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Political Roundup for October 20, 2017

Senate:

CA-Sen: Left-wing online news host Cenk Uygur is considering getting into the US Senate race. Uygur is cofounder of the left-wing Young Turks Network and hosts the Young Turks show. It was reported last week that his cohost Ana Kasparian was considering running as well, but it’s expected that both won’t run. Uygur would represent another candidate on the left, joining State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D) as candidates running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.

TN-Sen: A good article here from a Democrat about why former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) would be a longshot to be elected to the Senate even if he represents the Democrat’s best chance. Bredesen was the last Democrat to win statewide when he was easily re-elected governor in 2006, but the state’s politics have moved significantly towards the Republican side since then. When Bredesen was last on the ballot in 2006, Democrats held 5 of the state’s 9 US House seats, they controlled the State House and Republicans held the State Senate by the narrowest of margins. Now Republicans hold 7 of the 9 US House seats and control both houses of the Legislature by huge margins. As the article states, now “having a “D” by one’s name is tantamount to electoral doom”. The article compares the situation to that of Bob Kerrey, who had been highly successful electorally in Nebraska in being elected governor and two terms as US senator, but things had changed a lot in the state since he had left office and he lost by 15 points in a comeback attempt in 2012. The article even suggests that Bredesen would have a better chance being elected as an independent than as a Democrat.

House:

IN-4: State Rep. Jim Baird (R) is in for the Republican primary for this open seat. He joins Diego Morales, a former aide to Gov. Mike Pence (R), former state Rep. Steve Braun (R) and Army veteran Jared Thomas in the Republican primary.

NH-1: Ex-Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati (D) has entered the Democratic primary for this open seat. Soldati is the first Democrat to get in the race after Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) announced her retirement last week. Other Democrats are still considering the race. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former state Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are in on the Republican side.

NY-24: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) has announced she will not run for Congress. Miner had been the most high profile candidate considering a run against Rep. John Katko (R). Small business entrepreneur Anne Messenger and Syracuse University professor Dana Balter are currently running in the Democratic primary.

OH-12: We are starting to get a picture of who is and isn’t interested in running to replace Rep. Pat Tiberi (R). Yesterday, State Sens. Kevin Bacon (R) and Jay Hottinger (R) both indicated they are interested but have not made final decisions. State Rep. Rick Carfagna (R) says he is “certainly considering” the race as well. Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R), who dropped out of the race for State Treasurer this week, says he is deferring comment on the race for now. State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R) is not interested and is running for a state Senate seat and author J.D. Vance, who was considered as a possible candidate for US Senate also says he is not interested. State Sen. Kris Jordan (R) and state Rep. Mike Duffey (R) could not be reached for comment on if they are interested. One candidate, Iraq War veteran Brandon Grisez, was already running in the Republican primary before Tiberi announced his resignation on Wednesday.

PA-15: Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R) has entered the Republican nomination for the open seat of retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R). Nothstein, who is also a former gold medal Olympic cyclist joins State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R) in the GOP race. Lehigh County Commissioner Bill Leiner (D) and pastor Greg Edwards are in on the Democratic side. Northampton County DA John Morganelli (D) and community activist Alan Jennings are also considering entering the Democratic primary as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) is considering getting into the Congressional race. He says he’ll decide within the next two weeks whether to get in the race. State Sen. Mark Green (R) is already in the race and has nabbed the endorsement of the Club For Growth. Moore is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative for the more moderate, business-style Republicans than the conservative Green. Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is also considering getting in the race.

State & Local:

FL-Gov: Billionaire real-estate investor Jeff Greene is considering joining the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Greene has run for office before, finishing 2nd in the 2010 Democratic primary for US Senate. No candidate has really caught fire with Democratic voters yet-a poll last month showed 44 % of Democrats undecided while wealthy trail attorney John Morgan, who is not yet running lead the named candidates with 23%. Former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) led the declared candidates with 16% with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and businessman Chris King in single digits. Recognizing this, Greene doesn’t feel rushed to make a decision soon.

IL-AG: Jesse Ruiz, an attorney and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education is joining the Democratic field for Attorney General. He joins state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D) and Sharon Fairly, former head of Chicago’s police oversight agency in the Democratic primary. Former Miss America and congressional candidate Erika Harold is running on the Republican side. Current AG Lisa Madigan (D) is retiring.

RI-AG: State Rep. Robert Craven (D) has announced he will not run for Attorney General. This may clear the Democratic field for former US Attorney Peter Neronha, the only announced candidate so far. Current AG Peter Kilmartin (D) is term limited.

WI-LG: Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes (D) is “strongly considering” getting into the Democratic race for Lieutenant Governor. Barnes is the first prominent Democrat to express a run for the office. Political newcomer Robert Louis Slamka is currently the only Democrat to file to run for LG.

International:

New Zealand: New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters has made his choice, and he will take his party into coalition with Labour, bringing Labour into government for the first time since 2008. 37 year old Jacinda Ardern will be the new prime minister. NZ First will be a formal coalition partner with Labour, while the Greens will have a confidence and supply agreement with them. This is despite National winning the most votes and the most seats, meaning that for the first time since New Zealand went to the mixed-member proportional system in 1996, the party that won the most votes and seats will not be in the government. National had their vote share cut and their seat total reduced by 2 after special votes were counted a couple of weeks after the September election, but National still held 56 seats, more than the 54 seats combined between Labour and the Greens. Labour-NZ First and the Greens will have 63 seats, while National and ACT New Zealand will have 57 seats.

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Japan, Argentina, & Czech Republic Preview & Open Thread

This weekend, three major democracies, one each in Europe, Asia, and South America, are holding their elections. Here is a preview and open thread to discuss the results.

Japan: Japan is probably the most closely-watched election of the three, taking place on Sunday (Saturday evening/night US time). Japan has a population of 127M and an area slightly smaller than California. Elections in Japan use a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, with voters getting to choose a constituency Rep and party preference. About 60% of the parliament is elected first-past-the-post in single-member districts, while the other 40% is elected by party-list proportional representation in 11 large constituencies. Unlike in some MMP countries, the seat allocations by the two methods are totally independent, and the FPTP results do not affect the distribution of proportional seats. Incumbent PM Shinzo Abe has been suffering in polls recently with some corruption scandals, but his response to North Korea has been pushing his numbers back up, so he decided to call a snap election just last month. Abe also would like to get a stronger hand in this election for his longtime goal of reducing the country’s staunch pacifism. Abe leads the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is notionally center-right but really more of a catch-all party. The LDP might be described as the most small-c conservative party in any democracy; it essentially exists to oppose major change in any direction and preserve Japan’s established social order both economically and culturally. Ideologically, that translates to a broad pro-establishment centrist corporatism, and a desire to hold on to power (and extract as much pork as possible from it) at all cost. The LDP has held power for roughly 58 of the last 62 years, usually with the support of the Komeito Party, a small but significant rent-seeking party advocating for the interests of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist sect. Because the LDP is so amorphous and its hold on power so strong, Japan’s opposition parties have uniformly been very weak. This year, the prior main opposition party, the notionally center-left (but ideologically amorphous) Democrats (DPJ), decided to simply disband. Instead, the Democrats will be backing a new party set up just last month, the Hope Party of Tokyo Governor Yurio Koike. Koike is a mavericky former LDP lawmaker who won the Governorship in 2014 as an Independent. Her political philosophy is considered right-of-center, as she is generally hawkish and supportive of economic liberalization. Indeed, ideologically, Koike is not all that different from Abe. That has led more committed leftists in the former DPJ to set up the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) as a catch-all anti-Abeism (as opposed to merely anti-Abe and anti-LDP) force. Polling has shown the LDP with a plurality lead, and the CDP/Koike Split will likely help the LDP maintain its large margin in the district contests. But there is a significant chance Abe could wind up pulling a May and lose seats.

Argentina: Argentina also has its general election on Sunday. Argentina has a population of 44M in a land area roughly a third the size of the continental US. The bicameral parliament uses proportional representation by the country’s 24 regions, but only half the seats in the more powerful House and a third of the Senate are up at a given election. Argentina’s political spectrum is one of the world’s most unusual in that there is traditionally little in the way of a left-right axis, with the main division being Peronism vs. anti-Peronism. Peronism is a very difficult-to-define ideology, with a mixture of socialist, nationalist, and populist ideologies. While left-of-center economically, it is unlike most left-wing movements in its strong traditionalist and nationalist overtones. That means that both Peronists and anti-Peronists have had support across the traditional political spectrum.  In recent years, the heirs to Peronism have been the Kirchners, the late former president Nestor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The two governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015 and pushed Peronism somewhat in a left-wing direction with influences from Chavism, Though they did not go nearly as far as Chavez down the left-wing road, they still pursued populist initiatives that distorted the Argentine economy. Fernandez de Kirchner is running for a legislative seat this year under the banner of the major Peronist organization, the Victory Front (FPV). The FPV governed the country until 2015. That year, its populist economic mismanagement and a scandal regarding the unexplained death of a prosecutor investigating Fernandez de Kirchner caused it to lose both the Presidency and legislature to anti-Peronists. The main anti-Peronist group is Cambiemos (Change), the main vehicle for President Mauricio Macri. Macri has generally pursued center-right fiscal policies which are credited with putting some of the nation’s finances closer to order and slowly starting the moribund economy. Cambiemos also however includes anti-Peronists and anti-Kirchnerists across the spectrum. There is a third significant force in parliament, United New Alternative (UNA), a centrist group that is generally Peronist but anti-Kirchner; they seem likely to maintain their third place position. An assorted array of diverse minor parties, some of whom support each of the FPV and Cambiemos, account for the remainder of the seats, over 20% of the total. The CW is this year, Cambiemos looks likely to maintain its minority government in parliament with a slightly stronger hand.

Czech Republic: Prior to Japan and Argentina, the Czech Republic is holding its general election on Friday and Saturday (voting takes place over two days). The central European nation has a population of 10.5M and a land area roughly the size of South Carolina. The 200-member Czech parliament is elected by party-list proportional representation in 14 constituencies; it has one of the world’s more fractured party systems, with nine major parties having a chance to enter parliament this year. The election this year was triggered by a corruption scandal around the finance minister, a member of the junior coalition party. However, that finance minister, billionaire tycoon Andrej Babis, is now the clear front-runner to become the new PM. Babis, whose personality can be described as quite Trumpian, leads the ANO (Yes) party. ANO started out as a vanity party for Babis with an amorphous centrist platform that led to being a junior partner in the current center-left coalition. But in this most recent campaign, Babis has taken ANO more in a populist-conservative direction along the lines of Poland’s PiS or Hungary’s Fidesz, combining fiscal moderation with social conservatism and nationalism. Babis has also been quite successful at portraying the corruption allegations against him as a personal slight from the establishment. Now ANO is generally taking nearly a third of the vote and is far ahead of any rival, making Babis the clear favorite to be the next PM. However, there is still a chance his rivals could form a broad coalition against him. The senior partner in the current government is the Social Democrats (CSSD). The CSSD, a mainstream European center-left party, looks set to be decimated in this election, losing around half its vote and falling to the low teens, but will likely still be second in vote share to ANO because of how fractured the landscape is. The third party in the outgoing coalition is the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), who are centrist and mildly socially conservative, but mostly known for their willingness to form coalitions with any other party. KDU-CSL consistently attracts a vote share in the low single digits, but they have been a part of government in 6 of the 8 elections since 1990; it’s a good bet they will be part of any coalition this time as well. Conversely, the third-largest party is the Communists (KSCM), a semi-reformed neo-Communist party that has never been part of any government, but very consistently polls in the low teens. The three other parties that look certain to enter parliament are of a right of center nature; all are polling in the high single digits. The Civic Democrats (ODS) were historically the main center-right party but have lost much of their strength in the last decade. Ideologically, the ODS is (unusually for European parties) about line with the US GOP, quite similar to mainstream establishment Republicans both fiscally and socially. Another center-right party, TOP-09, is a more moderate group. TOP-09 is more staunchly pro-European than ODS and generally more in line with mainstream center-right parties of Europe like the German CDU. The final right of center party is a new one, Freedom and Democracy (SPD), who are a nationalist-populist group similar to the German AfD or French National Front. Two other parties may or may not cross the 5% threshold to enter parliament: the hipsterish left-libertarian Pirate Party (which has been on an upswing in polls recently) and the pro-European centrist “Independent Mayors” (STAN), which looks more likely than not to fall short. Messy coalition negotiations seem certain, but betting is that Babis will eventually emerge as PM.

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Political Roundup for October 19th, 2017

Check back at 3p ET this afternoon for our preview and open thread of this weekend’s elections in Japan, Argentina, and the Czech Republic.

Big Picture

Party-Building: This discussion between Tomas Edsall and Henry Olsen about the changing coalitions of both parties and their current strategies is a pretty good. It’s a birds-eye view of contemporary politics with some historical context.

Congress

MS-Sen:  Questions are mounting as to the mental state of Sen. Thad Cochran (R). Multiple reports in recent days paint a picture of a man who doesn’t always know where or who he is. I’m not quite sure how you handle this situation. On the one hand, it’s pretty hard to force someone to resign, even if they’re not in their right mind. On the other hand, if this is true, then he needs to be replaced with someone more for for office. Of course, it would have been best for everyone involved if he had just stepped aside in 2014, when a lot of us saw something like this coming.

WY-Sen: Blackwater founder Erik Prince (R) looks to be moving ahead with a primary challenge to sen. John Barasso (R). Prince has confirmed that he’s owned a home in Wyoming for 25 years and has a Wyoming driver’s license. So, I guess this absolutely unnecessary  primary can proceed without residency questions being raised. Whoopee.

DCCC/NRCC: It appears that Democratic donors are in a giving mood. The D-trip regularly outrages the NRCC, but the gap was larger than usual this quarter at $9 million, or about 75% more than the Republican haul. republican donors end to give more directly to candidates, but this should still be somewhat concerning.

IN-06: Well, it looks like after initial rumors trailed off into uncertainty, we now have an answer: Greg Pence (R), brother of Vice President Mike, is likely running for Congress to succeed Rep. Luke Messer (R). This is a bit interesting from a conflicts-of-interest  standpoint, because Pence is also the head of the fundraising team for Messer’s Senate campaign. Pence has to raise his own money as well, so I have to wonder if the two jobs will interfere with each other.

MA-03: This one is getting pretty crowded. folks. Steve Kerrigan (D), 2014 Lt. Gov nominee and past aide to both the Clintons and the Obamas, has jumped into the primary for right to succeed retiring Rep. Nikki Tsongas. Kerrigan is the seventh(!) serious Democrat to enter the race, following right on the heels of Westford school board member Terry Ryan (D), who entered earlier this week. Kerrigan’s big-name ties shouldn’t hurt his fundraising, and with a few other candidates already raising money quickly, this primary could get very expensive.

OH-12: Late last night, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) surprisingly announced his resignation. This suburban Columbus and rural central Ohio seat should be a fairly easy GOP hold; click through for our updated Great Mentioner.

PA-06:  Rep. Ryan Costello (R) would appear to have a fight on his hands, at least in the realm of fundraising. Costello did manage to outrages his challenger, Chrissy Houlahan (D) in the third quarter, but only by 9k. Both candidates raised over 300k. Costello has a big advantage in CoH, but he should be fundraising a bit better than that in such a wealthy district in a big metropolitan area.

PA-07: Speaking of Philadelphia-area Democratic candidates seeking Republican-held swing seats, resident of Philadelphia Dan Muroff (D) raised 77k in his bid to unseat Rep. Patrick Meehan (R). He and his campaign staff hilariously tried to disguise the relatively meager haul by announcing that they had raised 306k since entering the race. Some outlets fell for it at first, but even that number didn’t look so big compared to the 400k that professional moonbat State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Bold Progressive) raised in the third quarter.

UT-04: Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) has announced that he’s running against Rep Mia Love (R) in 2018. love has struggled in the past, but had a solid win in 2016. despite McAdams’ strengths and President Trump’s relative unpopularity in Utah, this will still be an uphill climb in such a Republican district.

Governor

VA-Gov: Former president Obama is being dispatched to make campaign swings in ongoing races, especially in next months off-year contests in Virginia. These seem fairly routine, but there are whispers behind the scenes that Democrats are worried about African-American turnout. Some Democrats are hoping that more appearances by the former President in the right places will help prop -up black turnout, but it didn’t work that well in 2016, so I’m skeptical.

VA-Gov Continued: Speaking of the Virginia Governor’s race that’s coming up in a few weeks, we have another edition of Dueling Polls! Q thinks Northam is ahead by fourteen points, while Fox thinks he’s ahead by seven points. Those are the RV numbers for the Fox poll and LV numbers for the Q poll. Funnily enough, the Q poll actually gets better for Gillespie with RV. Other polls have suggested a much closer race. Either way, someone’s going to have egg on their face come early November.

State/Local

OH-SD-01: Well, this is an unusual level of candor. State Sen. Cliff Hite (R), who resigned unexpectedly the other day, has clarified that the resignation was due to ‘inappropriate behavior’ with a state employee who worked near his senate office. This is the guy who started his own son over Big Ben when he coached a high school football team, so making good decisions based on personal feelings seems to be a problem for him. The district isn’t in danger, though – it’s one of the most conservative senate districts in Ohio.

OH-SoS, OH-Treas: Two statewide Republican contenders abruptly dropped their Row Officer campaigns this week; Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R) dropped his bid for Treasurer to clear the field for State Rep. Robert Sprague (R), while State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R) dropped her bid for SoS to clear the field for State Sen. Frank LaRose (R). As Mingo lives in OH-12 and Pelanda lives a few miles outside of it, it seems rather possible that they both got word of Tiberi’s impending resignation and may refocus to that race. The Ohio GOP now looks set to have no serious Row Officer primaries, with Auditor Dave Yost (R) for AG and State Rep. Keith Faber (R) for Auditor already not facing serious intraparty opposition.

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OH-12: Pat Tiberi (R) is Resigning

The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) of Ohio has decided to resign his seat, triggering a special election. The 12th district is based in the northern suburbs and exurbs of Columbus, but also has a finger into the city itself and two arms going north and east into rural and small-city Ohio (Mansfield and Zanesville). It has a two-election PVI of R+7 and went 53-42 Trump-Clinton last year. There should be ample interest from local Republican officeholders and other possible candidates. Democrats may take a run at the seat, though they’ve recently been burned by investing heavily in special elections with little to show for it. We’ll bring you more news as it comes.

Ohio uses regular partisan primaries and generals for special elections, so this is likely to be a crowded GOP field. To start the great mentioner, two fairly obvious possibilities are two candidates who made surprise drops from statewide races just this week: Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R) and State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R) (who lives one county outside the seat but represents a chunk of it). Both have just abandoned their campaigns for Treasurer and SoS respectively, and the surprise dropouts with strange synchronicity could signal that they were tipped off about this race.

From the legislature, State Sens. Kris Jordan (R), Dave Burke (R), Stephanie Kurze (R), Dave Balderson (R), and (not that) Kevin Bacon (R) all live in or near the district and represent pieces of it. From the State House, State Rep. Jim Huges (R) and ex-State House Speaker Larry Householder (R) could be possibilities, along with close to 10 others. From local office, Franklin County DA Ron O’Brien (R) could be a name worth watching. Democrats have no legislators in the district, though a couple urban Columbus members may represent tiny pieces of it. Possible Dems could include ex-State Rep. Jay Goyal (D), who retired in 2012, and Franklin County commissioner John O’Grady (D).

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Political Roundup for October 18, 2017

Last night, Democrats held MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk by a smaller than expected 47-43 margin. Now as polling seems to indicate that Alabama might go blue while Virginia might go red, but New Jersey remains solidly anti-Christie, it is time for today’s roundup:

Presidential/National

Soros:  George Soros (Bane of Right) has transferred $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations in an effort to free up even more funds for political purposes, which should not be much different than prior behavior.

Subsidies:  Senators Lamar Alexander (R?) and Patty Murray (D) have reached an agreement on restoring Obamacare subsidies for 2 years in exchange for loosing Obamacare restrictions imposed upon the states.  It is not clear that such a compromise will get a vote in either chamber even though President Trump supports.

Trump/McCain:  President Trump (R?) and Senator John McCain (Maverick War Hero) are going back and forth on nationalism.  McCain started the latest round of the Trump / McCain feud by attacking Trump’s brand of nationalism.

Congress

AL-Sen:  Think Progress has thrown a tsunami of cold water on Fox News’s Senate poll showing the race a dead heat.

MI-11:  State Representative Tim Greimel (D) will be the fourth Democrat to enter the race to replace retiring Representative Dave Trott (R).  Greimel was the state House Minority Leader between 2013 and 2016.

PA-10:  Representative Tom Marino (R-Big Pharma) has withdrawn his name for nomination to be Drug Czar after the press did its job an exposed him being in the pocket of opioid manufacturers in the pharma industry.  Marino should be concerned in this district as its been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

States

VA-Gov: Monmouth – Gillepsie 48 Northam 47, Christopher Newport Northam 48 Gillepsie 44

NJ-Gov: Fairleigh Dickinson and Fox News – Murphy 48 Guadagno 33

NJ-Legislature:  The latest on whats happening with the Democratic legislative leadership battles and any potential gains the Democrats might make in the Legislature this year.  It sounds like the lower house remains up for grabs between the North and South Jersey Democrats while there is little belief the Democrats will pick up any seats.

NJ-SD-3:  State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Norcross) is being outspent on the PAC front by the NJEA whose backing RINO Fran Grenier against Sweeney because he has spoken out against the NJEA’s outrageous behavior/demands.

International

Japan: The center-right (sort of)/ statist Liberal Democratic Party is on its way to a massive landslide.  The LDP is on pace to win approximately 2/3 of the seats in the lower house, which is near an all-time record for Prime Minister Abe’s LDP.

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Political Roundup for October 17, 2017

First, there is a single legislative special today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign staffer Paul Feeney (D) is facing off with legislative staffer Jacob Ventura (R) and retired investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who has high name recognition. Due to the lean of the seat and the energized D base, Feeney looks like a moderate favorite, but with three credible candidates this race could theoretically go any way.

Now, onto the news!

National:

Tax-returns: Governor Jerry Brown (Sane D-CA) has vetoed a bit of legislation that would force Presidential candidates to submit their tax returns to the public to appear on the ballot in the state. Brown rightly pointed out that this could easily set precedence for states requiring far more revealing things to be made public, and that individual states should not be able to regulate federal elections in this way. Expect the next CA Governor to not be as reasonable when it comes to finding petty ways to snipe at Trump.

Trump-Approval: An Emerson poll has Trump doing . . . pretty well for Trump, sitting at a 44/50 approval rating. They also polled 2020 match-ups, and found Biden ahead of Trump by around 10 points, but Warren effectively tied with him.

2020: Tulsi Gabbard has been spotted making the rounds in Iowa. At a recent Iowa Democrats campaign event, both Gabbard and Rep. John Delaney (who has already announced a run) talked in vaguely positive platitudes about coming together as a country, in what is probably a dry run for a possible 2020 campaign message. Honestly, both are probably far too centrist to actually win a national D primary these days, but Gabbard has such an astoundingly odd political profile that I kind of want her to run regardless, just to see what happens.

Congress:

AR-Sen: There are rumors flying that Senator Tom Cotton (R) might be tapped as the next director of the CIA. This is a curious prospect, as Cotton is widely expected to have his sights set firmly on the presidency, and a job in the Trump Administration seems like a less useful stepping stone towards that than just staying on as a 2+ term Senator in uber-safe Arkansas. We’ll have to see, though with some of the other stories coming out today the NRSC might not want to defend even more unexpectedly open seats in 2018.

CA-36: The GOP has another candidate running for the chance to take on 3-term Democrat Raul Ruiz in this Eastern-Riverside-County seat. Republican Dan Ball, a local news anchor, announced his run yesterday. He joins Actress Kimberlain Brown in the race for the second slot to Ruiz in California’s top-2 system, but Ruiz has beaten tougher opponents than both of them in worse years than 2018 is shaping out to be, so he’s probably still secure.

FL-27: Well this is . . . unexpected. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R), one of the GOP candidates running to succeed retiring Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in this Cuban seat covering most of Miami, has stated that she believes she was abducted by aliens when she was 7. Needless to say, this does not bode well for her chances in what is easily the Democrat’s best 2018 flip target, even assuming she makes it out of the Cuban Machine primary.

MI-9: Sandy Levin (D) is still apparently undecided on whether or not he wants to run for re-election to his Suburban Detroit seat. While Levin is probably safe if he runs again in this rapidly diversifying seat covering Upscale-Yuppie Liberals in Southeastern Oakland County and Union Dems in Southern Macomb County, the GOP could realistically make a play for an open seat that moved quite a bit towards Trump last year.

MI-11: Kerry Bentivolio, a man who is either the most or second-most accidental Congressman ever depending on where you put Joseph Cao on the list, is running for this seat again as a Republican. Bentivolio has been a perennial candidate even before accidentally being the only guy left on the ticket in 2012 after the McCotter fiasco, and is probably not going to be a serious threat to win this seat again as several other Republicans are running and more may get in the race. Rep. David Trott (R) is retiring.

MS-Sen: Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), no stranger to health scares, will apparently be unable to make back to Washington due to health concerns. This robs the Senate GOP of a crucial vote needed to pass their tax reform plan (not to mention the chair of the Senate Appropriations committee), and also raises the increasingly likely possibility that Cochran will be unable to serve out the remainder of his term, opening up another GOP seat that the party will have to play defense in. Expect Cochran’s 2014 primary opponent Chris McDaniels—who is already making noise about primarying Mississippi’s other Republican Senator—to jump at the easier chance to make it into the Senate after losing a nail bitter back in 2014.

NJ-Sen: Despite a brief indication to the contrary, all of the corruption and bribery charges against Senator Menendez (D-NJ) are going to trial. Given that its more or less an open secret that he is guilty, this means that it is possible that Lame-duck GOP Governor Chris Christie will get to appoint his successor, if only for a few months. Given that Christie is in full-on IDGAF mode after being spurned by Trump, no one has any idea who he would appoint or why.

TN-Sen: Former Governor Phil Bredesen (D), last seen winning a landslide re-election in normally blood-red Tennessee in 2006, is considering running for the now-open Senate seat. Bresden is pretty much the only Democrat who could make a race in what is arguably the most reliably Republican state East of the Mississippi, but is probably going to suffer the same fate that Bill Weld did in Massachusetts when he tried to transform “Popular Moderate opposite-party Governor” into a Senate career—Federal Politics give individuals much less room to maneuver personally than state-level ones. Given that Tennessee has only gotten redder since Bresden retired in 2010, this race is probably Likely R at worst for the GOP, even if he does run.

Other:

Calgary-Mayor: Incumbent Naheed Nenshi, who made waves in 2010 as the first Muslim to win mayorship of a major Western city, has won re-election narrowly over former Progressive-Conservative party leader Bill Smith. Nenshi is famous for coming out of nowhere with his oddly post-partisan and social-media-based “Purple Campaign” in 2010, and has governed as an eccentric centrist since then. He coasted to re-election with 73% of the vote in 2013 (the mayoral terms were extended from 3 years to 4 during his tenure), but faced a stiff challenge this year from Smith, who was benefiting from a change-focused campaign in a city hit hard by falling oil prices. If you ever wanted to know what a Muslim, Centrist Obama would look like, Nenshi is probably your guy.

Immigration: The Census Bureau has released updated and detailed numbers about America’s Immigrants. We’re well on our way to passing the previous-high of 14.7% of Americans having been born in a foreign country, and are expected to hit that number sometime in the early 2020s. Of note is that America’s Immigrants are diversifying rapidly, with immigration from Mexico slowing, but being more than made up for by surges from medium and smaller-sized countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Burma, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya. We’ve gotten almost an entire Congressional district’s worth of new Immigration from China and India each since 2010, and we’re on track to have gotten one from non-Mexican Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 as well.

Quebec: Quebec’s government has revived an effort to require women’s faces to be uncovered to use public services, such as riding a bus. The move is stated to be a part of Quebec PM’s Couillard’s effort to enforce the “neutrality of the state” in religious affairs, but is being widely panned as a naked pandering to Quebecois’ anti-Muslim tendencies.

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Political Roundup for October 16, 2017

Over the weekend, for LA-Treasurer, Derrick Edwards (D) and John Schroeder (R) advanced. As Republicans took ~2/3 of the vote and Edwards is not running a serious campaign, Schroeder is the prohibitive favorite in the mid-November runoff (as an aside, check out Miles Coleman’s MAP of the results) For LA-PSC-2, RINO surgeon Craig Greene won outright. In New Orleans, Cantrell (D) and Charbonnet (D) advanced. Finally, for LA-LD-58, Brass (D) won outright, while in LA-LD-77, Manness (R) and Wright (R) advanced. In Austria, Sebastian Kurz of the center-right OVP won about a third of the vote, outpacing the nationalist FPO and social-democratic SPO. It’s uncertain which of the FPO or SPO will join the OVP in coalition. In Kyrgyzstan, the candidate of the incumbent government, Soroonbai Jeenbekov, won the presidency without a runoff.

Senate:

CA-Sen: State Senate President Kevin DeLeon (D) will challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.  DeLeon and Feinstein are well-positioned to advance to the general election, but defeating the popular and long-serving incumbent from the left in a general election among all voters (including Republicans) seems quite the tall order.

MO-Sen, MO-Aud: State Rep. Paul Curtman (R), who had been running a little-noticed Senate campaign, will instead drop out and explore a run for Auditor. AG Josh Hawley (R) entered the race last week and looks like the prohibitive GOP primary favorite to take on vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). Appointed incumbent Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) has somewhat strangely so far not attracted serious GOP opposition.

MT-Sen: Judge Russell Fagg (R) has become the latest candidate into the primary to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D). Fagg joins front-running State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R), State Sen. Al Olzewski (R), and storage company exec Troy Downing (R).

ND-Sen: Ex-Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Berg (R) is considering a rematch with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), who upset him for the open seat in 2012. As Berg’s last campaign was considered deeply subpar there isn’t a whole lot of enthusiasm for a comeback bid. State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) is in the race, while Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt (R) are thought to still be considering runs.

Governor:

AL-Gov: As expected, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) will enter the primary for Governor. Maddox, who is considered a rising star, will face opposition from ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) in the Dem primary. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is facing a crowded field of primary opponents, most notably Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), who raised over $1M in the month of September.

AZ-Gov: In what looks like as clear-cut a case of sour grapes as it gets, former Ducey administration official Tim Jeffries (R) is considering a primary run against his former boss, Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Jeffries was ousted from his state cabinet post last year amid reports of improper firing of employees and misuse of state resources. Jeffries seems unlikely to be a serious threat to Ducey in the primary.

ID-Gov: The Kootenai County GOP committee has passed a resolution blasting developer and gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist (R) for his donations to Democrats. Ahlquist notably donated to 2014 Dem gubernatorial nominee AJ Balukoff (D); he says the donation was because Balukoff was a personal friend but he voted for his rival, Gov. Butch Otter (R). Ahlquist is running as something of a moderate third wheel in this primary between LG Brad Little (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s establishment, socially-conservative faction, and Rep. Raul Labrador (R), the candidate of the IDGOP’s antiestablishment, fiscally-conservative faction. Ironically, Ahlquist could wind up facing Balukoff if he wins the GOP primary, as Balukoff is thought to be considering a second run.

IL-Gov, IL-LG: State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R), of DuPage County in the Chicago suburbs, is considering a challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in the GOP primary after Rauner signed an abortion-funding bill. Ives would be at a massive fundraising disadvantage to Rauner but could win the primary on grassroots enthusiasm. Should she make it to the general though, the conservative Ives would have little chance in the general in the deep-blue state. Across the aisle, local superintendent Bob Daiber (D) announced his LG choice, social worker Jonathan Todd (D). Daiber is the last of the four serious Dem contenders to pick a running mate.

KS-Gov: 2014 Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) is considering a run for Governor, once again as an Independent. The decision would be very good news for Republicans. Orman did surprisingly well in 2014 as the de facto Democrat in the Senate race. But running as an Indie in a race where there is likely to be a credible Democrat would likely mean a split in the center and center-left vote that would hand an easy win to the GOP nominee by way of the state’s large conservative base. Both Republicans and Democrats have crowded fields here.

ME-Gov: Sen. Susan Collins (R) will not run for Governor. Though Collins would have likely been a strong front-runner for the Governorship, she is likely to stay a more key national figure as a swing vote in the Senate. This decision also removes (for now) the prospect of a difficult GOP hold for this Senate seat in 2020 without Collins, though it does lower Republicans’ odds of retaining the Governorship. The GOP primary currently consists of State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage administration official Mary Mayhew (R). A fourth candidate may enter soon, as businessman and 2010 Indie candidate Shawn Moody (R) has joined the GOP and is exploring a run as well. Democrats have an even more crowded field and three credible Indies are also running.

MN-Gov, MN-LG: Rep. Tim Walz (D) has picked State Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D) as his running mate. Walz is so far considered the slight front-runner for the DFL endorsement, but he faces a crowded field of Auditor Rebecca Otto (D), St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D), and State Reps. Erin Murphy (D), Tina Leibling (D), and Paul Thissen (D). Walz is the first candidate on either side to commit to an LG pick.

OR-Gov: Happy Valley mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R), who narrowly lost a State House race last year, will not run for Governor. Chavez-DeRemer was the last major GOP candidate still exploring the race. Her exit likely means that State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) will not face serious primary opposition for the right to take on Gov. Kate Brown (D).

PA-Gov: Well-connected attorney Laura Ellsworth (R) will seek the GOP nomination to take on Gov. Tom Wolf (R). Ellsworth, a partner at the high-powered Jones Day mega-law firm, could potentially be an establishment choice in the primary against antiestablishment-leaning State Sen. Scott Wagner (R), though she will likely have to contend for that niche with businessman Paul Mango (R).

SC-Gov: A second Democrat has entered this race. Consultant and nonprofit exec Phil Noble (D), who ran a Democratic primary campaign for LG in 1994, will take on State Rep. James Smith (D) in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster (R) faces Haley admin official Catherine Templeton (R), LG Kevin Bryant (R), and ex-LG Yancey McGill (R) in the GOP primary.

TX-Gov: Democrats have a slightly more credible prospect to take on popular Gov. Greg Abbott (R), as ex-Balch Springs (pop. 25K) mayor Cedrick Davis (D) will run for Governor. Former mayor of a smallish Dallas slumburb would ordinarily not be a credible candidate resume in a state as big as Texas. However, Democrats are running out of options in this race with the filing deadline under two months away, so there’s a chance Davis may get a serious look. The only other candidate in the race besides Davis is gay-bar owner Jeffrey Payne (D).

WI-Gov: Ex-WIDP chair Matt Flynn (D) is the latest candidate into this increasingly crowded primary to take on Gov. Scott Walker (R). Flynn joins State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D), State Rep. Dana Wachs (D), businessman Andy Gronik (D), and nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) in the race.

House:

CA-7: Physician Yona Barash (R), a Holocaust survivor as an infant who later immigrated to the US from Israel, is running against Rep. Ami Bera (D). Bera has won a string of hard-fought victories over credible GOP candidates in this light-blue suburban Sacramento seat.

IN-2: Healthcare executive Mel Hall (D) will run for this medium-red seat, giving Democrats a credible candidate to take on Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). This seat has trended strongly right in the last decade but might be still be in play in a Democratic wave.

MA-9: Convenience store executive Peter Tedeschi (R), who ran the large regional Tedeschi’s convenience store chain before selling it to 7-eleven, is running for Congress and will announce later this month. The district isn’t specified but it’s almost certainly the light-blue Cape Cod and South Shore/South Coast MA-9 of Rep. Bill Keating (D). Tedeschi seems a solid candidate and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) will almost certainly carry the seat, but defeating an incumbent Democrat in Massachusetts (for any office) is all but impossible, so this is likely to be an uphill race.

MI-6: George Franklin (D), a former university regent and lobbyist for Kellogg’s cereal, will run for this light-red southwest Michigan seat. Longtime incumbent Fred Upton (R) has been popular in the district, but he is currently considering a run for Senate, which would make this race a high-level Dem pickup opportunity if open.

MI-11: Plymouth Twp. supervisor and ex-State Rep. Kurt Heise (R) has announced a bid for this light-red suburban Detroit open seat. Heise joins State Rep. Klint Kesto (R), ex-State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R), and businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) in the GOP primary; Dems also have a crowded field.

NY-1: Suffolk County commissioner Kate Browning (D) is running for the House seat of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Browning, an Irish immigrant with ties to the union-backed Working Families party, is likely to be the Dem establishment choice for this light-red eastern Long Island seat.

PA-18: Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D) has thrown her hat into the ring, joining ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D) and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) (yes, you read that right – it was a cross-party appointment) in the race for the Dem endorsement. The GOP also has a trio of candidates, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). The special election to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R) in this medium-red south suburban Pittsburgh seat has not been scheduled but is likely to be early next year.

TN-7: Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is considering a run for this deep-red open seat. Miller has written songs for country stars Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley, among others. He also hails from the wealthy and high-turnout suburban Williamson County portion of the district. Miller is the first candidate to express interest in taking on the only declared candidate for this seat, State Sen. Mark Green (R). For his part, Green received an endorsement from the Club for Growth, potentially giving him a fundraising boost.

State Offices:

CT-Treas: Investor Thad Gray (R) is running for State Treasurer, becoming the first candidate into this race. Incumbent Denise Nappier (D) has not indicated her plans but is thought to be considering retirement; she won by a smaller-than-expected margin in 2014.

DE-Aud: Ex-State Rep. Dennis Williams (D), who lost primaries for his seat in 2014 and 2016, will run for State Auditor. 7-term incumbent Tom Wagner (R), one of two statewide elected Rs in Delaware, has not yet declared whether he will run again.

FL-AG: In what might be a record for shortest exploratory phase of a campaign, State Rep. Frank White (R) of Pensacola filed to run for AG last Friday – less than 24 hours after publicly declaring he was exploring the race. White joins front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R) and State Rep. Jay Fant (R) in the primary. Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is to date the only Dem in the race.

ID-LG: State Sen. Bob Nonini (R) is the latest candidate into this supremely crowded open-seat primary field. Nonini, who hails from the northern panhandle, joins fellow State Sen. Marv Hagedorn (R), State Rep. Kelley Packer (R), ex-State Rep. Janice McGeachin (R), and ex-IDGOP Chairman Steve Yates (R). Incumbent Brad Little (R) is running for Governor.

IL-AG: Kane County DA Joe McMahon (R) is considering a run for AG. McMahon has name recognition from his tenure as DA in a large suburban county and his serving as a special prosecutor in the Lacquan Macdonald police shooting incident. However, he would likely face an uphill run in the GOP primary, as former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) has already sewn up most of the GOP establishment’s support. Across the aisle, parks commissioner Jesse Ruiz (D) is seen as likely to become the fourth candidate in this field, joining State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), State Rep. Scott Drury (D), and Chicago city official Sharon Fairley (D).

IL-SoS: Grundy County DA Jason Helland (R) will run for Secretary of State, giving Republicans a credible candidate for this seat. Popular incumbent Jesse White (D) has said he will be seeking a sixth term and would be a prohibitive favorite if he runs, but there are rumors that White may pull a late retirement to try and clear the field for a hand-picked successor.

KS-Ins Comm: Ex-State Sen. and 2014 candidate Clark Shultz (R), who currently serves as the department’s #2 official, is preparing to make a second run for Insurance Commissioner. Shultz came in a very close third (by 4%) in the 2014 primary and would likely start a second bid as the front-runner for the seat. However, he left the door open to dropping out of the race should his boss, incumbent Ken Selzer (R), drop his bid for Governor and seek re-election. No other candidates have as yet declared interest in this seat.

NE-Treas: 2017 Omaha Mayoral candidate Taylor Royal (R), a twenty-something accountant who ran a quixotic self-funded bid based on bringing an NFL team to Omaha, will run for State Treasurer. Royal also notched a surprising endorsement from the woman he unsuccessfully tried to oust, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert (R). He joins State Sen. John Murante (R), who has the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), in the primary for this open seat.

Local Races:

Atlanta-Mayor: City councilwoman Keisha Lance-Bottoms (D) has notched a big endorsement from incumbent Kasim Reed (D). Lance-Bottoms is the closest candidate in the crowded field to Reed, so the move is no surprise; however, Reed’s support could help her stand out. Lance-Bottoms is in a tight race for the second runoff spot in this race; a number of liberal candidates are vying to advance to a December runoff with moderate councilwoman and 2009 candidate Mary Norwood (I).

Phoenix-Mayor: A pair of city councilors have thrown their hats into the ring for next year’s special election. Daniel Valenzuela (D) and Kate Gallego (D), ex-wife of US Rep. Ruben (D), have both declared their candidacies. Incumbent Greg Stanton (D) will need to resign next year to run for the AZ-9 seat of Rep. and Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema (D).

Prince George’s, MD-CE: Ex-Rep. Donna Edwards (D), who lost a US Senate primary in 2016, is trying for a comeback in a run for the open PG County Executive seat. Edwards starts with the highest name recognition in a field including DA Angela Alsobrooks (D), DINO State Sen. Anthony Muse (D), and Obama Admin official Paul Monteiro (D). However, Edwards has never been on great terms with the area’s Democratic establishment, which could be problematic if they coalesce around one of her rivals.

Shelby, TN-CE: State Sen. Lee Harris (D) is running for the County Executive post in Shelby County, covering Memphis. He joins ex-county commissioner Sidney Chism (D) in the primary. Shelby County is deep-blue but the GOP has had high levels of success countywide;  Three credible Republicans are running in County Trustee David Lenoir (R), Court Clerk Joy Touliatos (R), and County Commissioner Terry Roland (R).

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2017 LA Primary Liveblog & Austria Open Thread

Results: LA SoS

11:25 ET- And that’s a wrap… with 98% in, Edwards (D) and Schroeder (R) have advanced for Treasurer with 31 and 24 respectively, besting Davis at 22 and Riser at 18. For New Orleans, Cantrell (D) and Charbonnet (D) have advanced. Feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss Austrian results as well.

10:55 ET- I’m about ready to wrap things up and call it for Schroeder. Davis has cut the margin to 5000 votes with 90% in, but 2/3 of what remains is New Orleans where she can’t make up much ground. For NO Mayor, I think Cantrell and Charbonnet are set to advance; Cantrell 42 Charbonnet 30 Bagneris 17 with a third in.

10:37 ET- 86% in, Edwards 26 Schroeder 26 Davis 24 Riser 19. 6300 votes separate Schroeder and Davis. For New Orleans, 34% is in, Cantrell 42 Charbonnet 30 Bagneris 17

10:29 ET- Results are in for the two legislative races. Ken Brass (D) won LD-58 outright, while Manness (R) and Wright (R) advance in LD-77 with 37% and 25% respectively.

10:25 ET- Orleans is starting to roll in. 72% in total: Schroeder 26 Edwards 26 Davis 23 Riser 20. Orleans is 20% in, and Mayor is Cantrell 39 Charbonnet 33 Bagneris 15.

10:22 ET- I think we can call PSC-2 for Greene outright. Greene is at 54.

10:15 ET- 59% in, and finally some Orleans. Overall Schroeder 26 Edwards 25 Davis 24 Riser 20. I think we can just about declare Riser out of the running but the second spot between Schroeder and Davis is still very much up in the air. For NO Mayor, 5% is in, Cantrell is at 38 and Charbonnet at 36, with Bagneris way back at 14.

10:00 ET- 36% in (still no Orleans) – Edwards 26 Schroeder 26 Davis 24 Riser 20.

9:45 ET- 14% in, Schroeder 27 Edwards 26 Davis 22 Riser 20. Greene is at 55% for PSC. Importantly, Orleans is not in at all.

9:33 ET- St. Tammany dumped its early vote and Schroeder is now in first with 28. Edwards 25 Davis 22 Riser 20. 2% of the election day vote is in.

9:25 ET- 54 parishes have absentees in: Edwards 26 Schroeder 24 Davis 23 Riser 22. Bossier, Orleans, Ouachita, and St. Tammany are the major parishes without any absentees in.

9:17 ET- It’s pretty amazing how close the Treasurer race is – with 50K votes cast, 2100 votes is all that separates first from fourth.

9:15 ET- 44 parishes absentee: Edwards 26 Davis 24 Riser 24 Schroeder 22. Greene is currently running away with PSC-2 with 61%.

9:08 ET- Absentee results are in for 18 parishes and it’s tight as a tick for Treasurer: Edwards 26 Schroeder 26 Davis 23 Riser 20

9:00 ET- Polls have closed in Louisiana.

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