Happy December! And Welcome to Finals season for those of us still at a University.
Cruz: As the Texas Senator rises into double-digit primary support, Republican insiders are starting to worry that he could actually win the nomination. Unlike Ben Carson or Donald Trump, Cruz has an electoral track record, and is seen as a much less likely to fade in the stretch, so some GOP Bigwigs are throwing their support behind Rubio, who is the only candidate of the 4 leading the GOP polls they seem to be able to stand.
Rubio-1: Rubio is locking up some big-name Romney donors, this time getting the endorsement of John Rakolta, who was one of Romney’s National Finance co-chairmen. Along with the Issa endorsement earlier and a string of other Congressmen and Senators Rubio seems to be getting the majority of the Republican officeholder endorsements now, which is a good sign for his momentum heading into Primary season.
Rubio-2: Rubio also scored the endorsement of Franklin, N.H Mayor Ken Merrifield. Franklin is a relatively small city, and this is probably more to counter the publicity of the Manchester Union Leader endorsing Chris Christie than anything else. Still, Rubio needs to post a respectable showing in N.H. if he wants to coalesce the establishment behind him, so every bit helps.
IA-2: State Senator Mark Chelgren (R) is running for congress in this Southeastern Iowa district held by David Loebsack. Loebsack’s always been on the cusp of vulnerability, winning narrowly in 2010 and 2014, and is the only Democrat representing Iowa in congress after the 2014 elections. Chelgren has won two elections in a row by the skin of his teeth in a D+1 Senate District in Southeastern Iowa, so he’s a decent but not astounding get. Still, if the GOP is going to win more than 61% of the White Vote nationally this is the sort of place where they have to start.
NJ-2: Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey Democrat representing a competitive South Jersey Senate District, has said he’s not running against incumbent Frank LoBiondo (R). Van Drew is probably the only Democrat who could have dislodged the longtime incumbent in this swing seat, but he’s been touted as a D candidate for years and never pulled the trigger. He’s either waiting for a retirement from LoBiondo, or he’s just not interested in running for a less than sure thing.
PA-8: State Representative Scott Petri released his first video for this open Bucks-based Congressional District. Petri’s got a tough election ahead of him, as Democrats are bringing out their A-game for this open swing seat by actually running someone from Bucks this time in fellow State Representative Steve Santarsiero (D).
NY-St-Leg: Shelly Silver has been convicted of all the charges against him. This is a stunning fall from power from one of the “Three men in a room” who ran New York Politics, and one of the more positive developments from America’s most amusingly corrupt state legislature. Preet Bharara just scored one impressive scalp, and is probably going to get another soon in Dean Skelos.
NY-St-Leg-2: Albany is getting a Political Corruption Museum. No, really. The man behind the proposed Museum calls corruption “Albany’s renewable resource”, and is selling it as a tourist attraction for the city. I . . . can’t argue with that logic honestly.
LA-St-Sen: Louisiana State Senator Troy Brown (D) has been arrested and charged with Domestic Abuse Battery. The incident in question involves a woman who calls herself Sen. Brown’s “Side Friend”, and he allegedly punched her in the eye Sunday night. Brown represents a Black-majority seat West of New Orleans, so this probably won’t affect the partisan makeup of the electoral body.
WATN: Wendy Davis has lost a futile and pointless bid . . .again. This time she lost a lawsuit over whether or not the state should pay the lawyer fees incurred when she and other sued the state legislature over the redistricting map. Her argument was that since the legislature eventually passed the court replacement plan to the original map, she was a prevailing party and entitled to compensation for her lawyer fees.
Today we have four special elections, three in Georgia using Louisiana-Rules Top Two and one primary in Rhode Island. One Georgia race is a first-round, for GA-SD-20, an R+16 district based in Warner-Robins. Six Republicans are running and this one almost certainly heads to a December 29 runoff. The candidates are Laurens County commissioner Jon Martin (R), businessman and former state house candidate Larry Walker (R), businessmen James Pettis (R), Brooks Keisler (R), and Mike Reece (R), and minister Vivian Childs (R); any two seem to have a chance to advance. Two other Georgia seats have runoffs today. GA-SD-43 is a D+20 seat covering largely middle-class black southeast exurbs of Atlanta from Lithonia to Covington. This really shouldn’t be a GOP pickup opportunity, but the first-round results and strange timing suggest that there is a slight chance Republicans could get a one-year rental. Ex-Rockdale County commissioner Janice Van Ness (R) led State Rep. Tonya Anderson (D) 37-26 in the first round. Dems took a total of 57%, so Anderson is still definitely favored, but there is a sizable enough conservative base in the seat to think that an upset is possible with the right turnout pattern. The last Georgia race is for GA-LD-122, an R+26 district covering the Augusta suburb of Evans. Nurse Jodi Lott (R) led Columbia County commissioner Mack Taylor (R) 41-30 in the first round and seems favored today. We also have primaries on both sides for RI-SD-11, a R-held but D+5 district around Tiverton. Both sides have 3-way primaries. The Dems have a contest between ex-State Rep. Amy Rice (D), Tiverton councilman Brett Pelletier (D), and Portsmouth councilman James Seveney (D), who has the backing of the outgoing GOP senator. There is no obvious favorite. Likewise, the GOP has a three-way primary, but here there is a clear front-runner in 2002 LG nominee John Pagliarini (R). Palgiarini has most GOP establishment support and is favored over Tiverton councilwoman Joan Chabot (R) and a Some Dude. The primary winners will meet in a January general.