What's News

CA-21: Democrats moved closer to nabbing their 40th House pickup. Engineer TJ Cox (D) leads Rep. David Valadao (R) by 438 votes after a Monday update from Kern County. “A little under 3,000 ballots remain in Kern, where Cox has secured 61 percent of the vote to date,” but not all fall in the district. Kings County, which favors Valadao, “has 1,577 uncounted ballots remaining. An elections official said Monday that the next update would come around” 7:30 p.m. ET. Fresno County, which has split fairly evenly, “has 15,200 ballots left to count. It will update again on Wednesday. Tulare County has a little less than 8,000 ballots to count, but only a small portion of these are likely to fall in the 21st.” (Fresno Bee) The AP retracted its election night call for Valadao.

MS SEN: Polls close at 8 p.m. ET in the special election between Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) for the remainder of former Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) term ending in 2020. (Hotline reporting) Hyde-Smith led Espy 51-46 percent in a Change Research poll (Nov. 25; 1,211 voters). (TwitterPresident Obama recorded a robocall that ran in Mississippi on Monday night, though he did not mention Espy by name. Obama: "My name may not be on the ballot, but our future is, and that’s why I believe this is one of the most important elections in our lifetime. Make a plan to vote tomorrow. I’m counting on you to be in line to vote before polls close.” (Hotline reporting) “At his first rally of the day in Tupelo,” President Trump “told the crowd that the runoff would ‘decide whether we build on our extraordinary achievements or whether we empower the radical Democrats to obstruct our progress.’ … Later, at a Christmas-themed rally in Biloxi, where Trump emerged on the stage from a chimney, he said that Democrats want to impose an ‘extreme job-killing agenda’ and that a vote for Espy would be a vote for a ‘Democrat agenda of socialism and open borders.’” (AP) “More than 100 Republican operatives and field staff flocked to the state in the final stretch, spread out between” Biloxi, Tupelo, and Jackson. “The RNC made more than half a million voter contacts since Election Day. … Espy’s campaign has knocked on 100,000 doors during the runoff, and volunteers have made more than 650,000 phone calls. … They’ve also sent out hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail and distributed sample ballots in every county. … GOP groups aired more than $3 million in ads for the runoff, with most of the spending coming from the NRSC and Senate Leadership Fund. … Democrats have run $2 million in ads between Espy’s campaign and Senate Majority PAC.” (Politico) “Black Democrats have been reaching voters through a combination of canvassing, social media messaging and direct contact at churches.” (Washington Post)

NY-27: Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray (D) conceded on Monday to Rep. Chris Collins (R), but vowed to stay involved in politics. “Alluding to Collins' current legal situation, McMurray suggested there might be another opportunity for him to run ... before Collins' term is over.” McMurray: "When the time is right, I will run for office again.” (Buffalo News)

LEADERSHIP RACES: Rep.-elect Gil Cisneros (D-CA 39) announced he would keep his campaign pledge to oppose Nancy Pelosi for speaker, though he said he has “tremendous respect” for her contributions to the party. (release) But the anti-Pelosi push “is sputtering amid disagreements among her Democratic critics … Some sources close to the group have privately accused one of its leaders,” Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA 06), “of freelancing — publicly pushing a potential compromise with Pelosi that not all members support or were even aware was on the table. … Moulton suggested that replacing her top lieutenants,” Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD 05) or Jim Clyburn (D-SC 06), “with new leaders might win her the group’s support.” (Politico)

NEW JERSEY: Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R) declined to rule out a run against Reps.-elect Tom Malinowski (D-07) or Mikie Sherrill (D-11). Kean lives in NJ-07. (New Jersey Globe)

MI SEN: Trump is considering Army veteran John James (R), who lost a bid for Senate this year, to replace United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. (Bloomberg) “That could affect recruiting for 2020, as the Michigan Republican is a potential challenger to” Sen. Gary Peters (D). (National Journal)

LA GOV: Sen. John Kennedy (R) “has given himself a Friday deadline to announce whether he will challenge Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in the 2019 election.” Kennedy Chief of Staff Preston Robinson “didn't tip the boss's hand Monday if he knows what will happen.” Robinson: “Sen. Kennedy will be making an announcement before Dec. 1. He's in Washington with votes scheduled this week and will return to Louisiana late this week." (Monroe News Star)


Our Call

If Cindy Hyde-Smith wins the special election in Mississippi today as expected, it'll be because partisanship trumped the contest's racial undertones in an increasingly polarized electorate. While Mike Espy has addressed Hyde-Smith's racially charged comments about sitting "front row" at a "public hanging," he usually brings them up in the context of appealing to moderate Republicans' business sense rather than to the hyper-charged Democratic electorate. Look no further than Republican Charles Evers, the brother of the late civil rights icon Medgar Evers, who said he will "support Cindy Hyde-Smith" because "she didn’t say anything about black folks." -- Zach C. Cohen

If Republicans are able to lure Tom Kean Jr. into the NJ-07 race against Tom Malinowski it would be the first step in a long way back from devastating losses. Kean has high name recognition as both a legislative leader and son of widely liked former Gov. Tom Kean; he has run for federal office before (in 2006, in a loss against Sen. Bob Menendez); and he is of a moderate strain that fits the state. If suburban Republicans can come back in 2020, this seat will be near the top of the NRCC target list, especially with Kean running. -- Alex Clearfield


Fresh Brewed Buzz

Rep.-elect Kendra Horn (D-OK 05), who ousted Rep. Steve Russell (R) in a shocking upset, had just five full-time campaign staffers and a budget so tight she had to go off the air for three weeks beginning in late September to save resources. (Hotline reporting)

“‘Fox & Friends’ Fed Interview Script to Trump’s EPA Chief, Emails Show” (Daily Beast)

Actor and 2018 CA-26 candidate Antonio Sabato (R) will host the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the White House this week. (The Hill)

“Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has tapped his press spokesman Daniel Scarpinato," a former NRCC press secretary, "to be his new chief of staff to replace Kirk Adams, who announced his resignation” Monday. (Arizona Capitol Times)

“[E]arly this year the group No Labels, a centrist advocacy organization, contemplated a plan to kneecap” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s “political standing. In one exchange, a top official with the group even laid out the pros and cons of turning the California Democrat into a ‘bogeyman.’” (Daily Beast)

"As House Democrats meet behind closed doors Wednesday to start voting, it seems increasingly likely that Pelosi’s team will emerge intact. And that’s causing much maneuvering, as up-and-comers position themselves to be next in line once Pelosi’s generation eventually steps down." (AP)

“Bankers' pot push gets boost from blue wave, Sessions ouster” (Politico)

“Rep. John Delaney (D-MD 06) confirmed that he has nominated” restaurateur Jose Andres for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Washington Post)

Rep.-elect Susan Wild (D-PA 07) “will be sworn in Tuesday evening.” She will hold former Rep. Charlie Dent’s (R) old PA-15 seat for the remainder of this Congress. (Allentown Morning Call)

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) “is seeking a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee even after she clashed with” incoming Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ 06). (Politico)

When a lobbyist who works for MLB could not attend a fundraiser put on by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in mid-November, the league was asked instead to donate money to Hyde-Smith.” (Yahoo Sports)

Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis (R) named Shane Strum as his chief of staff. Strum, who is currently senior vice president for Memorial Healthcare System, was chief of staff to Rep. Charlie Crist (D-13) during the latter half of his governorship, when he was a Republican and independent. He is a former chairman of the Broward County Republican Party. (release)

“Come January, three of Tennessee's five most powerful officials will hail from just one mid-state county, Williamson County. “Gov.-elect Bill Lee (R) … U.S. Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn (R),” and new state Speaker Glen Casada (R) all “call the affluent GOP stronghold south of Nashville home.” (Times Free Press)


Rooster's Crow

The House will meet at noon. The Senate will meet at 10 a.m.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump will participate in a White House Christmas Reception at 3:45 p.m.


Swizzle Challenge

Zero women have been elected to represent Mississippi in the Senate.

Nicholas O'Boyle won yesterday's Swizzle. Here's his challenge: "Which current Senator was elected to their current seat as both a Democrat and a Republican?"

The 3rd correct email gets to submit the next question.



“On Capitol Hill,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) “reputation is not all sweetness and light; she is said to be brutal to work for. ... She acknowledged that she is demanding: ‘I have high expectations.’" (New York Times)


"Find me that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning." -- Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada)


Justice Gilpin-Green, Wake-Up Call! Editor

Editor: Kyle Trygstad
Digital Editor: Justice Gilpin-Green
Staff Writers: Zach C. Cohen, Ally Mutnick, Hanna Trudo, Madelaine Pisani
Fellows: Nia Prater, Drew Gerber


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