Yesterday in France, centrist corporate-liberal Emmanuel Macron and nationalist-populist Marine LePen advanced to a runoff with 23% and 22% respectively. The runoff will occur on May 7; Macron is overwhelmingly favored in the second round.
Next, tomorrow there are three special elections, a State Senate runoff in SC and two State House races in Connecticut. None have any partisan drama but all are interesting. SC-SD-3 is an R+25 (2012) seat covering the northern half of Anderson County. Ex-Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette (R) took 49% last year as a mainstream conservative primary challenger to the prior very socially-conservative incumbent, now-LG Kevin Bryant (R). Burdette is facing off against 2010 SC-3 and 2014 US Senate candidate Richard Cash (R), a staunch social conservative himself who has unsurprisingly got Bryant’s endorsement. Burdette led the first round 31-26 with a diverse mix of candidates splitting the rest, so there is no clear favorite in this round. No Democrats are running so tomorrow’s winner will get the seat. Two seats in CT are also up. CT-LD-7 is a D+44 (2016), black-majority seat stretching from downtown Hartford to the northwest corner of the city. Veteran Rickey Pinckney (D) has the official Dem endorsement but is facing two Dems running as Indies, ex-State Rep. Kenneth Green (D), who lost a 2010 primary for re-election by 2 votes, and teachers’ union official Joshua Hall (D), who has the Working Families line. The “D” next to his name makes Pinckney the favorite, but Green’s name rec and Hall’s union backing could give each of them a slight chance to pull an upset with ultra-low turnout. Finally, CT-LD-68 is an R+17 (2016) seat around Watertown, a northwest suburb of Waterbury. The GOP has strangely nominated Watertown councilman Joe Polletta (R), who was the 2014 Democratic nominee for this seat. Polletta switched parties shortly after his loss and is now the strong favorite over ex-Watertown councilman Louis Esposito (D), who doesn’t seem to be running a very serious campaign.
And now the rest of the day’s news –
AL-Sen: Here is a solid Great Mentioner piece on who is in, out, and considering taking on Sen. Luther Strange (R) for the Senate seat he was appointed to earlier this year. State Rep. Ed Henry (R) is the only candidate definitively in the race, but a ton of others are considering.
MI-Sen: Retired State Supreme Court Justice Robert Young (R) is being recruited as a possible challenger to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Young, who is of African-American descent, just retired from the bench. Ex-State Senate Pres. Randy Richardville (R) seems like the most serious candidate considering this race so far, though multiple others, including Rep. Fred Upton (R), have floated their names with varying degrees of seriousness.
MN-1: 2016 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R), a Some Dude who notched an unexpectedly narrow loss last year and is running again now that the seat is open, has landed an endorsement from Rep. Tom Emmer (R). Hagedorn would seem to be only a “C” list contender for this race now that the seat is open and one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities, so the support from a well-known establishment figure is somewhat surprising.
TX-3: In something of a surprise, Collin CE Keith Self (R) announced last week that he would not run for this open seat, potentially removing the most serious challenger to State Sen. Van Taylor (R). Taylor, who is personally wealthy and represents essentially the entire Plano-based district, now looks like a near-prohibitive favorite in this race as most other candidates of stature have already declined.
MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who won an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, will run for Governor, joining State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Xerox executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abdul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary. AG Bill Schutte (R) and LG Brain Calley (R) are the most common GOP names associated with this race.
NJ-Gov: Former Long Hill (pop. 9K) mayor Gina Genovese (I) will run for Governor. Genovese, a former Dem, is running on a platform of encouraging municipal consolidation to save tax dollars and overall seems to take a relatively libertarian ideological line; thus, any votes she draws will probably come relatively equally from the two parties.
PA-Gov, PA-LG: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has stripped LG Mike Stack (D) of his state police detail and some staff after Stack and his wife were found to be abusing their staffers. The decision is leading to speculation that Wolf may attempt to recruit a primary challenger against Stack for the right to join him on the Democratic ticket next year.
WI-Gov: Democrats are having serious recruiting problems for this race, but businessman Andy Gronik (D) is apparently polling this race as a step toward exploring a possible entry. But you can strike one more well-known Dem off the list of possible challengers to Gov. Scott Walker (R), as Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) has taken his name out of the running as well.
RIP: Ex-Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., father of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R), passed away last week at age 88. The senior Hogan won an upset on his second try for MD-5 in 1968, then based in what were at the time blue-collar white DC suburbs of Prince George’s County. He served three terms in Congress, where he memorably was among the first Republicans to break with Nixon during Watergate. The decision likely caused his surprising loss in the 1974 gubernatorial primary to a little-known more conservative candidate, State Sen. Louise Gore (R). Hogan then served a term as Prince George’s County Exec from 1978-82 before being flattened in a Senate run by incumbent Paul Sarbanes (D) in 1982. Hogan lived to see two of his six children follow him into politics, with Pat (R) serving two terms as a State Rep. from the Frederick area in the 2000s and Larry of course being elected Governor in 2014.
AZ-Supt: Tempe Councilman and ex-State Sen. David Schapira (D) will run for State Superintendent. Incumbent Diane Douglas (R), who won the 2014 primary in an upset, has widely been considered an ineffective gadfly in her term. Douglas is likely to face a substantive GOP primary challenge, and Democrats seem ready to aggressively target this seat with Arizona’s leftward trend in recent cycles.
CA-LG: Former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis (D), daughter of a prominent Dem donor, has opened a committee to explore the LG race. Kounalakis joins State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D) and physician Asif Mahmood (D) in declaring interest in this open seat. Termed-out incumbent Gavin Newsom (D) is running for Governor.
CT-Comp: 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) will run for Comptroller this cycle. Unlike his congressional runs, Greenberg does not plan to self-fund his run for Comptroller. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor but could still seek re-election; no other candidates have as yet expressed interest in this race.
FL-Ag Comm: Daniel Sohn (D), who lost a race for a local water board last year, will run for Ag Commissioner; he seems to have some support base as no bigger-name Dems have as yet expressed interest in this race. State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) are in the race on the GOP side, and State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) is expected to enter. Termed-out incumbent Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for Governor.
GA-SoS: Alpharetta (pop. 60K) Mayor David Belle-Isle (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining State Reps. Buzz Brockway (R) and Brad Raffensperger (R) in the race. All three candidates hail from the Altanta suburbs. Incumbent Brian Kemp (R) is running for Governor.
SD-SoS: State Auditor Steve Barnett (R), who is termed-out of his current post, will run for the open SoS seat vacated by congressional candidate Shantel Krebs (R). Barnett is the first candidate to announce for the post; the nominee will be decided by convention.
CT-SD-13, WATN: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz (D), who left politics after an embarassing episode in which she attempted to run for AG in 2010 without filling the qualifications and then made a little-noticed 2012 US Senate run, will run for State Senate in 2018, taking on State Sen. Len Suzio (R) in a Dem-leaning district.
FL-SD-40: State Sen. Frank Artiles (R) has resigned after using a racial slur to refer to two fellow State Senators last week. Artiles’s decision triggers a special election in his southwest suburban Miami seat, which Clinton carried by 18 points last year but where Cuban machine Republicans have historically held sway.
NYC-Mayor: State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) of Staten Island will consider a run for Mayor if 2013 candidate John Catsimatidis (R) does not make another go of it. Malliotakis won a then-Dem-leaning State Rep. seat, which spans the Verrezano Narrows Bridge, in 2010. However, she has little name recognition city-wide and is not independently wealthy, unlike the main Republican already in the race to take on Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D), developer Paul Massey (R).
Seattle-Mayor: City planner and left-wing activist Cary Moon (D) will run for Mayor. Moon is best known for her efforts to completely close a major highway through the city center rather than relocate it to a tunnel. Moon is likely to vie with ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) for the ultra-left vote in her bid to take on establishment liberal incumbent Ed Murray (D).
San Diego-DA: San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis (R), a moderate Republican, will step down from the DA’s post to explore a run for a County Supervisor seat covering central San Diego. Dumanis’s top deputy, Summer Stephan (R), is running to succeed her and is likely to be appointed by the all-Republican County Board to fill the vacancy.