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Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Blue woman group

by Tom Sullivan

Stacey Abrams

What jumps off the page from Amy McGrath's win last night Kentucky’s Sixth District is the rural vote. MSNBC's Steve Kornacki noticed:

Those results will bolster Democrats looking for evidence of a fall blue wave. McGrath is "cleaning up where Dems usually get buried," Kornacki observed.

McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, won everywhere except Lexington where her opponent is mayor. Her viral video helped her campaign catch fire and raise money, but in a year when women are running and winning, her moxey and compelling biography blasted her past Mayor Jim Gray, the national party's Rolodex candidate.

McGrath faces Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in November.

Stacey Abrams did more than win her Georgia primary for governor. She made history as the first black woman to be the nominee of a major party for governor. The former state House minority leader handily defeated Stacey Evans, another former legislator who put nearly $2 million in her own money behind her campaign.

Abrams drew compliments from even conservative commentator Eric Erickson of Macon, GA after an interview in February (from The New Yorker):

“I’d been strongly critical of her in the past, and she was still willing to come on air with me,” Erickson said of Abrams on Monday. “We actually found a lot of common ground, even though we disagreed on stuff,” he added. “I came away really liking her.” Abrams, Erickson told me, “gave a better answer on keeping the income tax than Casey Cagle,” the state’s lieutenant governor, who won the Republican primary on Tuesday—but who received less than fifty per cent of the vote, meaning that he now faces a runoff in July. “It was an easy to understand answer,” Erickson said. “Everyone in the crowd, including the Republicans, nodded along with it.” After the interview, Erickson wrote on Twitter that he found Abrams to be, “Super sharp, very witty, and self-deprecating. She’ll be formidable as a candidate.”
That did not endear him to conservative readers, but might indicate where she might make inroads in rural Georgia where Republicans dominate.

Indeed, Abrams's powerful "fight for the future" victory speech had reach. To struggling Georgians, Abrams even alluded to her own financial problems, saying, "I'm with you because I've been there. I'm still there." Still looking for analysis, but it will be interesting to see whether Abrams's rural vote numbers compare to McGrath's.

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows Democrats with a 9-point lead among female voters on the generic congressional ballot, compared to a 1-point advantage among male voters.


Too much news to pack into one very early morning.

One advantage Abrams has going into the fall is Republican candidates for Georgia governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kempwill, go to a July runoff, leaving Abrams weeks to gather steam behind her race while the two Republicans work hard to out-fringe each other.

The DCCC survived its own toe-stubbing when in TX-07 its pick, Lizzie Fletcher, handily defeated Laura Moser in the runoff yesterday.

But Stacey Abrams was not the only woman last night to make history by winning her party's nomination:
AUSTIN — Lupe Valdez defeated Andrew White in Tuesday's Democratic runoff for governor, making political history in a couple of ways.

Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, became the first Hispanic female and first openly gay person to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination in Texas.
She now faces incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November. Abbot has $41 million stockpiled for his reelection, so it will be a tough pull, Valdez acknowledges, but she's used to those:
"I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle," Valdez told her supporters in Dallas after she won the nomination. "Please, tell me when I didn't have an uphill battle. ... I am getting darned good at uphill battles."
Turnout for the Texas runoff was down from the March primary.

In one notable race in Kentucky, a Republican school teacher in Kentucky turned out the House majority floor leader:
As upset teachers across Kentucky Tuesday tried to flex their political muscle, Rockcastle County High School math teacher R. Travis Brenda narrowly defeated House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell of Garrard County in one of the most-watched races for the state House, according to unofficial results.

Brenda tried in the Republican primary election for the 71st House District seat to capitalize on teacher anger against legislators who backed a controversial pension bill in this year's law-making session. It was Brenda's first bid for public office.
But it might be Shell's last. He had been thinking of running for House speaker next year. Teachers are not happy, even Republican ones.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.