It’s 12AM EST and Polls have open in New Hampshire! Voters in Dixville Notch and other small New Hampshire hamlets have voted and will soon release results. Please use this open thread to discuss the early returns for New Hampshire, election day reports and give us your New Hampshire primary predictions!
We have a resolution to one of the three re-redistricting incumbent questions. Rep. Randy Forbes (R) will run for re-election in VA-2 thanks to re-redistricting that has turned his current seat, VA-4, into a strongly Democratic district. Forbes, who is known as both a staunch SoCon and a hawk, has been somewhat controversial nationally but has held down a purple seat with no trouble and seems to have a better rapport on a local level. Forbes represents none of the current or new VA-2, which has gone from light to medium red under the new plan, but has strong name recognition in the Hampton Roads Media Market. Forbes will face at least one intraparty opponent, State Rep. Scott Taylor (R), but most Republican establishment figures in the area, including retiring Rep. Scott Rigell (R), seem to be in favor of Forbes’s switching districts. No Democrats have as yet expressed interest in this district, and with a well-known GOP candidate in Forbes, it’s likely that this will be at best a long-shot opportunity for them.
In Florida, we are still waiting on how the re-redistricting situation shakes out for Reps. Dan Webster (R) and Gwen Graham (D), but with a June filing deadline, it’s possible we won’t get an answer for a while.
With one day until voters in New Hampshire go to the polls in the first presidential primary, I am ironically enough writing this roundup from Polk County, Iowa where the presidential nomination process started a week ago today.
President – Polling
Rubio: After having what can be classified as a rough debate, Senator Marco Rubio (R) came out swinging and had a large event Sunday morning in Londonderry that maxed out the capacity of the venue. Specifically, Rubio hammered away at President Obama again despite the blustering attack her received for his repetitive critique of President Obama from Governor Chris Christie (R), a on again off again buddy of the President, during the debate on Saturday.
Elites and New Hampshire: New Hampshire poses another problem for elites within both political parties as voters look poised to hand victories to a old hippie socialist over former Secretary of State and Co-President Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and to a demagogue liberal posing as a Republican on the Republican side.
Bush: RRH favorite Ross Douthat examines why former Governor Jeb Bush’s (R) failed campaign has all the hallmarks of the undoing of his father, President George H.W. Bush (R) on top of being tied to toxic legacy left by his brother, President George W. Bush (R).
Clinton: When you think Republicans have lunacy occurring in their ranks, you have to look to see what is going on with the Democrats. Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright have launched vicious attacks against women who are not blindly following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and voting for her because we need to obtain identity politics goals blindly. Albright said those women who do not support each other, aka those who are Feeling the Bern, really should burn in a special level of hell for not helping a fellow woman.
Cruz: The New York Times is several months late in realizing what I have known for awhile: Senator Ted Cruz (R) is the President Richard Nixon (R) of our time. In addition, the Times finally realizes what strategy Cruz can use to win and how he has been successful so far.
Trump: In case you missed it, Donald Trump (himself) upped the ante regarding interrogation of terrorists by promising to not just bring back waterboarding, but to bring forward something a “hell of a lot worse.” I guess he is off the topic of illegal immigration for once, which might be a good thing.
Music: At least we can thank Donald Trump for one thing, he has broken the decades long Republican practice of kowtowing to artists who object to Republicans using their music at events. Trump continues to blare Adele even after she said to stop.
PA-Sen: The increasingly problematic DSCC favorite candidate, Katie McGinty (D), is under attack for giving an incorrect and heavily convoluted answer to whether she every took campaign donations from leaders of the NRA, pro-life groups, or the oil/gas industry. McGinty said no eventually to the question asked of her at a forum, but she is taking heat from the right and left because she admitted in financial disclosures to accepting funds. Republicans are calling her an outright liar and Democratic Bold Progressive darling candidate; Braddock Mayor John Fetterman (D) is enjoying mocking her. This cannot come at a worse time as McGinty is behind on fundraising with former Congressman Joe Sestak (D), who DC and local Democratic hacks hate on a level eerily similar to how establishment hacks on the Republican side hate Senator Ted Cruz.
NY-5: In New York, you don’t have to go around offering kickbacks, those seeking kickbacks come to you in exchange for “economic development grants”. “Allegedly” State Senator James Sanders (D), then a City Councilmember, offered $1.7 million in exchange for a $250,000 kickback. Sanders is challenging Congressman Greg Meeks (D) for the Democratic nomination in NY-5 this year. The US Attorney, who must have a couple thousand prosecutors and investigators under this command to investigate every politician in the greater New York City area, is already investigating Sanders and his funneling of funds to “non-profits” for “economic development”.
PA-AG: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected a petition by Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) to have her law license suspension reconsidered. Kane petitioned for reconsideration of her temporary suspension in light of one of the Supreme Court justices involved initially being suspended for receiving naughty emails. The six remaining justices unanimously agreed Kane needs to get lost and accept that Pennsylvania is ruled by the VRWCGOBC, which involves Democrats and women in Pennsylvania because that is how the state rolls.
We will have coverage of the GOP debate tomorrow night; the debate airs at 8p ET on ABC. Until then, here are this week’s questions –
- What is your favorite and least favorite campaign ad so far this year? Which ad has been most effective?
- When do you think the nominations, on both sides, will be fully decided by? After NH? End of February? After Super Tuesday? End of March? June?
And because it’s the weekend, we give you this classic tribute to New Hampshire.
Finally, please take this week’s post-Iowa, pre-New Hampshire straw poll so we can see how (if at all) preferences have changed. Last week’s results were:
Rubio – 48%; Cruz – 16%; Trump – 10%; Clinton – 9%; Kasich – 6%;
Paul – 3%; Bush – 2%; Others – 1% or less
Who do you currently support for President?
- Marco Rubio (56%, 57 Votes)
- Ted Cruz (13%, 13 Votes)
- Donald Trump (11%, 11 Votes)
- Hillary Clinton (9%, 9 Votes)
- John Kasich (7%, 7 Votes)
- Bernie Sanders (3%, 3 Votes)
- Jeb Bush (1%, 1 Votes)
- Jim "#Gilmentum" Gilmore (0%, 0 Votes)
- Carly Fiorina (0%, 0 Votes)
- Chris Christie (0%, 0 Votes)
- Ben Carson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Michael Bloomberg (0%, 0 Votes)
- Gary Johnson (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 101
Tonight’s GOP debate is at 8p ET on ABC, meaning that this is the first debate I’ll actually be able to watch. It will feature Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Kasich, Bush, and Christie. Here is an open thread to discuss the debate.
Only 4 days to the New Hampshire primary!!!!
Iowa Democrat Caucus: The Des Moines Register released a blistering editorial calling for a complete audit of the results of Iowa Democrat caucus which resulted in a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Pointing to confusion and problems at numerous precinct sites the paper declared that “something smells in the Democratic Party.”
Hillary: During CNN’s town Hall in Derry, New Hampshire Hillary Clinton explained that she took $675,000 for three speeches to powerful Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs because “that’s what they offered” and that she wasn’t really thinking about running for president when she took Goldman Sachs’ money.
Sticker Kid: Sticker Kid clearly upstaged Hillary Clinton during her post Iowa caucus speech. Is he a symbol of the overwhelming indifference young voters have to Hillary’s presidential campaign? Hillary won just 14% of the vote of Iowa caucus goers under 30.
Sanders: Bernie Sanders should have no trouble getting on the April 19th New York primary ballot. His campaign turned in over 85,000 signatures to the Board of Elections. Candidates only need 5,000 signatures to make the ballot, with 500 from each congressional district.
Cruz: Ted Cruz’s super PAC needs a spell check. They misspelled “country” in their latest ad. Of course “counrty” could be the Canadian spelling.
Trump: Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize by a mystery patron. The Nobel Foundation will not release the name of the nominator but our guess is that it rhymes with Shmonald Drump.
Kasich: John Kasich’s super PAC New Day for America has a new attack ad out hitting the other candidates for throwing mud in attack ads. The anti-attack ad attack ad portrays Marco Rubio as a child chugging water.
Carson: Ben Carson’s campaign is in the process of downsizing as the fundraising juggernaut that fueled his campaign seems to be slowing down. Carson’s campaign will layoff more than 50 staffers and cut salaries across the board. The layoffs amount to about half his campaign’s paid staff. To save money Carson will also reduce his entourage and stop flying on private and return to travelling on commercial flights.
Gilmore: Conservative political commentator/satirist Jamie Weinstein explains how he ended giving a rousing Iowa Caucus precinct campaign speech on behalf of James Gilmore III. Despite Weinstein’s best efforts none of the 12 votes Gilmore received in the Iowa caucus came from precinct Weinstein spoke in.
AL-Sen: Sen Richard Shelby (R) has released another ad ahead of the March 1st Republican primary. He is facing tea party challenger Jonathan McConnell. McConnell has received very little help from outside groups and his campaign has just $293,000 cash on hand versus Shelby’s $17 million.
LA-Sen: New Orleans lawyer and unsuccessful 2010 Lt Gov candidate Caroline Fayard has become the first Democrat to enter the jungle primary for Louisiana’s open U.S. Senate seat. Fayard gained some notoriety during her previous campaign when she said Republicans are “cruel” and “eat their young”.
LA-Sen: Newly elected Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser (R) is endorsing Rob Maness (R) for United States Senate. Maness who made an unsuccessful run in 2014 is running in a very crowded jungle primary for the seat of retiring Sen David Vitter (R).
OH-Sen: New Leadership for Ohio is out with a new ad on behalf of Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld. This is part of a $700,000 ad buy they are doing supporting Sittenfeld ahead March 15th Democrat primary with ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (D). The winner of the Democrat primary will face Sen Rob Portman (R) in November.
NJ-3: The Democrats still have not found a challenger to freshman Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur. With New Jersey’s April 4th filing deadline fast approaching the DCCC is trying to recruit Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D) to run in this R+1 seat. Lampitt lives in Cherry Hill, NJ which is outside of the district.
PA-6: While national Democrats have turned their backs on Mike Parrish (D) in favor of 25 year old “Congressional kid” Lindy Li (D), local Democrats are still backing Parrish. Parrish just announced the endorsement of former Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and a whole bunch of local Democrat elected officials. The winner of the contentious Democrat primary will face freshman Rep Ryan Costello (R) who easily beat Manan Trivedi 56%–44% in the R+2 district.
TN-8: Ron Kirkland, who lost the Republican primary to Rep Stephen Fincher in 2010, has opted not to run for the R+19 seat Rep Fincher is retiring from. Six other Republicans have announced their candidacies for this seat.
WI-8: State Sen Roger Roth (R) has announced he will not seek the R+2 seat of retiring Rep. Reid Ribble (R). At least 7 other Republicans are considering a run. Democrat former state Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber is also considering a run.
State, Local & Other:
NY AD-65: New York City Republicans have tapped businessman and naval reservist Lester Chang (R) to run in the April 19th special election for the now vacant seat of disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
The first Democratic debate of the Post-O’Malley Era (Tommy Carcetti lives on in our hearts) will take place at 9:00 ET tonight. Hillary and Bernie will go at it from the University of New Hampshire, and you can catch the debate on MSNBC or streaming at NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com. Feel free to discuss the leftward march here.
Cruz-Trump: Donald Trump (Himself) finally melted down and lashed out at Senator Ted Cruz (R) alleging Cruz stole the Iowa Caucus and there should be a revote. In case Trump you were wondering if Trump jumped the shark, this is the 354 time Trump has jumped the shark.
Bush-Applause: Former Florida Governor and worst campaigner of the cycle Jeb Bush (R) had to beg for applause in New Hampshire on Tuesday. When you think this 9 figure campaign cannot get more pathetic, you see this story. You would think for 9 figures you could buy a personality transplant or invent one.
Rubio-Bush: With his third place finish in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio (R) is getting more attention from Republican establishment donors including some who have backed the Bush money burning extravaganza.
Paul: Senator Rand Paul (R) suspended his campaign and essentially endorsed beating Donald Trump. Paul will now focus on running for reelection to the Senate.
Clinton: In New Hampshire, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) said in New Hampshire that she will win the election by a landslide if people vote purely based on records. Clinton should know that voters don’t usually pick based on records from her experience in 2008.
Santorum: Former Senator Rick Santorum (R) has suspended his campaign and endorsed Senator Marco Rubio (R). Santorum praised the leadership talents of Rubio.
Rubio – Toomey: Senator Pat Toomey (R) plans to endorse Senator Rubio’s campaign as well.
Latest National Poll: The latest post Iowa national poll from PPP has the Trump 25%, Rubio 21% and Cruz 21% with Carson at 11% and no one else above single digits. Rubio is +8, Cruz +3 and Trump -9.
FL-5: Ex-State Sen. Al Lawson (D) kicked off his expected bid against Rep. Corrine Brown (D) for this revamped Tallahassee-to-Jacksonville seat yesterday. Lawson could be a formidable opponent as he has high name recognition in the Tallahassee area, which Brown has never represented.
FL-18: Palm Beach County commissioner Priscilla Taylor (D) has dropped out of this race, citing poor fundraising. This Democratic primary is down to just two candidates, businessman Randy Perkins (D) and attorney Jonathan Chane (D). Republicans have a crowded field for this light-red seat.
FL-26: Ex-Rep. Joe Garcia (D) is mounting a fifth bid for this seat which he won in 2012 and lost in 2014. He will face 2014 LG nominee and DCCC favorite Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (D) in the race to take on Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) in this slightly bluer re-redistricted seat. Garcia is widely considered a weak candidate, as he is 1-3 in bids for the seat. His one win came against scandal-plagued then-Rep. David Rivera (R), and Garcia was hit with ethical scandals of his own in his time in Congress. However, Garcia’s name recognition could allow him to beat Taddeo-Goldstein in the primary. It looks like the primary will remain a one-on-one affair, as Andrew Korge (D), son of a big Clinton donor, has decided to forgo a run and seek the State Senate seat of Anitere Flores (R) instead. Though Flores’s SD-39 has a D+1 PVI, it is also heavily Hispanic and it’s doubtful Korge is the best fit for the district.
IL-10: After endorsing Highland Park mayor Nancy Rotering (D), Sen. Dick Durbin (D) has cut an ad for her. Rotering faces ex-Rep. Brad Schneider (D) in the March primary to take on Rep. Bob Dold (R) in this medium-blue suburban seat.
LA-4: Cardiologist Trey Backum (R) will run for this open seat in the Shreveport area, becoming the first serious candidate in the race; he will likely soon get company though, as State Rep. Mike Johnson (R) is likely to kick off his bid next week. The field will likely grow significantly from there.
WI-8: State Sen. Roger Roth (R), who came in second to now-retiring Rep. Reid Ribble (R) in 2010, will surprisingly not mount a second bid for this open seat. No candidates have yet entered this race.
PA-AG: Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) is in a world of hurt financially as she has spent over $300,000 of campaign funds fighting off a frenzy of lawsuits, criminal actions, and removal attempts by
literally every faction of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Good Ole Boys Club a substantial portion of humanity. The Political Staffer/Consultant Industrial Complex took half of the amount in a PR campaign that has miserably failed. Kane still has funds in the bank, but owes a million dollar plus loan to her husband whose divorcing her.
More PA-AG: Ex-Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has given his backing to Montgomery County commissioner Josh Shapiro (D) in this crowded primary. Shapiro faces Kane, Allegheny DA Stephen Zapalla (D), and Northampton DA John Morganelli (D) in the primary. State Sen. John Rafferty (R) is the presumptive GOP nominee.
WATN: Ex-DC Mayor Vincent Gray (D), who was ousted in 2014 amid a corruption scandal, is running for his old city council seat in Ward 7, which covers DC’s poor eastern tip.
Iowa: A good article here about how Ted Cruz won Iowa, and how Marco Rubio’s late surge was just exactly as he planned.
Polling: The Iowa results represented yet another failure for polling, at least on the Republican side. Here’s how the pollsters got it wrong.
SD-Sen: Sen. John Thune (R) was re-elected in 2010 unopposed. It appears he could do so again this year, or at least not face a Democratic opponent. Nobody has filed yet to take on Thune, and although the state Democratic Party’s communication director claims there are multiple people that are potential candidates, no names were forthcoming. Democrats have until March 29 to find a candidate.
MD-4: Two candidates have dropped out of the Democratic primary race just ahead of today’s filing deadline. Ex-Prince George’s County Council member Ingrid Turner is dropping out and instead running for a local judgeship. State Del. Dereck Davis is dropping out as well. 6 candidates remain on the ballot for the Democratic primary, with ex-Prince George’s state’s attorney Glenn Ivey, ex-Lieutenant Governor and failed 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown, and state Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk seen as having the best chance.
PA-8: A surprise here as state Rep. Scott Petri (R) has dropped out of the race. Petri had been seen as the most likely successor to retiring Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R). But the recent unexpected entry of the congressman’s brother, Brian Fitzpatrick into the race changed the dynamics and Petri would have found himself in a tough race. Petri instead will run for re-election to the PA House leaving Fitzpatrick as the overwhelming favorite in the Republican primary against ex-Bucks County Commissioner Andrew Warren and former Bucks County Assistant DA Dean Malik.
TN-8: Add another name to the list of candidates who have already declared candidacies for this seat which just came open on Monday. State Rep. Steve McManus (R) joins 5 others in the race. Most of McManus’s district lies in TN-9 however, which may complicate him getting known particularly in the rural part of the district.
State & Local:
KY-House special elections: The Republican State Leadership Committee is buying digital ads in the state tying Democratic candidates in 4 upcoming House special elections to President Obama. It is said to be the first part of a “six-figure, multi-platform ad campaign” to influence the special elections, being held March 8 to replace ex-state Reps. Mike Harmon (R) and Ryan Quarles (R) who are now State Auditor and Agriculture Commissioner respectively, and 2 Democratic state representatives who took jobs in the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin (R). Democrats must win at least 1 of the 4 races to keep their majority in the state House; if Republicans win all 4, they will force a tie.
KY-SOS: What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes? How about a federal grand jury subpoena! A federal grand jury in Lexington has subpoenaed the records of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) and her father Jerry Lundergan (D) in an investigation that relates to the finances of her political campaigns in 2014 against Sen Mitch McConnell (R) and her 2015 re-election campaign.
SC-LG: The State House has unanimously passed a bill that would allow gubernatorial nominees to pick their LG running mates after they win their party’ s nomination. A 2012 constitutional amendment changed the LG office from being elected separately from the governor to running with the governor as a team but did not specify whether gubernatorial nominees had to pick running mates before the primary and run as a team in the primary or choose their running mates after winning the nomination.
VT-LG: Garrett Graff (D) is dropping out of the race for Lieutenant Governor. Graff recently moved back to the state after a decade in Washington, DC as editor of Politico and before that Washingtonian magazine, and that raised questions about his residency and eligibility to run. Graff’s exit leaves state Reps. Kesha Ram and David Zimmerman and political newcomer Brandon Riker in the race for the Democratic nomination.
VA-AG-2017: A 2nd Republican has announced a run for AG next year. John Adams, a former federal prosecutor and naval officer who worked in the George W. Bush White House joins state Del. Rob Bell (R) in seeking to unseat incumbent AG Mark Herring (D).
In Modesto, Ted Brandvold (R) easily defeated incumbent Mayor Garrad Marsh (D) by a margin of nearly 20 points. In CT-LD-121, Joe Gresko (D) defeated Susan Barksdale (R). In MA-LD-12th Essex, Stephanie Peach (R) and Thomas Walsh (D) won their respective primaries. In MA-LD-9th Plymouth, Gerard Cassidy (D) won nomination. In MA-LD-3rd Worcester, Stephen Hay (D) and Dean Tran (R) will face off in the general.
Iowa Caucus Results: Iowa Made America Great Again by delivering a victory in the Republican primary to Senator Ted Cruz (R) over Donald Trump (Himself) with Senator Marco Rubio (R) coming in a close third. The Democrats are still trying to figure out who won, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) has declared victory over Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist) even though Sanders is disputing it.
Dropouts: Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley are both dropping out today. But #Gilmentum rolls on with a better-than-expected 12 votes last night.
FL-Sen: The fundraising numbers from Q4 are in, and it looks like Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) is cementing his status as the front-runner by default in this shadow-primary. DeSantis raised a respectable (if not particularly amazing) $772K, while his two rivals, LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R) and Rep. David Jolly (R) turned in utterly pathetic hauls of $318K and $112K respectively. If the latter two want to have any hope of being taken seriously in a state as expensive as Florida they’re going to need to seriously step it up on the money front.
MD-Sen: After some nine months of drawn-out consideration, just two days ahead of the filing deadline, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) finally decided not to run for the Senate and to seek re-election in MD-7. The winner of the competitive primary between Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D) and Donna Edwards (D) will be the prohibitive favorite to take the open seat.
IN-3: Ex-Allen County commissioner Kevin Howell (R), a former staffer to Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R), is entering this race. Howell joins State Sens. Jim Banks (R) and Liz Brown (R), farmer Kip Tom (R), and ex-WI State Sen. Pam Galloway (R) in the primary for this safe seat.
IN-9: Businessman Trey Hollingsworth (R) wasn’t considered much of a factor in this open-seat race, but that is probably going to change as he has dumped just under $700K into his campaign. The cash could be useful in getting him traction in a field with three much bigger names, AG Greg Zoeller (R) and State Sens. Erin Houchin (R) and Brent Waltz (R).
NY-19: Livingston (pop. 4K) councilman Will Yandik (D) is officially running for this open seat. Yandik is an underdog in the primary to bold progressive favorite and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout (D). Ex-State Rep. John Faso (R) and businessman Andrew Heaney (R) are in the race on the GOP side.
NY-22: State Sen. Joe Griffo (R) has announced he won’t run for Congress. Ex-State Sen. Ray Meier (R) looks like the only major candidate who has yet to decide on whether to join front-running State Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) and Broome County commissioner George Phillips (R) in the primary. Democrats are still searching for a credible candidate for this light-red seat.
TN-8: Now this has to set some sort of record for fastest-developing congressional race of all time. Within six hours of Rep. Stephen Fincher’s (R) retirement announcement yesterday, not one, not two, but five (!) credible Republicans had already entered the race to succeed him. They are (deep breath) State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R), ex-US Attorney David Kustoff (R), Shelby County register of deeds Tom Leatherwood (R), Shelby County commissioner Steve Basar (R), and wealthy radiologist and 2010 candidate George Flinn (R). All are likely to be heavyweight contenders, and the field is likely to grow from there. All of the current five come from Shelby County, which could provide a major opening for a rural candidate to sneak through. On the D side, ex-State Sen. and 2010 nominee Roy Herron (D) is apparently considering the race, but he would face very tough odds in a district that has become significantly more Republican than the one he lost by 20 points to Fincher in 2010.
TX-15: EMILY’s List has endorsed realtor and Dem official Dolly Elizondo (D) in this crowded primary. The endorsement could be even more meaningful than usual as the entire six-person Dem field is little-known and has struggled with fundraising in this Rio Grande Valley seat, one of the nation’s poorest. Republicans are likely to nominate ex-Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villareal (R) for the long-shot (but on the edge of the playing field) race.
WI-8: Unlike the TN-8 race which developed with absurd speed yesterday, this open-seat race is unfolding at a normal pace after Rep. Reid Ribble (R) retired. Three GOP legislators are on the record as considering runs: State Sen. Roger Roth (R) and State Reps. John Nygren (R) and David Steffen (R). On the D side, Outagamie CE Tom Nelson (D) is considering, while ex-Rep. Steve Kagen (D) took his name out of the running. State Sen. Dave Hansen (D) denied any current interest but seems to be standing by as a backup option if Nelson declines.
VA-Redistrict: The SCOTUS has declined to issue a stay of the new congressional map ahead of this year’s elections. That means this year’s elections, at least for the primary, will proceed under the blatantly Bartlett vs. Strickland-violating plan a special master drew up that retrogresses VA-3 and makes a new Safe D VA-4. The incumbent Rep. from that seat, Randy Forbes (R), is now almost certain to run for the open R-leaning VA-2 instead. Forbes, who currently represents none of the new VA-2 but has strong name rec in the Hampton Roads media market, would likely face primary opposition from State Rep. Scott Taylor (R) and others, but he would start out with the endorsements of retiring Rep. Scott Rigell (R) and many local establishment figures.
Today’s Elections: Today we have an important municipal election and four legislative specials.
The first municipal election of the year is a runoff for mayor of Modesto. Modesto is easily overlooked as it sometimes gets lost in the vastness of California, being far from major media centers. But it’s a major city in its own right, with a population just shy of 200K. It is also an EVEN PVI city (though Democrats have historically been dominant in the region) and today’s mayoral election is likely to be highly competitive. This is an all-mail election, so results may not come quickly tonight. Incumbent Garrad Marsh (D) is a mainstream liberal seeking his second term. Marsh has become unpopular due to his push for a sales tax increase and a prickly leadership style, and was held to 39% in the first round by a field of three other candidates. Today he faces architect and zoning board member Ted Brandvold (R), who appears to be a fairly generic mainstream Republican and came in second with 29%. Most of the remainder of the vote went to a conservadem ideologically between the two. Since the first round, Brandvold has received the endorsements of the Chamber of Commerce as well as the police and fire unions, all mostly due to disagreements with Marsh rather than affinity for the somewhat unexciting Brandvold. There has been something of a dearth of information available on the race, but the dynamic of the race being a referendum on Marsh suggests Brandvold is a slight favorite.
We also have four legislative specials today, a general election in Connecticut and three primaries in Massachusetts. CT-LD-121 is a D+18 seat covering the southern half of Stratford. Stratford councilman Joe Gesko (D) should be a prohibitive favorite over school board member Susan Barksdale (R). However, Republicans are making a serious play for this seat and given the string of special election upsets we’ve seen over the last year or so I won’t count out the possibility of an upset. There are also three primaries in Massachusetts ahead of March 1 generals. MA-LD-12th Essex is a D+7 but formerly GOP-held seat covering most of Peabody; it seems like a D pickup is a strong possibility. Two Republicans are running, legislative staffer Stephanie Peach (R) and city council aide Jaclyn Corriveau (R); neither has a clear advantage. Dems have three candidates in their primary and no clear favorite between Peabody councilman and 80s-era ex-State Rep. Thomas Walsh (D), councilman James Moutsolas (D), and nonprofit exec Craig Welton (D). MA-LD-9th Plymouth is a D+30 seat in poor, heavily minority areas of Brockton. Three Brockton councilors, Shirley Asack (D), Shayna Barnes (D), and Gerard Cassidy (D), are all seeking the nomination. From what I can see there is no clear favorite. MA-LD-3rd Worcester is a D+7 seat in Fitchburg. Three Democrats are running. Fitchburg councilman Stephan Hay (D) has most labor support and is favored against social worker Kimatra Maxwell (D) and zoning board member Joe Byrne (D). No Republicans filed for the district, though councilman Dean Tran (R) has mounted a late write-in campaign; he needs 150 votes to make it to the general election ballot.