What's Up Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi Elections? Oh, There Are Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi Elections?
Why do so many former Confederate states hold odd-year state elections? Why would they insist upon opening the polls every single year, spending millions of additional tax dollars and forcing voters to take yet another day off work, just to keep local and national votes separate? Yeah, it's a MYSTERY! It's almost like the system is deliberately structured to depress turnout and keep the electorate as rich and white as possible to ensure Republicans hold power forever.
Tomorrow Kentucky and Mississippi will hold closely watched gubernatorial elections, and Virginians will go to the polls to determine which party will control the legislature for the all-important redistricting after the 2020 census. Here's what to watch for.
Kentucky: Bevin Versus Beshear
Matt Bevin should not be in trouble. The sitting governor easily beat his Democratic challenger Jack Conway in 2015 by nine points, and Donald Trump took Kentucky by 30 percent in 2016. But instead of cruising to an easy victory, Bevin is locked in a dead heat with Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. What gives?
Well, the problem is that Matt Bevin is such a raging asshole.
He picked stupid fights with Kentucky's teachers, blaming their "thug mentality" for children he imagined getting sexually assaulted or drinking poison during a teacher strike. He derped that kids were getting "soft" when it was 10 degrees and school was cancelled to keep them from freezing to the bus stops. He signed dozens of anti-choice bills and harassed the state's few remaining abortion providers, spread anti-vaccine lies and bragged about exposing his nine kids to chicken pox, cut dental and vision care for thousands of Medicaid recipients (some were later restored), and plans to slash hundreds of thousands more from the rolls completely. With a 33 percent approval rating, Bevin is the least popular governor in the country -- and he earned it.
Bevin's Democratic challenger Andy Beshear is the son of popular former governor Steve Beshear, Bevin's immediate predecessor. As AG, Andy Beshear's been a thorn in Bevin's side, suing to block cuts to teacher pensions and Bevin's illegal mid-cycle budget cuts, and joining the suit to stop the Trump administration from gutting the Affordable Care Act. He's no one's idea of a firebrand liberal, but he's got huge name recognition and won statewide as a Democrat in 2015.
Bevin's strategy is to attach himself to Trump, pretend that Andy Beshear is a member of The Squad, and hope that it's enough to put him over the top. Trump will be in Lexington for a rally tonight, and Pence has been campaigning for Bevin on the ground. Keep an eye on this one. If Beshear pulls it out, you're going to see Mitch McConnell -- coincidentally, the least popular senator in America -- lose his shit and start shoveling cash into his own campaign.
Mississippi: This Could Get UGLY
Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves is probably going to beat Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood. This is Mississippi, after all. But they are only about three points apart in the polls, and if by some miracle Hood pulls it out, all hell is going to break loose. Because Mississippi's constitution says that the winner must carry a majority of the state's House districts, and if the popular vote winner doesn't get the House votes, the state House of Representatives selects the governor from the two highest popular vote winners. And if that seems to you like a recipe for allowing white Republicans to hold power forever in a state that's 38 percent African American, then you are in agreement with US District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III, who held on Friday that Mississippi's peculiar constitutional institution violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
But Judge Jordan refused to preliminarily enjoin the law, cryptically implying that the court might step in if it winds up affecting the outcome on Tuesday, i.e. if Jim Hood wins the popular vote but doesn't get a majority of House districts.
My interpretation: If MS AG @HoodForGovernor (D) reaches a majority of the pop vote, but not a majority of the 122… https://t.co/GsqKrPGFrX— Madelaine Pisani (@Madelaine Pisani) 1572625418.0
Which, is pretty unlikely, but if it does happen, you'll see a maelstrom of litigation that will only be resolved by the Supreme Court. Remember Bush v. Gore? Wasn't that fun? Let's do it again, this time in Mississippi!
Virginia: Won't Get Fooled Again
We fucked up in 2010. We didn't pay enough attention to local elections across the country, which left the GOP in control of state legislatures when it came time to draw congressional districts after the last census. But no more! Politico reports that major Democratic groups have dumped $10 million into Virginia's legislative races this cycle, boosting total Democratic fundraising to $31.8 million, compared to the GOP's $21 million.
Cash-flush Democratic power players have flooded the commonwealth with upwards of $10 million, according to an analysis of outside spending. Among the top spenders: Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-aligned group, with $2.5 million; the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the party's state-level campaign arm, with $1.3 million; the League of Conservation Voters with $1.5 million; and EMILY's List with $2.1 million, its single largest investment ever in a state's legislative races.
If we can flip two seats in Virginia's House of Delegates and one in the Senate, we'll be the ones holding the pen when that map gets redrawn. In 2017, House District 94's election was literally decided by pulling names out of a bowl, which is no way to run a railroad. But in 2018, Democrats flipped three congressional seats, and recent polling shows Democrats fired up and beating the GOP by 13 points on a generic ballot.
Oh, look! Here's Donald Trump yammering incoherently about a state that has had a Democratic governor for six straight years. Who could've predicted this?
You can do it, Virginia! And Kentucky! And Mississippi -- you know, if the stars all align just right. See you Wednesday morning to discuss!
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An old Wonkette 'favorite' flares up again.
Like that rash you get in the warmer, wetter months -- when you thought the cream your doctor gave you had taken care of, but still gives you an odd sense of satisfaction when you scratch it -- Joseph Dee Morrissey is back. A few years ago, Morrissey was a regular embarrassment to all Democrats, and especially to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he waved around an AK-47 on the floor, and sexed his underaged secretary.
Well get ready for a new outbreak. On Tuesday, Morrissey won the Democratic primary for the 16th district of the Virginia Senate, knocking off incumbent and establishment favorite Senator Rosalyn Dance by a 12-point margin. The SD16 is such a safe Democratic seat that the GOP didn't even bother to scare up a patsy to run there. In Virginia, there is a lot of pearl-clutching and shock about Morrissey's win, mostly from nice optimists who should not be surprised by the success of an amoral creep.
Morrissey's primary campaign was not without controversy, albeit much more mundane than what we've come to expect from old pervy Joe. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on some irregularities with his campaign finance reporting. Also too, his family lives outside the district in a nice house in a "good" school district in Richmond's Northside (also home to everyone's favorite Senator/Dad Tim Kaine). Morrissey bought a place in the 16th District and registered to vote there to satisfy the Commonwealth's residency requirement for state Senate eligibility, but folks doubt that he really lives there as he claims. Still, let's be fair: We don't think it's a stretch to believe his wife and kids live in the big Northside house while Joe spends most nights in his Church Hill fuck pad.
When we last heard from Morrissey, he was fighting accusations of trying to trade his legal work for sexual favors while also widely being considered the frontrunner for the Richmond mayoral election. (SIDENOTE: He lost that race and was never really the frontrunner -- but he was the first name after "undecided" in most polls, in a race with like 50 candidates, in an election with byzantine rules about winning a majority of councilmanic districts...) But sure, Fightin' Joe ALLEGEDLY did legal work pro boner.
This was all a couple years after he, at the tender age of 56, allegedly sexed the 17-year-old receptionist at his law office (now his wife and mother of three of his kids). There were serious consequences of that episode. He resigned his seat in the Virginia House of Burgess Merediths, under pressure from his Democratic colleagues. He also pleaded down to "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" and served a little time. BUT while serving that time, he won the special election to fill the seat he had just resigned. Yes, from jail. Morrissey also had a work-release arrangement to go to the state Capitol during the day for the General Assembly session, and was allowed to keep his Jaguar in the parking lot of the Henrico County hoosegow at night.
These are only the most recent scandals in the Saga of Fightin' Joe, so we can understand the disgust and pearl-clutching from Virginians. The man is a sleazebag, reputed to prey on young women and people in legal trouble. What we can't understand is the surprise. He won a special election FROM JAIL, and the positive side of his reputation is that he is accessible and will help you if you need it, without judgment (other than judging your value as a target for his sexual attention).
The guy is scum, but he's glad-handing, politically adept scum. Morrissey hit the streets and talked to a ton of people, and Senator Dance missed her steps.
Follow Fitzy on twitter @chestyfitz, and give Wonkette some goddamn money.
We aren't going to start suddenly liking Ralph Northam again, mind you.
Following last Friday's mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he will call the state legislature into special session to consider several bills aimed at stopping all these GODDAMN shootings. Among the measures Northam wants to sign are a ban of high-capacity magazines and of suppressors (don't call them "silencers" or the gun-humpers will yell at you), both of which were used by the shooter last week. Northam said, "The nation will be watching," and wants lawmakers in the Republican majority to go on the record with their votes on all the bills, not just kill them off in committee.
The AP reports Northam wants the legislature to consider a number of measures, including
a ban on silencers and high-capacity magazines, as well as a broadening of the ability of local governments to prohibit guns in city buildings. The governor said he also wants mandatory, universal background checks before gun purchases; a limit of one handgun purchase per month; and a "red flag" law that would allow authorities to seize weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
"I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers," he said, mocking the usual response to gun violence by supporters of the gun lobby.
The Republican speaker of what normal places would be called the state House or Assembly suggested a special session was just a terrible idea, given that Northam was caught up in that ugly blackface scandal a few months back. Kirk Cox said calling for a special session was "hasty and suspect when considered against the backdrop of the last few months," which the AP says referred to the blackface mess. But considering the ongoing implosion of the National Rifle Association, which is based in Virginia, perhaps Cox thought it was unfair to talk about guns in this difficult and tragic time for Republicans' loved ones.
Instead of trying to keep guns out of the hands of potential killers, which might inconvenience responsible gun humpers who only become killers when they go all irresponsible now and then, Republicans intend to
toughen penalties — including new, mandatory minimum sentences — for those who use guns to commit crimes.
"We believe addressing gun violence starts with holding criminals accountable for their actions, not infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens," he said.
Why yes, surely the prospect of a longer prison sentence would have deterred the Virginia Beach shooter from killing his 12 victims, except for how he was killed in a shootout with police.
With Republicans in control of both houses of the Virginia Lege, the passage of any tighter gun laws in the special session -- which hasn't been scheduled yet, but is likely to be called for later this month -- seems like a long shot, like the kind you'd want a sniper rifle for. But all the seats in the legislature are up for election this fall, and with attitudes on guns starting to shift, even in Virginia, having all the Republicans on record voting against common sense gun laws could help flip control of one or both houses.
That's an especially appealing prospect for Shelly Simonds, who in January 2018 lost a House race in a "tie" that resulted from Republicans insisting a spoiled ballot was really a vote for the R candidate, David Yancey. A random draw tie-breaker then handed the seat to Yancey, keeping Republicans in control of the House of Dillybars.
Simonds told the New York Times,
"I'm absolutely delighted," Ms. Simonds said of the prospect of putting gun control measures up before the entire House of Delegates, including Mr. Yancey, whom she is running against again. "I can't wait to find out how he votes."
Yr Wonkette certainly isn't going to get on any Ralph Northam rehabilitation bandwagon (could we find someone with no blackface photos to primary him in 2021, please, or is that fucking impossible? Update: Several readers point out Virginia governors are limited to a single term, so no need!), but we're all for Dems taking the legislature this fall -- and passing the shit out of some gun laws. Wouldn't that make this session special?
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