Thanksgiving Day Policy Thread: Taxes

Happy Thanksgiving! It is time to talk turkey and discuss taxes during our special holiday policy thread. During our policy threads we suspend our normal “no policy” rules and encourage everyone to let loose with their opinions on the issue at hand. But as always, please keep these discussions civil and focused on the topic at hand.

To get the discussion started here are some questions,

What is your opinion of the GOP’s tax reform bill? What do you like about the bill and what do you dislike about it? What would you change about the tax reform bill to make it better or worse and what would be your ideal tax reforms that should be considered?

And because it is Thanksgiving we give you…..THIS


Thanksgiving Open Thread for November 22-24, 2017

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you… thank you for keeping our site great. Roundups will resume on Monday; until then we will have a policy thread tomorrow and our regular weekend open thread Friday afternoon (with previews of the weekend’s foreign elections in Queensland, Honduras, and Nepal)

Now some questions:

1. What are you thankful for politically this year?

2. Where do you draw the line of being outraged by a sex scandal?


Political Roundup for November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. Roundups will resume next Monday; we will have open threads throughout the weekend and a policy thread tomorrow.


Trump: In his latest effort to flush money down the toilet Billionaire Tom Steyer’s $20 million dollars anti Donald Trump campaign will put up large “Impeach President Donald Trump” billboards in Times Square in the key swing state of New York. Steyer would probably have a higher probability of success if he spent that $20 million on building a time machine so he could travel back in time and pay Hillary Clinton to actually campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan and rural Pennsylvania.


ME-Gov: One day after we reported Maine businessman Shawn Moody (R) was contemplating a run for governor, Moody has made it official and thrown his hat in the ring. Moody ran for governor as an independent in 2010 and took about 5% of the vote.

MI-Gov: Heir Force cadet Andy Levin (D) had been toying with the idea of running for governor but has decided not to run. Our theory was Andy was just floating his name for Governor to raise his profile enough to make it seem less nepotistic when he eventually tries to take over his father’s House seat which he pointedly did not rule out a run for if his Dad, Rep. Sandy Levin (D), retires.


AL-Sen: Doug Jones (D) is on the air with a new ad that quotes Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby (R) condemning Roy Moore (R-Gadsden mall). Jones should have plenty of money to put ads like this on the air as he reportedly has been raising about $250,000 a day since the allegations about Moore came out.

AL-Sen: It looks like the GOP is throwing in the towel on finding a write-in candidate to run in Alabama. Although we here at RRH are still holding out hope Nick Saban decides to make a go of it! The acceptable of Roy Moore as our candidate means the GOP is throwing in the towel on the AL-Sen election and resigned to supporting an alleged child molester and as a result having a Democrat represent Alabama in the US Senate until Jan 2021. With this in mind President Donald Trump threw some support Roy Moore’s way by saying “we don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat,” and that Moore “totally denies” the allegations of molesting teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Although it might have been more presidential if Trump simply quoted JFK and said “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much”.


NJ-11: Bloomfield Mayor Mike Venezia (D) is taking a “hard look” at challenging Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) in this R+3 district. Currently Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett and counselor Tamara Harris are angling for the Democrat nomination. Venzia, a machine Democrat, could be a step up in terms of quality for the Democrats.

OH-16: State Rep. Christina Hagan (R) has landed the endorsement of former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka in her race for the open R+8 seat Rep. Jim Renacci (R) is vacating to run for Governor. The 28 year old Hagan has been a member of the Ohio House of Representatives since she was appointed to the seat her father once held when she was 22 years old and in college. Most of the local GOP establishment is backing former NFL wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez in the GOP primary.

PA-1: Because not every scandal can be about sex, Rep. Robert Brady (D) is now confirmed to be under FBI investigation for false statements, conspiracy and campaign fraud for allegedly bribing a potential Democrat primary challenger $90,000 to drop out.

TX-23: Emily’s List is backing Gina Ortiz Jones in the Democrat primary over Castro brother BFF Jay Hulings for the right to face two term Rep. Will Hurd (R) in this R+1 seat. Hopefully this Democrat primary will be get very expensive and very nasty.

VA-6: Rockingham County Clerk of Court Chaz Haywood (R) announced he is running for this open R+13 seat of retiring Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R). Haywood joins state Rep. Ben Cline and Cynthia Dunbar in seeking the GOP nomination.

State, Local & Other:

PA-Lt Gov: Because a person would have to be crazy to give up a free mansion full of state employees to verbally abuse, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack III (D) has announced his intention to run for re-election. Stack, the scandal plagued scion of a Northeast Philadelphia political family, will face small town trust fund Mayor John Fetterman (D) in the Democrat primary.

CT-Lt-Gov: New Fairfield (pop. 14k) Mayor Susan Chapman (R) is considering a run for Lt. Governor in the shotgun-wedding primary. State Sen Joe Markey (R) is already running for the GOP nomination.

Atlanta, GA- Mayor: Council Pres. Caesar Mitchell (D) is endorsing Mary Norwood (I) over Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D). This is the first major endorsement for Norwood, who is looking like the underdog as the Democrat establishment consolidates their support around Keisha Lance-Bottoms.

NYC-Mayor: Because it is never too soon to start the Wall Street Journal looks at the early jockeying for the 2021 New York City mayoral race.


7th Annual RRH Elections Turkey of the Year Awards

Today is of course our favorite post to write each year, when we recognize those politicians who have reached truly exceptional heights in being utter embarrassments to themselves, their supporters, and the American people. The winner will join our current wall of champions:

2011: Anthony Weiner || 2012: Todd Akin || 2013: Anthony Weiner || 2014: Bruce Braley || 2015: Aaron Schock || 2016: Anthony Weiner

Honorable Mentions:

Donald Trump, for being Donald Trump.

Theresa May, for deciding in true British fashion that it was quite improper for her to have such a secure majority.

Mike Flynn, for being the world’s worst International Man of Mystery.

Dana Rohrabacher, for his failure to realize that things end badly in every spy movie for the guy who sells out to Russia.

Kelli Ward, for being a doctor without showing any shred of human decency.

Jeff Flake, for living up to his name and torching his own political career by trying to be a decent man in American politics in the year 2017. Forget it, Flake. It’s Idiocracy.

Bruce Rauner, for his year of playing Wile E. Coyote to Boss Madigan’s Roadrunner.

Bill O’Neill, for giving us incredible TMI about his sexual exploits. Bill, haven’t you heard the saying that what happens in the barn stays in the barn?

Tom Marino, for his Schrodingerian ability to be both nominated and not nominated for Drug Czar.

Bo Dietl, for, despite all the material against the incumbent, going after Mayor DeBlasio for… being tall? I don’t think this will help him extend his Arby’s endorsement deal.

Los Angeles City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali, for showing us that behind every racist internet troll is a #woke SJW hipster.

Raul Bocanegra, Wes Goodman, Jeff Hoover, Jack Latvala, Steve Lebsock, Bryce Marlatt, Anthony Mendoza, and Ralph Shortey, for bringing disgrace to state legislatures from coast to coast with their miscellaneous perversions.

Named Awards:

The Preston Brooks Award for excellence in physical combat goes to Greg Gianforte for slightly misunderstanding the concept of what it means to have an adversarial press.

The O. J. Simpson Award for best acting in a criminal trial defense goes to Bob Menendez for convincing most of his jury that it’s, like, totally normal for Senators to pull strings on behalf of their Medicare-defrauding friends in exchange for expensive gifts that may or may not include Caribbean hookers.

The Boss Tweed Award for machine boss of the year goes to Bob Brady, for paying his former opponent $90K for “polling data” despite holding a totally safe seat. He might have a price gouging complaint to make.

The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Award for world traveling goes to Tom Price for using his three months as HHS secretary to rack up the frequent flier miles while utterly failing at doing anything related to reforming healthcare. Price was the front runner for Turkey of the Year until everything went crazy these last few weeks!

The Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Award for most incompetent electoral manipulation goes to Steve Bannon for being Steve Bannon.

The Jeb Bush Award for wasting donor money goes to Jon Ossoff, for wasting a lot of national Democratic money that, unfortunately, could not buy him any actual life accomplishments or a House in the district.

The Martha Coakley-Hillary Clinton Award for overall campaign incompetence goes to Luther Strange, for managing to go from crusading AG to a caricature of a Beltway insider in six months, then carpet-bombing ads nuking a perfectly good opponent for once being skeptical of Trump, only to lose in the runoff to a walking oppo research gold mine.

The Rod Blagojevich Award for mishandling of a Senate appointment goes to Robert Bentley, whose attempt to cover up his own affair by giving Strange something f*ing golden blew up on both of them, but is looking positively quaint scandal-wise by years’ end.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party Award for mishandling of a Senate special election goes to Kay Ivey, whose political gymnastics in trying to clean up Bentley’s mess has led her to advocate voting for someone she thinks is a child molester.

The Bill Clinton Award for philandering had many strong contenders this year, but because most of its top contenders are also finalists for the grand prize, we are awarding it to Tim Murphy for adding an exception to his “pro-life” views for mistresses of Congressmen.

The Dan Quayle Award for gaffe of the year goes to Chris Christie. Of course he didn’t get any sun on that closed beach. He had a hat on.

And now…flip over for our prestigious Turkey of the Year award. This year it is being combined with our Anthony Weiner Pervert of the Year Award.

Continue Reading


Political Roundup for November 21, 2017

Today at 3pm, check back for our 7th annual Turkey of the Year Awards!

Today’s Pervert Update:

MI-13: Late last night news broke that Rep. John Conyers (D) settled a sexual harassment complaint in 2015. The complaint alleges Conyers harassed multiple staffers, attempted to fire a staffer because she was unattractive, and had women flown with taxpayer money to pleasure him. Conyers, who would become Judiciary Chair if Dems take over the house, is widely believed to have been suffering from severe dementia for the last decade.

MN-Sen ’20 (or earlier): The drip-drip of harassment allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D) that we all knew was coming has officially started. A second woman is alleging Franken groped her, this time at the Minnesota State Fair while he was in office in 2010. For his part, Franken says that he is doing a lot of “reflecting“. Mmmkay. One hopes it’s not the kind involving a mirror.

NM-Gov, NM-LG: This is an excellent case in point of why the “shotgun wedding” style of LG candidates running in separate primaries and combining to one ticket for the general can cause big problems. Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D), the front-runner for the Gov nomination, is calling on the previous front-runner to be her LG, State Sen. Michael Padilla (D), to drop out after several women claimed he harassed them while serving as a city official in Albuquerque a decade ago. Padilla is facing ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) and Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D), among others in the LG primary, while Lujan-Grisham is the front-runner for the Gov nod over State Sen. Joe Cervantes (D) and media exec Jeff Apodaca (D), son of 70s-era Gov. Jerry (D).

OH-Gov: ICYMI last week, State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) kicked off his gubernatorial campaign with a strange facebook post that can only be described as an epic case of TMI. O’Neill states he was “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females,” and states that he once “made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents’ barn.” O’Neill is facing four other Democrats, ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D), in the primary. Republicans have a crowded field as well.

CA-LD-39: State Rep. Raul Bocanegra (D) of the eastern San Fernando Valley will not seek re-election in 2018 and will resign at the end of next year’s legislative session amid escalating sexual harassment allegations.

OH-LD-87: Much, much more is coming out about just how disgusting recently-resigned State Rep. Wes Goodman (R) was.

FL-Dems: FLDP chair Stephen Bittel (D) has resigned after six women accused him of leering at them and other creepy behavior.


CT-Gov: Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin (D) is considering a run for Governor after LG Nancy Wyman (D) declined a bid and left the field bereft of “A” list Democrats. Bronin’s name recognition would likely start as the highest in the Dem field, but the state capital’s continuing budget and socioeconomic woes would provide great fodder for his opponents. Bronin would join three “B” listers, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), Malloy admin officials Jonathan Harris (D) and Sean Connolly (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D), in the race to replace unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D). Republicans have an even more crowded field.

ME-Gov: 2010 Indie candidate Shawn Moody (R), who took a significant number of votes and fourth place in 2010 on a center-right platform, is preparing another run. Moody, who joined the GOP last month, is taking a step to prove his Republican bona fides by tapping several members of Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) staff, most notably including LePage’s daughter Lauren, for his expected bid. Moody would face LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R), State Sens. Mike Thibodeau (R) and Garrett Mason (R), and State Rep. Ken Fredette (R) in the GOP primary. Democrats have a crowded field and three credible centrist Indies are in the race in appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I), well-known comedian Karmo Sanders (I), and ex-State Sen. Jon Jenkins (I), who also served as Mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn.

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who has self-funded his way into being a serious contender for this race, is being hit with a fraud suit for allegedly inflating the value of his company to investors. Thanedar is facing front-running ex-State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abul El-Sayed (D) in this primary. Republicans also have a competitive primary with AG Bill Schuette (R) as the front-runner.

More NM-Gov, NM-LG: In addition to Dems’ struggles with State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) in the LG primary (see pervert update above), Rep. Steve Pearce (R) is also having some trouble with running mates. Martinez admin official Kelly Zunie (R), who was looking like the presumptive LG nominee for Republicans, has dropped out herself amid allegations that she doesn’t meet the state’s 5-year residency requirement. Zunie moved to the state from Utah in 2014, and has also been hit for having some tax problems in Utah. Pearce also got some more bad news in that Lands Commissioner Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R) is considering a bid for Governor as a Libertarian… after already having endorsed Pearce. Dunn recently dropped out of the primary for Pearce’s NM-2 House seat amid rumors of a feud with Gov. Susana Martinez (R), though Dunn was looking like the front-runner for the House seat.

OK-Gov: State Auditor Gary Jones (R) kicked off his expected bid for Governor last week. Jones joins LG Todd Lamb (R), OKC Mayor Mick Cornett (R), ex-State Rep. Dan Fisher (R), and ex-US Attorney and 2002 Indie candidate Gary Richardson (R) in the crowded GOP primary. Ex-AG Drew Edmondson (D) is the likely Dem nominee in what seems likely to be a competitive general.


AZ-Sen: OH Predictive Insights has a poll of the race with ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) leading Rep. Martha McSally (R) in the primary 42-34 and both narrowly trailing Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in the general.

NE-Sen: PPP (D) has an internal for Lincoln councilwoman Jane Raybould (D) that shows her trailing Sen. Deb Fischer (R) 42-31; however, it’s likely a some of the “undecideds” are Republicans who oppose Fischer from the right.

UT-Sen: Nonprofit exec Boyd Matheson (R), a former CoS to Sen. Mike Lee (R), will not run for the seat of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). Matheson would have likely faced an uphill run against either Hatch or Mitt Romney (R), who is seen as likely to run if Hatch retires.

CA-52: Energy executive Michael Allman (R) is running for this seat on a platform that can only be described as taking pandering to its extreme conclusion. Allman says if elected he will set up a system to turn his vote on every bill into an online referendum, where district residents can cast votes for their opinion on the bill, and Allman will vote in accordance with the result even if he disagrees. I give him credit for originality, though I think it’s an idea that would be open to a lot of mischief if implemented. Allman is one of several little-known Republicans seeking to try a very uphill run against Rep. Scott Peters (D) in this blue (and getting bluer) San Diego seat.

State & Local:

IA-Aud: Prosecutor Rob Sand (D) will run for AG. Sand seems a reasonably credible challenger incumbent Mary Mosiman (R), who is considered likely to seek a second full term.

MN-AG: Appointed state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman (D) has resigned to run for AG, joining State Rep. Debra Hillstrom (D) and ex-State Rep. Ryan Winkler (D) in the race for the seat of AG Lori Swanson (D). Swanson has not indicated her plans but is widely considered likely to run for Governor.

NM-Aud: State Rep. Bill McCamley (D) of suburban Las Cruces will run for State Auditor, an office that is now vacant after incumbent Tim Keller (D) was elected Mayor of Albuquerque. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) will make an appointment to fill the seat for the rest of Keller’s term.

NM-Lands Comm: Ex-Lands Commissioner Ray Powell (D) has dropped his bid to get back the office he lost in 2014 after being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune condition that leads to severe muscle weakness (but does not affect life expectancy). Powell has endorsed a new candidate who entered the race in his stead, State Rep. Stephanie Garcia-Richard (D) of Los Alamos. Garcia-Richard will face nonprofit exec Garrett VeneKlasen (D), who has the backing of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D), in the Dem primary. Incumbent Aubrey Dunn Jr. (R) has not revealed his plans (see NM-Gov blurb above).

NE-PSC-1: Two Republicans are seeking the Lincoln-area 1st district seat on the state’s 5-member Public Service Commission. Scott Smathers (R), director of a pro-second amendment group, and ex-Cass County commissioner Ron Nolte (R) have filed to seek the seat of incumbent Frank Landis (R). Landis has not announced his intentions but is generally expected to retire.


Political Roundup for November 20th, 2017

Over the weekend, ex-State Rep. John Schroder (R) won LA-Treasurer as expected, councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (D) won New Orleans Mayor, Covington Councilman Mark Wright (R) won LA-LD-77, and ex-federal prosecutor Conor Lamb (D) won the right to take on State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) in PA-18. In Chile, ex-President Sebastian Pinera of the center right will face Senator Alejandro Guillier of the center-left in a December runoff.


MI-Sen/MI-06: Well, I think that this turned out for the best. Rep. Fred Upton (R) has backed off of his Senate campaign and is running for reelection to his Southwest Michigan congressional seat.  Not having his district open next year can only help House Republicans, and he just wasn’t catching on in the primary for Senate.

MI-Sen Continued: With Upton out of the race, all eyes are now on frontrunner veteran/businessman John James (R). James still has a few notable primary opponents, including ex-State Supreme Court Justice Bob Young (R) and newly-entered businessman Sandy Pensler (R), but he’s polling ahead of them. He’s also African-American, so expect a bit more coverage than your run-of-the-mill Republican Senate candidate would get. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is a tough candidate to beat in any year, so James has his work cut out for him if he makes it out of the primary.

MN-Sen: If this opinion piece is at all representative of progressive opinion on the matter, we won’t be seeing any special Senate election fun in Minnesota. Sen. Al Franken (D) has been caught up in the wave of allegations of sexual misconduct that is currently sweeping the upper echelons of American public society. However, it seems like many are willing to close ranks around him not necessarily because he might be innocent, but because he votes the right way. This woman is just more honest about it than most.

TX-Sen: Some Dude Bruce Jacobson (R) is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the Republican senatorial primary next year. Jacobson doesn’t seem to have much of a platform aside from criticizing gridlock. Jacobson may be a Some Dude, but I expect he might actually might have a bit of funding because he’s a television producer for a Christian outlet.

IL-03: Off the Sidelines, a PAC linked to New York Sen. Kirsten Gellibrand (D) has endorsed Some Dude Marie Newman (D) in her bid to oust Blue Dog Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) in the Democratic primary for his seat, based in Chicago’s southwestern inner suburbs. This has fueled speculation that Gellibrand, who’s been an ideological chameleon since entering elected office, may be trying to burnish her progressive credentials ahead of the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary.

MD-07: This is from Gateway Pundit, so take it with a grain of salt. However, it’s fascinating if true. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) may have colluded with elements of the IRS to suppress some Republican-friendly outside groups. It’s still early, but Cummings has been contemplating leaving the House in one way or another for a while now. This could be the push that finallyopens up his Baltimore-based seat.

NJ-05: Well-connected lawyer John McCann (R) has joined perennial candidate Steve Lonegan (R) in the race to take on freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D). Trump actually narrowly won this district based in suburban, exurban, and rural North Jersey, so the moderate McCann might have a decent shot even in a good year for Democrats. First, though, he has to get by Lonegan, who rarely wins races, but does have high name recognition.

PA=15: Well, State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie’s (R) life just got a bit easier. Fellow State Rep. Justin Simmons (R), Mackenzie’s biggest stumbling block on the way to winning the Republican primary for this swingy open seat based in the Lehigh Valley, has dropped out of the race. Mackenzie isn’t out of the woods yet, though. He still has, at the least, a tough general election campaign ahead of him.


CO-SD-27: In the current wave of sexual harassment allegations, at least a few are likely false or not representative of the person’s general behavior. It seems that this may be the case with the allegations against Colorado State Sen. Jack Tate (R). Multiple women who work alongside him have spoken out in defense of his conduct. It looks like Democrats will have to wait until 2020 if they want to try and take Tate’s Centennial-based seat.

FL-Leg: I think that Ryan may be right in his oft-repeated prediction that the tsunami still has yet to rush in on the sexual misconduct allegation phenomenon. 97% of Florida political insiders surveyed by the Tampa Bay Times seem to agree with both of us. What’s interesting is that it’s so nearly unanimous. They can’t all know about the same single offender. Expect more open legislative seats in next year’s election than are currently forecast.

VA-Leg: Democrats in the Old Dominion are still trying to flip the House of Delegates. They plan to file for recounts in HD-28, HD-40, and HD-94. All three races were extremely narrow Republican victories. If Democrats get one more seat, they can tie the chamber. Two more seats get them the majority. There was an earlier report that hundreds of voters in HD-28 had bee given the wrong ballots, but that appears to have been erroneous.

TX-HD-134: In a move that has surprised many, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is backing a challenger to a fellow Republican. Susanna Dokupil (R) is challenging State Rep. Sarah Davis (R) for her seat on Houston’s wealthy west side, and has the Governor’s backing in her endeavor. Abbott’s move may have something to do with an ethics reform that Davis proposed that would bar donors to governors from serving on state boards and commissions.


Louisiana Runoff, PA-18 Dem Convention, & Chile Preview & Liveblog

PA-18 D Liveblog:

2:30 ET- Lamb has won.
1:53 ET- Only Lamb, Cerilli, and Iovino move on as the rules state that candidates below 10% are out. Ultimately it will be a shock at this point if Lamb doesn’t win, though it may take two more rounds rather than one.
1:51 ET- First round results: Lamb: 225 (41%) Cerilli: 153 (28%) Iovino: 90 (16%) Crossey: 47 Brock: 21 Solomon: 18 Seewald: 0.
1:30 ET- The first round is being counted now.
12:40 ET- Speeches are beginning. #PA18 on twitter is a decent place for updates.
12:00 ET- The convention is now open.

Louisiana Liveblog:

10:15 ET- With 73% in and a 20-point lead, Louisiana media is calling it for Schroder and Cantrell. Mark Wright (R) has won LD-77. And that will end our Louisiana liveblog for tonight. We will pick up with PA-18 coverage at Noon tomorrow.
10:10 ET- 69% in, Schroder 60%.
9:59 ET- 52% in, Schroder 57%. 29% in for Orleans and I think we can call Mayor for Cantrell who has 61%.
9:46 ET- 24% in, Schroder 59%.
9:39 ET- Orleans dropped its Early Votes. Schroder is now at 57% with 11% in. Cantrell up 58-42 for Mayor.
9:35 ET- 7% + 61/64 parishes EV, 67% Schroder/79K votes.
9:28 ET- 1% in + 58/64 EV, 68% Schroder/67K total votes.
9:17 ET- 53/64 parishes EV are in, Schroder up 69-31, 57K total votes. Obviously zero Orleans though.
9:05 ET- Absentee votes are in from 26 parishes and Schroder is up 70-30 (but only 18K total votes)
9:00 ET- Polls have closed in Louisiana.

Results: LA SoS


This weekend is an unusually busy one for elections. Louisiana is holding its runoff on Saturday for Treasurer and New Orleans Mayor; we will begin liveblogging at 9p ET. Then on Sunday, PA-18 Democrats will hold their special nominating convention; we will liveblog that as well starting at Noon ET. Finally, Chile is also holding its general election on Sunday.

Derrick Edwards

LA-Treas: The lone statewide election this year is the special election for Treasurer, to replace now-Sen. John Kennedy (R). Appointed incumbent Ron Henson (R), who was Kennedy’s deputy and took over for the interim, is not seeking the seat. Attorney Derrick Edwards (D) came in first in the October preliminary round with 31% by virtue of being the only serious Democrat. Edwards is an interesting candidate; he is a quadriplegic who overcame his disability to get a law degree. However, Edwards has not shown any signs of fundraising or running a serious campaign – his campaign is so inept that he has even been unable to submit the required financial paperwork on time. The state’s Democratic establishment is giving him essentially no real support, though he did, however, pick up the official party endorsement ahead of the runoff. Given that he is still not running a particularly serious campaign and the three GOP candidates took 2/3 of the vote in the primary, it would be a shock if Edwards came anywhere close to winning.

John Schroder

Edwards’s rival and the prohibitive favorite in the general is State Rep. John Schroder (R). Schroder, who came in second in the primary with 24%, has represented a conservative district on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Schroder has fundraised well and run a competent campaign, narrowly edging out two serious rivals in the primary. Schroder’s big possible problem here could be voter overconfidence in the outcome – he is considered such a strong favorite that turnout is likely to be incredibly low, meaning that high New Orleans turnout for the mayoral race could theoretically throw the race to Edwards if turnout is low enough. Assuming Schroder is competent enough to stimulate even a modest GOP turnout across the rest of the state, he should prevail easily though. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

New Orleans Mayor: New Orleans is coextensive with Orleans Parish (County); it has a population of 400K that breaks down as roughly 60% Black and 30% White. It has a PVI of D+32 (2016). New Orleans has three major socioeconomic groups: upper-income whites, particularly in the city’s northwest and around Tulane, low-income blacks in the central part of the city, and middle-class blacks in the suburban New Orleans East and Algiers neighborhoods. City councilwoman Latoya Cantrell (D) placed first in the primary with 39%. Cantrell is a mainstream liberal, with some mild progressive tendencies. She has strong name recognition from representing a fifth of the city on the council. Cantrell did significantly better than expected in the first round, and also secured the endorsements of both the third and fouth-place finishers. As such, Cantrell looks like a fairly strong favorite to prevail this weekend. Her rival is a fellow mainstream liberal, retired judge Desiree Charbonnet (D), who came in second in the primary with 30%. Charbonnet is a longtime local pol who received national buzz on the bench as one of the first judges to try sentencing-reform initiatives. Her second-place showing in the primary was something of a disappointment, as Charbonnet had the strongest fundraising and establishment support in the first round, including endorsements from Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) and DA Leon Cannizzaro (D) as well as the bulk of the city’s labor organizations. The runoff has become quite nasty, with both Cantrell and Charbonnet hitting the other on questionable spending of taxpayer dollars for personal expenses. The tit-for-tat accusations have left neither candidate looking good, but probably even out in the wash. And thus Cantrell’s stronger first-round performance and endorsements probably leave her a moderate favorite.

There is also a single legislative special this Saturday. LA-LD-77 is an R+30 (2016) seat in exurbs around Covington on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain vacated by Schroder to focus on his Treasurer run. Antiestablishment-leaning 2014/16 US Senate candidate Rob Maness (R) took first place in the primary with 37% and is facing a runoff with Covington councilman Mark Wright (R), who came in second with 25%. Maness’s strong first-round lead and name rec are strong advantages, but Wright has the endorsements of both eliminated first-round candidates and the local GOP organization. Overall there is no clear favorite in the runoff.

PA-18 Dem Convention: Then on Sunday, Democrats in PA-18 are holding their special nominating convention for a nominee to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R). The seat is based in and largely coextensive with the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh; it has a PVI of R+11. While this seat is a long-shot for Dems, they may have a small chance for an upset. Dems have a seven-way field with what seem to be four serious contenders. Our liveblog will begin at Noon ET.

Conor Lamb

Federal prosecutor Conor Lamb (D) looks like the slight but noticeable front-runner. Lamb is in his early 30s, serving a tour in the Marines before a stint as a federal prosecutor. He is also something of an Heir Force candidate as the nephew of Pittsburgh City Comptroller Michael Lamb (D); while none of Pittsburgh is in the seat, that is still a connection that is likely to net him valuable Dem establishment ties at the convention. Unlike his three most serious rivals, Lamb did not enter the race before Murphy resigned, but that may actually be a positive, as all three of his major rivals have had poor fundraising. (my odds – 35%)

Pam Iovino

Bush 43 Admin official Pam Iovino (D) has an interesting biography as a career Naval officer who later served in a high-level VA post under W. Iovino has also held veterans’ affairs positions in state and Allegheny county government, so she could have some connections. She has also produced a slick webvid to sway delegates. However, Iovino doesn’t have the typical establishment pedigree that is an asset in this type of format. (my odds – 25%)

Mike Crossey

Ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) has strong labor connections as a former head of the state teachers’ union. Crossey seems to be toward the liberal side of the field, which could endear him to activists. However, Crossey’s elective service was over a decade ago, which ended in him losing a State House race by a large margin in 2002. He has also been in the race for some time without raising much cash. (my odds – 22%)

Bob Solomon

Physician Bob Solomon (D) is also running a serious campaign. He seems to be staking out a niche as the most socially progressive of the major candidates, which could be a good fit for the activist vote at the convention (though probably not great for the general). Solomon’s main problem here is his lack of establishment ties, which will likely be a major handicap for him in the insider-dominated convention format. (my odds – 15%)

Gina Cerilli

A fifth candidate, Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), has the strongest political pedigree, but is a decided longshot. Cerilli is a DINO who describes herself as pro-life and pro-gun, and won her county commission seat independent of the local machine in 2015. In this district, that’s a profile that would make her a significant force in a primary, but given the strong left turn socially among the party’s activist base, that means her odds of winning a convention are quite slim. Cerilli hasn’t helped her case by suing her county Democratic party alleging they improperly kept delegates favorable to her off the committee. While Cerilli would probably be the strongest general election contender, it would be a true shock if she emerged with the nomination. (my odds – 2%)

Two Some Dudes, psychologist Randy Brock (D) and consultant Keith Seewald (D), are both running on a liberal platforms and don’t seem too serious, but could potentially shock by giving a great speech at the convention. (my odds – 0.5% each) The winner will go on to face State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) in the general. RRH Elections last rated this general election as Safe R, but that was before Murphy’s scandal and resignation, so that rating may require re-evaluation.

Chile: On Sunday, there is also a Presidential election in Chile. Chile has a population of 18M and a land area slightly larger than Texas, hugging a roughly 2000-mile long by 50-mile wide strip between the Pacific and the Andes on the southwest coast of South America. Chile’s politics are still defined by its late-20th century dictatorship history under Augusto Pinochet, who ruled the country for most of the 70s and 80s. Pinochet’s legacy is a more mixed one than most dictators. Pinochet made the nation from a copper-dependent middle-income resource extraction state into South America’s only bona-fide first world country and an economic dynamo with his free market policies, but he was also responsible for myriad abuses of power, most notably “disappearances” of regime rivals. Since the fall of the dictatorship in the late 80s, the center-left has generally been Chile’s dominant power due to memories of Pinochet being a problem for the center-right but the country’s embrace of largely free-market economics being a problem for the far-left. Chile’s presidential election uses the French two-round system (50% is required to win, otherwise there will be a runoff between the top two.) Chile’s president serves a four-year term and is not eligible for immediate re-election, but can return after sitting out a term, and that looks like what is most likely to happen here. Incumbent Michelle Bachelet is deeply unpopular for a series of corruption scandals as well as economic mismanagement. She is likely to be succeeded by her predecessor, ex-President Sebastian Pinera, who is mounting a comeback bid. Pinera’s 2009 win was the only time the center-right (known as “Chile Vamos”, or Let’s Go) has captured the Presidency since the fall of Pinochet. Pinera was a wealthy businessman before winning the presidency on a moderately conservative platform. Ideologically and personality wise, a very apt analogy for Pinera might be Romney; he has been known as a competent administrator if somewhat awkward personality-wise. Pinera has been polling in the mid-40s, meaning he has a small chance to win outright, but is more likely to head to a runoff with one of two other major candidates. Center-left Senator Alejandro Guillier (of the “New Majority” Party) is likely to join Pinera, while a far-left candidate, Beatriz Sanchez of the neo-communist Broad Front, is also polling competitively enough to potentially snag the second spot. Polling of the runoff shows Pinera leading either rival by a significant margin. There is also a legislative election. Chile has a bicameral legislature that uses a somewhat strange form of semi-proportional representation: both chambers of the legislature are divided into two-member districts, which generally return one candidate from each of the two largest parties unless the winner polls a 2/3 majority to take both seats. The New Majority has a majority in parliament, but the far-left Broad Front has decided to split (it had previously run as part of New Majority) and run its own parliamentary lists, meaning that Chile Vamos is likely to take at least a plurality.


Weekend Open Thread for November 17-19, 2017

Programming Update:  we have a busy weekend electorally speaking… Louisiana has runoffs on Saturday and Democrats are hosting their nominating convention in PA-18 on Sunday.  Liveblogs will start at 9pm and Noon respectively.

(1) How far along are we in the political sexual assault scandal awakening?  I think we are just watching the tide go out before the tsunami.

(2) How should candidates be nominated for special elections?

And because it is the weekend…. we remind you the Democrats are back HERE!

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