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Canada Election Preview

On October 19, voters in Canada will go to the polls to select all 338 members of the House of Commons. This is the first election since a redistribution was made in 2012-30 seats were added and lines were redrawn to reflect population changes.

Since the election was called on August 2, much has changed in the campaign. The NDP started out ahead in the polls, likely bolstered somewhat by their stunning win in Alberta in May. At one point during late August, they pulled way ahead and even seemed to be flirting with majority territory. But they have steadily declined since then and are now far back in 3rd place. This is due in large part to their plunging numbers in Quebec-which is where they received most of their support in 2011 to get into Official Opposition status.

The Conservatives have made something of a comeback over the course of the campaign-at one point in early September, they were polling in 3rd place. They have been hurt by the trial of Mike Duffy, a Senator appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has been embroiled in a scandal concerning expenses that he and other Senators claimed for which they were not eligible. But the trial has been adjourned since late August until after the election, and as the story has faded out of the news, the Tories have steadily risen in the polls. They seemed to be coming close to majority territory a couple of weeks ago, but they have fallen back somewhat. Harper is trying to do something that hasn’t been done in over 100 years-win a 4th consecutive term as prime minister.

As the NDP has gone down in the polls, the Liberals have gone up as they consolidate the ABH(Anybody but Harper) vote. Recent polls have shown them taking a consistent, although small lead over the Conservatives. The race seems to have settled for now into a traditional Grits vs. Tories (Liberals vs. Conservatives) race with the NDP as the 3rd party. Who ends up with the most seats and the first opportunity at forming a government is up in the air at this point. Harper will find it hard to lead another stable minority government if they are well short of a majority. In that case, the Liberals and NDP could attempt to put a coalition together, or bring down the government in a short period of time, prompting new elections-something that some sources say the Tories don’t necessarily fear as they raise money easily. If the Liberals end up with the most seats but far short of a majority, they could lead a more stable minority government with the possibility of a confidence and supply agreement with the NDP. In this case, the NDP would agree to support the government for a certain period of time while the Liberal government would support some of its key priorities. It should be a fight to the finish to see who comes out on top and we likely will not know until late on Election Night or even later what will happen.

Follow this link for provincial and riding-by-riding analysis.


Political Roundup for October 13, 2015

Tonight is the first Democratic presidential debate depending if the Clintons don’t find a way to cancel it at the very last second and attempt to make it look like someone else’s fault.


Democratic Debate:  The Hill has a nice breakdown of five things to watch for in the Democratic debate tonight.  I have real reservations regarding Number 5, whether anyone can make a breakout performance.  The absence of Vice President Joe Biden is the biggest lingering factor impacting the debates.

African-Americans:  Is it time for Republicans to make a hard push among African-American voters?  With Hillary Clinton suffering from a lumbering dinosaur of a campaign and no alternative that would likely excite the African-American vote, some are arguing Republicans need to make a renewed push to make inroads among African-Americans.  Even if Republicans can get to 25% in a few key states (Ohio and Pennsylvania come to mind) it would have a meaningful impact at the ballot box.

Rubio-Adelson: Megadonor Sheldon Adelson is warming up to Senator Marco Rubio’s candidacy.  Adelson is not on board yet, but it is part of a trend of Rubio making the rounds with the megadonor elite of the Republican Party.  Good sign for Rubio that the megadonors are taking him seriously and maybe it will lead to some serious cash down the stretch.

Trump-No Labels:  In case you thought something else would happen when Trump visited the No Labels conference in Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday.  Politico for some strange reason thinks Trump was actually going to appeal to the center-left leaning crowd with his standard boilerplate “I hate everyone” tactics.  The fact Trump took it to No Labels endears him with me to a certain extent.

More Trump:  In case you need comic relief tonight, Trump will be live tweeting the Democratic debate.


The Next Speaker:  As we run out of insiders remotely interested in being Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is a thankless job in my opinion, it is becoming clearer that the next Speaker will probably come from the fringes between the establishment and anti-establishment movements.

Majority Leader:  House Majority Leader Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R) plans to stay on as Majority Leader and a member of Congress and has broad support to do so.  It appears a lot of the animosity towards McCarthy was tied to McCarthy being seen as Boehner 2.0.

Governing:  Michael Barone asks the inevitable question if either party is capable of governing at the moment.  Barone cites Republican dysfunction in Congress tied with the hilariously incompetent and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality of the Clintons.



Political Roundup for October 12, 2015

Happy Columbus Day. Please check our our awesome riding-by-riding Canada Preview ahead of next week’s elections.


CA-Sen: The well-respected Field Poll has the two major Dems in the race, AG Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D), leading the top-two primary with 30 and 17 respectively. State Rep. Rocky Chavez (R) comes in first of the three Republicans running with 9, while ex-state GOP chairs Tom DelBecarro (R) and Duf Sundheim (R) round out the field at 6 and 3.

MD-Sen: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) is up with his first ad, which will air largely in (and hence transparently targets) the Baltimore area. With Van Hollen and fellow Rep. Donna Edwards (D) hailing from the DC suburbs, Baltimore-area Democrats may be a key swing bloc in this primary.


KY-Gov: Mason-Dixon has a poll of this race, putting AG Jack Conway (D) up 43-41 on Matt Bevin (R). It’s worth noting that Mason-Dixon has had something of an R lean in the past. Our RRH poll of this race will be released on or about October 27th, so mark your calendars.

LA-Gov: A week and a half before the primary, the RGA is launching a $1M ad buy against State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D), who has been gaining surprising traction in this race as of late. Edwards has mostly floated above the fray as front-running Sen. David Vitter (R) and his two intraparty challengers, LG Jay Dardenne (R) and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R), have attacked each other. The RGA’s campaign is probably a sign that recent polls we’ve seen with Edwards leading Vitter in the runoff deserve credence.

More LA-Gov: Vitter picked up the endorsement of the New Orleans Times-Picayune this weekend, which has a moderate to mildly conservative editorial stance. The endorsement could be a minor help for Vitter in keeping moderate New Orleans area Republicans from choosing Dardenne or Angelle.

NH-Gov: Rep. Annie Kuster (D), who had been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate, is putting such speculation to rest with her endorsement of Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern (D), who managed her first (unsuccessful) congressional campaign in 2010. Van Ostern and fellow Executive Councilor Chris Sununu (R) are the only candidates in this open-seat race, but a plethora of others on both sides are considering.


Speaker: Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) is considering taking the Speaker’s job, which he has repeatedly said he does not want, amid widespread pressure from House Republicans.

CA-23, NC-2: Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) is strongly denying rumors of an affair with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R). The rumors, which stated said affair was the real reason for McCarthy’s abrupt withdrawl from the Speaker’s race, had reached such a fevered pitch last week that many believed both Ellmers and McCarthy were planning to resign from Congress this past weekend. Ellmers, who is unpopular with the conservative base, still faces a tough primary race in 2016, with ex-Chatham County GOP chair Jim Duncan (R) her most serious rival.

MN-2: Talk radio host Jason Lewis (R) has filed to run for this purple open seat, joining ex-State Sen. John Howe (R) and ex-State Rep. Pam Myhra (R) in the primary. Businesswomen Mary Lawrence (D) and Angela Craig (D) are running on the Dem side.

NY-19: State Rep. Pete Lopez (R-Schoharie) is the third Republican into this race, joining his former boss, ex-State Rep. John Faso (R), and businessman Andrew Heaney (R). Lopez will have some catch-up work to do on the fundraising front as both Faso and Heaney topped $600K last quarter. Dems have no serious candidates in the race for this purple seat as of yet, though Ulster CE Mike Hein (D) and ex-State Sen. Terry Gipson (D) have been chronically mentioned as possibilities.

VA-10: Democrats are recruiting real estate exec Luann Bennett (D), an ex-wife of ex-VA-8 Rep. Jim Moran (D), to run against Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Comstock won a relatively easy victory in 2014, and seems to be keeping away most “A” list candidates this year, but an activist redrawing of the congressional map could make this purple-to-light red seat somewhat more competitive.

WA-7: 14-term Rep. Jim McDermott (D) is personally denying retirement rumors that were posted anonymously on reddit last week. The anonymous rumor stated that McDermott was planning to retire and endorse Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (D) to succeed him in the deep-blue seat.

State & Local:

DE-LG: State Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) is exploring a run for LG, becoming the biggest name into this race and likely starting as the front-runner. Hall-Long joins Rehoboth Beach councilwoman Kathy McGuiness (D), Kent county commissioner Brad Eaby (D), ex-Sussex Register of Wills Greg Fuller (D), and New Castle Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti (D). No Republicans have as yet indicated interest in this race. Importantly, if Hall-Long wins the LG seat, her Senate seat (which could decide control of the 11-10 D Senate) could be very competitive in a special election; it is D+7, but that’s within a winnable range for the DEGOP and Hall-Long only took 51% in 2014.

VT-AG: Chittenden DA and 2012 candidate TJ Donovan (D) is kicking off his long-expected second run for AG. Incumbent Bill Sorrell (D), whom Donovan almost ousted in 2012, is retiring. Donovan is now the clear front-runner for the seat and has no obvious top-tier competition.

Columbus-Mayor: City Council Pres. Andrew Ginther (D) was considered the overwhelming front-runner for the Mayor’s job, but his candidacy has been hurt by a widespread ethics investigation involving the city’s red-light camera program. This news won’t help Ginther either, as he is being investigated over potentially receiving an improper trip to a college basketball game from a lobbyist. Ginther’s rival, Franklin Sheriff Zach Scott (D), is running a nearly single-issue campaign on ethics reform.


Weekend Open Thread For October 9-11, 2015

What a week in politics!  Thanks for everyone’s support and continued to reading of the blog. Please stay tuned for our special riding-by-riding Canada Preview this weekend! Here are some questions to get the weekend started.

  1. Put yourself in Donald Trump’s shoes.  (Don’t fight the hypo).  What course of action would you take from this point? Stay in, drop out, change strategies, etc.
  2. Keeping in mind that the Speaker of the House doesn’t have to be an elected member of Congress, who would you most like to see as Speaker?

And because it’s the weekend we give you the return of Jay Leno….here


Florida Redistricting Decision Finishes The Legislature’s Work

After the last legislative screwup, this is unsurprising. From the Miami Herald:

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis on Friday rejected the Florida Legislature’s third attempt at redrawing its congressional districts and recommended a map proposed by the challengers — including a redrawn configuration of two Miami districts — to the Florida Supreme Court for its final review.

Lewis adopted the bulk of the map approved by lawmakers in the northern and central portions of the state but specifically rejected the proposed boundaries for District 26 in Miami, now held by Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo.

The challengers, a coalition of League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida and a group of Democrat-leaning individuals, agreed with Legislature’s configuration of 20 of the 27 districts proposed in a staff-drawn base map but asked the court to adopt their changes to the remaining districts. Lewis agreed.

Essentially, this map makes it much harder for Rep. Curbelo to win reelection in FL-26. Republicans are also likely to lose FL-10 (Webster) and FL-13 (Jolly), but they should pick up FL-2 (Graham). You can read the full order here and find an interactive version of the proposed map here.

Read more on the Florida redistricting decision here.


Political Roundup for October 9, 2015

We just wanted to thank everyone who donated to our fundraising drive to poll the Kentucky Governor’s race. We are very grateful to you all for your support. Thank you!

Can you believe there is only 25 days until Election Day 2015 and only 396 more days until Election Day 2016!


Hillary: Hillary Clinton’s private email server was repeatedly hit by attempted cyberattacks originating in China, South Korea and Germany in 2014. At least 5 attacks occurred and were blocked in October 2013. Clinton’s server operated without its threat monitoring protection system between June and October 2013. Clinton has not said what, if any, firewall or threat protection was used on her email server before June 2013. The FBI is investigating whether national security was compromised by Clinton’s unauthorized email arrangement.

Biden: Vice President Joe Biden himself leaked word to The New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd in August that his late son’s dying wish was for him to launch one last bid for President. It was that column that largely jumpstarted speculation that the 72 year old Biden would run for President.

Trump: Trump supporters dont do grammar good. Grammarly, a writing-enhancement website, looked at comments by the hopefuls’ supporters on the candidates’ official Facebook pages to find out who was making the most mistakes and who was making the fewest. Trump supporters fared the worst averaging 12.6 mistakes per 100 words.

Fiorina: The Koch brothers are adding Carly Fiorina to the list of GOP presidential candidates they could support. The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, an umbrella organization that funds many conservative groups backed by Charles and David Koch, announced that Fiorina will be one of five candidates it backs. The group had previously backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker before he dropped out of the race in September. Fiorina will join Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio on their list of backed candidates. This could open access to a new large pool of campaign funding for Fiorina.


KY-Gov: Democrat Jack Conway has outspent Republican Matt Bevin by a nearly 4-1 margin. As of the last filing Matt Bevin’s campaign had $674,000 in cash on hand with less than a month to go until election day.  Bevin has raised about $1.7 million since the end of the primary election, with roughly $995,000 of that coming from his own pocket. Jack Conway raised $6 million and spent $3.8 million over the same time period. Conway has about $2.3 million cash on hand left. Senator Mitch McConnell (R) might be riding in to rescue the campaign of the man who tried to defeat him in the Republican primary last year. Both McConnell and Sen Rand Paul (R) headlined a big fundraiser for Bevin on Thursday night that featured every GOP member of the Kentucky congressional delegation.

NH-Gov: Fresh off of the heels of Gov Maggie Hassan (D) announcement that she will run for US Senate, Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern becomes the first Democrat to enter the governor’s race. Republican Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is the only other candidate officially running for governor, although there’s a long list of Republicans and Democrats who are reportedly weighing a campaign.

VT-Gov:  Former State Transportation Secretary Sue Minter (D) kicked off her campaign for governor at an announcement headlined by former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin.


GA-Sen: Sen Johnny Isakson (R) raised more than $1 million in the third quarter and now has over $5.4 million cash on hand.  Isakson was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. His large fundraising haul should end any speculation about him being a potential retirement. So far Isakson has no Democrat challenger.

NH-Sen: John Bolton’s SuperPAC goes on the air in NH praising Sen Kelly Ayotte (R) on national security issues.

PA-Sen: Crony capitalist Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty raised $1 million during her first two months on the campaign trail. Her Democrat primary opponent fmr Rep. Joe Sestak raised $728,000 over the same period. No word on how much of that $1 million came from firms McGinty sent sweetheart government contracts to (see here). The winner of the Democrat primary will face Sen Pat Toomey (R) next year.


CA-4: Physician Robert Derlet (D) becomes the second Democrat to announce a run against Rep. Tom McClintock (R) in this R+10 seat.

MD-1: Rep. Andy Harris (R) is getting a second primary opponent. Maryland State Police commander Sean Jackson Sr. (R) is entering the Republican primary for this gerrymandered R+14 GOP vote sink district. Former Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R) is also challenging Harris in the primary. Both Jackson and Smigiel are hoping to make an issue of Harris’ very strong opposition to easing Federal laws on marijuana use.

NY-19: Former State Assembly Minority Leader and 2006 gubernatorial candidate John Faso (R) raised nearly $625,000 over the last three months for his run for the D+1 seat the Rep Chris Gibson (R) is vacating. Faso’s GOP primary opponent Andrew Heaney raised $643,000 over the same period. No Democrat have announced for this race but we here at RRH are certainly hoping trophy husband Sean Eldridge (D) will reconsider his decision not to run again.

State, Local & Other: 

Montgomery County Commission District 1: Former Rep Artur Davis (D R D?) comeback campaign for a seat on the Montgomery County Commission is running into some trouble. Davis who left the Democrat party after his failure to win the Democrat nomination for Governor in 2010 is trying to become a Democrat again to run for county office in Montogmery, Alabama. The problem is the Alabama Democratic Party has something called the Radney Rule which prevents a candidate who opposed the Democrats anytime over the previous four years from running as a Democrat. Davis endorsed Mitt Romney for President in 2012, spoke at the Republican National Convention and speculated about running for office in Virginia as a Republican. The Executive Board of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee is meeting in Birmingham on October 16th to determine if Davis will be allowed to run as a Democrat. Davis better hope that the Executive Board never saw this video.

NYC-Mayor:  Success Academy Charter Schools founder & CEO Eva Moskowitz (D) held a city hall press conference to announce she would not run for Mayor in 2017. Moskowitz is a former New York City Council member who has not been afraid to challenge the educational status quo and the NYC teachers unions throughout her career. She has been a perpetual thorn in Mr. de Blasio’s side and has stood up to his attempts to shut down and scale back charter schools in New York City. Moskowitz will instead continue to devote her attention to helping the charter school movement in New York.

WA-State Auditor: Indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley (D) is getting his 1st challenger. State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) announced on Thursday that he will run for state auditor. Kelley filed for re-election earlier this year before getting indicted on 17 federal felony counts, including mortgage fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He has been on an unpaid leave of absence from the auditor’s office since May. Miloscia ran for State Auditor in 2012 as a Democrat before switching parties in 2014.

WATN: Former New York Governor David Paterson will step down as chairman of the New York State Democratic Party after the November 2015 elections. Governor Andrew Cuomo will appoint a new interim party chairman until a new one can be selected next year.

CA- Vaccination Ballot Prop: California morons anti-vaxers have failed in their efforts to get a ballot proposition placed on the CA ballot to repeal California’s school vaccination law. The supporters of spreading measles to children repealing the law requiring CA public school students to be vaccinated against childhood diseases needed 365,880 signatures to get the repeal measure on the ballot. They only were able to collect about 234,000 signatures.

Columbus Mayor: Columbus mayoral candidate Andrew J. Ginther (D) is the focus of an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation related to a trip he and other council memberss took with a lobbyist to the Big Ten Championship game last year. Ginther will face Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott (D) in the November runoff.

Canadian election: Canadians really know how to rock the vote. Free marijuana and tickets to a Snopp Dogg concert are being offered as incentives to people who vote in Vancouver.

Polling: But after a bruising 2012 cycle, in which its polls were farther off than most of its competitors, Gallup isn’t planning any polls for the presidential primary this cycle. Gallup is in the midst of conducting an internal probe to figure out  what went wrong last time around. Gallup also won’t commit to tracking the general election next year either.

Last Night’s Election Results:

In Memphis, DINO city councilman Jim Strickland ousted incumbent AC Wharton (D) by a much wider-than-expected 42-22 margin.


Memphis Mayoral Election Preview & Liveblog

Results: Shelby BoE

1:00 ET- With all precincts reporting, Strickland has won with about 42% of the vote to Wharton’s 22%.

9:45 ET- Ok, I’m going to consider this futile. If the BoE ever gets its act together and one of the editors is around we’ll update later. Where we stand is that anecdotal evidence suggests a Strickland win, but we know absolutely nothing for certain. We’ll put results in tomorrow’s roundup.

9:30 ET- Per SOTS, a “technical glitch” at the BoE is holding up results. Though we are hearing sporadic unconfirmed reports – Strickland has taken 75% in a wealthy white precinct and narrowly carried a majority-black one, which would suggest he may have this thing.

8:30 ET- Finally, first precinct (1200 early/absentee votes) has Strickland leading Wharton 543-461. Looking like it’s basically a two-man race, with Collins and Williams both sub-10%.

8:00 ET- Polls have closed in the land of the delta blues and we’re waiting on long-distance information.


We’re going to take a look at today’s race for Mayor of Memphis; polls close at 8ET and we’ll be liveblogging in this diary. Memphis is a sprawling city of 650K, 63% majority-black and heavily Democratic at D+23.  To make an oversimplification of the Memphis electorate, it roughly breaks down into four groups that split 30-30-30-10: working-class blacks living in older urban neighborhoods near downtown, middle-class blacks living in suburban areas on the city’s south and north edges, wealthy white conservatives in the east-central part of the city, and a small bloc of white Democrats in the city center. Memphis’s mayoral elections use a very unusual system, one I don’t believe is used for any other major regularly-scheduled election in the country: it is non-partisan first-past-the-post, so whoever comes in first today will be elected mayor, regardless of how small a plurality. And indeed, it’s quite unlikely the winner will get much more than a third of the vote or so. Ten candidates have filed, but only four are likely to draw more than asterisk-level support. All four are Democrats, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t real ideological diversity in this field.

The incumbent is AC Wharton (D), who won a special election in 2009 and a full term in 2011. Wharton is a mainstream-to-moderate liberal, centrist to center-left on fiscal issues and relatively socially liberal, especially on crime – a good analogy might be Rahm Emmanuel without the attitude. Wharton has a very low-key style and has used his term and a half to pushed through some mild fiscal reforms, earning him some real business community support and the endorsement of the local CoC. However, his popularity has sunk recently amid frustration over the city’s fiscal picture and high crime rate. Wharton’s most defining characteristic may be his non-polarizing nature; he doesn’t have a lot of people hating him but he doesn’t inspire a lot of devoted fans either. As a result, while his broad but soft popularity gave him massive wins in 2009 and 2011, he hasn’t been able to head off strong challenges from both the right and left this year. If Memphis had runoffs, Wharton would likely be golden in a one-on-one race due to his broad appeal. To win, Wharton needs to win the black vote over his two black rivals and peel off a few moderate whites. That’s a simple enough path to victory, and he still looks like the front-runner. But there’s a very strong chance his lack of a deep base could cause him to finish behind one or more of his rivals.

Councilor Jim Strickland (D) is the only white candidate in the race, and is a longtime councilman representing the wealthy central part of the city. Strickland is an extremely Conservative Democrat by urban standards (he’s probably pretty close to the center of the national political spectrum, or maybe even a hair to the right). As such, he has been squarely targeting his campaign at whites and Republicans, supporting Wharton’s fiscal policies but advocating a tougher on crime approach. Memphis is heavily Democratic overall, but it has a real mass of very wealthy and high-turnout Republican voters in the east-central part of the city. With no serious Republican in the race and an electorate that is likely to be 40% white and a third Republican, trying to run up the score among that demographic isn’t an unsound strategy. Strickland’s path is straight but narrow – he needs high white turnout, mammoth margins among Republicans, a modicum of crossover support from moderate African-Americans and liberal whites in the central part of the city, and a split black vote. It’s a tough lift, but there’s a decent chance the stars could align for him.

Councilor Harold Collins (D) represents most of the ironically-named Whitehaven neighborhood on the city’s south side, the largest middle-class black community in the South outside of metro Atlanta. Collins has been running to Wharton’s left on fiscal issues and right on crime, hitting the incumbent on both the pension cuts to public employees and the violent crime rate. The divides in the black vote between Wharton and Collins are fairly complex. In contrast to what you might expect from their fiscal positions, Collins seems to be relying more on the middle-class black vote in the suburban part of the city, while Wharton seems to have stronger support in working-class black neighborhoods closer to downtown. As the only candidate of the four without any appreciable white support, Collins’s path to victory likely involves winning the black vote by a significant margin. Due to his high-turnout Whitehaven base, that seems like a distinct possibility.

Memphis Police Union head Mike Williams (D) is probably the longest-shot of the four. Williams has raised the least amount of money of the four and doesn’t have the strong establishment networks of the three elected officials. But Williams has some key assets: a high-turnout network from his tenure at the police union, a signature issue as the most vocal opponent of pension cuts, and campaign stump skills that are regarded as superior to his three more experienced rivals. Williams has taken some eclectic positions and seems to be relying on a highly-unlikely biracial coalition built on public workers and nibbling off small chunks of the vote from the black middle-class, white populist liberals, and NIMBYites drawn to his slow-growth platform. It’s quite unlikely that this coalition gets him higher than fourth place, but there is a very slight chance he could catch lightning in a bottle.


Speaker: McCarthy OUT!

Wow. The presumptive House Speaker, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) is dropping out of the Speaker race. I suppose it was clear after a conference vote today that he did not have the 218 floor votes needed to secure the job after the Freedom Caucus backed the insurgent bid of Rep. Daniel Webster (R, FL-10). McCarthy will remain as Majority Leader, providing at least a modicum of stability. It seems likely that Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R, LA-1) is locked into his current job as well, given that he would suffer the same issues of distrust from the conservative base that doomed McCarthy.

So what on earth happens now in the Speaker race? It’s really hard to say. Webster, whose district is likely to be dismantled and is unlikely to run for re-election, might be offered up as a caretaker Speaker until the 2016 elections. In longer-term prospects, there is Peter Roskam (R, IL-6), who insiders believe had been laying low in an attempt to take advantage of just such a situation. Jeb Hensarling (R, TX-5) and Majority Leader candidate Tom Price (R, GA-6) are other names in similar position. One thing is for sure, the House GOP leadership is now authentically in chaos.


Political Roundup for October 8, 2015

Fundraising Update:  Thank you for your support for the Kentucky Governor poll.  We have met our fundraising goal for the poll! We will have more updates forthcoming on the timing of the poll, but we are hoping to make calls the week after next and publish results on or about Tuesday, October 27th.

Operational Update:  The WordPress system is having some difficulties in being attacked by users trying to gain access to sites, which leads to the login function being disabled.  This has happened a few times over the last week.  If you are seeing this, try back in a few minutes.


Clinton – TPP:  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) has came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal being championed by President Obama.  Clinton, who was involved in negotiating the pact, is playing with fire here as the TPP is Obama’s signature 2nd term project.  Her campaign has proven to be terrible at strategy and this might be the biggest mistake yet as it attacks Obama and gives him more incentive to overtly support candidacy by Vice President Joe Biden.

Clinton-Race:  The talk of Clinton transforming the electoral map has collapsed.  In the run-up to this election cycle, commentators have speculated that Clinton would be able to transform the electoral map not by holding onto the Obama coalition only, but regaining ground Democrats lost among seniors and working class whites.  Those ideas seem to have fallen to the wayside as Hillary is performing even more poorly among whites than Obama.  These commentators failed to understand the hatred of Obama is not racial for the most part, but policy driven.

Biden: Bidenmania is about to explode as Vice President Biden will soon decide on whether or not to run for president for the third time.  The big questions remain though…. will Biden run and how will he beat Hillary?

Rubio-Trump:  I must admit I have never had a strong attachment to Senator Marco Rubio (R), but he has stepped up to the plate and is now taking shots at Donald Trump (R), which is not necessarily the role I saw him playing in this race.  Trump seems incapable of dealing with Rubio, which probably means the end of Trump is near, hopefully.

Woman President:  One of the biggest pushes made by the Clinton campaign historically dealt with identity politics and her being the first female president if elected.  This argument has lost its luster and seems to have fallen to the wayside as the Clinton campaign has been puttering around on life support.

Trump:  The luster of Trumpsanity is wearing thin as well.  The excitement and crowds following the Trump campaign appear to be waning in recent weeks as Trump is losing ground in the polls.  Not clear how long Trump will hang around not being a first rate candidate if that day comes.

Sanders: Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist) has gained his first congressional endorsement from Bold Progressive Congressman Raul Grijalva (D).  This is significant as Sanders has largely been running as an insurgent candidate without insider support, but I am not sure how this changes with an endorsement from Grijalva.


FL/OH/PA-US Senate:  Quinnipiac University released polls for US Senate races in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  In Florida, Democrats appear to have an early lead driven primarily by name recognition and the floor of the respective parties.  In Ohio, former Governor Ted Strickland (D) is leading Senator Rob Portman (R) 46-43.  In Pennsylvania, Senator Pat Toomey (R) continues to beat former Congressman Joe Sestak (D) and former Chief of Staff to Governor Wolf (D) Kathleen McGinty (D) by 15 and 20 points respective.  In all three states, President Obama has underwater approval ratings.

IL-15: As expected, State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) announced he will primary Rep. John Shimkus (R) this cycle.

MN-2: Ex-State Rep. Pam Myhra (R), who lost a bid for LG in 2014, will run for this competitive open seat; she will face ex-State Sen. John Howe (R) and potentially others in the primary.

OH-8: Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds (R) became the second serious Republican to enter this safe-seat race. He joins State Sen. Bill Beagle (R), with the field likely to grow.


Political Roundup for October 7, 2015

Please click the Donate button to the right to help us poll Kentucky’s Governor’s Race this month!


Fiorina: The Koch Brothers are apparently taking a “serious look” at throwing their considerable financial heft behind Carly Fiorina. Koch backing would be a major boost to her campaign, which has had a tough time quickly converting her improved polling standing into a top-tier organization.

Jindal: National Review looks at Bobby Jindal’s single-state retail politics strategy in Iowa. The strategy is paying some dividends there, as Jindal is up to mid single-digits as opposed to his sub-1% showing nationally.

Hillary: She cut an ad featuring presumptive future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R) endorsement of her remarks on the Benghazi committee.


CO-Sen: Talk radio host Dan Caplis (R) is the latest “C” list Republican to consider a run against Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Caplis, a personal-injury attorney, was supporting the possible candidacy of George Brauchler before the Arapahoe DA surprisingly decided not to run. Should he enter, Caplis would join State Sen. Tim Neville (R), 2012 CO-5 candidate Robert Blaha (R), El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn (R), and ex-Parker Mayor Greg Lopez (R) in this primary.

IL-Sen, IL-16: Here’s a profile of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R)’s somewhat curious tacking to the left recently, despite representing a GOP vote sink. Kinzinger did not deny insinuations that he is interested in a statewide bid, leading to some suggestion that he may step in to replace Sen. Mark Kirk (R), whose re-election bid has not started well with a series of gaffes. For his part, Kinzinger gave a blatantly noncommittal response to the rumors: “I have no indication (Kirk’s) not going to run.”

MD-Sen: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D), who had indicated he would make an announcement on his Senate plans this week, now says he will delay the announcement until after Hillary testifies before the Benghazi committee, on which Cummings serves, on October 22nd. Cummings has sent out tea leaves in both directions on the race, and it seems like he will keep us guessing longer. If Cummings enters, he would be a formidable primary contender as the only Baltimore-area candidate against DC-area Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Donna Edwards (D).

VT-Sen: 2014 gubernatorial nominee Scott Milne (R), who was considered a sacrificial lamb until he came within two points of the seemingly-unbeatable Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), is considering another ridiculously uphill run, this time against seven-term Sen. Patrick Leahy (D). It’s unclear how serious Milne is; his odds against Leahy in the deep-blue state are zero, but there might be the faintest glimmer of competitiveness if Leahy pulls a surprise late retirement.


Leadership Elections: The House GOP has postponed elections for Majority Leader and Majority Whip until after the late-October Speaker election, in a move that could give antiestablishment forces more time to challenge the favorites for those posts, Steve Scalise and Patrick McHenry. The move could also result in the adoption of a resign-to-run measure, in which leadership candidates would need to give up their committee chairmanships or leadership positions to seek a new post.

AZ-1: Two Republicans have entered this open-seat race, both of them fairly big names. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R), whose 2012 bid for AZ-4 was derailed by a (thus far unproven) scandal in which he allegedly threatened to deport his illegal-immigrant lover, is trying a second time. State House Speaker David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista), who lives outside the sprawling district but represents a small chunk of it, is also running. Babeu and Gowan join ex-SoS Ken Bennett (R) and 2014 candidate Gary Kiehne (R) in the primary. The Dem establishment seems to be uniting behind party-switching ex-State Sen. Tom O’Halleran, but State Sen. Barbara McGuire (D) is still considering and “leaning toward” a run.

IL-15: State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) is apparently preparing a primary challenge to Rep. John Shimkus (R). Shimkus is known as a social conservative, but McCarter is probably an even more full-throated SoCon.

MD-8: This crowded primary didn’t need any more candidates, but it has another in ex-Obama State Department official Joel Rubin (D). Rubin joins State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D), State Reps. Kumar Barve (D) and Ana Sol Gutierrez (D), TV Anchor Kathleen Matthews (D), and fellow Obama admin official Will Jawando (D) in the primary for this safely blue seat.

MI-1: Controversial (to put it mildly) Republican National Committee member Dave Agema (R) is considering a run for Congress in this open seat. Agema, who has attracted chronic controversy for various inflammatory statements, lives in West Michigan, nowhere near the seat. Agema would likely face an uphill primary battle against multiple local, credible candidates, but in a nightmare scenario could potentially squeak through a primary with a plurality and essentially hand Dems the seat.

NV-3: Heather Murren (D), a top DCCC recruit and the wife of the CEO of MGM Resorts, will not run for this open seat. Dems have come up short several times in their quest to find a contender here, while four Democrats have piled into the light-blue NV-4 next door. State Sen. Michael Roberson (R) is the primary and general election favorite for this seat.

NY-19: Ex-State Rep. John Faso (R) secured the endorsements of 8 of New York’s 9 Republican members of Congress, all save the man he is trying to replace, retiring Rep. Chris Gibson (R). The endorsements may help with fundraising for Faso, who is considered the primary front-runner but faces a very well-funded challenger in businessman Andrew Heaney (R), who raised a very impressive $643K last quarter. State Reps. Pete Lopez (R) and Steve McLaughlin (R) are also still considering runs.

PA-2: State Rep. Brian Sims (D) has launched a primary challenge to indicted Rep. Chaka Fattah (D). Sims, who is Pennsylvania’s first openly-gay legislator, will face Fattah and two other white candidates, local party official Dan Muroff (D) and Lower Merion Twp. Supervisor Brian Gordon (D). With three white candidates splitting the anti-incumbent vote in a majority-black district, so far Fattah still looks favored to resign from office on the DoJ’s terms rather than be forced out in the primary.

TX-19: Texas Tech official Jodey Arrington (R) has opened up a campaign committee, becoming the first candidate to file for this safely red seat. Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson (R) and a number of others are still considering.

Governor, State, & Local:

MD-Gov ’18: A new Goucher College poll shows that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is off to an insanely good start after nine months in office. Hogan is at 58/18 approval among Registered Voters, including 54% of Democrats (!). The poll has even the very liberal Baltimore Sun editorial board opining that he may be “unbeatable.” I certainly wouldn’t go anywhere near that far, but Hogan is certainly running circles around what anyone could have expected of him at this point a year ago.

OR-SoS: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) is running for SoS, joining State Rep. Val Hoyle (D) and State Sen. Richard Devlin (D) in this open-seat primary. Avakian has been known for his controversial aggressiveness as labor commissioner in targeting businesses for discrimination against LGBT individuals, which could give him a niche as the authentic social progressive in this primary.

VT-LG: The GOP primary field for this open seat seems to be clearing for ex-State Auditor Randy Brock (R). A prominent possible contender, 2010 candidate Mark Snelling (R), son of the late Gov. Richard, has decided he will defer to Brock. One Dem is in the race, 28-year old investor Brandon Riker (D), but many other Dems are considering.

WA-LG: Just a few days after officially considering a run, State Sen. Karen Fraser (D-Olympia) has upgraded her status to “in”. She joins fellow State Sen. Cyrus Habib (D) in this race, with State Sen. Steve Hobbs (D) still considering. LG Brad Owen (D) is considered likely to retire due to ethical questions. University Place councilman Javier Figueroa (R) is also in the race on the GOP side.

NYC-Mayor ’17: Michael Faulkner (R), a former football player, minister, and sacrificial lamb congressional candidate in 2010, is running for Mayor in 2017. Faulkner has some institutional GOP support, but doesn’t seem like the caliber of candidate needed to beat incumbent Bill DeBlasio (D).


Blogosphere: Erick Erickson is stepping down as chief of RedState to start his own (new) website and focus on his radio show. The decision was prompted by his 2014 sale of the blog to Salem, a competitor of his radio show’s distributor, Cox, which led to Erickson feeling his loyalties were divided in too complex a fashion. Leon Wolf will be the new head of RedState.

Last Night’s Election Results:

In Charlotte, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts (D) ousted incumbent Dan Clodfelter (D) in the primary runoff and will face 2013 nominee and ex-city councilor Edwin Peacock (R) in four weeks. In Fayetteville, incumbent Nat Robertson (R) led 2013 candidate Val Applewhite (D) 52-45; they will face off again in November. Elsewehere, Nancy McFarlane (I) won re-election in Raleigh, while incumbents in Greensboro and Durham took 80+% on their way to meaningless generals, and State Rep. Mike Brady (D) won the nomination for a competitive State Senate special in the Brockton, MA area.