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Political Roundup for August 16th, 2017

Last Night’s Results

AL-Sen: Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore cruised to a first-place finish in a low turnout Senate Republican primary race, and he will face appointed Senator Luther Strange in a runoff. Meanwhile, Democrats avoided a Some Dude beating their preferred nominee, former US Attorney Doug Jones.

UT-3: Provo Mayor and former Democrat John Curtis won the Republican primary here over former state Rep. Chris Herrod, who had received a lot of conservative endorsements. He will face physician Kathie Allen (D) and Jim Bennett, son of the former US Senator, in the next round.

President

Trump: Another poll with upside-down national approval ratings, this time at 35%-55% from Marist.

Senate

AL-Sen: Rep. Mo Brooks, the third place finisher in last night’s special Senate primary, will not endorse either Strange or Moore.

NV-Sen: Facing a primary challenge from Danny Tarkanian, Sen. Dean Heller (R) finally admitted he did, in fact, vote for Trump last November. Maybe that will help in the primary, but hard to see Jacky Rosen stifling a grin about this admission.

House

TX-27,35: A federal court panel has thrown out two Texas congressional districts. One of them, Corpus Christi’s TX-27 represented by the salacious Rep. Blake Farenthold (R), was said to underrepresent Hispanic voters. Another, Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s TX-35, was said to be designed with race as the primary determinant of its boundaries, which happened to pack Democratic voters into the Austin-based district. The lines must be redrawn for 2018, and the Texas Attorney General’s office has 3 days to inform the court if the Texas legislature will try to tackle the task. The particularly surprising thing to me is that they did not order any more changes for TX-23, where Rep. Will Hurd (R) holds a very carefully crafted swing seat.

KS-2, KS-Gov: Former Minority Leader and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) will run for the open 2nd congressional district. That also means Davis is out for a gubernatorial bid in this open seat. We currently rate this seat as Lean Republican.

AL-5: Coming off his defeat last night in the special US Senate election, Rep. Mo Brooks (R) announced he will run for reelection last night. He took about 43% in the 3-way race in his own seat, so he should be fine in a primary.

WI-1: Paul Ryan’s primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, apparently believes PizzaGate was a real thing. I’m sure we will see a similar massive blowout in this primary as we did in 2016, when Ryan won by 68 points.

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AL-Sen & UT-3 Primary Liveblog

10:57 ET:  We are going to call it a night with Utah results continuing to trickle in, but here is where we stand:  Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore won the Republican primary in AL-Sen.  He is the odds on favorite to win the runoff against Senator Luther Strange (R-Trump).  The Democrats avoided another Alvin Greene style fiasco by nominating serious candidate Doug Jones.  In UT-3, Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) leads the Republican primary pretty comfortably.

10:53 ET:  Does the anti-Trump Republican vote go for Moore or just stays home in AL-Sen Republican Runoff?

10:48 ET: UT3 appears to be pretty steady with little over half in: Curtis 43, Herrod 30, and Ainge 27.

10:33 ET:  Brooks came as close as you can to endorsing someone without endorsing Moore.  Strange is DOA.

10:28 ET: Mo Brooks will run for reelection in 2018.

10:23 ET: We will have a runoff in ALSen on the Republican side, but we are calling the first round for Moore.

10:18 ET:  We have a large dump in from Utah… Curtis 44%, Herrod 29%, and Ainge 27%.

10:13 ET:  AP and NYT join RRHElections and calling a Moore Strange runoff.  It looks like Moore will win the most votes, but there is a chance Strange wins still.

9:53 ET:  How much does Strange need to narrow the margin to have a realistic chance against Moore in the runoff?

9:50 ET:  Not sure what is going on, but DDHQ shows a slightly tighter race than AP/NYT.

9:42 ET: Less than 20 minutes until Utah-3 closes.

9:30 ET: With 1/3 of the vote in, Moore is at 41.4% with Strange at 31.3%.  Brooks is at 19.1%.  We can probably rule out Brooks making the runoff as well.

9:10 ET: With 15% and it being disproportionately from Representative Mo Brooks’ 5th CD, it looks like we can rule out a Brooks victory and most likely can call a Moore / Strange runoff.  We will wait to see more before calling the latter as their is a slim chance that Moore could clear 50%.

9:05 ET: DDHQ has called the Democrat primary for Jones. Democrats will avoid having the embarrassment of fake RFK Jr as their senate candidate.

8:59 ET:  The first place Democrat, Jones, is getting fewer votes than Brooks.

8:44 ET: The results are slowing coming in and Roy Moore’s lead continues to shrink while we are settling into a 38-30-22 spread between Moore, Strange, and Brooks.

8:24 ET: Alabama does not have early voting so approximately 95% of the vote was likely cast today.

8:19 ET:  Roy Moore and Robert Kennedy are in the lead in the first results.

8:00 ET: Polls have just closed in Alabama. As we wait for results to come in please enjoy this musical prelude HERE

Results: AP (AL) | NYT (AL) | DDHQ (AL-GOP) DDHQ (AL-Dem)|| AP (UT) DDHQ(UT)

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Political Roundup for August 15, 2017

Programming Update:  Tonight at 8pm Eastern Time, we will have our live blog coverage of the Alabama US Senate and UT-3 primaries.

As Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un has backed off his threat to tip Guam over and Trump gave his most composed address ever, it is time for today’s roundup:

President/National/International

Pardon:  President Trump (R?) is pondering a pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R-Border Wall).  Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt for failing to follow a state court judge’s order barring his deputies from making traffic stops specifically to enforce immigration laws.

France:  French President Emmanuel Macron (Corporate Center-Left) continues to lose support as his approval ratings are in the mid-30s.  Macron seems to be suffering due to voters realizing that behind the hype that very few voters actually want a socially liberal fiscal moderate to conservative.

Congress

AL-Sen: Leading up to today’s special election primary, President Trump (R?) is making robocalls for Senator Luther Strange (R).  Trump originally tried to stay out of the race, but has increasingly getting behind Strange.

MI-Sen:  My name is Kid Rock… I mean Robert Ritchie.  Rockstar Kid Rock (R) would most likely not be able to run under his stage name, but some variation of his legal name.  That said, if Kid Rock cannot get voters to know who Robert Ritchie is by election day, he deserves to lose.

CO-7:  Representative Earl Perlmutter (D) is reconsidering his decision to not seek reelection.  Perlmutter recently dropped out of the Democratic nomination race for Governor and announced he was not seeking reelection as well.  If Perlmutter decides to run for Congress again, he would be the strong favorite to win the primary and general.

FL-19:  Representative Francis Rooney (R) could not get enough of battling slimy characters during Congressional sessions so he spent the summer recess catching invasive pythons in the Everglades.  Rooney killed 5 during the hunt.

VA-6: Peter Volosin (D), a political novice, will challenge Representative Bob Goodlatte (R).  Volosin appears to be running on the same generic “politics isn’t working” so lets be Bold Progressives despite having 8 years of a Democratic president recently shtick that many others are doing.

States

AL-Gov:  Governor Kay Ivey (R) will likely run for a full term as Governor.  Ivey became Governor when former Governor Robert Bentley (R) was ran out town for being a crook.

PA-LG: State Senator David Argall (R) wants to take part in a shotgun wedding… I mean he wants to run for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania.  Argall is one of three candidates considering a run for the Republican nomination. The other two are former state Representative Gordon Denlinger (R) and former Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser (R).

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AL-Sen & UT-3 Primary Preview

Two congressional seats are up for primaries this week, one Senate and one House. Polls close at 8ET in Alabama and 10ET in Utah; our liveblog starts at 8.

AL-Sen (R, D): Alabama is the lone Senate seat up for election this year; Gov. Kay Ivey (R) moved the special election for this seat up from 2018. Essentially all the action for this race is on the GOP side, where nine candidates are facing off, five of them serious. Click HERE for our poll of the race from last week if you haven’t seen it already.

Luther Strange

Appointed incumbent Luther Strange (R) made a somewhat, well, strange, decision in regards to this race. Despite the fact that as AG his office was investigating then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for covering up a sex scandal, Strange accepted an appointment to the Senate from Bentley. The appointment decision was in spite of the fact that Strange had statewide name recognition that would have made him the prohibitive favorite for an open seat race. Strange’s handling of the appointment, which raised blindlingly obvious questions of impropriety, has become a major liability for him in this race. And with the race moved up from 2018, he doesn’t have a lot of Senate service record to distract from the appointment mess. Indeed, Strange has been in a tight 3-way race; he is polling well below 50%, taking second place with 29% in our poll. There is even a small chance he could be boxed out of the runoff, as some polls have shown him dropping in recent days. However, Strange does have some significant advantages; he retains strong establishment support, which has enabled him to swamp his rivals in both his own and outside fundraising. In particular, McConnell-aligned forces have been boosting Strange with saturation advertising portraying him as the most loyal Trumpist in the race. Trump also gave Strange a late endorsement, but it’s unclear if that has gotten enough play to make a major difference in the race.

Roy Moore

Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) is Strange’s most likely runoff rival. If Strange has baggage of a typical political-insider nature, Moore has equal baggage in his out-of-the-mainstream ideology. You may remember the “Ten Commanments Judge” episode last decade, when 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, Moore was removed again over ordering state officials to disregard SCOTUS’s Obergefell decision. Moore has a dedicated base of social conservatives, but is something of a one-note character on religious issues, making him a tough sell to less-devout Republicans. His incredibly polarizing nature means his odds of winning a runoff are probably fairly long; Strange would likely prefer to face him in the second round, and thus Moore has largely been spared attacks in advertising to date. In our poll, he held a small lead with 31% on the backs of his strong evangelical base, which will probably be enough to get him to a runoff. Were Moore to emerge with the nomination, that may be the only way this general election in deep-red Alabama becomes competitive; while Moore has won statewide before, he has run well behind Generic R.

Mo Brooks

If Moore is the candidate of the social conservative anti-establishment, the fiscal conservative anti-establishment has its standard-bearer in Rep. Mo Brooks (R). Brooks is in his fourth term representing the Huntsville area; he is a staunchly antiestablishment conservative who won his congressional seat by primarying out a party-switching Rep. Additionally, Brooks has been aligned with the Tea Party faction in the House and an antagonist of leadership. Leadership has returned the enmity by hitting Brooks hard in a lot of their spending on Strange’s behalf. Most notably, Brooks has been hit relentlessly for his support of Ted Cruz in last year’s primary over Trump and skepticism (like many conservatives) of Trump’s conservative and personal bona fides. The adds seem to have had the desired effect: Brooks’s poll numbers are relatively weak and he has been polling well behind Moore for the second spot. He is likely to have a strong base in his north Alabama district, but may struggle with name recognition across the rest of the state. Overall Brooks has a very slight chance to make the runoff (probably by boxing out Strange) but seems more likely than not to come in third, as he was at 18% in our poll and around ten points behind both Strange and Moore.

Trip Pittman

Two other candidates are unlikely to make the runoff but are serious enough to draw a significant number of votes. State Sen. Trip Pittman (R) is the final established pol in the field. He hails from the Mobile area, a unique geographical base. Pittman has fundraised credibly; however, his low name recognition and the short time frame have largely prevented him from being a real threat to advance. Pittman is a relatively antiestablishment conservative, so his votes (8% in our poll) will probably come out of Brooks’s base. That combined with his complementary geographical base on the opposite side of the state likely means his major effect in the race is to spoil Brooks’s chances of making a runoff.

Randy Brinson

The final serious candidate appears to be physician and evangelical activist Randy Brinson (R). Brinson has some social conservative support as he formerly led the state’s chapter of the Christian Coalition; he is as staunch a social conservative as Moore, but takes a less combative approach to the same priorities. While Brinson likely has no chance to make the runoff or even break out of low single-digits, polling at the asterisk-level 2% in our poll, he may get a small number of votes out of Moore’s pocket.

Doug Jones

Across the aisle, Clinton-era ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is the only serious Democratic candidate, though he does face 6 non-serious Some Dudes. Unlike other Dem special election candidates this year, Jones so far hasn’t attracted much national enthusiasm as Alabama’s deep-red and inelastic nature has tempered any Dem enthusiasm for a pickup here – and that lack of enthusiasm could even create problems for Jones in the primary. It would be embarrassing for him to be held to a runoff, let alone not come in first. But the limited polling of the Dem side suggests that is very possible.

Robert Kennedy

Jones’s main complication in this primary is the fortunately-named but otherwise totally non-serious Some Dude Robert Kennedy (D). Polling has even shown Kennedy, who is not running a serious campaign by any measure, within striking distance of even avoiding a runoff, which would be an Alvin Greene-level embarrassment to the state’s Dems. Assuming Jones ultimately emerges with the nomination, Democrats are searching for any wins wherever they can find them and enthusiasm for him may increase. And thus there is a chance the race could heat up before the December general, particularly if the polarizing Moore is nominated – though even Moore’s statewide base has been enough for him to narrowly but consistently prevail in his judicial races. Of course that all assumes Jones doesn’t blow this race before it even begins. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

UT-3 (R): UT-3 is a very Republican (but Trump-unfriendly) seat around Provo vacated by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R). It covers the southeast quarter of the state, but substantially all the population is in the Provo area and its suburbs, along with a small slice of southern Salt Lake City exurbs. Three Republicans are facing off in the primary for this seat, and it seems like all have a chance to win.

John Curtis

Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) is generally considered the nominal front-runner. As Mayor of Provo since 2009, Curtis is probably the candidate with the highest name recognition. He has also placed first in both fundraising and the one recent poll of the race. However, he has liabilities; Curtis was a Democrat from 2000 until 2006, during which time he ran for State Senate and was even County chair for a period. If that’s not enough to throw suspicion on his conservatism, his two terms as Mayor has meant that he’s had to compromise on ideological purity many times. That said, this district, while conservative, is far from firebrand in its sensibilities, and Curtis’s moderate profile may not be the albatross here it is in similarly red seats. Curtis has also led his rivals by a large margin in funding.

Chris Herrod

From the other side of the party ideologically, antiestablishment-leaning ex-State Rep. Chris Herrod (R) won the endorsement at the convention. Herrod was appointed to the House in 2007, when he beat out none other than John Curtis for the job. Herrod ran against Sen. Orin Hatch (R) in 2012, but was eliminated at the convention. In 2016 he ran and lost against incumbent GOP State Sen. Curt Bramble – the man Curtis lost against as a Democrat in 2000. Politically, Herrod is perhaps the most antiestablishment candidate, very critical of illegal immigration of the major candidates and in manner and choice of words. He is probably also the one closest to Donald Trump. Herrod’s fundraising has been mediocre, but his antiestablishment leanings and official party support could be major assets in a low-turnout race, as he is likely to be a favorite of the engaged activist community.

Tanner Ainge

Attorney Tanner Ainge (R) is the third candidate in the race and something of a wild card. Ainge, the son of Boston Celtics manager Danny, gathered signatures to avoid the convention and has partially self-funded his bid. Ainge seems to be striking a middle ground between Curtis’s moderate profile and Herrod’s antiestablishment conservatism, selling hismelf as both a mainstream conservative and a political outsider – a profile that has been very successful in Utah, which has an unusual predilection for selecting pols with no prior experience. Ainge has also had some outside advertising support and a somewhat surprising endorsement from Sarah Palin. Overall, Curtis is probably a nominal front-runner, but it would be very easy to see any of these three candidates coming out on top.

Kathie Allen

The primary winner will face physician Kathie Allen (D), a bold progressive who briefly gained some netroots enthusiasm (and cash) when she was running against Chaffetz, in November. Allen seems a poor fit for the district and shouldn’t present any of Herrod, Curtis, or Ainge much trouble. However, a third party candidate, Jim Bennett (I), son of ex-US Sen. Bob (R), might present somewhat more of a challenge if his campaign gains momentum. Bennett would likely have the best odds against Herrod, the Republican who seems most likely to entice moderates to defect. But even then the odds of swimming against the deep-red tide of the seat would still be very long for Bennett. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

There is also one legislative special tomorrow. FL-LD-44 is an R+6 (2012) seat covering southwest Orlando suburbs between Disney World and the Florida’s Turnpike. Four Republicans are facing off; three have a chance to win. Chamber of Commerce official John Newstreet (R), a former US Senate staffer, has raised the most, while former Winter Garden councilman Bobby Olszewski (R) has more local establishment support. Businessman Bruno Portigliatti (R) also has a strong chance to win as he has self-funded a significant amount. The fourth candidate, physician and former county commission candidate Usha Jain (R), seems less serious. The primary winner will face businessman Paul Chandler (D) in an October general.

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Political Roundup for August 14th, 2017

Check back at 3pm today for our AL-Sen and UT-3 previews!

Big Picture

Third Party: I really want to figure out which consultants are about to make a lot of money on this pipe-dream, though I already have a few suspects. To explain, a bunch of Never Trumpers and a few Democrats are trying to organize a third party around Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I). As with all other such efforts, this one will prove futile, but will employ a few people for long enough that they can get that new BMW or pay their ridiculous mortgage until they can find another job because Jeb! didn’t get elected President. If this sounds like a No Labels redux to you, you’re on the right track. Oh, and if any actual politicians come out of this, they’ll likely run as Democrats, just like those that came out of No Labels did.

Congress

AL-Sen: Trafalgar is out with a poll of the Alabama special Senate election Republican primary, and they show a 35-23-20 Moore-Strange-Brooks race. That’s a much closer race for the second runoff spot than had previously been shown by most other pollsters.

AZ-Sen/AZ-09: It looks like we have a classic switcheroo in progress; this time it’s between Rep. Kirsten Sinema (D) and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D). Sinema will likely run against Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and Stanton, who was previously thought to be in the Senate race, will drop down and run for Sinema’s likely-to-be-vacated House seat.

ME-Sen: We all know that PPP likes to cause as much trouble for Republicans as possible with their poll questions, so of course they polled Sen. Susan Collins (R) against ‘Someone Else’ in a hypothetical primary. Collins trails 28-62 in the impossible match-up, which makes for a catchy headline. However, it doesn’t really mean much unless someone decides to run against her. Making that situation happen is I’m sure what PPP wanted to do.

MI-Sen: Well, I can’t believe I’m writing this sentence, but it seems that if Kid Rock (R) decides to enter the race for Senate in Michigan, he’ll have establishment backing. Senate Leadership Fund, which is a McConnell-backed group, has been making approving noises about a Rock run. What’s even crazier is, I think that’s the smart move. Politics is strange, folks.

WV-Sen: Rumors are swirling about a plan to flip a Senate seat by giving the Secretary of Energy position to Sen. Joe Manchin (D) and have newly-minted Republican Gov. Jim Justice appoint a Republican in his place. The only problem that I see with this plan is that they’ll have to find current Sec. of Energy Rick Perry another job.

CO-07: I smell a rat. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D), who dropped out of the gubernatorial race and announced his retirement at the same time, is now looking at running again for his current seat. I’m guessing that someone else wants to be set up for the seat and can’t do it in 2018, so they’re somehow convincing him to stay one more term to give them time to get ready. They’d also likely be someone involved with his gubernatorial campaign, or they would have already been running. Maybe he just changed his mind, but I doubt it.

PA-07/PA-08: This one is pretty funny. The DCCC has set up websites denouncing Reps. Patrick Meehan (R) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R) for not holding town halls. I don’t know about you guys, but setting up attack websites is such a waste of time and money that I consider any campaign that does it (and promotes it with Google text ads!) to be losing almost by default. They can’t find great candidates, so they’re flushing away donor money trying to drive up Meehan’s and Fitzpatrick’s negatives.

DCCC: Pop the popcorn, folks! This is a good one. After D-Trip Chairman Rep, Ben Ray Lujan (D) stated that the party would not rule-out backing pro-life candidates, a brush-fire broke out among the left-wing commentariat. This one isn’t over. I’m fully expecting Lujan to eventually cave.

Governor

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) has officially announced his long-rumored gubernatorial campaign. Latvala is known as something of an independent wildcard (some would say RINO) in the legislature. If nothing else, his primary against State House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam won’t be boring now that he’s involved.

State/Local

FL-HD-44: The FLDP has got to be one of the worse state parties in the country relative to its state’s PVI on either side of the aisle. Here’s a case in point: A state representative got a judgeship, so his seat is open. It’s Republican-held, but Hillary won it by 6,000 votes. However, several credible Republicans are raising large sums and campaigning hard for it, while one Democrat has gotten in and raised less than $4,000. Read the article. It’s a great rant on this point.

Voter Fraud: As a wise man once said ‘when you play stupid games, you get stupid prizes.’ That’s definitely true for the subject of this article. In order to meet his quota for registering voters on behalf of the Virginia Democratic party, a college student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg decided to just register everyone on a walk sheet. He made up many of the details, including Social Security Numbers. He also didn’t check to make sure that the voters were still alive, so he ended up registering 18 dead people. The local registrar’s office caught one of the forgeries and ran with it. The forger has been given 100-120 days in jail after a plea agreement. It’s worth noting, though, that if the registrar hadn’t recognized the name of someone she knew was dead, these dead people would have been newly registered and ready to vote.

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Weekend Open Thread for August 11-13

As the US and North Korea glare at each other and hurl threats for 1,000th time, here’s some questions to ponder over the weekend:

  1. Of the current swing states, which one are you most sure will be solidly Republican in 20 years? Which one will be solidly Democratic? Which state that’s currently not a swing state will be one in 20 years?
  2. Which House recruit for each side has impressed you the most so far this cycle? Which race has each side whiffed on the most in terms of recruiting so far?

And because it’s the weekend, here’s some musical accompaniment.

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Political Roundup for August 11, 2017

Senate:

TN-Sen/TN-6: State Sen. Mark Green (R) will not run for any higher office next year. Green had previously announced a run for governor earlier this year, but suspended that bid while he was under consideration to be Secretary of the Army. He later withdrew his name from consideration, but did not restart his campaign for governor. Sen. Bob Corker (R) has not yet said whether he is seeking re-election, but some had hoped Green would challenge him or run for the open seat if Corker does not run fro re-election. There was also some speculation Green might run for TN-6, which Rep. Diane Black (R) is giving up to run for governor.

TX-Sen: Former Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen (R) is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the Republican primary. Running for Senate seems like a curious choice for McQueen after he resigned from his job as Corpus Christi Mayor earlier this year after spending just 37 days on the job. Among other things, McQueen is running on reducing the size of Congress to about one representative per 1 million people(the current average is about 1 per 711,000).

House:

FL-6: Former state Rep. Fred Costello (R) is planning to run for Congress, but only if Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) decides to run for governor. Costello has run for Congress twice before, losing to DeSantis in the 2012 and 2016 Republican primaries.

IN-4: Diego Morales, an Army veteran and a senior advisor to VP Mike Pence when Pence was governor is running for this now open seat. Morales is the first candidate to announce plans to run since Rep. Todd Rokita announced on Tuesday he is running for US Senate.  Also, state Sen. Brandt Hershman (R) announced on Facebook he is not running.

MA-3: Dan Koh, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) hasn’t said anything publicly yet about running for this newly open seat, but of he does, he has the full support of his current boss. Walsh says he is “100 percent behind” Koh running for the seat. Koh, whose name was mentioned in connection with the seat after Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) announced her retirement Wednesday has said in the past that he has considered running for Congress or another elected office.

TN-6: Former Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner John Rose (R) has announced he will run for Congress next year. Rose served as Ag Commissioner from 2002-2003 and also has been involved with the Tennessee State Fair Association and owns a business that trains IT professionals. Rose joins state Rep. Judd Matheny (R) in the GOP primary. Political strategist Scottie Nell Hughes, an ardent supporter of President Trump has also expressed interest in the race.

Governor:

AL-Gov: State Senate President Del Marsh (R) will run for re-election to the state Senate and not run for governor. Marsh had been considering getting into the governor’s race, but said he wanted to wait until Gov. Kay Ivey (R) decided whether or not to run. Ivey says she is close to making a decision.

CO-Gov: Former Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham is considering running for governor, but wants to be sure he can win the Republican primary. Graham says he is a “different kind of candidate” who favors limited government and a strong defense but who is also pro-choice, pro-gay rights and favors some forms of gun control. He ran for US Senate last year, finishing a distant second behind Darryl Glenn in the Republican primary.

CT-Gov: Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano will not join the crowded GOP primary for governor. A gubernatorial bid by Fasano could have set up an awkward matchup between the Republican leaders of both the House and Senate with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides still deciding on a potential bid. 3 Republicans are already running with 3 others having formed exploratory committees, and others like Klarides could still join the race.

ME-Gov: Former state Rep. Diane Russell (D) is joining the Democratic primary for governor. Russell identifies herself as a “hardcore progressive” and favors single-payer healthcare. She was also a supporter in the Legislature of legalizing recreational marijuana and was also a supporter of the ranked-choice voting initiative. She joins 6 other Democrats in the primary.

MD-Gov: Krish Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama, is joining the Democratic nomination for governor. However, questions have been raised about whether she meets Maryland’s residency requirements to run. Candidates must have been a registered voter in the state for 5 years, and while she says she registered to vote in the state as early as she was able, she also registered to vote in the District of Columbia in 2010 and voted there in 2014. She says she never voted in more than one place at a time, and doesn’t think being registered in more than one place precludes her from meeting the requirements.

 

189 Comments »

Political Roundup for August 10, 2017

As Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un (Juche Megalomania)  threatens to make Representative Hank Johnston’s (D) fear of Guam tipping over a reality, it is time for today’s roundup:

Presidential/National

Clinton-Emails:  A Federal judge has ordered the State Department to try harder to discover emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) regarding the infamous Benghazi attack.  The District Court ruled the State Department must search other employees emails to ensure the FOIA request at issue is fulfilled.

Manafort:  The FBI raided the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (R/United Russia) on July 26.   The raid was tied to the ongoing probe of whether Manafort was part of a Russian conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Biden:  As former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is roaming around trying to figure out what to do after serving in Washington for nearly 50 years, donors tied to former President Barack Obama (D) are not lining up behind Biden if he makes a 2020 run.  Some are stating the obvious that the Democrats need a fresh face and Biden has been in Washington longer than over half the US population has been alive!

Congress

AL-Sen:  Senator Luther Strange (R) is basking in the rousing Republican primary endorsement he received from President Donald Trump (R?) Tuesday.  The surprise endorsement of Strange over former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R-Religious Controversy) and Representative Mo Brooks (R) appears to be lifting his fortunes as Brooks is asking for Trump’s team to reconsider.

AZ-Sen:  Senator Jeff Flake (R-Self Loathing) got some bad news on Wednesday as Trump mega donor Robert Mercer dumped $300,000 into a group supporting challenger State Senator Kelli  Ward (R-Sharon Angle Clone).  Mercer’s support might be the beginning of a trend of wealthy Trump supporters trying to derail Flake, whose not made friends of anyone including yours truly.

MA-3:  In case you missed it, Representative Niki Tsongas (D) announced her retirement from Congress at the end of this term.  The Politico has a good writeup of the Great Mentioner with former Representative Marty Meehan’s wife, Ellen Meehan, being at the top of the list and being pushed by Tsongas.

PA-16:  Representative Lloyd Smucker (R) has another Democratic challenger in non-profit director Jess King (D-Bold Progressive).  King is running on a far-left platform for a R+5 seat in central Pennsylvania.  2016 candidate Christina Hartman is also running for the Democrats, but is taking a less progressive stance on some issues and has establishment support (for whatever its worth in this seat).

MI-13:  The House Ethics Committee extended its investigation into Representative John Conyers (D) over how he kept paying a staffer after placing her on leave.  You got to wonder if the Committee cannot make a decision on this if the Committee is trying to figure out how to handle a member well past his prime.

States

NY-SD-26:  26th Senate District State Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Bold Progressive) announced his resignation from the Prize Patrol effective Friday.  Squadron seems to be resigning due to the corruption found in the Prize Patrol and to take part in national efforts in 2018.   Squadron was delusional that he thought being a New York State Senator is about more than getting your fair share of the Prize Patrol.

North Carolina:  Decision Desk HQ has an interesting look at one of the most unusual counties in North Carolina, Robeson County.  The county has the unusual distinction of being for Obama twice then flipping to Trump plus McCain doing better than Romney.

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MA-3: Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) is Retiring

Earlier today Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) announced her retirement in 2018 after five and a half terms. Tsongas, Paul’s widow, was mostly a backbencher in the House. The D+10 seat covers most of the blue-collar Merrimack Valley along the NH border and then dips down to limousine liberal exurbs in MetroWest; it should stay in D hands. State Sens. Eileen Donoghue (D), Kathleen O’Connor-Ives (D), Barbara L’Italien (D), Jamie Eldridge (D), and Jennifer Flanagan (D), live in or near the district, along with nearly 20 State Reps. Ex-Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong (D) and Lowell Mayor Ed Kennedy (D) may also be names worth watching, along with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh CoS Dan Koh (D), and Ellen Meehan (D), ex-wife of Tsongas’s predecessor Marty Meehan (D).

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Political Roundup for August 9th, 2017

About Last night, Democrat Phil Miller won IA-LD-28 by a 54% to 44% margin. Trump won seat 58% to 37%. In MO-LD-50 Sara Walsh (R) won by a narrower than expected 52% to 48% margin. In MO-SD-28 Republican State Rep. Sandy Crawford won.

In primaries, Marquette councilwoman Sara Cambensy (D) won the primary for MI-LD-109 with 37 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Rich Rossway in General Election. Tenisha Yancey (D) won the primary for the Safe D MI-LD-1, and Spartanburg councilman Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) won the primary for the Safe D SC-LD-31. Businessman Paul Rosino (R) prevailed in OK-SD-45, while retired cop Ross Ford (R) narrowly won in OK-LD-76 over the prior incumbent’s widow. Ford will face teacher Chris Vanlandingham (D) in the general.

President:

Kasich: An American Research Group poll has Gov. John Kasich leading President Trump in a hypothetical New Hampshire Republican presidential primary 52% to 40%.  Unfortunately ARG did not do a three way poll of a hypothetical primary in which John Kasich plays spoiler allowing Trump to win again with 40% of the vote.

Governor:

CO-Gov: State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) has found a novel way around Colorado’s restrictive campaign finance laws that limits donations to $1,150. Stapleton is holding off announcing his run for governor in order to raise unlimited cash for a super PAC-style group called Better Colorado Now. Stapleton’s situation highlights the problems with restrictive campaign finance laws that encourages the outsourcing the cost of running a political campaign to outside third party political groups.

FL-Gov: Despite serious questions that arose, a Florida grand jury has cleared Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum of criminal liability after an investigation into his use of a city-funded email program used to send private and political messages.

KS-Gov: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) made it official and announced that he will run for Governor in 2018. Colyer is poised to takeover as Governor of Kansas when current Gov. Sam Brownback (R) finally gets confirmed to be ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Running for a full term as a sitting governor should give Colyer a leg up in the Republican primary where he could face a crowded field that includes Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer (who entered the race earlier this week), businessman Wink Hartman, former state senator Jim Barnett and entrepreneur Ed O’Malley

NY-Gov: Oh, Miranda! Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is taking the threat of a Cynthia Nixon primary challenge serious enough to offer to sit down with her and discuss education issues. Nixon meanwhile declined to rule out a bid for Governor during an appearance she made on the Today Show.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) may want to do some more polling before deciding if she wants to run for Governor. According to a PPP poll of a potential GOP primary former LePage health commissioner Mary Mayhew would lead Collins in a hypothetical matchup, 44 percent to 33 percent. Collins would score just a mere 28% against a hypothetical “someone else”. We would advice taking this poll with a very big grain of salt as it is common practice to release polls like this to either motivate or demotivate a potential candidate from running.

TX-Gov: Texas Democrats still do not have a candidate for governor. No major Democrat has shown any interest in losing challenging Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) who has nearly $41 million in his campaign account and strong approval ratings. So far only former “International Mr. Leather” Jeffrey Payne (D) has announced his intentions to run.

VA-Gov: A new poll released by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University shows Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) with a slight 42% to 37% edge over Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra gets 6% in this matchup while 13% are undecided.

WY-Gov: Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) confirmed she will not run for Governor. Incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term limited and many people had thought Lummis would be a shoo-in to succeed him. Without Lummis running the field here seems to be wide open.

Senate:

AL-Sen: President Donald J. Trump (R) has endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) ahead for the upcoming special election. Assuming President Trump doesn’t start a nuclear war between now and August 15th this should help Sen. Strange bigly.

IN-Sen: ICYMI, fourth-term Rep. Todd Rokita (R) will join the primary for Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D) Senate seat. We had full coverage of this yesterday.

MI-Sen: Kid Rock (R) has made it official! Robert Richie aka “Kid Rock” has left his two-decade affiliation with the Warner Music Group and signed on with Music City’s BBR Music record label. He is also contemplating a US Senate run.

NV-Sen: A Strategic National poll has  Sen. Dean Heller (R) leading perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian in a Republican primary by a 38% to 34% margin win 27% undecided. Of course this poll was taken before the Senate Leadership Fund PAC put any money into reminding Nevada voters about Tarkanian’s $17 million bankruptcy and other less than flattering business dealings.

VA-Sen: Nothing says you are a man of the people and a real Virginian more than flying out to the Hamptons and having a $10,800 a head fundraiser at the mansion summer home of New York Giants co-owner Jon Tisch, which is why Sen. Tim Kaine (D) plans to spend the last week in August on the South Fork of Long Island, NY raising some serious money.

WI-Sen: The NRSC has launched radio ads in the Wausau and La Crosse markets attacking Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) over an opioid scandal in Wisconsin Veterans Administration Hospital that Sen. Baldwin tried to help sweep under the rug.

WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin doesn’t “give a s–t” if his liberal voting record costs him re-election.

House:

KY-6: Politico Magazine looks at Democrats fetish for getting behind the candidacy of US veterans. The latest example of this in in KY-6 where long shot formerly unknown Air Force pilot Amy McGrath was able to raise over $200,000 in 36 hours thanks to a viral video of her talking about serving as a combat pilot. McGrath faces State Sen. Reggie Thomas (D) in the primary. Both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney won KY-6 by double digits and Rep. Andy Barr (R) cruised to an easy 22 point win in 2016.

MT-AL: Newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) will get his first Democrat challenger. Some dude attorney John Heenan (D) announced he will run for Congress.

NJ-11: After the DCCC’s top recruit Assemblyman John McKeon (D) announced that he would not run for Congress, Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark (D) announced he is “officially exploring” a run for the seat held by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R). Donald Trump won this district by 1 point in 2016 and Frelinghuysen cruised to an easy 20 point victory in a seat that his ancestors have represented in one capacity or another since 1720.

NY-19: A pro-Obamacare group has launched a new digital ad aimed at freshman Rep. John Faso (R). No word on how much they intend to spend on the hit job digital ad.

OH-16: Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (R) recently met with the NRCC about a possible run for the seat Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is vacating to run for governor. 28 year old heir force state Rep.Christina Hagan (R) and State Rep. Tom Patton (RINO) are currently running for this seat.

TN-2: Financial advisor Brad Fullington (R) has become the third Republican to enter the open race for the safe R seat of retiring Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R). Fullington is not nearly as well known as  Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and State Rep. Jimmy Matlock who are also seeking the GOP nomination.

WI-4: Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski (D) is considering challenging Rep. Gwen Moore (D) in a Democrat primary next year. Moore has not faced a serious challenge in years and easily defeated felon and (former state Senator) Gary George in her last two primary elections.

State, Local & Other:

Syracuse-Mayor: The September 12th Democrat primary for mayor of Syracuse has narrowed from 7 candidates to 3. Democrat organization endorsed City Councilor Joe Nicoletti, City Auditor Marty Masterpole and NY State Dept of Labor official and former Dean of Students at Syracuse University Juanita Perez Williams made the ballot while 4 others either dropped out, couldn’t get enough signatures or had enough of their nominating petition signatures invalidated by challenges to be knocked off the ballot (an art form in NY State). Syracuse has not elected a GOP mayor since 2001 and 55% of voters are Democrats, so the winner of the Democrat primary will be the favorite in November.