The trends are most starkly in Democrats’ favor across the Sun Belt. California, for instance, saw 45 of its 53 districts yield a larger Democratic margin of victory (or smaller Republican margin) in 2020 than in 2008.
Similar patterns have emerged in Colorado and Virginia, two states that rapidly evolved from red in the early 2000s to blue now. But perhaps more importantly for Democratic prospects are Georgia and Arizona, the latter of which has moved almost entirely in the Democratic direction, except for the retiree-heavy 4th district.
The flipside of the trend in Arizona, Georgia, and Texas is the pattern in Midwestern states like Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, where the 2008-to-2020 trajectory has mostly been in the red direction. There are two issues at work here: one, these states are whiter than the Sun Belt states and not diversifying as quickly, and two, they have much larger rural or small-town populations than their Sun Belt counterparts, where the bulk of the population is urban or suburban.
For Democrats, the most alarming red-hued state may be Florida, where the 2020 margins were worse almost everywhere, with the exceptions of the Orlando area (the 7th and 10th districts), Jacksonville (the 4th), and central Miami (the 27th). Biden’s performance among Cuban and South American communities, most significantly in the 25th and 26th districts, represented a sharp U-turn from a decade’s worth of progress, and while he did manage to improve over 2016 with the state’s various retirement-oriented areas, it was still insufficient relative to Obama’s earlier performances.
For a deep dive into all of these patterns, complete with maps, check out Jarman’s post.
● GA-Sen: Navy veteran and former Donald Trump aide Latham Saddler launched a campaign for the Senate on Thursday, making him the second notable Republican after businessman Kelvin King to join the race. A whole host of much bigger GOP names are still considering, though, including former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, former Rep. Doug Collins, and former NFL star Herschel Walker.
● MO-Sen: Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who has been considering a bid for Missouri’s open Senate seat, says she’ll “probably” announce a decision in June. Hartzler added to Roll Call‘s Bridget Bowman, “We’re looking very positively at it.”
● OH-Sen: Venture capitalist J.D. Vance, who last month said he’s “thinking very seriously” about joining the Republican primary for Ohio’s open Senate race, has reportedly told “friends and colleagues” that he’ll run, according to Axios. There’s no word on when he might announce a decision, though.
● MD-Gov: How not to kick off a run for office: Just last week, former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker announced that he’d once again seek the Democratic nomination for governor. “I’m running because I think we can do better,” he told Maryland Matters.
Flash forward to this week, however, when Baker told the Washington Informer’s William J. Ford that he was still considering a bid. Ford reports that Baker “is contemplating running” and “still wavering,” adding that “no official announcement has been made.” For what it’s worth, the “Baker for Governor” Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2018, when Baker last ran, and his website, rushernbaker.com, is unavailable.
Meanwhile, another big name seems to have taken himself out of the running for next year. WAMU’s Tom Sherwood reports that Rep. Anthony Brown, who was the Democrats’ unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee in 2014, says he plans to spend this term “and next” in Congress working on transit and infrastructure.
Turning to the Republican side, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who’d been considering a bid for governor and had also said he might challenge Republican Rep. Andy Harris in next year’s primary, will do neither. Instead, says Glassman, he’ll run for state comptroller, a position that’s open because the incumbent Democrat, Peter Franchot, is seeking the governorship.
But to say that history is against Glassman would be an extreme understatement: The last Republican to win a race for comptroller was Phillips Lee Goldsborough in 1898. In fact, no Maryland Republican has won a downballot statewide office since 1918, when Alexander Armstrong was elected attorney general. Goldsborough did, however, go on to serve as governor and later senator.
● NM-Gov: New Mexico reporter Joe Monahan, who’s long published a tipsheet on state politics, says that former Republican Lt. Gov. John Sanchez “appears to be considering” a run for governor, noting that next week he’ll be a guest speaker at a dinner hosted by the Doña Ana County Republican Party. (Doña Ana, home to Las Cruces, is the second-largest county in the state.) Sanchez ran for governor once before but got crushed 55-39 by Democrat Bill Richardson in 2002.
Given the paucity of GOP options for statewide office in New Mexico, though, Sanchez’s name comes up often. After getting elected lieutenant governor as fellow Republican Susana Martinez’s running-mate during the 2010 red wave, Sanchez tried his hand at a Senate campaign the following cycle but dropped out before the primary. In 2018, he considered bids for governor and senator but passed on both, and he said and did the same thing about last year’s Senate race, too.
● OR-Gov: Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam said this week that he’s forming an exploratory committee to consider a bid in next year’s open governor’s race. Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh describes Sandy, a town of 11,000 people, as “one of Oregon’s fastest-growing cities, although still best known as a gateway to Mount Hood skiing and hiking.” If Pulliam does decide to run, he’d join 2016 nominee Bud Pierce in the Republican primary. A large number of prominent Democrats are also weighing the contest, though none have entered so far.
● VA-Gov: Former state Rep. Jennifer Carroll Foy is running her first TV ad ahead of the June 8 Democratic primary, an introductory spot that focuses on healthcare. Carroll Foy says that after her grandmother, who raised her, suffered a stroke, the family was “forced to choose between her mortgage and medicine.”
She contrasts that with her own premature delivery of twins (which, incidentally, happened while she was running her first campaign for state delegate in 2017), saying, “I was grateful to have healthcare—to save their lives and mine.” Carroll Foy concludes by highlighting her efforts to expand Medicaid while in the legislature and says she’s fighting “to bring affordable healthcare to all of us.”
The Republican firm Medium Buying says that so far, Carroll Foy has spent $185,000 on television and radio advertising, though it’s not clear how much is behind this initial spot. The Democratic frontrunner, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has spent $544,000 on the airwaves to date, per Medium.
● KS-03: Republican state Rep. Chris Croft, who just so happens to chair the House’s redistricting committee, says he’s considering a campaign for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, which a top member of his own party explicitly listed as the GOP’s top gerrymandering target last year. House Speaker Ron Ryckman claims that he was unaware of Croft’s interest in a congressional bid against Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids when Croft was appointed to lead the committee and says he may be removed if he does in fact run.
Of course, setting things up that way would would allow Croft to draw new maps and only later declare himself a candidate—a very obvious conflict that Democrats have pounced on. Croft argues that the same issue affects every sitting lawmaker, since they’ll all be participating in the mapmaking process for their own districts, but that’s an argument for independent redistricting, not piling on further conflicts of interest.
● TX-08: A few Republicans are already showing interest in running to succeed Rep. Kevin Brady, who announced his retirement on Wednesday. Former Brady campaign manager Christian Collins tells the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek that he’s “seriously considering” a bid, while state Sen. Brandon Creighton and state Rep. Steve Toth didn’t directly answer whether they’re looking at the race but did not rule out the possibility either. Toth tried to primary Brady in 2016 but lost 53-37.