Four big takeaways from Tuesday's elections

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Notes from Tuesday's elections:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is breathing easier after surviving two scares. In Kentucky, the count is finally done from last week's primary and former fighter pilot Amy McGrath held on to defeat state legislator Charles Booker. McGrath is unlikely to beat Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in the general election, but most Democratic operatives think her moderate posture and military background give her a better chance than Booker had — and she's good at fundraising, which might mean that some Republican money will have to be diverted to Kentucky to stop her. McGrath, whose main political credential is losing a House race two years ago, isn't exactly a known winner, and Booker picked up plenty of late momentum. A guarantee: If McGrath falls just a bit short, the more liberal side of the party will think Booker would've won. Will that be true? We won't know.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, former Governor John Hickenlooper survived a gaffe-filled final month of campaigning to win his primary. National Democrats had pushed hard to recruit Hickenlooper, who enters the general election as probably a slim favorite to defeat incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner. This is likely a must-win for Democrats if they hope to reach a Senate majority. What's less clear is whether Hickenlooper is that much stronger than some of the other candidates who dropped out once he entered. This wasn't a situation like Montana, where there was only one contender, Governor Steve Bullock, who might give Democrats a chance. 

The biggest news on Tuesday was an upset in a Colorado Republican House primary, with Lauren Boebert, a businesswoman and conspiracy-theory enthusiast, surprising incumbent Representative Scott Tipton. Boebert is not quite a sure thing to hold the district for Republicans, but she's favored — and it now appears that there will be at least a handful of QAnon believers in the Republican conference next year. The big statistic? Dave Wasserman has it

Fact: when President Trump took office in January 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House. 

Since then, 115 (48%) have either retired, resigned, been defeated or are retiring in 2020.


We'll see what happens, but the House Freedom Caucus is going to be six years old in January. It's about time for a new splinter group to form and declare that the old one is a bunch of sellouts, just as the Freedom Caucus did to the previous leading-edge conservative group in the House. And unless something changes, the new group will be successful at getting other House Republicans to play along, even if they're not successful at actually enacting any conservative policies. 

Finally, in Oklahoma, voters narrowly approved a ballot measure to accept expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This will leave only 13 states that have failed to adopt it. Obamacare is only moderately popular, but the Medicaid expansion is simply a great deal for states, and most importantly it's a one-way street: No state that has accepted it has since revoked it. So the most likely outcome is that, eventually, Wisconsin and North Carolina and Florida and even Texas will have some combination of circumstances that make it happen. And once they've added the expansion, the change will likely stick. 

1. Seth Masket at Mischiefs of Faction on the Colorado Senate primary and campaigns versus fundamentals.

2. Also at Mischiefs: Nandini Deo on lockdowns and the protests.

3. Tom Pepinsky on the increasing partisan divide about the virus.

4. Scott Wingo at the Monkey Cage on China and debt relief for poor nations

5. Ariel Edwards-Levy on public opinion about wearing masks.

6. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Michael R. Strain on what Congress should do about unemployment insurance

7. Fred Kaplan on the Russian bounties story.

8. And David Corn on the experts trying to ensure that U.S. elections don't end in chaos this year.

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