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RRH Elections July 2017 House Ratings

Today it is time for our inaugural House Ratings. Here is this cycle’s first Big Board:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
CA-7 (Bera)
CA-16 (Costa)
CA-24 (Carbajal)
CA-26 (Brownley)
CO-7 (OPEN)
CT-5 (Esty)
IL-10 (Schneider)
IL-17 (Bustos)
NH-2 (Kuster)
NY-3 (Suozzi)
NY-18 (S. Maloney)
NY-25 (Slaughter)
OR-4 (DeFazio)
WI-3 (Kind)
AZ-1 (O’Halleran)
FL-13 (Crist)
FL-27 (OPEN)
IA-2 (Loebsack)
MN-7 (Peterson)
MN-8 (Nolan)
NV-4 (Kihuen)
PA-17 (Cartwright)
AZ-2 (McSally)
FL-7 (Murphy)
FL-26 (Curbelo)
MN-1 (OPEN)

MN-2 (Lewis)
NE-2 (Bacon)
NH-1 (Shea-Porter)
NJ-5 (Gottheimer)
NY-22 (Tenney)
NV-3 (OPEN)
TX-23 (Hurd)
VA-10 (Comstock)
CA-10 (Denham)
CA-21 (Valadao)
CA-25 (Knight)
CA-39 (Royce)
CA-45 (Walters)
CA-48 (Rohrabacher)
CA-49 (Issa)
CO-6 (Coffman)
GA-6 (Handel)
IL-6 (Roskam)
IA-1 (Blum)
KS-2 (OPEN)
KS-3 (Yoder)
ME-2 (Poliquin)
MI-11 (Trott)
NJ-3 (MacArthur)
NJ-7 (Lance)
NY-19 (Faso)
PA-6 (Costello)
PA-7 (Meehan)
PA-8 (Fitzpatrick)
TX-32 (Sessions)
CA-22 (Nunes)
CO-3 (Tipton)
FL-18 (Mast)
FL-25 (Diaz-Balart)
GA-7 (Woodall)
IA-3 (Young)
IL-12 (Bost)
IL-13 (R. Davis)
IL-14 (Hultgren)
KY-6 (Barr)
MI-1 (Bergman)
MI-6 (Upton)
MI-7 (Walberg)
MI-8 (Bishop)
MN-3 (Paulsen)
MO-2 (Wagner)
MT-AL (Gianforte)
NC-9 (Pittenger)
NC-13 (Budd)
NJ-2 (LoBiondo)
NJ-11 (Frelinghuysen)
NM-2 (OPEN)
NY-1 (Zeldin)
NY-11 (Donovan)
NY-21 (Stefanik)
NY-23 (Reed)
NY-24 (Katko)
OH-16 (OPEN)
PA-15 (Dent)
PA-16 (Smucker)
SD-AL (OPEN)
TX-3 (OPEN)
TX-7 (Culberson)
VA-2 (Taylor)
VA-7 (Brat)
WA-3 (Herrera-Beutler)
WA-8 (Reichert)
WI-1 (Ryan)
WV-2 (Mooney)
WV-3 (OPEN)

Seats not listed are safe for their incumbent party. As always, bold means a seat we project to flip and italics means a D-held Tossup. These ratings mean we are projecting a net shift in the House of between R+4 and D+8.

As we generally are wont to do, this cycle’s big board starts very big. We have 96 seats currently listed as on the playing field, a bit more than in previous cycles, because the dominant state of the House picture right now is one of profound uncertainty. However, we do know that Democrats have far, far more upside than Republicans do – we list just 26 Dem held seats as being on the board compared to 70 GOP-held seats. So the current projection of no change to a small Dem gain is probably close to the best-case scenario for the GOP. However, we still see Democrats gaining the seats they need to take over the House as something of a long-shot. Pay close attention to the 22 seats we have rated as Lean R – right now it’s difficult to imagine a Dem path to a House takeover that doesn’t run through flipping at least most of those, which contain a large chunk of once-Safe-R suburban seats that trended strongly against Trump in 2016 and now look quite purple. Of course, this early in the cycle we tend to err on the side of overestimating the playing field rather than underestimating it, and you can consider it a pretty safe bet that those Likely R and Likely D categories will shrink dramatically with time – some of the races we consider potentially competitive right now will wind up Safe as credible opponents materialize or fail to do so. For now overall we hesitate to predict any major changes in the House landscape, but that doesn’t mean such changes are not very possible depending on the national environment – and something Republican incumbents listed need to be wary of.

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Weekend Open Thread for July 21-23, 2017

Welcome to another weekend. We will have our first 2018 House Ratings out tomorrow at noon!

Also, please donate now to help us poll the AL-Sen GOP primary! Anyone who donates $10 or more (or who has already donated that since July 1st) will get an exclusive release of the poll 1 hour early. Until then here are some questions:

1. What political impact does the whiff on healthcare have for 2018?

2. Who is the most likely member of Congress (either party, either chamber) to lose a re-election primary in 2018?

And because it’s the weekend….we give a phenomenal goodbye to Sean Spicer HERE

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Political Roundup for July 21, 2017

Polling Update: RRHelections is planning to poll the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama and we need your help to make it happen! Unlike any other organization or news source our polls are funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. If you would like to help make this poll happen please go to https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and donate to our polling fund to be a part of this effort and to help make this happen!

Senate:

ME-Sen: Gov. Paul LePage (R) is now apparently leaving the door open to running for US Senate against Sen. Angus King (I) after saying in May that he would not run. State Sen. Eric Brakey (R) is currently the only candidate in the race and while LePage made positive comments about Brakey, he also said if Brakey “doesn’t start resonating pretty quick”, then he might change his mind about running.

MO-Sen: All 4 living former Republican US Senators from Missouri are encouraging AG Josh Hawley (R) to run for US Senate. Ex-Sens. John Ashcroft (R), Kit Bond (R), John Danforth (R) and Jim Talent (R) all signed a public letter released yesterday asking Hawley to get in the race. Danforth was one of Hawley’s earliest supporters and has been encouraging him to run for months.

House:

CA-45: Former Obama Administration senior technology advisor Brian Forde (D) is joining a crowded group taking on Rep. Mimi Walters (R). Forde is a former Republican who switched his registration to Democrat last year-although he voted twice for Obama. He joins 6 other candidates, all Democrats taking on Walters. Democrats are targeting the district, which moved significantly to the left at the presidential level in 2016, going for Clinton by 5 points after Romney won it in 2012 by 12.

FL-7: Businessman Scott Sturgill entered the race for Congress on Wednesday, joining state Rep  Mike Miller (R) vying for the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D). Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who also considered running himself, was at Sturgill’s announcement and said he was supporting Sturgill. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (R) has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but has not publicly shown any interest in running.

ME-2: Former state Senate candidate Jonathan Fulford is the 2nd Democrat to announce a run against Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R). He joins restaurant owner Tim Rich in the Democratic primary. Fulford lost 2 close races for state Senate in 2014 and 2016-losing by less than 1 point in 2014 and 4 points for the same seat in 2016.

NM-2: State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn (R) announced this week that he will run for Congress. Dunn is the 2nd Republican to get into the race, joining state Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R) is also considering a run. Dunn has run for the seat before, finishing 3rd in the 2008 Republican primary. Dunn also lost a race for state Senate in 2012 before winning a very close race over incumbent Land Commissioner Ray Powell (D) in 2014 by 704 votes.  4 Democrats are currently running as well.

NY-1: Attorney David Calone, who narrowly lost in last year’s Democratic primary, has decided against running again to face Rep. Lee Zeldin (R). Calone lost to Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne Holst in the primary by just 319 votes. Former Suffolk Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D) is running, businessman Perry Gershon has a campaign committee for a run, and state Assemblyman Fred Thiele is considering. Thiele served in the state Assembly as a Republican from 1995-2010, when he switched to the Independence Party and caucuses with Democrats.

WV-3: Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D) is the 3rd Democrat to join the race for this open seat. He joins Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis and state Sen. Richard Ojeda. Ojeda was thought to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination as someone who gained national attention last year for being brutally beaten just days before defeating an incumbent senator in the Democratic primary, but he has apparently struggled in fundraising and the Democratic establishment appears to be turning to Williams as their favored candidate.

Governor:

CA-Gov: Former state Assemblyman David Hadley (R) is dropping out of the race just two weeks after getting in. Hadley is a social moderate and fiscal conservative supported by much of the state Republican establishment and had been endorsed by a majority of the Republicans in the Legislature. In dropping out, Hadley cited the need to not split the Republican vote and increase the likelihood that two Democrats would advance to the general election in the state’s top two election system. Two Republicans remain in the race-businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R).

NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) said yesterday it is “virtually certain” he will run for governor next year. Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) is considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and has the backing of Las Vegas casino owner and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Schwartz however is purported to be a millionaire, and may have some self-funding ability of his own.

State & Local:

AK-LG: In what may be one of the shortest political campaigns ever, state Sen. David Wilson (R) has dropped out of the race for Lieutenant Governor just one day after getting in. Wilson filed to run on Wednesday and then amended his filing yesterday to say “not running for office.” Wilson’s  entry into the race was a surprise as he is a freshman legislator who had mostly stayed in the background. Wilson says he was debating, thinking and praying about running and the filing was an accident.

IL-Sec. of State: The Illinois GOP is recruiting Air Force veteran J.C. Griffin to run for Secretary of State. Griffin says it’s premature to say he plans to run, but he is definitely considering. Incumbent Sec. of State Jesse White (D), who is 83 and in his 5th term has told supporters he did not plan to run again, but he is said to be reconsidering at the urging of party leaders. White has won easily in his last 4 runs, and would likely be an overwhelming favorite if he runs again.

International:

Alberta PC-Wildrose merger: The Alberta Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose Party will vote this weekend whether to merge their two parties in a “unite the right” movement. The long discussed move is supported by both PC Leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean but was primarily set in motion by Kenney, who resigned as an MP last year in order to campaign for the leadership of the Alberta PC Party on a platform of working to combine the two right-leaning parties. It is not a given however that the move will succeed-while the PCs only need to ratify the agreement by simple majority, the Wildrose Party set a 75% support threshold. If the merger succeeds, the new party will be called the United Conservative Party. Both Kenney and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean plan to run for the leadership of the new party. If the merger fails, there is the possibility of other forms of cooperation, such as non-compete agreements in some ridings. Both Wildrose and the PCs lead the incumbent NDP in recent polls for the next election, which must be held by May 31, 2019 at the latest.

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Political Roundup for July 20, 2017

Today’s roundup starts on a somber note as last night we learned Senator John McCain (R- American Hero) has glioblastoma, the worst form of brain cancer.  We hope for the best as McCain battles this terminal illness.  We also hope that President Trump can be presidential and not saying stupid regarding Senator McCain.

Polling Update: RRHelections is planning to poll the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama and we need your help to make it happen! Unlike any other organization or news source our polls are funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. If you would like to help make this poll happen please go to https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and donate to our polling fund to be a part of this effort and to help make this happen!

Now for the rest of the roundup:

Presidential/National

Voter Fraud Commission:  President Trump (R?) accused election officials refusing to provide data largely available in the public domain to his “Voting Integrity Commission” of hiding “something”.  Not sure whose worse here… the “Commission” refusing to lift a finger here or the election officials who could just turn it over to shut the “Commission” up.

Trumpism:  Why are soft Trump supporters willing to bail from the Trump Train, but ardent supporters aren’t bailing?  The Wall Street Journal supposes that Trump’s ardent supporters care less about accomplishments and care more about someone understanding them.  We should get used to this politics of feelings over accomplishments in this identity politics fueled insanity we live in.  Thanks liberals for creating identity politics.

AG:  President Trump seems to regret hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-Drug War).

Postal Service:  In case Republicans had a reason to support the Post Office (worst service ever), here is a reason why we should all support destroying this grossly incompetent institution… the supposedly civil service non-partisan government owned operation broke the law by encouraging employees to take paid time off to campaign for former Senator Hillary Clinton (D).

Congress

Senate – Medicaid Expansion:  With the push from President Trump to get the Obamacare repeal and replace done or else (whatever that means), Senate Republicans are looking to fatten the bill with pork to get wavering senators on board in the form of $200 billion in funding to states that expanded Medicare.  At this point, Senate Republican leaders should pray for a couple hundred billion of walking around money to appear.

MI-7:  Former State Representative Gretchen Driskell (D) will challenge Representative Tim Walberg (R) again for this south-central Michigan seat.  Driskell lost to Walberg in 2016 by approximately 15 points.

Midterms:  The Washington Post has an interesting look at how the Democrats have a preference advantage, but the Republicans have a motivation gap.  Apparently people don’t like Republicans, but really don’t want the Resistance in power!

States

Il-Gov:  Governor Bruce Rauner (R) may face a primary challenge from State Senator Sam McCann (RINO-Unions).  Rauner funded a challenge against McCann in 2016, which was unsuccessful.

MD-Gov:  Maya Rockeymoore (D), a quintessential member of the Political Staffer – Consultant Industrial Complex and wife of Representative Elijah Cummings (D), is reportedly considering a run for Governor.  Besides the standard desire for political power couples to accumulate as much power as possible, Rockeymoore claims the recent failed Republican efforts to roll back Medicaid expansion is driving her potential candidacy.

OH-Gov/CFPB:  CFPB Director Richard Cordray (D) is apparently going to run for Governor.  State Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) claims to have heard this news from a mutual friend.  Can we use this as an excuse to can Cordray as CFPB Director now?

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AZ-Sen: McCain Diagnosed with Terminal Brain Cancer

Six-term US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive brain cancer and one with a 100% fatality rate. If McCain were to resign, Governor Doug Ducey (R) would appoint a successor—that appointee would run for the remainder of the term in a 2018 special election. More to follow.

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Political Roundup for July 19, 2017

Polling Update: RRHelections is planning to poll the Republican special election primary for US Senate in Alabama and we need your help to make it happen! Unlike any other organization or news source our polls are funded by crowdsourced donations and put together by volunteer political junkies for political junkies. If you would like to help make this poll happen please go to https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and donate to our polling fund to be a part of this effort and to help make this happen!

Last night in RI-SD-13, Attorney Dawn Euer (D) won the Dem primary for this blue seat. In Bermuda, the center-left PLP took over from the center-right OBA, winning 2/3 of the seats in parliament.

President:

Trump: PPP has polled the 2020 Presidential race. They find Trump trailing all Democrat challengers: Trump 39% to Biden 54%; Trump 39% to Sanders 52%; Trump 42% to Warren 49%; Trump 40% to Booker 45%; Trump 40% to Harris 41% and Trump 40% to Zuckerberg 40%. Sadly PPP did not test the man most likely to be Trump’s 2020 Democratic opponent so we don’t know how Kanye West would fare vs Trump if the election was held today. Please remember this is a PPP poll and they gave Democrats an 11-point advantage in partisan registration so salt to taste.

Hillary: The one Democrat who is still more unpopular that Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton. According the the latest Bloomberg National Poll Hillary Clinton has a 39% approval rating which is 2 points lower than the 41% they had President Trump at.

Governor:

Ratings: Morning Consult is out with their Governor’s ratings. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is America’s most popular Governor with a 71% approval rating. He is followed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who sports a 68% approval rating. Newly installed Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has a 64% approval rating. On the other end of the spectrum is America’s favorite beach comer Chris Christie who’s approval rating seems to have improved to 25%.

MI-Gov: Ambulance chaser Mark Bernstein (D) will not run for Michigan governor and urged Democrats to unite behind former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign. Bernstein, who is independently wealthy and well known from his “Call Sam” TV ads, was being recruited by some Democrats to run for Governor. 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Geoffrey Fieger is still considering another run for Governor and we here at RRH hope that the Democrats will unite around him.

NY-Gov: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has $25.7 million in his campaign account for his 2018 re-election effort. Cuomo raised $5.1 million during the latest filing period between January and mid-July. He spent $1.35 million over that period. But while Cuomo’s cash on hand his going up his poll numbers are going down. Last week’s  Quinnipiac University poll showed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s poll numbers has plummeted over the last two months. Cuomo’s job performance numbers dropped to a negative 43-55 rating, down from 51-46 in May. Cuomo’s re-elect numbers dropped from 53% in May to 46% now. Cuomo’s drop  in the polls has largely been driven by downstate voters as the Summer of Hell on NYC transit continues to get worst. Gov. Cuomo runs the MTA and voters are starting to blame him for the problems with New York City’s mass transit system.

OH-Gov: It looks like Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Head Richard Cordray (D) might enter the race for governor. His term at the CFPB does not end until July of 2018 and there is some speculation that he might announce his candidacy for governor in September. On the one hand it would be great to get the regulation loving progressive Cordray the heck out of CFPB as soon as possible, on the other he could be the best candidate the Democrats could get for Ohio governor. As of now, the Democratic candidates for governor include former Rep. Betty Sutton , former State Rep. Connie Pillich, State Sen. Joe Schiavone, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

TX-Gov: Former LGBT “International Mr. Leather” Jeffrey Payne (D) has launched his campaign for Governor vs Gov. Greg Abbott (R). RRH rates TX-Gov as Safe R.

Senate:

AL-Sen: Hoover businessman Dom Gentile (R) ended his campaign for Senate and endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks (R). Gentile’s wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer and he wants to spend more time with her. On the Democrat side Vietnam veteran Brian McGee ended his campaign as well and endorsed former US Attorney Doug Jones.

CA-Sen: If transgender former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner runs for US Senate, Jenner will have the backing Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson. Jenner’s campaign could be a very unusual one in which Jenner puts together an unusual coalition of support.

MI-Sen: “I believe if you work your butt off and pay taxes, you should be able to easily understand and navigate the laws, tax codes, health care and anything else the government puts in place that affects us all”. This is a platform and a principal that all Republicans should be running and governing on. The fact that Kid Rock is the only one talking about this tells you all you need to know about the current state of American politics and society.

MI-Sen: Detroit businessman, West Point Graduate and Iraq war veteran John James has filed to run for U.S. Senate and has released THIS web video. But since John James was never married to Pamela Anderson no one really seems to care.

MO-Sen: Sources say Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) is expected to start an exploratory committee to run for US Senate vs Sen. Claire McCaskill. Hawley would be the GOP’s marque recruit to run for this Senate seat and leads McCaskill in the last two publicly released polls.

House:

CA-48: Nestle executive Michael Kotick (D) will run for Congress against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) next year. The 33 year old Kotick seems like a bit of a some dude and he will join a half a dozen other candidates who have announced they want to challenge Rohrabacher.

MI-6: Another candidate has entered the race for Democratic nomination for the right to lose to face Kate Upton’s uncle Rep. Fred Upton (R). Dr. Matt Longjohn will join Paul Clements, David Benac, Rich Eichholz and Eponine Garrod in seeking the Democrat nomination. Upton beat Clements by 22 points in 2016 and 15.5 points in 2014.

NJ-5: Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) is being floated as a possible challenger to freshman Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer. Lonegan, who is legally blind, gained some fame for his role in the 2003 documentary Anytown USA. Since then Lonegan has lost two GOP primaries for New Jersey Governor, the 2013 Senate special election to Corey Booker and the 2014 GOP primary in the south Jersey based NJ-3. Lonegan is a movement conservative and was an early endorser of Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.

UT-3: The air wars are starting for this August 15th GOP special election primary. Former Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) released THIS ad of him riding a motorcycle and shooting a hand gun while Chris Herrod (R) has THIS ad attacking chameleons and bragging about his time in Russia. Tanner Ainge (R) intends to release his first ads soon.

State, Local & Other:

MI-Redistricting: A partisan Democrat group masquerading as a good government group called “Voters Not Politicians ” is trying to get a redistricting constitutional amendment on the 2018 Michigan ballot. The groups proposal would establish a 13-member independent citizens commission on which so called “independent voters” would have five members, and the two major parties would each have four. Instead of focusing on non-partisan immovable factors like county lines and other municipal boundaries when drawing districts the new commission would seek to create districts that are politically competitive by gerrymandering district lines across municipal boundaries to achieve a partisan balance different than the ones that naturally occur.

NYC-Mayor: Mayor Bill deBlasio (D) reported raising $428,473 for his re-election bid during the most recent campaign-finance filing period, expanding his cash-on-hand to $2.5 million and his total fund-raising count to $4.9 million. New York City taxpayers will give the Mayor another $536,000 in city matching funds because paying for Bill deBlasio’s campaign TV ads is a much bigger priority for the City than fixing the damn subways. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the presumptive Republican nominee, raised nearly $250,000 for the most recent filing period and spent $74,097 during that time. She’s eligible for $134,804 in matching funds and has raised a total of more than $344,000.

NY-Corruption: Former New York State Senate Majority Leader and convicted felon (or did I repeat myself) Dean Skelos (R) still has over $843,301 left in his campaign account which he can use to pay for lawyers to appeal his federal corruption conviction. Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) recently had his corruption conviction overturned and Skelos is hoping to have same luck. In all Skelos has spent more than $1.6 million in campaign contributions on his legal defense.

NY-Corruption: NYC Councilman Ruben Willis (D) flew threw a tantrum during his corruption trial. Willis isn’t a rookie to legal proceedings. When he was elected to the New York City Council he had two arrest warrants out on him for crimes he committed in the 1990s.

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RRH Elections July 2017 Senate Rankings

Today we are releasing our new Senate Rankings for the 2018 cycle. We haven’t updated these in a while, but that’s fitting as this cycle looks set to be one of the more boring Senate elections in memory. To the map!

Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
CA (Feinstein)
CT (Murphy)
DE (Carper)
HI (Hirono)
MD (Cardin)
MA (Warren)
MN (Klobuchar)
NM (Heinrich)
NY (Gillibrand)
RI (Whitehouse)
VT (Sanders)
WA (Cantwell)
ME (King)
MI (Stabenow)
NJ (Menendez)
PA (Casey)
VA (Kaine)
FL (Nelson)
MT (Tester)
OH (Brown)
WV (Manchin)
WI (Baldwin)
IN (Donnelly)
NV (Heller)
ND (Heitkamp)
AZ (Flake) 
MO (McCaskill)
TX (Cruz) AL (Strange)
MS (Wicker)
NE (Fischer)
TN (Corker)
UT (Hatch)
WY (Barrasso)

As always, bold denotes a projected flip while italics denotes a D-held Tossup seat. The nominal “Independents” Sanders and King are counted as Dems.

RRH Elections has made the following 10 changes to our Senate Ratings since January, 2 in favor of Republicans:

Arizona Lean R from Tossup || Missouri Lean R from Tossup

And 8 in favor of Democrats:

Montana Lean D from Tossup || Minnesota Safe D from Likely D || New Mexico Safe D from Likely D || Ohio Lean D from Tossup || Pennsylvania Likely D from Lean D || Texas Likely R from Safe R || Virginia Likely D from Lean D || West Virginia Lean D from Tossup

These rankings mean that are predicting a Republican gain in the Senate of between 0 and 3 seats. This cycle is likely to be the first since 1998 with no real chance of Senate control changing; even if Democrats swept every single non-Safe R seat, they would just barely take control of the chamber.

Flip over for the full narratives!

Continue Reading

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Political Roundup for July 18, 2017

First off today, there are a pair of elections to preview, one domestic and one international. There is just a single legislative special of note today, a primary for RI-SD-13, a D+17 (2016) seat covering most of Newport and all of Jamestown, on the next island to the west. Four Dems are facing off.  School board member David Hanos (D) looks like the slight front-runner, as he has establishment support and the endorsement of the prior incumbent. but well-funded Newport councilman John Florez (D), attorney Dawn Euer (D), and state official David Allard (D) are all running serious campaigns and any could come out on top. The D primary winner should be favored in the 3-way August general over 2014 nominee Michael Smith (R), who lost by a respectable 10 points three years ago to the powerful prior incumbent (the then-Senate President), and center-left Gov. Chaffee admin official Kim Ripoli (I). There is also an NH House primary and a general, which we don’t cover as a quiet protest against the NH House’s insane size.

Today is also the general election in Bermuda. Bermuda is an island 650 miles east of the Carolina coast, with a total land area roughly 2/3 the size of Manhattan. It is a British territory, but has home rule powers that are in practice absolute in domestic policy, and even some foreign policy functions. Its population of 65K is roughly 60% black and 35% white. Offshore finance and tourism are the only economic drivers of significance; while Bermuda is extremely wealthy, that prosperity comes with an astronomically high cost of living (the average house price is $1M, for example). Bermuda has a 36-member parliament elected in the standard British first-past-the-post system. It has a two-party system of the incumbent center-right One Bermuda Alliance and the center-left Progressive Labor Party. The two parties tend to be quite evenly matched; 1985 was the last time either took more than 55% of the vote.The OBA had just a 19-17 majority in the outgoing parliament, and the election was triggered by two renegade OBA MPs breaking with the government and bringing it down. Reporting on the election is sparse, but the one recent poll of the election showed the OBA likely strengthening its hand. Now the (huge list of) the rest of the day’s news:

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Trumpist forces, possibly including the White House itself, are seeking to target Sen. Jeff Flake (R) in the GOP primary. There are apparently two recruiting targets: State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) and ex-AZGOP chair Robert Graham (R), with ex-State Sen. and 2016 candidate Kelli Ward (R), who is already in the race, as a backup option. A bruising primary against Flake would likely be good news for Dems targeting this seat as a pickup opportunity; Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) are thought to be interested in bids.

MO-Sen: Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R) will not seek the Senate seat of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). AG Josh Hawley (R) remains the GOP’s clear recruiting target for this race.

MT-Sen: State Auditor (Insurance Commissioner) Matt Rosendale (R) is “95 percent there” on a decision to challenge Sen. Jon Tester (D) and will likely decide within the month, according to unnamed insiders. Rosendale is clearly the GOP’s third option for the race against Tester after Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) was appointed interior secretary and AG Tim Fox (R) declined a bid. Rosendale, who has some self-funding ability, would likely be the front-runner in the primary if he entered, joining State Sen. Al Olszewski (R), judge Russ Fagg (R), and storage company owner Troy Downing (R).

WV-Sen: Former mining executive Don Blankenship (R), recently released from prison after serving a year for safety violations during his tenure, is considering a Senate run. Blankenship would join AG Patrick Morrisey (R) and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) in the GOP primary; needless to say, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) would likely relish making the race a referendum on Blankenship’s polarizing nature in the state.

Governor:

AL-Gov: At this point we need to start making lists of who isn’t running for Governor of Alabama. State Sen. Paul Sanford (R) says he has been receiving encouragement to run, as he is stepping down from the Senate due to self-imposed term limits. Sanford doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about the idea though, as he says he hasn’t raised any money and probably won’t enter the race. Should he enter the primary he could join the following candidates who are in or exploring the race: Ag Commissioner John McMillan (R), Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R), Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R), State Sen. Bill Hightower (R), businessman Josh Jones (R), and minister Scott Dawson (R). ex-State Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) are exploring runs on the D side. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not indicated her plans.

AK-Gov: State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) will run for Governor, becoming the first major candidate into the race. Centrist Gov. Bill Walker (I) has not indicated if he will seek re-election, and it is unclear whether either or both parties will seek to go after him aggressively should he seek a second term.

FL-Gov: State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) will presumably announce a run for Governor on August 16. Latvala, a moderate who is considered a kingmaker among insiders in Tallahassee but has little name recognition outside his Pinellas County base, would be a credible but long-shot primary contender against front-running Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam (R). State House Speaker Rich Corcoran (R) is also considering a run; Dems have a primary between ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D), Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), and potentially multiple others.

IA-Gov: Retired businessman Fred Hubbell (D), a major Dem donor, is the latest Democrat into this primary, which is becoming ridiculously crowded. Hubbell joins State Sen. Nate Boulton (D), State Rep. Todd Prichard (D), ex-IADP chair Andy McGuire (D), former Gov. Vilsack CoS John Norris (D) ex-Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn (D), and 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D). If none of the candidates cross 35% of the vote, the nomination goes to a convention, and that is looking increasingly likely here.

ME-Gov: Ex-State House Speaker Mark Eves (D) has become the latest Democrat to enter this increasingly crowded primary. Eves joins appointed AG Janet Mills (D), 2008 ME-1 candidate Adam Cote (D), lobbyist Betsy Sweet (D), and veteran Patrick Eisenhart (D) in the Dem primary; LePage admin official Mary Mayhew (R) and appointed State Treasurer Teresea Hayes (I) are also in the race.

MD-Gov: As expected, left-wing State Sen. Rich Maladeno (D) is the latest Democrat to officially declare a run for the chance to take on Gov. Larry Hogan (D). Maladeno joins Prince George’s CE Rushern Baker (D), ex-NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous (D), attorney Jim Shea (D), and Hillary aide Alec Ross (D) in the primary.

NE-Gov: Moderate State Sen. Bob Krist will leave the Republican party and run against Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as an independent, or more precisely, under a vanity third-party banner, which has lower signature requirements. The odds seem decent that Krist could become the de facto Democrat in this race, as no credible Dem has publicly indicated any interest in taking on the relatively popular Ricketts.

RI-Gov: State House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R) is considering a run for Governor. Should she enter, Morgan would face Trumpist ex-State Rep. Joe Trillo (R) in the primary; Cranston Mayor and 2014 nominee Allan Fung (R) is also thought to be considering a run. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) may face Dem primary opposition as well.

WI-Gov: Nonprofit exec Mike McCabe (D) has become the second little-known Democrat to declare a run against Gov. Scott Walker (R), joining businessman Andy Gronik (D) in the primary. State Superintendent Tony Evers (D), Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D), and State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) are all considering runs as well.

WY-Gov: Businessman Bill Dahlin (R) is the first candidate to declare for Wyoming’s open-seat gubernatorial race. It’s still too early to speculate how serious a candidate Dahlin might be, as several bigger names such as ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R), SoS Ed Murray (R), and Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) are all considering this race.

House:

CA-39: Veteran and lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D), who won a $266M lottery jackpot in 2010, is running against Rep. Ed Royce (R). Cisneros’s presumable self-funding ability may make him an attractive candidate for this hitorically-Republican Orange County seat that Hillary carried.

CA-52: Republicans look set to at least have an interesting candidate to take on Rep. Scott Peters (D). Omar Qudrat (R), a former Guantamo prosecutor and Muslim of Afghani descent, will run for this seat covering much of San Diego proper. Qudrat faces long odds in a seat that was purple but has trended strongly left in recent years.

CO-4, CO-AG: Rep. Ken Buck (R) may run for Colorado AG if AG Cynthia Coffman (R) gives up her seat to run for Governor, citing a desire to return to Colorado and his background as a former DA. Buck would likely be the favorite for the GOP nomination for AG (and trigger a competitive primary for his deep-red House seat) if he ran.

FL-6: Bill Clinton admin official Nancy Soderberg (D) has filed to run for this fairly red Daytona Beach area seat, giving Dems a credible candidate. The seat is expected to be open as Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) has pledged a three-term limit; DeSantis is speculated to be interested in either a bid for Governor or Florida AG.

MI-11: Detroit city official Fayrouz Saad (D), who previously worked in the Obama administration, will run against Rep. David Trott (R). This light-red suburban Detroit seat is likely to be relatively high on Dems’ radars as a pickup opportunity, but it’s unclear if Saad is their choice recruit here.

NM-1: Immigration attorney Michael Hendricks (R) has become the second Republican to enter the race for this medium-blue Albuquerque seat, joining ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Janice Arnold-Jones (R). Democrats have a crowded primary for this open seat with ex-NMDP chair Deb Haaland (D), Albuquerque councilman Pat Davis (D), and ex-US Attorney Damon Martinez (D) seem the top candidates.

TX-23: Ex-Rep. Pete Gallego (D) has filed for a third matchup with Rep. Will Hurd (R) after coming up short in both 2014 and 2016. Gallego says that the outcome of upcoming re-redistricting that may affect this purple district in either direction will not have an effect on his decision on entering the race.

WV-2: Former congressional staffer and Hillary campaign operative Talley Sergent (D) will run against Rep. Alex Mooney (R). Mooney has underperformed in his two prior races but this very Trumpist district is tough terrain for any Democrat, particularly one tied to Hillary. However, Mooney made another strange decision recently by tapping sitting Maryland State Sen. Michael Hough (R) as his CoS, highlighting Mooney’s own craven carpetbagging across the Potomac. Hough will not resign his legislative seat to take the job with Mooney.

WV-3: Physician Ayne Amjad (R) is the latest candidate into this open-seat race covering southern West Virginia. Amjad will face ex-State Rep. and 2012 nominee Rick Snuffer (R), and potentially others, in the primary; State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) is in the race on the Dem side.

State & Local:

CO-SoS: Jena Griswold (D), Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) DC liason, will run for Secretary of State next year. Griswold looks like the top Democratic choice to take on incumbent Wayne Williams (R) as she is receiving most establishment support. In tangentially related news, the Williamses may be on their way to replacing the divorcing Rep. Mike and AG Cynthia Coffman as the COGOP’s power couple, as Williams’s wife Holly (R) will run for a safely Republican seat on the El Paso County commission.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R), who represents a deep-red seat in the Denver exurbs, will run for the open State Treasurer seat. Lawrence joins fellow State Rep. Justin Everett (R) and Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn (R) in the GOP primary. State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is considered the most likely Dem nominee for this open seat; incumbent Walker Stapleton (R) is termed-out and likely to run for Governor.

GA-Ins Comm: Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) won’t seek a third term in 2018. Hudgens’s decision leaves a third Row Officer seat open in addition to the LG and SoS posts vacated by gubernatorial candidates. Hudgens’s top deputy, Jay Florence (R), quickly filed to seek the seat.

ID-Treas: Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre (R) will run for the open State Treasurer seat, joining investor Kevin Jones (R) in this primary. Five-term incumbent Ron Crane (R) is retiring.

LA-Treas, LA-PSC-2: Qualifying closed for the Louisiana Treasurer special on Friday of last week, and there appear to be three major candidates: State Sen. Neil Riser (R), State Rep. John Schroeder (R), and Gov. Jindal admin official Angele Davis (R). One Some Dude Democrat also filed, and may be able to make the runoff on Dem votes but probably stands zero chance of winning. Qualifying also closed for the PSC-2 seat, a heavily Republican seat around Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Three Republicans signed up, Edwards-appointed incumbent Damon Baldone (R), who was a D State Rep. but filed as a “Republican”, ex-State Rep. Lenar Whitney (R), and physician Craig Greene (R).

MO-Aud: State House Speaker Todd Richardson (R) is preparing to run for State Auditor against appointed incumbent Nicole Galloway (D). Galloway is the only Democrat holding a Row Office in Missouri, a post she was appointed to after her Republican predecessor committed suicide. Richardson looks likely to be the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

OR-Lab Comm: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) announced last week that he would not seek a third full term in the nominally non-partisan post. Avakian has been known as one of the most aggressive Social-Justice-Warriors in high office, which led him to be polarizing even in his blue state and lose his bid to move up to SoS in 2016. Avakian’s most likely successor is probably one of his erstwhile rivals for the SoS post, ex-State Rep. Val Hoyle (D). Hoyle, a more mainstream liberal, already announced her intent to run, though she may face opposition from ex-State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D).

SC-LG: The South Carolina state ethics board has interestingly announced that it will allow LG Kevin Bryant (R) to continue to raise money for an election that won’t happen. Bryant is fundraising under a campaign for the LG job – but the state is transitioning in 2018 from a separately-elected LG to a presidential-style system where gubernatorial candidates pick their running mates. Apparently there is a legal fiction-slash-loophole that the money can be raised for Bryant to persuade someone to pick him as their running mate. More likely of course is that Bryant is planning to run for an office that has a real election (such as a primary challenge to Gov. Henry McMaster (R)) but doesn’t want to admit it yet.

CA-San Diego County-3: R-turned-I-turned-D ex-State Rep. Nathan Fletcher (D) will run for county supervisor next year in a seat covering central San Diego. Fletcher will likely face ex-DA Bonnie Dumanis (R) in what could be a high-profile contest.

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Political Roundup for July 17th, 2017

President

Harris: Ambition apparently knows no bounds for America’s favorite multiracial progressive/nullification proponent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D). The very freshman Senator was seen at a meeting in the Hamptons with big-name Democratic donors. The speculation is that she’s thinking about running for President in 2020. But wait, progressives! Don’t let your hearts be too aflutter, because she was meeting with those nefarious Clinton Donors. The corrupting influence of Corporatist Money knows no bounds!

Congress

CA-Sen: Speaking with J-Cats on the New York mogul’s radio show, Olympic gold medalist and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner (R) says that he/she is considering running for the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is on retirement watch, so there could be an open seat. Other than that, I’m just kind of speechless on this one.

IN-Sen: I actually feel a bit bad for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) on this one. Donnelly is selling $50,000 worth of stock in his brother’s arts and crafts company because the ink for the inkpads is made in Mexico. Big Whoop. I know that Indiana has been hard-hit by outsourcing, and this can’t be popular there, but it wouldn’t sink him either. I probably shouldn’t feel too bad for him, though, because with $15,000 in dividends produced on that equity last year, it shouldn’t be hard to sell for an increased price. This will likely come up at some point in his 2018 race, but he’s probably neutralized early.

MO-Sen: The Club for Growth commissioned a poll of a McCaskill-Hawley matchup, and their polling firm found a 46-42 Hawley lead. It should be noted that this is less of a lead for Hawley than he had in a previous poll, but that the 12% who are undecided are mostly right-leaning voters.

PA-Sen: It’s Reporting Season once again, so we’re getting a flurry of fundraising numbers. One of them that caught my eye was that rich guy Jeff Bartos (R) raised over $1 million this quarter in his bid to oust Sen. Bob Casey (D). Barton faces a very uphill climb, and several other Republicans are thinking about entering the race, but it’s not a bad start.

TX-Sen: In a slight surprise, progressive darling Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) has outraised his opponent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in this year’s second quarter. O’Rourke raised $2.1 million to Cruz’s $1.6 million. However, Cruz quickly sent out an email pointing out that he has $5.7 million in COH. O’Rourke got over $1 million in online donations, largely from small donors. It shouldn’t matter much, though, as long as Cruz doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel. This is Texas, after all.

WV-Sen: The Republican primary to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is already getting nasty. AG Patrick Morrisey (R) is challenging Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) to a series of debates and is questioning the former Democrat’s conservative credentials. Meanwhile, Jenkins is calling Morrisey a former DC lobbyist a ‘profiteer.’ This one will likely get even uglier, folks, so strap in.

PA-06: The NRCC has written a blog post attacking Rep. Ryan Costello’s (R) opponent, Chrissy Houlahan (D). Whoop-di-doo, right? Right, accept that it may reveal a key Republican tactic for 2018. The blog post notes that many Democrats are currently taking stances in favor of single-payer (read: government-run) healthcare and challenges Houlihan to reveal her stance on the issue. It’s a great little bit of ratfucking, because if she comes out against it, she might hurt herself in the Democratic primary, but a stance in favor would almost certainly hurt her in the swingy and affluent Main Line suburbs that comprise the heart of the district. If she’s smart, she’ll attempt to avoid taking a stance on the issue, but who knows? Maybe she or some other Democrat will take the bait.

Governor

TN-Gov: State House Speaker Beth Harrell (R) has officially announced her candidacy for Governor. She joins rich guys Bill Lee and Randy Boyd and state Sen. Mae Beavers in the Republican primary. Rep. Diane Black (R) is also said to be mulling a run of her own. What’s amazing isn’t how many Republicans are running, but that all of them are from Middle Tennessee (as is the only announced Democrat, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean). There’s a real opening for an East Tennessee Republican, especially since they could easily play a regional dogwhistle game. West Tennessee often feels as if Nashville purposefully neglects it. If someone from East Tennessee could connect with that sentiment, they’d unite two Grand Divisions and be pretty much unstoppable.

TX-Gov: It’s not like anyone was in suspense about it, but Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced his campaign for a second term over the weekend. Somewhat interestingly, he currently has no declared opponents.

WV-Gov: Yes, I’m linking to Hoppy Kercheval twice in one roundup. He’s great. Read his stuff. Anyway, Gov. Jim Justice (D) seems to be having a liquidity problem. Though valued at approximately $1.6 billion, the newly-minted governor owes over $15 million in back taxes in six states through various companies. A lot of the debts are related to coal severance. It’s causing him a few minor headaches now, but he’s still likely to have this problem come his reelection bid in 2020 unless he settles these debts soon.

State/Local

NV-Voting: The Silver State has passed a new bill that expands voting rights for felons. It’s somewhat complicated, but basically it makes eligible for voting restoration about a quarter of the felons released each year. They were not previously eligible due to reasons that were problems, such as unpaid bills or probation violations, but not in and of themselves enough to cause revocation of parole.

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Weekend Open Thread for July 14-16, 2017

Happy Weekend. First off, we will be releasing our new Senate Rankings tomorrow at noon. Also, we are making the following two Row Officer Ratings changes based on Louisiana filing:

LA-Treasurer Safe R from Likely R || LA-PSC-2 Safe R hold from Lean R takeover

Now this week’s questions –

1. In general, do you think celebrities make good political candidates?

2. Why do you think we’ve seen zero Senate retirements this year?

And because it is the weekend……. we give you the distinguished gentleman from the great state of Michigan HERE!