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Political Roundup for April 28, 2017

Last night, school board member Kevin Vaughn (R) won the GOP primary for the safely Republican TN-LD-95.

Governor:

CT-Gov: State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D) has officially opened an exploratory committee to run for governor. He is the 4th Democrat to indicate a possible run, joining Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former state Sen. and Dept. of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei. LG Nancy Wyman (D) is also considered a possible candidate and as Lembo is friends with her, he says his interest in running should not be interpreted as signifying that she will not run and he says he would defer to her if she does run.

More CT-Gov: You can add one more name to the Democratic primary as well, as Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (D), who was re-elected mayor after a stint in federal prison, is also set to enter the contest today.

MN-Gov: State Rep. Matt Dean (R) announced yesterday he plans to run for governor. Dean has been in the State House since 2005 and served as majority leader from 2011-2013. He has the most political experience of anyone currently running on the Republican side, joining Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, and political novices Christopher Chamberlin and Phillip Parrish. Dean has said he plans to seek the Republican Party endorsement and will abide by it and not run in a primary if he doesn’t get it.

WI-Gov: State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) says she is still considering running for governor, Vinehout is one of the few Democrats still considering running after a number of others including Rep. Ron Kind, former state Sen. Tim Cullen and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi have declined to run. Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, attorney Matt Flynn, state Rep. Dana Wachs and Jefferson County Attorney and unsuccessful 2014 Democratic AG nominee Susan Happ are others who are considering running.

House:

MN-7:  Rep. Collin Peterson (D), who is consistently high on retirement watchlists is going to run for yet another term. After two failed bids for the seat in 1984 and 1986(when he lost by just 121 votes), Peterson defeated incumbent Rep. Arlan Stangeland (R) in 1990. He then survived two close re-election bids in 1992 and 1994 and had coasted to easy re-election victories for the next 20 years, helped by positioning himself solidly on the right side of the Democratic Party in the Republican district. In 2014 he was made a target by the NRCC and won by 9 points, below his usual margins but a solid win for a Democrat in a red district. Last year however he had a much closer race than expected, beating a severely underfunded Republican opponent by just 5 points. At the same time, his district stampeded hard towards Donald Trump, voting for him by 31 points(Romney won the district by 10 points in 2012). Dave Hughes, the Some Dude-ish Republican who faced him in 2016 is planning to run again, but with the NRCC making Peterson a target again, it’s likely that more high profile candidates will step up.

OK-1: Former Tulsa County DA Tim Harris (R) has announced he plans to run for Congress in 2018, or possibly sooner. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R) has been mentioned as a candidate to head NASA, so a special election may be necessary. Bridenstine is likely not seeking re-election anyway as he pledged after being first elected in 2012 to only serve 3 terms in Congress, and he has given no indication he plans to violate that pledge. Former Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, Jr. (R) and former state House Speaker and unsuccessful 2014 US Senate candidate T.W. Shannon (R) have also been mentioned as possibilities to run.

UT-4: Darlene McDonald, a technical engineer and first time political candidate has filed to challenge Rep. Mia Love (R) next year as a Democrat. If she wins the Democratic nomination, it would set up an interesting general election-between two black women in a district where only 2% of the residents are black. Other Democrats are considering running as well.

State & Local:

FL-SD-40: State Rep. Daisey Baez (D) plans to run in the special election to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles (R), who resigned after criticism of racist remarks he had made. Baez, who was elected to her first term in the House last year, acknowledged that she does not currently live in SD-40. She would have to move to the district in order to represent it. State Rep. Robert Ascencio (D) is also considering running. Republicans are hoping state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz (R) will run. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has yet to set a date for the special election.

HI-LG: Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa says he is “very strongly inclined” to run for Lieutenant Governor next year. Although Arakawa used to be a Republican, he said he had not run for a partisan office since 1994(local offices are nonpartisan) and plans to run as a Democrat. A swap of offices could be in the works as current LG Shan Tsutsui (D) is expected to announce later this year he plans to run for Maui Mayor. Arakawa interestingly also says he expects Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, who he has a close relationship with, to run for governor and thinks he will defeat Gov. David Ige (D) in the Democratic primary.

KS-Treasurer: Jake LaTurner (R) is the new state Treasurer of Kansas after former Treasurer Ron Estes (R) was sworn in as a Congressman on Tuesday. LaTurner was a state senator before being appointed to the position by Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Republican Party committee members in the district will choose a replacement to be submitted to Brownback to fill the senate seat. LaTurner said he had been “sort of looking at” a bid for KS-2 next year before being appointed state treasurer, but now will run for a full term in the position next year.

Other:

UK-election: A poll indicates that the expected Conservative landslide in the June general election could even extend into Scotland. The poll, commissioned by the Sunday Times Scotland has the Tories at 33%, 18 points ahead of where they were in 2015. The SNP got 44% support in the poll, while Labour has fallen to 13%, 11 points down from 2015. The Conservatives are increasingly being seen as the better alternative over Labour for voters who supported the No side in the 2014 independence referendum and who voted for Leave in the Brexit vote last year. The numbers project the Tories to win as many as 12 seats in Scotland, picking up 10 from the SNP and 1 from Labour, which would represent their best numbers since the early 1970s. Among the SNP seats thought to be at risk is Moray, currently held by SNP Deputy Leader Angus Robertson, where Leave only narrowly lost last year in the Brexit referendum.

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Political Roundup for April 27, 2017

It’s a Thursday and election day, so as you might guess that means it’s time to go to Tennessee. TN-LD-95 is an R+28 (2012) seat around Collierville in the southeast Memphis suburbs. Seven Republicans are running for this seat: Collierville councilman Billy Patton (R), Germantown councilman Frank Uhlhorn (R), school board member Kevin Vaughan (R), nonprofit exec Missy Marshall (R), salesman Curtis Loynachan (R), and attorneys Joseph Crone (R) and Gail Horner (R). Patton looks like the slight front-runner but any of the others could surprise. The primary winner will be favored over a Some Dude D in the general. Now the rest of the day’s news:

Senate:

AL-Sen: Two staunch social conservatives have joined the race to take on Sen. Luther Strange (R). Most prominent among them is former State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R), who announced yesterday he would enter the race and now looks like the favorite to advance to a runoff with Strange barring the entry of another high-profile candidate. Joining Moore in entering the race in the last few days is gastroenterologist Randy Brinson (R), head of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. State Rep. Ed Henry (R) was already in the race. No Dems have as of yet expressed interest in this seat, but the prospect of facing the polarizing Moore may make the race more enticing.

NV-Sen/Gov: Well, this was unexpected. Steve Cloobeck (D), a wealthy Dem donor who has been widely considered a likely gubernatorial candidate, will endorse Sen. Dean Heller’s (R) bid for re-election. Needless to say, we can cross Cloobeck’s name off the list of Senate candidates, and this might mean he is unlikely to run for Gov as well (at least not if he intends to win a primary.)

More NV-Sen: One person for whom Cloobeck’s endorsement might be unwelcome news is ex-State Treasurer Kate Marshall (D), who just announced she is considering a run against Heller. Marshall lost a 2014 run for SoS to now-SoS Barbara Cegavske (R) in the 2014 wave. While Marshall’s 2014 loss will likely not be held against her by Dems given their wipeout in the state that year, she also underperformed in her 2011 special election run for NV-2. Thus, Marshall is probably not their first choice for arguably their best pickup opportunity; many other Dems are considering but none as of yet seem particularly serious about it.

Governor:

AL-Gov: Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox (D) is considering a run for Governor. Considered a rising star on AL’s very thin Dem bench, Maddox could face State Rep. Craig Ford (D) and ex-State Supreme Court justice Sue Bell Cobb (D) in the primary. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has not announced whether she will seek a full term after ascending to the top job a few weeks ago.

More AL-Gov: Former Auburn Football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) will not run for Governor after all. Tuberville was seen as likely to enter the contest before Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned and LG Kay Ivey (R) was elevated to the top spot. There is no word as of yet on the plans of the other candidate widely seen as a lock to run, PSC Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh (R). Many other Republicans seem to be waiting out Ivey’s decision.

CO-Gov: Investment Banker Doug Robinson (R), Mitt Romney’s nephew, is running for Governor, and plans to self-fund his bid. Robinson joins Arapahoe DA George Brauchler (R) and self-funding ex-State Rep. Victor Mitchell (R) in the primary. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R), interestingly a relative of the Bush family, is also considered likely to enter. Democrats will choose between Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D), ex-State Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), and bold progressive State Sen. Mike Johnston (D).

GA-Gov: State Sen. Hunter Hill (R), who represents a wealthy Atlanta-based seat, is running for Governor, joining two candidates better-known statewide, LG Casey Cagle (R) and SoS Brian Kemp (R), in the primary. Hill seems to be making school choice his signature issue. Ex-Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R) and Jack Kingston (R) and multiple Dems, including State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D) and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson (D), are considering runs.

IL-Gov: Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers (D) will not run for Governor, instead endorsing wealthy businessman and 1998 IL-9 candidate JB Pritzker (D) in the race to take on Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). State Sen. Daniel Biss (D), Heir Force Maj. Chris Kennedy (D), local superintendent Bob Daiber (D), and Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) are also in the race.

MD-Gov: Hillary advisor Alec Ross (D) is the first Democrat to announce a run against Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Ross seems very “C” list, but about a half-dozen other Dems of various profile levels are considering runs against the popular Hogan in the very blue state.

OK-Gov: Former US Attorney Gary Richardson (R), who ran for Governor in 2002 as an Indie and likely tilted the race to Brad Henry (D), is running for Governor again in 2018 as a Republican. LG Todd Lamb (R) and State Auditor Gary Jones (R) are also considering the race; Democrats will likely nominate State Rep. Scott Inman (D) over ex-State Sen. and 2014 US Senate nominee Connie Johnson (D).

TN-Gov: Businessman Bill Lee (R) is entering the race for Governor, joining Haslam admin official Randy Boyd (R), another wealthy businessman. Many other Republicans are considering the race, while ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) is in the contest on the Dem side.

VA-Gov: Prince William CE Corey Stewart (R) compared workers removing a statue in New Orleans to ISIS last week. What did the statue commemorate? A paramilitary action in 1874 to overthrow the state’s democratically-elected, biracial, Republican government. Stewart is trying to cast himself as the antiestablishment choice in this primary with ex-RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) and State Sen. Frank Wagner (R).

House:

CA-22: Prosecutor Andrew Janz (D) is running against Rep. Devin Nunes (R) in this R+6 Fresno-area seat (that will likely be more GOP-friendly in a midterm with lower Hispanic turnout). Given Nunes’s newfound high profile Janz could wind up easily becoming a prodigous fundraiser.

GA-6: The GOP SuperPAC Congressional Leadership Fund is dumping another $3.5M into this race, $2.5M on TV and $1M on various ground-game, online, and mail efforts. The race between ex-SoS Karen Handel (R) and congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D) is on track to be the most expensive House contest ever.

IL-13: State Rep. Carol Ammons (D), a liberal who represents central Champaign, has opened up a committee to explore a run against Rep. Rodney Davis (R). This Champaign/Springfield area seat was drawn to be swingy, but has trended right in the past few years, and Davis has proven a strong incumbent.

IA-3: Sanders campaign staffer Pete D’Allesandro (D) is running against Rep. David Young (R) for this light-red Des Moines area seat. Democrats’ are back to square one in recruitment for this race after businessman and 2016 candidate Mike Sherzan (D) abruptly aborted his campaign a few weeks ago.

MT-AL: In the “disturbing mental images” portion of the roundup, musician Rob Quist (D) apparently was a regular performer at an Idaho nudist resort. Quist even made performances during a time when he said he was unable to work because of gallbladder surgery. Quist is the underdog to 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) in the special election four weeks from today.

PA-10: Teachers’ Union official Mark McDade (D) is running in the special election for the seat of Rep. Tom Marino (R), who is set to resign to become Drug Czar. McDade is basically a Some Dude, but he has the same last name as ex-Rep. Joe McDade (R), who represented a prior form of this Scranton-area district from 1962 to 1998. Many, many Republicans are considering runs for this deep-red seat.

State & Local:

NYC-Mayor: Councilman Eric Ulrich (R), one of three Republicans on the council and the only one from outside Staten Island, has endorsed in the race for NYC Mayor. But surprisingly, Ulrich isn’t backing either of the main Republican candidates, developer Paul Massey (R) or State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R). Instead, Ulrich is backing celebrity detective and former Arby’s pitchman Bo Dietl (I), who is attempting to run on the GOP line after an unsuccessful attempt to get traction against Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D) in the Dem primary. As you might expect, getting the support of 3/5 borough chairs needed to run as a non-Republican in the GOP primary will be tough for Dietl.

CT-Treas: If Connecticut’s Democratic Row Officers aren’t considering the Governor’s race, they’re certainly being shoved in that direction by those seeking to climb the ladder behind them. State Rep. William Tong (D) is considering a run for State Treasurer if five-term incumbent Denise Nappier (D) retires or runs for Governor; he joins a fellow legislator openly considering a run for SoS if that incumbent leaves. As of now, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew (D), Gov. Dan Malloy cabinet official Jonathan Harris (D), and prosecutor Chris Mattei (D) are the only Dems in the race.

IN-Supt: The state legislature, after multiple failed attempts, has passed a bill to turn the State Superintendent from an elected to an appointed position; the bill now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), who is the seventh consecutive governor to advocate the idea. The bill would allow for incumbent Jennifer McCormick (R) to seek one final term in 2020 and transfer the office to appointed status come 2024, when McCormick would have termed out anyway. Republicans’ urgency to support the measure has gone up in the last few years because of prolonged feuding between then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) and then-Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D).

NV-AG: AG Adam Laxalt’s (R) top deputy, ex-State Rep. Wes Duncan (R), will run for his boss’s job if Laxalt does not seek a second term in 2018. Duncan seems to be a strong candidate; an Iraq veteran who won his State House seat in an upset in 2012, he was on the shortlist to be Speaker before his departure to join Laxalt’s office. For his part, Laxalt is widely considered near-certain to run for Governor; Duncan is the first candidate on either side to express interest in the AG seat.

Buffalo-Mayor: County commissioner Betty Jean Grant (D) will run for Mayor. Grant, a liberal with some maverick tendencies, could take black votes away from establishment-liberal incumbent Byron Brown (D), and thus possibly help his main challenger, mavericky City Comptroller Mark Schroeder (D).

NY-Nassau-CE: Ex-State Sen. and 2016 NY-3 nominee Jack Martins (R) will run for Nassau County Executive, hoping to push aside indicted incumbent Ed Mangano (R). Martins is expected to secure the backing of the county machine, but Mangano has not definitively said he will step aside. State Rep. Charles Lavine (D), county commissioner Laura Curran (D), and party-switching county Comptroller George Maragos (D) are in this year’s race on the Dem side.

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Political Roundup for April 26, 2017

Hello, again, from my safe space: a Metro-North quiet car barrelling through a string of leafy, Wall Street Journal-reading, Romney-won Super ZIPs. 2012 lives on in my heart.

Anyway, from last night:
SC-SD-3: Richard Cash (R) wins the runoff 54-46.
CT-LD-7: Joshua Hall (D running on WFP line) wins.
CT-LD-68: Joe Poletta (R) wins with 78%.

National:

State Trends: According to RCP, 2016 ACS data suggests that purple suburbs will be the future’s most important electoral battlegrounds.

Social Classes and Politics: If you needed any further signals of the future of our partisan coalitions, look no further. Whereas most college-educated Americans see the political climate as a tremendous threat to the economy, only 1/5 of Americans with a high school diploma or less agree.

Democrats:  According to Politico, while Democrats have seen a yuge burst in enthusiasm in the Trump era, they currently lack the infrastructure and organization to channel that into electoral success.

Labor: Six years after Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker delivered its biggest defeat since the Wagner Act, organized labor is cozying up to… Republican President Donald Trump.

Congress:

Democratic House Recruitment: Cardboard and marker manufacturers be damned, 408 Democrats have already decided to take a break from bitching over brunch and run for Congress.

CA-39: Long-term Rep. Ed Royce (R), one of 23 Republicans sitting in a Clinton-won district, will be challenged in 2018 by former Cal State Fullerton Chemistry Professor Phil Janowicz (D). While Janowicz is certainly a C-list candidate, then-Cornell College Political Science Professor Dave Loebsack earned laughter when he challenged popular IA Rep. Jim Leach in 2006.

GA-06: An estimated 15-20% of 2016 GA-06 Republican presidential primary voters who voted in round one chose Democrat Jon Ossoff, but, of course, all is, and forever will be, well in TX-07, TX-32, VA-10…

GA-06 (2): In a risky move ahead of an election in a twice-divided district, President Trump will headline an Atlanta Karen Handel (R) fundraiser—just a mile-and-a-half down the street from GA-06.

TX-23: To learn about a Republican Congressman doing things well, read this puff piece about Rep. Will Hurd.

VA-10: First Lady McAwful (D) may challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R).

State & Local:

PA-Gov: State Sen. Scott Wagner’s internal polling shows him with a large lead in the GOP primary over State Rep. Mike Turzai (R) and businessman Paul Mango (R), who has just told Republican officials that he will enter in May.

NYC-Mayor: Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) has filed to run for Mayor. Half Greek, half Cuban, and from an Outer Borough, Malliotakis may resonate better with GOP primary voters than will Larchmont, Westchester County’s Paul Massey (R). Take this as a sign that John Catsimatidis (R), a Malliotakis friend, will not run again (although, now that I think of it, Catsimatidis running would be a pretty funny sight…).

Other:

Polarization: Damn lazy millennials and their social media! Wait… Challenging conventional wisdom, The Economist finds that political polarization has increased most among… the elderly.

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Political Roundup for April 25th, 2017

National:

Abortion: Tom Perez, newly-elected head of the DNC, has declared that Democrats are completely Pro-Choice and that the DNC will not support insufficient Pro-Choice candidates. Naturally, this has caused quite a bit of controversy given that Abortion cuts across political lines far more than you would expect (something like 25% of the Democrat’s voters are Pro-Life, and something similar for the GOP and Pro-Choice), and Nonwhite Democrats in particular are far less likely to support Abortion than White ones. While this probably won’t change many minds, it is a nice reminder of the state of chaos the Democrats are in post-Clintonpocalypse, and a marked departure from the Democrat’s famous 50-state strategy that won them the House in 2006.

Evan McMullin: The former Independent Conservative Presidential candidate is going to be running for . . . something. He hasn’t told us yet, and in fact I’m not sure he knows yet. McMullin probably needs to find some way to get donors to back him to help pay off his staggering debt from his presidential campaign, but the polls so far have him doing remarkably well in Utah. Honestly, I think we can probably cross Texas off as the Senate seat the Democrats need to win next year to flip the Senate, as there’s probably a better chance they pick up 2 in 2018 and McMullin beats Hatch to give the Democrats a 50-49 majority in the body.

Taxes: Trump’s big tax announcement coming Wednesday is apparently not going to be a finalized proposal, which isn’t coming until June. Given how much we mucked up Healthcare, I’d prefer going nice and slow and making sure everyone knows what we’re doing as opposed to the make-it-up-as-we-go-along of the AHCA.

Trump: Despite all the wailing of the media establishment, Trump voters are sticking with their guy. Only 2% regret their decision, and 96% say it was the right thing to do. People may not like Trump, but the still consider him preferable to the status quo, which is probably going to be the story of his Presidency.

Congress:

GA-6: Nate Cohn has notice an unexpected trend here—Trump actually did reasonably well with the voters who were registered in the district before mid-2015, but got walloped with those who registered since then. He predicts Trump would have won this seat by 10.5% had he been facing the 2012 electorate. There are two ways to read this—the first is that the Atlanta Suburbs are exploding with new people, and once the 2020 census comes around we’re all going to be amazed at the fact that this was once a GOP district based on the demographics, or Trump brought a whole bunch of reluctant Dem voters out of the woodwork . . .but not quite enough for him to lose.

MI-1: The Democrats have a candidate for this seat, and this one is actually a Yooper! Dwight Brady, a professor at NMU, has announced he is running for this seat, which absolutely galloped towards Trump last year. No word on whether or not he’s sufficiently Pro-Choice to receive DNC funding yet.

NJ-5: This seat, which is the latest in the Republicans-should-never-have-lost-it-but-did-with-a-knucklehead-incumbent tradition of seats, is apparently going to see a major GOP primary for the right to take on freshmen incumbent Josh Gottheimer (D) in this Northern-Jersey seat. The candidates are State Committee Chairman Sam Raia and Bergen fundraiser Chuck Shotmeyer. Expect this to be a big $ affair, as this is the closest seat to Wall Street that can realistically elect a Republican.

NY-24: John Katko, 2-time winner of the “How on earth do you win by that much?” award for Congressional overperformance, has shot down rumors that he was planning to run for New York Attorney General. This is good for us, as he is currently tying down a light-blue Upstate seat that would be tough to defend in a Trump midterm.

PA-Sen: Jeff Bartos, a Republican from Lower Merion, has announced he is running for Senate against Dem incumbent Bob Casey Jr. Bartos is an interesting pick, given that he’s from one of the bluest parts of the state and been a Democrat supporter and donor as recently as 2012, and is running very much in the Fiscon mold in a Republican party this is clearly moving in the other direction. Besides, who’s ever heard of a real estate mogul from a super-blue upscale area who has a history of donating to and supporting Democrats winning Pennsylvania as a Republican? Can’t be done I tell you!

State & Local:

CO-Gov: Jared Polis, the 5-term Democrat from Boulder, is thinking about running for Governor. Polis, who is probably one of the nicest members of Congress and who has a history of pushing an unorthodox form of upscale Liberalism, would be a strong contender for Governor of Colorado, but he faces the obvious challenge of fellow Dem rep Ed Perlmutter, who has already announced and who is far closer to Generic D. If he does pull the trigger, expect the Teacher’s Unions to carpet-bomb his candidacy back to the stone age over his strong support of school choice.

MA-Gov: Former Democratic Lt. Gov candidate Robert Massie has announced he is running for Governor of the Bay State. Massie has a long history as a progressive activist in Massachusetts, but is probably most famous for being on the same ticket as Mark Roosevelt’s 1994 blowout loss to Bill Weld. Considering he is now running against an uber-popular moderate Republican incumbent Governor, he might be interested in repeating history. Let’s see if he can lose Boston to a Republican again!

MI-Gov: Lt. Governor Brian Calley has released a new soft-spoken ad where he talks about his daughter, and hinted at a major announcement late next month. The smart money’s on a run for Governor, though I guess he could be aiming to take on Stabenow for Senate as well, since Michigan is the only Trump state in the country without at least one Republican Senator.

NH-State-House: A New Hampshire State Rep has switched her party from the Democrats to the GOP. I’m sure her ~150 constituents are heartbroken.

VA-Gov: Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Tom Perriello for Governor, continuing the trend of the Democrat’s Left wing jumping behind Perriello as opposed to the more moderate and established Lt. Governor Ralph Northam. This race is shaping up to be the first conflict in the Democrat’s looming ideological battle, and will be interesting to watch to see if the normally well-disciplined Democrats are still willing to vote for their establishment-backed candidate over the Bold Progressive.

Other:

France-1: Here’s a nice interactive map of the 2017 1st round French election results.

France-2: Le Pen has made the startling and unexpected announcement that she is stepping down as leader of the Front National ahead of the May runoff election. Nominally this is to let her focus more on competing for the runoff, but might also be an attempt to distance herself from the incredible baggage associated with the FN name and try to give her candidacy a more independent-oriented flavor like Macron has done.

UK-1: UK pollsters have finally found a demographic that is supporting Labor over the Tories! Unfortunately for Corbyn, that demographic is seats that Labor won by more than 15% in 2015 . . .and they’re only up 11 points there. The same poll has Labor seats that were closer than 15% voting for the Tories by 17 points. Corbyn is going to have to pull off one hell of a miracle if he wants to avoid going down in history as the worst leader the Labor party has had since Ramsay MacDonald.

UK-2: A poll of Wales has come out, and it shows the Tories with a 10-point lead there, even though the Tories have literally never held the most seats in Wales since the founding of the Liberal Party in the mid-19th century. If this holds, it will probably result in the Tories taking a healthy majority of Wales’s 40 seats, and probably wiping Labor out of everything outside its ancestral home in the Welsh Coal Fields north of Cardiff.

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Political Roundup for April 24, 2017

Yesterday in France, centrist corporate-liberal Emmanuel Macron and nationalist-populist Marine LePen advanced to a runoff with 23% and 22% respectively. The runoff will occur on May 7; Macron is overwhelmingly favored in the second round.

Next, tomorrow there are three special elections, a State Senate runoff in SC and two State House races in Connecticut. None have any partisan drama but all are interesting. SC-SD-3 is an R+25 (2012) seat covering the northern half of Anderson County. Ex-Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette (R) took 49% last year as a mainstream conservative primary challenger to the prior very socially-conservative incumbent, now-LG Kevin Bryant (R). Burdette is facing off against 2010 SC-3 and 2014 US Senate candidate Richard Cash (R), a staunch social conservative himself who has unsurprisingly got Bryant’s endorsement. Burdette led the first round 31-26 with a diverse mix of candidates splitting the rest, so there is no clear favorite in this round. No Democrats are running so tomorrow’s winner will get the seat. Two seats in CT are also up. CT-LD-7 is a D+44 (2016), black-majority seat stretching from downtown Hartford to the northwest corner of the city. Veteran Rickey Pinckney (D) has the official Dem endorsement but is facing two Dems running as Indies, ex-State Rep. Kenneth Green (D), who lost a 2010 primary for re-election by 2 votes, and teachers’ union official Joshua Hall (D), who has the Working Families line. The “D” next to his name makes Pinckney the favorite, but Green’s name rec and Hall’s union backing could give each of them a slight chance to pull an upset with ultra-low turnout. Finally, CT-LD-68 is an R+17 (2016) seat around Watertown, a northwest suburb of Waterbury. The GOP has strangely nominated Watertown councilman Joe Polletta (R), who was the 2014 Democratic nominee for this seat. Polletta switched parties shortly after his loss and is now the strong favorite over ex-Watertown councilman Louis Esposito (D), who doesn’t seem to be running a very serious campaign.

And now the rest of the day’s news –

Congress:

AL-Sen: Here is a solid Great Mentioner piece on who is in, out, and considering taking on Sen. Luther Strange (R) for the Senate seat he was appointed to earlier this year. State Rep. Ed Henry (R) is the only candidate definitively in the race, but a ton of others are considering.

MI-Sen: Retired State Supreme Court Justice Robert Young (R) is being recruited as a possible challenger to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Young, who is of African-American descent, just retired from the bench. Ex-State Senate Pres. Randy Richardville (R) seems like the most serious candidate considering this race so far, though multiple others, including Rep. Fred Upton (R), have floated their names with varying degrees of seriousness.

MN-1: 2016 nominee Jim Hagedorn (R), a Some Dude who notched an unexpectedly narrow loss last year and is running again now that the seat is open, has landed an endorsement from Rep. Tom Emmer (R). Hagedorn would seem to be only a “C” list contender for this race now that the seat is open and one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities, so the support from a well-known establishment figure is somewhat surprising.

TX-3: In something of a surprise, Collin CE Keith Self (R) announced last week that he would not run for this open seat, potentially removing the most serious challenger to State Sen. Van Taylor (R). Taylor, who is personally wealthy and represents essentially the entire Plano-based district, now looks like a near-prohibitive favorite in this race as most other candidates of stature have already declined.

Governor:

MI-Gov: Businessman Shri Thanedar (D), who won an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, will run for Governor, joining State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Xerox executive Bill Cobbs (D), and Detroit city official Abdul El-Sayed (D) in the Dem primary. AG Bill Schutte (R) and LG Brain Calley (R) are the most common GOP names associated with this race.

NJ-Gov: Former Long Hill (pop. 9K) mayor Gina Genovese (I) will run for Governor. Genovese, a former Dem, is running on a platform of encouraging municipal consolidation to save tax dollars and overall seems to take a relatively libertarian ideological line; thus, any votes she draws will probably come relatively equally from the two parties.

PA-Gov, PA-LG: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has stripped LG Mike Stack (D) of his state police detail and some staff after Stack and his wife were found to be abusing their staffers. The decision is leading to speculation that Wolf may attempt to recruit a primary challenger against Stack for the right to join him on the Democratic ticket next year.

WI-Gov: Democrats are having serious recruiting problems for this race, but businessman Andy Gronik (D) is apparently polling this race as a step toward exploring a possible entry. But you can strike one more well-known Dem off the list of possible challengers to Gov. Scott Walker (R), as Dane CE Joe Parisi (D) has taken his name out of the running as well.

RIP: Ex-Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., father of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. (R), passed away last week at age 88. The senior Hogan won an upset on his second try for MD-5 in 1968, then based in what were at the time blue-collar white DC suburbs of Prince George’s County. He served three terms in Congress, where he memorably was among the first Republicans to break with Nixon during Watergate. The decision likely caused his surprising loss in the 1974 gubernatorial primary to a little-known more conservative candidate, State Sen. Louise Gore (R). Hogan then served a term as Prince George’s County Exec from 1978-82 before being flattened in a Senate run by incumbent Paul Sarbanes (D) in 1982. Hogan lived to see two of his six children follow him into politics, with Pat (R) serving two terms as a State Rep. from the Frederick area in the 2000s and Larry of course being elected Governor in 2014.

State Offices:

AZ-Supt: Tempe Councilman and ex-State Sen. David Schapira (D) will run for State Superintendent. Incumbent Diane Douglas (R), who won the 2014 primary in an upset, has widely been considered an ineffective gadfly in her term. Douglas is likely to face a substantive GOP primary challenge, and Democrats seem ready to aggressively target this seat with Arizona’s leftward trend in recent cycles.

CA-LG: Former Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis (D), daughter of a prominent Dem donor, has opened a committee to explore the LG race. Kounalakis joins State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D) and physician Asif Mahmood (D) in declaring interest in this open seat. Termed-out incumbent Gavin Newsom (D) is running for Governor.

CT-Comp: 2014 CT-5 nominee Mark Greenberg (R) will run for Comptroller this cycle. Unlike his congressional runs, Greenberg does not plan to self-fund his run for Comptroller. Incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is considering a run for Governor but could still seek re-election; no other candidates have as yet expressed interest in this race.

FL-Ag Comm: Daniel Sohn (D), who lost a race for a local water board last year, will run for Ag Commissioner; he seems to have some support base as no bigger-name Dems have as yet expressed interest in this race. State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R) and former Orlando Mayoral candidate Paul Paulson (R) are in the race on the GOP side, and State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) is expected to enter. Termed-out incumbent Adam Putnam (R) is widely expected to run for Governor.

GA-SoS: Alpharetta (pop. 60K) Mayor David Belle-Isle (R) will run for the open SoS seat, joining State Reps. Buzz Brockway (R) and Brad Raffensperger (R) in the race. All three candidates hail from the Altanta suburbs. Incumbent Brian Kemp (R) is running for Governor.

SD-SoS: State Auditor Steve Barnett (R), who is termed-out of his current post, will run for the open SoS seat vacated by congressional candidate Shantel Krebs (R). Barnett is the first candidate to announce for the post; the nominee will be decided by convention.

CT-SD-13, WATN: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz (D), who left politics after an embarassing episode in which she attempted to run for AG in 2010 without filling the qualifications and then made a little-noticed 2012 US Senate run, will run for State Senate in 2018, taking on State Sen. Len Suzio (R) in a Dem-leaning district.

FL-SD-40: State Sen. Frank Artiles (R) has resigned after using a racial slur to refer to two fellow State Senators last week. Artiles’s decision triggers a special election in his southwest suburban Miami seat, which Clinton carried by 18 points last year but where Cuban machine Republicans have historically held sway.

Local Races:

NYC-Mayor: State Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R) of Staten Island will consider a run for Mayor if 2013 candidate John Catsimatidis (R) does not make another go of it. Malliotakis won a then-Dem-leaning State Rep. seat, which spans the Verrezano Narrows Bridge, in 2010. However, she has little name recognition city-wide and is not independently wealthy, unlike the main Republican already in the race to take on Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D), developer Paul Massey (R).

Seattle-Mayor: City planner and left-wing activist Cary Moon (D) will run for Mayor. Moon is best known for her efforts to completely close a major highway through the city center rather than relocate it to a tunnel. Moon is likely to vie with ex-Mayor Mike McGinn (D) for the ultra-left vote in her bid to take on establishment liberal incumbent Ed Murray (D).

San Diego-DA: San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis (R), a moderate Republican, will step down from the DA’s post to explore a run for a County Supervisor seat covering central San Diego. Dumanis’s top deputy, Summer Stephan (R), is running to succeed her and is likely to be appointed by the all-Republican County Board to fill the vacancy.

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French Presidential First Round Preview & Open Thread

Tomorrow there is a presidential election in France. France uses the two-round system, which is basically a Louisiana Rules Top Two system with one candidate per party. There are six notable candidates this weekend, representing a diverse array of views. In the (certain) event that no one crosses 50%, the top two candidates will move on to a runoff in two weeks on May 7.

The generally-accepted front-runner to be the next president is Emmanuel Macron. Formerly a low-level member of the ruling Socialist Party’s centrist wing, Macron took a big gamble by deciding to leave the party and run as an independent under his own vanity party, En Marche (Let’s go). Macron is basically a Bloomberg/Economist-style corporate centrist-liberal, and is very pro-Europe. Macron was helped greatly by the decisions of France’s two major parties to nominate candidates on their respective fringes ideologically; he has largely poached the centrist wing of the Socialists and has significant crossover support from the main opposition Republicans as well. Macron is in some ways the Hillary of this election: it’s hard to think of a worse fit for the cultural moment, but he has benefited from the backing of elites and the widespread perception that his rivals are not fit to lead the nation. Whether that will be enough to succeed where Hillary failed is an open question; though he leads all runoff pairings by large margins, it’s possible that his rivals’ more dedicated bases will leave him squeezed into third place.

Macron’s likely runoff rival is Marine LePen of the National Front (FN). LePen is a European Parliament member and the daughter of Jean-Marie LePen, a longtime political figure known for virulently nationalist and anti-Semitic views. Marine has sanitized much of her father’s most toxic points, and turned the FN from a home for assorted crackpots into a nationalist party with mainstream appeal along the lines of UKIP across the channel. The FN takes nationalism in a very French direction, with fiscal policies that are left-wing even by French standards coupled to the usual anti-immigration, anti-EU, and pro-Russian overtures shared by other nationalist parties across the continent. That gives LePen a very strong dedicated core of supporters. However, her nationalism and the legacy of her father’s toxic views are a major handicap for Marine in getting to 50%; polls suggest she will lose by a large margin in the runoff to any of her rivals should she make it there.

Early in the campaign, the front-runner was thought to be Francois Fillon, a former Prime Minister and the candidate of the main opposition Republicans. Fillon is a staunch conservative by European standards, preaching fiscal conservatism to a degree that would fit in to the mainstream of the US GOP, but which puts him at the right edge of the earth on fiscal matters in France’s spectrum. In spite of that, the poor performance of the Socialists under President Hollande meant that Fillon was the clear favorite, until his campaign imploded amidst a scandal of providing no-show jobs for his wife and other assorted petty corruption, which led to his indictment in the middle of the campaign. However, Fillon has stayed in the race and looks likely to finish third or fourth. If he makes the runoff, he would likely lose to any candidate but LePen.

Surging in recent weeks has been Jean-Luc Melenchon, a European Parliament member from a small leftist party allied to the Communists. Melenchon is running on a fairly typical far-left neo-communist platform. After being generally dismissed as a gadfly for much of the campaign, his stock has gradually risen and polls suggest he stands a very good chance of winning the runoff if he faces a candidate other than Macron. Melenchon has been making a sustained upward surge in the first-round polls in recent weeks, mainly at the expense of the Socialists’ endorsed candidate, and if said candidate continues his slide Melenchon could have a chance to make the runoff.

Two other candidates have no chance to make the runoff but will draw more than asterisk-level support. Benoit Hamon, a parliament member and the candidate of the incumbent Socialists, has fallen into fifth place as his far-left base has chosen the more charismatic Melenchon and Macron has poached his right flank. However, the Socialist Party infrastructure and name is probably enough to keep a few points of support in Hamon’s column. Ultimately Hamon’s vote share is most important for how much he bleeds to Melenchon, as an unexpected late flow of votes from Hamon to Melenchon could put the latter in the runoff. The sixth candidate who will draw more than a percent is Nicholas Dupont-Aignan, a parliament member and presidential candidate in 2012; Dupont-Aignan fills the space between Fillon’s conservatism and LePen’s nationalism but doesn’t have the appeal of either. He took 2% five years ago and looks likely to get about the same this time.

Overall, the polls have been converging in recent weeks, with the top four candidates tightly bunched around 20% each, and a relatively small number of votes could throw a different candidate than expected into the runoff. And that could have major consequences for the second round, as polling suggests it will be a blowout no matter what the pairing is, with Macron > Melenchon > Fillon > LePen. Here is an open thread to discuss the results.

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Weekend Open Thread for April 21-23, 2017

Welcome to another weekend. We will have a preview and open thread tomorrow for Sunday’s French Elections. Now, this week’s questions:

1. What broader implications will this week’s GA-6 preliminary result have?

2. A bit of a personal bent to this question – some of my left-leaning friends are excited about tomorrow’s “March for Science” protest. Do you think actual scientists are better served in their priorities (i.e. more NIH funding) in the long run by trying to stay away from politics or embedding themselves as an interest group in the liberal coalition?

And because it’s the weekend…we give you Sean Spicer Kindergarten Cop HERE

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Political Roundup for April 21, 2017

Governor:

FL-Gov: Ex-Rep. Gwen Graham (D) is apparently close to formally announcing a run for governor. She said she would make an announcement about whether she plan to run “soon”, defining soon as something between tomorrow and two more months. A big obstacle to her running was recently removed as her husband, undergoing cancer treatment, was told his cancer was in remission. Two Democrats are already running-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and businessman Chris King, and trial lawyer John Morgan is also considering running.

GA-Gov: State Sen. Burt Jones (R) is considering joining the race for governor. LG Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are already running on the Republican side. Jones was a former team captain for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team in 2002. He says he intends to make a decision about running in the next couple of months

OH-Gov: Ex-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) is holding a town hall in Dayton on Monday, fueling speculation he may be interested in running for governor. The town hall will follow a press conference in Columbus earlier in the day to discuss “the impact of privatization on Ohio’s public schools.” Although Kucinich’s name has not been discussed much in connection with the race, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball website mentioned him yesterday as someone “looming in the background” of the race.

OK-Gov: State Rep. Scott Inman (D) announced yesterday he is joining the race for governor. Inman, who is term-limited out of the House, joined former state Sen. Connie Johnson (D) and retired auto mechanic Norman Brown in the Democratic primary. LG Todd Lamb (R), State Auditor Gary Jones (R) and attorney Gary Richardson are running on the Republican side.

House:

MD-6: State House Majority Leader William Frick (D) has begun raising money for a congressional run in anticipation of Rep. John Delaney (D) potentially vacating the seat to run for governor. Although he has filed paperwork to raise money for the race, he has not filed to be on the ballot yet.

NE-2: Ex-Rep. Brad Ashford (D) says either he or his wife, Ann will run for Congress against Rep. Don Bacon (R) next year. He says “One of us is running next year. And you can take that to the bank.” Right now, he says his wife is leaning towards running. The two Ashfords have one thing in common-both are former Republicans. Brad was a registered Republican and later an independent while serving in the Legislature and then became a Democrat after leaving. Ann was a registered Republican until changing her registration at the end of last year after voting for Hillary Clinton.

NM-1: Two Democrats announced bids yesterday for this open seat. Albuquerque city councilman Pat Davis, who also is executive director of liberal group Progress Now New Mexico joined former University of New Mexico law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez in announcing their intentions to run for the seat left open by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who is running for governor.

UT-3: It appears Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), who already announced on Wednesday that he wouldn’t seek re-election next year, may not even serve out the rest of his term. Chaffetz said during an interview with a local radio talk show that he is considering leaving office early. The situation would present a difficult scenario-state law is unclear about the process for holding a special congressional election. State law only says that in case of a vacancy, the governor shall call for a special election. No timetable or process is spelled out. The last time a vacancy in a congressional seat in Utah occurred was in December 1929, and in that case the special election was not held until the next scheduled general election in November 1930. Utah has gone the 3rd longest period of time without a special congressional election behind Delaware(1900) and Idaho, which has never held a special congressional election since statehood in 1890.

VA-10: State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D) announced yesterday that she is challenging Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) next year. Wexton is the 4th Democrat to join the race, and the one many Democrats think has the best chance of beating Comstock. She joins Army veteran Daniel Helmer, former Obama Administration official Lindsey Davis Stover and former Fairfax County teacher’s union president Kimberly Adams. Others, including Dorothy McAuliffe, wife of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) are thinking about running.

State & Local:

OK-LG: Former OK Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell announced yesterday he plans to run for Lieutenant Governor. Pinnell served as state Republican Party Chairman during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles and was the youngest state GOP chairman in the country at the time.

Omaha Mayor: Women’s rights groups are criticizing the DNC for holding an event in Omaha featuring mayoral candidate Heath Mello (D) because Mello voted for pro-life bills as a state senator. The Daily Kos has also withdrawn their endorsement of Mello after discovering his voting record on the issue.

International:

UK-general election: Former UKIP Leader Nigel Farage says he will not stand as a candidate in the upcoming general election. He considered running for UKIP in Clacton, where MP Douglas Carswell announced that he will not run for re-election. Carswell was UKIP’s only MP before leaving the party to sit as an independent earlier this year. Farage has failed 7 times previously in being elected to Parliament. He also predicted the Tories would win a large majority and knowing that fact would allow UKIP voters to vote their conscience.

 

247 Comments »

Political Roundup for April 20, 2017

Polling Update: We want to poll the MT-AL special election! Now here’s the problem….Our poll of GA-6 in which we correctly predicted an Ossoff vs Handel runoff completely drained our coffers. Polling Montana is hard because it requires a live person. We estimate that doing a proper poll of Montana could cost $2,000 when all is said and done. But if you guys are up for it we are too! The MT-AL special election is on May 25th. That means we got time to try and raise enough. If we are unsuccessful in raising enough your donations will not go to waste because we will poll the GA-6 runoff and if the donations we get are super generous we will attempt to poll both races! So if you want to do it please go to https://www.paypal.me/RedRacingHorses and contribute today!

President:

Cabinet: President Donald Trump’s choice for deputy secretary of commerce, Todd Ricketts, has withdrawn his nomination due to difficulties in untangling his financial holdings. Ricketts is a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.

Governor:

GA-Gov: Former Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R) has been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he would likely decide if he would run around July 4, but the early tea leaves are pointing to Westmoreland passing on a run for governor.

IL-Gov: Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers (D) said he will decided within the next two weeks whether he will enter the increasingly crowded Democrat primary for Governor. If Summers joins the race, he’ll be the only African-American candidate running in a primary filled with billionaires, heir force candidates and various local pols.

ME-Gov: Military veteran Adam Cote (D) announced he will run for governor. Cote lost the 2008 Democrat primary to now-Rep. Chellie Pingree by a 44% to 28% margin.

MN-Gov: Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman became the first Republican to enter the race for this open seat.  Huffman says he intents to abide by the endorsement of the Republican convention so their is a good chance he won’t be the party’s candidate as the field could get quite crowded. Other potential GOP contenders include House Speaker Kurt Daudt, state Rep. Matt Dean and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

NJ-Gov: Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno unveiled a proposal to slash New Jersey property taxes by $1.5 billion annually. Guadagno hopes to make her property tax cut plan one of the centerpieces of her gubernatorial campaign.

NY-Gov: How did New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) make $783,000 in royalties from a book that sold only 3,200 copies? The exorbitant payments came for News Corp’s HarperCollins division who published Cuomo’s very poorly selling (but highly profitable) book. If only Preet Bharara (who was investigating NewsCorp when he was fired by President Trump) was still around to get to the bottom of this…..

OH-Gov: State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D) has resigned as state Senate Minority Leader to concentrate on his campaign for governor. Senate Democrats have selected state Sen. Kenny Yuko (D) to replace Schiavoni as Senate Minority Leader.

Senate:

AL-Sen: State Rep. Ed Henry (R), the lawmaker who started the impeachment proceedings against former Gov. Robert Bentley (R), announced he will run for U.S. Senate. Henry becomes the first Republican to officially enter the primary against appointed Senator Luther Strange. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, state Sen. Slade Blackwell, state Sen. Trip Pittman, former state Rep. Perry Hooper Jr., suspended state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and various member of the Alabama congressional delegation are all considering entering the GOP primary against Strange as well.

NM-Sen: Albuquerque construction company owner Mark Rich (R) has announced he will run for Senate against Sen. Martin Heinrich (D). Rich has never run for public office before but does have the ability to partially self finance his campaign.

TX-Sen: And the award for the worst poll of 2017 goes to…. Texas Lyceum! Their just released poll shows Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) edging out Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in a potential 2018 Senate matchup and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) tied with Cruz. Of course this is a poll of adults and Castro’s margin is 35% to 31% with a mere 34% undecided and O’Rourke is only tied 30% to 30% with 40% undecided. Junk polls like this are really nothing more than fundraising fodder for people like O’Rourke who are running long shot campaigns.

UT-Sen: Republican Derek Miller, the CEO of World Trade Center Utah and former chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert (R), said he’s thinking “very seriously” about running for Senate and expects to make a final decision in the fall. Miller has indicated that he would be willing to challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) in a primary but would step aside if Mitt Romney (R) decided to run.

UT-Sen: There is a good chance that the Democrat candidate for Senate in Utah in 2018 will not be a guy wearing a dress. Salt Lake County Council Member Jenny Wilson (D) filed paperwork to create an exploratory committee and launched a campaign website ahead of a potential challenge to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R).

House:

GA-6: In the 24 hours after Star Wars aficionado Jon Ossoff (D) clinch a spot in the special election runoff the 30 year old embodiment of the hope of the #Resistance raised over $500,000. Like Ossoff himself the vast majority of this money comes from outside of the district. The DCCC is also going on the air with another $500,000 worth of ads.

IA-4: Internet psychic Kim Weaver (D) is coming back for another run against Rep. Steve King (R) in 2018. Weaver lost to King by more than 22 points in 2016 but maybe her tarot cards are telling her something about 2018 we don’t know.

OH-14: Twice failed independent candidate for local office Betsy Rader announced she will run for Congress as a Democrat against Rep. David Joyce (R). It is not often that someone turns a failed run for Russell Township trustee into a congressional career but Ms. Rader is hoping to break the mold!

MT-AL: The attempts by Democrats to make the upcoming special congressional election an all mail-ballot election have failed. Montana state house Republicans have killed a bill that would have required the election to be conducted entirely by mail and Montanans who want to vote will have to stand in line like a bunch of schnooks.

TX-32: Former NFL linebacker Colin Allred (D) has launched a campaign to unseat Rep. Pete Sessions (R). Allred played a few seasons with the Tennessee Titans from 2007 to 2010 where he was mostly a backup and special teams player.

UT-3: In case you missed it Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) has announced he is retiring from Congress at the end of this term. Evan McMullin (R) is reportedly considering running for this seat. No word yet on what Merrill Cook (R) and Enid Greene (R) intend to do.

State, Local & Other:

Boston-Mayor: Democrat Tito Jackson (no relation to Michael Jackson) has filed papers to begin collecting signatures to run for Mayor. Jackson is will be a heavy underdog to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) who is seeking re-election.

Cleveland-Mayor: Outspoken City Councilman Zack Reed (D) is entering this year’s mayoral race. Reed is best remembered for his DUI arrest a few years ago when he fell asleep on the steering wheel at a stop light. More than a dozen candidates have taken out nominating petitions for the race. Mayor Frank Jackson (D) announced in February that he will seek an unprecedented fourth, four-year term.

FL-SD 40: Here’s a hat tip to all politicians out there, it is probably not a good idea to use the N-word when talking about your colleagues in the state senate. Florida state Sen. Frank Artiles (R) is facing mounting pressure to resign for saying that Senate President Joe Negron (R) had only risen to his position of power because “six [n-word]” in the Republican caucus elected him. I’m not sure what’s worst Artiles blatant racism or the fact that Artiles seems to be a complete drunken idiot (although those two things are not mutually exclusive).

Fake News: We hate to link to Vox but this piece about how CNN treats politics like sports is well worth watching. The crux is CNN has turned their political coverage into reality TV theater and it is having a poisonous effect on our political discourse.

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UT-3: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) is Retiring

Fifth-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) is retiring. Chaffetz has been high-profile (and somewhat controversial) in the House for his lead of the Oversight committee and was often talked about as a potential candidate for higher office, but instead he will call it quits.

The decision opens up UT-3, which went 47-23 for Trump. This being Utah, the usual places to go for Great Mentioner action (the legislature and local offices) don’t really apply, as the state tends to be more or less allergic to promoting pols (as an example, it hasn’t promoted a House member to the Senate since 1940). The most obvious candidate is former presidential candidate Egg McMuffin Evan McMullin (R), who took the lions’ share of the third party vote in this seat and has stayed active as a pretentious self-promoter since. A member of the Romney clan could be a strong candidate. And there is a very good chance of someone coming out of nowhere; just one of Utah’s current delegation had any elected political experience before winning their seat.