Programming note: Virginia’s primary and Las Vegas City Council runnoff election are today. We will have a liveblog with all the results when the polls close tonight at 7pm ET. Check out our previews if you haven’t already.
Trump: Apparently it wasn’t the Russians who unleashed an army of social media bots to boost Trump’s 2016 candidacy on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. It was billionaire Robert Mercer who spearheaded the efforts weaponize social media by using fake accounts to spread stories and narratives to influence real people.
Merkley: According to a CNN profile Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) is considering a run for President in 2020. Merkley was the only US Senator to endorse fellow Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016.
AZ-Gov: Failed 2014 Democrat nominee for State Superintendent of Public Instruction David Garcia is out with an internal PPP poll showing him leading Gov. Doug Ducey (R) 44% to 42%. His paid for internal poll also conveniently shows Garcia beating leading state Sen. Steve Farley by a 53% to 11% margin in the Democrat primary and Duecy beating Farley by a 42% to 40% margin. Take this internal poll with a Grand Canyon sized grain of salt.
NE-Gov: State Sen. Bob Krist (RINO) says he may skip challenging Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) in the GOP primary and instead run against him as an independent in 2018.
SC-Gov: Lt. Gov Kevin Bryant (R) is considering a primary challenge to Gov. Henry McMaster (R). Bryant was a state senator who after a series of events became Lt. Governor when Lt. Gov. McMaster ascended to the Governorship after President Trump picked Nikki Haley to become US Ambassador to the UN.
TN-Gov: Republican candidate Randy Boyd is kicking off his gubernatorial campaign by selling Randy Boyd for Governor fidget spinners for $5 on his campaign website. No word yet if fellow GOP candidate Bill Lee or State Sen. Mae Beavers will offering fidget spinners of their own. And yes if you are wondering I really want one of these for my political memorabilia collection!
AL-Sen: Rep. Mike Rogers (R) has endorsed fellow Rep. Mo Brooks (R) for Senate. Brooks is facing appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) and a host of other candidates in the August 15th Republican primary.
GA-6: Ad spending in Georgia’s special congressional election approaches $40 million mark! The amount of money being spent on this House race is absolutely insane! To put this in perspective Jeb Bush’s 2016 Presidential campaign spent $34.7 million in hard dollars.
IA-3: Democrat Cindy Axne announced she will challenge Rep. David Young (R) next year. Axne’s is a former government worker. Pete D’Alessandro, who ran Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa, is exploring a potential bid as as well.
MN-7: Trucking company owner Matt Prosch announced he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Collin Peterson (D). State Rep. Tim Miller and underfunded 2016 candidate Dave Hughes are also seeking the GOP nomination for this rural seat Donald Trump carried by a 62% to 31% margin.
MN-8: Former counter-terrorism analyst Leah Phifer (D) is exploring a primary challenge to Rep. Nick Nolan. Nolan recently announced that he will not run for governor of Minnesota next year, but has yet to announce whether he’ll seek re-election next year.
MT-AL: Newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte (R) was fined $385, sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of sessions for anger management after pleading guilty to assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs on the eve of his election. Gianforte has publicly apologized for his actions to Ben Jacobs, donated $50,000 to Committee to Protect Journalism and took full responsibility for his actions.
NJ-3: President Donald Trump held a fundraiser for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) at the Trump National Golf Club and raised over $800,000 for MacArthur’s re-election campaign. MacArthur was one of 24 House Republicans targeted by a Democratic advocacy group in TV and digital advertisement for his vote in favor of the AHCA.
NY-19: We are beginning to lose track of how many Democrats are running against Rep. John Faso (R). Jeff Beals, a former diplomat and CIA officer, is the latest Democrat to throw his hat into the ring. Beals joins Brian Flynn, Antonio Delgado and former Gov. Cuomo aide Gareth Rhodes in seeking the Democrat nomination. Hopefully some of these candidates will take advantage of NY’s fusion voting ballot law and carry their campaigns all the way through to November on minor party lines if they lose the Democrat primary!
NY-23: Democrat Ulysses Town Councilman and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor John “J.G.” Hertzler (he played Klingon General Martok) announced he intends to run for Congress vs. Rep. Tom Reed (R). The jury is still out as to if Hertzler will be a serious candidate or not. On the one hand Hertzler’s acting fame and local political involvement could make him a serious candidate while on the other Hertzler claimed he wanted to dress up and campaign in the persona of Mark Twain. Rep. Tom Reed had a close call in 2012 when he was re-elected by a less than 4% margin to a C-list 28 year old Democrat candidate. Since then he cruised to fairly easy re-elections in 2014 and 2016.
PA-6: EMILY’s List is backing Democrat Chrissy Houlahan in her bid to win the Democrat nomination to face Rep. Ryan Costello (R). Donald Trump lost this district to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a razor thin 48.2% to 47.6% margin while Costello won it by more than 14 percentage points. Houlahan faces Bob Dettore in the Democratic primary.
State, Local & Other:
UK Elections: At RRHelections we know that he who draws the lines wins. Does anyone have a good analysis of what the 2017 British Elections results would have been if the constituencies boundaries were redrawn? I saw one estimate that with the exact same vote with different boundaries the Conservatives would have won a 20 seat majority. Does anyone know if that is accurate or have a detailed analysis of what could have been without the current Labour gerrymander?