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Political Roundup for January 19, 2017

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

President/National:

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.

Governor:

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.

Congress:

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.

126 Comments »

Political Roundup for January 18th, 2017

Trump:

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.

Congress:

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.

Other:

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.

114 Comments »

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!

President

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.

Senate

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.

Governor

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.

House

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.

Miscellaneous

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.

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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!

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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.

111 Comments »

Political Roundup for January 13, 2017

President:

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.

Governor:

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.

Senate:

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.

House:

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.

165 Comments »

Political Roundup for January 12, 2017

As President-Elect Trump continues to be Donald Trump and the left seems to be an incoherent mess capable of making Trump’s unpopularity not an immediate disqualifying attribute, it is time for the roundup:

President

Identity Politics:  Damon Linker as This Week looks at how more identity politics aren’t the solution to the Democratic Party’s problems.

VA:  President-Elect Trump nominating current VA Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin to be the next VA Secretary.  Shulkin seems like an odd appointment because he was beat up by House Republicans over the VA health care fiasco.

Trump Organization:  Trump will not place his assets into a blind trust nor will he stop domestic transactions.  Instead Trump promises to have an ethics adviser advise him on domestic deals and cease new foreign transactions.

Congress

Diversity-Congress:  SJW New York Daily News writer Shaun King points out the irony of Democrats having less diverse congressional staff than Republicans.

Sessions:  Senator Jeff Sessions (R), Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, made “shocking” statements regarding his desire to follow the law as written instead of inserting identity politics into the administration of justice.  SJW everywhere have had their precious snowflake minds melted.

Booker:  Senator Cory Booker (Corporate D) used the Sessions confirmation hearing to break with precedent and testify against a sitting Senator being nominated.

States

MN-Gov:  Representative Rick Nolan (Endangered Species D) is considering a run for Governor.  The Iron Range Democrat seems to be facing a contested race every cycle and the Democrat is an increasingly rare breed.  Governor Mark Dayton (D) plans on retiring in 2018.

TN-Gov:  Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R) is considering a run for Governor.  Sitting Governor  Bill Halsam (R) is term-limited.

Eastpointe:  In the dying days of the Obama administration identity politics obsessed Justice Department, the DOJ is suing Macomb County city Eastpointe over how city council members are elected.  The DOJ alleges Eastpointe’s practice of electing city council members at-large is discriminatory.  In the infinite wisdom of the Obama DOJ, the method Eastpointe has elected city council members for decades because the demographics of Eastpointe have changed over the last decade or two.

246 Comments »

Political Roundup for January 11, 2017

Election results:

All favored candidates won in yesterday’s special legislative elections in Georgia and Virginia. In GA-SD-54, Chuck Payne (R) won easily 65-35. In VA-SD-9, state Del. Jennifer McClellan (D) took 91% in a race with only a Libertarian opponent, in VA-SD-22, Mark Peake (R) was not harmed by the presence of a conservative independent on the ballot, winning by a fairly easy 53-40 margin, and Rocky Holcomb (R) won 53-47 in VA-LD-85.

President:

Booker 2020?: Sen. Cory Booker (D) plans to testify against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R)  today in the confirmation hearings for Attorney General. Sen. Tom Cotton (R) is blasting Booker for his decision, calling it a “disgraceful breach of custom” to testify against a colleague, and suggests that Booker is doing it to get support for a 2020 presidential campaign. The move is unprecedented as no sitting senator has ever testified against a colleague during confirmation hearings for a cabinet position.

Senator:

MA-Sen: Republican Rick Green, the wealthy owner of an auto parts company and founder of the conservative group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, is exploring a run against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). Green has been active in the party, coming up two votes short in a bid to head the Massachusetts state GOP in 2013 and serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention last year, where he supported John Kasich. His group the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has also been a player in state legislative politics, targeting the voting records of Democrats on issues like taxes and immigration. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is the only other Republican to publicly consider a bid.

House:

KS-4: Attorney George Bruce (R) announced his candidacy for the seat of CIA Director-designate Rep. Mike Pompeo (R). Bruce has never run for office before, but says he decided to run after he got calls encouraging him to run. He is the first to publicly announce his intention to run. Once the seat is vacant, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has 5 days to call a special election, and the parties have 25 days to choose a nominee. Nominees will be chosen in a district convention of party activists.

TX-3: State Sen. Van Taylor (R) has made it clear to people close to him that he plans to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Sam Johnson (R) next year, although an official announcement isn’t expected until after this year’s legislative session. Taylor should be a formidable candidate as he represents much of the Collin County-based district in the State Senate.

Governor:

CO-Gov: A businessman and former Republican state Representative is considering a run for governor. Victor Mitchell was elected to the state House in 2006 from a heavily Republican district in Douglas County, but retired after just one term to become chairman and CEO of ReLogic, an online real estate brokerage firm. No major candidates have yet entered the race, but wide open races with well-known names in both parties are expected to enter the race to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

FL-Gov: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) is downplaying rumors of his intention to run for governor. Gillum is part of a lawsuit filed by Second Amendment supporters over the city’s refusal to repeal a ban on gunfire in city parks despite a state law preempting local gun laws. Some have accused Gillum of grandstanding on the issue as a way to raise his profile for a statewide run. Gillum considered a run for Congress last year in the redrawn FL-5 and even made a long list of potential Hillary Clinton running mates.

MI-Gov: William Cobbs, a former global vice president for Xerox, filed to run for governor last week as a Democrat. Cobbs is making his first bid for political office. He joins state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the race for the Democratic nomination.

NV-Gov: LG Mark Hutchison (R) has ruled out a bid for governor next year. He says he thinks there are several other qualified Republicans who will run to replace term-limited Gov. Brian Sandoval (R). He also says he will decide after this year’s Legislative session if he will run for re-election as Lieutenant Governor.

PA-Gov: Gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Scott Wagner’s (R) hometown newspaper takes a look at his rapidly rising political career including links to past coverage of him. Included are stories about why he spent a month as a Democrat in 2002(to vote for Ed Rendell for governor and against Bob Casey, Jr.) and why he donated to the Attorney General campaign of Kathleen Kane (D) in 2012(during his campaign for state Senate in 2014 he said “she’s not a political person.”)

TX-Gov/TX-Sen: LG Dan Patrick (R) has announced he is running for re-election as Lieutenant Governor-an announcement he said he made now to stop rumors that he might challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Abbott has not yet said whether he will seek re-election, but Patrick says he wants to be the first to endorse Abbott for re-election and quash rumors that he is considering running against him.. He says if Abbott does not run for re-election, then he would reevaluate his decision. He also says he will not challenge Sen. Ted Cruz (R), or take any position in the Trump Administration.

VA-Gov: Distillery owner Denver Riggleman has become the 4th Republican to enter the race for governor, joining former RNC Chairman and 2014 US Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart and state Sen. Frank Wagner (R). Riggleman had been considering a run for awhile, but wanted to be convinced he could raise enough money to be competitive. Riggleman also says he was inspired by the success of Donald Trump running as a long-shot outsider.

State offices/other:

FL-Ag. Comm.: Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R) will not run for Agriculture Commissioner next year. Crisafulli, who served as Speaker from 2014-2016 and was term limited out of office, comes from a family with ties to the citrus industry and was publicly mulling a run and likely would have been the frontrunner had he entered the race. Self-funding businessman Paul Paulson (R), who ran a sacrificial lamb campaign for Mayor of Orlando in 2015, is the only candidate in the race so far. Current Ag. Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for governor.

TN-LG: Randy McNally (R) is the new Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee, succeeding the retired Ron Ramsey (R). Ramsey was the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold the post, which automatically goes to the person selected as Speaker of the Senate.

WATN?: Michigan lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, who became famous in the 1990s as the lawyer for assisted suicide practicioner Dr. Jack Kevorkian, pretty much exited the political arena after he got clobbered by Gov. John Engler (R) by a 62-38% margin as the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998. But he has recently started running ads in Michigan with a tagline that says “2020: A clear vision of America” prompting speculation that he intends to get back into politics. Fieger says the 2020 tagline does not necessarily mean he is planning a presidential run, but says that he thinks if Donald Trump can get elected president, then anyone can. One Detroit political consultant says the ad means he is considering running for some race in the next 2 or 4 years either at the state or federal level.

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RRH Elections January 2017 Senate Rankings

Today we are releasing our inaugural Senate Rankings for the 2018 cycle. This is probably a good time for a baseline assessment as we haven’t seen any real movement on most of these contests. 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)
NY (Gillibrand)
RI (Whitehouse)
VT (Sanders)
WA (Cantwell)
ME (King)
MI (Stabenow)
MN (Klobuchar)
NJ (Menendez)
NM (Heinrich)
FL (Nelson)
PA (Casey)
VA (Kaine)
WI (Baldwin)
AZ (Flake)
IN (Donnelly)
MO (McCaskill)
MT (Tester)
NV (Heller)
ND (Heitkamp)
OH (Brown)
WV (Manchin)
AL (TBD)
MS (Wicker)
NE (Fischer)
TN (Corker)
TX (Cruz)
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.

These rankings mean that we start out predicting a net shift in the Senate of between D+2 and R+6. This cycle is likely to be the first since 1998 with no chance of Senate control changing; even if Democrats swept every non-Safe R seat, they would still be a seat shy of taking control of the chamber.

Flip over for the full narratives!

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Political Roundup for January 10, 2017

As the elite left plots to attack and insult every portion of American society not fully behind the SJW agenda by the end of the month and President-Elect Trump plans to do what he does best, make them seem even more moronic and drive them crazy on Twitter, it is time for Tuesday’s roundup:

Special Elections:

There are four special elections today, one in Georgia and three in Virginia. In Georgia, GA-SD-54 is an R+24 (2012) seat around Dalton. Chuck Payne (R), a local GOP official who was a high-ranking member of the Ben Carson campaign, is heavily favored over zoning board member Debby Peppers (I), who has some Dem support and is running a serious enough campaign to have the potential to surprise with extremely low turnout. For the Virginia races, the inimitable VPAP has great infographics covering district stats and candidate fundraising; click on the district numbers to access those. VA-SD-9 is a black-majority D+23 (2016) seat covering northeast Richmond and suburbs in eastern Henrico and Charles City Counties. State Rep. Jenn McClellan (D) is facing only a Libertarian opponent. VA-SD-22 is an R+9 (2016) seat covering part of Lynchburg and a broad swath of rural areas between Charlottesville and Richmond. Attorney Mark Peake (R) looks like a moderate favorite over ex-Fluvanna Sheriff Ryant Washington (D). This seat would flip the Senate if Dems were able to take it, and Washington has outraised Peake. However, the lean of the seat makes it tough for Dems (unlike the state as a whole, this seat actually moved three points right in 2016) and Peake still looks like the favorite overall. Finally, VA-LD-85 is the most competitive of the four elections, an R+2 (2016) seat in west-central Virginia Beach around Pembroke Mall. The candidates are cop Rocky Holcomb (R) and teacher Cheryl Turpin (D), whose husband lost a run for DA in 2013. Low turnout should benefit Holcomb in this historically-R area, but Turpin has led in fundraising. Both sides are targeting the seat and there is no clear favorite.

President:

Kushner:  Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will serve as a senior adviser to Trump.  Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a real estate developer and will resign/divest of much of his growing real estate empire and New York Observer to concentrate on his duties.  Kushner will receive no salary.

Cabinet:  Trump appears to be taking a “Chairman of the Board” approach and will empower his cabinet to take aggressive action on their own during the initial months of his presidency.  This is not surprising as Trump seems to have no time for details and enjoys being a figurehead.  One has to wonder if we have too many years of the figurehead presidency if we will devolve into something resembling Westminster democracy.

DOD:  Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has been asked to remain as Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Trump administration.   The Trump team wants to Work to remain to ensure a smooth transition in light of the generally insane world out there.

Congress:

Obamacare:  There appears to be some sanity in the Republican caucus when it comes to repealing Obamacare.  Several senators led by Senator Rand Paul are objecting to a repeal without an immediate replacement.  President-Elect Trump also supports voting to repeal and replace at the same time.  Repealing without a replacement is a recipe for disaster.  It is pathetic that Republicans do not have this already pre-packaged as they have been demanding a repeal and replace for six years.  Pathetic.

2018:  The Judicial Crisis Network, a third-party group with plenty of cash, plans on attacking Democratic senators in Republican states who oppose President-Elect Trump’s judicial nominations.  I hope they oppose and get slaughtered.

MO-1:  Besides ensuring adequate African-American Democrat and White Republican representation for the great state of Missouri, Representative Lacy Clay (D / R for Redistricting) does not get much attention here on RRH Elections.  Clay is threatening to file a police report against Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Marine Corps) for removing an anti-police painting from the Capitol complex.  Normally I would dismiss Clay’s antics, but his efforts to undermine the Democratic Party in redistricting means we should all take his anger seriously.

TX-16: El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) considers a run for Congress if Representative Beto O’Rourke (D) commits ritualistic political suicide and runs against Senator Ted Cruz (R-Whatever he pushes today) in 2018.

GA-6:  The field continues to narrow in the probable jungle special election to replace Representative Tom Price (R) when he is confirmed as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor/States:

MN-Gov: State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D) has announced a bid for Governor. Otto joins St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) in the contest.

LA-Treas: State Rep. John Schroder (R) is the first candidate to announce a run for Treasurer in this October’s special election.

International:

Corbyn:  Because I cannot resist writing about the Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, I must post the Politico piece articulating how the vanguard party plans to bypass the bourgeois-controlled mass media and use social media in a Trump fashion to reach the proletariat. Corbyn failed to study his Marx properly as he does not realize the British left has not evolved as far as the American right when it comes to media hatred.  Admittedly this is the most coherent thing out of the international left since the November election, which is not saying much as the US Democrats are busy going Full Corbyn when it comes to identity politics.

More Corbyn:  Taking a break from emulating the tactics of President-Elect Trump, Corbyn took time to join Marxist union thugs causing transit chaos in London.  This is causing a backlash from the rump of the New Labour Party capitalist tools.  Even the Mayor of London Sahiq Khan (Capitalist Lapdog) attacked the Marxist union thugs.