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Political Roundup for October 23, 2017

Over the weekend, the populist ANO party won a large plurality in the Czech Republic, while Japanese PM Shinzo Abe of the LDP kept his large majority. Now today’s news:

Poll Quick-Hits

AL-Sen: Moore (R) 51 Jones (D) 40 (Strategy Research)
UT-3: Curtis (R) 46 Allen (D) 19 Bennett (I) 9 (Dan Jones)
UT-4: Love (R) 48 McAdams (D) 42 (Dan Jones)
Boston-Mayor: Walsh (D) 58 Jackson (D) 19 (WGBH)

Governor:

CA-Gov, CA-Supt: Gubernatorial front-runner LG Gavin Newsom (D) has picked up the endorsement of the powerful California Teachers’ Union. The move was expected as Newsom’s most prominent rival, ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), has been close to education-reform interests. The teachers’ union also unsurprisingly endorsed State Rep. Tony Thurmond (D) for Superintendent over charter school executive and 2014 candidate Marshall Tuck (D). Across the aisle, State Rep. Chad Mayes (R) is considering a run for Governor. Mayes was the Assembly minority leader until being forced out earlier this year over an affair and his vote for a cap-and-trade bill. If he runs for Governor, Mayes would stake out a niche to the left of the Republicans in the race, gadflyish (but wealthy) businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R); however, a third Republican in the field could enhance the chances of a D-on-D general. Just from the undertones here, I think that may be Mayes’s intention as there seems to be some bitterness over his ouster.

ME-Gov: State Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R) is the latest candidate into this absurdly crowded race. Thibodeau, who has generally been a moderate in office, joins fellow State Sen. Garrett Mason (R), State Rep. Ken Fredette (R), and LePage Admin official Mary Mayhew (R) in the GOP primary; Democrats have an even more crowded field and three Indies are also running.

NY-Gov: Dutchess CE Marc Molinaro (R) has become the first candidate to take a concrete step towards challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as he has opened up a campaign committee. Molinaro, who is in his second term leading the purple midsized Hudson Valley county, is apparently in discussions for a unity ticket with another Republican considering the race, State Rep. Brian Kolb (R). Several other Republicans, including Westchester CE and 2014 nominee Rob Astorino (R), State Sens. John Flanagan (R) and John DeFrancisco (R), ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), 2010 nominee Carl Paladino (R), and 2010 comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) are in various stages of exploring the race.

OH-Gov: State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) looks set to run for Governor. O’Neill will be having an announcement this weekend on his plans, and speculation is he will become the fifth candidate into this primary. O’Neill, the only statewide-elected Democrat in state government, would join Ex-Rep. Betty Sutton (D), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), and ex-State Rep. Connie Pillich (D) in the race.

RI-Gov, RI-LG: LG Dan McKee (D) will announce “plans for his political future” in two weeks. McKee, a moderate, is facing a primary to his left from State Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D), and there is increasing speculation that he may decide to take on fellow moderate Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) in the gubernatorial primary. So far no notable Democrats have stepped up to take on Raimondo, though several, including ex-Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D), are considering.

VA-Gov, VA-LG: In an incident that might give new meaning  to the term “whitewashing”, the campaign of LG Ralph Northam (D) is being criticized for printing flyers that delete African-American LG nominee Justin Fairfax (D) from the statewide Dem ticket while promoting white running-mates Northam and AG Mark Herring (D). Northam’s campaign says the deletion was due to a union opposing Fairfax for his opposition to a pipeline project.

Congress:

TN-Sen: Ex-Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) entered the Senate race over the weekend, potentially setting up a competitive primary with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Fincher will likely take a more moderate tack relative to Blackburn in the primary, calling himself “results oriented” and seeking to carry on the moderate mantle of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). A third candidate, physician Rolando Toyos (R), who operates eye clinics in both Memphis and suburban Nashville, is also considering a Senate run. Toyos ran unsuccessfully for a Shelby County commission seat in 2010, but may be able to self-fund this race. He would still be a long-shot in the primary against Blackburn and Fincher.

NH-2: State Rep. Steve Negron (R) has become the latest Republican into the primary to take on Rep. Annie Kuster (D). Negron, a first-term legislator, joins ex-State Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) and physician Stuart Levinson (R) in the primary for this light-blue seat covering the western part of the state.

PA-18: Two more candidates have entered the special election race. For the GOP, State Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) has entered. Ortitay, considered a rising star, is the only Republican candidate from the Washington County portion of the district. He joins a trio of other legislators, State Sens. Kim Ward (R) and Guy Reschenthaler (R) and State Rep. Rick Saccone (R). On the Dem side, prosecutor Connor Lamb (D) has entered the race, joining Westmoreland County commissioner Gina Cerilli (D), ex-Allegheny County commissioner Mike Crossey (D), and Bush 43 admin official Pam Iovino (D) in the race.

TX-20: Ex-Rep. Quico Canseco (R), who represented TX-23 for one term from 2010 to 2012, is mounting a comeback bid; however, he will not take on now-Rep. Will Hurd (R) in the swingy 23rd. Instead, Canseco will take on Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) in the medium-blue 20th covering the western half of urban San Antonio. Republicans have not seriously contested this district in memory, but the seat is not incredibly Democratic; it includes a large chunk of purple suburban territory in the northwest part of the city. That said, Castro is a big name and Canseco’s candidate skills from his prior races might be generously described as mediocre. Combined with the lean of the seat and the environment, it seems unlikely this race will be very competitive.

State Offices:

AL-Ag Comm: State Sen. Gerald Dial (R) is running for the open Agriculture Commissioner seat, joining two little-known candidates in the GOP primary. Incumbent John McMillan (R) is running for Governor.

DE-AG: Tim Mullaney (D), a former US Marshall who served as CoS for the AG’s office under Beau Biden (D) before his death, will now run for the open seat. Biden’s successor, Matt Denn (D), is not seeking a second term; Mullaney is the first candidate to declare interest in the race.

LA-Treas: The state ethics board is considering whether to waive a fine against Derrick Edwards (D) for not filing campaign finance reports on time. Edwards, who is quadriplegic, says problems with finding the proper speech-to-text software were responsible for his late filing. Edwards is not running a serious campaign and considered all but certain to lose next month’s runoff to ex-State Rep. John Schroeder (R).

MI-SoS: As expected, 2010 nominee and law professor Jocelyn Benson (D) will make another run for Secretary of State. Benson is not expected to face significant opposition for the Democratic convention endorsement. Republicans have a fairly crowded field for this race with no obvious front-runner.

NM-LG: Dona Ana County commissioner Billy Garrett (D) will run for LG in the shotgun-wedding primary, becoming the latest entry into a crowded field. State Sen. Michael Padilla (D) and ex-State Rep. Rick Miera (D) look like the front-runners in this primary.

Local Races:

St. Petersburg-Mayor: In shades of Bridgegate, Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) is under fire from African-American entrepreneur Elihu Brayboy. Brayboy says that after he publicly endorsed ex-Mayor Rick Baker’s (R) comeback bid against Kriseman, the city began stonewalling the approval process on a development project Brayboy is pursuing. The hotly-contested runoff between Kriseman and Baker is in two weeks, and Baker has been counting in part on his exceptional crossover appeal in the black community to prevail.

Durham-Mayor: Retiring incumbent Bill Bell (D) has endorsed ex-councilman Farad Ali (D) in the November runoff for his seat. Ali, who is like Bell a business-friendly black moderate liberal, trailed white moonbat Steve Schewel (D) by a larger-than-expected 51-29 margin in the primary two weeks ago.

Fontana, CA-Mayor: Councilman Jesse Sandoval (D) will run for mayor next year, and he has picked up some key establishment endorsements. Sandoval looks likely to face incumbent Acquanetta Warren (R) for the top job in this deep-blue, Hispanic majority Inland Empire city of 200K.

Baltimore, MD-CE: State Sen. Jim Brochin (D) is running for county executive. Brochin, a moderate who is not on great terms with the area’s Dem establishment, will face ex-State Rep. John Olszewski (D) and county commissioner Vicki Almond (D) in the primary for the top job in this medium-blue county covering most of Baltimore’s suburbs. Brochin’s decision also opens up his somewhat swingy Towson area State Senate seat, which will likely be a GOP target. Republicans have a primary between Hogan admin official Al Redmer (R) and antiestablishment-friendly State Rep. Pat McDonough (R).

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Japan, Argentina, & Czech Republic Preview & Open Thread

This weekend, three major democracies, one each in Europe, Asia, and South America, are holding their elections. Here is a preview and open thread to discuss the results.

Japan: Japan is probably the most closely-watched election of the three, taking place on Sunday (Saturday evening/night US time). Japan has a population of 127M and an area slightly smaller than California. Elections in Japan use a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, with voters getting to choose a constituency Rep and party preference. About 60% of the parliament is elected first-past-the-post in single-member districts, while the other 40% is elected by party-list proportional representation in 11 large constituencies. Unlike in some MMP countries, the seat allocations by the two methods are totally independent, and the FPTP results do not affect the distribution of proportional seats. Incumbent PM Shinzo Abe has been suffering in polls recently with some corruption scandals, but his response to North Korea has been pushing his numbers back up, so he decided to call a snap election just last month. Abe also would like to get a stronger hand in this election for his longtime goal of reducing the country’s staunch pacifism. Abe leads the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is notionally center-right but really more of a catch-all party. The LDP might be described as the most small-c conservative party in any democracy; it essentially exists to oppose major change in any direction and preserve Japan’s established social order both economically and culturally. Ideologically, that translates to a broad pro-establishment centrist corporatism, and a desire to hold on to power (and extract as much pork as possible from it) at all cost. The LDP has held power for roughly 58 of the last 62 years, usually with the support of the Komeito Party, a small but significant rent-seeking party advocating for the interests of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist sect. Because the LDP is so amorphous and its hold on power so strong, Japan’s opposition parties have uniformly been very weak. This year, the prior main opposition party, the notionally center-left (but ideologically amorphous) Democrats (DPJ), decided to simply disband. Instead, the Democrats will be backing a new party set up just last month, the Hope Party of Tokyo Governor Yurio Koike. Koike is a mavericky former LDP lawmaker who won the Governorship in 2014 as an Independent. Her political philosophy is considered right-of-center, as she is generally hawkish and supportive of economic liberalization. Indeed, ideologically, Koike is not all that different from Abe. That has led more committed leftists in the former DPJ to set up the Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) as a catch-all anti-Abeism (as opposed to merely anti-Abe and anti-LDP) force. Polling has shown the LDP with a plurality lead, and the CDP/Koike Split will likely help the LDP maintain its large margin in the district contests. But there is a significant chance Abe could wind up pulling a May and lose seats.

Argentina: Argentina also has its general election on Sunday. Argentina has a population of 44M in a land area roughly a third the size of the continental US. The bicameral parliament uses proportional representation by the country’s 24 regions, but only half the seats in the more powerful House and a third of the Senate are up at a given election. Argentina’s political spectrum is one of the world’s most unusual in that there is traditionally little in the way of a left-right axis, with the main division being Peronism vs. anti-Peronism. Peronism is a very difficult-to-define ideology, with a mixture of socialist, nationalist, and populist ideologies. While left-of-center economically, it is unlike most left-wing movements in its strong traditionalist and nationalist overtones. That means that both Peronists and anti-Peronists have had support across the traditional political spectrum.  In recent years, the heirs to Peronism have been the Kirchners, the late former president Nestor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The two governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015 and pushed Peronism somewhat in a left-wing direction with influences from Chavism, Though they did not go nearly as far as Chavez down the left-wing road, they still pursued populist initiatives that distorted the Argentine economy. Fernandez de Kirchner is running for a legislative seat this year under the banner of the major Peronist organization, the Victory Front (FPV). The FPV governed the country until 2015. That year, its populist economic mismanagement and a scandal regarding the unexplained death of a prosecutor investigating Fernandez de Kirchner caused it to lose both the Presidency and legislature to anti-Peronists. The main anti-Peronist group is Cambiemos (Change), the main vehicle for President Mauricio Macri. Macri has generally pursued center-right fiscal policies which are credited with putting some of the nation’s finances closer to order and slowly starting the moribund economy. Cambiemos also however includes anti-Peronists and anti-Kirchnerists across the spectrum. There is a third significant force in parliament, United New Alternative (UNA), a centrist group that is generally Peronist but anti-Kirchner; they seem likely to maintain their third place position. An assorted array of diverse minor parties, some of whom support each of the FPV and Cambiemos, account for the remainder of the seats, over 20% of the total. The CW is this year, Cambiemos looks likely to maintain its minority government in parliament with a slightly stronger hand.

Czech Republic: Prior to Japan and Argentina, the Czech Republic is holding its general election on Friday and Saturday (voting takes place over two days). The central European nation has a population of 10.5M and a land area roughly the size of South Carolina. The 200-member Czech parliament is elected by party-list proportional representation in 14 constituencies; it has one of the world’s more fractured party systems, with nine major parties having a chance to enter parliament this year. The election this year was triggered by a corruption scandal around the finance minister, a member of the junior coalition party. However, that finance minister, billionaire tycoon Andrej Babis, is now the clear front-runner to become the new PM. Babis, whose personality can be described as quite Trumpian, leads the ANO (Yes) party. ANO started out as a vanity party for Babis with an amorphous centrist platform that led to being a junior partner in the current center-left coalition. But in this most recent campaign, Babis has taken ANO more in a populist-conservative direction along the lines of Poland’s PiS or Hungary’s Fidesz, combining fiscal moderation with social conservatism and nationalism. Babis has also been quite successful at portraying the corruption allegations against him as a personal slight from the establishment. Now ANO is generally taking nearly a third of the vote and is far ahead of any rival, making Babis the clear favorite to be the next PM. However, there is still a chance his rivals could form a broad coalition against him. The senior partner in the current government is the Social Democrats (CSSD). The CSSD, a mainstream European center-left party, looks set to be decimated in this election, losing around half its vote and falling to the low teens, but will likely still be second in vote share to ANO because of how fractured the landscape is. The third party in the outgoing coalition is the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), who are centrist and mildly socially conservative, but mostly known for their willingness to form coalitions with any other party. KDU-CSL consistently attracts a vote share in the low single digits, but they have been a part of government in 6 of the 8 elections since 1990; it’s a good bet they will be part of any coalition this time as well. Conversely, the third-largest party is the Communists (KSCM), a semi-reformed neo-Communist party that has never been part of any government, but very consistently polls in the low teens. The three other parties that look certain to enter parliament are of a right of center nature; all are polling in the high single digits. The Civic Democrats (ODS) were historically the main center-right party but have lost much of their strength in the last decade. Ideologically, the ODS is (unusually for European parties) about line with the US GOP, quite similar to mainstream establishment Republicans both fiscally and socially. Another center-right party, TOP-09, is a more moderate group. TOP-09 is more staunchly pro-European than ODS and generally more in line with mainstream center-right parties of Europe like the German CDU. The final right of center party is a new one, Freedom and Democracy (SPD), who are a nationalist-populist group similar to the German AfD or French National Front. Two other parties may or may not cross the 5% threshold to enter parliament: the hipsterish left-libertarian Pirate Party (which has been on an upswing in polls recently) and the pro-European centrist “Independent Mayors” (STAN), which looks more likely than not to fall short. Messy coalition negotiations seem certain, but betting is that Babis will eventually emerge as PM.

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Weekend Open Thread for October 20-22, 2017

Welcome to another weekend. Please check out our previews and open thread for this weekend’s elections in Japan, Argentina, and the Czech Republic. Now this week’s questions:

1. What is your ethnic background and how has it impacted your political views, if at all?

2. What is an aspect of another country’s electoral system or political landscape you wish was present in American politics?

And because it’s the weekend, we give you the Al Smith Dinner in all it’s glory HERE!

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Political Roundup for October 20, 2017

Senate:

CA-Sen: Left-wing online news host Cenk Uygur is considering getting into the US Senate race. Uygur is cofounder of the left-wing Young Turks Network and hosts the Young Turks show. It was reported last week that his cohost Ana Kasparian was considering running as well, but it’s expected that both won’t run. Uygur would represent another candidate on the left, joining State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D) as candidates running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) from the left.

TN-Sen: A good article here from a Democrat about why former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) would be a longshot to be elected to the Senate even if he represents the Democrat’s best chance. Bredesen was the last Democrat to win statewide when he was easily re-elected governor in 2006, but the state’s politics have moved significantly towards the Republican side since then. When Bredesen was last on the ballot in 2006, Democrats held 5 of the state’s 9 US House seats, they controlled the State House and Republicans held the State Senate by the narrowest of margins. Now Republicans hold 7 of the 9 US House seats and control both houses of the Legislature by huge margins. As the article states, now “having a “D” by one’s name is tantamount to electoral doom”. The article compares the situation to that of Bob Kerrey, who had been highly successful electorally in Nebraska in being elected governor and two terms as US senator, but things had changed a lot in the state since he had left office and he lost by 15 points in a comeback attempt in 2012. The article even suggests that Bredesen would have a better chance being elected as an independent than as a Democrat.

House:

IN-4: State Rep. Jim Baird (R) is in for the Republican primary for this open seat. He joins Diego Morales, a former aide to Gov. Mike Pence (R), former state Rep. Steve Braun (R) and Army veteran Jared Thomas in the Republican primary.

NH-1: Ex-Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati (D) has entered the Democratic primary for this open seat. Soldati is the first Democrat to get in the race after Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) announced her retirement last week. Other Democrats are still considering the race. State Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) and former state Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Eddie Edwards are in on the Republican side.

NY-24: Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) has announced she will not run for Congress. Miner had been the most high profile candidate considering a run against Rep. John Katko (R). Small business entrepreneur Anne Messenger and Syracuse University professor Dana Balter are currently running in the Democratic primary.

OH-12: We are starting to get a picture of who is and isn’t interested in running to replace Rep. Pat Tiberi (R). Yesterday, State Sens. Kevin Bacon (R) and Jay Hottinger (R) both indicated they are interested but have not made final decisions. State Rep. Rick Carfagna (R) says he is “certainly considering” the race as well. Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R), who dropped out of the race for State Treasurer this week, says he is deferring comment on the race for now. State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R) is not interested and is running for a state Senate seat and author J.D. Vance, who was considered as a possible candidate for US Senate also says he is not interested. State Sen. Kris Jordan (R) and state Rep. Mike Duffey (R) could not be reached for comment on if they are interested. One candidate, Iraq War veteran Brandon Grisez, was already running in the Republican primary before Tiberi announced his resignation on Wednesday.

PA-15: Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R) has entered the Republican nomination for the open seat of retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R). Nothstein, who is also a former gold medal Olympic cyclist joins State Reps. Justin Simmons (R) and Ryan Mackenzie (R) in the GOP race. Lehigh County Commissioner Bill Leiner (D) and pastor Greg Edwards are in on the Democratic side. Northampton County DA John Morganelli (D) and community activist Alan Jennings are also considering entering the Democratic primary as well.

TN-7: Franklin Mayor Ken Moore (R) is considering getting into the Congressional race. He says he’ll decide within the next two weeks whether to get in the race. State Sen. Mark Green (R) is already in the race and has nabbed the endorsement of the Club For Growth. Moore is seen as possibly a more palatable alternative for the more moderate, business-style Republicans than the conservative Green. Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (R) is also considering getting in the race.

State & Local:

FL-Gov: Billionaire real-estate investor Jeff Greene is considering joining the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Greene has run for office before, finishing 2nd in the 2010 Democratic primary for US Senate. No candidate has really caught fire with Democratic voters yet-a poll last month showed 44 % of Democrats undecided while wealthy trail attorney John Morgan, who is not yet running lead the named candidates with 23%. Former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) led the declared candidates with 16% with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and businessman Chris King in single digits. Recognizing this, Greene doesn’t feel rushed to make a decision soon.

IL-AG: Jesse Ruiz, an attorney and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education is joining the Democratic field for Attorney General. He joins state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D), state Rep. Scott Drury (D) and Sharon Fairly, former head of Chicago’s police oversight agency in the Democratic primary. Former Miss America and congressional candidate Erika Harold is running on the Republican side. Current AG Lisa Madigan (D) is retiring.

RI-AG: State Rep. Robert Craven (D) has announced he will not run for Attorney General. This may clear the Democratic field for former US Attorney Peter Neronha, the only announced candidate so far. Current AG Peter Kilmartin (D) is term limited.

WI-LG: Former state Rep. Mandela Barnes (D) is “strongly considering” getting into the Democratic race for Lieutenant Governor. Barnes is the first prominent Democrat to express a run for the office. Political newcomer Robert Louis Slamka is currently the only Democrat to file to run for LG.

International:

New Zealand: New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters has made his choice, and he will take his party into coalition with Labour, bringing Labour into government for the first time since 2008. 37 year old Jacinda Ardern will be the new prime minister. NZ First will be a formal coalition partner with Labour, while the Greens will have a confidence and supply agreement with them. This is despite National winning the most votes and the most seats, meaning that for the first time since New Zealand went to the mixed-member proportional system in 1996, the party that won the most votes and seats will not be in the government. National had their vote share cut and their seat total reduced by 2 after special votes were counted a couple of weeks after the September election, but National still held 56 seats, more than the 54 seats combined between Labour and the Greens. Labour-NZ First and the Greens will have 63 seats, while National and ACT New Zealand will have 57 seats.

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Political Roundup for October 19th, 2017

Check back at 3p ET this afternoon for our preview and open thread of this weekend’s elections in Japan, Argentina, and the Czech Republic.

Big Picture

Party-Building: This discussion between Tomas Edsall and Henry Olsen about the changing coalitions of both parties and their current strategies is a pretty good. It’s a birds-eye view of contemporary politics with some historical context.

Congress

MS-Sen:  Questions are mounting as to the mental state of Sen. Thad Cochran (R). Multiple reports in recent days paint a picture of a man who doesn’t always know where or who he is. I’m not quite sure how you handle this situation. On the one hand, it’s pretty hard to force someone to resign, even if they’re not in their right mind. On the other hand, if this is true, then he needs to be replaced with someone more for for office. Of course, it would have been best for everyone involved if he had just stepped aside in 2014, when a lot of us saw something like this coming.

WY-Sen: Blackwater founder Erik Prince (R) looks to be moving ahead with a primary challenge to sen. John Barasso (R). Prince has confirmed that he’s owned a home in Wyoming for 25 years and has a Wyoming driver’s license. So, I guess this absolutely unnecessary  primary can proceed without residency questions being raised. Whoopee.

DCCC/NRCC: It appears that Democratic donors are in a giving mood. The D-trip regularly outrages the NRCC, but the gap was larger than usual this quarter at $9 million, or about 75% more than the Republican haul. republican donors end to give more directly to candidates, but this should still be somewhat concerning.

IN-06: Well, it looks like after initial rumors trailed off into uncertainty, we now have an answer: Greg Pence (R), brother of Vice President Mike, is likely running for Congress to succeed Rep. Luke Messer (R). This is a bit interesting from a conflicts-of-interest  standpoint, because Pence is also the head of the fundraising team for Messer’s Senate campaign. Pence has to raise his own money as well, so I have to wonder if the two jobs will interfere with each other.

MA-03: This one is getting pretty crowded. folks. Steve Kerrigan (D), 2014 Lt. Gov nominee and past aide to both the Clintons and the Obamas, has jumped into the primary for right to succeed retiring Rep. Nikki Tsongas. Kerrigan is the seventh(!) serious Democrat to enter the race, following right on the heels of Westford school board member Terry Ryan (D), who entered earlier this week. Kerrigan’s big-name ties shouldn’t hurt his fundraising, and with a few other candidates already raising money quickly, this primary could get very expensive.

OH-12: Late last night, Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) surprisingly announced his resignation. This suburban Columbus and rural central Ohio seat should be a fairly easy GOP hold; click through for our updated Great Mentioner.

PA-06:  Rep. Ryan Costello (R) would appear to have a fight on his hands, at least in the realm of fundraising. Costello did manage to outrages his challenger, Chrissy Houlahan (D) in the third quarter, but only by 9k. Both candidates raised over 300k. Costello has a big advantage in CoH, but he should be fundraising a bit better than that in such a wealthy district in a big metropolitan area.

PA-07: Speaking of Philadelphia-area Democratic candidates seeking Republican-held swing seats, resident of Philadelphia Dan Muroff (D) raised 77k in his bid to unseat Rep. Patrick Meehan (R). He and his campaign staff hilariously tried to disguise the relatively meager haul by announcing that they had raised 306k since entering the race. Some outlets fell for it at first, but even that number didn’t look so big compared to the 400k that professional moonbat State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Bold Progressive) raised in the third quarter.

UT-04: Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) has announced that he’s running against Rep Mia Love (R) in 2018. love has struggled in the past, but had a solid win in 2016. despite McAdams’ strengths and President Trump’s relative unpopularity in Utah, this will still be an uphill climb in such a Republican district.

Governor

VA-Gov: Former president Obama is being dispatched to make campaign swings in ongoing races, especially in next months off-year contests in Virginia. These seem fairly routine, but there are whispers behind the scenes that Democrats are worried about African-American turnout. Some Democrats are hoping that more appearances by the former President in the right places will help prop -up black turnout, but it didn’t work that well in 2016, so I’m skeptical.

VA-Gov Continued: Speaking of the Virginia Governor’s race that’s coming up in a few weeks, we have another edition of Dueling Polls! Q thinks Northam is ahead by fourteen points, while Fox thinks he’s ahead by seven points. Those are the RV numbers for the Fox poll and LV numbers for the Q poll. Funnily enough, the Q poll actually gets better for Gillespie with RV. Other polls have suggested a much closer race. Either way, someone’s going to have egg on their face come early November.

State/Local

OH-SD-01: Well, this is an unusual level of candor. State Sen. Cliff Hite (R), who resigned unexpectedly the other day, has clarified that the resignation was due to ‘inappropriate behavior’ with a state employee who worked near his senate office. This is the guy who started his own son over Big Ben when he coached a high school football team, so making good decisions based on personal feelings seems to be a problem for him. The district isn’t in danger, though – it’s one of the most conservative senate districts in Ohio.

OH-SoS, OH-Treas: Two statewide Republican contenders abruptly dropped their Row Officer campaigns this week; Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R) dropped his bid for Treasurer to clear the field for State Rep. Robert Sprague (R), while State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R) dropped her bid for SoS to clear the field for State Sen. Frank LaRose (R). As Mingo lives in OH-12 and Pelanda lives a few miles outside of it, it seems rather possible that they both got word of Tiberi’s impending resignation and may refocus to that race. The Ohio GOP now looks set to have no serious Row Officer primaries, with Auditor Dave Yost (R) for AG and State Rep. Keith Faber (R) for Auditor already not facing serious intraparty opposition.

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OH-12: Pat Tiberi (R) is Resigning

The New York Times is reporting that Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) of Ohio has decided to resign his seat, triggering a special election. The 12th district is based in the northern suburbs and exurbs of Columbus, but also has a finger into the city itself and two arms going north and east into rural and small-city Ohio (Mansfield and Zanesville). It has a two-election PVI of R+7 and went 53-42 Trump-Clinton last year. There should be ample interest from local Republican officeholders and other possible candidates. Democrats may take a run at the seat, though they’ve recently been burned by investing heavily in special elections with little to show for it. We’ll bring you more news as it comes.

Ohio uses regular partisan primaries and generals for special elections, so this is likely to be a crowded GOP field. To start the great mentioner, two fairly obvious possibilities are two candidates who made surprise drops from statewide races just this week: Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo (R) and State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R) (who lives one county outside the seat but represents a chunk of it). Both have just abandoned their campaigns for Treasurer and SoS respectively, and the surprise dropouts with strange synchronicity could signal that they were tipped off about this race.

From the legislature, State Sens. Kris Jordan (R), Dave Burke (R), Stephanie Kurze (R), Dave Balderson (R), and (not that) Kevin Bacon (R) all live in or near the district and represent pieces of it. From the State House, State Rep. Jim Huges (R) and ex-State House Speaker Larry Householder (R) could be possibilities, along with close to 10 others. From local office, Franklin County DA Ron O’Brien (R) could be a name worth watching. Democrats have no legislators in the district, though a couple urban Columbus members may represent tiny pieces of it. Possible Dems could include ex-State Rep. Jay Goyal (D), who retired in 2012, and Franklin County commissioner John O’Grady (D).

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Political Roundup for October 18, 2017

Last night, Democrats held MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk by a smaller than expected 47-43 margin. Now as polling seems to indicate that Alabama might go blue while Virginia might go red, but New Jersey remains solidly anti-Christie, it is time for today’s roundup:

Presidential/National

Soros:  George Soros (Bane of Right) has transferred $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations in an effort to free up even more funds for political purposes, which should not be much different than prior behavior.

Subsidies:  Senators Lamar Alexander (R?) and Patty Murray (D) have reached an agreement on restoring Obamacare subsidies for 2 years in exchange for loosing Obamacare restrictions imposed upon the states.  It is not clear that such a compromise will get a vote in either chamber even though President Trump supports.

Trump/McCain:  President Trump (R?) and Senator John McCain (Maverick War Hero) are going back and forth on nationalism.  McCain started the latest round of the Trump / McCain feud by attacking Trump’s brand of nationalism.

Congress

AL-Sen:  Think Progress has thrown a tsunami of cold water on Fox News’s Senate poll showing the race a dead heat.

MI-11:  State Representative Tim Greimel (D) will be the fourth Democrat to enter the race to replace retiring Representative Dave Trott (R).  Greimel was the state House Minority Leader between 2013 and 2016.

PA-10:  Representative Tom Marino (R-Big Pharma) has withdrawn his name for nomination to be Drug Czar after the press did its job an exposed him being in the pocket of opioid manufacturers in the pharma industry.  Marino should be concerned in this district as its been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

States

VA-Gov: Monmouth – Gillepsie 48 Northam 47, Christopher Newport Northam 48 Gillepsie 44

NJ-Gov: Fairleigh Dickinson and Fox News – Murphy 48 Guadagno 33

NJ-Legislature:  The latest on whats happening with the Democratic legislative leadership battles and any potential gains the Democrats might make in the Legislature this year.  It sounds like the lower house remains up for grabs between the North and South Jersey Democrats while there is little belief the Democrats will pick up any seats.

NJ-SD-3:  State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Norcross) is being outspent on the PAC front by the NJEA whose backing RINO Fran Grenier against Sweeney because he has spoken out against the NJEA’s outrageous behavior/demands.

International

Japan: The center-right (sort of)/ statist Liberal Democratic Party is on its way to a massive landslide.  The LDP is on pace to win approximately 2/3 of the seats in the lower house, which is near an all-time record for Prime Minister Abe’s LDP.

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Political Roundup for October 17, 2017

First, there is a single legislative special today. MA-SD-Bristol & Norfolk is a D+5 (2016) seat stretching from Seekonk in suburban Providence to Medfield in Boston’s southwest suburbs. Foxborough councilman and Sanders campaign staffer Paul Feeney (D) is facing off with legislative staffer Jacob Ventura (R) and retired investigative reporter Joe Shortsleeve (I), a former DINO who has high name recognition. Due to the lean of the seat and the energized D base, Feeney looks like a moderate favorite, but with three credible candidates this race could theoretically go any way.

Now, onto the news!

National:

Tax-returns: Governor Jerry Brown (Sane D-CA) has vetoed a bit of legislation that would force Presidential candidates to submit their tax returns to the public to appear on the ballot in the state. Brown rightly pointed out that this could easily set precedence for states requiring far more revealing things to be made public, and that individual states should not be able to regulate federal elections in this way. Expect the next CA Governor to not be as reasonable when it comes to finding petty ways to snipe at Trump.

Trump-Approval: An Emerson poll has Trump doing . . . pretty well for Trump, sitting at a 44/50 approval rating. They also polled 2020 match-ups, and found Biden ahead of Trump by around 10 points, but Warren effectively tied with him.

2020: Tulsi Gabbard has been spotted making the rounds in Iowa. At a recent Iowa Democrats campaign event, both Gabbard and Rep. John Delaney (who has already announced a run) talked in vaguely positive platitudes about coming together as a country, in what is probably a dry run for a possible 2020 campaign message. Honestly, both are probably far too centrist to actually win a national D primary these days, but Gabbard has such an astoundingly odd political profile that I kind of want her to run regardless, just to see what happens.

Congress:

AR-Sen: There are rumors flying that Senator Tom Cotton (R) might be tapped as the next director of the CIA. This is a curious prospect, as Cotton is widely expected to have his sights set firmly on the presidency, and a job in the Trump Administration seems like a less useful stepping stone towards that than just staying on as a 2+ term Senator in uber-safe Arkansas. We’ll have to see, though with some of the other stories coming out today the NRSC might not want to defend even more unexpectedly open seats in 2018.

CA-36: The GOP has another candidate running for the chance to take on 3-term Democrat Raul Ruiz in this Eastern-Riverside-County seat. Republican Dan Ball, a local news anchor, announced his run yesterday. He joins Actress Kimberlain Brown in the race for the second slot to Ruiz in California’s top-2 system, but Ruiz has beaten tougher opponents than both of them in worse years than 2018 is shaping out to be, so he’s probably still secure.

FL-27: Well this is . . . unexpected. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R), one of the GOP candidates running to succeed retiring Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) in this Cuban seat covering most of Miami, has stated that she believes she was abducted by aliens when she was 7. Needless to say, this does not bode well for her chances in what is easily the Democrat’s best 2018 flip target, even assuming she makes it out of the Cuban Machine primary.

MI-9: Sandy Levin (D) is still apparently undecided on whether or not he wants to run for re-election to his Suburban Detroit seat. While Levin is probably safe if he runs again in this rapidly diversifying seat covering Upscale-Yuppie Liberals in Southeastern Oakland County and Union Dems in Southern Macomb County, the GOP could realistically make a play for an open seat that moved quite a bit towards Trump last year.

MI-11: Kerry Bentivolio, a man who is either the most or second-most accidental Congressman ever depending on where you put Joseph Cao on the list, is running for this seat again as a Republican. Bentivolio has been a perennial candidate even before accidentally being the only guy left on the ticket in 2012 after the McCotter fiasco, and is probably not going to be a serious threat to win this seat again as several other Republicans are running and more may get in the race. Rep. David Trott (R) is retiring.

MS-Sen: Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), no stranger to health scares, will apparently be unable to make back to Washington due to health concerns. This robs the Senate GOP of a crucial vote needed to pass their tax reform plan (not to mention the chair of the Senate Appropriations committee), and also raises the increasingly likely possibility that Cochran will be unable to serve out the remainder of his term, opening up another GOP seat that the party will have to play defense in. Expect Cochran’s 2014 primary opponent Chris McDaniels—who is already making noise about primarying Mississippi’s other Republican Senator—to jump at the easier chance to make it into the Senate after losing a nail bitter back in 2014.

NJ-Sen: Despite a brief indication to the contrary, all of the corruption and bribery charges against Senator Menendez (D-NJ) are going to trial. Given that its more or less an open secret that he is guilty, this means that it is possible that Lame-duck GOP Governor Chris Christie will get to appoint his successor, if only for a few months. Given that Christie is in full-on IDGAF mode after being spurned by Trump, no one has any idea who he would appoint or why.

TN-Sen: Former Governor Phil Bredesen (D), last seen winning a landslide re-election in normally blood-red Tennessee in 2006, is considering running for the now-open Senate seat. Bresden is pretty much the only Democrat who could make a race in what is arguably the most reliably Republican state East of the Mississippi, but is probably going to suffer the same fate that Bill Weld did in Massachusetts when he tried to transform “Popular Moderate opposite-party Governor” into a Senate career—Federal Politics give individuals much less room to maneuver personally than state-level ones. Given that Tennessee has only gotten redder since Bresden retired in 2010, this race is probably Likely R at worst for the GOP, even if he does run.

Other:

Calgary-Mayor: Incumbent Naheed Nenshi, who made waves in 2010 as the first Muslim to win mayorship of a major Western city, has won re-election narrowly over former Progressive-Conservative party leader Bill Smith. Nenshi is famous for coming out of nowhere with his oddly post-partisan and social-media-based “Purple Campaign” in 2010, and has governed as an eccentric centrist since then. He coasted to re-election with 73% of the vote in 2013 (the mayoral terms were extended from 3 years to 4 during his tenure), but faced a stiff challenge this year from Smith, who was benefiting from a change-focused campaign in a city hit hard by falling oil prices. If you ever wanted to know what a Muslim, Centrist Obama would look like, Nenshi is probably your guy.

Immigration: The Census Bureau has released updated and detailed numbers about America’s Immigrants. We’re well on our way to passing the previous-high of 14.7% of Americans having been born in a foreign country, and are expected to hit that number sometime in the early 2020s. Of note is that America’s Immigrants are diversifying rapidly, with immigration from Mexico slowing, but being more than made up for by surges from medium and smaller-sized countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Burma, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya. We’ve gotten almost an entire Congressional district’s worth of new Immigration from China and India each since 2010, and we’re on track to have gotten one from non-Mexican Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 as well.

Quebec: Quebec’s government has revived an effort to require women’s faces to be uncovered to use public services, such as riding a bus. The move is stated to be a part of Quebec PM’s Couillard’s effort to enforce the “neutrality of the state” in religious affairs, but is being widely panned as a naked pandering to Quebecois’ anti-Muslim tendencies.

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