Campaign Cocktail: News and notes from the 2020 election race.

House Republicans Rush for the Exits

Don’t hang around the doors of Congress this fall—you might just get trampled. The current wave of Republican retirements has party strategists bracing for an exodus that could tighten the Democrats’ grip on the House in 2020.

On Thursday, Will Hurd of Texas became the ninth GOP Congress member to decide not to seek re-election next year. On Wednesday it was nine-term congressman and fellow Texan Mike Conaway. They joined Paul Mitchell of Michigan, Martha Roby of Alabama, Pete Olson of Texas, Rob Bishop of Utah, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Rob Woodall of Georgia. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania retired in January. Two more, Bradley Byrne of Alabama and Greg Gianforte of Montana, are running for different offices.

Hurd is the lone black House Republican. Roby and Woodall are among only 13 female GOP representatives in the House.

The planned departures are variously ascribed to today’s hyperpartisan political climate, the frustration of being the minority party and the struggle to respond to President Trump’s more divisive comments.

A similar flock of GOP quitters presaged the Democratic Blue Wave in last year’s midterms, and we can expect the pace to pick up after the August recess. The Hill reports:

“There are going to be a lot more [retirements] to come,” said one consultant who works for House Republicans. “Between people finding themselves having to actually work hard for the first time in their long, lazy careers and members who came in in the majority and now hate life in the minority, it’s just getting started.”

N.C. Common Cause Takes On Gerrymandering’s ‘Michelangelo’

Oral arguments in a case that could affect the 2020 election wrapped up last week in one of the first state-level challenges to voter district maps since the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering decision in June.

Truthdig correspondent Chris Storm reports that North Carolina’s Common Cause chapter led the charge in Raleigh, N.C., advocating against redrawn district maps enacted by the state Assembly in 2017.

Common Cause presented a remarkable piece of evidence found in the hard drives of the late Thomas Hofeller, once called “the Michelangelo of the modern gerrymander.” Hofeller, a Republican operative, conducted a study the Assembly allegedly used to create the 2017 maps. Expert witnesses for Common Cause testified that the maps on his hard drive are identical to those of the Legislature, and that racial and partisan data were used in determining the district boundaries.

A victory in the case could lead to newly drawn House and Senate district maps in time for the 2020 election, which could affect election results. “I believe this will be the most consequential case in the history of the state,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina.

Post-trial briefs are due to the North Carolina Superior Court by Aug. 7. A ruling is expected later this year.


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