SaveSave story

Why Democrats are happy about Texas' early voting numbers

Voters in a voting booth. Photo: Fernando Lavoz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There's been record early voting turnout in Democratic primaries across Texas's 15 largest counties. The Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman noted a 105% spike compared to the 2014 midterm election — while Republican turnout only increased by 15%.

Why it matters: Democrats haven't won a statewide election in Texas since 1994, and the state hasn't voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter in 1976. But things are shifting this year, as Democrats are running in all of Texas' 36 congressional districts for the first time in 25 years. Wasserman's numbers suggest an energy that could threaten Republicans' seats across the state.

Yes, but: Early voting turnout like this is certainly a positive thing for Democrats running in Texas, but it's a limited sign of long-term success. If the party wants to turn the reddest state blue, these numbers would matter a lot more ahead of the general election in November.

One race to watch: TX-07, where Laura Moser is running against six other Democrats in a primary today. The DCCC recently released a brutal opposition memo encouraging Texas voters not to support Moser, calling her a "Washington insider who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress."

  • Incumbent Republican Rep. John Culberson has held the seat for 17 years, so it'll be difficult for a progressive Democrat like Moser to succeed. But the Cook Political Report has now categorized the district as "toss up."
Dave Lawler 4 hours ago
SaveSave story

What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

Shannon Vavra 3 hours ago
SaveSave story

Report: Kaspersky exposed a counterterrorism spy operation

Kaspersky logo.
Kaspersky logo. Photo: Jacopo Raule / Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab’s research exposed an ongoing U.S.-led counterterrorism spying operation, CyberScoop reports. According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the operation was focused on ISIS and al-Qaeda.

What happened: Kaspersky announced a malware campaign called “Slingshot," an advanced, persistent threat, indicating it may have state-backing, earlier this month. They said the malware was on thousands of devices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, and Yemen. Current and former U.S. intel officials told CyberScoop that Slingshot is a program that is run through the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command.