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Weekend Open Thread for December 2-4, 2016

Happy Friday all. Some miscellaneous announcements: First, please take a look at and help out with our newest project, a repository of precinct maps. Second, tomorrow at noon, we will have a mini-preview of the key races coming up in 2017. And third, let’s take a look at two important European elections coming up this weekend:

This Sunday, there is a runoff presidential election in Austria. Like most European presidencies, Austria’s post is not particularly powerful; it is the formal head of state for the nation of 9M, but most power rests with the Chancellor (Prime Minister). But this election has generated far more interest than the norm for a European Presidential race because of the identity of a leading candidate, Nobert Hofer of the right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPO). The FPO is arguably the most successful and mainstream of Europe’s nationalist/populist parties, but clearly of the same school as the British UKIP, French FN, or Dutch PVV in their anti-immigration and Euroskeptic ideology. Hofer’s rival is Paul VanderBellen, an Independent with ties to the Green Party. Unlike in most countries, Austria’s Greens are a centrist upscale party with some fiscally conservative tendencies (they’d probably qualify as mainstream upscale-liberal Dems in the US), leading VanderBellen to coalesce anti-Hofer support from the traditional center-left and center-right parties. In the first attempt at a runoff, VanderBellen edged Hofer by less than a point, but the result was thrown out over irregularities. The rerun has become highly contentious, as Hofer is an extremely polarizing figure due to his nationalist/populist ideology, but his soft-spoken style has won him significantly more crossover appeal than would ordinarily be expected. There is no clear favorite and the results will have far-reaching implications beyond the relatively low-powered post as the first real test of whether a nationalist party can garner majority support in Europe.

Another key election on Sunday is the Italian Referendum. The proposal, championed by PM Matteo Renzi of the center-left Democratic Party, makes a number of structural changes to the government, most notably a change that the party with a plurality of votes will be guaranteed a majority government. Polls have shown Italians resoundingly rejecting the package, and Renzi has pledged to resign if it fails.

Now this week’s questions –

1. Is it better for Republicans to try to get buy-ins from Democrats even when it’s not totally necessary (a la the Iraq war) or ram controversial things through at the cost of unanimous Dem opposition (a la Obamacare)?

2. What is the best and worst cabinet choice Donald Trump has made so far?

And because it’s the weekend, we give you the leaked tapes of President-elect Donald Trump talking to President Obama HERE

146 Comments »

Political Roundup for December 2, 2016

President:

SecDef: Although it’s not official yet, President-elect Trump has apparently selected retired Gen. James Mattis as his Secretary of Defense. The appointment however will require one unusual move. A federal law forbids secretaries of Defense from having been on active duty in the past 7 years, so Congress will have to vote to give Mattis a waiver since he retired in 2013. The law has been waived only once in the past, when George Marshall got the job in 1950. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) has said she will oppose such a waiver, stating that she has concerns about protecting civilian control of the military.

Trump/Stein: Final numbers in Michigan,Pennsylvania and Wisconsin show that Donald Trump’s winning margin in each state was smaller than the number of votes Jill Stein won for the Green Party, causing critics on the left to blame Stein for Trump winning each of those states.  Had all 3 states gone the other way, Clinton would have won the electoral vote. The criticism is similar to that for Ralph Nader in 2000 whose vote total in the pivotal state of Florida well exceeded that of the razor thin margin George W. Bush won with.

Senate:

LA-Sen: State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) holds a comfortable lead over Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) in a new poll. The poll by Southern Media & Opinion Research gives Kennedy a 52-38 lead over Campbell for the Dec. 10 runoff. Although the poll doesn’t indicate any worries for Kennedy, it does show a closer race than a poll by the GOP-leaning Trafalgar Group last month which showed Kennedy with a 58-35 lead.

NV-Sen/NV-Gov?: Sen. Dean Heller (R), who is one of the few legitimate Democratic targets in 2018, is open to foregoing a tough re-election campaign and running for governor instead. Heller did say he likes what he is doing as a senator, but also says he is considering a run for governor. He refused to elaborate any further on the matter. No Democrats have indicated an interest in running for the Senate seat yet. The governor’s race will be an open seat race as Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is term-limited.

House:

GA-6: Karen Handel leads a poll of potential Republican candidates to replace Rep. Tom Price (R), who has been nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services. The former Secretary of State and 2014 US Senate candidate took 22% in the poll while Tom Price’s wife and State Rep. Betty Price (R) took 10%. Sen. Judson Hill (R) took 8% while Sen. Brandon Beach (R) took 4%. 56% are undecided. Some potential candidates, including Sen. John Albers (R) and House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R) were not tested in the poll. It is also thought that Handel and Price will not run against each other, contrary to the poll testing the two of them together.

MD-1: Rep. Andy Harris (R) is being considered to lead the National Institutes of Health according to a Harris aide. Harris says he would be “very willing” to take the position at the NIH or possibly the Food and Drug Administration. Harris is still a practicing anesthesiologist and conducted research for the NIH earlier in his career. He had been a contender to head the Republican Study Committee in the House, but Rep. Mark Walker (R) got the post instead last month.

Governor/state offices:

CO-Gov: State Republican Party Chairman Steve House is considering running for governor in 2018. He is also considering whether to run for re-election to his post as leader of the state GOP. He does say that if he runs for governor he would not run for re-election to head the party, although if he doesn’t run for re-election as party chair that it does not necessarily mean he is running for governor. Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler (R) and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) are also considering runs on the Republican side and Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R), Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) and state Sen. Ray Scott (R) are also mentioned as potential candidates.

MN-Gov: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (DFL) announced yesterday he would not run for re-election as mayor. He has been considering a run for governor and his decision fueled speculation that he plans to get in the race, although he did not immediately announce any future political plans. If Coleman does run, he will likely have to compete with statewide officeholders in the DFL primary-LG Tina Smith, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and AG Lori Swanson are all considering bids.

NJ-Gov: Comedian and actor Joe Piscopo teased at a possible independent run for governor next year at a dinner Wednesday night in Sussex County. Piscopo publicly left the Democratic Party in 2014 and appeared at this year’s Republican National Convention, but said the state needs someone from outside the Republican Party. Piscopo was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980-1984 and he said he has been encouraged to announce a run for governor on the show.

OH-Gov: State Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D) is indicating an interest in running for governor in 2018. He pledges to focus on ‘”working class issues”  and says he is the right type of candidate to bring back Democratic voters who voted for Trump because they felt neglected by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Schiavoni represents a Youngstown-area district and says he texted Youngstown-area Rep. Tim Ryan (D) about his unsuccessful effort to defeat Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader but has not talked with him about Ryan possibly running for governor.

OK-Gov: State House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D) is taking a “serious look” at a run for governor in 2018. Inman is exploring the race after higher profile Democrats including former Rep. Dan Boren (D) and 2014 nominee former state Rep. Joe Dorman (D) both have said they don’t plan to run. Inman will be term limited out of the House in 2018 and plans to make a decision on a run for governor by next spring. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is term limited which will likely make a wide open race on the Republican side.

VA-AG: State Sen. William Stanley (R) is considering a run for Attorney General next year. Stanley would be the only officeholder in the Republican primary as the decision of State Del. Rob Bell (R) to end his campaign for AG left two little known attorneys as the only Republican candidates to take on AG Mark Herring (D). Stanley considered a run for the VA-5 Congressional seat earlier this year but ultimately decided against a run.

VA-LG: Former Roanoke Mayor David Bowers (D) is considering a run for Lieutenant Governor next year. He says being from the western part of the state would help bring geographical balance to the statewide Democratic ticket. Businessman Mike Hamlar (D) who is also from Roanoke is considering a run as well. Justin Fairfax (D) and Gene Rossi (D), both former federal prosecutors are already running. State Sens. Bryce Reeves (R) and Jill Holtzman Vogel (R) and State Del. Glenn Davis (R) are running on the Republican side.

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CA-34, CA-AG: Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) Appointed California AG

In a very unexpected move, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has appointed Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) of Los Angeles as AG. Becerra was the fourth-ranking Dem in the House and long considered the heir-presumptive to Dem leader when Dems’ geriatric current leadership finally retires. But instead he is leaving the House, to replace now-Sen.-elect Kamala Harris (D). At 58, Becerra is still something of a rising star in spite of having been in Congress for 24 years, and it seems likely he has his eyes on a Gov or Sen spot now rather than House leadership. The decision will likely leave Democrats in something of a quandary when their current leadership leaves; the middle rung of the House D leadership ladder is essentially totally gone with the departures of Becerra and Maryland Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen (D) and the implosion of ex-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D).

The decision scrambles the race for California AG, as Becerra is much higher-profile than the assorted mix of local DAs, legislators, and high-profile attorneys who had been considering a bid here. Those candidates, such as Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D), Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer (D), Alameda DA Nancy O’Malley (D), and others, seem more likely than not to find other races rather than take on the high-profile and well-connected Becerra. Thus, it seems unlikely he will get substantive opposition for a full term. Additionally, San Bernardino DA Mike Ramos (R), who has been planning a run here for two years, may also find this race unappealing; he may fall upward to the Governor’s race (as Ramos is the only credible Republican who so far has showed any sustained interest in the daunting task of mounting a statewide bid in the huge and deep-blue Golden State)  or simply decide to abandon his statewide hopes.

As for Becerra’s CA-34, all the action for the deep-blue (D+30 in 2012), Hispanic Majority downtown LA-based seat will be on the Dem side. The seat stretches from Koreatown and some poor-but-gentrifying areas around MacArthur Park, west through downtown LA, to poor Hispanic neighborhoods to the east, and then north to middle-class Hispanic neighborhoods around Eagle Rock. The special election race, conducted in a Louisiana (not California) Rules Top Two Format, is likely to be very crowded as Congressional seats are basically the only office in California with no term-limits and come open once in a blue moon. This seat is also overloaded with Dem talent. Ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) may drop his bid in the crowded gubernatorial primary to become the front-runner here. (UPDATE: Villaraigosa is out and has endorsed Perez). State Senate President Kevin DeLeon (D), who represents essentially the entire district, and Ex-State House Speaker John Perez (D) would also be high powered candidates with exceptionally strong institutional support. (UPDATE: Perez is already in and DeLeon is out.) Beyond them, State Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D) and Miguel Santiago (D) and LA Councilmen Gil Cedillo (D) and Jose Huizar (D) could be interested, as well as three flawed candidates, ex-State House Speaker Fabian Nunez (D), who has been diminished by a scandal over special treatment for his son in the justice system, ex-LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina (D), who lost a City Council race, and ex-LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo (D), who has also had a string of minor scandals.

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Political Roundup for December 1, 2016

Happy December everyone.  As the mainstream media cannot help but panic that the next President loves to set the agenda with less than 200 character diatribes before they wake, here is today’s roundup:

President

DNI:  Outgoing Senator Dan Coats (R) was interviewed by President-Elect Donald Trump (RINO) to be Director of National Intelligence.  Coats is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

SBA:  Sources report that Linda McMahon is a top choice to lead the Small Business Administration.  McMahon is a good candidate in my book, but the real goal should be to liquidate the SBA.

Treasury:  Senator Elizabeth Warren (Bold Progressive) has revved up the shrill factor lately.   Her most recent target is Trump Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin.  Warren is attacking Trump for turning his back on his promise to fight Wall Street.  Is Warren incapable of understanding what Trump says in the heat of the moment of a campaign is meaningless?

Popular Vote:  In case you were wondering about irrelevant stats in determining the electoral winner, Hillary’s lead has expanded past 2.3 million votes.  How does running up the margin in California work for you Hillary?

Congress

House Democrats:  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) won reelection as the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, but she faces a tough road ahead as she leads an increasingly geriatric caucus with rifts fueled by discontent.

More House Democrats: Even though Minority Leader Pelosi (I cannot say that enough) continues to hold onto power, House Democrats want more changes to how the Democratic caucus works (or doesn’t work I should say).

Red State Democrats:  With the Democrats facing the unsavory prospect of a Republican filibuster proof majority enabling map in 2018, there is a strong focus on how Trump state Democrats vote on his executive nominees.  Hopefully they have 2 years of very uncomfortable votes!

States/Other

PA-156: West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta (D) is in a tight race with State Representative Dan Truitt (R) with Comitta leading by 18 votes, but the fighting has already erupted before the recount can even happen.  Truitt has successfully got 14 additional provisional ballots tossed that have not been added to the count while Comitta wants them opened and counted.  To this end, she has appealed the County Board of Elections.  Regardless what happens, we are likely to have a recount of all the paper ballots cast in this Romney/Clinton district to the east of my district.

Hunger Games:  I cannot resist posting an article outlining how the Hunger Games really fits into the notion that Washington DC is the infamous Capital.   I have been making repeated comments alluding to Hunger Games themes during this populist insurrection.

354 Comments »

Political Roundup for November 30, 2016

Hey, guys! I had a really great joke ready for the introduction to my first roundup, but Daniel Surman, proving that great minds think alike, used it last week. I stand in awe of the team that I am joining (I didn’t know that they were telepaths, too!). Anyway, let’s dive right into the electoral action.

President:

Dem Pres-2020: Chris Cilliza apparently fed the trolls after a torrent of emails asking him why Elizabeth Warren didn’t make his initial shortlist of possible 2020 Democratic Presidential contenders. She has now been added to the list.

Senate:

LA-Sen: Decision Desk takes a look at the Louisiana Senate runoff and concludes that the third time (but only the second as a Republican) may in fact be the charm for Treasurer John Kennedy (RINO).

UT-Sen: Former UT Governor and 2012 Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman (RINO) is mulling a Senate run in 2018. God help the people of Utah if they elect someone who had bad enough judgement to hire John Weaver.

WV-Sen: Harper Polling goes into the field in the Mountain State and finds Sen. Joe Manchin (DINO) in decent shape for reelection. He has a favorable rating of 54% and beats all tested comers in head-to-head matchups. Rep. Evan Jenkins (ex-DINO, now R) does the best of the named possible challengers, but he still loses 39-51. I think that Manchin’s support may soften as 2018 approaches (Generic R beats Generic D 46-38 in the poll), but right now he’s in good shape.

Governor:

MA-Gov: Steve Grossman (D, former State Treasurer/2014 gubernatorial candidate) is endorsing Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) in Warren’s possible bid for Governor against incumbent Charlie Baker (R).

OK-Gov: Dan Boren (DINO) is ending his exploration of a gubernatorial bid. I don’t blame him. If I were in his position, I’d take one look at how many counties Democratic candidates in statewide races have won recently and forgo possible humiliation in return for continued semi-retired remuneration.

SC-Gov: Adding an unusual rider to the normal public list of political consiglieri, Sen. Tim Scott (R) says that he will decide whether or not to run for Governor after talking to “God, my family, and Trey Gowdy.”

House:

MN-8: On Monday, Stewart Mills (R) announced a recount against Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL), who defeated him by about half a percent on election day in their second matchup. Commenting on Trump’s crushing performance in the Democratic seat, Mills said he would “offer to buy [Nolan] a beer” if the defeated Republican truly under-performed the president-elect by such a margin. If the two do end up sharing a brew, I would expect Nolan to continue fitting his district and order a Bud Light. Catching him drinking a fancy craft beer might be Mills’ ticket to victory next time!

PA-11: Rep. Lou Barletta (R) talked straight with some transition team pool reporters, telling them that a meeting he had with President-Elect Trump was to discuss his possible installation as Secretary of Labor. He was previously rumored to be positioned for Secretary of Transportation, but that one ended up going to Elaine Chao. Barletta’s district has many possible Republican candidates to replace him and precious few Democrats to challenge them in this safe seat.

Miscellaneous:

DNC: Ray Buckley, Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, has thrown his hat into the ring to become DNC Chairman. It’s an open seat, so I get the appeal of trying. However, to the amusement of right-leaning people everywhere, the Democrats seem poised to go Full Corbyn and pick Keith Ellison.

Minority Leader: Hell hath no fury like a Bay Area Democratic woman scorned, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is proving that true again as she blasts Tim Ryan for even daring to challenge her sinecure as leader of the House Democrats. Republicans, meanwhile, are laughing uncontrollably at the thought of facing Pelosi as de facto Democratic Leader for yet another cycle. It will likely be Democrats’ very electoral deficits in rural areas and small towns that give them a caucus tone-deaf enough to reelect Pelosi (and therefore perpetuate the cycle).

Reapportionment: Nathan Gonzales over at Roll Call takes a look at the latest population data and finds that Texas (+3), FL (+2), NC (+1), AZ (+1), CO (+1) and OR (+1) should gain seats after the next census. NY, AL, WV, MN, MI, OH, IL, RI, and PA (-1 each) are set to lose seats. This would overall probably be a decent outcome for Republicans and would increase Trump’s Electoral College total by 2 votes if it were the current map. I’m particularly interested to see what happens with the OR maps, as they almost have to add a Republican seat or risk a dummymander.

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Political Roundup for November 29, 2016

As El-Presidente-Elect Donald Trump might be going rogue from his most ardent supporters and Jill Stein is causing countless pounds of carbon to be emitted through her silly recounts, it is time for today’s roundup:

DRA:  We start with a note written by Dave Bradlee regarding the future of Dave’s Redistricting App posted on DKE:

Just a quick note on Dave’s Redistricting App. As I mentioned before, the current app will stop working on December 1st, because the Bing Maps Silverlight control (API) will no longer work. The app relies on that API for pan/zoom and other features that require translation from geo coordinates.

The current app (DRA 2.2) still works as of this moment, but I have uploaded a new version (DRA 2.5) that works without Bing Maps and should continue to work after December 1st. I admit, it’s not as good without the background map and some things are a little clunkier, but some of you still use it (and some university classes still use it), so it must live on until, hopefully, a 2020 app will materialize.
Go to the Launch Page (gardow.com/…) and there’s a link to the new app and a description of differences and known issues. Please let me know of other issues you run into. Right now it has no background map at all. I would like to add at least static map images, but that will take more time.
Happy Mapping!

President
Romney:  President-Elect Trump (RINO) has been flirting with picking former Massachusetts Governor and NeverTrumper Mitt Romney (R) to be Secretary of State.  This flirtation is causing all kinds of problems in the Trump world.

Barletta:  Representative Lou Barletta (R) is being touted as a choice for Secretary of Transportation.  Barletta was an early supporter for Trump.  If Barletta takes the position, his district is filled with Republicans eager to receive a promotion.

Michigan:  President-Elect Trump has now officially won Michigan.  We are now waiting for Jill Stein to burn progressive cash (which is good for us and bad for the environment the Greens care so much about) and force Michigan into a recount.

Recount:  The New Yorker looks at the absurdness of the recount being pushed by Green Party President candidate Jill Stein (Crazy for Moonbats).

Congress
House Democrats:  On Wednesday House Democrats will cast a secret ballot for leadership positions.  It is widely expected that the current leadership is reelected, but the question is how many defections will there be to Representative Tim Ryan from Ohio.

CA-49: Representative Darrell Issa (R) has officially won reelection.  Issa defeated Doug Applegate (D) in what ended up being a protracted count in this Orange County/San Diego County centered seat.

Rural Democrats:  Rural Democrats are highly dismayed after the electoral Armageddon they faced this November.  I am not sure they even get why they are the red headed stepchildren in the Democratic family.

States/Other
PA-GOP:  The Pennsylvania Republican Party might be facing a contested chairman race soon.

New Fusionism:  Senator Mike Lee (R) lays out the framework for how to bring together conservative ideology with the populism pushed by Trump.

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GA-6: Rep. Tom Price (R) Said to be Named HHS Secretary

Donald Trump has apparently tapped Rep. Tom Price (R) of Georgia as his HHS chief. Price, an orhthopedic surgeon who has led the efforts on Obamacare replacement for House Republicans, is likely to be a well-received choice with the conservative base and establishment Republicans.

The decision opens up Price’s wealthy GA-6, based in the wealthy north-central suburbs of Atlanta. The special election will be conducted in a Louisiana Rules Top Two format. Long a solidly Republican district (it was Newt Gingrich’s seat), it seems to have trended sharply left this year. The seat will likely draw a crowded GOP primary as the seat has a massive Republican bench. State Rep. Betty Price (R), Tom’s wife, could be a possible candidate. Other possible contenders could include ex-SoS Karen Handel (R), State Sens. Brandon Beach (R), John Albers (R), Fran Miller (R), David Shafer (R), Judson Hill (R), and Hunter Hill (R), and roughly 9 State Reps. who live in the seat. From local office, there are Fulton County commissioners Liz Hausmann (R), Bob Ellis (R), and Lee Morris (R), Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott (R), and local officials from the dozen or so large suburban cities (Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Tucker, Chamblee, Doraville, and others) that make up the bulk of the district.

GA-6 had a PVI of R+12 before this year, but Trump and Clinton polled close here. Democrats will likely at least make some effort to target this seat in a special, and the race could be a test of whether the GOP decline in wealthy suburbs was Trump-specific or a bigger trend (incidentally, this might be a good race for us to poll, so donate so we can be ready!) Outgoing State Rep. Taylor Bennett (D), who won a GOP-friendly State House district in a special before narrowly losing it, could be a candidate, as could State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D), who has been talked about for multiple posts but never pulled the trigger. Both of Dems’ 2014 big-name Heir Force candidates, ex-State Sen. Jason Carter (D) and charity exec Michelle Nunn (D), could be interested.

335 Comments »

Political Roundup for November 28, 2016

President/National:

Trump: Trump is continuing to be Trump with his tweets this weekend.

Education Secretary: Trump has picked Betsy DeVos (R), a major charter school and GOP activist, as his education secretary. DeVos is a former MIGOP chair and wife of 2006 MI-Gov nominee Dick (R).

Stein: The Green Party nominee has raised some $6M to demand recounts in PA, MI, and WI – more than she raised for her actual campaign. I imagine the recount will go something like this.

2020: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) already has her eye on 2020.

Congress:

AL-Sen: Gov. Robert Bentley (R) has asked the ALGOP executive committee for suggestions on a Senate appointment. Bentley is also still considering whether to hold a special election in early 2017 or to try to have an appointee serve until the 2018 general election. The spirit of the law seems to strongly suggest a 2017 contest, but as far as I know there is nothing to specifically preclude Bentley holding the seat for the appointee until November 2018.

More AL-Sen: AG Luther Strange (R) will run in the Senate special election, though he has indicated he will not actively seek Bentley’s appointment. Strange has made the most committed expression of interest in the race, but five other candidates have expressed interest in a bid or appointment: Reps. Mike Rogers (R), Robert Aderholt (R), and Mo Brooks (R) and State Sens. Del Marsh (R) and Arthur Orr (R).

LA-Sen: Two weeks ahead of a runoff he is all but certain to lose, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) is seeing an influx of enthusiasm from clueless national Democratic activists disheartened by the presidential result. In typical NYT fashion, the article focuses on liberal support for the economically liberal and socially moderate Campbell while glossing over how useless it is in a deeply-conservative state. Campbell trails State Treasurer John N. Kennedy (R), a conservative populist, by over 20 points in the most recent polling.

ND-Sen, ND-AL: State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) will run for a congressional post this cycle, but which one he shoots for will depend on the plans of Rep. Kevin Cramer (R). Cramer is thought to be interested in either a Trump admin post or a challenge to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in 2018; if Cramer resigns, Campbell says he will run for ND-AL in the special, and if Cramer challenges Heitkamp he will run for the House in 2018. But if Cramer stays put, Campbell will run against Heitkamp himself. Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) and several other Republicans are also thought to be interested in congressional runs this cycle depending on Cramer’s plans.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler (R) has indicated he is likely to run for Governor in 2018, saying he is at least 8-out-of-10 likely to run. However, Brauchler seemed all but certain to enter the race for the seat of Sen. Michael Bennet (D) this past year before pulling out at the last minute, so salt that statement to taste. Brauchler and Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) are considered the most likely top-tier Republicans to run for this open seat.

CT-Gov: Danbury Mayor and 2014 candidate Mark Boughton (R) has formed an exploratory committee for a second run for Governor. Three other Republicans have formed exploratory committees for statewide races next cycle, but have not indicated their plans: State Sens. Tony Hwang (R) and Rob Kane (R) and 2014 SoS nominee Peter Lumaj (R). Unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has not indicated whether he will seek a third term.

MA-Gov: Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) has been telling donors that he intends to run against Gov. Charlie Baker (R) in 2018. The decision has been widely suspected since he decided not to run for re-election several weeks ago. Warren is the first Dem to express interest in taking on the very-popular Baker, but several other candidates have been mentioned as possibilities.

NJ-Gov: State Rep. John Wisniewski (D) kicked off his campaign for Governor last week, channeling antiestablishment Sanders-esque rhetoric to take on Ambassador and Goldman Sachs executive Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D). As Murphy has successfully bought essentially all the state’s powerful local Dem machines, Wisniewski will face a very uphill battle.

More NJ-Gov: Across the aisle, State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli (R) is the only serious Republican in this race, but several others are considering, including the newest dark-horse name, Nutley (pop. 28K) councilman Steve Rogers (R). Rogers, who seems to be basically one step up from Some Dude, would face very uphill odds if he entered.

NC-Gov: Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is asking for a recount in this race, where he trails AG Roy Cooper (D) by about 6000 votes. Barring something very unexpected, a recount is unlikely to overturn that kind of margin.

SC-Gov: Here is a look at how the ascension of LG Henry McMaster (R) to the top job will alter the 2018 Governor’s race. State Rep. Tommy Pope (R), who had announced a run, says he will not run against McMaster if he seeks a full term, while Haley Admin official Catherine Templeton (R) said she will make an announcement in January, amid rumors that she may be McMaster’s running mate. The third candidate who has entered the race, D-turned-R ex-LG Yancey McGill (R), has not indicated his plans.

Row Officers:

AR-Lands Comm: Local GOP official and businessman Tommy Land (R) has become the first candidate to enter the race for this seat, which is open because incumbent John Thurston (R) is termed-out and running for SoS. State Rep. Laurie Rushing (R) is also considering a run for this office.

FL-CFO: Outgoing State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) is considering a run for this open seat. Ring, a former Yahoo executive from the Ft. Lauderdale area, had also been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate but seems much more focused on the CFO race, for which he would likely have a clear path to the Dem nomination. LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) and State Sen. Tom Lee (R) are considered possible candidates on the GOP side.

MN-AG: Ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D), who left the legislature in 2015 when his wife took a job in Belgium, will run for AG in 2018, but only if incumbent Lori Swanson (D) does not run for re-election. Swanson has been considered a likely candidate for Governor or an open Senate seat if Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) runs for Gov.

SC-LG: After LG Henry McMaster (R) ascends to the Governorship, the question of who will replace him as LG is a thorny one. South Carolina recently approved a constitutional amendment changing from a separately-elected LG to a Presidential-style Gov/LG Ticket, and the new law did away with the old system in which the powerful Senate President was forced to “ascend” to the all but powerless LG job when a vacancy arose, allowing the Governor to fill the LG slot when it is open. However, the ticket portion of the law doesn’t take effect until the 2018 election, and it is an open question whether McMaster can appoint his replacement or if the old law is still in effect. If it is the latter, a State Senator will need to take the LG job, and just as when it came open in 2014, few (especially Senate President Hugh Leatherman (R)) are likely to want it. CW is that it will likely ultimately go to a Democratic Senator, as they have less to lose being in the minority.

VA-AG: State Rep. Rob Bell (R) is dropping out of the race for AG against incumbent Mark Herring (D) and will seek re-election to his legislative seat. Bell cited family issues as reasons for the decision, but Herring’s decision to seek re-election may have played just as big a role; an incumbent Virginia LG or AG hasn’t been defeated for re-election in at least 80 years. Prosecutor John Adams (R) is now the only serious Republican in the race, but State Sen. Bill Stanley (who, unlike Bell, does not need to give up his seat) is now considering an entry.

WI-Supt: School administrator John Humphries (R) will run against Superintendent Tony Evers (D) in next spring’s non-partisan election for the post. Humphries, a former Democrat who signed the recall petition against Gov. Walker, received support from two legislators, a Republican and a DINO. Ex-Beloit schools superintendent Lowell Holtz (R) appears to be the other serious Republican in the race.

Other State & Local:

Baton Rouge-Mayor: Ex-LAGOP chair Daryl Gissel (I), who ran as an Independent and took sixth place in the jungle primary, is backing ex-State Sen. Sharon Weston-Broome (D) over State Sen. Bodi White (R) in the December 10 runoff. Gissel’s 6% of the November vote, clustered among moderate whites in wealthy areas near downtown, could be important in the race, as Democrats led Republicans 48-43 in November (though turnout will be much lower for the runoff). For his part, White secured the support of councilman John Delgado (R), a more moderate Republican.

New Orleans-Mayor: Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell (D) is running for this open seat next year; she is the first candidate in what is likely to be a very crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace termed-out Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D).

Jersey City-Mayor: Ex-State Rep. Charles Mainor (D), who fell out of favor with the local machine and was forcibly retired in 2015, will challenge incumbent Steve Fulop’s (D) re-election bid. Fulop, who was previously an outsider but has largely co-opted the machine, will also face attorney Bill Matsikoudis (D), who is close to the machine faction of ex-Mayor Jeremiah Healy (D). The race could be very interesting in the diverse city: Fulop’s base is wealthy white liberals in the eastern part of the city, Matsikoudis should be strong with Hispanics (who were Healy’s base) in the northern part of the city, and Mainor has a base in the black community in the city’s southern parts.

NY-Nassau-CE: County commissioner Laura Curran (D), a mavericky Dem, is the latest entry into a crowded field running for the seat of indicted County Executive Ed Mangano (R) next year. Curran joins State Rep. Charles Lavine (D) and R-turned-D county comptroller George Maragos (D). Mangano has not said if he will stand for a third term.

LA-Jefferson-CE: Jefferson Parish chief executive Mike Yenni (R) has admitted to sexting a 17-year old boy. Yenni is fighting calls for his resignation and denying that a sexual relationship took place. If there was a sexual relationship, it would be legal under Louisiana law, though Yenni might face federal charges over his use of technology.

FL-SD-30: A judge will need to decide whether to throw out the results and order a redo in this election, in which State Rep. Bobby Powell (D) won a promotion to this D+5 (2012) seat around West Palm Beach and its northern suburbs. Powell’s primary rival, pastor Ruben Anderson (D), had his filing fee check bounce after the deadline. Florida law states that those types of errors are fixable, but only before the filing deadline, creating a catch-22. In a similar case, the mayoral election in the slumburb of Miami Gardens was invalidated and a redo ordered. If a redo is ordered, Powell would likely be a strong favorite in both the primary and general, but low turnout might give his general election rival, attorney Ron Berman (R), a chance at an upset.

KY-Redistricting: The Republicans are considering a redraw of the State House map. Given how much the coalitions have shifted in our favor in Kentucky, this seems ridiculously unnecessary to me.

Special Elections:

Tomorrow, there are two special elections up for grabs in Mississippi, both all-GOP runoffs leftover from November. MS-LD-89 is a ~R+23 (2008) seat covering the west side of Hattiesburg. looks Physician Donnie Scoggin (R) is favored over businessman Ron Swindall (R) after leading 47-31 in November, but much lower turnout tomorrow may make the first round non-predictive. MS-LD-106 is a rural ~R+23 (2008) seat around Poplarville. Farmer John Corley (R) and attorney Greg Holcomb (R) are facing off; as Corley led Holcomb 28-25 in November there is no clear favorite.

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Weekend Open Thread for November 26-27, 2016

It is time to open a new Open Thread. Here is a new question:

How do you see the Cuban vote changing after Castro’s death (and that of his brother)? Do Republicans have hope of holding this constituency long-term after Trump’s massive dropoff this year?

And because it’s the weekend we give you America’s tribute to the late Fidel Castro HERE.

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Black Friday Open Thread – November 25, 2016

With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror and Black Friday deal violence at Wal-Marts across the land being brought under control,  it is time for a new open thread.   We have two questions:

(1) Who do you think are the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination?

(2) The Republicans have a lot of defense to play in 2018 regarding gubernatorial races.  What races do you think are the best pickup opportunities for Republicans?

In addition, please visit our immigration policy thread discussion.