State Rep. Brian Elder faces Republican Timothy Beson for 96th House seat in Bay County

BAY CITY, MI – Voters in Michigan’s 96th House District in Bay County will decide the race between incumbent state Rep. Brian Elder and Republican challenger Timothy Beson.

The 96th District covers areas in central and southern Bay County such as Bangor Township, the cities of Bay City and Essexville, Bangor, Hampton, Frankenlust, Merrit, Monitor, Portsmouth and Kawkawlin Townships.

Elder holds a law degree from the UCLA School of Law, according to Vote 411. Elder is Democratic vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee and is a member of the Judiciary Committee. He is chair and co-founder of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus.

According to Beson’s campaign website, he is a lifelong resident of Bay County and the owner of Beson’s Market. He holds a degree in business management from Saginaw Valley State University and is serving as a school board member for Bangor Township Schools.

Beson won the right to face Elder after coming out ahead of two other Republican candidates – Allen Bauer and Martin Blank – during the August primary election.

MLive Media Group has partnered with the League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information and other voting resources to readers ahead of 2020 elections on Vote411.

Each candidate was given a list of questions relevant to the office for which they are campaigning. The voter guide can be accessed at vote411.org.

Beson did not respond to requests for comment by MLive about his candidacy and did not answer the Vote411 questions. According to his website, Beson’s campaign focuses on standing for parents and teachers in regards to a safe return to in-person instruction, supporting law enforcement and expanding skilled trades programs.

Here are the Vote411 responses given by Elder:

What is your position on the role of public funding of education in Michigan? What measures do you support/propose to improve educational outcomes and accessibility for all Michigan students?

Elder: The purpose of public education in the State of Michigan is create citizens who are knowledgeable about their form of government, understand math, science, literature and the arts, and are prepared to live as functioning adults. Preparing our students for their future careers is important, but so is making sure that we have citizens that can think critically and help our democracy thrive. We, as citizens, pay for such a system through our taxes, but we have shifted the tax burden away from the wealthiest and largest corporations onto the backs of average citizens. That is wrong.

What policies do you support to increase jobs and help Michigan residents improve their economic positions, in general and given the pandemic?

Elder: As a two-term State Representative, I have consistently voted for and sponsored legislation to help businesses compete and create jobs. With appropriate benchmarks, like increasing actual payroll and requiring that local dollars be used for local companies when possible, we can and should help to grow our economy here in Michigan. In addition, I have consistently supported policies like Prevailing Wage that ensure that

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Meyer says he’s centrist, Cattanach says he’s out of touch in Texas House rematch for key Dallas seat

One in a series about elections for the Texas House of Representatives.

State Rep. Morgan Meyer says the district he represents is centrist.

Because of that, the Republican lawmaker said he’s focused his five years in Austin on middle-of-the-road issues where he can work across the aisle with Democrats.

“We are not far to the left, we are not far to the right,” he said. “We are right in the middle.”

But his Democratic opponent Joanna Cattanach says that old line won’t work. House District 108 — which spans the Park Cities, Uptown, parts of downtown and Old East Dallas — has moved politically to the left and Meyer is “out of touch” with its needs on issues like access to abortion and preventing gun violence.

After coming within 220 votes of ousting Meyer two years ago, Cattanach said she’s back to finish the job in November.

“The issues that I fought for in 2018, did not change,” she said. “The district has become, frankly, even more socially liberal on many of these issues and they do want change.”

The political rematch is one of the most closely watched races in the November elections, partially because the district is one of the Democrats’ top targets this year.

The outcome could also have deeper implications for the battle for the Texas House, as Democrats try to take the chamber for the first time since 2001. Such a victory could dramatically alter the political landscape in Texas.

What’s the right fit for the district?

Meyer, a 46-year-old attorney, said the district’s politics remain the same as when he was elected. If voters need proof, just look at the last election.

In 2018, the district voted against Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Pete Sessions by more than 10 percentage points in their Senate and congressional races. Don Huffines, the Republican state senator that covered his district, was swept out of office.

But the district stuck with Meyer. Meyer said that’s because he’s worked well with other lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation like protecting special needs students in schools and criminalizing the unsolicited electronic sending of lewd pictures.

“I have the experience to do it and have shown over my entire career, the ability to work across the aisle with Democrats and Republicans to tackle the most serious issues of this state,” he said.

As a member of the public education committee last session, he said, he played a key role in the state’s marquee school finance bill, which increased school funding by $4.5 billion and put an additional $2 billion towards teacher pay raises.

“Those are the results my constituents want to see,” he said.

But Cattanach, a 39-year-old journalism professor and former reporter for The Dallas Morning News, said the voters she talks to are concerned about Meyer’s record on guns, access to abortion and other social issues.

In 2015, Meyer supported the “campus carry” bill which would allow people with a handgun license to conceal carry a weapon in most

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Will Karen Handel take back the House seat she won in 2017 and lost in 2018?

Georgia’s 6th Congressional District has seen one of the hardest turns left of any House seat during Donald Trump’s presidency.



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Longtime GOP Rep. Tom Price easily won reelection in 2016 before being plucked as Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary in what turned out to be a short-term gig. A June 2017 special election to replace Price ended in victory for Republican Karen Handel, a businesswoman who was once the deputy chief of staff to second lady Marilyn Quayle.

But Handel’s House tenure was short. She lost 18 months later to Democratic challenger and gun control activist Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, who at 17 was shot and killed following an argument at a gas station in Florida about loud music.

Now, Handel is seeking a rematch in a district that includes many of Atlanta’s affluent northern suburbs, once a GOP stronghold. The area was once represented by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Johnny Isakson, who later became a senator. But like the state of Georgia, the district is now much more mixed politically, with an influx of professional-class workers, immigrants, and retirees from the Northeast and elsewhere who once flocked to Florida.

The campaign of Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is heavily targeting the district, as are two Democratic Senate candidates in search of swing voters. That’s all likely to help McBath as she tries to prove she’s not a one-term wonder in Congress.

Officials with the House Republicans’ campaign arm aren’t particularly enthusiastic about Handel’s comeback bid, but they’re backing her as the GOP nominee. Handel’s views on social issues are deemed too conservative for the district. However, she does have name recognition, having been Georgia’s secretary of state from 2007 to 2010 before pursuing a gubernatorial bid, which she lost.

Tags: News, Campaign 2020, 2020 Elections, Campaigns, Karen Handel, Georgia, Congress, Republican Party

Original Author: David Mark

Original Location: Will Karen Handel take back the House seat she won in 2017 and lost in 2018?

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Republicans Aim to Flip Minnesota Blue-Dog Democrat’s House Seat

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — Representative Collin Peterson’s reelection campaign got a call this summer about some trouble downstate in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. Farmers supporting the 15-term Democratic congressman, who chairs the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, had put Peterson placards up along a stretch of highway. The problem, according to the worried campaign volunteer, was that they were sitting next to signs for President Donald Trump.

“What do you mean, a problem?” an aide asked the volunteer, according to Peterson’s retelling of the conversation. “How do you think he gets elected?”

The exchange sums up the question at the core of this closely watched race. Peterson may be a Democrat. But he’s pro-gun rights and pro-life, and a founding member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. “At one time there were a lot of people like me” in Congress, he says. “I’m the only pro-life Democrat left. I’m the only NRA A+ Democrat left.”

So far, his social and fiscal conservatism has helped him fend off Republican challengers as his largely rural district in Minnesota has gone deep red. Trump swept the district by 31 points four years ago, making this the most Republican House district in America still represented by a Democrat. Will enough Trump voters split their tickets this time around and send Peterson back to Washington? Republicans are betting no. They see 2020 as their moment to flip the seat.

Peterson has his most formidable competitor in 30 years in Michelle Fischbach, a former Minnesota lieutenant governor and the first woman president of the state senate, who’s been endorsed by Trump. She’s hoping that endorsement and her emphasis on low taxes, border security, law and order, and other conservative issues will help her overcome the challenge of going up against a veteran House Agriculture Committee member in a farm-heavy district.

“She’s raising money. She knows how to run a campaign, and she’s viewed as a better financial investment by outside donors than previous challengers have been,” says Kathryn Pearson, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Campaign analysts at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rate the race a toss-up.

Fischbach, 54, is touting a “fresh outlook.” She says voters “are tired of Collin Peterson. They are tired of Nancy Pelosi.” And she says Peterson “only votes with Republicans when it makes him look good in the district.” She’s also sought to tie the 76-year-old congressman to a “socialist” Democratic agenda. Peterson, who voted against impeaching Trump and who enjoys hunting bears and deer on his farm when not on Capitol Hill, says attempts to portray him as aligned with progressives such as Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez show that Republicans “have nothing else than to make up stuff.”

The two candidates aren’t far apart on fundraising, with Peterson taking in $1.23 million from January 2019 through July 22, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Fischbach brought in $1 million over the same period. She has significantly outspent Peterson, however.

But

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Montana presses to finish census, eyeing 2nd House seat

HELENA, Mont. — A complete count of Montana’s households could come with a big reward — a second seat in Congress and millions of federal dollars annually. But the 2020 census deadline remains in flux, making it uncertain if census takers will finish counting the vast, rural state.

Projections show that Montana would gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the census, but a study published earlier this month found that a shortened deadline for collecting data could cost the state the rewards. The findings gained urgency Monday when the Census Bureau pulled forward the deadline to Oct. 5.

The study, published by the American Statistical Association, found that under the Sept. 30 deadline, both Montana and Florida could lose seats in the U.S. House that they would have taken from California and Ohio were the deadline extended through October.

With over 1 million people, Montana’s congressional district is the nation’s most populous. Experts say a second House seat is a prize the state can scarcely afford to lose.

The situation is even more urgent for the state’s eight Native American tribes, which rely on an accurate census count for federal aid worth millions of dollars. Without an extended deadline, their tribal lands are poised for a historic undercount.

A judge gave Montana some hope when she issued a preliminary injunction on Sept. 25 to prevent the Trump administration from winding down census operations on Sept. 30. The last-minute ruling came after it emerged that top census officials believed a shortened deadline could hinder a full count.

But the ruling’s meaning remains unclear. On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced in a tweet that census takers would stop knocking on doors and questionnaires would be due Oct. 5, despite the ruling.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has appealed.

Kendra Miller with Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission said the uncertainty around the deadline has been “quite a rollercoaster” and she hopes Congress will extend it.

She said the census operations, hampered by the pandemic, have been “like a train heading for a crash.”

Recent Census Bureau data shows that less than 95% of Montana households have been counted, with just Louisiana and Alabama tallying less. In more than 30 states, over 98% of households have been counted.

“We continue to watch all these other states move closer and closer to complete enumeration, and we simply can’t get there on time,” Miller said.

Former Montana Rep. Pat Williams, in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1997, called a second congressional seat “essential.”

With House members limited to sitting on two committees, another for Montana could double the state’s impact in promoting legislation important to Montana, Williams said.

When Williams was first elected to the House, the state had two representatives. After the 1990 census, the state lost its second seat. Montana’s lone representative has typically served on the agriculture and natural resources committees — critical areas to the state.

“But Montana has more interests than agriculture and national parks,”

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Open House seat pits ‘new’ Texas against ‘old’

House Democrats think their Texas turnaround begins in places such as the 22nd Congressional District, which takes in a series of leafy Houston suburbs.



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Republican Rep. Pete Olson is retiring from the House after 12 years. The race to succeed him reflects changing demographics and voter attitudes in Texas that give Democrats hopes of breaking the longtime GOP political hammerlock on the Lone Star State.

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The Democratic nominee, Sri Preston Kulkarni, represents the sort of professional-class resident increasingly common in the 22nd Congressional District, which was once a bastion of oil wealth. Kulkarni earned a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and was a foreign service officer in the State Department for 14 years. Assignments took Kulkarni, 41, to Israel, Jamaica, Iraq, Russia, and Taiwan.

His Republican rival, Troy Nehls, has a more traditional background for a Texas politician. The Liberty University graduate, 52, is sheriff of Fort Bend County. Nehls enlisted in the Army Reserve at age 20, seeing tours of duty in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Iraq — and earning two Bronze Stars along the way. Back home, Nehls joined the police department in Richmond, Texas, and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown.

The district is ancestrally Republican, previously represented by libertarian icon Ron Paul, as well as Tom DeLay, who led House Republicans with an iron fist in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2012, voters there backed Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama 62%-37%. But in 2016, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a narrower margin, 52%-44%.

This is Kulkarni’s second try for the seat. He ran against Olson in 2018 and lost with 46.5% of the vote in the district’s closest race since Olson was first elected.

Tags: News, Campaign 2020, Texas, Campaigns, Congress, Democratic Party

Original Author: David Mark

Original Location: Open House seat pits ‘new’ Texas against ‘old’

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Crenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat

Democrats hoping to turn Texas blue see a tempting — if formidable — target in freshman Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawSecond night of GOP convention outdraws Democrats’ event with 19.4 million viewers GOP sticks to convention message amid uproar over Blake shooting The Hill’s Convention Report: Mike and Karen Pence set to headline third night of convention MORE (R).

Crenshaw’s seat is one of several in Texas Democrats are contesting this cycle, and the party is bullish that the 2nd District — and the state at large — are in play. But while several other Democratic House contenders are either competing for open seats or in districts with lesser-known incumbents, the party could face headwinds trying to unseat a rising GOP star in Crenshaw, who has been cast as a future Republican thought leader. 

On paper, the 2nd District is similar to other areas where Democrats saw massive gains in the 2018 midterms. It has a high number of college graduates, it includes parts of a major city — Houston — and the surrounding suburbs and about 44 percent of adults there are either Black or Hispanic, two demographics that lean Democratic.

But in 2018, as Democrats captured the House, they lost an open race to Crenshaw by more than 7 points. And the former Navy SEAL and combat veteran is running for reelection with a campaign account of over $4 million and a mushrooming national profile.

Democrats have thrown their support behind Sima Ladjevardian, a prominent Houston attorney and health care activist who fled Iran as a child, survived cancer and advised former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign, setting her up to run as a candidate with a compelling life story who reflects the growing diversity of the Houston area and Texas at large. 

“I want somebody who cares and can give back and can represent the people of the community, and I’m the person to take him out,” Ladjevardian said in an interview. “It’s my duty for a country that’s taken care of me to give back and make sure I do that.”

Democrats see promising signs that the district could be moving in their direction.

While Crenshaw won in 2018 by a healthy margin, O’Rourke lost there by just 1 point the same year. The party has also been able to narrow the margins in presidential races — the district went for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAnalysis: Biden victory, Democratic sweep would bring biggest boost to economy The Memo: Trump’s strengths complicate election picture Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in ‘promptly’ MORE (R-Ariz.) by 20 points in 2008 and now-Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: ‘There will be an orderly transition’ MORE (R-Utah) by 27 points in 2012, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence

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Minnesota candidate’s sudden death forces February special election for competitive House seat

The death of a minor party candidate running a long-shot bid for a competitive U.S. House seat in Minnesota will force a February special election, thanks to a bizarre quirk in state law.

Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate running against Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), died suddenly earlier this week. No cause of death was given.

His passing comes just 40 days before an election, close enough that state law will require the election be delayed.

The Minnesota state legislature passed a measure in 2013 that would delay a contest if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day.

The law came after the 2002 death of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D), who died in a plane crash that also killed his wife, his daughter and five others.

In the event of a death, the law requires a special election be held on the second Tuesday of February — in this case, Feb. 9, 2021, about a month after the new Congress is seated.

In a statement, Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) offered condolences to Weeks’s family — but he said the law is clear.

Major party status is conferred on parties whose candidate for statewide office receives at least 5 percent of the vote in a preceding general election. The Legal Marijuana Now Party won its status after their candidate for state auditor won 5.3 percent of the vote in 2018.

The delay will mean voters in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District — based in the St. Paul suburbs — will be without a member of Congress when the chamber reconvenes in January.

Craig, a first-term lawmaker swept to office in the midterm elections, won almost 53 percent of the vote in 2018. She faced Republican Tyler Kistner, a Marine Corps veteran who had raised just over $1 million through late July.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump’s refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: ‘What country are we in?’ Romney: ‘Unthinkable and unacceptable’ to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida The Hill’s Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day More than 50 Latino faith leaders endorse Biden MORE in the suburban district by just 1 percentage point in 2016.

Democrats in Minnesota and Washington were consulting with lawyers late Thursday as they sought to understand their legal options. National Republicans did not immediately return a request for comment.

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White House lawyer in running for seat on the Supreme Court


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump didn’t have to look very far for one of the contenders on his short list to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court: he’s been considering one of his own lawyers.

Kate Comerford Todd is a deputy White House counsel, helping navigate Trump’s White House through a thicket of legal issues. It’s a role she knows well, having served in the counsel’s office during the administration of the last Republican president, George W. Bush.


Todd, 45, is the only lawyer mentioned as being on Trump’s shortlist who has not previously been a judge, though she’s hardly unfamiliar with the high court, having clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. Her experience is otherwise diverse: she’s twice counseled the White House, worked at a prestigious law firm and represented the interests of a leading business advocacy group.



“She is absolutely brilliant,” said Helgi Walker, a partner at the Gibson Dunn law firm who also served as a Thomas law clerk and in the White House counsel’s office under Bush. “She is thoughtful, caring, considerate. She always tries to get it right, no matter what she’s doing.”


Trump has signaled that he intends to name a woman for the third Supreme Court selection of his administration. Amy Coney Barrett is emerging as the early favorite to be the nominee after he met with her Monday before leaving the White House to campaign in Ohio. Todd

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White House wants to announce Trump’s nominee to fill Ginsburg’s seat before first debate, source says

The White House wants to announce President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court before the first presidential debate less than two weeks away, a Trump adviser close to the process told CNN Saturday.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Bemidji, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


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President Donald Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Bemidji, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump’s first face off with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is scheduled for September 29.

Trump on Saturday said that Republicans have an “obligation” to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court “without delay,” as Democrats argue the Senate should refrain from confirming a replacement until after the next president is sworn in.

“@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

White House communications director Alyssa Farah told Fox News on Saturday that the administration will move in “Trump time” on a Supreme Court nominee and is “going to look to move in the coming weeks.”

“Well, whether we have a vote or not is really a question for the Senate and for Leader (Mitch) McConnell, but it is fully this President’s intention to do his job under the Constitution and to appoint someone to the seat,” Farah said, also claiming that the date of the November 3 election is “irrelevant” to the President’s desire to nominate someone to fill the vacant seat.

Ginsburg’s death — and McConnell’s subsequent statement Friday that “Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate” — opens up a political fight over the future of the court less than two months before Election Day on November 3. The vacancy on the bench creates what many conservatives view as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the makeup of the court from its current split of five conservative justices and four liberal justices to a more dominant 6-3 majority.

CNN previously reported that the President had been “salivating” to nominate a replacement for the liberal justice even before Ginsburg’s death Friday and the possibility of picking her successor has weighed on his mind, according to a source close to the President.

The source told CNN that Trump specifically has said he would “love to pick” federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a favorite among religious conservatives, but doubts he’ll secure support from the US Senate.

Barrett is among Trump’s list of 20 potential conservative nominees he released earlier this month in an attempt to galvanize his base.

A senior administration official told CNN that the White House is prepared to move “very quickly” on putting forward a nominee to replace Ginsburg once Trump signals his intentions.

In

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