Daily Digest: Digging deep on demographics

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. A demographic deep dive on congressional districts.  The United States is becoming much more racially diverse. By 2045 populations of color are projected to outnumber non-Hispanic whites. This change has already come to the nation’s 123 “majority-minority” congressional districts. How do those districts vote? Overwhelmingly in favor of Democrats. For example, Eighty-three percent of the nation’s most diverse districts voted a Democrat into the U.S. House of Representatives. For example, New York’s Congressional District 15, where a nation-leading 97 percent of residents are people of color, last voted in Democrat José Serrano by a margin of 92 percentage points. And, in districts where at least three quarters of residents are non-Hispanic White, 82 percent currently favor a Republican representative. We see the same patterns with immigration as we do with race: congressional districts with larger immigrant populations strongly favor Democrats, while those with smaller immigrant populations strongly favor Republicans. (APM Research Lab)

2. Phillips has been big donor to Dems. In his race against Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen Democrat Dean Phillips talks often about being an independent congressman who would be unafraid to buck his party. But for most of his life, Phillips has been a key national donor for Democrats. A scion of Minnesota’s Phillips distilling dynasty, who went on to become a successful gelato and coffee entrepreneur in his own right, has cut over $300,000 worth of checks to Democratic causes and candidates in the last 15 years. He has contributed to his would-be colleagues in the Minnesota congressional delegation, such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, to prior DFL challengers to Paulsen, like Terri Bonoff. He’s given to candidates from New Mexico to Pennsylvania, and was a leading “bundler” for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, generating as much as $500,000 in contributions. A millionaire member of a wealthy family and a prolific Democratic donor might seem an unusual torch-bearer for a campaign centered on limiting the influence of the wealthy donor class and of moneyed special interests. But the centerpiece of Phillips’ campaign is cleaning up Washington with a slate of campaign finance and good-government reforms that he is hoping will resonate with CD3’s centrist-minded voters in this election climate, already dominated by record election spending and stories of excesses from the Swamp. (MinnPost)

3. Minnesota law professor among 150 backing Kavanaugh. A University of St. Thomas law school professor is among 150 legal scholars from across the country calling on Congress this week to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gregory Sisk, Laghi Distinguished Chair in Law, has been considered an expert on civil litigation with the federal government. He is also among the many lawyers who attached their name to a letter supporting President Donald Trump’s nomination to the high court to fill the spot of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. “We are a diverse group of legal scholars who hold varied opinions about politics, legal scholarship, and the proper way to resolve cases that come before the Supreme Court. But we all agree that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh displays outstanding scholarly and academic virtues and that he would bring to the Court an exceptional record of distinction in judicial service,” the letter addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee begins. The letter comes nearly a week before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing set for Sept. 4 and on schedule, barring any obstacles, to get a justice confirmed by the time the high court begins its term in October. (Star Tribune)

4. GOP strategy: Talk about Ellison. Rep. Keith Ellison, currently fending off domestic abuse allegations, says voters aren’t asking about the controversy, only reporters. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from using the controversy to pummel Minnesota Democrats running in congressional and statewide races over their ties to Ellison, leveraging the abuse accusation against him to tarnish opponents up and down the ballot. Minnesota Republicans say they expect to use Ellison-by-association attacks at all levels ahead of the November election — a strategy that is well underway. (Politico)

5. Army ammunition site will sell for $63 million. The Ramsey County Board approved a deal Tuesday to sell the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant property in Arden Hills to developer Alatus for nearly $63 million. The framework of the land sale and redevelopment of the 427-acre site has been in place for months. But the county, the city of Arden Hills and the developer hadn’t yet agreed on the cost of the project and who will pay for what. Under the contract approved by Ramsey County, the developer would buy the land in five phases, with the first sale going through no later than the last day of 2020. County costs for building roads and cash up front to start construction would be capped at $51 million. Arden Hills would pay no more than $8.2 million to connect the site to water, sewer and other utilities. (Star Tribune)

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