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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.