It is May gray-ish Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum. Before Blogger gets going, Yours Truly wants to know how in the world did Jared Kushner get his security clearance back? Only two possible reasons, he is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation or his father-in-law, the president, intervened on his behalf. Honestly, Yours Truly cannot imagine any other reason. Speaking of the president, a federal judge ruled that he cannot block Twitter users from posting negative comments on is feed. The social media is a public forum; blocking negative comments because you can dish it out but cannot take it is a violation of the First Amendment. One more thing, the hole Michael Cohen, the president's personal lawyer, just got deeper. New York taxi kingpin and Mr. Cohen's business partner, Evegny "Gene" Friedman, agreed to work with state and federal prosecutors to avoid jail. Mr. Friedman was indicted last year on for failing to pay $5 million in MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015. Given his connection to Mr. Cohen, this agreement increases pressure to work with prosecutors investigating accusations that the president committed obstruction of justice. Another thing that should worry the president, the primary results.
Women are riding the highly anticipated #bluewave. Another primary, another in night for women Democratic candidates. The biggest news came from the Georgia state primary, Stacey Abrams soundly defeated her opponent, state Representative Stacey Evens, and is poised to become the first African American governor in American history. In Kentucky, former pilot Amy McGrath made believers out of her naysayers when she defeated the mayor Lexington and Democratic Party choice Jim Gray. In Texas, former sheriff Lupe Valdez became the first lesbian Latina nominee in the Texas governor race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee eeked out a victory of sorts in Texas. In yesterday's primary, the DCCC avoided a situation it hoped to avert: "a Texas House hopeful whom it attacked as a surefire general election loser flamed out in the state's primary runoff" (politico.com; May 23, 2018).
Three states held primaries: Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky--the Texas runoff. With the help of Politico, we are going look at the takeaways from last night:
"The Georgia governor's race will test a risky Democratic gambit"
The most notable feature of this race was it featured two candidates, each with state government experience, named Stacey--one Africian American and one Caucasian.
More important, it pitted two different strategies against each other. Rep. Evans argued that the blue road back to the Georgia statehouse was through moderate and working class voters who backed former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes and Senator Zell Miller.
Stacey Abrams is taking a different route--voter registration and engagement with voters of color. This strategy is about to be tested on the national stage. The goal of this strategy is to increase the number of voters of color, who came out at lower rate in the last midterm election in 2014, 40.6 percent of African Americans, compared to 47.5 percent of Cauasians.
Stacey Abrams is not the only Democrat making this case, Steven Shepard writes: "Progressives across the map have insisted that running to the left, especially on economic issues, could access a well of untapped voters " (Ibid).
Ms. Abrams strategy is more than ideology. She will have no shortage of surrogates with ambitions for higher office in 2020 rolling through this emerging presidential swing state, which Mr. Trump won by razor thin five points in 2016.
"It's still Democrats' Year of the Woman"
Since the 2016 presidential elections, more women have tossed their hat into the electoral ring, evidenced by Ms. Abrams and Lupe Valdez' nominations for governors.
In a closely followed Democratic primary for a House seat in Kentucky, Amy McGrath, a novice candidate, bested the DCCC anointed candidate Jim Gray.
Texas Democrats selected women for two out of the three swing districts: Lizzie Fletcher in the 7th District and Gina Ortiz Jones in the 23rd.
Female candidates are winning a lot of Democratic Party nominations, and the party will heavily rely on them in the fall campaign. Mr. Shepard reports, "The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, released Wednesday, shows Democrats with a 9-point lead among female voters on generic congressional ballot, compare with a 1-point advantage among male voters"
"It was a pretty good night for the Democratic establishment"
It may have taken extra effort but mainstream Democrats had a good night. Specifically, the DCCC's Texas gambit in the 7th District worked out.
Steve Shepard writes, "Back in February, the party committee quietly posted a series of negative talking points about former journalist Laura Moser on its website. She's vulnerable to attacks as a carpetbagger, the online posting said." In an article (no longer available on the DCCC website), Ms. Moser disparaged parts of Texas.
Laura Moser seized the opportunity to cast herself as an outsider taking on the establishment, raising campaign funds online and finish second in the March 6 primary.
However, Ms. Moser lost momentum--"not because her opponent, Lizzie Fletcher, and the Democratic establishment brandish those weapons against her. Instead they laid off." Ms. Fletcher never aggressively attacked Ms. Moser, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not lace Ms. Fletcher to its list of top recruits--"as it did with two other first-place primary finishers in Texas runoffs (Thodsr other two 'Red-to-Blue' candidates--Ortiz Jones in the 23rd District and attorney Colin Allred in the 32nd--won easily Tuesday, too)."
Amy McGrath was not the first choice of national Democrats. They tapped Jim Gray, even after Ms. McGrath's viral announcement video resulted in big money from small online contributors.
However, like the Texas 7th, the DCCC ever placed Mr. Gray on the Red-to-Blue list and there was no evidence to suggest that Ms. McGrath will be a weak candidate against Republican Rep. Andy Barr in November. Recently released internal polling produced by the DCCC in-house analytics department showing Ms. McGrath ahead of Rep. Barr in a hypothetical matchup.
In Arkansas's 2nd Congressional District, state Representative Clarke Tucker had an easy night, winning the nomination by 58 percent of the vote. He will take on fellow Republican French Hill in a district won by Mr. Trump without a June runoff.
"Conservatives are poised to make their mark on the Texas delegation"
The Republican Party is not cowering in a corner, at least not in Texas. Following last night's runoff, the Texas Republican House delegation is poised to move further right.
Six Republicans are retiring at the end of the year or already turned in their resignation: Ted Poe, Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, Lamar Smith, and Blake Farenthold. Five of the primaries to replace them came down to runoffs, with conversatives emerging victorious.
Mr. Shepard writes, "In the 6th District, former Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright, who was endorsed by the conservative Club for Growth, narrowly defeated former Navy fighter pilot Jake Ellzey. Chip Roy, Sen. Ted Cruz's former chief of staff and another Club endorsee, defeated businessman Matt McCall. Conservative activist Michael Cloud defeated Bech Bruun, whom the Club opposed, in the 27th District."
The Club for Growth went 3-for-4 in the Texas Republican runoffs.
"Pence couldn't drag Bunni Pounds over the finish line"
Vice President Mike Pence did not quite have the golden touch last night. VPOTUS, Senator Cruz, and Rep. Hensarling all backed political fundraising consultant Bunni Pounds in the Texas 5th District. Ms. Pounds also had the support of a myriad of conservative organizations and figures, including the Tea Party Express and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the House Freedom Caucus.
Despite this impressive backing, Ms. Pounds was narrowly defeated by state Rep. Lance Goodman, 53 percent to 47 percent.
This defeat will sting VPOTUS for a while because it was the first open primary he has gotten involved and a small setback in his quest to remake the Republican Party in the Trump image.