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Weekend Open Thread for March 24-26, 2017

The questions are below, but first off, some previews:

There are three special elections for the State House in Louisiana on Saturday. LA-LD-8 is an R+27 (2012) seat covering central and northern Bossier City. Four Republicans are facing off. The two runoff spots likely go to pilot and businessman Raymond Crews (R), a relatively mainstream conservative, and 2011 candidate Duke Lowrie (R), an antiestablishment conservative. A third candidate is Robbie Gatti (R), the brother of this area’s RINO State Senator, who has backing from Edwards’s allies. Gatti attracted national news for the wrong reasons when a photo of him in blackface surfaced a few weeks ago; however, there is still a chance he could box out one of the two front-runners. A fourth candidate, attorney Pat Harrington (R), looks like a long shot. LA-LD-42 is a formerly D-held R+22 (2012) seat around Crowley and the western Lafayette suburbs. The race is a guaranteed R pickup, at least nominally. But thanks to Louisiana’s jungle primary system the race is still a major battleground between mainstream conservative Republicans and Edwards-friendly RINOs. Attorneys John Stefanski (R) and Jay Suire (R) are facing off; Stefanski is backed by conservatives and business interests while Suire has close ties to Edwards allies and the endorsement of the outgoing Dem incumbent. There is no clear favorite between the two. LA-LD-92 is an R+1 (2012) seat around New Orleans Airport in southwestern Kenner. Two Republicans and a Democrat are in the race. The front-runner is probably ex-Kenner councilman Joe Stagni (R), who had a minor sexting scandal six years ago but seems to still be well-regarded by conservative groups. However, businesswoman Gisela Chevalier (R), who has an interesting story of fleeing the Castro regime as a young adult, is also running a serious campaign and could outpace Stagni. Chuck Toney (D), who serves on a Kenner municipal advisory board, is also running and could poll well by virtue of being the only Dem in the race. It looks like there will probably be a runoff and any two could advance.

There is also a general election Sunday in Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a Pennsylvania-sized nation of 7M at the southeast corner of Europe. Bulgaria is an EU member but still relatively poor. The National Assembly has 240 members elected by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies with a 4% national threshold to enter parliament. This election was triggered by the prior PM resigning after his party lost the Presidential election last year. Bulgaria has two major parties, two minor parties, and two parties that may or may not enter parliament. The incumbent government is headed by GERB, a mainstream center-right party that is very pro-EU. The main opposition party is the Socialists, a mainstream center-left social-democratic party with some mild nationalist influences. Two minor parties that will enter parliament are DPS, a transactional centrist party mainly concerned with the interests of ethnic Turks and Roma (gypsies), and the ultra-nationalist (borderline neo-fascist) Attack party. Finally, two parties flirting with the threshold for seats are the heterogeneous centrist to center-right Reformist Bloc, and Volya, a centrist vanity-party bankrolled by a pharmaceutical oligarch. Polling shows GERB and the Socialists neck-and-neck at around 30, with DPS and Attack at about 10 each. It seems likely that either the center-right or center-left could form a government, but either will need support form at least one minor party.

Now this week’s questions –

1. Is electing judges a good or bad thing? Should the elections be partisan?

2. In what circumstances would mainstream European politicians benefit from adopting populist/nationalist right ideals?

And because it’s the weekend, let’s take a 3-minute break from politics to get reacquainted with the soul music stylings of a machine hack Cook County Commissioner HERE.

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Political Roundup for March 24, 2017

Senate:

IN-Sen: Both Reps. Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) appear to be gearing up for a run for the Republican nomination for US Senate. The two congressmen running against each other would make for an interesting race because not only are the two congressmen said to have a close working relationship, but they graduated only one year apart at the small, all-male Wabash College. Ideologically, the two are similar-the biggest difference between the two is in style. Rokita is said to be more verbally aggressive and outspoken while Messer is more polished. There may be others in the Republican primary-lawyer Mark Hurt was the first person to announce a candidacy, while state Sen. Mike Delph (R) is said to be interested as well. Rep. Jim Banks (R) took himself out of the running this week.

RI-Sen: State Rep. Robert Nardolillo (R) plans to announce May 15 that he will run for the US Senate next year. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) is running for his third term and should be a heavy favorite over Nardolillo or any other Republican.

TN-Sen 2020: Peyton Manning is denying rumors he is interested in running for US Senate in 2020 after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) is expected to retire. Manning says he doesn’t know where the rumors came from and also says “I have no interest in the political world”.

House:

CA-50: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) is under investigation by the Justice Department for campaign finance violations. He is under investigation for converting campaign funds for personal use. The House Ethics Committee had been investigating the same charges, but stopped its investigation yesterday at the request of the Justice Department.

FL-7: State Rep. Bob Cortes (R) has decided against a run for Congress next year. He was courted by the NRCC to run and met with them last month in Washington. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D), who defeated Rep. John Mica (R) last year is a top target for Republicans. State Sen. David Simmons (R) has expressed interest in running, although he is also considering running for Attorney General.

IA-3: The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) has said it will not do anything to help Rep. David Young (R) with his re-election after Young came out against the Republican healthcare bill. The Super PAC spent nearly $2 million in favor of Young in 2016.

Governor:

CO-Gov: Ken Salazar (D) has taken himself out of the running for governor next year. The former attorney general, US Senator and Secretary of the Interior would have been a high profile candidate and proven statewide votegetter for Democrats. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is term limited next year.

More CO-Gov: In light of Ken Salazar’s decision not to run for governor, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) is expected to announce a bid soon, possibly as early as next week. Perlmutter was said to be waiting on Salazar’s decision and speculation is that Salazar will endorse Perlmutter. Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D) also says she is seriously considering running and will make a decision next month.

IA-Gov: State Rep. Todd Prichard (D) says he is considering running for governor next year. Prichard says he thinks he has until next year to make a decision. He is likely not to be the only Democrat to get in the race-Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann says he expects lots of Democrats to explore the race with Gov. Terry Branstad (R) out and likely to be confirmed as ambassador to China.

MI-Gov: State Rep. Larry Inman (R) says people have encouraged him to run for governor next year. The 2nd term representative from Grand Traverse County is a moderate, and he says people tell him they are worried about a more conservative governor causing more gridlock. Inman’s biggest problem, as he seems to recognize is whether he could get enough support to run statewide. More well-known candidates such as AG Bill Schuette and LG Brian Calley (R) are expected to run.

NJ-Gov: LG Kim Guadagno (R) has won the ballot line in Bergen County, the state’s most populous county. So far, Guadagno has secured the ballot line in Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Hudson, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem and Warren counties while Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) has won the ballot line in Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex and Union counties.

State & Local:

CA-Ins. Comm.-State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) announced this week he is running for Insurance Commissioner in 2018. Current Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) is running for Attorney General. Former State Assembly members Susan Bonilla (D) and Henry Perea (D) have also filed papers to run for Insurance Commissioner as well as radiation oncologist and progressive activist Paul Song (D).

NH-SD-16: State Sen. Scott McGilvray (D) has died at the age of 51 of an undisclosed illness. McGilvray was elected to his first term in the state Senate last year, winning a Republican-held open seat-the only Senate seat Democrats flipped in last year’s election. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and the Executive Council will set a date for a special election, which should be competitive.

NC-judge elections: North Carolina will elect its judges on a partisan basis again after the Legislature overrode the veto of Gov. Roy Cooper (D). North Carolina used to elect its judges with partisan labels until the 1990s, when the law was changed to have them run on a nonpartisan basis.

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Political Roundup for March 23, 2017

President:
AHCA: Here’s a list of all the House Republicans presently opposing the AHCA.

AHCA-2: Rumors are swirling about last-minute changes to the Obamacare repeal, most of which vary wildly in which direction the changes will be in.

Gorsuch: Vote is scheduled for Monday at Noon.

Regret?: In a move that will come as a shock to . . .basically the sort of the people who read the Washington Post, it turns out very few Trump voters regret their choice in President. After the election (and after Brexit last year), it was common to see stories of voters expressing immediate regret over the decision, despite very little polling suggesting this was true. Hopefully this will finally put an end to that meme.

Surveillance: So House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has reported that the Obama administration did not apparently wiretap Trump directly, but rather were wiretapping so many people close to him that they wound up effectively wiretapping him anyway. More concerning is that Nunes also claimed that such information was “Widely disseminated inside intelligence community reports”. Honestly, this makes more sense than the most common explanations I’ve seen of Trump’s Russia ties—That Trump is either a secret Russian Spy taking orders from Putin that the FBI is this close to busting or the target of one of the most grotesque abuses of political power in history, though it does make me wonder who they were tapping that claimed Trump golden-showered a bed in a Russian hotel.

Congress:
FL-Sen: A St. Leo poll has Rick Scott, long bemused by people outside of Florida as an awful governor and a drag on the ticket, with positive approval ratings and only trailing long-time Senator Bill Nelson 39-34%. Scott is considered the overwhelming favorite for the GOP nod if he runs, with substantial personal wealth and massive name-ID, and is currently our best candidate for giving the popular and inoffensive Nelson a solid challenge. The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll with a similar 48-42 margin.

GA-6: The Club for Growth has endorsed Bob Gray (R) for this open seat north of Atlanta. I think we can assume that this means Gray will be a “No” vote on any form of the AHCA.

GA-Sen: Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is recovering from back surgery, which means that he might miss key votes, most notably for AHCA. Given that we’re already running tight on Senate votes, this is not a good development for us.

State & Local:
FL-Gov: The same St. Leo poll also asked about the Governor’s race, and has Mike Huckabee (yes, for real) leading the GOP primary field on pure name recognition, and Patrick Murphy (yes, for real) leading the D one for probably similar reasons.

MD-Gov: A new UMD poll of Maryland shows similar results to what we’ve previously seen—that Hogan is one of the most popular governors in the country—but also that he’s not nearly as solid for re-election as his +47 approval rating would suggest. He’s only up 41-37 to Generic Democrat, and after all the polls showing how much Generic Democrat would have beaten Trump if he ran last year, we can expect Mr. Democrat to face a lot of pressure to jump into the race. More seriously, Hogan was always going to have a tough hill to climb for re-election in what is probably the strongest downballot-D state in the country, and unless the Democrats nominate a spectacularly bad candidate, he probably has a ceiling of around 55% of the vote simply because a lot of the people who like him will like whoever the Democrats decide to run too.

SA-Mayor: A pair of polls has shown the 1st round of this May election to be competitive, with incumbent and DINO Ivy Taylor (who might be the only Black Female DINO of note in the entire country) at close to 50% of the vote, which in Texas would allow her to avoid a runoff entirely. Her main opponent is fellow “Non-Partisan” candidate Ron Nirenberg, with Bexar County D Chairman Manuel Medina languishing in 3rd place. Taylor’s weird coalition of Republicans and Black Democrats is one of the oddest in the country, but seems to be holding up decently enough for her in the admittedly fairly powerless position.

VA-Gov: It looks like more people from Obamaworld are jumping in to back Perriello, whose main opponent is getting much of the local VADem backing. Perriello’s running on a Sanders-esque “I’m a Progressive and proud of it”, and is even trying to turn his 2010 loss into a positive, claiming that it was proof that he wasn’t going to run away from defending progressive values just because it was politically expedient.

WI-Gov: Walker maintains his “Just popular enough to keep winning” level of support in the latest MULaw poll. I’m more concerned about this race than most, simply because I think Walker’s running the danger of overstaying his welcome and I’m not sure he’s even the GOP’s strongest candidate to hold onto this seat with Trump in the White House.

Other:
Census-data: The 2015->2016 numbers are out. No real surprises, but still lots of interesting tidbits to pour over.

The Family that would not leave: Chelsea Clinton continues to be heavily promoted for future political office, because let’s be honest—there was no chance that America’s most connected political family would ever let something like “Losing to Trump” get in the way of their long-term plans to run America. Though at the very least I expect Chelsea to bide her time for her last name to become less horrifyingly toxic in a D primary before running for president.

UK-London: The chaotic and deadly Westminster attack yesterday is still being investigated, but multiple arrests have been made, including a number in Birmingham. Given the nature of the attack, odds are very good that it was some sort of ISIS-based Muslim extremist, but the police aren’t releasing any specific information just yet.

UK-Manchester: George Galloway is running in the by-election for Manchester Gorton, a super-safe Labor seat that opened up following the death of oldest sitting parliamentarian Gerald Kaufman last month. Galloway has already gone, well, full Galloway (which is what we used to call going full Corbyn before Corbyn became a thing) in the seat by accusing the Labor party of trying to stack their shortlists with South-Asian candidates in this South-Asian heavy seat, possibly to discourage Galloway from running. This will be the 4th city Galloway has represented in parliament should he win, which has to be some kind of record.

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Political Roundup for March 22, 2017

Special Election Result:  The 197th Pennsylvania House of Representative seat (D+45) in north/lower northeast Philadelphia ended up going for the write-ins.

Presidential / National

Trumpcare:  President Trump (R) visited Capitol Hill yesterday to push the AHCA (aka Trumpcare).  Trump made it clear that those who oppose will end up on his bad side and will be considered political bad hombres who will lose their seats.

Manafort: Former Trump campaign chairman / international political consultant Paul Manafort (United Russia) is wanted for questioning in the Ukraine and United States over his electoral efforts on behalf of the Russian Federation.

RNC:  The RNC is lighting money on fire with ads supporting AHCA and Supreme Court.  The digital ad buy of over $100,000 will run during the current battles over health care and the Supreme Court.

Congress

NV-2:  Sharron Angle (Crazytown) plans to run against Representative Mark Amodei (R) for Nevada’s Second District.  Angle is infamous for perennial runs for office including the 2010 US Senate debacle that meant we had to deal with Harry Reid for 6 more years.

States

MN-Gov/MN-1:  Representative Tim Walz (DFL) will soon make a decision regarding running for Governor or running for reelection to Congress.  If Walz runs for Governor, MN-1 will be a top target for Republicans in 2018.

NJ-Gov: Comedian Joe Piscopo is considering an independent run for Governor.  Politico looks at the hurdles to running as an independent in New Jersey.   Expensive media markets, and arcane ballot position and access rules mean that Piscopo is not likely to be very successful.

Philly-DA:  District Attorney Seth Williams (D) went full circle in his political evolution on Tuesday as he was indicted for corruption.  Williams went from a Bold Progressive darling to a Republican loving DINO to a generic corrupt Philly Democrat.

International

UK-Labour:  The hard left takeover of the Labour Party continues as we are nearing open conflict between the Leader of Her Majesty’s Trotskyist Most Loyal Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Philippines:   The New York Times has an interesting piece on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (Man of the People) and his remarkable rise to power.

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Political Roundup for March 21, 2017

First off, today’s lone election is one of the craziest we’ve seen in a long time. At stake is PA-LD-197, a D+45 (2012), 51% Hispanic/40% Black seat around Hunting Park and Temple Hospital in the heart of the ghettos of North Philly. In spite of these lopsided numbers, the special election is highly competitive, because the only candidate on the ballot is a Republican, medical office manager Lucinda Little (R). The prior machine stooge Democratic nominee was thrown off the ballot for residency violations (he actually lives in Bucks County and water bills showed he used less than one flush a month at his North Philly “home”) and the Dems were unable to replace him. So there is a decent chance this seat, where Democrats have a 17:1 registration advantage, could flip. Democrats are running a write-in campaign, for civil servant Emilio Vasquez (D), a typical machine hack. With ultra-low turnout essentially certain (I would be surprised if more than 2500 total votes were cast in this election), there is a good chance machine backing could get him over the line. But there are other write-ins, most notably 2012 Green Party VP nominee Cheri Honkala (G), a longtime local left-wing activist/publicity-seeker who is actually running the most serious campaign of all candidates (raising over $30K) and could actually have a chance to win given her high name recognition. There are also about half a dozen other Democrats running write-in campaigns that could splinter the vote. So this vote could go any way; right now I’d peg it as a three-way tossup between Little, Honkala, and Vasquez, but given that 1000 votes will likely be enough to win, there’s even a possibility of someone coming out of nowhere. Indeed, we may not know the winner for a while as there is likely to be protracted legal action over write-in ballots. And for those of you who take Trump seriously and literally, this is one to watch: the odds of at least some fraud in this race are huge IMO, given the miniscule number of votes, the question of how to write-in candidates, a large non-English-speaking electorate, and the beyond-shaky history of Philadelphia elections. If you’re interested in more detail on this race, the local blog Philadelinquency has a good comprehensive rundown of this crazy sideshow.

Now the rest of the day’s news:

Senate:

AL-Sen: A hearing has been set for April 12 in Auditor Jim Ziegler’s (R) lawsuit to force Gov. Robert Bentley (R) to hold the special election for the US Senate immediately rather than in November 2018. The spirit of the law seems to suggest a special election should be held immediately, but Bentley’s office argued that the Governor had discretion to delay the contest. Appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) is considered the strong favorite to finish the term.

IN-Sen: Add Rep. Jim Banks (R) to the list of candidates considering a run against Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). Banks, a somewhat antiestablishment-leaning first-term Rep. from the Fort Wayne area, joins fellow house members Luke Messer (R) and Todd Rokita (R) in considering runs. While the other two appear to be actively laying groundwork, Banks seems to be just in the “not ruling it out” stage, but Banks’s antiestablishment profile could give him a relatively clear lane against the more establishment-flavored Messer and Rokita.

NJ-Sen: SCOTUS has rejected Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D) request to hear his appeal of his indictment on corruption charges, meaning that the Senator will head to trial in September. Menendez is still pledging to seek re-election in 2018, but a conviction would obviously change those plans. Though then again, this is New Jersey…

TN-Sen ’20: It’s often hard to tell what “Celebrity X is thinking about running for office!” stories are for real and which are just clickbait, so salt to taste, but there are rumors flying that Peyton Manning (R) is considering a run to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) should the latter retire in 2020 as expected.

Governor:

IL-Gov: State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) is the newest candidate into the race to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). Biss is an upscale liberal from Evanston who ran an abortive bid for Comptroller last year but deferred to now-Comptroller and Madigan attack dog Susana Mendoza (D). He joins wealthy businessmen JB Pritzker (D) and Chris Kennedy (D), Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D), and downstate local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) in the crowded primary. Regardless of the Dem nominee, the race will likely be decided by the unstoppable force/immovable object clash of personalities between the uber-wealthy Rauner and State House Dictator Speaker Mike Madigan (D).

NY-Gov: 2010 Comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) is considering a bid for Governor in 2018. Wilson, a suburban moderate with Upstate roots who narrowly lost the 2010 race despite the deadweight of the polarizing Carl Paladino (R) atop the statewide ticket, could be a formidable contender. At least five other Republicans, Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), State Senate President John Flanagan (R), Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R), and Paladino, are also thought to be considering the race. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is seeking a third term but may face primary opposition.

TN-Gov: State Sen. Mae Beavers (R) is officially exploring a bid for Governor; the suburban Nashville lawmaker is known as a staunch conservative and could split the anti-establishment vote with fellow State Sen. Mark Green (R), a declared candidate but also a rumored possibility for Trump’s Army Secretary. Gov. Haslam administration official Randy Boyd (R) is the other Republican in the race, but many others, including State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), are considering. Ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is in on the Dem side, while State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D) is considering.

House:

CA-34: Well, it looks like we have a rival to Brianna Wu for the congressional candidate living embodiment of just about everything sane people can hate about SJWism. Obama White House staffer Alejandra Campoverdi (D) is one of the multitude of also-rans in this race seeking to advance to a runoff with the heavily-favored State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D). Campoverdi thus far hasn’t been getting a whole lot of traction, and thus anyone watching the race had no reason to know or care that she once posed for the pornographic magazine Maxim. But she now has published an essay in Cosmo saying she wants people to get over it, which will of course get her plenty of additional SJW victim cred in her very-left wing downtown LA seat. I tend to be of the philosophy that I could care less what you do with your life as long as I don’t have to hear about it, and I wish more people would take that to heart.

GA-6: Clout Research (Wenzel) has a new poll out, showing former congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D) jumping out to a lead with 41 as the only serious Dem in the field. Ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R) are tied for the second runoff spot with 16% each. Republicans combine to lead the combined Democratic total 48-44, a narrower-than-expected margin in this historically-Republican district. Democrats appear to be stacking all their chips on Osoff for a win in the next few months, bypassing other specials in Montana, KS-4, and SC-5.

WATN: Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman (R), who represented southeast suburban Houston from 1994 to 96 and then again represented the current TX-36 from 2012 to 2014, was indicted last week on charges of running a phony charity for his personal use.

State & Local:

CA-Supt: 2014 candidate and charter-school executive Marshall Tuck (D) is mounting a second bid for the office he lost narrowly three years ago to incumbent Tom Torlakson (D). Tuck, a moderate, faced strong opposition from teachers’ unions in his first bid, and will likely be a target of their fire again for the open seat; however, his name recognition from 2014 could prove quite valuable in standing out from the field without an incumbent to take on.

CO-AG: Boulder DA Stan Garnett (D) is mounting a second bid for the office of AG, which he lost as the 2010 nominee. Garnett, a staunch liberal, will face State Rep. Joe Salazar (D), who is also very liberal, in the primary to take on first-term incumbent Cynthia Coffman (R).

GA-SoS: SoS Brian Kemp (R) has not officially kicked off his expected run for Governor, but a candidate is already lining up to succeed him. State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R) of Gwinnett County has become the first candidate to declare interest in the seat, but says he will only run if Kemp follows through on his bid for Governor. Brockway seems likely to be a strong contender for the post.

IA-SoS: Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert (D) is considering a run against SoS Paul Pate (R). Weipert is the first Democrat to publicly consider a run against Pate, who is likely to seek a third term (second consecutive) in the post after a term in the 90s.

NE-SoS: Nebraska SoS John Gale (R) will retire and not seek a fifth full term in 2018. State Sen. John Murante (R) and former elected state school board member Bob Evnen (R) have been mentioned as possible candidates for the open seat.

NM-Lands Comm: Ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) is mounting a rematch against the man who defeated him by 704 votes in 2014, incumbent Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R). Powell’s career has had more than its share of ups and downs: he lost the 1986 gubernatorial election as his first entry into politics, was appointed Lands Commissioner and elected for two terms from 1993 to 2002, lost a primary for his old job in 2006 before winning a third term in 2010, and then losing in a shock upset three years ago as non-incumbent Democrats were carrying three of the five row offices. As a result, it’s hard to peg how strong a candidate he will be.

SD-AG: Lawrence County (pop.25K) DA John Fitzgerald (R) has become the second candidate into this open seat race, joining 2014 Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg (R). Incumbent Marty Jackley (R) is running for Governor.

WI-AG: Former federal prosecutor Josh Kaul (D), son of 2000s-era ex-AG Peg Lautenschlager (D), is considering a run for his mom’s old job against incumbent Brad Schimel (R). Lautenschlager’s legacy was tarnished by a DUI conviction while the sitting AG, which caused her to lose a primary for a second term in 2006.

WI-Supt: Incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers (D) has released his first ad ahead of the election in two weeks. Evers’s spot attacks his opponent, local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), for a harebrained scheme Holtz apparently hatched to give his primary opponent a high-paying job in the Superintendent’s office in exchange for dropping out of the race. Holtz, who has raised little, is probably unlikely to air ads of his own.

NYC-Mayor: Councilman Eric Ulrich (R), who represents a deep-blue district in Ozone Park, Queens, won’t run for Mayor this year, and will seek re-election. Ulrich’s decision leaves well-funded developer Paul Massey (R) as the most likely GOP nominee. Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D) is likely to be renominated for a second term but may face primary opposition.

NV-Municipal: Here’s a good rundown of the key municipal elections going on in Las Vegas and its suburbs two weeks from today. The most exciting race at stake appears to be one of three city council races in Las Vegas, district 6. There, ex-State Rep. and 2016 NV-3 candidate Michelle Fiore (R), a polarizing libertarian-conservative known for her at times over-the-top support for anti-government causes, is facing off with the wife of the outgoing Democratic incumbent for a swingy council seat. The piece also has information about the two other council races in Las Vegas and Mayoral races in the suburbs of North Las Vegas and Henderson.

Miscellany:

Blogosphere: Sad news that Jon Richards, editor of the excellent blog Georgiapol.com, has been moved to hospice care for Stage 4 cancer. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

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OH-Gov: Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is in

As has been expected for some time, four-term Rep. Jim Renacci (R) announced today that he will enter the crowded GOP primary for Ohio Governor. The open Ohio Governor’s race seems likely to be the cycle’s most chaotic primary contest, on both sides. Renacci joins a titanic four-way collision with AG Mike DeWine (R), LG Mary Taylor (R), and SoS Jon Husted (R). He has a base in his suburban Akron and Cleveland based district, and independent wealth that will allow him to go toe-to-toe with his three statewide-elected rivals. Ideologically, Renacci seems to be trying to stake out a niche as the most populist/Trump-friendly candidate. Democrats are likely to see a crowded primary as well, with ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) already in the race and many others considering.

As for Renacci’s OH-16, the formerly light-red seat has been trending right in recent years and had a PVI of R+9 in 2016. The mostly-suburban and exurban seat stretches from the southwest suburbs of Cleveland around the south and west sides of Akron, with small pieces of the Canton area and some rural areas west of Canton as well.

The most obvious potential candidate is one of Renacci’s gubernatorial rivals, LG Mary Taylor (R), who could easily drop down to this race and be the clear front-runner if she decides she doesn’t like the way her polling for Gov is looking. State Sen. Frank LaRose (R), who has been looking at an SoS run, could also find this race a greener pasture. Beyond them, State Rep. Tom Patton (R), a former State Senate GOP leader, could have strong institutional support if he runs, but an incident last year in which he said his opponent couldn’t be an effective legislator because she was a mother could come back to bite him. State Senate President Larry Obhof (R) and young State Rep. Christina Hagan (R) also look like potentially strong candidates. Cuyhaoga County GOP chair Ron Frost (R), State Reps. Scott Wiggam (R) and Kristina Roegner (R), and Wayne county commissioner Ron Amstutz (R) have all been great-mentioned.

Democrats will have a tough time flipping this seat but may make a play for it if they are serious about putting the House in play. Ex-Parma Mayor Dean DePiero (D) looks like the most serious potential Dem candidate, and he has already said that he will consider a run for the open seat. There is also a possibility that Sutton, who lost to Renacci in 2012 after her seat was subsumed into this one by redistricting, could drop down from the Gov race. But overall any GOP nominee will be a relatively strong favorite to hold the seat.

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Political Roundup for March 20th, 2017

As you pick yourself up off of the floor and kick aside a mug with a little green beer still at the bottom, here’s a warm serving of electoral news to help with the hangover.

Big Picture

Turnout: It looks like turnout in 2016 was about halfway between 2008 (62.2%) and 2012 (58.8%) at 60.2% of eligible voters. Then again, how would we know? New York City is still counting.

Congress

PA-Sen: Ah, crap. The Libertarians found a Senate candidate for 2018 in Pennsylvania. It’s not like Republicans had anything more than an outside chance at beating Sen. Bob Casey (D) anyway, but now it’ll be even harder.

UT-Sen/UT-03: Former Presidential candidate Egg McMuffin, err, Evan McMullin (I?) is thinking about primarying either Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) or Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) in 2018. He’d likely go down in flames to either incumbent, but he’s free to pick his own poison.

MT-AL: Roll Call points out that GA-06 is the only special House race where the Democrats are playing, and in so doing confirms that national Democrats are doing jack squat in Montana. Musician Rob Quist (D), their nominee there by convention, appears to be on his own.

Governor

MN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) has canned her long-expected gubernatorial bid. She was a big fish in a fairly crowded pond as far as Democratic hopefuls for Governor were concerned. The announcement should have some fallout both in front of and behind the scenes as allegiances shift.

MN-Gov Continued: …aaaannndd here it is! In the wake of Smith’s exit, Rep. Tim Walz (D)  has now privately confirmed that he’s running for Governor. Word on Twitter is that he’s also secured the backing of Rep. Collin Peterson (D). If true, that would be significant. Only Rep. Rick Nolan (D), who is also a rumored gubernatorial candidate, would stand in Walz’s way as far as uniting outstate Democrats is concerned. Remember folks, this contest will likely be decided at a convention, so the dynamics are a bit different than nominating contests in other states.

NJ-Gov:  SNL alum and radio host Joe Piscopo has quashed rumors that he’ll be running for Governor of New Jersey as a Republican. However, he still hasn’t ruled out a run as an Independent.

NJ-Gov Continued: In that same Republican primary, Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno and Assmb. Jack Ciattarelli are currently battling to get top placement on primary ballots in various counties. Ciattarelli got the top spot in Mercer County the other day. Guadagno countered by winning in Bergen. The fight continues, though Guadagno is favored.

VA-Gov: The Post got a bit dramatic with their headline on this one, but yes, the Virginia Governor’s race is important. In fact, it’s heating up, at least for the Democrats. Early on, it looked like Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) had the nomination locked up. Now the landscape looks different, with former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) gaining ground. In fact, Perriello was just endorsed by John Podesta. This is his second Clintonista endorsement, which is impressive for someone so long associated with Team Obama.

VA-Gov Continued: In other news about the race that always gets covered more than New Jersey’s because it’s across the river from DC, distillery owner Denver Riggleman (R) has dropped out of the Republican primary. Riggleman had sought to form an antiestablishment coalition of primary voters, but soon found that very few Republicans in Virginia are anti-Ed Gillespie. At least he’s smarter than Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart (R), who has yet to discover this and is therefore still running for the nomination.

State/Local

OK-SD-44: Even Edwin Edwards admits that he couldn’t get out of this one. Oklahoma State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) was literally found with a live boy in a motel room. Shortey had paid the 17-year-old for sex. Needless to say, a special election for this OKC district will be forthcoming.

PA-HD-197: In this latest chapter of our saga about residency requirements and adorably racist party bosses, yet another improbable thing has happened; a historically black newspaper wrote a puff piece about a Republican candidate. No, really. Click the link, I swear. The Philadelphia Tribune wrote a profile of special election candidate Lucinda Little (R), and it’s downright favorable. I still think she’ll lose to a write-in, but the way things are going, the stars are aligning for the unthinkable.

VA-HD-72: Del. Jimmie Massey (R) is retiring at the last minute. This is significant because his Henrico County district narrowly went for Clinton. It’s more Republican downballot, but could be competitive.

WATN: Former State Sen. Morgan Carroll (D), last seen losing a race for CO-06 to Rep. Mike Coffman (R), has been elected Chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party. That’s normal. What’s weird is that both her rhetoric and the article suggest that the state party is in a shambles. I’m not saying it’s breaking records for dominance, but I wouldn’t call a party that holds the governorship, half the legislature, 3/7 House seats, and a Senate seat one that needs rebuilding, either. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that the state has now voted Democratic in the last three presidential elections. What are they smoking? Oh, wait…

International

UK-LibDems: Liberal Democratic Leader Tim Farron is calling on all Tories who have Remain-voting constituencies to defect to his party or resign. He’s threatening to beat at the polls all who don’t stand aside or switch. Given that the Tories just had a poll come out putting them on 43% with a 17-point lead at a snap election, I don’t think he’ll have many takers. Then again, with only nine seats to his party’s name, he doesn’t have much to lose by swinging for the fences.

140 Comments »

Weekend Open Thread for March 17-20, 2017

Welcome to the weekend! Here are some questions to keep ponder after St Paddy’s Day:

  1. Who will finish in the top two in GA-6?
  2. Who will be the next major retirement announcement?
  3. What will be the biggest upset in 2017?

And because it it the weekend we give you the greatest thing you will ever see HERE

88 Comments »

St. Patrick’s Day 2017 Open Thread

  • We seem to have had a schedule mix-up. Too much green beer and corned beef this morning. Since it’s​ a slow news cycle we will be taking a day off, but here is an open thread for general discussion and a warning about what can happen when you wear a green tie on national TV HERE
  • (SOTS) For y’all’s general amusement, HERE’S a picture of me and a friend protesting Jon Ossoff outside of the DNC yesterday. Ossoff was inside for a fundraiser. We managed to annoy John Lewis, Keith Ellison, and some journalist, but they snuck Ossoff out the back.
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Political Roundup for March 16th, 2017

The Dutch General Election is over, and Wilders & Co. came in second with 20 seats, just ahead of the christian-democratic CDA at 19 seats. The Center-right VVD, led by Prime Minister Rutte is again the largest party with 33 seats (actually a loss of eight) and will form the next coalition. Many European leaders can’t contain their excitement, though they’ll likely be much less excited when they realize that Rutte won by basically being Wilders-lite. Anyway, on to the rest of the news!

President

IA-2020: Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Human Sleep Aid) is floating a poll showing him one point ahead of Sen. Cory Booker (D-Ambition), 18-17, in the 2020 IA caucus. I have no clue why he’d do such a thing this early, but someone should probably tell him the that early frontrunner only gets the nomination if they came in second last time, have complete control of the party, or are the sitting Vice President.

Congress

MA-08: The Times did an interview with MA-08 hopeful Brianna Wu (D-Bold Progressive), and she sounds scarily sane (at least in terms of strategy). Now, I don’t think for a minute that she’s going to beat Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Dublin) in the primary, but telling her party to sound less elitist and mimic the emotionality of Trump’s appeals is a decent bit of advice. She definitely sounds more well-informed than the interviewer, who apparently has no concept of what GamerGate was.

NC-03: This is from a few weeks ago, but it’s interesting. Rep. Walter Jones (R-The Nearest Conspiracy Theory) is publicly considering retirement at the end of this cycle. There would be a lot of people who would both love and hate to see him go, depending on how much they prattle-on about the military-industrial complex. He would have no shortage of contenders for succession to his safely Republican seat in Eastern North Carolina.

VA-10: It appears that Fairfax County Supervisor Kathy Smith (D-Rapidly Diversifying Suburbs) has been approached by several groups, including multiple unions, to run against Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Was Probably Rooting For Hillary). If she runs, it could set up a primary with State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Already Diverse Suburbs), who is also mulling a run.

Governor

NJ-Gov: Well, this is expected but depressing; Goldman alum and gubernatorial hopeful Phil Murphy (D-Second Coming Of Corzine) trounces his rival Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R-Shackled To Christie) 47-25 in a new Q poll. Both candidates lead in their respective party primaries.

TN-Gov: Life is pretty good if you’re Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green (R-Badass). You’re a former SpecOps medic, a prominent state senator, the best gubernatorial candidate that the state party’s antiestablishment wing has had in ages, and you might even get to be Secretary of the Army. After Vincent Viola withdrew his name from consideration, Team Trump started vetting Green. If he gets the job, he’ll exit a primary that he had a decent chance of winning due to multiple establishment candidates’ splitting the vote at the moment.

State/Local

AL-Referendum: Legislators in the Yellowhammer State want to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that completely bans abortion in case Roe v. Wade ever gets overturned. Yay, I guess?

Detroit-Mayor: A new poll commissioned by MIRS shows incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan (D-McNamara) leading his challenger State Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Please, Not Again) 46-21.

NJ-SD-02: The Democrats have pulled a switcheroo in this competitive race for an open Atlantic City-area state senate seat. Both of the district’s state assemblymen, one of each party, were running against each other. Now, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Torricelli) is being replaced with former Atlantic County Freeholder Collin Bell (D-Lautenberg) after Mazzeo said some unfortunate things about immigrants in a Facebook post.

PA-Judges: In Pennsylvania, candidates can get multiple ballot lines by petition. Sometimes, both parties will endorse the same candidate, especially for judicial positions (making it easier to petition onto their ballot line). That did not happen to Allegheny Magisterial Court Judge Mary Murray (who is running for Superior Court), but she wanted the Republican ballot line anyway, so she petitioned onto it. The PAGOP is now challenging her signatures.

VA-LD-28: Former Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Stimpson (R-Better Off Her Meds) is returning to politics. Stimpson, who has a, let’s say, colorful history involving a Wegman’s, JFK Airport, and diet pills is returning to politics. She’s running for retiring Speaker Bill Howell’s seat. This should be interesting.

International

Scotland: Scotland seems to be barrelling towards another independence referendum, and everyone wants control over the terms; the SNP wants control over it that it doesn’t have, the Tories want it to be after the Brexit negotiations, and Labour, as per usual, knows it wants something, but isn’t quite sure what that is.