Weekend Open Thread for November 27-29, 2015

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!!!! In honor of Black Friday here is a public service announcement:

The National Review Institute is currently accepting applications for their New York and Washington Regional Fellows Program. The program is focused on young mid-career professionals. Fellows meet for a series of eight weeknight dinner seminars which focus on introducing the participants to conservatism’s most important writings, thinkers, and institutions. The program is designed to help build a network of talented, like-minded individuals who can assist one another professionally and personally for years to come. I participated in the 1st New York Fellow program and it was an amazing experience. You can find out more about the NRI Fellows Program HERE. The deadline to apply for the New York and Washington program is Monday, December 7th. If any RRH Election readers are interested in applying and have any questions about the program or would like me put in a recommendation for you please feel free to email me at redracinghorses@yahoo.com Please be sure to reference NRI Fellowship in the subject line of your email.

Now here are some questions to ponder while you stand in line at the mall –

1. The old cliche of “it’s the economy, stupid” is generally assumed to be at the base of every campaign. But why is that? Do you think that a large number of voters actually cast their vote based on how the economy is doing (i.e. GDP, unemployment) – or does a good economy just make it easier to get other priorities accomplished?

2. Recruiting season for congressional races is winding down with filing deadlines closing in, but if you could get exactly one more recruit into a congressional race, who would it be?

And because its the weekend…..we give you one of the best drunken concession speeches ever!

And thanks to RogueMapper’s innovations with the site, here’s a straw poll of our site’s presidential candidate support:

Who Do You Support for President?

View Results

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Thanksgiving Policy Thread

Okay, let’s tackle the obvious policy question – What would you do about ISIS and the Syrian refugee/migrant crisis?


Thanksgiving Open Thread for November 25-27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. First off, please give a big virtual round of applause to Roguemapper for his wonderful help in getting some of the technological kinks worked out of our website. Some key improvements he’s been able to provide include getting rid of the dummy welcome diary at the top of the front-page, the ability to nest comment threads more than 5 deep, the ability to format paragraphs in comments, and a list of recent user diaries on the right sidebar. Stay tuned for further improvements. Many thanks to Roguemapper for his help!

Also, check back for a policy thread tomorrow and check out our 5th Annual Turkey of the Year Awards if you haven’t already. In the meantime, some questions:

1. What type of situation would it take (in candidate qualities, issue positions, or type of election) for you to actively support a candidate of the opposite party?

2. What are you thankful for politically?

And because it’s Thanksgiving….“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”


5th Annual RRH Elections Turkey of the Year Awards

This is probably our favorite post to write each year, our Thanksgiving tradition in which we give due recognition to those great pols who fell flat on their faces most spectacularly (and humorously) over the last year.

Honorable Mentions:

Hillary Clinton, for not realizing her server was going rogue and improperly storing classified emails.

Scott Walker, for going from presidential front-runner to has-been in record time. We would have liked to see that wall down the middle of Lake Superior though.

Frank Guinta, for his verbal gymnastics in covering up his parents’ improper funding of his campaign. It wasn’t an improper donation. He embezzled that money from his family fair and square!

Chaka Fattah, for managing to parlay a fizzled mayoral run into a decade-long corruption scheme.

Dianna Duran, for using her campaign money to feed a gambling addiction while campaigning on a promise to clean up the office charged with monitoring elections. Guess she didn’t know when to walk away and when to run.

Troy Kelley, for building a business career out of embezzling money from customers and then managing to win election to an office charged with rooting out fraud.

Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, for pulling the impressive feat of having both of a state’s legislative leaders, from different parties, indicted in the same year for corruption. If they share a cell they can be two of the Three Men in a Room again.

Bill deBlasio, for being Bill deBlasio.

Named Awards:

Atturkeys General: Two strong contenders in this category. Ken Paxton deserves a mention for not lasting a year in office before getting hit with a fraud indictment, but of course it’s impossible to beat Kathleen Kane, who continues to hang onto office by her fingernails despite being disbarred and thus no longer being an attorney. Perhaps we should just rename her office to the Defendant General.

Turkey Party of the Year: We had a competitive race for this award. The runner-up is the Mississippi Democrats, who had two respectable sacrifical lambs to choose from for Governor, and passed them both over for a candidate who didn’t campaign, raise money… or vote for himself. But as strong a challenge as the MSDP put up, our Turkey Party of the Year has to go to the UK Labour Party. After nominating a radical left-wing and personally awkward leader that got them flattened in a second straight general election, they decided their problem was that their leader wasn’t radical or awkward enough. Jeremy Corbyn is sure to provide much amusement in the years ahead.

The Charlie Crist Award for party-switching goes to Artur Davis, for attempting to come crawling back to one of the most anemic parties in the country (Alabama Democrats) and being rebuffed.

The Martha Coakley Award for campaign ineptitude goes to Nassau GOP machine hack extraordinaire Kate Murray. Despite being the well-regarded quasi-mayor for half the county, she couldn’t come up with a better rationale for becoming DA than it being her turn, and lost to an unheralded Democrat despite the legendary Nassau GOP machine backing.

The Bill Clinton Award for Philandering goes jointly to Michigan State Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat. Two married legislators having an affair think its a good idea to concoct a fake gay sex scandal so the real heterosexual thing won’t seem as bad. You’d be laughed out of any publisher if you tried to sell that as a story.

The Dan Quayle Award for Gaffe of the Year was hotly contested, with three strong contenders:

2nd runner up is Jack Conway, who aptly brought up his bitch as an example of his commitment to women’s rights.

1st runner-up for this award is Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who decided to give rioters space to destroy her city.

But the winner is Kevin McCarthy. Everybody thought he was unbeatable to become Speaker of the House, right? But then he put together a Benghazi committee.

Turkey of the Year:

And now, the 2015 Turkey of the Year. Their name will be inscribed on our wall of birdbrains, joining these illustrious honorees:

2014: Bruce Braley | 2013: Anthony Weiner | 2012: Todd Akin | 2011: Anthony Weiner

Our 2nd Runner Up is John Kitzhaber, for acting out a positively Shakespearean drama on the people of Oregon by allowing his fiancee to manipulate state resources to benefit her sham marriage, er, marijuana farm, er, environmental consulting operation.

Our 1st Runner Up is David Vitter, for not seeing that Louisiana was giving him a red light despite his activities in that district.

And our 2015 Turkey of the Year is… Aaron Schock. It’s hard to turn a fluff-piece about your office decor into a career-ending scandal, but DC’s foremost Downton Abbey fan did just that. After his office servants turned away a Style section reporter looking to do a story on the stately manor’s decor, they started digging and found the lord of the manor playing fast and loose with the estate’s funds. And I thought watching PBS was supposed to make you smarter.


Political Roundup for November 24, 2015

Please check back for our Turkey of the Year Awards this afternoon.


Carson:  Is Ben Carson’s plain-spoken, down to earth oddly joking style of speech really driving his campaign?  Carson is an unusual candidate to start with, but his speaking furthers it.

Cruz/Rubio:  Two serious candidates are actually battling it for the mantle of serious candidate in Iowa, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.  Cruz is viewed as having an advantage in Iowa, but Rubio is viewed as having a stronger organization nationally.

Trump:  Speaking of speaking styles, there is one candidate whose campaign rhetoric fits the song “Lips are movin.”  In case you were wonder, Trump said recently that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks and claims he has the best memory in the world.

Clinton:  Another candidate which “Lips are movin” applies is moving to the right on ISIS.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trying to open some space between herself and President Barack Obama on handling of the Syria situation.  Someone should ask her about her role in handling this disaster considering she was Secretary of State when it really got rolling.


FL-18: The DCCC has lost their preferred candidate, Melissa McKinlay, to replace Representative Patrick Murphy (D).  McKinlay, a Palm Beach County Commissioner, was forced out when millionaire self-funder Randy Perkins entered the race for the Democratic nomination to replace Murphy.


Falklands / Argentina: The hardy people of the Falkland Islands are celebrating the election of Mauricio Macri as Argentine President and the retirement of the infamous “Botox Queen” who frequently threatened the Falklands.  Macri is not going to give up Argentina’s baseless claim to the islands, but he does not appear to want to rattle the saber any time he suffers a domestic problem.

RNC/DNC:  The RNC nearly outraised the DNC 2 to 1 in October.  The RNC raised $8.7 million while the DNC raised $4.5 million.  This has been the consistent pattern throughout the year for the national committees.

ND-Gov:  Former Agricultural Commissioner Sarah Vogel (D) has formed an exploratory committee for a run for Governor.  She served two terms from 1989 to 1997.


LA-Sen: Boustany and Fleming In

We have confirmation from both Reps. Charles Boustany (R) and John Fleming (R) that they will, as expected, enter the race for Vitter’s open seat.

Boustany and Fleming are probably the front-runners in the race right there, as they represent different areas of the state and strongly different factions of the GOP. Fleming is a grassroots favorite and considered more antiestablishment, while Boustany is more establishment-oriented and was a close ally of former Speaker Boehner. We at RRH also have Boustany on our blacklist for his horrendous attempt to screw over his colleagues in the delegation during the 2012 redistricting (he promoted a plan that would have put Fleming’s seat at risk of a D pickup.) Two other serious contenders expected to enter this race are State Treasurer John Kennedy, a populist who cuts an unusual ideological profile, and veteran and 2014 candidate Rob Maness (R), whose antiestablishment posturing probably cuts mostly into Fleming’s vote share. Several other candidates are also rumored to be interested. On the D side, the picture is far murkier, but New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) is rumored to be considering. Other Dem possibilities could include ex-US Attorney and ex-Rep. Don Cazayoux (D), Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D), and State Sen. Eric LaFleur (D).

Both of the newly-open congressional seats should stay safely in GOP hands. Boustany’s LA-3 is an R+15 seat stretching from Lafayette to Lake Charles. Public Service Commissioner, 2015 Gov candidate, and ex-LG Scott Angelle (R) is probably the instant front-runner for the seat, but he has alienated some Republicans with his hostile neutral stance in the runoff phase of the race. Angelle may also decide to run for Senate instead, which would leave the field wide-open. Other names to watch are outgoing State House Speaker Chuck Kleckley (R), who could draw votes from the Lake Charles side of the district, and Lafayette Mayor Joey Durel (R). Around 6 GOP State Senators and 10 GOP State Reps. also live in the district.

Fleming’s LA-4 is an R+11 seat based around Shreveport; though Dems did come close to taking the seat in 2008 it has gotten more inelastic since then and should stay in Republican hands barring something massively unexpected. State Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R), an antiestablishment conservative who briefly considered a Senate bid last year, is a name to watch and would probably be a front-runner if he entered. 2008 candidate Chris Gorman (R), a trucking company exec, could try again, as could another Fleming ’08 opponent, Judge and ex-State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R). Four Republican State Senators and about 8 other Republican State Reps. live in the district.


Political Roundup for November 23rd, 2015

Programming Announcement: Our annual Turkey of the Year awards will be out tomorrow afternoon.

Election Results

In the main event, Democrat and State Rep. John Bel Edwards won the gubernatorial race over US Senator David Vitter (R).

Further down, Nungesser (R) easily defeated Holden (D) for Lt. Governor, and one-time RRH favorite and former Rep Jeff Landry (R) returned to office as Attorney General over a more moderate Republican.

While three incumbent State House Republicans lost their seats to same-party challengers, Democrats made no gains in the lower house. In the Senate, John Malkovich Milkovich (D) surprisingly picked up SD-38, while Republicans picked up SD-12. The net change in the legislature is D+1 in the Senate (thanks to Dems getting back party-switcher Elbert Guillory’s seat) and R+2 in the House.


Trump Shot: First former RNC operative (from relative ages ago in 2008 in political terms) Liz Mair is working to form “Trump Card LLC” as an umbrella for anti-Trump efforts in the primary (you can see a non paywall version here).

Trump Chaser: Because of this supposed chicanery from “the RNC” (that is, a former official in an organization dominated by presidential cycles), Trump is now arguing he now has grounds to go back on his pledge not to run third party if he is not “treated fairly.”


LA-Sen: In the wake of the Louisiana runoff, Vitter announced Saturday in his concession speech that he would retire from the Senate at the end of his term. The announcement was not very surprising, with clear statewide weakness exposed and an anemic warchest in his Senate account. Now the weekly news cycle is gearing up, so expect the Great Mentioner to whir into action. James added his own take on the Great Mentioner in the link.

MD-Sen: A poll by the University of Baltimore and the Baltimore Sun finds Rep. Chris Van Hollen leading colleague Donna Edwards 45%-31% in the Democratic primary. Like other polls of the race, it found that Rep. Elijah Cummings would lead if he jumped into the fray. Van Hollen’s lead is likely fueled by early advertising, while Cummings would dominate as the only Baltimore candidate.


MA-Gov / MA-6: Some speculate about a possible 2018 gubernatorial run by freshman Rep. Seth Moulton (D) against Governor Charlie Baker (R). Moulton recently tussled with Baker of Syrian refugee policy. Baker has racked up impressive favorable ratings out of the gate, but Moulton’s moderate image and record as a war hero is nothing to scoff at. However, even against a strong general election opponent it’s not like Democrats are lacking a bench in the Bay State, so Moulton might not get a clean shot even if he does actually want to run.

RGA: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was elected Chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association this weekend for 2016. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will serve as a Vice-Chair as well.


NY-19: All eleven Democratic county chairs signed onto a letter Friday calling on Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (D) to run for the open congressional seat. Republicans already have a few high-profile candidates for the seat, including former Assemblyman and 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Faso and Assemblyman Pete Lopez.

NY-22: Rep. Richard Hanna (R) faces a real threat on his right flank in his primary, but now he’ll have to watch the left as well. State Assemblyman An­thony Brind­isi (D) is considering entering the race. Obviously the calculus is he hopes Hanna’s challenger, colleague Claudia Tenney (R), wins the primary and forces an opening, but warm bodies always make elections more dangerous.

TX-15: Two new Democrats are entering the race to replace the retiring Hinojosa: attorney Vicente Gonzalez and Edinburg school board member  Sonny Palacios Jr. Perhaps more importantly, two Democrats will not run for the seat: Hidalgo District Clerk Laura Hinojosa, the daughter of the outgoing congressman, and exiting Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza.

State and Local

MN-Leg: We didn’t mention it when it happened, but on the 14th Andy Aplikowski won the Republican endorsement for the SD-35 special election over moderate former State Rep. Jim Abeler. This one will go to a primary between the two on January 12th.

OK-Leg / WATN: Once upon a time John Tyler Hammons (R) was one of those candidates elected who draw news stories due to their young age; in 2008, he was elected Mayor of Muskogee at the ripe young age of 19. He is now running for the State Senate; while the seat (SD-9) is R+7, it is Democratic-held. However, Muskogee comprises a big chunk of the district, giving Hammons another shot at the spotlight.

PA-Leg: More internecine fighting between rival Philadelphia factions, this time between Kevin Boyle (brother of the congressman) and state Sen. John Sabatina (ally of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack); at stake is SD-5, the State Senate seat covering their mutual Northeast Philly turf.

TX-Leg: Kind of a twofer burn here. On the one hand, attorney and State Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) was finally convicted of ambulance chasing after a sting in 2013. On the other hand, Reynolds is an attorney who lost after representing himself. The state representative will be hiring some outside help for the appeal. While he plans to run for re-election, he did admit the conviction may lure out a primary opponent.


Argentina: Peronism Kirchnerism goes down in Argentina as Conservative Mauricio Macri won yesterday’s presidential runoff.

UK: An upcoming by-election in Oldham West on December 3rd will elect a Labour MP to the seat, but the numbers have sunk far enough to give some party apparatchiks a major scare. Compare this to one-off special elections where Republicans over-performed in Democratic seats under special circumstances; people like to read big trends in solitary elections.



LA-Sen: Vitter Retiring

Vitter just announced in his concession speech he is retiring.

Potential Republican candidates:

Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming- both almost certain to run

Treasurer John Kennedy- also very likely, although may want to run for Governor in 2019 instead

Col. Rob Maness- Also very likely, will only serve to peel votes from Fleming

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise- not particularly likely, but could see he has no room for advancement in leadership for the foreseeable future. Also a potential Gov. candidate in 2019

Scott Angelle- will look at this and LA-03. LA-03 would almost be a slam-dunk, and he could follow the Jindal path to Gov. Expect news on his decision this week


PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell

NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu



2015 Louisiana Runoff Liveblog

Sunday Morning Update: By now you know Edwards (D) won 56-44 for Gov. Nungesser (R) and Landry (R) won LG and AG respectively by similar margins.

State Senate: D+1, as Dems picked up a surprising win in SD-38 with John Milkovich (D). Republicans picked up SD-12, a liberal D won over a moderate in SD-7, and an antiestablishment R won in SD-36.

State House: R+2, as no more seats changed hands. Three more Republican State Reps lost though to same party challengers: Joe Harrison (LD-51), Lenar Whitney (LD-53), and Darrell Ourso (LD-66).

BESE: Split decision here as the business ed-reform group ousted an incumbent in district 4 and the union-backed candidate won in district 6. Final balance will by 7-1 in favor of the pro-ed reform side.

10:09 ET- Looking down ballot, Lt. Gov was called long ago for Nungesser and I’m ready to call AG for Landry. He’ll be talked up heavily, along with Garret Graves, Scott Angelle, and John Kennedy for Gov in 2019.

In the Legislature:

Moderate Democrat Jeff Arnold up 56-44 in SD 7, with 17% in. Republican Beth Mizell up 55-45 in SD 12, which would be a GOP pickup. Mizell will win, as the parts that remain out are 75%+ Republican precincts. Ryan Gatti up 52-48 over Henry Burns in SD 36 with 59% in. John Milkovich (D) up 53-47 over Richie Burford ( R) in SD 38, with 71% in. Looking like a possible Dem pickup, offset by Mizell in SD 12.

Hill (D) looking likely to win re-election in HD 32. AB Franklin (D) holding on in HD 34 with 52% and 88% reporting. Jean Paul-Cousson narrowly won the R-on-R race in HD 45, with 51%. Conservative Amedee up over moderate Harrison 52-48 in HD 51. Lenar Whitney going down hard in HD 53, 61-39. Rick Edmonds looks likely to beat moderate incumbent Ourso, up 51-49 with 58% in and doing well on election day votes. Davis (R) up 56-44 over Heck (R) in HD 69 with 61% reporting. Garafalo (R) looks like he will hold on in HD 103, he’s up 52-48 with 89% in.

10:03 ET- And local news is calling the race for Edwards. Look for a coalition led legislature, likely with Republican Rep. Joe Lopinto, Bryan Adams, or Chris Broadwater as House Speaker, and it will not be a pretty coalition for Louisiana conservatives.

9:55 ET- Over 537,000 votes now, Edwards up 56-44. Almost ready to call it, but Vitter still has decent areas out and looks to have improved on election day votes. Nungesser and Landry are tracking amazingly close together, with Nungesser and Holden having about 10k more votes each than Landry and Caldwell, respectively.

9:34 ET- Up to 260,000 votes, Edwards holding steady at 57-43. Still nothing from Orleans.

 ET- We’ve got over 200,000 votes in and it is still Edwards up 58% to 42% over Vitter. Nungesser and Landry still leading.

9:05 ET- With a 7 of 3945 precincts reporting Edwards is up 58% to 42%. Nungesser is at 57% and Landry is leading 52-48.

9:00 ET- Polls have now closed in the Pelican State. The liveblog may be infrequently updated in the early part of the evening as we have multiple editors (shamlet, BostonPatriot, Izengabe and editor-emeritus James) who have only sporadic availability at the moment; thus the four of us will be tag-teaming to update. Thanks for your patience. In the meantime please enjoy this:

Results: AP | Louisiana SoS


Weekend Open Thread for November 20-22, 2015

Welcome to the end of a long week, folks.  We’re all looking forward to a short week next week.

Here are some questions to get the weekend started–

  1.  Assume Rubio or Cruz gets the nomination.  Who should either one of them pick as a running mate?
  2.  Is there a portion of the conservative base (libertarian pro-immigration voters) who will stay home next year because of anger about the GOP Governors’ stance on Syrian refugees?

And because it’s the weekend, here’s this video.