Pluribus AM: Uncalled races in AZ, NV; legislative leaders quit in MS, IL; KS grocery tax cut gets a boost

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Good morning, it’s Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. In today’s edition, Dems dig out from 2010 hole; uncalled races in Ariz., Nev.; legislative leaders in Ill., Miss. call it quits:

Top Stories

MIDTERM ELECTIONS: For the first time since 2010, state Democrats notched serious and substantial wins in territory Republicans had held for decades. Democrats will hold total control in Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland and Massachusetts, while votes are still being counted in Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Hampshire. There’s a long road ahead, but this year’s midterms were unquestionably good for state Democrats. (Pluribus News)

UNCALLED RACES: Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) leads former television journalist Kari Lake (R) by 13,000 votes, or 0.6%, with about 70% of the vote counted in the race for governor. (Arizona Republic) In Nevada, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) leads Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) by 34,000 votes, almost 4%, with 83% of the votes in. Clark County still has 15,000 mail-in ballots to count. Washoe County has 60,000 ballots to process and Clark County has 84,000 left to get through. (Nevada Independent)

WINNERS: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has won re-election, the AP projected on Wednesday. Kelly led Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) 49%-48%. (Associated Press) Oregon Gov.-elect Tina Kotek (D) fended off former House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R), The Oregonian projected on Wednesday. Kotek led Drazan 47%-44%. 

MEDICAID: Western states want federal permission to enroll eligible children in Medicaid from birth to 5 years old. Oregon has won federal approval to do so when pandemic emergency orders end next year, Washington has asked permission to do the same, and California lawmakers have approved a measure that would enroll those children beginning in 2025. (Kaiser Health News)

KANSAS: State revenue forecasters said Kansas would bring in an extra $1.2 billion over the next two years, giving Gov. Kelly the room to accelerate a repeal of sales taxes on food. (Sunflower State Journal) Grocery tax repeals are emerging as a new trend ahead of next year’s legislative sessions.

NORTH CAROLINA: Legislative leaders will wait for 2023 to craft a Medicaid expansion program rather than trying to negotiate a bill before the General Assembly’s term ends in December. The House and Senate approved competing bills to expand Medicaid earlier this year. (Associated Press)

WYOMING: A state legislative committee has advanced a measure seeking to give the state power to permit and license rare-earth mineral mining. Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality would apply to take over for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which the legislature says will entice more mining. (Casper Star Tribune)

OHIO: Abortion rights advocates are planning a ballot measure to include the right to an abortion in Ohio’s constitution. Supporters said they will act sooner rather than later after Republicans won supermajorities in the legislature and a majority on the state Supreme Court. (Ohio Capital Journal)

TENNESSEE: House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R) and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R) have introduced a measure barring gender-affirming care for minors. The bill, H.R. 1, would allow minors or their parents to sue a health care provider for damages. It would allow a minor to bring a civil action against a parent who consented to surgery or treatment. (Nashville Post)

FLORIDA: U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) will become the 13th president of the University of Florida after winning final approval from the Board of Governors on Wednesday. Sasse’s compensation package will amount to about $1.6 million a year. Sasse has not officially resigned from the Senate yet. (Associated Press)

In Politics

COLORADO: Colorado voters have narrowly approved a ballot measure allowing adults to possess, grow and distribute psychoactive plants and fungi. It is the second state after Oregon to legalize psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in so-called “magic mushrooms.” (Pluribus News)

ILLINOIS: Rep. Chuy Garcia (D) will challenge Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) next year. Lightfoot also faces Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D), who has support from the powerful Chicago Teacher’s Union. Johnson said he would not step aside for Garcia. (Chicago Sun-Times) State House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R) will not seek re-election to his leadership post after Republicans failed to break Democratic supermajorities. (Chicago Sun-Times)

MISSISSIPPI: State House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) will not seek re-election next year. Gunn is the first and only Republican to have won the speakership since Reconstruction. He has held the job since Republicans reclaimed the majority in 2010. (Y’all Politics)

OHIO: State Republican Party chairman Bob Paduchik will not seek a new term after his party swept to power in statewide offices. Paduchik managed former President Donald Trump’s campaigns in the Buckeye State. (Columbus Dispatch)

FLORIDA: Leon County Republican Party chairman Evan Power will run to head the Republican Party of Florida. Power is the head of the Chairman’s Caucus. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) passed him over in 2018 to support state Sen. Joe Gruters (R). Gruters has not said whether he will seek a new term. (Florida Politics)

By The Numbers

101,195: The number of votes Ammon Bundy received in his independent campaign for governor in Idaho. Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy, has been involved in two different armed standoffs with federal agents, in Nevada and Oregon. (Pluribus News) Bundy took 31% in Boundary County, the home of the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff.

232: The number of current or former members of Venezuela’s military or Defense Ministry who have opened companies in Florida, a sign of how many Venezuelans have fled the country during the reigns of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro. (Orlando Sentinel)

Off The Wall

Voters in Hazelwood, Mo., have recalled the entire fire district board after a dispute over a 1995 contract with the neighboring town of Robertson. The cost of that contract has grown four-fold over the years, and has now put Hazelwood on the brink of bankruptcy. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Voters in Brown, Hardin and Madison counties in Illinois approved non-binding resolutions asking county officials to explore seceding from the state. The resolutions, versions of which passed in 23 other counties in 2020, want to create a new state separate from Chicago’s Cook County. (NBC Chicago) Voters in Morrow and Wheeler counties in Oregon approved resolutions to explore secession to join Idaho. (OPB)

Quote of the Day

“He will lose Virginia. Just like he’s lost two other times. And he’s going to bring us all down with him.”

Virginia Del. Tim Anderson (R), on former President Donald Trump. (Virginia Mercury)