Happy NH Primary Day! Go to the open thread below to give your predictions, and we will have a liveblog tonight starting at 7 ET.
New Hampshire: We have three new polls, one from UMass Lowell, one from CNN/WMUR, and one from Gravis. All show Trump and Bernie well head and a pile-up for second on the GOP side.
FBI: The FBI confirms it is investigating Hillary’s server. The server could be looking at jail time if it is convicted.
Bloomberg: We have it from the horse’s mouth now: Ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is considering a third-party run for President this year. Bloomberg, who is willing to self-fund $1B, would probably be the only person with the name recognition and cash needed to built the 50-state infrastructure necessary for a credible third-party run.
CA-Sen: State Rep. Rocky Chavez (R) has dropped out of this primary and will run for re-election to his State House seat in the Oceanside area. Chavez had raised almost nothing for this race, ending his bid with an utterly comical $369 (no zeroes) CoH. Chavez’s decision leaves ex-CAGOP chairs Tom DelBecarro (R) and Duf Sundheim (R) as the two remaining little-known Republicans competing to get a chance to lose the general. If one of them gets traction, he may be able to beat out either Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) or (less likely) AG Kamala Harris (D) for second place and turn a competitive D-on-D general into a one-sided rout for the remaining Democrat.
IN-Sen, IN-Gov, IN-LG: Scott Holcomb (R), a staffer to retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R), never got much traction or fundraising in his bid to take over Coats’s seat, and he has now dropped out of the race to be the new running mate for Gov. Mike Pence (R). Incumbent LG Sue Ellspermann (R) is stepping down to pursue a job as head of the state’s community college system. As an aside, it’s somewhat strange that Pence didn’t wait to see if Ellspermann actually got the job before replacing her, but c’est la vie. The selection of Holcomb, who had run as a social moderate, could signal that Pence feels the need to tack to the center in his rematch with 2012 opponent and ex-State House speaker John Gregg (D) after drawing a media firestorm over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year. The GOP Senate primary is now a one-on-one battle between establishment-oriented Rep. Todd Young (R) and the more antiestablishment-friendly Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R). The May primary winner will face Ex-Rep. Baron Hill (D) in the general.
ME-2: Bangor councilman Joe Baldacci (D), brother of ex-Gov. John (D), has dropped out of the race to take on Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R), citing low fundraising. Ex-State Sen. and 2014 nominee Emily Cain (D) now looks unlikely to face primary opposition.
MN-2: Retiring Rep. John Kline (R) is poo-poohing the GOP field in the race to replace him, saying that none of the five Republicans in the race have shown the ability to run a strong race. The field currently consists of talk show host Jason Lewis (R), ex-State Rep. Pam Myhra (R), ex-State Sen. John Howe (R), businesswoman Darlene Miller (R), and others. Democrats have cleared their field for self-funding healthcare exec Angie Craig (D) in the purple seat that is looking like one of their strongest pickup opportunities.
PA-2: State Rep. Dwight Evans (D) announced the endorsement of Philly Mayor Jim Kenney (D) last week. The endorsement was expected as Evans was one of the first high-profile backers of Kenney’s mayoral bid last year. However, it does add another tea leaf that the Democratic establishment is ready to throw indicted Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) under the bus in favor of Evans, the only other African-American seeking the majority-black seat.
VA-2, VA-4: Rep. Randy Forbes (R) announced yesterday that he would run for re-election in the open light-red VA-2 rather than the deep-blue new VA-4. Click to go to our full coverage of the move and the implications for the race.
Governor, State, & Local:
NY-Gov ’18: Retiring Rep. Chris Gibson (R) has officially opened up a campaign committee to fundraise for a gubernatorial bid in 2018. Gibson is one of several Republicans, including 2014 nominee and Westchester CE Rob Astorino (R), 2010 nominee and Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino (R), and 2010 Comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R), taking a serious look at the race. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to run again, but may face a serious primary and/or third party challenge from a more liberal Dem.
IN-AG: State Sen. Randy Head (R, and a member of the unfortunate names caucus) will run for AG this year. Incumbent Greg Zoeller (R) is stepping down to run for the House in IN-9. Head is the fourth Republican to seek the nod for the post at a June convention, joining ex-AG Steve Carter (R), Elkhart DA Curtis Hill (R), and state prosecutor Abby Kuzma (R). Former judge Lorenzo Arredondo (D) is thus far the only Dem seeking this seat.
MT-Aud: State Sen. Matt Rosendale (R) jumped into this race for Montana’s stupidly-named State Auditor post last week (the office doesn’t audit anything; it’s the state’s Insurance Commissioner). Rosendale, who is considered a strong recruit, replaces ex-State Rep. Champ Edmunds (R) in the race; Edmunds, who had raised almost nothing, bowed out yesterday and endorsed him. Rosendale is likely to face 2012 AG candidate Jesse Laslovich (D), a staffer for termed-out incumbent Monica Lindeen (D), in the general.
WA-LG: TV news anchor Phillip Yin’s (R) LG campaign is raising some eyebrows because of his prior employment with CCTV, a state-run Chinese news network. Yin, who was based in the network’s American office, has received favorable coverage in Chinese media for his campaign. Yin faces University Place councilman Javier Figueroa (R) and multiple Democrats in this top-two primary.
GA-DeKalb-CE: Appointed DeKalb CE Lee May (D) will not seek a full term. May was appointed after the prior incumbent, Burell Ellis (D), was convicted of corruption, but May has since become the center of corruption rumors himself. 2014 LG nominee and ex-State Sen. Connie Stokes (D) is running and ex-Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond (D) is considering a run for the top job in this large black-majority suburban county.
NYC-Mayor ’17: Councilman Eric Ulrich (R), one of three Republicans on the 51-member NYC Council, is rumored to be considering a bid for mayor in 2017 against (insert your adjective here) Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D). Ulrich, who has held down a diverse and heavily Democratic district in the Ozone Park and Rockaway areas of Queens, would be one of Republicans’ stronger possible candidates, but he would still face long odds in the 80% Democratic city.
NC-Redistrict: The state legislature is appealing a court ruling that would force them to redraw NC-1 and NC-12 to make them less ugly. As ballots have already been sent out for primaries under the old map it’s probably a safe bet that any ruling will be stayed until the 2018 cycle.
RIP: This obituary of Edgar Whitcomb, who served as Governor of Indiana as a Republican from 1968 to 72 and recently died at 98, is well worth your time. Whitcomb, a bona-fide war hero in the Pacific Theater of WWII, later sailed solo around the world and had a number of other interesting experiences that put most pols’ life stories to shame.
In addition to the NH primary, we have two special legislative elections in Minnesota today, and both should be holds for their incumbent parties. MN-SD-35 is an R+8 seat around Anoka. Ex-State Rep. Jim Abeler (R) is well-known and relatively moderate, and should be a clear favorite over retired professor Roger Johnson (D). MN-LD-50B is a D+6 seat covering roughly the southern half of Bloomington. Bloomington councilman Andrew Carlson (D) is favored over realtor Chad Anderson (R). Anderson is running a credible campaign though, and an upset is not out of the question.