2020: Andrew Cuomo’s name has been floated around a lot for the D 2020 nomination lately, and Politico has a piece here covering most of what the buzz is about. Basically, Cuomo’s image as the New York Italian Boy could help in wooing back the WCW voters that abandoned Clinton in droves, and his public profile has been moderate enough to not scare off Suburban Republicans still upset with Trump. There are a few problems however, most notably the Albany stench that is sure to come up in both the primary and general election, and secondly the fact that the electrified Democratic left despises him for not being enough of a true believer in Progressive causes. There’s also the problem of being a straight white male in a party that is increasingly trying to define itself around “Diversity”. A bit of an aside, but one of my D friends summarized his problems perfectly when he described him as “Another Hillary Clinton that not even Feminists will get excited about”.
Trump: Trump’s approval ratings have been on the upswing lately, as he’s up to 47-51 in the latest Fox RV Poll. This is tied for his best numbers ever with the immediately post-election “glow” (of being barely underwater), and probably has to do with Trump recently playing to his strengths—making fools out of his media critics and berating Progressives and Europeans for abandoning the Liberal values they used to cherish until recently.
AL-Sen: In what is a completely non-scientific bit of evidence but still a bad sign, appointed senator Dr. Luther Strange (I will never get over the fact that he is a real person and a comic book villain in some kind of dimension-merging Marvel/DC crossover) has come in last place out of 6 in a recent straw poll at a candidate forum in Huntsville. Senator Strange seems to have badly mishandled the investigation into former Governor Robert Bentley, as being appointed to the Senate by the person you are investigating stinks of corruption even when handled well. Strange is still reportedly up in his own polling, but that is probably due to the fact that opposition to him has not yet coalesced around a specific candidate yet.
MO-Sen: AG Josh Hawley, who was widely considered to be all-but-in for this race after the last person considered all-but-in decided not to run, is apparently still wavering on running. Hawley was just elected last year and probably wants to avoid charges of job-hopping, but he has convinced enough of the Missouri GOP that he’s worth it regardless to generate serious buzz over his candidacy. He should probably decide quick, as if he passes Wagner might want to reconsider, as McCaskill is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators in the country, and recent polling has her losing to every Republican tested.
OH-Sen: A recent poll by PPD Buckeye State Battleground has Josh Mandel (R) leading senator Sherrod Brown (D) 50-42 in a rematch of their 2012 contest. I’m a little skeptical of the poll, which gives Trump an unusually good 54-41 approval rating, but this is great news for the GOP, as Ohio was decidedly on their 2nd tier of senate targets next year, and polls showing them up that much in those is reassuring to people worried about the GOP’s chances in places like Indiana or North Dakota.
VT-Sen: Bernie Sanders has a “D” primary challenger in Jon Svitavsky, basically a some dude Democrat who is running on a platform of “Do you realize how much damage you did to Clinton by not conceding to her earlier!” Svitavsky also mentions the ongoing FBI investigation into Sander’s wife over a school she administered. Svitavsky’s entry into the race is probably going to amount to nothing, but it does highlight the interesting way in which Sanders has continued to get elected, as Vermont’s Fusion voting system allows him to win the Democratic primary and then refuse the nomination, allowing him to run as a nominal 3rd party candidate without a major D challenger in his previous two Senate campaigns.
WV-Sen: AG Patrick Morrisey is reportedly gearing up to announce his bid for Senate today at Harper’s Ferry. The location is confusing, as announcing at the Eastern tip of the WV panhandle is not a good move for a candidate is almost certainly going to be attacked for his lack of roots in the state (Morrisey is originally from New York and New Jersey, and even ran in a GOP primary for NJ-7 back in 2000). Morrisey is a more traditional Conservative candidate compared to Congressman Evan Jenkins, the other Republican currently in the race who was a Conservadem before switching to the GOP in 2013. The winner of this primary will get to face Joe Manchin in what was one of Trump’s best states last year.
CO-5: Doug Lamborn, who has never managed to entrench himself in his Colorado Springs-based seat, has gotten another high-profile challenger in 2016 GOP Senate candidate Darryl Glenn. Glenn joins State Senator Owen Hill, who was considered Lamborn’s best challenger to date (and who is crushing the fundraising numbers), and might manage to split the sizable anyone-but-Lamborn vote between them and allow Lamborn yet another term.
MN-8: The GOP has a new candidate in this outstate Minnesota district in Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County Commissioner and former Hockey star. This seat, one of a handful that Trump won by a large margin yet returned a Democrat to congress last year, has been high on the GOP’s target list since the election, and Stauber’s entry might complicate 2014 and 2016 GOP candidate Stewart Mills’s attempt at getting a third shot. Still, “local Hockey star from the most D county in the district” is hardly a bad profile for a Minnesota Republican candidate, so color me hopeful he can wrestle this one away from the Democrats for good next year.
NJ-11: For the flipside to the above—an ancestrally Republican seat that Trump did awful in—Passiac County Freeholder John Bartlett (D) joins the increasingly crowded field in this North-Jersey Suburban seat.
State & Local:
Chris Christie: Apparently America’s least Popular Governor auditioned for sports talk radio over the weekend. Given that Christie has basically taken up trolling his state as a full-time job, I’d half expect him to spend most of his time talking about how much the Jets and Eagles suck, how the Yankees are the best team in the history of sports, and how Rocky movies are overrated.
Maine: Now this has me confused. As part of a bipartisan deal to avoid a shutdown, Maine recently voted to axe a tax hike approved by the voters last year. I have no idea how that is possible or legal, but apparently it is and Maine decided to go through with it.
Mongolia: In a surprise upset, Right-wing Populist candidate Khaltmaa Battulga has won the Mongolian presidential election runoff by a sizeable margin. Battulga ran on a vaguely Trump-esque nationalist platform, and is rumored to be considering shifting away from China and towards Russia politically.
G-20: The horrific display made by the “Antifa” protestors at G-20 (which continued even after all the leaders had left) has some Germans asking why their police forces weren’t prepared to handle the rioting, looting, and burning that dominated the news headlines of the event. This might be a political headache for Merkel ahead of the German election later this year, where she is hoping to be able to earn a majority outside of the current “Grand Coalition”.