Political Roundup for December 12th, 2017

Today is the Alabama Senate special election. We will have a results liveblog up later tonight when polls close.


CT-Gov, CT-AG: As expected, prosecutor Chris Mattei (D) is dropping out of the face for Governor to run for Attorney General. He will join State Rep. William Tong (D) in the primary for AG.

MI-Gov: Wealthy progressive “scientist” Shri Thanedar (D) is on the air  early with a new commercial in which he wears a lab coat, looks stupidly at a beaker, proclaims “science” and attacks Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Snyder. The Michigan gubernatorial primaries are in August.

OH-Gov, OH-LG: Rep. Jim Renacci (R) has tapped Cincinnati councilwoman Amy Murray (R) as running mate.

RI-Gov: Former state Rep. Joe Trillo (R) is leaving the GOP to run as a right-wing independent spoiler for Governor. Internal polls for Cranston Mayor Allan Fung showed Fung crushing Trillo in the GOP primary and showed Fung leading incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo by a 46% to 41% margin. Having Trillo siphon off votes from his right in the general election will only hurt Fung’s chances of winning next November.


AL-Sen: Polls have been all over the place and this election will really come down to turnout today. With that in mind President Donald Trump has made robocalls on behalf of Roy Moore (R). It is important to give credit where credit is due. One of the fears of #NeverTrump conservatives was that as President Donald Trump would hang congressional Republicans out to dry and wouldn’t lift a finger to help them get re-elected. Now that we see the efforts Trump has made for an accused child molester just to give Senate Republicans an extra vote I think it is safe to say the #NeverTrump folks were wrong. In fact most #NeverTrump folks are probably horrified at the length President Trump is willing to go to to ensure a GOP Senate!

IN-Sen: State Rep. Mike Braun (R), the self-funding third wheel in the Rokita/Messer primary fight, voted in Democrat primaries for over 20 years until 2012.

MN-Sen: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is considering running in the special election to fill the remainder of Democrat Sen. Al Franken’s term if Franken follows up on his promise to resign in disgrace and go away.

WY-Sen: Here’s a blast from the bast! 2006/08 House nominee Gary Trauner (D), who was a SwingStateProject favorite and came closer than expected in both of his runs during Democrat wave years will run for Senate vs incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R).  Barrasso was re-elected in 2012 with 76% of the vote.

VA-Sen: We are not sure if the Virginia GOP US Senate primary is reality or an elaborate Onion parody. Three days after Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart tweeted  “@TheDemocrats got cocky forging @BarackObamabirth certificate. Thought they could slip phony #AllredYearbookFraud by on @MooreSenate. Sad!!” EW Jackson (R) kicked off his Senate campaign by accusing Corey Stewart of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood! Luckily for sane Republicans there is talk of Jim Gilmore (of all people) entering the GOP primary because that’s how batsh**t crazy things have gotten for the Virginia GOP that JAMES STUART GILMORE III is now thought of as a potential savior! Of course Del. Nick Freitas (R) is running as well but why would the Virginia GOP want to back a former Green Beret who served two tours in Iraq, who has a solid conservatarian record and is not completely insane.


AZ-8: Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has set February 27th as date of the special primary and April 24th as the special general election to fill the vacant R+13 seat formerly held by Rep. Trent Franks (R- Republic of Gilead). Former Public Service Commissioner Bob Stump (R) and state Sen. Steve Montenegro have become he first candidates to throw his hat in the ring for the special election. Former state Rep. Phil Lovas (R) resigned his post at the national Small Business Association in anticipation of a run for this congressional seat. State Rep. Darrin Mitchel (R) is also interested in running.

CA-48: LOL! Former Google executive Rachel Payne is the 8th Democrat to enter the jungle primary for this R+4 seat held by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R). The unbelievably large field of Democrats increases the odds that Republican Stelian Onufrei could make the top two runoff with Rohrabacher.

MI-11: Businessman Suneel Gupta (D), brother of CNN TV Doctor Sanjay Gupta becomes the 5th Democrat to enter the primary for the open R+4 seat Rep. Dave Trott (R) is retiring from.

NC-13: Rich lady Kathy Manning (D) will run for the Democrat nomination to challenge Rep. Ted Bud in this R+6 seat. Manning can self fund her campaign.

KY-6: After Democrat activist sunk over $800,000 into Amy McGrath’s viral campaign for this R+9 seat held by Rep. Andy Barr (R), Lexington Mayor Jim Gray decided to tell her she can’t be a Congressman. Now jockeying has opened up for Lexington mayoral office which Gray will vacate to run for Congress instead.

Yesterday was the filing deadline in Texas so we have a lot of Texas news today

TX-21: Former Ted Cruz Chief of Staff Chip Roy (R) will run for this R+10 seat currently held by retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (R). Roy’s campaign is being staffed by a number of Cruz campaign veterans.

TX-27: Bech Bruun (R), who serves on a state water board, has filed to run against Rep. Blake Farenthold (R) who is one of the many Congressmen caught up in the pervnado. Bruun joins Victoria County GOP chair John Cloud (R) in the GOP primary against Farenhold in the R+13 seat.

TX-29: Former Harris County Sheriff and unsuccessful 2015 Houston Mayoral candidate Adrian Garcia (D) will not run for Congress in this open D+19 seat of retiring Rep. Gene Greene. Garcia will instead run for a purple R-held Harris County commission seat.

TX-32: Television reporter Brett Shipp (D) filed to run in the Democrat primary to challenge Rep. Pete Sessions in this R+5 district. Shipp joins a very crowded field for the Democrat nomination which include former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Ed Meier, former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development special assistant Colin Allred, former deputy undersecretary for rural development Lilian Salerno and Dallas lawyer George Rodriguez.

State, Local & Other:

AR-Lands Comm: Democrats seem to have landed a semi-credible candidate for Land Commissioner in ex-Garland CE Larry Williams (D). Finding credible candidates to run for office has become increasingly difficult for the Arkansas Democrat Party.

SC-AG: State Rep. Todd Atwater (R) is in and will launch a primary challenge to incumbent Alan Wilson (R).

TX-Lands Comm: Ex-Lands Commissioner Jerry Patterson (R), who lost the GOP primary for Lt Governor last year, will primary incumbent George P. Bush.

KY HD-49: Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson (R), who was blasted for sharing racist facebook posts last year but won anyway, is accused of molesting a 17-year old.


Alabama Senate Special Election Preview

Tomorrow is, of course, the closely-watched special election for US Senate in Alabama. Polls close at 8p ET and we will of course be liveblogging. If you’ve been reading this blog (or even following political news) regularly, you probably don’t need me to recap the gory details, but just in case, we shall revisit the circus. Scroll down to participate in a poll of our site readership…

Roy Moore

Ex-State Supreme Court Justice (and RRH 2017 Turkey of the Year Award Winner) Roy Moore (R) is the GOP nominee. Moore’s first stint on the state Supreme Court ended with his removal after he refused to take down a statue of the Ten Commandments in front of the courthouse. After being re-elected to the court in 2012 (by a single-digit margin), Moore was removed again over ordering state officials to disregard SCOTUS’s Obergefell decision. Moore has had a dedicated base of social conservatives, but is something of a one-note character on religious issues. Indeed, Moore made a notable gaffe in the primary campaign when he appeared to have no idea what the DACA program was. That single-minded focus on religious social conservatism always made Moore a tough sell to less-devout Republicans. But Alabama is still among the most religious states in the nation, and his evangelical base, along with Trumpist vitriol against the establishment and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), was enough to carry him to a primary win – and looked likely to carry him to a solid, if unimpressive, general election win in the deep-red state. But then of course November happened, and an explosive story from the Washington Post that Moore was, in the words of our Turkey of the Year nomination, proving that “mall-walking is a great way for our senior citizens to stay young.” Several women have accused him, in well-corroborated accounts, of habitually and aggressively hitting on teenage girls while a 30-something prosecutor in the late 70s and early 80s, including incidents that might have been prosecutable as statutory rape had they come to light within the statute of limitations. Moore’s crisis management of the situation was beyond terrible, giving several awkward interviews in which he didn’t deny the stories. The situation caused many national Republicans to disown Moore, and some, including Sen. Cory Gardner (R), have called for his outright expulsion from the chamber should he win.

Doug Jones

The beneficiary of this circus looked set to be Moore’s rival, ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D). Jones was a well-regarded prosecutor in the Clinton administration, but mostly stepped up to run here when no other Democrat wanted to. Indeed, he even had something of a tough time beating a random Some Dude in the Democratic primary, and before the allegations he was thought likely to turn in a relatively typical double-digit loss, like most other Alabama statewide Dems in the deep-red and inelastic state. But once the Moore story broke, Jones became the focus of a torrent of Dem enthusiasm, which led to massive fundraising… but also much closer scrutiny of his positions. And Jones did himself no favors as that phase of the race intensified; with his poll numbers surging amid Moore disgust, he felt no need to even feint to the center and hide his staunchly liberal views. In particular, Jones’s pro-choice stance, including support for late-term abortion, is an anathema to the median Alabama voter. That position, combined with an environment ripe for whataboutism as Democrats (at least temporarily) rallied around Moore’s fellow perverts Sen. Al Franken (D) and Rep. John Conyers (D), has led to a sense Republicans slowly have been flowing back to Moore as a tolerable evil.

For a time, there was a frantic scramble among Republicans for a write-in candidate. After no truly credible write-in emerged, retired marine Lee Busby (R) entered the race two weeks ago. Busby is essentially a Some Dude and has no name recognition, though he does have a borderline credible resume from serving as vice-COS to James Mattis when the latter was a general. Busby might get a point or two from anti-Moore Republicans disgusted with both options, but it seems unlikely he will take enough to materially impact the race.

Polls in this race have seesawed wildly, going from a Moore lead to a significant Jones lead after the allegations broke and back to a moderate Moore lead in the last two weeks (though a minority have Jones in the lead) Overall the race is almost impossible to peg, but there is a general sense that Alabama’s conservatism and the inability of Jones and national Dems to capitalize on the situation have swung the race back Moore’s way. However, an upset is still possible and outcomes ranging between double-digit wins *for either candidate* would not entirely shock me depending on how turnout shakes out. For more info, I recommend this article from Geoffrey Skelley at UVA/Crystal Ball, which has county baselines.  RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Lean R.

There are also four legislative specials tomorrow in three states. The lone general is in Iowa. IA-SD-3 is an R+21 seat wrapping around (but not including) Sioux City, including some outer suburbs, as well as rural areas near Le Mars. State Rep. Jim Carlin (R) is the clear favorite to move to the upper chamber over local superintendent Todd Wendt (D) unless we have some sort of Oklahoma situation. There are also three primaries, two in Alabama and one in Oklahoma. AL-SD-26 is a ~D+30 seat covering essentially all of Montgomery’s black-majority neighborhoods. Five Democrats are facing off, three of them quite prominent. State Rep. John Knight (D) is the front-runner as he has backing from the powerful teachers’ union, but he could face a runoff with one of two Montgomery councilmen, David Burkette (D) and Fred Bell (D). Two other Dems, teacher Tony Cobb (D) and a Some Dude, look like long-shots to make a runoff. The winner will be a prohibitive favorite over a GOP Some Dude in the general. AL-LD-4 is a ~R+22 seat covering eastern Decatur, extreme southwestern Huntsville, and nearby suburban areas around where I-65 crosses the Tennessee River. Businessman and Trump campaign operative Tom Fredericks (R) looks like the clear front-runner, but may be held to a runoff with either marketing manager and hospital board member Parker Moore (R) or dentist Tom Willis (R). The primary winner will be favored over a Democratic Some Dude in the general. Finally, OK-SD-27 is an R+37 seat covering the Panhandle and rural areas at the northwest corner of the state near Woodward. Six Republicans are facing off in the crowded primary. State Rep. Casey Murdock (R) and RNC member Carolyn McClarty (R) look like the front-runners, but teacher Travis Templin (R) and businessman and veteran Jeff Hall (R) also seem serious enough to pull an upset. Two others, 2012/16 candidate Tommy Nicholson (R) and a Some Dude, seem like long-shots. The winner will face local Dem official Amber Jensen (D) in a February general.

And now a poll of our readership…

Who would you vote for if you lived in Alabama?

  • Doug Jones (D) (44%, 30 Votes)
  • Write in Lee Busby (28%, 19 Votes)
  • Roy Moore (R) (18%, 12 Votes)
  • Write in Someone Else (6%, 4 Votes)
  • Stay Home (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Blank Ballot (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 68

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Political Roundup for December 11th, 2017

Check back at 3pm Eastern today for our preview of tomorrow’s mess in Alabama.

Big Picture

Campaign Finance: This is a must-read article. Apparently, most of the justification for the John Doe investigations against prominent Republicans and conservative groups in Wisconsin that have played out and then been litigated themselves over the past few years was a misinterpretation of campaign finance law. One mistake by one bureaucrat upended the lives and breached the privacy of dozens of people. If you’re still not interested, know this: files found in the basement of a state agency were labeled ‘Opposition Research.’ If you made this stuff up, you’d be accused of lazy writing.

Redistricting: It looks like we’re going for a Double Decision, folks. SCOTUS has combined the lawsuit against Maryland’s Rorschach-esque congressional map with the lawsuit against Wisconsin’s cleaner-but-still-gerrymandered congressional map. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of Anthony Kennedy: Philosopher-King.

Superdelegates: It looks like the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process is about to get more, well, democratic. The party’s ‘Unity Commission’ has come up with a plan to cut the number of superdelegates down to members of Congress and a few other party elders. I’m skeptical that this will mollify the Berniebros (they’re generally not the compromising type), but hey it should work well as long as Democrats are united in opposition. Expect to have this fight all over again the next time there’s a contested nomination without a Republican president in office.


AL-Sen: For days before tomorrow’s special Senate election, Creepy Roy (R-McConaughey’s character in Dazed And Confused) has been nowhere to be found. This is a classic run-out-the-clock tactic when you have a candidate who’s winning, but is known for saying outlandish things. The race has been moving in Moore’s direction over the last few weeks as the initial shock of the allegations against him fades.

AZ-Sen/AZ-08: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) says that he’s not interested in running for the House seat that Rep. Trent Franks (R) is vacating due to allegations of not having boundaries, but that he’s considering running for Senate. I’m actually not completely horrified by this idea, because he could very well split the Crazy Unelectable Person vote with State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) and allow Rep. Martha McSally (R) to prevail in the primary.

AR-02: State Rep. Clarke Tucker (D) may be nosing around the race against Rep. French Hill (R), if a report about a poll being conducted is accurate. Tucker represents a district in Little Rock that goes from downtown all the way out to the small town of Roland (it’s designed to elect a moderately liberal white Democrat, which is what Tucker is). He’d be wave insurance no doubt, but he’s one of Arkansas Democrats’ few rising stars. I’d watch him closely even if he doesn’t jump into this race.

AZ-02: Tucson businesswoman Lea Marquez-Peterson (R) is being floated by local party grandees to replace Rep. Martha McSally (R). The district swung from R+3 in 2012 to D=2 in 2016, so this should be a marquee race unless there’s a wave.

MI-13: After the resignation of longtime Congresscritter John Conyers (D-Bernie’s Place in the Hamptons), there was an expectation of a swift special election. Instead, the seat will sit vacant until it’s filled by the result of the 2018 midterm election and a simultaneous special election for the last two months Conyers’ term. State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D) joined the race for this seat last Friday, joining fellow State Sen. Ian Conyers (D) and John Conyers III (D).


NY-Gov: Former Erie County CE Joel Giambra (R) is exploring a bid against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). who’s seeking a third term next year. Buffalo isn’t a small place, but you have to wonder whether the NYGOP will ever be able to take the governor’s mansion back if they can’t even get someone better than a former county official from a secondary metro area.


CA-AD-45: In yet another gust of Pervnado, California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino Man) has now resigned his seat after being accused of pleasuring himself in front of a woman at a party in Las Vegas. I guess what happens there doesn’t really stay there. Anyway, this opens up his safely blue San Fernando Valley seat, and the Democratic primary will likely get very crowded.

CO-SD-34: A State Senate candidate in Denver seems to be a pioneer in political advertising. Alan Kennedy-Shaffer (D) is running in a clown car primary for this safely Democratic seat, and has decided to target stoners with ads on the walls of dispensaries. Apparently the checkout lines are often slow (I wonder why), so customers should have ample time to read the ads while waiting to buy their kush or chronic. I’d say it’s a bit odd to target a group that is notorious for having low voting rates, but hey, someone has to be the first to try. I guess we’ve found our guinea pig.

MN-HD-62A/MN-HD-62B: Here’s an interesting one for you; both state representatives from this state senate district in southern Minneapolis are retiring at the same time (interestingly, both are also lesbians). I expect the primaries for these seats to get fierce, as there’s been a lot of political and social turmoil in the southern part of the city lately (at least by Minneapolis standards). Expect both seats to pick especially-lefty lefties; there’s no question of the dish, only the flavor.


Weekend Open Thread for December 8-10, 2017

We have a quiet weekend without any elections scheduled.  However, we do have one ratings adjustment to make ahead of Tuesday:

AL-Sen Lean R from Likely R

Now as we wonder who else will be ran out of Congress for being a weirdo and/or pervert:

(1) What should be the response of Senate Republicans if Dirty Roy is elected on Tuesday?

(2) What elected officials benefit most from the ongoing sexual harassment/assault tsunami sweeping away perverts in its path?

Because it’s the weekend…. we give you the greatest political speech ever HERE!



Political Roundup for December 8, 2017


ME-Sen: Gov. Paul LePage (R) has publicly ruled out running against Sen. Angus King (I) next year, but a Washington Post story on Wednesday states that President Trump had reached out to him to try to get him to run. However, LePage refuted the report yesterday, calling it “fake news” and “vile”.

MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D), in a defiant speech yesterday defending himself against sexual harassment allegations, nevertheless did pledge to resign in “in the coming weeks”-making it unclear as to exactly when he plans to resign. No announcement of a replacement was made yesterday, but Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is said to be likely to appoint LG Tina Smith (D) as a placeholder who will not run for the seat in the special election which will be held next November.

TN-Sen: Former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) officially entered the Senate race today, giving Democrats their best hope in the deep red state. Bredesen was re-elected easily in his last run for office in 2006, sweeping all 95 counties in his re-election as governor. But the state has shifted considerably to the Republican side since then, with Republicans controlling 7 of the 9 US House seats, both US Senate seats, the governorship and overwhelming margins in both houses of the Legislature. So while Bredesen gives Democrats some hope, he still as an uphill battle. He also for now has to get past a primary, as attorney James Mackler is still in the race.


AZ-8: Rep. Trent Franks (R) has announced he will resign after admitting to asking female staff members to act as a surrogate mother to bear his child. Rumors of “inappropriate behavior” are said to have been surrounding him for awhile, and may have scuttled a planned 2012 Senate run. See our Great Mentioner from yesterday for names of who may run to succeed him.

NV-4: Former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R) is considering running to regain his seat in light of sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and DCCC chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D) have both called on Kihuen to resign in light of the allegations. Kihuen says he won’t resign, but has not said if he will run for re-election. Hardy lost to Kihuen by 4 points last year. Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony (R) is currently running for the Republican nomination.

OH-12: State Sen. Troy Balderson (R) joined the race to succeed Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) yesterday. Balderson is the second big name to enter the Republican primary, joining Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. Former Marine Brandon Grisez and real estate investor Jon Halverstadt have also announced plans to run. State Sen. Kevin Bacon (R) and business executive Cathy Lyttle are also considering bids. Ex-Franklin County Sheriff Zack Scott (D) is running for the Democrats.

TX-5: State Rep. Lance Gooden (R) will run for Congress to succeed retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R). Gooden’s state House seat includes a significant portion of the congressional seat in Henderson and Kaufman counties. Former state Rep. Kenneth Sheets (R) and GOP fundraiser Bunni Pounds are also running-Hensarling has endorsed Pounds to succeed him.

Governor & state offices:

CT-Gov: Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D) has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) is the only Democrat who has decided for sure to run-others exploring runs include former state Veteran’s Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former state Sen. and West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, and former Wall Street executive Dita Bhargava.

ID-Gov: State Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) has announced she will run for governor. Jordan is the only Native American currently in the Idaho Legislature. She will face businessman and 2014 Democratic nominee A.J. Balukoff in the Democratic primary.

NH-Gov: State Sen. Dan Feltes (D) is seriously considering running for governor. Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who finished a distant second in the 2016 Democratic primary, is the only Democrat currently running to take on Gov. Chris Sununu (R). Former Executive Councilor and unsuccessful 2016 Democratic nominee Colin Van Ostern is also considering running again.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill announced he will step down from the Court, but will stay in the Democratic primary for governor. O’Neill had previously said he would get out of the race if former Attorney General and federal CFPB director Richard Cordray got in the race, but now that Cordray is in the race, he has changed his mind. He will specify his date of resignation in a letter to Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor today.

WI-Gov: Yet another Democrat appears ready to get in the crowded Democratic primary for governor. Former state Rep. Kelda Roys (D) announced on Facebook that she is running and plans to make a formal announcement early next year. Roys served two terms in the state Assembly from 2009-2013, and lost in the 2012 Democratic primary for WI-2. Among the other Democrats running are state school Superintendent Tony Evers (D), former state Democratic Party chairman Matt Flynn, businessman Andy Gronik, union president and unsuccessful 2012 recall candidate for LG Mahlon Mitchell, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), and state Rep. Dana Wachs (D).

GA-LG: Auto executive Sarah Riggs Amico is running for lieutenant governor. Amico is the first Democrat to announce a run. State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R), former state Sen. Rick Jeffares (R), and former state Rep. Geoff Duncan (R) are running for the GOP nomination.

NM-LG: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales (D) is considering running for lieutenant governor. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) dropped out of the race this week amid sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him. State Sen. Howie Morales (D) also joined the race this week. Former state Democratic Party chairman Brian Colon, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Albuquerque this year, is also considering a run. 4 other Democrats are already in the race.


AZ-8: Rep. Trent Franks (R) to Resign

Multiple sources are reporting that eighth-term Rep. Trent Franks (R) is resigning tonight… we don’t know the details yet but it seems likely he was caught up in the #pervnado (Update: Franks apparently asked staffers to be his surrogate…mmkay.) Franks will apparently leave office at the end of January. The decision opens up his R+13 AZ-8 in a special election, which must occur relatively quickly by AZ law. The seat covers the middle-class and heavily Republican northwest corner of the Phoenix metro area, including Surprise, Peoria, and most of Glendale. The seat, one of the four GOP vote sinks in the Mathismander, is somewhat more downscale than AZ-6 next door and heavy with snowbird retirees; the Dem base here is largely Hispanic. The seat should stay safely in GOP hands barring something seriously unexpected.

The Great Mentioner could start with State Sen. Steve Montenegro (R), who is currently primarying incompetent incumbent SoS Michele Reagan (R) but could switch here as an easier race. Another statewide condender, State Sen. and Treasurer candidate Kimberly Yee (R), represents a piece of the seat (though I believe she lives outside it) and could move here. State Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) is definitely worth watching as well. The final State Senator in the seat, Judy Burges (R), is probably too old to be interested at 74. There are also roughly 7 GOP State Reps. in or near the seat. From local office, Maricopa County supervisor Clint Hickman (R) is the obvious name to watch as he represents essentially the entire seat. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers (R) and Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat (R) could also be names to watch. Theoretically ex-Rep. and Heir Force Maj. Brock Landers Ben Quayle could also make a comeback attempt here. Democrats are unlikely to seriously contest this seat, but they do have one candidate worth watching in Surprise Mayor Sharon Marko-Wolcott (D), who was a Minnesota State Senator (!) and ran for MN-2 back in 2006.


Political Roundup for December 7th, 2017


MN-Sen: After allegations #7 and #8 of unwanted groping dropped yesterday, Sen. Al Franken announced that he will have a press conference today where he is expected to resign (although his office was waffling on Twitter last night). This Star Tribune article cites some unnamed sources pointing to Lt. Gov. Tina Flint Smith as a caretaker appointment until the November 2018 special election. Read our full write-up from last night in the link. Also, our friend Miles Coleman has some neat Minnesota maps in honor of the likely resignation, including a precinct map of Frankenś first 2008 Minnesota Senate race, a map of AG Lori Swansonś strong reelection win in 2014, and a comparison of same-sex marriage vote in 2012 with Trumpś 2016 statewide performance.

AL-Sen: More evidence of Republican US Senate nominee Roy Moore dating way-too-younger women. He also may have dated his wife while she was still married, which is not a huge deal (she had just separated with her husband) but does point to plenty of hypocrisy from the holier-than-thou Moore. At this point it is hard to see how new allegations hurt Moore particularly without a new wave of media coverage, as voters know the basic story and have to decide if they deny the evidence or accept it and vote accordingly.

MI-13: The elder Rep. Conyers endorsed his son, John Conyers III, for his seat as he resigned. However, the New York Times yesterday revealed that the younger Conyers was arrested just this last February for stabbing his girlfriend. With this, the elder Conyers’ sexual harassment (see this latest creepy bit), and Monica Conyers´ ethics problems, this family has had a rough track record the last few years.

TX-27: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know Farenthold said he will repay the settlement money taxpayers had to foot to settle his sexual harassment lawsuit. But this article on the victim, his former communications director, and her resulting blacklisting after going public with Farentholdś behavior is pretty brutal. How does Barton get forced out by local Republicans but Farenthold gets to keep his seat?

NV-4: More details of unwanted advances on a campaign staffer from freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D).

MA-Leg: State Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) is taking a leave of absence from his leadership position after a Boston Globe investigation turned up four instances of sexual assault or harassment involving his husband. Three different senators have openly declared their interest in Rosenbergś job, ¨should it become open.¨ These leadership races normally develop behind closed doors, but then again, so do sexual harassment scandals. Normal procedure has been kind of thrown out the window on Beacon Hill.

Normal Senate

TN-Sen: A big get for Democrats looking to recruit for a likely wave election. Former Governor Phil Bredesen began calling donors yesterday to tell them he will in fact run in the open US Senate race. Bredesen crushed his last gubernatorial race, which incidentally is the last time Tennessee has had a competitive US Senate race. Can a strong, relatively moderate candidate separate himself in a state like Tennessee nowadays? Weĺl find out.

Normal Governor

KS-Gov: 2014 US Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) has set up an exploratory bid for Governor, making the road harder for whatever Democrat emerges out of their own primary of B-listers (when Orman ran in 2014, it was as the de facto Democratic nominee; he came up short with 43% of the vote).

TX-Gov: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) announced a gubernatorial campaign yesterday. This sets up an ideological primary between her (a progressive, lesbian, and Hispanic sheriff in a county that has turned blue) and Mark White, the son of former Gov. Andrew White who is fine with being called a moderate Republican or a conservative Democrat. This announcement also opens her seat up.

Normal House

MI-9: Two Democratic candidates announced yesterday for this open seat. The first was Andy Levin, who works in the energy industry but whose main claim for office is being a member of the heir force as the son of outgoing incumbent Rep. Sander Levin (D). The second candidate is State Sen. Steve Bieda.

RIP: Former Rep. John Anderson (R-IL), who ran as a liberal independent for President against Reagan and Carter in 1980, died Sunday at 95. He took almost 7% of the vote in that bid after polling much higher earlier in the campaign.


MN-Sen: Sen. Al Franken (D) says he will resign from the US Senate

Looks like the Al Franken decade will not turnout as well as Al Franken had hoped. The serial groper and senator from Minnesota will announce his resignation on Thursday; though he is denying a decision has been made, the drumbeat of calls became deafening today and it seems unlikely he can ride it out and avoid a resignation. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will appoint a new senator to fill Franken’s seat and a special election will be held in November 2018 to fill the remainder of Franken’s term which ends in 2021.

The question of who runs obviously depends a great deal on who Dayton appoints. In a state with a large bench of female Dems, there is likely to be significant pressure to appoint a woman, and accordingly most of the top candidates are female. LG Tina Smith (D) is extremely close to Dayton and probably could have the appointment if she wants it, but seeing as she is currently de facto Governor due to Dayton’s health issues and declined to run for the office herself, it seems more likely than not she doesn’t want a major spotlight role. After Smith, the right of refusal probably goes to AG Lori Swanson (D). Swanson has been shadowboxing with a run for Governor, which would put her in a competitive convention/primary against Rep. Tim Walz (D) and others; a Senate appointment for Swanson could be a good way to make Walz’s path clearer (or alternatively but less likely, Walz could be plucked out of the Gov race with the appointment to make way for Swanson). From the House, Rep. Betty McCollum (D) is the most obvious name; while she is a backbencher in the House she is a relatively generic liberal that could be a decent statewide candidate. Progressive groups have been pushing strongly for Rep. Keith Ellison (D), but he might be about as weak a Dem as possible here. One other name who is getting some buzz but who seems unlikely is State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), who is running for Governor but a long-shot due to her friction with Iron Range Dems.

There are several other options who are unlikely to get the appointment but still worth a mention: the other two members of the House delegation, Reps. Collin Peterson (D) and Rick Nolan (D), are unlikely as they are aging and right of the state’s Dem primary electorate. SoS Steve Simon (D), gubernatorial candidate and outgoing St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman (D), State Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (D), Dayton Admin official and ex-State Sen. Katie Seiben (D), and Dayton admin official and incoming St. Paul mayor-elect Mel Carter (D) are all worth a mention as dark-horse prospects. Of course there is a possibility Dayton just tries to sidestep this entirely and appoint a placeholder to let the field slug it out in a primary; ex-AG Skip Humphrey (D), who now works at the CFPB, could be a placeholder appointee. Smith could fill the placeholder role as well. If a placeholder is not appointed, said appointee is probably no worse than 50-50 to get a clear primary field.

Republicans are likely to seriously contest this race; while it’s not a great pickup opportunity in the 2018 environment Minnesota is looking increasingly purple and with a possibly-unproven appointee this seat could be enticing for an “A” list Republican. Ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (R), who memorably “lost” to Franken in the squeaker 2008 race, is apparently already seriously considering a comeback bid and could be Republicans’ strongest contender. Another blast from the past, ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), has also been flitting around the edges of the political scene and could try a comeback here. From the younger generation, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) may decide to take the chance on moving up instead of trying for an equally-tough race in his purple MN-3, but he has declined opportunities to climb the latter before. Fellow Rep. Tom Emmer (R) could also be a possibility, though less likely as he seems unlikely to want to give up his Safe seat, while freshman Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is probably too polarizing to be a credible statewide contender. From the “B” list, any of the various candidates running for Governor, including Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. Matt Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), ex-State Rep. and ex-MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R), and Woodbury Mayor Mary Guiliani-Stevens (R), could switch here. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R) and businessman and 2014 nominee Mike McFadden (R) may also be worth a watch. State Rep. Jim Newberger (R), currently the sacrificial lamb in a hopeless run against popular Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), could switch to this seat, but would be as much of a long shot here.

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