An oops moment for Democrats in touchy Texas primary

Sometimes a misfired email is just a misfired email, and sometimes — well — there's a bit more to the story. 

The DCCC, the campaign arm of House Democrats, sent out a corrected version of a press release Wednesday morning after implying support for a candidate who is still facing off against a fellow Democrat in an unusually sensitive primary runoff. 

That candidate, Texas Democrat Lizzie Fletcher, was initially included on a press release including the organization's “red-to-blue” candidates —  Democrats running in competitive red districts who receive priority support from the national group, several of whom are also locked in competitive primaries.

A corrected version of the press release, sent six minutes later, omitted Fletcher's name. 

A DCCC aide told NBC News "This was a communications staff drafting error in a press release.” 

But it's not exactly a secret that the DCCC would prefer Fletcher as the Democratic nominee in the race, rather than her primary runoff opponent, Laura Moser.

Earlier this year, the DCCC circulated opposition research against Moser, who was once quoted remarking negatively about an area of Texas. 

Despite those efforts, Moser advanced to the runoff against Fletcher, which will be held May 22. 

The winner will face Republican John Culberson, who's viewed as vulnerable and whose seat would be a prime pickup for Democrats. 

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Jason Kander rules out 2020, runs for Kansas City mayor instead

Jason Kander became one of the first big (well, bigish) names to pull himself off the long list of potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Monday, announcing he will instead run for mayor of his hometown, Kansas City, Missouri.

Kander, an Afghanistan veteran and former Missouri secretary of state, spent 2017 and 2018 crisscrossing the country to campaign for Democrats and speak to local progressive groups, making more visits to the early presidential primary states than perhaps any other potential 2020er.

By late April, his team boasted to NBC News that Kander had visited 39 states to participate in 156 Democratic events, including 10 trips to New Hampshire and 13 to Iowa. The 37-year-old also has a book coming out in August, which draws on his experience in the Army and as one of the first millennials elected to statewide office.

But Kander, who lost a Senate bid in 2016, decided to aim further down the ballot and vie for Kansas City's open mayorship in the off-year 2019 election. “The next mayor has the opportunity to shape the future of Kansas City for generations,” Kander said in a statement. “I’m running because I am up for that challenge.” 

Maryland primary early voting hits new record in advance of Tuesday's contest

When early voting polls in Maryland closed on June 21st, approximately 221,000 ballots had been cast. That is a 56% increase from the 2014 primary early voting numbers.

This primary season, 7 percent of eligible voters in Maryland voted early. 2010 was the first time early voting was allowed in Maryland during a primary and only 2.4 percent of eligible voters took advantage of it.

Of the 2,143,288 eligible Democratic voters, 170,356 opted to vote ahead of election day (7.9 percent) while only 47,736 of the 1,003,153 Republican voters casted their ballot early (4.8 percent) .

Mileah Kromer, Director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, told wtop “We won’t know until Election Day whether this is an increase in new voters or a redistribution of voters — folks who would have voted on Election Day, but then decided to take up the convenience of early voting.” She also cautioned against crediting this surge to increased voter enthusiasm until the polls close tomorrow. 

Texas Dem's viral campaign video closes in on 1.9 million views on Youtube

Texas House Democratic candidate MJ Hegar got quite a bit of attention last week when she released a web video portraying the different stages of her life through a series of opening and closing doors. 

The cleverly-shot three and a half minute video outlines her escape from an abusive household, her career in the Air Force and her efforts to push the Pentagon to change its policy excluding women from ground combat. 

Hegar describes "opening, pushing, and sometimes kicking through every door that was in my way" in the spot, which has been called one of the best of the cycle and has even won praise from "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Hegar is challenging GOP Rep. John Carter, who has held the seat for more than a decade. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates this race as "Likely Republican."

The ad has now been viewed nearly 1.9 million times on Youtube. You can check it out below.

Poll: Cruz leads O'Rourke by five points in TX-SEN

In the highly anticipated Senate race in Texas, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is ahead of Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by five points, a new poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune finds.

The poll released Monday found that 41 percent of Texans say they support Cruz, compared with 36 percent who are backing O’Rourke. Another two percent support Libertarian Neal Dikeman and 20 percent said they would either vote for someone else (3 percent) or said they have not thought about it yet (17 percent).

The race for Texas governor is not as close. In this survey, Republican incumbent Greg Abbott had 44 percent of the vote while his Democrat challenger, Lupe Valdez, had 32 percent.  

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll was conducted in June 2018  and has a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.

Pew poll: More voters than ever say they'll base midterm vote on party control of Congress

A record 68 percent of registered voters say that party control of Congress will be one of the top factors in their decision when they head to the polls in November, a new poll from the Pew Research Center finds.

What’s more, for 60 percent of voters, casting their ballot will serve explicitly as a referendum either for (26 percent) or against (34 percent) President Donald Trump. That’s also a record in the history of Pew’s polling.

The poll’s findings underscore the stakes for the 2018 midterms, as Trump faces down the first midterm cycle of his polarizing presidency.

With a tense political climate also comes record high enthusiasm from both Democratic and Republican voters with  51 percent of registered voters expressing increased interest in these elections; that is the highest it has been in at least 20 years. 

Unlike in some midterm cycles, in which one party records much higher enthusiasm ahead of the midterm contests, Republican voters’ enthusiasm is not far behind their Democratic counterparts. Fifty-five percent of those favoring Democratic control of Congress say they’re more enthusiastic than usual about the midterms than usual, versus 50 percent of those who favor a Republican-led Congress who say the same.

The Pew Research Center also found that voters want candidates to discuss immigration and health care, with 19 percent of registered voters stating immigration is a top priority for them.

The live-caller Pew survey was conducted June 5-12 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. 

Mark Murray
Shaquille Brewster

Dems get some good polling news in two key Senate races

Democrats on Wednesday received some good polling news for key 2018 Senate races, with their incumbents ahead in West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In West Virginia, a Monmouth poll shows Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., leading Republican Patrick Morissey among likely voters assuming a standard midterm turnout (50 percent to 43 percent), as well as assuming a Democratic surge (51 percent to 42 percent).

And in Wisconsin, a Marquette Law School poll has Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., ahead of GOP challengers Leah Vukmir (49 percent to 40 percent among registered voters) and Kevin Nicholson (50 percent to 39 percent).

For the August GOP primary, Nicholson gets 37 percent to Vukmir’s 32 percent.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who’s up for re-election in November, has a job rating of 49 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove.

Among the Democrats vying for the nomination to take Walker on, State Superintendent Tony Evers earned 25 percent with none of the other nine (yes, nine) gubernatorial candidate breaking single digits. A third of Democratic primary voters remain undecided. 

(The Monmouth poll was conducted June 14-19, and it has an overall margin of error at 3.8 percentage points. The Marquette Law poll was conducted June 13-17, and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 4.0 percentage points.) 

A look at TV ad spending in the nation's top GOV races

Yesterday, we took a look at the ad spending (TV, radio) in the top Senate contests.

And today, we took a look at the ad spending in some of the key gubernatorial races in the country. 

Check it out here:

Here are the four cities vying to host Democrats' 2020 convention

The Democratic National Committee has whittled down the list of cities it is considering to host the party's 2020 national convention to four cities, the DNC announced Wednesday. 

The finalists for the July 13-16 presidential nominating convention are: Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, and Miami Beach, Florida. 

Monday was the deadline for cities to submit proposals to the DNC, after which four cities on an earlier list were removed from consideration. Those removed included: New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Birmingham, Alabama. 

The decision process is expected to take months, with party officials beginning site visits later this summer and into the fall. Denver hosted Democrats' 2008 convention, when they officially nominated Barack Obama for the first time. 

Mark Murray

Dems outspending GOP in competitive Senate races (except Florida)

Less than five months until Election Day, Democrats are outspending Republicans over the TV and radio airwaves in the most competitive Senate contests, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.

The one exception, however, is in Florida, where Republicans and Rick Scott have outspent Democrats and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., by nearly a 5-to-1 ratio, $17.2 million to $3.1 million. (But that’s down from the GOP’s nearly 50-to-1 advantage a month ago.)

Here’s the ad-spending data as of June 18, 2018: 

Presented without comment: A dumpster fire in MN-SEN

Here at the NBC News political unit, we see a lot of campaign ads. 

So, we'll just .. present this one (from Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Richard Painter) without comment, because it's ... well, it's something.