, which helps explain Warnock’s choice of an adorable beagle. Tesler also cites New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, who adds that the “setting” and Warnock’s clothes also contribute to the overall message—something that struck us as well when we took note of the “picket-fenced neighborhood” the second ad was set in.
● MA-Gov: Political scientist Danielle Allen announced this week that she was forming an exploratory committee for a potential bid for the Democratic nomination. Allen would be the first woman elected governor of Massachusetts (Republican Jane Swift ascended to this office in 2001 but never sought election in her own right), as well as the first Black woman elected to lead any state.
Allen has never run for office before, but the 2001 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient has a long career in academia. Earlier this year, Allen convened a conference at Harvard to develop a “roadmap” to reopen the economy in the midst of the pandemic, and Joe Biden has incorporated parts of it into his own COVID plan.
There are several other Democrats who might also be interested in running for the post currently held by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who has not yet announced his 2022 plans. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is reportedly considering, and the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and Politico name a few other possibilities:
- Former state Sen. Ben Downing
- Attorney General Maura Healey
- Outgoing Rep. Joe Kennedy III
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
A Walsh candidacy looks unlikely at this point, though. Walsh has signaled that he plans to seek a third term as mayor next year, and he’d need to immediately switch to a statewide campaign right after what could be a difficult re-election bid.
● CA-39: Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros, who lost to Republican Young Kim 50.6 to 49.4 last month, isn’t ruling out a 2022 rematch. In new remarks, Cisneros says, “Everything is on the table. This seat is definitely a possibility to run again.” However, he added that he’s not “feeling pressure to decide” and would consider his options after the winter holidays. New calculations from Daily Kos Elections show that Joe Biden carried California’s 39th District 54-44.
● MD-05: Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd announced this week that he would challenge 21-term Rep. Steny Hoyer in next year’s Democratic primary. Byrd expressed support for left-wing priorities like Medicare for All and said that Hoyer, who is white, “can no longer represent adequately more diverse places like Prince George’s County and Charles County,” both of which have large African American populations (Byrd is Black).
Last year, Byrd ousted the incumbent mayor of Greenbelt, a city of 23,000 in the D.C. suburbs, at the age of 27, becoming the youngest mayor in the city’s history. Hoyer, now 81, is the second-ranking House Democrat and has drawn primary challenges in six of the last seven election cycles. While none have come close to unseating him, his 64-27 win over activist McKayla Wilkes was the weakest of his career since he first won office in a 1981 special election.
● OH-11: Former state Sen. Nina Turner, who’d reportedly been considering a bid to succeed Rep. Marcia Fudge and had filed paperwork with the FEC, made her campaign official on Tuesday. Turner is one of several Democrats planning to run in a special election for Ohio’s safely blue 11th District should Fudge get confirmed as Joe Biden’s new secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Turner began her political career by winning a seat on the Cleveland City Council in 2005 and was appointed to the state Senate in 2008 to fill a vacancy. She won election in her own right in 2010 but then badly lost a race for secretary of state during the 2014 GOP wave. She later became a vocal surrogate for Bernie Sanders in 2015 after switching her allegiance from Hillary Clinton and considered an offer by the Green Party presidential candidate to serve as her running-mate the following year before turning it down.
● Manhattan, NY District Attorney: Civil rights attorney Janos Marton announced this week that he was exiting the 2021 Democratic primary because of fundraising concerns. Marton’s departure leaves eight fellow Democrats competing for the office currently held by incumbent Cyrus Vance Jr.; Vance has not yet announced his plans, though New York City politicos widely expect him to retire.