Morning Digest: New Texas gerrymander cements GOP rule at the expense of Blacks, Latinos, and Asians

Morning Digest: New Texas gerrymander cements GOP rule at the expense of Blacks, Latinos, and Asians

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

TX Redistricting: Texas’ Republican-run legislature passed a new congressional map on Monday after ironing out small differences between the two chambers, ensuring GOP dominance for years to come by diluting the voting power of Black, Latino, and Asian American citizens. The map now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who issued a statement Tuesday praising lawmakers for their work.

The final plan, which largely resembles the map’s first iteration, seeks to insulate GOP incumbents from increasing diversification and growing hostility from suburban voters rather than aggressively target Democratic-held districts. Even though 95% of Texas’ population growth over the last decade came from people of color, the map adds no new Black or Latino districts and in fact weakens two existing Latino-majority seats, the 15th and 23rd.

Both districts will move about 5 points to the right when looking at presidential margins, protecting Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales in the 23rd and making Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez more vulnerable in the 15th. And not only will they get redder, they’ll get whiter, too: Although the two districts nominally have a majority-Latino population, a much smaller proportion of Latinos there are eligible to vote and fewer turn out compared to GOP-supporting whites, who could readily dominate the electorate in both cases.

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The 15th is also the chief district that Republicans are looking to flip. According to Dave’s Redistricting App, the new version would have voted for Donald Trump 51-48 compared to 50-49 for Joe Biden under the old lines. One of the tweaks Republicans made to their final map was to shift the home of Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who currently represents the 15th District, into the bluer 34th District in the hopes of encouraging him to seek re-election there. Gonzalez had previously said he might do just that even before his home was moved, which would make it even harder for Democrats to hold the 15th.

Mostly, though, Republicans have sought to shore up all of their potentially vulnerable suburban districts. One way is by conceding the two districts Democrats flipped in 2018, the 7th in the Houston suburbs and the 32nd in the Dallas area. Both would now pack in Democratic voters and zoom more than 20 points to the left: The 7th from 54-45 Biden to 64-34 Biden and the 32nd from 54-44 Biden to 66-33 Biden. Similarly, the GOP created a proverbial “vote sink” in the city of Austin, which previously had been cracked apart, designed to concentrate as many Democratic voters as possible in the new 37th District.

Conversely, Republicans “unpacked” almost every large—and extremely red—rural district, sending them sprawling deep into the suburbs to take in diverse areas. Some are extensions of existing gerrymanders but others are new, including the 4th and 13th, which now grab blue turf in the Dallas area, and the 11th, which does the same north of Austin. The 13th, for instance, takes in the entire northern panhandle while extricating the blue college town of Denton from the Dallas suburbs, while the 4th, which stretches to the Oklahoma border and past the tripoint the two states share with Arkansas, snatches up Asian American communities just north of the city.

As a result, no fewer than eight competitive Republican-held districts would move to the right by double digits: The 2nd and 22nd in the Houston area; the 3rd, 6th, and 24th in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the 10th, 21st, and 31st around Austin. In 2020, all of these districts gave Biden 48-49% of the vote, except the 24th, which he won 52-46. The 24th would still be his “best” district, only now Trump would have carried it 55-43. At the far end, the 6th would have gone for Trump by a huge 61-37 margin, a giant 21-point shift.

Another way of looking at the GOP’s careful partisan surgery is to examine the state’s largest urban counties. Harris County (home of Houston) is split between no fewer than nine districts, Tarrant County (Fort Worth) is divided seven ways, Dallas County gets sliced up six ways, and Travis County (Austin) and Bexar County (San Antonio) are cut five times. Based purely on population, these five counties could theoretically house 14 districts entirely within their borders; under the Republican map, there are only three such seats.

Overall, the new map moves Texas’ center of gravity far to the right: The median district would have voted for Trump 58-40, 13 points redder than his 52-46 statewide victory in 2020 and an enormous change from the median under the old map, which was just 50-48 Trump. On the surface, it might appear that the new districts largely preserve the status quo in terms of the number of representatives each party sends to Congress, but in fact it locks in a corrosive Republican advantage that undermines Democrats, people of color, and the bedrock democratic notion that the party that wins the most votes should win the most seats.

Redistricting

IL Redistricting: A three-judge federal court ruled on Tuesday that new legislative maps passed by Illinois’ Democratic-run state legislature and signed into law in June prior to the release of 2020 census data are unconstitutional and said it would take over the redistricting process.

The case is a complicated affair that consolidates two separate lawsuits, one brought by Republicans and another by the Latino voting rights group MALDEF. Democrats approved new maps, which were signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 4, in order to beat a June 30 deadline in the state constitution that, in the absence of new districts, would have transferred authority over redistricting to a bipartisan commission. Crucially, the commission’s tiebreaking member is randomly chosen, with an even chance that the tiebreaker will belong to either party (and thus a 50-50 chance of a Republican gerrymander).

Normally, lawmakers would have had firm census figures with which to draw new maps by April. But thanks to delays caused by the pandemic, the Census Bureau announced earlier this year that new data would not be available until August. Rather than risk handing control to Republicans by blowing the end-of-June deadline, Democrats instead relied on population estimates to draw new maps, allowing them to maintain control over redistricting.

When the bureau at last released 2020 data, those earlier estimates turned out to be far off-base in a number of cases, leading to a deviation of as much as 30% between the smallest and largest districts. Democrats anticipated this, however, and passed a new set of maps correcting these variances, which Pritzker signed in September.

The court ruled, though, that the enactment of the September maps did not render the case moot because lawmakers never actually repealed the June maps (because they feared that doing so would mean they had retroactively failed to meet the June 30 deadline to avoid the commission taking over). The judges held, therefore, that the June maps violated the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote” and could not be used. But the matter did not end there.

Rather than saying the September maps could simply replace the June maps, as lawmakers intended, the court sided with MALDEF and decreed that it would assume control of the redistricting process. (Republicans had wanted the bipartisan commission to draw a new plan, but the judges rejected that request.) The court said it would consider the September maps “as a starting point” but warned that they may “not pass muster” and specifically chastised the legislature for passing them with little public notice or participation.

Plaintiffs will now have the chance to demonstrate that the September maps also violate the constitution or state law, though they face a much higher hurdle than they did with the June maps because, compared to the ease of identifying malapportionment problems, courts are much less likely to acknowledge other sorts of flaws. It’s possible, therefore, that for all of this, the final result will see the September maps, or plans very similar to them, take effect.

Briefing on the matter will conclude by Nov. 18, with the court, which said it’s mindful of the tight timeframe ahead of next year’s elections, likely to rule soon thereafter.

NM Redistricting: New Mexico’s new Citizens Redistricting Committee has voted to forward three congressional maps to the legislature for its consideration, though its recommendations are purely advisory in nature and lawmakers are free to disregard them. Local political analyst Joe Monahan recently reported that one of the committee’s three plans was “in the running as a top pick” and on Tuesday re-upped his prediction that “it would be similar to the final plan adopted by the legislature” when it convenes for a special session on redistricting in December.

That map, put forward by a progressive group, features an aggressive gerrymander that would transform the reliably conservative 2nd District, currently held by Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell, into a blue-tilting swing seat that Democrats could recapture next year. (According to Dave’s Redistricting App, this version of the 2nd would have gone for Hillary Clinton 46-43 and almost certainly would have given Joe Biden a wider margin.) The other proposals would make more limited changes to the current districts and leave the 2nd solidly red.

VA Redistricting: The heavily criticized congressional map Virginia’s new bipartisan redistricting commission advanced last week came under even hotter fire on Monday after one commissioner, Democratic Del. Marcus Simon, divulged that a similar map proposed to the panel had been drawn by the national GOP’s official redistricting arm.

That submission, which was put forth under the name of former Republican Rep. Tom Davis, a one-time chair of the NRCC, was in fact the work of conservative attorney Jason Torchinsky, the general counsel for the National Republican Redistricting Trust. Torchinsky’s map bore striking similarities to the map recently adopted by the commission and in some cases featured virtually identical districts, as you can see in this side-by-side comparison.

That resemblance was first flagged by analyst Sam Shirazi, who brought the matter to Simon’s attention. Simon in turn asked the commission’s staff to investigate the origins of the “Davis” map and learned its true provenance—facts Davis himself failed to disclose when submitting his plan.

As for how the commission’s map wound up looking so much like Torchinsky’s, the board’s Republican attorney acknowledged his staff had reviewed it but insisted they hadn’t colluded with the NRRT. But whether true or not, their end product was so closely related that Simon correctly called it a “Republican dream map.”

That still leaves the baffling question of why Democrats on the commission sided with Republicans to advance the proposal, which would create six districts that Donald Trump would have carried in 2016 versus just five for Hillary Clinton, despite the strong leftward trend still underway in Virginia. At the very least, though, Shirazi’s sleuthing and Simon’s revelations ought to help steer Democrats in a different direction.

Senate

AL-Sen: Army veteran Mike Durant, who was held as a prisoner of war in Somalia for 11 days in 1993 after his helicopter was shot out of the sky in the incident later depicted in the book and film “Blackhawk Down,” announced Tuesday that he would compete in the open seat Republican primary. Durant, who went on to write his own memoir of his experience, currently leads an aerospace engineering firm in Huntsville and is making his first run for office.

Meanwhile, the anti-tax Club for Growth has released a primary survey from WPA Intelligence that shows its endorsed candidate, Trump-backed Rep. Mo Brooks, with a huge 55-12 lead over former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Boyd Britt; the poll did not test Durant.

Governors

AR-Gov: Fundraising numbers are in for the third quarter of the year, and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has widened what was already a massive edge over her main Republican primary rival, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Sanders outraised Rutledge $2 million to $130,000 in money that can be used to win the nomination, and she ended September with a $5.5 million to $635,000 cash-on-hand lead.

On the Democratic side, physicist Chris Jones, who entered the primary in June with an announcement video that quickly went viral, continues to be the only candidate who has raised a notable amount. Jones took in $370,000 for the primary and had $450,000 on-hand.

AZ-Gov: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs earned the backing of EMILY’s List on Tuesday for next year’s Democratic primary.

IL-Gov: While Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker doesn’t look vulnerable heading into 2022, the self-funding incumbent is spending huge amounts of money on commercials over a year ahead of the general election, a strategy he successfully employed four years ago. Campaign finance records show that Pritzker deployed $8.2 million during the third quarter, with about $7 million of that going to ads. Pritzker had $24.7 million on-hand at the end of September, and the billionaire is more than capable of throwing down far more.

On the GOP side, the best-financed candidate by far is venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, who kicked off his campaign in early September with $10.8 million in contributions that mostly came from four California tech titans. Sullivan, who barely took in any more contributions after that launch, spent $800,000 and had $10 million on-hand.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, meanwhile, raised $895,000 for the quarter and had $1 million available. Businessman Gary Rabine was behind with $445,000 raised and had $415,000 to spend, while former state Sen. Paul Schimpf barely registered with a haul of just $60,000 and $75,000 in the bank.

NJ-Gov: Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has a new positive commercial that features various people seated behind his desk as a narrator asks, “What would you do if you were governor? Okay… after you met Springsteen.” The cast talks about their desire to pass progressive policies that include making college more affordable, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and implementing paid family leave, which Murphy then reveals he’s done “so far.” One guy, though, argues with the narrator’s choice of Jersey music hero, saying, “Springsteen? Frank Sinatra!” (Sorry, Bon Jovi fans.)

NV-Gov: Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, a far-right Republican who is reportedly under FBI investigation for alleged campaign finance violations, announced Tuesday that she was entering the primary to take on Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Fiore previously served in the Assembly, where she stood out for her desire to castrate pimps, belief that cancer victims could “flush” tumors out of their bodies with the magic of baking soda, and obsession with guns. She also attracted national attention in 2014 when she took to TV to defend the anti-government militant Cliven Bundy during his confrontation with the federal government. (His son Ammon Bundy is currently running for governor of Idaho.) Fiore briefly became majority leader after that year’s red wave gave GOP control for the first time in decades, but she was soon removed by Speaker John Hambrick for insubordination.

Fiore left the chamber in 2016 to run for the open 3rd Congressional District, a move that came just after she unveiled a “pin-up” wall calendar that featured a dozen photos of her posing with assault weapons. She struggled to gain traction, though, and ended up taking third place in the primary with 18%, well behind perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian’s 32%. Fiore wasn’t out of elected office for long, however, as she narrowly won a race for the Las Vegas City Council the following year.​​

NY-Gov: Siena College finds Gov. Kathy Hochul leading Attorney General Tish James 39-20 in a hypothetical Democratic primary, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 10% and 8%, respectively. So far only Hochul has announced a bid, though Williams formed an exploratory committee last month.

The school also tested a five-way contest involving disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is still the subject of plenty of chatter despite his team’s August declaration that he “has no interest in running for office again,” but it finds him well behind. Siena shows Hochul beating her old boss 31-17, with James in third with 14%.

Meanwhile on the Republican side, it appears that former state housing commissioner Joe Holland has taken his name out of contention for governor, as he’s instead filed paperwork for a potential run for attorney general.

VA-Gov: Democrat Terry McAuliffe is out with a direct-to-camera spot pushing back on Republican attacks over schools. McAuliffe tells the audience that he very much supports parents being involved in their children’s education and declares, “Glenn Youngkin’s taking my words out of context. I’ve always valued the concerns of parents.” He continues, “That’s why as governor we scaled back standardized testing, expanded pre-k, and invested a billion dollars in public schools.”

McAuliffe also uses a minute-long commercial to argue that Donald Trump’s actions after the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville led directly to the Jan. 6 attack, before featuring a clip of Youngkin saying, “I was honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement.” It then goes to footage of McAuliffe, who was governor in 2017, proclaiming, “I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”

The ad continues by playing video of Trump spreading lies about his 2020 defeat that leads into Youngkin saying, “So let’s just audit the voting machines.” The narrator ends by framing the race as a choice about “what kind of commonwealth our kids will inherit.”

House

CA-25: Former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill told Vanity Fair that she had decided against running for Congress in 2022, though she didn’t rule out a future bid for office. Hill, who is the subject of a long piece in the magazine covering her life since resigning in 2019 after a revenge porn attack, said, “Then I guess by November, next year, after the midterms, I can kind of take stock again.”

NE-01: In a stunning development, Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was indicted Tuesday for lying to federal investigators, hours after he released a bizarre, blurry video earlier that same morning saying an indictment was coming. Fortenberry had been targeted by the FBI as part of an investigation into Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, who used straw donors to illegally funnel $180,000 to four different Republican candidates, including $30,000 to the congressman’s campaign. (Chagoury agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine earlier this year but avoided jail time.)

According to prosecutors, an unnamed person cooperating with the FBI told Fortenberry that he’d been the recipient of illegal funds from Chagoury via a 2016 fundraiser in Los Angeles. However, Fortenberry never amended his FEC reports and, say prosecutors, repeatedly told investigators he’d never been made aware of the illegal contributions. Most remarkably, Fortenberry’s wife issued a statement saying her husband had spoken to investigators without his own attorney present.

Fortenberry has denied all wrongdoing and suggested—without evidence, of course—that he’s the victim of a political conspiracy. He faces a maximum of five years in prison for each of the three crimes he’s been charged with.

OH-15: We have a copy of the NRCC’s joint ad with Republican Mike Carey ahead of next month’s special election, and it unsurprisingly ties Democrat Allison Russo to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

OR-05, OR-06: Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales takes a look at the potential Republican field for the new 5th District, a constituency in the southern Portland suburbs and central Oregon that backed Joe Biden 53-44. Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, for his part, has yet to reveal if he’ll seek re-election in the new 5th District, which includes his hometown of Canby, or the 6th.

The 5th District field already includes one noteworthy Republican, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who announced in July before the new maps were drawn up. Chavez-DeRemer raised $185,000 in her inaugural quarter, self-funded another $65,000, and ended September with $195,000 in the bank. Army veteran Nate Sandvig entered the race the previous month, but he hasn’t gained much traction with donors; Sandvig brought in just $42,000 in the third quarter and had $95,000 on-hand. Schrader, meanwhile, had $3.3 million to defend himself.

Gonzales mentions as possible GOP candidates state Sen. Tim Knopp and former state Rep. Cheri Helt, but there’s no word on either of their interests. He also name-drops state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, whom some influential party figures are reportedly trying to recruit for governor, and 2020 nominee Amy Ryan Courser, who raised little last time but held Schrader to a 52-45 win.

Finally, Gonzales mentions another former Schrader foe, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith, as a possibility for the 5th or the 6th. Smith was the GOP nominee in 2014 but attracted very little money or attention, and the red wave didn’t stop Schrader from beating her by a convincing 54-39.

PA-08: 2020 Republican nominee Jim Bognet announced Tuesday that he would seek a rematch against Rep. Matt Cartwright, who is one of only seven House Democrats in a Trump seat.

Bognet, who served in the Trump administration as a senior vice president for communications for the Export-Import Bank, last year won a crowded GOP primary 28-24 against businessman Teddy Daniels, but he struggled in the general election. While the 8th District, which includes the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and northeastern Pennsylvania, swung hard in 2016 from 55-43 Obama to 53-44 Trump, Cartwright’s decisive 2018 win over a self-funding foe gave the GOP reasons to be pessimistic about beating him.

National Republicans didn’t get any more enthusiastic as the year went on, as they ended up spending very little to aid Bognet. The DCCC canceled its own TV reservations late in the campaign in a big sign of confidence, though its allies at House Majority did spend $860,000 to help Cartwright. Bognet himself tried to appeal for support with an October poll showing him down only 48-43 as Biden led 48-46 in the seat that included the future president’s childhood home of Scranton, but it was no use.

Ultimately, though, while Cartwright ended up winning 52-48, a margin almost identical to what Bognet’s survey found, it was Trump who carried the 8th District 52-47. Bognet soon filed a lawsuit arguing that Pennsylvania’s highest court had improperly extended the mail-in ballot deadlines to three days after Election Day, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected it in April.

Unless redistricting completely scrambles the playing field, Bognet will need to get through a primary rematch against Daniels, who posted a video on Jan. 6 of the rioters chanting with the caption, “I am here. God bless our patriots.” Daniels raised $270,000 during the third quarter and ended September with $210,000 in the bank. Cartwright himself brought in $485,000 during this time and had $1.3 million available.

PA-18: State Rep. Summer Lee on Tuesday launched her campaign to succeed longtime Rep. Mike Doyle, a fellow Democrat who announced his retirement from this safely blue Pittsburgh-based seat the previous day. Lee, who would be the first Black woman to represent the Keystone State in Congress, entered the race with the support of ​​Ed Gainey, who is all but assured to be elected mayor of Pittsburgh next month following his upset May Democratic primary win.

Lee, an attorney and community organizer, won her current post in 2018 after she demolished state Rep. Paul Costa in the primary by a 68-32 margin and won the general election unopposed. Lee, who was the first Black woman from southwestern Pennsylvania to serve in the legislature, soon established herself in the chamber as a prominent progressive.

WPXI reported earlier this month that Lee was planning to challenge Doyle for renomination, but she didn’t announce anything before he retired. Lee, however, filed FEC paperwork hours before the congressman made his plans known and hinted Tuesday that she was already intending to run, saying, “To be clear, I definitely did not decide to run yesterday after 1 p.m.”

Lee joins a nomination contest that includes professor Jerry Dickinson, who was seeking a rematch against Doyle after losing last year’s primary 67-33, and other Democrats may also get in. HuffPost mentions as possibilities state Rep. Austin Davis, Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, and Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, the uncle of neighboring Rep. and Senate candidate Conor Lamb. There’s no word yet, though, if either is interested.

P.S. Because Pennsylvania will be dropping from 18 to 17 congressional districts in 2022, the next version of this seat will inevitably be assigned a different number. There’s little question, though, that this will remain a safely blue Pittsburgh area constituency no matter what it’s called.

TX-35: Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s decision to run for the new Austin-based 37th District means that there will be an open seat race in the 35th, ​​which he represents now.  

Under the map the Republican legislature passed this week (see our TX Redistricting item above), the new 35th District largely retains its current configuration, a preposterous gerrymander that links the Austin area with San Antonio by means of a pencil-thin corridor along Interstate 35. This majority Latino constituency also remains safely blue turf: According to data from Dave’s Redistricting App, Joe Biden won the new 35th 72-26.

The first notable Democrat to make a move following Doggett’s proclamation was Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, who announced Tuesday that he’d formed an exploratory committee. Casar also unveiled endorsements from Austin Mayor Steve Adler and 2020 congressional candidate Wendy Davis, who previously hadn’t ruled out another bid for an Austin-based seat.

Another elected official from Texas’ capitol city, state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, also confirmed his interest. Rodriguez sought a promotion to the state Senate in a special election last year but lost the all-party primary to his fellow Democrat, former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, 50-34. (Eckhardt actually finished just a smidge under the majority she needed to win outright, but Rodriguez dropped out rather than force a runoff.)

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who hails from the San Antonio side of the new district, also says he’s thinking about running, and he may already be doing more than just contemplating it. The Austin American-Statesman writes that a late change to the redistricting plan placed Martinez Fischer’s home in the new 35th. Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman, whom the paper calls “architect of the new map,” says the move was made at Martinez Fischer’s request.

Axios, finally, name-drops Julián Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio before serving as Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. There’s no indication that the 2020 presidential candidate is interested in joining his identical twin, 20th District Rep. Joaquin Castro, in the House, though he did not respond for Axios’ story.

Ballot Measures

Minneapolis, MN Ballot: Sen. Tina Smith announced Tuesday that she was opposing Amendment 2, a Nov. 2 ballot measure that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a “Department of Public Safety” and shift more control of the department from the mayor to the City Council. This race has divided high-profile Minnesota Democrats: On the yes side are Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison, while Smith joins Gov. Tim Walz, fellow Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Jacob Frey in opposition.

Mayors

Albuquerque, NM Mayor: Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales’ first negative TV ad ahead of the Nov. 2 general election stars Tryna Verbeck, the wife of a badly wounded police officer, going after Democratic incumbent Tim Keller on crime.

Boston, MA Mayor: Suffolk University’s first poll of the Nov. 2 general election finds City Councilor Michelle Wu lapping her more moderate colleague, Annissa Essaibi George, by a 62-30 margin, which is similar to the 57-25 Wu lead MassInc found last week.

Essaibi George’s allies at Bostonians for Real Progress, meanwhile, are hoping to dramatically change the state of the race by launching what the Boston Globe reports is a $125,000 ad buy arguing that Wu voted to “defund essential services during a pandemic.” The paper explains that this is a reference to Wu’s vote against the 2020 budget and that she “has called for allocating money away from the Boston Police Department, though she has shied from using the phrase ‘defunding.'”

Buffalo, NY Mayor: The write-in campaign of Mayor Byron Brown is up with another ad arguing that Democrat India Walton would be a threat to the city’s police force, which includes references to her 2014 arrest after a dispute with her co-worker. Walton, for her part, is up with her own spot where she argues she would “not fire police.”

Brown’s commercial, which is not yet online, once again claims that Walton’s plan to cut $7.5 million from the police budget would result in layoffs for 100 officers, a line he’s used in past spots. WGRZ, though, says that “laying off officers is not a part of this plan.” Walton herself used a news conference this week to also declare, “​​I will not be imposing any layoffs in the department at all.”  

The ad also mentions Walton’s arrest seven years ago after a colleague accused the future candidate of threatening to kill her at the hospital where they were both employed in 2014. Walton, for her part, has argued that she was the one being bullied by this co-worker, who has not been named in media reports, and has declared, “The notion that I go around threatening people’s lives is absurd.” Walton’s team also says she was not arrested as a result of the alleged incident, but was later for not answering a summons. A judge ultimately issued an order of protection against Walton that required her to stay away from her colleague for six months.

Walton’s own spot, meanwhile, declares that Brown “is supported by Trump Republicans and developers,” while the Democrat is backed by “nurses, teachers, and our local Democratic leaders.” The narrator continues, “Brown’s campaign ads have been found false, filled with lies. Walton will make the city safer, not fire police.” The commercial concludes by arguing that the four-term incumbent has failed to “make things better” during his 15 years in office, while Walton will.

Minneapolis, MN Mayor: Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents the entire city of Minneapolis, on Tuesday issued a dual endorsement of former state Rep. Kate Knuth and activist Sheila Nezhad ahead of the Nov. 2 instant-runoff general election. Omar, who did not express a preference between the two candidates, also implored voters not to rank Mayor Jacob Frey at all on their instant-runoff ballots.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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