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2017 Presidents Day Open Thread

Programming note:  there will be a policy thread later this morning.

Question: what percentage of the electorate does not believe anything the mainstream media says?

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Weekend Open Thread for February 17-20, 2017

Welcome to the Presidents’ Day Weekend; we will have our traditional policy thread on Monday in lieu of a Roundup. But we’re kicking things off with some announcements. First, if you have been having trouble logging into the site, please clear your browser cache and delete cookies. We have been having a problem with one of our site security systems that has been causing people to be improperly flagged as spambots. Clearing your cache should solve this problem.

Second, we are also making the following three Race Ratings Changes for upcoming House/Row Officer elections. Our full ratings can be found by clicking the Race Rankings tab above.
MT-AL Likely R from Lean R || SC-5 Safe R from Likely R || WI-Supt Likely D from Lean D

Third, this Sunday there is a general election in Ecuador. Ecuador is a country of 15M at the western tip of South America, on the Pacific Coast between Colombia and Peru. As you might guess from the name, it straddles the Equator. Oil production and agriculture (particularly bananas) form the core of the economy. Ecuador has been led by a left-wing government under President Rafael Correa, a watered-down, less-autocratic Chavista, for a decade, but that may change this year as Correa is standing down. Ecuador uses a French two-round system with a caveat: you either need to get 50% OR 40% and a 10% margin over your nearest opponent to win. Correa’s pick to succeed him is former VP Lenin (yes, Lenin) Moreno of his left-wing PAIS (“Nation”) party. Moreno, who is an interesting figure in his own right for his story of being paralyzed in a robbery, is likely to come in a comfortable first, and there is an outside chance he may pass the 40% and 10% margin to win outright. However, odds are that he will head to a runoff. His likely opponent there is Guillermo Lasso of the center-right pro-business CREO (“Believe”) party, a banker who lost the 2013 presidential election to Correa. Lasso is likely to take a bit over 20% of the vote. Lasso could be upset for a second runoff spot by legislator Cynthia Viteri of the christian-democratic Social Christian Party, who has been polling in the high teens. A fourth major candidate, ex-Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, could take around 10% on a center-left platform. Moncayo is unlikely to make the runoff, but his supporters could be swing votes in a second round. The remainder is likely to splinter among a number of minor candidates who will not crack out of low single digits but could draw 10% or more together. Runoff polls show Lasso or Viteri ahead of Moreno, as the current government is unpopular due to allegations of widespread corruption. The economy has also slowed with lower oil prices, and Chavism (even in Correa’s watered down form) has been showing its negative economic effects. However, Correa does have a dedicated base of supporters that will come out for Moreno, so whether the 40%/10% margin rule is triggered could dictate whether the nation has a left-wing or center-right government.

And now, without further ado,  this week’s questions:

1. Which unsuccessful presidential candidate in American history do you most wish had won?

2. What is your favorite political-related twitter feed (other than ours, of course)? I’m partial to Don Willett’s light-hearted @justicewillett stream.

And because it’s the weekend, we give you the new policy of America First/The Netherlands Second HERE.

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Political Roundup for February 17, 2017

Senate:

MI-Sen: Apparently one Republican rock musician considering a Senate race in Michigan isn’t enough. With Kid Rock being talked about a possible candidate, now Ted Nugent is said to be considering a race as well. Nugent is a strong supporter of President Trump and the state director for Trump’s campaign says he thinks Nugent could be the perfect candidate to replicate the Trump campaign’s successful coalition that turned the state red for the first time since 1988. Nugent says he has things to consider before making the race-including the fact he will be 70 next year and that he needs complete support from his family.

WI-Sen: Republicans have lost their most prominent potential candidate to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). Rep. Sean Duffy (R) has announced he will not run. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had been waiting on Duffy’s decision before he decided whether to make a bid. Management consultant and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson, state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) and 2012 Senate candidate Eric Hovde are other Republicans who have expressed interest in the race.

House:

GA-6: For a district that only voted narrowly for Donald Trump, two Republican candidates don’t seem to be concerned about ties to him-in fact, they are fighting over who has the closer ties. Bruce LeVell, a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention and technology executive Bob Gray both claim to have the mantle of the president’s biggest supporter. Levell was executive director of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition during last year’s campaign while Gray claims a personal relationship with him. Others in the race are claiming other prominent endorsements-former state Sen. Dan Moody (R) has allies of Sen. David Perdue (R) behind him, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), who formerly held this seat, has endorsed former state Sen. Judson Hill (R). Former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) is still seen as the frontrunner.

MT-AL: As the wait continues for Rep. Ryan Zinke (R) to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, state Senate President Scott Sales (R) has dropped out of the race to succeed him. 2016 GOP  gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte, state Sen. Ed Buttrey (R), former state Sen. Ken Miller (R) and businessman Eugene Graf are still in the running for the Republican nomination.

SC-5: Mick Mulvaney was approved yesterday as OMB director by a 51-49 vote and has resigned his seat in Congress, setting in motion the official schedule to fill the seat. The primaries will be May 2 with a runoff if necessary May 16. The general election will be June 20. State Rep. Ralph Norman (R) is resigning his seat in the Legislature to concentrate on the campaign. Other Republicans running are state House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope (R), former state GOP Chairman Chad Connelly, party activist Shari Few, attorney and State Guard commander Tom Mullikin and attorney Kris Wampler. No Democrats have yet announced they plan to run-state Sen. and two time Democratic nominee for governor Vincent Sheheen (D) is not running.

Governor:

CT-Gov: Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti (R) is considering running for governor next year. Lauretti, who has been mayor of Shelton for 26 years, intended to run in 2014 as well, but did not get on the ballot. Two other Republican mayors are also considering running-Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton have both formed exploratory committees for statewide office. Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has not yet announced if he will seek a third term next year.

FL-Gov: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) has long been considered a potential candidate for governor next year, but doubts are growing about whether he will make the race. Friends believe he has not made up his mind yet, and he says he needs to decide if it’s something he really wants. He has not started actively making moves toward a campaign yet, unlike fellow Democrats former Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and political newcomer Chris King. Personal injury lawyer John Morgan is also considering a run on the Democratic side.

KS-Gov: Businessman Wink Hartman (R) has announced a run for governor next year. Hartman previously ran for Congress in 2010 as a “Tea Party conservative”, losing to now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the GOP primary. Ex-state Rep. Ed O’Malley (R) is the only other person to formally announce a bid.

OK-Gov: LG Todd Lamb (R) has resigned from the cabinet of Gov. Mary Fallin (R) over Fallin’s proposed tax increases. Lamb was in Fallin’s cabinet as the state’s Small Business Advocate-the resignation does not affect his position as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. The move is seen possibly as a way for him to separate himself from an unpopular tax increase proposal as he is considered a likely candidate for governor next year.

State & Local:

LA-Treasurer: State Sen. Neil Riser (R) has officially entered the race for state Treasurer. Riser formerly ran for the LA-5 congressional seat in 2013, being defeated by Vance McAllister in the runoff. He joins state Reps. Julie Stokes (R) and John Schroder (R) in the race.

MI-resigning legislators law: The Michigan House is debating a law that would forbid state legislators that resign or are removed from office from turning around and running for the seat again in a special election. The law appears to be aimed primarily at former state Rep. Brian Banks (D), who resigned his seat last week in a plea deal stemming from charges involving fradulent loan documents. Banks sent out fundraising e-mails less than 48 hours after resigning and would not rule out running again. The law would also address the situation of former state Reps. Todd Courser (R) and Cindy Gamrat (R) after they had an extra-marital affair and plotted to cover it up in 2015. Courser resigned his seat under pressure and Gamrat was expelled, but both ran in the special election to fill their seats. Both were defeated in the primary. The law would only preclude resigned and expelled legislators from running in the ensuing special election-they could still run again in the future.

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Political Roundup for February 16, 2017

Good morning.  We wake to an America where the Deep State / Political Staffer-Consultant Industrial Complex continues to incompetently plot coup-like behavior and the Trump administration continues to respond to it an equally incompetent fashion while the Democratic Party collectively lights itself on fire.  It is now time for today’s roundup:

President-National

Labor: Andrew Puzder proved that being a scumbag only allows you to become president and is a disqualifying attribute for Secretary of Labor.  To that end, Puzder withdrew his nomination on Wednesday for the post as evidence mounted that he is not a good hombre, but an hombre who threatened his ex-wife.

OMB:  Senator John McCain (R-Defense Department) plans on voting against President Trump’s nominee for Director of Office of Management and Budget, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-Club for Growth).  McCain accuses Mulvaney of aiming at the Defense Department in his efforts to cut the deficit.  This seems like one of those situations where Mulvaney needs to explain to our dear friend Senator McCain that Mulvaney will be busy aiming at whatever discretionary spending is left in the budget.

NSA:  The National Security Adviser position might be going to Vice Admiral Robert Hayward.  Hayward would replace former National Security Adviser former General Michael Flynn resigned based on allegations he was in bed with the Russians, which may or may not be true depending on what side of the Deep State you trust as your source.

Obamacare:  While the Republicans are allegedly planning to repeal and replace Obamacare any day now (I bet it happens the same day the Deep State decides it must follow Trump’s orders), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services released new rules that might more insurance companies to play in the infamously underperforming individual marketplace exchanges.

Congress

PA-COH:  Here are the latest COH numbers for Pennsylvania congressional critters.  Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Delco) is sitting on a big pile of cash.

NRCC:  The NRCC named its top ten defensive targets for 2018 Wednesday.  No real surprises here.

DCCC:  The DCCC on the other hand is claiming that it is getting a lot of interest from veterans to run as Democrats in 2018.  Lets see if this plays out or are they really just talking to Manan Trivedi about PA-6 again. RRR cannot control himself if Manansanity breaks out again!

States/Local

VA-Gov: Progressive favorite and generally overrated former Congressman Tom Perriello (College Town D) compared Trump’s election to 9/11.  While insulting all those people who died that September day and all of those who have died or were wounded subsequently in the various wars in response, Perriello’s behavior resembles the stereotypical Democratic politician now incapable of containing the urge to lead the Bold Progressive horde to fight the political anti-Christ, President Trump.

PA-Corruption Update:  We have not had too many good PA corruption updates lately (Thank you former Governor and Attorney General Tom Corbett for jailing so many political deadbeats).  We have an interesting one from Lycoming County where the current District Attorney is running for a Common Pleas judge spot and he allegedly started an investigation against his rival, which was subsequently dropped by the Attorney General’s office when it took over the case.

Canada

Trudeau:  My friend JJ McCullough highlights how important the visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Supreme Allied Commander of the Heir Force – Left) to Washington was viewed in Canada while nobody could care less here in the US other than it being clear Trump considers Canada “Good Trade Hombres” and used the gatherings associated with it to highlight how the Mexicans are “Bad Trade Hombres”.

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Political Roundup for February 15, 2017

Election News:  Republican Anne Neu won the Minnesota State House special election for seat 32B last night.  Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins won a vacant City Council seat in Harlem as well.  Now for the rest of the roundup…

President/National

Flyover Country:  In case some of our readers were wondering as they are worrying about President Trump from their homes on the respective flanks of the country, Trump is still popular in middle America.

Obamacare:  As I predicted months ago, the Republicans are running into serious internal issues regarding the repeal of Obamacare.  If a repeal happens at all, you got to wonder if it will take as long as it took the Democrats to pass Obamacare.

DNC:  Tom Perez claims to have enough votes to win the race for DNC Chairman.  A Perez win would continue Obama control of the DNC.

SBA:  Linda McMahon was confirmed as SBA Director.  She received strong support from both parties by today’s standards.

MI-Sen:  With a dearth of interested candidates, Republicans in Michigan are floating the idea of Kid Rock running for US Senate.  Crazy to think that Kid Rock as a candidate is not that far outside the realm of possibility.

States

Women:  The number of women in state legislative seats has reached 25% of the total membership with women controlling state legislative chambers also reaching an all time high.

Voting Laws:  As often seen in life, when your side cannot win on the merits, you challenge the rules.  Democrats are now focusing their political rage on the election rules as a source of their defeat.

International

UK:  Ahead of two key byelections, the Labour Party appears poised to lose two seats and potentially impair Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” of the Labour Party.

 

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Political Roundup for February 14, 2017

Happy Love Day -er- Valentines Day. First off, there are two Special Elections to preview for today, one legislative and one for the NYC Council. The State House special this week is for MN-LD-32B, an R+8 (2012) seat in deep-red northeast Twin Cities exurbs along the Wisconsin border near Lindstrom. The seat is open after the 2016 election was invalidated, due to the prior incumbent’s residency violations. Anne Neu (R), a veteran MNGOP campaign operative, should be a clear favorite over 2014/2016 nominee and former Duluth city councilwoman Laurie Warner (D), especially as this seat likely moved right in 2016. However, Dems are targeting this race with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, and a surprise upset may be possible.

There is also a NYC Council Special for NYC-CD-9, a 60% BVAP, D+44 (2008) district basically coextensive with Central Harlem. NYC Council specials are in a non-partisan winner-take-all format. There are 9 Democrats and 1 Republican running, six of them serious and three with some chance to win. State Sen. Bill Perkins (D) is the clear front-runner, as he has represented the entire area in the Senate for a decade. However, Perkins has had a mavericky streak at times that has left him on mediocre terms with the Harlem machine. Transit union official Marvin Holland (D) looks like Perkins’s most serious competition. Holland has lapped the field (including Perkins) in fundraising and has strong labor support. However, his name recognition is poor and he has alienated some establishment figures with a very aggressive campaign (including trying to get almost all his rivals disqualified over petition technicalities). If Labor gets out the vote for him, Holland could pull the upset over Perkins’s name rec. The other candidate who could upset Perkins is former civil servant Larry-Scott Blackmon (D). Blackmon has surprisingly attracted a considerable amount of establishment support, including an endorsement from the previous council member, but doesn’t have Holland’s labor backing or Perkins’s name recognition. He also has received unflattering headlines for allegedly getting insiders to pull strings to keep him on the ballot in spite of an illegal party name. Thus, he looks like a long-shot. Two other Dems, Athena Moore (D), a staffer for the Manhattan Borough President, and Community Board member Charles Cooper (D), are both running serious campaigns and have a modicum of establishment backing, but look like very long-shots to come out on top. An interesting candidate who won’t win is social worker and businesswoman Dawn Simmons (R). Simmons is a credible candidate who has actually raised the third-most of the field, and received headlines for being endorsed by “Rent is Too Damn High” perennial candidate Jimmy McMillan (RITDH), but her party label (and thus her lack of Dem establishment support) will prevent her from taking more than a few percent here. The other four candidates, realtor Todd Stevens (D), attorney Pierre Gooding (D), businessman Donald Fields (D), and a Some Dude, seem to be non-serious. Overall this still looks like Perkins’s race to lose, as the establishment and anti-Perkins vote is split among enough candidates with low name rec to mean that Perkins’s name rec and machine should get him to a victory. However, that victory will probably be a low plurality one and Holland or Blackmon could pull the upset.

Now the rest of the day’s news….

President/National:

Natonal Security Adviser: Last Night Mike Flynn resigned as NSA over allegedly lying to Pence about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Retired admiral Robert Harward is apparently the front-runner to take over the job.

Treasury/VA: The Senate confirmed Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin and VA Sec. David Shulkin to their posts last night. Linda McMahon (SBA), Mick Mulvaney (OMB), Scott Pruitt (EPA), Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Ryan Zinke (Interior), Ben Carson (HUD), and Rick Perry (Energy) are all considered likely to go through before the end of the week.

Congress:

MA-Sen: State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) is considering a run against Sen. and cookbook author Elizabeth Warren (D). Diehl is a staunch conservative who represents a deep-red district by Bay State standards, so he’d likely stand little chance, but he does not have the polarizing image of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (R), who has some controversial statements and a failed video game company under his belt. Businessman Rick Green (R), who runs a conservative activist group as well, is also considering a run.

TX-Sen: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) is considering a run for the seat of Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and will decide in the next 8 weeks. Castro joins fellow Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in exploring this contest; Democrats may be feeling emboldened to take on Cruz after Hillary did better than expected in the Lone Star State, but the state’s huge size and inelastic nature presents a high hurdle.

GA-6: 8 candidates filed for HHS Secretary Tom Price’s (R) vacated congressional seat in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Four candidates are notable, State Sen. Judson Hill (R), ex-State Sens. Dan Moody (R) and Ron Slotin (D), and former congressional staffer Jon Osoff (D), who has had strong fundraising. Several others are expected to enter as well.

SC-5: Ex-SCGOP chair Chad Connelly (R) will run for the seat of OMB-director designate Mick Mulvaney (R); Connelly joins about a half-dozen other Republicans in the race for the deep-red seat. Connelly’s establishment ties could make him a credible contender and he looks likely to join State Reps. Tommy Pope (R) and Ralph Norman (R) in the first tier of contenders for this seat.

Governor, State & Local:

MA-Gov: 1994 LG nominee Bob Massie (D), a bold progressive netroots favorite, is considering a run against Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) and Gov. Deval Patrick admin official Jay Gonzales (D) have also been exploring bids here.

NJ-Gov: Former Saturday Night Live star Joe Piscopo (R) is doing “due dilligence” on a run for Governor of New Jersey, the clearest indication that the comedian is serious about exploring a bid. Piscopo would join LG Kim Guandagno (R) and State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli (R), along with some minor candidates, in the race for the nomination to succeed toxic Gov. Chris Christie (R). Former ambassador Jon Corzine Jr. Phil Murphy (D) is considered the likely Dem nominee and the favorite over any GOP contender.

MI-SoS: 2010 nominee and law school dean Jocelyn Benson (D) is considering a second bid for SoS in 2018. Benson would likely be the front-runner for the Dem nod if she ran, as her 2010 campaign was well-regarded by party insiders. State Sen. Mike Kowall (R) and State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R) are considering runs on the GOP side for the seat of termed-out incumbent Ruth Johnson (R).

PA-LG: Ex-State Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R) of Lancaster County is the first candidate to consider a run for LG. Pennsylvania uses the “shotgun wedding” system in which LGs and Governors run separately in the primaries but together in the general, which can create some chaotic LG races in which candidates have no idea who their running mates will be.

St. Petersburg-Mayor: Ex-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker (R) has flirted with bids for multiple offices over the last couple years, including runs for FL-13, Florida Governor, and Attorney General, but now it looks like he may run for his old job, taking on incumbent St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (D) in this year’s election. Baker, who is well-regarded, would almost certainly be the GOP’s strongest candidate for the mayoral post.

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Political Roundup for February 13, 2017

Saturday in KS-4, Democrats shockingly nominated attorney Jim Thompson (D), a total Some Dude, over ex-State Treasurer Dennis McKinney (D), who was heavily favored going in. With zero name rec and no obvious self-funding ability, Thompson will be a very decided underdog to State Treasurer Ron Estes (R) in the April general election for this deep-red Wichita-area seat, which we currently rate as Safe R.

President/National:

Polling: Even some liberals seem to be tiring of PPP (D)’s long-standing practice of asking Republicans joke polling questions designed to make them look bad. HuffPo has called out PPP for asking a question on the “Bowling Green Massacre” that implied (to those not closely attuned to the news) that the fictional event made up by Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway was reality.

DNC Chair: Under two weeks ahead of the vote, neither of the front-runners to lead the DNC, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D) or ex-US Labor Sec. Tom Perez (D), is anywhere close to a majority, which could open up the door for another candidate like South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttgieg (D) to come up the middle.

Kasich: He is starting a SuperPAC, which may be a prelude to a possible Trump primary challenge in 2020.

Senate:

CA-Sen: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the Senate’s oldest member at 83, will hold a kick-off fundraiser for her 2018 re-election bid next month. This is as good a time to as any to remind you that holding fundraisers and proclaiming your intent to run again does not necessarily preclude a late retirement.

PA-Sen: State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) of suburban Pittsburgh will run for the seat of Sen. Bob Casey (D). Saccone seems a credible “C” lister, but as 1 of 203 State Reps. the PA GOP will likely continue searching for someone with a bigger profile.

Governor:

IL-Gov: Bob Daiber (D), a local schools superintendent in the downstate suburban St. Louis area, is running for Governor. Daiber doesn’t really seem to have the profile to compete in the large state where most of the Dem primary base is in Chicago, so he seems a long-shot at best. Daiber joins businessman and heir force candidate Chris Kennedy (D) and Chicago councilman Ameya Pawar (D) in the race.

IA-Gov: 2014 State Auditor nominee Jon Neiderbach (D) will run for Governor, joining another “C” list Democrat, former state cabinet official Rich Leopold (D). Several other Democrats, all relatively little-known, are considering runs for the seat of Governor-designate Kim Reynolds (R).

NV-Gov: State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R), an antiestablishment conservative, is considering a run for Governor. He would likely face AG Adam Laxalt (R), who himself has some antiestablishment tendencies, in the primary. Schwartz would likely start at a major deficit to Laxalt in financial resources and institutional support.

House:

CA-34: The state Democratic party gave its official endorsement to State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) for this deep-blue downtown-LA based seat. Gomez is the only prominent elected official in the race, and thus the clear front-runner in April’s special. However, he faces a huge number of lesser-known candidates that may force a runoff.

NV-3: Ex-Rep. Joe Heck (R) will cash out to the lobbying world and will not run against Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) in 2018. However, Heck did not rule out another bid down the line.

NC-5: Democrats may have a non-Some Dude candidate to run against Rep. Virginia Foxx (R) in Winston-Salem councilwoman DD Adams (D). This Winston-Salem based seat also includes some deep-red territory in the northwest part of the state, making it deeply Republican overall; thus, Adams is probably unlikely to make it competitive.

State Row Officers:

AL-AG: Gov. Bentley has appointed Marshall County DA Steve Marshall (R) to Sen. Luther Strange’s (R) vacated AG seat. Marshall is expected to seek a full term in 2018; it’s unclear if he will face credible primary opposition, but a half-dozen other Republicans also interviewed with Bentley for the job.

FL-CFO: Florida CFO Jeff Atwater (R), who had already announced he would not run for anything upon being termed out in 2018, will step down after the legislative session to take an administrative job at Florida Atlantic University. The decision isn’t a huge surprise as Atwater had been looking for an exit ramp from politics since 2015, exploring several different university and appointed positions while passing on overtures to mount campaigns for Senate last cycle and Governor in 2018. Nevertheless, his decision to leave early will allow Gov. Rick Scott to make an appointment to his seat. The blog FloridaPolitics has a Great Mentioner of the more than half-dozen names Scott could pick, all of whom could also be candidates for the seat in 2018. State Sen. Jeremy Ring (D) has been considered the most likely Dem candidate for this race, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) and ex-Rep. Fratrick Murphy (D) have also been mentioned.

LA-Treas: Two candidates entered the race for this fall’s special election last week; State Rep. Julie Stokes (R) of suburban New Orleans announced she is in, while State Sen. Neil Riser (R) of the rural northeast part of the state leaked a memo that he is about to enter. They join State Rep. John Schroeder (R) in what is expected to be a very crowded jungle primary. Appointed incumbent Ron Henson (R) has not announced if he intends to stand for election.

WI-Supt: Incumbent State Superintendent Tony Evers (D) has a large financial lead over his rivals, school administrator John Humphries (R) and Beloit local schools superintendent Lowell Holtz (R), though that’s mostly due to his rivals being broke rather than Evers being flush. The California-Rules Top Two primary for this race is a week from tomorrow with a general in April in which Evers is expected to be favored over Humphries.

Local Elections:

Pittsburgh-Mayor: Councilwoman Darlene Harris (D) has filed to run against Mayor Bill Peduto (D) in the May primary. Harris, a mavericky Dem who has clashed with Peduto’s liberal agenda, is Peduto’s only major challenger.

Corpus Christi-Mayor: Ex-councilman Chad Magill (D) will drop out of the race for Mayor in May’s special election. Three major candidates are seeking the seat, ex-Mayor Nelda Martinez (D), councilman Joe McComb (R), and ex-councilman Mark Scott (R).

Westchester, NY-CE: State Sen. George Latimer (D) and State Rep. Tom Abinati (D) are considering runs against Westchester CE Rob Astorino (R), who is seeking a third term in the deep-blue county this year. Defeating Astorino is a priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), as Astorino was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2014 and is likely to run for Governor again in 2018 if he wins re-election. Latimer and Abinati would each be a top-tier candidate against Astorino.

Philadelphia-DA: Philly DA Seth Williams (D) has announced he will not seek re-election this year, apologizing for bringing “embarassment and shame” to his office in a gifts scandal, which has resulted in a federal probe that is apparently nearing completion (and will probably result in charges). Williams allegedly accepted gifts from attorneys with cases he was prosecuting, among other penny-ante corruption. The Dem primary for this seat, which is tantamount to election in ultra-blue Philly, is in May.

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The Torymander: An Overview

Late last year, the Boundary Commissions for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland delivered their draft maps for the next UK Boundary Review (national redistricting in American parlance). It should be noted that the last review came into effect for the 2010 elections (except in Scotland, where it was in 2005), but the numbers used were vintage 2000. This new review is using vintage 2016 numbers. The figures in question are those of eligible voters, not total population. These maps followed new rules set out by Prime Minister David Cameron and carried forward by Theresa May; namely, that there would be a reduction in seats in the the House of Commons from six-hundred and fifty to six hundred, that the Isle of Wight would now have two seats instead of one, that population variance targets (5% deviation with three islands excepted) would be tightened considerably, and that Wales would now be subject to these variance targets. This means that all four countries would have reduced seat numbers, but Wales would be hit particularly hard. We’ll go country by country and break down what happened.

Wales

Cymru (pronounced ‘cum-ree’) suffers the most from the new rules changes. Previous governments, especially Labour ones, have long given the country special treatment when it comes to population targets. Since Welsh targets are now being brought into line with national standards after years of underpopulation, Wales loses eleven of its forty seats. This means that just about everyone’s ox should get gored. However, it looks like the Tories and Plaid Cymru have allied to make sure that the bulk the pain falls on Labour.

In northern Wales, the Tories theoretically lose two seats, as do Labour. However, two of the new seats that are theoretically Labour ones are very swingy. Given current polling numbers, the Conservatives should be able to capture them fairly easily. That would mean that Labour would lose four seats on net and the Tories would lose none. Plaid Cymru is fairly secure in both of its seats, despite absorbing the Labour-held marginal of Ynys Mon into the Arfon seat.

Southern Wales is mostly a wash for the Tories. They lose one of their safe Pembrokeshire seats, but will almost certainly pick up a new seat in the Vale of Glamorgan. The only seats that they really have to worry about are Gower and Swansea West and Cardiff North. They barely picked up Gower in a three-way fight in 2015, and it got worse for them when it had to expand. Still, it’s very holdable with their current polling numbers. Cardiff North only got a little worse and should hold if they win a majority. Labour fares much worse; counting the new Tory-leaning Vale of Glamorgan seat as a loss, they forfeit seven seats in southern wales. Most of this is due to very bad population numbers in the Valleys north of Cardiff. These are very poor areas that used to provide Britain with much of its coal, but have been declining for a while (they’re also where the Labour Party was born in the first place).

Northern Ireland

In short, this appears to be the only commission where the Tories didn’t get their way. Sinn Fein appears to have made out like bandits. Expect even more of the Northern Irish delegation to not show up than usual (Sinn fein is a separatist party that refuses to show up ton any English-dominated parliament). Then again, maybe this is what the Conservatives wanted. The more MPs that don’t show up from Northern Ireland, the easier it is for the Tories to have a rock-solid majority because the number needed for said majority gets lowered. The one seat loss that NI suffers is likely to come from one of the Unionist parties.

Scotland

Alba loses six of its fifty-nine seats. These almost surely will come at the expense of the SNP, as they currently hold fifty-six of the country’s seats. The only LibDem seat is Orkney and Shetland, which is has protected island status. Edinburgh East, which is Labour’s only seat, is now nominally an SNP seat, but I like Labour’s chances at holding it. The same goes goes for the Tories’ only seat, which now reaches farther north and has been relabeled as Clydesdale and Eskdale. I think that this map was probably an SNP attempt to take the Tory and Labour seats, but given the Tories recent poll numbers in Scotland, it will probably backfire. The Conservatives now have decent shots at Dumfries and Galloway (on a good night), Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (almost certainly a pickup), and Edinburgh South West and Central (on a decent night). Labour also has a decent chance to take Highland North. The LibDems have an outside shot at Inverness and Skye and a slightly better one at Gordon and Deeside. I’m being conservative with these given the poll numbers, but I think they’re a bit inflated and will lead to a lot of anti-SNP vote splitting.

Northern England

This region is a Labour killing field. Labour outright loses four seats in Northeast England, two seats in Cumbria and Lancashire, two seats in Merseyside, three seats in Greater Manchester, and three seats in Yorkshire to seat reductions. That’s sixteen seats that Team Red desperately needs, gone forever. The Tories also lose a seat in Humberside and another in Lancashire (though they made up for both with other moves).

There are also a lot of lines changed among the remaining seats. About a dozen swing seats move to the right. Of special interest are Hull, whose three seats get reorganized so that the Tories can win one, Grimsby, which gets cracked between two seats to make up for the loss of Brigg and Goole, and The Wirral, where Wirral West gets reformed into Bebington and Heswall, almost assuring a Tory pickup. Also, former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam (now Sheffield Hallam and Stocksbridge) is definitely in danger of a takeover by Labour.

The Midlands

The East Midlands aren’t actually that interesting. Labour and the Tories each lose a seat to elimination. The lines in Derby get rejiggered to flip Derby South and turn Derby North into a superpack.

The West Midlands have a bit more to see. The Tories lose two rural seats and Labour loses one in Stoke-on-Trent. Labour also loses two seats in the Black Country near Birmingham. There are a lot of interesting seat moves. The most interesting ones are the conversion of the Labour bastion of Coventry North West to a safely Tory seat as Coventry West and Meriden and the baconxtripping of southern Birmingham (which very much helps the Conservatives).

Southern England

East Anglia only loses one seat, in Essex, and unfortunately it has to be a Tory one. The commission went after UKIP’s Douglas Carswell in Clacton, but he still has a fighting chance. This region is basically a Tory seat bank.

The Tories technically lose a set in the Home Counties, in Kent, but make up for it with a new solidly blue seat on the Isle of Wight for no net change in seats. This region, as with East Anglia, is almost all safe Tory seats with a few red bastions and a handful of competitive seats. It should also be noted that the commission targeted Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP. It’ll be interesting to see whether she’ll run in Brighton North or Brighton Central and Hove.

London is pretty interesting. Even though the economy there is thriving, Greater London still loses five seats. Labour bears the full brunt of those losses. Most of the important moves in London are the Tories playing defense. I think that’s smart given the demographic shifts in parts of the city. They target a few seats, too. Brentford and Isleworth becomes Brentford and Chiswick and almost surely flips. Enfield North absorbs a new ward that flips it to the Tories and becomes simply Enfield. A Labour seat (Harrow West) gets moved around and reconstituted as Kenton. Watch that one. If the Tories are winning it on Election Night, they’re having a pretty good showing.

The Tories have two seats eliminated in the West Country. Otherwise, not much happens, though the Plymouth seats do get shored up. There’s a trend in Southern England to move the city center from one seat to the other, then add rural territory in these two seat cities such as Norwich, Southampton, and Plymouth.

My Conclusion

After reviewing all of this and looking at the notional 2015 results for the new seats, things look pretty good for the Conservative Party. Right off the bat, they have two-hundred and ninety Safe seats. If you add in their Likely and Lean seats, you get to three-hundred and twenty-one seats, which is a decent majority. Right now I’d guess conservatively that they’d take about three-hundred and forty seats. That’s not bad. If their poll numbers are actually as strong as they appear, I could easily see them passing three-hundred and sixty. After that, things get really tough because the Labour seats beyond a certain point are very safe. Also, I’d like to point out that despite being deeply in the minority, Labour loses about thirty of the fifty eliminated seats. I’m sure that poll numbers will shift and that Labour will be victorious once more in the future. For now, however, they have a very deep hole out of which to start digging themselves.

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Weekend Open Thread for February 10-12, 2017

As I sit on a plane waiting for a pilot at a third world airport where our Dear Leader has his personal plane on display, it is time for this weekend’s open thread. A heads up that we will have a recap and summary of Son_of_the_South’s series on the UK Redistricting tomorrow. There is also the Dem convention in KS-4 tomorrow – we won’t be actively covering it as it is likely to be unexciting, but read our preview at the end of this post.

1. What is your take on the bulk of polling showing many of Trump’s actions are popular?

2. Is there going to be a left wing equivalent of the tea party movement?

And because it’s the weekend, we have the man who endorsed a Republican running for NYC Council in Harlem next week HERE.