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Weekend Open Thread for February 24-26, 2017

Welcome to another weekend. Please check out our preview of tomorrow’s contests for the DNC and Delaware State Senate (it will be bumped to the top of the front page tomorrow for discussion of the contests).

1. Will the new chair of the DNC, whoever it is, have a significant effect on the national political conversation or be mostly a background player?

2. How much do special election results tell us about the overall political climate?

And because it is the weekend we give you….. Alternative Facts

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DNC Chair & DE-SD-10 Preview & Open Thread

Saturday Update #3: Delaware SD-10 has been called for Democrat Stephanie Hansen. Democrats will maintain control of the Delaware state Senate and the trifecta there.

Saturday Update #2: Perez has won with 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

Saturday Update: Perez fell half a vote short on the first ballot, leading Ellison 213.5-200, with 214 needed to win.

This Saturday the DNC will be holding its chair election, as well as a special election that will determine control of the Delaware Senate. Here are our previews of both of these contests:

DNC Chair: There are seven candidates for DNC chair, but only two major. Voting among the 447 DNC members will take place using a typical iterative convention ballot at the convention in Atlanta, with successive rounds and the lowest vote-getter being dropped until one candidate achieves a majority. The first ballot will come Saturday at 10AM (this thread will be bumped to the top of the main page). Obama ex-US Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D) looks like the slight front-runner going in. A close ally of Obama, Perez has received an endorsement from Biden and has said he has commitments for 180 of the 224 necessary votes. Take that with as much salt as you want though, as convention vote commitments tend to be very fluid. Perez is very ideologically liberal, but establishment in tone and sensibilities. (my odds – 50%) Perez’s major challenger is MN-5 Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who is running as a harder-edged liberal. One of just two Muslims in the House, the sixth-term Rep. from a deep blue Minneapolis seat looked like the front-runner when the race kicked off. Ellison has had strong ties to the Sanders loyalists and Sanders’s endorsement, while Perez is widely thought to be close to the Clinton camp. It’s unclear whether that is an asset for him or not; while the DNC is the epitome of establishment liberalism there could be some buyers’ remorse over how the primary was handled. Ellison has his fair share of establishment support, most notably from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D). Outside of the primary fuss, Ellison has attracted some issues in the broader political press over his history of close ties to the Nation of Islam, which could be a problem for a party looking to expand beyond its liberal base. (my odds – 45%) Beyond Perez and Ellison, a third serious candidate is South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) (BUE-tuh-jeej). Buttigieg is 35 and openly-gay, so he has been getting some buzz for his youth and identity-politics cred. Buttigieg’s support has not equaled Perez’s or Ellison’s by any measure, and so far his support base seems to generally come from the more moderate elements within the party (though make no mistake, Buttigieg is firmly a mainstream liberal). Buttigieg has been generally attempting to present himself as an acceptable compromise candidate between Perez and Ellison and someone who can do a better job of reaching out to swing voters. Indeed, his best (only?) hope is probably for a protracted deadlock between the two front-runners, in which case he could emerge. That said, Buttigieg’s odds have declined dramatically in the last few days as two other lower-tier candidates have dropped out to endorse Ellison and Perez, decreasing the chance that neither can coalesce a majority. (my odds – 4%) The other candidates are basically non-factors. Dem operative and Fox News commentator Jehmu Greene (D) has some profile but little establishment support, and will probably be eliminated early. (my odds – <1%) Finally, Idaho Democratic Party executive director Sally Boynton-Brown (D) is mostly notable for a remark in which she said that her job as DNC chair would be to “shut other white people down”, which drew widespread derision. It would be amazing if she survives the first round, or even gets more than a couple protest/pity votes. (my odds – <1%) Two other candidates are total Some Dudes, Peter Peckarsky (D) and Sam Roman (D); they obviously have no chance. Overall CW is generally calling this as Perez being slightly favored over Ellison, with Buttigieg having a very small outside chance if neither can coalesce a majority.

DE-SD-10: This weekend is also host to arguably the most important special election of the year. Up for grabs is DE-SD-10, a D+7 (2012) seat stretching along the Maryland border from south of Newark to Middletown. Preliminary results indicate it was roughly D+6 in 2016 as well, in spite of Delaware shifting right as a whole. Development-wise, the seat ranges from suburban in the north through exurbs in the center to rural areas in the south; most of the population is in the suburban northern part. The seat was vacated by now-LG Bethany Hall-Long (D), leaving the Delaware Senate tied at 10-10 and this seat the tiebreaker. As a result both sides have been campaigning hard for this seat; spending here has reached well into the six figures. Republicans have a credible candidate for this seat in 2014 nominee John Marino (R), who lost to Hall-Long by just two points two years ago. Democrats recruited a strong candidate of their own in 90s-era ex-New Castle County Council President Stephanie Hansen (D). A Libertarian is also running; it’s unclear which side he might take more from. Though Republicans made gains in Delaware over the last few cycles, the Delaware GOP is still one of the worst parties by organizational strength. Additionally, Dems are energized right now and have taken the race very seriously, pouring considerable resources into Hansen’s campaign, outspending Marino by a large margin and bringing in heavy-hitters like Joe Biden to campaign. As a result, Hansen looks like a moderate favorite to hold the seat, the Senate, and the trifecta for Dems.

Here is an open thread for discussion of this weekend’s voting.

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Political Roundup for February 24, 2017

In the two UK by-elections yesterday, Labour held the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat by a reasonably comfortable margin, but lost the Copeland seat to the Conservatives. This is an historic result, and even more historic than some media have reported. It is the first time since 1982 that the party in government has picked up a seat in a by-election off of the opposition, but it is the first time since 1878 that the party in government has picked up a seat from the opposition in a typical two party race with such a big margin to overcome with no other unusual circumstances affecting the result. The Tory margin in Copeland was over 2,000 votes, bigger than even the Tories had anticipated.

President:

The “I” word: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and other senior Democrats have made it clear they don’t want their party discussing “the I word”-impeachment at this point, believing it to be a trap to make them look too overzealous in their opposition to President Trump. DNC Chairman candidate Rep. Keith Ellison (D) didn’t apparently get the memo. During a debate Wednesday night on CNN between DNC Chair candidates, Ellison said that Trump “has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment.” Of course, he says this isn’t about going after Trump, but about protecting the integrity of the presidency.

Senate:

TN-Sen: Gov. Bill Haslam (R), term-limited from running for another term as governor, says he is not thinking about future runs for political office right now, but wouldn’t rule out running for the US Senate in 2018. Sen. Bob Corker (R) has not indicated his plans, although Haslam and Corker are friends, so it’s unlikely Haslam would run against Corker. Corker has been mentioned as a possibility to run for governor.

House:

NH-1: State Rep. John Burt (R) says he is strongly considering running for Congress against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) next year. He has a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the state House. Other candidates being talked about include state Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former state commissioner of Health and Human Services John Stephen. Burt says he hopes to make a decision on running in the next few weeks.

TX-22: Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls (R) says he is seriously considering running for Congress in 2018 and has formed an exploratory committee to raise money. Nehls would likely be challenging incumbent Rep. Pete Olson (R) in the Republican primary. One thing that makes Nehls hesitant about running is he would be required to resign his position as sheriff to run.

Governor:

OH-Gov: LG Mary Taylor (R) is planning to run for governor, beginning a campaign committee to help raise money for what is expected to be an expensive race among high profile Republicans. AG Mike DeWine (R) is also in, and Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) is considering running, as well as Rep. Jim Renacci (R). Gov. John Kasich (R) said recently he would support Taylor if she ran.

SD-Gov/AL: Democrats have no obvious strong candidates for governor next year, although some apparently dreamed that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) might decide to run, or possibly might run again for the state’s House seat, now that Rep. Kristi Noem (R) is leaving Congress to run for governor. Herseth Sandlin however has been named president of Augustana University in Sioux Falls and said in a press conference yesterday that she is done seeking political office, taking one of the last Democrats to win statewide office in South Dakota out of the political arena.

WI-Gov: Gov. Scott Walker (R) indicated yesterday that he will probably run for a third term next year. He has not formally announced that he is running yet, but in an interview after a speech he gave at CPAC, he confirmed that he is leaning towards running again.

State & local:

AL-LG: State Sen. Rusty Glover (R) has announced he will run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. He is the first candidate to run for the position. Current LG Kay Ivey (R) is term-limited from running again.

KS-Legislature: The Kansas Senate on Wednesday sustained the veto by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) of a bill that would have undone most of his tax relief package passed in 2012, while the Kansas House overrode the veto. A helpful map from the Topeka Capitol-Journal of who voted to override and who didn’t indicates that somewhat counterintuitively, heavily Republican western Kansas actually has more of the moderate Republicans than less Republican eastern Kansas. In the House, only one Republican representing a district wholly located in roughly the western third of Kansas, voted to sustain the veto while the rest, all Republicans except one Democrat representing the college town of Hays voted to override. In the Senate all districts wholly located in western Kansas are represented by Republicans and also all but one voted to override.

Oklahoma City-Mayor: Mayor Mick Cornett (R) has announced he will not seek re-election in 2018. Cornett, who has been in office since 2004 is the city’s longest serving mayor in history and currently the longest serving mayor among the 50 largest cities in the US. He says he is considering running for a position in state government and is looking at his options right now.

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Political Roundup for February 23, 2017

Programming Note: Please note that we will have a preview of this weekend’s DNC Chair race and Delaware State Senate special election later today.

As most sane individuals wonder why CPAC continues to occur and who will replace Milo as the gay male Ann Coulter, it is time for today’s Roundup:

Presidential/National

CPAC:  The Trumpification of the Republican Party will be on display at CPAC this weekend. What used to be a conservative event that was hijacked by the Ron Paul Revolution is undergoing a Trumpification as well.  After the Milo fiasco, we should all be wondering why this sad event is even continuing.

2018:  Democrats are feeling urgency to make gains in 2018 or potentially face another decade without congressional or state legislative power.  If they cannot make a move in 2018, they don’t deserve to ever have power again.

Twitter:  Many of us have wondered what kind of control does the Trump clan hold over the President’s twitter usage.  Apparently, Trump’s twitter rage and love are dictated by what he sees on television.

DNC:  The Hill has a breakdown of the DNC race and thinks Representative Keith Ellison (D-NOI / OGGoldy goes Republican) has the edge, but RRH commentary from yesterday seems to doubt these numbers.

Congress

CO-7: State legislators Andy Kerr and Brittany Pettersen are considered favorites for the Democratic nomination to replace 6 term Representative Ed Perlmutter (D) if he runs for Governor.

States

MA-Gov: Cape Air CEO Dan Wolf (D) is considering a run for Governor again in 2018.  Wolf ran in 2014 for the Democratic nomination as well.  Wolf served as a state senator until last year when he did not seek reelection.

ME-Gov/ME-Sen: Senator Susan Collins (R) is not committing to a possible run for Governor. Former Maine Senate president Justin Alfond (D) and former Maine Republican Party chairman Rick Bennett are considering runs to replace term-limited Governor Paul LePage.

MN-Gov: State Representative Tina Liebling (DFL) is considering a run for Governor in 2018.

OK-Gov:  Former federal prosecutor and 2002 Independent candidate for Governor, Gary Richardson, is exploring a run for the Republican nomination for Governor next year. Lt. Governor Todd Lamb (R) is considered a likely candidate for the Republican nomination as well.

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Political Roundup for February 22, 2017

“If I was Governor, I’d sure find better things to do with my time. Like getting Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday back to separate paid holidays. Presidents’ Day. What a rip-off.”

Last night in WI-Supt, we saw a moderate surprise as Beloit local superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), the more conservative candidate, easily bested the more moderate John Humphries (R) for the right to take on incumbent Tony Evers (D). Evers, however, cruised overall, winning 2/3 of the vote, and will likely have little trouble in the general in April barring something unexpected.

President/National:

DNC Chair: NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley (D) dropped his bid for DNC chair over the weekend and will back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D). Buckley was considered a longer-shot to win but still had a significant base of support. His endorsement probably doesn’t give Ellison a huge advantage in his competitive fight with co-front-runner Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D), but it probably does significantly hurt the chances of the third major candidate in the race, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who needs both Ellison and Perez to deadlock well short of a majority in order to have a shot. SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison (D) is the only other candidate with any significant support, but he seems a long-shot.

Senate:

MI-Sen: Buried in this Great Mentioner piece about possible challengers to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is the revelation that ex-State Sen. Randy Richardville (R), who held down a swingy district at the state’s southeast corner from 2006 to 2014, is considering the race and will decide “by this summer.” Stabenow has not definitively said whether she will seek re-election, but is expected to; many other Republicans are considering the race, though Richardville seems to be the most obviously serious. One potential candidate taking herself out of the running though is termed-out SoS Ruth Johnson (R), who seems to have her eye on a safely Republican State Senate seat in her home of exurban northern Oakland County instead.

NJ-Sen: George Norcross (D), the dictator of the southern half of the state, and his brother, Rep. Donald Norcross (D), have made their decision on whether to play nice with indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) or seek to push him out the door, and they’ve chosen the former. La Cosa Norcross will host a fundraiser for Menendez next month, which probably closes the door on Don running against him. It seems they are betting on Menendez either going down quickly with time for Don to enter the primary, surviving his trial, or not going down until after the election, triggering a special – a combined outcome with reasonable chance to happen but still a bet that’s not without risk. It’s unclear whether the other major candidate interested in the seat, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D), will make the same calculation. Menendez limping through the primary to a general election with a cloud over his head is probably the only chance Republicans have to make a serious play for this seat, but no Republicans have as yet indicated interest.

OH-Sen: State Sen. Matt Huffman (R) will not run for US Senate this cycle. Huffman had been mentioned as a potential more establishment-friendly alternative to the candidate already in the race to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), State Treasurer and 2012 nominee Josh Mandel (R), and had apparently already secured some donor commitments. However, Mandel’s head start (he has been more or less running continuously since 2015) could pose a daunting obstacle to someone with little name rec. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) is the only other major candidate thought to be considering the race.

WI-Sen: On the heels of Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) announcement that he will not run for the Senate, State Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) is considering a run. Vukmir has represented a district in deep-red Waukesha County for over a decade, which could give her a geographic base. With the only field-clearer (Duffy) out of the picture, the GOP primary to taken on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is expected to be very crowded.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Former Auburn Football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) is considering a run for Governor. Tuberville, who has lived in Texas and Ohio since leaving Auburn in 2008, could have a dedicated base of fans in the state where College Football is perhaps taken most seriously of all – but coming from the state’s second most popular school (and arch-rival of its most popular) could be a handicap. Many other Republicans are considering the race, most notably LG Kay Ivey (R), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R), State Sens. Del Marsh (R) and Cam Ward (R), and ex-State Supreme Court Justice and 2010 candidate Roy Moore (R). Ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell-Cobb (D) and State Rep. Craig Ford (D) are considering runs on the Dem side.

AR-Gov: Country radio host Bobby Bones (D/I?) had dinner with Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Monday. It’s unclear what the conversation entailed; Bones has been considering a challenge to Hutchinson, but it’s not clear how serious he is about such a bid, as his show is based out of Nashville, TN. Anyone will likely face a very uphill battle against the popular incumbent.

CO-Gov: Ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R), who served a term in the legislature a decade ago and has since become a prominent businessman and activist, will run for Governor and says he will self-fund $3M. Michell is the first GOP candidate to declare; State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) is in on the Democratic side and a large number of others from both parties are considering this race. Both primary fields are expected to be crowded.

FL-Gov: Two new candidates are considering this race on the Dem side, though neither sounds particularly serious about it. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) told Ebony that he is considering “what 2018 looks like” while self-funding 2010 Senate candidate Jeff Greene has been “talking to consultants”. Democrats’ major options here still look like ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), and prominent trial lawyer John Morgan (D), though many others have expressed at least some interest. Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is the front-runner for the GOP nod.

KS-Gov: Ex-Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) has entered the race, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate here. Though Kansas is deep-red, Democrats sense an opening due to the extreme unpopularity of Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and the ongoing feud between moderate and conservative Republicans. Brewer, who led the state’s largest city from 2007 to 2015, may face ex-State Rep. and 2014 nominee Paul Davis (D) in the Dem primary. SoS Kris Kobach (R), LG Jeff Colyer (R), ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R), and businessman and 2010 KS-4 candidate Wink Hartman (R) are considered the most likely candidates on the GOP side.

MN-Gov: State Sen. David Osmek (R), a staunch fiscal conservative, has indicated an interest in this race. Both sides’ conventions are likely to be crowded; Osmek could face any or all of State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), MNGOP Chair Keith Downey (R), State Sen. Michelle Benson (R), and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R). On the D side, Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) are already in the race, while LG Tina Smith (D), AG Lori Swanson (D), and Reps. Rick Nolan (D) and Tim Walz (D) are all thought to be interested.

WI-Gov: Rep. Ron Kind (D), whose western-Wisconsin prairie-populist House seat trended hard-right in 2016, is not ruling out a run for Governor. Gov. Scott Walker (R) is widely exprected to seek a third term; Kind would likely be Democrats’ strongest prospect given his two decades representing the swingy rural west of the state. Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) and State Sens. Jennifer Shilling (D) and Kathleen Vinehout (D) are other commonly-discussed names for the D side in this race, though no one has made strong moves as of yet.

House:

CA-34: An internal from FM3 for nonprofit exec Sara Hernandez (D) shows her in second place in this Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle primary, trailing State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) 20-9. However, there are a ton of undecideds and it’s unclear we can really say anything about the race for this deep-blue downtown LA seat from this poll besides Gomez likely being in first.

GA-6: We have a new poll from Clout Strategies (aka Wenzel) for this April Louisiana-Rules Top Two Jungle Primary. Congressional Staffer Jon Osoff (D) leads with 32, followed by ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) at 25 and no one else above 11. However, this poll has a few problems: first, it does not test the second non-Some Dude Democrat in the race, ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D), who has lost out on most establishment support but may draw a few points. Second, the demographics of this poll seem a bit off as it is almost entirely white and very old. So bottom line, salt to taste.

MT-AL: A group of county officials is asking the state to hold the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) by mail instead of through normal polling places to save money. A bill has been proposed in the State Senate and will be considered today; it would give individual counties the choice of running a standard poll or all-mail election. Assuming Zinke’s confirmation proceeds as planned a week from today, the special election is likely to be held on June 6; 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) will likely face off with either ex-State Rep. and 2014 Senate nominee Amanda Curtis (D) or musician Rob Quist (D).

NJ-5: State Rep. Holly Schepisi (R), who was widely considered the GOP’s top choice to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D), has said will likely not run for Congress this cycle (though she did leave the door open the smallest of cracks). This decision puts the GOP back to square one in this suburban seat, based in wealthy northern Bergen County, that narrowly backed Trump but trended left.

SC-1: Buried in this worthwhile longread on Rep. Mark Sanford (R) is the revelation that Ted Fienning (R), a veteran and businessman will run against him in the 2018 primary and seed his campaign with $250K of self-funding. The full article is worth a look; Sanford is certainly one of the most complex characters in DC and his willingness to cross Trump in service of fiscal conservatism could make him a key player over the next few years.

State Races:

FL-Ag Comm: State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) of southwest Florida is planning a run for Ag Commissioner. Should he enter, he will face State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as yet declared interest in this seat.

OK-AG: Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has appointed Secretary of State (an appointed position in OK) Mike Hunter (R) as the new Attorney General, replacing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (R). Hunter will most likely seek a full term in 2018.

IN-Supt ’20: The Indiana Senate has killed a bill that would transform the State Superintendent from an elected office to an appointed one under the purview of the Governor. Republicans had supported the change after then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) spent much of his term fighting with then-Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D), a staunch liberal. But last year Ritz was defeated by Jennifer McCormick (R), and so some of the partisan urgency was lost. A little under half the Senate’s Republicans decided to break ranks and join with Democrats to kill the proposal.

VA-LD-28: Virginia State House Speaker Bill Howell (R) of Stafford County in the DC exurbs will retire this year after a decade and a half as Speaker. Howell turned a narrow GOP majority into a dominant 66-34 one and was at times the key Republican figure in state Government when Democrats controlled the Governorship and Senate from 2007-09 and 2013-14. Howell will likely be succeeded as Speaker by Kirk Cox (R) of suburban Richmond.

AL-Redistrict: Alabama has started redistricting to unpack some black-majority legislative districts that courts have struck down as racial gerrymanders. General consensus is that there will be little more than minor tweaks to the lines.

Local Races:

Buffalo-Mayor: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) announced his campaign for a fourth term yesterday. Brown will likely be favored as he maintains most establishment support. Brown’s major challenger is mavericky city Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D).

Cincinnati-Mayor: The field is set for the Cincinnati Mayoral race; moderate incumbent John Cranley (D) will face two more liberal candidates in city councilwoman Yvette Simpson (D) and university board member Rob Richardson (D). The California-Rules Top Two primary is on May 2.

Detroit-Mayor: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D) is broadly popular, and for a time it looked like he may not draw a significant challenger, but that changed as State Sen. Coleman Young Jr. (D), son of the longtime 70s and 80s Mayor of the same name, entered the race. Young will likely run to the left of Duggan, the first white Mayor to lead Detroit since the 70s.

St. Louis-Mayor: A new Remington poll of the St. Louis Mayoral Primary in two weeks shows councilwoman Lyda Krewson (D), the most moderate and only serious white candidate, with a wide lead. Krewson takes 36% to 16% for left-wing favorite city Treasurer Tishaura Jones (D), 13% for council President Lewis Reed (D), a black establishment liberal, and 12% for left-wing councilman Antonio French (D). Councilman Jeffrey Boyd (D) brings up the rear among serious contenders with 4%.

International:

Ecuador: The Ecuadorean Presidential election has officially been called as heading to a runoff between left-wing ex-VP Lenin Moreno and center-right banker and 2013 presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. Though Moreno led the first round by nearly 10 points, Lasso is considered a slight favorite in the April 2 runoff.

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Political Roundup for February 21, 2017

To start off we have a preview of today’s primary election for Wisconsin State Superintendent, our first domestic non-special election of the year. It’s a relatively sleepy affair so we’ll roll discussion of it into the Roundup. The race uses a California Rules Top Two nonpartisan format; the top two candidates will advance to an April 4 general regardless of whether one crosses the 50% mark. Polls close at 9PM ET but there isn’t enough at stake here to merit a liveblog. Incumbent Tony Evers (D) is a liberal who is backed by the teachers’ unions and repeats the standard union priorities of opposition to charters and more money for regular public schools. Evers still has a decent working relationship with state GOP legislative leaders though, which has insulated him from particularly strong challenges as he seeks a third term. Evers is guaranteed to advance today, but this primary will pick his challenger and serve as a straw poll of his support. It looks likely he will head to a general with school administrator John Humphries (R?), who has institutional support from the conservative education reform establishment and allies of Gov. Walker. It’s actually not clear whether Humphries identifies as an R or moderate D, as he supported the Walker recall five years ago, has some notable Dem supporters, and says he considers himself progressive on other issues. The third candidate in the race, Beloit local schools superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), is more conservative than Humphries and could pull the upset if his base shows up for what is expected to be an extremely low-turnout affair. But overall Evers and Humphries look likely to advance. While conservative donors have made some hay about backing Humphries and could energize his campaign ahead of April, so far ousting Evers doesn’t seem to be a priority – both Holtz and Humphries have raised less than $20K for their campaigns. Additionally, in the last few days the two have engaged in petty sparring, with each accusing the other of trying to buy him out of the race with a job offer. The beneficiary of this squabble is Evers, who looks like a pretty strong favorite over either in the general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Likely D.

And now the rest of the day’s news…

President-National

NSA:  Lt. General H.R. McMaster has been appointed National Security Adviser replacing Michael Flynn, the former General who was sacked resigned for defying Vice President Pence and the Deep State, and colluding with the Russians.  McMaster is a more conventional pick from a worldview and is known as a warrior-scholar.

Trump Supporters:  The Washington Post looks at how President Trump’s supporters view him as the greatest thing since sliced bread while not understanding why everyone else does not view him as the greatest thing since sliced bread as well.  I guess they feel the same way I felt when people on the right accused former President Obama of being anti-energy while he was the most pro-fracking president in history (before Trump).

Cuomo:  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D / IDC / RINO / Whatever gets me votes today) released New York’s DNC delegates to vote their conscience in the DNC chairperson race.  This is clearly a sign there is no frontrunner so Andy needs as much cover as he can get.

Identity Politics: Victor Davis Hanson examines identity politics and whether we are seeing the End Times of identity politics with the era of Trump.  Hanson argues increased diversity and conflicting goals in the various political coalitions might mean we are seeing the apex of identity politics with a decline occurring in the near future.  We can only hope!

Trump-LBJ:  National Review examines the similarities between President Trump and former President (and the worst president of the last 50 years) Lyndon Johnson.   National Review in particular looks at how the left loves the results LBJ obtained while using Trump style tactics.

RNC:  The RNC has had two record months in a row.  It broke its previous post-presidential election record for January by raising $19.8 million, which is higher than the record breaking December the RNC had.

CPAC:  Showing yet again why CPAC should be banned from occurring by constitutional amendment for the sake of the Republic, the organizers have embarrassed themselves by inviting and uninviting mentally/morally compromised Milo Yiannopoulos over the holiday weekend.  Milo, the gay male Ann Coulter, got himself into real deep sh*t by essentially trying to justify inappropriate relationships between older men and teenage boys.  As conservatism is dead, it is fitting that CPAC and the ACU commit ritualistic suicide by first inviting Milo angering the remaining socially conservative rump then sticking the knife back in their gut by uninviting him unleashing the wrath of his militant sympathizers.

Congress

Senate 2018:  While the Republicans have a very favorable map in 2018, recruitment efforts appear to be lagging as several high profile candidates have bowed out.

PA-Sen:  PoliticsPA examines the effective social media strategy used by Senator Pat Toomey (R) in his reelection bid last year.

States

IL-Gov:  Representative Cheri Bustos (D) will not run for Illinois Governor against Governor Bruce Rauner (R).  Democratic hacks seem to be focusing on heir force candidate Chris Kennedy (D).

NJ-State Senate:  We have our first primary challenge arising out of New Jersey deciding to tax the one thing it had not taxed to death already, gasoline.  State Senator Steve Oroho (R-Gas Taxer) will be challenged by State Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus (R-Not Gas Taxer) for the 24th District, which is based in Sussex County (aka the northwestern county that wishes it was part of Pennsylvania).

NJ-Gov:  The hopes of countless residents of the Garden Garbage State were dashed by Governor Chris Christie (People who go to jail are more popular) not receiving an appointment by President Trump.  I suspect Christie is being teased by President Trump, whose probably getting enjoyment by watching Christie wonder when he is going to be rewarded for selling his soul to Trump.

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2017 Presidents Day Open Thread

Programming note:  there will be a policy thread later this morning.

Question: what percentage of the electorate does not believe anything the mainstream media says?

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Weekend Open Thread for February 17-20, 2017

Welcome to the Presidents’ Day Weekend; we will have our traditional policy thread on Monday in lieu of a Roundup. But we’re kicking things off with some announcements. First, if you have been having trouble logging into the site, please clear your browser cache and delete cookies. We have been having a problem with one of our site security systems that has been causing people to be improperly flagged as spambots. Clearing your cache should solve this problem.

Second, we are also making the following three Race Ratings Changes for upcoming House/Row Officer elections. Our full ratings can be found by clicking the Race Rankings tab above.
MT-AL Likely R from Lean R || SC-5 Safe R from Likely R || WI-Supt Likely D from Lean D

Third, this Sunday there is a general election in Ecuador. Ecuador is a country of 15M at the western tip of South America, on the Pacific Coast between Colombia and Peru. As you might guess from the name, it straddles the Equator. Oil production and agriculture (particularly bananas) form the core of the economy. Ecuador has been led by a left-wing government under President Rafael Correa, a watered-down, less-autocratic Chavista, for a decade, but that may change this year as Correa is standing down. Ecuador uses a French two-round system with a caveat: you either need to get 50% OR 40% and a 10% margin over your nearest opponent to win. Correa’s pick to succeed him is former VP Lenin (yes, Lenin) Moreno of his left-wing PAIS (“Nation”) party. Moreno, who is an interesting figure in his own right for his story of being paralyzed in a robbery, is likely to come in a comfortable first, and there is an outside chance he may pass the 40% and 10% margin to win outright. However, odds are that he will head to a runoff. His likely opponent there is Guillermo Lasso of the center-right pro-business CREO (“Believe”) party, a banker who lost the 2013 presidential election to Correa. Lasso is likely to take a bit over 20% of the vote. Lasso could be upset for a second runoff spot by legislator Cynthia Viteri of the christian-democratic Social Christian Party, who has been polling in the high teens. A fourth major candidate, ex-Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, could take around 10% on a center-left platform. Moncayo is unlikely to make the runoff, but his supporters could be swing votes in a second round. The remainder is likely to splinter among a number of minor candidates who will not crack out of low single digits but could draw 10% or more together. Runoff polls show Lasso or Viteri ahead of Moreno, as the current government is unpopular due to allegations of widespread corruption. The economy has also slowed with lower oil prices, and Chavism (even in Correa’s watered down form) has been showing its negative economic effects. However, Correa does have a dedicated base of supporters that will come out for Moreno, so whether the 40%/10% margin rule is triggered could dictate whether the nation has a left-wing or center-right government.

And now, without further ado,  this week’s questions:

1. Which unsuccessful presidential candidate in American history do you most wish had won?

2. What is your favorite political-related twitter feed (other than ours, of course)? I’m partial to Don Willett’s light-hearted @justicewillett stream.

And because it’s the weekend, we give you the new policy of America First/The Netherlands Second HERE.

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Political Roundup for February 17, 2017

Senate:

MI-Sen: Apparently one Republican rock musician considering a Senate race in Michigan isn’t enough. With Kid Rock being talked about a possible candidate, now Ted Nugent is said to be considering a race as well. Nugent is a strong supporter of President Trump and the state director for Trump’s campaign says he thinks Nugent could be the perfect candidate to replicate the Trump campaign’s successful coalition that turned the state red for the first time since 1988. Nugent says he has things to consider before making the race-including the fact he will be 70 next year and that he needs complete support from his family.

WI-Sen: Republicans have lost their most prominent potential candidate to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Rep. Sean Duffy (R) has announced he will not run. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had been waiting on Duffy’s decision before he decided whether to make a bid. Management consultant and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 Senate candidate Eric Hovde are other Republicans who have expressed interest in the race.

House:

GA-6: For a district that only voted narrowly for Donald Trump, two Republican candidates don’t seem to be concerned about ties to him-in fact, they are fighting over who has the closer ties. Bruce LeVell, a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and technology executive Bob Gray both claim to have the mantle of the president’s biggest supporter. Levell was executive director of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition during last year’s campaign while Gray claims a personal relationship with him. Others in the race are claiming other prominent endorsements-former state Sen. Dan Moody (R) has allies of Sen. David Perdue (R) behind him, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), who formerly held this seat, has endorsed former state Sen. Judson Hill (R). Former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) is still seen as the frontrunner.

MT-AL: As the wait continues for Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, state Senate President Scott Sales (R) has dropped out of the race to succeed him. 2016 GOP  gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte, state Sen. Ed Buttrey (R), former state Sen. Ken Miller (R) and businessman Eugene Graf are still in the running for the Republican nomination.

SC-5: Mick Mulvaney was approved yesterday as OMB director by a 51-49 vote and has resigned his seat in Congress, setting in motion the official schedule to fill the seat. The primaries will be May 2 with a runoff if necessary May 16. The general election will be June 20. State Rep. Ralph Norman (R) is resigning his seat in the Legislature to concentrate on the campaign. Other Republicans running are state House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope (R), former state GOP Chairman Chad Connelly, party activist Shari Few, attorney and State Guard commander Tom Mullikin and attorney Kris Wampler. No Democrats have yet announced they plan to run-state Sen. and two time Democratic nominee for governor Vincent Sheheen (D) is not running.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (R) is considering running for governor next year. Lauretti, who has been mayor of Shelton for 26 years, intended to run in 2014 as well, but did not get on the ballot. Two other Republican mayors are also considering running-Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton have both formed exploratory committees for statewide office. Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has not yet announced if he will seek a third term next year.

FL-Gov: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) has long been considered a potential candidate for governor next year, but doubts are growing about whether he will make the race. Friends believe he has not made up his mind yet, and he says he needs to decide if it’s something he really wants. He has not started actively making moves toward a campaign yet, unlike fellow Democrats former Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and political newcomer Chris King. Personal injury lawyer John Morgan is also considering a run on the Democratic side.

KS-Gov: Businessman Wink Hartman (R) has announced a run for governor next year. Hartman previously ran for Congress in 2010 as a “Tea Party conservative”, losing to now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the GOP primary. Ex-state Rep. Ed O’Malley (R) is the only other person to formally announce a bid.

OK-Gov: LG Todd Lamb (R) has resigned from the cabinet of Gov. Mary Fallin (R) over Fallin’s proposed tax increases. Lamb was in Fallin’s cabinet as the state’s Small Business Advocate-the resignation does not affect his position as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. The move is seen possibly as a way for him to separate himself from an unpopular tax increase proposal as he is considered a likely candidate for governor next year.

State & Local:

LA-Treasurer: State Sen. Neil Riser (R) has officially entered the race for state Treasurer. Riser formerly ran for the LA-5 congressional seat in 2013, being defeated by Vance McAllister in the runoff. He joins state Reps. Julie Stokes (R) and John Schroder (R) in the race.

MI-resigning legislators law: The Michigan House is debating a law that would forbid state legislators that resign or are removed from office from turning around and running for the seat again in a special election. The law appears to be aimed primarily at former state Rep. Brian Banks (D), who resigned his seat last week in a plea deal stemming from charges involving fradulent loan documents. Banks sent out fundraising e-mails less than 48 hours after resigning and would not rule out running again. The law would also address the situation of former state Reps. Todd Courser (R) and Cindy Gamrat (R) after they had an extra-marital affair and plotted to cover it up in 2015. Courser resigned his seat under pressure and Gamrat was expelled, but both ran in the special election to fill their seats. Both were defeated in the primary. The law would only preclude resigned and expelled legislators from running in the ensuing special election-they could still run again in the future.