Carlos Curbelo falls and Tri-Caucus members prepare to seize chairmanships.
Carlos Curbelo falls and Tri-Caucus members prepare to seize chairmanships.
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November 07, 2018
Michelle Luján Grisham Makes History, Maxine Waters Reclaims Her Gavel, and Gillum Fall Short
WHOSE HOUSE? Dems’ House. Democrats gained control of the House and several important governorships. Donald Trump faces a considerably more hostile political environment for the remainder of his term, and the increasingly older, white male GOP will face one of the most diverse Congresses in history. MADNESSThe president is tweeting threats and accusations of fake news this morning. STACEY ABRAMS… Has not conceded. With nearly all votes counted, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp enjoys a slim lead. But Abrams has vowed to push on in hopes of a runoff election -- which Kemp would oversee. ANDREW GILLUMConceded his race last night to Ron Desantis. As of this morning, Gillum was only trailing by .7% -- with a gap of just 56,000 votes -- prompting some to question his decision to concede. DEBT TO SOCIETY PAID… After voting decisively for Amendment Four, Florida will restore voting rights to 1.5 million citizens convicted of certain felonies after they have served their sentences, including prison terms, parole, and probationary periods. ANOTHER FIRSTColorado elected Jared Polis as Governor, making him the first openly gay man elected to the state’s top post. CRUZ TO VICTORY… Despite national attention and energy, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was able to fend off a challenge from Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke in a narrow victory. MOTEL 6… The hotel chain has agreed to pay up to $8.9 million to settle a lawsuit which alleged that it provided the information of Latino guests to immigration officials. INSERT SOMETHING CLEVER HERE… We’d love to start your Wednesday with something clever. But, after pulling an all-nighter, we got nothing! Instead, we’re simply kicking off your Wednesday with this...
  • People of color achieve historic wins, bracing for the most diverse Congress in history.
  • Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) eyes leadership spot.
  • Dems takes control of House; see the Tri-Caucus members likely to assume chairmanships.
  • The DOJ shifted election monitoring from Black to Hispanic counties.
  • FCC Chair Ajit Pai wants to put an end to those annoying robocalls.
  • Writer and activist Shaun King relaunches The North Star.
Film director Ava DuVernay filling out her absentee ballot last week.
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) after voting.
Hispanic Caucus Chair Makes History and Becomes First Democratic Latina Governor in the Country
Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham
, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, will become the first Democratic Latina Governor of New Mexico and in the U.S. Her historic win flips the New Mexico Governor’s mansion from red-to-blue for the first time since 2002. With 98% of the vote reporting, the 58-year-old lawyer defeated her Republican opponent with a decisive 57% of the vote. Luján Grisham will replace Republican Governor Susana Martínez, who also made history in 2010 when she became the first Latina Governor ever elected in the U.S. The Congresswoman's historic win was a silver lining in a night of tough losses for other candidates of color hoping to make history. More on that below. As of Wednesday morning, the only other Governors of color in the U.S. are Hawaii Democrat David Ige, who won his re-election bid Tuesday night; Puerto Rico’s Democratic Governor Ricardo Rosselló; and Democrat Lou Leon Guerrero, who was elected the first female Governor of the U.S. territory of Guam. Dems claimed gubernatorial victories in Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Republicans held onto the Governor’s offices in Florida, Ohio, and Arizona. All three states will figure prominently in the presidential map in two years. The nation’s other closely watched Governor’s race, in Georgia, remained too close to call Tuesday night. More on Luján Grisham’s victory here.

Historic Lt. Governor Wins
In Minnesota, 39-year-old Democrat Peggy Flannagan will become the state’s first Native American Lt. Governor. The 2002 University of Michigan graduate is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe Tribe. She ran alongside Governor-elect Tim Walz. Flanagan was the first Native American woman to address the DNC as an official speaker in 2016. Wisconsin has elected 31-year-old Mandela Barnes as the state’s first Black Lt. Governor. The 2008 Alabama A&M graduate was the running mate of Governor-elect Tony Evers, who defeated incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker. Barnes will become just the second Black person elected to statewide office in Wisconsin. The former State Representative joked about the difference in age with Evers, who is more than twice as old as him at 67. They called themselves the "Tony and Mandela Show" on the campaign trail, working to engage younger voters. Florida has elected its first Latina Lieutenant Governor: Jeanette Nuñez. The Florida International University graduate ran as Ron DeSantis’ running mate who beat Democrat Andrew Gillum in the closely watched high-profile race. The 47-year-old Cuban American is currently Speaker Pro Tempore of the Florida House of Representatives. During the 2016 presidential race, the Republican endorsed Marco Rubio. At the time, she tweeted: “Wake up Florida voters, Trump is the biggest con-man there is, adding the hashtags #supportsKKK and “#nevertrump.” The tweet was deleted after Nuñez was named DeSantis’ running mate. More here.

Attorneys General Victories Make History
Keith Ellison was victorious in his bid to become the Attorney General of Minnesota. With about 94% of precincts reporting, Ellison had about 49% of the vote to about 45% for his Republican opponent Doug Wardlow. The outgoing Congressman and Deputy Chair of the DNC was dogged on the campaign trail by allegations of abuse by a former girlfriend -- he strongly denied the accusation. However, an investigation into the allegation that Ellison tried to drag her off a bed during a 2016 argument failed to produce the clear answers that many sought. The 55-year-old has said that he would approach the office as a tool to challenge certain Trump administration policies in court as other state Attorneys General have since Donald Trump's election. New York has elected 60-year-old Letitia James -- she becomes the first woman in New York to be elected as Attorney General, the first African American woman to be elected to statewide office, and the first Black person to serve as AG. In her victory speech in Brooklyn, the Howard University Law School grad vowed to continue the office’s scrutiny of the president. “He should know that we here in New York -- and I, in particular -- we are not scared of you,” she said. “And as the next Attorney General of his home state, I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul has been elected as the next Attorney General of Illinois, leading by a margin of more than 470,000 cast ballots claiming 54% of the vote. The 54-year-old Depaul University grad, who earned his law degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, is a former Cook County prosecutor. He was appointed for the state Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama's election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and has since become the chair of the judiciary committee. He campaigned on his experience as the son of Haitian immigrants and a survivor of prostate cancer, as well as his work on behalf of bipartisan criminal justice reform. In California, former Congressman Xavier Becerra was elected to his first full term as AG. He was confirmed to the post in 2017 by the California Legislature and became the first Latino to serve as CA Attorney General. And in New Mexico, Héctor Balderas was re-elected to his second term as AG.
Other AG races remain too close to call. In Nevada, Democrat Aaron Ford holds a slight edge over Republican Wes Duncan. In Connecticut, William Tong appears headed for victory, but the race remains too close to call. More here.
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA) on Tuesday advocating for Latinas and encouraging women to vote in the midterm elections.
Rev. Al Sharpton and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner on Monday in NYC.
Mike Espy Heads to Mississippi Runoff 
Democrat Mike Espy will face off with Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith in what is sure to be a close runoff election on November 27th. Mississippi uses what’s known as a jungle primary: Candidates from both parties run in the first race on Election Day. If one candidate gets 50% of the total vote, they win. But in this case, neither secured enough votes. Donald Trump is sure to play a role on the campaign trail as the two prepare to battle in round two. With 94% of the votes recorded, Espy is slightly behind Hyde-Smith at 40.6% to her 41.5%. More than 800,000 Mississippians cast votes -- 175,000 more people than voted in the 2014 midterms. The tally also surpassed the 2010 midterm turnout, when 788,000 voted. Espy represented the Jackson area in Congress for six years before going on to serve as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture from 1993 to 1994. The 64-year-old Howard University grad was forced to step down amid an ethics investigation after allegations that he improperly received airplane and sports tickets. He was eventually acquitted on all charges. However, it paused his career in politics, and he has been out of public office for nearly 25 years. He has spent the past decade as a private attorney. African Americans comprise nearly a third of Mississippi’s population, and the demographics are changing. As of 2011, 53.8% of Mississippi's population younger than one were persons of color. The winner of the runoff will serve the final two years of the term started by Republican Senator Thad Cochran, who retired in April. More here.

POC Have Historic Firsts in the House
Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, and they’ll go into the 116th Congress with an advantage of about a dozen seats. The win was propelled, in part, by women of color, some of whom made history with their election to the lower chamber. Having historic wins in the House were Democrats Sharice Davids, KS Third Congressional District, and Deb Haaland, NM First Congressional District, who are the first Native American women ever elected to Congress; Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat in MI’s 13th Congressional District, and Ilhan Omar, a Democrat in MN’s 5th Congressional District, who are the first Muslim women elected to Congress; Democrats Verónica Escobar, TX 16th Congressional District, and Sylvia García, TX 29th Congressional District, are the first Latinas elected to Congress from the Lone Star State; Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat in MA’s 7th Congressional District, who is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts; Jahana Hayes, a Democrat in CT’s 5th Congressional District, who is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Connecticut; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NY 14th Congressional District, who is the youngest member ever elected to Congress. Also making history was Joe Neguse, a Democrat in CO’s Second Congressional District, who is the first African American ever elected to Congress from Colorado. Other members of Congress-elects of color include former NFL players Tony González, a Republican in OH’s 16th Congressional District, and Colin Allred, a Democrat in the TX’s 32nd Congressional District who beat incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat in FL’s 26th Congressional District, who beat incumbent Congressman Carlos Curbelo; Donna Shalala, a Democrat in FL’s 27th Congressional District, who flipped the seat left open by retiring Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Chuy García, a Democrat in IL’s 4th Congressional District, who fills the seat left open by retiring Congressman Luis Gutíerrez; Lauren Underwood, a Democrat in IL’s 14th Congressional District; Steven Horsford, a Democrat in NV’s 4th Congressional District, who makes his return to Congress; and Antonio Delgado, a Democrat in NY’s 19th Congressional District. More on all the election results here.

Too Close to Call
There were several races that were too close to call as of this morning: California’s 39th Congressional District, where Republican Young Kim has a three-point edge over Democrat Gil Cisneros; Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where “mother of the movement” Democrat Lucy McBath appears to hold a slight edge over incumbent Republican Congresswoman Karen Handel; New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, where Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is down by less than 2,000 votes; Washington’s Third Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler leads Democrat Carolyn Long with 29% of the vote left to be tallied. And while some outlets have called California's 50th Congressional District for incumbent Congressman Duncan Hunter, the race between him and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar still has 33% of the vote left to be counted. Meanwhile, Republicans could potentially lose the only two Black people in their House Caucus. In Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Congresswoman Mia Love is trailing her Democratic opponent Salt Lake City Utah Mayor Ben McAdams by four points with 68% of the votes recorded. And in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, Congressman Will Hurd holds a less than 700 vote lead over Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones as of Wednesday morning. Stay tuned to The Beat DC. We’ll keep you posted. More here.
Carlos Curbelo Falls
Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo was defeated by Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Tuesday night despite the moderate Republican spending millions of dollars of his own money and with the aid of outside groups who spent more than a year on the ground. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. The 38-year-old, who has served in Congress since 2014, was targeted by the DCCC’s "Red-to-Blue" program. Heavy Democratic Party spending on a final TV blitz was enough to increase the name recognition of Mucarsel-Powell and introduce her to a sufficient number of voters to give Dems a crucial seat as seized control the House of Representatives. She announced her challenge to the incumbent after Curbelo voted to repeal Obamacare in a district that contains more than 90,000 Obamacare recipients. Curbelo had made fighting climate change a part of his platform; he was a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and introduced a bill to impose a price on carbon in July. This set him apart from many of his Republican colleagues. Mucarsel-Powell’s victory is a signal that Curbelo’s independent brand of conservatism wasn’t enough to overcome the demographics of a district trending toward Democrats. More here.

MSNBC's Mariana Atencio getting ready for midterm election coverage last week. 
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) with her family voting in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Tri-Caucus Members Likely to Take Chairmanships in New Congress
Now that Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives, Tri-Caucus members will likely resume control of some pretty crucial committees. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is expected to retake the helm of Oversight and Government Reform. With subpoena power, he can look into a myriad of scandals plaguing the current administration. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) is expected to reclaim her gavel on Financial Services. In this capacity, she could potentially pursue Trump’s tax returns. Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is expected to, once again, Chair the Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) is expected to Chair the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) will likely Chair the Veterans Affairs Committee. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) will likely Chair the Small Business Committee. Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is expected to resume his role as Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee. And Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) will Chair the National Resources Committee. While many of these members of Congress may enjoy having subpoena power, their biggest trump cards are hearings with big names and live cameras. More here.

Ben Ray Luján Eyes Leadership Spot Among House Democrats
DCCC Chair Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) reportedly has his eye on the number four spot in party leadership: Assistant Majority Leader. After guiding House Democrats to victory on Tuesday, successfully flipping the lower chamber, party insiders say that Luján would be the top choice for many for the spot, and The Hill reports that he is making calls seeking support for the post. However, complicating his potential bid are Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), who have already announced their runs for the position. Luján had been encouraged to seek a higher leadership position by challenging Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for Majority Leader or Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for Majority Whip, but the NM Democrat backed off after a letter from the Congressional Black Caucus insisting that one of their members should hold one of the top two slots. This complicated things for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a Luján ally, in her bid to retake the gavel. The Beat DC will keep you posted. More here.

Artists King Combs, zoologist Mike Holston, artist Prince Combs, and Sean "Diddy" Combs getting out the vote on Election Day.
Actress Makaila Faith Nixon and ABC News' John Quinones on Monday filming in Louisiana for a segment of ABC's What Would You Do?. 
DOJ Shifted Election Monitoring from Black to Hispanic Counties
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division deployed personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states in order to monitor “compliance with the federal voting rights laws.” While DOJ said it was doing so to ensure voters were not subjected to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race and to make sure there was compliance with the Voting Rights Act, digging into the Census data of the 35 counties Justice listed showed a bias. DOJ dropped 40 counties from those monitored by the Obama administration in 2016 and added 15 new ones. WaPo reports that the counties added had an average Hispanic density of 24%, while the counties that were dropped had an average density of Black residents of about 20%. While there is no evidence of non-citizens voting in elections, DOJ appears to be incorporating Donald Trump’s focus on the issue and claims that “millions of people” have voted illegally into its election monitoring. And by dropping areas with Black residents, it appears to be backing away from protecting the right to vote for African Americans. In light of the president’s racist rhetoric on immigration, his continued mocking of prominent Black figures, and his attempts to suppress and intimidate voters, the move comes as no surprise. More here.

Ajit Pai Tells Telecom to Come Up with Plan to Combat Robocalls By 2019
Roughly 5.1 billion robocalls were placed in just October of 2018 in the U.S. -- that’s about 15.8 calls per person and 170.4 million per day, according to the Robocall Index. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants them to stop. On Monday, he sent letters to the heads of AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Google, and others calling on them to adopt a call authentication system that would combat illegal caller ID spoofing -- and he wants the system in place no later than next year. Pai called "combating illegal robocalls" the top consumer priority for the FCC and warned that if the companies do not act, the FCC will. “[W]e need call authentication to become a reality—it’s the best way to ensure that consumers can answer their phones with confidence. By this time next year, I expect that consumers will begin to see this on their phones. ... If it does not appear that this system is on track to get up and running next year, then we will take action to make sure that it does," he said. More here.

The View’s Sunny Hostin with actor Jason Segel on-set to discuss his new book, OtherEarth, last week in NYC.
WaPo's Michelle Ye Hee Lee showing off her voting sticker on Tuesday in DC.
Viviana Hurtado Joins Bloomberg
Viviana Hurtado
has joined Bloomberg as a Reporter to cover global business, finance, and the economy. She most recently was a News Anchor at WTOL in Ohio, where she reported from China, Japan, the Philippines, and Germany on U.S.-EU trade, North Korea’s nuclear program, national security, and more. The San Francisco native -- who is the daughter of Colombian immigrants -- previously spent several years as a guest host and contributor on MSNBC, NPR, CNN, Telemundo, and more. Prior to that, the bilingual journalist, who is fluent in English and Spanish, worked as a Correspondent at ABC News where her reporting included the 2008 presidential election, Hurricane Ike, the Haiti earthquake, the BP oil spill, and more. And before that, Hurtado was a North America Correspondent for Al Jazeera English where she covered U.S. foreign policy, politics, and Latin America. The University of California at Berkeley graduate holds a Master’s from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Yale University. More here

Shaun King Relaunches the North Star
Writer and civil rights activist Shaun King is relaunching The North Star -- an abolitionist newspaper named for the star, Polaris, that was often used as a guide for those seeking freedom in the North. The paper originally launched by Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany in 1847 when slavery was still in full force. King, who has the blessing of the Douglass family, will relaunch the magazine with his friend, Ben Dixon. While The North Star was originally a print newspaper, this go-round it will be a news app, website, collection of podcasts, and an online nightly news broadcast. “We’re not just here to change the news — we aim to change the world,” King writes. The pair is aiming to have 100,000 people to assist in their November 15th launch. Since the announcement, more than 70,000 people have signed up to help. More here.

MSNBC's Morgan Radford with a future voter on Tuesday to cover the midterm elections from St. Louis, MO.
Under Armour's Kirby Bumpus with her mom, CBS News' Gayle King, and brother William Bumpus Jr. last week at King's induction into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. 
ICE Sending Fake Notices to Skirt the Law?
More than 100 immigrants across ten cities last week showed up to court after receiving a notice to appear before a judge, but it turns out that their court dates had never actually been scheduled. Advocates are accusing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is sending notices with fake dates to prevent undocumented immigrants from qualifying for the “stop-time rule” -- which says a person who accrues 10 years of continuous physical presence in the U.S. may be eligible for a form of discretionary relief -- but that must comply with all notices to appear before immigration courts. The fake dates come after SCOTUS in June ruled that a notice to appear for removal proceedings is not enough to restart the “stop-time rule” if the notice indicates no time or place for which the resident would need to appear. While some immigrants have attorneys who call ICE and verify that the court dates are fake, other immigrants are driving eight hours and taking off of work in order to appear at these hearings. VICE writes that there could be a silver lining for anyone who’s been summoned to a fake court date. If courts decide that notices to appear with fake dates and times are the same as notices to appear with TBD dates and times, they could get the chance to stay in the U.S. permanently. More here.
Thursday, November 8th, 4:30P: “After the People Speak, What's Next?” A conversation with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Power California’s Aparna Shah on the midterm results and California's future. The Raben Group, 601 S Figueroa Street, Suite 2775, Los Angeles, CA. Click here for more information
Tuesday, November 13th, 5:30P: NALEO hosts “What Do Elections Mean for Communities of Color?” a post-midterm elections debrief and what it means for communities of color. Verizon Technology and Policy Center, 1300 I Street NW, Suite 400 West, DC. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, November 13th, 8P: “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” moderated by Oprah Winfrey, in support of Obama's highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. United Center, 1901 W Madison, Chicago, IL. Click here for more information
Thursday, November 15th, 5P: Women's Congressional Staff Association diversity and inclusion mixer. 2261 Rayburn House Office Building, DC. Click here for more information
Thursday, November 15th, 8P: “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” moderated by Tracee Ellis Ross, in support of Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, CA. Click here for more information
Thursday, November 15th - Friday, November 16th: Men of Color in Communications Business Summit, a two-day conference bringing together more than 300 men of color in marketing, advertising, media, PR, and the digital space. Speakers include Jeffrey Litvack, CEO, AdweekRodney Williams, CEO, Belvedere Vodka; Jana Fleishman, EVP Strategic Marketing, Roc Nation (JAY-Z's Publicist); and many more. Bloomberg Corporate Headquarters, 731 Lexington Avenue, NYC. Click here for more information.
Saturday, November 17th, 8P: “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” moderated by Valerie Jarrett, in support of Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. Capital One Arena, 601 F Street N.W., DC. Click here for more information
Saturday, November 24th, 8P: “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” moderated by Michele Norris, in support of Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA. Click here for more information.
Sunday, November 25th, 8P: “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” moderated by Elizabeth Alexander, in support of Obama's highly anticipated memoir, Becoming. Capital One Arena, 601 F Street N.W., DC. Click here for more information
Wednesday, November 28th, 6:30P: Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino hosts the American Latino Influencer Awards, in recognition of Latino leaders and trailblazers in public service, arts and culture, business, and in the government. The InterContinental Wharf, 801 Wharf Street, S.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, November 28th: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute convenes a tech summit. Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., DC. Click here for more information.
Wednesday, November 28th - Saturday, December 1st: National Black Caucus of State Legislators host their 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, “Rejecting Walls That Divide and Building Bridges That Bring Us Together.” New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY. Click here for more information.
Thursday, December 6th - Sunday, December 9th: National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators host their 16th National Summit. Kona Kai Resort, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA. Click here for more information. 
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