RRH Elections January 2017 Gubernatorial Rankings

The most important races for control of the House of Representatives in 2022 and beyond won’t take place in 2022, but in 2018. As the 2021 redistricting cycle looms, the next round of gubernatorial races–set to occur next year in all but 12 states–is of critical importance. Republicans are mostly on defense this cycle, looking to retain trifectas in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Georgia; and keep their veto pens in place in Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico. But the GOP also has several opportunities to play offense, with the potential to regain trifectas in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Minnesota, and Colorado, and break up Democratic trifectas in Connecticut and Oregon.

Of course, gubernatorial races aren’t all about redistricting, as the outcome of many of these elections will have lasting effect on the next half-decade of American policy. Few could have anticipated that Scott Walker’s routine pickup of an open seat in Wisconsin would make that state a leader in conservative labor and budgetary reform and kick off a stretch that has seen 5 (and soon to be 7) new right-to-work states. The Republican governors of Kansas and Idaho have presided over ideological wars for control of their state parties, and the direction of the GOP in those two states plus potentially Nebraska will be decided at the ballot box in 2018. Now, Bruce Rauner’s bid for re-election could determine the future of Illinois’ fiscal solvency, and the race to defeat Tom Wolf could give Pennsylvania Republicans another crack at reform after frittering away an opportunity earlier this decade.

Gubernatorial races are the most likely opportunity for an off-party to compete in a deep red or blue state, and a victory could give them anything from a popular managerial figure (Maryland’s Larry Hogan or Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker) to a future Senator (West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) to a combative pest who may even drag the state toward the political center (the one and only Paul LePage of Maine).

And we haven’t even mention the nuttiness of New York and California yet. So buckle up–here’s RRH’s first look at the 2018 gubernatorial field.

Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
HI (Ige)
NY (Cuomo)
OR (K. Brown)
PA (Wolf)
RI (Raimondo)
Lean I:
AK (B. Walker)
CT (Malloy)
IL (Rauner)
MD (Hogan)
MA (Baker)
NH (Sununu)
VT (P. Scott)
WI (S. Walker)
AZ (Ducey)
IA (Reynolds)
NE (Ricketts)
SC (McMaster)
AR (Hutchinson)
TX (Abbott)

As always, bold denotes a projected flip while italics denotes a D-held Tossup seat.

These rankings mean that we start out predicting a net shift in Gubernatorial seats of between R+2 and D+7.

Flip over for the full narratives!

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Weekend Open Thread for January 20-22, 2017

As the transfer of power from one overlord to another occurred in an orderly fashion not requiring bloodshed yet again, it is time for this weekend’s open thread. Please check back tomorrow at noon for our first Governor Rankings.

(1) Where does the left go from here?  Does it embrace its Corbynesque impulses and become completely unhinged in response to Trump or does it eventually settle down and form a coherent response to him that does not involve rioting, wearing headgear named after reproductive parts that Trump grabs, and Senator Warren annoying me to no end?

(2) Who do you think will leave Congress (other than those already appointed or will soon be appointed to positions) during this term?

And since its Inauguration weekend, here is President Trump’s speech again.


Inauguration Day 2017 Open Thread

Here is an open thread for any discussion related to the Inaugural festivities, including Trump’s speech. Here is preview of what we think his speech will look like!


Political Roundup for January 20, 2017

Programming note: We will have a dedicated open thread for inauguration-watching later this morning.


Cabinet: At least two of President Trump’s cabinet nominees appear to be ready for Senate confirmation on Inauguration Day. Votes on confirming John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security and James Mattis for Secretary of Defense will occur today. Debate on confirming Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) to be CIA Director will begin today, with a vote either today or early next week.

Polling: As President Trump criticizes the polls showing him with a low approval rating comparing them to the “phony election polls” which were supposedly so wrong, it’s important to remember that the election polls actually were pretty close to the result. The average of the last 13 national polls showed Clinton with a 3 percent lead-she won the popular vote by 2 percent. The one of those 13 polls that showed Trump with a lead was off by 4 percent-more than any of the other polls. In Florida and Ohio, the result was also only off by a point from the final polls. In Pennsylvania, the average of the final 3 polls had Clinton up by a point, and the last poll had Trump up by a point-which was just about the final result. In Michigan, the two final polls averaged out to a Clinton lead of 1.5 points, but the last of those polls had Trump ahead by 2. North Carolina had a bigger poll miss, where Trump won by 3 points more than the polls indicated-although they still indicated a Trump win. Wisconsin was the biggest poll failure, with the 2 final polls showing Clinton with an average of a 7 point lead, although those two polls were conducted a week before the election.


CA-Sen: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) gave indications on Wednesday that she probably will run for re-election next year. Although she didn’t confirm that she definitely was running, she did indicate that she still feels like she can get things done and when asked if that meant she was running she said “Well, that’s sort of true.” Feinstein is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and will play a major role in confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. At 83, Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate and would be 91 at the end of another term. There is some thought that her age and the state’s Top Two system might entice a Democrat to run against her, hoping to get a one on one battle against her in the general election.

FL-Sen: Gov. Rick Scott (R) says he might wait another year before deciding whether to run against Sen. Bill Nelson (D). He says he is getting a lot of pressure to run, but his ability to self-fund means he doesn’t feel the pressure from potential donors to make an early decision and because he is a two-term governor, voters know what to expect from him if he decides to run and he doesn’t need to introduce himself to the voters. A November Gravis Marketing poll showed Nelson leading Scott 51-38 in a potential matchup.

WI-Sen: There is a PAC trying to draft Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D), a DINO and outspoken Trump supporter to run for Senate, presumably as a Republican against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). But Clarke holds a viewpoint that is anathema to most people in the state-he is a Dallas Cowboys fan and openly predicted the Cowboys to beat the Green Bay Packers last week, was in Dallas for the game(won by the Packers) on Sunday, and seems rather self-conscious of any criticism for being a Cowboys fan. It’s unclear though whether Clarke himself has any intention of running for higher office.


AL-Gov/Al-Sen: Rep. Bradley Byrne (R) has no interest in being appointed to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), nor in running for the seat in 2018. However he has not ruled out a run for governor, saying he hasn’t given any thought to the race. He also said that the fact that if he ran for Senate and won he would have to run again in 2020 isn’t appealing to him, but if he ran for governor he would have some time to get something done. He cautioned however that didn’t mean he was planning to run for governor and said if he had to make up his mind right now he wouldn’t run. Byrne finished first in the 2010 Republican primary for governor but lost the runoff to Gov. Robert Bentley (R).

GA-Gov: Former state Sen. Jason Carter (D), who lost a gubernatorial bid as the Democratic nominee in 2014, is considering running again. Carter says that Democrats can’t afford to just target left-leaning voters and need to grow their coalition. He says that Donald Trump makes a lot of Republicans nervous and Democrats can exploit that if they don’t write off a section of voters. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) seems likely to run for governor and she instead is advocating a strategy of mobilizing the Democratic base.

IA-Gov: Another Democrat has said no to a gubernatorial bid. State Sen. Chaz Allen (D), a first term senator from Newton says he will not run and instead will run for re-election to the state Senate. Allen was seen as someone who might have bipartisan appeal-as a long-time mayor of Newton he was said to have such bipartisan appeal that when he ran for State Senate, some people were surprised at his political affiliation. He joins state Sen. Liz Mathis (D) in turning down a gubernatorial bid this week. Polk County Conservation Board Chairman Rich Leopold is the only Democrat to indicate plans to run so far. Democratic Party Chairman Andy McGuire is considering a run. LG and soon to be Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will run, while Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett (R) is considering.

ME-Gov: Two potential Republican candidates for governor have registered domain names for gubernatorial runs, although neither has made any official announcements about running. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has had a mayhewforgovernor.com domain name registered, and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) has had masonformaine.com registered, although he says metadata indicating “Garrett Mason for Governor of Maine” on some of the site’s pages was not authorized by him and it has been removed. Two Democrats have had domain names for gubernatorial runs registered as well, but neither has made an announcement of a run either although both say they are considering. They are car dealer Adam Lee and former Senate President Justin Alfond (D).

MD-Gov: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) enters his re-election bid with a commanding fundraising lead over potential Democratic opponents. Hogan has over $5 million cash on hand available. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) does the best of the Democrats with $1.6 million COH while others have much less.

State offices/other:

SC-LG: The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that the Senate President Pro Tem must ascend to the office of Lieutenant Governor when it is vacant. The position will be vacant when Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is confirmed as UN Ambassador and current LG Henry McMaster (R) becomes governor. A ruling on the matter was requested because current Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman (R) does not want to give up his current position for the less powerful Lieutenant Governor position. To keep Leatherman from having to become LG, Leatherman will resign as President Pro Tem, and state Sen. Kevin Bryant (R) has agreed to become President Pro Tem in order to then become LG, and Leatherman will then reclaim his position as President Pro Tem. The situation will become much cleaner after next year, when a constitutional amendment passed in 2012 will take effect-gubernatorial nominees will choose their LG running mates, and a vacancy in the LG office will be filled by appointment of the governor.

Fake news: Cameron Harris, a 23-year old aspiring political consultant, has revealed in an interview in the New York Times that he was the mastermind behind a website called the Christian Times Newspaper that put out fake news stories last year regarding the election. One that was reposted by many Trump supporters and showed up on pro-Trump websites dealt with an electrical worker in Columbus, OH supposedly finding boxes in a warehouse filled with ballots premarked for Hillary Clinton-complete with a stock photo(which actually came from the UK) purportedly of the worker standing behind the boxes. He made about $22,000 off of ads placed on the site(which has been shut down) and says his motivation behind it was primarily financial, even saying that although he voted for Trump(but originally supported Marco Rubio), he would have written stories supporting Clinton and smearing Trump if it had been lucrative. Harris had been working as an aide to Maryland Del. David Vogt (R), but was fired from that job on Wednesday after the story of the fake news site emerged. The fake news site may not even be the only thing he has faked-he owns a website that is for his political consulting business-Chesapeake Strategy Partners, which listed clients he has worked for. One of them, Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for US Senate last year, says she has never worked with him. The website now says it is under construction.

Permanent majority: As Republicans today take full control of government for the first time since 2005-06 and Democrats are on the run especially at the state level, it’s important to remember that history shows us that this state of affairs may not last long. Just 8 years ago, Democrats were in even better shape than Republicans are now and some talked of a permanent Democratic majority. During most of 2009, even the top political commentators were talking of Democrats possibly gaining seats in the midterm elections and saying there was no chance for Republicans to take back the House in 2010. Some were even saying the Republican Party was destined to become a regional party. Predictions for the Democrats now aren’t that dire, but things still appear fairly bleak for them at least in the short term. Republicans need to take advantage of what they have now because there’s no guarantee how long it will last.



Political Roundup for January 19, 2017

Welcome to the last full day of the Obama presidency and we give him a musical farewell… HERE


Ag Secretary: Finally we have a nominee for the last unfilled spot: ex-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) has been named as Trump’s Agriculture Secretary pick. Perdue should be a relatively non-controversial choice.

OMB Director: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) is under fire in his confirmation hearings for failing to pay $15K in taxes on a household worker.

HHS Secretary: Another nominee facing question from Democrats about his personal finances is Rep. Tom Price (R), who is under fire for allegedly trading stocks using insider congressional information. Of course the transaction in question involves a 26 share purchase of Zimmer Biomet (at a total value of $2,697.74) that was done as part of a periodic portfolio rebalancing in a Morgan Stanley discretionary account in which all investment decisions are made by the financial advisor. But why let facts get in the way of a partisan witch hunt.

Labor Secretary: There are rumors that Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder, Trump’s pick for Labor secretary, is getting cold feet over the intensity of the confirmation process. Were Puzder to back out the Trump cabinet would lose one of its few relatively orthodox Chamber-of-Commerce type conservative members.


CO-Gov: Bold Progressive ex-State Sen. Mike Johnston (D) has become the first established Democrat into the open-seat gubernatorial race, joining little-known plastics executive Noel Ginsburg (D). The primary fields on both sides for this race are expected to be crowded.

CT-Gov: Trumbull (pop. 36K) Mayor and 2014 Treasurer nominee Tim Herbst (R) will run for Governor. Herbst, who is known as a no-holds-barred campaigner, joins State Rep. Pradad Srinivasan (R) and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R) in the race, but the GOP primary field may grow from there. Unpopular Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has not indicated if he will seek a third term, but Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D) is already in the race.

ID-Gov: Developer Tommy Ahlquist (R) is considering a run for Governor. The two major candidates in the race so far are LG Brad Little (R), who represents the chamber-of-commerce Mormon-heavy faction of retiring Gov. Butch Otter (R), and ex-State Sen. and 2014 candidate Russ Fulcher (R), who is close to the more libertarian-leaning faction of Rep. Raul Labrador (R), though Fulcher’s base may be poached if Labrador himself enters as is rumored. It looks like Ahlquist would be more likely to draw votes from Little’s chamber-of-commerce lane than the Fulcher/Labrador faction if he entered the contest.

KS-Gov: 2000s-era ex-State Rep. Ed O’Malley (R) is considering a gubernatorial bid. O’Malley, a moderate, hails from Johnson County, the largest base of votes for that faction of the fractious KSGOP. This primary is likely to be crowded, but conservative LG Jeff Colyer (R) and SoS Kris Kobach (R) and the more moderate Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R), are the most talked-about major candidates.

MI-Gov: State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) of suburban Detroit is considering a run for Governor. Colbeck, an antiestablishment fiscal conservative who has won two tough races in his light-red seat, would likely start with a significant antiestablishment base. However, he does not have high statewide name recognition and would probably be a longer-shot relative to the bigger names rumored to be exploring the race, such as AG Bill Schuette (R), LG Brian Calley (R), and ex-Rep. and Macomb County official Candice Miller (R).

MN-Gov: Mike Lindell, the “founder and inventor” (not to mention infomercial star) of the MyPillow, is aggressively denying reports that he is considering a run for Governor of Minnesota as a Republican. Lindell, a vocal Trump supporter, has been arguably the most ubiquitous TV pitchman since Billy Mays for his infomercials extolling the benefits of his chopped-foam pillows. However, his company has been under fire recently for allegedly deceptive advertising practices.

NV-Gov: Rep. Mark Amodei (R), who has locked down his purple Reno-area House seat, will not run for Governor, though he has left the door open for a run for AG instead. Separately, businessman Steve Cloobeck (D) announced he planning to run and will self-fund $5M. AG Adam Laxalt (R) and Clark County commissioner Steve Sisolak (D), both of whom also have 7-figure warchests, are both considered likely to run as well.

NJ-Gov: Clinton administration official Jim Johnson (D) has announced he has qualified for state matching funds. Johnson, who until now has been considered a footnote in this race, could now have the resources to be at least a somewhat credible contender. However, ambassador and Goldman Sachs exec Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D) has already bought the state’s powerful machines and looks like an overwhelming front-runner. Johnson will most likely actually help him, as he will likely serve to divide the anti-Murphy vote even further between himself, State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D), and State Rep. John Wisniewski (D), all of whom are running to Murphy’s left.

NY-Gov: State Senate President John Flanagan (R) of Long Island is apparently eyeing a run for Governor against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), but there are strong reasons to think this is all for show. Flanagan is already one of NYS’s legendary “Three Men in a Room”, meaning he has basically as much power as the Governor already when it comes to legislation. Wanting to give that seat up for an uphill run against Cuomo would seem a dumb move. More likely this is a manifestation of the bromance between Cuomo and Flanagan publicly breaking down as Cuomo has tacked to the left in recent months to insure himself against a likely left-wing primary challenger, which has led to new friction between the previously-friendly Cuomo/Senate GOP axis. My personal guess is that this is all for show as both sides now have incentive to seem more adversarial: Cuomo playing to the Dem base and the Senate GOP playing to their base voters. I would imagine things snap back to normal come 2019 if all parties are re-elected to their current positions.

More NY-Gov: In news involving more realistic prospective candidates for this race, investor and 2010 Comptroller nominee Harry Wilson (R) has announced he is considering the race. Wilson is a wealthy moderate with ties to both Upstate and the suburbs who came close to winning the Comptroller’s office; thus, he could be a strong candidate. Wilson joins Flanagan, moderate Upstate ex-Rep. Richard Hanna (R), and 2014 nominee and Westchester CE Rob Astorino (R) as prospective GOP candidates against Cuomo.

TN-Gov: Businessman and Gov. Haslam administration official Randy Boyd (R) is considering a run for Governor and says he will make a decision within the next month. Antiestablishment-leaning State Sen. Mark Green (R) is the only candidate in the race so far, but multiple other Republicans, including Reps. Diane Black (R) and Marsha Blackburn (R) and State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), have been rumored to be interested.


FL-7: State Sen. David Simmons (R) is considering a run against freshman Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D), who surprisingly picked up this purple seat last year. Simmons, who represents the bulk of the area, is also considering a run for Attorney General in 2018. Clinton won this seat, which was drawn as a Democratic gerrymander by the idiots in the legislature who feared court interference. Thus, scoring a top recruit like Simmons should be a high priority for the NRCC to ensure this seat is in play before Murphy can become entrenched.

GA-6: Attorney Josh McLaurin (D) is dropping out of this race and backing filmmaker Jon Osoff (D), who has consolidated some establishment Dem support in this race to replace HHS Secretary-designate Tom Price (R). The race for this historically-R north-suburban Atlanta seat is in a Louisiana-Rules Top Two format, meaning that Dems could be boxed out of the likely runoff if their votes are splintered. In addition to Osoff, ex-State Rep. Sally Harrell (D) and ex-State Sen. Ron Slotin (D) are in the race. State Sen. Judson Hill (R) is the only Republican in the race so far, but two others, ex-State Sen. Dan Moody (R) and ex-SoS Karen Handel (R), are seen as near certain to run.

SC-5: Remington Research Group tests a hypothetical GOP primary for Mulvaney’s seat, assuming he’s confirmed, and finds the race up-in-the-air with most candidates unknown. The front-runner with 25% is State Rep. Tommy Pope (R), who is bolstered by higher-than-zero name recognition from his recent exploration of a Governor run (which will likely be aborted now that LG Henry McMaster (R) is able to run as an incumbent). State Rep. Ralph Norman (R), the only candidate to enter the race so far, trails with 9%, and two others are also in single-digits. State Sen. and 2010/14 Gov nominee Vincent Sheheen (D) is considering a run; Sheheen would likely be the only candidate who could put the conservative north-central SC seat even marginally in play for Dems.

Row Offices:

FL-Ag. Comm: State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) is considering a run for Agriculture Commissioner. If Grimsley enters she would join self-funding businessman and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) in the primary. The article also has several other names, all GOP legislators, who are also thought ot be interested in the post. Termed-out incumbent Adam Putnam (R) is likely to run for Governor.

ID-Treas: Investor Kevin Jones (R) has wasted no time in becoming the first to declare his candidacy for the open Treasurer’s seat, after incumbent Ron Crane (R) announced earlier this month that he will not be seeking a fifth term.

NM-LG: Elected State School Board member Jeff Carr (D) is running for LG. New Mexico uses a “shotgun wedding” format in which there are separate primaries for LG and Governor, but the two run together in the general election. With a crowded gubernatorial primary likely but Dems standing a good chance to pick up the gubernatorial seat, launching a standalone LG campaign is probably not a terrible move for Carr.

OH-AG: Ex-US Attorney Steve Dettelbach (D), who was recruited to run for OH-14 last cycle but demurred, is instead raising money for an AG run. If he pulls the trigger, Dettelbach will likely face State Auditor Dave Yost (R) in a competitive general election. Termed-out incumbent Mike DeWine (R) is running for Governor.

TX-AG: AG Ken Paxton (R) is under indictment for securities fraud and has a trial coming up, but that hasn’t slowed down his fundraising. After a drop following the indictment in 2015, he has rebuilt his warchest and is sitting on $4.6M CoH. Paxton’s fundraising is likely helped by his high profile in conservative media, which could help him remain a viable candidate in 2018 if he survives the criminal charges. But of course it will be all for nought if he is convicted. If Paxton is removed from office, State Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (R) is seen as his most likely successor.

Local Offices:

NYC-Mayor: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary Clinton (D) would start with a 20 point lead over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) for NYC mayor, then blow it in the last 3 weeks*. Hillary would lead Mayor deBlasio in a hypothetical Dem primary 61% to 29%. deBlasio does better against his less well known New York City rivals but still only gets 35% (below the 40% threshold to avoid a runoff) in a hypothetical 5 way Democratic primary with Christine Quinn, Scott Stringer,Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Ruben Diaz and State Sen. Tony Avella.

More NYC-Mayor: Across the aisle, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has sent out a fundraising email for city councilman Eric Ulrich (R), who is considering a mayoral run. Ulrich has won two terms in a deep-blue Ozone Park, Queens based council district and is known as a strong campaigner, but has little citywide name recognition or personal cash, the two biggest assets a Republican needs in huge and deep-blue NYC. Developer Paul Massey (R), who has already amassed a 7-figure warchest, is the other serious Republican considering a run here.

El Paso-Mayor: This week is filing time for the May 6 El Paso mayoral election. Incumbent Oscar Leeser (D) has announced he will not seek a second term, and it looks like there are three serious candidates to succeed him: city councilwoman Emma Acosta (D), ex-State Rep. Dee Margo (R), who won a State House seat in 2010 before losing it in 2012, and businessman David Saucedo (R), who also served on the state nursing board. The city is heavily Democratic, so I would guess Acosta starts out as the front-runner.

Corpus Christi-Mayor: Here’s a weird one: after just over a month in office, mayor Dan McQueen (R) has resigned, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. It seems like he couldn’t quite take the heat of the spotlight in office, but there may be something more at play here. To make things even more interesting, city law also seems to be unclear as to the plan of succession. There seems to be a special election required, but it’s unclear on when it will be held. One candidate isn’t letting that stop him though, as ex-city councilman Mark Scott (R) has already announced his intention to run.

Rochester, NY-Mayor: Monroe County commissioner James Sheppard (D), a former police chief, is running for Rochester Mayor. Sheppard will likely run to the right of his two rivals: incumbent Lovely Warren (D), who upset the prior mayor while running on a left-wing platform in 2013, and TV newscaster and former state legislative candidate Rachel Barnhart (D), who has some bold progressive backing.

Albany, NY-Mayor: City council president Carolyn McLaughlin (D) will challenge incumbent Kathy Sheehan (D). This is the latest in a series of battles between the relatively moderate Albany County Machine (of which Sheehan is a member in good standing) and a more liberal faction with a base in the city’s minority communities; the machine faction has generally won most of the battles.

Montgomery, MD-CE: David Trone (D), the liquor store chain owner who spent $9M to earn a place in history – by running the most expensive congressional campaign ever to get 27% and second place in the MD-8 primary last year – is looking at a run for Montgomery County Executive in 2018. Like the MD-8 field last time, this primary is also likely to be very crowded.


Political Roundup for January 18th, 2017


Agriculture Secretary: The main reason why the otherwise low-profile post has yet to be filled is because it’s currently the prize in a power struggle between Abel Maldonado and Sonny Perdue, representing competing farming lobbies. The former would let Trump have at least one Hispanic in his cabinet, but also has a looming shadow of corrupting hanging over his head.

Lewis: Trump’s feud with Atlanta Congressman John Lewis continues, because of course it does. More interesting is the fact that Lewis actually skipped Bush’s inauguration as well, which kind of hits home one of the bigger lessons of 2016–Crying racist wolf has kind of lost its impact. “Civil Rights Icon refuses to attend Republican Presidential Inauguration . . . again” just doesn’t have the punch I think Lewis intended.

Polls: They’re rigged and phony I tell you! More seriously, I think Trump’s got an oddly meta-stable approval rating, to the point where despite getting essentially no post-election bounce and the worst approval rating for an incoming president since probably John Quincy Adams, he might honestly have a strong footing based on how ludicrously solid his ~40% approval is.

Tillerson: Even McCain is apparently warming to Tillerson. If the man is half as good at diplomacy as he is at convincing reluctant Hawkish Senators to support him, America’s foreign policy is going to be in good hands.


CA-34: Latino Decisions informed-decision poll of a special election primary in a heavily Hispanic district, so salt to taste, but the find Bernie Sanders Latino Outreach Direction Arturo Carmona to be the leading candidate to replace soon-to-be-CA-AG Xavier Becerra.

KS-4: Democrats have an actual candidate for this soon-to-be-open house seat in consultant Laura Lombard. Lombard is C-list at best, having spent the past few years living and working in D.C. and no relevant political experience to speak of. Honest question—when is the last time a candidate who has “recently re-established residence” in a district they haven’t been to in years actually won the election? I think it’s Al Franken, but I could be wrong (Pat Robert’s doesn’t count).

TX-30: Rumors are swirling that Eddie Bernice Johnson is gearing up to retire. While not the first time she’s been on the watch list, sources close to her suggest that she’s serious about it this time. This is probably the only realistic chance any Dallas Democrat has at a promotion anytime soon, with Texas State Senator Royce West the clear favorite in an open seat.

VA-Sen: Laura Ingraham, Conservative talk radio host, is considering running for Senate in Virginia next year. Given her long radio history and numerous media appearances (and an attitude towards D.C. highly reflective of Trump’s single-digit-salute), I’m sure the Democrats would love to run against her, but it’s not clear if the GOP has a better candidate lined up if Comstock passes on this race.

State & Local:

AL-Gov: Democrat and former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb is interested in running, as is (D->R->D) Former Congressman Parker Griffith. Either would be heavy underdogs in what is one of the most reliable Republican states east of the Mississippi, even with the ALGOP’s recent scandals. State Rep. Craig Ford (D) has also indicated interest in the race.

Cleveland-Mayor: City Councilman Jeffery Johnson has announced he is running for Mayor, seeking to oust incumbent and fellow Democrat Frank Jackson, who he claims is too corporate-friendly for the city. Cleveland has a California top-2 primary system, so Johnson, who was considered a rising Black political star before getting convicted of federal bribery charges in the 90s, will most likely face Jackson 1-on-1 in the general election.

IA-Gov: State Senator Liz Mathis (D), considered the Democrat’s top get for this seat, has announced she is not interested in running. This is probably low on the Democrat’s priority list for 2018, given Iowa’s jump rightward recently and the dozen friendlier states for them to target up at the same time.

NC-Gov: Well color me perplexed. Newly elected Governor Roy Cooper’s attempt to unilaterally expand Medicaid in North Carolina despite having an explicit law on the books saying he cannot is getting a court hearing that will almost certainly render the whole point moot since Obama will be out of office in a few days. I guess we’ll get a formalized legal opinion on whether or not state laws are more like guidelines than actual rules.


Clinton: Despite everything in the world pointing against it, the “Is Clinton going to run for Mayor of NYC” stories keep popping up by people apparently taking them seriously. At this point I’m honestly convinced Clinton has no intention of ever trying for public office again, and is simply basking in the attention to try to soothe over her bruised ego after running the most disappointing campaign since, well, everyone who’s ever run against Scott DesJarlais.

Florida-Turnout: Here’s a nice look at the turnout rates of Florida voters by party and race. Needless to say, Trump owes his win in the state to lethargic D turnout across the board.

Pardons: Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence, meaning she will be free in May. More interestingly, he also pardoned FALN (Puerto Rican Nationalist Terrorists) bomber Oscar Lopez, because apparently Bill Clinton forgot one of them when he did the exact same thing in 1999.

Maxine Waters: In between making quite possibly the dumbest case for impeaching Trump I’ve seen yet (He called Clinton “Crooked”, that’s impeachable right?), California state disgrace Maxine Waters actually stumbled across an interesting question of whether or not a President can be impeached for conduct undertaken prior to assuming office.


Political Roundup for January 17th, 2017

I hope you all celebrated Robert E. Lee’s birthday in a relaxing fashion. I celebrated it with Korean BBQ, but that’s just me. And now, onto the news!


2020: Vanity Fair (I know, I know) has a piece on why Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (D-Any Finals Club he wants now) might run for President. I find this a bit silly, but give it a read if you need a chuckle.


CA-Sen: Buried in this wonderful stream-of-consciousness article by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (Old School D) is his prediction that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will step down before her next election in 2018. Willie goes on to predict that Gov. Jerry Brown (Wiser For His Years Burned-out Hippie D) will appoint himself to the seat in that scenario. I’m skeptical about that one, but the article is definitely worth a read.


CA-Gov: Silicon Valley entrepreneur/billionaire Peter Thiel (R By Process Of Elimination) is said to be playing Hamlet with a possible run for governor. Personally, this feels a lot like the Shakespearean scene that is played out every two years with John Elway’s possible runs for statewide office in Colorado; he toys with it a bit before dropping the skull every time.

NV-Gov: State Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), who is almost certainly running for governor, currently has $1.5m Cash on Hand in his campaign account. That might not sound like much, but it’s a lot for Nevada gubernatorial campaign at this point in the cycle.

NV-Gov Continued: As a companion piece, here’s a Great Mentioner article about who might run for governor on the Democratic side.

VA-Gov: The latest Mason-Dixon poll of this year’s contest for Governor of Virginia has both Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D, except for that one time he almost switched) and former Rep. Tom Perriello (Progressive) losing to 2014 Senate nominee Ed Gillespie (R). Both Democrats lead Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart (R). I’m just going to let this one speak for itself.


MT-AL: Supposedly, businessman and 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) has managed to navigate Big Sky Country’s smoke-filled rooms and obtain for himself the nomination for Rep. Ryan Zinke’s (R) seat, should Zinke actually be elevated to Secretary of the Interior. I don’t know about you, but I really want to know which brand of stogies he brought to the table that convinced so many party insiders to back him. With his money, I’m guessing that he handed out Opus X.

MT-AL Continued: On the Democratic side of that same possible special election, Democrats are eyeing Assistant AUSA Zeno Baucus, son of former Sen. Max. Singer-songwriter Rob Quist has already begun the donkey race for the nomination.


FL-Parties: Both major parties in the Sunshine State recently held their conventions. Republicans stayed the course, while Democrats elected a megadonor as party chairman (though there was a lot of acrimony from progressives over that).

Rothenberg: Nate Gonzales is officially taking over the venerated Rothenberg Political Report. It’s name is changing to Inside Elections. Stuart Rothenberg is now focusing on other projects.

San Diego-Mayor: SurveyUSA is out with a poll that shows Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) still in decent shape (+4), despite the Chargers’ having moved northward.

UK-Labour Dumpster Fire: MP Tristram Hunt, often pegged as a rising star in British Labour, has resigned his seat in Stoke-on-Trent to take a position as a museum director. I really see this as an attempt to get out while the gettin’ is good. His seat, while not in danger, will likely be combined with another Labour MP’s at the next election. Given his opposition to Corbyn, I could see him losing a selection battle.


MLK Day 2017 Policy Thread

Regular roundups will resume Tuesday, but in the meantime here is a policy question to chew over for your MLK Day three-day weekend:

What would you do about infrastructure (transportation, utilties, etc) policy?

And in honor of Martin Luther King….click HERE for a joke!


Weekend Open Thread for January 13-16, 2017

Programming Update:  We will not have a roundup on Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, but we will have a policy thread.

This is the last weekend of the Obama presidency.  We can look forward to the departure of the Obama administration, which has been sort of lame duck since 2010, and cautiously look forward to the arrival of the Trump administration.  It is time for this weekend’s open thread:

(1)  What was your favorite political moment from the Obama administration?  I am thinking of a certain liveblog that was lost in our move to this new site 🙂

(2)  If Democrats continue to embrace intersectionality identity politics, will such a development make it easier or harder for Republicans to retain majorities in Congress and keep the presidency in 2020?

(3)  Is there a potential we see a Trump style candidate win a gubernatorial race in 2018?

And because its the weekend and Trump is getting Closer to the White House, here is a video.


Political Roundup for January 13, 2017


Brown: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) has told The Hill that he has no interest in running for President in 2020. Brown is planning to run for re-election in 2018 and has said he does not want to immediately pivot from that campaign into another one for the Democrat nomination for President. Brown’s ex-wife claimed in legal proceedings that he had used physical violence” and said that Sherrod Brown had “struck and bullied me on several different occasions.” Allegations of spousal abuse should make Brown radioactive in any Democrat primary but the GOP nominated THIS guy for president so who the heck knows anymore.


CT-Gov: Middletown, CT (pop. 50K) mayor Dan Drew (D) is considering a run for governor. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has not disclosed whether he intends to seek a third term.

FL-Gov: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) has announced he will not run for a third term and will most likely run for governor in 2018. The Democratic field is getting crowded. Other names circulating statewide as possible Democratic candidates include Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Rep. Gwen Graham and ambulance chaser John Morgan. On the Republican side most expect Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam to run.

HI-Gov: State Sen. Josh Green (D) considering a run against Gov. Ige, but people seem to think this is a ploy to raise his name rec for an LG bid (LG Shan Tsutsui is likely to run for Maui County Exec). Green has a large warchest but hails from the Big Island (60% of Hawaii’s population is on Oahu, so that’s a big geographical handicap).

NJ-Gov: Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno (R) has filed papers to run for Governor. She will formally announce her candidacy on Tuesday.

NJ-Gov: Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) is “scaling back” his gubernatorial campaign as he undergoes radiation treatment for cancer affecting his throat and tonsils. The treatment for this kind of cancer can be quite intense and our prayers for a speedy recovery go out to the Assemblyman.

OH-Gov: Ex-Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams (D) is considering running for governor in 2018. Williams joins a growing list of potential 2018 Democratic candidates which includes Rep. Tim Ryan, state Senate Minority Leader, ex-state Rep. Connie Pillich,  Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O’Neill, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, Richard Cordray, and ex-U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton.

OR-Gov: Kate Brown was just sworn in as Governor but Republican opponents for 2018 are already lining up. State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) has raised $100K in the last week. Brown, who took over from disgraced Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), was just elected to serve out the final 2 years of his term.


AL-Sen: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) has raised $300K in the last month. Strange has made it clear he intends to run for Senate regardless of who Gov. Robert Bentley (R) appoints to fill the seat of Attorney General designate Jeff Sessions. Bentley has previously stated that he intends for his appointment to serve until the regular 2018 elections and that he will not call a 2017 special election.

PA-Sen: State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) of the Mon Valley is considering challenging Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) in 2018.

WV-Sen: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) is likely to launch a bid for US Senate against Sen. Joe Manchin (D) while Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) has said that people have been asking him to run for Senate and that he will consider getting into the race.


FL-4: Good news! After being taken from the Capitol on a stretcher on Wednesday afternoon newly elected Rep. John Rutherford (R) is doing OK and hopefully will be back to normal shortly. According the RRH’s in house medical expert it sounds like what Rep. Rutherford had was an esophageal spasm, which can often be mistaken for a heart attack.

KS-4: Wichita councilman Pete Meitzner (R) will run for the seat now held by  seat now held by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) who has been nominated to head the CIA. Meitzner is the second Republican candidate to announce a run this week. Lawyer and businessman George Bruce announced Tuesday that he would seek the seat.

MN-8: Here is some really great analysis of Democrat Rep. Nick Nolan’s re-election by Miles Coleman over on the Decision Desk. It is definitely worth a read.

MT-AL: Unsuccessful 2016 Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte is interested in running for the soon to be vacant house seat of Interior Secretary designate Ryan Zinke.  Gianforte is getting help from Sen. Steve Daines (R) who is making calls on Gianforte’s behalf. The GOP nominee will be chosen via a party convention.

State, Local & Other:

Idaho-State Treasurer:  Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane (R) won’t seek a sixth term. He had been facing some ethical questions in recent years. His son, Brent Crane, is the current assistant majority leader in the Idaho state House.

Albuquerque-Mayor: New Mexico Auditor Tim Keller (D) is running for Mayor of Albuquerque this year. Field is quite crowded all around. Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry (R) will not seek re-election for a third term. This is the first mayoral election in Albuquerque in 20 years without an incumbent on the ballot.

Boston-Mayor: Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson (D) will run for mayor against Mayor Marty Walsh (D). This Tito Jackson was not a member of the Jackson 5 and has no relation to THIS Tito Jackson.

CO-Tax Hike Ballot Proposition: Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has asked lawmakers to send a tax hike measure to the November ballot.

NJ-Jersey City Mayor: The Observer takes an interesting look at the upcoming race for Jersey City Mayor and City Council. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) was pushed out of the race for governor by uber rich ex-Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy (D) and is running for re-election this year.