RRH Elections May 2017 Gubernatorial Rankings

It is time once again to take a look at the gubernatorial landscape. Our RRH Elections Race Rankings evaluate all the gubernatorial elections in likelihood of flipping, in the overall gestalt opinion of the moderators. Here is this month’s map:

Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
HI (Ige)
NY (Cuomo)
OR (K. Brown)
RI (Raimondo)

PA (Wolf)
Lean I:
AK (B. Walker)
IL (Rauner)
MD (Hogan)
MA (Baker)
NH (Sununu)
WI (S. Walker)
AL (Ivey)
AZ (Ducey)
IA (Reynolds)
SC (McMaster)
VT (P. Scott)
AR (Hutchinson)
NE (Ricketts)
TX (Abbott)

Bold denotes a seat we expect to flip; Italics denotes a Dem-held Tossup seat.

RRH Elections has made the following four changes to our gubernatorial ratings since our last post in January, two in Republicans’ Favor:

Nebraska Safe R from Likely R || Vermont Likely R from Lean R

And two in favor of Democrats:

Minnesota Lean D from Tossup || Rhode Island Likely D from Lean D

These changes mean RRH Elections is currently projecting a net shift in gubernatorial seats of between R+1 and D+7.

Flip over for recaps of all the races!

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Political Roundup for May 23, 2017

Hello from the Swamp. The water level is rising, but the locals seem ever-content snorkeling around festering toupees floating in the federal government’s factory town.

[First off, there are two special elections today in the Empire State; Gov. Cuomo (D) surprisingly scheduled these specials, where nominees are selected by a cabal of insiders, rather than wait until November to allow a primary – it’s unclear which insider scratched Cuomo’s back to get that deal. NY-SD-30 is a D+44 (2016) seat covering Central Harlem and some pieces of adjacent neighborhoods. Community board chair and former reality TV villain Brian Benjamin (D) is the prohibitive favorite over R and I Some Dudes. NY-LD-9 is an R+13 (2016) seat along the south shore of Long Island from Massapequa to Babylon. This is about as stereotypically lower-middle class white-ethnic LawnGuyLind as it gets; unsurprisingly, this seat swung hard to Trump last year. Republicans have nominated retired teacher Tom Gargiulo (C), a registered Conservative, and he is favored over teacher Christine Pellegrino (D), though Pellegrino has received some outside support from the teachers’ union and could pull an upset with low turnout. -Shamlet]


2018 Playing FieldFiveThirtyEight‘s Harry Enten tells those weirdos who don’t follow elections like NFL games what RRH regulars have known since November 9th: the 2018 midterm elections simultaneously present bad news to both parties. Enten explains the bizarre dichotomy in which Democrats find themselves ahead of 2018; Democrats could conceivably win a House majority and lose ground in the US Senate.

MT-AL: According to our friends over at Decision Desk HQ, absentee ballot return rates ahead of Thursday’s special election in Montana’s at-large congressional district signal Big Sky Bob high turnout. Four days out from the general election, returned absentees in MT-AL have already reached 101% and 67% of absentees cast in 2014 and 2016, respectively. While county turnout breakdowns seem to favor a grown ass man who inhales more smoke than Spicoli musician Rob Quist (D), turnout is also very strong in many Republican base counties.

NC-Redistricting: In the latest twist in the litigation that never ends over North Carolina’s congressional redistricting, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-3 decision that lawmakers improperly used race as a criteria when crafting District 1 in Northeastern North Carolina and the infamous, Charlotte-to-Triad snaking District 12. With this decision, the court has further confused the already jumbled caselaw about when a majority-minority seat is necessary. Oddly, while this decision will have a far-ranging impact on the legality of many maps across the country, it won’t actually impact the current North Carolina congressional map, which lawmakers redrew in response to lower court decisions in 2016. However, the decision will likely mean that maps for the North Carolina General Assembly, already ruled illegal racial gerrymanders by lower courts, will have to be redrawn before the 2018 elections. From a Republican perspective, lawmakers should welcome the chance to shore up legislative seats since the 2011 legislative map was far too aggressive of a gerrymander in urban counties, though any new maps will have to face scrutiny from a newly-liberal North Carolina Supreme Court as well as the federal judiciary. For a conservative leaning analysis of this Supreme Court decision read NRO here, while Rick Hasen has a nice, if liberal-leaning, post up at his blog here.

(Thanks, GOPTarHeel!)


MI-Sen: An oil executive has decided to run for US Senate in Tex… Michigan. Lena Epstein (R), Donald Trump’s 2016 Michigan campaign chair, has announced her bid to challenge 3-term Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) in a race RRH rates as Leaning Democratic. Epstein, a 35-year-old Jewish Republican from tony Bloomfield Hills, may be able to tap into national Jewish Republican fundraising circles and will likely have the President’s support. Yet, strong electoral and financial support of a Trump-backed candidate from Metro Detroit’s Democratic-leaning Jewish population seems unlikely; the President underperformed both Mitt Romney and John McCain in Oakland County’s most Jewish precincts. While remains unclear whether Epstein will self-fund any portion of her race, her family company’s $175 million in annual revenues point to the possibility.


MN-Gov: In something of a surprise, former State Rep. and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R) will forego an expected gubernatorial bid to seek re-election in 2018. Stanek’s profile could have appealed to the sorts of inner-ring St. Paul suburban, blue collar Catholics the MN GOP has largely yet to attract. Yet, he will remain at the forefront of the state’s Republican bench along with perennially-mentioned US Rep. Erik Paulsen, who continues to see his shadow.

NY-GOV: Scarsdale Republican (no, really) Harry Wilson, a 45-year-old retired hedge fund manager, is considering a gubernatorial bid. In his narrow 2010 loss to incumbent Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D), Wilson was the first statewide challenger to win the backing of all of New York City’s three major newspapers since 1976. Westchester County Republican leaders would likely prefer a second bid from 2014 gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino (R), but the incumbent county executive will first need to win reelection in the blue county in November. Yet, Wilson’s story as the son of an immigrant raised in an economically-depressed, Upstate community may also prove compelling—along with his reported willingness to self-fund $10M in the pricey Empire State.


Detroit Mayor: In how dire of straits is Motown? While voters believe that the city’s notorious blight, crime, and poverty have worsened under Mayor Mike Duggan (D), the same new poll shows the Motor City’s executive firmly in the driver’s seat ahead of the city’s August municipal primary.  The Detroit News finds Duggan crushing Heir Force Gen. and State Sen. Coleman Young II (D) 55%-23%, with 19% undecided and 3% going to other candidates. Duggan, the city’s first white mayor in decades, has consolidated the support of the city’s powerful labor unions, a number of black religious leaders, business groups, and Detroit’s powerful Democratic political machine in opposition to the California-raised son of the city’s first black mayor.

WA LD-45: It’s a week old, but here’s a solid profile on the race to replace the late Washington State Sen. Andy Hill (R) in the Kirkland and Sammamish-based 45th legislative district. King County Prosecutor Manka Dhingra (D) and ex-US Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers staffer Jinyoung Lee Englund (R) are set to square off in a race that, absent other vacancies, will determine control of the Republican coalition-led chamber. However, while Hill was a Republican, the district’s Eastside turf will not host a fair fight. Whereas Mitt Romney took 39.63% in the affluent, white collar, high tech district, Donald Trump only managed 28.03%. Hill crafted a unique brand as a moderate, budget-focused technocrat after upsetting a far-left State Senator in 2010, but Englund is racing against a much shorter clock to differentiate herself from POTUS.


Political Roundup for May 22nd, 2017

As Washington gets a breather while Trump is abroad doing the foreign policy that he seems to be halfway decent at, let’s catch up on the electoral news that dropped over the weekend.


CA-10/CA-25/CA-45/CA-48/CA-49: Democrats are targeting Reps. Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters, Steve Knight, Darrell Issa, and Dana Rohrabacher (plus two more who are unnamed) over their votes for the AHCA. Politico is actually fairly skeptical that this strategy will work given how much time that there is for the AHCA to fade from public consciousness. As always, the money quotation is from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D).

MT-AL: Shocking anyone who knows anything about Native American politics, the Crow Nation (led by the awesomely-named Chief A.J. Not Afraid) has endorsed Republican nominee Greg Gianforte ahead of the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It’s possible that the reason for the move is that Gianforte is a big booster of coal. A coal mine on Crow land is a major source of income for the tribe.

PA-07: Congressional hopeful Dan Muroff (D-Gun Control Fetishists Anonymous) has been endorsed by former Gov. Ed ‘Fast Eddie’ Rendell (D) in his bid to topple Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Bulletproof). I’d say that this is a big get for Muroff, and I guess it is, but Rendell’s endorsees for suburban seats always seem to suffer fairly embarrassing defeat.

UT-03: After Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) announced his retirement, the Utah officials wasted no time in setting the dates for a special election. The parties must choose designees (presumably by district conventions) by June 30th for an August 15th primary. The general election will be held on November 7th. Normally another special election would be a headache for the GOP, but this district is safely Republican, even with President Trump’s bad approval numbers.


CT-Gov: A commission has ruled that Bridgeport Mayor and convicted felon Joe Ganim (D) cannot receive public funding for his gubernatorial campaign because, well, the felon thing. Connecticut law prohibits public financing from going to felons. So let me get this straight: a dude who sold some weed once can’t get public financing that his rivals can get, but brutal murderers can’t be executed? If you ask me, the Nutmeg State has its priorities all out of whack. Anyway, given the the clown car nature of the Democratic primary, Ganim still might have a chance at winning. The Republican primary is equally crowded.

PA-Gov/PA-Sen: Rep. Mike Kelly (R) ended his short-lived exploratory gubernatorial bid on Friday. However, rumors are already swirling that he may instead challenge Sen. Bob Casey (D) in 2018. That might put him on a collision course with Rep. Lou Barletta (R), who is also mulling a run against Pennsylvania’s favorite Heir Force General.


OH-Voter Fraud: As the Aerosmith tune says, ‘it’s the same old story, same old song and dance.’ Yes, voter fraud does happen and needs to be addressed. However, as an investigation in Ohio found, the amount of fraud isn’t typically very high. Only 52 people voted fraudulently in Ohio in 2016. That’s 52 too many, but it’s not a crisis.

TX-GOP: Tom Mechler, Chairman of the mighty Republican Party of Texas, has announced his resignation in a bit of surprise. No one’s quite sure why, though he cited personal reasons. Whatever the impetus, campaigns will now begin in earnest for one of the most influential state party chairmanships in the country.

TX-Straight Ticket: With both houses of the legislature having passed the repeal of straight ticket voting in Texas, it now heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The Governor is likely to sign the bill, finally achieving the law change that has been on Lone Star Republicans’ wish lists for decades.

Denver: The only city in America where it is socially acceptable to wear an external-frame backpack downtown may be on the verge of having a public financing option for municipal candidates. Signature-gathering hasn’t even started yet, but if put on the ballot, the new option and other campaign finance restrictions would likely pass. The only major opponent will likely be unions, who would be banned from making contributions under the proposal. If you don’t click any other link in this roundup, click this one; the picture that the author picked is hilarious and unintentionally captures the left-wing tendencies of ends over means and constitutional illiteracy perfectly.


Iran: Prince of Persia, err, President Hassan Rouhani (Less Nuts Than Ahmadinejad) has won reelection by a 20-point margin. His party also captured the Tehran City Council, which is often a training ground for national politicians in the making. Iran will likely now have limited expansions of personal freedoms in the near future.

UK: As the Tory lead narrows from gargantuan to merely very large, some pols are already positioning for what happens after the election. Corbynland has already been signaling that Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Opposition is going to try and keep control of the Labour Party after the election. There have already been rumblings that a group of approximately 100 Labour MPs are ready to break away if a defeated Corbyn refuses to step aside. Now there’s an even more interesting twist: former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair is talking about forming a new centrist party around this breakaway group, at least in private talks with donors. What’s the problem with that, you ask? The problem is that Blair is still hideously unpopular (even moreso than Comrade Corbyn). SDP Part Deux is going to be fun.


Weekend Open Thread for May 19-21, 2017

Programming Update:  Our gubernatorial ratings will publish tomorrow, Saturday May 20, 2017, at Noon Eastern. As President Putin (United Russia) sits in the Kremlin laughing at the farce our politics have become and enjoying how he has become the center of our political life, it is time for this weekend’s open thread:

(1) Could former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination for President again if she ran in 2020?

(2) Are there any parts of the country where holding a pro or anti Russian stand has meaningful electoral significance?

(3) Should states have partisan primaries or adopt a jungle primary style system as seen in Louisiana?

And because it is the weekend….we give you the Trump vs. Comey rap battle you have all been waiting for HERE


Political Roundup for May 19, 2017


AL-Sen: Former state Rep. Perry Hooper, Jr. (R) who chaired Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Alabama last year, has decided not to run for US Senate. Hooper was considered for the appointment that went to now Sen. Luther Strange (R). Hooper endorsed Strange in the press conference announcing his decision not to run. State Sen. Tripp Pittman (R) also got in the race after State Senate President Del Marsh (R) decided not to run. Pittman is from Baldwin County, and the only Republican from the coast who is running.

More AL-Sen: In a surprise move, state Rep. Ed Henry (R), who seemed certain to run for US Senate, decided on Wednesday not to run, tearing up his qualifying papers at a news conference in front of Republican headquarters. He also charged that Sen. Luther Strange (R) behaved in a “corrupt and improper manner” as attorney general and suggested that Strange deserved impeachment as AG.


AL-Gov: State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan (R) is running for governor next year. He joins a GOP primary that includes Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Public Service Commission Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh, former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George and businessman Joshua Jones. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not decided yet whether to seek election to the post she succeeded to last month.

IA-Gov: Johnson County Commissioner Mike Carberry (D) has decided against running for governor next year. Carberry had been exploring a run for the past couple of months. Democrats currently running include state Sen. Nate Boulton (D), former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Andy McGuire, Polk County Conservation Director Rich Leopold, party activist Jon Neiderbach, and state Rep. Todd Pritchard (D). LG Kim Reynolds (R) is set to become governor next Monday, as Gov. Terry Branstad (R) should be confirmed as Ambassador to China. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) is considering challenging her in the Republican primary.

KS-Gov: Former state Rep. Josh Svaty (D) is running for governor next year, giving Democrats their first contested primary for governor since 1998. In that race, state Rep. Tom Sawyer (D) ran primarily to keep Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps from getting the nomination. Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer (D) is also running, and state House Minority Leader Jim Ward (D) is considering running as well. A possible point of contention with Svaty among Democrats is his pro-life voting record.

VA-Gov: The Democratic primary between LG Ralph Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello is very close according to a new poll. Perriello received 40% in the Washington Post poll while 38% chose Northam. 18% were undecided. Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie holds a large lead on the Republican side with 38%, Corey Stewart with 18% and state Sen. Frank Wagner (R) with 15%. 24% were undecided.


AL-2: State Rep. Barry Moore (R) plans to challenge Rep. Martha Roby (R) in the Republican primary. Moore’s decision to challenge Roby is based primarily on her decision to abandon support for Donald Trump last year after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes where Trump made lewd comments about women. The decision contributed to Roby having a much closer than expected race last year, winning by only 8 points over a Democrat who received little funding and party support. 9% of the vote went to Becky Gerritson, whom Roby had defeated in the Republican primary but ran as a write-in in the general election. Moore was one of the first Republican officials in the state to endorse Trump last year. The two come from opposite ends of the district-Roby is from Montgomery at the north end of the district, while Moore comes from Enterprise, at the south end.

FL-27: LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) could be well positioned to run for Congress if a new poll is correct. The poll by Republican pollster Front Porch Strategies showed Lopez-Cantera with 57% in a Republican primary compared to 13% for former Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado and 3% for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who has already declared his candidacy. The poll also matched him up with state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) in a general election and found him leading 41-34. The poll was taken on behalf of a Republican consulting firm that Lopez-Cantera used in his short-lived campaign for US Senate last year.

OK-1: Pastor and small business owner Danny Stockstill (R) is planning to run for Congress next year. He joins former Tulsa County DA Tim Harris, state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R), attorney Andy Coleman and businessman Kevin Hern in the Republican primary. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) is not seeking re-election next year and is a candidate to be NASA Administrator, raising the possibility of a special election.

UT-3: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) confirmed yesterday that he plans to leave Congress early, on June 30. This will set up a special election to replace him, but it’s not clear how that election will be conducted. State law does not specify how it’s to be done, and precedent doesn’t give any guidance either. The last time a vacancy occurred in a Utah congressional seat was in 1929, and in that case, the special election to fill the seat did not occur until it was held concurrently with the election for the next term in 1930. Many state lawmakers say they should be called into special session to set the rules for how the special election should be conducted. but Gov. Gary Herbert (R), through the office of LG Spencer Cox (R) who acts as the state’s chief elections officer, plans to set the rules himself. Although nothing official has been released, it appears that plans are to have primaries on August 15(which coincides with municipal elections) and the general on November 7.

More UT-3: Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) appears close to announcing a bid for Congress. He says he is “feeling more and more like it’s the right thing to do.” He says he and his wife will come to a final decision “in the coming days.”

State offices:

OH-SOS: State Sen. Frank LaRose (R) has announced he is running for Secretary of State next year. He will face state Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R) in the Republican primary. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) is running on the Democratic side. Current Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) is running for governor.


RIP: Roger Ailes has died at the age of 77. Ailes is best known for being the founder and chairman of Fox News, but he had a career as a political consultant before that, and was the man behind one of the most well-known and most successful campaign ads of all time. Mitch McConnell hired Ailes to work on his 1984 Senate campaign against Sen. Dee Huddleston (D). McConnell, then Judge-Executive of Jefferson County was trailing badly against Huddleston in polls. Huddleston had one weakness though-he was frequently absent from the Senate. Ailes produced an ad attacking this weakness-with a Kentucky farmer searching for Huddleston with dogs. The ad, often known as the “Bloodhounds” ad turned the campaign around, and McConnell defeated Huddleston by just over 5,000 votes.


Political Roundup for May 18, 2017

As Democrats wonder how many some dudes they will have to deal with in their enlarged caucuses in 2019 and Republicans if Vice President Mike Pence knows too much, it is time for today’s roundup:


Special Prosecutor:  In case you have been unconscious for the last day and this is the first news you are reading (talk about being a loyal reader), former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named Special Prosecutor by the Justice Department to investigate the involvement of Russia in the presidential election along with the always <s>more damaging</s> cover-up.  The appointment was by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom I am not sure how he still has his job after such an appointment.

More Special Prosecutor:  The appointment of Mueller was a surprise to President Trump, which is not a surprise considering what happened to the last guy investigating this mess.  It appears Trump took it well.

Even More Special Prosecutor:  Erick Erickson makes several good points on how Mueller’s appointment is a good thing.

President Pence: Some Republicans are gleefully beginning a President Pence whisper campaign.  Pence is considered generic and boring enough of a Republican that he could potentially save the brand and salvage something resembling a congressional majority.

Republicans Impeachment:  Some Republicans, led by Senator John McCain (R-Real Hero), have brought up the “I” word and Nixon in response to the growing dumpster fire known as the Trump administration.

Democrats Impeachment:  While some Republicans are whispering about impeachment, Democrats are trying to control their Impeachment Happy caucus to not exterminate the Trump presidency prematurely before it causes the maximum amount of damage to Republicans.

Voters:  Trump does not appear to be suffering too much among voters in the Rust Belt states according to Bloomberg interviews.  I am not sure anyone really considers Concordville, Delaware County, to be “Rust Belt” though.


OH-Sen: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Labor) looks to buck the Trumpian trend in Ohio during his upcoming reelection campaign.  Brown has a strength in his strong ties to organized labor as a means of mitigating some of the disconnect between working class whites and Democrats.

NRCC:  The NRCC had its best April ever from a fundraising perspective and its fourth month in a row over $10 million raised.  The NRCC raised $46 million over the first 4 months of the year, which is $19 million higher than the last off-year, 2015.

PA-12:  Democrats have another candidate to take on Representative Keith Rothfus (R) in former teach Aaron Anthony (D-Bold Progressive).  Anthony seems like a some dude candidate in a district where the Democrats still have a bench, but it is definitely not a progressive bench.  Tom Prigg is also running for the Democratic nomination.


PA-Gov:  Businessman Paul Mango (R) launched his gubernatorial campaign on Wednesday and will be doing a tour of the Commonwealth.  Mango is considered a long shot candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor, but seems to be taking the Governor Wolf style approach of being an outside businessman as the basis of his campaign.


Political Roundup for May 17, 2017

Election Results:  Ralph Norman won the Republican primary runoff in SC-5 by a razor-thin margin, which will lead to a recount. Kay Kirkpatrick won the Georgia SD 32 runoff with a healthy 58% of the vote.   Wendy Brawley won the South Carolina HD 70 Democratic runoff.  Two non-machine candidates won the Democratic nominations in Philadelphia for District Attorney and Controller.  Lawrence Krasner (D-Bold Progressive) and Rebecca Rhyhart (D) will likely be the next District Attorney and Controller respectively.  Bill Peduto (D-Bike Lanes) is on his way to a second term as Mayor of Pittsburgh after winning the Democratic primary easily. Finally, in Los Angeles, councilman Gil Cedillo (D) won re-election and Monica Rodriguez (D) won an open seat.

The news a bit light as President Trump is sucking the oxygen out of our political circus with his growing dumpster.


Governed by a Child:  David Brooks (Scarsdale Republican) articulated what I have been saying for months about Trump in a recent NY Times piece… Trump is not an authoritarian, Nixon, populist or corporatist, but is nothing more than an infant leading the most powerful nation in human history incapable of exercising any form of self-control.  While I think Brooks comes off as a smug elitist at times, he is on point.

Watergate:  Senator John McCain (R-War Hero) is calling the level of “odd behavior” to put it mildly coming from the White House as reaching Watergate levels.  You need 2/3 to convict a president in an impeachment trial.  The Democrats have at least one Republican flirting with the idea.

Comey:  With an alleged memo floating around where former FBI Director James Comey noted that President Trump asked him to stop investigating  former DNI Director Flynn’s love affair with Mother Russia, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R) is going to subpoena said memo if it exists.

Democrats:  While the current occupants of the White House resemble a burning ship adrift, Democrats with presidential ambitions were dancing around down the street trying to appease potential decisionmakers in the anointing of a new Democratic champion if Hillary Clinton gives up her death grip on the Democratic Party.


Obamacare/Trumpcare/Moderatecare:  A bipartisan group of moderate senators is pushing a proposal to keep Obamacare afloat despite the respective caucus leaders engaging in taunts of the other saying their caucus is united.  It is not clear what the compromise bill will look like or whether it would ever make it to the floor for a vote.

NY-27:  Representative Chris Collins (R) faces an ethics inquiry into investments he made in an Australian biotech firm.  The Office of Congressional Ethics did not comment, but allegedly they are investigating Collins.


UK-Labour:  While the new Rome burns, the Labour Party wants to tax the British people at levels not seen since the time Clement Attlee was Prime Minister.



SC-5 & Pennsylvania Liveblog

Results: SC-5  (AP) || SC-5 (DDHQ)  || PA (AP)  || GA-Senate 32(Cobb)  GA-Senate 32(Fulton)

10:15 ET – I am going to call it an evening as the only outstanding races of interest are PA-Superior Court (Republican Primary) and PA-Commonwealth Court (Democratic Primary).   We will have an open thread from here on regarding the Los Angeles races.

9:47 ET – Philly machine death watch… Krasner gets the check for DA and Rhynhart gets the check for Controller.

9:45 ET – With another dump in GA Senate 32, I am going to call it for Kilpatrick (R) with 89% in from Cobb and 100% in from Fulton.

9:37 ET – We might be seeing the first signs of the death of the Philadelphia Democratic machine as two candidates not considered machine candidates are winning DA and Controller with 57% in.

9:33 ET – Cobb has dumped 50% of the precincts as Kilpatrick remains up 58-42 in Cobb, which means that Kilpatrick is up by approximately 56% to 44%.  This looks like Kilpatrick will hold this for the Republicans.

9:30 ET – All of Fulton has been counted in GA-Senate 32 and Kilpatrick remains up by about 10%.  Cobb still has 72% of its precincts to report.

9:30 ET – Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto (D-Bike Lane) has received the check with 66% of the vote with 50% counted.

9:25 ET – Bold Progressive Philly DA candidate Lawrence Krasner (D) is out to a 16 point lead with 42% in.

9:10 ET – Back to GA Senate 32… Kilpatrick remains up with 28% in from Cobb and only early votes in Fulton.

9:08 ET – Norman has won the SC-5 Republican runoff.

9:06 ET – In Pennsylvania, it appears the Democratic endorsed candidate for Commonwealth Court, Todd Eagen, is polling 4th right now.

8:48 ET – Norman is up by approximately 400 votes with 51 precincts remaining.

8:42 ET – Norman is down to 1% lead over Pope, but the remaining precincts are in Pope favoring York County.

8:40 ET – Pope and Norman are within 10 votes of each other with 2/3 in.

8:27 ET – Norman has taken the lead in SC-5 according to DDHQ.

8:15 ET – There appears to be a glimmer of hope for Norman in SC-5 as the results continue to narrow and his areas are just starting to heavily report.

8:07 ET – Pope’s lead is narrowing as 1/3 of the results are in. Pope leads by 4%.

8:03 ET – In Georgia State Senate District 32, Kilpatrick (R) leads Triebsch (D) 58% to 42% as the first results roll in.

8:00 ET – Pennsylvania has closed.

7:50 ET – With 7% in, Pope leads Norman 58% to 42% in SC-5.

7:41 ET – Turnout is supposedly low in the Pennsylvania primaries today, which close at 8pm Eastern.  I was the 14th Republican to vote and 25 voter overall in my ward at 915 AM.

7:33 ET – Ryan_in_SEPA here for the liveblog.  Pope still has a 60 vote lead as the early vote starts being counted.

7:30 ET- I will be turning this over to Ryan_in_SEPA for the rest of the night.

7:19 ET- Pope is now up 54-46 with York early votes coming in.

7:13 ET- Norman leads pope 69-66 in the first early votes.

7:00 ET- Polls have now closed in SC-5 and Georgia.


Political Roundup for May 16th, 2017

Tonight is the SC-5 Republican Congressional primary runoff between Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman, the Pittsburgh Mayoral election, L.A. City Council elections and various legislative special elections and municipal elections. See HERE for our preview of all of today’s elections and check back with us tonight at 7PM for our liveblog with all the results of today’s races.

Polling Update: We are still trying to raise money for polling~ If you would like to help make the polls possible please go to:   https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute today!


CA-Gov: 32 year old Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sam Altman confirmed that he may throw his hat into the ring and run for Governor. Altman is the president of Y Combinator, a start-up technology incubator that has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. He is a registered Democrat, has been a loud critic of Donald Trump and funds a voter engagement non-profit. If he runs for governor Altman could self fund his campaign.

HI-Gov:  State Rep. Bob McDermott (R) has officially entered the race for Governor. McDermott is one of only five Republican members of the Hawaii state legislature and would face an uphill task of winning in Hawaii as a Republican.

PA-Gov: State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) has sent a letter to Republican State Committee members telling them he is seriously considering a run for Governor.

VA-Gov: Contrary to reported rumors Corey Stewart (R) did not drop out of the race for Governor. Instead he teased everyone into watching him give a speech in which he did not denounce racist white nationalist Richard Spencer or his pro-Confederate neo-KKK torch lit protest in Charlottesville, VA. Stewart’s support for keeping monuments to the Confederacy has become the focal point of the native Minnesotans campaign for Governor of Virginia. By tying himself to racist white nationalist, Stewart has completely beclowned himself and hopefully will get destroyed by Ed Gillespie in the June 13th GOP primary.


AL-Sen: Rep. Mo Brooks (R) announced that he will run in Alabama’s special Senate election later this year. Brooks, who has been aligned with the Tea Party and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, will challenge appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R). Brooks will not have to give up his House seat to run in the special election. State Rep. Ed Henry, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, businessman Dom Gentile, and Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson are all running for the GOP Senate nomination already. Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh is also taking steps toward running. On the Democratic side, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones and medical marijuana advocate Ron Crumpton are running.

MO-Sen: Rep. Ann Wag­n­er (R) is planning to enter the Senate race in July, according to two sources familiar with her plans. Private polling has show her already leading Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill (D).


AZ-1: The GOP blew a prime opportunity at picking up this open house seat in 2016 when a divided Republican primary allowed scandal tarred Sheriff Paul Babeu to win the GOP primary with 30% of the vote. Donald Trump won this district by a 48% to 47% margin while Babeu lost by a 51% to 43% margin. Hoping to avoid the same mistake in 2018 local Republicans are trying to rally around and clear the field for state Sen. Steve Smith (R) who just announced he will challenge freshman Rep. Tom O’Halloran (D).

AZ-2: Democrat Matt Heinz sponsored an internal PPP poll that showed both him and Anne Kirkpatrick (D) beating incumbent Rep. Martha McSally (R) by 4 points 48% to 44%. This poll should be taken with a massive grain of salt. McSally beat Heinz by a 54% to 46% margin in 2016 while Hillary Clinton was winning this district by 5 points. The polling of Kirkpatrick is an interesting wrinkle. While Kirkpatrick represented the neighboring AZ-1 she lives near Flagstaff which is a good 265 miles away from AZ-2.

CA-25: Attorney Bryan Caforio (D)  announced he will seek a rematch against Rep. Steve Knight (R) in 2018. Knight beat Caforio 53.1% to 46.9% in 2016 while Hillary was beating Donald Trump 50% to 44%. Two other Democrats, Vulcanologist Jess Phoenix and non-profit executive Katie Hill, also announced they will be running in the top two jungle primary.

GA-6: With a little more than 5 weeks to go before the June 20th election Gravis finds Hans Solo Jon Ossoff (D) holds a 47% to 45% lead over Karen Handel (R). It is worth noting that Ossoff is polling one point worse than he did in the primary and that this poll is assuming a 29% African American electorate in a district that is 13% black.

GA-6: The GOP is sending in the cavalry to help Karen Handel (R) win. Handel has already landed visits from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio are planning to come to the district and campaign for her as well.

OH-1: One term former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) is returning home after spending the last six years working in the Peace Corps in Africa. He has ruled out seeking a re-match with Rep. Steve Chabot (R) or seeking any other political office in the future.

MT-AL: Three of the more important Montana newspapers, the Independent Record (Helena), the Billings Gazette and the Missoulian (Missoula) endorsed Republican Greg Gianforte for Congress. The Gazette noted that “Quist seems unable to tell the truth about his own finances and may even be ducking property taxes that most of us would have to pay” and that “The Montana Democratic Party owns much of Quist’s failure. It seems unable to use Google to find basic information, and sadly has a remarkable recent track record of fielding subpar candidates”.

NY-14: Rep. Joe Crowley (D) has spent $70,000 of campaign funds on renting a “campaign” office from his brother that is located outside of his district. This could be a violation of House Ethics rules

NY-27:  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) threw cold water on some Democrats hope that she would seek a rematch with Rep. Chris Collins (R) in 2018. Collins unseated Hochul in 2012 beating her by a narrow 50.8% to 49.2% margin. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) then picked Hochul to be his running mate in 2014. Hochul says she fully anticipates running again with Gov. Cuomo in 2018. Hochul would have to be insane to voluntarily give up her cushy job as Lt. Governor for a long shot run at beating Rep. Chris Collins. Collins won re-election in 2016 with 62.3% of the vote while Donald Trump was winning his district by a 60% to 35% margin. Her husband William Hochul, who is a former US Attorney from western New York, might be a more logical recruit for the Democrats for this seat.

TX-7: So far a total of seven Democrats have announced their intent to challenge Rep. John Culberson (R) in 2018. In his 9 terms in Congress Culberson has never won election with less than a 12 point margin of victory. But that hasn’t stopped Jason Westin, Alex Triantaphyllis, Debra Kerner, Joshua Butler, and James Cargas from wanting to run. But clearly 5 potential Democrat candidates are not enough to take on a historically safe GOP incumbent in a district in which Hillary Clinton won 48.5% of the vote. So last week #Resistance member Laura Moser launched a campaign and this week Houston lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher has entered the race as well. Hopefully the number of potential Democrat challengers can reached double digits before the Texas filing deadline closes.

VA-10: A fifth Democrat has entered the race to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R). Former Naval intelligence officer David Hanson will join former teachers union head Kimberly Adams, Army veteran Dan Helme, former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton in seeking the Democrat nomination. The DCCC recruited Wexton to run and pushed Virginia 1st Lady Dorothy McAuliffe out of the race, but they clearly can’t completely clear the field for her. Hopefully this large Democrat primary field will get larger and bloodier!

State, Local & Other:

NC-Voter Fraud: An investigation by the North Carolina Board of Elections has found that 508 voters who cast ballots last November were not eligible to vote. 441 votes came from active felons who were ineligible to vote, 41 votes came from non-citizens, 24 came from people who voted twice and 2 votes came from people who falsely voted using the name of a family member who’d recently died. Considering that just under 4.75 million votes were cast, 508 ineligible votes seems like a pretty reasonable error rate. With that said it does not mean that more could not be done to make that rate even lower. Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans would rather play politics with the issue of voter fraud than actually work together to pass sensible election reforms to lower the rate that these type of voter errors occur.

U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican: Donald Trump has tapped Callista Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican


SC-5 Runoff & Pennsylvania Primary Preview

Tomorrow there is a congressional runoff in South Carolina as well as a mayoral race in Pittsburgh and assorted other contests across Pennsylvania, along with a pair of LA City Council runoffs. Poll closing times are as follows in ET: 7- SC-5 & Georgia || 8- Pennsylvania || 11 – Los Angeles. Our liveblog will start at 7ET tomorrow, but first we are previewing the races here:

SC-5 Runoff (R): Today there is a GOP primary runoff in SC-5; This seat is the former seat of OMB director Mick Mulvaney (R) and covers the north-central part of the state. The biggest bulk of the population is in the Charlotte suburbs, but the seat also contains a swath of rural areas from Sumter to the outskirts of the Charlotte and Spartanburg metros. The seat has a PVI of R+10 (2016). Facing off this week are a pair of state Reps who basically tied in the first round, being separated by just 0.3%, or a little over 100 votes. As you might guess, that means that the runoff is set to be highly competitive.

Tommy Pope

Ralph Norman

State Rep. Tommy Pope (R) narrowly took first place over his rival, fellow State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), who unlike Pope resigned to run. Pope and Norman have generally been regarded as far more alike than different: they have represented districts a few miles away from each other in the Charlotte suburbs and have generally been mainstream conservatives in the State House. The differences in the first round mostly came down to emphasis; Pope tends to focus more on public safety while Norman is more focused on economics.

However, in the runoff, an ideological fissure seems to have opened, with Pope becoming the establishment choice and Norman taking up the anti-establishment mantle. Pope is the third-ranking Republican in the State House and has received outside support from the Chamber of Commerce. Conversely, Norman has said he would consider joining the Freedom Caucus and has received support from the Club for Growth and Erick Erickson. But don’t let the newfound buzz around this race from both sides cause you make a mountain out of that difference; both would overall qualify as mainstream conservatives and I would expect their hypothetical House records to be substantively identical.

There is no clear favorite in the runoff and most observers expect it to be very close. Norman has been better-funded (thanks to self-funding), and did better than expected in the first round. He has also picked up the endorsement of fourth-place finisher Chad Connelly (R), while the third-place candidate has not endorsed. So CW is that Norman may have a bit of momentum, and most observers would probably tilt the race to him ever-so-slightly. However, a victory for Pope would be wholly unsurprising as well. The winner will face Goldman Sachs tax attorney Archie Parnell (D) in the general; the seat has been a low priority for Dems but there is a chance that may change ahead of the June 20 general. RRH Elections currently rates this general election as Safe R.

Legislative Specials: Also in SC, there is also one special election this week. SC-LD-70 is a D+22 (2012) majority-black seat covering rural areas between Columbia and Sumter and a small piece of southeastern Columbia proper. School board member and 2016 State Senate candidate Wendy Brawley (D), who has the support of the late former incumbent’s family, led farmer Heath Hill (D), the only serious white candidate, 40-24 in the first round. Thus Brawley looks like the clear favorite in the runoff. Another state legislative special going on today is the runoff for GA-SD-32, an R+20 (2012), but likely much D-friendlier by 2016 numbers, seat in eastern Cobb County in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Attorney Christine Treibsch (D) led Physician Kay Kirkpatrick (R) 24-21 in April (when the election was consolidated with the high turnout GA-6 race). But Republicans took 60% of the vote in the preliminary, so Kirkpatrick should be favored unless Democrats are exceptionally motivated. The unusual date (even I thought this runoff was going to be with the GA-6 runoff on 6/20) may benefit Treibsch by lowering turnout and giving more weight to energized Dems.

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Pennsylvania is also holding its primary election tomorrow; in addition to the local and judicial races Ryan_in_SEPA will preview below, there is a Democratic primary for mayor of Pittsburgh. No Republicans are running so the winner will have a free ride. Pittsburgh is a city of 305K that is roughly 70% White and 25% Black; it had a PVI of D+22 in 2008. Incumbent Bill Peduto (D) is a bold progressive, and a favorite of that growing and high-turnout constituency. He has had a generally successful tenure as mayor, continuing the city’s transformation into a bona-fide urban cultural center from a gritty steel town. As a result, he looks like a very strong favorite for a second term against two challengers – it would be surprising if he did not take a strong majority of the vote tomorrow. Peduto’s main rival, city councilwoman Darlene Harris (D), is a somewhat more moderate Democrat, but she does have some real establishment support; surprisingly, Harris came closer than expected to beating Peduto for the county Dem party’s endorsement. However, Harris is known as a bit of a gadfly (posting photos of herself riding an elephant, and once accosting a bicyclist she says was not in the right lane). She also hasn’t been running a particularly professional campaign, as she doesn’t even have a website; thus, she looks likely to finish a distant second. Seminary dean John Welch (D) has been trying to get to Peduto’s left on economics; while he has a base in the black community, there isn’t a lot of room to Peduto’s left flank, and Welch’s conservative social positions make poaching white progressive support a long-shot. Thus, CW is that he is likely to come in third. Overall, anything besides an easy Peduto win would probably be shocking.

LA City Council: Two races on the LA City council will head to runoffs this week.
LAX-CD-1 is a heavily Hispanic seat that stretches from MacArthur Park near downtown northeast to the middle-class Hispanic Mount Washington area. Incumbent Gil Cedillo (D) was surprisingly sent to a runoff, falling short of the 50% mark by less than a point. Cedillo was known as “one bill Gil” in the state legislature for his single-minded pursuit of drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, and unsurprisingly poor Hispanics are his core constituency. It looked like he might have a real fight on his hands with his runoff opponent, bike store owner Joe Bray-Ali (D). Bray-Ali was running on an anti-car hipsterish platform which might have played well with high-turnout white yuppies in the gentrifying district. But Bray-Ali’s campaign was torpedoed when he was unmasked as a racist internet troll, which led to the abrupt withdrawal of all his establishment endorsements. Cedillo now looks like the overwhelming favorite for re-election.
LAX-CD-7 is the only open race on the council this year. The seat is based in the largely poor and heavily Hispanic northeast quarter of the San Fernando Valley around Sylmar and Pacoima, but the remote middle-class white suburban neighborhood of Sunland-Tujunga makes up about a quarter of the district’s population, and will likely punch far above its weight in a low turnout race. City public works board member Monica Rodriguez (D) led city council staffer Karo Torossian (D) 30-17 in the first round. Both candidates have establishment support; Rodriguez is closely tied to Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), while Torossian has support from his boss, a councilor for a neighboring district, and the endorsement of the third-place finisher. Based on the first round results and the seat’s Hispanic majority, Rodriguez is most likely a mild favorite, but there is a decent possibility Torossian could surprise.

Thanks to Ryan_in_SEPA for the Pennsylvania previews below:

Pennsylvania voters will be going to the polls to determine nominees for various statewide judicial positions including Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court and numerous county and municipal races.

Supreme Court: Neither party faces a contested primary for Supreme Court as Republican nominee and interim Justice Sallie Mundy is running for a full term against Democratic challenger Dwayne Woodruff.  Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R) and Justice Debra Todd (D) are running for retention in November.

Superior Court:  Both parties have five contestants for four nomination slots to move onto the November general election.  The Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed Lancaster DA Craig Stedman, and Common Pleas Court Judges Paula Patrick (Philadelphia), Wade Kagarise (Blair), and Emil Giordano (Northampton) while Magistrate Judge Mary Murray (Allegheny) is running without the state party endorsement.   The Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsed interim Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton, Common Pleas Court Judges Debbie Kunselman (Beaver), Maria McLaughlin (Philadelphia), and Carolyn Nichols (Philadelphia) while former Senior Deputy Attorney General William Caye II is running without the state party endorsement.  Judge Jacqueline Shogan (R) is running for retention in November.  The endorsed candidates are heavily favored to clear the primary and head to the general election.

Commonwealth Court: Each party has two nomination slots being contested today.  The Republicans will not have a contested primary as Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Cannon (Delco) and municipal attorney Paul Lalley (Allegheny) are the only Republican candidates.  The Democrats are having quite the contest as there are 6 candidates running with only one, attorney Tom Eagen (Lackawanna), being the only one to receive the official backing of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  Interim Judge Joseph Cosgrove (Luzerne), State Representative Bryan Barbin (Cambria), Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler (Philadelphia), and attorneys Timothy Barry and Irene Clark are running without the state party endorsement.  Commonwealth Court is down in the weeds so its anyone’s guess, but I suspect that Eagen and Ceisler win the Democratic nomination.

Municipal Elections:  Voters across the Commonwealth will be voting in various county, municipal and school broad elections.  The most prominent municipal/county race is the primary for Philadelphia District Attorney, which involves the replacing of disgraced Bold Progressive turned DINO turned standard corrupt Democrat District Attorney Anthony Williams.  In a race that has garnered national attention with George Soros dropping significant cash behind attorney Lawrence Krasner (Bold Progressive).  Other prominent candidates on the Democratic side include former Deputy Mayor Rich Negrin (Police), former Deputy District Attorney and AUSA Joe Khan (Rendell-NOW), former Deputy Attorney General Michael Untermeyer (Lots of Advertising), former Deputy DA Tariq El-Shabazz (Tax Cheat), and former Deputy DA John O’Neil (Some Dude) and former Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni (Some Dudette) seeking the Democratic nomination.  Former Deputy District Attorney Beth Grossman is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.  Before Soros’ donation to Krasner, I rated this as a 3 way between Negrin, Khan and Untermeyer.  Now it is a 4 way battle for the Democratic nomination as the machine has stayed out of the race.  Philadelphia City Controller is somewhat competitive as Controller Alan Butkovitz, whose seeking a third term, is receiving a spirited challenge from former Philadelphia Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhyhart for the Democratic nomination.  Otherwise this primary season has been surprisingly quiet.